Simeon and Anna

Hi all! Welcome to 2016!

We hope everyone had a great Christmas and a Merry New years too. (We were in bed at our usual times haha).

This month of january we’ll be learning about Jesus’ life. (We will study His teachings in February and His miracles in March.)

 

This story is from Luke 2.

When baby Jesus was only 8 days old, Mary and Joseph took Him to the temple (the church) so they could give God a sacrifice (like a gift for God) and they would present baby Jesus. This means they would promise to give Him to God and they would promise to teach Him all about God.

Do you remember how the angel told Mary she would have a baby? And an angel told Joseph it would all be ok? Well they weren’t the only ones God had told about baby Jesus.

At the temple was a very very old man name Simeon. God had promised Simeon that he would see the Messiah, Jesus, before he died.

When Mary and Joseph brought baby Jesus to the temple, Simeon took Jesus in his arms and thanked God. “I can die happy now” he said. “I have seen the Lord.” (Because remember Jesus was Mary and Joseph’s son, but He is also GOD’s son!)

Simeon told Mary and Joseph that Jesus would be very important. Everyone’s hearts would be revealed (that means we would know who really loved God and who didn’t). Some people would love Jesus, but some people would NOT, and Jesus wouldn’t have an easy life….but He had a very VERY important life.

Mary and Joseph were surprised by everything Simeon said. But just as Simeon finished, someone else came up to see Jesus. A woman named Anna. She stayed at the temple all the time praising God and praying. She loved God so much. When she saw baby Jesus she was SO excited and she told everyone about Him!

Simeon and Anna were just two people who loved God. And because they loved and knew God so well, they KNEW baby Jesus was God’s special savior come to earth. They told EVERYONE about baby Jesus.

When we love Jesus and know how wonderful He is, sometimes we just HAVE to tell other people about Him! He is too great to keep to ourselves!

This month we will learn more about the good and hard things Jesus had to do when He lived on earth. We can pray and ask God to help us see Jesus the way Simeon and Anna did (with such excitement and worship) and we can ask God to help us tell other people about Him.

For our craft today, we made Simeon and Anna. We cut out circles for the heads and triangles for the bodies. Then we cut a white triangle for Simeon’s beard, and cut some u-shapes for their hair. Then we drew on their faces. We glued the pieces together and then glued our people on a big piece of paper.

Our text reads: Simeon and Anna waited for baby Jesus and told other about Him! Luke 2

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!

Advent-Day 24-Waiting for the Messiah

Welcome back! As we finish out our advent calendar (this lesson and tomorrow’s) we have now learned about many of the people of Jesus’ direct family line and His extended family (the Israelites). We have learned a lot of things about God and we’ve learned the story of when Jesus was born.

The Bible is separated into two parts. Everything before Jesus and everything after Jesus was born. But between the time the 1st part (old testament) stops and the 2nd part (new testament) begins, there is some empty space.

400 years passed between the last written words of the old testament and when Jesus was born.

There are no books written for those 400 years, but it doesn’t mean God wasn’t there. He was always working, and listening to His people–He still is. God’s timing is perfect. He sent Jesus just went He meant to. There are no new books of the Bible being written today, but of course we know God is still alive and working and loving us!

During that time, a bunch of different people took turns trying to take over and be in charge of the Israelites (Persians, Syrians, Greeks and Romans). When the new testament picks up, the Romans are kind of 1/2 in charge of the Israelites…they have their own leaders, but the Romans are in charge of them too.

The people were VERY ready for this new king to come! They thought an earthly king would come and get rid of the Romans (and anyone else who tried to take over). But we know Jesus really came to claim the Israelites’ hearts.

Also, some of the leaders of the church made up more and more rules. They made it very hard for the people to follow God. There were so many rules and the leaders thought they were much better than everyone else. The people felt kind of trapped! (Jesus would come help them and show them it’s not hard to love God!)

Now you know how excited the people were! They were stuck under a lot of different leaders…and they were eager for the new king.

Jesus didn’t come to be an earthly king, though…He came for their hearts. He wanted to show the people how much God loved them. And He wants US to know how much He loves us! As you remember Jesus this Christmas, think about all He is and all He has given for us. And if you believe in Jesus and what He has done for you, then ask Him to be YOUR Lord. Ask Him to take your heart too.

Bible story: the 400 “silent” years

Attribute of God: His timing is perfect

Jesus’ birth story: a much awaited Messiah

Craft:

Side one of our ornament today is a clock. We drew on the hands and numbers (but you could use number stickers and even a brad to make moving hands).

Our text reads: God waits–His timing is perfect!IMG_0722

Side two of our ornament is a heart.

Our text reads: Jesus was desired and wanted. Romans 8, Matt 2IMG_0721

Thanks for joining us again. Tomorrow is our last day and we will finish our advent tree. Love to you all!

Advent-Day 22-Worship Restored/Gifts for Jesus

Hi all! Welcome again!

This month we are learning about God, God’s son Jesus and Jesus’ birth story and earthly family.

Yesterday we talked about the Israelite’s coming back to the promised land after being in exile and fixing everything. (Found in the Bible in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah). They fixed their houses, the walls that kept the cities safe and the temple (the church.) But also, a lot of very important things that they used to worship God had been taken. They got those things back and the people listened to their leaders and decided once again, they would follow God. They started really worshipping Him again in the church.

Do you know what worship is? It’s when we show God how much we love Him! We can sing, or pray…even showing love to other people is a way to worship God.

God is worthy of our worship. 1 Chronicles 16:25 says, “For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; He is to be feared above all gods.” (The whole chapter is a great read about God’s worthiness).

How do YOU worship God?

 

When baby Jesus was born, some wise men from far away traveled a long time to visit baby Jesus. And they brought presents to give to Him. The Bible doesn’t say how many men came, but they did bring three gifts-gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Frankincense is a spice an myrrh is oil–both of these were usually presented to kings.) They brought baby Jesus some of the best things they had and it makes God happy when we give Him our best too!

These men came to adore Jesus and to give their gifts to the new King. We can use the things God has given us (like money, and our talents–singing, dancing, being a good friend) to worship God. He is worthy of our worship!

 

Bible story: worship returns to the temple

Attribute of God: WORTHY of our praise

Jesus’ birth story: the wise men bring gifts

Craft:

Side one of our ornament today is a temple. (You can make it as accurate or elaborate as you’d like…ours turned out rather simple today…just a gold church with “God” written on it.)

Our text reads: The people worship God. He is worthy of our praise! Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 Chron 16:25IMG_0626

Side two of our ornament is some gifts for baby Jesus. We used some scraps of wrapping paper and drew bows on top. (Again, you could use the mini bows, or make them however you want).

Our text reads: The wise men brought baby Jesus gifts. Matt 2.

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Our current tree front (Bible story side) and back (Jesus’ birth story side)

 

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!

Advent-Day 21-Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel/Wisemen

Hi all. Welcome back!

We are up to day 21 of our advent calendar, learning about God, God’s son Jesus and Jesus’ earthly family.

Today and tomorrow’s Bible stories go hand in hand. These can be found in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah in the old testament of the Bible. Our complete lessons for Ezra and Nehemiah can be found here and here. (Below is a shortened version of these accounts).

After King David and some kings after him, the Israelites kept on disobeying God, so He let other people come and take over the promised land and the Israelites had to go live in different places (like Esther in Persia and Daniel in Babylon). The Israelites were finally allowed to go back to the land God had given them after 70 years.

Some of the people who helped go back and start rebuild were named Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel. Zerubbabel was one of the leaders of the Israelites (and a great great great great (lot of greats) grandpa to Jesus!)

When Ezra, Nehemiah and Zerubbabel got back to the promised land, it was a mess! The temple (the church) had been broken and the walls that kept the city safe were a mess! These men helped lead the Israelites to fix the walls and the temple. (We’ll learn more about this tomorrow). They helped *restore* Israel.

Some people tried to stop them from fixing everything, but God kept them safe. He is the ruler of all things and nobody can stop God’s plans!

Israel was rebuilt…the temple and the walls by the Israelites.

But what Israel (and all of us) really needed was for their HEARTS to be restored. They and we, all make bad choices and sin, but God is the Ruler of all things remember. Nothing can stop His plans…and He had a GREAT plan to save us from the consequences our sins.

When Jesus came as a little baby, He was God’s son, perfect and able to fix the people’s sinful hearts. (Eph 2:8, Col 1:20)

Now there were some wise men from a far away place who had read all the things people had said about this new baby King and they were anxious to meet Him! (Matt 2) They followed that big star in the sky until they found Him. They remembered that in Micah 5 of the Bible, it says, “But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rules of Judah; for out of you will come a Ruler who will be the Shepherd of my people Israel.” They followed the star to Bethlehem to meet the new Ruler, the new Shepherd.

The wise men traveled and waited a long time (just like the Israelites had to travel a long time to the promised land and then wait a long time to restore it.) They were excited to see the new King. But this King had come to restore not the land, but our hearts.

 

Bible story: Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel

Attribute of God: Ruler of all, Restorer of our hearts

Jesus’ birth story: the wise men seek Him

Craft:

For side one of our ornament today, we took a block and dipped it in red paint and made a brick wall. (This works better with a sponge..but we were out of sponges today…so we made do.)

Our text reads: Nehemiah, Ezra and Zerubbabel help restore Israel. Ezra/NehemiahIMG_0620

For side two of our ornament, we cut out some basic people shapes and opted to decorate them with tissue paper today. (You could make them look any way you like.) We added a star to the top to lead the way (you could just draw it on, or use glitter if you don’t have a star shape.)

Our text reads: The wise men seek Jesus who will restore Israel’s hearts. Matt 2, Micah 5

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Thanks for joining us today. Just a few more days to complete our advent calendar. I hope these mini lessons have helped you and your children remember all of God’s goodness to us, before Jesus and through the events of His birth.

More tomorrow! Love to you all!

Advent-Day 19-Esther

Hi all!

This month we are learning about God, God’s son Jesus, and Jesus’ earthly family.

The next story from the Israelites found in the old testament before Jesus was born, is a story about a girl name Esther. There is a book in the Bible called Esther where you can read her story and our complete lesson on Esther can be found here. (Below is a condensed version of the story).

Esther was an Israelite, but all the Israelites had been moved and some were living in Persia. The King of Persia was not happy with the queen so he kicked her out and decided he would pick a new queen.

His guards picked up all the young ladies who were not yet married and brought them to the palace. They had to each meet with the king and the king would pick which one he liked best.

Esther wasn’t too sure about this, but her cousin Mordecai watched out for her but he made her promise not to tell anyone she was an Israelite. The Persians did NOT like the Israelites…especially, Haman, the king’s best helper. He HATED the Israelites, especially Mordecai, because Mordecai would not bow down to him.

So Haman decided he wanted all the Israelites killed and he kind of tricked the king into signing a law that said all the Israelites would be killed.

Well, the king picked Esther to be his new queen and when Mordecai heard that all the Israelites were to be killed, he asked Esther to help.

“You have to talk to the king for us! Ask him not to kill your whole family, all the Israelites!”

“I can’t go to the king without him asking me first. Anyone who goes before the king could be killed!”

“You have to try,” said Mordecai. “We will all pray for you.”

So Mordecai and the Israelites prayed and Esther prayed too. She got her strength from God and went to the king. He could have had her killed for coming to see him without being invited…but instead, he held out his royal scepter (like a very fancy stick) and that meant it was ok!

He asked what he could do her, and Esther got nervous and invited him to dinner. The king agreed and at dinner asked again, “What do you really want?”

Again, Esther asked that the king and Haman come to dinner the next night.

At dinner that night the king asked again. “What can I really do for you? You can have anything!”

Esther answered, “Someone is trying to kill my whole family! All my people!”

“Who would DO such a thing?!” asked the king.

“Haman, your majesty. I am an Israelite. And Haman had you sign the paper that said we could all die!”

The king was so unhappy that he had Haman killed instead and the Israelites were able to go free.

 

Numbers 24:17 says, ““I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”

This was a sign that Jesus would come and bring victory over His enemies. He would be like a star. Rev 22:16 says, “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.”

And He would be like a scepter, royal, like a king, and giving us access to the Real King. When Jesus came, it was like God holding out His scepter us, saying, “It’s ok, come to me!”

When Jesus was born, there was a BIG, BRIGHT star over the barn in Bethlehem. It showed the shepherds and the wise men where to go to find Jesus. (Matthew 2)

God is a great King, but He loves us so much, He wants to know us and be with us. He will always lead us to Him, and will welcome us. (Matt 7:7)

Bible story: Esther

Attribute of God: Scepter

Jesus’ birth story: The Star

Craft:

Side one of our ornament today is a scepter. We cut out a stick with a ball on the end and then decorated it. (Today the kids chose glitter, you could decorate it any way you want, of course.)

Our text reads: Esther led God’s people-the king held out his scepter. Esther, Numbers 24:17

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Side two of our ornament is a star, made from cut out construction paper, then glue around the edges and glitter on top.

Our text reads: The star showed the way to the Messiah.

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Our current tree front and back:

Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Advent-Day 18-Jonah

Hi all.

This month we are learning about God, God’s son Jesus and Jesus’ earthly family.

Today’s story is about a prophet named Jonah. You can read about him in the Bible in the book called Jonah and our complete lesson can be found here. Below is a shortened account.

Jonah was a prophet (that means he talked to God and told the people what God wanted them to know.)

One day God asked Jonah to go tell the people of Ninevah to STOP IT! They made a lot of bad choices and if they didn’t stop, God would destroy the whole city.

But Jonah didn’t want to go there…he was too scared because those people were BAD.

SO instead, he got on a boat going the other way. But you can’t hide from God and Jonah ended up getting swallowed by a big fish. He lived in the fish’s belly for 3 days where he prayed to God and asked God to forgive him for disobeying. Jonah promised if God would get him out of the fish, that he WOULD go to Ninevah and take the people God’s message.

So the fish spit  Jonah up onto the beach and Jonah went to Ninevah. He told the people to stop making bad choices and you know what?! THEY DID! They started being nice and they followed God…so everyone should have been happy!

But Jonah wasn’t. He wanted God to destroy the city! But God said, “I forgave you! Why should I forgive them?” You see, God loves ALL people…not just the Israelites, and He wants to forgive all people. We all sin and make bad choices sometimes and that keeps us apart from God. But God wants to live in PEACE with us. That means together, not fighting. Jonah couldn’t understand why God would forgive such awful people…but he forgot that we ALL need God’s forgiveness and peace.

God is peace. (Judges 6:24, Is 9:6) He wants all of us to obey Him and live in peace with Him. But God won’t make anybody obey Him. We have to choose whether we will follow God or not. Our sin keeps us away from God, but God wants us to be WITH Him…so He sent His son Jesus to come to earth, not to punish us, but to die FOR us because He loves us. (John 3:16).

When the angels came to the shepherds in the field, they said “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, goodwill to men.” God did not send Jesus to punish us, but to bring peace…to bring us back to God.

Bible story: Jonah

Attribute of God: Peace

Jesus’ birth story: The angels announce peace

Craft:

Side one of our ornament today is a big fish.

Our text reads: Jonah learned about God’s forgiveness and peace. Jonah

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Side two of our ornament is a dove with white feathers glued on.

Our text reads: Jesus brought peace to all men. Judges 6:24, Luke 2

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Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!

Advent-Day 17-Elijah

Welcome all.

This month we are learning about God, God’s son Jesus and Jesus’ earthly family.

The next person we will learn about is Elijah. He was a prophet of God. That means he talked to God and told the people what God wanted them to know. This story can be found in 1 Kings 18:17-39, and our complete lesson can be found here. (Below is an abbreviated version)

Elijah was a prophet of God to the people of Israel. Some of the people worshipped pretend gods though, instead of the One True God. They made statues out of wood and rock and prayed to them instead of God. Elijah said, “Let’s have a contest…we’ll each pray to our gods, and whichever one can make a fire, that’s the REAL God.”

It seemed like a good idea to the people, so they got two piles of rocks and sticks ready to make a fire and the people prayed to the pretend gods, “Please send fire! ……Please!….. FIRE!……Please???” But there was nothing. They tried ALL.DAY. but of course there was no fire, because the statues weren’t really god.

Then it was Elijah’s turn. He told the people to make the rocks and sticks REALLY wet (so it would be EVEN HARDER for a fire to start.) Then he prayed to God and said, “Please show everyone that YOU are the real God. Please send fire.” And WHOOSH!!!! A big BIG fire came and burned up the sticks, the water and the rocks!

Then everyone KNEW that Elijah’s God was real and was with them. And they worshipped the Real God.

 

God is always with us. Even when we can’t see Him. He was with Elijah and He is with us now. The Bible calls God, Immanuel, God with us. (Is 7:14, Psalm 46).

When Jesus came to be born as a baby, He was a tiny baby boy…but He was still God’s son. He was God with us. And He grew up and died on the cross for us and now, if we love Him and wish for Him to be OUR God, then He gives us His spirit and He lives in our hearts and stays with us always. (2 Cor. 13:5, Eph 3:17).

 

Bible Story: Elijah

Attribute of God: Immanuel, God with us

Jesus’ birth story: Jesus came to be with us

Craft:

For side one of our ornament today, we ripped up some black construction paper to be the rocks and glued on orangey-yellow tissue paper to be the fire.

Our text reads: Day 17, Elijah and the fire of God. 1 Kings 18:17-39

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For side two of our ornament, we traced and cut out our hands and glued them together.

Our text reads: Immanuel, God is with us! Is 7:14, Luke 2IMG_0473

Our current tree (Bible story side and Jesus’ birth story side)

 

Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!