New Year Lesson: Renewing our sense of sonship

Memory Verse: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” – 1 John 3:1a

Bible Story: Parable of the Lost Son (NOTE: This is the same bible story lesson as the Fruits of the Spirit Lesson 7 Part 1 on Faithfulness but with a different memory verse. Also, the emphasis here would be our newness in Christ when we come to the Father for forgiveness and the restoration of our position as sons and daughters of the most Holy one.)

Scripture:  Luke 15:11-32 11 (Read from the Bible)

Our story is a parable told by Jesus. A parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning.

“Prodigal” means “extravagant” or “wasteful.” This story is about a young man who asked for his inheritance and then spent it all on useless and worldly things.

(The son had done a terrible thing. For starters, asking for one’s inheritance while the parent was still alive is kind of like telling the parent that the son wanted him to be dead already. This is because an inheritance is usually only given when the parent dies. This request from the younger son must have really hurt the feelings of his father, and yet, the father gave what the son asked for.)

The son left his father and went to a faraway place where he spent all his money on parties and food and worthless things. He suddenly finds himself without any money at all and he had to get a job feeding pigs just so he could survive. He was so hungry he thought of eating the pigs’ food.

(It was a very shameful thing for a Jewish person to get this kind of job because they considered pigs to be “unclean.” This could be considered as one of the lowest kinds of job a Jew could ever have.)

The son realized how his father’s servants were much more well off than him, because they had food to spare while he was here with pigs and he was dying of hunger. And so he made up his mind to return home and tell his father to make him one of the servants just so he could eat well.

(This part of the story shows us that the son probably went back to the father not because he was primarily “sorry” for all he had done, but more likely, because he was just so “hungry.” Even so, the father welcomed him back with open arms.)

While he was still a long way off, the father saw him and ran to him, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

(Here we see that the father already had shown that he has forgiven his son even before the son said “sorry.” The kiss and the welcoming embrace came first before the son’s confession of his sins. This shows us how our Father in heaven has also loved us while we were still sinners.)

The father said to his servants to bring the best robe and put it on his son. He also put a ring on the son’s finger and sandals on his feet. Then he asked that the fattened calf be cooked and a feast be made to celebrate the return of his lost son.

(The ROBE signified the “robe of righteousness,” which means that the past mistakes have been forgiven and all is now made “right” in the father’s eyes. The RING signifies authority, which shows that the son has been given back the power of being an heir of his father. The SANDALS show “sonship” because servants walk barefoot and only the master and his sons wore sandals.)

APPLICATION:

This parable teaches us that when we do what we want instead of what God wants, we are like the lost son. Sin leads to separation from the Father and this may seem fun or just fine for some time, but sooner or later, we will find that sin also leads to much suffering.

But as our memory verse states, God is FAITHFUL– it means He is true to His promises. If we confess ours sins to Him and ask forgiveness from our hearts, then it whether the sin was big or small, God will forgive us and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness or wrongdoing. Just as the prodigal son was accepted with open arms and his “sonship” was restored completely, so will the Father accept us when we repent and turn to Him. We are made “right” with God through Jesus, and by His amazing grace, we become sons and daughters of the most High God. We are then “heirs” of all of God’s blessings for His beloved children. Praise be to our Almighty God!

PRAYER:

Our Father in heaven, thank You for Your amazing grace! Thank You for Your great love and Your faithfulness. May Your holiness be proclaimed throughout all the earth! We have sinned against You and we now humbly ask for Your forgiveness. We confess that we have chosen to fulfill our own desires and listen to other voices instead of focusing our eyes, ears and more importantly, our hearts to You. And we thank You, our most gracious God, for we know that we can trust You that as we confess our sins, You are faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Thank You Lord for letting us become your children and heirs to Your Kingdom! All praise and honor be to You our heavenly Father! In the mighty name of Jesus, we pray, AMEN!

BIBLE CRAFT:

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I found this craft idea from: http://www.meaningfulmama.com/2013/12/teaching-kids-forgiveness-parable-lost-son-craft.html

I used a different verse so for those who want to download the pattern, you may do so here: Prodigal Son craft

We traced the kids’ hands on cardboard paper, cut them out and glued them into colored paper cut in 2.5″ x 8″ strips.

We decorated our craft with googly eyes, crayons and some brown felt for the hair.

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Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 2 – Patience (Isaiah 40:31)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 2 – Patience (Isaiah 40:31)

LESSON: PATIENCE is waiting on the LORD with hope in our hearts.

Memory Verse:  “But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” – Isaiah 40:31

READ: Isaiah 40:28-31

Verses from Isaiah 40

Truths from God’s Word

v. 28  “Do you not know?  Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.” The Lord our God created everything; and He is a loving God, merciful and; and we may not always understand His ways, but we can always trust Him.
v. 29 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” When we call on His name, He will listen. He is our helper and our source of strength.
v. 30 “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;” If we only use our own strength and wisdom, or the strength and wisdom of other people (such as the government officials or even our own parents and teachers), we can only do so much. The wisdom and strength of people is not enough.
V. 31 “but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles;    they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” But if we trust and depend on God, no storm is too big, no pain too great, no obstacle too difficult. God will help us overcome and be victorious. He will not let us fall; He will lift us up, sustain us and strengthen us.

If we put our hope in Him and trust Him with all our hearts, then He will sustain us!Lesson 5 Part 2

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 1 – Patience (Hebrews 6:15)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 5 PART 1 – Patience (Hebrews 6:15)

LESSON: PATIENCE is not easy, but we need to be patient and trust God.

Memory Verse:  “And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised.” – Hebrews 6:15

BIBLE STORY:

The biblical account of Abraham, Sarah, and their son Isaac is found in Genesis 17, 18, and 21 .  Read the story from your Bible OR tell it in this condensed version .

God appeared to Abram and promised him 3 things:

  1. That he would become the father of many nations
  2. That God would give him and his descendants a new land to call their own
  3. That through him, all nations of the world would be blessed by God.

Abram was puzzled, especially with the first promise. This was because he and his wife, Sarai, were very old and had no children.  How could he have many descendants when he had no children of his own? Abram was already 75 years old and Sarai was 65 – they were already supposed to be grandparents at their age!

But, God keeps His promises. When Abram was already 99 years old, God changed Abram and Sarai’s names to Abraham and Sarah and promised that He would bless them with a son the following year.  Abraham fell face down and laughed when God told him that he would be a father.  Sarah laughed, too, when she overheard the news that she would become a mother.  They were just too old to become parents!  It seemed impossible! But is anything really impossible with God?

True enough, Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 90 when their baby boy, Isaac, was born… just as God promised! Abraham and Sarah needed patience when they were waiting for their promised son.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY:

  • Direct the children to stand in a circle. Since Abraham was 100 years old when his son, Isaac, was born, tell the children that you are going to count to 100, with each of the children giving a number in numerical order.  When someone reaches the number 5 or a multiple of 5, he says “Be Patient!”

Example:  The leader says 1, the next player says 2, next is 3, then 4, and then the next player says “Be Patient!” Play continues with 6, 7, 8, 9, and then “Be Patient!” After the number 99, EVERYONE shouts:  “Be Patient!”  The quicker the count, the more difficult the game.  If a person misses his number or forgets the count, he sits down at his place in the circle.

  •  Younger children will enjoy singing the familiar song “Father Abraham.”

DISCUSSION:

Encourage the children to give examples of times when they have needed patience.  Promote conversation and discussion with these questions:

●   What are some things that require patience?   (Learning to play a musical instrument, waiting for a seed to grow, waiting until you’re old enough to do something, etc.)

●   Name a situation that you are waiting for or  something that you want to happen in your life. Why is God’s timing more important than your timing?

(Answers will vary.)

Lesson resource: http://www.veggietales.com/downloads/1-Abe%20and%20the%20amazing%20promise.pdf

Lesson 5 Part 1

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 4 PART 2 – Kindness (1 John 3:18)

Fruits of the Spirit: LESSON 4 PART 2 – Kindness (1 John 3:18)

LESSON: KINDNESS is love in action.

Memory Verse:

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

– 1 John 3:18

Bible Lesson:  Kindness in the Book of Ruth

Chapter 1:  The Kindness of Ruth and Naomi

Naomi is the wife of Elimelech and they had two sons, Mahlon and Kilion. Because of a famine in Bethlehem, they moved to a land called Moab and there, her sons got married to Ruth and Orpah. After a few years, Elimelech died, and so did the two sons. And so there were three widows left in the family.

Widows are considered one of the poorest people during that time, because it was usually the men who worked to provide for the family. Ruth and Orpah were still young, so instead of them staying together, Naomi told her daughters-in law to go back to their families and hopefully get married again.

“Go back, each of you, to your mother’s home.  May the Lord show kindness to you, as you have shown to your dead and to me,” Naomi said. (Ruth 1:8) So Ruth and Naomi went back together to Bethlehem.

Chapter 2:  The Kindness of Boaz

 

Naomi had a relative from Elimelech’s side of the family named Boaz. Boaz was a very rich man who owned a large field. The people of their time had a tradition that after the workers have harvested the grain, poor people such as widows were allowed to take whatever was left. Ruth became one of those who waited for that chance, and Boaz noticed her and found out who she was.

Boaz heard of Ruth’s kindness towards Naomi and how she stayed with her widowed mother-in-law to take care of her, so he showed kindness to her too. Boaz gave orders to his workers to leave extra grain for her to gather and even shared food with her. So when she went back home to Naomi, she had good news to tell her about the kindness she received from Boaz. Naomi replied, “May the Lord bless him!  He has not stopped showing kindness to the living and the dead!”  (Ruth 2:20)

Application:

The kindness that Ruth showed Naomi was a fruit of her genuine love for her. She was given a chance to go back to her family and take care of herself, but instead, she chose to take care of the old widow whom she has grown to love as the mother of the man she married.

This kindness wasn’t something that bragged about or did so that other people would praise her. Ruth was simply acting out what was already in her heart. And people noticed – that is why when Boaz asked around about her, people already had good things to say about her.

Naomi showed kindness to Ruth by letting her go, but Ruth showed kindness to Naomi by staying. This led to Boaz showing kindness to Ruth and also Naomi, and a happy ending of them getting married and becoming a family. They experienced hardships and sadness in their lives, but their choosing to be kind bore good fruit in their lives. Matthew Chapter 1 talks about the family tree of Jesus.  And in that family tree, in verse 5, are the names of both Boaz and Ruth.  They are listed in the family tree of the Savior of the world!

Prayer:

Lord, help us to show kindness to each other whatever our situation may be. Help us to do this that we may be a channel of Your great love to others. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.Lesson 4 Part 2.jpg

 

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

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.

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

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.

Lesson 2 Part 4

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

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.

Lesson 2 Part 3