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12 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was A Kid

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

Kids are able to understand enough to be saved (often better than adults)!

Beulah State University is dedicated to providing Bible-based and Bible-focused Sunday School materials that are timely, challenging, of high quality and FREE.

These Lessons NEVER pretend to enhance or replace the Bible – our goal is to refocus Christians on their daily need of reading the Bible – an increasingly neglected blessing!  Daily Bible reading is not an option for Christians, it is foundational to communicating with God – in both talking to Him and hearing from Him!

“All Sunday-School instruction should be clearly and closely Bible-based!”
“The Bible is timeless –
we need to be careful to keep it timely!”

The above is obvious, yet sadly frequently not the case.

To aid Sunday School teachers, who typically have other responsibilities that do not permit them adequate time to develop first–class lessons, Beulah State University has developed a number of 12–16 week curriculums available totally free (unless you and your class prefer professionally printed books, in which case the materials are low cost – less than $5.00 per person).

Over a 3 to 4 month period, a key Bible theme can be considered with 1 key BIG point highlighted each week.  In this way, the Bible becomes far more understandable so that your students will begin more and more, during the week, to refer to it to answer their everyday issues and challenges.  For isn’t this the ultimate goal of a good Sunday School program?  

Yes, the Bible IS timeless – but we must be careful to make and keep it timely.  And we can judge our progress, in this regard, as we see “students” learning to apply God’s Word to more and more of their life.

On the tabs to the left you will see links to other resources – most applicable and useful for youth and all for adults!

  • Eight completed (and one in-process) books. Free downloadable PDF copies of each book are available. Links to 99¢ Kindle versions are likewise available for each book as are low-cost paperback copies if this is your choice.
  • Other "stand-alone" multi-week materials similar to 12 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Was A Kid. And, Letters from Beulah State University allows you to pick and choose topics that may be of particular relevance to your class - they are short, engaging topical studies ensured to provide lively discussion!

It typically takes 12–16 weeks to achieve significant understanding and grasp of any topic, especially to the point of integrating the truths learned into everyday life.

Grown Up?

A BIG mistake is to think you have grown up ? anyone who thinks he has grown up is setting himself up to fail.  We all have more to learn.  Life is to grow ? death is to think we have learned it all.  Those that succeed the most in life are those who learn to accept input from others.  Too often, kids can't wait to get out the house so they do not have to mind anyone.  Only to find out, that someone will MAKE us listen if we refuse to listen ? a boss, spouse or when you have kids, they will make you listen!  Don't get too big for your britches.

Repentance is the
Foundation for Fruit!

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. John 15:16

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26


Repentance is the foundation for fruit!

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
   in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regrets. 2 Corinthians 7:10

Everyone is down at the mouth about repentance ?? “Oh isn't it terrible I have to repent . . .”  When, in fact, there should be joy in repentance (especially if you have not hurt someone) ?? “Finally I see the light  . . .”

We should always be in the process of repenting for one or more things ?? we should be trying to get input from others as a basis for what we need to repent of.  The worst situation to be in is for no one to care enough to point out things that are not right.  We need to repent of our weaknesses so they do not neutralize our strengths.  Successful repentance is usually more how we think than what we do ?? doing is the fruit of our thinking.

Is repentance really important to God?  Jesus answers:

I tell you that in the same way there is more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7

Repent. And, repent in joy whenever possible!


There is a time for everything,
  and a season for every activity under heaven. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Whoever obeys his command will come to no harm,
  and the wise heart will know the proper time and procedure. Ecclesiastes 8:5

Work within the season God currently places you in!

Children are in the season for learning: knowledge, wisdom and obedience.  This provides THE foundation for the success of the rest of your life.  Yes, you can learn the hard way (by mistakes as you get older), but then you must live with these “tattoos of the soul” forever.  This is a time for your greatest opportunity to:

  • Properly mature rather than just getting older.
  • Build a base for a life of joy rather than a list of regrets.
  • Find your purpose and be the person for which God made you.

But, to do this, we have to work in the season and place God has placed us TODAY.  Young people, just like adults, lose today when worrying about tomorrow:

I tell you, do not worry . . . But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow . . . Matthew 6:25-34

We are born in sin and there is an enemy.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world. Ephesians 2:1

To be saved, we must be reborn by the Spirit.  We will then seek righteousness in the same way that before we sought evil.  We have to learn obedience just as we learn to read and write.  Parents are in a more difficult season of having to make a living, seeking righteousness for themselves and protecting their children.  Children only have to learn knowledge and obedience, the foundations for a successful later life.  To the extent we miss this we will have to do extra “homework” later.  Take advantage of the blessings of God!  Seek and enjoy God and the season He has put you in.  Always (in spite of what the devil says) understand God and your parents are (God perfectly and your parents the best they can) trying to lead you to and across the bridge of grace, giving you freedom from sin.  They are not trying to restrain you, but free you.

A question every normal kid has thought or asked (even in the “old days”) is: “Why do we have to learn X?  What good is it?  When will we ever use it?”  And, this is really a pretty good question if it is asked out of curiosity rather than laziness.  The answer is fairly simple:  Each “discipline” we learn uses a different part of the brain.  Geography, math, English, Spanish, etc. are learned in different ways.  As we struggle with each of them, we build wisdom.  You will forget many of the facts, but little of the wisdom.  “Smart” older people are not those who retain the most facts, but those who have used the different parts of their brain most. Facts are only a small part of the learning process.  Wisdom is the objective!  Start reading Proverbs and see what God has to say about wisdom:  Wisdom is vital as sinners entice us to sin.

Paideia (pie-DAY-uh), Webster defines as:

The training of the physical and mental faculties in such a way as to produce a broad enlightened mature outlook, harmoniously combined with maximum cultural development.

We need to approach learning Paideially, with a fear of God (the beginning of wisdom), to achieve our goal of being faithful to God in the use of our gifts, talents and minds and be prepared for His works ? many of which require wisdom and knowledge for their successful accomplishment.

God's bridge of grace will show you not only what you are to avoid, but what you are to do:

For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10

Sin is bondage.  It masters you.  For a short while it will say, “You can control me.”  But, then it grabs you and won't let go.  Then you will understand who controls who.  Cigarettes do this.  Drugs are the same.  A filthy mouth.  Gossiping  . . .  God is only telling us what not to do because it interferes with what He has planned for us.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free Galatians 5:1

You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own. Leviticus 20:26

Seek God more for what He wants you to do than for what you shouldn't be doing!  Accept the season He has placed you in.  Learn everything you can.  Have fun.  Enjoy it.  Do the best grace can and remember there is a bridge of grace when you find yourself drowning.  It is as easy (assuming you have grace) to practice and develop good rather than bad habits.  No, it is easier to do good than bad because God will not tolerate bad!  That's the Good News.  God is for us and will make us (the easy way or the hard) do what He wants.  God always wins!!!

Getting older or wiser?

It is not hard for kid's to see that all older people are not wise.  As you get older, you will realize that wisdom does not necessarily come just because you age.  You have to work for it! As we grow older (unless we seek, find and cross God's bridge of grace) we find things get more:

  • Complicated ? you now have to care for, in addition to yourself, a job, kids, house, cars . . .
  • Difficult ? no one takes care of you (shops for and buys the food, pays for a house, utilities, cars, insurance, taxes . . .)
  • Perplexing ? no one watches and helps you do the right things.

And, while it isn't a good excuse, without God as we grow older we simply learn hypocrisy ? being a different person in each of our “roles” as a parent, worker, bill payer, etc.   Unless we learn who we are when we are young (by seeking God's voice and plan for us) we have a much harder time later determining which of the many people we REALLY are.  It is hard for young people to listen to God and find out who/what/where He made them for ? but, it is harder the older a person has gotten without getting wiser.  There is much more to sort through.  All the more reason to seek God while you are still young!

Maturity is being able to properly handle these facts of growing older.  We can ignore them or seek God to prepare us for them.  God will tell us who/what/where we are and help us mature into this rather than into hypocrisy.  Isn't it sad that the world just tells people, “Do the best you can because you are on your own.  There isn't anyone to help you.”  That's bad news, The Good News is that God promises:

Do not be afraid or terrified . . . for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3-4

The Lord . . . gives grace to the humble. Proverbs 3:33-34

The distance between you and God (the amount you have to humble yourself) is less now than when you learn the ways of evil ? for they will become what you are trained for and are in bondage to.  That is why good parents do everything they can to keep you away from the ways of evil.  They know from experience how sin grows if not cast out:

He who spares the rod hates his son,
  but he who loves him is careful to discipline him. Proverbs 13:24

Parents want you, in this season of learning, to grasp good rather than reach for evil.  The Bible uses the analogy of vines to explain how God matures us rather than just letting us grow without, and out of, control.  A farmer does not care for his farm if he does not tend it, any more than a person is concerned for a car (or any other possession or person) unless he watches over it.  If we grow up without parents and God watching over and disciplining us, we will simply get older and learn evil rather than growing in wisdom and learning how to seek right and avoid wrong.  “Seek first the kingdom of God . . .” ? which is seeking and growing in the “grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 3:14

Don't you see that all this is Good News?

  • We have hope and help offered us ? the world tells everyone they are own their own when they get to be 18, 20, or 21.
  • There is always God's bridge of grace available to us to take us to who/where/what God wants us to be.  Those in the world, on the other hand, must live in the beds they have made for themselves.
  • God's bridge of grace takes us away from slavery to sin to the freedom of doing the right things while the world leaves its people in the mess they have made.

Unfortunately, most of us will not seek and listen to God until we have made a royal mess of our lives.  But, it doesn't have to be this way!  For the young person that sees the danger and calls out to God, He will deliver them from the evils of the world.  If you can understand the Lord's Prayer (in Matthew 6), “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one,” you can call out to God and He will deliver you.  But when we see how close we can walk to the edge of sin, when we get a thrill from being in or close to sin, God will let us walk in it so we can learn the lies of the enemy that:

“It isn't that bad . . .

  • Everyone else is doing it (even those who call themselves Christians) . . .
  • It's the only way to have fun . . .
  • Did God really say  . . ?”

We are then captured by sin.  And the worst part about it is that the first thing sin does is attack our faith in God and His bridge of grace to deliver us.  Just the time we need to seek God, we don't even think about it until the situation gets unbearable.  Such is the plan of sin and its angels of death!

So we come back to Seasons.  Don't disobey and forsake God and His purpose for you.  Seek Him for what He wants you to be/do today.  Rejoice in/enjoy God.  Thank and praise Him for His grace.  Tell Him and give over to Him the sin that is crouching at your door, because sin is trying to get us all.

If you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7

Who Am I?

One of the greatest problems with getting older (simply aging and not getting wiser) is that we learn how to be “different” people ? how to wear masks to fool others.  Little children do not wear masks ? if they are happy you know it.  If they are tired or hungry, you really know it!  But, as we get older we learn how to be one person to our parents, another with our peers and will put on another mask for our pastor.  It gets to the point that we no longer know which is a mask and which is real.  Without grace, in fact, it is interesting that most people move from being pretty good (and periodically wearing a “bad” mask) to being more bad (and when they need to putting on a “good” mask) in their late teens and early 20s.  The hope of God and His Grace is to show us the bad, break our heart over it, hate it, try our best to get rid of it (only to find our it has captured us) and cry out to God and His deliverance.

See to it that no one misses the grace of God. Hebrews 12:15

Isn't God good to have given us His hope and help?

Free to Do Right or Free to Do Wrong?

Free: Not under the control of some other person or some arbitrary power; able to act or think without compulsion or arbitrary restriction; having liberty . . .

It is obvious that no one is absolutely free.  All people have external and internal controls ? laws and the authorities that enforce them, physical limitations, family and societal customs and traditions that we learn at a very early age, peer pressure to live within a set of “norms” (no matter how deviate), etc.  To comply with these restraining forces is to do nothing more than to fulfill the expectations of others.  And where these forces conflict it is easier, and more common, to follow the one that is physically closer.

Is freedom more the ability to choose good over evil or the inability to enjoy doing wrong?

Who is free?
The ones who enjoy helping others
or those who steal, kill and destroy?
The ones who love their neighbors
or the ones who continually fight?
Those who thank God for all He does for them
or the ones who have thrown off this yoke of religion, depending on themselves?
Those who repent over what they know to be sin
or the ones who regret only the consequences?
The one who blesses or curses?

You may say both are free, and you are correct.  But not identically free.  For one is free to do good and the other free to do bad.  For the one God has blessed, sin is a struggle.  To the one in which sin is “natural,” doing good is the challenge ? no, it's impossible (except by grace)!

How then can we be saved?
     All of us have become like one who is unclean,
     and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; . . . Isaiah 64:5-6

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

Spiritual freedom only begins at the time we become Christians.  After salvation, we have a will, in Jesus Christ, that we must guard from Satan.  We are still not free “to do our own thing,” because, at some point we will be back in Satan's grasp.  We are free, but thank God, only to do good!

Most people today consider freedom the “consenting adult” concept or mentality ? whatever doesn't hurt someone else.  But Jesus tells us we must ask, seek and knock to find and walk the narrow gate and road that leads to spiritual freedom.  Holiness (our goal), is the inability to sin ? the greatest freedom of all!

That is why the Lord's Prayer ends:

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. Matthew 6:13

Lead us not into the ways and the person of evil. Why?  Because I now hate sin!  When I am deceived and find myself a participant in evil, I am ashamed, stunned and disgusted.  Sin saps faith, leaving me to struggle (seemingly) alone.

Don't you know . . . you are slaves to the one whom you obey ? whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? . . .  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness . . . When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of?  Romans 6:16-21

The question of who/what I really am is:

Without these restraints (when they are not “pressing”) do I move towards good and better or do I need these restraints (however feeble) to keep me from eventually deteriorating and, in effect, destroying myself?

Which restraints are you really working towards throwing off ? those that want you to do right or those that tug at you to do bad?  You have just answered for yourself in which direction you are going. There are two, and only two, type people in the world ? those that are “free” to do evil and those free to do good ? those working to increase their freedom to do right or to do wrong.

Good and bad are enemies.  They are mutually exclusive ? I cannot do good and bad at the same time.  They are rivals battling within everyone.  A pig seeks the mud while a princess abhors any spot or blemish.  We seek and love (are only free to do) those things that are consistent with our nature.  If we have been born again, in Jesus Christ, we will hate sin ? we no longer excuse it and compare ourselves to others (saying what we do is OK since we are better than others).  Oh, we will be occasionally caught in it, but when we realize it we will despise it.

The Good news is that the effect of being born again, of becoming a child of God, is not that God “accepts us are we are,” but:

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.  And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified . . . If God is for us, who can be against us?  Romans 8:29-31

Freedom comes from faith, not faith from freedom.  Just as good works come from faith, not faith from good works.  Faith and spiritual freedom are analogous.  Are you working to and for sin or are you striving against the grip and evils of sin?

Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:7

We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away . . . how shall we escape if we ignore such a great salvation? Hebrews 2:1-3

`The righteous will live by faith.'
  ? The wrath of God is
being revealed from heaven against
. . . men who suppress the truth by their wickedness . . .
They neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him . . .
     Therefore God gave them over . . . Romans 1:17-24

And, when God “gives one over,” what assurance do we have that He will restore them?

Discipline is a Friend not an Enemy!

It is no coincidence or accident that disciple is “in” discipline – for, indeed, it is.  No one is a greater disciple than his or her DISCIPLinE.  While it is true that discipline, in itself, does not make a good disciple (to be a good disciple a person must both be disciplined and complete the disciplines well), it is likewise true that without DISCIPLinE a person will not be a good disciple.

Whether it is sin manifested in physical/material or spiritual issues, sin is very active. Discipline is our only hope and help to confront and overcome it.

It should not surprise us, then, that the devil has distorted this truth, often 180°.

  • Discipline (that which we strive so hard to avoid) is the friend that helps us combat sin (which we, too often, seek and cherish) ? sin is the enemy!
  • Discipline is inevitable, not an option. If we do not learn and exercise self-discipline, discipline will be imposed on us. For example, as we age, if we do not learn to take care of ourselves, we will be physically disciplined by the effect of a deteriorating body.
  • All success is a result of discipline, not luck, age, intelligence, etc.

Biblical (as opposed to cultural) Christianity is EVIDENCED by an increasing DISCIPLinE – if I have never had Christian DISCIPLinEs, if I am not really interested in Christian DISCIPLinEs, then I will NOT experience the fruit of Christian DISCIPLinEs – the salvation of my soul!

We either live life the best that we can or, by developing spiritual “muscles” through Christian DISCIPLinEs, find the grace of God for this and our eternal life!   What we, ourselves, cannot do, God will do by His grace – but we need to see our need and seek it.

The DISCIPLinE of Happiness

Everyone has personal examples of what does and does not make for happiness ? found by trial and error. Better than trial and error, hit and miss, however, is to look at ourselves (and observe in others) to see what makes us happy. Is there anything we can do (any discipline we can exercise) to affect happiness? Or are we just at the mercy of circumstances?

Yes, there is a discipline that inevitably results in happiness!

_________ people are happy people and happy people are ______________ people

(Answer below – after you have a minute to think about it.)

Thankful people are happy people!
Happy people are thankful people!

The difference between a “What a beautiful day” and “Bah Humbug!” attitude?  Not just disposition or temperament, but the LEARNED discipline of being THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL − who hasn't been frustrated with we see someone who should be (but is not) grateful or thankful?

The answer to happiness is easy and obvious ? but profound. Profound because it is a discipline we can learn and improve to significantly enhance our happiness!

BUT, being blessed will not make someone happy
they recognize the blessing
and are THANKFUL for it.

Thankful/Grateful people are happy people!

Thankfulness/Gratefulness is a learned discipline.

We should consider and learn how to be thankful and practice this.

PS ? A note to Christians: One (if not the greatest) benefit of reading the Bible is reminding the reader how blessed they are!

The Bible reminds us MANY times (and in many ways): “Give thanks to the LORD for . . .”

Thankful and grateful people are happy people!

Practice and cultivate the discipline of Thankfulness!

Ungrateful people are unhappy people and unhappy people are ungrateful people.

just as

Thankful people are happy people and happy people are thankful people.

Things to Do When You Are Bored

The devil tells us we are bored so he can lead us into things that curse, rather than bless, us.  The following are ideas from Jamie, Katie, Annie, Bethany, Kelly, Grant, Greg and Jeremy ? just these few ideas give leave us no excuse for been BORED!  God is interested in what we do ? when the devil is whispering to us that we are bored our first thought (and prayer) should be to God to tell us what He wants us to do.  You will be amazed at how creative God is, if we will just ask and then listen to Him.

  • Call a nearby friend and see if they have any ideas.
  • Take a walk or bike ride.
  • Find something good on TV ? as opposed to channel “surfing' which just adds to boredom.
  • Play or work on the computer.
  • Do a small chore for your parents.
  • Play a game ? alone or with a friend. Basketball, lift weights
  • Read a good book (you know the Bible isn't so bad!)
  • Take a nap (sometimes we are bored because we are just tired ? take a nap so you are not miserable and are not making other miserable too!)
  • Is there a lake or pond nearby where you can fish?
  • Is there a park nearby where you can have a picnic?
  • Rent or go to a movie.
  • Is there someone you can think of that would appreciate you doing something small for them?  Maybe writing a short letter to a grandparent.
  • Meditate and pray.  You don't have to spend a long time doing this, but you will never know how unless you start practicing a little at the time.
  • Dance in the sunshine (unless it is raining, which is even better!).
  • Listen to GOOD music.
  • Use your special gifts in some way.  Do you draw, write music, play an instrument ? work at it, get better.