Absalom part 1

Hello again. We’re starting a few days on Absalom, David’s son. For the ages this blog is intended for (preschool/early childhood) i will be adjusting a few things while trying very hard to not alter the words of God. The intent of the story/God’s heart will still be present though i am leaving out/softening a few details.

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The first part of this story is from 2 Samuel 13 and 14.

King David had a daughter named Tamar. David had many children, and two of Tamar’s brothers were named Amnon and Absalom. One day, Amnon attacked his sister Tamar. (This was a horrible choice of course. If your kids ask why, i explained because he loved her and was mad he couldn’t marry his sister.) Tamar was very sad and told her brother Absalom who promised to protect her. Absalom was so mad he didn’t speak AT ALL to Amnon again.

Until…one day….it was time to take all the sheep and shear them (like give them a haircut and then they turn the wool into clothes and blankets and things). Absalom took some helpers with him and he also wanted to take Amnon. David said, “He doesn’t need to go?!” But Absalom insisted and while they were gone, he had his helpers kill Amnon.

King David was so sad when he found out Amnon was dead and Absalom got scared of what David or others might do, so he ran away. He was gone a very long time until Joab (King David’s lead soldier) knew the King missed Absalom and he came up with a plan to get Absalom back. Joab found a old woman and told her to go the king and say this:

“Oh your majesty! I need your help! My husband died and i only had two sons left, but one killed the other! Now i only have one son left, but everyone is so mad that he killed his brother that they want to kill him too!? Please make an official ‘King Decree’ to keep him safe so i won’t be ALL ALONE!”

King David agreed.

Then the woman also said “But haven’t you done the same thing with Absalom? He is running for his life! People want to kill him because he killed Amnon. You should forgive him too! God doesn’t want banished people to stay banished! He always makes a way to bring them back home!”

David knew Joab had put the woman up to it, so he sent Joab to get Absalom and bring him back. It took a long time for David and Absalom to speak again. Even though Absalom was allowed back into town, he was not welcomed with a big hug. David, unlike God who is always merciful and ready to forgive, was still pretty upset about the whole thing. (Remember everyone in the Bible except for God and Jesus, even good leaders are not perfect and do not do everything the way God would want them too. David was not very forgiving, but he did understand that God WANTED him to bring Absalom back and that he SHOULD forgive him.)

God DOESN’T want banished people to stay away. When Adam and Eve had to leave the garden because they sinned, He taught them about sacrifices and how the blood of a pure animal could cover their sin so they could be right with God again. And then, we too sin and are supposed to be separated from God forever, but God made a way! (Not us, but our King, God, made the way!) He sent Jesus to die on the cross to take the place of our sin so we could be with Him forever, clean and perfect and without sin because Jesus took all the yucky sin. God, like a good king, makes a way to bring us to back to Him, no matter what ugly things we do. And He welcomes us to Himself right away.

 

This is not the end of the story for David and Absalom. Their story is very up and down, full of bad choices and selfish interest, but we see the love of God through it all. Keep reading the next few days as we learn more. Thanks for joining us!

Psalm 51

Hello again! This Psalm was a song written by David after he killed Uriah and married Uriah’s wife Bathsheba. His heart was not obeying God. God was not happy and He sent His prophet Nathan to tell David to ask God to forgive him.

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Have mercy on me, O God,
    because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
    blot out the stain of my sins.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Make me perfectly clean from my sin.

For I recognize my disobedience;
    it haunts me day and night.

Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
    I have done what is evil in your sight.
You will be proved right in what you say,
    and your judgment against me is fair.

For I was born a sinner—
    yes, from the moment i started growing in my mother’s belly.

But you desire honesty,
    teaching me wisdom from the beginning.

Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Oh, give me back my joy again;
    you have broken me—
    now let me rejoice.

Don’t keep looking at my sins.
    Remove the stain of my guilt.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
11 Do not banish me from your presence,
    and don’t take your Spirit from me.

12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you.

13 Then I will teach your ways to others,
    and they will return to you.
14 Forgive me for shedding blood, O God who saves;
    then I will joyfully sing of your forgiveness.

15 Unseal my lips, O Lord,
    that my mouth may praise you.

16 You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.

18 Look with favor on Zion and help her;
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will be pleased with sacrifices offered in the right spirit—
with burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings.
Then bulls will again be sacrificed on your altar.

 

Back before Jesus, people would make a sacrifice when they did something bad. They would find the best sheep they could. Then they would kill it and give it to God. (This was partly because that was one of the most important things to the people back then. The best sheep got them the most money. They could eat the animals or sell them. They were very important. To give them to God meant God was the MOST important.) God would see the blood from the best animal and forgive the people for what they had done wrong.

(When Jesus came, He was God’s own perfect son and He died as a sacrifice too on the cross. Instead of an animal, He was the PERFECT sacrifice because He never sinned…He was the “spotless lamb.” Once He died, we never had to sacrifice animals again. God will forever look on Jesus dying and see that He took away our punishment for us. His blood covers us forever as long as we believe in Him.)

David knew what was most important to God, more than the animal sacrifice, was what was in his heart. We can’t just say “oh, i messed up, but Jesus died on the cross so it’s fine.” Just like people in David’s day couldn’t say “oh i messed up, i’ll just kill a sheep and God will forgive me.” God forgives because of the sacrifice AND because we ask His forgiveness and have a heart that WANTS His forgiveness and a heart that WANTS to follow Him. (We are saved by the grace of Jesus’ sacrifice though faith.)

David was very sorry and he wanted God to forgive him and give him a new, clean heart and he asked God to help him obey from now on. He promised to rejoice and sing praises to God for his fair punishment and for God forgiving him.

 

Keith Green song 

Rend Collective song

Thanks for joining us!

Easter Overview

Hi everyone!

 

It’s the week where we celebrate Easter and although we’ve covered Easter several times already, today I am making a one-time lesson. (The other years we have spread this out over several days), but this year I find myself needing a one-day lesson. So here we go.

Gen 1-3: In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. He made everything! And His favorite thing He made was people.

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God made a man named Adam and a woman named Eve and they lived with God in a very special place. They were all together and happy and nothing was ever bad.

Until, one day…one of God’s special helpers decided HE wanted to be the biggest and the best–he thought he could even be better than God!? His name is Satan. And one day he came to the garden where they lived and tricked Eve. God had told Adam and Eve they could eat anything they wanted EXCEPT the fruit from one special tree…the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If they ate from it, they would die.

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But Satan said, “You won’t REALLY die…God just doesn’t want you to be as smart as Him!” So they disobeyed God. When we disobey God, that’s called sin. There was a consequence for their sin. The consequence was: they couldn’t stay with God in that perfect place and one day they would die.

Sin entered the world. And everyone since Adam and Eve has sinned. When we sin, our consequence is that we too will one day die and we *should* be apart from God forever because of our sin…

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But God had a plan…        (Rom 5:12-21)

 

Gen 11-25: A long time later, Adam and Eve had children, and their children had children and on and on and on and on and on until we get to a man named Abraham.

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Abraham loved God. And even though things were hard now (since people were away from God), Abraham still obeyed God and trusted Him. God taught Abraham about sacrifice. Sacrifice is giving up something you really love for something better. In the old days when Abraham lived, one of the most important things to them was their sheep and other animals. They would use the wool for clothes, and they would eat their animals. They could sell them for money to buy other food. Cows gave them milk to drink and they used animals to ride around (no cars back then!) God taught Abraham that if he (or anyone who sinned) would sacrifice an animal to God (kill it and give it to God) that his or her sins would be forgiven. This was a way for them to show God they loved HIM more than their most favorite thing…that God was FIRST in their lives. God would see the blood from the animal and He would look at their yucky sinful hearts, and He would forgive them and see them as perfect again.

The only problem was…every time they sinned…they had to give another sacrifice. But God still had a plan…

 

Exodus 2-20: After Abraham had a son, his son had children and on and on and on until a boy named Moses was born. The people who loved God were now living in a place called Egypt (far away from the place God had picked for them to live) and the king there, called Pharaoh was very mean to God’s people. When Moses was a old man, God picked him to tell the mean Pharaoh to let God’s people go back home. But the Pharaoh said “NO!” So God gave Pharaoh a bad consequence. Then Moses said again, “Let God’s people go!” and the Pharaoh said “NO!” So there was another bad consequence. This happened nine times!! And on the last time when the Pharaoh said “NO,” God said, “This will be the last consequence. All of the first born baby boys will die. UNLESS, you sacrifice an animal (a lamb) and paint around the door of your house with the blood.”

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God’s people listened and obeyed. Each family gave up their best sheep and painted the door with the blood, just like God said. But Pharaoh and his people laughed and said, “No way! We’re not giving up OUR sheep, we won’t listen to YOUR God!?” That night…an angel of God came by each house and if the people had obeyed God, he passed over the house and went to the next one. But if the people had not obeyed God, then the first born boy in that house died….even the Pharaoh’s son died. It was then, that Pharaoh let the people go.

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The people left and headed towards the place God had picked for them. While they were traveling, Moses went up on a mountain and there God spoke to him and gave him the rules the people were supposed to obey. God gave us the rules because He wants us to follow them, but He KNOWS we all sin sometimes (Romans 3:23). The rules SHOW US that we are not perfect like God is, and that we NEED HIM to be perfect and to forgive us when we disobey Him.

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God’s people eventually made it to the place He had for them but they did not always obey Him. They sinned (just like we do) and had to be forgiven every time with the blood of a sheep.

Luke 1-2 BUT, finally, many many many many many years later, God was ready to show us His big and perfect plan! He sent His only and perfect son Jesus into the world as a little baby.

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Jesus grew up and learned and went to school and made His bed and helped put away dishes and cleaned His room. He was a regular person and ALSO, He never sinned, because He is God’s son. (2 Cor 5:21, 1 John 3:5, Hebrews 4:15)

When Jesus became a grown up, He taught the people about God and He did a lot of  miracles (those are things only God’s power can do)–like make sick people better, help blind people see, turn water into wine or turn a little food into a LOT of food.

A lot of the people LOVED Jesus, but some people did not. The Bible teachers didn’t like that Jesus talked about forgiveness and love instead of teaching them about FOLLOWING THE RULES and the kings in charge didn’t like that the people liked Jesus more than them. “What is he tries to take over and be king?!!?” they worried. So they came up with a plan to get rid of Him.

Matt 21: It came time for the people to celebrate Passover (a big holiday where they remembered God passing over the houses of the people who obeyed Him and how He led them away from Egypt to the place He had for them). Jesus came to town to also celebrate. Lots of people were excited to see Him. So excited that they waved palm tree branches and laid coats on the ground so the dirt roads wouldn’t make Him all dusty. They shouted “Hosanna! We love you! We praise you!” This just made the leaders even MORE jealous and MORE angry. They HAD to get rid of Jesus.

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Matt 26-27: Jesus had a group of helpers, called disciples. One of them agreed to help the jealous leaders. A couple days later, Jesus was eating with His disciples and He told them He had to leave soon, but He would be back. The disciples were sad and confused. Jesus went to pray and most of His disciples went too, but one of them, Judas, went to get the leaders.

When Judas brought the leaders back, they captured Jesus. His other disciples tried to stop them, but Jesus said, “No. This needs to happen.”

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They took Jesus and decided to kill him. The built a cross out of wood and they put nails in His hands to keep Him stuck on the cross. They called Him names, they hit Him, they beat Him up, and they made fun of Him. They made Him carry that big wooden cross up a hill and then he had to hang on it for a long time until He died.

crosses

They also had two other people who had done bad things on crosses next to Jesus. They had sinned, but Jesus hadn’t…but He was dying anyway. One of the guys next to Jesus made fun of Him…but the other one KNEW Jesus was God’s son and asked Jesus to forgive him. Jesus said, “Yes. And today you will be with me in a perfect place.”

Jesus asked God to forgive ALL the people and then He died. The Bible tells us that Jesus was God’s plan for our sins. Just like the people used to sacrifice their best, God sent HIS best, His son Jesus, to be a PERFECT sacrifice (since an animal can never be perfect it was never good enough). Jesus was a PERFECT sacrifice that would clean away our sin once and for all. (Rom 6:1-11, Heb 10:4, 1 Peter 1:9) His blood is the once and for all sacrifice to take away sin.

When God looks at our hearts now, if we believe in Him and say with our mouths that JESUS IS OUR LORD, then He will only see the sacrifice of Jesus and He will see us as perfect again. (Heb 9:11-15, Rom 3:24, Heb 10:1-18)

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But that’s not even the end of the story!

Matt 28: After He died, they put Jesus’ body in a tomb and they rolled a big, big, BIG rock in front of it so no one could take it. The leaders were so nervous they even had guards watching the tomb.

Three days later, there was an earthquake and the rock rolled away. The guards were so scared they fainted! Some women who loved Jesus were coming to see His body and to put some smelly good things on it, but when they got there, the tomb was open, the rock was moved and an angel was sitting on the rock.

tomb

The women were so afraid!! But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid…I know you’re looking for Jesus….but He’s not here…He’s ALIVE! Go tell the others and go find Him!” They did tell the others and they did find Jesus. Jesus stayed with them a little while longer before He went back to heaven to be with God.

 

 

Jesus died in our place as a sacrifice. But He didn’t STAY dead…He is more powerful than even death. And now when we sin, if we ask Him to forgive us and we believe in His sacrifice, He WILL forgive us. God will look over our sin and see Jesus and He will forgive us and we will get to live forever with Him. (Rom 10:9, John 17:3, Rom 5:6-11, John 3:16)

“6 We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin. And since we died with Christ, we know we will also live with him. We are sure of this because Christ was raised from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him. 10 When he died, he died once to break the power of sin. But now that he lives, he lives for the glory of God. 11 So you also should consider yourselves to be dead to the power of sin and alive to God through Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:6-11)

 

THAT is why we celebrate Easter.

We are all made and loved by God. We are all sinners. Sins have consequences. Only Jesus, the perfect son of God can take the place of our consequences. He died to forgive us and lived again to give us forever life with God in heaven!!!!

Romans 10:9 says, “If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

 

Amen! Thanks for joining us all, hope everyone has a wonderful Easter!

Jesus heals a deaf man

Hi all! This story today is from Mark 7:31-37. This is another miracle Jesus did. Remember a miracle is something only God can do. (Sometimes He uses people like Jesus or the disciples or maybe even you to do the miracle…but it is ALWAYS God’s power).

One day Jesus was traveling to a new place and some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk (because it’s hard to know how to talk when you can’t hear other people talking), and they begged Jesus to help him get better. “Please please please!” they said.

Jesus took him aside, away from the crowd, then He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Be opened!” Right away the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak! 

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more He told them not to, the more they kept talking about it! People were overwhelmed with amazement. “Everything He does is AMAZING!!” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

The people were supposed to not make a big deal of it…but they couldn’t help it! They were so amazed by what Jesus had done, they just HAD to tell people. The man had his ears and tongue opened so he could hear and speak, but those watching had their minds and hearts opened–they could see now that Jesus was someone special…God’s son, the Messiah, the One who had come to save them not just from being sick or deaf, but Jesus had come to save their hearts.

 

For our craft today, we cut out a face shape and then made an upside down U cut out. (It serves as a flap so you can open and shut the mouth). We cut a strip of red paper and folded it up accordion style and glued in down inside the U.

Our text reads: “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak!” Mark 7:31-37

 

I struggled to find decent media for this one, but if I do, i’ll be sure to add it later

Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!

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.

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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!

Isaiah

Welcome back! Today’s lesson is about another prophet named Isaiah. A prophet is someone who talks with God and then tells the people what God wants them to know.

Isaiah has a whole book of the Bible for the things God wanted the people of Israel to know.

In this book, God tells His people (the people living in Judah and the rest of Israel) that they have disobeyed Him. Do you remember what it’s called when we disobey God? That’s called sin. And God tells them there will be consequences for their sins. BUT, if they will obey God again, and love only Him, then He will forgive them (1: 18-31).

Isaiah spends a lot of his book reminding the people of all the ways they have disobeyed God and how if they don’t ask Him to forgive them that there will be sad consequences–they will be taken away from the promised land. (And they were!)

We all sin too and when we sin, we can no longer live in heaven with God. We get taken away from the “forever promised land” with God (heaven).

BUT, in this book, God was telling His people, “I have a plan.” Isaiah 12:2 says, “Behold, God is my salvation,  I will trust and not be afraid.” Isaiah told the people that GOD Himself would make a way to save His people and to forgive them. Do you know what that way is?

It’s Jesus! God would send His own son, Jesus to die on the cross for us take our consequences so we could be perfect in God’s eyes. (Isaiah 53)

Isaiah told the people about Jesus who would be coming. In chapter 9, he tells the people that a baby will be born “For to us a child is born (Jesus), to us a son is given (God’s OWN son!), and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor (like a teacher and helper), Mighty God, Everlasting Father (we are God’s children!), Prince of Peace.” Most of the people then didn’t understand what Isaiah was saying…but we know he was talking about Jesus and that we don’t have to be afraid of the consequences of our sins if we believe in Jesus and that He came to die for us–we can just be thankful! 

God let Isaiah see some of heaven. In chapter 6 he says. “I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were creatures, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” (Holy means special and not like anyone or anything else.)

And at the end of Isaiah, God promises a GREAT future to those who trust in Him. In chapters 65 and 66, He says, “For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes. I will make new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I will create…I will take delight in my people; there will be no more weeping or crying.” He says all the people and animals will get along. Everyone will have enough food and not have to worry about anything! The people will be healthy and happy. They will worship God together forever. 

Isn’t it wonderful that even though WE disobey God, HE makes a way for us to be forgiven? There is nothing WE can do to get God to forgive us, it’s like a present He gives us, because He loves us. We just have to say “Yes! I want that present! Thank you, God!”

For our craft today we drew pictures of Isaiah’s vision of heaven and talked about how thankful we are for God sending His son Jesus to forgive our sins and all the things we are looking forward to about heaven.

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THIS VIDEO is a version of the song “I see the Lord” performed by Chris Falson.

THIS VIDEO is an overview of Isaiah by ShareFaithSolutions.

THIS VIDEO is from Saddleback Kids and focuses on the necessity of Jesus’ coming.

THIS VIDEO is from JellyTelly and is also a nice overview.

Thanks for joining us! Love to you all!