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Introduction

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Illustrated by Jon Smail

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV® Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Dedicated

To the McRae family who provided a platform from which I was free to spread my wings and soar.

To my loving husband Bob whose enthusiasm, involvement and support make our family devotions into memorable events.

To April, Tiffany and Chanelle who are my precious treasures and my inspiration for it in the first place!

Table Of Contents

Section I: What We Can Do For God

1. Making Music To God

2. Pleasing God In What We

3. Learning To Talk To God

4. Learning To Obey God

5. Learning To Listen To God

Section II: Fruit Of The Spirit

1. Love (Valentine’s Day)

2. Joy

3. Peace

4. Patience

5. Kindness

6. Goodness

7. Faithfulness

8. Gentleness

9. Self Control

Section III: Old Testament Stories

1. Creation

2. Tower Of Babel

3. Lot’s Escape

4. Joseph

5. Baby Moses

6. Moses The Leader

7. Jericho

8. Gideon

9. Ruth

10. David

11. Elijah

12. Esther

13. Daniel And The Lion’s Den

14. Jonah

Section IV: Devotions For Outdoors

1. Cloud Gazing

2. Bouquet

3. Nature’s Collage

4. Rock Cracking

5. God Provides Through Growing Things

6. Colors In Nature

Section V: Getting To Know Jesus

1. Jesus Is King

2. Jesus Is Perfect

3. Jesus Is Our Best Friend

4. Jesus Is To Be Obeyed

5. Jesus Is Caring

6. Jesus Is Our Savior

7. Jesus Is To Be Remembered

8. Jesus Is Always With Us

Section VI: Devotions For The Car

1. Bible Stories In A Round

2. God’s Character

3. God In Nature

4. Sing-A-Long

5. Twenty Questions

Section VII: Devotions For Special Occasions

1. Easter

2. May Day

3. Father’s Day (Card For A King)

4. Thanksgiving

5. Christmas

Weekly Devotions For A Year

If you start this in January you will find that the devotionals for special occasions will fall around the date for the celebration.

1. Making Music to God

27. David

2. Pleasing God in What We Do

28. Elijah

3. Learning to Talk to God

29. Esther

4. Learning to Obey God

30. Daniel and the Lions Den

5. Learning to Listen to God

31. Jonah

6. Love (Valentines Day)

32. Cloud Gazing

7. Joy

33. Bouquet

8. Peace

34. Natures Collage

9. Patience

35. Rock Cracking

10. Kindness

36. God Provides Through Growing Things

11. Goodness

37. Colors in Nature

12. Faithfulness

38. Jesus is King

13. Easter

39. Jesus is Perfect

14. Gentleness

40. Jesus is Our Best Friend

15. Self Control

41. Jesus Is to Be Obeyed

16. Creation

42. Jesus is Caring

17. Tower of Babel

43. Jesus is Our Savior

18. May Day

44. Jesus is to Be Remembered

19. Lots Escape

45. Jesus is Always With Us

20. Joseph

46. Thanksgiving

21. Baby Moses

47. Bible Stories in a Round

22. Moses the Leader

48. Gods Character

23. Jericho

49. God in Nature

24. Card for a King (Fathers Day)

50. Sing-A-Long

25. Gideon

51. Twenty Questions

26. Ruth

52. Christmas

Making The Most Of A Time For Training Wheels

As children mount their two-wheelers for the first time the eagerness and excitement of success can be seen in their glowing eyes and cocky smiles. But it only takes one spill for them to realize they are going to need some help and support to make this an enjoyable adventure. This is when training wheels become useful.

Family devotions can be like bike riding. God’s Word is an adventure waiting to be explored, but for many it can be overwhelming and difficult. A Time for Training Wheels will give you the support, ideas, direction and creative flair to make family devotions a successful adventure.

Can Family Devotions Happen Successfully?

The unequivocal answer is “yes’” Solomon wrote in Proverbs 22:6 “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” The challenge is to do this training in a creative way so we keep our children’s attention. A Time for Training Wheels meets this need. For us, family devotional nights are greeted with three cheers as together my husband and I enjoy ‘‘training our children in the way they should go.”

How Can I Make This Book Work For Our Family?

  • Keep the devotional moving. Don’t get stuck on details. Each devotional should range from 10 to 20 minutes.
  • Adapt the devotional to your setting and to your children’s attention span.
  • Do as much of the devotional as is practical for your children at their stage, needs and interest.
  • Review each upcoming devotional at least the day before so you are able to prepare without pressure.
  • Although the lessons can be applied to all, remember, this is a time for the children to learn and enjoy God’s Word.

Do I Have To Do Them All?

This book can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Take one series a year, spaced evenly throughout the 12 months. For example, the Fruit of the Spirit series has nine lessons, one of which can be done every six weeks.
  • Do only the devotionals that are designated for Special Days. These can be done before, on or after the holiday being celebrated.
  • Use this book on family vacations, allowing each person to choose the one that looks most interesting.
  • Do 1 devotional a week (there are a total of 52 in A Time for Training Wheels).

It is my prayer that you will grow as a family and deepen in your love for our God as you begin this great adventure together.

Mary-Lynn Chambers

1. Making Music To God

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Materials Needed

  • paper plates
  • stapler
  • macaroni or rice
  • empty tins with plastic snap-on lids
  • construction paper
  • glue
  • markers or crayons

Setting The Stage

In Psalm 92:1-3 we see the Psalmist praising God, making music and proclaiming with musical instruments. We need to learn to do as the Psalmist did. Note: In the upcoming months these new musical instruments can be saved and used during family devotional times to add to the singing experience.

Project

The Homemade Way

  • Take the paper plates and fill them with the dried macaroni using a stapler or glue to seal the two plates together securely. Make sure the staples are side by side so no macaroni escapes. Use the markers to decorate the plates.
  • Fill an empty tin with dried macaroni or rice and cover it with a snap-on plastic lid (coffee tins or potato chip cans work well for this). Secure the lid by taping it in place. Glue the construction paper to the outside of the tin. Using your imaginations decorate the tins so they look great and the children will be eager to use them in the future. Note: Make sure nothing will rub off on the children’s hands while they are grasping and shaking the instruments.

The Professional Way

  • Go to a department store, flee market, garage sale or music store as a family. While on the drive or walk, discuss how God enjoys music. Talk about favorite songs you could sing to God. Point out how musical instruments can help make singing fun and interesting. Take time to decide what type of instruments you would like to buy. On the drive home try out your new instruments while singing praise songs to God.

Songs

This Little Light of Mine

I Will Make You Fishers of Men

Jesus Loves Me

Memory Verse

Ps.92:1
It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.

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

2. Pleasing God In What We Do

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Materials Needed

  • 2’ x 2’ piece of paper (can be the back of a sheet of wrapping paper or a run of computer paper taped together to form a large square) OR one sheet of paper per person
  • vanilla pudding (chocolate pudding if you do not have any food coloring)
  • two or three different colors of food coloring
  • two or three large, shallow containers (for example, a cake pan)
  • brightly colored markers

Setting The Stage

There are many ways we can please God with our bodies. Ask your children how this can be possible. Direct their answers and help them understand that we can use our mouths to encourage, hands to help, smiles to make sad people feel better, ears to listen to what our parents are saying, etc. Encourage them to think of other ways while you work on this project.

Project

1. Make the vanilla pudding (can be prepared ahead of time). Divide pudding equally and place each part in a separate large, shallow container. Add a different food coloring to each container until the desired color is achieved. The more variety in color the better. Set the containers by the large piece of paper.

2. Have the children dip their hands and feet into the different containers and place them on the paper, leaving behind a colorful hand or foot print. Try to leave space between each print for writing.

3. After all of the prints have been made, ask the children to think of something specific they could do with their hands or feet that would make God happy.

Examples:

Helping mommy by cleaning up my room (hands)

Coming quickly when I am called (feet)

4. Write the specific actions in brightly colored markers beside the prints, one appropriate action for each hand or foot print.

5. When the pudding is dry, hang the finished product on the fridge or wall as a reminder for the rest of the week of what we can do to please God.

Song

Head and Shoulders

(use original tune or Mary had a Little Lamb”)

Head and shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes, knees and toes
Head and shoulders, knees and toes - (shout) “All For Jesus!”

As you are singing the parts of the body touch each particular part and finish the song by raising your hands and shouting “All for Jesus!”

Prayer

Each person can ask God to help him or her do one of the actions he or she wrote down.

Memory Verse

Proverbs 31:20
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.

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

3. Learning To Talk To God

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Materials Needed

  • five small brown paper bags or dark plastic bags (they need to be nontransparent)
  • five small items made by God. Examples: piece of fruit, plastic or real flower, Bible, stuffed animal, rock or shell.
  • children’s book on prayer or a storybook where someone had to pray
  • large piece of paper (2’ x 2’) (smaller sheets may be taped together)
  • masking tape
  • markers or crayons

Setting The Stage

There are many reasons for prayer. We often spend time in prayer only when we have a request. This devotional will help your children appreciate thanking God in prayer. Before you start, you will need to acquire a children’s book involving prayer, assemble the mystery bags, each containing one item made by God, and tape the large piece of paper to the wall.

Project

  • Read the book on prayer. If you don’t have one you can purchase one at any Christian bookstore or check one out of your church library. If neither of these options are available to you, read Matthew 14:23. Discuss the prayer of the person in the story or the content of Jesus’ prayer on the mountainside.
  • Have the 2’ x 2’ sheet of paper taped to the wall. Let each child draw a picture that depicts details from the prayer in the story just read. Encourage the reluctant and inexperienced drawers to try as well. Once the picture is drawn, let the child describe it to you.
  • With the filled mystery bags set off to the side have each person sit down. Pass the bags around and let each child feel the outside and then guess what is inside. Once the guessing is done, remove the items and ask the children what all of the items have in common. The answer is that God made them. Point out how we need to thank God for making them and that thanksgiving is part of prayer.

Prayer

Let each person pick one of the items from the bags and say a simple thank you to God for making that item.

Memory Verse

Luke 11:1b
Lord teach us to pray

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

4. Learning To Obey God

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Materials Needed

  • video of Noah’s Ark (borrow from friend, Christian book store or church library)
  • box of animal crackers or stuffed or plastic animals (in pairs).
  • brown construction paper
  • glue or stapler

Setting The Stage

There are times when it is hard to obey God, but it is very important that we do so. The story of Noah will help your children understand this truth.

Project

Video:

View the video of Noah’s Ark or take the time to explain the story to your children. The story is found in Genesis 6-9. The basic details you want to communicate to your children are as follows:

  • Noah was a man who loved God. The people outside his family did not love God.
  • God was very sad that the other people were so disobedient and mean. He realized that the only way to make the world a nice place to live in was to start all over.
  • So God asked Noah to build a big boat. A boat big enough to hold two of every kind of animal as well as his whole family. They were to get inside the boat with the animals while God sent the biggest rain storm ever. Anyone who was not in the boat would die.
  • Noah obeyed God, built the boat and filled it with the animals. When that was done he and his family got on the boat. They all lived through the storm. When they were able to get off the boat they were the only ones left on the earth.
  • They started over again, but first they took time to thank God by bowing and praying. God answered by sending a rainbow. The rainbow was his promise that he would never send such a big rain storm again.

Ark:

Cut the brown construction paper in the shape of a boat and then cut a second piece the same shape and size. Glue the two pieces together at the sides and bottom leaving the top of the boat open. While the glue is drying open the box of animal crackers, empty the contents and look for matching pairs. Once the pairs have been found, take one of each kind and place them inside your glued boat. If you don’t have animal crackers, set stuffed animals around the boat.

Discussion:

Discuss why it would have been hard for Noah to obey God. Here are some ideas:

  • There had never been any rain up to that point so Noah didn’t even understand the concept of a flood.
  • The other people around him made fun of him for making a boat so big and for obeying God.
  • Noah must have wondered whether the boat was going to work and how he was going to get everyone on the boat.

Song

Trust and Obey

(use the original tune)

Trust and obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Prayer

Pray about one area in which you have a hard time obeying. Example: Cleaning your room, coming when you are called, talking kindly to your brother or sister.

Memory Verse

Ephesians 6: 1
Children, obey your parents in the lord, for this is right.

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

5. Learning To Listen To God

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Materials Needed

  • timer
  • tape of a religious children’s song

Setting The Stage

No matter how old you are in the faith it is hard to learn to listen to God. This devotional will help your children understand what you mean when you say, “Listen to what God is saying”.

Project

Game:

  • Take a regular kitchen timer or another household item or toy that would make a similar soft sound.
  • Have the children leave the room.
  • Turn the timer on and hide it somewhere in the room.
  • Have the children come back into the room and listen very carefully until they detect the location of the timer and find it.
  • Play the game over and over giving each child a chance to find the timer.

Questions And Principles:

Question:

How hard did you have to listen to be able to hear the ticking sound?

Principle: You have to stop and listen intently to hear what God is trying to say to you.

Question:

Through whom does God speak to you?

Principle: God can speak to you through the Bible, through older, wiser people (like your parents) or through people who really know about the Bible (like the pastor or a Sunday school teacher).

Question:

In your life whom does God use to speak to you?

Principle: Learn to know the people whom God uses (therefore name specific names).

Question:

In your life what does God use to speak to you?

Principle: Learn the tools that God uses (like music, story tapes, videos, the Bible).

Practice:

Play a song from a children’s tape and ask them what is the message of the song. You will want to listen to the song beforehand to make sure that it is a clear, easily understood message.

Prayer

Ask God to help you learn to listen to his voice as he speaks to you in a variety of ways this coming week.

Related Topics: Bibliology (The Written Word), Children, Children's Training Resources, Parent Resources, Christian Education, Christian Home, Devotionals

6. Love (Valentine’s Day)

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Materials Needed

  • scissors
  • three different colors of construction paper or enough colors so each child has one color
  • chocolate hearts
  • white paper
  • pen
  • bowl

Setting The Stage

Together you will be reminded that learning to act in love, even when it is not easy, is important because of the end result.

Project

Ahead Of Time:

Cut the letters L-O-V-E from the different colors of construction paper. Pile all the letters together in the center of the floor and sit around the pile.

Now:

First, let the children sort the letters so they have four piles with the same letter in each pile. Then have them color coordinate the letters so they have three piles (or one pile for each color), each pile having enough letters to spell out the word love. If the children still cannot spell, do a sample pile for them by taking the letters from one pile and spelling out the word LOVE. Have them do the same with their own pile. This part of the activity can be made into a game by seeing who can separate the letters by colors or words the fastest or who can spell out the word LOVE without any help.

Ahead Of Time:

  • Hide the chocolate hearts around the room (Hint: If you put out more than 10 you might find it helpful to write down the hiding spot or it could be months before all the hearts are found).
  • Explain to them how we celebrate love on Valentine’s day by doing something special for the people we love. The hunt is something special you want to do for them. Establish the boundaries of where the hunt is to take place and how many hearts they need to find, then let them go at it.

Now:

While they are enjoying their newfound hearts, sit down and talk about how some of the hearts were hard to find. Point out how hard it was for them to do a certain part of the first activity (whether it was trying to spell the word LOVE quickly or just simply separating the letters by color). Allow this to lead into a discussion of how some aspects of loving are very hard to do. Allow your children to come up with a few examples from your own family life.

Ahead Of Time:

Write out the following situations on a sheet of paper leaving space between each one. Cut the situations into strips, fold them in half and place them into a bowl. Note: The following situations can easily have an adult play the role of one of the children if two children are not available.

  • Child #1 is mean and speaks unkindly to Child #2; Child #1 pushes Child #2 down. Child #2 doesn’t get angry but speaks kindly back to Child #1 and shows Child #1 love and forgiveness.
  • Child #1 is playing and hurts himself/herself. Child #2 sees Child #1 crying and hugs and kisses him or her.
  • Child #1 has a job to do and Child #2 helps with the job without being asked (for example: picking up toys).
  • Child #1 is given a treat and he/she shares the treat with Child #2 without being asked.

Now:

Bring out the bowl and let the children take turns choosing a slip of paper. Read the situation to them and help them understand the role they are to play. Let them act it out. Continue until all the situations have been acted.

  • • Using the previous situations discuss how different it can be to always show love.
  • • Have each child choose one way they are going to show love this week.
  • • Tape the letters L-O-V-E on the fridge allowing the children to choose their favorite color out of the three or more choices. Use this as a reminder all week.

Prayer

Have each child ask God for help to show love in the way he or she has chosen in the upcoming week.

Song

“Jesus Loves Me”

(use original tune)

Jesus loves me! this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong, They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tell me so.

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

7. Joy

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Materials Needed

  • magazines
  • six different colors of construction paper
  • scissors
  • glue
  • ball

Setting The Stage

Throughout the devotional remind your children that real joy comes from doing things that make God happy.

Project

1. Sing a song about Joy ( for example: I have the joy, joy, joy down in the depths of my heart -WHERE? down in the depths of my heart - WHERE? down in the depths of my heart. I have the joy, joy, joy, joy down in the depths of my heart - WHERE? Down in the depths of my heart to stay.) Note: If you don’t know this tune, it can be sung as a chant.

2. Talk about the different times you feel real joy. Remind them that real joy comes from doing the things that make God happy. Examples: sharing, helping, showing kindness.

3. Use the magazines to find six pictures of people doing something that seems to give them real joy. Cut out the pictures and glue them onto the six different colored sheets of construction paper, one picture on each sheet of paper.

4. Take the six sheets of paper and lay them face down in the pattern diagrammed below. Make sure no one knows which picture is in which spot.

5. Have the child stand behind a line and toss the ball at the squares. Whichever paper the ball lands on is the paper the child may take as his or her own. Have the child show the picture to everyone else. Explain why the person in this picture seems to have real joy. Help the child include the perspective that the person could be doing something that makes God happy.

Prayer

Each person should choose one picture and for the coming week should try to do what is being shown in the picture. Ask God for help in doing what your chosen picture demonstrates.

Song

“I Have The Joy”

(as sung at the beginning of the devotional)

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

8. Peace

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Materials Needed

  • pots, pans and large spoons
  • sturdy toys
  • pillows
  • loud food (like chips)
  • television or stereo
  • 8 1/2” x 11” white plain paper
  • glue
  • blue and black construction paper
  • crayons
  • scissors

Setting The Stage

Peace is a quiet calm during which we can know God better. The goal of this lesson is to teach your children what is and isn’t peace and how, during these times of peace, you can talk to God and learn more about God.

Project

1. Set up a noisy section on one side of the room. This section will have four stations, each with a number so that the order is understood by all.

1 - pots, pans and spoons.

2 - loud food

3 - toys (over which to fight)

4 - television or stereo (to be played loudly)

2. Set up a quiet section on the opposite side of the room with a pillow for each child placed on the floor

3. Start at station number one. Call out GO! and have them do the activity as loudly as possible until you call STOP! When you call Stop! they are to run to the pillows and lie perfectly still and quiet until you call GO! again at which time they will run to the second noisy station and do the activity there. Continue alternating until all sections are visited at least once. Keep this pattern going for about five minutes.

4. Stop the game and have them sit on their pillows. Explain to them how difficult it is to think about anything, especially God, when we are being so noisy. Explain how precious peace is because then we can stop and talk to God.

5. Go to the table and work together on pictures that demonstrate times of peace, times when we can be quiet and be with God. While working on this part of the project discuss how they can talk to God during these peaceful times. You can do one or all of the following depending on the child’s interest:

  • Snowfall - Fold white paper in half again and again until it is as small as possible. Cut off the corners. Open and see a snow flake. Glue this snow flake onto a blue sheet of construction paper.
  • Night lime - Take a pointed object (pen) and poke lots of holes into the black sheet. Hold it up to the light and see stars shining at night.
  • Being Loved - Draw and color a picture of a parent giving a child a hug.
  • Bed lime - Draw and color a picture of a child praying before bedtime.

Prayer

Pray for times of peace during which you can learn to talk to God.

Memory Verse

Psalm 34:14b
Seek peace and pursue it.

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

9. Patience

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  • one white sheet of paper
  • many different colored crayons including black
  • dull kitchen knife

Caramel Corn

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup
  • 3 quarts popped corn (3/4 cup kernels)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven
Bake at 3000 F for 20 minutes

Place popped corn on an ungreased cookie sheet. In a saucepan melt butter, stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil while stirring constantly. Lower heat and allow it to simmer for five minutes stirring constantly to make sure it does not burn on the bottom. Remove pot from the heat and stir in the soda and vanilla. Gradually pour caramel over the popped corn and mix well so every piece has been touched. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes at 3000 F. Remove from the oven at five minute intervals to stir. At the end of 20 minutes remove a piece from the oven and allow it to cool. If the caramel corn is crunchy, it is done. If it is chewy, allow it to bake a bit longer. Allow it to cool for five minutes, then enjoy!!

Setting The Stage

Help your children understand that having patience means you are willing to take the time to get the desired result and that if you are impatient and rush, the result is often disappointing. The following three activities will show them that exercising patience is usually worth while in the end.

Project

Caramel Corn

Following the recipe, make the Caramel Corn. While making the Caramel Corn spend time talking about how good and crunchy it will be at the end so it is worth the wait. Also, talk about how this is true in other areas of your life. Examples: making your bed, playing a game, talking to people.

Patience is needed when making Caramel Corn because if it is eaten too soon it is chewy and will stick to your teeth.

Stop And Go

While the Caramel Corn is baking, play the game Stop and Go. The adult stands at one end of the room, turned away from the rest of the family. The family is lined up side by side at the other end. When the adult says, “Go!” they move as quickly as possible towards the adult. When the adult says, “Stop!” they must stop immediately because as the adult finishes calling out stop, he or she will quickly turn around to see who is still moving. Whoever is caught moving must go back to the starting position. It will be advantageous in helping your child understand the principle if you catch them at least once and send them back. Play the game several times helping them understand the role of patience in winning the game.

Patience is needed in playing this game because the faster you are moving the harder it is to stop and the easier it is to be caught. The person who is the most patient will probably be the one to get to the adult first without being sent back and therefore wins the game.

Love Is Patient

While eating the caramel corn have everybody sit around a table with one sheet of white paper in the center. Everyone is to take a different color of crayon (except black) and color the sheet. The object is to use many different colors to make little sections of all different sizes. Once the sheet is covered in color, color the entire sheet again in black trying to cover the color beneath as much as possible. Take the dull kitchen knife (you will be removing the black and revealing the bright colors below) and scratch out the letters that make up the memory verse for the week, “Love is Patient.” Say it over and over together until everyone can say it, then hang the verse in a visible place (like the fridge) for the upcoming week.

Patience is needed to achieve the beautiful end result. Point out how it took a while to make this sheet with the Bible verse on it, but also how it was worth being patient and working on it until it was done.

Prayer

Ask the question, ‘When are you most impatient?” When all have given their answers, use the answers as a spring board for prayer time. Ask God for patience during those times when we are so easily impatient.

Memory Verse

I Corinthians 13:48
Love is patient

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

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