Bring Children to Jesus

From the files of my mentor, Dr. Jo Bevington:

Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.  Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.

Bring children to Jesus:

  • In prayer on their level
  • in fellowship on their level
  • in worship on their level
  • in instruction on their level
    • Listen to a child
    • Respond to the reaching of a child
    • Love a child just like he is, without a motive to change or instruct; just love like God loves
    • Enter a child’s world and guide the child with Biblical thoughts at teachable moments
    • Observe how a child learns other things naturally; guide him to True Reality naturally

Children have the receptivity to know God.  Mark 10:15 says anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.  What about a little child caused Jesus to use this analogy?

Is it a child’s

  • dependence?
  • sensitivity?
  • uncluttered experience?
  • unbetrayed love?
  • sense of wonder?
  • their attitude that everything is new and beyond understanding so they accept what is just because it’s so?

All of these characteristics of children make it the right time to bring them to Jesus!

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Presidents’ Day – Celebrating Two Great Presidents!

Presidents’ Day is intended to honor George Washington and Abraham Lincoln whose birthdays are both in February.  Their birthdays were observed separately until 1971 when Congress decided the two would be combined into one national holiday celebrated on the third Monday of February.

This is a great time to teach your children about the godly character of these two men. God tells us to remember how He dealt with our ancestors: 1 Cor. 10:1 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea.

George Washington:

Tell about the truthfulness of George Washington even as a young boy in the story of the cherry tree.  Here is a site that tells the story and has printable coloring pictures:

George Washington, sometime before the age of 16, transcribed “Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.” These are good rules to teach your children. This site depicts them in cartoons.

Read at this site and then share with excitement in your own words about how God divinely protected George Washington during the French and Indian War.  You can read the entire account of this in the book  The Bulletproof George Washington

Abraham Lincoln:

Tell why Abraham Lincoln became known as ‘Honest Abe’.  Read about it here and get printable coloring sheets as well.

Read this article about the faith of Abraham Lincoln.  This is what he said before the Battle of Gettysburg” . . . oppressed by the gravity of our affairs, I went to my room one day and locked the door and got down on my knees before almighty God and prayed to Him mightily for victory at Gettysburg. I told Him that this war was His, and our cause His cause . . . Then and there I made a solemn vow to almighty God that if He would stand by our boys at Gettysburg, I would stand by Him. And after that, I don’t know how it was, and I cannot explain it, soon a sweet comfort crept into my soul. The feeling came that God had taken the whole business into His own hands, and that things would go right at Gettysburg. . .” from Abraham Lincoln: The Man & His Faith

Here’s an excellent interactive site for both presidents.

We can use this day to pray for our current president and leaders as well.  They have been placed in their position by God: Daniel 2:21 He changes times and periods of history.He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to those who are wise and knowledge to those who have insight. Download this coloring sheet that gives suggestions of what to pray for our leaders.

Origin of Valentine’s Day and Resources for Celebrating with Your Children

As always, we want our children to know the reason for any celebration and see how it might relate to Christ.  Here’s what my research found:

Historical Information

Valentine was a priest near Rome in about 270 AD.  At that time the Roman Emperor Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers so he abolished marriage.  Valentine  invited young lovers to come to him in secret where he joined them in marriage.  When the emperor heard of this ‘friend of lovers’, he was impressed with his conviction and attempted to convert him to the Roman gods while Valentine attempted to convert the emperor to Christianity.  When Valentine would not renounce Christianity, he was imprisoned.

While in prison, he witnessed to the guards.  One of the guards had adopted a blind girl and asked Valentine if his God could help the daughter see again.  Valentine prayed and the girl was given her sight.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus and were baptized.  Valentine fell in love with the girl.  When the emperor heard about Valentine making converts in prison, he was furious and had Valentine beheaded.

Before Valentine died on February 14th, he signed a farewell message to his love and signed it ‘from your Valentine’, a phrase that has lived long after its author died.  Thus began the sending of  Valentines.

Because of Valentine’s dedication to the Lord, he was made a saint by the Catholic church.   The church was seeking to usurp the popularity of the Roman god Lupercus.  At the Lupercusian festival each year around the middle of February, a young man was assigned a woman companion for his ‘pleasure’ until the next year at the festival when he would get a different woman.  The Catholic church was determined to put an end to this 800 year old immoral practice and Valentine seemed to be the ideal candidate to become a ‘lovers’ saint.

How to Share This with Children:

The ruler of Rome, Emperor Claudius, thought there were many gods, but a man named Valentine loved God with all his heart and told people that Jesus is the one true God.  This made the Emperor Claudius very angry so he had Valentine put in jail.  But even in jail, Valentine kept telling people about Jesus.  The guard in the prison had a blind daughter and he asked Valentine if God could heal her.  Valentine prayed for her and God caused her to see again.  The guard and his whole family believed in Jesus after that and loved God with all their hearts.

The emperor was so upset when he heard that Valentine was still telling people about Jesus, that he had him killed.  Before Valentine died he sent a message to the jailer’s daughter whom he had fallen in love with.  He signed the message ‘from your Valentine’ and this is where the sending of ‘Valentines’ began.

Because Valentine loved Jesus so much, the Catholic church named him a ‘saint’ which is what someone is called that loves Jesus and cares about others.  Each year we think about those we love and send them Valentines.  Let’s remember that the first Valentine was sent by a man who loved God with all his heart.

On Valentine’s Day we may get flowers, cards, candy, or other things from friends who love us,  but the very best gift that was sent to show love to us was sent a very long time ago.  It was Jesus who was born to one day die on the cross for the wrong things we have done.  The Bible says “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)

Activities:

Emphasize God’s love for them, their love for God, and love for others as you work.

  • Help your children make Valentines for their friends, include any of the following verses on them.  Talk about the verses as you make the cards:

1 John 4:9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into this wicked world to bring to us eternal  life through his death.
1 John 4:16b:  God is love.
1 John 4:19:  We love because he [God] first loved us
1 John 5:3:  This is love for GOD:  to obey his commands.
John 15:12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
1 John 4:11  Dear friends, since God loved us as much as that, we surely ought to love each other too.

Make a giant heart out of red poster board.  Write Luke 10:27 or Matthew 22:37 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart” on the heart.   Cut it into age-appropriate puzzle pieces.  As you put each piece together say, “that’s not all my heart” until the puzzle is finished.  Then read the verse and encourage the child to say, “God, I love you with all my heart”.  If you have several children you can make two heart puzzles and race to see who can give God all their heart first.

 

Here are other sites to glean from to celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children:

http://ministry-to-children.com/?s=valentine

http://ministry-to-children.com/love-resources/

A Week of Ideas to Teach about Love

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Here are some ideas to help you teach your children about showing love during this week of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

Creatively work together to display each day’s verse on the fridge. (cut, color, or paint a heart and put the verse on it)

Repeat the verse often during the day as you reinforce it as you go – here a little, there a little. (Deuteronomy 6:7), (Isaiah 28:10)

Read the Bible stories yourself and then tell them in your own words. Be animated and use visuals when possible.

Have fun establishing God’s Word in your children this week!!!!

Day One

Bible Verse: Proverbs 17:17 – A friend loves at all times.

Story: David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18 1-4)

Activity for Baby to 3: Have a friend over to play with child. Tell story of David and Jonathan. Share toys. For infant, spend time talking about and thanking God for all the baby’s friends, after reading story.

Older Activity: Have child help make cookies and then invite a friend over to share them with. Talk about ways to show love to our friends.

Day Two

Bible Verse: 1 John 4:7 – Love one another.

Story: Elisha’s Friends (2 Kings 4:8-11)

Activity for Baby to 3: Tell the story of Elisha and talk about how you prepared a room for baby to show your love for him. Point out things in baby’s room.

Older Activity: Read story. Draw a picture of the story.

Day Three

Bible Verse: Galatians 5:13 – Help one another
Story: Four Friends (Mark 2:1-12)

Activity for Baby to 3: Make Valentines for friends and pray for for their friends as you do.

Older Activity: Same as for Baby to 3

Day Four

Bible Verse: 2 Corinthians 1:24 – We are helpers.

Story: We Work Together – (Nehemiah 1:1-11, 2:1-20, 3:1-32, 6:15-16)

Activity for Baby to 3: Help fold laundry or pick up toys.

Older Activity: Play blocks together and pretend to build the wall as you tell the story. Dads, let child hammer some nails in some scrap wood while you supervise.

Day Five

Bible Verse: Ephesians 4:32 – Be kind to one another.

Story: Philip’s New Friend – (Acts 8:1-39)

Activity for Baby to 3: Do something special for baby or child like making him cookies or getting him a new inexpensive toy. Give him a hug and lead child to give someone a hug. Talk about ways he can show kindness.

Older Activity: Read story. Say Philip showed kindness by reading the Bible to his friend and telling him about God. Let’s be kind to our friends and tell them about God. Lead child to send a Bible verse or Bible story to one of his friends.

Groundhog Day and Candlemas

Let your children know the history of special days or the reason for celebrations. God commanded His people to do this in Joshua 4:20-24:  At Gilgal Joshua set up the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan. [21] He said to the people of Israel, “In the future when children ask their parents, ‘What do these stones mean?’ [22] the children should be told that Israel crossed the Jordan River on dry ground. [23] The Lord your God dried up the Jordan ahead of you until you had crossed, as he did to the Red Sea until we had crossed. [24] The Lord did this so that everyone in the world would know his mighty power and that you would fear the Lord your God every day of your life.”

We are familiar with February 2 being called Groundhog Day. But did you know it is also called Candlemas?  It is celebrated forty days after the birth of Jesus Christ.  In Luke 2:22-35, it is recorded that Mary and Joseph took infant Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem for the ritual purification of Mary after childbirth  and in order to present their first born which was required by the Law of Moses. As they presented Jesus to Simeon, he prophesied: “Behold, this child is set for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which is spoken against. Yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul, that the thoughts of manyhearts may be revealed” (Luke 2:34-35).

Celebration of Candlemas Day began by Roman Catholics with lighting candles and parading through the streets as a commemoration of the presentation of Jesus and the prophesy of Simeon.  German immigrants known as Pennsylvania Dutch brought the tradition to America in the 18th century.

But where does Groundhog Day come in?  Candlemas occurs half way between the first day of winter and the first day of spring.   Ancient thought was that hibernating creatures were able to predict the arrival of springtime on this day.  Traditionally, it was believed that if Candlemas was sunny, the remaining six weeks of winter would be stormy and cold. But if it rained or snowed on Candlemas, the rest of the winter would be mild. If an animal “sees its shadow,” it must be sunny, so more wintry weather is predicted.

So now you know and can tell your children.  Be sure and read Luke 2:22-35 and tell in your own words about Jesus going to ‘church’ for the first time.  Then just have some fun with groundhog crafts:

http://www.dltk-kids.com/animals/mgroundhog.html

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/popuphog/ (my personal favorite!) Sing this song Mr.-Groundhog when you finish this craft.

http://www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/groundhogday/