God's Phone Number
(object lesson using a telephone book)
How many know what this is? Yes, it's a new telephone book! Do you have one in your home, or maybe more than one? Do you know how to use a telephone book? Yes, we look up me name of a friend, and we call them!
Do we need something else to call a friend? Yes, we need their telephone number! So we look up our friend's name in the book and it gives us the telephone number for that person.
Suppose I want to call Julie but I don't want to have to look up her number in the book. Maybe I think I don't have time to look it up. What can I do? I'll just have to keep dialing numbers till I guess her number! Is that a good idea? No, it will take me much longer to do it that way than if I just look up the number in the book.
God's Word, the Bible, is a lot like that. Sometimes we think, "Oh, I don't want to see what the Bible says about this. I want to do it the way I want to do it!" And it never works out as well as it would have if we had just gone to the Book, the Bible, to see what God has told us to do.
This telephone book sure does have lots of names in it, doesn't it? But did you know there is someone you can call whether you know their number or not; and no matter what time of day you call them, morning or noon or late at night, you'll never get a busy signal and you'll always find him at home.
Who do you suppose that is? That's right: God! (or Jesus) No matter where you are, no matter what time of day, no matter whether you are near a telephone or not, you can always stop and talk to God, and He will always be there to answer you.
And that's better than any information you'll ever get out of any telephone book!
Blooming Marigolds
I love gardens; don't you? All the flowers and trees and bushes. I love gardens because they are so beautiful, and they bring me so much joy. Sometime I even learn things in a garden.
I got some marigold seeds last summer but I waited a long time before I planted them. I should have planted them earlier in the season but I just put it off. (You never put off doing anything you should do, I'm sure!) And when I did plant those marigold seeds, I put them in the front yard where they didn't get much sun. So when they came up late in the summer, they grew very slowly since they didn't get much sun — and I also didn't water them as much as I should!
As I watched them, I decided to clear a space in the back yard and move some of them there. When I finally got them moved, they started growing really fast — but then the weather turned cool, the growing season ended, and they never had a chance to bloom with big, beautiful flowers.
You and I are a lot like flowers. God wants each of us to blossom, to be all we can be — but that means we need to be planted where we can receive the warmth of God's love and the nourishment of His Word.
I'm going to do better with my marigolds this year, and I hope we will all make sure we are planted in God's good garden, where He can help us bloom.
(Kathleen Peterson, Pastor, Palos United Methodist Church, Palos Heights, IL)

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