Daily Devos: God Sets His Bow in the Clouds

GOD SETS HIS BOW IN THE CLOUDS:  GENESIS 9:8-17 NRSV

PRAYER OF THE WEEK:

Dear God, we thank you that you set your bow in the clouds, and that you remember how much you love us.  Help us to always be aware of the greatness of your love for us.  Amen.

COLORING PAGE OF THE WEEK:

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Find the original post with this coloring page here:  https://longingjesus.wordpress.com/awana-weekly-verse-reminders/#more-399

BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK:

8God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9“As for me, I am establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you, 10and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the domestic animals, and every animal of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark. 11I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of a flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13I have set my bow in the clouds, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.”

QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK: 

What do you think of when you experience a storm? What do you think of when you see a rainbow?  What does God think of?  What are some of the ways that you remember that God loves you?

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Daily Devos: An Unclean Spirit Mark 1:21-28

Here is a new section of Family God Time:  Daily Devos!  In our family, we read the verses for the day while the food is being served for supper, and discuss the questions as we eat.  We pray the prayer before we leave the table.

You can get the whole week of devotions in a pdf file here:  Daily Devos Book Unclean Spirit 18

I hope this time will be a holy time for you and your family!

A MAN WITH AN UNCLEAN SPIRIT:  MARK 1:21-28

Be silent

Prayer of the Week:  Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are powerful, and that you see us for who we really are.  Help us to hear your Word and gladly learn it.  In your name we pray, Amen.

SUNDAY

MARK 1:21 [Jesus and his disciples] went to Capernaum; and when the sabbath came, he entered the synagogue and taught.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Do you worship God with your family on Sundays?  What is that experience like?  Why do you think that Jesus decided to go to church (the synagogue) and teach?

MONDAY

MARK 1:22 They were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

BIG QUESTIONS:  What do you think it would have been like to be taught by Jesus?  Who is someone in your life who you trust to teach you?

TUESDAY

MARK 1:23-24 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Have you ever recognized someone who you haven’t seen for a long time?  What was that experience like?  Why do you think that an unclean spirit recognized Jesus?

WEDNESDAY

MARK 1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Has anyone ever told you that you had to be quiet?  What was that experience like?  Why do you think that Jesus told the unclean spirit to be quiet and come out of the man?

THURSDAY

MARK 1:26 And the unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him.

BIG QUESTIONS:  How do you think the man who was released from the unclean spirit felt about Jesus?  Why do you think that it matters that unclean spirits listen to and obey Jesus?

FRIDAY

MARK 1:27 They were all amazed, and they kept on asking one another, “What is this? A new teaching—with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him.”

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who are some people who have authority over you?  What is that experience like?  Why do you think the crowd was so confused by Jesus’ power and authority?

SATURDAY

MARK 1:28 At once his fame began to spread throughout the surrounding region of Galilee.

BIG QUESTIONS:  Who is the most famous person that you have ever met?  What was that experience like?  What famous person would you like to meet?  Why?  How do you think Jesus felt about becoming famous?

Thanksgiving 2017: Psalm 118

Each year at our family Thanksgiving meal, we try to do some kind of activity that reminds us that we give thanks, not just in general, but also specifically to God.  This year, we will do this through an art project for the picture window in dining room.

A few weeks ago, I introduced the idea of giving thanks to my kids with a craft I found at Michael’s:

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We hung them on the inside of our picture window, facing out, along with some leaf stickers on waxed paper.  The kids couldn’t wait to take a picture:

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They have been so excited to share their art installation that I thought we would include our family members who are joining us for Thanksgiving.  Before dinner, each person will get a stack of paper leaves:

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Here is the file to print the leaves out:  Leaves for Thanksgiving 2017
I printed them on card stock in “Spice Market” colors.

Everyone will also get something to write with, and the instructions to write what they are thankful for, one thing on each leaf.  While they work, I will play this song from Psalm 118 for inspiration:

When it is time for the meal, we will take turns going around the table and saying what is on our leaves, with the rest of the family responding “Thanks be to God.”  The kids will use gift wrapping tape to secure the leaves to the window as we pray.  We will conclude our prayers with a “repeat-after-me” version of this prayer:

Thanksgiving Prayer for Harvest Time
Loving God, all that we have
comes from your goodness
and the work of those who love us.
Bless us and the food we share.
Watch over those who care for us.
Open our eyes to the needs of the poor
during this time of
harvest and thanksgiving.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.
(Elizabeth McMahon Jeep, Blessings and Prayers through the Year, Liturgy Training Publications 2004)

May God bless you and your family as we celebrate!  May it be a holy time for you.

Advent 2017: #jesusbirthatoz

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This Advent, our entire parish is diving deeply into the story of Jesus’ birth, including all of the stories around Jesus’ birth from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew.  I am in the process of writing a daily devotion for the entire parish, which is gathered weekly into our “The Story of the Birth of Jesus from Beginning to End” flip book.  The resource is written toward my confirmation students, who are in fifth-eighth grade, but each day has elements that can be appreciated by younger children and adults, as well.

In our house, we have decided to make it a daily time at supper.  After our meal prayer and while the food is being served, our second grader reads the Bible verses and the questions for the day and shows us the picture.  As we eat, each of us has the opportunity to answer the questions for the day at our own level (I sometimes have to rephrase them for our four-year-olds).  Before everyone leaves the table, one of the children leads us in the prayer for the day repeat-after-me style (I whisper it into the ears of the ones who can’t yet read).

We are only a few days into the devotion, but I am encouraged by how interested they are in it.  We will be talking about it at church, as well, and given opportunities to decorate it each week as we wish.

If you and your family would like to use this resource, you can find it at https://goodgodideas.wordpress.com/category/jesusbirthatoz/

New devotions will be available each week until January 21, so check back often.  I hope that this season is meaningful for you and your family!

Gideon’s Army: Judges 7

**For the next three weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory.
You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/21/god-creates-us-genesis-1-psalm-139/
You can find week 2 here: Rahab and the Spies
https://familygodtime.wordpress.com/2017/06/28/rahab-and-the-spies-joshua-2/

Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Gideon’s army. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Judges 7
Read the story of Gideon’s army in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Judges+7&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

Now, read Joshua 1:9: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+1%3A9&version=NIV

Discuss as a family:
Who was Gideon?
What was Gideon’s army?
How did they defeat the Midianites?

Song: Be Strong and Courageous
Our focus verse for the day at VBS was Joshua 1:9. Here is a video to remind us of this verse:

Activity: Gideon’s Torches and Noisemakers
My favorite part of this story is when a small group of 300 people defeats an entire army by using their brains instead of their strength. We thought it would be fun to pretend to be that army for God Time.

To make the torches, gather a small, inexpensive LED flashlight, a roll of red tulle, duct tape (we used the orage tape from last week), and a scissor. For noisemakers, we purchased glowing whistles from the seasonal section of WalMart. I could have just used glow wands for this craft, but I wanted something that they could play with again and again. The glow whistles still work long after the glow stick part has faded.

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Wrap the tulle around the end of the flashlight to look like the flame coming off of a torch. Secure the tulle to the flashlight with the duct tape. Open the whistles and crack them to make them glow.

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Our girls then had a wonderful time running up and down a darkened hallway yelling “For the Lord and for Gideon!” I surely would have run away in fear!

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you give us strength and courage. Help us to always stand up for what is right. In your name we pray, Amen.

 

Rahab and the Spies: Joshua 2

**For the next four weeks at Family God Time, we will be reviewing the Bible stories that we learned at Vacation Bible School this summer. Our curriculum was Group’s Maker Fun Factory. You can find week one of this series here: God Creates Us 

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Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about Rahab. Help our time together to be a holy time. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:
Read the story of the creation of people in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Joshua+2&version=ERV

We reviewed the video that our parish made during VBS for our Bible story time. You can find it here:

Now, read Romans 8:31: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+8%3A31&version=NIV

Discuss as a family:
1. Who was Rahab?
2. Who came to her house?
3. What did she do for them?
4. How did she ask them to help her?
5. What did they tell her to do?

Song: God is For Me
Our focus verse for the day at VBS was Romans 8:31. Here is a video from Lifetree Kids to remind us of this verse:

Game: Sardines with Spies
A large part of the story with Rahab was how she hid the spies that Joshua had sent so that they would be safe. We played a version of hide and seek called “Sardines,” though we adapted it to be “Spies.” One “spy” went to hide while all of the other spies counted to ten. Then, we searched for the first spy. When we found that person, we hid with them instead of calling attention to them, since the spies hid on Rahab’s rooftop. The last person to hide with the group was the next spy to hide. We played until all of our family members got a turn.

Activity: Rahab’s Wristband

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Another important part of the story was Rahab’s rescue plan. The spies from Joshua told her to hang a red rope from her window so that, when the Israelites conquered the city, the army would know where to find Rahab and rescue her and her family. I thought it would be a neat reminder of the story to wear a red wristband or bracelet that we could carry with us. However, when we went to buy supplies, they were out of red duct tape. We agreed that blaze orange would have been very easy for the army to see, so that’s what we went with.

We got the idea of how to do them here: http://happyhooligans.ca/duct-tape-cuff-bracelets/

My girls are hard on jewelry, so we added an extra layer of duct tape inside to make it more sturdy. Thanks to me, they also have tiny wrists. I added a tie to keep it on their wrists. To make the tie, cut off an 18 inch strip of duct tape. Fold it lengthwise so that the sticky side is on the inside and cut it into four marrow strips. Use an awl or something sharp to poke holes in the ends of the bracelet. Thread the tie through the holes and tie a bow. Trim the ends.

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My girls liked these so much that they asked us to make tiny ones for their stuffed animals:

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We made them thinner (half of the width) and cut a little more than an inch off of the length of the bracelet. The tie only needed to be 9 inches long. They especially love the stuffed animal bracelets, because they report that they are able to find their beloved animals at night when they fall out of bed.

Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith! I hope that this time was holy time for you. Join us next week for another VBS-themed Family God Time!

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you that you are always with us. In your name we pray, Amen.

Jesus Goes to Heaven: Acts 1:1-11

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Gathering Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we thank you for time to feed our faith as a family, and time to learn about when Jesus went to heaven.  Help our time together to be a holy time.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Bible Story:  Acts 1:1-11
Read the story of Jesus’ Ascension in a children’s Bible, your own Bible, or you can find the story here:  https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+1%3A1-11&version=ERV

We used the Kid’s Bible App for our devotion.  The story was called “Into the Clouds.”  The Kid’s Bible App is a free app that you can find here:  https://www.pinterest.com/breensipes/online-faith-resources/

Discuss as a family:

  1. Who did Jesus promise would come to them?
  2. When will Jesus come back?
  3. Where did Jesus go?
  4. Where were the disciples supposed to go after Jesus left?

You might also take this story as an opportunity to begin teaching your children the Apostles’ Creed.  It tells the important parts about Jesus’ life that help us to know that he really is the Son of God!  This is how we say the part about Jesus in our church:

I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit
and born of the virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again.
He ascended into heaven,
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Song:  Lord, I Lift Your Name on High
This is my favorite song for Ascension Day, because it reminds us of all of the important events in Jesus’ story.

Activity:  Ascension Day Celebration
In our family, we love making things go UP for Ascension Day.  In the past, we have done rockets (the air pressure or Dollar Store hand pressure kind), helium balloons (make sure they don’t have strings that will get tangled up with wildlife, and released butterflies (Earth’s Birthday Project is a great source, though it takes some planning:  http://www.earthsbirthdaystore.org/d/7/butterflies.htm)

This year, my girls saw me preparing a coloring sheet for Sunday worship, and asked if they could do that for a project.  I figure that if they are enthusiastic about something having to do with God, that is the right thing to do.  We couldn’t resist giving it some kid of upward motion, though, so here we go!

  1. First, print out the coloring sheet on card stock: Ascension Window Coloring

(I found the original at http://www.familyholiday.net/ascension-of-jesus-christ-coloring-pages/, but colored in the “leading” sections so it would be easier for my kids to color.  I also added the back page.)

  1. Next, color both the front and the back coloring sheets. Cut them out.

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  1. Cut a 2 yard length of string or ribbon. Put a knot in one end.
  2. Use a glue stick to make the back of one of the coloring sheets completely tacky. Line up the ribbon or string along the center with the knot at the bottom.  Press down.

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  1. Add the other coloring sheet, face up. For extra strength, I recommend one staple at the top and bottom of the ribbon, to prevent it from shifting.

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  1. String the ribbon over a curtain rod in your home. Let your children help Jesus to ascend to heaven, saying “Jesus went back to heaven!”  Then, have him descend and say, “Someday, he will come back again!”

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Thanks for your commitment to faithfully feed your family’s faith!  I hope that this time was holy time for you.

Closing Prayer: (Do this prayer repeat-after-me style)
Dear Jesus, we are happy that you ascended into heaven, and that some day you will come back to take us with you.  Help us to celebrate you every day.  In your name we pray, Amen.