Sodom and Gomorrah

Hey all. Welcome back! Today’s story is from Genesis 18:16-33 and 19:1-29. Our lesson from last year can be found HERE.

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So our friend Abraham was getting ready to move to the next place God told him to go.

God said,  “Abraham will become a great and powerful nation, and everyone else on earth will be blessed through him. I have chosen him, so that he will lead his children and his household to follow Me by doing what is right.”

God then told Abraham about two cities nearby. Sodom and Gomorrah. God told Abraham the cities were very bad and the people did terrible things to sin against God (disobey Him.)

Abraham knew his nephew Lot lived in Sodom and so he asked God: “Will you get rid of the good people just because some of them are wicked? What if there are fifty righteous (right with God) people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not save the place for the sake of the fifty good people in it?

The Lord said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will save the whole place for their sake.”

Then Abraham spoke up again: “What if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

Once again Abraham spoke to Him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

When the Lord had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

****Abraham knew God would do what He wanted…and he knew it was a bold thing to ask God to save the city. We know we can talk to God anytime and ask Him anything…even if it seems crazy because we know NOTHING is too hard for God. But like Abraham, we must also remember God is in charge. Abraham was talking to God on behalf of the people of Sodom–he was interceding…that means to come between and negotiate…or to come between and bring peace between two people. Abraham was trying to help save the people. Can you think of anyone else in the Bible who intercedes? Someone who talks to God for US?

Jesus! Jesus talks to God for us and we can also talk to God for other people. When we pray for our friends who are sick or sad…or when we pray that they come to know Jesus that is interceding…we are coming to God FOR them, to ask God to help them, just like Abraham did for the people of Sodom and Gomorrah.****

Now let’s get back to the story….

Two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot (Abraham’s nephew) was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. “My lords,” he said, “please come to my house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning.”

“No,” they answered, “we will spend the night in the middle of the city.”

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him to his house. He made a meal for them and they ate. Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They tried to do very bad and mean things to Lot and his family. Lot even made a bad choice and said “Don’t hurt me or my visitors! Here take my daughters instead!” Isn’t that a terrible thing to say??

But the angels saved Lot AND his daughters. God was merciful (nice even when they didn’t deserve it) to Lot and his family. He saved them because of his promise and love for  Abraham…not because they deserved to be saved. Then the angels said “Do you have anyone else here in the city who belongs to you? Any family? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The people here are so bad that God has sent us to destroy it.”

So Lot went out and told his family, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the Lord is about to destroy the city!” But his sons-in-law thought he was joking and they didn’t go.

When the sun was about to come up, the angels urged Lot, saying, “Hurry! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or you will be swept away when the city is punished.”

When he hesitated, the angels took his hand and the hands of his wife and of his two daughters and led them safely out of the city. As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, “Run for your lives! DON’T look back, and DON’T stop anywhere on the way! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!”

Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah. (THIS is a video of what burning sulfur in a volcano looks like). The whole city, all the people animals and plants were destroyed. But Lot’s wife didn’t obey the angels and she looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. God had told them not to look back. He wanted them to obey Him. When it says she became a pillar of salt that could mean she was covered in the ashes from the sulfur and died, or that the burning sulfur overtook her…she didn’t obey and move fast enough. When God gives us clear directions, we should always obey Him, and keep our focus on Him…not on what we are leaving behind. God’s way is ALWAYS the best way.

Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. He looked down at Sodom and Gomorrah, and he saw the smoke from the land, like smoke from a furnace. When God destroyed the cities, he remembered Abraham and kept him safe, and he saved Lot and his family too.

 

In this lesson we learn the importance of obeying God and putting Him first..not thinking about other things that might seem better (like Lot’s wife who was so sad about leaving she disobeyed God). We can always remember God’s way is the BEST way. We also learned about God’s favor toward Abraham and how Abraham used that favor to help others. He KNEW God and talked to Him to try to help the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. When we love God and follow Him the Bible says we become God’s children and can come to Him anytime. (Hebrews 4:16) We should always remember to come to God to intercede for others–we can pray to God for the things we need, but like Abraham, we can pray for other people too. Jesus does that for us. (Hebrews 7:25) In everything we do, we try to be more like Jesus and when we pray for other people we are bringing them before God, just like Jesus does for us.

God’s way is the best way by Veggie Tales.

(Interestingly enough, I found a slew you tube videos about prayer for kids…but not anything about praying for OTHERS. So…if anyone finds anything…please feel free to share in the comments. I may need to make up my own song for that one!)

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.

Discipline

Hi all! Welcome back!

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Today’s lesson is from Hebrews 12. The word of the day is discipline. Do you know what discipline means? It means training someone. Do you remember Jesus’ disciples? They were training to be like Jesus! And when we follow God, we become His disciples too !We are always becoming more and more like Him.

This takes discipline. He teaches us. And sometimes…it can be hard.

What kinds of rules do you have at your house?

What are the consequences if you break the rules?

Do you know WHY your mom and dad (or grandma or grandpa) have rules at your house?

The rules are there to keep you safe and help you become the kind of person you should be. Do you know any babies? They don’t know how to make good choices yet, do they? But you’re getting bigger every day and YOU know how to make good choices. The choices we make everyday make us more like God…or not. And sometimes when we make choices that are NOT Godly, God has to teach us, sometimes even punish us with consequences.

In Hebrews 12 in the Bible, it says God is like a daddy to us. He wants us to be safe and be more like Him every day. So He teaches us (through the Bible and our own mom and dad) how to be like Him…which choices to make or which choices NOT to make.

But when we do make bad choices and God has to give us consequences, it says, don’t be discouraged (that means don’t be too sad), because you can remember that God LOVES you and is teaching you how to be more like Him.

If God didn’t care, He would just let us do whatever we want. But God cares about you. The Bible says that when we follow God, we become His sons and daughters, His children, and He loves us and teaches us like His children. Have you ever thought about saying “thank you” to your mom and dad when you are punished? No! That seems silly doesn’t it?! But really, we SHOULD say thank you, because we know our parents are keeping us safe and teaching us how to make good choices.

It might not be fun at the time to have to obey our parents, or to obey God, and it’s never fun to have bad consequences, but we can always remember that God is teaching us how to be more like Him…perfect and loving, just like Him.

(And if your dad is not the best example of being loving or being a good teacher, then you can always remember that God is NOT like that. He cares about you, He loves you and He can show you what a REAL father should be like.)

In Proverbs 3:11-12 it says, “My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when he corrects you. For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child whom he loves.”

There is THIS SONG from Chris Tomlin that reminds us that God is good Father to us.

 

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all.

 

Don’t try to fight God!

Hi all! Welcome back! Today’s story is from Acts 5:17-42.

Today we made puppets to help tell the story. We used two paint stir sticks and 4 pieces of construction paper. I started by taping two of the pieces together and tracing a head, then the kids cut through both pieces to essentially make two heads. We decorated them (one to look old, one to look younger). Then we glued them back to back on the paint stick.

The older side we labeled Gamaliel and the younger side we labeled Peter.

Then we again taped two pieces of construction paper together and cut out the shape of three heads together. We added googly eyes on (one side is angry, one is happy.)

The happy side is the crowd and the angry side is the angry leaders.

 

And here is the story:

The high priest and all his friends, were very jealous because Jesus’ disciples were teaching about Jesus and the people loved it! (THEY wanted to be the most important people). So they put the disciples in jail. But that night an angel of God opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. “Go back to the temple,” he said, “and tell the people all about Jesus and what He has done.”

So in the morning, they went to the temple and began to teach the people.

When the leaders got up, they asked the jail captain to send for the disciples, but the guards found out they weren’t there. So they went back and reported, “We found the jail perfectly locked, with the guards standing at the doors; but when we opened them, there was no one inside.”

Then someone came and said, “Look! The men you put in jail are standing in the temple courts teaching the people.” With that, the leaders went and brought the disciples…(but they did it nicely so the people wouldn’t get mad and try to stop them.)

“We told you Not to teach in Jesus’ name,” the high priest said. “But you have told everyone in Jerusalem all about Jesus and now they are all going to think it’s OUR fault Jesus died.”

Peter and the other disciples said: “We have to obey God more than people! He wants us to tell EVERYONE about Jesus! God raised Jesus from the dead…the same Jesus you killed on the cross. God made Him Prince and Savior and He brings us back to God and forgives our sins.We have seen these things, and have been given God’s Holy Spirit, which He gives to everyone who obeys Him.”

When they heard this, the leaders were VERY angry and wanted to kill them.  BUT a Pharisee named Gamaliel, who was honored by all the people (everyone thought he was really great!), stood up in the court and said: “Men of Israel, think carefully what you plan to do to these guys. You know sometimes people say they are somebody important and it all comes to nothing. When these people who pretend to be important get killed or run away, their followers leave too. So, with these men, I think we should leave them alone! Let them go! If they are just pretending to know God, or pretending that Jesus was someone really important…no one will care and they will all soon go away. But if Jesus really IS God’s son and they are telling the truth, you will not be able to stop them; you will just be fighting against God.”

They all thought that was a good idea. So they called the disciples in and beat them up! and then ordered them not to talk about Jesus anymore, and let them go.

And do you know how the disciples felt? They were happy! They were SO glad to tell people about Jesus and they were even happy when they got hurt for Jesus because they loved Him so much. Every day in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and telling everyone the good news that Jesus is the Messiah, God’s son.

 

In this story you can see not all the Pharisees were bad. Gamaliel was very wise and he knew it wasn’t good to make trouble. If Peter and the other disciples were making it all up, then eventually the stories would stop and people wouldn’t care. BUT, if they said was true, then trying to stop them would be like trying to stop God (and is that EVER going to happen???)

Peter and the disciples KNEW they had to obey God. Even when the people in charge said “NO.” It can be hard to do the right thing when other people are being mean to you. God will always help us obey Him if we ask. The disciples knew obeying God was more important than obeying the leaders…even if meant they would be hurt. It’s more important to do the right thing on God’s side, than the popular thing on peoples’ side. Gamaliel knew that too. He said “You don’t want to fight against God!” Be on God’s side. Obey Him. Tell others about Him and trust Him to help you make the right choices.

 

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!

God Rejects Saul (The Importance of Obedience)

Hi again! Today’s story is from 1 Samuel 15.

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God had made Saul king over the Israelites. He ruled over them and led them into many battles. BUT, Saul kind of forgot about God and made some statues to celebrate how wonderful he was and what a good job he had done defeating their enemies.

Finally, one time, God told Saul to go fight the Amalekites and to destroy every person and every thing. So Saul took his army and they went and defeated the Amalekites and they destroyed *most* of the people and *most* of the things. But is that what God told them to do?

Nope.

God sent Samuel to talk to Saul.

When Samuel got there, Saul said, “Look! We defeated the Amalekites, just like God said!”

But Samuel said, “You didn’t obey God?! You didn’t defeat every person and you kept some of their animals and money and things!”

Saul said, “Well…we were going to make sacrifices and offerings to God with all the stuff!” (That means they were going to give the stuff to God).

But Samuel said, “Does God want gifts as much as He wants you to obey? You disobeyed God, so you rejected Him and so now God has rejected you as king.”

God was going to bring someone else to be king now, because Saul didn’t listen to God.

What matters most to God isn’t that we go to church, pray, read the Bible, or tell other people about Him. Those are all really good things…but what God really wants is for us to obey all He’s told us. To obey God we need to love Him and love others. In the book of Luke 11:28, Jesus told some listeners, “Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

And in James 1:22 of the Bible it says, “Don’t just listen to the God’s word. You have to do what it says or else you’re just pretending.” If we really love God, we will do what He says.

God told Saul exactly what He wanted him to do, but Saul only half-way obeyed. When we really trust God, we can always obey Him all the way, because we know He knows what is best for us.

Thanks for joining us today. Love to you all!