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Big Things, Scary Things!

No Peeking!Hey kids!

Just for a minute close your eyes and try to walk around your house. No Peeking!…

You probably did kinda ok didn’t you? That’s because you know your house and so you know where the couch or chair is in the living room or where your bed is in your bedroom so you can avoid it.  But imagine that you had to walk around in some place you’ve never been before with your eyes closed. You’d bump into everything because you didn’t know what was ahead of you. Now, that would be scary!

Life is kind of like that. It’s like we’re walking around blind, ’cause we can’t see what’s going to happen next and we’re going to bump into tons of things along the way; some good, some bad and some downright dangerous.

This morning as I was reading in my Bible I read Isaiah 42 where it talks about God coming out like a mighty warrior to rescue his faithful people. God said, “I will lead the blind on roads they have never known; I will guide them on paths they have never traveled. Their road is dark and rough, but I will give light to keep them from stumbling. This is my solemn promise.”–Isaiah 42:16

Do you ever feel like you’re on an unknown path and you can’t see where you’re going? Maybe your mom and dad are divorced or about to be and you’re not sure how you’ll make it. Perhaps you are struggling with a learning disability and it seems that you just can’t figure school out. Or possibly there’s a bully who’s decided that you are a good one to abuse. Or maybe there’s something else you’re dealing with. Whatever it is, Jesus says He can lead you in the dark and rough road. He may not make other people stop doing bad things (they have to choose that themselves) but He is able to lead you safely through whatever your blind place may be. He promised!

So talk to Him and trust him. If you want to talk to a human too, you can email me (get your parent’s permission first). I’d be glad to try to help.

Your Friend,

–Uncle Steve

(c) July 14, 2008 By Uncle Steve Severance

The Holy Spirit Vs Evil Spirits:A Halloween Story

I’ve been reading a really neat book about the adventures of a lay missionary who simply goes by the name Paul, although that’s not his real name. Since Halloween is coming up at the end of this month, a holiday where people celebrate ghosts, magic, witches and death, I thought I’d tell you one of the stories in this book.

Some Missionaries go to a village and stay there for many years preaching and healing and raising up a church. Others are itinerant missionaries, they go from town to town preaching for shorter periods of time, that’s the kind of missionary Paul was.

One day Missionary Paul went into a town he’d never been to before. It was a beautiful, busy seaside town; he saw a busy seaport where people from all over the world came to import their goods. He saw huge ships docked at the ports and heard snarly sea captions yelling orders in all sorts of languages to the poor slaves as they bent their backs carrying the heavy loads off the ships. He also noticed that a lot of the townspeople were big-time into witchcraft and sorcery. Witches, wizards and sorcerers scurried around the town with their charms and magic books to cast spells. People would pay them to either hurt their enemies or “help” themselves or their friends. A lot of the time they just did this to impress people or because they liked the powerful feeling it gave.

Missionary Paul wondered where he could start preaching is such a beautiful but wicked town. Finally he found a group of 12 guys who weren’t into all that witchcraft. Somewhere, probably from a Christian sailor who had come through town, they had found out about Jesus and although they didn’t know much about Christianity they were following God to the best of their ability. With all the evil spirits around in this town Missionary Paul asked them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit?”

Why, they’d never even heard of such a thing? They knew that the witches and sorcerers had evil spirits which gave them power but they didn’t know that God wants to give us His Holy Spirit, which is much more powerful than Satan’s spirit. They were excited to hear about this! He sat down with them and began to tell them all about Jesus. They listened to Missionary Paul’s every word with rapt attention. They were so excited about what they’d learned that they asked Missionary Paul to baptize them again, now that they knew the truth about how to follow Jesus and about the Holy Spirit that Jesus sent.

Missionary Paul took them to a shallow spot in the harbor, they were like tiny little toy men compared to the huge ships in the harbor, but that didn’t matter, God noticed them even if no one else did. As Missionary Paul lowered each one under the water and back up again their faces were filled with joy. Then the missionary put his hands on them and prayed that they would receive the Holy Spirit. God responded to that prayer in a BIG way. The Holy Spirit gave then two spiritual gifts, prophecy and the ability to speak in all sorts of languages. As soon as they came up out of the sea they began going from sailor to sailor, captain, to captain, slave to slave telling them the good news about Jesus in that person’s own language!

This certainly did get the people’s attention! The townspeople were eager to hear about this wonderful new religion that gave people the ability to talk in anyone’s native tongue. Missionary Paul found a lecture hall and began giving Bible studies the every day. The people flocked to hear him.

Now, you’ve probably heard about witches and wizards. You’ve probably heard of the book and movie series called Harry Potter. These kinds of books make witchcraft seem fun, exciting and harmless. In these books child wizards go on all sorts of exciting adventures using their special powers. But what they don’t tell you is that wizards are working for satan. And while satan can seem nice and fun in order to catch you, once he’s caught you he does a lot of hurtful things.

Since this town was filled with people who were into witchcraft, Satan was able to do a lot of really bad things. In fact he had gained so much control over many of the people that they became demon possessed. A demon controlled everything they did! If the demon said “go there” they did, if the demon said, “cut yourself” or “burn yourself” they did! Everyone was very afraid of demon possessed people.

Sometimes the demons would use their superhuman strength to hurt people. They may throw the person they possessed into a fire to burn them, just to hear them scream in pain, or they may use the possessed person to attack someone and beat them unmercifully, and since demons are stronger than humans the people had no way to escape.

Many of these demon possessed people were sorry that they had let the demons take control by playing with witchcraft. They didn’t like to be hurt or burned by the demons, they didn’t like to have to do everything the demons told them to, they didn’t like hurting other people, but they couldn’t do anything about it. They were helpless.

When Missionary Paul saw some of these people He said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you, evil spirits, to come out!” and the Holy Spirit, who is more powerful than satan’s spirit, drove the evil spirits out! Now they were free! Sick people also came to the missionary and Jesus healed them through Paul. In fact, so many people needed to be healed or set free that people would just take a handkerchief or another item of clothing that Missionary Paul had touched to the sick or demon possessed people and they would be healed!

The townspeople were amazed, they thought this Missionary and His God were really cool; but they weren’t willing to totally give up on their witchcraft. They would say they were following Jesus, in order to get the benefits but they were still trying to follow their old ways too. That’s called taking the name of the Lord in vain which is against third commandment (see Exodus 20:7)!

Well, one day, seven boys came upon a demon possessed man. Wanting to get in on the action one said, “Hey, let’s cast the demon out using Jesus’ name just like missionary Paul and those 12 Christians do!”

“Yeah! That’s a great idea, that’ll make us powerful!” they all chorused.

So in their most important sounding voice they said, “In the name of Jesus Christ, whom Paul preaches about, come out of that man!” But instead of leaving, the demon talked back to them!

“Jesus I know, and I know Paul, but who are you?” then he jumped on all seven of them with superhuman strength and beat them mercilessly. In trying to escape they ripped their clothes off and ran away, leaving their clothes behind.

When word of this got around town all the people were afraid. They realized that they needed to give proper respect to Jesus and not just use him for their own good. They realized that they couldn’t mix Christianity with witchcraft. That night some of the leaders in the town built a big huge bonfire and all the witches and wizards and sorcerers, as well as all the people who just like to “play around” with the devil, brought their magic books and burned them in the fire; to show that they weren’t going to have anything to do with the evil spirits anymore. They wanted Jesus and His Holy Spirit only!

This month, as most of the people around you celebrate Halloween. Please remember that, even though it may look fun and harmless, witchcraft and ghosts never are. You cannot mix God’s things and Satan’s. It’s not safe! And if you already have some Halloween things or any other thing that comes from satan, throw it away! Or ask your parents to help you burn them. Use this time of great evil to pledge total allegiance to Jesus and ask His Holy Spirit to come to you!

(This story is from the Bible book of Acts 19.)

New Uniform

A Make Believe Parable by Uncle Steve.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“Why don’t you get something decent to wear? Ha, ha” Hannah laughed as Alyssa shuffled down the hallway to her classroom.

“Where’d you get your clothes, the dumpster?” Christy sneered, all the kids laughed as if it were the funniest joke they’d ever heard.

Alyssa’s school was in a very high-class area and most of her classmates came from the richest families in town. But she wasn’t rich. In fact her family was so poor that they couldn’t even afford to buy her the required school uniform at the beginning of the year so they had asked around and found one from a girl who had been her size last year. It was faded and stained up and the edges were ragged but it was all she could get. Oh, how the kids teased poor Alyssa till she wanted to run away and hide all day!

It wasn’t just the kids who didn’t like Alyssa’s uniform. Her teachers and principal were mortified that in such a high-class school they had a girl who looked so poor and ragged—they thought it made the whole school look bad. No, the teachers didn’t make fun of her like the kids did but they did pressure Alyssa and her parents to get her a “decent” uniform that would represent the school properly. But there just was no way she or her family could afford such clothing.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

Then one day as the final bell rang and the kids were scampering out the door Mrs. K called, “Alyssa, will you stay behind please?”

When the classroom was empty Alyssa sat at her desk with her head down “I wonder what Mrs. K wants? I didn’t do anything bad, did I?” she wondered.

“Now Alyssa,” Mrs. K began, “You know that we have a rule about what clothes you must wear to school.”

“But, I have a uniform” Alyssa protested.

“I’m not done,” Mrs. K scolded, “The rules say that your uniform must be clean and in good condition. Yours is totally faded, stained, and ratty that’s not what I call ‘good condition’”.

Alyssa waited to make sure her teacher was done talking, “B-but my mom washed it last night. It’s clean; really it is! It just looks dirty because it’s old. We don’t have enough money to buy a new one!” she said, a tear sliding down her cheek.

“Well, as you know, next Monday the superintendent of schools and the school inspectors will be here to inspect our school. We don’t want you spoiling our school’s score. Can you imagine how embarrassing it will be for our school if the Superintendent sees you in those awful clothes? You must come up with a decent school uniform by Monday. Am I making myself clear, young lady?”

Alyssa nodded. Mrs. K had been clear but what could she do? Mrs. K gave her a note to take to her mom that said just about the same thing and dismissed her.

“Mommy, Mommy, I just have to have a better uniform!” Alyssa wailed when she got home. “The kids all tease me and now Mrs. K says I have to have one by Monday.” Mom read the letter and Alyssa told her all about her talk with her teacher.

All week their family saved every penny. Alyssa did chores for the neighbors to try to earn money but it was no use by Sunday they still only had $13.21 to spend on a new uniform which would cost nearly $50.

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“Do I have to wear that ugly old thing again?” Alyssa whined as she put on the hated uniform again on Monday morning. But there was no other way.

When she got to school Mrs. K was very upset and the kids turned their backs to her. Alyssa noticed that the clock said 10:05 when the superintendent and her inspectors came into her classroom. She wished she could be invisible. The desks were in strait rows, the things on the shelves were neatly stacked and the kids all looked perfect as they sat at their desks. Everything was in perfect order; everything, that is, except Alyssa’s uniform. The Superintendent and Mrs. K whispered to each other; Alyssa knew they were talking about her because every once-in-a-while they pointed at her. Then Mrs. K announced, “Alyssa, the superintendent would like to see you in the principals office right away.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller (cc)
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

The kids snickered behind their hands as she shuffled out of the classroom and toward the principal’s office. “What will she say; what will she do?” she wondered.

It seemed like an eternity before the superintendent came into the room. Alyssa was too ashamed to look at her. “Hi Alyssa, I’m Mrs. Daniels.” She began in a kind voice. “Mrs. K told me about your situation. I’m afraid that this uniform is not acceptable here.”

“I tried, I really did! But I just couldn’t get enough money for a new one. Please don’t be mad!” she wailed “an-and please don’t make the school lose points because of me.”

“I would have to mark off the school because of that uniform. That’s what the rules say. But I’ve come up with a better idea.” The kind lady said with a twinkle in her eye. Then reaching into a bag she pulled out a brand new uniform just Alyssa’s size! “Try this on.”

Photo by Belinda Hankins Miller
Photo by
Belinda Hankins Miller

“W-what? For me!?!” Alyssa screeched. “Oh thank you, thank you, thank you!” She ran to the bathroom to try it on. It fit perfectly! “It fits, it fits!” she cried as she hugged Mrs. Daniels so tight she could hardly breath.

“Then this uniform is yours on one condition.” Mrs. Daniels said with a smile.

“What’s that?” Alyssa asked her face falling.

“You have to give me your old one. Deal?”

“Deal!!!” Alyssa said enthusiastically as she handed the old dirty uniform to Mrs. Daniels.

“One more thing, Alyssa, tell your mom that I told the store that if you ever need any more school clothes to give them to you and I’ll pay for them. Now I think you should join you class again!”

Alyssa felt as if she was flying as she made her way back to class. Never again would she have to be the worst dressed girl in the school!

That’s like what Jesus will do for you. Heaven’s uniform is a robe of righteousness (righteousness means being perfect). But we have all sinned so our “uniforms are all dirty and old. No matter how hard you try you can’t clean up your own sin. The Bible says, “ All of us are dirty with sin.
All the right things we have done are like filthy pieces of cloth.” Isaiah 64:6 NCV

But Jesus is like the superintendent. When we confess that we cannot be good on our own He takes our old dirty uniform and gives us his own fresh, new, clean one. “I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness.” Isaiah 61:10 NLT


Dear Heavenly Father, I accept Jesus as my personal Savior. I confess that I have ugly sin in my life and can’t stop doing bad things; please forgive me and give your clean robe of righteousness. Please be in charge of all my hopes and dreams and future plans. I give my whole life to You. I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit. I ask that You make me want what you want. Thank you for giving me your perfectly clean uniform and eternal life right now. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.


Story Copyright (c) April 2008 by Steve Severance. Images are under the Creative Commons license(cc).

Sung Runs Away to Church

Sung Yeon Yang“Cli-click” the door quietly latched behind Sung Yeon Yang (Soong Yee-HWN Yang) as she quietly slipped out of her Taiwanese apartment building on the Eastern coast of China. No one knew where she was going, not A-pah (Taiwanese for Father), not  Mama, (Taiwanese for mother) not even her little sister. As she ran down the sidewalk toward the little Adventist church (Kàu-hoë), she hoped that her parents wouldn’t ask here where she had been because she was sure they wouldn’t want her to be going to church.

Sung’s  family didn’t know Jesus but when she first started  school (Hák-häu) her parents wanted her to be able to learn English so they sent her to an English language class after school. That’s where she first learned about Jesus. You see, the language school was run by Seventh-day Adventists! Even though it was hard, she loved learning English and she also loved her teacher. But this week she had heard her teacher talking about the church’s worship services.

“May I go to your Kàu-hoë (church) too?” Sung asked her teacher.

“Why, of course, you are very welcome to come!” Teacher replied. And that’s why Sung was running toward the little Adventist church on this Saturday morning.

As she slipped inside she was warmly welcomed and directed to a Sabbath School class for kids her own age. She loved the songs and Bible stories so much that she decided to come back! Week after week Sung slipped out to go to Sabbath School, while her parents thought she was taking part in a school activity.

“Sung,” Her teacher said one day, “you’re such a good singer, how would you like to join the children’s choir?”

“Really? I’d love to!!” Sung exclaimed bouncing up and down eagerly. She loved to sing! But now she would have to stay for the worship service some days because the children’s choir often sung for church.

One Sabbath when Sung was supposed to sing in the choir for church she invited her little sister to come with her. “But don’t tell  Mama, and don’t tell Father where we’re going!” Sung warned, she didn’t want her parents to find out and tell her she couldn’t go to Sabbath school anymore. Both girls slipped out of the house and ran to the church. Sung’s sister loved it as much as she did! But when they got home Mama asked, “Where have you girls been all morning?”

Sung fidgeted a little, she had a funny feeling inside.  In the past when mom had asked this question she had lied to keep out of trouble but now she just couldn’t do it anymore. “I-I have joined a children’s choir at the Adventist church, and they sang today for worship,” she confessed, it felt good to tell the truth but she was really worried that her parents would stop her from going back.

Mama seemed to understand and Sung thought everything would be OK. Then A-pah found out! “No, you may not go to any Christian church!” he told them. “Not even to sing in the choir.” So Sung and her sister had to stay home on Sabbaths. But whenever A-pah wasn’t around,  Mama let them go.  

Then one day A-pah found out. He was angry! “I told you girls not to go to that church and now I find out that you’ve been going anyway!!”

But Mama interceded “But A-pah , look at how kind and obedient the girls have become. They’re learning that at church. I think it’s good for them to go.” So A-pah reluctantly agreed to let them go.

One month, two, three…six months passed. Then one day Mama met one of the members of Sung’s church in town. She was very friendly and after visiting for a while the lady said, “Why don’t you and your husband come visit our church to see what your girls are enjoying. We’d love to have you!”

“You know,” she said to A-pah when she got home, “the girls have been going to that church for quite a while now, don’t you think it is time we went to their church to see just what our daughters are learning?” The girls jumped up and down for joy when they heard that both Mama and A-pah had decided to come with them to Sabbath School and Church.

But that Sabbath Mama and A-pah were very uncomfortable. “I don’t know what to do or when or do it; like everyone else does” whispered A-pah . This made them feel embarrassed, they didn’t like it. It was different than anything they had ever seen before. And even though the church members tried to help, they decided that they didn’t want to go back. “You girls go ahead to church, A-pah and I will stay home.” Mama said the next week. As the girls went to church that next week, they were a little sad because it was just the two of them again.

Then one day an Adventist lady moved into their apartment building. She was very nice and caring and soon they became friends.

Every morning the phone would ring. Mama would answer, ” Pêng-an (That’s how Taiwanese say “Hello”)?”

“Hi, this is your new neighbor, would you and your family like to come over to my house for worship and prayer?”

Her parents were pleased that someone cared enough to invite them over for prayer and so for another six months the phone continued to ring every morning and Sung’s family would go over to their neighbor’s house for prayer.

Soon Mama wanted to her own prayer time in her house and A-pah began to study the Bible with the pastor. A-pah learned what Sung had been learning about the God of love and was anxious to worship him too. Sung-Yeon-YangHe threw away his prayer beads and began praying from his heart.

Just 18 months after Sung first sneaked to church her whole family became Adventist Christians. A-pah has become a gentler, happier man. Mama enjoys worshiping with the family. And Sung and her sister love to sing praises to Jesus in the children’s choir. She is glad that she ran away to church. Aren’t you?


This story was adapted from the web site @ . In order to maintain the accuracy of the retelling, some portions are entirely or mostly taken from the original story.



What Bekey Didn’t Know

This story is based on Genesis 24 - Listen to Genesis 24 in Real Audio Listen to this chapter.

Bekey gave the man a drink then offered to water her camels too.“Mom, I’m ready to go refill the water jar. The sun’s getting lower and I don’t want it to get dark before I return.” Bekey called out. It had been a normal day; Rebekah had gone about her chores as usual totally unaware that God intended that her life would be completely changed by that evening.

It was customary that in the evening when it wasn’t quite so hot the young ladies of the town would go to the well to draw the water needed for the family. It was hard work drawing the water and carrying it in those heavy clay pots back home to the family but Rebekah didn’t mind it. It was just another way she could help out. She hefted the water jar onto her shoulder and headed out the door. On the way she met up with other girls in the neighborhood and they chatted as they walked to the well. As they drew near, they noticed some men with ten camels over near the well. “I wonder who they are and what they’re doing here,” said Bekey quietly, “and is that old man in front praying?”

“I don’t know,” replied her friend, “but I sure wouldn’t want to have to water all those camels. They look thirsty! Carrying water for my family is enough for me.”

Bekey didn’t think much more about the men as she went down to the spring and filled her jar. But as she came back up lugging the jar the old man ran to meet her. “May I have a drink of water?”

Camel“Certainly,” she smiled as she hurried to lower her jar from her shoulder and give the man a drink, “Your camels also look thirsty, I’ll water them too.” Bekey offered emptying the rest of her jar’s contents into the watering trough then running back to the spring to refill it. Camels are thirsty creatures so it took a long time for Bekey to get enough water for them. Back and forth, back and forth Bekey went filling her jar at the well and emptying it into the trough then filling the jar again.

Ever since she was a little girl, Bekey had enjoyed helping people. Her mom had told her that God had given her a servant’s heart! It was a gift she had treasured; and as she grew up, she cheerfully served her family and responsibly saw to her duties. Ever since she was a little girl, Bekey had enjoyed helping people.All the while God had been watching her. He noticed that she had developed a character of selflessness. She got joy out of service. The wonderful thing was that she was like this whether she thought it mattered or not.

But today God was not the only one watching her service. She didn’t notice, but as she went back and forth back and forth between the well and the camels’ trough this old man was watching her carefully. You see, he had just prayed a special prayer and now he was watching to see if Rebekah was the answer to that prayer.

By the time Bekey made her last trip to the well and back she was exhausted but happy to have served this gentleman. Much to her surprise, when she was all finished with her big job this kind old man took out some of the most beautiful and valuable golden jewelry she had ever seen and put it on her “Then he asked, ‘Whose daughter are you? Please tell me, is there room in your father’s house for us to spend the night?’

“She answered him, ‘I am the daughter of Bethuel, the son that Milcah bore to Nahor.’ And she added, ‘We have plenty of straw and fodder, as well as room for you to spend the night.’

“Then the man bowed down and worshiped the LORD, saying, ‘Praise be to the LORD, the God of my master Abraham, who has not abandoned his kindness and faithfulness to my master. As for me, the LORD has led me on the journey to the house of my master’s relatives.’”—Genesis 24:23-27.

Bekey ran back home to tell her family what had happened. She wondered what all this could mean. Her brother, Laban, was very interested when he saw the valuable jewelry. He had always been the money hungry one, so when he saw how rich this man was he ran to the well to invite the gentleman to stay with them.

The servants unloaded the camels and brought fresh straw and fodder while Bekey and her mom got a meal together. But when they were about to start eating the old man said, “‘I will not eat until I have told you what I have to say.’

“‘Then tell us,’ Laban said.

“So he said, ‘I am Abraham’s servant. The LORD has blessed my master abundantly, and he has become wealthy…. My master’s wife Sarah has borne him a son in her old age, and he has given him everything he owns. And my master made me swear an oath [promise], and said, “You must not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, in whose land I live, but go to my father’s family and to my own clan, and get a wife for my son.”—Genesis 24:33-38

“He promised that God’s Angel would come with me and give me success. So I set out immediately on my journey. This evening when I got here I came to the spring I wondered how I could possibly select find a young lady with the right character. So I got off my camel and prayed, ‘O LORD, God of my master Abraham, if you will, please grant success to the journey on which I have come. See, I am standing beside this spring; if a maiden comes out to draw water and I say to her, “Please let me drink a little water from your jar,” and if she says to me, “Drink, and I’ll draw water for your camels too,” let her be the one the LORD has chosen for my master’s son.’

“Before I finished praying in my heart, Rebekah came out, with her jar on her shoulder. She went down to the spring and drew water, and I said to her, ‘Please give me a drink.’

“She quickly lowered her jar from her shoulder and said, ‘Drink, and I’ll water your camels too.’ So I drank, and she watered the camels also.”—Genesis 24:42-46

When the visitor had finished telling his story everyone was speechless. The visitor asked Bekey’s dad, “So what do you say? May I take Bekey home with me to be my master’s son’s wife?”

“This is from the Lord. We don’t really have anything to say about it. It’s obvious that God has planned that Bekey and Isaac get married!” They responded, and Bekey readily agreed.

Your character is what you're like when you think no one is watching.I know this story may seem a little strange to you because people don’t get married like that anymore but did you notice that Rebekah was blessed because she had built a good character that loved to serve? Our character is what we’re like when we don’t think it matters. Rebekah didn’t know that her character was being watched; she just served because that’s how she was. But God used that character to bless her in ways far beyond her wildest imagination. She became the wife of the patriarch Isaac, the one God chose to make the earthly ancestor of Jesus!

What are you like when no one’s watching? Are you building a character that loves to serve and share? I hope so!

When you help Mom or Dad without them making you you are building good character!Originally posted and (c) 09-30-2007