The Time and Weather is for Hua Hin, Thailand where we currently live

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Let’s Make a Deal. . .

In order to teach the Youth Group the importance of decision making, sometimes we play 'Let’s Make a Deal'.  We have been teaching from Proverbs and about how to make wise decisions.  We play the game at a fairly quick pace, so the youth have to make some snap decisions.  They will often turn around to the group looking for help as to what bag or bucket to choose from.

We start by asking for a volunteer and then we invite that youth to come forward and choose Bag #1 or Bag #2.  Once they decide which bag they want to choose something from, we have them look away from the bag and reach in and grab something.

It could be something ‘good’ like a new toy or some candy or it could be a ‘not so good’ item like a broken chewed pencil, a toothpick or a crumpled paper towel.  Once they have taken their item out of the bag, we then offer them the option of keeping their item or trading it in for what is in one of three bowls.  We do not give them a lot of time to think about it, forcing them to make a quick decision.

If they decide to keep the item then they go back and sit down with their item, however, if they decide to trade it in they return the item they picked and then they reach in the bucket they have chosen.  At this point there is either a lot of laughing, because they traded a new toy for a used toothbrush or there are oohs and ahh’s because the new item definitely was better than the first.

Then, we challenge them by offering them one more choice, to keep what they have or trade it in on an unknown item in one of two buckets.  After either keeping the item in their hand or trading in their item for another ‘treasure’, they return to their seat.

One of the true blessings for us is to see the youth when they reach in and pull out a brand new Bible.  Every time it has happened the youth has looked delighted.  One time one of the Thai youth reached in and got an English Bible.  I explained that the Bible was in English and that he could trade it in for something else, he hugged the Bible to his chest and said he wanted to keep it.  He went and sat down and held the Bible like it was a priceless treasure. . .and that it is!  What a wise young man.

We have been blessed with seeing the youth that ‘won’ Bibles carry them to and from Bible study faithfully.

We have also been blessed to hear how God has spoken to their hearts as we have challenged the youth to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  We explained to the youth that sometimes when you have to make a decision you have plenty of time to pray, or to ask for counsel from someone you trust.  But, sometimes circumstances require us to make on-the-spot decisions; and that is where Proverbs comes in.

The Book of Proverbs in the Bible is replete with words of wisdom for us to live by.  We explained to the youth that when they have to make snap decisions it will be helpful to them to have words of wisdom from the Bible in their hearts and minds, so that they can call on them as they try to make wise decisions. 

Proverbs 22:17-21  “Incline your ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply your heart to my knowledge, for it will be pleasant if you keep them within you, if all of them are ready on your lips. That your trust may be in the LORD, I have made them known to you today, even to you. Have I not written for you thirty sayings of counsel and knowledge, to make you know what is right and true, that you may give a true answer to those who sent you?”

1 Timothy 4:11-13  “Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-19  "So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.”

Psalm 119:11, 105  “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. ...  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

So, my challenge to each of us is to read a chapter of Proverbs every day.  The youth have been reading from Proverbs for over a month now, and with 31 Proverbs it works out really well to read one a day completing all of them in a month.  As the youth had read through all 31 Proverbs, they started at Proverbs 1 again and they found that they now comprehend some things that they did not understand the first time through.  Praise God! 

I know that I am finding the same thing as I read through Proverbs and the rest of the Bible.  God’s living Word is continually opening up to us in new and refreshing ways.

You can do this!. . .And I believe you will be blessed for doing this as you find yourself making decision after decision, day after day; using wisdom from Proverbs as your guide to making wise decisions and living a life that honors the Lord.

A chapter of Proverbs a day. . .


Bill and the youth waiting to start playing 'Let's Make a Deal'.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

A Heart Checkup. . .

So the other day after I had been up for a while, I had a mental list of what I was going to do, and then. . .I got a phone call.

I answered the call, and a Thai friend said that some people needed help.  She said that two people needed a place to stay for two weeks.  Hmmm, we were to leave for America in two weeks.  So, I trashed my mental To-do list, and Bill and I went to meet with her to find out more.

She explained that there was a Thai mother and daughter that were going through a crisis, and they needed a place to stay.  My immediate thought as we sat and talked with our friend was, ‘What would the Lord want us to do?’  As soon as I thought it, I knew the answer.  Of course the Lord would want us to open our home to them.

I looked to Bill and our eyes met, and I knew that we were both thinking the same thing.  I turned to our friend and told her that we would be happy to welcome the mother and daughter into our home.  Our friend explained that they only needed a place to stay for 3 days, and that she had arranged for another place about an hour away for them to stay after that.

We asked when they would be arriving at our home, and she said that she would bring them by our house around 10:00 pm.

So we got things ready at home; cleaned, prepared beds and put out towels to welcome them.  At 7:15 our doorbell rang.  (Our ‘doorbell’ is mounted to our gate outside.)  Bill went out to see who it was, and then he called to me.  I had been upstairs, and hurried outside.  I was surprised to see 8 to 10 people standing at our gate.  I scanned the faces from left to right looking for a clue as to who they were; as I reached the last face I saw that it was our friend.  I quickly, said hello in Thai and invited them in.  (I was thinking, ‘Wow, they are early’ and ‘Who are all of these other people?’.)  No one moved, so I asked what was going on.

Our friend explained that the situation had changed and they no longer needed to stay with us, but that they all came in person to thank us for offering to let the mother and daughter stay with us.  I was stunned!

How many times over the years had someone changed their mind, and I had gotten a text or a quick call to say ‘Sorry’ and that was it.

Here all of these people had come in person, to say thank you.  Wow!

Our day had turned out so differently from what we had planned, and yet I was grateful for the heart checkup that I felt I had received.  I know the Lord knows our hearts, but it is good for us to have spontaneous opportunities to really live out our faith and for us to check our hearts. 

Thank you Lord, for giving us opportunities to have heart checkup’s, to share Your love and to encourage our faith walk.  Thank you Lord, for occasions where You give us chances to re-evaluate our priorities and to do the right thing.

I pray that each of us would look to the Lord, when He puts a heart checkup in our path.  I pray that we would honor and glorify our Lord and Savior with our response, putting aside our plans for His plans.  Putting aside our hearts to show His heart.  And I pray that we would always say “Yes”, even before we know the question, when the Lord asks us to do something.

Deuteronomy 8:2 - And you shall remember the whole way that the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart. . .

Deuteronomy 13:3 - . . .For the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.