This past Tuesday Americans came out in large numbers to vote for a president and other government representatives. It is a special day of the year and I hope that when you are old enough you will participate in this important process.
However, each day we also make another vote. We choose whether to serve God or reject Him. We vote when we choose to tell the truth over lying, when we choose to be nice to someone instead of being mean, and when we choose good entertainment on TV, radio, and books. It is an important vote you cast because you either support the godly life or turn against it. How will you vote?
In the last few weeks I have been using the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible by Crossway Publishers and I am VERY impressed with its readability and accuracy. It is written on an 8th grade level and is supposed to be textually accurate. It claims to be in the same tradition as the King James Bible (but much more readable!). An online version is at www.esv.org if you want to evaluate particular verses.
I know there are some “King James Only” advocates but it has been my experience that kids have great difficulty reading many passages in the KJV. I know some claim that the KJV is easy to read but they are usually adults and people who have been reading that version all of their lives. However, the archaic language is very difficult for kids to understand as they read which discourages them from reading and makes some conclude that the Bible is too tough to read. It is interesting that the “KJV Only” advocates don’t insist on going back to THE KJV: the 1611 version (see picture at http://www.kjv-only.com/oldscans/kjvgen1.jpg). Parents, make sure your children have a Bible that faithfully renders the original texts and is readable. The ESV certainly fits that requirement.
Recently, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium came out on DVD. I have really enjoyed this truly magical movie. I could imagine spending many hours playing in that store and never being bored. When I think of places like that, created in the mind of men, I can’t help but think how much greater heaven, created from the mind of God, will be. It will be a truly wonderful place where the joy shall never grow old. I hope you want to go there as much as I do. Mr. Magorioum’s toy store exists only in the imagination but heaven is real and is open to all who want to obey God and live with him forever.
If you attend Bible classes regularly, do you always have your lesson prepared? If you are a parent, do you know if your children have their Bible lessons? Do they try to get the lesson on the way to Bible class?
When we realize that God’s word contains “all things that pertain to life and godliness,” we realize how important it is to study daily and meditate on our Bible lessons, and complete the homework assignments, so we can learn more effectively when we go to class.
Parents especially must be mindful of the importance of their children preparing for Bible classes. My friend, Phil Robertson, had an excellent point in this regard (http://www.hueytownchurchofchrist.org/?year=2007&pageid=3223 lesson “Quest for Truth”):
“If studying and learning God’s word is not a priority in the home now, why in the world would you think it would be later?”
If we want our children to have a respect for the truth (and to teach our grandchildren) then we must instill the study habits with them today. KIds, you need to spend some time every day reading God’s word to build up your knowledge and give you the tools for making good decisions.
This month we have been studying Joseph in our Bible class at church. He was a facinating man. Even in his youth he apparently did not lose his trust in God even through he was almost killed by his brothers but then sold to foreigners to be a slave, sent to prison on false charges, forgotten by a released prisoner that he helped, and lived in a land full of idolatry. Joseph did not understand how God could make all of these things work out for the good but, later in life, he realized that God was preserving his family, and ultimately fulfilling his promises to Abraham, through this series of unfortunate events.
When you are faced with troubles or it seems like life is not going the way you think it should, remember Joseph. Remember that God “will make all things work together for good” for those that love Him. We do not have to know what He is doing; we can have confidence that He is doing something and it is intended to make us better. He does not forget His children.