Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the Campfire!

It’s summertime, and the roads of Montana are lined with sunflowers. They nods their golden heads in the breeze and make people smile. Sunflowers got that name because their faces follow the sun all day long.

That reminds me of a king in the Bible. His name was Jehoshaphat. One day all the neighboring kings decided to gang up on King Jehoshaphat and attack his country, the land of Judah. They began marching toward Judah with all their weapons.

When King Jehoshaphat heard the news, the very first thing he did was to pray to God and ask what to do! He also sent out orders that everyone in all Judah should fast. That means they should stop eating for a while. Everyone in the land left their homes and went to Jerusalem, where King Jehoshaphat lived, and prayed to God together.

The king stood in front of everyone. He prayed so everyone could hear him. This is part of what he said. “Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you . . . We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

Jehoshaphat kept his heart turned toward God, just like the sunflowers always face the sun! And do you know what? God told him what to do!

Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat led his army out to face the enemy. He chose men to sing and walk ahead of the army! They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord! His faithful love endures forever!”

As soon as they began to sing and praise God, the Lord made their enemies start fighting among themselves! They destroyed each other! When King Jehoshaphat arrived, not even one enemy was still alive!

God is more powerful than anyone on earth can imagine. So keep your heart facing God, like King Jehoshaphat did, and like the sunflowers face the sun. God will take care of you! Trust him.

Until our next campfire, I’m sending you hugs and kisses!

Montana Gramma

Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the Campfire!

Christy, our daughter, lives in Alaska. She works in a big, tall building by the ocean. One day a pair of seagulls built a nest where she could see it. They laid three little eggs in the nest.

When the eggs hatched, Christy watched the babies grow up. One day, the biggest baby seagull tried to pull himself up out of the nesting area. He stood on the edge of the nest and flapped his wings. He jumped and fluttered down to a near-by roof. The seagull parents were so happy! They tried to get the other two babies to fly, too.

But the smaller babies wanted to stay in the nest. They talked to each other and decided not to fly. The mama and daddy seagulls flew around them, scolding and saying, “Come on! Come on!”

Finally, one of the babies climbed up on the edge of the nest. He looked down. Oooooh! What a long way to the ground! He turned around and started chattering to the other baby. “NO WAY am I going to jump off this nest!” he chirped.

The mama and daddy seagulls screeched at him and made him get back into the nest before he fell backward! The baby seagull cuddled down next to the other baby and didn’t move. “Come on! Come on!” cried the parents.

“NO!” he chirped and closed his eyes.

The next day, the mama and daddy seagulls scolded the babies in the nest until they obeyed. Do you think they were scared to jump off that building? I think they were! But they finally got brave enough to try. Now all the baby seagulls are flying outside Christy’s window. They fly down to the water and catch clams for breakfast. They can go everywhere their parents go.

Growing up means we have to learn to do new things. Even Jesus had to grow up! “Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.” (Luke 2:52, New Living Translation)

How do we grow in wisdom? The Bible says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” (Proverbs 9:10, New Living Translation) When we deeply respect God and learn all we can about him, and talk to him in prayer, we grow wise as we grow tall, like Jesus did.

Until the next campfire, I’m sending you . . .

Hugs & kisses,

Montana Gramma

Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the Campfire!

Corky and Louise were ground squirrels that once lived by our house. Corky followed Papa Tim around all over the place. If Papa was working on his truck, Corky watched every move. If Papa walked into the garage, Corky followed him, just like a little dog!

Every morning, Louise would come up onto the deck and eat my petunias. They were her favorite food of all. But I didn’t buy flowers so she could eat them! So I moved them where they would hang over her head. Louise would stand below the deck and look longingly at the petunias with a sad face. I could tell she wanted some, and I was willing to share a few.

I picked one petunia and dropped it off the deck. It floated down toward Louise like a parachute. She reached her tiny paws up, grabbed it and stuffed it into her mouth. I dropped another one, and Louise ran over to catch it, too. Every morning, I dropped a few petunia blossoms down to Louise and she would catch and eat them. I liked feeding her!

Did you know that God provides food for us, like I provided food for Louise? Yes! He tells us to ask him for food when we are hungry. When we love God and obey him — when we give our hearts to Jesus, God the Son — then God the Father takes care of us, for we become his children. He is a good, good Father! He watches over us and gently leads us and feeds us.

Jesus said, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows your needs. Seek first the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” (Matthew 6:26, 31-33, New Living Translation)

What a great promise!

I’ll see you at the next Campfire!

Hugs & kisses,

Montana Gramma

Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the Campfire!

The rodeo was in town, and Papa Tim and I went to it. We watched the cowboys rope calves and ride broncos. It was almost nighttime when the bull riders began their show. The bucking bulls raced out onto the field, kicking and tossing their horns around, trying to throw the cowboys off. It was very exciting!

But then, right in the middle of one scary ride, something happened. The sky turned bright gold and red and purple! It was the most beautiful sunset I had ever seen! Everyone in the stands said, “Oooooh!” And they weren’t watching the bull rider— they were watching the sky!

I believe God sent that sunset to remind us that HE is more fun than bull riding! Fun? Yes! God is FUN! He does things nobody else can do.

Once Jesus, God the Son, was teaching a huge group of 5,000 people out in the countryside. When evening was near, his disciples told him, “We should send these people away so they can go buy food and eat.”

Jesus said, “They don’t need to go away. YOU feed them!”

The disciples were so puzzled! “How can we do that?” they asked. “It would take all the money we could make in a year to feed these people!”

A boy heard what Jesus said. His mother had sent him a lunch of loaves and fish. He held it up to Andrew, one of the disciples. Andrew must have smiled. But he said, “Jesus, we have a boy here with 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish. But what are these among so many people?”

Jesus said, “Bring them here.”

Andrew brought the boy and his lunch to Jesus. That little boy had great faith! Jesus must have smiled pretty big, because that boy believed in him. Jesus took the fish and bread and prayed over it, then began breaking off pieces to give to the disciples. “Give these to the crowd,” he said, while he kept breaking up the bread and fish.

The disciples held out baskets and took the pieces, which kept coming and coming until they filled all the baskets! They fed all 5,000 people, and then gathered up the leftovers. There were 12 baskets of bread and fish left! Jesus did that because a little boy believed in him.

When we are having a hard time, we can always ask God to help us. We ask in Jesus’ name. That’s when miracles can happen!

Here’s a Bible verse you can memorize to remind you of God’s great care for you. The Apostle Paul wrote:

"This same God who takes care of me will supply all your needs from his glorious riches, which have been given to us in Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 4:19, New Living Translation)

See you at the next Campfire!

Hugs & kisses,

Montana Gramma

Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the campfire!

July is rodeo time in Montana. Everybody crowds into the seats around the arena and watches cowboys and cowgirls ride animals. The first are called “wool riders”, children who hold onto the sheep’s wool while the sheep tries to buck them off.

All day long the rides get more difficult. The cowboys ride their horses out into the field and rope calves. The fastest cowboy wins. Then they rope steers with horns. Sometimes there is barrel racing. These are usually cowgirls who ride their horses around barrels on the field. Some of the cowboys try to ride bucking broncos.

Finally, the cowboys with the most practice try riding bulls with horns. The bulls stomp their feet in the stalls. They snort! They start to buck! Then the cowboy climbs over the fence and sits down on the bull. The gate opens, and the bull races onto the field, bucking wildly. He tries his best to get the cowboy off!

It’s a wild ride! For the cowboy, the ride seems to go on forever! But the ride is really only 8 seconds long. The buzzer rings and the cowboy jumps off the bull. A clown runs out onto the field to distract the bull while the cowboy gets away from it. After all the bull riders have finished, the judges decide who did the best job and give him a prize.

Sometimes life feels like you’re riding a wild bull. It’s hard! You think the hard times will last forever! But usually the worst of the hard times pass, and you can relax again.

The Apostle Paul said, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed . . . We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. . . Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.” (2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 17)

Paul was telling us that sometimes life can be hard. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus and obey him, we will someday be given a reward — a prize — when we get to heaven. Just like the best bull riders get prizes here on earth!

So when things get tough, keep your eyes on Jesus and trust him to keep you strong during hard times. Memorize this verse to remember always:

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will never fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT)

See you at the next Campfire!

Hugs & kisses,

Montana Gramma

Hi Boys & Girls! Welcome to the Campfire!

July is rodeo time in Montana. Everybody crowds into the seats around the arena and watches cowboys and cowgirls ride animals. The first are called “wool riders”, children who ride bucking sheep. They hold onto the sheep’s wool while the sheep tries to buck them off!

All day long the rides get more difficult. The cowboys ride their horses out onto the field and rope calves. The fastest cowboy wins. Then they rope steers with horns. Sometimes there is barrel racing, when they ride their horses around barrels in the field. Some of the cowboys try to ride bucking broncos.

Finally, the cowboys with the most practice try riding bulls with horns. The bulls stomp their feet in the stalls. They snort! They start to buck! Then the cowboy climbs over the fence and sits down on the bull. The gate opens, and the bull races onto the field, bucking wildly. He tries his best to throw the cowboy off!

It’s a wild ride! For the cowboy, the ride seems to go on forever! But the ride is really only 8 seconds long. The buzzer rings, the cowboy jumps off the bull, and a clown runs out onto the field to distract the bull while the cowboy gets away from it. After all the bull riders have finished, the judges decide who did the best job and give him the prize.

Sometimes life feels like you’re riding a wild bull. It’s hard! You think the hard times will last forever! But usually the worst of the hard times pass, and you can relax again.

The Apostle Paul said, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed . . . We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed . . . Our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; but rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.” (2 Corinthians 4:8,9,17,18, NLT)

Paul was telling us that sometimes life can be hard. But if we keep our eyes on Jesus and obey him, we will someday be given a reward - a prize - when we get to heaven. Just like the best bull riders get prizes here on earth!

So when things get tough, keep your eyes on Jesus and trust him to keep you strong during hard times. Memorize this verse and remember it always:

“Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will never fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6, NLT

See you at the next Campfire!

Hugs & kisses,

Montana Gramma