Creative Devotion With Children

I normally get up before the children to have my quiet time with the Lord. Then later when I have devotion with them, I share what I studied in my devotional time. I love this approach because it gives me an opportunity to teach what I just learned, which further solidifies the lesson for me.

In this post, I shared the insights I received from reading the genealogy of Jesus in Mathew 1 during my personal devotion. When it was time to have devotion with the children on the same topic, I took a more creative approach. I believe it is important to encourage the children to get a deeper understanding of scripture, but this process doesn’t have to be boring!
After reading Mathew 1:1-17 as a group, I divided the children into groups of two. I assigned each group one indivi dual that was mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus. Each group had to read a passage of scripture that gave more details about their assigned individual. For example, group 1 was assigned Ruth and they were asked to read the entire book of Ruth since it is short. Group 2 had Jacob and they read Genesis 27. The 3rd and final group got David and read 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12. Each group was given 30-40 mins to read their assigned passage and then come up with a creative way to present what they learned to the large group. One group wrote a rap, the other two did a dramatic presentation with props, and drew pictures to retell the story. This helps them to learn in different ways and helps to break up the monotony of devotion. It helps that my voice is not the only voice that they hear, and they are given some “ownership.” The movement also helps the younger ones to not check out. Also, when the children present what they just learned, this helps me to assess if they have really grasped what they read. The children really enjoy this approach to devotion and thinking outside the box. I would love to hear from you, what are creative ways that you have devotion with your children?

Be Blessed,
Anika

 

But God! Mathew 1 Bible Study

I was never one to pay attention to genealogies in the bible because they bored me. However, my perspective is changing as I continue to study the bible and learn more about the different characters. For example, as my knowledge continues to grow, I get excited about the genealogy in Mathew 1. I see so many, “But God,” examples in this passage. Allow me to explain.
I see names like Rahab who WAS a prostitute.
Jacob who WAS a deceiver.
Ruth who WAS a pagan.
The key word is WAS. These people had a marred past BUT GOD!
But God forgave them.
But God used them for His glory.
Their past did not hinder God from using them and ultimately changing them! I love this because I am living this truth. My life is a continuous ‘BUT GOD’ testimony!
It’s not your past mistakes that disqualifies you. Instead, its your decision to continue in those mistakes and not come to the one who is able to make all things new…again and again!
I would love to hear from you. Do you have a “But God” testimony? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Be Blessed,
Anika

2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

They Got On My Nerves And God Gave Me A Hug

I had an awesome Mother’s Day. I really did. I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside and was just so grateful to be a mother.

HOWEVER, the warm and fuzzes disappeared yesterday. I mean all the way disappeared. I was trying to process some not so good news that I received in the morning. Then my children worked my already worked nerves. Praise God for the grace to not yell like a mad woman, instead I lifted my heart to God in prayer. After the kids left for school, I prayed and cried some more. I was so exhausted midday that I decided to take a nap. Ten minutes into my nap, the doorbell rang…3 times! I was not happy. Reluctantly I got out of bed and looked through my bedroom window and saw the vehicle of a sweet friend that attends our church.  I yelled out the window and told her I was coming down. When I opened the door, she handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I asked her what they were for and she told me no reason. She smiled, gave me a hug and then left. I took the flowers and went and sat on my couch and cried. Even though she didn’t know all that was going on, she was on assignment to give me flowers and a hug from my heavenly Father.

I was so overwhelmed by the love and concern of God. In that moment He ministered to me and let me know that my tears and prayers that I prayed that morning did not go unnoticed. He saw and heard me. Only a true and living God can do that. I continue to be absolutely amazed at how He ministers to me in such personal ways. His love for me is mind blowing. It makes me want to serve Him even more! Be encouraged, God hears your prayers and sees your tears.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Relationships. Lesson 40 of 40

Relationships can be messy. Being vulnerable with others can be hard. Many insulate themselves from forming deep meaningful relationships with others to avoid feeling pain. What a lonely road to take. The risk involved with relationships is worth it, a thousand times over. I ditched the idea of playing it safe.
I chose community
I chose vulnerability
I chose to persist despite the messiness that comes along with relationships
I chose to encourage and to receive encouragement from others
I chose to correct those I love and receive the same medicine when given to me
I chose to cry, forgive, and try again
And I am so glad I did

My husband had a surprise party for my 40th birthday. When the blindfold came off, I saw a room filled with people who had contributed to my life during different seasons and in different ways.

Some had seen my tears, celebrated my success, been my dancing buddies, experienced my stubbornness and pride, listen to me go on about the big dreams inside of me, listen to my deepest confessions, entertained my silliness and laughed at my corny jokes, picked me up when I was low, witness my mistakes, made me laugh until my side hurt, hugged me when I needed it, supported me when I was scared to move forward, and prayed for me when I did not have the strength to pray for myself.

I have learned that the risk involved with forming deep meaningful relationships was well worth it. I am grateful! How about you? Do you avoid forming deep meaningful relationships or have you let your guard down? Leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

Celebrate & Rest. Lesson 39 of 40

Some of us get used to always being in the grind. We become addicted to business and we forget to take the time to rest and celebrate! I find that the longer I go without rest, the more unproductive and mean I become. Rest entails having moments of physical reprieve. We all need adequate sleep and moments of refreshing, we were not meant to always be on the go.

My husband gave me a surprise birthday party for my 40th birthday, and boy was I surprised! I had an awesome time celebrating with friends and family. I cried, laughed, and got loved on. By the end of the night I had such a sense of rest.
I have learned that celebration can also be a form of rest. The right kind of celebration can leave us feeling refreshed in our spirits. There have been times where I have gone to church physically exhausted. However, when I make the choice to dance and praise the Lord and CELEBRATE all He has done I walk away feeling so refreshed and focused. Celebrating who God is and what He has done is a form of rest. I encourage you to take the time out to celebrate and to rest.

Psalm 23:1-3 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. 2 He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. 3 He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

 

Spring Will Come. Lesson 38 of 40

As I am typing these words, I can see the trees outside of my window.  The same trees that had been bear all winter now have budding leaves on them.

I have learned that there will be winter seasons in my life, but they won’t last forever, spring will come.  The seed won’t remain in the ground forever.  At some point, life will spring forth.  Sometimes winter can go a lot longer than we would like and we lose hope for spring.  I have been there.  But it will come.  Be attentive and celebrate the signs that show you that spring is here.  Sometimes we are waiting for all the flowers to fully bloom to celebrate, instead of shouting at the bud we see on the tree.  Spring is breaking forth in my life, and I am learning to celebrate every little sign that I see.  How about you?  Have you given up hope for your spring season because your winter has gone a lot longer than you wanted?

Psalm 30:5 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name. For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Isaiah 43:19 For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.