Friday, June 19, 2015

Unsuspecting Mice and Men

Ages: 4th - 6th Grade 
Share The Scriptures: Jeremiah 5:26 and Job 18:8-10
Object Used: An ordinary mouse trap. 
Teach The Lesson: My dear young friends: You may think that possibly there was a time when wicked men did not desire to destroy others, as is so often the case in this day; but hundreds of years ago, God said, "Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people. They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. They set deadly traps to catch people." Jeremiah 5:26 NET Bible
       I suppose you have all seen traps. There are a great many different kinds. Some are very dangerous, and yet you cannot see the danger until you are caught, or until you see some other person who has been caught in the trap. Now here is a trap. (show mouse trap) I suppose that you have all seen such traps as this, and possibly have them in your own homes, to catch the little mice which destroy your food, and often times do great injury.
       Now, this trap does not look dangerous to the unsuspecting mouse. The little wire, which is to be drawn up by a strong spring to choke the mouse to death, is concealed, and he does not know that there is a wire there at all. He simply smells the piece of cheese. This tempts his appetite, and, as he is fond of cheese, he desires to obtain it, and so he attempts to crawl in through this small hole to get the cheese, but the moment he nibbles at the cheese, it disturbs the little catch which holds the spring, and when it is too late to escape, the little mouse finds that he has been caught. Then he does not think of the cheese, but struggles to get loose and escape out of the trap. But all of his struggles are in vain, and after a few moments he is choked to death. Then the man, or the housewife comes, takes the little mouse out of the trap, and with the same piece of cheese the trap is again set for another unsuspecting mouse. So people go on, day after day, catching one mouse after another, with the same trap and with the same bait.
"Free me from the trap that is set for me, for you are
 my refuge." Psalm 31:4 (NIV).
Graphic by Christian Clip Art Review.
       Now, there are traps which evil people set for boys and girls, and men and women. Such as magazines illustrating naked people or books about treating others like toys instead of human beings with feelings and dignity; we call these bad publications pornography. To the innocent, the unthinking and the unsuspecting child these things may not appear very dangerous, but they are very deadly in their effects, and they result in the destruction and misery of thousands upon thousands of people every year. There are also the places of business where men and women go to see such things in person and to purchase the services of those who are equally desperate and addicted. Places which are made attractive only to catch people, to rob them of their money, and of their self-control, and of their reason, and of their homes, and of all good things that God has set aside for our families, sometimes these bad people cause others to loose even more than things and families but also their faith in God as well. Our faith is very precious dear children; it is more valuable than any amount of money or things we could possibly collect.
       Then there is the theater that shows x-rated films, the kind that even older children are not allowed to see. Good mother's and father's never take children to these movies because these show scenes of things that condition people to think in wrong ways. These kinds of movies deaden the moral sense, pollute the mind and lead people away from the ministry of Jesus. These films are made to rob the individual  person of virtue, and of integrity, and of faith in God.
       Then there liquids, foods and drugs which are dangerous for young people and for older people too. Things like --- tobacco, and cigars, and beer. When we use these things in just a small amount as some responsible big people do, they will not hurt us. But when we are very young, we can not determine this for ourselves and even a very small amount of alcohol or smoking can hurt a child. This is why it is illegal for little folks to smoke or drink. Sometimes even big people can not control how much of these things they should take into their bodies and these mistakes lead to killing others while they are driving and to abusing their family members. How many people they hurt and sometimes kill, all in the name of fun.
       People who sell things like alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs set traps which are meant to take our money. In each of these products exist a chemical that can possibly rob each of us of health and strength if we are not careful about using them correctly. No small, young boy or girl who uses tobacco (cigarettes) in any form can ever be strong like the children who do not use tobacco. Some children begin smoking cigarettes, and then go on to smoke cigars, and then follow with drinking alcohol, and so on. Step by step, they go on down the road of many addictions. Grown up people called this "substance abuse."
       Those boys or girls who have gone fishing on a calm, beautiful summer day, and have looked down through the water, have often seen the fish as they gathered around the hook, and then watched them as they nibbled at the bait. First they come up very shyly, and barely touch the bait with their nose. Then they come again, and possibly just bite a small trifle -- barely taste of it. Then, again and again they nibble at the hook, until finally they open their mouth's wide to get a large bite only to discover that they have swallowed the hook. Then it doesn't matter how much they flounder about, and struggle to get away, it is too late, it is impossible for them to escape. They are pulled into the boat or upon the bank, and a few hours later are on the stove, being cooked for some hungry fisherman.
       Just so evil people and/or Satan are always looking for those whom they can tempt with things that other people seem to enjoy freely without anything bad happening to them. And step by step they sometimes convince very young children to do the things that their parents warn them against. These people seem to think that in their individual case, the results will be very different, but the results are almost always exactly the same. Addiction to drugs and alcohol is a common problem with many grown up people and even more deadly for a little child.
       You will notice that this mouse trap has four different places where mice can be caught, and is it not strange that when one mouse enters on this side, and is caught, and is lying there dead, that another live mouse should come along, and see the same trap and desire the same thing, and walk right in to the same danger, and the same sure death? You would think that when he saw that the other mouse had been caught, and had lost his life, that he would turn away. But instead of that, he smells the cheese, walks right into the trap, and is caught, and within a few moments is as dead as his neighbor. 
       So we can see others who have been hurt by abusing drugs, alcohol, tobacco and sex; these abuses have paved the way for their destruction, going on step by step. We see people all around us who have squandered all their money and lost all their friends, and been forsaken by their own parents, their wives, and their children; who have become outcasts, and for whom no one longer has any respect. We see these things daily, and yet some of us still go on in the same way, beginning our own addictive pleasures going, step by step, until we end up hopelessly lost and sometimes dead. These people are like the little mice that get tempted by the scent of the cheese and wish to eat. Do not be like the foolish mouse, which sees its dead companion in the trap, and then walks up unthinkingly and pokes his head into the same inevitable death and destruction; but remember that there is evil in a world where the enemies of God wait to destroy you, just the same as many have been destroyed before you.
       In the book of Job it says, "A rope is hidden for him on the ground and a trap for him lies on the path." (18:10) "and in the 8th verse of the same book and chapter it says, "For he has been thrown into a net by his feet and he wanders into a mesh." Satan  and those people who follow him have laid traps and snares all along your path through life. We will need to be very, very cautious not to believe that we are not capable of falling into traps like others.
       Remember this text for this morning, which says, "Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people. They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. They set deadly traps to catch people." Jeremiah 5:26 (original text, Pastor Sylvanus Stall D. D.)

Questions for Discussion Afterwards:
  • What does God say about our own weaknesses?
  • What is a trap? Describe the traps set for mice and fish. 
  • What are some of the traps set by evil people and/or Satan?
  • Can we avoid traps with God's help? 
  • How will God help us to avoid traps?
  • How can we know the difference between drugs that help people and drugs that hurt people?
  • What does God say about respecting your body?
  • How does God expect us to respect someone else's body?
  • What does it mean to be 'addicted'?
Extend The Lesson by Showing This Film:
"Kiwi tastes a golden nugget. It's delicious." Script, direction, animation: Andreas Hykade
Animation, artwork: Angela Steffen, Music, sound design: Heiko Maile, Postproduction: Ralf Bohde
Production management: Bianca Just, Funding: FFA Berlin, Production:Thomas Meyer-Hermann,
Studio FILM BILDER 2014

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Truthful In Deed

Grade Level: 4th and 5th
Share The Scriptures:
  • "He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much." Luke 16: 10
  • "Walk in truth." 3 John 4
  • "Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith ; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb. xii. i, 2.
Teach The Lesson: These two verses from Hebrews are a part of one of Saint Paul's sermons to the Hebrews; but I think there is quite enough in these alone for a whole sermon to little children. He first says, " Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us." You know how impossible it would be to swim with heavy boots on, or pull a sled with a great load of lead on it, and how soon you would pull off the boots, or cut the lead loose ; and just so when we are trying to live as Christ would have us, there are always old sinful habits, which are very heavy, and will drag us back from the right path, unless we constantly fight against them. Ask yourself today what are the sins that most easily beset you. We are all tempted to sin, but not all by the same things. One child may be tempted to be selfish, and this is his besetting sin. Another may be vain, pleased when any one notices her. Another sin, by which almost all are tempted is anger ; and so I might tell you of very many ; but you must look into your own heart, little reader, and find there by what you are most easily beset, and then look unto Jesus, for power and grace to conquer and resist whatever temptations assail you. He has said. Ask, and ye shall receive.

 Video by 
The video above is about the vineyard owner's two sons. The first seems agreeable to his father but does not help him. The second must fight the temptation to disobey his father and ultimately does as he is expected. So which of the two sons has been truthful in deed and therefore faithful to his father?

Questions for Discussion After The Lesson:
  1. What is it to be faithful?
  2. Should we be faithful in all things?
  3. To what must we be faithful?
  4. Should we always act the truth?
  5. Is not this as important as to speak truly?
  6. Do you always act truly?
Extend The Lesson by Sharing a Poem:

True in word, and true in deed,
In the little as the much,
Seeking right and duty ever,
Christ the Lord approveth such.

To thy God, and to thy duty,
Thou must ever faithful be;
To thyself, and to thy brother,
Though he oft prove false to thee. 

Close The Lesson in Prayer: Help me dear Lord to resist temptations as you did, lead me by your example and grant me strength to endure hardships until I come to live with you in Heaven. Amen

Jesus Loves, So That We May Know How to Love

Grade Level: 3rd and 4th
Share the Scriptures: NIV
  • Soon afterward, Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out‚ the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, Don't cry." Then he went up and touched the bier (movable frame for corpses) they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, "Young man, I say to you, get up!" The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.
  • "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love" 1 John 4:8
  • "Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another" 1 John 4: 11
Teach The Lesson: Here, in this beautiful story, we have a glimpse of the loving, tender heart of Jesus, for when He saw this mother in misery "He had compassion on her." No doubt her friends felt very sorry for her too, and had tried in every way, by kind and soothing words, to comfort her; but they certainly could not bring her son back to life.  Only Jesus can see how deep our sorrow is; and although He may not always answer our prayers in the way we desire, He is ultimately the only one capable of restoring life to our loved ones. No matter how often those we love best are taken away or the things that we feel we need are removed from our environment, God is still watching over us. 
       It is true also that parents often take away from their little children what they know that they will be better without, still they are the same loving, sympathizing guardians as is Jesus for those who depend upon Him. When Jesus raised the widow's son, He was showing us through this miracle just how much He was willing to do for those that need His comfort.

Questions for Discussion After The Lesson:
  1. Who made us?
  2. Does He take care of us?
  3. Why should we love Him?
  4. Can we love Him too well?
  5. What does the Bible say about love?
  6. How can we show that we love God?
  7. Who else do you love? Why
  8. How can you show that you love them?
"Music video by Bill & Gloria Gaither performing Jesus Loves Me (feat. The Barrett Sisters)"
Extend The Lesson by Sharing a Poem:
I must love my heavenly Father
Who hath made and keeps us all;
I must love the blessed Savior,
For He loved the children small.

And earthly friends I have to love,
My father and my mother,--
My sisters, brothers, playmates too,
We all must love each other.

Close the Lesson With a Prayer: Dear loving Savoir you are so loving and compassionate, you raised the widow's son from death. I know that I can always trust you with my troubles. Help me to learn to be thankful for the things I learn because of your guidance and care in my hour of need. Amen.

Jesus Tenderly Watches His Flock

Grade Level: 2nd and 3rd
Share The Scripture: HE shall feed His flock like a shepherd : He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom. Isaiah 40:11.
There is but one, who gave up His life so that we would have a door to eternal life - if we chose to enter. Gentle, reflective. A beautiful voice and beautiful lyrics. JESUS is The Good Shepherd, He knows His sheep, and His sheep know Him. "The Good Shepherd" by Fernando Ortega (Google PlayAmazonMP3iTunes)

Teach The Lesson: In olden times, the shepherds were very different from the men whom you often see now, driving the poor sheep so cruelly, for they were never intrusted with the care of the flocks, unless they had been proved to be faithful, kind men, who spent their whole time and strength in tenderly watching the sheep, guarding them from wolves, leading them to green pastures, and even carrying any poor weak little lamb, who was unable to walk. And this, dear little ones, is a beautiful picture of our Savior, for He is a most tender Shepherd, always gently leading (not driving) His flock by the best way, ready to keep them from all danger, and even carrying the little lambs in His loving arms ; where He will keep them safely, if they will only trust Him, until He leads them to that beautiful Garden which His Father is preparing for them. If you have never before given yourself to Jesus, go to Him to-day, and ask to be made one of His little lambs ; then no matter how rough the path through this world, your Shepherd will always go before, gently leading and helping you in all trials and sorrows.

Close With a Prayer: O Lord God, my heavenly Father, I thank you for the precious promise you have sent me through your scriptures and for all the forgiveness you have given me. Increase my love for yourself, and grant that I may always stay close to you.  For Jesus' sake. Amen.

Be Kind One To Another

Grade Level: 2nd and 3rd 
Share The Scriptures:
  • "Be ye kind one to another." Eph. 4:32
  • "Be kindly affectioned one to another." Romans 12:10
  • "Bear ye oneanother's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Gal. vi. 2

Teach The Lesson: No doubt you have often heard and read these words, but have you ever tried to obey them? Perhaps you scarcely ever think of pleasing others, but are always doing just what will please yourself, but this is not living as Jesus would have us live.
        Or you may think that you are too young to help others with their problems? But no one on earth can truly say they can do nothing; and although not everyone has the same opportunities or responsibilities. We all have some ability to help resolve hardships and sooth the burdens of others. We will be expected to explain ourselves before God concerning our handling of these hardships/burdens someday.
       Do you remember the beautiful parable in the Bible of the ten talents? Our Lord reproached the servant who had not improved his one talent. Just so it is with you; very young and weak, you may be, and not able to do much, but there is usually something small you can and ought to do for others.
        Even a kind word to one in pain, a little classmate helped in a difficult lesson, or a baby brother or sister amused while mother rests, is a help to another that will not be forgotten by Jesus who has said, that a cup of cold water, given in His name, shall not lose its reward. Pray earnestly today that God will make you more like Jesus, who pleased not Himself alone, but went about doing good for those who needed Him desperately.

This video was made by teaching staff at the Willow Canyon Elementary School

Questions for Discussion After The Lesson:
  1. Who should you be kind to?
  2. Does the Bible command this?
  3. Should you be kind to everyone?
  4. Is God kind to everyone?
  5. Is God kind to the wicked?
  6. Is God kind to the poor?
Extend the Lesson by Sharing a Poem:

Be ye kind to one another,
Little sister, little brother;
To the darling baby small,
To the youthful playmates all.

Be ye kind to one another;
To thy father and thy mother,
To each creature, great or small,
Be ye kind to one and all.

Close The Lesson With a Prayer: Almighty God, my heavenly Father, I thank you for your loving care and for having given me so many blessings to enjoy, but above all, I thank you that Jesus came to die, that I might have eternal life. For His dear sake, forgive all my sins, and help me through your Holy Spirit to grow in Jesus' likeness, Striving always to go about doing good. Bless all whom I love and make them to know and love you. Be with me, O God, this day, and all the days of my life, through Jesus Christ, my Savior. Amen.

The Littlest Star

" I cannot do much," said a little star,
" To make the dark world bright!
My silvery beams cannot struggle far
Through the folding gloom of night!
But I'm only part of God's great plan.
And I'll cheerfully do the best that I can."

A child went merrily forth to play,
But a thought, like a silver thread,
Kept winding in and out all day
Through the happy golden head;
Mother said, " Darling, do all you can!
For you are a part of God's great plan."

She knew no more than the glancing star,
Nor the cloud, with its chalice full.
How, why, and for what the strange things were,
She was only a child at school;
But she thought, " It is part of God's great plan
That even I should do all that I can."

So she helped a younger child along,
Where the road was rough to the feet,
And she sang from her heart a little song.
That we all thought passing sweet.
And her father, a weary, toil-worn man,
Said, "I too, will do the best that I can."

Our best! ah! children the best of us,
Must hide our faces away.
When the Lord of the vineyard comes to look
At our task at the close of day !
But for strength from above, tis the Master's plan,
We'll pray and we'll do the best that we can.

Even the Winds & Sea Obey Him

Grade Level: 3rd and 4th
Share the Scripture: When He got into the boat, His disciples followed Him. And behold, there arose a great storm on the sea, so that the boat was being covered with the waves; but Jesus Himself was asleep. And they came to Him and woke Him, saying, "Save us, Lord; we are perishing!" He said to them, ‚"Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?" Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and it became perfectly calm. The men were amazed, and said, "What kind of a man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?" Matthew 8:23
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Teach The Lesson: As you read these verses, you can imagine the lovely lake of Gennesaret lying peacefully among the hills, when the disciples, little thinking of the dangers they would meet, entered their small fishing boat; and Jesus, who was with them, being very tired after teaching the people all day, lay down to sleep. Soon the wind began to blow, and such a furious tempest arose that the disciples, who were frightened, awoke Jesus, saying, "Don't you think we may die?" How this distrust must have grieved Jesus' loving, tender heart! But how gentle Jesus was when he corrected them, and how willing he was to teach them! Just so now, even the weakest little frightened child that goes to Jesus, feeling sure that God will hear every child, is soothed, and helped to pass through the danger unharmed.

Questions for Discussion After The Lesson:
  1. How bad did the storm get before the disciples woke Jesus from His sleep?
  2. How did Jesus respond to his disciples during the storm?
  3. What did Jesus do during the storm that people normally do not do? Why?
  4. Even though storms frighten us at times, what do you think God would like us to remember about the storms in our lives?
Close The Lesson With a Prayer: O Lord, you know us to be in the middle of so many dangers, and that we are too weak to help ourselves, be with us always in our times of need, just as you were with your disciples, granting us such strength and protection as we need in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.