Tag Archives: Bible study for children and preteens

Cut to the Heart and I’m to Blame

bigstock-Bloody-kitchen-knife-isolated--36020614I’ve been stabbed. Again.

Scripture compares God’s Word to a sword and boy, did I get it this week. Check out this verse:

Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the LORD will see and disapprove and turn His wrath away from him. (Proverbs 24: 17-18 NIV)

Have you been there?

That smirk, that grin when your not-so-favorite person gets what’s coming? Perhaps it’s an annoying classmate, an over-talkative mom in your book club, or a business associate. It could even be—Gasp!—a sibling.

But check God’s reaction. He is not only concerned with justice for your bad guy, He’s also concerned with your attitude.

Ouch! No gloating? No feelings of revenge or superiority? Even when they deserved it?

Nope.

Aww, man!

I know. Me too, but stay with me. What is God wanting to see instead?

Perhaps a recognition that all sin is ugly and never something to rejoice over.

Maybe an understanding that the next sin could be our own.

Possibly an extension of grace—‘cause that’s what I’d want if I was hurting. James reminds us, “Mercy triumphs over judgment.”

Allow God to deal with your not-so-favorite someone. Stay vigilant and keep your heart pure lest you, like me, find yourself on the cutting end of God’s sword.

Questions:

Define justice.

Is a desire for justice right or wrong?

How can it get twisted?

Have you been gloated over?

Have you done some gloating?

How does a change in perspective change our attitude?

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Heavy Lifting

bigstock-Woman-with-her-personal-fitnes-44726662Weights are not my thing. Pinned by the bench press, I feel like a cartoon character with squeaky sound effects while my husband effortlessly lifts weight in three digit numbers.

Down days can pin me too if I’m not careful. When my heart is heavy, I tend to withdraw. Escape. Hole up. And if I don’t watch it, I’m pinned and the negative emotions press on my chest like too much weight on the bar.

Thankfully, God provides a spotter.

Proverbs 25:20 says, “Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar poured on soda, is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.” I know we hit this verse recently, but it came up again during my quiet time and something jumped out at me. When we looked at this verse before, we talked about the need to refresh others. What caught my eye this time was how.

Sing songs.

God points to music when our hearts feel heavy and we need spotting. Look at these verses:

Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:19-20 NIV)

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16 NIV)

Not only does Paul encourage us to share psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, but he also ties songs—specifically spiritual songs—to an attitude of gratitude.

Why?

Because depression and negativity find it hard to get a grip when we give thanks. Because self-pity withers and dies in the face of gratefulness.

So, take a deep breath and push. Put on some tunes and sing with a thankful heart. You’ll be amazed at what you can bench.

Questions:

What weighs you down?

What do you do when you are sad?

What Christian music encourages you?

How does music help you transition to a positive outlook and a thankful spirit?

Assemble a heavy day playlist.

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How’s It Growing?

bigstock-Growing-green-plant-22764032How’s it growing? Your faith, that is.

Hebrews 11:1 says,

“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”

I’ve also heard faith explained as believing God will do what He says and acting on it.

So, how’s it growing?

Is God fighting for time in your thoughts? Or do they go to Him automatically? Does prayer come easily? Or as an afterthought when something goes wrong?

Paul tells us in Romans, our faith is linked to hearing the word of God:

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV)

So, how’s your hearing?

For those of you with non-readers, the responsibility of making God’s word heard falls on you. But don’t despair. These principles apply to all of us:

  • Read the Bible at the table. Even one verse before school starts the day with Scripture on the brain.
  • Music: Play praise music. Often. At home. In the car. Change it up to meet everyone’s tastes.
  • Memorize Scripture. Tape a verse in the middle of the table or on the bathroom mirror. GT and the Halo Express is great series for the younger ones. For you older folk, there is plenty of Scripture set to music. Win-win!

Hear the Word, out loud or through your favorite headphones, and watch your faith grow.

Questions:

How many times each week are your ears exposed to the Bible?

In Isaiah 55: 10-11, God promises that time in His word is never wasted. What is competing for your attention?

What verse has helped you in your faith? Have everyone share a favorite.

Would these verses be a great start for memorization? Pick one. Give a prize at the end of the week for successful memory work.

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Refreshing!

bigstock-Man-And-Ventilator-5390740I walked out my front door this morning to run and it was—cool.

So?

Summer lingers in Texas like an unwelcome guest. But this morning, the breeze was out of the north. It was wonderful.

Texans appreciate refreshment, especially in the form of lower temperatures. One hundred degree summers will do that to you.

When June hits, my husband starts asking, “When is it going to get cool?”

I roll my eyes and say, “November.”

So think of your favorite cold beverage. That’s how a cool fall day feels to a Texan. Refreshing!

“Like one who takes away a garment on a cold day . . . is one who sings songs to a heavy heart.”(Proverbs 25:20 NIV)

Here, Solomon reminds us to refresh one another through song. Now before you break into Daniel Powter’s, Bad Day, look around. Any heavy hearts?

How about your struggling classmate stressing over the next test?

A teammate nervous for the coming game?

A neighbor whose kid is a real challenge? You know the one.

The single mom at work who can barely make ends meet?

Be a cool breeze in someone’s life today. Give some refreshment to a heavy heart. And by all means, sing.

Questions:

Who comes to mind when you think of a heavy heart?

What cheers you up when you’re having a hard day?

Commit to pray for one person this week.

Start with those around your dinner table. Who is struggling at home? If it’s you, speak up.

Bake something and pass it out to the neighbors just for fun. Make someone’s day.

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More Jars

bigstock-Pottery-1248429Another jar story. I couldn’t resist. Here a full jar begins the story, but by the end, the abundance has been miraculous. This widow is a believer, but her husband’s death has left the family in a financial crisis. She and her boys have nothing to live on, but that’s not the main concern. Creditors threaten to take her children as slaves. She comes to Elisha the prophet willing to do whatever he tells her. Obedient, needing only direction. Elisha sends her to collect all the jars she can find. The boys scurry from house to house asking to borrow any extra jars. Large, small, they slowly fill the small house. Then, she brings out the only thing she has—a little oil. She closes the door and begins to pour.

And pour.

And pour.

And pour.

“When all the jars were full, she said to her son, ‘Bring me another one.’ But he replied, ‘There is not a jar left.’ Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.’”(2 Kings 4:6,7 NIV)

And guessing from the quality of Jesus’ wine at the wedding in Cana, this would be some EVOO Rachel Ray would proudly use. Imagine the awe, the dropped jaws as the little jar filled big ones. The wonder at God’s provision. The humility of knowing God saw and cared and moved on their behalf.

Cultivate such willingness to obey that all you need is direction.

How? One choice at a time.

“The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.”  C. S. Lewis

Questions:

How willing are you to obey?

When is obedience easy?

When is it hard?

Does obedience get easier? Is there a process at work?

When has your obedience opened the way for a greater revelation of God?

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Empty Jars

bigstock-Terracotta-49859327

God, through Elijah, proclaimed a three year drought. To protect His prophet from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel, God hid Elijah by a small brook and provided takeout via Raven Express. Now, the brook is dry too. So God sends Elijah to the beach to a poor widow from Zarephath. Only God neglected to give the widow a heads up.

“So he(Elijah) went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”

“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”

Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel says, ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.’”(I Kings 17:10-14 NIV)

Here it is. A call to choose: what she wants vs. what God wants. God says feed my guy; her mother’s instinct says my boy is hungry. This poor widow in Zarephath has every right to tell this crazy old prophet to get lost. This is their last meal—one piece of bread—and then they will starve. Note how she refers to God: the LORD your God.

Yet, for some reason, she obeys. She gives away their last bite of food.

And a miracle happens. The jar and the jug are full.

God calls us to give up our right to ourselves. He wants us to zero in on one choice only—His. What shape has your call taken? Talk to the kid everyone ignores? Not cuss when the guys in the locker room do? Cut off the gossip before it starts? Tithe? Take turns with your sibling? Give your husband ten minutes before sharing the kids with him? Return the favor for your wife?

Our call may come one hundred times a day. Look to the One calling and remember, He will keep the jar full.

Questions:

Reread the passage. What stands out?

What would you have done in her shoes? What do you think her reaction was when the jars didn’t empty?

Did Elijah’s God ever become her God? What kind of discussions might she and Elijah have?

How do you think Elijah felt? God sent him to a Gentile woman. By Jewish law, Elijah shouldn’t be in her house. What rights did Elijah give up?

What is God calling you to choose? Do you think He will come through for you?

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Riding Shotgun

bigstock-Man-taking-car-key-41217067Individual rights. Freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s the American way.

But is it God’s way?

God loves freedom too, but not how we think. He gives us free will and allows us to make our own choices.

Yet, He asks us to lay down this right. When presented with God’s way and our way, He wants us to choose His. Scripture tells us:

“You are not your own, you were bought at a price.” (1 Corinthians 6: 19b, 20a NIV)

When we accepted Christ’s payment for our sins, we handed Him the keys to our lives. Jesus slides into the driver’s seat, and we ride shotgun. He leads, we follow. Even if we know a shortcut, or it’s Happy Hour at Sonic and a cherry limeade sounds good.

The good news? You’re in for a great ride. An adventure guaranteed to stretch you and change you forever. It’s like the guys in the Volkswagen commercial who head on a road trip and put in a CD to learn Spanish. Hours later when they finally stop for gas (because it’s a Volkswagen), they’re speaking fluent Spanish.

There’s no telling what will change when you let Jesus do the driving. The choice is yours.

Questions:

What rights do you most protect? (For me, it’s how I spend my time.)

When is yielding control to someone difficult? Easy?

Where does yielding to God fall on the Difficult to Easy spectrum? Why?

<———————————————————————————>

Difficult                                                                                              Easy

Think of one thing or area where you are willing to scoot over and let God drive. Now scoot over.

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