Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Archive for August 2013

“When I am tempted to throw a block at Sam’s head, I will cast out Satan in Jesus’ name and pray to God. Then I will say “Sorry” to Sam and give him a hug.” – Ate Allyra

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Our little girl hurt her brother this morning, and we corrected her and reminded her that she should always choose to listen to Jesus in her heart and not the devil who wants us to do bad things. As all things are orchestrated by a Great God, her bible lesson in class today was about the temptation of Jesus, and this was what she drew and had me write on her activity which requires her to give an example of a temptation she had to deal with. Praise God she was able to process right away how the Word is to be applied in her experience today!

This got me reflecting on the verse most every Christian parent knows:

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

“TRAIN UP A CHILD”

Merriam Webster defines the word “train” as such:

  1. to direct the growth of usually by bending, pruning, and tying
  2. to form by instruction, discipline, or drill
  3. to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient
  4. to make prepared (as by exercise) for a test of skill
  5. to aim at an object or objective

This denotes a purposeful, deliberate and much more thorough kind of instruction than just a reminder here and there about what God tells us to do or what God would have us say. It’s definitely more than just saying “grace’ before meals and going to church on Sundays. It implies a serious kind of training for a specific purpose, much like how an athlete goes through regular, oftentimes difficult and focused drills and exercises to build strength, stamina, and improve skill. And so we are to do this type of “training up” our children, but in what?

“IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO”

What is “the way?” Again, a favorite bible verse comes to mind:

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” – John 14:6

Jesus is the ONLY WAY and we should be training our children to become like Jesus and to place their trust in Him alone. There is simply no other way.

How are we supposed to do this seemingly overwhelming task? Well, we are fortunate, because God has graciously provided us with a “training manual.”

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” – 2 Timothy 3:16-18

No instruction booklet or book on values, good manners or proper etiquette will ever do. If we want to raise children who are going on to be perfected as all believers should, we must read, meditate, study and teach them scripture. That is how we as children of God are being prepared for all the good things he has in store for us.

It all seems so cut out, and God’s instruction to us parents and teachers very clear, but as all may agree, it is easier said than done. For even as athletes need consistent and disciplined training in order to succeed, so must we be consistent, patient and determined to allow God’s Word to mold us and our children. And change doesn’t happen overnight. We all have to be “processed,” so-to-speak. But, it stands to reason, if we only give our children very little training, then they would more likely grow up doing more of the “departing.” But if we do our best to give them the best training possible, then we can have faith that though they may sometimes sway here and there as they grow up, if they are firmly grounded in God’s Word, they will not depart from it.

“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” – Matthew 6:26

Homeschool project: Making a birdfeeder

Step 1: Gather the materials.

  • Slice of bread
  • cookie cutter
  • peanut butter
  • birdseed
  • piece of string
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Step 2: Use the cookie cutter to cut out a shape from the slice of bread.

Step 3: Spread some peanut butter onto the bread.

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Step 4: Sprinkle some birdseed on the peanut-butter-covered bread.

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Step 5: Tie a piece of string on the bread and hang up on a tree outside for the birds to enjoy!

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TA-DAH! Finished!

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 2 PART 4 – Joy (Psalm 33:3)

LESSON: JOY – How do we express our joy?

Memory Verse:

Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” – Psalm 33:3

Lesson Presentation:

There is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is something we experience for a moment and is often short lived. Joy is eternal. It comes only as a result of living a life of praise. Praise comes as a result of a heart that is overflowing with joy — it teaches us to be joyful and thankful regardless of our circumstances. It prepares us for God’s service and helps us to see beyond our present circumstances to the immense possibilities that are ours through faith in Jesus Christ.[i]

The Bible teaches 7 types of praise. This praise can happen at home, work, in the car or during the worship service. Praise is a very important part of our relationship with God.  God inhabits our praise and we should not be shy in our praise, for our praise glorifies God.[ii]

  1. Yadah (yaw-daw’) – This is the demonstration of our love and submission to the Lord by the raising of our hands.  Lifting your hands to the Lord in total submission and devotion. It’s like a child extending his hands high above their heads with a desire to be held.[iii]
  2. Towdah (to-daw’) – This is the sacrifice of praise.  Praising the Lord, even if you don’t feel like praising the Lord.  Praising the Lord even though you are going through many trials in your life.  Lifting up your hand as an offering of praise.
  3. Barak (baw-rak’) This means to bow or kneel down humbly before the Lord.  To be completely overwhelmed by His majesty and bow at His feet in submission and honor to the Lord.
  4. Tehillah (tel-hil-law’) – This one is the best.  It is the combination of singing, shouting, dancing, clapping and rejoicing before the Lord. It’s spontaneous singing straight from our hearts to God.
  5. Zamar (zaw-mar’) – It’s celebrating in song and music, playing any instrument for the glory of God.
  6. Halal (haw-lal’) – This means to be so full of enthusiasm of the wonders of the Lord that you express it in dancing and laughing and twirling before the Lord without caring what other people say.
  7. Shabach (Shaw-bakh’) – This means to shout.  Praise to the Lord given in the form of a shout. Lifting your voice unto the Lord, giving praise for what He has done and what He is going to do.
My Memory Book

My Memory Book

One of the great things about the BJU (Bob Jones University Press) Beginnings for K5 curriculum offered by VCIS Homestudy is the use of a “My Memory Book.” It’s basically a ring binder that holds the collection of her experience stories and the like from her lessons in class. It has been a great way to encourage her to reflect on different things and write about them. Here are some of her more recent work (from 3rd Quarter lessons):

A couple of my favorites is the one about animals in Alaska. She colored her polar bear brown. But look at her lovely eyes! 🙂

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Another one she made after the lesson on “Mountain Treasures” and how the people panned for gold in Denver, Colorado.

BJU Activity: Panning for Gold (using brown rice as sand and pasta shells as gold nuggets)

BJU Activity: Panning for Gold (using brown rice as sand and pasta shells as gold nuggets)

The writing activity was about what she would do with the money if ever she found a lot of gold. Her answer made my mommy heart very proud. I hope God keep her heart always willing do His will and someday allow her to fulfill this dream. She specifically wants to build a building for our home church “Prince of Peace” in the Philippines because we are currently using the school’s open-air multi-purpose hall. She hopes it will have walls and she asked me to make a “No Parking” sign because the current place is also being used as a parking area.

Little church-builder

Little church-builder

We’ve grown quite fond of this particular activity and we’ve been asking her to write experience stories about other things that happen in her life. We went to a family trip to a mall where they have moving dinosaur displays.

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Afterwards, we watched “The Land Before Time,” and I used the story to tell her how we are all also in a journey like the 5 little dino friends, with our “great valley” being “heaven.” We need to listen to the Holy Spirit that Jesus placed inside our hearts when we believed in Him, just as Littlefoot had to listen to his mother’s voice in his heart, because it tells us the right way or the “good way.” As we travel, there will be “Sarah’s” who will try to lead us astray, and many of our friends might follow her because her way seems easy, but in the end, it leads to danger. If we follow the voice in our hearts and stay on the right way even when it’s hard, then eventually, we will also reach the “great valley” which is our home in heaven with Jesus. Together, we came up with this prayer to help us remember our experience and this wonderful story.

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Truly, this “My Memory Book” has been a great way to remember all things that make us praise God!

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 1 PART 3 – Joy (Nehemiah 8:10b)

LESSON: JOY

Memory Verse:

“Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”– Nehemiah 8:10b

 Bible Background: Nehemiah 8:5-12

  1. Nehemiah lived at a time when Israel was slowly returning from exile, and he was a cupbearer for King Artaxerxes. He received news that even after the temple was fixed, the walls of Jerusalem still lay in ruins, and this made him very sad. In his heart he felt that God called him to do something about it, so he prayed. After that, he got permission from the King to rebuild the walls and the King even sent him with a letter to get wood from the king’s forest to be used to repair the gates.
  2. Nehemiah repaired the walls with the help of the Jews who willingly gave their time and effort to this task. There were those who tried to stop them and even threatened to attack them, and it even came to a point when only half of the men worked on the walls because the other half guarded the area, and the builders had a sword on their belts, always ready to defend themselves. It was a big job, seemingly impossible, but they finished it in a record-breaking 52 days because the people worked with all their heart and they had the blessing of the Lord.
  3. From start to finish, Nehemiah proved to be a man of prayer, and he always asked for the Lord’s guidance, wisdom and protection for completing the work. When the job was finished, Nehemiah gathered the people to celebrate. They asked Ezra, the priest, to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, because the people who came from exile have not had a chance to hear these words for a very, very long time. Ezra – a teacher of the law, and the Levites who were servants in the temple, read the Words of God and explained them in simple language so that all who were present could understand its meaning.
  4. As the people heard the Law of Moses, the lifted their hands and responded, “Amen!” and bowed and worshipped the Lord. They realized how sinful they had become because of they failed to obey God’s laws, and they cried and were very sorry for what they had done. But Nehemiah and the Levites calmed the people and told them that this was a day of celebration; a time to share to those in need; a day holy unto the Lord, and that they must not be sad, “for the joy of the Lord is their strength.”

Reflection Points:

Truly, “the joy of the Lord is our strength.” God was pleased that the people realized their sins and were sorry, and Nehemiah assured them that it was actually a time for rejoicing, because where there is repentance, then forgiveness and restoration can begin. Through the reading of the Word, the people realized they had a big problem – sin – but there was something bigger that the bible reveals – that the love of God can wash away our sins! Indeed, there is a reason to have joy because God is willing and able to cleanse our hearts, save us from our sins and give us a chance to start a new life that is victorious in Christ Jesus! Now that is a wonderful reason to have joy!

WORD STUDY:

  1. exile – forced to leave their home country
  2. cupbearer – a high official in the king’s court; serves wine to the king
  3. temple – the equivalent of  a church building in bible times
  4. Jerusalem – central city of Jewish worship
  5. Book of the Law of Moses – most likely the “Torah” or “Pentateuch”;” the first five books in the bible, namely Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
  6. Levites – a member of the Hebrew tribe from the family of Levi, son of Jacob, and they served as priests in the temple.

 Nehemiah 8:5-12

5 Ezra opened the book. All the people could see him because he was standing above them; and as he opened it, the people all stood up. 6 Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” Then they bowed down and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

7 The Levites—Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan and Pelaiah—instructed the people in the Law while the people were standing there. 8 They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear[a] and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.

9 Then Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest and teacher of the Law, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to them all, “This day is holy to the Lord your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people had been weeping as they listened to the words of the Law.

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

11 The Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be still, for this is a holy day. Do not grieve.”

12 Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.

Aug 5 2013 - Psalm 37 5 Coloring pageB copy

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 2 PART 2 – Joy (Psalm 37:4)

LESSON: JOY

Memory Verse: “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.” – Psalm 37:4

Bible Story: 2 Kings 4:8-17: THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN AND ELISHA

Lesson Presentation:

What does “Delight yourself in the Lord” mean? This verse tells us that we are to find JOY in pleasing God. It implies putting God first in our lives and living our lives the way he would want us to.

  1. A good example of a person who delighted herself in the Lord is the Shunammite woman. The Shunammite woman was not a member of the chosen people called Israelites, but like the Good Samaritan, she did not hesitate to show compassion for a Jew. She saw Elisha as a man of God and felt in her heart a desire to bless him by providing him with food every time he passed by their village. After some time, she thought it would be good to build a room for Elisha so that he would have a comfortable place to stay in whenever he travelled to Shunem. She acted out of love for her neighbor and this pleased the Lord.
  2. The Shunammite woman did all these good things for Elisha out of the goodness of her heart, without expecting or asking for anything in return. In fact, when Elisha asked her what he could do for her to show his gratitude, the Shunammite woman basically said she didn’t need anything because she was content to have a home with her people. It was Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, who revealed that the Shunammite woman had no child.  And we know by her reaction that it was an innermost desire of her heart to have a child that she did not want to have her hopes raised if she wasn’t going to have one.
  3. Truly, we should not do good things so that others will repay us, but instead GLADLY show kindness to others out of the goodness in our hearts because this delights God. Remember that the 2nd greatest commandment is to love our neighbor. In the case of the Shunammite woman, when she showed genuine love and compassion for Elisha the prophet, the Lord saw her heart. And through Elisha, God blessed the Shunammite woman with the desire of her heart — a son.
  4. In our daily lives, when we show genuine love and compassion for other people, especially when we SERVE GLADLY and GIVE CHEERFULLY, we are delighting ourselves in the Lord. And though we do not do good deeds to be rewarded, we often find ourselves being blessed in one way or another because God is faithful and wants to bless his children who please Him.
  5. When our delight is the Lord, then OUR HEART’S GREATEST DESIRE IS TO BE WITH HIM, and so more than any material possession or earthly gift, it is his loving presence in our lives that is the greatest blessing we do receive.

SCRIPTURE READING:

2 Kings 4:8-17: THE SHUNAMMITE WOMAN AND ELISHA

8 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. 9 She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. 10 Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”

11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?’”

She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”

14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.

Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”

15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”

“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”

17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.

Aug 5 2013 - Psalm 37 5 Coloring pageB copy

Nehemiah 8:8, 12 NIV

8 “They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people understood what was being read.”

12 “Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them.”
The reading of God’s Word brings about the fruit of joy when its meaning is made clear; God has given certain people in the church such as pastors and teachers the gift of exhortation so that the Scriptures may be explained and others may understand. Diligent study, prayer and meditation play a big part for those called to preach, and careful attention and an open and teachable heart a must for those who listen. But in all this, true knowledge and understanding — along with the wisdom on how to use what is learned — comes from the Holy Spirit.

BJU Bible Class scroll craft

BJU Bible Class scroll craft

We are blessed because we have the Word of God as a lamp to our feet and a light on our path (Psalm 119:105), but how can it be so if people complicate it and make doctrines and teachings that make it hard to understand? Let us therefore allow God’s Word to be what He intended it to be — a bright star that guides our way as we move away from the darkness of this world and into His glorious light!

As I grow in God’s grace each day, I’ve found that the best way for the Bible to be understood is to make it practical. Use every opportunity and circumstance to reflect and apply bible verses and allow it do its work in our lives. We try to learn and memorize scripture but it will only get to really shine its light on us when we find ourselves in a situation where we are able to actually apply it.

Learning God's Word thru crafts and coloring pages

Learning God’s Word thru crafts and coloring pages (BJU Bible Class crafts and Kids Church activities)

In our case, it could be as simple as going on what we initially assumed to be an uneventful and fairly short car trip to claim the iPhone5 that my husband won for me from a facebook contest (Yey! It’s really free! What a wonderful gift!) But, as all good trips go, we got lost. For three hours we drove through the night trying to find the office where to claim the phone. At first we were fine, singing along with really nice acoustic versions of Hillsong praise and worship music, but eventually, our nearly 1-year-and-a-half-old Sam started to get bored and so did 5-year-old Ate Allyra. So it became a lesson in patience and creativity, because we all tried to keep our cool while inventing a million and a half ways to keep the kids busy in the car. We also used the opportunity to teach about prayer, and since we were lost, the most logical bible story that came to mind was the parable of the lost sheep. I asked my daughter whom she thought would be able to find the lost sheep, which at that time meant US, and without hesitation, she replied, “The Good Shepherd!” So she led us in prayer and it went something like this:

“Father God, our Good Shepherd, please help us to be found and protect us. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”

Simple, right? But it was truly heartwarming to hear our little one pray so innocently, and trusting our Father God, our Good Shepherd, so fully.

Indeed, there are so many spiritual applications to the parable of the lost sheep; it has been preached and taught in so many ways, but I believe that for our family, that particular “Word of God” became most “alive” for us that day. And of course, God is truly faithful, we eventually got found, claimed our free gift and went home.

As I love to claim and exclaim, “God is good, ALL THE TIME!” Be blessed!

Writing and Experience story

Writing and Experience story