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When Your Load Is Heavy


Jesus will help you carry the load.


Several items that are not too heavy - such as a brick or a ten pound dumbbell and an automobile jack.


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28 [NIV]

How strong are you? Do you think you are pretty strong? How many of you think you could pick up this brick? How about a dumbbell like this one? Well, you must be pretty strong then. How many of you think you could pick up a car? Oh, you don't think you could pick up a car? Well, I think you could if you had some help. Here is something that would help you. It is an automobile jack. If you put this jack underneath the car and pump the handle, you can easily lift a car that weighs over 3,000 pounds! Yes, with the help of a jack, you can lift a car, but you couldn't do it alone, could you?

Some of you have some pretty heavy burdens to carry in life. Perhaps you have a physical handicap that makes your life difficult. Or, perhaps your father has lost his job and your family is having financial difficulties. Maybe someone in your family has cancer or some other serious illness and you are worried about them. You may be having a hard time making passing grades in school. I don't know what the burdens are that you have in your life, but I do know that there are some that you just can't handle by yourself. Well, guess what? You don't have to!

Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." There is no reason for you to struggle with burdens that are too heavy for you. God's Word is full of promises to help us in times of trouble. Here are just a few: "Don't be afraid, I am with you." (Gen.26:24) "I'll give you strength." (Psalm 28:7) "I'm with you in times of trouble." (Psalm 34:6) These words of encouragement are just what we need to face the hard times that may come our way.

Does that mean that if we will ask him, God will take all of our troubles away? No, but he will help us. In fact, some of our struggles may help us to grow and become stronger. They may also help us to learn to trust in Jesus. But when the load is too heavy, he will help us to carry it -- and there is no burden that is too heavy for Jesus.

Dear Father, we are thankful that when we struggle under the load of life's burdens, you are there to help us carry the load. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.


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keys for kids


The Story of Santa

"Ho, ho, ho! And a merry Christmas to you!" bellowed a tall Santa at the entrance to Mia's favorite toy store. Mia and her dad were doing some last-minute Christmas shopping. They needed a few more things for the shoeboxes they were filling for kids who lived in orphanages in poor countries. "Dad, why do I see so many Santas around at Christmas instead of manger scenes?" Mia wondered aloud. "Everywhere I look I see Santa! See, there's a gigantic stuffed Santa right over there!" "I agree, there's a lot more of Santa than Jesus in most stores at Christmas," said Dad. "I think the tradition of Santa has overshadowed the truth of Jesus' birth. However, not many people know the story of the real Saint Nicholas where our tradition of Santa began. Do you want to hear it?" "Of course!" said Mia. "According to history scholars, Saint Nicholas was born a long time ago around 280 A.D., which means 280 years after Jesus' birth," Dad explained. "His parents were very wealthy and left him a large inheritance when they died. Nicholas was a Christian, so he decided to share his wealth by giving gifts and money to the poor and sick in his town. He later became a Christian bishop in the church and eventually became Saint Nicholas." "So, did he wear a red suit and have a white beard?" asked Mia. "No one really knows what Saint Nicholas looked like. All we know is he had a reputation of giving to those in need," Dad said. "Just like we're filling those shoeboxes for the needy kids!" Mia exclaimed. "Exactly!" said Dad. "People often associate Santa with getting a lot of presents. Instead, I think we should think of Saint Nicholas and giving to others. And remember, the reason Saint Nicholas gave to others was to show Jesus' love to them. As a Christian, he knew the greatest gift we could ever receive was Jesus, who became human in order to save us from sin. That's really what Christmas is all about--celebrating the gift of Jesus!" Kendra Angle How About You? Do you focus on giving to others at Christmas? Sometimes it's easy to make Christmas all about getting presents for ourselves rather than thinking of how we can give to others. Money and presents aren't the only ways to give. Share a kind word, do something extra around the house, or let someone go ahead of you in line. When you give, you point to the greatest gift of all--Jesus. Today's Key Verse: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift! (NKJV) (2 Corinthians 9:15) Today's Key Thought: Give generously to others

The Expired Coupons

"Jesus loves each and every one of you," said Mrs. Anderson, Kiera's Bible club teacher. It was the end of the meeting and everyone had their heads bowed for the closing prayer. "He died on the cross and rose again to save you from sin and give you eternal life. Won't you accept His free gift of salvation? Someday it will be too late." Kiera squirmed in her seat. "If you'd like to be saved tonight," Mrs. Anderson continued, "will you raise your hand and let me know? I would like to pray for you and talk with you about it." Maybe I should raise my hand, but what will the kids think if I do that? Kiera wondered. I'll think about it, she decided. I can always talk with Mrs. Anderson or Mom later. Maybe I'll wait till I'm older. I'm just a kid. I have plenty of time. She left her hand down. When Kiera got home, she helped her mother put away groceries. Then Mom took some coupons out of her purse, sorted through them, and threw several into the wastebasket. "Don't you want the stuff those are good for?" Kiera asked. "Yes, but I goofed," said Mom. "I was going to use those coupons at the store tonight, but when I got them out, I noticed they had expired a few days ago." She sighed. "They would have saved me quite a bit of money. I should have used them last week. Now it's too late!" Kiera went to the living room and sat down on the couch. There were those words again--"too late"--the same words Mrs. Anderson had used. As Kiera thought about it, she made an important decision. Jumping to her feet, she went back to the kitchen. "Mom!" she exclaimed. "Mrs. Anderson said that someday it will be too late to accept Jesus' gift of salvation. You missed the chance to use your coupons, but I don't want to miss the chance to be saved. Will you help me?" Mom hugged her close. "I sure will! Now I'm glad I missed the chance to use those coupons since it made you realize that you need to trust in Jesus before it's too late." Linda M. Weddle How About You? Have you heard that Jesus died for you, but you decided to wait till later to be saved? He wants you to accept the free gift of salvation He's offering you so you can begin a new life with Him today. Don't wait any longer. Someday it will be too late. Trust Jesus as your Savior right now. (To learn more, click the "Good News!" button in the right column of this page.) Today's Key Verse: Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. (Isaiah 55:6) Today's Key Thought: Trust in Jesus now

Puzzle Pieces

Frustrated, Todd and Jason held blue puzzle pieces in their hands, trying to figure out where to put them. "This is so hard!" Todd said as he tried fitting pieces together. "Every piece looks the same!" Jason slammed down his piece of the blue sky. Mrs. Stenman, Todd's mom, laughed in the kitchen. "You boys need a break! C'mon and get a snack." "Just don't feed us anything blue. I'm tired of blue," Todd complained. The boys walked into the kitchen and plopped down at the table. Mrs. Stenman brought over some snacks, making sure there was nothing blue. "So, by the look on your face, Todd, I probably shouldn't buy you a puzzle for Christmas?" She chuckled. "What about you, Jason? What do you want?" "Honestly, all I want for Christmas is to have my parents back together again," Jason replied. "I want them to love each other like you and Mr. Stenman." "I can understand that, Jason," said Mrs. Stenman. "My parents got divorced when I was about your age too." "They did?" asked Jason with wide eyes. "Yes, and I wanted them to get back together as well. But now I realize that, through everything, God was working on me." "What do you mean?" Jason asked. "God doesn't waste our struggles. Take those blue puzzle pieces, for example. I know you don't understand where those pieces go, and that can be frustrating. But if you threw them out, what would happen?" "The puzzle would never be complete," said Todd. Mrs. Stenman nodded. "God can use hard stuff to help us know Him better and bring Himself glory. Having your parents be divorced is difficult, and divorce is not what God intended for your family. But God is still writing your story, Jason. And someday, you may be able to encourage others who are struggling with their parents' divorce." "I think I understand," replied Jason. "You will, in time. Just remember that your life is not a puzzle to God. He has it all planned out, and He has promised you a great future and hope because you know Jesus!" "Thanks, Mrs. Stenman," said Jason. "Come on, Todd. Let's go work on that blue sky." Emily Rudolph How About You? Do you wish certain things in your life were different? Does it seem like everyone else has the "perfect" life, and you ended up with the hard one? If so, know that God loves you and that He's working out a wonderful plan in your life. Your life is not a puzzle to God. He sees the big picture, and He saved you so you'd have a glorious future with Him. Trust Him. Today's Key Verse: Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. (NIV) (Philippians 1:6) Today's Key Thought: God has a good plan for you

A Painful Blessing

"Catch, Wyatt!" Mom tossed a Frisbee high in the air. "Don't let Avery get it!" Wyatt and Mom were a team against Avery and Dad. Avery squealed and reached for the spinning disk, but Wyatt jumped and caught it with the tips of his fingers. He came down hard and felt his ankle twist as he hit the ground with a thud. "Ouch!" he cried, grabbing his ankle. Mom and Dad came running over. "I'm okay," Wyatt said, but when he took a step, pain shot through his foot. He limped over to a park bench. "We need to get that checked out," said Mom. Dad nodded. "I'll drive up as close as I can and then help you to the car." "Does it hurt a lot?" asked Avery. Wyatt took a shaky breath through his teeth. "Yeah." "Pain can be a good thing," Mom said as Dad drove up and got out of the car. "A good thing?" said Avery. "You're kidding!" "No, I'm not," said Mom. "Pain is a built-in alarm that tells us something isn't right. If your ankle didn't hurt right now, Wyatt, you'd get up and keep playing. You'd probably make your injury even worse because there would be nothing to tell you to stop." "Mom's right," Dad said as he helped Wyatt stand up. "An earache or toothache--or a sore ankle--are warnings that something is wrong. Sometimes pain can even save people from dying." "Next you'll be telling me I should thank God my ankle hurts," Wyatt said, leaning on Dad's arm. "Well, pain is a result of living in a broken, sinful world, but you can thank God for using a bad thing like pain for good," said Dad. "He can even use painful situations--like a hurt ankle, a hard test at school, or even losing someone we love--to help us grow in our relationship with Him. And don't forget that Jesus suffered pain on the cross when He died for our sins. When we suffer pain, it reminds us of His sacrifice and that He will get rid of sin and pain forever when He returns. Until then, we can be thankful He turns even painful things into blessings." Barbara J. Westberg How About You? Are you thankful for all God's done for you, even when you're in pain? It's hard to be thankful when you're hurting, but remember that God can use your pain for good. Jesus is with you when you're in pain--whether you're suffering because of a physical injury or a difficult situation. He can use the pain you experience to help you grow and deepen your relationship with Him--and one day He'll end pain forever! Today's Key Verse: Give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (NLT) (Ephesians 5:20) Today's Key Thought: God can use pain for good