Women Embracing Faith

Thinking Through the Bible

Noah’s Ark October 5, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 4:25 pm

Did you know that the ark had three floors?  It was about the size of a soccer field or a football field.  It is estimated it could have held as many as 50,000 animals.

These interesting little details don’t help much if you don’t really believe there was a real world-wide flood.  If you look at Genesis as just an ethnic folk tale…..cute for kid’s rooms and learning about the animals.  Ask yourself:  Is it true or not?

Another thing to think about is the Bible’s use of symbols or types. The ark is a symbol of Christ.  Just as Noah and his family  were saved from the flood, we are saved by being “in Christ.” Noah’s story is all about GRACE–his finding unmerited favor with God and thus escaping the judgment of God against everyone else.  Of course, God was patient, waiting for people to turn from their sins as Noah built the ark and preached to them.

Teach your children the whole story:  Grace, Judgment, Repentance., faith.. Put the story in the big picture–salvation provided through faith in Christ Jesus alone. This is the good news–the gospel of grace.  Think about that.

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Talking Points September 12, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips,Uncategorized — womenembracingfaith @ 12:36 pm

The planet Venus is 24 million miles from earth.  If the sky is clear at sunset tonight, Venus will be shining brightly in the SW sky by 7:55 p.m. EDT.

Take your child or grandchild outside and have a talk about several catechism questions:

Who made you?   God

What else did God make?  God made all things

Why did God make you and all things?  For His own glory.

How can you glorify God?  By loving Him and doing what He commands.

Why are you to glorify God?  Because He made me and takes care of me.

Remember, to glorify means to reflect some small measure of what God is like. So since God made us and takes care of us, we should repond with loving obedience and that is exactly what reflects the true nature of God.

Looking at Venus is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce the power of God’s spoken word in making something out of nothing.  Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Notice that s.  That would include Venus.  So leave your child wondering about the wonder of it all.  “And God said it was very good.”

He still speaks today—through the Spirit’s lighting up the Bible’s meaning for us.  Come inside and, at least, look up Genesis 1:1!

SHOW ME JESUS

When you pray, thank God that Jesus was there in the beginning, saying, “And it is very good!”

 

Bible Teaching Tip September 1, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 4:42 pm
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These pictures are of the notebook I kept this summer.  It is all the take-home papers from my 2-4 year olds Sunday School class.  We use this to review, play matching games with the Bible story pictures I’ve posted around the room, and to remind us of our songs we love to sing.  Our Songbook is kept in the notebook too.  

I suggest you keep all your child’s take-home papers from Sunday School or Children’s Church in a notebook for the year.   Flip through the pages for a quick review of people, places, biblical themes and principles. Then you can quickly apply those principles to her/his everyday life and devotional life for that day.  Be sure to show them Jesus and the gospel in every lesson. 

 For instance, these lessons in my notebook on Shadrake, Meshach, and Abednego and Daniel show how God listens to our prayers and wants us to worship only Him.  The way to show them Jesus is to explain that Jesus is God’s Son, the Promised King.  It is only through faith in Him that we can expect God to hear our prayers.  Even these boys long agos knew God had promised a Savior who would live forever.  The application:  Do you pray?  Do you believe in Jesus? Do you ever worship other things?

The Sunday School literature I use does all this for you. They also include memory verse and Catchism question.  (gcp.org) 

Simply putting weekly lessons into a notebook lets you keep your teaching tools handy.  If you have to search for them, you’ll end up not reviewing and not much will have been accomplished at Children’s Church or Sunday School.  KEEP YOUR TOOLS HANDY.

 

A Shepherd and a Dove August 23, 2010

Filed under: Ezekiel,Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 8:58 am
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Being a shepherd is hard work….Keeping on top of 2-4 year olds wears one out…Sometimes a good shepherd has had enough.  Jake just wore himself out keeping tabs on kids all summer.

God  had had enough with the people of Judah’s idoltry, careless morality, their hard hearts.  He was the Good Shepherd, and they were His sheep, but enough was enough.  Ezekiel had to tell it to them straight:

 ”The end has come…Doom has come to you, you who dwell in the land;…I will judge you according to your ways, And I will repay you for all your abominations” (Ezekiel 7:6-9).

This disaster caused them to finally see their sin They mourned for what they had done and been.  They were weak and shakey with sorrow.

…like doves of the valleys   All of them mourning, Each for his iniquity.  Every hand will be feeble   And every knee will be as weak as water  (Ezekiel 7:16-17).

The historical record is clear.  God left Solomon’s temple, and this city which believed they were untouchable because of His presence, found out the consequences of their refusal to turn and follow God.  They did not listen to Isaiah; they did not heed Habakkuk’s warning; they did not believe Ezekiel.  Until, finally, doom and destruction came.  Babylon  destroyed everything.  Then it all made sense, and those left alive realized how wrong they had been.

Application

We should learn from this history lesson.  We can’t push our Good Shepherd too far.  We need to shake with reverence and mourn our sins before it is too late. 

“Therefore, strengthen the hands which hand down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.  …let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.  For our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:12-13; 28-29).

Jesus said,

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:3-4).

Read Ezekiel 7 and think about ways you have failed to be godly.  Daniel and Ezekiel remembered their sins.  God kept on being their Good Shepherd during their exile in Babylon (Iraq).

A Lesson For Children

Listen to the song of the doves with your kids.  Except for the hottest summer days, I have two doves in my yard most of the time; I’ll bet you do too.  Let their singing be a reminder for the kids (and you) of how we are to feel about our sins:  sad…. sorry… real grief…an offence to our Creator.  Mourn like doves.

“like doves of the valley” (Ezekiel 7:16).

 

 

Summer: Gospel Opportunities June 22, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 5:53 am
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Seize the moment.  Summer provides many gospel opportunities.  More time outside is a time to remind kids of the creative power of God as simply imagining what He wanted the cosmos to be and saying the word.  Children need to be reminded every day of who made them so they can humbly realize they are not the center of the universe!   Reread Genesis 1-2 together and talk about the order of creation.  Light before the sun; birds and fish before mammals; oceans before land…  Talk about these things during your day.  Bring the subject up.  Respond quickly when one of the children asks a question.

What does this have to do with the gospel?  Those who are created bow before their Creator.  As they see the wonder of the creation, they revere that Creator.  Reverence for God grows as the child investigates all around him.  It is really the beginning of seeing one’s need of a Savior.  When you point this out to him, you are setting the stage, laying a strong foundation for a personal relationship with God.  Rejection of God as Creator takes humility and reverence out of that foundation.  Reverence and humility are the cornerstones, the supporting columns for seeing themselves as sinners deserving and expecting justice.  Read Chapter 10, Old Paths for Little Feet where I explain this more.  Enjoy every moment with the children.  I intend to.  Here’s a picture of how I’ll be spending my time in July:     

 

Pre-School To Lower Elementary Story Bible May 27, 2010

Filed under: Teaching Tips — womenembracingfaith @ 2:47 am
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Parents and Grandparents:  I would like to recommend you buy several copies of The Big Picture Story Bible (David Helm and Gail Schoonmaker, Crossway Books, 2004).  The text is an accurate summary of the Bible around the theme of Jesus as the promised “forever King.”  They show how Jesus taught the apostles how to see pictures of this promise all through Old Testament.  (See pages 405-411).

“Do you see the Lord?  Painted on the pages of Israel’s hard and happy history is the big picture of God’s forever king” (p.410-411).

I would recommend you show your child these pages when reading each Part (their name for chapter.)  That way the Reformed Christian view of unity of the Old and New Testaments is made most clear from the beginning.

Helms also adds a great explanation of  how the New Testament centers around this same theme of  looking at Jesus as the Forever King:  

“God knew what to do for his people!  God chose some of Jesus’ special followers to write letters to complete God’s holy book.  These letters told God’s people: ‘Remember, hold on to the message.  Keep believing, Jesus! Love one another like family.  Forgive one another.  Be careful! Don’t let people trick you.  Run away from sin.  Endure hardship.  and look for Jesus’ return” (Helm, p. 432).

The pictures are large and inviting. It is divided into short “parts” that are easily connected to the main theme Forever King.  I think this book would make great presents for young mothers, grandmothers, and Sunday School teachers. It is also an excellent tool for those of us who need a good summary of the Bible for ourselves to read quickly and easily.  So young readers in the 4th-5th grade level would also benefit.

This children’s book should help those who read this blog understand more clearly the perspective I’m taking coming from and trying to get across.  You can order at  www.christianbooks.com

 Happy Summer Reading!

 

 

 

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