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February 2013

Saved by Believing

1st Sunday in Lent

From “Scolding the Snakes”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud
Scripture Reference: Rom. 10:9-13 

At most beaches and pools there is a person who sits in a tall chair and watches swimmers in the water. If someone in the water calls for help, this person jumps in the water and saves the person in danger. Can you tell me what this person is called? (Children may answer.) He or she is the lifeguard. The lifeguard’s job is to make sure swimmers are safe.

Imagine that you’re at the beach. Big waves are rolling in and crashing against some large boulders. It’s a wonderful place to explore, and you’re climbing this way and that, investigating the tide pools and looking at starfish and little crabs. A lifeguard is sitting in a tall chair watching over all the people. The lifeguard tells everyone, “If you’re ever in trouble and want me to come and save you, all you have to do is yell, ‘Help!’ and I’ll come right away.”

So you know what to do if you have any trouble at the beach. But what if there is one girl at that same beach who thinks she can handle anything—that she can always take care of herself. This girl figures that she won’t ever need help from anyone. So she wades through the water, tries to squeeze between two rocks, and gets stuck! She’s not big enough to move one of the rocks and free herself; she needs somebody to help. The lifeguard can’t see the girl because she’s behind the big boulder. The tide is coming in and the water is getting deeper and deeper. What should the girl do? (Let kids offer suggestions.) 

If she calls for help, the lifeguard will come right away and save her. What if this girl isn’t the lifeguard’s sister—what if she isn’t related to the lifeguard at all—will the lifeguard still save her? (Kids may help in answering.) Yes, of course. What if she isn’t a friend of the lifeguard? Will the lifeguard still save her? What if the girl in trouble is from a different country? Will the lifeguard still save her? Anyone who calls out for help will be saved by the lifeguard. But what if the girl doesn’t call out for help? What if she were too stubborn to ask for help? Can the lifeguard save her? Probably not. In this case, if the lifeguard cannot see her, there’s no way for the rescuer to know that help is needed.

When we sin and do bad things, it’s kind of like we’re drowning. We feel worse and worse, but it’s like we just can’t stop ourselves. We’re like the girl caught in the rocks: we need a lifeguard to help save us. The Bible tells us how to be saved from our sins. In Romans, chapter 10, the Bible says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”  (v. 13 NIV).

It’s that simple. Ask God to forgive you and help you, and God will. God will save you from your sins. It doesn’t matter who you are; you just have to ask.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, you are our lifeguard. You have promised to forgive us whenever we ask. Help us to ask.

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