Lamentations

Hi all! Today will be our last lesson in the “song books” and then we’ll do a brief study on the nativity to finish out the month.

lam-3

Today’s lesson is about the book of Lamentations. The Bible doesn’t say for sure who wrote this book, but most people who study the Bible think Jeremiah the prophet is the author. (For this lesson, we will assume Jeremiah is the writer).

For most of this book, Jeremiah is writing about how sad Jerusalem (the capital city in Israel) has become. After the people disobeyed God, Babylon came in and destroyed Israel and moved most of the people away. Everything was ruined and it was very sad. People were dying, their homes were gone, there was trash and fires, no food, and sadness all around. It was very very sad. Jeremiah was also so sad because the people had disobeyed God. He wasn’t just sad about the consequences, but he was sad that the people had disobeyed.

BUT…Jeremiah remembered that God is loving and forgiving. Let’s read some of what he said…

3:19-33: I remember my suffering and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is sad within me. Yet this I remember and therefore I have hope:

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not done for, for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!
I say to myself, “The Lord is all I need; therefore I will wait for Him.”

The Lord is good to those whose hope is in Him, to the one who seeks Him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LordIt is good for a man to be disciplined while he is young. Let him sit alone in silence, for the Lord has laid it on him. Let him bury his face in the dust for all the wrong things he has done—there may yet be hope.

Let him offer his cheek to one who would strike him, and let him be filled with disgrace.

For no one is cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not enjoy bring sadness or grief to anyone.

40-42: 40 Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the LordLet us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven, and say: “We have sinned and rebelled and you have not forgiven us.”

55-57: I called on Your name, Lordfrom the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.”

Jeremiah said it’s important for God to teach us right from wrong. And it is important for us to be really sorry when we disobey God. But when we pray and call out to God, He is there. He forgives us, He loves us…He loves us enough to sometimes give us consequences and teach us how to be more like Him. When we are scared, He says, “Do not fear.” God does not forget us, even when we disobey Him…He listens to us because He is good…everyday He loves us and cares for us. Even when it doesn’t seem like it, He is there and we don’t ever have to be afraid, because we know WHO God is and HOW God is and that He will help us through any sad or hard thing. It is OUR job to obey Him, and when we DO disobey, to make it right with God–to take the consequences and to tell Him sorry and ask Him to forgive us and the Bible says He will. Even when we are not faithful and disobey God, He is ALWAYS faithful and stays with us and loves us.

Lamentations is a good place to end our old testament study because of the reminder that God is with us. After the Israelites came back, they were still being ruled by other people, but they were back in Israel. They continued to only half-way obey God and they let other people tell them who to worship or who to put in charge…for 400 years….but God was there. And He was about to send His son Jesus (Immanuel-which means “God with us”) to make things right once and for all. He was with His people, ready to forgive them and love them every day.

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all!

Ecclesiastes

Hi all! Today’s lesson is from a book called Ecclesiastes. Eh-klee-see-as-tees.

all-is-vanity

King Solomon wrote this book and it’s about how the only thing that matters is God.

King Solomon asked God for wisdom…but even still…Solomon was always looking for what would make him happy. “I said to myself, “Look, I am wiser than any of the kings who ruled in Jerusalem before me. I have greater wisdom and knowledge than any of them.” 17 So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned firsthand that pursuing all this is like chasing the wind.” 1: 16-17

2:1-11: “I said to myself, “Come on, let’s try pleasure. Let’s look for the ‘good things’ in life.” But I found that this, too, was meaningless. So I said, “Laughter is silly. What good does it do to seek pleasure?” After much thought, I decided to cheer myself with wine. And while still seeking wisdom, I clutched at foolishness. In this way, I tried to experience the only happiness most people find during their brief life in this world.

I also tried to find meaning by building huge homes for myself and by planting beautiful vineyards. I made gardens and parks, filling them with all kinds of fruit trees. I built reservoirs to collect the water to irrigate my many flourishing groves.I bought slaves, both men and women, and others were born into my household. I also owned large herds and flocks, more than any of the kings who had lived in Jerusalem before me. I collected great sums of silver and gold, the treasure of many kings and provinces. I hired wonderful singers, both men and women, and had many beautiful wives and companions. I had everything a man could desire!

So I became greater than all who had lived in Jerusalem before me, and my wisdom never failed me. 10 Anything I wanted, I would take. I denied myself no pleasure. I even found great pleasure in hard work, a reward for all my labors.11 But as I looked at everything I had worked so hard to accomplish, it was all so meaningless—like chasing the wind. There was nothing really worthwhile anywhere.”

Solomon looked around at all the world..the people who were doing great, and the people who were working hard, the people who were having a hard time and the people who were hungry or hurt…and he tried to understand it. He knew that sometimes sad things happen to good people…and that sometimes mean people get more money or more praise. Life is not fair sometimes. He found out that money, THINGS, being smart, being in charge like a president or king, or having everything you ever wanted is NOT what makes a person truly happy.

Solomon reminds us that we may never understand ALL the things God is doing or WHY things are happening. 8:16-17: “In my search for wisdom and in my observation of people’s burdens here on earth, I discovered that there is ceaseless activity, day and night. 17 I realized that no one can discover everything God is doing under the sun. Not even the wisest people discover everything, no matter what they claim.” 3:11 “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

So life is not always fair, and we may not understand it…but GOD does. We can trust Him. He provides us with food, drink and work (2:24) and He wants us to enjoy all He’s given us in life. (5:19) Even when life is scary or unfair…we can trust God. 12:13 “Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.”

The more King Solomon tried to find happiness with lots of wives, with money, with being smart, being in charge…the more he learned that NONE of that matters. All that matters is obeying God and enjoying what He gives us.

Let’s be thankful today for what God has given us and try to remember that having lots of things is nice, but what really matters is obeying God and following Him.

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all.

Proverbs-communicating well

Hi all. This will be our last lesson in Proverbs for now (of course there are MANY more verses and themes you could explore with your kids in Proverbs…OR there are 31 chapters, so you could start a family habit of reading one chapter each night of the month.)

As we read through Proverbs, we are learning about making wise choices. We have learned how to obey our parents and learn from them, we have learned that giving and helping others is a very good choice and today our last lesson will be about communicating well.

Do you know what it means to communicate? Communicate is when you talk or interact with someone else. The Bible has a lot to say about how we talk to other people.

Proverbs:

10:19: Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

12:18: Some people like to make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise soothe and heal.

12:13-14: Lies will get any man into trouble, but honesty is its own defense. Telling the truth gives a man great satisfaction, and hard work returns many blessings to him.

15:1: A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.

15:4: Gentle words cause life and health; griping brings discouragement.

15:26: The Lord hates the thoughts of the wicked but delights in kind words.

16:23-24: From a wise mind comes wise speech; the words of the wise are persuasive. Kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

17:27-28: A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise when they keep silent; with their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.

18:2: Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions.

18:7: A fool gets into constant fights. His mouth is his undoing! His words endanger him.

20:15: Wise words are more valuable than much gold and many rubies.

29:20: There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.

 

What do these verses say about how we communicate with other people?

They say we should:

  1. THINK about what we say before we say it. There is cute little saying floating around pinterest:

64685-before-you-speak-think-printables

Before we talk to others we can think about the things we say. Is what I want to say true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?

2. Not get angry quickly, but LISTEN to other people before. Sometimes your friends will feel differently than you and that’s ok…it’s important to listen to each other so you can understand how he/she feels.

3. When we use NICE words, they are like a good bandaid. If someone is sad, your nice words can help them feel better!

4. If we use angry words, it might cause more trouble. Again…let’s THINK about what we say and how that might make other people feel.

 

And Proverbs says that using nice words is like sweet tasting honey, like golden apples, like medicine, and like gold and rubies…treasures! Our words can hurt peoples’ feelings OR help them feel better. When we obey God, we will LISTEN to others and THINK about our words so that they can be GOOD and helpful.

 

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all!

Wisdom-giving to others

Hi again! Today we are learning more from Proverbs. One of the ways to be wise and make good choices is by giving to others.

kind-in-need

The Bible tells us the most important thing is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind. And you must love your neighbor just as much as you love yourself.” Luke 10:27.

Proverbs talks about this A LOT.

14:21: “It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor; blessed are those who help the poor.”

14:31: “Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but helping the poor honors him.”

19:17: “If you help the poor, you are lending to the Lordand he will repay you!”

28:27: “Whoever gives to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to poverty will be cursed.”

29:7: “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”

31:20: (the woman of faith) “She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.”

One way to show you are a wise person is by thinking of others! What are some ways we can do that? Christmas is a popular time to give to others, but we can give all the time!

Some ideas in our family include: donating to a local women’s shelter, donating items and time to our local foster care agency, being a foster family, sharing what we have with those in need on the street, sponsoring a child overseas, welcoming all friends even if they don’t look like us or have the same things we have…you can donate your old clothes, volunteer to tutor, mentor (big brothers and big sisters programs), or serve at a food shelter. Even helping someone who has a sad heart. We can be aware of what other people are going through. Sometimes people are mean to other kids because they look different, sound different or dress different…but the great thing is…God made us ALL different! And we can love others by standing up for them when someone else is being mean to them.

The best part is, you don’t have to have money to love others! Jesus didn’t have a lot money and He was the BEST example of loving others. He washed his disciples’ stinky feet, we was a friend to EVERYONE, even people who were sick or mean. He helped sick people get better, and He cried with His friends who were sad. Jesus was a GREAT friend. He even gave up His life for us, dying on the cross.

** Parents: Of course these are things our children will learn from SEEING us do continually. Children often learn more from our actions than our words.

Maybe your family can sit down and make a list of at least one way to show love to others each month of the year. Or maybe each Sunday evening you can think of one way to serve someone that week. Proverbs says that WISE people look out for others and help take care of them.

THIS VIDEO posted by Haytham Ibrahim may be better suited to older kids, but does really show how taking time to show others God’s love every day makes a difference.

THIS is a pretty cute song that kind of goes along with today’s lesson posted by Dakota Pyle.

And a classic Veggie Tales song from the Good Samaritan lesson posted by guardian tony.

Thanks again for joining us! Love to you all!

Wisdom-being a good friend

Hello again! Today we are continuing in Proverbs and learning about wisdom. (Knowing what God wants us to know so we can make good choices).

friendship

One of the things Proverbs teaches us, is how to be a good friend and how to choose good friends.

First of all, being wise means choosing good friends.

“The righteous choose their friends carefully” Proverbs 12:26. 18:24 says, “There are “friends” who pretend to be friends, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.” Real friends will be like your family…always with you, loving you and supporting you…they don’t leave when there’s trouble.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” A long time ago, when people had swords, they would sharpen them on other pieces of iron and that would make them even stronger. The Bible says good friends are like that too–they work together to make each other better and stronger. 

So how do we BE a good friend?

Proverbs 27:5-6 says one way is to be honest with our friends.

“Open rebuke is better than hidden love! Wounds from a friend are better than kisses from an enemy!” This Bible verse says it is better for a friend to say something you don’t like than for someone who doesn’t care about you to give you kisses. If someone REALLY cares about you they will want you to make good choices. And if you really care about your friends, you will tell them the truth and help them make good choices too…not just tell them “Sure! you can lie! Or Sure! you can say that bad thing!”

Another way to be a good friend is to be there when your friends are sad. Proverbs 17:17 says, “A true friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” It can be hard sometimes when our friends are sad and we just want them to be happy again! But a real friend will stay with you when you are sad and will be there when you need them.

The last way to be a good friend is to practice forgiveness. Do you know what forgiveness is? It’s when you don’t stay angry at someone, but you love them and move on instead. “Love forgets mistakes; nagging about them parts the best of friends.” Proverbs 17:9. When we mess up, a good friend will forgive us and still be our friend. And when our friends say something that hurts our feelings or hurts us, we can forgive them..not stay angry at them. Just like Jesus forgives us for our bad choices, we can be a good friend and forgive others.

Thanks again for joining us. Love to you all.

Wisdom comes from parents

Hi all! So we are continuing our study of Proverbs.

family

Last time we learned about wisdom coming from trusting and obeying God. Today we are going to learn about wisdom from our parents (and grandparents and aunts and uncles!) and that making wise choices means obeying our parents.

Your parents are probably pretty smart people. They know a lot about keeping you safe and healthy. The Bible tells us one of the best ways to be wise and make good choices, is by listening to and obeying our parents.

Proverbs 23:22-25 says, “Listen to your father’s advice and don’t hate your mother’s experience. Get the facts, and hold on tightly to all the good sense you can get. The father of a Godly man has cause for joy—what pleasure a wise son is! So give your parents joy!”

Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son listens to his father’s instructions.”

And in the book of Ephesians 6:1-3 it says, “Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord,[a] for this is the right thing to do. ‘Honor your father and mother.’ This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, ‘things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.'”

What kind of wise things do your parents always tell you? Look both ways before you cross the street? Don’t run around with food in your mouth? Be polite and kind to others? Make sure you have clean underwear on everyday?

The Bible also tells us in Proverbs that parents have to teach and discipline (that means teaching you how to be a good grown up) their children…and sometimes that means consequences when we make a bad choice. Consequences help us remember next time so we make a good choice.

Proverbs 19:18 says, “Discipline your son in his early years while there is hope. If you don’t, you will ruin his life.”

“To discipline a child produces wisdom,  but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.” Proverbs 29:15

And God is our heavenly Father and He teaches us too!

“Young man, do not resent it when God corrects you, for His punishment is proof of his love. Just as a father punishes a son he delights in to make him better, so the Lord corrects you.” Prov. 3:11-12

******And parents here is some encouragement for you: Proverbs 22:6 says, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”

Deuteronomy 6:

“Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules[a]—that the Lordyour God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long.Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[b] You shall love the Lordyour God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

10 “And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 13 It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lordyour God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.

20 “When your son asks you in time to come, ‘What is the meaning of the testimonies and the statutes and the rules that the Lord our God has commanded you?’ 21 then you shall say to your son, ‘We were Pharaoh’s slaves in Egypt. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. 22 And the Lord showed signs and wonders, great and grievous, against Egypt and against Pharaoh and all his household, before our eyes. 23 And he brought us out from there, that he might bring us in and give us the land that he swore to give to our fathers. 24 And the Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that he might preserve us alive, as we are this day. 25 And it will be righteousness for us, if we are careful to do all this commandment before the Lord our God, as he has commanded us.’”

“Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad.” Proverbs 29:17

Romans 10:13-15, “‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!'” 

We get to be the teachers and disciplers for our children…leading them to God daily. We share our wisdom, experiences and example every day. God reminds us that we MUST do this, but also that when we we are faithful to Him in doing so, our children will not depart from this truth.*********

When we listen to the things our parents want to teach us and when we obey them, it helps us make good, wise choices!

Thanks again for joining us! Love to you all!