Thursday, March 27, 2014

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

A Few Personal Notes:  
  • In case you are checking in for a new blog right now, I thought I might let you know that I will not be blogging until, Lord willing, Tuesday, April 1, 2014. There is a quotation that says, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."  It is not found in the Bible, but I am hoping it is a true saying in this case.  Hopefully, you are enjoying the Bible lessons every night. I, personally, am loving this new avenue of communication, even if it might be a one-way street! The blog has received 'hits' from the United States, China, Poland, Malaysia, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia, and many 'hits' from Germany--thank you! I look forward to posting every single day and, up until tomorrow, have been able to post every day.  That's 47 posts that, hopefully, will help Bible teachers and Bible students all over the world! God is good!
  • A little history on how this blog began: I really do not remember if I had heard a sermon or if I just happened to be reading Psalm 90:10 that says, "The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away," but it woke me up! Life is short!  We must make every day count, redeeming the time (Jas. 5:16). My birthday was coming up and I did the math. The word 'score' in this verse equals 20 years which would make 'threescore years plus ten' equal 70 years; 'fourscore' would equal 80 years.  I realize that we are not even guaranteed today (Jas. 4:14), but thinking that 70 years was not very long, I thought I had better get busy doing the things that I have always said I was going to do, especially good things for the Lord. It is my opinion that most people do not read books like they have in past. Today, if someone wants information, they just hop on the internet and ask the question, receiving the answer in seconds. (That's what I do!) The internet is faster, easier, and, sometimes it is like it almost reads my mind!  I always thought I was going to write a book, but the result was this blog! 
  • Again, I hope you are enjoying the lessons and are using them or passing the information on to others.  The Bible is a treasure (Ps. 19:7-10) and should definitely be shared. Looking forward to April 1st!  Take care...and, as we tell the children, don't forget to read your Bible! 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Lesson - A Love Story! Isaac And Rebekah

VERSES:   Genesis 24:1-67

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 24:67   "...and she became his wife; and he loved her..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   Review Genesis through 2 Samuel for reinforcement.

PRAYER:   Pray for strong Christian families and for all to be determined to find a strong Christian to marry.

SPECIAL SONG:   The Family In God's Plan  and  Children, Obey Your Parents (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4)

VISUAL AID:   Table Figures  (See Activity below for an idea; may be made larger for whole class to see.)

  • As the years passed by, Abraham was getting very old, and Isaac was growing older, too. One day, Abraham called the most trusted servant he had and asked him to do something for him. Abraham wanted his servant to go back to Abraham's country where his family lived and choose a wife for Isaac. He did not want Isaac to marry one of the young women from the Canaanites around where they were living because they did not worship God. This was very important to Abraham and he made his servant promise in a very unusual way. Abraham's servant put his hand under Abraham's thigh and made a very serious promise or an oath.
  • The servant was concerned that a young woman might not want to come back all the way  to Canaan because it would be very far from her own family, so the servant asked Abraham how he should go about this task.  Abraham told his servant that God would send an angel to him and he should choose a wife for Isaac, but the servant was not to take Isaac back to his old home country. Abraham said that if the woman chose not to come to Canaan that the servant would be cleared from his promise.
  • So, the servant got ten camels ready and left on the trip. As he arrived in the city of Nahor, he stopped by a well of water and prayed to God that He would help him find a wife for Isaac. He prayed, "If a young woman comes to the well and I ask her to give me drink from her pitcher and she says I will give you a drink and will water your camels, too, then let that be the wife that I should get for Isaac." Sure enough, there was a young woman who came to the well and it happened just like the servant prayed! The Bible says she was very pretty and unmarried and when she came to well, Abraham's servant ran to meet her. He said, " May I drink a little from your pitcher of water?" And she said, "Of course you can!" When she had finished giving him a drink, do you know what she said? That's right!  She said, "I will give your camels a drink, too!" Now, giving ten camels a drink is not a little job!  She had to fill her pitcher many, many times and it was hard work, but she did it! All the time, the servant was wondering if this young woman would travel all the way to Canaan or if she would not want to go.
  • When Rebekah was finished watering the camels, the servant gave her an earring and two bracelets and asked her who she was. She told him that she was the daughter of Abraham's relative and she asked him if he and the camels wanted to come back to her father's house to rest. Do you know what the servant did?  He bowed his head and worshiped God because he knew that God had led him to that very spot!  Rebekah ran back and told her mother and her brother, Laban, what had happened.and her brother ran back to the well when he heard his sister and saw her bracelets.  Laban showed hospitality to the servant and welcomed him back to his father's house.
  • The servant took care of his camels and went into the house to eat, but first he said, "I cannot eat anything until I tell you of my task. I am Abraham's servant. The LORD has blessed Abraham greatly and now he is very wealthy. Abraham has told me to chose a wife for his only son, Isaac, from his kindred (or people)."  He went on to say how the angel helped him and showed him Rebekah. He asked Laban and his and Rebekah's father what to do.  They talked it over and decided that it is the Lord's will and gave the servant permission for Rebekah to go if she wanted to go. The servant was very happy and gave them jewels of silver and clothing and also gave some to Rebekah.The next morning, Rebekah, her nurse or helper, and Abraham's servant took off on the camels all the way back to Canaan.  
  • (This is the part I like!)  As they got closer to Abraham and Isaac's house, it was close to the evening time.  Isaac was out in the field thinking about things and he looked up and saw the camels coming!! When Rebekah looked up, she saw Isaac and got off the camel. They saw each other for the first time! The servant told Isaac everything that had happened and then Isaac and Rebekah were married. Lets see what the Bible says in Genesis 24:67. (Read verse.)  "And he loved her!"  This is a love story! A beautiful love story!  We will read more next week about their life together.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Promises were kept at a high standard in Abraham's time. Whenever someone made a promise, they were to put their hand under the other person's thigh and promise in the sight of God that whatever they were promising would happen. It was called an 'oath.'  When we read Gen. 24:1-3, this is what Abraham is making his servant do. In our court system today, a person raises their hand and solemnly promises that "they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." That is an oath like it was in Abraham's day to put a hand under the thigh as a sign of a serious promise.
  • Discuss how choosing a wife in Old Testament times, did not necessarily mean that a person dated, fell in love, and married like it is here in America, but something entirely different!  Many times, it was the father that chose the wife for his son and, like Isaac, had never seen the young woman ever before! 
  • Take a look at a Bible map that shows Mesopotamia, the city of Nahor (Gen. 24:10) and Canaan.  It's a very long way!  Why don't they cut across "right here?"  Because it is desert!  They had to travel up and over the desert to reach Abraham's old home.
  • May we all realize what a blessing it is to have a mate that is a Christian. Divorce was never in God's plan; man thought that up! God created one woman for one man for life!

ACTIVITY:   Table Figures  (moderate activity)
Materials needed:  Drawn figures of Abraham, Isaac, Abraham's servant, Rebekah, Laban, Rebekah's father, ten camels, one red heart, one sheet of construction paper, extra pieces of heavy index or cardstock paper, a small paper cup, scissors, tape or glue, stapler, staples, crayons.

  1. Choice:  Either the Bible teacher or the student draws figures of Abraham, Isaac, Abraham's servant, Rebekah, Laban, Rebekah's father, ten camels, two palm trees, and one red heart. The figures that I drew are above in black and white.  Once you draw your originals, then you can copy them on a computer or at a copy center, or you may draw one set for each child.
  2. Next, color the four papers.
  3. Then, cut out figures.  If cutting on the black line is too difficult for your students, simply cut a rectangle around the outside of the figure.
  4. Out of the extra white paper, cut in 1" x 8.5" strips. These strips will be attached to the backs of all the figures, so each student will need 18 strips.
  5. Fold each strip in half, and then in half again. Unfold and fold back one section, so that it will look like a triangle.
  6. Place a piece of tape on each 'triangle.'
  7. Attach one 'triangle' to the backs of the figures, so that the figure stands up on a table.
  8. Write "Isaac loved Rebekah." on the red heart.
  9. Fold a 12" x 18" construction paper in half and staple or tape along two sides.
  10. Write "Isaac and Rebekah (A Love Story)  Genesis 24" on the front of the construction paper pocket.
  11. Insert all figures, the heart, the small cup (for a well--no water needed) into the pocket.
  12. Take home to "tell" the story to parents.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Lesson - Abraham Offers Isaac

VERSES:   Gen. 22:1-19;   Heb. 11:17-19

MEMORY VERSE:   Gen. 22:12   "...for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou has not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me."  

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   2 Samuel  Check to see how the students are doing on their memorization.  Are you charting their progress?  Are you praising those who work hard and know their memory work?  A little praise from a Bible teacher can encourage and motivate!

PRAYER:   Thank God for providing us a way to heaven by offering His only son on the cross.  (Jn. 3:16)  Pray that we can all have Abraham's strong faith in God.

SPECIAL SONG:   Children, Obey your Parents  (see on this blog March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4)

VISUAL AID:   Large Picture like Activity below

  • As time went by, Isaac was born to Abraham (who was 100 years old) and Sarah (who was 90) and the young boy grew into a young man. We do not know a lot about Isaac's childhood, but we do know that Isaac was obedient to his parents in all things. There may be times when we do something that our parents have told us not to do and what happens? We get in trouble, don't we? Sometimes we get in trouble for something we forget to do, too! From the story today, we know that Isaac was a good, obedient boy because of the things he did and did not do!
  • One day God told Abraham to take his only beloved son, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah and offer a burnt offering on top of one of the mountains that God would tell him later. So, Abraham got up early in the morning, got his donkey ready, took two men that would help him, took some wood, and took Isaac with him. They traveled for three days! That's a long time! How long did they travel? Three days!!
  • Then, on the third day, Abraham looked up and saw the place where God had told him to go. Abraham told the two men to stay right there with the donkey and he and Isaac would go a little ways and worship, then they would come back. Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son, took the fire in his hand, and walked a little bit up the mountain.
  • Isaac must have been wondering where the animal was that they were going to offer to the LORD because he asks Abraham, "Father, I see the wood and fire for the offering, but where is the lamb?" Abraham said, "My son, God will provide a lamb for the burnt offering."  They went on a little farther.  
  • When they came to the place that God had told him, Abraham built an altar, laid the wood on the altar, and bound his son, Isaac, up on the altar.  As Abraham stretched his hand out and took the knife to kill his son, the angel of the LORD called out to him from heaven and said, "Abraham! Abraham!"  And Abraham said, :"Here I am." And the angel said, "Do not harm your son or do anything to him because now I know that you fear God because I see you have not withheld your son, your only son from me."  Abraham looked up and do you know what he saw?  A ram that had his horns caught in a thicket or a bush! How happy Abraham must have been when he saw that ram!! Abraham went over and took the ram and offered the ram up as a burnt offering instead of his son.  
  • Then the angel of the LORD spoke to Abraham a second time and said, "Because you have done this thing and did not withhold your only son from me, I will bless you and will multiply your seed (or children) and they will be like the stars of heaven and the sand on the seashore." What does that mean? Can we count the stars at night? Can we count the sand on the seashore? No! There are too many! The angel was saying that Abraham would not even be able to number his children, there would be too many to count! The angel went on to say that through Abraham's seen all nations of the earth would be blessed all because Abraham had obeyed God! That meant that Jesus was coming and He would be born to a descendant of Abraham's. So, after everything was finished, Abraham and Isaac walked back to the two men and went to a town called Beersheba. Don't you know that Abraham and Isaac were happy as they walked down the mountain?!  
  • Let's think a minute more about Isaac. Isaac did not complain or say that it was too far to walk. He did not argue with his father. He obeyed his father, didn't he?  He even got up on the altar! How many children would follow every command that their father told them to do? Hopefully we would! We should always obey our parents, shouldn't we? That's what the Bible says to do in Eph. 6:1. That's the song that we sang a few minutes ago. Always obey your parents; they know what is best for you because they love you! When you obey your parents, it makes God happy!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • As we read a little more about Isaac in the days to come, we find him to to be a faithful man who loved and served God all of his days.  From today's lesson, we learn why Isaac was faithful:  He had a faithful father...Abraham!  Fathers are to teach their children to love God with their whole heart and to honor their parents. (Eph. 6:1, 2)  When we do things God's way, we are obedient and please God.
  • Hebrews 11:17-19 says that Abraham believed that God could raise Isaac from the dead if he had offered him.  That's faith!!
ACTIVITY:   Construction Paper Picture
Materials needed:   Construction paper, copy of blackline (no color) picture of Abraham, Isaac, and the ram (remember it doesn't matter if you are an artist, draw stick people if you feel better about it), twelve one-inch gray circles for altar, strips of brown paper for wood, green paper for bush, scissors, crayons, glue, tiny piece of aluminum foil for knife.
  1. Pass out a 9" x 12" sheet of construction paper to each student.
  2. Pass out a 4 1/2" x 12" piece of brown paper as the mountain.
  3. Glue 'mountain'.
  4. Glue twelve gray circles for stones as an altar.
  5. Glue long brown strips of paper for wood on 'altar'.
  6. Glue green bush.
  7. Cut out Abraham, Isaac, and the ram.
  8. Glue in appropriate places (see top picture).
  9. Glue small piece of aluminum foil for knife in Abraham's hand.
  10. Write, "Abraham Offers Isaac" and Gen. 22:1-19 on paper (see top picture).
  11. Color Abraham, Isaac, and the ram.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Lesson - Sodom and Gomorrah

VERSES:   Genesis 19:1-29; 1 Pet. 3:12

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 19:24

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   1 Samuel   Write "1 Samuel" on a slip of paper for each child and make sure to pass them out before they leave the classroom.

PRAYER:   Pray that we will stay away from sin and close to God.  Pray that everyone will read their Bibles every day.

SPECIAL SONG:   Read, Read Every Day (see February - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1) and Books of the Old Testament (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3)

VISUAL AID:   Large "Sodom" City, at least double the sizes below (see below under "Activity" for directions.)

  • Remember last week Abraham had asked God if he would spare the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah if there were ten good people found in them and today we are going to see what happened.  Abraham's nephew, Lot, was sitting at the gate of Sodom when two angels came that evening.  Do you remember what the word 'hospitality' meant? Being kind to people, inviting them into your home, giving them food.  Yes!  All of those are the right answers!  Lot got up and bowed down to the angels and invited them to his house to rest and eat with his wife and two daughters.  Lot prepared a feast for them and they ate, but before they went to sleep, the wicked men of Sodom circled around Lot's house and were shouting to Lot that they wanted the men to come out of his house.  Lot went outside and shut the door after him and said to the men, "Do not behave so wickedly!"  But the wicked men of Sodom pushed Lot and and were going to break the door down when the angels reached out, grabbed Lot and pulled him inside of the house.  Then they struck the wicked men of Sodom with blindness so they couldn't even find the door!
  • The angels told Lot to take all of his family out of Sodom because the city was so wicked that God was going to destroy the city and its wickedness. 1 Pet. 3:12 says that God's eyes are always watching over the righteous or the people who are obeying Him, but those who are only doing evil, He turns His face from them.  Their evil ways were too much for God.  Lot  went outside and spoke to his sons-in-law who had married his other daughters and told them to leave the city because God was going to destroy it.  But do you know what his sons-in-law did? They laughed at him and did not believe him.
  • In the morning, the angels hurried Lot and said, "Get up and take your wife and your two daughters which are right here and leave the city!!"  Lot hesitated, so the angels took his hand, the hands of his wife and daughters and took them out of the city.  They said, "Escape for your life!  Do NOT look back!  Don't stay on the plain! Escape to the mountain or you will all die!"  Lot said to them, "Thank you for saving my life, but I cannot go to the mountain.  Let me go to the little city called Zoar right over there." The angels told him to go, but hurry. 
  • When Lot and his wife and his daughters entered the little city of Zoar, the Bible says that God rained fire and brimstone upon the cities of the plain--Sodom and Gomorrah--and all the people that lived there and even the crops and grass that grew there!  All was burned up! Do you remember what the angels had said about looking back?  They said, "DON'T look back!"  But someone did.  (Whisper)  Lot's wife looked back at the cities to see what was happening...and she turned into a pillar of salt!  She disobeyed God at the very end! We should ALWAYS obey God!
  • Do you know what Abraham was doing?  The Bible says he got up early in the morning and stood where he had been talking to God and looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah and saw the smoke all over the plain just like a smoking furnace.  He saw it all.  God destroyed the the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and all the wickedness. God hates sin!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Talk about what sin is:  Rom. 14:23;  Jas. 4:17;  1 Jn. 3:4; 5:17. 
  • Talk about "little white lies" being sin.  Mention that most people, perhaps even their friends, believe that little white lies or small untruths are fine, but God sees sin as 'sin.' We must try our very hardest to keep sin out of our lives.
"Older, Older Student" Tips:
  • Background:  Sodom was known for its homosexuality (Gen. 19:4,5), but there were many other sins that Sodom committed and are listed in Ezk. 16:49, 50.
  • Sodom and Gomorrah are examples of what happens to all those who live ungodly (2 Pet. 2:6).
  • Lot "vexed" his righteous soul day to day by Sodom's wicked ways. (2 Pet. 2:7, 8).  We need to be careful where we choose to live and raise our families.  Always put God first in everything!
Materials needed:  6" x 18" piece of construction paper (I cut a regular 12" x 18" sheet of construction in half, lengthwise), orange or 'fire' colored cellophane (may be purchased an Walmart, school supply store, or art and craft store), crayons, glue, scissors.
  1. Pass out 6" x 18" paper to each child.
  2. Fold in half, then in half again.  (See picture below.)
  3. Draw a square-ish design at the top of the construction paper. (See picture below.)
  4. Cut out design.
  5. Open to find a city!!
  6. Write Genesis 19:24 and "And the LORD rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven" along the bottom of paper.
  7. Draw small windows, and doors.
  8. Glue or tape scraps of cellophane inside the 'city.
  9. Set up and refold paper into a square. 
  10. Tape edges together.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Lesson - Abraham Entreats God

VERSES:   Gen. 18:1-33;  Heb. 13:1, 2

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 18:32  "...And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   "Ruth"  Make sure the children have "Ruth" written on a slip of paper to take home at the end of class.

PRAYER:   Thank God for being a good God, one who loves us, and wants us to do right. Thank God for listening to our prayers and answering them.

SPECIAL SONG:   Books of the Old Testament and Be Careful Little Eyes (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3).

VISUAL AID:  TV Box   Draw pictures on a long strip of paper, then thread it through your TV Box.  You might want to look at February - Visual Aid #1 on this blog for directions on how to make a TV Box and dimensions of the paper.

  • We have learned from the Bible that God changed Abram's name to what? That's right! Abraham! We also learned that a new baby boy was promised to Abraham and Sarah. Do we know the baby's name?  Yes!  Isaac!  And we have also learned how Lot (Abraham's nephew) had chosen the land where Lot fed his livestock the grass that was close by cities that were filled with wicked people, Sodom and Gomorrah. We sure are learning a lot about the Bible! We are getting very smart by reading God's Word! Once we learn something from the Bible, it never changes. We learn for life!
  • Let's turn to Genesis 18:1 to see what Abraham is doing in the lesson today.  (Read verse.)  Where was Abraham?  In his tent by the door.  Why?  Because it was hot! We do that, too, don't we?  As the story goes on, Abraham looks out the door and there are three men standing and Abraham runs up and asks them to come and rest under a tree. Abraham is a gracious host!  He gets some bread and water for them and shows them hospitality.  They did not have hotels or McDonald's like we have now, so people would invite people passing by and show hospitality by inviting them to their house or tent.  This is what Abraham did.  Abraham runs and tells Sarah to quickly make some cakes.  He hurries and gets some food ready and the three men eat it. The Bible tells us that we should show hospitality to strangers, too. (Heb. 13:2)
  • The men ask Abraham where Sarah is and,when Abraham says she is in the tent, the men tell Abraham that Sarah will have a child.  Sarah heard what they said and do you know what she did?  She laughed!  She laughed because she was ninety years old and Abraham was 100 years old!  She should have believed the men who were really angels, but she laughed. The Lord then said, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"  No, nothing is too hard for God to do! So the  men got up and looked towards Sodom. Abraham was kind and went with them and walked with them along the way.
  • The Lord told Abraham what He was going to do.  He was going to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah because the people were very wicked and their sin was 'grievous' or serious and terrible. Sodom and Gomorrah made God very sad because they were not obeying Him and doing what only they wanted to do. Disobeying God is a very serious act! God had plans about destroying the sin in the cities.  God hates sin!
  • As the men went towards Sodom, Abraham stopped and talked to God. He asked God if He was going to destroy the good people with the bad people. Abraham asked if God would save the cities if there were fifty righteous (or good) people in the cities. God answered that He would spare the cities if there were fifty good people in them.
  • Abraham was very respectful and polite to God and asks if there were forty-five good people, would God save the cities.  God says He would save the cities for 45 good people. Abraham, very humbly and meek, talks even more to God and asks if there were 40 people, then 30, then 20, and finally 10 good people, would God save the cities. Can you think of one good reason why Abraham was so concerned with saving the cities that had so many bad people in them?  Who do you think was living there that Abraham wanted to save? That's right! Lot...and his family! So, by talking respectfully to God, Abraham had made it possible to save the cities, but there had to be how many good people in the cities? That's right! TEN! That doesn't sound like very many--only ten, but next week, we will see if there are ten good people in the great big cities of Sodom and Gomorrah!                                                                                     
ACTIVITY:   Scrolling Numbers
Materials needed:  Construction paper, scissors, tape, crayons.
  1. Pass out a piece of construction paper to each student for a background.
  2. Have the students draw Abraham on the left side of the paper.
  3. Cut one 1 1/2" slit four inches from the top of the background paper (in the middle of the background - see picture below).
  4. Cut another 1 1/2" slit four inches from the bottom of the background paper.
  5. Pass out a 10" x 1" strip of different colored paper.
  6. Write the numbers 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, and 10 down the 1" strip of paper.
  7. Thread the strip of the paper through both slits and tape on the back side. (See picture below.)
  8. Add the words,  "Abraham asks God," and "If there are" and "good people, will you spare the city?" and "Genesis 18:23-33" in the appropriate places on the background paper. (See picture above.)                                                                                                                


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Lesson - A Father Of Many Nations

VERSES:  Genesis 17:1-22; James 2:23

MEMORY VERSES:   Gen. 17:5    "...but thy name shall be Abraham..."


PRAYER:   Thank God for taking care of us and protecting us. He always knows what is best for us.  We only need to trust and believe God like Abram did.

SPECIAL SONG:   The Books of the Old Testament (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #3) and The Bible, The Bible (see February - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #2)

VISUAL AID:  A large poster, duplicating the Activity today.  (See below.)

  • When the Bible says something, it is always important, but when it says the same thing twice or even three times, it is VERY important!!  God had already promised Abram that he would be blessed if Abram obeyed God.  He had promised Abram that God would make him a great nation, that God would bless him, that God would make Abram's name great, that Abram would become a blessing, that God would bless all those people who were good to Abram and bad things would happen to those who did bad things to him, and that through Abram all families of the earth would be blessed IF ABRAM OBEYED GOD.  
  • In our lesson today, God tells Abram again of the blessings that God would give Abram if he obeyed God.  Because Abram was going to be a father of many nations, God did something unusual.  He changed Abram's name to Abraham!  Now we don't call him Abram anymore, what do you think we are going to call him?  That's right! Abraham!  God also said that Sarai would have a new name.  Her new name would be Sarah!  Abraham and Sarah!  Brand new names!
  • God also told Abraham that Sarah was going to have a baby. We know lots of people who have babies, don't we?  But what was so unusual about Abraham and Sarah's baby was that he was a baby who was promised.  A little boy baby.  Do you know how old Abraham was when this baby boy was born? Let's open our Bibles to Genesis 17: 17 and read how old Abraham would be when the baby was born. (Read verse.)100 years old!  And Sarah was 90 years old!  That's really old to have a baby!  Let's put our bookmarks right here.  Is anything too hard for God?  No! Nothing is too hard for God.
  • God told Abraham that he was to name the baby "Isaac" and that through baby Isaac, all those promises that God had promised to Abraham would come true.  Abraham said to God, "O that Ishmael would live before You!"  God knew that Abraham was thinking about a blessing for Ishmael because God answered and said that He had blessed Ishmael and that Ishmael would have many nations come from him, but Isaac would would be the son with whom God would have a covenant.  Remember a 'covenant' means promise.
  • James is a book in the New Testament in the back of our Bibles. In James 2:23, the Bible calls Abraham a Friend of God. That is a very high compliment because the Bible doesn't say things just to be polite.  The Bible has only important words and it calls Abraham what?  That's right!  A friend of God! We should all want to be friends of God, shouldn't we?
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Talk about the definition of a "conditional" promise.  If Abram would have NOT obeyed God, would God have given him everything He promised?  No!  Abram must obey God to receive the reward.  That is just like us today.  We can receive blessings--even a home with God in Heaven--but we must obey God before we receive the "good" things.  Just like at home or in school, we receive the treat when the work is done.
ACTIVITY:  Tent Picture
Materials needed for each child:  9" x 12" construction paper, old fabric cut into 6" x 8" triangles (I used old towels that had seen better days), two 1" circles cut out of white paper, 1 small red heart, glue, scissors.
  • Pass out one piece of construction paper to each child.
  • Pass out one fabric triangle to each child.
  • Instruct the child to cut the fabric up the middle to form two triangles.  Help, if it too difficult to cut, but let the child try first.
  • Glue ONLY one outside edge on each of the pieces of fabric.
  • Apply to paper, leaving the UNGLUED edges together in the middle to form a 'tent.'  The 'tent" flaps should open and close freely. (See the top of this blog for a pictured example.)
  • Opening the 'tent', glue two small circles inside.  These are heads of Abraham and Sarah.
  • Glue the small heart inside the tent.
  • Make faces on the heads an the word "Isaac" on the heart.
  • Write "A Father of Many Nations" and "Genesis 17:5" at the top.
  • Remember it is more important for the child to do the work than for the Bible teacher to do the work, if at all possible.  Imperfection is treasured in the eyes of a parent!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Lesson - Trying To Hurry God

VERSES:   Gen. 16:1-16

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 16:6  "...And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face."  Genesis 16:6 

BOOK TO REMEMBER:  Review Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua.

PRAYER:   Pray that when we ask God for favors, that we let Him answer in his own time and that we do not hurry God.  God knows the future.  God is in control.  Pray for patience.

SPECIAL SONG:   "The Family In God's Plan"  (see March - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #4 on this blog)

VISUAL AID:  Whiteboard Drawing (see examples above "Verses" and below under "Activity")

  • Do you remember how we talk to God?  Did we just talk to God a minute ago?  How did we do that?  That's right! We prayed, didn't we?  We talk to God through prayer. Sometimes when we ask God for something, it takes time and we remember that we should never hurry God's answer to us.  God knows the future and He knows what is best for us, doesn't He?  God knows everything!
  • Today our lesson is about Sarai, Abram's wife. Sarai tried to hurry God. Did Abram and Sarai have any children? No, not even one.  We have talked about God's promises to Abram before.  When Abram was in Ur of the Chaldees, God said that if Abram would leave Ur of the Chaldees and go to a land that God would guide him to, then he would receive many promises.  One of those promises was that he and Sarai would have a son.
  • But, Abram and Sarai were getting older and they didn't have any sons, yet.  Sarai was getting impatient! She thought she had an idea.  Back in the Old Testament times, men sometimes would have two wives.  God never liked it because He had made one man and one woman, remember?  Do you remember what the first man and woman's names were?  That's right!  Adam and Eve! They were to marry and love each other and serve God and have a family, just like Abram and Sarai were to do. One man and one woman for life.  
  • But Sarai had another idea.  She thought if she could arrange for Abraham to have another wife, Hagar, and have them have a son, then she could claim that that son was hers and Abram's!  Was that God's idea?  No!  It was Sarai's idea and she convinced Abram that it was a good idea, too.  But it was not a good idea.  It did nothing, but cause trouble.  
  • After she found out that Hagar was going to have a son, she did not like that idea at all! She hated Hagar and treated her harshly or roughly.  She was not kind to Hagar, so Hagar ran away.  An angel of the LORD found Hagar by a water fountain in the wilderness and talked to her. The angel asked Hagar, "Where did you come from and where are you going?" Hagar explained that she had run away from Sarai. The angel of the LORD told Hagar that she was going to have a son and she should name him Ishmael.  He would be a wild man and be in a lot of battles.  Sure enough, Hagar did have a son and she did name him Ishmael just like the angel said.  The Bible says that Abram was 86 years old when Ishmael was born.
  • So, sometimes when we think we have a good idea and are helping God, we are really hurrying God and things don't work out like we want them to work out.  We should be patient and wait for God's answer.  Sarai should have been patient, too.  She should have trusted God.  God ALWAYS keeps his promises and He will keep His promise to Abram. 
"Older Students" Tips:
  • Reinforce the idea that all of this whole story was Sarai's idea and God was never really a part of it.  She took matters into her own hands and influenced Abram's thinking as well. We need to keep our minds clear and let God answer our prayers the way He wants to answer His time.
  • Reinforce the family as God intended:  Man, Woman for life; children are added blessings.
  • Explain that having a strong faith is important.  We need to have faith that God will do all that He has said in His Word that He would do.  How does faith come?  (Rom. 10:17)  By hearing God's Word!  When we read the Bible, we will learn and know what God intends for us to do. Tell them to never stop reading, even when they are very, very, very old.
ACTIVITY:     Coloring Picture (With Additions By Student)
Materials:  White paper with Sarai and Hagar already drawn on it by the Bible teacher, construction paper (4" x4"), scissors, crayons, glue
  1. Advance Preparation by Teacher:  On white typing paper (8,5" x 11") draw Sarai like in picture above.  (Try it!  You can do it!)    Add a tiny Hagar running away with a few black scratches for grass and a horizon line.  Depending on the level of your students, write the title and where the lesson is found in the Bible. It is easier to copy the picture at a local copy center or the teacher can draw one picture for each child. If students are older, let them write the words and, if your students are able, let them try to duplicate your whiteboard drawing.
  2. Cut out a 4" x 6" piece of colored paper.
  3. Fold colored paper in half.
  4. Write the question "Where did the angel find Hagar?" on the outside of the folded paper and the answer "By the fountain of water in the wilderness" on the inside of the colored paper. (See picture below.)  If you believe this is too difficult for your students to write, then write it for them.  At least, they can glue the card on the picture.
  5. Glue backside of colored paper to right-hand corner of picture, so that it forms a flap that can open and close. (See picture at the top of this blog.)
  6. Color, adding frown to Sarai's face.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lesson - Lot's Choice

VERSES:   Gen 13:1-13

MEMORY VERSE:   "...and Lot...pitched his toward Sodom."  Gen. 13:12

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   "Joshua"  As a reminder to memorize this book of the Old Testament, write "Joshua" on a slip of paper to give to each child at the end of class.

PRAYER:   Pray that everyone makes good choices in the coming week, knowing that consequences to bad choices always follow.  Staying close to God and the Bible are good choices.

SPECIAL SONG:   Books of the Old Testament

VISUAL AID:   Chalkboard or Whiteboard Drawing:  Write the word, "Choices" at the top of the board and Genesis 13:1-11 slightly smaller. Draw a line vertically down the middle of the board.  On one side draw the plain of Jordan, lots of green grass, and the city of Sodom in the background.  On the other side, draw a not so green, slightly hilly land.  As you tell the story, draw the sheep and cattle, tents, Abram and Lot and their herdsmen.  As Lot chooses where he will go, write "LOT" somewhere on the picture that shows his choice and "ABRAM" on the other side.

  • Abram was a very rich man. The Bible says he "was very rich in cattle."  When we think of cattle, we think of cows, don't we?  But 'cattle' can also mean other animals, too, like camels, oxen, sheep, and donkeys. (Gen. 12:16; 13:5)  He had lots of silver and gold; he was a very rich man.  
  • Do you remember--did Abram have any children?  No.  Did he have any nephews?  Yes. He had Lot who was his brother's son.  Now, Lot had many animals, too which became a problem because what do cows eat?  That's right!  Grass!  What do sheep eat!  That's right!  Grass!  In the area where Abram and Lot had their many, many animals, there was only so much grass and it was not enough.  Some of the herdsmen, which are men that take care of the herd, began to argue and disagree about things, so no one was happy.
  • Then Abram said to Lot, "Lot, there shouldn't be any disagreements between us.  Just look at all of this land!  We should separate ourselves.  If you go to the left, I'll go to the right.  If you go to the right, I'll go to the left.  You choose.  Which way do you want to go?"
  • Lot lifted up his eyes and he saw that the plain of Jordan was covered with lots and lots of green grass and that it was watered nicely.  What do animals drink?  That's right!  Water! So as he looked he was thinking about how nice everything was on the plain of Jordan where the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were. 
  • Let's turn to Genesis 13:11 to see what Lot chose. (Read verse.)  Let's put our bookmark right here. What did Lot choose?  Lot chose to go toward the city. The Bible says that Lot "pitched his tent toward Sodom" or the good land. But the Bible says that the people in Sodom were not good men.  Uh-Oh!  Definitely sounds like trouble! We are going to talk more about those troubled cities, but that was Lot's choice. He chose the good land and the bad cities.  Abram chose to go the other way and lived in the land of Canaan.

ACTIVITY:   Child-Created Coloring Page
Materials needed:  Construction paper, crayons

  • Pass out 9" x 12" construction paper to each child.
  • Instruct the student to take a dark colored crayon and draw a line (about 2" down from the top) from side to side, width-wise (see picture above).  Demonstrate on the whiteboard.
  • From the middle of the line, draw another line down the middle (see above).  Like an upper-case "T".
  • On one side, have the students draw mountains, hills and grass.
  • On the other side, students can draw a city and lots of grass.
  • Write the word, "CHOICES" at the top of the paper.
  • Add "Gen. 13:1-13" at the top.
  • Draw Abram and Lot in the middle of their sides of the paper.
  • Draw in different kinds of livestock.
  • Add the words "Sodom" and "Canaan" on the correct sides of the paper.
  • Color.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Words of Encouragement Along The Way #2 - Know It Well is the Bible class going? Hopefully, the students are anxious to come to Bible class and are learning much.  Hopefully, the Bible teacher is learning, too! 

However, maybe you are feeling a little stressed, unorganized, or maybe a little overwhelmed with your Bible class?  Are the students wiggling in their seats?  Does it seem like they are not focused, perhaps even being a distraction to others? Does it feel like 'forever' instead of forty-five minutes??  I might know the reason!

Are you spending time with your Bible lesson? (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5) Are you not only reading the verses, but studying them?  There is a difference! Reading can be done quickly and a person doesn't need to retain much, but studying is different. It takes time! Are you finding a quiet place to study with lots of light?  All those tips that we tell our children when they are doing their homework applies to all Bible teachers.That's what WE need: A quiet place, a comfortable chair, adequate lighting, radio off, the Bible and all materials beside you.  There is a method to good study habits even when studying the Bible.  

Maybe you know the lesson, but do you know it well?  You need to know your lesson so well that it's like breathing. Not just a "casual read", but diligent studying and remembering. Good studying takes time. Remember: How can you teach what you do not know? Are you using the visual aids to the best of your ability?  Visual aids cannot only help the children remember the story, but it can help you tell the story with ease, knowing where you are going next. When you are able to explain the lesson well, the students are involved, there is little time for wiggling in their seats when they are focused, and when they are focused, there is learning.

Are you organized?  Let's say that you have studied and know the lesson well. Do you prepare in advance?  Do you gather materials early in the week for the visual aid and the activity?  Are the Memory Verse slips of paper prepared before you come to class?  Before you enter the classroom, have you chosen and practiced the songs?  Are the papers for the Book To Remember prepared early?  Being a successful Bible teacher does take work. (Heb. 6:12; Jas. 1:22) Once you discover the routine that works for you, things will go well. You will feel confident when you are organized. Be determined to succeed. (Hos. 4:6) Your Bible class can be working like a clock in no time! Study! Prepare! Teach!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lesson - Abram Obeys God

VERSES:   Gen. 11:27-32;   12:1-6;  Heb. 11:8

MEMORY VERSE:   Gen. 12:2  If this whole verse is too much for the children to remember, simply shorten it to the first phrase, "And I will make of thee a great nation..."

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   "Joshua"  Write this book on a slip of paper and give to the students after class to take home and memorize. They should be reciting all five books in order.

PRAYER:   Pray that wherever God takes us, we will go, willingly and without complaining.

SPECIAL SONG:   Read, Read Every Day (see February 2014 - Songs We Sing In Bible Class #1 on this blog.  Click orange circle to hear tune.)

VISUAL AID:   Map, showing Ur of the Chaldees, Haran, and the land of Canaan.  There are maps that can be purchased in stores, but a rough map like the one above will be fine for this lesson.  
  • Make sure the map is large enough for all to see.  If you choose not to purchase a map, a hand drawn will work just as well since we are only pointing out areas.  It is fairly easy to draw a map by hand if you have an overhead projector as mentioned on this blog in March - Visual Aid #4 and a good black and white copy of a map.  Even if you do not have a projector, a simple map can be drawn by looking at a real map and drawing a large map on butcher paper.  Begin with the bodies of water, and it will be easier.  Take a look at the hand drawn map above this lesson to get an idea of how simple the areas can be.  (Yes, you can do this!)
  • Show which direction Abram journeyed from Ur up to Haran, then down into the land of Canaan to the city of Shechem (Gen. 12:6) as you tell the story.  
  • After the flood, the earth began filling up with people again.  Some of the people were good and obeyed God, but still some were not good and did not listen to God. That is the way it was and is still today.  Some people listen to God and some people don't.  Which ones should we be like?  That's right!  The ones who listen to God and love Him and do what He wants to do.  How do we know what He wants us to do?  The Bible!  We must read the Bible!  He tells us what pleases Him through the Bible!
  • There was a good man and his name was Abram.  (Later God changes his name to Abraham (Gen. 17:5), but we will call him Abram in this lesson today.)  Abram was a good man who loved God and tried his best to do those things that God told him to do. He lived a place called Ur of the Chaldees, but he moved north with his father and family to a place called Haran.  He was married and his wife's name was Sarai. (Her name changes later, too, to Sarah(Gen. 17:15), but, in this lesson, we will call her Sarai.)  
  • When Abram lived in Haran, God talked to Abram just like I am talking to you. God doesn't talk to us like that today, does He?  How do we know that he doesn't?  That's right! The Bible tells us so! (Heb. 1:1, 2)  God talked to Abram and told him to leave his home.  He wanted him to leave his country, leave his family, and to leave his father's house. God told him that He would show him where to go. Did Abram know where he was going?  No, but he trusted God and went where God told him to go.  Abram trusted God.
  • God said if Abram would leave his home and go to a new country, that God would make a great nation out of him, that God would bless him. that God would make his name great, and he would be a blessing.  A blessing is something good.  Good things come from blessings.  God went on to say that He would do good things for all those people who would would do good things for Abram and God would do bad things to people who were bad to Abram.  And the best part was that God said that all the families of the earth would be blessed by Abram.  That's you and me!  We are "all families of the earth!"  Good things would happen to US if Abram did what God told him to do...and that good thing was that Jesus would come and bring salvation!
  • Let's look in our Bibles and see what Abram did.  Turn to Genesis 12:4, 5 and let's read what Abram did.  (Read verses.)  What did Abram do?  That's right!  He took his wife and his nephew. Lot (Abram didn't have any children), their cattle, and everything he owned and left Haran.  Abram obeyed God!  The new land that God was to guide Abram to was a land called Canaan.  Can you say, "Canaan?"  Good!  Where did Abram go to when he left Haran? Canaan!  Abram and Sarai lived in tents instead of houses.  That's where we will leave Abram and Sarai today:  In the land of Canaan without any children and trusting God.
  • Reviewing past lessons is always recommended if there is extra time at the end of class. Singing songs can also be used to finish the extra time.  Always keep the students involved and interested.  It pays to have extra review questions handy.
"Older Student" Tips:
  • When we see a name in the Bible that has the letters "ch" in it, it sometimes makes the sound of a "k."  Words like "Chaldees" is pronounced "Kal-deez."  Think about some names in the Bible that might have this sound in them. (Enoch, Jehoiachin, Zechariah, Melchizedek, Christ, Christian--to name a few.)  
  • Look on a map to see where to find Ur of the Chaldees, Haran, and the city of Shechem which was in the land of Canaan.

ACTIVITY:  Map  (Moderate Activity)
Materials needed:  Either a purchased map or a hand-drawn map of the "Ancient World of the Patriarchs": one that shows Ur of the Chaldees, Haran, and the land of Canaan, individual maps for each child with only those three areas designated, butcher paper, black marker, crayons.
  1. The teacher will need to draw one more smaller map on an 8.5" x 11" paper with a black marker.  Again, begin with the bodies of water, and it will be easier. Write the names of the bodies of water and three dots, placing a U, an H, and a C on the map in the right places.  Write "Abram's Journey" and "Genesis 12:1-6" at the top of the map.
  2. Let the children finish writing the names of the areas.  It is fine if the words are written large and childlike.  After all, they are children!
  3. Have the students draw small arrows, showing the direction that Abram walked.
  4. Let them color the rest of the map.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Lesson - Tower of Babel

VERSES:   Gen. 11:1-9

MEMORY VERSE:   Genesis 11:1  

BOOK TO REMEMBER:   "Deuteronomy"  Write this word on a slip of paper to give to each child at the end of class.

PRAYER:   Remember to thank God for our reasonable minds, that we are able to understand, learn from God's Word and remember what we learn, and that we can love all people, no matter what language they speak. God is good to us and gives so many things that we take for granted! Pray that everything we do might be the way God wants it, not what we want, but what He wants. 

SPECIAL SONGS:   The Books of the Old Testament, The B-I-B-L-E

VISUAL AID:   Make a large tower (see below under 'Activity.")

  • Have you ever heard someone speak another language like Spanish, German, Chinese, or French?  When I say, "Wo bist du?" do you know what I am saying?  I am saying, "Where are you?" in German!  Or if I say, "Tengo hambre!" did you know that I said, "I am hungry!" in Spanish? English, Spanish and German are different languages.  
  • There are many languages in countries all over the world, but there was a time when everyone spoke the same language.  Let's turn in our Bibles to Genesis 11:1.  Let's place our bookmark right here and read what it says.  "And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech."  EVERYONE spoke the same language!  Everyone could understand what everyone else was saying.  That's not how it is today, is it?
  • As time went by, the people traveled east and settled on the plain called Shinar.  A plain is a large area of land that is flat and has just a few trees. The people talked to each other and said, "Let's make some bricks, and burn them so they are strong, and we can build a city and very, very, tall tower.  The tower can reach very, very high in the sky.  It can be SO tall that we can always see it and we won't be scattered far away from each other and we can always be together."  (Gen. 11:3, 4)
  • But, you know what?  They forgot something!  They forgot to ask God if that was what He wanted!  They did not even think about God!  They just started building because it was something THEY wanted to do.  Whenever we are going to plan something, we should always ask God if it is something that He wants.  Sometimes men pray, "Thy will be done."  That is what they are talking about when they say that in their prayer.  Let us do what God wants us to do.
  • God came to see what they people were doing and saw the city and the tower and He understood that the people had a plan to stay together, but that is NOT what God wanted. (Gen. 11:5) He wanted them to scatter and fill up the earth.  Do you know what He did next?  He confused their language, so they could not understand each other!  (Gen. 11:7) If someone asked for a hammer, but it was in a different language, only those people who spoke that language could understand them. They stopped building the city and the tower. (Gen. 11:8) So the people scattered when they realized they could understand each other. Eventually, those people who spoke one language stayed together and others who spoke another language traveled away from them and spoke to one another. The people were scattered and went to different areas of the earth the way God wanted them to do! God knows best!
  • This tower had a name.  It's name was "Babel."  Babel means jumble or confuse because God confused the people's language.  Can you say the word, "Babel?"  Yes, you can!
"Older Student" Tips:
  • Different countries speak different languages today.  Can you name a few?  Does anyone in class speak a different language?
  • How confusing would it be to work with many people all speaking different languages! How much work would actually get done?
  • Mt. 6:10;  Mt. 26:42;  Acts 21:14  all talk about something in common.  Let's read the verses and see if we can use our reasonable minds to understand what holds these three verses together.  How are they alike?
ACTIVITY:    Building a Paper Tower  (Easy activity)
Materials needed:  A solid color paper for the 'plain,' (poster board or cardboard works well), brown construction paper, cotton balls, tape or glue (tape works best), scissors, crayons.
  • On the edge of the 'plain' (see above picture), have students write, "The Tower of Babel" and Genesis 11:1-9.
  • Instruct each child to loosely roll their piece of construction paper and tape it on one side, so it won't come apart.  
  • With scissors, cut small 1" slits in the bottom of the brown paper.
  • Fold these tabs out.
  • Tape tabs to the bottom of the base.
  • Glue cotton balls to top of the 'tower' as 'clouds.'
  • If you have extra time, students may color small windows around the tower and people on the base.