Going to Heaven

Too cute!

booklovers1

childrenI was testing the children in my Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting to heaven. I asked them, “If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, Would that get me into Heaven?”

“NO!” the children answered.

“If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the yard, and kept everything neat and tidy, would that get me into Heaven?” Again, the answer was, “NO!”

By now I was starting to smile. Hey, this was fun! “Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave candy to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into Heaven?” I asked them again.

Again, they all answered, “NO!”

I was just bursting with pride for them. “Well,” I continued, “then how can I get into Heaven?”

A five-year-old boy shouted out…

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Excerpt 5

Modsi, had noticed in their surveillance, a young girl, in the city of New York, who was apparently at home taking care of younger siblings with no visible adult supervision.  They hovered over her apartment listening carefully to what was being said.

“Pick up that paper and put it in the garbage can,” Kiara said, angrily to her twin brothers.  “I’m tired of picking up after you, two. Go to your room and stay out of my way!”

The two six year-old boys, glared at her and kept right on shredding paper into tiny bits and then blowing them into the air.  “We like to play “snowing” when we can’t go outside.  You’re just a meanie.”

“I’m not a meanie; I don’t want to clean-up after you.  Now, stop!  If there is a mess in here when Mom gets home, you’re gonna get it.”

“No, we won’t.  She’ll fuss at you.  You’re the one in charge.”

“Well, since I’m in charge, pick up that paper before I bash in your brains and blow them into the air.”

“We’re telling Mom you hit us!”

“I haven’t hit you yet, but I’m going to any second now.” Kiara was so frustrated that she picked up a broom and began chasing her brothers around the room until they ran into their room, and then slammed the door and locked them in.

“Ooh!  I wish I had the power to turn back time and these two would never have been born!” she muttered to herself. She looked at the clock on the stove and realized her mother would soon be walking in the door, tired as usual, expecting a hot meal and a clean house.  The broom she was using was old and worn and made tried to sweep up the mess that much harder, but she was glad that she had put a plate in the microwave for her mother.  Now, all she had left to do was the dishes. While she washed dishes, she daydreamed about living somewhere else where she didn’t have to watch her brothers while her mother worked.  She thought about having a father at home who loved them and worked to take care of them.  The sound of a key turning in the door broke into her day dream.

“Hi, Mom.  Food is in the microwave.”

“Thank you, Kiara,” her mother said, dragging herself into a chair. “I really appreciate your help. Where are the boys?”

“I locked them in their room.  They had made a mess of the place and wouldn’t clean it up.”

“Kiara!  Don’t lock them in.  Talk to them and teach them how to clean up!”

“Mom, they don’t listen to me.  I have to do everything around here.  I cook, clean up the house and then watch them.  Why do I have to do everything?  Why did you have to have them anyway?”

The minute she asked the question, she regretted it, but it was too late to take it back.  Her mother looked at her for a long moment and then tears began to flow down her cheeks.  She said nothing, just held her head in her hands, looking as though she wished she was somewhere else.  Kiara hated seeing her mother cry.  She cried often but would never say why and every time she did, Kiara felt bad.

Kiara walked over to her mother and hugged her.  “I’m sorry, Mom.  Truly, I am.  I don’t know what got into me.  I’ll unlock the door now!” When she unlocked the door, the boys came tumbling out, each one wanting to tell on Kiara first.  Their mother, stopped crying and pulled each boy onto one knee and hugged them tightly.  Squirming to get away, they finally escaped and went back into their room.  They didn’t like it when their mother hugged them too hard.

Kiara sighed and finished the dishes and then completed her homework at the kitchen table. When she finally finished and put her books and notebooks into her backpack, it was past her bedtime and she was so tired, she could barely keep her eyes open.  Her mother had long since gone to bed, so she pulled out the sofa bed and dropped onto the unmade covers beneath the cushions and soon fell asleep.

 

Everyday People!

“I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations” (Romans 6:19a NIV).

I cannot begin to explain how many times I have heard some people say, “the bible has no relevance for us today.  That was then, this is now.” If they really understood, having a heart open to God, they would know that just as “everyday” was for that time, “everyday” is still the same for us today.

When Paul was writing to the Church in Rome, he was very concerned about how the people in the church were selectively choosing which rules to live by.  Some wanted to hold people to the letter of law, while he was trying to explain the difference between the spirit of the law and the wonders of grace–to everyday people.

In this passage of scripture (please read the entire chapter), he is specifically talking about people who commit sin, what grace has done, and why we should not continue to sin.  God’s grace, His unmerited, we can’t earn favor, does not mean we continue to commit sin or encourage others to do so.  Paul reminds the everyday people that once in our lives before knowing and understanding the work of the cross, we did commit sin, but now that we know better, we should not participate.  And he used, examples from everyday life (as it was did and is applicable now), to illustrate what he said.  The strong language–“once slaves to sin” still applies to many today.  Many everyday people are slaves to–drugs, porn, fornication, adultery, alcohol, stealing, lying, manipulating, favoritism, complacency (“I’d rather you were hot or cold instead of lukewarm”), etc., hence the use of everyday examples (relevant now), about everyday people.

I think it was Sly and The Family Stones who wrote the song, Everyday People, (if I have the wrong artist, feel free to correct me).  God does not expect us to live like people in ancient times, but He does expect us to adhere to righteousness, using everyday life examples.  He gave us His Word as a guideline because of our human limitations (unwillingness to hear The Spirit of the Lord) so we would be without excuse.

O God, help us–everyday people, to live  every day in righteousness, to your glory.