God Whispers To Elijah

Hi all!

Today’s story is from 1 Kings 19.

After Elijah showed everyone God’s power (chapter 17/18), with the fire on the altar, the people were sorry for worshipping pretend gods (idols). BUT, the wicked queen, Queen Jezebel was NOT sorry. In fact, she was angry! She wanted to kill Elijah!

Elijah ran away and was ready to die! But God sent an angel to give Elijah food and then he felt better. He hid in a cave and God talked to him.

“What are you doing here?” God asked him. (God already knows why Elijah is hiding, but He likes to know what we are thinking, He likes when we talk to Him.

Elijah said, “I have been really good at telling the people your words. I have tried really hard to get rid of all the pretend gods…but the people who don’t like you are trying to kill me!”

God told Elijah to go stand outside the cave, because He was going to come by.

Now God is BIG! He can do ANYTHING! Elijah probably thought God was going to be big and bright and powerful! And soon, a great BIG wind came by (probably like a tornado) and it messed up all the rocks around the cave…but God was not there.

Then there was big earthquake…surely THIS was God, but no.

Then there was a fire! (Remember when God talked to Moses in the fiery bush?) But God was not in the fire this time.

After all those big, crazy things…there was a gentle wind and God whispered to Elijah.

He told Elijah to go back and pick a new king for Israel and to find a man named Elisha who would be Elijah’s helper and the next prophet. (Elisha could learn from Elijah how to be a good prophet and tell the people what God wanted them to know.)

Sometimes when we talk to God, He uses BIG things to show us how big and mighty He is. Sometimes, when we pray…if we are quiet, He will whisper to our hearts. Even though God is bigger than everything, and He can do ANYTHING, He is also close to us. He knows us, He loves us and He is close, living right in your heart if you ask Him to.

We practiced whispering silly things to each other today and talked about how God talks to us and that He loves when we talk to Him. IMG_8612

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!

Elijah Reminds the People to Follow God

Hi all!

Today’s story is from 1 Kings 17-18.

Recap: After Solomon, Rehoboam was made king over Israel, but only the people from one tribe (family), the tribe of Judah stayed loyal to Rehoboam. The rest of Israel followed Jeroboam. But nobody really obeyed God. They worshipped pretend gods and statues called idols, especially one they called Baal. There were more kings after Rehoboam and Jeroboam, but pretty much all of them were terrible and disobeyed God.

A few kings later, one of the kings of Israel was named Ahab. Ahab was especially bad. He and Queen Jezebel did terrible things. They even killed people who worshipped the real God. God was VERY unhappy that the people were disobeying and worshipping other pretend gods. Because the people had been disobeyed God so much, he made it not rain for 3 YEARS. Do you know what happens to food if it doesn’t rain? The food can’t grow. Food needs dirt and sunshine and water to grow. Without water, the people would have no food. But that was the bad consequence for their choice to disobey God.

But God had a prophet named Elijah. A prophet is someone who tells people what God wants them to know. God speaks to the prophet and the prophet talks to the people. Sometimes it’s good news, sometimes it’s bad news, sometimes it’s about something that will happen later.

Elijah was a prophet. The king had been chasing Elijah to kill him (since he was someone who worshipped the real God.) Elijah came to Ahab the king and said, “Bring the people of Israel and meet me at mount carmel.” When the people came, Elijah said, “God says ‘STOP IT!’ If you believe God is real, follow Him…if these pretend gods are real, follow them!”

The people didn’t know what to say.

So Elijah said, “Let’s have a contest. We will each get a pile of wood and put a dead animal on it as a present to our gods. We won’t set it on fire though. I will pray to my God and you will pray to Baal and your other gods and we’ll see who answers and gives us fire.”

The people liked this idea. So they got two piles of wood and they sacrificed (killed) two bulls and they put them on the  wood. (This was how they used to make offerings or gifts to God to show Him they love Him or to ask Him to forgive them if they did something wrong…when Jesus died on the cross for us, He became the biggest offering ever and we don’t have to do that anymore because Jesus did that once and for all for us.)

Elijah told the people to call to their pretend gods. They said, “Baal! Baal! Baaaaaaaaaaaal! Answer us! Please?! Baaaaaaaaal!” They did this ALL. MORNING. Elijah said, “Maybe he’s just sleeping? Yell louder!”

Of course it didn’t work! They just had pretend gods, statues and made up things….statues can’t make fire. Pretend gods can’t really hear us.

Then it was Elijah’s turn.  He added 12 big rocks to his pile (one for each tribe/family in Israel) and then he told them to put water all over everything. Do you know what water does to fire? (My kids said it “melts it”). Water puts OUT fire. But to prove that God can do ANYTHING, even make fire on water, Elijah told them 3 times to put water on everything. Then he prayed to God. “Let everybody here know that YOU are God of Israel. Answer me so these people will KNOW that YOU are God and so they will come back and worship you.”

Do you know what happened next? FIRE! Big FIRE came and burned up EVERYTHING, even the rocks and all the water! NOTHING is too hard for God.

The people were surprised and they suddenly knew all the bad choices they had been making. They felt so scared and so sorry. Then, the clouds started to come, and finally after 3 years of no rain, it started to rain again. Because the people realized who the REAL God is and realized what terrible things they had done and were sorry, God let it rain again. He ended their bad consequence.

For our activity today, we went outside and gathered a pile of sticks. We pretended the people were calling to Baal and the idols…no fire. Then we poured “water” (actually isopropyl alcohol, but looks like water) onto the pile three times. Then we pretended to be Elijah praying to the real God (and with a lighter), lit the pile on fire.

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Thanks for joining us today, Love to you all!

Israel Divided

Hello again!

Today we are continuing the stories of Israel’s history through the old testament. Today’s story comes from 1 Kings 12.

So King Solomon had done some great things for God, but also made some bad choices, and worshipped other pretend gods and set up statues and places to worship those pretend gods. God told him that because he had done this, that Israel would have bad consequences.

Solomon got old and died and his son Rehoboam became king over Israel.

The people of Israel had to work really hard when Solomon was king. They went to Rehoboam and said, “Please don’t make us work that hard! Can things be a little bit easier now?”

Rehoboam didn’t know what to say, so he told the people to come back in 3 days and he would think about it.

So he went to the old, smart leaders and said “What should i tell the people?”

The leaders responded, “Yes, if you are nice to them, they will love you forever and they will do good work for you.”

The Rehoboam asked his friends, “What should i do?”

They were young and not as smart and they said “No man, show them who’s boss! Make them work REALLY hard to prove YOU a powerful king.”

Well, Rehoboam liked the sound of that, so when the people came back he told them they would have to work TWICE as hard! The people were very angry. And just like God had said, that only one tribe (big family) would stay with Rehoboam and the rest would leave, that’s just what happened. The tribe of Judah stayed with  Rehoboam and the rest of Israel followed a new king, Jeroboam.

The people fought and fought. Rehoboam’s people and Jeroboam’s people fought a lot and God’s people were not living the life He had wanted for them. This promised land was supposed to be a great place where all God’s people could live together with him and worship Him at the temple. But Jeroboam decided the temple was too far so he built other places for the people to worship, and Rehoboam did too. God was not happy that the people were fighting and not listening to Him and soon they would have even more bad consequences.

Isn’t it crazy how the people could see all God had done for them and they still didn’t always obey Him? We do that sometimes too. We know God loves us and takes good care of us, and we don’t always obey Him. God promises to forgive us when we ask Him to, but there are still consequences for our choices.

Next time, we’ll see what else happens to Israel as a divided kingdom. Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.

Solomon Part 2

Hi all! For lack of a better title, today we’ll be learning about King Solomon, part 2.

This is taken from 1 Kings 4-11.

King Solomon as you remember asked God for one thing: wisdom. So he could understand things and make good choices and be a good leader for Israel (God’s people).

God was happy with Solomon’s choice and He gave him great wisdom. The people were so impressed with all the things Solomon knew that many many people came to visit him and they brought lots of money and presents to Solomon.

Solomon built a big fancy palace (like a castle) for himself. He also built a house for God (called a temple). God told them exactly how to build it and it took TWENTY years to finish. Just like the big tent (tabernacle) God’s spirit had lived in, in the desert; this temple had a front part and a special back part where God’s spirit lived. The ark of covenant (the special box with the 10 commandments) was placed in the back special part and only the leader priest could go there once a year. Everybody else worshipped God in the front part of the temple. (Later, when Jesus died, all of the temple would be opened to EVERYONE!)

Solomon asked God to listen to the people if they made a mistake. He asked God to forgive them and bless them. God said He would. Now when we pray, the Bible says Jesus sits with God and He talks to God and asks God to forgive us and bless us. Jesus is our helper and friend.

God told Solomon that as long as he obeyed God, that Israel would do well and that someone from Solomon’s family would always be king.

But Solomon, like all people, made mistakes sometimes. Solomon had a lot of wives. And a lot of his wives worshipped other “gods” like statues or pictures of other pretend gods. Solomon let them worship these pretend gods and he even built some statues and some small places for them to worship. God was not happy. God is the only REAL God and Solomon and the other people should ONLY worship Him.

God told Solomon because he had disobeyed that Israel was in trouble. A small part of the country and some of the people would be ok, but most of it was going to be taken away.

When Solomon died, his son Rehoboam became king and we will learn more about what happens next tomorrow.

Solomon did some great things. He built a very fancy and strong house for God. He was very wise and gave Israel a lot of money and built a big palace. But he also made some bad choices and disobeyed God. And there were some bad consequences because he disobeyed.

For our craft today, we drew the palace, the temple and the idols to help us remember Solomon’s story.

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Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!

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King Solomon’s Wisdom

Hi all! We took a break last week to move! Now we’re back.

Today’s story comes from 1 Kings 3. I did not do a craft today with the kids, but i did use some of our toys to tell this story (works better with some visuals i think).

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King David was getting old and almost ready to die. He told his son Solomon that he would be the next king. King David told Solomon to always obey God and do the right thing.

Some of Solomon’s brothers wanted to be king instead and even tried to fight him, but God made Solomon king.

Solomon tried to honor God and do the right thing. One night, while he was sleeping, God came to him in a dream and said, “If you could ask me for anything, what would you want?”

(If YOU could have ANYTHING what would YOU want?)

Do you know what Solomon said? He said he wanted wisdom. Wisdom is being able to understand things and make really good choices. A good king has to be wise to be a good leader for his people. He has to know how to help them and how to help them settle their fights when they are fussing.

God was so happy that Solomon had asked for wisdom and not something like money or a lot of toys. So God said, yes, Solomon WOULD be wise.

The people were so impressed with everything Solomon knew and how he could figure things out and help people.

One day, there were two mommies. They each had a new baby and they lived in the same house. When they went to bed, one of the babies died. That mommy went over to the other mommy and she switched the babies! So in the morning, the other mommy said, “oh no! my baby is dead! wait….this isn’t my baby? THAT one is my baby!”

But the first mommy said, “No! This is MY baby!”

They argued and argued and finally came to king Solomon who listened to their story. He had an idea. He called for a soldier with a sword to come. He told the soldier to cut the baby in half and give each mommy part of the baby. The real mommy could not, would not let them cut her baby into two pieces so she said, “NO! The other mommy can have him, just don’t hurt him!”

Solomon knew that THAT was the real mommy. A real mommy would never let anyone hurt her baby.

God was so pleased that Solomon wanted to do a good job and be a good king. The Bible tells us that when we ask God to help us make good choices, He will! He listens when we talk to Him and He wants us to help us do the right thing.

Thanks for joining us today! Love to you all!