Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lent lessons

Here are more Lent lessons.  I am going to try and get the last ones posted in a more timely manner, but not promises.
Practice with Parents
Week of April 3, 2011
Background: Ash Wednesday was March 9. That was the day when Christians began the season of Lent. Resurrection Sunday (Easter) is April 24. That means that we are now in the middle of Lent, a season of preparation for Resurrection Sunday. Hopefully you are using this time to repent from sin and sacrifice something to emulate the sacrifice that Jesus made with his death on the cross. By sacrificing something you enjoy or do regularly, you can remind yourself of Jesus’ sacrifice. You can also signify to God that you value His sacrifice of Jesus more than you value the thing you chose to give up during Lent. So, in the middle of this Lenten season, let’s do a “check up” to see how you’re doing.
Scripture Emphasis: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
Activity: Remind your child that we are in the middle of Lent (a time to remember the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross). Tell your child that it is time to do a “check up.” Just like when you go to the doctor to make sure you are healthy, God wants us to check in with Him to make sure that your relationship with God is healthy. If you and/or your child chose to give something up, talk about that. Ask the following questions: Have you stuck to your promise to sacrifice something during Lent? When you have really wanted what you gave up, what did you do? Have you spent more time praying, listening to God, or reading your Bible during Lent?
One great thing about God is that it is never too late to start over. He wants us to have a healthy relationship with Him, and when we mess up (or make bad choices or sin) He gives us a chance to make better choices. So, if you have not done your best to stick to the promise you made to sacrifice something during Lent, then you can start this week. Do your best to stick to it, and ask God and your friends and family to help you remember your promise. Your “check-up” is now complete. (Then give your child a sticker or a hug and remind him that if he continues to do these things, he’ll have a healthy relationship with God.)
Prayer: God, thank you Jesus’ sacrifice. Help us to remember to stick to our promises and to have a healthy relationship with you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Practice with Parents
Week of April 10, 2011
Background: When you think of God, what comes to mind? One of the things I think is how we relate to God, or how we treat Him. As Christians, we choose to worship God. This means that we take time to focus on Him, to praise Him, and to attribute our blessings to His goodness. God warns us, in the 10 Commandments, not to put any other gods before him. This means that we are not to put anything before God. The reflective nature of Lent allows us to see if we place any gods before the one true God. It allows us to see where our focus really lies, where we spend the majority of our time, and what we worship. This week, let’s consider this: Do we put God first or do we need to turn our focus back to Him if we have put something (or someone) before Him?
Scripture Emphasis: “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God…” Exodus 20:3-5
Activity: Talk with your children about who they truly admire. Who do they talk about most? Which famous face do they recognize and know much about? Who do they spend time watching, listening to, or researching? God gave us rules to live by (called the 10 Commandments), and the first of the rules tells us to place no one (and no thing) before God. Yes, we may go to church on Sundays and say that we are Christians or that we love God. But do we really worship only Him? God wants us to spend time with Him in prayer, to worship Him, and put Him first. Where we spend our time and energy can show us what we truly value. This week, set aside time to worship and honor God only, and be cautious of putting anything (or anyone) before Him.
Prayer: God, thank you for giving us guidelines to live by. Please remind us when we put anything before you. We want to worship and serve you only. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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