Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Let Them Be Children January 26, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 9:22 am
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Sometimes† your plans for kids just don’t work!† Then you have to grab the moment and do the best you can.

That’s what happened to me on Sunday.† My well-planned main idea and its applications just did not fly.† The kids were restless and undisciplined.† “Whatever happened to self-discipline?” I thought.

My lesson on Luke 4 of Jesus not being accepted in his hometown because they just refused to believe the plain teaching of the Bible just never connected.† Maybe it was because they ate the sugared snacks between church and Sunday School; maybe it was the age range of 4-10; maybe I’m just not a good disciplinian.† Whatever. It will happen to you too.

I finally gave up on making my point about obeying the plain teachings of the Bible.† Instead, I said, “If I didn’t love you kids so much, I’d probably quit teaching you.† But, I love you at least somewhat like Jesus loves you–with steady love. I’m not going to stop that either!”† Then we sang all verses of “Jesus Loves Me” and went out on the playground.

The Teaching Tip is Sometimes your best laid plans just won’t work.† But, no child will hear the good news that God loves them and saves them if you do not delight, once in awhile, in their mere childishness.† They are children, after all.

 

A Father’s Smile, Hand, and Heart

Filed under: applications — womenembracingfaith @ 8:58 am
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I often quote Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a London pastor who was Reformed and believed in applying the Bible to everyday experiences.† He used to read the Puritans.† I’m sure he must have read the following quote from Samuel Rutherford, a Scottish Puritan.† I hope it helps you see our Father’s smile of understanding and compassion on whatever your circumstances are right now . (See blog for Jan. 5, 2010.)

“I pray you learn to be worthy of his pains who correcteth; and let him wring, and be ye washed; for he hath a Father’s heart, and a Father’s hand, who is training you up, and making you meet for the high hall.”

 

Stab The Theme Into the Heart, Mind, Life January 15, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 4:17 pm
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Stab may be a bit brutal sounding, but what I mean is to apply the biblical theme to the child’s everyday life.† So many Bible story books for children just give the “facts” without applying the theme or lesson to the child’s heart or his daily life.† Matters of the heart are: to stir up a love for God, of gratefulness for what Jesus has done for him personally; to show him how he has offended God; to increase his awe and reverence for His creator.† It is about the heart because it is what the child feels, experiences spiritually.† Applications from a story to a child’s everyday life are about how he acts toward others; his integrity, perseverence, self-discipline; his worship of the true and living God of the Bible.† Make it a habit for yourself:† never tell a Bible story to children without applying the sweeping biblical themes to the child wherever he/she is in his development.† Here’s an example; the applications are in italics:

Matthew 14– Jesus Shows He Is God

The King had just killed John the Baptist, Jesus’s cousin– the one who lived in the desert, whose preaching helped prepare hearts to accept Jesus as the promised Savior.† Crowds followed Jesus to a desolate place along the Sea of Galilee.† He wanted to be alone because of† his grief for his cousin. This shows us how much like us he was.† But he had such compassion for the people who had followed him, he healed the sick, and then turned five loaves of bread and two fish into enough food for five thousand men plus all the women and kids–maybe fifteen thousand ate from that bread and fish† Who could do that?!† It was an extra-ordinary miracle, witnessed by thousands of people.† It showed that John the Baptist was right:† Jesus was really the Savior promised in the Old Testament.† He was God.† Do you believe this really happened? Do you believe that Jesus is God–the Savior, your Savior? If you do, you should tell someone–your Mother, perhaps?

Jesus gave another proof of who He was by walking on water in the middle of the night when the Sea was rough and windy.† Only his disciples saw this, but they later agreed it had really happened.† Peter even tried to walk on the water himself, but, of course, that didn’t last long.† He was like us–weak in our faith, tending to doubt.† Do you sometimes question if all this really happened?† Do you need to ask God to help you believe in Him and have faith that Jesus really is your Savior? Have you ever asked Him to give you a new heart?† Have you asked Him to forgive you?

After walking on water, Jesus showed again who He really was by healing among a big crowd of people.† Anyone who touched the edge of† his clothes was made well.† It wasn’t done secretly; everyone saw these people healed right then.† It was another way of showing that He was God, and that He cared about people.† Are you kind to people when they’re sick?† Our world is filled with sickness, even death.† One day it won’t be that way but for right now it is.† We need to show we care.¬† What can you do this week for someone who is sick and would love to know you care about them?

See how the theme of Jesus is the Messiah, God in our flesh, our Savior bores into the mind, heart, and relationships? Is does kind of stab after all.† Always apply your Bible story. Kids can take it!† They need it.

 

Bible Story For Children January 11, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children — womenembracingfaith @ 5:21 pm
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Today I’m starting a new Category to help you tell Bible stories to children.† Of course, there won’t be pictures to look at together as you talk.† Their imaginations can provide those pictures if you encourage it.† After all, that is what the Bible does all the time, i.e. the Holy Spirit is like a refreshing stream or fountain; God is like a Rock, a refuge; Jerusalem’s survival from the Assyrians is like a flag waving on a hill.† So encourage that kind of thinking in your children as you tell the story.† And be sure they know it is a real story; it actually happened.† Adapt your vocabulary and the details to fit the child. Always apply the story to their life as you go along.† The idea for this story came from my grandson’s fascination with the water drains in our neighborhood and from Roger Ellsworth’s explanation of the passage.

II Samuel 5: 1-10 † † King David’s City

Even though everyone knew David had been chosen by God to be the King, he had to hide in caves and deserted places for many years.† A lot of people came to help him, but Saul and his friends kept trying to kill David.† What did he feel like having so many people trying to kill him?† He wrote a lot of songs about it. (Psalm 35† is one of them. Jesus was probably comforted by this Psalm while the religious leaders were seeking to kill Him.)

Anyway, David finally became king of God’s people.† He stayed King for forty years!† But during those years,† he had to fight those who hated God and His people.

There was one group of people whose city was on a hill with valleys all around three sides, and a big wall on the fourth side for protection.† They made fun of David.† They said his army could never capture their city.† His army couldn’t come across those valleys, climb up the hill, or come over the wall!† Have you ever had someone make fun of you and dare you to do something?† These people were really making fun of God and daring David to do something about it.

My town has water drains to protect us against floods.† Each drain is connected† by a big pipe to an even bigger pipe that lets all the water flow into the river and out to the ocean.† It is fun to look down the drains and try to figure out how they get the water to the ocean.

This town on a hill, soon to be named Jerusalem, had to get water into the town for drinking, bathing and things like that.† David found out how to get into that big water pipe. David’s army came quietly up that big shaft right into the city!† They had arrows, some swords, and spears, and other weapons.† They fought and took over the city. The wall, the hill and valleys couldn’t keep the army of God out!† David was standing up to the people who made fun of God.† It became known as the city of David, Jerusalem.† The city changed completely after David took over.† No more idols.† Only the worship of God was allowed.

Our hearts are like this city.† Suddenly God can sweep into our heart, change things, clean it up, give us a new heart that wants to love God and follow Him. In this story, King David reminds us of our Savior, Jesus, who conquers our sinful hearts and is our King.† Jesus lived a perfect life, and then died so we could know God.† He was related to David, yet He is God!† He saves His people from all over the world.

Ask God to come quietly into your heart one day just like King David and his army came up the water shaft into Jerusalem.† Your sins will be forgiven and conquered.† You will grow to love God more and more.

 

A Father’s Love January 5, 2010

Filed under: applications,Romans,Teen Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 5:22 am
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Sometimes we all need help to apply:† “For we know that all things work together for good to those who love God…” (Romans 8:28). What losses are you grieving† this January day?

We need to make sense of† this verse first, fit it into the sovereignty of God.† I don’t mean figuring out “Why is this happening to me?….” but seeing that a Father’s love is always back of our life’s events.† A father who is kind, patient, full of mercy, and good will.† One who smiles…Your circumstances are tugging at your heart, at a cross with what you desire…revealing discontent, bitterness, anger.† You are blocked in, there’s not much you can do about things. The key is to see the sovereign God as your loving Father.† He is your Father because you are “in Christ.”† You have been declared perfect.† Everything is all right between you and God. You are covered by Jesus’ perfect life and His sacrifice on the cross (Romans 3-5).† God cares about you even though what is happening to you is not what you want right now.

WORKING IT OUT

Getting hold of these biblical teachings helps change our attitude about what is happening to us.† You have to think those concepts out, work them like kneading bread.† That “attitude adjustment” makes all the difference.† After this understanding and change, we will feel it in our hearts when the Holy Spirit comforts and consoles us, and our love for the Lord Jesus wells up within us.

The following is my paraphrase from several letters written by Samuel Rutherford in the 1630’s.† His circumstances weren’t what he wanted either.† He was in prison for his refusal to go along with all the Anglican Church’s demands.

Let God make of you what he wants.† He will end all with comfort,and shall make glory out of your sufferings.


Let not the Lord’s dealing seem harsh, rough,or unfatherly just because it is unpleasant for you right now.


When what the Lord wants crosses with what you want, it is best, in humility, to strike sail to him and to be willing to go any way He pleases.† It is a point of denial of yourself, to be as if you didn’t have a will,to sail along with him.


You don’t know right now what the Lord is working out of this, but you will know one day.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it like this,

“Behind a frowning providence, is a Father’s face.

Be a good first mate.† Tend the sails to the course the captain has determined.† Don’t forget to express your concerns and to make requests of† Him along the way, but don’t† buck against His headings.† It makes for a much happier ship.