Stories Through Genesis (part two)

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As promised, here is part two of lessons to take my kids through the stories in Genesis. In part one I shared which stories in the first half of Genesis I did and how I reached the 6-14 age range of my four kids. For the second half of Genesis I switched things up a bit to keep Bible class from getting stale. I thought about what I really wanted my kids to get from this. I want those seeds to be planted in their hearts that grow their faith in the Lord, that help them realize God is a God worthy of our trust. To fall in love with the Lord even more. So I decided to present this in a more laid back atmosphere. Before we sat at the dining room table with notebooks ready to take notes. This time we sat on the couch in the living room as I stood at the front of the room and simply read the story, with dramatic flair as if it were a skit…that’s how I read stories to my kids. It worked well. They were so into the stories that a few lessons I had planned to stretch out for a few days, but they were on the edge of their seats and wanted me to read on. Since teaching the Bible, especially to my children, is one of my favorite things to do I gladly continued.

We would discuss the story, sometimes while I read if I wanted to be sure they were understanding it, but usually discussion waited until the end of the story. We talked about what we liked and what we didn’t like. This usually brought up good points I wanted them to see weaved through the stories. Many times I would be sure to stop and ask the Lord if there was anything else He wanted to bring to our attention before closing Bible class for that day. This is always a good thing to do and a good example for your kids that listening to the Lord doesn’t have to be difficult and should be a regular part of life.

Along with the reading I also continued to use the A Beka Bible flashcards. WeP1040801 happened to have some for the story of Joseph. The kids took turns being my helper. Also I had the kids act out the story a few times. They loved that. The boys were surprised I was instructing them to wrestle when they were acting out Jacob wrestling God. It kept everyone engaged.

It was truly a joy doing these stories with my kids. Since then when there’s been a reference to something in Genesis I’ve seen a light bulb go off with my two older ones. It’s helped them understand devotions or even our Pastor better. I’m so glad I went through this with them. As with all the Bible lessons I teach I will probably go through this with them again in several years. It will be interesting to see how my approach will change. May the Lord bring you closerjohn-17-17 to your kids as you teach them these foundational truths and may you and your kids grow closer to the Lord because of His amazing Word.

Here’s a list of how I separated the sections. I will note that Joseph’s brothers, brother’s return, and Joseph’s silver I did in one day. Jacob to Egypt and The famine was another one day lesson and also the last two sections from Genesis 48 to the end I did in one day. My kids were so interested that we kept on moving but do what works best for your family or the kids you are teaching.

Story: Found in Genesis:

Jacob & Esau 25:5-11, 19-34

Jacob & Esau part two 27:1-40

Jacob flees 27:41-28:9

Jacob’s dream 28:10-22

Jacob marries 29:14-30

Jacob’s children 29:31-30:24

Jacob flees Laban 31:1-7, 12-37,40-55

Jacob sends gifts and wrestles God 32:3-32

Jacob & Esau make peace 33:1-20

Jacob returns to Bethel, family death 35:9-20,23-29

Joseph’s dreams 37:1-11

Joseph sold into slavery 37:12-36

Joseph & Pother’s Wife 39:1-23

Interprets 2 dreams 40:1-23

Pharaoh’s dreams 41:1-57

Joseph’s brothers 42:1-38

Brother’s return 43:1-34

Joseph’s silver cup 44-45:23

Jacob goes to Egypt 45:24-46:6, 46:28-47:12

Famine continues 47:13-31

Jacob blesses grandsons 48:1-49, 49:28

Jacob’s death 49:29-50:26

Exercise

It’s been about eighteen months since I had a double hernia surgery. After surgery, the surgeon said he was surprised at how fragile my skin was inside – like an older person’s skin. To prevent my skin from being frail like this he said I need to work on my core strength. This lit a fire in me to get stronger. First I had to be patient with my body and give it time to heal from the surgery. Finally, about six months after surgery, I was disciplined enough to start exercising with my kids. In the second week of working out I hurt my shoulder. That set me back and I didn’t start exercising after my shoulder healed. I wanted to, but didn’t make time for it like I should have.

A couple of months ago I woke up to pain in my lower back. It hurt to sit, I couldn’t walk well. Even putting on my socks was painful for me. There’s only one other time I remember back pain that bad. After much prayer for healing and taking pain medicine for about two weeks, I decided I to go to the chiropractor. I asked her what I could do to keep my back from getting injured like this. Her answer – good core strength. Immediately I flashed back to when the surgeon had said the same thing. I took this as a second warning stretchingto take better care of my body and especially work on my core strength. I was motivated again but, just like last time, I had to give my body time to heal properly first. The doctor gave me stretches to do to help my lower back. I tried to do them but at first the pain was too much. With each visit the pain would lessen. I tested my body every few days to see if I could start stretching. Finally, after about five visits I was feeling like myself again. This time however, I’ve been staying faithful with exercising.

I wasn’t sure how to workout with the kids around then I found a way to include them. I figured they could use the workout too. Plus, if they learn the routine of taking care of their body now, they’re just that much better off for the future. A few weeks before I started stretching with the kids, I took my youngest daughter to the doctor because she had been complaining that her knees were hurting. The physician suspected juvenile arthritis and ran some blood tests. It seemed like forever for those test results to come back. So many people were praying for that little girl. I love that even in the children’s room at church the kids and the teacher laid hands on her to pray for her healing. The test results came back negative. Praise the Lord! A trusted friend of ours, who is also a pediatrician, was able to pinpoint that her thigh muscles need to be stronger to keep her kneecap from moving side to side. Again, exercise was what the doctor ordered.

This put the icing on the cake. It was now more important to me than ever to strengthen my body and show my kids how to strengthen theirs. It’s not that I was sitting around before this. Raising four kids, taking care of the house and homeschooling does not allow you to do much sitting. But I can’t just expect to stay healthy. This has to be something I’m intentional about. I have to train my body. I have to be purposeful about what area of my body I’m strengthening because just living life will not get all the systems in shape.

I want to take a minute and speak directly to moms of young children. You need to make the time to take care of yourself. You need to get those core muscles back in shape to have good health. It’s so easy to get focused on the kids. Taking time out to take care of yourself gives your kids a happier, healthier mom who can keep up with the physical demands of mothering. For so long I’ve been focused on taking care of the kids and the house and have neglected working out. I want my family and I to be healthy. We’ve made some pretty major changes on our eating habits in the last two years and it has really helped. However, diet alone won’t fix it. It’s easy to say you don’t have time but when something is really important to you, you make time. Make it a family exercise time. There are videos specifically for kids to get fit. Even just a few minutes will help. If you don’t get fit now, it will effect you later.

I love God’s Word. I love digging into it and finding all the different treasures hidden there. jewelI love learning about the many faucets of God. I picture it like picking up a jewel and discovering the beauty on every side. I realized digging into God’s Word is for our spirit like exercising is for our body. The Lord has given us new life and put His Holy Spirit inside us but it is up to us to determine if we are going to strengthen our spirit with reading His Word and letting it transform us. Just like the surgeon gave me a chance the live a healthy life through the surgery he performed, yet it’s not his job to be sure I get healthy and strong. That’s up to me by how well I care for myself. Did I rest when I needed to? Do I exercise? Am I taking in the proper nutrition? Am I walking away from things that are not God’s best for me? You can look at this in the physical aspect or a spiritual one. I think we need to look at both. Both our body and spirit need to be taken care of.

I’m not wanting to get fit to have good looks. I am wanting to be strong so the Lord can use me whenever and wherever He wants. I want to go when He tells me to go and do what He tells me to do. I want to be healthy to prevent sickness and injury that would slow me down from doing anything the Lord calls me to. Also, I want to be an example for my kids so they too can live a healthy life.

Driving Into The Storm

I had a rough week. I was stressed and really needed a break—a chance to breathe. My church small group was a few days away and I was looking forward to it. This was my chance to get out of the house and chat with other adults. The day of small group finally arrived. A few hours before leaving we checked the weather. A few storms were brewing and could be rolling into our area. I don’t mind rain, thunder or even lightning but I can do without high winds and hail. My husband and I checked into what kind of storms were brewing and they were forecasting the light kind –the kind I could handle. We knew we could be driving into the storm on our forty-five minute trip home but decided to go ahead anyway.

Sure enough, by the end of our time at small group the dark clouds we dominating the sky in the direction we needed to go. As I was getting into the car I comforted myself that this would be just rain, thunder and some lightning. Although in the back of my mind I know the weather around here well enough to know that could change. Pushing those thoughts aside, I took a deep breath and felt assured we’d be okay. Besides, I needed to stay calm so the kids wouldn’t be scared.

As we set out down the road I prayed out loud that the Lord would keep us safe. I was doing well at staying light-hearted and kept checking to see if the kids were frightened — especially my eight-year-old son who is more afraid of storms than the other kids. To my surprise he started laughing at the way the raindrops were splattering on the windshield.

The ominously dark clouds were blocking all the light from the sun. My husband decided to take a different road than we normally take. He thought the alternate route would put more light on the street, but it didn’t give as much as he hoped for. Oddly enough it was the lightning that ended up giving us the light we needed.

We continued cautiously down the road. My husband turned on the radio to get weather updates. The rain beat harder and in bigger drops. The radio announced a severe thunderstorm warning with possibilities of hail and winds up to sixty miles per hour. I went from cautious to worried. I watched the rain drops beat harder against the pavement. It looked as if some of the drops were bouncing back up off the highway. The drops had a hard, solid look to them. Was that hail? I studied them a bit more when something on the side of the road caught my eye. There were white piles of what appeared to be snow in the grass. It was hail! I went from worried to panicking. In my mind I figured the next thing to come would be the high winds. We can’t stand against those well in our car. “Can we pull off somewhere?,” I asked my husband. He said he was looking for a place to stop. It seemed to take forever to get to our pull off point, though it was probably only a few minutes.

By the time we pulled off to a parking lot, the rain had started to slow down. My husband called his dad to have him check the weather map to see if we should wait it out or keep heading down the road. About that time my son pointed out the clearing skies in the distance. The sun shining through made a radical difference in how things appeared. The weather map said our destination was clear. We had gone though the worst of it. With that assurance and the clearing skies ahead of us we set off again. Though there was daylight in the distance, I still wasn’t at peace. It took awhile to come down from being panicked.

As I looked back on our adventure in my mind, I wondered if we were driving into a storm in our life. The storms of life often come as a surprise to us, but at other times we know we’re driving into them. Last November my husband was let go from his job. His boss decided to close part of the shop. That evening as my family and I stood in a circle to pray before bed, tears streamed down as my faith and fear were colliding. The kids looked concerned to see me crying. “Everything is going to be okay,” I told them, “God will take care of us.” And He has been faithful. He’s kept food on our table, our bills are paid and the kids had one of the best Christmas’ ever thanks to the generosity of God’s people.

My husband decided to start his own business. At first it went very well. We weren’t even telling people about it and God kept bringing people to our door. I thought surely this will go well for us. Then it all stopped. No calls. No one coming to the door…nothing. After three months of this my husband decided to start looking for a job and forget about the business. Looking for a job, however, can be a job in itself.

Now I’m sitting here wondering how long this storm is going to last. Unfortunately there is no doppler radar for life. We can’t tell if we’ve gone through the worst of it yet or not. We can call on our Heavenly Father though. He will be sure to light our way no matter how intimidating and ominous the dark clouds may look – even if He has to light our way with lightning. He will not leave us in the dark.

No matter what storm of life I’m in, I must remember to keep my eyes focused on Him and trust Him and the promises in His Word. The bank account numbers and incoming bills may tempt me to worry or even panic like I did when I saw the rain beating down hard and hail piled on the side of the road. I must remember to trust God’s voice when He says He will provide for me. If I believe my circumstances or the voice of others I will become panicked like I did on our drive. His voice is the One I need to trust.

The LORD Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Deuteronomy 31:8

You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their time of distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. Isaiah 25:4 (NIV)

For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor; no good thing does He withhold from those whose walk is blameless. Psalm 84:11

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:8 (NIV)

I Surrender All

March marks the beginning signs of spring, my favorite time of year. The days are getting longer. The bitter cold of winter begins to roll out as the weather gets warmer and calmer. The lawns turn green, the trees bud as they awaken from their long winters rest. Splashes of color dot the landscape in flowers. All of nature awakens to the glow of new life. But this year I have an even better reason to be excited for the month of March. This March, I celebrate fifteen years since I’ve rededicated my life to Christ.

My mom taught me about Jesus as early as I could understand. I was about four or five when I gave my life to Christ. I loved the Lord even as a child. I remember reading my Children’s Bible before I went to bed at night and singing hymns in the middle of the night when I was afraid of the dark. I sensed His presence with me even as a little girl. When I reached high school, I became more interested in my boyfriend than what the Lord wanted me to do. I fell away from walking with the Lord. For seven years I tried living life my own way. It wasn’t working. I felt like I was walking around with a dark, weighty cloud on me.

When I was twenty-three years old, my husband was working with a Christian guy. One day, out of nowhere, I got a phone call from this man’s wife wanting to know if I’d be interested in going to her church for a women’s gathering with her and a van full of other women. But she had to know right away because they were leaving now. I thought, “Are you kidding me? I don’t even know you. I don’t think so.” Somehow, what came out of my mouth was, “Sure, I’ll go.” I hung up the phone and thought, what just happened? Why did I say yes? I need to call her back and tell her to forget it. Then I remembered she was probably already on her way. So I went anyway.

When we got to the church I went through the motions of doing what everyone else was. I sang when they sang and listened to the message, but my heart was not open. By the middle of the speaker’s message I figured I already knew what she was going to say. After all, I’ve heard all these Bible stories when I was a kid. Nothing new here. As she was closing I wondered why I even came. We all stood to sing some closing songs. We began singing “I Surrender All” when something in my heart clicked. I…surrender…ALL. Everything!
My home, my marriage, my finances. All in His hands. My life!

It’s as if the Lord reached out of that song and grabbed my heart. I began to sob as God was working on me. The woman who brought me asked if I wanted to get prayed for. Through my tears I said no and continued to cry. She said “Are you sure?” “Yes, I’m sure” I said. So we all went home.

The next day on my living room floor, I knelt down and prayed to return to my first true love, Jesus. That next Sunday the couple came and picked me up for church. It was a beautiful church. It wasn’t the building that made it beautiful, it was the people. It was a beauty I had never seen. In this large church there were rows of people pouring there hearts out to God in praise. You could see Jesus reflecting off their faces. I couldn’t keep my eyes from scanning these people and I just kept thinking, “How beautiful!”

Later in that service there was an altar call and I asked my friend if she would go up with me. I knew it was important to make my decision public, even though I had made my decision for Christ earlier that week. So my friend and I went forward and I made my decision for Christ public March of 2000. It felt like a big weight was lifted from me.

That moment changed my life and I’ve never been the same. I know what it’s like to live life apart from Christ and I know what it’s like to live life with Christ. I never want to live without Christ again. I am so thankful for the gift of salvation the Lord has given me. It is the greatest treasure I could ever have. However, this celebration isn’t just about a choice I made one day. It’s also that every day since God has walked by my side. Leading me, sometimes carrying me, in this journey of life. My life has taken twists and turns I never thought I’d be on. Each step of the way the Lord has been faithful to me. He’s restored me and healed me physically, spiritually, and relationally. It’s been a great journey with the Lord. One that gets better as you go. The joy and peace I’ve experienced walking faithfully with the Lord is better than anything this world could ever offer. Praise the Lord for His gift of salvation and faithfulness to me!

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved. Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)

And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns. Philippians 1:6 (NLT)

I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 9:1 (NIV)

The Perfect Fit

 

My seven year old son has gotten the majority of his clothes 2nd hand from generous people who wanted to bless us. So thankful for those people. However, now he has holes in almost all his jeans. Most days we say home and do school so holes aren’t a big deal. There has been a few times though we’ve had to run to the store and I didn’t think about his jeans until we’re in the cold winter air and he says his knees are cold. The holes were buggging both him and I, so as soon as we had a little extra money we bought him some new jeans. We discovered he needs slim jeans which, didn’t surprise me. Both of my boys are skinny guys. When we got home he tried on his new jeans. “They don’t fit.” he said. I took a look and they fit perfect. I said, “What do you mean they don’t fit they look perfect.” Then I remembered my sons way of putting on clothes and I asked him, “Did you try to put these on without unsnapping or unzipping them first?” “Yeah”, he said. “You’re not supposed to be able to put on pants without unsnapping and unzipping them first. You’re just used to your clothes not fitting right. These are perfect on you.” To show him they fit well I had him run down the hall and into his room and back. I said, “See, your pants didn’t fall down, did they.”

 

The next day I picked up another pair for him. Same size but a little different style. I took them home and told him to try them on. “They don’t fit again.” he said and appeared before me. I took one look and said, “You tried them on without unbuttoning and unzipping them again, didn’t you?” “Oops, I forgot.” he said. He had gotten so used to his clothes fitting wrong that he thought that’s how they were supposed to be.

 

I think as Christians we can go through our daily life and forget that God has clothed us in garments of salvation and in robes of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10) We get bogged down with things of this world that we forget we don’t have to wear despair as a part of our life anymore. Before we were saved that was all we knew but now that we’ve accepted Christ He has given us garments of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He’s given us a crown of beauty instead of ashes. (Isaiah 61:3)

 

Sometimes we accept wrong standards of this world as being right, just like my son accepted being able to put on his clothes without unbuttoning them as normal. Now there’s not a huge difference between size 6 regular and size 6 slim but there’s enough difference that he can run without having to hold his pants up. We can’t move through our Christian walk very well either when we’ve accepted the wrong fit. When we clothe ourselves with humility, kindness, compassion, gentleness and patience (Colossians 3:12, I Peter 5:5) we find ourselves walking in step with our Savior. We can do so much more work for the Lord when we clothe ourselves this way. When we remember how God has clothed us, with salvation, righteousness, and beauty we can live victorious lives. This is the perfect fit for us.

 

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Stepping out in Faith

Recently the Lord has been asking me to take some very large steps of faith. I’ve been excited and happy to do it but I find fear wants me to doubt and not follow where God’s will is taking me. I was having this battle when the Lord gave me this very clear picture.

What would happen if the fully developed child in the womb said he didn’t want to go anywhere for fear of the unknown? “I don’t know the world out there. Here it’s safe. What if I go out and don’t like it there? Once I go out I can never come back to the way things are now. Also, here I’m fed and don’t feel the pain of hunger?”

 

If the child stayed in the womb he would miss out on the greatest things of life. Sure, the sun may be bright at first but after awhile his eyes adjust and the light of day and the warmth of the sun becomes welcome. If the child stayed inside he would never know the love of his mother . To be held in her arms and her kisses on his face.

Not only would he never know these things but the womb, the place that’s comfortable, that he knows so well to keep him safe, will soon become an enemy for him. He has outgrown this place. He can not mature anymore in this place. It can no longer supply enough food to keep the child growing. It’s confining him. Restricting him from stretching and moving. What he needs now is to move out of this place to gain strength in his muscles. Though he will feel the resistance of gravity it will assist him greatly in his growth and should be embraced.

Though he fears the pain of hunger he does not understand that to stay in this confined place would be sentencing himself to starvation. He must feel the pain of hunger to get a new supply of food, a perfect food, that will flow in abundance just for him. Then he can truly drink and be satisfied.”

The Lord calls us all to go deeper with Him. To take a step of faith. Some steps are bigger and harder then others. When you find yourself wrestling with doubt or fear remember this picture of the baby that needs to leave the womb to grow and enjoy the next season of life. You never have to be afraid when you are in the center of God’s will.

Thanksgiving week three and four

At the beginning of November I started a four week study of Thanksgiving with the kids for school.  Week one we studied the American History of Thanksgiving.  Week two we learned bible stories of thanksgiving. Week three didn’t end up happening because I had surgery but what I was going to teach the kids was why we should be thankful and different ways we can show our gratitude.  At http://www.LittleBlots.com I found a picture of indian corn the kids could color called The Colors of Salvation.  It’s a good reminder that the most important thing to be thankful for is our salvation. 

At www.Hem-of-His-Garment-Bible-Study.org I found a lesson, called “Is It All About The Turkey?”, that teaches praise and worship as a way of showing thanks to the Lord.  The last lesson is about King David being thankful for all God had given him.  He wanted to do his part in giving to the work of building God’s temple. He gave materials of stone, jewels and marbles.  The other leaders also began to give materials.  This story is a good way to go from being thankful to the Christmas season of giving.  We were going to spend some time brainstorming things we could do to help others this Christmas season.  I got this lesson from http://ministry-to-children.com 

Week four I was going to leave open for any fun stuff we wanted to do or have make-up time for things we weren’t able to do.  I always like to schedule make-up time in my homeschool schedule because life happens. 🙂  Life certainly happened this year but I think I’ll just save my last two weeks for next year. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and let thankfulness and love motivate you through the Christmas season.

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