How Would You Like to be Told Your Name is Going to be Changed?

That’s exactly what God told Abram and Sarai. Abram was 75 years old when God came to him with this news. He also told Abram that he and Sarai were going to leave their home and move. They were to take their belongings, and nephew Lot, and move from Haran to Canaan.

12 Now the Lord had said to Abram:
“Get out of your country,
From your family
And from your father’s house,
To a land that I will show you.
2
I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3
I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”1

I would imagine we all have experienced moving, at least once. We’ve moved quite a few times, 19 to be exact, in 44 years. Some were just for a few weeks, or a couple of months. Each move takes its toll. Some moves people make are for jobs, and some to join family. Our last big move was to join our kids in Florida. It is great to be with them again, but we left a lot behind.

I thought the move would be easy and wonderful. Wrong. Leaving other family and friends was much harder than I thought it would be. We also had to start all over again. We had to find all new doctors, a new church home, and make new friends. We lived with one of our daughters for three months, then the other for two months. We really appreciated them helping us out, but it was great to finally be able to buy a home and be on our own again.

Are you facing a move? Help your children adjust:

  • Let them sort their toys into piles of keep and donate
  • Give them a box to pack the toys they are keeping
  • Show them how to wrap the fragile things
  • If this is a far move, have a going away party with their friends
  • Give them an address book to write the addresses and phone numbers of their friends
  • If older make sure they have email addresses

Abram and Sarai left a lot behind them too. The last move we made was our choice, but they were told they were moving directly by God. He guides us to new places where if we listen to Him, He will make life changes for us that in the long run will be better. Abram and Sarai were told when they arrived in Canaan that the land would belong to them and their descendants. It was in Canaan that God changed their names to Abraham and Sarah.

They had been in Canaan, for quite a while and still didn’t have a son, so Sarah had her maid servant, Hagar, lay with Abraham and she bore him a son named Ishmael. Hagar taunted Sarah, because she was able to have a son. Out of frustration Sarah sent Hagar and Ishmael away. God blessed them, and through Ishmael came the nation of Islam.

When Abraham was 100 and Sarah was 90, God told them that they would have a son. This made them both laugh, since at their ages this seemed impossible. But with God all things are possible. In their old age Isaac was born. When he was a boy God tested Abraham and commanded him to give the boy to Him as a sacrifice. Abraham followed God’s directions and just before he was to kill Isaac an angel stopped him and showed him a ram to use as a sacrifice.

Have you faced some difficult things in your life? It can even be a good thing, but any change can be difficult. Teach your children how to cope.

  • Tell them what is going on.
  • If a health issue of a loved one, give details that are age appropriate
  • If you are moving let them know right away, so they have time to adjust mentally
  • If a new baby is joining the family, let them be part of the preparation

 

Share how you and your family work through the changes in your life.

 

 
1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Ge 12:1–3). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

The Life and Time of Noah

What can you learn from reading Noah’s story?

From the time of Adam there are nine generations until the time of Noah. Noah was 500 years old when he became a father. His sons were Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The people had grown farther and farther away from God. They became an evil people, and only thought of their pleasure and wants.

God wanted to get rid of all of the people and living creatures on the ground and in the air. He was ready to wipe everything He created out. Then He remembered Noah and his family and that they were good. God talked to Noah and said:

14 Make yourself an ark of gopherwood;
make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside
and outside with pitch. 15 And this is how
you shall make it: The length of the ark
shall be three hundred cubits, its width
fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark,
and you shall finish it to a cubit from above;
and set the door of the ark in its side. You
shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.
17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters
on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh
in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the
earth shall die. 18 But I will establish My covenant with
you; and you shall go into the ark—you, your sons, your
wife, and your sons’ wives with you. 19 And of every living
thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the
ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and
female. 20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after
their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its
kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.
21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten,
and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for
you and for them.”1

I don’t know about you, but if God came to me and said that, I think my first reaction might be, “right.” It’s not always easy to follow what you feel you are being led to do by God. Often we feel we are inadequate to handle the task. We ask God, isn’t there someone that is better qualified than I am to do this for You? Are You really sure You want me to do this?

If we choose to follow the guidance of God, it’s amazing what we and our children can do.

  • For our physical health:
    • We need to walk more, and take the kids with us. We can use the time to actually talk with each other.
    • Be smarter in choosing what we eat, teach the kids better eating habits too
  • For our mental health:
    • Take time to rest our minds, literally get away from stress.
    • Have the kids sit and read a book.
    • Stay away from electronics, they can cause frustration
  • For our Spiritual health:
    • Read the Bible more and meditate on the reading.
    • Imagine sitting in a peaceful place with Jesus and just enjoy being in His presence

Once Noah began building the ark, I can imagine that he was teased by everyone. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and Noah and his sons are building this huge boat. It must have been difficult to work on something that probably seemed ridiculous to the other people.

Then the rain began to fall. It didn’t stop until it covered everything up and over to the mountain tops. Have you been out in the ocean, and all you could see was water? If you’re on a cruise ship it’s kind of cool. There’s nothing around, but beautiful calming water (of course that would be on a sunny day 😉 ) However, Noah and his family knew that everything was gone. It was all under water.

What would it have been like to be closed up in the ark? I really hope God made the all the animals and birds get along. I have also wondered about the smell, hmmm.

After floating for 40 days, Noah sent out a raven and it couldn’t find a place to land. Next he sent out a dove, but it returned. Noah waited another seven days, then sent out the dove again. It returned with an olive branch. This was a sign from God that their time on the boat was about to end. Once the water had receded they opened the door and let out all of the animals and birds.

They built an altar and made a sacrifice in thanksgiving to God, for saving them. God placed a rainbow in the sky. He told them that this was His sign, that He would never destroy everything again.

When I see a rainbow I say a prayer of thanks for the blessings in my life. Even for the tough times He has gotten me through. Tell me what you think of when you see a rainbow?

 

 

 

1 The New King James Version. (1982). (Ge 6:14–21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

We Can be Held Firmly in Our Faith in God

Teaching from Bible stories

Job 1:1, 8-12

1 There once was a man named Job who lived
in the land of Uz. He was blameless—a
man of complete integrity. He feared God
and stayed away from evil. 8 Then the Lord
asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?
He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a
man of complete integrity. He fears God
and stays away from evil.” 9 Satan replied to the Lord,
“Yes, but Job has good reason to fear God. 10 You
have always put a wall of protection around him
and his home and his property. You have made him
prosper in everything he does. Look how rich he is!
11 But reach out and take away everything he has,
and he will surely curse you to your face!”
12 “All right, you may test him,” the Lord said to Satan.
“Do whatever you want with everything he possesses,
but don’t harm him physically.” So Satan left the
Lord’s presence.1

 

God let Satan try to persuade Job to stop trusting in God, break him, and cause him to lose his faith in God. Satan is always trying to cause us to stumble and turn away from God. Sometimes we listen to Satan and do things we shouldn’t do. There are many times that I catch myself doing something wrong and tell him to go back to hell and leave me alone.

Teach your children to recognize the difference between what is of God and what is of Satan.

  • If you find your child being mean to another child, ask them if they would like to be treated like that
  • With an older child if you find they have broken something, talk to them about the reason they did it
    • Was the object not working the way they wanted it to
    • Did the object remind them of something that made them sad
    • Are they upset about something and taking out their aggression

Once you have the child settled down talk with them about how they feel. If it is a bad feeling then Satan is trying to make them misbehave. Tell them to think first before acting. Would God or you, the parent, be happy with what they are about to do? Explain that God is always there and wants to help them to be good.

 

Psalm 26:1-5

1 Judge me, O LORD; for I have walked in
mine integrity: I have trusted also in the LORD
therefore I shall not slide. 2 Examine me, O LORD,
and prove me; try my reins and my heart. 3 For thy
lovingkindness is before mine eyes: and I have walked
in thy truth. 4 I have not sat with vain persons, neither will
I go in with dissemblers. 5 I have hated the congregation
of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.2

 

In this reading from Psalms David is putting his life before God. He says that he has tried to do as well as he can in the sight of God. The psalm goes on to ask God to help him keep his eyes on God and to not sin.

When your child is facing a tough decision ask them to think about the consequences:

  • Is what they are about to do going to hurt anyone including themselves
  • Would God be happy with their choice
  • Is what they are about to do going to help someone else

 

We too face times we need to ask these same questions of ourselves and our choices. Share this with your child so they can see how you have found your answer.

 

Hebrews 1:1-5

Jesus Christ Is God’s Son
1 Long ago God spoke many times and in many
ways to our ancestors through the prophets.
2 And now in these final days, he has spoken to
us through his Son. God promised everything to
the Son as an inheritance, and through the
Son he created the universe. 3 The Son radiates
God’s own glory and expresses the very character
of God, and he sustains everything by the
mighty power of his command. When he had
cleansed us from our sins, he sat down in the
place of honor at the right hand of the majestic
God in heaven. 4 This shows that the Son is far
greater than the angels, just as the name
God gave him is greater than their names.3

 

In the Old Testament the prophets talked about the coming of the Messiah, the coming of the Son of God. Then in the New Testament God’s Son is born. He tells us that Jesus will walk with us and tell us what His Fathers words are for us. He sits at the right hand of God and is above all including the angels.

We need to share this good news with our children. That God loved us so much that he sent Jesus to be on earth to walk and talk with people. Also that He can relate to what we go through in daily life. That He has experienced everything that we do.

  • He fasted: so He felt hunger
  • He went to a wedding: He had a good time at a party
  • His friend Lazarus died: so He felt loss
  • He was beaten: He felt the pain of bullies
  • He died on the cross for us: He made it possible for us to come blameless and talk with God.
    • Without His death and taking away all of our sins, we couldn’t be in the presence of God
    • The Holy Spirit speaks for us when we don’t have the words to say
    • Because of His love we can feel His loving arms around us, supporting us

 

Use these lessons to strengthen your faith and to teach your child of the love of God.

 

 
1 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Job 1:8–12). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
2 The Holy Bible: King James Version. (1995). (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version., Ps 26:1–5). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
3 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Heb 1:1–4). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

Showing Our Children How God Helps us in Stressful Times

Using the Bible stories as lessons:

Queen Esther: A strong and faithful young Jewish woman was taken from her home. She was part of a group of young women that were to be groomed for a chance to be the next queen. King Xerxes chose Esther. An evil man named Haman hated the Jews and was trying to have them all killed. Queen Esther heard of this and was used by God to save her people.

Tell your children that even when they are young God can use them to do great things.

  • For birthday, have party, but bring donations for a charity as presents
  • Instead of a party do volunteer work at a food pantry
  • Serve a meal at a homeless shelter
  • Girls can donate hair to make a wig for a child that has lost their hair
  • Visit a children’s hospital and read to the patients

 

Psalm 124:6-8
6 Let’s praise the Lord!
He protected us from enemies
who were like wild animals,
7 and we escaped like birds
from a hunter’s torn net.
8 The Lord made heaven and earth,
and he is the one who sends us help.1

 

God is always with us even in the face of our enemy.

Tell your children that even when they are young God hears their cry.

  • If there is someone bullying them they can pray for God to give them strength to stand tall
  • When something bad is happening in the community, like tragedy a in a school. Help your child work through their fear, teach them to pray asking God for strength
  • Bad things happen, but lessons can be learned. When our children were young a boy at their school hung himself. We talked with the girls about how tragic this was, but also that no matter how big their problem was that they could always talk to us and that God was with them

 

 

James 5:13-18
13 If you are having trouble, you should pray.
And if you are feeling good, you should sing praises
14 If you are sick, ask the church leaders to come
and pray for you. Ask them to put olive oil on you
in the name of the Lord. 15 If you have faith
when you pray for sick people, they will get well.
The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned,
he will forgive them. 16 If you have sinned, you should
tell each other what you have done. Then you can
pray for one another and be healed. The prayer of an innocent
person is powerful, and it can help a lot. 17 Elijah
was just as human as we are, and for three and
a half years his prayers kept the rain from falling
18 But when he did pray for rain, it fell from
the skies and made the crops grow.2

 

Pray with your children and have them pray for others

  • When someone you know is sick or injured teach your child to ask God for healing, or the acceptance that sometimes death is the healing
  • When something fun or good is happening, teach your child to thank God for the good He has brought into their lives
  • If there is a need in your family, such as a financial problem, teach them to pray asking how they can help
    • Not to ask for a new toy
    • To ask to eat at home more
    • To go out and pick up bottles and cans and turn them in for the deposit and give it to you

Developing a strong faith and trust in God is important for you and your child. When you give them the example of praying in front of them asking God for help you are giving them a very valuable gift. You are showing them that you are human and have struggles too. This will teach them that you are not perfect and still have a lot to learn from God. Teach them from a very young age to say simple prayers before a meal and before bed. As they grow older and understand more you can pray with them and teach them to pray for their struggles and joys.

 

 

1 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Ps 124:6–8). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
2 The Holy Bible: The Contemporary English Version. (1995). (Jas 5:13–18). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.