Posts Tagged ‘Christ’

Jacob’s Wrestling Match

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God protects, disciplines, and blesses his chosen ones

Every word of God is flawless; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him.
Proverbs 30:5

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Genesis 32:1-32) Jacob was heading back home to face his brother Esau. This made him very fearful because he had stolen Esau’s birthright and blessing. One night while he was still on his journey, he met a man who began to wrestle with him. They wrestled all night until Jacob realized that he was wrestling God. With one touch God threw Jacob’s hip out of joint, but Jacob would not let go until he was blessed. We all struggle and wrestle with God because of sin, but when we keep holding on we are blessed with the gift that God gave us when he sent down his son in the form of man. After this Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which means “one who wrestles with God”

The Jesus Connection:
Read John 12:13. Can you imagine what Jacob must have thought when in the middle of the night a stranger appeared and began to wrestle with him? Jacob may have thought it was a robber or one of Esau’s men. They wrestled all night, but Jacob did not give in. Then, toward morning, the man put Jacob’s hip out of joint with one small touch. Suddenly Jacob realized he had been wrestling with God. Despite the pain, Jacob held on and refused to let go until God blessed him. So God blessed Jacob and gave him a very special name: Israel. From that time on, God’s people would be known as the people of Israel. When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem just before going to the cross, the crowds waved palm branches and shouted, “Blessed is … the King of Israel.”

Moses Confronts Pharaoh

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God Patiently Saves Despite Unbelief

Key Verse:
He said: “The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;””
2 Samuel 22:2

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Exodus 7:1-13) The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and called out to God to be set free. God sent Moses back to Egypt in order to confront Pharaoh and tell him to let God’s people go. Pharaoh doesn’t listen and even makes them work harder. This discourages Moses, but God steps in. Not only is Aaron sent to help Moses, they are also given a staff. The staff turns into a snake, which is used to display God’s power. This encourages Moses. Although the Egyptians were able to turn staffs into snakes, Gods staff swallowed up the others, again showing Gods divine power. However, this did not soften Pharaohs heart, and he did not turn to God.

The Jesus Connection:
Read Romans 9:15–18.
Moses asked Pharaoh to allow God’s people to go into the desert to worship and hold a festival to God. Pharaoh refused. As we will see later, Pharaoh kept on refusing even after many miraculous signs and nine horrible plagues. The Bible says that this happened because God hardened Pharaoh’s heart and because Pharaoh hardened his own heart. Both are true. This is another way in which Moses presents a picture or a foreshadowing of Jesus. Moses was a prophet who brought the word of the Lord to Pharaoh. Jesus was the prophet who brought the word of God to all of us. In Jesus’ day, the Hebrew rulers
rejected him despite his miracles. So, just as Pharaoh hardened his heart against God’s words, many people, then and now, harden their hearts against the good news of Jesus.

Jesus is Born

Our hope is for our kids to know that: In the fullness of time, God sent for His Son

Key Verse:
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, who is Christ the Lord”
Luke 2:11

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 2:1-20) The birth of Jesus was part of God’s plan. The prophet Micah said these words, “And you, oh Bethlehem, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people.” So when the census was ordered and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem, we can see the events working out the way God planned. Jesus was born in Bethlehem, and the angels announced the birth of Jesus to shepherds. After hearing the choir of angels the shepherds decided to visit baby Jesus. The savior was born, and through him we receive grace, for he died for our sins so that we can remain free from shame and guilt. Isn’t it amazing that God himself came as a baby!

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
Though Jesus was King, he did not come in a full display of his glory, might, and power. Instead he came in humility that he might become a servant of all, dying on the cross for our sins. This humility was evident from his birth, where he was born in a stable and placed in a manger. Jesus gave up his glory to come to earth because he loved us. Later, he would die for our sins so we could be saved from the penalty of sin. Isn’t it amazing that God himself came as a baby?
It was this baby that the wise men announced as the answer to the Old Testament prophecies (Matthew 2:5–6). The shepherds heard directly from heaven through the angels that the baby “wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger,” was the Savior (Luke 2:12).

The Birth of Jesus Foretold

Our hope is for our kids to know that: The Baby to Be Born to Mary Would Be the Savior of the World

Key Verse:
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins”
1 John 4:10

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Luke 1) The angel Gabriel visited two people with a special message. He told Mary that she was going to give birth to the Savior, and she was to call him Jesus. When visiting Zacharias, he told him that he along with his wife Elizabeth was to have a son, and to name him John. John the Baptist would be the forerunner, the one preparing the way for the coming of the messiah. After the angel told Mary about God’s plan, she hurried to see Elizabeth. When Mary arrived, Elizabeth’s unborn baby jumped inside her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said some amazing things. She said that Mary’s baby would be her Lord. She knew that Mary had believed Gabriel’s words and had faith that what he said would come to pass.

The Jesus Connection:
How does today’s Bible story fit into God’s greater plan of redemption?
When Mary saw Elizabeth with child, she realized that what the angel Gabriel had told her was true. Then she heard Elizabeth’s prophetic blessing. Filled with wonder and joy, she worshiped God with a song. Mary was a sinner just like us. She needed a Savior (Luke 1:47), and she knew that God’s promise was going to be fulfilled with the birth of the baby inside her. She knew that God’s plan of salvation would somehow be about her son. Her words are a song of praise to God for his incredible promise to Abraham and his descendants. The fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham was going to come through Jesus. But Mary could not have understood that her son would be sacrificed on the cross in order to fulfill that promise. It is through Jesus that people from every nation are blessed.

Lot and Abram Divide the Land

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God wants us to put others first

Key Verse:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you”
Luke 6:31

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Genesis 13) Abram and Lot were headed north back to the land God had promised to Abram’s descendants. It is here that we read Abram and Lot were very wealthy, and a single area could not contain both camps. The solution would be for them to split up. Abram decided to let Lot choose, which was something Abram did not have to do. Culturally Abram was more powerful and wealthy as well as a respected leader. He should have had his pick, and he should have taken the better land. However, Abram put Lot above himself and Lot chose the better land. It would have been appropriate for Lot to do the right thing and give Abram the better land, but Lot only thought of himself. Abram wanted to keep peace with his nephew and his family, so he was willing to give up what was rightly his for the benefit of both parties.

Share:
Tell kids what Luke 6:31 means to you. Then allow your children to tell you what they think the verse means. Invite your children to think of an act of kindness they’d love to receive, such as breakfast in bed, someone else cleaning their room, or someone sharing their favorite tech gadget or toy. After they’ve thought of something, have them tell what it is and why they’d appreciate someone doing that for them. Then challenge each family member to do that thing for someone else in your family this week.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Talk with your family, and declare a “Get Along Zone” somewhere in your house for a week—the kitchen table, the family room, the car—a place where you all agree that everyone will honestly cooperate to resolve disagreements. At the end of the week, evaluate: How well did it work? Was it positive? Do you want to renew for another week?

Adam and Eve Sin

Our hope is for our kids to know that: God doesn’t want us to sin

Key Verse:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child Genesis 3) God made us in his image. And he also made us to have a free will. God didn’t want us to be forced to love him or obey Him, he wanted us to have a choice. This choice is what also got Adam and Eve into trouble. They listened to the serpent who deceived them into eating form the forbidden tree.  The serpent made them question God, and made it seem like God didn’t have their best interest in mind. This is far from the truth. In fact, even after they sinned God made an immediate plan for us to be reconciled to him. Once we receive Christ as our savior, we end the separation that sin has caused, and we begin our eternal lives with God.

Share:
Tell your family about a time you experienced unexpected or undeserved forgiveness. Maybe a friend forgave you after you said something insulting or your supervisor showed grace after a significant mistake at work. What about your experience of forgiveness impacted you? Allow your kids to share their experiences with forgiveness. God’s forgiveness of our sin is much like when we’re forgiven by another person without earning it. It’s a wonderful gift! God loves us so much he sent Jesus to take the punishment of our sins, and God forgives us in return.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Peppered With Sin
Fill a bowl with water for each family member, and gather everyone around a table. Place a bowl in front of each person, and sprinkle a layer of black pepper on top of everyone’s water. Have a bar of soap nearby. Say: This black pepper represents the sin in our lives.

Ask: What can we do to remove all the pepper from our water? What’ll make it
difficult to get every piece of pepper out?
Say: It’s impossible to remove sin from our lives on our own. God knows that, and
that’s why God sent his Son, Jesus, to help us clean up the messy sin in our lives.

Have everyone wet one of their fingers with water and coat that finger by rubbing it
across a bar of soap.

Say: The soap represents Jesus. Now dip your soapy finger into the center of your
bowl and watch what happens.
The soap will drive the pepper to the edges of the bowl.

Say: Jesus helps us clean up and get away from sin so we can be close to God.

Discuss:
• What can we do as a family to follow Jesus to get close to God?
• What are sins you want to get away from?
• What can you do to get away from those sins?

Risen

Key Verse: “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies’”
(John 11:25)

Our hope is for our kids to: Have faith in Jesus

Read:
(Open the bible and read to your child 1 Peter 1:3-9) Jesus had already ascended into heaven and the believers were left with spreading the gospel. Peter was a bright spot, someone who completely changed from the follower who denied Christ three times. In this passage we see Peter giving gold nuggets of hope. This was very important at the time because the early Christians were facing persecution under the Romans. Peter reminds us that our faith in Christ gives us hope, and our hard times help our faith grow stronger for the next difficult time. Our weakness is his strength.

Share:
(This is an opportunity for you to ask some questions and to share your thoughts) Parents: Talk about what it means to you to put your hope in Jesus, or encourage a close family friend to share with your children about when he or she first put hope in Jesus. Then talk with your children about what it means for them to hope in Jesus. Encourage your children to share personal examples of when they’ve hoped in Jesus. As a family, talk about things that keep you from having hope in Jesus, and discuss ways you can encourage each other to keep hoping, even in the midst of these things.

Activity/Challenge for Families:
Plan a time of faith filled storytelling. Encourage each family member to come up with at least one story in advance. It can be a personal story or a story you’ve heard that really expresses the value or meaning of keeping that faith. Pop some popcorn or prepare another fun snack together; then sit around and have each person tell stories of faith. Afterward, encourage family members to share what their faith in Jesus means to them.