Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

A Bowl, A Spoon, and A Pitcher March 22, 2011

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:25 pm
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One of “seven laws of teaching” I quoted in Old Paths For Little Feet( p. 97) is “Use the known to teach the unknown.” The Bible is real good at this. It uses the tangible to teach the intangible. Something from everyday life to illustrate a spiritual principle. Here is an example:

‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is ‘born’ again he cannot see the kingdom of God. …Do not marvel that I said to you, “You must be born again.” The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit (John 3:4).

Jesus was showing Nicodemus the role of the Holy Spirit in one’s salvation experience. Without the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts none of us can know God. He used the wind to help Nicodemus understand the work of the Spirit upon the heart.

Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will put my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by flowing streams (Isaiah 44:2-4).

In this Old Testament passage, the Holy Spirit’s work is illustrated by water. He is like a stream or flowing water bringing blessings upon dry, parched hearts.

God’s sovereignty is always balanced with the truth of man’s responsibility. The two truths are like parallel train tracks, running along beside each other, but never intersecting or crossing the other one out. The Holy Spirit actually renews our hearts, gives us faith, but we are to watch our hearts carefully, and observe the fruit it is producing.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Proverbs 4:23).

Sometimes we have to stir up our hearts to serve the Lord Jesus and to love him more. We do this through praying, reading and studying our Bible, singing, and serving.

USE THE TANGIBLE TO TEACH THE INTANGIBLE. USE THE PHYSICAL TO TEACH THE SPIRITUAL.

Try this with your children: Put some flour in a large bowl. Let them stir the dry flour. Keep repeating “STIR.” Then let them pour water into the bowl. Keep repeating POUR. STIR, POUR, DRY, WATER. Start with simple vocabulary. “Look what happens to the dry flour. It becomes soft and moist. Our hearts are like this. They are dry and hard. God has to pour his Spirit upon us so our hearts will soften and love him.”

Then, read these verses quoted above out loud, sing a song, and pray. I did this in Children’s Church with ages 5-10. We are learning to sing “O Can It Be” by Charles Wesley to stir our hearts so we can love, worship, and obey God more.

Amazing love! How can it be that Thou, my God, should die for me?
‘Tis mercy all! Let earth adore, let angel minds inquire no more.
‘Tis mercy all! Immense and free! for O my God it found out me.

 

Songs For Preschoolers February 11, 2011

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:20 am
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These songs are so easy and useful. I just had to pass them along. The idea is to pick out two per week and sing them as you “walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:7). They not only teach a spiritual principle but stir the emotions to love and obey. Try it. they are from Greater Commission Publications (www.gcp.org). I’m so thankful for #3….

I don’t like singing to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” as suggested by the Sunday School materials so I just make up a catchy tune of my own. I can’t get away from saying Twinkle, Twinkle….. The point is to use singing as a way to remember the biblical principle. The melody is important because it aids memory. Learn the melody first. Then add the words one short phrase at a time. Repeat. Sing in your heart to the Lord.

1. God bless me and God bless you, God bless us in all we do.
2. Hear God’s Word and then obey, Trust in Jesus every day.
3. All have sinned—what can we do, We need Jesus, this is true!
4. Trust God’s Word and then obey, Trust in Jesus every day.
5. All have sinned—what can we do? We need Jesus, this is true!
6. God sent Jesus, his own Son, Jesus died, his work was done.
7. Holy Spirit, special Friend, be with me until the end.
8. Praise the Father! Praise the Son! Praise the Spirit! Three in one.

Enjoy…I’ll bet you will find your heart lifted up, and your mind thinking about the steadfast, enduring love of God toward us who believe in who Jesus is and what he has done.
“Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” (Romans 8:34)

 

ADVENT CONTINUED December 29, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 4:29 pm

Anna and Simeon saw Mary and Joseph coming into the Temple with a month old baby boy. Both of these old people had been waiting expectantly for the Promised One. They knew their Bible. They remembered God’s promise to Adam and Eve of a Seed to come; they knew about Abraham and the stars; they had read about the importance of David’s descendents in God’s bringing about His promised Savior. So they waited, and prayed, and hoped. Then when they saw Jesus, somehow they KNEW…..(See Luke 2:22-38).

TEACHING TIP
Always apply the Bible story’s main point to your child’s everyday life, heart, and spiritual experiences….even if they are only three!

Here is an example: Are we waiting expectantly for Jesus to come back? One day we will look up and see Him coming. We will join the big parade for the KING of the whole world. Do you believe that Jesus will come back? Does it make you excited, glad, hopeful —or afraid? Those who have trusted in Him all their lives will be happy to see their friend and KING.

This last week of Advent focuses on the returning King who is worthy of all our praise. “O Come Let Us Adore Him” is an easy chorus to stir our hearts to love God more. It is important to “warm our hearts” with the application of the biblical principle. All of us are affected by music. Adoration is one aspect of love. Music is one way to apply the scripture.

This focus completes the emphasis on the gospel in the Christmas story to our families. Don’t let these teaching opportunities slip away.

 

On A Clear Night December 15, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 3:41 am
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It is always important we all remind ourselves that the Bible is made up of many books tied together by one theme. That theme, of course, is Jesus–his essence, his life, death, resurrection, and his coming again. Look for that theme no matter which book you’re reading. See it in the Psalms. Look for his righteousness in the Proverbs.

TEACHING TIP
We have had some cold clear nights lately. This is a perfect time to bundle up and take a walk with a child. Talk about the stars and planets for awhile, and how God created it all for his own glory–to reflect something of his power, goodness, and grace. In a way, the stars are like the rainbow. They remind us that God always keeps his promises. Then tell them the story of Abraham. How God told him to look up at the stars and try to count them. Abraham couldn’t begin;there were so many. Then God told him his family would be like the stars—so many, a big family. That sounded ridiculous because Abraham and Sarah had no children. None. But, Abraham believed God could keep that promise. God declared Abraham perfect—righteous—excused from any and all of his sins!

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward the heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them. Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.” (Genesis 15:5-6).

The rest of the Old Testament tells how that promise was kept. His family always had this example of God’s promise and Abraham’s faith that God do what he said. Everytime you look up at the stars, remember how God kept his promise to Abraham and will keep his word always. He never lies or deceives others like we sometimes do. Have you ever tried to get away with something you knew was wrong? To look really innocent…. That is a way of lying, and it shows you that you need a Savior too–just like Abraham. Even Abraham lied. I have told a lie myself. That’s why we, everyone in the world, needed Jesus to come, live without lying, die, and come back alive.

God let others from Abraham’s family know Him and, over the years, made more and more promises to them about the coming of Jesus. He would be born into this family, descended from Abraham and his one son, Isaac. He would be born in Bethlehem. He would be put to bed into a feeding trough where the barn animals ate! Whenever you look up at the stars, remember these two stories of Abraham’s faith and Jesus’ birth are connected. Everyone who is fully convinced that God is able to do what he promises will be saved.
Looking at the stars as we walk and talk with a child can remind us all that God keeps his promises always. Even a young child can understand this simple biblical principle and have the stars to always remind him of God’s faithfulness and plan of salvation …

“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them” (Romans 1:19).
“For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).

TEACHING TIP
Speak directly to the child about his and your own sin. Then lead them immediately to the hope and comfort found only in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Solomon’s Gift March 9, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children — womenembracingfaith @ 9:04 am
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Divide this story up into parts, depending on the age of the child.  Don’t forget to be direct about how it applies to their little heart, especially how they are thinking about God.

“Every perfect gift is from above…”

Once there was an old man named Solomon.  His name meant “beloved by God.”  He had not always been old.  Once he little, just like you.  His name reminded him that God loved him.  He was dear to God– like you are dear to me.  Do you think God loves you like that?

Solomon’s father was a King.  King David, the one who made Jerusalem a city of God. It was a neighborhood of peace, and where worshiping God was what people were expected to do.  His father was very rich and his mother must have been very beautiful.  Both of them really loved Solomon a lot–like I love you. There was a lot of singing and music in Solomon’s young life.  His father wrote songs all the time. Remember this one, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters.  Even though I walk in the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me;…” (Psalm 23).

King David wanted Solomon to be very wise. His mother taught him too.  They must have had a lot of fun talking about things—just like we do.  When Solomon grew up and became the King, God gave him a special gift: the ability to study and write.  He collected wise sayings on the best way to life and wrote them all down.  They were put into a book called Proverbs. That is one of the books in our Bible.  You will soon be able to read them for yourself!  One says: “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother” (Proverbs 10:1).

Solomon was king of Israel for forty years. Everyone knew what a great and wise king he was.  People came from far away just to see the beautiful cities he built and to learn from him.  Ships brought him treasures from all over the world–even apes from Africa!  No one in Israel had ever seen an ape.  What fun they must have had thinking about how God made everything.  We love doing that, don’t we?  Remember the wolves we saw at the zoo? And the girafes? Solomon wanted everyone to remember that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

When Solomon was old, he became a great preacher.  He was a collector of God’s truths and wanted to tell others about them. So he wrote another book about the meaning of  life: what life is all about.  Proverbs tells us how to live.  Ecclesiastes says that life is all about knowing God.  Nothing else is as important as that.

Solomon had learned this lesson the hard way. He needed a Savior just like we do. He got so busy with being king, he stopped thinking about God as the most important person in his life. He started going along with all those around him who didn’t think about needing a Savior.  He had to tell God how sorry he was and go back to loving God and doing what He commands.

But this story is about a little rich boy who had a special gift from God. He used his special gift of  observing and collecting God’s truth to help other people.  He wanted them to love God.  He knew that knowing God was the most important thing in life. He knew he

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A fireman?  A solder? A mother? a father?  Be on the lookout for the special gift God might give you to help others. I wonder what it will be?

 

Story Telling Principles February 26, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 7:32 am
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Repetition Aids Learning and Creates Lifelong Memories

Make the Real Stories as Interesting as the Fantasy

These two principles will help you a lot as you tell Bible stories to children. Relax.  You have 18-20 years to lead your children to God; you don’t have to know every story in the Bible today–much less figure out how to make it as compelling as Mickey Mouse.

Repetition means you can harp on one story, adding details, twists and turns, using visuals you find in the world and in your own home.  It is amazing how much punch I’ve gotten out of that little story of David’s army crawling thorough the drain pipes to take over Jerusalem (see 1/11/10 blog).  We’ve seen drains, sewage and water caps everywhere.  I couldn’t believe the number in a strip mall right in the desert in Arizona.  Look around you and use what you can.  I’ll bet there are some near your Target.

The two year olds can recite:  “Who took over Jerusalem and made it into a city of God?”  “King David did.”   “What did his men say when they came up out of the drain?”  “Surprise!”  You can imagine how much fun Benjamin (3/1/2)  had with the ensuing sword fight using the foam swords I found at the Dollar Store.

Why would anyone care that they know these cute details about David? That brings us to a third principle:

Never Tell A Bible Story in Isolation Without Tying It to the Bible’s Main Themes and Jesus, the Savior.

David’s life is all about his personal relationship with the Promised Savior.  In addition, read the songs he wrote to see how he was used as a Prophet telling us some details about Jesus’  life and death to come.  (See Psalm 22.) David’s heart for justice and protection of his people as their King pictures for us Jesus’ heart to shepherd His people.  He was the great warrior-King  as well.  In these ways, he is a “type” of Christ, a picture helping us focus on our Savior.

Amidst the foam sword fight, remind your pre-schooler of King David fighting for His people just like God defends and fights for His people today.  Jesus is our Savior; He can fight even better than King David, and stands at the right hand of  God pleading for us, protecting us;  His Spirit never leaves His people without help, protection, provision.  David used clever tactics to get control of the site he intended to make a city of God.  A city where worship was central, where His laws were obeyed, where relationship with Him was personnel and hopeful. Jesus is even a better King than David was.  His Kingdom is forever. You could read them Psalm 60 or 56.

The Bible is a wonderful book—filled with many books and thousands of stories of people who loved or rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.  It is one book, united by one major theme of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. Children need to know about this hope and promise and invitation.

Story Telling Principles:

Repetition

Interesting and Fun

Connected to the Bible’s Themes

Life-long Memories

 

Real Stories February 3, 2010

Filed under: Bible Story For Children,Philippians — womenembracingfaith @ 4:25 pm
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Children love fantasy.  And it is hard even for those in early elementary grades to distinguish the difference between Mickey Mouse and Paul of  Taurus.  So in Bible lessons, tell them “this is REAL.”

Here is the story (for adults too)

Jesus died and rose up into heaven right in front of a lot of people. T hen, fifteen or so years later, Paul, a missionary, went to a country that was not his own. He could speak their language, Greek.  Some exciting things happened in this town of Philippi, in Macedonia.

Paul and some friends (Luke, Silas, Timothy) went to Philippi after dreaming a man called to them, asking for help.  God used this way of telling Paul to go to Europe instead of  to Asia. World history would have been a lot different if they had gone to Asia as planned.  Sometimes God changes our plans.

Paul and his friends met some women down by the river, praying.  One lady, Lydia, was a wealthy business woman in town to make some money.  She was so happy to hear that there was a way for her to be saved from her sin.  She and her family all believed what Paul taught about Jesus being the One who died so they could know God and be close to Him.

A young slave girl was controlled by an evil spirit.  Paul said to the demon, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her!”  And it did.  But now the girl couldn’t tell the future anymore, so her owners dragged Paul and Silas to the judge.  They were mad and lied, saying Paul and Silas were teaching others to disobey the law.  The  lie spread around town until  a mob formed and began beating Paul and Silas right there in front of the judge.  The judge threw them in prison to keep them safe from the mob.  They were chained way deep inside the prison.  Paul and Silas sang and prayed together.

It gets even more exciting.  An earthquake struck.  Their chains fell off.  The prison doors opened.  But, neither Paul or any of the other prisoners left.  I guess they were asking Paul questions or something.  The jailer was really scared because he knew the Roman Judge would have his neck for this big escape.  They told him to calm down, and then told him all about Jesus’ life, death, and going into heaven.  All to pay the price for this jailer’s sins.  He cleaned up their wounds (remember, they had been beaten by the mob) and then asked to be baptized as a sign of  his sins being washed away. Everyone in his family believed also.  Just like Lydia’s .

Now these two families and some other people became the church in Philippi.  They stayed friends with Paul and helped him plant churches in Greece and helped the Jewish Christians during a bad time.  Paul would visit them 2 more times, and then write them a letter from prison in Rome.  They helped bring the gospel to Europe.  Later, Europeans would sail across the Atlantic, bringing the good news of  Christ to America.

This is a wonderful story about how God showed Paul where to go, then helped him with an earthquake, and saved two families and a slave girl and helped a new church get started which then would help send the gospel along into the Roman Empire and Western Europe.  We never know what God will do!  (See Acts 16 for details)

Always Apply the story:

Do you go to church?  Do you have more than two families there? Do you believe Jesus died for your sins? Are you sorry for your sins?  Do you ever tell others about Jesus? Have you ever been in an earthquake?  Isn’t it wonderful to know God saves people–some rich like Lydia, some slaves like this girl, some working folks like this prison guard?  It doesn’t matter what our family is like, He can save anyone!