Archive for July, 2014

Nehemiah Seeks God

Our hope is for our kids to know that: We seek God

Key Verse:
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land”
2 Chronicles 7:14 

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Nehemiah 1:1 – 2:9) Nehemiah was upset to learn that after twelve years the walls of Jerusalem were still not rebuilt. This upset him so much that he wanted to do something about it, so he prayed for four months about it. Afterwards he went to the king for help. Nehemiah wanted to take time off and materials to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall. When Nehemiah prayed and humbled himself before God, God answered!

Share:
Tell about a time you needed to seek God in your life. Encourage family members to talk about times they’ve sought after God. Then talk about how God wants a relationship with us and how it is important that we seek Him, because He is always there.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
As a family, seek God’s guidance for everything. To tie in to Nehemiah planning to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, make a giant “wall” to record your prayers. Tape several pieces of paper up to resemble the stones in a wall. Then, inside each stone, write something you need to seek God’s for.

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God Promises to Restore Israel After the Exile

Our hope is for our kids to know that: We seek God no matter what happens

Key verse: 
“For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”  
Jeremiah 29:11

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Jeremiah 29:4-14) The people of Israel were in exile in the land of Babylon, and Jeremiah was a prophet who had the tough task of telling Israel that if they didn’t follow God the immediate future wouldn’t be so bright. This was a message that the Israelites didn’t want to hear. In this passage we see Jeremiah telling the exiles to settle in and get comfortable, because they were going to be there for awhile, 70 years in fact. This taught the Israelites to trust God and realize he has a plan for them. This plan was in the future and not necessarily and immediate plan. In spite of that fact, we all can rest in the fact that God has our futures planned for us.

Share:
Talk about a time you asked God for answers (for example, by providing wisdom for an important decision, or direction for the future). Then help your kids invite God into any decisions they’ll make this week. Encourage your children to keep asking for God’s guidance in prayer and through reading the Bible, no matter what happens.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
As a family, play a game of “Hot and Cold.” One family member closes his or her eyes while the others hide an object in the living room. The seeker then moves around the room while the other family members indicate whether he or she is getting closer (warmer) or getting farther away (colder). Take turns being the seeker. After  everyone’s had an opportunity to be the seeker, talk about how this experience is like or unlike seeking God no matter what happens.

Daniels Friends Are Safe in the Fiery Furnace

Our hope is for our kids to know that: They can stand strong for God 

Key Verse:
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage be strong”  
1 Corinthians 16:13

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Daniel 3) King Nebuchadnezzar defeated Judah and took the smartest and best people he could find back to Babylon. Among them were Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These three had a conflict with the King because they would not bow down to the huge 90 foot tall Gold statue that Nebuchadnezzar built. As a result the king ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal, and ordered for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be thrown in. When they were thrown in the King was amazed they did not burn. And with them was a fourth person, likely an angel or God himself, walking around untouched! As a result the king had them come out of the furnace and made an order that no one shall speak negative about the God that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego worshipped. 

Share:
Tell your kids about a time you showed courage and stood strong for your beliefs. Perhaps you chose to defend a friend when others gossiped. Or maybe you confidently told someone you’re a Christian when asked about your beliefs. Talk with your kids about what’s most scary about standing strong for God. Then brainstorm with your children ways they can stand strong for God at school, at home, at church, and anywhere they go.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Create a “Stand Strong for God” award to pass around your family. The award could be an official-looking certificate, a badge to wear or hang on your bedroom door, or even a special dessert or night out for ice cream once a week. Each time you see a family member standing up for God or someone shares about how he or she stood strong for God, recognize that person with your special award. As you praise each other for standing firm in your faith, you’ll provide encouragement for the future when
standing strong for God is difficult.

Josiah Promises to Follow the Lord

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God’s Word changes our lives

Key Verse:

“All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”
2 Timothy 3:16-17

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child 2 Chronicles 34) Josiah began his rule when he was just eight years old! He likely had people advising him because of his young age. His advisors must have led him well because he followed in the footsteps of his great grandfather Hezekiah by obeying the Lord. At 26 Josiah decided to repair and restore the Temple, which had been turned into a house of idolatry by his father Manasseh. It was during this cleansing that the book of law was found. When Josiah had it read to him he was greatly disturbed, because they did not know God’s Word. Josiah decided to follow God and share with the people the word as well. As a result the people changed and began to follow the true God and worship Him!

Share:
Tell about something you’ve learned from the Bible. Why was that lesson important to you? New knowledge about God is powerful. Discuss how reading the Bible and learning about God can change people. Throughout the week, encourage each other to read the Bible to continue learning God’s important lessons.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
If you don’t already have one, pick out an edition of the bible that your whole family will understand and enjoy. Take turns each night after dinner reading out loud for a few minutes; then answer three simple questions: What does that passage say about God? What does this passage say about me? What Does this passage say about those I love?