January 1, 2023
Good morning girls and boys. I want to wish each one of you a very Happy New Year! Of course, today is New Year’s Day — the very first day of our new year, 2023. And just like each New Year’s Day, there will be parades and football games on television and maybe a nice New Year’s Day dinner at home. What are some of the other things we do on the first day of the New Year? That’s right — this is the day most people make their “resolutions” for the coming year. They decide to change things in their lives, like using their phones less or exercising more, or maybe they just decide to be a little kinder to their friends and neighbors. And these are all good things, aren’t they, boys and girls? Being kind to each other is one of the Lessons we have learned in our Bibles.
Some people have other traditions that they observe on New Year’s Day. There was a very famous writer who used to give away many of his possessions on the first day of each year. He explained that the reason he gave so many things away was to prove that he owned them instead of his things owning him. In other words, he was saying that his possessions were not the most important thing to him — instead, his friends and family were more important. And that’s a valuable lesson, isn’t it, boys and girls? Making our family and friends more important than money and possessions is one of the Lessons we have learned in our Bibles.
Long, long ago, New Year’s Day was a time for settling disputes with neighbors and friends. The people felt that was the best way to start off the new year. Back then, instead of greeting each other by saying, “Happy New Year,” people would shake hands and say, “Forgive me for the New Year.” Even people who had not been fighting or arguing during the year would greet one another on that day, saying, “If I have done you any wrong during the past year, I want you to forgive me for the new one.” Isn’t that wonderful, boys and girls? Forgiving one another is one of the Lessons we have learned in our Bibles.
Today boys and girls, as you gather with your friends and family, it is nice to wish them a “Happy New Year.” But today, I want you to think about something as you say those words — “Happy New Year.” I want you to think about being a little kinder in the new year, 2023. I want you to think about how much more important all of God’s children are to you — much more important than money or possessions. And I want you to think about forgiving those who may have done something wrong to you in the past — and for you to think about asking for forgiveness from anyone you may have wronged this past year. And if you do that, boys and girls, this year can be even happier than the last. And you will be doing the good work that God has asked of you. Happy New Year!
January 8, 2023
Good morning boys and girls. Today I would like to start by reading an old poem — a story about a little packet of seeds just like the one I am holding in my hand (hold up seed packet). I’m sure all of you have seen these packets in the stores, especially during the Spring-time planting season. Now let’s listen . . .
I paid a dime for a package of seeds,
the clerk tossed them down with a flip.
“We have them assorted to everyone’s needs,”
he said with a smile on his lip.
“Pansies, poppies, asters and peas, ten cents a
package, now pick as you please.”
Now seeds are just dimes to the clerk in the store,
and dimes are the things that he needs.
And I’ve been to buy them in the store before,
and thought of them merely as seeds.
But it flashed through my mind as I took them this time,
“You’ve purchased a miracle here for a dime.”
You’ve a dime’s worth of power which no man can create,
you’ve a dime’s worth of life in your hand.
You’ve a dime’s worth of mystery, destiny, faith,
which the wisest man can’t understand.
In this bright little package, now isn’t it odd, you’ve a dime’s worth of something known only to God!
A dime for a packet of seeds. That poem may be a little out of date because I think that a package of seeds costs a bit more today. But you know what, boys and girls? This packet of seeds contains a priceless mystery known only to God. It contains the miracle of life itself. Scientists can explain many things about how a flower grows, but science cannot explain how God has created the miracle of new life. That is a mystery!
This week boys and girls, as you look around at all the places where the flowers are now dormant for the winter — remember the Spring — when the beautiful buds will start to poke through the ground. And think about the most awesome mystery of all — God’s mystery of life!
January 15, 2023
Good morning girls and boys. Have any of you heard of the song “We are the World?” How about a song called “High Hopes?” These songs, and many others like them, seem to be saying that even though there may be bad things going on all around us, we can hope for a better world. And, you know, boys and girls, sooner or later, whether the world does get better depends a lot on you — the children of this world. And that’s because as you grow up, it will be your job to bring good into the world. And how good a job you do will depend on how you are learning the lessons Jesus is teaching you now.
The Bible tells us that when Jesus had grown to be about thirty years old, a man we call John the Baptist said to his people, “Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” John the Baptist was asking his people to look at Jesus, to listen to Jesus, and to learn from Jesus what they should do to make the world a better place to live in.
Now, you are being asked to look at the Lamb of God, to look at the Lord Jesus, and listen to Him and learn from Him about what you should be doing to make the world a better place to live in.
If I should ask you the question, “What have you learned from Jesus about how to make a new and better world,” how would you answer? Some of you, I am sure, would have a lot to say about this. Some of your answers might even be very long. But I am sure also that many of you would come up with a very short answer. And this could be the best of all answers.
LOVE ONE ANOTHER!
Jesus wants you to believe in that answer and to do as it commands.
Jesus wants you to believe Him when He says that Love is the answer to the question of how to make things better in this world.
Boys and girls, when you think of the song “We are the World,” remember you are the bright and shining future of our world! Awesome!!!
January 22, 2023
Good morning boys and girls. Do any of you know what the word “inflation” means? Ask any person your grandmother or grandfather’s age about inflation, and he or she might tell you that the popcorn you buy at the movies for $5.50 once cost only twenty or thirty cents. Or a candy bar that sells for a dollar today used to sell for only a nickel. Well, you get the idea. Inflation means the cost of things is going up.
The people in government and elsewhere who must deal with these things tell us that too much inflation can be bad for our country. And they try to keep it from getting out of control — they try to keep prices from getting too high.
We read in our Bibles that Jesus is also concerned about inflation. And we find that He wants inflation to go higher rather than lower. That’s because Jesus is talking about spiritual inflation.
Whether or not we are growing spiritually — getting to be better and better persons — depends on the price we are willing to pay, Jesus tells us. There are times when it isn’t easy to obey Jesus’ command to love one another.
There are times when we would rather look the other way when someone needs our help.
There are times when we’d rather make enemies than make friends.
There are times when we’d rather be keeping for ourselves than sharing with others.
There are times when we would rather do things our way than to do things God’s way.
In such times we must be willing to turn things around and do what is right. In such times, Jesus is telling us we must be willing to pay the price of being the kind of person God wants us to be. And Jesus goes on to tell us that the price is never too high.
“Love one another,” says the Lord Jesus. “Love one another,” whatever the cost. It may involve giving something away. It may involve forgiving another person. It may involve spending more of your time with another. It may involve being more obedient to your parents. But, whatever it involves, Jesus wants you to pay the price because He wants you to inflate your soul with the love of God!
January 29, 2023
Good morning girls and boys. Let’s start with a riddle: What is white when it’s dirty and black when it’s clean? A blackboard.
Well, you all look so nice today. That means that you probably used some soap when you washed up this morning. And whether you took a bath or a shower or just washed up at the sink, to do a good job, you need soap to get rid of the dirt and impurities — things that might spoil your good looks!
Years ago, the people who make one brand of soap had a slogan that said that their soap is ninety-nine and nine-tenths percent pure. That means that there is practically nothing in the soap that is unclean.
Jesus tells us to make ourselves one hundred percent pure in heart. That means He wants all our thoughts and all our deeds to be free from anything that spoils our ability to think good thoughts and to do good things. It means our thoughts about one another should be loving thoughts. And it means that we are to treat one another lovingly. It means we are to be kind to one another. It means we should care for one another in ways that show we are willing to help when help is needed.
And it means that our minds and hearts should be unspoiled by anything that keeps us from seeing and thinking about God who loves us with the purest love we could ever imagine!
“Blessed are the pure in heart,” Jesus tells us in our Bibles, “For they shall see God.” Boys and girls, the next time you wash your hands to keep them clean and pure, think about keeping your heart pure and full of the good thoughts God wants us to have for one another.