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The Adventure Bible, NIV: Book of Devotions365 Days of Adventure
By Robin Schmitt
ZondervanCopyright © 2008 Zondervan
All right reserved.
Chapter OneJanuary 1 Swimming with the Polar Bears
The foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom. 1 Corinthians 1:25
It was New Year's Day, snow was falling, and Aaron and his sister were standing on the beach in their swimsuits. Many other people were doing the same. It was time for the Polar Bear Swim!
"I c-can't believe I'm d-doing this," said Aaron, his teeth chattering.
Shivering, Christina said, "D-don't wimp out n-now."
As a crowd of onlookers cheered, everyone ran splashing into the ocean. Aaron and Christina dove under the icy waves. They came up gasping and whooping, then raced back to shore to wrap themselves in towels.
A kid watching them shook his head . "You guys are crazy ."
Laughing, Aaron replied, "W-we know!"
* * *
Naaman thought it was foolish to dunk himself in the Jordan River. But when he obeyed God and did it, he was healed of leprosy. (See 2 Kings 5:1-14.) Will you trust and obey God when he asks you to do something "foolish"? What if he wants you to tell the cashier she gave you too much change? Or to forgive someone who isn't sorry? Acts like these may not seem wise, but God knows they make you a better person.
People in Bible Times
One of Naaman's slaves, a young girl from Israel, believed that the prophet Elisha could heal Naaman. She may have thought it was foolish to try to give her master advice. But she trusted in God and did it.
Knocked off Your Feet
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith. 1 Corinthians 16:13
Link up, everybody," Lilly said. "We'll go faster!" Sitting at the top of the hill, she and four of her classmates grabbed each other's snow tubes. Another classmate, Denny, gave them a push, then jumped on his tube and held on to them. They started down the icy slope, laughing and yelling as they picked up speed. Lilly's school was having its winter party at a ski resort with six tubing lanes. She and her friends were careening down the steepest, bumpiest one.
"Woooeee!" shouted Katrina as they scored some air time. The group plummeted to the bottom of the hill and slid to a stop.
"Whoa, that was fast," said Denny. Grabbing his tube, he headed for the rope tow.
"Watch out!" Lilly cried . A rider in the next lane slammed into Denny's legs, flipping him over. "You gotta stay alert," Lilly said, helping him up.
Rubbing his head, Denny said, "Yeah. Guess I learned that lesson."
* * *
What knocks your faith out from under you when your guard is down? It could be something someone says on the radio. Or a comment someone writes in a magazine. Or maybe a remark from a friend who doesn't believe in God . Keep your guard up by remembering what the Bible says. Keep believing the truth, so doubt can't take you down.
Words to Treasure
It is by faith you stand firm. 2 Corinthians 1:24
[Jesus said,] "I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." John 12:32
Sitting at the desk in his bedroom, Dylan wound copper wire around a large nail. "What are you doing, Son?" his father asked, walking into the room.
Dylan looked up. "Making an electromagnet. I saw the instructions for it in a book." As his dad watched, Dylan taped one end of the wire to the positive side of a D-cell battery. Then he taped the other end to the negative side. "Okay, I'm ready to test it," he said.
Scattering small nails on his desk, Dylan held the point of the large nail over them. They leaped up and stuck to it.
* * *
Some Christians are afraid to tell people about the gospel. They think others won't like hearing about how Jesus was nailed to a cross on the ground and then was lifted up to die. But when people understand that he died to save them, they see the cross differently. The love Jesus showed the world by dying on the cross draws people to him like a magnet. Don't be afraid to share the gospel with others! You'll help them realize how much Jesus loves them.
Life in Bible Times
To the people of Jesus' time, a cross was a symbol of death. But Jesus cared about sinners enough to die on a cross to save them. So the cross has become a symbol of love. (See John 3:16; 15:13.)
[Love] is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5
As Rob walked along the road, he saw plumes of steam in the distance . They were rising from the Hawaiian coast. Suddenly Rob stopped. The road ended right in front of them! "This is where lava flowed over the street in 1990," Rob's dad said. "From this point we'll be walking on hardened lava." Rob and his family were hiking near Mount Kilauea, the world's most active volcano.
They started making their way over the smooth, black rock. "I can see hot lava!" said Rob's sister, Jamie, as they approached the shoreline. Rob could see it too. The molten rock was flowing into the sea, creating massive steam clouds. "What makes the lava come out?" Jamie asked.
Her mom replied, "Well, magma pushes up underground, building lots of pressure. Then the volcano erupts."
Grinning, Rob said, "Kinda like Jamie when she gets mad!"
* * *
Selfishness and bitterness will bubble inside you like red-hot magma, causing anger to erupt. Don't let either one into your heart. Think of others, and listen to people when you have disagreements with them. And forgive those who hurt you. Ask God to fill your heart with love, so that will flow out of you instead.
Words to Treasure
Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. James 1:19
January 5 Taking a Tumble
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:18
Amber watched her brother ride his snowboard down the half-pipe. Holding her own board, she was taking a break from the bunny hill. She was just a beginner, but Bradley considered himself a master. He zipped up and down the sides of the half-pipe, catching air at the top. She could tell he was showing off.
Then he raced toward a jump at the bottom of the hill, yelling, "Watch this!" She rolled her eyes as he hit the jump. But it seemed that Bradley was more focused on impressing her than on hitting the jump properly. He wiped out, tumbling head over heels several times.
While he brushed himself off, she applauded, laughing. "I liked that move!"
* * *
There's a difference between self-respect and pride. Pride will make you tumble. It caused Satan, who was once a beautiful angel, to take a terrible fall. He wanted to be God, so God threw him down from heaven. (See Isaiah 14:12-15 and Luke 10:18 .) Don't let pride be your downfall. Choose self-respect, which goes hand in hand with humility.
Did You Know
Self-respect is loving yourself in a good, healthy way. It's giving God the credit for your abilities. Pride is thinking you're better than you really are. It's taking all the credit for God's work in you. (See Romans 12:3.)
[Jesus told his disciples,] "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant." Matthew 20:25-26
The indoor arena was filled with dirt for the monster truck rally. One of the big trucks spun in circles, kicking up clouds of dust. Skidding to a stop, it stood facing a line of automobiles parked side by side. As the driver revved its engine, Daisy and her brother Billy hollered, "Crush 'em! Smash 'em up!"
Spinning its huge tires, the truck lunged forward. The front wheels flew up in the air as it hit the side of the first car. Then the truck came crashing down on top of the automobiles. Bouncing and swaying, it crawled across the cars, grinding them up. "Monster trucks rule!" shouted Billy, pumping his fist.
* * *
Just because you're bigger than some other kids, don't roll all over them like a monster truck. In other words, don't bully people to get your way. Be gentle and considerate with younger siblings and other children who are smaller than you. Use your greater size and strength to serve others, not smash them. Follow Jesus' example. Being God, Jesus was bigger and more powerful than anyone. But instead of crushing people, he helped them.
Words to Treasure
Even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve. Mark 10:45
The Domino Effect
Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20
Chaz and his sister were building a huge domino display in their basement. At least they started with dominoes. Then they used their little brother's building blocks. Now they were using anything they could find.
"Wait'll Mom and Dad see this," Chaz said as he set up some books.
Lila nodded. "Yeah. They're gonna flip out!"
Chaz reached for another book.
"I'll bet they-oh no!" His elbow had knocked over the last book, and the others had started tumbling. Before he could grab them, they'd all fallen over, knocking down the DVD boxes. Next the CD cases began toppling. Quickly Lila put her finger on one that was still standing. Holding it upright, she stopped the damage from spreading any farther.
* * *
Gossip can travel quickly around your school, church, or neighborhood. When it does, it causes lots of damage. People argue, feelings get hurt, and relationships get broken. Don't be like other kids who fall for the temptation to pass along rumors. When gossip hits you, ask the Holy Spirit to help you stand tall and keep it to yourself. That'll stop the harmful domino effect that gossip creates!
Make a domino display. Before you push over the first one, put your finger on the tenth. See how easy it is to stop the domino effect? Now have fun and knock down your entire display!
A fool gives full vent to his anger, but a wise man keeps himself under control. Proverbs 29:11
Denise and her mom got out of the car near the beach. But first they put on hats and mittens. "Wait'll you see this, Denise," her mom said. "I love coming to Lake Michigan in the wintertime. It looks so different than in the summer!" They followed a path through snow-covered trees.
When they reached the beach, Denise saw an icy landscape. "Look, Mom. The waves are frozen!" All along the shore were large gray and white formations that looked like waves that had suddenly turned solid. They strolled along the shoreline, admiring the formations. "Did these waves just freeze all at once?" Denise asked.
"No," her mom said. "They built up over time. The shallow water freezes first. Then as waves splash on the ice, the formations get bigger and bigger. Some get huge."
"I know," Denise said, pointing. "That one looks like an iceberg!"
* * *
If you let anger build up inside you, it'll just grow bigger and bigger. Find ways to melt away your anger when it starts freezing over. Praying will help. So will talking with the person you're angry at. Ask your parents for ideas about good ways to express your anger. These are the best ways to get rid of the ice without losing your cool.
Words to Treasure
In your anger do not sin. Psalm 4:4
The Real Thing
Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. Ephesians 6:13
Josh loved pretending he was someone else-a cowboy, a fireman, an astronaut. This made him a good actor, and he'd been in many school plays and church skits. Tonight was special, though. The community theater was doing Camelot, a musical about King Arthur. And he was going to be in it!
Wearing his costume, Josh hurried to the prop table. For weeks he'd been practicing with a toy bow, but this was the dress rehearsal. The prop man handed him a long wooden bow, saying, "Remember, this is real."
Josh examined the weapon. It felt heavy. Slinging the quiver of arrows over his shoulder, he stood before a mirror. Now he really felt like the character he was playing, Tom, a boy who wanted to be a knight.
* * *
It's fine to play with plastic weapons when you're learning about the armor of God. But remember: the weapons God gives you are real. Salvation really is a helmet. Faith really is a shield. And God's word really is a powerful sword you can use against the Devil, just as Jesus did. (See Matthew 4:1-11.)
Did You Know
God gives real, strong armor to believers. The apostle Paul compared it to a soldier's armor. For instance, righteousness is a mighty breastplate that protects your heart. (See Ephesians 6:10-17.)
Time for a Change
"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you," [says the Lord]. Ezekiel 36:26
This car weighs three thousand pounds," said Lisa's dad. "Are you ready to pick it up?"
Nodding, Lisa replied, "I'm ready."
Her father stepped aside. "Okay. Pull the lever!" Lisa pulled it down. She watched as the hydraulic lift raised the vehicle.
"That's good!" her father said, and she released the lever. She hurried over to him, curious to see what the bottom of a car looked like. It was Take Your Child to Work Day, and Lisa was spending the day with her dad, an automobile mechanic. He put a pan on the floor beneath the car. Then he set up a stepladder, handed Lisa a wrench, and helped her remove a nut under the car's engine. "Watch out, because oil will come out," he warned. Sure enough, when the nut popped off, black oil poured out. "Now, as soon as all that dirty old oil drains out, we'll replace the nut. Then I'll let you pump in some fresh new oil. That'll make this car a whole lot happier!"
When you've sinned, you don't have to clean yourself up inside before you draw near to God. Just come as you are. He'll take away the mess you've been hiding and pour brand-new life into you.
Words to Treasure
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Shaping Your Character
O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter. Isaiah 64:8
At his mom's pottery studio, Alec was helping teach kids how to use a potter's wheel. "This isn't coming out right!" said a girl named Rhonda. She was trying to mold the clay as it spun on the wheel in front of her.
"What's wrong?" Alec asked.
She pointed at her bowl. "Look at how crooked the top is. You can't eat cereal out of a bowl like that!"
Alec examined her work. "I see what you mean. Don't get frustrated. As long as you keep the clay wet, you can keep working on it until it looks good to you." He showed her how to use her fingers, then watched her reshape the bowl. "That's better," he said. "I bet it'll hold your Froot Loops now!"
As God forms you into the person he wants you to be, don't worry. There's no permanent flaw in you that will ruin your usefulness to him. Just stay soft and pliable in God's hands. He'll keep reshaping your character until it's pleasing to him. God can and will make you into someone he can use.
Life in Bible Times
When a potter in ancient days made a bowl, he had a certain shape in mind. He kept forming the clay until it was just right. As long as the clay didn't harden, he could fix any problems in it. (See Jeremiah 18:1-12.)
One of the Good Guys
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6
Josh watched the action onstage at the community theater, his heart pounding. It was opening night for Camelot, and he was about to make his entrance. He was playing Tom, a boy who wanted to be one of King Arthur's knights. Josh could relate. It wasn't hard for him to pretend to be Tom, because Josh had always been inspired by heroes in stories. That's why he loved acting. He could make believe he was a hero.
Watching the man playing King Arthur, Josh waited for his cue. He loved this part of the play. In it, the king granted Tom his wish. The king had the boy kneel, tapped him with his sword, and made him a knight. Josh knew his own dreams would come true, because he'd decided to do whatever it took to be one of the good guys.
* * *
Do you root for the good guys in stories and in real life? Do you long to be one? This is part of what Jesus meant when he talked about being hungry for righteousness. If you're hungry like that, make up your mind to do whatever you need to do to be a good person. Ask God to show you how. He'll teach you what to do and help you become a true hero.
Words to Treasure
[The Lord] loves those who pursue righteousness. Proverbs 15:9
The Best Name of All
[Jesus told his disciples,] "When you pray, say: "'Father ...'" Luke 11:2
Kora was excited, because it was Bring a Parent to School Day. In her classroom, kids were introducing their moms or dads and talking about their jobs. Finally it was her turn. Smiling, she led her dad up front. "This is my father, and he's a judge," she said. "He works in a courtroom. When people have an argument, he decides who's right and who's wrong."
Raising his hand, Victor asked her dad, "Is it fun to bang your gavel?"
Grinning, he nodded. "Yes, it is!"
Tessa waved her hand. "Do people always call you Your Honor?"
Kora's father replied, "When I'm at work, everyone calls me that. When I'm playing golf with my friends, they call me by my real name, Harold." He put his arm around Kora. "But no matter where I am, this girl calls me by my favorite name-Daddy!"
Excerpted from The Adventure Bible, NIV: Book of Devotions by Robin Schmitt Copyright © 2008 by Zondervan. Excerpted by permission.
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