I’m sure you have heard many speculative and fanciful ideas about heaven.  We have a vivid description from the Apostle John in Revelation, but even that is hard to fathom. The memory verse from today’s lesson assures us  it will be much more glorious than we can ever think or imagine!  Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us and was coming back for us “…quickly.” In fact, in the final chapter of Revelation we are told that three times in verses 7,12 and 20.  We also know it will be a place of incredible fellowship with God and the Saints, and  we will enjoy everlasting comfort and joy.  No more death, sorrow, crying or pain. (can I hear an Amen!)  We will be employed in meaningful service  for our King and I doubt that means sitting on a cloud and playing a harp. This is a perfect time to review who is allowed to enter this wonderful place…all whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of Life. (Rev. 20:15 and Rev. 21:27) “…He saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we have done, ( indeed, all of our own righteousness is like filthy rags…Isaiah 64:6) but because of His own pity and mercy, by the cleansing of the new birth…” Titus 3:5.  This is what Jesus, the Lamb of God, accomplished for us by shedding His blood and dying on the cross.  This precious blood washes away my sin and is the  only thing that can purchase my pardon and give me right standing before God.  Jesus conquered death and proved He was God by resurrecting from the grave.  To reject His offer of Salvation that is offered so freely, is to invite God’s wrath…  John 3: 18 & 36.  It is my hope and prayer that all who read this blog has, or will choose life

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a people to be peculiarly His own , people who are zealous of good works.” Titus 2: 11-13

Heaven – worksheet

This  worksheet uses a full page of cardstock.  There are 2 options for the “pearly gates”.  The sample above has more intricate cutting and the sample below would be good for smaller children. If you are going to cut out the pearly gates, you should color the leaves and then apply a thick coat of tacky glue covered with glitter so it can be drying.  I used what I had on hand, but you can purchase glitter that has a pearl-like sheen, and you can even purchase “pearlized” card stock…but it is expensive!  After the page is colored, stamp your leaves with a leaf stamp or make one out of a potato!  Just cut a potato in half and draw a small leaf shape with a pencil.  Trace around your shape with a sharp paring knife, then cut away the excess. It will “weep” starch so dab with a tissue.  Add a few veins with your knife. (sample below) You can also make your own ink with some tacky glue and green food coloring which leaves a sticky surface after you are stamping…perfect for glitter .  Make the stamps ahead of time for your kids.  The potato stamps will keep several days in the icebox.  Another option would be to make a leaf stamp out of foam, which you can glue to a cork!  Add fruit to the tree if you would like .  The pearly gates should measure 8 inches by 3 1/2 inches.  You might have to play around to get your dimensions correct…I suggest plain paper for this and make sure you “preview” before you print…switching to card stock when you have the pixels/size adjusted.  optional: white feathers or tissue paper* to cover the angel’s wings and other sparkly embellishments such as sequins or plastic “jewels”…or…make your own with dried tacky glue blops (fake pearls) and  paper you have glittered or colored with metallic pens!  The last touch will be to add a name  of a tribe of Israel to your gate. (Rev. 21:12)

using feathers in the wings

Gems have always fascinated me and I’ve  listed the  “possible” colors of the gems for you…  emerald green jade; sardonyx;  sard (red); spinach green jade (jasper in KJV);  lapis lazuli (sapphire blue);  white jade – (misty white) diamond in KJV;  citrine quartz (honey gold) beryl in KJV;  amazonite  or turquoise(sea-green) emerald in KJV; olivine, peridot (yellow green like olive oil) topaz in KJV; chrysoprase (apple green) agate in KJV;  lavender jade, amethyst (purple) .  Taken from a study by Paul Phelps “Jewel Stones of Israel’s 12 Tribes,” there are many studies available on the gemstones used and they all differ.  Mr. Phelps takes 3 things into consideration. Since the stones that are used in the Revelation are the same stones mentioned in Exodus, he infers that: 1. These gemstones would have had to be available in Egypt in ancient times. 2. The stones would have had to be large enough to engrave upon (5 cm. wide) and 3. The stones would need to be soft enough to engrave upon with the tools available in ancient times…not harder than quartz crystal which has a hardness of 7.  Adam Clarke, in his commentary , lists the tribal order (according to the Targum) as follows starting in the upper right hand corner: (sard) 1 -Reuban; (olivine) 2 – Simeon; (emerald green jade) 3- Levi; (amazonite) 4- Judah; (lapis lazuli) 5- Issachar; (white jade) 6- Zebulun; (amethyst) 7- Dan; (chrysoprase) 8 – Naphtali; (lavender jade) 9-Gad; (citrine)10- Asher; (sardonyx) 11- Joseph; (dark green jade) 12- Benjamin.  This is the order I used in the sample of actual gemstones above.  Interesting note: some have  even imagined the foundation stones the colors of the rainbow.  This could work when you realize that the jasper can be clear;  the sapphire- red;  the chalcedony – opaque red;  the emerald – blood red bixbite;  sardonyx – red fading to orange;  sardius – carnelian(pure orange);  chrysolite – gold;  beryl-yellow; topaz – green;  chrysoprasus(chrysoprase) – teal blue;  jacinth – deep blue sapphire and amethyst – purple.  Fun to think about but I am not making a doctrine about it as we can not be 100% certain which shade of the gemstone John saw except jasper, which he describes as “clear as crystal” in Revelation 21:11.   It will be breathtakingly beautiful!

* To cover wings with tissue paper you will need to make a template of the wings. (Put worksheet up to the window and trace onto another piece of cardstock.)  Cut 4-5 layers of each wing with white tissue paper.  Starting at the bottom, tack down one layer an inch from the bottom of your template with a glue stick and work your way up to the top of the wing, working in 1 inch increments until you have glued all your layers.  Trim and glue over the wings on the worksheet. Use the same layering technique if you have real feathers.

Pearly Gates – worksheet

home-made foam leaves

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Rich Man and Lazarus

Jesus told this story to His disciples and to the Pharisees, who were lovers of money.”…There was a certain rich man man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day.  But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, (many consider this a true store as people in Jesus’ parables are not named) full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.  Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  So it was that the beggar died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.  The rich man also died and was buried,  and being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom…”  The rich man cried out to Abraham and asked him to send Lazarus to cool his tongue.  But Abraham said a startling thing “…remember that in your lifetime you received your good things and Lazarus evil things (prosperity teachers should pay attention here!!!) ; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” He also told this unfortunate soul that there was a great chasm between Paradise and Hades, with no passage possible between the two places.  Then the rich man  begged Abraham to send Lazarus to warn his five brothers so they would not end up in “this place of torment”. It is difficult to fathom  this man’s bossy attitude and his unwillingness to grasp the truth of God’s word…that it has the power to save .  Abraham reminds him that his brothers had access to Moses and the prophets and if they do not listen to them, they would not believe even though one rise from the dead.  (Interesting that in a few weeks another man named Lazarus would be raised from the dead!)

Teaching tip:  Hell is translated many ways in the KJV.  In Hebrew (OT)  the word is “sheol” (Strong’s H7585) and is a place of no return & without praise of God.  In the N. T., it is translated from  the Greek “hades” (Strong’s G86) the receptacle of the unrighteous dead awaiting judgement; or “geenna” (Strong’s G1067)  the lake of fire. In 2Peter 2:4, it is translated from the Greek word “tartaroo” (Strong’s G5020) and is referring to the angels that sinned, cast into hell (tartarus) and kept in chains of darkness, reserved unto judgment.

Important note: I am  relatively new to scanning and posting and have been informed that many of my “uploads” might have been scanned at too high of a resolution.  This means more work for you to get your figures to come out the right size.  I apologize for the hassle and recommend you  do a test copy with plain paper, before using the more expensive card stock. The completed  project  for this lesson should measure 5 1/2 inches by 9 inches…the figures below are the correct size!

Rich Man and Lazarus – figures

The previous post (3/15/2012) I went over the instructions for making the background for this lesson using regular shaving cream and food coloring. It is really fun to try but  should  be made ahead of  your story time and left to dry. (a portable hairdryer might be handy for this or better yet, make them the week before)  Give the kids colored chalk or crayons to color the top third of the paper.  Use the purple, green and blue to cover the “flames” (see below)  Color and cut out figures, and glue to background.  Accent with gold metallic gel pen and glitter if desired.  Have kids write the verse from Luke 16:24.   I would like to thank my son, Aaron Ernst , for drawing the figures for this lesson.


If you would like to add another verse you will have to add that to another piece of cardstock  as it is hard to write over crayon or chalk. (I tried) You might try the shaving cream technique in blues and greens to use for an extra verse. Cut it  out and glue below Abraham.

shaving cream background with blue and green

adding another verse

The Path of the Wise

Proverbs 15:24

My son and I are collaborating on two new lessons.  One will be on heaven  and the other will be on hell from Luke’s Gospel, “The rich man and Lazarus”.  I would like to use the technique that was used in the background for the verse above.  You will need a can of foamy (not gel) shave cream, red and yellow food coloring , some sort of brush (wider bristle is best …3/4- 1 inch) and a toothpick. Try practicing with a half  sheet of white cardstock in your sink.  Squirt some shaving cream in a plastic lid…about 1/4 cup.  Drop 3-4 drops of red foodcolor and in different spots drop your yellow.  Take your tooth pick and lightly swirl the colors. Load up your brush with cream/color mixture and spread in long even strokes, covering your paper….once you apply the mixture in one area, don’t go back and disturb it with more strokes.  Wait 2 minutes and now the “magic” happens.  Wipe your page with a paper towel.  If you want to save the shaving cream  (it can be used more than once),  you can “squeegie” it into a pile with a ruler or a spatula.  You should have some pretty interesting “flames”.  You tube has some demonstrations of this but they have you squirt your shaving cream in a paper plate,  drop your colors…swirl them,  and then plop your paper facedown in the mixture. Their results are not as dynamic but it is a less messy process….I think!!!!!  I recommend plenty of wet paper towels for clean up.  The one advantage of making these ahead of time, is that they can be thoroughly  dried, stacked up and put under heavy books to flatten as they will tend to curl up. You might consider a 2-part lesson…Jesus had a lot to say about this subject!



Galatians 5:1

Hey all you “bravehearts” out there…want to have some fun?  To make this “plaid” background you will need your cardstock, food coloring (3 different colors) and 2 babywipes.  Place your babywipes together and fold up into a rectangle aprox. 2 1/2 inches by 2 inches. One of the 2 1/2 inch edges should have a smooth fold.  This is where you are going to place 6 drops of foodcolor.  I used one drop of yellow, one drop of blue, one drop of green…then repeat.  Now swipe this on your paper….from top to bottom…all the way across the page  Add new drops of foodcoloring in the same locations as before because you are going to give your paper a quarter turn and make your swipes from top to bottom again…this will complete your plaid.  I tried this with plain damp paper towels but the effect was not as brilliant… the chemicals in the babywipes must facilitate the color somehow.

The Second Temple is Built – an edible craft for kids

The Second Temple – an edible craft

The LORD  had stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia to release any Israelite exile who had the desire, to go to Jerusalem and build another temple to the LORD of hosts.  Ezra and Nehemiah both record the families who joined this group as well as the amounts of silver and gold given in the free-will offerings. The worship was restored in the seventh month after their arrival but the  actual building of the temple did not get started until the second month of the second year.  There was much rejoicing when the foundation was finally laid.

Ezra 3: 10-11

There were many adversaries that rose up to thwart  the Jews and the building stopped for 14 years until Zerubbabel and Jeshua , encouraged by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, rose up and resumed the building. Haggai was given a word from the LORD for the people to get their hearts right. They would not prosper until they put God first for the LORD had called a drought on whatever the ground brought forth…on all the labor of their hands!  When they obeyed Him by resuming the building  of the temple, He would again bless them.

Haggai 1: 7-8

***IMPORTANT NOTE***(It is VITAL that you have allergy information on your kids before you engage in any craft where food items are used…I would use a different craft idea if one child  could not participate due to his or her allergies)To start you will need to cover cardboard with foil. ( I used  old photo album pages)  Make sure your table is freshly scrubbed and the kids have washed their hands. Decide which scripture portions you would like to use and have black paper and silver gel pens available for the kids to be able to write their verses.  The foundation stones can be  made with peanut butter “playdoh” that you can make ahead and put  1/2 cup portions in baggies…enough to make 5-9 stones.  This recipe makes enough for 6 kids: for each 18 oz. jar of creamy peanut butter  add 2 cups powdered sugar, 6 tablespoons honey and 1 cup powdered milk….if your powdered milk is granulated in texture you will have to blend it until it is fine. Mix and add more dry or wet stuff until you get the consistency of real playdoh and it tastes good..  You want it stiff enough to be able to put your pretzels in, but you want it smooth so it does not crack. As the kids break off pieces to mold, the heat from their hands will help in the process…rolling tends to crumble your playdoh so you want a press and molding technique.  Give each child a graham cracker to be the “guide” for where to place their stones. Purchased play-doh can also be used.

Laying the foundation – part one of lesson

After your “foundations” are laid, pause and tell the rest of the story.  The people were disheartened because of their crop failures and hostile enemies.  They procrastinated by putting all their energy into building their own houses and neglecting the LORD’S.

sideview of temple

Give each child a whole graham cracker for the roof. They  will need a heaping tablespoon of frosting in a small yogurt container, plastic knife, 55  stick pretzels for the walls (stick these in the foundation stones) 1/4 graham cracker for the “door”, 1 1/2 tablespoons of chocolate chips…31 for trim and extra to eat.

Gluing the roof

After your walls are in place , dab a bit of frosting on the corners, frost your roof and add chips before placing roof on top.  Add door if desired…doors that open will need to be cut with a large knife ahead of time.  If you would like to add a courtyard you could glue some sugar wafers around your temple with frosting….my store did not carry these.  Don’t forget to have the kids glue their verses down. You may make home-made buttercream icing or buy the frosting in  a can.  The pretzels might lean now and then but they will have fun regardless. For a sturdier project (but less edible) use regular play-doh for the foundation stones when building your temple.  You can  even divide the lesson in half . (part 1) Laying the foundation with peanut butter playdoh foundation stones from Ezra 3.  (part 2) The prophet Haggai encourage the people to finish the temple from Haggai 1 and Ezra 5-6. (using regular playdoh, pretzels, frosting, graham crackers and chocolate chips)

Door option

doors that open – another option


Jesus Feeds the Multitudes***

Jesus Feeds the Multitudes

Jesus Feeds the Multitudes

The fourteenth chapter of Matthew begins with Jesus and His disciples having travelled from His home town of Nazareth. The people had been offended by His wisdom and mighty works so Jesus left and “did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” (Matt 13:58)  John the Baptist had been beheaded by Herod and Jesus, upon hearing the news, had tried to depart to a deserted place.  The multitudes followed Him by foot, and when Jesus saw such a great throng (some estimate close to 10,000 people )”…He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” The disciples wanted Jesus to send the people away to buy food but He told them to give them something to eat. ( “…He said this as a test, for He Himself knew what He would do.” John 6:6)  Andrew presented Jesus with a lad’s supper of 5 barley loaves and 2 small fish.  He had the disciples make the people sit in groups and after having given thanks, He  instructed that the food  be distributed freely to those sitting down. After gathering the leftovers into 12 baskets, He sent the disciples in their boat to cross to the other side of the Sea of Galilee.  Jesus knew that the people would try to make him their ruler, so he quickly dispersed them and departed to the mountain to pray. *** (Depending on which Bible story you are highlighting…there will be different facts such as numbers fed ..i.e. either 4,000 or 5,000, number of baskets gathering leftovers, supply of food etc.  They are 2 different stories! You may want to point this out if your kids are older)  A storm was impeding the progress of the boat so between 3-6 a.m. Jesus walked out to them . The disciples shrieked with fear but Jesus told them to “… be of good cheer!…I AM!…do not be afraid!”( Matt. 14:27) When Jesus got into their boat, the wind ceased and immediately the boat was at land where they were going. The disciples were now firmly convinced that Jesus was (and is, and always will be) the Son of God!

Did you notice the contrast of responses to Jesus from unbelief to worship and faith?  When Jesus sends us into the storm…never fear….for He has dominion over the waves…and when you get to the shore…get ready…. for there are still multitudes that need to be healed and fed. (Matthew 15)

*****Note:  Have you ever wondered if the fish were served cooked?  I did so I looked up the Greek and noticed a clue in John 6:11….the word for “fishes” here  is opsarion”…which is translated”…whatever is eaten with bread especially boiled or roasted.  The other word for fish in the Greek is “ichthys” which you find in the miraculous draught in John 21:8, as well as many other places.

Feeding the Multitudes/Walking on Water- worksheet

Cut where indicated and color page.  Color wave sections with different shades of blue…cut out.  Overlap the waves on a piece of black cardstock 3 inches wide and glue in place. Cut out the figure of Jesus and glue as shown in sample above.  With silver gel pen, write the words ( Take courage! I AM!) and have the kids draw the disciple’s boat.  Add goldfish crackers where shown..***Be sure and check for food allergies and do not use them if there are kids in your class with food sensitivities… you can use the simple fish shapes on the “Peter is Restored” blog.  This worksheet is easily separated into two lessons.

Jesus Walks on Water

Jesus Feeds the Multitudes