June 5, 2013 -- Issue #14 - Volume 14


Today's articles are listed, below. When replying, highlight the text that is pertinent to your response, then hit reply. Title your message to reflect the content.

1) Broken Sacrifices
3) A Light in the Darkness

4) Blue Ribbon Graduates



1) Broken Sacrifices

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17 NIV).

I love creating stained glass mosaics. And for the past ten summers or so, I have taught a one-week mosaics class to children. 
Sometimes we purchase precut glass. Other times we buy whole sheets of glass, which is then broken before class. 

I enjoy looking at the colored broken glassóit is beautiful. It reminds me of our relationship with God; how even though we are created in his beautiful image, sin has broken our lives. The uncut sheets of glass are uniquely beautiful too, but if they remain isolated, they cannot become part of the mosaic. Is this not what God, the Master Artist, does with his children? He rescues us from brokenness and isolation, and places us into a mosaic of believers, where together we are formed into the image of his beloved Son. 

The Hebrew word for broken is shabar, it means to burst, crush, destroy. And contrite, dakah, means to collapse (mentally or figuratively), to break

Todayís Bible verse from Psalm 51 was written during a time of great brokenness in King Davidís life. This dramatic story is recorded in 2 Samuel 11-12. David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, and she became pregnant. To cover up the pregnancy David had her husband, Uriah, sent home from the war, hoping heíd sleep with his wife. However, he didnít count on . . . 

Read the rest of today's devotional at: http://www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/devo-broken.html 



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3) A Light in the Darkness

I stand with the rest of the congregation for a familiar hymn. Except mouthing the words takes a herculean effort. My heart is sad and parched. I feel out of place in the midst of so many people with smiling faces and praise on their lips. I canít remember the last time I felt buoyant in spirit, or put my heart into worship. Guilt badgers me, for Iím aware that the joy that Iím without is a fruit of the Holy Spirit. 

Iím trying to muster enough resolve to keep a lunch appointment with a student, and to teach an afternoon class at the university. My lesson plan is prepared, but the last thing I want is to be around people. As I walk to the campus cafeteria, I hope the student wonít show. The idea of listening to and feigning interest in another person creates pressure that I resent. My gait is slow and my spirit is lethargic as I approach the entrance. Thereís a high humidity in my heart that smothers motivation and saps energy for the daily routine.

I sit in my recliner, clutching the second handful of tear-soaked tissue. In stark contrast to the afternoon sun, my spirit is pitch-black. ďWhere are You when I need You?Ē I cry aloud to God as despair envelops me. ďDonít You care enough to help?Ē My weeping becomes so violent my body convulses. All the prayers Iíve uttered seem in vain. The pain wonít ease up.

Those vignettes from the past year depict my ongoing struggle with depression. When Iím caught in its gravitational pull, Iím either robotic, too numb to feel anything, or the pendulum swings to the opposite extreme and thereís a torrent of tears. But whether Iím void of emotion or hypersensitive, hopelessness taunts me. In those moments a battle rages in my spirit between despair and faith. One voice within me insists that the darkness is inevitable, that the pain will never subside. The voice of faith offers a rebuttal, pointing me to . . . 

Read the rest of today's devotional, A Light in the Darkness,
which can be found on the following page:
http://www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/lessons-Bible-teen-adult-study.html (Devotionals are listed in alphabetical order.) 

USA Patriotic Catcher

A great learning tool--
Fun for kids and adults

Kids learn the answers to eight basic
USA citizenship questions such as,
Why did the Pilgrims come to America?
What is the US Constitution?
, and 
What does the First Amendment guarantee?

Kids make it and take it home! 
Print as many patterns as you need
 for a onetime fee.



4) Blue Ribbon Graduates

A Blue Ribbon Ceremony is a beautiful way to honor your graduates and encourage them to make a difference in their lives. Learn how you can get patterns to make your own blue ribbon and watch a short movie from the following link: http://www.sundayschoolnetwork.com/PM_learn.html




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