Creation reminds children of God’s love.

28 10 2014

IMG_5054 adj

Go on a love hunt with your young child. What’s a love hunt? It’s kinda like the games I Spy and Hide and Seek. Only you’re searching for God’s love.

Invite your youngster to join you by saying, “Let’s go outside for a love hunt. We’ll search for messages from God.”

Use the script below as you stroll outside hand-in-hand. On a rainy day, watch the video I created for an indoor adventure.

http://youtu.be/WS2hoyCxX7A

Note: All Bible verses are from the Easy-to-Read Version.


 

See that sky?

God created that sky. His power is amazing! You draw pretty pictures for people you love. God paints the sky for you! Each day He gives you a new beautiful picture.

“Long ago, you made the world. You made the sky with your own hands!” Psalm 102:25

You can’t see an end of the sky. That’s just like God’s love. His love to you will never end.

“Lord, your faithful love reaches to the sky. Your faithfulness is as high as the clouds.” Psalm 36:5

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 108:4

See that cloud?

God made the clouds. Every day we see clouds in different shapes and colors. That’s another amazing thing about God.

“Do you know how the clouds hang in the sky? This is just one of the amazing works of the one who knows everything.”  Job 37:16

That cloud reminds us of His love.

“Your faithful love is higher than the highest clouds in the sky!” Psalm 57:10

It reminds us that God provides what we need to eat and drink.

God sent food to drop from the clouds when His people were wandering around the desert and hungry.

“But then God opened the clouds above, and manna rained down on them for food.” Psalm 78:23

He sends rain so we can drink water and so plants will grow.

“He fills the sky with clouds. He sends rain to the earth. He makes the grass grow on the mountains.” Psalm 147:8

Christ went up into heaven on a cloud and will come again on a cloud. When that happens, it will be the end of all hurts and problems.

“After Jesus said this, he was lifted up into the sky. While they were watching, he went into a cloud, and they could not see him. They were staring into the sky where he had gone. Suddenly two men wearing white clothes were standing beside them. They said, “‘Men from Galilee, why are you standing here looking into the sky? You saw Jesus carried away from you into heaven. He will come back in the same way you saw him go.’” Acts 1:9-11

See that bird?

God loves you more than any bird in the sky.

“So don’t be afraid. You are worth more than a whole flock of birds.”  Matthew 10:31

Birds don’t worry. God takes care of them. So don’t worry about what you will eat. You’re even more important to God than the birds. He will take care of you and make sure you have food.

“Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or save food in barns, but your heavenly Father feeds them. Don’t you know you are worth much more than they are?”  Matthew 6:26

See this tree?

God made it to give us shade. He made other trees to give us fruit. We can hang swings on trees or climb small ones. Adults use trees to make things like furniture and paper.

A tree reminds us not to worry. The tree doesn’t worry. Its roots always find water. When we trust in the Lord, we’ll find blessings. God will always do what He says.

“But those who trust in the Lord will be blessed. They know that the Lord will do what he says. They will be strong like trees planted near a stream that send out roots to the water. They have nothing to fear when the days get hot. Their leaves are always green. They never worry, even in a year that has no rain. They always produce fruit.”  Jeremiah 17:7-8

See those flowers?

Don’t worry about what you will wear. God made the flowers look even more beautiful that the richest king. He can surely make sure you have clothes to wear.

“But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers.”  Matthew 6:29

See the water?

God has power to open the sea. He has power to help you with any problem.

“Moses raised his hand over the Red Sea, and the Lord caused a strong wind to blow from the east. The wind blew all night long. The sea split, and the wind made the ground dry.”  Exodus 14:21

Christ walked on TOP of the water. He will do amazing things in your life.

“Between three and six o’clock in the morning, Jesus’ followers were still in the boat. Jesus came to them. He was walking on the water.”  Matthew 14:25

Christ’s followers were afraid of the storm. Jesus used His power to stop the waves. He can keep you from being afraid, just like He calmed the waves.

“The followers went to Jesus and woke him. They said, ‘Master! Master! We will drown!’ Jesus got up. He gave a command to the wind and the waves. The wind stopped, and the lake became calm.”  Luke 8:24

See that rock?

God is like that. He’s my sturdy Protector.

The Lord is my Rock, my fortress, my place of safety. He is my God, the Rock I run to for protection.”  Psalm 18:2

See the lamb?

A tiny lamb needs a shepherd to take care of it. Just like we all need Someone to take care of us. The Lord is our good Shepherd. He has power to take good care of us.

“Like a good shepherd, he takes care of his people. He gathers them like lambs in his arms. He holds them close, while their mothers walk beside him.”  Isaiah 40:11

“The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need. He gives me green pastures to lie in. He leads me by calm pools of water. He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good. Even if I walk through a valley as dark as the grave, I will not be afraid of any danger, because you are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. You prepared a meal for me in front of my enemies. You welcomed me as an honored guest. My cup is full and spilling over. Your goodness and mercy will be with me all my life, and I will live in the Lord’s house a long, long time.”  Psalm 23

See the path?

God wants you to follow Him and do what He has planned for you. Find His path and stay on it.

“I have followed your way. My feet never left your path.”  Psalm 17:5

“God is the one who gives me strength. He clears the path I need to take.”  Psalm 18:32

“He restores my strength. He leads me on right paths to show that he is good.”  Psalm 23:3

“Make sure that I am not going the wrong way. Lead me on the path that has always been right.”  Psalm 139:24

Reading the Bible will help you follow His path.

“Your word is like a lamp that guides my steps, a light that shows the path I should take.”  Psalm 119:105

See that sand?

It reminds you that God is always thinking about you. It would be too hard to count each grain of sand. There are so many! That’s how many thoughts God has for you. He’s ALWAYS thinking about you. He knows all about you. It’s wonderful to think that the Creator of the whole world thinks about you all the time.

“Your thoughts are beyond my understanding. They cannot be measured! If I could count them, they would be more than all the grains of sand. But when I finished, I would have just begun.”  Psalm 139:17-18

See that shade?

God protects you all day and all night.

“The Lord is your Protector. The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you. The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night.”  Psalm 121:5-6

See that moon?

God made them.

“Look up to the skies. Who created all those stars? Who created all those ‘armies’ in the sky? Who knows every star by name? He is very strong and powerful, so not one of these stars is lost.” Isaiah 40:26

Even the moon praises God. The sun, moon, and stars praise God. Let’s join them.

“Sun and moon, praise him! Stars and lights in the sky, praise him!” Psalm 148:3

See the sunset?

God never sleeps. He watches over you when you’re sleeping.

“He will not let you fall. Your Protector will not fall asleep. Israel’s Protector does not get tired. He never sleeps.”  Psalm 121:3-4

 

 

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Go for the Gold

12 01 2014

gold

What would you do to get gold? Work overtime. Marry a millionaire. Move to Hollywood. Train eight hours a day for years to become a world-class athlete.

There are all kinds of gold. This is the season of pursuing the prize. Movie stars sparkle more than the gold statue displayed in their hands. Olympiads beam brighter than the gold medal draped on their proud chests. 

The Winter Olympics will begin soon. Medal counts will be fun to calculate. Victories will be thrilling.

What can our children learn from the athletes? What does it take to become the best? Confidence tempered with humility. Practice and hard work. Great sacrifice. Support. Discipline. Determination. Resilience. An ability to embrace mistakes and learn from them. To rise again and become better.

We want our kids to have goals and follow their dreams. Are some goals better than others?

Do you remember the name of the athlete who won the gold medal in men’s speed skating in the last Olympics (500 m, 1000 m, or 1500 m)? Fame is fleeting. Fortune fades.

In Matthew 6:19-20 we read about disintegrating trophies and indestructible ones. “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

This is not to say earthly accomplishments are wrong. We supported our sons’ endeavors. We provided what was needed for them to pursue their black belts in karate. They achieved that goal. Then they strove to become accomplished musicians. We did all we could to help them in that endeavor.  

Let’s continue to encourage our kids to set goals and to dream dreams. But let’s also pass on our passion for God. To instill in them a desire to serve Him, share the Gospel, and love others.

“But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds … You see that (Moses’) faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.”   James 2:18, 22

Help them focus on an eternal goal. So that one day they’ll be able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”  2 Timothy 4:7-8

Personally, I wish my children continue to spend their lives ‘going for the gold.’ I can’t imagine anything better than for them to walk the streets of gold in heaven, wearing a crown from God.

Each year I taught second graders, I planned a year-long theme. During a Winter Olympic year, the theme was ‘God’s Athletes.’ Click on the link below to find the list of verses I compiled related to that theme.

Gods.athletes.verses





An Attitude of Gratitude

27 11 2012

Now that Thanksgiving is over, we don’t have to be thankful. Right? Obviously, not.

As parents, we want our children to have an attitude of gratitude. How does that happen? We know it wouldn’t work to simply say, “Starting today, you’re going to be thankful no matter what.”

It would be nice if we could just say it and make it so.

How ‘bout simply modeling gratitude? Some children would imitate our frequent praises. Others might miss them completely.

We can be purposeful in teaching about gratitude. We can be determined to build a thankful spirit in our kids.

How can we, as worn-out parents, do that in the context of a hectic life? Happily, the Bible provides guidance.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  (Deuteronomy 6:5-7)

The secret: Talk about God’s commands everywhere and all the time.

Moses was worn out counseling God’s people. His father-in-law gave him this advice. He told Moses to teach God’s people His “decrees and instructions, and show them the way they are to live and how they are to behave.” (Exodus 18:20)

We can follow that wise counsel: Show kids how to live and behave.

What would that look like?

When I taught second graders, I focused on a theme for the entire year. One year the theme was ‘An Attitude of Gratitude.’

Activities included:

  • Focusing on a Bible verse about gratitude each week.
  • Compiling a gratitude list (added to often). By the end of the year, we had a scroll that matched the length of a long hallway!
  • Singing songs about thanks and praise. Example (sung to the tune of “Oh Be Careful Little Hands What You Do”):

Sometimes God answers yes when we pray.

Sometimes God answers wait when we pray.

Sometimes God answer no,

Just because He loves us so.

For I know He always answers when we pray.

  • Making the most of teachable moments…times when students faced disappointments. They provided opportunities to have discussions about how we can be grateful in spite of circumstances.
  • Reading poetry and books about gratitude.
  • Having a motto: “Count your blessings one by one. Then you’ll see what the Lord has done.”
  • Writing about times which led to gratitude.
  • Going on a gratitude hunt. One day was designated for students to collect reasons to be thankful. They were encouraged to look outside, inside, at people, in activities, etc.
  • Using academic content as reasons for thanks. Science is full of God’s awesome power in creation. Math reminds us that we can be grateful for order (instead of confusion). Stories in Social Studies and History provide numerous heroes. Characters worthy of our praise.
  • Encouraging children to thank others on a regular basis (e. g, thank a friend for helping, thank someone who saved a seat…).

Click on the link below to find a list of gratitude verses.

Gratitude Verses

How else could you teach your child to have an attitude of gratitude?





Colorful Leaves Made Simple

7 10 2012

Young toddlers barrage us with their favorite question, “Why?”

Rebellious teens debate us with their challenging word, “Why?”

No wonder we cringe when we hear it.

When released from the mouth of an inquiring young mind, it’s a word to be celebrated. The child hasn’t ceased from wondering.

Robert Fulghum wrote the bestselling book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. In it, he included this important piece of advice: Be aware of wonder.

It’s a challenge to us when life is so busy. There’s too much to do to stop and wonder…must go shopping, must get to sports, must make dinner, must get homework done…

I loved when my second graders inquired, “Why do leaves change color?”

Answering that simple question challenged me to explain it in the simplest terms.

Here’s what I taught them. We practiced saying it over and over so they could tell their parents.

Warm sun + less light + cooler temperatures = no more chlorophyll

No more chlorophyll – no more green color = hidden colors (there all the time)  

                                               

Click on the link below to see a 51-slide PowerPoint slide show I created using the advice from Robert Fulghum’s book. The Bible verses were added by me (not included in Fulghum’s book).

Learned All in Kindergarten with verses





‘Want world-class endurance?

7 08 2012

Need more endurance? I do.

 

I love the Olympics. The stories of the athletes are impressive. Stories of sacrifice, discipline, and determination. I can only dream of such qualities. But those athletes teach me how to deal with day-to-day struggles. They inspire me to continue on through my MS. But, it’s God’s Word which tells me how to endure.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2

Keeping my eyes on Jesus one day at a time. That’s the key.

I recently wrote a devotional about how I endure my constant pain.

You can find that devotional on Rest Ministries website. It’s entitled “Endure the Pain with an Eye on the Gold” and was posted July 12th.

Visit Chronic Illness Pain Daily Devotionals (Rest Ministries) to read that devotional (and find more devotionals written by other people with chronic pain or illness).

☞Free list of Bible verses.

When I taught second graders, I had a year-long theme called “God’s Athletes.” I compiled a list of verses related to that theme. They can be yours by clicking on this link:

athletes verses