SEPTEMBER 21, 2 Corinthians 5:17

Ellen was pouting when she and her mother returned home from shopping one day. “What’s the matter, sourface?” teased her brother John. Ellen scowled. “Mom gets you everything you want, but she wouldn’t buy a thing for me,” she grumbled. “All I wanted was a ‘smile’ shirt.”

John howled with laughter. “A ‘smile’ shirt on you?” he asked. “That would be a joke! Those things aren’t very popular anyway. And I heard you talking with Mom yesterday.” Using a high-pitched tone, he imitated her. “Mo-o-om! I want something cool!” He smirked, and his sister hit him. “Ow!” he yelled, hitting back.

Dad walked in the room as the kids continued hitting each other. “Break it up,” he said. “The place I’d like to see a smile is on your faces for a change.” The next Sunday, John and Ellen got ready to go to church. They went regularly with their next-door neighbours. Both John and Ellen had accepted Jesus as Savior, but their parents were not Christians. “Why don’t you come to church with us today?” John asked them hopefully.

“Count me out!” exclaimed Dad. “You two fight constantly. If that’s all the good your religion does you, I want nothing to do with it.” John and Ellen didn’t know what to say! “We’ve got to quit fighting,” Ellen told her brother later. “If we don’t, Mom and Dad will never listen when we try to tell them how to be saved.”

John nodded thoughtfully. “I know. The Bible says we’re supposed to be different now. We’ve got to do better.” So they asked God to help them, and they did do better. Soon their parents noticed the difference. For example, when a vase was broken several weeks later, both Ellen and John admitted responsibility for being careless when they played. Dad was amazed. “They’re not blaming each other!” he exclaimed. “I never thought I’d see the day!”

The next Sunday, Dad surprised them all. “I don’t suppose your mother and I are too old for church, are we?” he asked. “You mean… you’ll go?” asked John. “If your mother would like to,” Dad replied, and Mom nodded. John and Ellen cheered. Dad laughed. “Look!” he said. “That brought smiles to their faces!”

Thought: Do your actions and attitudes show that you’re a Christian-a “new creation”?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to bear a good testimony for You. In Jesus’ name I pray – Amen.