New eBook: The Acts of the Apostles for Children

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Click here to download the free ebook for children.

A Spiritual Exercise: “A Friend who Sticks Closer than a Brother”

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“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother,” the Bible tells us. (Proverbs 18:24) That friend is Jesus, who also promises, “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20) and “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Think back to before your day even started. Jesus was with you as you slept, watching over you. Morning came, and just as sure as the sun rose, He was there. When you thought about the day ahead, He was there, just waiting for you to ask His help. On your way to school, He was right beside you. Every time you encountered a problem, He was waiting with the answer you needed, hoping you would ask Him for it. When you heard some good news, He was happy along with you. When the day took a difficult turn, He was there to comfort you. As you read this, He is beside you.

Tomorrow, as you go through your day, think of Jesus as your constant companion. As you become more aware of Him being right there with you, you will find comfort and companionship that fills those blank spots like no one or nothing else can.

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Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there Your hand shall lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,” even the night shall be light about me; indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You. —Psalm 139:7-12

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If you haven’t experienced Jesus’ loving presence, you can right now by accepting Him as your Savior and inviting Him into your life. Simply pray:

Dear Jesus, I want to know You and experience Your love. Please come into my heart, forgive my wrongs, give me eternal life, and lead me into a close personal relationship with You. Amen.


Text adapted from Activated magazine. Used by permission. Art © TFI.

The Parable of the Wheat and Weeds

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Jesus said, “God’s kingdom is like a man who planted good seed in his field. That night, while everyone was asleep, the man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat and then left.

Later, the wheat grew, and heads of grain grew on the plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’

“The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’

“The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?’

“He answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At the harvest time I will tell the workers this: First, gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’”

Then Jesus left the people and went into the house. His followers came to him and said, “Explain to us the meaning of the story about the weeds in the field.”

He answered, “The man who planted the good seed in the field is the Son of Man [Jesus]. The field is the world. The good seed are the people in God’s kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the Evil One. And the enemy who planted the bad seed is the devil. The harvest is the end of time. And the workers who gather are God’s angels.

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“The weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire. It will be the same at the end of time. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will remove from his Kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. Then the godly people will shine like the sun. They will be in the kingdom of their Father. You people who hear me, listen! (Matthew 13:24-30;36-41,43)

wheat and tares coloring page


Art by Didier Martin

Input → Output

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In computer science and mathematics, Garbage In, Garbage Out describes the concept that flawed or nonsense input data produces nonsense output or “garbage.” In other words, inaccurate or faulty information at the start will inevitably lead to inaccurate or faulty results.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said something remarkably similar: “A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.”1

This brief parable invites us to consider what our words and actions say about us and the Savior who lives within us. Do our lives express His care for others or our own self-centeredness? Do we communicate His generosity and justice, or do we default to the human impulse to build walls and exclude?

sunset-485016_960_720Like computer code and mathematical equations can be fixed by correcting the input data, Jesus reminds us that Christian living requires interior transformation, the kind that only He can bring about. “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”2

Jesus In, Jesus Out.


1. Matthew 7:17–18,20 NLT
2. John 15:4 NIV

Text courtesy of Activated magazine. Used by permission. Images in public domain.