“Hear O Israel”

Ezra reads the LawI am adding another lesson to the series on Ezra and Nehemiah due to their great importance and relevance as we seek to serve God in these perilous times.  We had left Nehemiah with the succesful rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem (Oct. 20, 2011 blog “Nehemiah Restores Hope”)  In chapter 8 of Nehemiah we read that the people “gathered as one man” to ask Ezra to bring the book of the law so he could read it to them…”and all the people were attentive to the book of the law.”  Ezra stood on a wooden podium, and beside him are listed 13 men, who along with the Levites, explained the law to the people who stood in reverence when Ezra opened the book, but who bowed low and worshiped the LORD with their faces to the ground as   Ezra blessed “the LORD the great God.”  Verse 12 tells us that the people went away to celebrate a great festival because they understood the words which had been made known to them, then proceeded to make booths to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles.  This making of booths had not been practiced since Joshua’s time so there was great rejoicing.  The sons of Israel continued to assemble with fasting, in sackcloth and with dirt on them… confessing their sins and worshipping God.  This revival brought about great changes in their behavior.  They separated themselves from  the foreigners of the land, and swore to observe all of the commandments. (Chapters 9-13)

Note the reverence and great honor shown the word of God by the people.  We read in Psalms 119: 30 that the entrance of His Word gives light and understanding to the simple. Jesus states that none of His Words will pass away (Matthew 24:34) and  “…assuredly I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” (Matt. 5:18)   Notice the special regard the LORD bestows on the person who “trembles at His Word” in  Isaiah 66:2…  “My hands have made both heaven and earth; they and everything in them are mine.  I, the LORD, have spoken! ‘I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My word’.”This lesson should be especially encouraging to you teachers as we model the Levites in this story and are seeking to make the words of God understandable to children.

Hear O Israel - worksheet

Hear O Israel – worksheet

Print worksheet on card-stock.  Cut the portion containing the scroll, which leaves a space to write the memory verse.  Have the kids write their memory verse first thing , then they can color the page and prepare the scrolls. Cut carefully around scroll.  For younger kids, you will want to pre-cut the scrolls. You will need 2 toothpicks for each scroll.  Before class,  measure and cut the ends off the toothpicks.  The kids can color them with brown markers and glue one to each end of the scroll….centering them.  Roll up each end  of the scroll tightly, meeting in the middle (see sample).  If you have printed the scrolls on card stock, they should keep their shape rather well.  Glue or tape into Ezra’s hands.

Zacchaeus is Found

Zacchaeus is Found

Zacchaeus is Found

Zacchaeus  was very blessed indeed.  Jesus has been preaching the Good News for three years and is making His way to Jerusalem to suffer and die for the sins of the world.   We all know the story of  the vertically challenged chief tax collector…. tax collectors were hated because of their collaboration with the Roman government and exploitation of their fellow countrymen.  Perhaps he had heard of Matthew leaving the ranks of his profession, and was curious about what kind of a man would be worth following and giving up a lucrative profession for.

He climbed a tree to get a better look when he heard that Jesus was passing through Jericho. To his surprise, Jesus stopped and called him by name.  He was bid to come down quickly, for Jesus must go to his house.  The lonely man gladly welcomed Him – the result of the visit : salvation, forgiveness and a changed life.  Jesus sought Zacchaeus because He loved him.  No one is beyond seeking…Who is Jesus wanting you to reach out to? What stands in the way of us making the efforts necessary to show we care.  Maybe it is a child who has only come to your class once or twice. Pray and ask the LORD to help you make effective contact.   For complete instructions see the post at kidsbible.wordpress.com… (this will involve some precutting with an x-acto blade so you can fit Zacchaeus into the tree. ) I also used a leaf punch to cut out leaves.

Zack - worksheet

Zack – worksheet

Zack - no text

Zack – no text

Samson is Forgiven

Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

Samson is Forgiven

Samson is Forgiven

We previously posted a lesson about the powerful  Nazirite judge of Israel – Samson. (August 2011)  His life has many lessons for us today so I think it would be a good idea to take two weeks to study his life.

A Nazirite vow was a serious commitment between a man or woman and God…a setting apart…a special consecration.  They would be willing to avoid all contact with any dead body…separate  themselves from anything pertaining to the grape or grapevine and as a visible manifestation of their  holy vow…no razor was to take any of the hair on their head all of the days of their consecration.  In Samson’s case ,  he was  called to a lifelong consecration from his mother’s womb!  Sadly, we have read about the poor choices Samson made even though he was mightily blessed by God with supernatural strength and was called to judge Israel for twenty years.

Samson went against the advice of his parents to marry a God-fearing Israelite woman choosing a Philistine woman instead because he liked the way she looked! (Remember…these were the days that everyone did what is right in their own eyes and stopped obeying God?  Sound familiar???)  He did not learn from his mistakes and made other poor associations with those that sought his defeat.  This might be a good time to teach about the bondage that the enemy of our soul wishes to put God’s children under.  As a result of Samson’s disregard of his sacred vows,  he was blinded, bound , and imprisoned with the lowly task of grinding grain.

There is hope for this poor soul, because scripture tells us “…however the hair of his head began to grow again after it was shaved…”  I’m  sure Samson had a lot of time to reflect on his sinful behavior  and was able to confess and repent because we read about him in Hebrews 11:32 as joining the ranks of the faithful.  When he was called to be brought to the idol temple to be mocked by the pagans gathered, he called on the Lord GOD (Jehovah) to remember him with strength once more.

Samson is forgiven - wkst

Samson is forgiven – wkst

Samson - no text

Samson – no text

Note: Depending on your translation there are two ways to spell Nazirite…or Nazarite!

The Miracle of the Tribute Money

Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” Psalm 40:5

Miracle of the Tribute Money

Miracle of the Tribute Money

The miracle of The Tribute Money is unique to Matthew…the “ex” tax gatherer!  .  Jesus was not liable for the temple tax being the Son of God, even though Peter impetuously answered the officials that Jesus would pay it!  The temple tax (Exodus 30:13) amounted to two day’s wages for a common laborer and was required of every adult Israelite male over 20 years of age for maintaining the temple. Jesus was free from obligation to pay this tax…after all, the temple belonged to Him according to Malachi 3:1 “…’Behold, I send My messenger (John the Baptist) And he will prepare the way before Me. And the Lord, Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the covenant, (Jesus) in whom you delight.  Behold, He is coming’, says the LORD of hosts”.  Jesus anticipated Peter’s question, and told him  to cast a hook  into the sea of Galilee and take up the first fish he caught.  Can you imagine how this must have humbled Peter who usually fished professionally with nets?   Jesus trusted in the miraculous provision of God to pay His taxes…not out of obligation but out of a desire that He not offend…(and I think as a great lesson for us.)

Please visit “kidsbible.wordpress.com” for the  instructions to this lesson.  I am still traveling and would appreciate your prayers for the LORD’S guidance to a new location which would have to include some kids to teach!  (If you are new to the blog…WELCOME… a complete Table of Contents  for  lessons I have covered from the Old and New Testaments is available if you scroll back past the last post on “food allergies”. (April 2, 2013)  For a Mother’s Day project see the blog from May 2, 2012

Update: (4/2014) Thanks for the prayers. The Lord has led me to a new area… I am settled and have a new class to teach!! Praise Him!!!

Miracle of the Tribute money - a

Miracle of the Tribute money – a

The Sign of the Covenant

Everyone loves rainbows… but the fact that it is a sign of a covenant with God may elude many admirers!  After Noah was commanded to enter the ark, he was told that he would have to wait seven more days inside the vessel before  the rain started. I’m sure he had no worries though, he had been faithfully obeying the LORD’S commands and preparing for many years.  But can you imagine  today being given a warning by God, that you have seven days before certain destruction falls?  Would your life change any?  Are there people you would encourage or share the words of life with?  Any habits you would finally get the victory over or ruined relationships you would seek to mend?  This scenario is not that far-fetched as we recall what Jesus said in Luke 17:26-27 & 30, “Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man.  People will be eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark.  Then the flood came and destroyed them all…It will be just like this on the day the Son of man is revealed.”  The LORD’S saints are to be watching and prepared like Noah!

Instructions for this technique are posted over at “kidsbible.wordpress.com” (A New Beginning 10/3/2012)

A new beginning - worksheet

A new beginning – worksheet

Scripture reference from Genesis 9:13, “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.”

Important note:  Given the mature themes of the story of Cain and Abel, I  do not teach this lesson in its entirety to younger kids but you may send a note home with parents to encourage them to discuss the story from Genesis 4 with their kids as it includes helpful information to further illustrate the plan of redemption.  You will recall that God provided a covering of skins for Adam and Eve after they sinned.  This taught them that they needed a suitable covering – not the fig leaves they had sewn together.  God would have to provide a covering by shedding innocent blood.

The LORD God provides a covering

No doubt  they would have taught the acceptable worship of the LORD to Cain and Abel, and we read in Hebrews 11 that Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice “by faith”  and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  Cain did not submit to the God-given instructions of his parents but willfully offered the fruit of his own self-righteous efforts.  Only Abel “obtained witness” from the LORD that his sacrifice was accepted and he was to enjoy right-standing with God as a result. Cain was filled with burning anger because he was aware that the LORD did not acknowledge  his sacrifice.  It was at this point that the LORD sought Cain to reason with him about his destructive attitude and offer him another chance “to do well” and be accepted. God, as a loving Father, also warned him  that sin was waiting to overtake him if he hardened his heart. We all know the result of Cain’s unwillingness to repent.  Jude prophesies that false teachers “have gone in the way Cain”… and certainly there are many religions that boast a plethora of man-made rules and rituals in which they seek to be made acceptable to the god that they worship.  Praise God, He has provided a covering for  all… and “whosoever believes” that the blood of the spotless Lamb of God is the only means by which our sins can be covered and washed away…is made acceptable to God.  “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5:8-9

The LORD provides a covering - wkst

The LORD provides a covering – 

*Note: I finally posted a worksheet for older children 10/26/2015

Paul Let Down in a Basket

Paul Let Down in a Basket

Scripture  reference is from 2 Timothy 3: 11-12,”…Persecution I have endured yet the Lord rescued me from all of them…Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

Paul was very zealous for the Lord.  He was given a word from the Lord  through the mouth of Ananias that he would suffer greatly for the cause of Christ. The beginning of his persecutions  is the short story from Acts 9.  After being gloriously converted and prayed for by Ananias, he went at once to the synagogue to tell everyone there the Good News about the Son of God.  Verse 22 tells us that he became “more and more fervent  in his preaching and the Damascus Jews couldn’t withstand his proofs that Jesus was indeed the Christ.  After a while the Jewish leaders were determined to kill him.”  Paul was told of their plans, so some of his converts let him down in a basket at night, through an opening in the city wall!  In 2 Corinthians 11 we read a list of his sufferings and I am beginning to marvel that we  do not prepare ourselves for suffering.  Maybe we think we don’t need to think about persecution because most of our bible heros get miraculously delivered? Unless we teach this aspect of living victoriously, we stand a chance of stumbling if we become offended  when we start to suffer for our faith.  Many Christians around the world are already suffering and the scripture clearly teaches that those who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.  We need to challange ourselves and ask the Holy Spirit to search our hearts to see if this is truly our desire that we so glibly sing about. I am under the conviction that we need to begin gently sharing this truth with at least our older children.  Discuss it with your pastor  if you are so led.  (“Typo” is corrected in the worksheet)

Note: Saul is Paul’s Jewish name.  It means “desired” while Paul , a Latin name, means “small”.  It is interesting that the Holy Spirit still refers to this great apostle as Saul in Acts 13:2.  I was under the impression that the Lord changed Saul’s name to Paul, but that does not seem to be the case.

Color page and cut out Paul.  Measure  and cut 2 pieces of string  and  poke holes in basket as shown in sample.  Thread string into holes and tape to hold on the back of the basket.   Loop string up and tack down with glue where the men’s arms are ( in the sample the string pulled away during the scan, but it should look like they are lowering Paul with ropes…I’m confidant you can figure it out).  You will need  a combination of tape and tacky glue. 


Jonah Pouts but the LORD God Prepares a Gourd

Jonah pouts before the LORD

Jonah pouts before the LORD

When we last left Jonah, he had emerged as one of the world’s most successful evangelists. He had a very simple message…”In 40 days, Nineveh shall be overthrown…So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them.” This passage in Jonah 3:5  is one of the most miraculous  scriptures in the Bible, in my opinion.  Now Jonah knew God’s character from the passage in Exodus 34, yet he was really ticked off that the LORD was being merciful.   After indulging in a pity party he asks the LORD to take his life but is gently questioned by his Sovereign who asks him,”Is it right for you to be angry?  Now the same LORD God who had prepared a great fish to swallow Jonah, now prepares a plant to grow up quickly and shade Jonah who has trudged out of the city, built a shelter, and sat watching to see what God would do.  “Jonah was very grateful for the plant.” Next, God prepares a worm to damage the plant so that it withers and offers no protection from the hot sun and wind.  He again pouts and wishes to die.  Jonah’s anger is due to selfishness and he continues to justify his rebellious attitude.  Jonah’s mixed-up values of putting more importance on his reputation and comfort are challenged by the LORD , who reminds the whining prophet that His character extends to all of His creation.  I think Jonah finally learned his lesson and  the story of Jonah  can encourage kids and teachers  to “put off” pouting when we don’t get our way.

Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering…and above all these things put on charity…and let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be thankful.” Colossians 3: 12-15

Color and separate the worksheet on the solid line above Jonah’s head. Cut out Jonah and  the leaves and glue them as in the sample above.  If you have access to vine tendrils, they can be glued on before the leaves.  Color the worm brightly so he stands out!  For younger children you may want to add some magnification to the worksheet when printing, so the leaves are easier to cut out.  They will have fun giving Jonah some shade!

Jonah pouts

Jonah Pouts – worksheet w/ text

Text is from Jonah 4:5-8 – “So Jonah went out of the city…there he made a shelter…And the LORD God prepared a gourd and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery… But as morning dawned the next day… God prepared a worm… and it so damaged the gourd that it withered… God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint…”