The Brick Falcon: A Proverbs 25:28 Story

Caleb puts the last charcoal-gray lego on the wing of his Millennium Falcon. The spaceship he has been working on for over a week is bigger than the pillows on his bed. Caleb takes a step back to marvel at his accomplishment. “Woah,” he exclaimed. It is even bigger than he imagined it would be. Caleb peeks into the cockpit. All the tiny stickers he now imagines are real instruments with working lights as the Millennium Falcon prepares for flight. Chewbacca and Han Solo sit in their chairs with wild expressions on their faces as if they were already hitting light speed. “I better get to the bathroom with light speed. I’ve been holding it now for two hours while I worked on finishing this,” Caleb says to Han and Chewie.

Naomi, Caleb’s curious younger sister, hears him run down the hall from his room, past hers, and into the bathroom. Her doll’s head makes a thud as it hits the floor. Naomi doesn’t hear it because she’s halfway down the hall to Caleb’s room. The doll’s electronic cry alerts Caleb something is awry. He can’t go to the bathroom any faster though because he drank a giant glass of grape juice while working on the Falcon.

Caleb rushes out of the bathroom while the toilet still flushes. He glances in Naomi’s room as he sprints down the hall. She’s not in her room, he thinks. She must be in mine! “Nooooooo!!” Caleb screams down the last two feet of the hall, then makes an impressive 90 degree turn into his bedroom like a US Marine in the marching band.

The sight that unfolds in his room is even worse than could have imagined. Naomi is not just looking or poking at the Millennium Falcon, but it’s in full flight above her head. Her tiny, and no doubt, sticky little fingers are holding the bottom of the Falcon and she is making “vroom, vroom” noises with her flapping lips which offer up nearly as much spittle as they do noise. Caleb swears Chewie’s and Han’s faces look more frightened than his wide-eyed, jaw-dropped, expression does. “Naomi! Put that down now!” Caleb shouts.

Naomi jumps with fright and lets go of the ship. Gray legos obey the law of gravity. The bright red, fiery thrusters offer no help as the Falcon plummets like a brick. The crash is completely silent to Caleb. He feels like he is stuck in a nightmare where everything is in slow motion and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t make his feet move. Han Solo and Chewbacca now lay in a pile of rubble. If only he had a droid to help him with the repairs.

“Look what you did!” Caleb shouts at Naomi, “You ruined it! You ruin everything!”

Naomi’s lip quivers as her eyes well up with tears. “You scared me, Caleb! I wouldn’t have dropped it if you didn’t scare me!” Naomi shot back, running out of Caleb’s room with full-on alligator tears running down her cheeks. One even drops on Caleb’s bare foot. He stares at the splatter, then at the busted up Falcon, and back at the tear on his foot. He begins to feel bad about his reaction, but all his hard work is now in pieces on the carpet.

“What’s going on up here?!” Mom demands after hearing all the commotion. Her eyes move past Caleb to the pile of logos on the floor. “Oh no bud, what happened?” Mom asks a bit more gently.

“Naomi. She was in my room just after I finished and she dropped it on the floor. It’s ruined, Mom. I have to start over now.” Caleb says. He can no longer hold back the lump in his throat and breaks down crying in frustration and disbelief.

“Meet me downstairs, I’m going to talk to Naomi,” Mom says. Once downstairs, both kids sit on the couch and Mom sits on the ottoman directly in front of them. “I heard both sides of your stories and think I have a good understanding of what happened. It’s really unfortunate this happened to you, bud. I know you worked so hard, and for so long on that Millennium Falcon. It must have been scary to see Naomi holding it above her head when you returned to your room. It was scary for Naomi too, when you ran in shouting. Do you think you handled that well, you two?”

“It’s my fault, Caleb, I shouldn’t have played with your toy without asking you. I’m so sorry!” Naomi says. 

Caleb looks down at his foot before responding. He sees the outline of the tear Naomi had dropped on his foot when she ran out of his room scared and crying. Something inside tells him although his hard work is now for nothing, his sister is worth far more than a mound of plastic. “I don’t think I handled that well, actually. I’m sorry for scaring you, Naomi. If I didn’t scare you, you wouldn’t have dropped the Falcon. I should have had better control over myself,” Caleb says. “It makes me think of the verse I heard in youth group this Wednesday: ‘a man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls,’ Proverbs 25:28. Because of my lack of self control, now the Falcon lays broken.”

“I can help you fix it, Caleb,” Naomi offers. “I won’t touch anything unless you tell me to.” 

“I may have been lacking in self-control, but I’m never too proud to accept help,” Caleb says with a gentle elbow poke to Naomi’s side.

Weekly Bible Verse: Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control. -Proverbs‬ ‭25‬:‭28‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Note to Nibble: Exercising self-control can keep both you and others from harm. 

Spiritual Fitness Before Physical Fitness: A 1 Timothy 4:8 Story

“You’re going to make us late again,” Opal yells down the hall with one arm in her hoodie and the other holding the door jam. She feels like squeezing the white, wooden beam gives her more bravado, emphasizing her growing frustration with her slow-moving brother.

“I’m not going,” Henry calls back. 

Opal hears rustling and drawers opening and closing. She quickly moves down the hall to see what Henry is doing instead of getting ready for youth group. Henry used to love youth group. It was almost all he would talk about; he would count down the days to Wednesday like most people countdown to Friday. “What’s going on in here, Henry? Are you finally running away?” Opal asks jokingly.

“Ha, ha-not funny,” Henry snaps back. “I want to go to the gym to play basketball with my new friends.”

“Well, I’m going to tell Mom and see what she has to say about it,” Opal says.

“I’m old enough to make my own decisions about youth group, Opal,” Henry replies.

Opal races downstairs with Henry moving faster than she’s seen him move in months. “Mom, Henry isn’t going to youth group, he’s going to play basketball with his new friends at the Y,” Opal tattles.  

“What’s all this now,” Mom asks. “Is this true, Henry? You want to go to the Y tonight instead of youth group? This is very much not like you at all, what’s going on, bud?”

“I’ve been to youth group a million times, Mom. I want to play basketball and maybe lift weights with my new friends. If I want to play football next year, I need to get buff and in shape,” Henry tries to negotiate his position. Opal snorts, holding back laughter before a look from Mom snubs out her snarkiness so it doesn’t cause a fight between the two siblings.

“Oh, you want to get fit, do you?” Mom asks.

“Yeah, Mom! You get it!” Henry replies.

“So on a scale of 1-10, how fit do you think you are right now?” asks Mom.

“What, I don’t know – maybe a 6?” says Henry. “I’ve definitely got some room for improvement. But I’m not going to get closer to a 10 unless I work at it.”

“I get your point. Another question for you: on a scale of 1-10, how spiritually fit would you say you are?” asks Mom with a smirk. She can tell by the look on Henry’s face that this is the turning point of his argument.

“I see what your saying, Mom,” Henry admits.

“If we’re not spiritually fit, Henry, then we have nothing-literally. How do you think you get spiritually fit? Going to the gym? Because we do that 3-4 days per week for your homeschool P.E. Technically, if that were true, you’d be spiritually ripped by now!” Mom jokes.

“You get spiritually fit by reading the Bible and connecting with God,” Opal offers. “You can do it too, by having fellowship with other believers and in prayer. Doesn’t the Bible say that if two or more gather in His name, He is with them?” Opal asks.

“That’s Mathew 18:20,” Mom adds.

“You guys are right, the youth group is more important than the gym. I will call the guys and tell them I’ll meet up with them tomorrow.” Henry says.

“Good call, Henry – get spiritually fit, then get physically fit,” says Opal.

Weekly Bible Verse: For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. -‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭4‬:‭8‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: While physical fitness is healthy, spiritual fitness should take priority. 

Enduring, Persevering, and God’s Perfect Plan: A Romans 5:3-4 Story

Chase, Ry, Oaklyn, and Palmer sit on the curb across the street from what once was their family home. Wrapped in shiny silver blankets, they watch firemen soak smoldering beams that bore witness to every inch the girls grew. Beams which had cradled every memory of scraped knees, Barbie doll camping trips, bedroom ceiling constellation mapping, birthday parties, and wonderful family holidays. One brave fireman stomps his dirty boot on top of the handmade quilt the family got for Christmas from Grandma the year before she went to be with the Lord. Tears roll down Ry’s face as she thinks of her mother’s boney fingers hand-stitching each square with love. She thought that quilt would be around forever.

Truth is, they took most of their belongings in the house for granted; it’s not difficult to be complacent with possessions because of how easily obtainable everything is these days. There won’t be an Amazon truck dropping off a quilt that can ever replace the one they lost. Nothing will ever replace all the memories that went up in flames.

Their neighbor Mrs. Ramsy, whom they drove to church every Sunday, must have called the pastor. Chances are, she fired up the prayer chain, calling a good portion of the congregation to ask for prayer and support. Pastor David parks his car in front of them and runs out to give them a giant bear hug that somehow holds the four of them. They let go, crying uncontrollably in his arms. He takes them home, feeds them, lets them clean up and put on fresh clothes. They will now live in the basement apartment he AirBnBs. It is fully furnished and even has some food in the cupboards and fridge. He assures them the Lord is with them and that God promises to take care of His children.

When Chase and Ry wake up in the morning, the girls are already up. As they eat breakfast they talk about all their favorite toys and clothes now turned to ashes. “I know it’s just stuff and it’s not like we’ll take any of it to heaven with us, but it still makes me so sad thinking of never seeing my favorite teddy or Grandma’s quilt again,” Oaklyn says with tears welling up in her eyes.

With a loss for words, Chase and Ry walk into the kitchen and hug their kids. Trying to be strong, they fight back tears and tell the girls that everything will work out as God has planned it, even if they don’t understand it at this moment. “One day we’ll look back at this and it will all make sense,” dad assures them. 

“I hope so,” cries Palmer, “because none of this makes any sense to me. Why would God let this happen to us?”

Two years later – Chase wakes up to laughter and children playing outside his window. He slides on his flip-flops and walks out of the bedroom, into the small kitchen. “There’s coffee,” says Ry, knowing it was probably what he was staggering through the kitchen to get.

“God bless you, I was up way too late last night,” Chase admits. “The village huts don’t build themselves, you know.”

“I saw you guys finished the church too. It’s all coming together here!” Ry says excitedly as Oakley and Palmer’s soccer ball flies in through their front window, hitting the wall near Chase’s head. “Incoming!” Ry says with laughter. Something that would never fly in their old home. “I’m so glad they have so many friends here.”

“Yeah, there are no bullies to worry about like there were in the States either.” Chase admits. “And the girls have led almost half the village kids to Christ. They’re even starting their own youth group!” 

Ry’s eyes shift to their open bedroom door. A quilt with burnt edges lies on the foot of their bed. Through joyful tears, she thinks of her mother and how happy she is that they were able to save some of the quilt; how happy she is for the new life that God gave her – the one He had planned for them all along.

Weekly Bible Verses: Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. -Romans‬ ‭5‬:‭3‬-‭4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Note to Nibble: Stay strong in the Lord and don’t give up in times of suffering, for your character, hope, and faith are being refined. 

The Ultimate Need Meeter: A Philippians 4:19 Story

“Mom, my shorts from last summer don’t fit and I’m supposed to meet McKayla at the river. What am I going to do?” Rae cries from deep within her closet. From the kitchen, her mother hears her like she’s in the next room. Rae stomps down the hall with shorts in hand then flings them back and forth over her head like a white flag of surrender. “I give up, Mom. My old summer clothes don’t fit me anymore. I’m about to cut all my jeans into shorts. I can’t even meet McKayla at the river now.”

“Nice to see you too, Rae. My extra shift at the nursing home went pretty well until Mrs. Cramer threw up her breakfast all over my shoes. How was your night? Did you sleep ok?” Mom asks.

“I’m serious, Mom!” Rae snaps back.

“I am too, honey. I had to scrub banana bread pudding out of my shoes for a half an hour.  They’re so old and cracked that the vomit was stuck in the cracks. I had to find an old toothbrush that looked about as old as my shoes.” Mom retorts.  

“I’m sorry about your shoes, Mom,” Rae says.  “I just don’t have any clothes that fit for the summer and I’ve put applications in at every fast food place, juice stand, and coffee shop in a 20-mile radius.”

“I’m sure something will turn up for you, sweetheart. Have you prayed about it at all?” Mom asks.

“Prayed about shorts?!” Rae questions with eyes wider than a cartoon character getting bonked in the head by a clever rabbit or very fast road runner.

“Why not? You can come to God with all your troubles. He wants to provide for you, you know? Why don’t you go to your room and pray?” Mom suggests. “Then you can cut one pair of jeans into shorts for now.  How’s that sound?” Mom asks.

“Ok!  Thanks, Mom!” Rae says, as she runs back down the hall.  

Things have been extremely hard since Rae’s dad passed away two years ago. Her mom had to not only get a better job, but also had to take a second job at the nursing home just to pay the mortgage, bills, and buy groceries. She doesn’t have any extra money for clothes or shoes.  She decides it’s a good idea to go pray in her room too.

The next day, Rae and her mother pull up to the church and sit in the parking lot for a moment. Sunday was Dad’s favorite day of the week. They would go to church and then to lunch after – family time was always the best. Although they haven’t broken down crying in the parking lot at church for a few months – it is still hard for them to get out of the car to move through the day sometimes.  Mom grabs Rae’s hand. They take a deep breath in unison and together say, “Let’s go.”

A white mini-van pulls up next to the passenger side of their car and out pops Juliana, Rae’s mom’s best friend.  “Carmen, Rae, can you help me with something before you go in, please?” Julianne asks as she opens the van’s back end. Inside are four large boxes. Three of the boxes have “Rae” written on the side in black marker. One has Carmen’s name.

“What is all this?” Carmen asks in shock.

“Well darlin’, I was doing some spring cleaning and boxed up all the clothes that Samantha doesn’t wear anymore or has grown out of. Turns out it is a lot. I had to pull more boxes out of the garage. Then, I decided to go through my closet and box up a bunch of clothes that I don’t wear any longer either.  There’s a pair of comfy sneakers in there you could wear to work too, Carmen.”

“You’re an answer to a prayer, Jules!” Carmen says. “It’s like I told you, Rae, God provides.”

Weekly Bible Verse: And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. -Philippians‬ ‭4‬:‭19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Note to Nibble: God is a loving God who cares about you and is the ultimate need meeter. 

Nolan and Zeke: A Proverbs 4:23 Story

“Hey Nolan, listen to this,” his best friend, Zeke, says to him as he pushes an ear pod into his ear. “It’s the new Dustin Woodpond track. It just dropped last night. I’ve probably listened to it 50 times already!”

“Woah, it’s really loud,” Nolan complains, feeling like his head is now throbbing from his eardrums to his temples.

“That’s the best way to listen to it man, you gotta feel the music. Don’t you like it?” Zeke asks.

“The beat sounds pretty good, but I don’t know what he’s talking about and I think he just swore,” Nolan says.

“Who cares about that!?” Zeke replies, “Everyone is listening to it.”

“Oh really? I guess I can give it a listen, but can you turn it down a little?” Nolan asks.

The next day at lunch, Zeke is singing one of Dustin Woodpond’s new songs and looks at Nolan to finish the verse. Nolan gives him a confused look and everyone at the lunch table finishes the verse in unison and laughs at Nolan for not knowing it. Nolan tries to brush it off and digs into his lunch sack. A note from his mom drops out and Zeke quickly scoops it off the table.

“You’ve got to be kidding me. Is this a love note from your mom?!  I haven’t seen one of these since elementary school, and there’s a Bible verse on the back,” Zeke says, holding his stomach while laughing uncontrollably.  “Oh my gosh, did you have to ask Mommy to download the Dustin Woodpond album?  That’s why you didn’t know the words to the song I was singing! No way, your mom said ‘no’, didn’t she?” Zeke continues.

“You know what, Zeke, my mom actually did check out that album and I’m pretty disappointed that you listen to it, to be honest. There’s a parental warning on the cover and every song has bad language or is about inappropriate stuff. I don’t want to put that into my head and neither should you,” Nolan responds. With that, the table explodes with laughter. “Nolan cuts through their laughter saying, “You always used to go to church with me, Zeke. You even went to Bible camp with me for the last three years. Why are you acting like this, and why did you make fun of a Bible verse in my lunch sack?” Nolan asks.

“Because I grew up, Nolan. I even listen to big-boy music now,” Zeke says, looking around the table to see all the laughing faces in agreement with him.

“You may have grown up, Zeke, but you are far from mature or wise!” Nolan states firmly. The books you read, the music you listen to, and the movies you watch influence your life and can lead your heart away from Jesus. I think it goes without saying, but the people you choose to hang out with can corrupt you too. We’ve been best friends since the 2nd grade man, but it seems like we don’t have much in common anymore. I’ll be praying for you,” Nolan says, packing up his lunch from the table. As he walks away, no one is laughing.

Weekly Bible Verse: Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. -‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4‬:‭23‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: Wisely choose what you fill your heart and mind with, because what you watch, read, and listen to, can have an influence over your life. 

Peyton and Jessy: A Peter Denies Jesus Three Times Story

Jessy looks for Peyton at the bus stop on her first day of junior high. Peyton and Jessy have been friends since kindergarten, but Peyton spent most of the summer making new friends at soccer camp. Jessy boards the bus hoping to see her friend on the first day of school. Truth is, Jessy hasn’t heard much from Peyton since she returned from camp.

At school, Jessy closes her locker and turns to head to her 1st-period class. She sees her friend, Peyton, walking toward her with a large group of girls. Jessy waves and says, “Hey Peyton,” loudly. Jessy knows that Peyton can hear her, but she walks by as if she doesn’t even know her. A lump forms in Jessy’s throat as a rock sinks in her stomach. She fights back tears as she doesn’t want to be seen crying on her first day of school in the middle of the hallway.

At lunch, Jessy again sees Peyton with the same group of girls sitting at a large table in the middle of the cafeteria. She walks up to Peyton this time so that she is standing on her right side. She has to hear me now, she thinks. “Hey Peyton, can I sit with you?” Jessy asks. Peyton turns toward her, looks her up and down, then returns to talking to her new friends as if Jessy isn’t even standing there. This time the tears cannot be held back. Jessy slams her lunch tray down in front of Peyton and runs off crying. She can’t understand what happened to her friend and why she is acting like this.

When the last bell of the day rings, dismissing the kids from school, Jessy can’t wait to get home. She rushes to her locker, grabs her backpack, and moves quickly to the school bus pickup. When Jessy boards the bus, to her surprise, she sees Peyton sitting by herself toward the back of the bus. Jessy really wants to ask her old friend what is going on. She begins to make her way toward Peyton who then slides to the end of her seat so that Jessy can’t sit next to her. Peyton looks out the window as if Jessy doesn’t exist. Giving up, Jessy sits in her own seat staring out her own window in disbelief. I can’t believe Peyton cares more about being cool than she does about our friendship, she thinks.

After getting off the bus, Jessy rushes home. “Jessy!” she hears from behind her. Through misty eyes, she sees Peyton rushing toward her. Surprised, she says, “Peyton? You can see me? I thought I was a ghost or something.”

“I’m so sorry, Jessy. I don’t know what came over me. I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to be cool with these new friends I made at soccer camp this summer that I thought they wouldn’t like me if they knew we were friends. But I’m so sorry, Jessy, I don’t care what anyone else thinks. What’s really important is the friendship we have. And besides, if they get to know you, I know they’ll love you. If they don’t, their loss! I really do apologize. I haven’t been a very good friend lately. If you acted like I have, I would be just as hurt. Still friends forever?” “Forever!” Jessy replies.

Jessy and Peyton embrace and everything seems like it is back to normal, the way it should be. The next day at school, Peyton introduces Jessy to all of her new friends. Jessy sits with them at lunch every day going forward.

Weekly Bible Verse: Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John‬ ‭15‬:‭13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
Note to nibble: Be kind to one another and don’t get so wrapped up in yourself that you forget about others. 

Josie’s Dress: A Joseph and His Coat of Many Colors Story

On the drive home from church, Josie’s mom says she needs her to try on the new dress she made for her end-of-the-school-year dance. Her older sisters, the triplets, or “gruesome 3-some” as she sometimes calls them, grumble under their breath as if angry and jealous that Josie’s mom made her a beautiful dress of many colors for the dance.

“Girls, remember, I made you three dresses for your end-of-year seventh grade dance too,” mom reminds them. The three girls mumble their “oh yeahs” and “okays” as they stare at their shifting feet. Josie can tell they are still a little upset, but she focuses her energy on the excitement she feels inside instead of the negativity inside their family minivan.

The following weekend, Josie goes to the mall with her sisters to help them pick out their dresses for the dance. One by one, they try on each dress from the pile they manage to bring into the dressing room. Madison tells Josie to have some fun and try on the dresses with them. Sadie hands her a ravishing blue dress that Brooklyn says really brings out her eyes. Standing in front of the full-length mirror, the triplets tell Josie how stunning she looks.

“I think you should wear this dress to the dance,” says Sadie.

“Absolutely,” replies Madison, “let’s go pick out some shoes!”

“I’ll do your hair and makeup,” Brooklyn adds. “You’re going to win the best dress contest with this one for sure!”

“I just don’t know,” Josie responds. “Mom spent a lot of time making me a beautiful dress for the dance. I’m just here for you guys.”

“Trust us,” the triplets state in unison.

“Keep it at school and change once you get to the dance. Mom will never know.”

At bedtime, the triplets plot in their room how they are going to lure Josie to the bathroom and ruin her new blue dress. Not only will Mom not know she’s going to change dresses, but they will destroy her chance at winning the best dress contest. The “gruesome 3-some” giggle themselves to sleep at the thought of driving a wedge between Josie and their mom while making her look like a fool in front of the whole school.

The night of the dance, Josie changes out of the dress her mom made her and puts the hand-made dress in her locker. Wearing the blue dress her sisters talked her into wearing, she makes her way to sign up for the best dress contest. Sadie stops Josie in the hall and says Madison and Brooklyn need help with their dresses in the bathroom. The three sisters push her into an open stall, throw fruit punch on her dress, and rip the sleeves off of it. “Good luck at the contest,” they say, laughing as they exit the bathroom.

Crying in front of the mirror, Josie fixes her hair and wipes the streaked makeup from under her eyes and cheeks. Just then, her best friend Katie walks into the bathroom. Josie tells her what happened. Katie runs to Josie’s locker and grabs the colorful dress her mom made her. She returns it to the bathroom where Josie changes into what she thinks she should have worn in the first place. “I can’t believe I let them talk me into changing out of the dress my mom worked so hard to make and then they treated me like that,” Josie said through welled-up eyes.

“That’s gotta really hurt coming from your sisters, Josie. Just know, they are totally jealous of this gorgeous dress. It’s one of the prettiest I’ve ever seen, with such soft pastel colors. I can’t believe your mom made this,” Katie encourages. “Now let’s go sign you up for that dress contest. I guarantee you’re going to win! And let’s make sure we turn this night into one we won’t forget!”

“Thank you, Katie! I don’t know what I would have done tonight without your help.”

Weekly Bible Verse: Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. -1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV
Note to Nibble: The plans of the noble will always win out in the end.
Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Sammy and Dahlia: A Samson and Delilah Story

Sammy’s friend, Phillip, let Sammy in on something major that he’s going through-that he was just diagnosed with cancer and he may be missing a lot of school. Phillip makes Sammy promise that he will never tell anyone about his diagnosis. Sammy pinky swears with Phillip and adds, “If I tell anyone, I promise I will shave my head bald!” Phillip laughs and agrees. Sammy gives his friend a hug and tells him he will be praying for him every day.

That night at dinner, Sammy is feeling down by the news Phillip shared with him at school. His parents notice and ask him what’s wrong. Sammy tells his parents he needs to keep a promise to a friend and isn’t at liberty to say what it is.

Just the other day, Phillip’s parents asked the church to start a prayer chain for their son as he was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, so Sammy’s parents already know what is bothering him. They tell him it’s noble of him to keep such an important promise for a friend. Sammy’s sister, Dahlia, doesn’t like being the only person at the table who doesn’t know what’s going on. Dahlia begins asking over and over for Sammy to tell her the promise he made. Dahlia tells him that it will make him feel better to share the burden, but Sammy knows it’s important to keep his promises.

Dahlia can’t get this out of her mind. All weekend she continues to pester her older brother. Sammy tells his sister a few made-up stories, yet, she never believes him. By Sunday morning, Sammy feels like he can’t take it any longer. Getting ready for church, Dahlia enters his room asking again what he is hiding from her. Before realizing what he’s saying, Sammy blurts out, “Phillip has cancer alright?!” Dahlia’s mouth drops open in surprise and shock. “You definitely shouldn’t have told me that, Sammy!” Dahlia says. Sammy slams his bedroom door in her face, in anger. He feels guilty and ashamed of himself for letting his sister get under his skin and telling her Phillip’s secret. Through tears, Sammy walks to the bathroom and closes the door. They leave for the service shortly afterwards.

Walking into church, Phillip notices his friend Sammy walking through the front door looking much different than normal. Sammy’s wearing his typical Sunday button-up and slacks, but his head is completely shaved. When their eyes meet, Sammy tears up again. In the middle of the lobby, Sammy tells Phillip what happened over the weekend with his sister. Phillip turns and walks away without a word. The boys walk in to find their parents, both boys’ heads hanging low. During the service, the pastor speaks on forgiveness. Sammy prays to himself that Phillip will forgive him for breaking his trust. After the service, Phillip finds Sammy. Phillip lets Sammy know how hurt he is by what Sammy did. He decides to forgive Sammy and rubs his bald head with a laugh. Sammy notices that Philip has already begun to lose some of his hair and says, “remember Phillip, it’s not your hair that gives you strength, it’s God. I know I made that deal with ya’, and I wanna show my support too!”

Bible Verse: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. -‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭13‬  NIV
Note to Nibble: God’s forgiveness is bigger than your mistakes. Choose forgiveness.
Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Dante and the Zoo: A Daniel and the Lion’s Den Story

Mr. Ezra’s 6th-grade class is on a field trip to the local zoo. Dante, Colton, and Mateo wander off from the class, toward the African exhibit. “I want to check out the lions,” Colton exclaims, and the boys run to the habitat. Four mighty lions pace their large enclosure before lying in the sun with a collective stretch and yawn. Dante quickly pulls his phone from his back pocket, “I’m going to get a selfie,” he says with one hand on the rail as if he’s getting ready to jump over it. “I dare you,” says Colton. “Don’t even think about it, Dante. That would be your biggest and last mistake!” Mateo warns him before his eyes start darting around the zoo searching for an adult.

Dante taunts his classmates by leaping in the air with one hand still on the rail. He takes a final leap when Colton shoves him hard, sending him flying over the bar and landing about thirty feet from the now-sleeping lions. Fear catches Dante’s scream in his throat, not wanting to wake the lions. Instead, he finds himself curled in a ball crying softly and praying hard. Mateo quickly runs to get help as Colton stands idle with his eyes wide and his mouth gaping open.

A zookeeper appears almost from nowhere with a bucket of raw meat. He opens the feeding doors and the lions quickly get up, lick their lips, and make their way towards the bloody meat. Once inside the feeding rooms, the zookeeper closes the doors to the habitat, securing Dante at last. The zookeeper lets Dante out as his teacher and Mateo arrive at the scene. “Thank God you’re ok,” Mateo cries, “I prayed for your safety the entire time”. “You and me both,” Dante adds. “For some reason, I was calmer than I thought I would be. But still not calm enough to get that selfie.”

Weekly Bible Verse: I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy. Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live. -Psalm 116:1-2 NIV
Note to Nibble: Never stop praying, for God hears our prayers. 
Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Blaine and Sabel: A Cain and Abel Story

One day at school, brother and sister, Blaine and Sabel, were in their home economics class. Their teacher, Mrs. Fryberry, announced they would have a baking contest and the winner would receive a $50 gift card to Lobby Hobby.

Sabel was super excited about the baking contest because she was a huge fan of the Kids Baking Tournament on the food channel. She always dreamed of competing on the show. Sabel asked her mom for some money and went to Whole Foods to buy the freshest ingredients for her cake.

Blaine didn’t really think too much about the contest and decided to go play video games at his friend’s house after school. On the way home, he stopped at the discount grocery store to pick up a pre-made pie. Blaine found a cherry pie that was marked down to $5. It didn’t really look like something he would choose to eat, but it would be good enough for the baking contest at school.

The next day at school, Mrs. Fryberry was judging the kids’ desserts. Blaine noticed a discount sticker still stuck to the side of his pie, but it was too late to remove it. His teacher was standing in front of his pie with a clipboard and a frown. His heart sank as he gulped hard. Mrs. Fryberry announced that Blaine was disqualified for entering a pre-made pie. His face turned redder than that old cherry pie he brought to the contest.

Sabel’s cake, on the other hand, took first place and she received $50 for Lobby Hobby. She was so excited, but also felt a huge sense of accomplishment because of all the hard work she put into making her cake. On the way home, Sabel told Blaine all the fun things she planned on buying with her gift card. Blaine boiled inside with envy and rage.

After dinner, Blaine saw the gift card on the mantle of the fireplace. He picked it up and stared at it with the flickering flames dancing in his eyes. Blaine tossed the gift card into the fire. He turned around to find his father watching him in shame and disbelief. Blaine apologized, and his dad called a family meeting to discuss what happened. Blaine and Sabel’s parents decide that Blaine needs to work off the $50 by doing both his and Sabel’s chores for a month.

A month passes since the incident and Blaine still feels bad for his behavior. Every time he sees his sister, shame wells up inside. That night at dinner, Blaine tells Sabel again how sorry he is and offers to do her chores for her for another month. Instead, Sabel forgives him and asks if he would like to go with her to Lobby Hobby.

Weekly Bible Verse: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 
-1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭4‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: Instead of being angry and envious of what others achieve, put your energy into walking in integrity.