“Consider your Ways!”

haggai b

The phrase  “consider your ways” literally means “put your heart on your roads”, or in other words, consider what direction your life is taking. A good message for all of the LORD’S people today but specifically it was sent to His much beloved remnant…a small group of less than 50,000 Jews  that had pulled up stakes in Babylon ( 537 B.C.)  to return to Jerusalem .  Worship had been joyfully restored , and the foundation of the temple was laid but  this noble purpose was frustrated  after two years, and extinguished by crushing opposition. After lagging fourteen years, Haggai was sent to admonish the children of  Judah and Benjamin for prioritizing their own security and comfortable  “paneled” homes, but neglecting the ruined temple. (Some speculate that the cedar logs from Lebanon mentioned in Ezra 3:7, probably ended up in their private residences….now new wood was to be procured from the mountains) The people were to take stock of their lives and quit making excuses as to why they could not fully obey the LORD…hadn’t they noticed that their crops, livestock and labors were not being blessed ? This was going to take an acknowledgement of the LORD’S dealing with them so they could repent.  Good news!   All of the remnant obeyed the LORD “…and feared His presence.” (“…love the LORD with all your heart, with all your soul…”) and they were willing to be strong and work hard (“…love the LORD with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5) I hope we are all paying attention here… Could we be experiencing “blight” from the LORD…or perhaps we are putting our wages in bags with holes?  Let us “consider our ways” so we can repent and turn to Him with our first love.  Then the LORD will take pleasure in His church, and He will be glorified as He was in the days of Haggai.

Haggai – worksheet

Color page, cutting strip on the end.  (the sample above was printed on ivory parchment  cardstock)  Glue correct scene in the window.  Go over the meaning of the word “remnant”.  Have the kids practice saying Zerubbabel. Optional: Have them write in the verse from 1 Samuel 12:24 in the space below the window.

You may notice a difference in style with the earlier posts.  I wish I could start over and annotate all of the texts on the worksheets and samples but I just learned how to do this (and have still not worked out all of the bugs)!  I had no idea this blog would have a “world-wide” following and I did not accommodate  for the language barrier.  I am trying to take this into account for all future posts.  Hopefully you have some good ideas and can “rewrite” them to suit your needs. Yay white-out!

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