Our forgiving God

Hey all! Today we talked about the next part of Numbers (chapters 17,20,21). Last year’s lesson and craft can be found HERE.

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The Israelites were following God through the desert on their way to the promised land…but no matter how many GREAT things God did…the people just COMPLAINED! It’s easy for us to complain instead of THANKING God for all the great things He has given us and done for us. Let’s take a minute to think about those things and thank God.

In the book of Numbers there are 3 stories about the people complaining and not trusting God. The first time they didn’t trust God’s choices. Aaron (Moses’ brother was the chief priest–the one who would give sacrifices and pray to God to forgive the people for their sins (bad choices). It was important that the people listen to Aaron because God had chosen him to stand between the people and God. But the people had disobeyed and as a consequence, some of them had died. Instead of telling God they were sorry, instead they said “It’s ALL YOUR fault, Aaron!” They wanted a NEW chief priest. They didn’t like the one God had chosen.

But God told them to bring 12 staffs (one from the leader of each tribe/family) into the tabernacle (the church). The next morning, when Moses went to see the staffs, Aaron’s staff (big stick) had grown some flowers! All the people were amazed and reminded that God would choose who He wanted to lead the people. They put Aaron’s staff back in front to remind everyone not to doubt God’s choosing and to be thankful that He is a forgiving God.

But, it didn’t take long before the people forgot about God’s goodness and again started complaining. They were complaining this time about the food and water. God told Moses to talk to a rock to give the people water. But even Moses didn’t always obey God. Instead of talking to the rock, he bonked it with his staff. It did give water to all the people, but God wasn’t happy. So God told Moses even he wouldn’t get to go into the promised land, only his kids and grandchildren. Even though the people had complained and not obeyed God, He still took care of them and gave them the water they needed. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.

Then later, many years later, the people were still following God around the desert and again, they started to complain. God was very frustrated with the people for not trusting Him and He sent snakes to bite the people. It hurt a lot and some of the people died. Moses asked God to forgive the people and God told Moses to make a big snake statue and the anyone who got bitten by a snake could look at that and get better. If the people believed God and obeyed Him and looked at the snake statue, they got better. If they didn’t obey God, then they died. Was the statue God? No. Did the statue have any powers? No. Only God has the power to make someone better. He just wanted the people to OBEY and look at the snake. He wanted them to TRUST HIM and obey. Even though the people complained and complained, God still gave them a way to get better. The people were reminded that He is a forgiving God.

Sometimes when we make bad choices, there are bad consequences, but God still forgives us and still loves us. We can always remember that He is a forgiving God. The people did not trust God…instead they complained. When we trust God, we will be thankful. Let’s try to be more thankful and trust God’s plans.

THIS video by Steven Bussell has all three of our mini stories in paper-bag puppet form (very cute and well done).

THIS is a great overview of the book of Numbers from the “What’s in the Bible” series posted by JellyTelly.

THIS is a very thorough overview of Numbers posted by The Bible Project.(Today’s lesson starts at about 3:15 into the video and goes until about 4:35).

Thanks for joining us again! Love to you all!

Job

Hello again! Before we delve into Exodus, we’re going to add in Job. (Looks like j-ah-b, pronounced like j-oh-b)

There’s an entire book of the Bible for Job, today will just be an overview. Job is about trusting God even through hardships and about God’s sovereignty and faithfulness despite our feelings.

**There is a book called “The Gospel According to Job” by Mike Mason which is a WONDERFUL commentary/devotional which really helps break down the book of Job and I personally found it especially helpful during our years battling infertility.**

Ok, onto the story…

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Job was a man a long long time ago that loved God. He prayed to God, he served God. God had given Job many nice things…a loving wife, 10 children, lots of servants, a big big house, lots of money  and sooooooo many animals.

One day Satan (who used to be one God’s angels but instead became God’s enemy) said to God, “You know…the only reason Job loves you is because you give him so much stuff. If you took all those great things away…I bet he wouldn’t love you anymore.”

“Fine,” God said. “You can take away any of his things…but don’t hurt Job.”

So Satan took away Job’s servants, all his camels and sheep and donkeys and even his children.

Did Job stop loving God? No. Job said, “God gives me things and God can take them away. But I will always praise Him.”

This made Satan angry and again he went to God and said, “Well…if you let me hurt HIM, THEN he won’t love you anymore!”

“Try it, ” answered God.

So Job became sick and his skin was all yucky and very ouchy. But did he stop loving God? No. He STILL worshipped God. Even his wife said, “You should just die! This is too much!” But Job never stopped trusting God. (And even though it seemed like God didn’t care…He still loved Job very VERY much.)

Job had lost EVERYTHING…can you imagine losing all your toys and your house? And even being sick too?

Then Job’s friends came to help him feel better. But they didn’t really help. Instead they said “WOW! You must have been REALLY bad for God to do this to you! What did you do?!”

“I didn’t do anything wrong!” Job said.

“Well God MUST be mad at you. Or maybe you don’t really understand God!” said the friends. ( But THEY didn’t understand what God was doing.)

Job started to wonder if his friends were right…WAS God just mad at him? DOES God care about me?

Then God answered Job from a whirlwind (like a tornado). God said, “Who questions Me? I am God. I have made everything! Every star, every wave in the sea…I am the giver of life…I know where all the stars are…can YOU make lightning? Can YOU  know the farthest parts of space or the deepest parts of the ocean?? I AM God.”

Job stopped. He answered God…”I am nothing. How can I answer you? I will not say anything else.” Job remembered that God is in charge and that it’s ok if we don’t understand God’s plan. God knows. And if we know how much He loves us, then it is easy to trust Him. We know God has good plans for us (Jer 29:11) and that He acts in love towards us. So even if we don’t understand what God does, we can trust in WHO HE IS.

Then God yelled at the 3 friends and made them say sorry. They realized they did NOT know God well.

After that, God gave Job back everything he had lost AND MORE! Job didn’t know God would reward him and give him everything back, but he trusted God anyway. So because of his faithfulness, God gave Job even MORE sheep and camels and cows and donkeys. He had even more money and 10 more children. He lived  a long happy life after that.

 

Sometimes confusing or sad things happen and we think God has forgotten about us. Or maybe we even think God is being mean to us. Maybe we think God is being mean because we have done something bad. Maybe we did do something bad…and we can ask God to forgive us. But sometimes…we won’t know why a sad or scary thing is happening. But we can know that God loves us, wants good things for us, wants to help us be more like Him and that we can always trust Him. And sometimes what we think is good for us is NOT what God knows is good for us. We have to trust HIM. Remember, He made all things and knows all things…we can trust Him.

This song  is from the “what’s in the Bible” series.

This is the story of Job from “The Brick Testament” –a cute website that tells Bible stories using Legos.

 

Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Abraham’s Children

Hello again! As we wrap up the book of Genesis, I decided to add this related (but not chronological) lesson. We did do the story of Ephraim and Manasseh yesterday but didn’t change it from LAST YEAR’S LESSON.

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Today’s lesson is based on what I heard at church today and I thought it summed up Genesis so well it needed to be added here. This is from Romans 4. See also HERE.

So this month we read about God creating the heavens and the earth. We read about Adam, the first man, and Noah and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. We read about how much God loved His creation….but the people did not always love God. A lot of people disobeyed and didn’t trust God.

But not everyone felt that way. Abraham DID trust God and God made a special promise to Abraham…that he would be the father of many many people. As many as the stars in the sky, as many as the sand on the beach. That’s a lot of people! And Abraham BELIEVED God. He had faith. And not only did he BELIEVE God, he OBEYED God too. When God told Abraham to move, he moved. When He told him to give back his son Isaac, he did. Abraham showed that he had faith in God. God loved Abraham and made a special promise to him…not because he was a great person, or because he always did the right thing…but because he TRUSTED God and when God told him to do something…he did it. He had faith.  (Rom 4:9-13)

Abraham did have children, and those children had children and we know Jacob had a LOT of children and those guys had a LOT LOT LOT of children…and all those people would become Israel. The people of Israel thought THEY were God’s special people because they came from Abraham. BUT…in the book of Romans, God tells us that ANYONE who BELIEVES and OBEYS God is a son of Abraham, a part of Abraham’s family. (Rom 4:16-17, 24-25)

If YOU love AND obey God, then YOU are one of Abraham’s children too. Abraham’s family did get pretty big…but that also includes all the people who choose God and love and obey Him.

When we love and obey God, we get adopted into God’s family. He adds us into the family. We don’t have to be born in Israel to be one of Abraham’s children…to be one of God’s children. We just need to trust God, love Him and obey Him. And some of the people IN Israel choose not to love and obey God…the Bible says they are NOT Abraham’s children. They are NOT God’s children. The real children of Abraham and the real children of God are those that have faith in Him. (Galatians 3:7)

So when we read the Bible, we aren’t just reading about THOSE people a long time ago…it’s about God’s story. His plan for ALL of us. God would send His son Jesus through Abraham’s family…but anyone and everyone who believes in God becomes His child and becomes part of Abraham’s family too. One of the stars in the sky.

We will start the next part of God’s story tomorrow, in the book of Exodus. And as we read through Exodus, let’s remember that WE are also God’s children…like the Israelites…their story is our story.

Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!

Abram Sets Out

Hello again! Today’s story is from Genesis 11:27-12:9.

So 10 generations after Noah (Noah had a son, who had a son, who had a son, who had a son….10 times down the line), was born a man named Abram.

Abram had a wife named Sarai and a nephew (his brother’s son) named Lot. Abram and Sarai didn’t have any children yet but they really wanted to have a baby. We don’t know much else about Abram except that he was pretty old and that he followed God.

One day God spoke to Abram and said “Go! Leave your house, your country, the people you know and head out and later I will show you where you are going.”

Doesn’t that sound crazy? To just start moving but not even know WHERE you are going?

Then God gave Abram a promise, He said, ““I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” A blessing is like approval that helps you. That means people would like Abram and God would be good to him. Anyone who was good to Abram, God would be good to them. Anyone who was mean to Abram…God would not be nice to them. And everyone on earth would be blessed because of Abram.

So Abram obeyed. He went with his wife and his nephew and took their things and some of their helpers and they set out.

Abram didn’t know where he was going…but he knew WHO told him to go. He trusted God. Sometimes we might not understand what God is doing in our lives…but we know we can trust Him. We can always trust God that He has a good plan for us. It might not always be easy (and it wasn’t for Abram either)…but we know we can trust God no matter what.

For our story today we told the story using legos. (So…our caravan was a fire truck and a pumpkin carriage haha, but they enjoyed telling the story themselves).

Thanks for joining us! Come back tomorrow for more of Abram’s story! Love to you all!

True Beauty

Welcome back!

Today’s lesson is from 1 Peter 3:3-4, written by Jesus’ friend Peter.

In these verses Peter tells us what makes someone beautiful. What do you think makes someone beautiful? Pretty hair? Make up? Fancy clothes?

The Bible says, “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

That means it doesn’t matter WHAT the outside of you looks like. What matters is your heart. If you love God and other people THAT is the most beautiful thing. A gentle and quiet (that means not afraid…but trusting God) heart.

Can you wear jewelry? Sure. Can you do your hair in fun ways? Of course. Can you wear the latest, coolest clothes? Yeah. But what really matters is if you make good choices to love other people and trust God. That’s what REALLY makes someone beautiful. (Bigger kids may enjoy the story of Esther to further illustrate true beauty–there’s a veggie tales version as well for the younger crowd.)

In the book of Proverbs (wise sayings) 11:22 it says, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout
is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.” That means if you put jewelry on pig….it would still be a muddy ugly pig. You can try to make the pig look fancy…but it’s still a pig. And when people make ugly choices, they look no better than that muddy ugly pig. You can have fancy clothes and jewelry all you want…but if your heart is ugly, it’s not real beauty. Real beauty is trusting God and loving others.

For our craft today we made some pigs with gold rings in their noses.

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I had the kids cut out the shapes above (a circle and two triangles). Then we glued the triangles near the top of the circle to be the ears. We drew on eyes and glued a pom pom for the snout.

Then we twisted a pipe cleaner and taped it to the back to be the tail. Lastly, we took a gold piece of ribbon and glued it on to be the nose ring.

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Thanks for joining us. Love to you all!