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

Esma and Morley: An Esther Story

Esma and her cousin, Morley, recently signed up for a summer softball training program. They are super excited about what they’ll learn and the friendships they may make. When they arrive at the training field, they realize the leader is a coach from a rival team. Although he tells everyone during orientation that they will all be treated equally, Esma and Morley have their doubts.

During practice, the coach gives his team breaks while he forces the other teams to continue running laps and drills. When everyone else finally gets a break, they collectively voice their frustration about how the coach is treating them. Morley and a couple other players tell Esma she should talk to the coach because he works at her dad’s law firm. Maybe he will listen to her, they say, trying to convince her.

With a whisper, Esma says a prayer to Jesus for courage and wisdom. She remembers her youth group pastor telling her God will always give wisdom to those who ask. With a gulp, Esma begins walking slowly towards the coach. She then asks him if she could speak with him for a moment.

Esma nervously tells the coach how the other kids are feeling. She says all the kids came to learn, play, and have fun. She further states that only his team looks like they’re having any fun. The coach admits he wasn’t aware of these issues and apologizes to her, then to all of the players. Next, Xavior makes the decision to mix up all of the players into two teams. They end up playing the best game of softball anyone has ever played before and it turns out to be a summer none of the players want to forget.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. -‭‭James‬ ‭1‬:‭5‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: Seek God’s wisdom in all circumstances.
Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Pride before the Fall: A Proverbs 16:18 Story

Welcome to this week’s “Story Snack.” Our “Story Snacks” will be posted weekly on Saturdays, in time to read together as a family each Sunday. Be sure to subscribe below with your email so you don’t miss out on our other many offerings throughout the week. Our free “Weekly Memory Munchie” printables, coincide with the “Story Snack” and will be posted every Sunday. 

“I’m open, Lucas, pass the ball!” Justice cried out as they both ran toward their opponent’s goal. Lucas and Justice had played soccer together since the 5th grade. Although he was his best friend, Lucas had always been a ball hog and a hot head. Lucas ran the ball to the weakly guarded net and scored easily. He threw his arms into the air and ran around shouting, “I am the best player on this team! Why should I pass the ball?”

Their coach and parents stood on the sidelines shaking their heads in near unison. Only Lucas’ dad cheered him on, “you’re the best, Lucas!” he shouted as his wife turned to him with her jaw slowly dropping in disbelief. The father’s encouragement of such a lack of sportsmanship surprised her. Lucas’ eyes met his father’s, and Lucas beamed with satisfaction and validation.

The team’s coach blew his whistle and called the team in for a huddle. “Great job making that goal, Lucas, but let’s not forget that we’re a team. Teams work together for a common goal. That means passing the ball and running the plays we’ve worked so hard to learn together,” the coach said. There was genuine concern in his eyes—concern for Lucas’s character and concern for the feelings of the left out team members. He watched as Lucas’s smile shrunk and melted into an angry scowl. His face turned bright red with embarrassment. “I told you to pass,” Justice chimed in. With that, Lucas focused his anger in his best friend’s direction and stormed off from the huddle before the team could throw their hands in the middle and shout, “Go Tigers!”

The next weekend, the team gathered at their school’s soccer field for the first game of the district soccer tournament. The coach spotted Lucas and reminded him of what it means to be a team player. Lucas agreed to stick to the plays they practiced all week, but when the two teams took to the field, it was a different story. Right off the drop, Lucas snatched the ball and began running it to the goal. He ignored the first play and went down hard just before attempting to make the first goal of the game. He picked himself up with the echoes of laughter coming from the opposing team. “That’s what happens when you’re a team of one,” they said through their chuckles. Justice ran to his friend and gave him a hand up. “Pass the ball,” Justice reminded him. Lucas pushed his friend aside and ran back into the action on the field.

Lucas tried again to run the ball in the second half of the game, ignoring his coach and teammates’ cries. The game ended 0 – 3 and the Tigers were out of regionals before it really began. In the locker room, Lucas stood on a bench and asked for the attention of his fellow players. They were filled with disappointment; it was difficult to raise their heavy heads to meet Lucas’ eyes. “I blew it,” Lucas said with a shaky voice, “I blew the entire game and took us out of District. I don’t know how to say how sorry and embarrassed I am.”

“You can say you’re sorry by showing up to practice and running the plays. Actions speak louder than words, Lucas. You need to trust the abilities of the team and pass the ball,” Justice said. “We worked really hard to get here and your haughty attitude and pride cost us a chance at another trophy.”

“You’re right, Justice. And not only that, but I was not a good friend to you. I won’t let my pride get in the way of our team or our friendship again.”

Note to Nibble: Put away pride and be a good team player—both on and off the field.
Weekly Bible Verse: Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. -Proverbs‬ ‭16‬:‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬