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. 

Dig Deep, Discern, and DO

Today’s “Bite-sized Bible Bit” is about the importance of living out the Lord’s directions. We hope you listen and find some encouragement for the week!

Dig Deep, Discern, and DO

How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. -Psalm 119:9 NIV

There’s listening and there’s doing. So, dig deep into the Word, keep your mind and heart open to Truth, discern it, and then DO—LIVE what the Lord says. That’s key.

…”Because blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.” -Luke 11:28 NIV

*Need a pop of prayer? Head on over to our Prayer Pop page and leave a comment in the section below. We would love to lift you up!

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.

The Golden Rule: A Luke 6:31 Story

Oakley and Piper are homeschooled sisters who live on their family farm. The duties involved with living on a farm can almost be a full-time job at times. With long days of focusing on their studies, their added chores are often tiring.

One morning, Oakley is feeding the horses when she hears the chickens clucking behind her humming, like trying to bring a beat to her song. Her sister, Piper, is not a morning person. Getting her to feed the chickens in the morning is a chore in and of itself. Oakley decides to gather the eggs and feed the chickens to help her sister out. Won’t she be surprised when she smells the breakfast eggs cooking while she still fights to get out of bed, Oakley thinks.

As expected, Piper comes downstairs to the smell of eggs with a look of confusion on her face. “I fed your chickens too,” Oakley says, while sliding sunnyside eggs onto a plate with buttered toast.  

“What’s going on, it’s not even my birthday,” Piper exclaims.

“I was feeding the horses and just thought I would help you out this morning,” Oakley says.

“Thank you very much, Oakley – that was super sweet of you!” 

“Well, God says to treat others the way you want to be treated,” Oakley states, remembering their Sunday school lesson from last weekend. They both get on with their day, and begin working on different subjects.

A few days later, Piper is the first to finish school because Oakley is working through a very difficult geometry lesson. “Great, you’re already done? I’m going to be at this lesson for another hour,” Oakley says to Piper as Piper pushes on her cowgirl boots.

“That’s too bad, I’ll be done with my chores by then. I guess I’ll see if Maizy next door wants to go for a trail ride since you won’t be done anytime soon,” Piper says.

“Or you could help me out with my chores so we can be done at the same time and all go for a trail ride together?” Oakley suggests.

“I’m not mucking out your half of the stalls,” retorts Piper.

“How about if you muck the stalls, I’ll dump the wheel barrel?” offers Oakley.

“How about the last one to finish mucking the stalls dumps the wheel barrel? Oh wait, guess that’s you, bye!” calls Piper as she slams the door behind her.

After school, Oakley walks out to the barn to see a half-full wheel barrel of horse manure, her horses unfed, stalls not cleaned, and Piper’s horse gone. Saddened, Oakley begins mucking the stalls and feeding the horses.  After dumping the wheel barrel, she tacks up her horse and makes her way to the trail only to see Mazie and Piper already returning from their ride.

“What took you so long?” called out Mazie.

“I was doing my geometry lesson and it was very difficult today. I asked Piper to help with my chores so I could ride with you two, but she didn’t feel like helping me, I guess,” Oakley replies disappointedly.

“Next time just text me, I can help you with geometry or your chores, Oakley. Don’t forget that math is my best subject and my mom says that service is my second best,” Mazie says with a chuckle.

“That’s really sweet of you, Mazie.  I really appreciate that!”

“I’m sorry Oakley, I should have helped with your chores today,” said Piper regrettably.  “You did my chores the other morning because you knew I was having a hard time getting out of bed, but I didn’t help you when you needed my help. How about I do your afternoon chores tomorrow so we can all go for a trail ride together?”

“I would love that,” Oakley and Mazie said in unison. The three girls laughed as they brushed their horses.

Weekly Bible Verse: Do to others as you would have them do to you. -‭‭Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭31‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: With kindness and a heart of service for God, help those in need. 

Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Davey and Galvin: A David and Goliath Story

Galvin is the star football player and the biggest bully in school. Davey is one of the smallest kids in the 8th grade and the team’s kicker. One day at practice, Galvin trips over Davey’s football helmet and the entire team laughs at Galvin. Galvin gets really angry and tells Davey that after practice, he’s going to hammer him. Davey’s smile quickly fades and is replaced with absolute fear. His face turns white as the blood in his head drops to his chest. His head spins and Davey feels like he might puke. The team continues to laugh, this time at Davey. Davey knows he’s no match for the biggest player on the team that towers over everyone. His only hope is prayer.

After practice, Davey runs to his locker, grabs his cell phone, and calls his older brother, Sal, for advice. Sal tells Davey that middle school fights can be brutal. He tells his little brother to kick Galvin in the knee and run for his life. Davey feels overwhelmed and even more afraid than when he first called Sal. He quickly hangs up the phone and prays about what to do. He remembers from youth group that the right way to handle things is to kill people with kindness. Davey feels like kindness might not work on Galvin though.

Davey leaves the locker room and heads toward the bike racks to grab his mountain bike and go home. Maybe Galvin won’t see him or will have forgotten all about the incident on the football field, Davey thinks.  As Davey begins to ride away from the school, he hears his name cut through the air.  Davey turns around to see Galvin punching the palm of his hand with his fist. A small voice in Davey’s head says, “stop and trust me.”  Squeezing his brakes, Davey leaves a long black streak of tire on the pavement.  

Davey pedals back to Galvin and the waiting team. Shaking, he climbs off his bike and approaches Galvin. Galvin asks, “where were you running off to?” Davey, trying to make light of the situation, says, “I was just trying to let you off easy here man. You know I’m known for my extreme strength around the school. I just didn’t want to ruin your street cred.” Galvin and the team roar with laughter.  He puts a hand on Davey’s shoulder to brace himself from falling over. “Seriously though, Galvin, I’m like an ant next to you.  You’re the best football player on the team and I’m no match for you. If you want to give the team an entertaining match to watch, I suggest we thumb-wrestle.” The team again explodes with laughter. Galvin and Davey then ride off on their bikes together cracking jokes and throwing fist-bumps.  

Weekly Bible Verse: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. -Ephesians 6:18 NIV
Note to Nibble: When you’re in a tough spot and don’t know what to do, remember to pause, seek God and pray, then listen. 

Pray Continually: The Who, When, and How

Today’s “Bite-sized Bible Bit” is about the who, when, and how of prayer. We hope you listen and find some encouragement for the week!

Pray Continually: The Who, When, and How

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. -Ephesians‬ ‭6‬:‭18‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Don’t forget to connect with God throughout your day, be deliberate, and keep on keepin’ on with your prayer.

Bible story, short story, kids, middle school, teens, family devotional, family devotion, Christian parenting, Christian, religion, Bible verse

Trusting through Fear: A Psalm 56:3 Story

“Hey Jax, you didn’t forget to bring your mosquito spray did you?” Jayce asks, as the boys load their gear into the back of Jayce’s parent’s minivan.

“That was the first thing I put in my pack this year,” Jax says with a laugh. Last year, at Jayce’s annual family camping trip, Jax came home with thirty-two mosquito bites! “I wish I had spray for your cousin, Finley,” Jax adds. “He was almost as much of a pest last year as the bugs.” The boys fall quiet for a moment as if lost in a joint memory of the past year’s bullying they prayed would be avoided this year.

After dinner that evening, Jayce and Jax sit around the campfire with Jayce’s cousins and some friends the cousins invited. “The fire is getting low and I gathered the last bundle,” Finley says, facing Jayce and Jax. “Your turn boys, go get some firewood-or are you too afraid of the dark-spooky woods?” Finley’s heckle-like laughter echoes off the trees, sounding creepier than something you would laugh along with.

“We’re not scared, Finley. We’ll get this bundle and you can grab the last bundle of the night after that,” Jayce retorts, grabbing flashlights for him and Jax. The boys disappear into the pitch-black woods before turning on their flashlights to show they aren’t afraid of the dark. “Sorry about Finley, it looks like he’s no better this year. This might be a very long weekend.”

“Don’t sweat it, Jayce. I just love camping and fishing with you. I look forward to this trip all year. Your cousin could never fully ruin it for me,” comments Jax. “Now, let’s go grab some wood over this way. I think I saw some by the lake earlier.” The boys walk for a bit, but never see the lake. They make a couple of turns thinking they will head back to camp, yet end up near a high ridge they have never seen before. It looks pretty scary at night, too. Just then, they hear branches snapping in the woods behind them and snorting like “a-a-a-a bear!!” “What do we do?” whispers Jax.

“Are you sure it’s not just Finley messing with us?” Jayce asks with a shaky voice. When they hear the snorting again, they know that noise could never come out of a human, even one as big and nasty as Finley. “Do we run or climb a tree?” Jayce adds. “Or is it play dead?!”

“I think we hide and pray,” Jax says. “If it worked for Daniel in the lion’s den, it can work for us in the woods with one bear,” he adds, sounding a bit more confident now. “Dear Jesus, thank you for the forest, the animals, and everything you’ve created. We pray that you guide this bear far away from us right now and show us a clear path back to camp.” The boys stop shaking when they say “amen”. They look at each other with wide eyes and large smiles when they hear the bear wandering away from them. After a few minutes, the boys turn their flashlights in the direction where they first heard the bear and start walking towards it. Past a small berry patch, they round a corner and just barely make out a trail.

The trail leads them straight back to camp. It must be the long way around the lake they hadn’t taken before. Just before coming out of the woods, Jax spots a bundle of firewood wrapped in twine. The light of the moon shines on it and they laugh as the glow almost resembles the Nativity Story on Jayce’s fireplace mantle his mother displays at Christmas. “Someone camping here must have left a bundle of wood behind for the next campers,” Jayce says. “Either that or God blessed our socks off tonight by turning away that bear, showing us a trail, and giving us a bundle of firewood for putting our faith in Him.”

“I’m choosing to believe this was all God, man,” Jax says as they enter the camp.  

“What was all God?” Finley asks, returning from the outhouse. Sitting down at the fire, Jax throws a couple of logs on the dying flames. “You wouldn’t believe it if we told you, but we’ll tell you anyway.”

“I believe,” said Jayce.

Weekly Bible Verse: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. -‭‭Psalms‬ ‭56‬:‭3‬ NIV
Note to Nibble: When in doubt, seek God out, and pray without ceasing while  putting your trust in Him.  

“Dive In and Discuss” Dinner Cards

There’s nothing like sit-down family dinners to keep your family close and talking. And we have just the thing to keep the chat going amongst your loved ones. Download our set of 32 free printable “Dive in and Discuss” dinner conversation cards to keep Christ in your discussions and draw your family even closer as you chow down on some delicious eats together.

Jesus, God, family, kids, children, teens, Christian, Christian parenting, devotional, encouragement, Bible, religion

Stand Firm in Christ

Today’s “Bite-sized Bible Bit” is about standing in confidence as children of Christ. We hope you listen and find some encouragement for the week!

Stand Firm in Christ

We know that we are children of God and that the world around us is under the control of the evil one. -1 John‬ ‭5‬:‭19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Remember, stand firm in the One True God that has you, and don’t let yourself be moved by what someone of this world may say about you.

SIP IT! 30 Days of Hope to Sip On Printable

It seems like just about everyone we know is facing some sort of trial, currently. Maybe that’s you, too. So, how about meditating on what the Bible has to say about our One True Hope?

Our “SIP IT! 30 Days of Hope to Sip On” printable is meant to be used daily for the next month. Simply print, hang it somewhere you will see daily, and sip on a verse having to do with hope, slowly, throughout each day.

We will be posting our “SIP IT! 30 Days…to Sip On” topical scripture printables regularly, so be sure to check in often and grab yours under our “Tangible Takeout”.