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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Let It Go and Take Time to Look for God’s Smile

God smiles

I will never forget the night some 35 years ago when I was hurrying through Josh’s bath after a long day.  He was being silly and not co-operating.  As I laid him back in the tub to rinse his hair, he said, “Mom, can’t you see God smiling?”  Wow – I wasn’t expecting that comment,  but his delight in the Lord caused me to slow down, let go of my agenda, and desire to spend more time looking for God’s smile with my son.

Check out the recent article at I Take Joy that gives special meaning for moms to the popular and somewhat controversial song, ‘Let It Go’ from the hit movie Frozen. The song also reminds me of the phrase that was popular in Christian circles in the 70’s and 80’s – ‘Let go and let God.’ Sometimes we just need to let go of our our plans for the day and let God bless us as we create memories with our children.

Read the Words of Jesus when the children were brought to him:

Mark 10:13-16 (GW) Some people brought little children to Jesus to have him hold them. But the disciples told the people not to do that. When Jesus saw this, he became irritated. He told them, “Don’t stop the children from coming to me. Children like these are part of the kingdom of God.  I can guarantee this truth: Whoever doesn’t receive the kingdom of God as a little child receives it will never enter it.” Jesus put his arms around the children and blessed them by placing his hands on them.

Jesus always had time for the children.  What do we have to do that even comes close to the responsibilities of the Son of God.  What do we have on our minds that could ever be as trying as what Jesus knew He would be facing.  Yet Jesus took the time to love on the children and I think to even play with them – hence the pictures of Jesus and the children on this site 🙂  He even encourages us to be like the children.

We moms need to let things go in order to be in the moment with our children – they don’t stop growing while we are busy doing other things! We need to take advantage of every opportunity to spend time with them, playing, loving, reading, being silly, going for walks, looking at clouds, running through mud puddles, and finding teaching moments in the midst of it all as God smiles down on us.

I am so thankful for the lesson God taught me through Josh that night during bath time. I hate to think of the moments and memories I would have missed  –  I can honestly say I have enjoyed every minute being mom to Josh, Jer, Jon, and Jenny Love for almost 37 years which, by the way, seem to have literally gone by in a blink!

I encourage you to intentionally ‘let go’ of the messy house, the dirty dishes, the unfolded laundry, the phone calls, etc., and go play!! And, as Josh said, look for God’s smile!!!!

Here’s an article, a book, a poem, and a movie quote to inspire you to ‘let it go’:

The Day I stopped saying Hurry Up 

Hands Free Mama: A Guide to Putting Down the Phone, Burning the To-Do List, and Letting Go of Perfection to Grasp What Really Matters!


Building Memories
By Sandra D. Romans

So much to do – I have no time
To listen now, I say,
And hurry back to the chores
That always fill my day.

 No time to listen? A small voice

Seemed to whisper in my ear…
Soon your little ones will be gone
And you’ll wish to hold them near.

I left my broom – the chores undone
And found them under the apple tree.
I held them close and listened while
They shared their love and we built a memory.


from the movie Hook

“Your children love you, they want to play with you. How long do you think that lasts? . . .  We have a few special years with our children, when they’re the ones that want us around. After that you’re going to be running after them for a bit of attention. It’s so fast . . . It’s a few years Peter and it’s over. And you are not being careful. And you are missing it.” 

 

 

 

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Inexpensive Ideas for Summer Fun

It seems that God has always had us in “tight times” so we were always motivated to make the most of our situation and to enjoy the simple things.

Here are some things we have done that are very inexpensive or even free.

Play with Flour- Go outside with a cheap 5 lb. bag of flour. Sift it, pour it, mix it, throw it.

Sock wars- Save your old socks and roll each into a ball and throw them at each other

Run through the Sprinkler

Water balloons and guns

Sidewalk chalk

Mustard and Ketchup finger-painting – (to keep this from being messy, you can put a few squirts of mustard and ketchup in a baggie and seal it with tape and then press it around in the baggie)

Play dough – Just for fun or let children illustrate with play dough something from a story you just read

Goop (non toxic) –Mix 8 oz. of white glue and 6 oz. of water.Separately combine 1 tsp. of borax and half cup of water.Pour borax mixture into glue mixture and mix with hands until all liquid is absorbed and texture is smooth.

Lava pitTake all the pillows in the house and place them around on the floor and you can only get from one place to another by stepping on a pillow.

Avalanche – Take all the pillows again and build a high tower, then take cover as it comes toppling down on everyone

Nature walk – Take a walk and discover some of God’s toys like Maple tree seeds or as we called them twirly bird seeds.

Build tents inside and out with sheets and blankets

Camp out in the backyard

Picnicking with cookie cutter peanut butter sandwiches in backyard or at a park or under a sheet draped over the kitchen table

Play with Cornstarch – Mix one part water with one-and-a-half to two parts cornstarch, adding a bit of food color for fun.It is like a thick liquid; you can sink your hand into the mixture slowly, but it will not give if you punch it quickly.

Rubber band guns – Nail a clothes pin to a stick of wood to make the gun and use rubber bands to knock down army men or whatever.

Create with masking tape – Use masking tape on the floor to make roads for cars or use it to make a pretend boat for you all to get in…just use your own imagination.

Popcorn in the backyard  If you have an electric popcorn popper, take it outside and place it on a sheet.Start it popping with no top on it and watch the popcorn fly.

Invent your own fun – A few years ago our family invented a new twist to playing catch…every time we caught the ball, we had to say a movie quote.

Here are two websites with more great ideas for summer:

http://ministry-to-children.com/water-games-for-kids/

http://www.thrivingfamily.com/Features/Magazine/2013/around-the-world-in-60-days.aspx

 

Don’t be hesitant to make a mess. Sure, there will be a lot of clean up, but you will be making memories together. On Mother’s Day a few years ago our oldest son, who was 30 at the time, gave me a card for Mother’s Day with 30 reasons he was glad I was his mom –  one was that I always let them make messes.

Don’t ever get too old to have fun as a family. Our children are all adults now but we still enjoy acting like kids. Jesus said that we must come to Him with the humility and faith of a little child (Luke 18:16-17, Matthew 18:1-4)…I think He wants us to approach all of life with the wonder and enjoyment of a little child.

Speak of God and His word as we go“And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again.“ (Deut 6:6-7)

  • As you play with play dough you could share, “God tells us ‘work with your hands’ (I Thessalonians 4:11)
  • While playing with flour, say  “God gives us richly all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17)  
  • While discovering things on your nature walk you could say, “Think of the wonders of God” (Joel 2:25, Job 37:14, Psalm 40:15)

HAVE A FUN FILLED SUMMER!

 

 

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Meal Time – Nourishment and Nurturing

 

IMG_3638

. . . 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.) 🙂

 

 

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Consider the Birds with Your Children (A Lesson on Trusting God)


Deep Inner Peace

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.

Bible Stories:

1.  Matthew 6:26Job 12:7 God 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 28:21Proverbs 1:17Job 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.

Activities:

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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.

photo

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.

bird in sky

4.  Make a bird out of paper Click here for a pattern of the above.   Cut out and make a slit to slide the wings through. Tape  to a craft stick and sing Little 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.

bird with babies copy

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.

http://youtu.be/XHrRxQVUFN4

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