Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Gentleness

School has started again for us. I was planning on being done with the fruit of the Spirit by now. My schedule was set back a few weeks from being sick a couple times this summer.

Our fruit of the Spirit this week was gentleness. I used a peach to represent gentleness because you have to be gentle withP1000716 peaches so you don’t bruise them. Day one I explained what gentleness meant. I used a visual exercise by having the kids string buttons on a piece of spaghetti. They had to be gentle with the spaghetti or it would snap. This was fun. Even my 3-year-old joined in. It was great for his hand-eye coordination. Next we talked about what the memory verse meant. Let your gentleness be evident to all. Philippians 4:5 I explained that evident is like the word evidence which is like a clue. When we treat people gently it’s a clue to others that we are followers of Christ. We colored, cut out and taped our paper peach to our paper fruit basket.

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Day two I showed them that Jesus was gentle. I used Zechariah 9:9 and Matthew 11:29 as bible references. Since our King Jesus is gentle, we also need to be gentle.

On day three I began talking to them about treating each other gently with our words. As an object lesson I used a lesson I found on Pinterest.  First it goes through the story of the woman with the issue of bleeding. Jesus choose to be gentle with her rather then the harsh treatment she usually gets from people. Next I used two eggs that I drew smile faces on, Eggbert and Shelly. We talked about some of the mean things people have said to us. As the kids told me those things I took a pin and poked a hole in the egg. The holes formed a circle. I explained how harsh words break a person down. Even though people are still smiling they could be hurting inside. Then I easily broke poor Eggbert. Next I took Shelly and asked if weP1000730 wanted to hurt her. They all said “NO!!!” So we said nice words to her and she stayed safe. This lesson really drew the kids in. They were on the edges of their seats with the egg activity. I think this is one they’ll remember.

Day four we reviewed yesterdays lesson and I added Proverbs 15:1 “A gentle answer turns away wrath but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (NIV) and Proverbs 15:4 “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.” (NIV) Very good verses. Today was a similar theme as yesterday but I added harsh actions also hurt. There was another great object lesson today. I made oobleck, a mixture of equal parts of cornstarch and water. It’s a weird mixture that acts like a solid when it’s hit hard and fast but acts like water when you move through it slowly. I showed them that just like our hands don’t move through oobleck when we move fast or harshly, people also put up their walls when we treat them harshly. When we moved through the oobleck slowly it would be soft and melt in our hands. The same is true when we with people. When we are gentle with them they will allow you in their heart.
This was a great object lesson but it is messy. Be sure to keep it in a contained area. Also mix the mixture up before doing the lesson. I did it while I was talking and it seemed to work better later in the day after we left it sit for awhile.

P1000752Many of the fruit of the Spirit deal with how we act toward others. The last fruit of the Spirit, self control, is more about us then how we treat others so day five I shared with them the golden rule found in Matthew 7:12. For a craft we made a golden ruler with a foam stick and glitter. Then they watched Veggie Tales;Sheerluck Holmes and the Golden Ruler.

My home is spotted with oobleck and glitter but the lessons they learned and how involved they got was totally worth the mess.

Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Faithfulness

We are getting close to the end of our fruit of the Spirit study. For the fruit this week I choose bananas because they stick together. Get it…faithfulness…stick together. 🙂 The memory verse this week is, “Your love O Lord reaches to the heavens. Your faithfulness stretches to the skies.” Psalm36:5  P1000643

On day one I read out the of God’s Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible by Shelia Walsh. She explains that faithfulness means to keep doing what is right for as long as you live. She refers to Genesis 6:5-8 then talks about how Noah was faithful to the Lord. We colored our paper bananas. Then cut them out and taped them in our paper fruit baskets. They are getting very full so some of us put it by the basket. They had bananas for a snack.

Day two I read to them the story of Noah. I used the rainbow as a way for them to remember that God is faithful. So long ago He gave Noah that sign and today, thousands of years later, He still sends that sign to us after the rain. He is and forever will be faithful.

Day three we made a rainbow craft out of our hand prints. That was a fun craft to make and one I plan on keeping for the scrapbooks.  P1000729

I was really searching to find a way to show them faithfulness in marriage. I decided to use the example of Joseph staying with Mary (Matthew 1:18-25). I wanted to find this story in a children’s story form but couldn’t find it in any of the children’s devotions I had. Then when I read the story out of the bible my 7 year old reminded me it is in our Christmas book. So I read that to them too. P1000718I was concerned they wouldn’t understand the story. I thought maybe the subject matter was to mature for them (which is probably why it isn’t in kid’s devotionals) but they did well with it. If you have older children, preteens or teens, you could use the example of Hosea being faithful to his unfaithful wife. It is more mature subject matter but a great lesson is there because it refers to how God’s people have been unfaithful to Him but God continues to be faithful to them. P1000719

 

 

The last day, day five, I read a summary of the bible story of Abraham’s servant going to Abraham’s homeland to find a wife for Issac. It showed how the servant was faithful and did what Abraham told him to do. We to should be faithful to the Lord. I used the Bob Jones 1st grade Bible Truths book. You can find this story in Genesis 23:1-25:18.

For snacks I made Banana Pudding Trifle. To make it gluten free I used crushed gluten free animal crackers on the bottom. Then put half vanilla pudding over the crackers. Next sliced bananas, then Cool Whip. Repeat the layers. Refrigerate until your ready to use it. I also made gluten free banana bread that disappeared quickly. Although I think more ended up in my tummy then in the kids’. 🙂

When studying faithfulness I learned the bible has a lot of verses that talk about God’s faithfulness. I really stressed that with the kids. Especially on the days with the story of Noah and the rainbow. It’s important for kids to understand from an early age that God is faithful. This day is full of unfaithfulness. They need to know without a doubt what is stable in this world. That they can trust God. Of all the things they are to learn in this lesson I would say that knowing God is faithful, stable and dependablt is the most important.

Fruit of the Spirit Summer: Goodness

P1000628This week I enjoyed looking into the goodness of the fruit I picked for the week, blueberries. Blueberries are packed with health benefits. All berries have great health benefits but of them all blueberries are the best, health wise. From the research I did I found these little blue berries fight age-related diseases, are an anti-inflammatory, fights depression, improves learning abilities, reduce cancer risk, are great for heart health and skin health. WOW!!! I figured with all this seemingly super abilities our blueberries deserved a cape. P1000615 My 12 year old thought I was a little weird take a picture of a bowl of blueberries with a cape. LOL!!! It was entertaining.

So, the first day I introduced the kids to blueberries and told them in simple language the benefits of them. I connected the benefits of the blueberry to the benefits the Lord gives us. For example He helps our hearts. As our hearts are changed we begin seeing things through His eyes. He reduces our risk of getting spiritual cancers and diseases that eat away at us as we become more and more set apart for Him. Let’s certainly not forget that He fights depression. I stand as a witness to this. The Lord healed me from depression. It was a process but I am no longer on depression medication. The goodness between the Lord and the blueberry is similar. Who else could make such a magnificent fruit besides our Magnificent Creator.

After talking to them about the goodness of the blueberry and of the Lord, the kids ate some blueberries. Then we cut out our paper blueberries and taped them in our paper fruit baskets.

There are SO many verses that talk about the goodness of God. So day two I talked to the kids about how God is SO good. We can see through creation as early as Genesis chapter one how good God is. Several times after creating things the bible says God saw “that it was good”. This is also a good day to talk about the memory verse. “Let us not become tired ofP1000624 doing good. At the right time we will gather a crop if we don’t give us.” Galatians 6:9 (New International Readers Version for Young Readers) I also found a coloring sheet for the kids online of a farmer in his corn field. This was such great timing with the crops coming up in the summer. It helped the kids relate to this verse.

Day three we learned that Jesus is our Good Shepherd. There is a lesson in the Bob Jones 1st grade Bible lessons that helps explain it. It uses the story of the lost sheep from Luke 15: 3-7. This story is also a good lead into tomorrow’s lesson. I used a coloring sheet from ministry-to-children.com to reinforce Jesus is our Good Shepherd. The kids tried gluten-free blueberry pancakes. My oldest was the only one who liked them.

Day four we talked about the Good News of the gospel. I explained to them what that was and encouraged them to talk to people about the Good News of Christ. We had gluten-free cupcakes with blueberries for a snack. Mighty tasty!!!

Day five we learned we can let God’s love shine through us by being kind, loving, patient, etc… Look at that! Those are the fruit of the Spirit! We talked about how they all work together. We read the story of the Good Samaritan as an example of how God’s goodness can shine through us.

When we focus on the goodness of God in our lives it causes us to be thankful and makes it easier to shine His goodness to others.

Ref Mom

I’m not sure if it’s because we’re on summer break and maybe my kids have had to much time together but it seems they’ve been arguing and fighting more then normal. My husband jokes that he’s going to get me a ref shirt because of all the arguments I settle in a day. They argue over silly little things. Although to them it is a big deal and the emotions they feel are very real. My overall question to them when they argue is, “Is this how we should be treating our brother or sister?” I’ve notice the common root of the problem is usually selfishness. I’m trying to teach them to think about others first. It’s not an easy concept for them to want to be a part of. Human nature is naturally selfish. Only with the help of God’s Holy Spirit do we learn to “think of others as being better then ourselves.” (Phil. 2:3b)

It will be good to get back in the routine of school. That structure helps them know what is expected of them. They have less of a chance of getting into trouble because they are busy with schoolwork and not as concerned about their own agenda.

I think God needs a really BIG ref shirt. His children are constantly arguing with each other. Sometimes over silly things. Sometimes over big things but every time the people involved don’t feel like their argument is silly. They’re emotions are real. The pain and hurt that conflict causes is real. It deeply saddens me to see friendships end, families split apart, churches split and even nations go to war over differences we have with one another. Why are we so ready to pick up our armor and use it against each other. A couple years ago the Lord gave me a picture of a warrior in God’s army on the battlefield fully dressed in the armor of God. The warrior had two sets of gear for battle. One larger then the other. The larger of the two sets was the Lord’s armor and was gleaming silver. The smaller set was a reddish rust color and not a complete set. At times the warrior would fumble between the two gears. He/She would always have to put down God’s shield of faith when trading pieces. The warrior was not standing in battle ready position but was looking around on the ground at the gear and bent down to trade off. It was very ungraceful and uncoordinated. Although the Sword from God’s armor the warrior kept.

These are two sets of battle gear many of us Christians have. The silver one we know about because it’s God’s armor talked about in the bible. The second set is the gear we use when we go in battle against our fellow warriors, our brothers and sisters in Christ. It is a smaller set because it is a weaker set but still has the power to hurt and do damage. It’s incomplete and doesn’t hold God’s power. We always have to put down our shield of faith when fighting against each other and don’t have God’s protection. We keep the Sword, the Word of Truth in our hands but we use it against each other and strike each other with it. This causes damaging blows in the family of God.

The armor of God gleams and shines His light. It’s crisp and clean. The reddish set is tainted and stained with the blood of past kills. The blood is rotting away the armor.

When we are picking up the other equipment or are trying to decide which piece to use, our eyes are off God. They’re not focused on the battle or the task at hand and we are very clumsy, uncoordinated and weak. We are not protected from the advancing enemy’s attacks and we do not posses grace.

This image gave me a clearer picture of how we may look when we are attacking each other in the body of Christ.

Yes, we have differences. We need to learn when to fight for those differences and when to agree to disagree. In any situation, we do want to stand up for biblical truths. We also need to know when to prioritize the relationship over the conflict. Will this truth set someone free or are we at a point of tearing each other down? Which will do the greater good? Which will give God more glory? Winning this battle or keeping this relationship? There is a time for each. Among all the other things we are pointing out that the bible says lets always remember it also says we should be loving and gentle to each other. Building each other up in the Lord. You may be right about the topic but wrong in the way you are handling it. Lean in to the Holy Spirit and He will show you what to do.

“Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” I Peter 3:15

Fruit of the Spirit Summer ; Kindness

We are half way through our study on fruit of the Spirit. It’s been a good summer. The fact that my 3year old decided to give potty-training another go around and that he’s been successful has made it an even better summer for me. That means I am no longer changing diapers/pull-ups several times a day for the first time in eight years. I’m totally excited!!!

However, the week we were to do kindness I got sick. I tried to push through but something in me said it would be wiser to take a break and get better. So that’s what we did. We took a two week total break. No bible class or reading or math. Nothing school related. That’s rare for me. Since we did part of this week then started up again two weeks later I will write out the days that it would make sense to do it in, which is not the way I did it.

These lessons were pretty easy. I chose cherries for the fruit this week. (I have no rhyme or reason for that.) The memory verse was Colossians 3:12 “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” For the first day (if I did it again) I would talk about what kindness is and tell them the verse. When I went through the verse with my kids I talked P1000599about what all the words meant. How we wear things like anger, joy and kindness kind of like we wear clothes. My oldest was gone that week so it was just my 5 and 7 year old at bible class. I didn’t expect them to learn the whole verse since it was long with bigger words. Just “clothe yourselves with kindness.” They colored, cut and taped their cherries in their paper fruit baskets. For snack, plain fresh cherries of course. I had to take the pits out for them.

For day two, three and four I read them bible stories (or a summary of them) that showed kindness. I read the story found in Genesis 13:1-12 of Abram and Lot from the Bob Jones 1st grade bible lessons. This is when Abram lets Lot chose which land he wants. The second bible story I read them was the story of Ruth and how Ruth and Boaz showed kindness. You can find this in Ruth 1:19-2:23. They had this lesson in the Bob Jones bible lessons too. My last bible story is from II Samuel 9:1-13 after King David became king. He found Mephibosheth, a relative of King Saul, and showed him kindness. I also gave the kids examples of situations and they had to tell me if that person was showing kindness or not. Such as; Jill shared her candy with Courtney or Susie called Carolyn unkind names.

By day five my oldest daughter was back home so I had the other two “help” me teach her by telling her what we learned. It was fun for them to “teach” their older sister. Then they all colored the kindness picture from ministy-to-children.com.

Kindness is such an important character trait for our kids to have. Finding people who have true kindness in them…you know, more then being nice on the surface, is becoming more rare. The Lord has been working on me with this the last several months. It takes a perspective change and a true change of heart to be kind to your enemy and those who rub you the wrong way. However, it’s a character trait worth working on. In both our children and ourselves.

Hair Show

Recently the Lord has been showing me the direction He wants me to be in right now. It is NOT what my plans were. I really feel I heard from the Lord to go in a certain direction over six months ago, so that is what I’ve been focusing on. I’ve been very excited for the big change I thought would be taking place in my life and the life of my family. Now it seems I have to give that up, or at the very least put it on the back burner. I’ve been having a really hard time with it. I can’t believe He’s calling me to the group of people that He may be calling me to now. I keep asking the Lord, “Are you sure?” and “Are you serious? Out of all the people in the world, that is where you want me to be?” Do you hear the unwillingness in my voice? I learned long ago God is not bothered by our emotion. It doesn’t throw Him for a loop. He is able to handle anger, confusion, sarcasm or anything else you say to Him. Certainly we should be respectful of Him however we don’t need to try to hide our feelings from Him. He knows how we feel better then we do.

I want to be on the same page as the Lord. I want to be all in in what He wants to do in my life. So now there has been this conflict going on in me as my flesh is finding the will of God. I want to make sure I was really hearing God several months ago. I still think I was but the Lord is also showing me often times He doesn’t fulfill the promises He gives to His people right away. Many biblical figures had to wait years, even decades before God’s promises were fulfilled in their lives. He’s reminding me He hasn’t forgotten about me.

Then I ran across several prayers I typed out from different points in my life asking the Lord to use me. I recalled the many times I’ve told the Lord I would do whatever He wants me to. Then the Lord brought to my memory the hair show I was in about ten years ago. If you’re not familiar with a hair show it’s when hair stylists come to see new hair styles, colors, cuts and products. To be in the show some people had to look at my hair to decide if they could use me. The 2000_01_01_00_03only catch is I had to allow them to do anything they want to my hair. Cut, color, style…I had no say in the matter but they did pay me. Up to this point I always had long brown hair. I had a couple perms in middle school but that was it. So my hair was pretty healthy. They decided to cut and color half of my head before the show and do the other half on stage in front of the stylist attending the conference. After they finished my hair I walked down the catwalk with the other models. The music was thumping as the bright lights shined on us. It was fun and worth the risk of a crazy hair-do. My hair was in a style I never would have chosen. It didn’t fit my personality but I welcomed the change knowing my hair would grow back. The experience was one I won’t forget.

I realized I need to have the same attitude with God that I did with the hair show. To say, “Lord, whatever you want to do is fine with me.” Sure I could have told the hair stylists I didn’t want my hair that way but then I wouldn’t have been in the show and I wouldn’t have gotten paid. Just like when I tell the Lord use me but not in this way or to those people or in that city. I can do that but I won’t be able to be used by Him and I won’t reap the rewards of having that experience. On the other hand when I say yes to God I’ll get to walk the path He has for me and the light that will be shining on me is the light of God shining through me. That IS something I want to be a part of.

That is my heart but I’m still saddened to give up this other thing. It’s like a piece of me has to die. Dying is painful and hard. I was comforted when I remembered when Jesus was praying before He was arrested. He did not want to go though the suffering He was about to endure. Yet He quickly said to the Father, “Not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) As much as I want to I should not put contengencies on the Lord but instead trust Him to use me in the way He sees best. That’s not always easy but the Lord has been working me through this. I can always count on Him to be faithful and loving. 

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Fruit of the Spirit Summer; Patience…A lesson for all

My 3 year old son loves grapes but he has a hard time waiting for me to pick the grapes off the cluster and wash them. Some days he does okay waiting but other days… he is not patient for his grapes. So when deciding which fruit should represent this weeks fruit of the Spirit, patience, I had to chose grapes. Our memory verse was “…Be patient with each other…” Ephesians 4:2

Day one we learned what patience is. Click here to view the lesson.  patience part 1  Then we colored, cut and taped our paper grapes into our fruit baskets. We had grapes for a snack.

Day two we learned that the Lord is patient with us. Click here to see the lesson.  Patience part 2  I gave a quick summary of Jonah. There were several times the Lord was patient with Jonah in this story (and of course He was patient with the Ninevites). Then we made a Jonah and the whale craft that I found in a book I had. There was a fish template I could copy for the kids. They colored and cut out their fish. Then we taped it on an envelope that was folded in half with one layer cut at the fold so they could put their hand in it like a puppet. They also colored and cut out a Jonah that was supposed to be made into a finger puppet but I taped them to a Popsicle stick instead. They all had fun with this craft. I especially liked the purple eyelashes my 5 year old added to her fish. We had peanuts and raisins for a snack.

Day three I was a little more laid back. My little girl has been begging to paint for awhile. So today the kids watched the Veggie Tales Jonah movie while they painted.

Day four we talked about our memory verse and what it means to be patient with each other. Click here for the lesson.  Patience part 3  For snack they had grape jello.

Day five…what a surprise this day was for me. You can plan things but life just happens and today was one of those days. It was a lesson for mom. My plan was to review with the kids what they learned this week and make sure they knew their memory verse. Then I was going to make oatmeal raisin cookies for them.

That morning my son felt a little yucky, probably just a cold. He was lounging around on the couch watching movies. I felt sorry for him so I let him be and wasn’t in a hurry to do bible class. On Fridays I like to take it easier anyway. I decided to make the cookies first and talk to them about the weeks lessons after the cookies were done. It was a recipe I never used before. We are gluten free but this wasn’t a gluten free recipie. Not a problem. I’ve switched ingredients around before to make food gluten free. I mixed it all up and put them in the oven. Soon the smell of cookies was wafting through the house. I turned on the oven light to see how they were doing. All the cookies had spread out and blended together. What I had was a baking sheet size oatmeal cookie. I gasped a little, “Oh no!” Then I thought, “No problem. I can cut them up into bars.” After the cookies…now one big cookie, had cooled I tried to cut them into squares but something wasn’t right. They smelled wonderful but they didn’t look edible. I don’t know what was wrong with them. I rechecked the recipie and couldn’t figure out what I did wrong other make them gluten free. I was frustrated as I threw the whole thing out. I don’t like wasting ingredients. It was lunchtime so I refocused on lunch.

After a couple hours I decided to try the cookies again. This time with a true gluten free recipe. As I put the cookies in the oven I was praying they would turn out. When I took them out they were not only edible but actually tasted good too. I sat the kids at the table and we discussed what we learned this week. Then I added how sometimes we need to be patient with ourselves. Like when we learn to tie our shoes or ride a bike or do new math problems. We may not get it at first but we need to be patient with ourselves.

This week’s lesson was a good lesson. We all had a heightened awareness of all the times we need to be patient and most of the time we need to be patient with someone else. It is inevitable in life that we will have to wait. So becoming good at waiting would serve us well.