Matthew 7:13-14 Enter through the narrow gate; …”For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Excitement was all Mary Rose felt when she and her family pulled into the driveway. “We’re here! We’re here!” She exclaimed.This was her 2nd year to go to Bible Camp. Mary Rose could hardly wait to see if her friends had arrived. The sun was shining, and the lake was in the foreground through the trees. Great adventures were in store, but first stop was the great lodge where you were assigned a cabin and found out general information. Daddy drove the car toward cabin #1 while Mama and Mary Rose walked. She met 3 of her friends on the way and found out they shared the same cabin! Squeals of joy and hugs all around. Happy to finally be together, even if they had stayed in touch through calls and email. This year was going to be the best yet! The schedule looked great. Swimming, horse rides, relay games, archery, hiking, crafts, and more. They had Bible class during the day and evening campfire devotional. One particular night during the week there would be a devotional down by the lake. “That’s the best.” Remarked Mary Rose. Parents were always welcome to come back for skit night. Each cabin put on a skit or sang a song that they made up during the week. A time of silliness that even though you were nervous, somehow everyone looked forward to it and enjoyed the shared entertainment. Mary Rose had chosen the top bunk by the wall, made her bed and unpacked a few things. Her parents had stayed for the Sunday evening devotional and then said their goodbyes to Mary Rose. Having met the staff and cabin counselors they felt they were leaving their daughter in good hands. The next thing was yummy canteen! Gummies and chips. They finished up with a few fun games. Mary Rose liked cabin life. Getting ready for bed brought much chatter and laughter. It was cozy laying in her bunk snuggled down in her sleeping bag with her favorite pillow. Lights out, flashlights on and whispers began. It was difficult to settle down especially this first night. If you would have been outside the cabin you would have heard young voices singing the song God has smiled on me and the counselor reading a few Bible verses by the light of her flashlight. Crickets and frogs awoke with lulling sounds. One by one each camper gave way to sleep. Morning came early with the sound of the bell. The daily schedule began with flag raising, morning devotional outdoors on steps that were built in the side of the hill. One song was called Whisper a Prayer in the Morning. After ending with a prayer they got in line for breakfast. It smelled so good! Pancakes and sausage! They had cabin clean up, Bible study, lunch and mail call, rest period, and then lots of afternoon activities. Mary Rose thought she would like archery! She grabbed the bow, placed the arrow and aimed. Letting go it didn’t even hit the target but landed down in front of it. The next time it went way past the target. Hmm, it seemed so easy when she was watching everyone else. One of the counselors seeing her dilemma came over to help. Mary Rose just needed a little guidance and practice and in no time she was hitting the target! That was a good feeling. Especially when she made a bullseye and then another! Two bullseyes in the same day! After several other activities and supper it was time for their evening devotional. The air was cool. Mary Rose and her friends were glad they brought their sweatshirts. The flashlight shined on the text of the open Bible as Mr. Dan read Matthew 7:13-14. It spoke of two different paths. A narrow path that led to a wonderful place of life and a wide path that led to terrible place of destruction. The wide path was one that allowed lots of space and freedom to do whatever came to mind. It would be easy to be selfish on this path, pleasing yourself and forgetting about others and not really thinking about where this wide path was actually taking you. Proverbs 14:12 says, There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death. A way that seems right but is not right would have to be the wide path. On the narrow path one has to be more careful. It takes some effort to stay on this path. We can’t just wander off and be selfish, we must think of others and not just ourselves! The narrow path will be worth all the effort in the end. Then he read Psalm 119:9-11. How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your (Gods) word. With all my heart I have sought you; do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Mr. Dan explained that on the narrow path to keep our way pure, (clean/innocent) we must keep God’s commands and treasure His word in our heart so that we may not sin against God. Then he asked if anyone knew how to explain what sin means?
A few hands were called upon. “Something against God.” “Doing something wrong.” “Following the Devil.” From behind the bench he pulled out a target. Just like the one Mary Rose had gotten her bullseye on. He also held up a bow and arrow. He said, “Sin is defined as Missing the Mark.”** “God’s mark.” “We do this when we choose to disobey God and give in to temptation also when we don’t do what we know is right. We miss the mark God has set for us. James 4:17; James 1:13-15. During arhery how many of you hit the target today?” Mary Rose and others happily raised their hand. “How many of you missed the target?” He said, “I hope everyone hit God’s target today! “Sometimes our arrow doesn’t go far enough and sometimes it goes too far. That is how it is when we sin. Sometimes we don’t quite meet God’s standard and then sometimes we go too far and think God will forgive us anyway.” Mary Rose thought about her first arrows that didn’t reach the target, then also of those that went beyond. “As many of us that needed help and practice in archery, we also need God’s and each other’s help to hit God’s mark or target. One way to keep from missing the mark is to practice God’s Word 2 Peter 1:5-11”. As Mary Rose learned about sin she was happy to find that everyone needs help and practice to hit the target. This lesson stayed with Mary Rose. She drew a bullseye in her notebook with an arrow that had missed the mark and wrote across it in big letters, sin = missing the mark. She wanted to practice very hard so not to miss the mark. God’s mark.
During the week the older campers learned much more about sin, forgiveness, repentance, walking in the light and God’s wonderful grace.
- Wages of sin. What do we earn? Spiritual death/separation from God when we sin. Romans 6:23.
- Our individual sin separates us from God. Ezekiel 18:20.
- Blood of Christ washes our sin away Revelation 1:5
- Sin, washed away when one submits to be buried with Christ in baptism Acts 22:15 and Romans 6.
- Ananias, (Saul’s Jewish brother) restored Saul’s sight. Acts 22:13 Brothers in Christ when Saul was clothed with Christ. Galatians 3:27.
- Repentance after baptism. Acts 8:9-24
- God’s grace defined by 3 words. Love, mercy and kindness. Ephesians 2:4-10, Titus 3:4-7 Love God’s motivator, Mercy is in His heart, and Kindness His deed that comes from it.
- Living faith/showing that faith. James 2:14-26
- Walking in the light. If we confess our sin (after putting on Christ) he continues to forgive us of that sin. 1 John 1:5-9
**SIN – hamartia (?a(marti/a?, NT:266) is, lit., “a missing of the mark,” (from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, Copyright © 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers.)
Greetings! To my Sister Bible class teachers,
How is daily practice going? Do any of us have “sore muscles”? Let’s keep it going sisters! Bible Camp? Great memories! As you may have noticed in the story the campers were given age appropriate Bible information. It is so very important to teach and encourage them but not overwhelm them.
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- Things We Need To Know About Sin – GREAT VISUAL AIDS for sale – explaining sin!
If you do not have a Vines Expository Dictionary of Old/New Testament Words in your library now is the time to get one! You can purchase this resource HERE. (affiliate link)
My prayers and encouragement go with you. Serving in Christ,
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