True stories for children - 3


Standing Alone with Jesus 




New Word:  Pantheism: The belief that a god or force or spirit is in everything. Therefore everything is sacred. People can worship trees, wolves, or anything they like. Witches, Native Americans, Buddhists and many other groups around the world believe in pantheism. The Star Wars movies and toys makes it even more popular. But God warns us not to trust in other gods or worship nature.

Eleven-year old Laura loves animals, trees, and all the other beautiful things God has created. But she didn't like the environmental camp she had to visit with her class. The camp counselor tried to teach all the sixth-graders a new way of thinking about nature.

"The counselor led us through the forest," said Laura later. "He told us to stop to absorb the moment and hug the trees. 'You are the tree,' he told us. 'You are one with all natural things.' He was treating everything as sacred and calling trees 'mother and father trees.' He was really teaching us pantheism."

Laura didn't agree with him. She knew about pantheism, because her parents had explained it to her. And the Bible said that it was both wrong and dangerous. Just to make sure she was right, she asked him if he believed in God.

"God is in all things," he told her.

Now she knew that he believed in a different god. Later that day, she became more worried.

Each student had to collect natural objects "of beauty or curiosity" such as tree bark, shells, or acorns. "Then we had a ceremony, but they didn't call it that. We had to take all our natural objects to a sacred place and put them in a circle. The counselor lit a candle and quoted an Indian saying, 'We're part of the earth and the chain of life. We're of the earth...' Then we sang a Christian song with the names of natural objects replacing the name of Jesus."

"This is an offering to nature," explained the counselor.

Laura knew it wasn't right, and she felt more and more uncomfortable. Finally she asked to be taken home. But the counselor called her "a baby" and refused to help.

"You'll have to walk," he told her.

The camp was far from home, and Laura wasn't even sure which road to take. Since she couldn't find a telephone, she had to stay until the end.

The next week, she was glad to be safe at home. But she felt sad that more of her friends didn't recognize the dangerous lies. Even her Christian friends liked the strange stories and shared in the nature worship. "When they told us Indian myths," said Laura, "I was the only kid in the class that didn't say, 'Oh, I believe that'."

It hurt when her classmates refused to support her either at the camp or in discussions afterwards, but Laura wasn't discouraged. "I lost some of my friends," she said. "I know we'll face persecution for being Christians, but knowing God is much better!"

God's Word

The Bible tells us to thank God for the beautiful planet He created. Yet, more and more people in America are turning to other gods. They no longer understand the difference between truth and lies or between right and wrong. But God gives peace to those who trust Him, even in the midst of mean and foolish people who hate our God:

       "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them. ..
        "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him . . . . Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools. . . . They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator. . . .
        "[S]ince they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over . . . to do what ought not to be done. . . . They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents . . . ." (Romans 1:18-30)

        "You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints;
He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked."  (Psalm 97:10-11)

Let's talk about it.

1. What did the camp counselors want Laura and her friends to believe about nature?

2. Romans 1:18-30 explains why many people hate God and His children. What happens to those who turn away from the Creator?

3. In Psalm 97:10-11, what does God promise those who are willing to suffer with Him?

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