Dangerous Distractions

A picture of the ancient and huge Circus Maximus.

By Zeke
November 18 2018

Judah, who was very excited, was finally going to the Circus Maximus. He had been been waiting all his life because he always wanted to watch and ride in a chariot, so he sprinted toward the stadium while his parents trailed behind. In the packed arena, he suspiciously got lost into the crowd on purpose to try to steal a horse. His parents could not find him and they were worried. This was unfortunate since the family had been looking forward to it for a long time.

Judah, who was mischievious, tried to sneakily steal a super-good horse because it was his dream to race. Inside the stable, Judah got a horse, even though his parents told him he wasn’t allowed to race. The race started and he heard horses trampling thunderously like the mightly wind as they zoomed by.

Judah’s parents saw him and were shocked! A burly man whipped Judah’s horse propelling the boy out of the back. As the crowd screamed, the man laughed and Judah knew he shouldn’t have been misbehaved. He swiftly pushed himself up, but while he got up, an injurious horse ran over his back. The man who caused the injury was distracted and lost the race. Afterward, Judah’s parents were mortified and dragged him outside of Circus Maximus. The man who hurt Judah yelled, “I lost because your stupid son distracted me!” Judah’s irate dad punched the man. and they swiftly rushed to the hospital.

The Thankful Israelites

Moses parting the Red Sea.

By Ezekiel Dillingham
October 8, 2018

Moses and more than one million Israelites were leaving Egypt where they had been slaves. The radiant desert sun battered down on them, but they were joyous because they were free from 400 years of bondage. The people loudly sang and danced, and the sound of tambourines could heard from miles away. Even though the journey was arduous, the Hebrews gleefully celebrated since they were headed to the promised land, which would be their new home.   

Just then the Israelites heard horses’ hooves trampling and they shockingly realized pharaoh’s ruthless army was behind them. They were petrified! The weary travelers gazed ahead and there lay the Red Sea. The people chided Moses and exclaimed, “Did you take us here to die?!” But Moses stated, “Fear not. Stand still and be stunned by the salvation of the Lord, which He shall show you today.” He lifted up his rod because he knew God was with him. The waters parted and Moses told them to walk through open-up path of humongous waves. “Are you sure we should do this?” one man asked. Another person shrieked, “We’re all going to drown if we listen to your bad advice, Moses!” However, Israelites obeyed him, and they cautiously continued on foot, carefully making it to the other side.

Pharaoh and his men, who were irate, tried to quickly go across, but Moses wiggled his rod. He vibrated it, the waves zoomed down, and the salty sea swept away the Egyptians. The Israelites thankfully bowed down to God because they were saved.

The Lionhearted Preacher

St. John the Baptist, “Angel of the Desert” (17th Century, Russian icon).

By Zeke Dillingham
April 8, 2019

Like a lion, John the Baptist roared the truth. In solitude, he lived wildly out in the desert. He was different. People thought he was strange. But he didn’t care. John was set apart in birth and in life. Valiantly, he protested important rulers who mistreated God. Since he was so determined in his mission, this would soon get him killed. Paving the way for the Lord, John the Baptist is one the Bible’s most prestigious heroes and should instill pride in all Christians.

John was a contemporary of Jesus, and he came to be known as John the Forerunner. John the Baptist was miraculously born to Elizabeth and Zechariah when they were both over 80 years of age. The archangel Gabriel surprisingly appeared to them and declared that they would bear a child who would be God’s messenger and they shall name him “John.” When Mary the mother of Jesus visited Elizabeth, John leapt in her womb. John’s parents both worked in the temple, so that meant he could’ve been a priest and led a comfortable life. Instead, he decided to go out in the desert because God had a special plan for him: to prepare the world for Christ and preach that God’s Kingdom would soon come. John was a radical for God. He ate locusts. He devoured wild honey. He wore camel’s hair. Having been prophesied, he dressed and talked like Elijah. Throughout all of Judea, people came to him for advice and to be baptized. Courageously, John shouted to the sinister Pharisees and Sadducees, “You are snakes! … You must do the things that show that you have really changed your hearts and minds. And don’t think that you can say to yourselves, ‘Abraham is our father.’ I tell you that God can make children for Abraham from these rocks. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown in the fire.” John, the miracle-born child, would soon become one of the most outspoken saints to walk the earth.

“This is a voice of a man who calls out in the desert. Prepare the way for the Lord,” remarked the grand prophet Isaiah about John the Baptist. Amazingly, many prophets foretold about John, who was uncompromising and gallant. In the Old Testament, Malachi was one of the several who prophesied about John, while Elijah preached his same message: that all men should repent of their sins. John started his ministry in 30 A.D. Jesus came to be baptized. John thought himself unworthy. Jesus insisted, so John agreed. When John humbly baptized Jesus, Heaven opened and God’s spirit came out in the form of a dove. A voice came from Heaven that proclaimed, “This is my Son and I love Him. I am very pleased with Him.” Jesus called John “the greatest of men.” John was divinely picked to be the one who would baptize the Son of God.

John the Baptist is an noble example for all Christians today. At the time of John’s ministry, Herod was the ruler over Galilee. Herod liked John. His evil wife Herodias didn’t. Breaking Jewish law was common for the couple, so John called them out, which enraged Herodias. Sadly, Herod promised her anything she wanted, so she demanded John’s head on a plate. John was bold and brave, preached the Good News, and dared to challenge sin. And for that, he was executed. John invented baptism and Christians still do it today as a ritual. Isaiah explained that John would make straight the way for the Lord. Since John exemplified what it means to have both strength and humility, modern Christians should honorably revere him.

John, who was a herald for Jesus, deftly challenged corruption and chided sin. Like a soldier, John battled the enemies of God. During his mission, John explicitly influenced ancient people. He should be exalted by all Christians because of his resolute faith. Preaching that the Savior is coming, John got people ready for Jesus. Adroitly, he spread the message of separating “the good grain from the chaff.” If you get baptized and repent for your sins, you can have salvation. John was a lionhearted preacher.