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29. Cloud Gazing

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Materials Needed

  • nice weather
  • cumulous clouds (puffy)
  • Bible

Setting The Stage

This is a devotional during which your imaginations can blossom. The purpose is to get your children thinking about Heaven. As you ask your questions don’t be quick to say, “No!” to their answers. If an answer does need to be rethought, you can gently help them do so. For example, I am pretty sure there will be no drag car racing in Heaven, but we might be able to run fast through grassy fields. Only the last question has one right answer.

Project

Head out to a nearby park or favorite green space. Even your back yard will do. Lie together on the grass and look up into the clouds. While you are watching the clouds blow by, an adult needs to read John 14:1-4. After reading the verses ask your children the following questions. In between the questions leave plenty of time for the children to discuss, imagine and share their ideas.

  • What are some things you hope will be in Heaven?
  • What is the first thing you would like to do in Heaven?
  • Do you see any shapes in the clouds that look like something you might find in Heaven? (possibilities: throne, angels, house or mansion)
  • What is the most important thing we will be doing in Heaven? (praising God)

Song

Sing your favorite song that praises God (a little taste of what we will be doing in Heaven).

Prayer

You don’t have to wait until you get to Heaven to praise God. You can do it here on earth. Choose one thing about God (patient, loving, helpful, kind) for which each of you is thankful. Say thank you to God for being that kind of God.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

30. Bouquet

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Materials Needed

  • two large, white poster boards per child
  • markers or crayons
  • scissors
  • an outfit from each child’s wardrobe
  • a field of wild flowers
  • Bible

Setting The Stage

After collecting the wild flowers and viewing their beauty your children will have the opportunity to make their own life size paper doll and dress it in their own clothes. It will be a time when your children can see how beautifully “dressed” the flowers of the field are and how God has provided good things for them as well.

Project

The flowers:

  • Collect as many varied wild flowers as possible.
  • Take the time to notice the colors and shapes.
  • Bring the flowers home and together arrange a big bouquet for your table.

Our Clothes:

  • Tape two poster boards together for each child.
  • Have the children lie down on their board and trace their bodies, making sure to include the hair, hands and feet. Cut out the shape Note: The larger children might need to have their hands and feet taped on afterwards using leftover pieces of poster board.
  • Allow your children to color the doll according to their own particular coloring and looks (blue eyes, curly hair).
  • The children are to dress their dolls in their own clothes.
  • When they see the end product, take time to let them see how well God has dressed them – just as God dresses the flowers.

Bible Reading Time:

Read Matthew 6:25-30. Let them tell you what the verses mean. The younger children will need to be asked some pointed questions.

  • Who made the flowers?
  • Did God make the flowers ugly or beautiful?
  • From where do we get our clothes?
  • How did we get the money to buy the clothes?
  • Who gave us our jobs? (God did and God provides for us the same way he does for the birds and flowers).

Prayer

Thank God for the clothes, money and food we have, because we know it all comes from God.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

31. Nature Collage

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Materials Needed

  • one white sheet of poster board (or one small piece of construction paper per child)
  • glue
  • a plastic bag per person

Setting The Stage

Nature itself is so varied, just like our God who created it. The purpose of this devotional is to find as many different items from nature as you can. Together take the time to enjoy the variety that reflects our God.

Project

Time To Go Back To Nature:

  • Bring the materials needed with you as you go to the nearest uncivilized area. Once you arrive let your children know you are going to make a picture about nature. They are to collect as many different items from nature as they can find. Note: They should be the type of items that can be glued to a piece of paper. Let them head off to collect. Each person should have a plastic bag in which to hold their findings. Give them 10 - 15 minutes to search for their varied treasures.

As You Come Back Together:

  • Find a spot where you can sit down, sort and organize the items. These pieces of nature can be sorted by color, size, type or texture. Once sorted, the adult will squeeze a drop of glue under each item as each person places this item from nature on the poster board. The fun part about a collage is that anything goes. The end product will doubtless be interesting, varied and in its own way beautiful.

Our God Is Also Full Of Variety:

  • See how many different details about God your children can share with you. Include a few of the details listed below.

Patient

perfect

kind

Loving

Father

Savior

Gentle

friend

caring

Prayer

Have each person choose a favorite description of God. Then let each one tell God, “I think you are special because you are _____.”

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

32. Rock Cracking

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Materials Needed

  • one large, relatively round rock (or hammer)
  • one large, relatively flat rock (or hard flat surface)
  • country road or rocky stream (where you can find lots of little and varied rocks)

Setting The Stage

We often judge people by first impressions, but it is really what is inside that is important to get to know. That is where the real beauty of a person can be seen. This is very true with rocks as well. As the children see this to be true with rocks, help them remember this important detail when they are meeting new people and making new friends.

Project

Location for this devotional is fairly important because you will want to be in a place where there are many different kinds of rocks from which to choose.

First:

Let each child choose five palm sized rocks. Ask them what they think the rock will look like inside. It really is a mystery most of the time because the inside does not always look like the outside. Take one rock at a time and start tapping it gently. Increase the strength of the tap until it finally cracks open. Note: If you start too hard you are bound to smash the rock and then it is difficult to see the real insides. Show the children the difference between the inside and the outside. Which is more beautiful? Usually it is the inside.

Next:

Discuss what it was like when each child met a friend for the first time. What were their first thoughts? If they do not remember, help them by telling them how they acted (shy, quiet, wondering the child’s name or maybe not caring to talk to this new child). Now what do they think of their friend? Let them share about the friend and then show them that the details they are talking about have a lot more to do with the character of the friend (the inside) than with the friend’s looks (the outside).

Finally:

Let your children try to explain to you where the real beauty of the rock is (inside). Then have your children tell you where the real beauty of people is (inside). Encourage them to look for the inner beauty in people and value that. Take the opportunity to show them this principle over the next week.

Prayer

Have the children ask God to help them value the inner beauty of other people. To help the children understand this you can mention specifics like, “Mary is so kind,” or, “Joe can make you laugh.” Take time now to talk to God about this.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

33. God Provides Through Growing Things

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Materials Needed

  • access to fruit (fruit stand, orchard, farm or grocery store)
  • shish kabob sticks
  • selection of favorite fruits (grapes, strawberries, bananas, mandarin orange sections, pineapple -anything that can easily be skewered with a stick)

Setting The Stage

The best food is what is grown naturally and is provided first hand by God. This is an opportunity to learn about this process and enjoy the “fruits” of your labor as well!

Project

1. It would be best to visit a farm or an orchard first. Here you might have the chance to pick your own food (if it is that type of farm). If this is not readily available to you, the next best option is a fruit stand where the person selling the fruit can tell you a little about the product. Finally, if nothing else is available to you, it would still work to visit the fruit section of your grocery store. Share with your children your own knowledge of how these items grow.

2. Allow the children to pick their favorite type of fruit to take home and eat. The fruit you pick for the shish kabobs needs to be firm and easily pierced.

3. When you get home let the children help wash the fruit. Cut up the fruit. Let the children make their own shish kabobs. Take the fruit sticks outside and go for a walk while you enjoy your tasty treat.

This can be a fun kind of prayer (without being irreverent). Call out your thanks to God for the fruit as you are putting the pieces on your stick. For example, “Thank you God for a banana; thank you God for a grape; thank you God for an apple ...”

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

34. Colors In Nature

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Materials Needed

  • coloring book
  • large selection of crayons
  • colored candies (M&M’s) or fruit salad
  • favorite outdoor setting (woods or park)

Setting The Stage

God provides us with variety and beauty. As his children we need to learn to notice and appreciate that beauty. One way to do this is in nature itself. So as you wander through the woods or a park, take time to enjoy each other, notice the colors and say “thank you” to God.

Project

Instructions: Choose a favorite trail through the woods or a place in a park. Bring the coloring book, crayons and colorful treats to eat. Enjoy your time on the walk, but also make it constructive by helping the children notice the different colors in nature.

Each time a new color is noticed:

  • stop
  • choose the closest color in your crayon selection that would match the color in the nature just seen
  • let the child who noticed the color in nature fill in a portion of the chosen picture from the coloring book

The goal is to completely color the picture in the coloring book with the same colors that you saw in the out-of-doors while on your walk.

Treat Time (Candies Or Fruit Salad - Can Be Either)

Choose either option:

  • When a new color is found and recorded on the page in the coloring book, everyone gets the same color of treat to enjoy until the next color is identified.
  • At the end, when the page in the coloring book is completely filled, stop and review the beauty of the colors and enjoy a colorful treat at the same time.

Song

“Jesus Loves the Little Children”

Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

When you are singing the colors, point to the colors that correspond on the page in the coloring book.

Prayer

Have everyone choose one of the colorful items they saw in nature and say “thank you” to God.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

35. Jesus Is King

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Materials Needed

  • cardboard (poster board or construction paper)
  • foil (or crayons)
  • masking tape (glue or stapler)
  • bath towel
  • safety pin
  • timer

Setting The Stage

Jesus is the heavenly king who came to earth. He did this because he loved us so much. Yet, it must have been very hard for him to leave where he was loved as a king to come to earth where he was hated as a criminal. In this devotional the children will get a little feel for how hard it could have been.

Project

Making A Crown

  • The best option is to take a piece of poster board or an empty cereal box and cut out a strip in the shape of a crown. The strip needs to be long enough to go around the child’s head. Tape the strip together to form a circle and cover it with foil.
  • The second option is to take a piece of construction paper and cut out a strip in the shape of a crown. The strip needs to be long enough to go around your child’s head. Color with a crayon to make it look attractive. Glue, tape or staple the strip together to form a circle.

Establishing The Throne

  • A chair should be set in the middle of the room and called the throne. The room itself is the throne room. Each child will have five minutes to be “king”. Have this person put on the crown and attach the towel as a robe. During this time the “king” is allowed to tell everyone else in the throne room what to do. The guidelines are as follows:

*The king is a good king so he/she can only give kind orders.

*The orders can only be done in the throne room and may last only for the allotted time.

*Everyone must obey the orders!!

King For A Time

  • Establish the first king and set the timer for five minutes. As soon as you say “Go!” the king can start giving orders to one and all. You might need to give them some ideas on orders (jump, count to 20, sing a song, etc.). At the end of the five minutes the king will continue to give orders but no one will obey. Instead the rest are to laugh at the king. This laughing can go on for 20 - 30 seconds and then it is to stop.
  • Ask the king how he/she felt when everyone was obeying. Then ask the king how he/she felt when everyone no longer obeyed but laughed instead.
  • Repeat the process of becoming king and being questioned until all have had a turn.

How Jesus Must Have Felt

  • Sit in a circle and take this time to point out to the children that Jesus experienced the same thing they just did, but he experienced it to a greater degree. Jesus was king in Heaven and everyone loved and obeyed him. Jesus chose to come to earth to die for us, because he loved us. It was still very hard for him to have people not obey him and laugh at him.
  • Ask the children how Jesus must have felt during these times while he was here on earth.
  • Next ask the children what would have made Jesus happy while he was here on earth.
  • After they have answered, share with them that it is the same things that make Jesus happy now:

*loving him

*obeying him

*listening to his words (in the Bible)

*praying

Memory Verse

Luke 19:38
Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!

Ask the children ...

Who is the king? (Jesus)

Where did this king go? (earth)

What does it mean, “In the name of the Lord”? (God wanted to send Jesus to earth)

Prayer

Ask God to help you to do those things that would make Jesus happy.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

36. Jesus Is Perfect

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Materials Needed

  • two puppets representing Jesus and Satan (you can substitute stuffed animals or dolls)
  • table
  • blanket
  • construction paper
  • scissors
  • marker
  • Magazine
  • glue

Setting The Stage

Beforehand read Matthew 4:1-11. During the devotional explain to the children that we are all tempted to do wrong things at one time or another. Jesus was tempted also, but he did not yield because he is perfect. We can learn from Jesus.

Project

Set up: Put your puppets and script behind a table that has been covered with a blanket. The blanket will give you privacy and make it look more like a puppet theater. Place Jesus on one hand and Satan on the other. Make sure your hands are raised high enough above the table top so the children, who are sitting in front of the blanket can see the puppets.

Note: You may use the Jesus puppet to introduce the Jesus section.

Jesus:

(in the center of the stage) I have been here in the desert for 40 days praying to God. I am very hungry because I have not eaten anything for these 40 days.

Satan:

I see that you are hungry, Jesus. Well, I know you can do anything so why don’t you just turn those stones to bread and then you can eat them.

Jesus:

Tempter, you know the Bible says, “Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” That means that I did not move out here to the desert to eat but to pray and to listen to God, so stop tempting me to eat.

Satan:

(moving to the right side of the table) Well, just come with me for a minute to this church. Let’s go up to this high point on the church. We sure are up high. Hey, you are God, so why don’t you jump down from here and let the angels catch you so you won’t get hurt?

Jesus:

Tempter, the Bible says, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” I would be testing God by doing something like that and you know that I can’t do that, so stop tempting me.

Satan:

(moving to the left side of the table) Well, I just want to show you one more thing. Let’s go up to the top of this mountain and take a look at the world. Sure is big. You know I have been put in charge of the world. That is why I am called the Prince of this World. If you bow down and worship me, I will give this whole world to you.

Jesus:

Get away from me Tempter, for it is written in the Bible, “Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.” You are not God and I would never worship you.

Satan:

Well. I can’t make you do anything wrong. Let’s see, there must be someone else that I could tempt into doing something wrong. See you Jesus. (waves good-bye and drops behind the table)

Jesus:

(turning to the children) The Tempter didn’t get me to do anything wrong. One of the ways that I stopped him was by saying a Bible verse. That is why it’s so important to learn. Let’s try it right now:

  • One of your friends tells you to lie to your mom so you won’t get into trouble. What Bible verse should you say to your friend to let him/her know that you won’t lie? (Wait for answer - if they get it right say “Super!” - if they get it wrong, make this suggestion “Do not lie”.)
    Here, take another try.
  • Your mother wants you to clean your room but the little voice inside you says “No”! What verse should you say that will help you obey your mother? (Wait again for the answer” Children obey your parents”.)

Jesus:

See, there are lots of verses that will help you learn to stop the Tempter from making you do something wrong. It would make me happy if you could learn to be more like me!! See you later. (Wave good-bye to the children and drop behind the table.)

Memory Verse

James 4:7b
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Instructions:

1. Write the memory verse in large letters on a piece of construction paper. Leave a large blank spot for each of the following words: Resist, Devil and Flee.

2. Take a magazine and look for three pictures that best describe these three words. Cut out these pictures and glue them in the appropriate blanks on the construction paper.

3. Go over the verse together, showing the children how the pictures stand for words. Hang it on your fridge for the week and review the verse at meal times.

Magazine Picture Examples:

Resist- (not cooperating or arguing) child pushing something / stubborn looking person

Devil- (Satan, Tempter) angry ‘evil’ look on a face / black or dark color

Flee- (run away, leave) child running away / car driving away

Prayer

Have each person choose one area in which he / she is easily tempted. Then have everyone pray about this area, asking God to ...

  • help them learn to be more like Jesus.
  • help them learn Bible verses so they can use a verse when they are being tempted to do some thing wrong.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

37. Jesus Is Our Best Friend

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Materials Needed

  • one large piece of white paper (or eight sheets of white paper taped together)
  • masking tape
  • crayons or markers

Setting The Stage

After identifying the qualities of a best friend, you will look at how Jesus can be your best friend and how you can develop that relationship.

Project

Picture:

Place the large piece of paper on the wall at the children’s eye level. Make sure it is in an area that is easily accessible to all. Sit around the paper in a semicircle so everyone has a good view of the paper.

1. First, draw a stick picture of a boy or girl.

2. Second, have the children describe for you the stick figure’s best friend which is to be drawn beside it. At first they will tell you details about the outward appearance. Follow their instructions but help them to include details that will communicate a special friendship.

These are some examples:

* mouth in a smile (having fun together)

* one hand holding the hand of the first child (friendship)

* one hand holding out a toy for the first child (sharing)

* clothes or something that is the same, for example, both are wearing a red top (enjoying the same things)

3. When you are finished the picture, point out what the picture communicates. Make sure you include some of the details mentioned in the brackets above.

Discussion:

The question to ask now is, “How can we make Jesus our best friend?”. The answer is by spending time with him, getting to know him, and having fun talking to him Oust as we do with our earthly friends).

Have them share some ideas about how you can practically do this. If they cannot come up with any ideas, choose one or two below:

  • Read Bible stories in a children’s Bible to get to know the things Jesus did.
  • Pray to him during the day when you are playing or having some quiet time. Talk with him about the things you have been doing.
  • Try to make Jesus happy in the way you act and then thank him for his help.

Sharing:

Choose one way each of you will try to get to know Jesus better this coming week (The adults should participate in the application part too!!). Share your choices with one another.

Prayer

Go around the circle thanking Jesus for wanting to be your best friend. Then go around the circle asking Jesus to help you carry out the choice you made earlier.

Song

“Jesus Is My Friend”

(use the original tune or the tune of “One little Two little Three little Indians”)

Jesus is my friend, Jesus is my friend, Jesus is my friend
and I’m so glad we’re friends!

Learn the song together and then with your musical instruments stand up and march around the living room singing the song over and over again.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

38. Jesus Is To Be Obeyed

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Materials Needed

None

Setting The Stage

Jesus gave us many commands and words of instruction while he was here on earth. During this devotional you will learn about a few of those commands, the importance of obeying them and the fact that Jesus made these rules because he loves us.

Project

First: A Game Of “Simon Says”

An adult will be Simon (at least for the first game). The rest of the group will stand in front of Simon. They all need to understand, before the game starts, that they are only to obey when Simon says, “Simon says!”

An example of how the game can go:

  • Adult says, “Simon says, ‘Raise your arm’,” -everyone raises their arm.
  • Adult says, “Simon says, ‘Turn around,” -everyone turns around (Note: If they lower their arm they are out because Simon did not say for them to lower their arm).
  • Adult says, “Lower your arm.” -everyone needs to remain perfectly still (if any one lowers their arm, they are out because the adult did not say “Simon says.”)

You might need to give them a few trial runs because it takes a little while for the younger children to understand and remember. The goal of the game is to get all but one out. That person is the winner.

Second: Obeying Jesus

Sit in a circle and suggest some rules Jesus made while he was here on earth. Below are some suggestions if the list from the circle is a short one.

Matthew 5:21-22

We should not hate anyone.

Matthew 5:33-37

We need to do what we said we were going to do.

Matthew 5:42

We need to share and give to those who are in need.

Matthew 5:44

We should love our enemies and pray for those who are mean to us.

Third: How Should We Obey Jesus?

We should obey the same way we obeyed Simon, except we are to do only what “Jesus says”! We need to learn about and respond to all that Jesus wants us to do. Explain this to your children and emphasize that Jesus gave these commands because he loves us and wants the best for us.

Prayer

Choose one area each of you needs to work on so you can obey Jesus better. Everyone should take a turn asking God for help with that choice.

Related Topics: Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

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