God made a decree many years ago that we set up memorials to help our children know about the things that happened in the past:
Joshua 4:6-7 We will use these stones to build a memorial. In the future, your children will ask, “What do these stones mean to you?” Then you can tell them, ‘They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the Lord’s covenant went across.” These stones will stand as a permanent memorial among the people of Israel.”
During this Memorial Day weekend be sure to talk to your children about the reason for the celebration. Help them know it is more than just grilling out or going to the beach.
Memorial Day originally began in 1868 as a day to decorate the graves of soldiers who died in the Civil War. In more recent years our government passed a resolution that Memorial Day be observed on the last Monday of May as an occasion to remember and honor the men and women who died in all wars.
. . . And look at all those children! There they sit around your table as vigorous and healthy as young olive trees. Psalm 128:3
I love it when research actually validates what God has said! This verse indicates that children are healthy when they sit around your table and now a recent research reveals that children and adolescents who share family meals 3 or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those who share fewer than 3 family meals together. And this article points out the multiple advantages to family meals together.
Simplify your life – cut out an extracurricular activity if you have to – but make meals together a family tradition that your children will remember long after they have left home. Meal time is important, not just for the physical nourishment your children need, but also for the mental, emotional, and spiritual nurturing they need.
Here are some suggestions to help you meet those needs around your table:
Conversation starters during the meal:
What did you enjoy doing today?
What did you enjoy learning?
Who did you enjoy being with today?
Did you do something kind today?
What was your high today?
What was your low?
After the meal:
Do a short devotional, read a Bible story, or spend time memorizing a verse together.
Our family’s favorite thing was Playdough Devotionals. Each person would make something out of their playdough and the rest of the family would guess what part of the story they were illustrating.
Have prayer time, but before you do, ask:
What happened today you are thankful for?
Who did you talk to, or see, or hear about that we should pray for?
What happened or is going to happen that we need to pray about for you?
Try to relax and enjoy time together eating a nourishing meal, talking with your children, and growing closer to God as a family. Then you can truly say, ‘Look at my healthy children around the table.’
(Oh – and don’t forget to talk about 1 Cor. 3:9 ‘We work together as partners who belong to God’ as everyone helps to clean up the kitchen when it’s all over so Mom can enjoy the time without thinking about what needs to be done afterwards.)
Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young– a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God, Psalm 84:3
He will keep in perfect peace all those who trust in him, whose thoughts turn often to the Lord! Isaiah 26:3
In the last post we talked about how God values birds and used them as teaching aides and object lessons, so let’s do the same. Let’s use birds to teach our children about trusting God. Tell a different Bible Story each day and do the corresponding Activity. Put one of the above verses on the fridge and spend the week memorizing it.
1.Matthew 6:26, Job 12:7God wants us to look at the birds and learn from them. There are many Bible verses that talk about birds which shows how much God values even the little birds. We can value the birds too by giving them food in the winter when it is hard for them to find food and leaving fresh water for them if there hasn’t been rain in a while. We can also value the birds by hearing what God says about them in the Bible.
2. Psalm 84 David was sitting in the Tabernacle of God (church) and singing to God about how much he loved to be near Him. He must have been watching the birds there and it caused him to think about how even the birds felt safe to build their nests there in the church. They knew the best place to live is near to God. The sparrows and swallows are known for being restless birds who loved to freely flutter and dart about, but they felt it was safe to rest near to God. God will keep us safe too when we stay near to Him.
3.Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus was teaching His friends about how much God loves them when He noticed the birds flying around. He said, ”Look at the birds! They aren’t worried about having enough to eat because God feeds them. In the same way, you shouldn’t worry about what you will eat. God will feed you too!” Just stay close to God and He will make sure you have all you need.
4.Job 28:21, Proverbs 1:17, Job 35:11,Psalm 145:10 God liked to use the birds as an example. The birds have the ability to see more than we can because they can fly high above and see a lot of things at one time. The birds are very watchful and not easily trapped. God said it is foolish to lay a net in front of the bird; he won’t go into it. God made birds wise, but He made man even wiser. God made birds to sing His praises and He made us to do so too!
5.Matthew 23:37 One day Jesus was feeling sad about all the evil in the world. People had turned away from God and were doing the opposite of what He wanted them to do. He loved them and wanted to protect them but they refused. He compared his love for them to that of a bird. He said, “Oh how I wish I could gather you like a hen gathers her chicks under her wings so I could love and protect you but you wouldn’t let me.” Let’s stay near Jesus and let Him love and protect us.
1. Make a bird feeder out of a pinecone: Spread it with peanut butter and cover it in birdseed. Hang it in a place outside that you can see from a window. Then sit down and watch the birds with your children. While watching, point out that the birds mentioned in Ps 84:3 made their homes near God and that is what we should do. The birds knew that near God is where they would be the safest. The same is true for us.
2. Color - Look at the picture at the top – how peaceful the little bird is even though there is a thunderstorm going on around it. Click here to download the above picture to color. Talk about the fact that the bird trusts God to keep him peaceful in the midst of the storm. We can trust God when things go wrong in our lives.
3. Eat like a bird: When people say, ‘You eat like a bird,’ they often mean you hardly eat anything at all. But although birds do eat tiny mouthfuls of food, they do so hundreds of times each day. So try a bird’s eating habits. Take a day to eat like a bird -break up your meal into about two dozen tiny meals and eat your food gradually, one tiny bite at a time – (suggestion from TLC Bird Watching Activities) Talk about Matthew 6:26 - that the birds don’t worry about where they get their food because God feeds them.
4. Make a bird out of paper Click herefor a pattern of the above. Cut out and make a slit to slide the wings through. Tape to a craft stick and singLittle Bird as you move it up and down to ‘fly it’. Fly the bird high and talk about all the bird can see from way up high in the sky. Pretend the bird is singing and praising God.
5. Make a picture of a bird and her babies in a nest. Click here to download and print onto card stock . As you cut, color and fold this, talk about how Jesus pointed out in Matthew 23:37 that the mother bird loves and protects her babies by taking them under her wings and that is what He wants to do for us.
And now enjoy this song about feeding birds from one of my favorite Disney movies – “Mary Poppins”. Interesting that the birds were at a cathedral just as the birds in Psalm 84 were at the Tabernacle.
Children find it hard to wait and often wonder why they can’t do something when they want to do it. Ecclesiastes 3:1 is an excellent verse to use to help them understand that there is a time for everything.
This is a lesson from Here a Little, There a Little, a compilation of Bible activities I created to use with my preschool children. It was designed to spend a week memorizing the verse and reinforcing it through Bible lessons and activities.
Read the suggested passages for Bible stories and tell them in your own words or find them in a children’s Bible storybook. I have given you suggested things to share about each. Share the verse as you go about your day. Do at least one of the suggested activities each day. I am sure you can come up with better ideas on your own – this is just to get you started.
Bible Verse: Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything
Ecclesiastes 3 God says in the Bible that there is a time for everything. God planned it that way. He said that He has planned for a time to plant gardens and a time to pull up the plants. He has made a time for sickness and a time to heal. There is a time to laugh and a time to cry. There is a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones. There is a time to talk and a time to be quiet. There is a time for rain, now, sunshine, wind. God has made a time for everything. Ask God to help you know what is the right time for each thing – when should you be quiet and when should you talk – when should you walk and when should you run. God will help you know the right time for everything.
Luke 10:38-42 Mary and Martha were sisters. Jesus was their friend. One day Jesus went to visit Mary and Martha at their house. Martha was busy working but Mary sat quietly and listened to Jesus. Martha wanted Mary to come help her work, but Jesus said there is a time for working and a time for listening. He said Mary knew that while He was there it was a time for listening not working. Which sister chose the right thing to do at the right time?
1 Samuel 1:21-24 Hannah had a little boy named Samuel. Hannah’s husband was going on a long trip and wanted Hannah to leave Samuel for a while and go with him. But Hannah knew there is a time for everything and she knew that it was not the right time for her to leave her little boy so she stayed with him to take care of him and to teach him the Bible. There is a time when parents leave for a while and there is a time when they stay. God will help them know what is the right time to do the right thing.
Matthew 21:12-13 Jesus went to church one day and there were people in the church selling things and making money for themselves. Jesus was angry with them and told them to get out. Jesus said that the church was to be a place of prayer not a place for selling things. There is a time for everything. There is a time to sell things, but not at church. The church is a time for praying and singing to God and teaching the Bible.
Mark 2:15-20 Jesus and his friends were sitting at a table eating one day and some men came and asked Him why they were eating. They said that the preacher John and his friends did not eat for many days. Jesus said that there is a time to eat and a time not to eat. He said that while He was with them, it was a time to eat. Jesus wants us to eat when it is time to eat. Prayer: Help us know when is the right time to do something
Make a clock out of a paper plate and write the Bible verse on it. If you need instructions, here’s a video showing how to make one
Divide another paper plate into 4 sections and draw or find pictures of the 4 seasons; put hands on it like on the clock.
Find pictures of different activities. As you look at them or mention them, let children point clock hands to appropriate time of day or time of year.
Make up a tune to the Bible verse and sing it during the day
Read with expression Ecclesiastes 3 from Living Bible
He determines the course of world events; he removes kings and sets others on the throne.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. Daniel 2:21
1 Tim. 6:15 tells us that God is the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords. However, God gives us opportunity to seek out people to lead us. This week we have the privilege to vote for wise leaders.
In 1 Samuel 16. God gave Samuel the job to seek out a king for his people. This is what He told Samuel,
“Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
Samuel annointed David to be the new king. God was very pleased – look what He said about David!!!!
After removing Saul, he made David their king.
He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart;
he will do everything I want him to do.’ Acts 13:22
Talk with your children about this and lead them to pray with you that our nation will vote for people with good hearts.
Take your children with you to vote if possible. Never miss a teaching moment; take advantage of every opportunity to establish God’s Word in them as you apply it to every situation.
For fun on Election Day:
- March and wave flags as our nation exercises the freedom to help choose our leaders
- Make a red, white, and blue dessert.
- Go here for a fun way to learn about when David was chosen to be king
I had the privilege of speaking to moms in several villages in Uganda last week. Uganda has the 2nd highest fertility rate in the world – 6.65 children born/woman. What do you say to them about training their children spiritually when the physical needs of clothing, shelter, and food are so overwhelming? Elaine Moody spoke before me and told the ladies about how everyone of us must relate to God with our spirits (John 4:24)
This led right into my speaking to them about training their children’s spirits to be sensitive to God.
I shared with them about Samson’s parents who asked how to order their son and the only instruction given was what the mother was to eat during pregnancy. This led us to examine the fact that there are 9 fruit of the spirit and 9 months of pregnancy. Meditating on one fruit of the spirit each month and praying that fruit for your unborn child can help his spirit grow as his little body grows. (see previous blog post on this subject)
I told them that Deuteronomy 6 instructs us to teach our children as we lie down, as we rise up, and as we go. I showed them pictures of things they might see, hear, taste, touch, and smell. I sang songs they could sing with their children to remind the children that God has given them the senses to enjoy His beautiful world. I told them to involve all their senses in helping their children learn about God.
I don’t know how much the moms took away from the time we had together. I can only pray they caught the passion to train their children’s spirits to relate to Christ . . . for He is our only hope whether we live in a well-built home in America or a mud-brick home in Uganda.