Faith Builders

What is a faith builder? It’s a way of building our relationship with Jesus Christ, a time to spend with Him reading His Word, talking to Him, and worshiping Him. The author of the book of Colossians wrote:

“You received Christ Jesus the Lord, so continue to live as Christ's people. Sink your roots in him and build on him.” 
(Colossians 2:6, God’s Word)

Laura Ingalls Wilder kept notes in her Bible of certain chapters to read in certain situations. These were some of her faith builders. Let’s reach for our Bibles and our Little House books, pull our rocking chairs together, and read along.

God Will Help

"When facing a crisis, read Psalm 46.” 


The book of Psalms is in the middle of the Bible which is appropriate because the Psalms talk about everything that happens in the middle of life. Find Psalm 46 in your Bible or online and read it.

"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” (Psalm 46:1, KJV)

That's a wonderful first verse! Who does He help? Those who make Him their refuge. Those who look to Him for safety. God will help us! You, me, us. He helps in different ways at different times but will always keep us from ever being separated from Him.

Because He helps us, we don’t need to be afraid. Even earthquakes and floods can’t shake us. But when I’m in the middle of a life-quake I sometimes feel shaky. That’s when I need to be reminded to be still and know that He is God and that He is above everything. Did you ever try complaining and being still before God at the same time? Did you ever try worrying and being still before God at the same time? Turning off complaining and worrying leaves a stillness so we can remember that God is in charge. And He will help us. I need to be reminded that no matter how I feel, the fact is that God is my helper and He can’t be shaken.

Cloudy Sky

God will help.

Which crisis was Laura thinking about when she wrote, “When facing a crisis, read Psalm 46?” Maybe it was the prairie fire in Little House on the Prairie, chapter 22. Ma and Pa did what they could, and then the fire went around them. When you read it, think about some of the ways God was their help.

Laura’s Bible called God, the “Lord of Hosts” twice in Psalm 46. That means He is the God of armies of servants. Lots of them. Can you imagine angel armies? Here’s a song about the God of angel armies being by our sides. It’s sung by Chris Tomlin:  When you hear it, be encouraged, God will help.

God Leads

"When discouraged, 23 and 24"

Rainy Boardwalk copy

God leads.

 Read Psalm 23 and 24, thinking about how these two Psalms describe the life of someone who follows God.

God is our Good Shepherd, our Leader. We follow.

  He takes care of our needs, our hunger and thirst. We eat and drink.

     He restores us from the inside out. We let Him.

        He leads us to do good things. We do them.

          He protects and guides us. We are comforted.

             He provides for us even in enemy territory. We accept His provision.

We never leave behind His goodness and mercy, we live with Him forever.

That is encouraging! No wonder Laura wrote down this Psalm to read when she was discouraged. She included Psalm 24, too. This Psalm reminds us how mighty God is.

He created everything, the earth and everything in it, including us. That is power! 

Who could be in the same place with someone so powerful? There is no amount of money that can buy a place near Him. There is no secret password to open the door. The only way to be near Him is to be one of His sheep. One who follows, one who eats and drinks His food, one He has restored, one who does the good things He plans, one who is comforted by Him, one who accepts His provision.

Psalm 24 describes His sheep as those who have clean hands and pure hearts, those who are honest. He is not the Good Shepherd for those who don’t care about His guidance and wander off, or those who secretly trust other things more than Him and ignore His provision, or those who say they are His followers but really go their own way.

But for those who are His followers there are rewards of blessings and righteousness! That is encouraging.

“Lift up your heads, O gates…be lifted up, O doors…” Lift up your head, open the doors of your heart—let Him be your Good Shepherd and Your King.

Read in The Long Winter, chapter 30, “It Can’t Beat Us.” What are some ways God took care of the Ingalls family even through such a difficult winter, like the valley of the shadow of death? When have you recognized the Good Shepherd taking care of you?

Ready for Psalm 23 put to music? Which do you prefer?  or

God Is Our Light

"Lonely or fearful 27"

 Read Psalm 27. 

The author of this poem has enemies, he has troubles to make him afraid but he knows what to do. What is his answer? Don’t worry about the trouble, instead focus on God. God is the light at the end of the tunnel. This Psalm tells us what we need to know and to do. If you are fearful, write these things as lists and check them off as you pray about each one. Make them personal.

Sun Through Trees

God is my light.

I know that God is  ☐ my light, ☐ my salvation, and ☐ my fortress.                                                                       

I ask Him ☐ to keep me in His presence always, ☐ to hear me when I cry, ☐ to not hide His face, ☐ to not turn away in anger, ☐ to not leave me, ☐ to not abandon me, ☐ to teach me, ☐ to lead me on straight and flat roads, ☐ to not surrender me to enemies.

I know that He will ☐ hide my soul in His presence, ☐ lift me safely above the danger, and ☐ take care of me. ☐I will praise Him! I will ☐ praise Him even when it feels like a sacrifice, ☐ praise Him with shouts of joy, ☐ praise Him with singing, and ☐ praise Him with music.

We seek Him, we believe we will see Him, we wait with hope and strength and courage for that light at the end of the tunnel. In The Long Winter, read “Four Days Blizzard.” What effect did singing praise songs during the storm have? How did God hide the souls of the Ingalls family in His presence?

How about singing along with one of the songs Laura and her family sang in the chapter you just read? The melody is different than the one they sang but this is a good one to learn. Go to Psalm 48, the first two verses, to find the words for this song.

God is King…Even of Our Money!

Planning budget, St. Luke chapter 19

What is a budget? It’s a plan for spending money. It can include other resources, too, besides money. Why would you be interested in a budget? Maybe you have a paying job or an allowance or some birthday money and you would like for that money to stretch as far as possible. The Bible has a lot to say about money and this chapter features some important lessons. 

Read Luke 19 and let’s see what Laura might have learned about budgeting and how we can use those lessons when we spend money. 

First, Jesus said he was coming to  Zacchaeus’ house and Zacchaeus welcomed Him. If you skip ahead to verses 41-44 later in the chapter, Jesus cried over the city because they did not recognize Him or accept His help. We can welcome Him or ignore Him, be like Zacchaeus or be like the general population of Jerusalem. But He wants us to welcome Him.

    $   A God-pleasing budget begins by welcoming Jesus to where
         you live.

Immediately, Zacchaeus let Jesus’ presence change his spending. He was rich and he promised to give half of his riches away and to pay back (four times!) anything he had gained by cheating. What might Laura have learned from this?

    $   A good budget makes wrongs right.

    $   A good budget includes generosity.

Next in the chapter Jesus told a story; servants were each given some money and they were allowed to use it until the master came back. These servants were rewarded or rebuked depending on what they had done with the money, whether they had used it well and increased it or whether they had not used it at all. Each servant was given the same amount at the beginning but they used it very differently. Lessons?

    $   A good budget shows faithfulness in small things.

    $   A good budget is rewarded with more responsibility!

 Then Jesus sent His disciples to get a donkey for Him to ride. The donkey owners questioned why their donkey was about to be led away. That donkey was, no doubt, part of their budget and they wanted to know where their donkey was going. Was it a worthwhile use? When they learned Jesus wanted to use it they let it go.

    $   A good budget asks the question, is this a worthwhile use?

Finally, Jesus threw sellers out of the Temple. Why? They were misusing the Temple. It was made for prayer but they were using it to make money. Making money is a good thing when it is done God’s way; it’s a bad thing when God is dishonored. Jesus  even called the sellers “robbers” because they were stealing honor from God. And God is king…even over money.

    $   A good budget honors God.

Boots and Dollars, 2

What would you do?

 Perhaps Laura read this chapter in the Bible and remembered Pa’s boots and the church bell. Read On the Banks of Plum Creek, chapter 24, “Going to Church.” Do you think Pa made wise use of the three dollars?

What do you think this song has to do with making budgets?, “Take My Life,” by Chris Tomlin.

God Transforms

To live successfully with others read Romans chapter 12

Sooner or later everyone has a Nellie Oleson in their life. What to do, what to do! Laura recommended Romans 12. Let’s turn there and read the same advice she read. You will see there are three steps involved in allowing God to transform our relationships. 

1. Before doing anything else we are to present our bodies to God as “living sacrifices.” What does that have to do with living successfully with others? It is saying, I’ll give up what I want to do and do it God’s way, whatever He wants. I’ll sacrifice revenge, I’ll abandon the silent treatment, I’ll forfeit talking about her behind her back.

2. What comes next? Recognize that in the body of Christ (the people who follow Him) we each have different gifts for helping others. It is no good comparing ourselves to someone else. It is no good being proud or jealous or envious. We just do our part faithfully, and cheerfully!

3. Then, as the final step, there are lots of things to do to live successfully with others. Show honor, be patient, pray, bless…

Shannon, Amy, Carrie, smaller

You might think of those three steps as being connected like this: when we yield to God we are free to accept our gifts. When we accept our gifts we are free to help others. When we help others we are free to love. And that is living successfully with others, so far as it depends on us. And it is a life transformed—yours!

Read Chapter 11, “Miss Wilder Teaches School,” in Little Town on the Prairie. Is it easy to live successfully with others? 

Listen to this song, “Do Something,” by Matthew West. Then practice living successfully with your Nellie Oleson.

God Is Eternally Faithful

Sick or in pain read 91 Psalm

If you read Psalm 91,, you might think that God’s people here on earth are invincible. But that famous follower of God, Paul, had a “thorn in the flesh” and God’s son, Jesus, suffered a horrible death. You probably know lots of Christians who have been sick or in trouble. The Ingalls family had an terrible time with malaria. How does this psalm that says “no evil shall be allowed to befall us” help us when we are sick or in pain?

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Look at the last line of Psalm 91 for the key to understanding. “With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” God means to give us salvation and eternal life, not just a quick fix. The things that happen to us here on earth are temporary. God wants us to have eternity. Jesus suffered that horrible death in our place so we could be saved from everything that keeps us from God. So even if sickness and pain come to us on earth we can be kept safe for heaven because God is faithful—eternally.

With salvation, God can be our shelter, our refuge, our fortress, our Deliverer, our shield and buckler, our dwelling place—forever! God is faithful.

With salvation, we don’t need to fear deadly pestilences (not even malaria), terrors of night, arrows, destruction, or poisonous snakes because none of these can keep us from our place under His wings—forever! God is faithful.

With salvation, no evil will happen to us that can keep us from being with God in eternity. He is faithful.

And one day Jesus, who conquered death Himself, will come back and transform our earthly bodies into heavenly ones—forever! (Philippians 3:20)

Paul knew this and considered that the sufferings of life on earth are not worth comparing with the glory that is coming. (Romans 8:18)

Celebrate and dance along with the Church of Southland Treehouse, Someday we will be “Trading Our Sorrows.”

In sickness and in pain, remember it is temporary, perfect things are coming because God is faithful. "No evil will be allowed to befall us.” And while we are still here on earth God sends people like Dr. Tan and Mrs. Scott to help us when we do have trouble, like He did for Laura. That story is in Little House on the Prairie, chapter 15, “Fever ’N’ Ague.”

© Cynthia Einselen 2018