Gather your young princes (and princesses, too!) to hear today’s dramatic presentation of The Squire and the Scroll, by Jennie Bishop.
Gather your young princes (and princesses, too!) to hear today’s dramatic presentation of The Squire and the Scroll, by Jennie Bishop.
Bob: Stories that are filled with great adventure, stories with knights and dragons and squires, those are the stories that can capture the imagination of young boys and can teach them something important as well.
Narrator: You are only a squire.
Knight: I have not become a knight because of any scroll.
Narrator: With that, the knight reached up to pluck a gem from the tunnel wall. And, suddenly, the tunnel was plunged into darkness. The squire's horse was startled and ran. The young man saw with surprise that through his shield he could see the tunnel as though it were day. The squire turned to look back upon the knight and fought to stop his horse but to no avail.
When the horse raced into the light at the other side of the hill, the opening in the mountain closed up into a stone wall. The knight and his horse were lost. The squire jumped from his horse, breathless, and beat his fists against the rock. "Open!" he cried, "Open!" But the doorway did not reappear.
Finally, the boy collapsed, grieving the loss of his master.
Bob: Well, there you go. Welcome to FamilyLife Today, thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition and, as you can hear, this is one of those days when you want to gather the men and the boys around the radio.
Dennis: No women can listen to today's program?
Bob: I didn't say that. You know, most of the time women are tuned in listening to FamilyLife Today. You know that. Most of our listeners are women, right?
Dennis: But you're telling them today they can't listen.
Bob: No, I'm telling them today that they should call their husbands or their brothers or their sons or if they have young children, young guys – I mean, today's program is for the guys.
Bob: And we're going to hear a story about a young man – well, he was given a mission, and it's a pretty exciting story.
Dennis: A noble mission.
Bob: That's right.
Dennis: It's about the squire and the scroll, and you're going to hear a compelling story that's going to be read by a very gifted voice.
Bob: Well, thank you very much, I appreciate that.
Dennis: Uh, Bob? It wasn't you.
Bob: We got somebody else to read it?
Dennis: I'm sorry, Bob, you didn't make the cut. We auditioned, and we gave you every opportunity. In all seriousness, we have a great voice, and Bob has one, but he is not the one to read this one.
Bob: No, in fact, we do have a friend of ours, Joshua Harris, who is the pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland, who has agreed to read the story for us, and not only does he do a great job reading this, but this comes from his heart as well, as you know, because of his commitment to this issue of purity in the lives of believers.
And so now is the time to gather the guys around the radio, and they can bring their swords if they want, and we can listen together to this great story.
Narrator: "The Squire and the Scroll" by Jennie Bishop, a tale of the rewards of a pure heart.
In the days when men of valor still guarded kings, a peaceful kingdom lay silent and dark beneath the stars. The ruler of that kingdom was kind and strong of heart. It was this good man's charge to guard the lantern of purest light, the lamp that brought peace and joy to his kingdom.
But on this sad and terrible night, an enemy of all truth and beauty swept over the castle on leathery wings and, with dreadful magic, stole away the lantern that gave freedom to all the kingdom. The king, the queen, and the princess mourned the loss of the precious lamp, and so did the humble citizens of the peaceful kingdom.
So treasured by the kingdom was the lantern and so beloved was the king that many young men sought bravely to retrieve the purest light. None of them returned. As one by one the sons of the kingdom disappeared, the people began to despair.
At last, the king was left with only his most trusted knight to be sent on the quest for the lantern.
King: You must journey to the Red Mountains where our enemies are known to encamp.
Narrator: Said the king.
King: I fear traps have been set for you along the way, as we have already lost so many young men. If you accomplish this task, you will return to great honor and reward. But if you do not, our good people will surely perish.
Knight: Yes, your majesty.
Narrator: The knight was fearless and did not complain about the quest upon which the king was sending him. He took with him his faithful squire.
The squire was a poor boy who had journeyed far to serve the good king, to become a knight, and to serve the lantern. He was honest, a young man of his word, and did all that his master asked him to do. His kind parents were not people of great position, but they had clean hearts and honored the lantern of purest light as the people of the kingdom did.
They taught their son how to guard his pure heart by the words from a simple scroll. When the time came for him to leave the village, the boy's mother and father presented him with a gift – the scroll from which he had been taught, and the boy promised to honor his parents and the lantern by living his life by the five truths in the scroll. Thus, he received a blessing from his mother and father and the promise of a reward from God in return for faithfully guarding his heart.
Father: Always follow the words of the scroll, my boy.
Narrator: As the knight and the squire started on their journey, they spoke of their families. The knight had little remembrance of his parents, but he vaguely recalled that they also had taught him from the scroll.
"As did mine," said the boy, pulling the parchment from his belt, "and it has always strengthened me and kept my heart pure." Indeed, it had, for the boy knew the words of the scroll so well he often dreamt them, and he honored the lantern by obedience to the scroll in all that he did. The words of the scroll had seen him through many a temptation.
But the knight did not remember the words of the scroll.
The knight and the squire soon came upon a wood through which they must pass on their way to the Red Mountains. Where the path left the meadow and split the underbrush, they found a bag of wool.
Knight: Fallen from a traveler's wagon, no doubt.
Narrator: Said the knight, passing it to the squire.
Knight: Keep it in case we have need.
Narrator: As the two traveled through the shadowy wood, they began to hear sounds like a rushing brook or wind in the trees. Deeper in the forest, the sounds became more like whispers that seemed to come from the plants, the trees, the ground. Listening intently, the knight and the boy heard evil chants, warnings to turn back, whisperings that made their hearts faint.
But the boy knew how to guard his ears, for he knew the first command of the scroll – "Listen only to words that are pure."
"The wool!" the lad shouted, and quickly pulled off some soft tufts for the knight and himself to stop up their ears. Now courage could not be stolen from the knight or the boy, and they passed safely through the enchanted wood.
After some time, the knight and the squire came to a great hill too steep for their horses to climb, but there was a brightly lit tunnel to the other side. A silver shield lay at the entrance to this passageway, and the knight handed it to the squire thinking it might prove helpful to a boy of less experience than himself.
The knight walked his horse slowly into the passageway, wary of evildoing, but he was immediately drawn to the walls of the tunnel that were encrusted with millions of precious gems. The boy also saw the gems, but among them, carved in the stone walls were evil images and frightening beings that stared from unnatural faces.
In his horror, the boy remembered the second rule on his scroll that said simply, "Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you." Without a second thought, the boy guarded his face with his shield, but the knight, enamored with the precious stones, was already talking of plans to take some home to the king.
Squire: But, sir …
Narrator: … whispered the squire …
Squire: Do you not see the evil carved all around the beautiful stones?
Narrator: The knight looked at the squire behind his shield, then at the wall.
Knight: What? Ah, those? You are a more innocent lad than I thought. I have seen all these things before in battle and worse. Are you afraid?"
Squire: I'm not afraid, sir, but wary …
Narrator: … the squire answered wisely.
Squire: And begging pardon, sir, you ought to be as well, for the scroll says …
Narrator: Shouted the knight, who usually spoke kindly to the boy.
Knight: You are only a squire. I have not become a knight because of any scroll.
Narrator: With that, the knight reached up to pluck a gem from the tunnel wall and suddenly the tunnel was plunged into darkness. The squire's horse was startled and ran. The young man saw with surprise that, through his shield, he could see the tunnel as though it were day. The squire turned to look back upon the knight and fought to stop his horse but to no avail.
When the horse raced into the light at the other side of the hill, the opening in the mountain closed up into a stone wall. The knight and his horse were lost. The squire jumped from his horse, breathless, and beat his fists against the rock.
Narrator: He cried.
Narrator: But the doorway did not reappear. Finally, the boy collapsed, grieving the loss of his master. That path was dusty and the journey long. Soon the thirsty squire came to a small lake where a flask stood near the shore. Immediately the third rule of the scroll came to his mind – "Keep the unclean far from your lips to guard the wellspring of your life."
The squire did not know if the pond water was safe to drink or if the liquid in the flask was refreshment or poison. For some time he walked along the edge of the water, praying patiently for wisdom to come. Suddenly, the sun, which had been concealed by clouds, broke through revealing that the water was full of dead fish and other animals that had lost their lives to its poison.
The same glint of light revealed etched words on the flask that spelled "Pure." The squire thanked God and drank gratefully. Again, the words of the scroll had brought wisdom and saved his life.
Soon the young man stood before the Red Mountains that glowed with an unearthly fire. Stifling vapors rose up and surrounded the yawning chasm that led to the dangerous, deep caverns inside. The squire sniffed the air as his hand went to the parchment at his side.
Squire: The scroll says "Breath only that which is pure."
Narrator: He looked around, discovered a single beautiful flower that stood by the entrance to the cave and plucked it. Holding the bloom close to his face, the squire breathed the scent of the flower and was able to pass safely through the smoke to the caves inside the mountain.
In a great hallway that wound down into the earth, the squire found himself between statues of stone on his right and left.
Squire: The knight …
Narrator: … whispered the squire. His companion was in the same pose as he had last been seen, reaching for the precious stones on the walls of the tunnel of light.
Squire: Many must have fallen because of their eyes …
Narrator: … thought the squire, seeing all the lifted hands. Then, with a gasp, he cried …
Squire: … and there is the lantern!
Dragon: There is a price for the lantern …
Narrator: … a voice suddenly hissed.
Squire: What price?
Narrator: Asked the squire, facing the dragon squarely, though his heartbeat thundered in his chest.
Dragon: Your scroll …
Narrator: … snapped the dragon.
Dragon: Your scroll is my price. Give it to me, and I shall return the lantern to your people.
Narrator: But the wise squire did not believe the creature, for dragons are known to be untrustworthy.
Squire: Give you the scroll, which has served me well all my life? Never!
Narrator: … said the boy. And, as he spoke, the ground began to tremble and crack, fire and brimstone steaming up from the deep places of the earth.
Dragon: Give me the scroll!
Narrator: … shrieked the dragon, drawing itself up to its full height.
Dragon: Or you will be consumed by the flames.
Squire: The scroll has always served me well …
Narrator: … answered the boy.
Squire: And it will serve me now!
Narrator: And, indeed, as he pulled the parchment from his belt, the scroll was transformed before the young man's very eyes into a fearsome double-edged sword.
Squire: For the lantern and the scroll!
Narrator: … shouted the squire, and he plunged the sword into the dragon's body.
When the squire pulled his sword from the dragon's lifeless form, it immediately became a scroll again. As the dragon sank into the burning chasm, the figures in the great hallway began to move. Those with lifted arms now seemed to be stretching after a long sleep. The knight came to himself and knelt before the squire begging his forgiveness.
Knight: I could not guard my eyes …
Narrator: … said the knight, ashamed …
Knight: … but you kept yourself pure. So I promise to you my reward for my life and for the kingdom you have honored.
Narrator: The squire helped the knight up and embraced him. He remembered the reward that his parents had spoken of.
Squire: We are brothers …
Narrator: … said the squire.
Squire: Forgiveness is yours.
[crowd cheers, church bells ring]
The celebration that followed the squire's joyous return was unlike any the kingdom had ever seen. Kneeling before the king, the squire was knighted, as he had always dreamed.
King: Let us never forget …
Narrator: … the king said to all present.
King: How the scroll has served us and how this good knight returned our lantern because of it. Because of his bravery and his devotion to the lantern and to the scroll, he will have my daughter for a wife and rule my kingdom one day for who better would guard the lantern of purest light than one with a heart kept pure.
Narrator: A shout went up from the people, for they were in agreement with their king. Beyond knighting the young squire, the king instituted a new order of protectors – the Knights of the Lantern.
As for the knight and the princess, they could not have been happier, for the princess had devoted herself to the words of the scroll as well, and so they were a delight to each other. And when the two were gifted with a son, the knight taught him from the scroll so that he would one day be ready to defend the kingdom and the lantern, for who knows but that another dragon might arise in this young boy's time to come and steal the light.
How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to Your Word.
Bob: Well, we've been listening to the story of "The Squire and the Scroll." Again, read for us today by Joshua Harris, who is the pastor at Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He is the author of a number of books including "I Kissed Dating Goodbye," "Boy Meets Girl," the book, "Sex is not the Problem, Lust Is," and a number of other books, and he did a great job reading that story for us.
We also have the author of "The Squire and the Scroll" joining us on today's program. Jennie Bishop is here. Jennie, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Jennie: Thank you.
Bob: And Susan Henson is also here, and Susan is a mom and a grandma, and she is a pastor's wife and together with Jennie, she has written a companion book called "Life Lessons from the Squire and the Scroll." Susan, welcome to FamilyLife Today.
Susan: Thank you.
Dennis: What's it like to listen to that compelling story of that young lad who was given such a noble mission?
Susan: Well, I think every time I listen to "The Squire and the Scroll," I'm reminded of the amazing things that God can do in someone who just says yes, because there are a number of things that you learn about a story even after you write it – hidden lessons, I guess you would say, that God has placed in a writer's heart that you don't know come out until you hear it read to you again and again, and you find that somehow God is speaking to even you, even though you're the one who has written it down. So it's an amazing experience to hear it each time.
Your companion guide, which contains several sessions where fathers and sons can connect concludes with a ceremony – well, it's a ceremony of kind of a rite of passage, or sorts, where fathers can really commission their sons to move to the next level of growing up. And, Bob, I think that's what men need today, is they need a clear picture of what it looks like and then some practical tools to be able to do it, and then they need us cheering them on, giving them courage that they can do it.
Bob: Well, you ask about the goal, and the goal is right here from Psalm 119, verse 9, "How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word," and that's the design of both the book and the workbook that you ladies have put together.
And we've got copies of the storybook for boys, "The Squire and the Scroll" and the Life Lessons workbook that is a companion piece to the storybook. We've got both of those in our FamilyLife Resource Center along with a dramatized reading of this story done by Josh Harris.
You can get more information about all of these resources by going on our website, which is FamilyLifeToday.com. That will take you right where you need to go for more information about what's available. We also have "The Princess and the Kiss" storybook for girls and the companion workbook that goes with that as well, and a dramatized version of that story.
So whether you have young boys or young girls, granddaughters or grandsons, go to FamilyLifeToday.com, and you can get more information about "The Squire and the Scroll" or "The Princess and the Kiss." We'll let you know how you can get the resources you need sent to you.
And while you're on the website, FamilyLifeToday.com, there is information about the upcoming Bible Bee. Next November, in Washington, D.C., there is going to be a national competition where 100 students who have qualified in regional events will come to Washington, D.C. to compete for cash prizes in the first National Bible Bee, and FamilyLife is helping to sponsor this event.
The regional competitions are going to be taking place in September, and there is information on our website about how you can sign up either your elementary student, your middle school student, or your high school student to compete in one of the regional competitions, and there is also information about how you can begin to prepare your son or daughter to compete in the regional Bible Bee and to perhaps qualify for the National Bible Bee.
Students will be competing for more than $250,000 in cash prizes that are being given out. Again, all the details are available on our website, FamilyLifeToday.com. Go there to get more information and to get your son or your daughter or all your kids signed up to be a part of this year's first annual Bible Bee.
And, quickly, I want to say a word of thanks to those of you who help support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We are listener-supported. Without your regular donations to this ministry, FamilyLife Today could not continue on this station and on other stations around the country. So we do appreciate that financial support.
This month, if you are able to help with a donation of any amount for the ministry of FamilyLife Today, we'd like to send you a DVD that features – actual two features on the DVD. One is "The Jesus Film," the story of the life of Jesus that has been seen all over the world. The second feature is the story of Jesus for children. It's a retelling of the life of Jesus through the eyes of a child.
This DVD is our way of saying thank you to you this month when you make a donation of any amount to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. If you're donating online, you'll want to type the word "JesusDVD" in the keycode box on the donation form or call 1-800-FLTODAY. You can make a donation over the phone and just mention that you'd like to receive "The Jesus Film" DVD. We're happy to send it out to you, and we so much appreciate your partnership with us and your financial support of the ministry of FamilyLife Today.
Well, tomorrow we have some coaching tips for moms. Karen Loritts is here to suggest 10 ways that a mom can be a better mother, and I hope you can tune in for that message.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We'll see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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