Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Soldiers Killed In Sticky Tar Pits

By Mary Vee

Abram snuggled into his new home in Hebron. He enjoyed his mountaintop view and the open area for his flocks and herds to graze.

Lot moved around for awhile until he snuggled close to the city of Sodom. He didn't really like the wicked things the people did, but his wife and daughters had markets and people, and all the fun parts of a city close by to enjoy.

Sodom, Gomorrah, and three other kindoms had been conquered by the king of Elam. After twelve years of paying the king of Elam money, food, and animals they decided enough was enough. They formed one big army to fight back for their freedom.

The king of Elam laughed and formed an army with three other kings. "Just try and break free, ha ha."

The great battle took place on the south side of the Dead Sea where the land had many tar pits. The tar pits looked like lakes or puddles but actually have sticky asphalt that traps animals, insects, and anything else that falls into them. The animal sinks to the bottom of the pit and dies.

During the battle, the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah called a retreat. Their men ran for their lives, some fell into the tar pits.

The king of Elam wanted to teach them a lesson. He sent his army to Sodom and Gomorrah to steal all their food and goods, even their people to serve as slaves--including Lot and his family.

Check back on Saturday to find out what happened to Lot and his family.

Until then, think of a time when you found yourself in a sticky or difficult situation. Usually we are not sure what to do because everything happens so fast. We are sad, scared, or frustrated. The situation can be something like forgetting to study for a test, or we forgot to do a chore and our parent finds out. Some kids go through situations that are even more difficult. What help can you suggest for a kid going through a difficult or sticky situation?

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Abraham and Lot

By Mary Vee

Abram's nephew, Lot, became wealthy, like Abrahm.  He had flocks, herds, servants, and herdsmen.  They finished hiking through the promise land.  

After a short visit to Egypt, they returned to a place in about the middle of the land and camped. They pitched their tents near the altar that Abram made for the Lord the first time they traveled through.

Abram woke the next morning, sat down with his breakfast and enjoyed the mountaintop view.  Off to the east he saw the Jordan River, green grass, fields, and vineyards.  It sure was beautiful.

A servant suddenly approached him and bowed.  "The herdsmen are fighting, again."

Abram sighed.  "This can't go on any longer.  Go get Lot."

Lot sauntered to the campfire and yawned.  "What's up, Uncle?"

"My precious nephew, this land cannot provide all we need.  Look over to your left and then to to your right.  Choose where you would like to live.  If you pick the left, I will go to the right.  If you pick the right, I will go to the left."

Lot gazed at the rich land in the Jordan River valley.  He smiled.  "I will take my herdsmen and flocks to the rich valley."

God blessed Abram's desire to bring peace to his growing family.  While Lot thought he made the best choice, he also made the greedy choice.  Abram proved to be not only an obedient servant of God, but a humble one who would do what was needed to bring peace in his family.

Sometimes family members fight.  That doesn't mean they don't love each other.  What can you do to help keep peace in your family.  Please don't say what really happened in your family, only tell what you could do to bring peace. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Ultimate Hiking Trip

By Mary Vee

Abram, Sarai, Lot, their servants, and...well, we don't know how many people left on this ultimate hiking trip altogether. What we do know is that Abram was 75 years old. Thats pretty old for a hike!

The starting point was a huge city called Haran located at the base of a mountain. They hiked southwest through green fields and over mountains for about 400 miles. Their stuff would have been loaded on the camels and donkeys, perhaps somethings were packed in a cart pulled by a donkey. I've gone hiking, but I've never traveled that far! Some say Abram and the group hiked for one year before reaching Shechem to rest for a time.

God continued to guide Abram through a promised land called Canaan, (named after Noah's grandson, Cainan). The group continued hiking south for about 36 miles crossing over mountains until they arrived at Bethel.

In each place God spoke to Abram, reminding him of the promises He made. Abram showed God his faith by building an altar to the Lord and calling on His name.

Abram's tour of the promised land ended when he came to the Negev on the south side of Canaan. This hiking trip covered more than 450 miles. On every inch of land Abram and his family walked, God walked with them and showed them the way. No one suffered injuries, no one became sick to the point they couldn't travel. God took care of them.

Can you comment on a time when God took care of you or someone you know?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Robots, Puppets, or People?

By Mary Vee

God made our minds to do awesome things! There have been many times in history when people thought everything that could be invented had been invented. Yet microwaves, space shuttles, iPods, Blogs,and other things have come to be part of our lives.

God gives us these great ideas, but we get to choose whether we use the information or not. God also asks us to do things and lets us choose whether to obey Him or not.

God asked Abram to leave a very nice home in a big city and to go to a new land. God also gave Abram some promises.

He said: Abram, I will start a whole new nation of people with you. Many, many, children will call you Grandpa and great Grandpa, and great, great Grandpa and...

He said: Abram I will make you well known. You will be famous.

He said: Through you, Abram, all the people on earth will be blessed.

Did any of this come true? Well, the country of Israel and the Jewish people all started with Abram, (that's one that came true). Abram (we know him as Abraham, or Father Abraham) is known throughout the world, even today, (that's two that came true). Jesus, the Messiah's earthly parents were decendants of Abram. Because Jesus came and died for our sins, those who believe in Him are blessed (that's three that came true).

So, if God asks me to do something will He give me a promise? Sure! He already did! The Bible is full of promises God is giving to us, and more that God will be giving to us. John 3: 16 says, Whoever believes in Jesus will not perish but have everlasting life. Another promises given by God is: He will never leave us, or forsake us.

God loves us...He didn't make robots or puppets. He made people with minds that could choose to follow Him.

What promise can you think of that God has given us?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

God Asks Abraham to Leave His Home

By Mary Vee

Once the people living in the area of Babylon realized they couldn't talk with each other because of the new languages, they moved away and made new homes and cities. Years later Terah moved his son Abram and what was left of his family north to the big city of Heran.

Before long Terah and his family were settled into a new home and making a good living. Abram and Sarai made friends, found their favorite market places to shop, and enjoyed listening to the sheep while watching the sunsets. Sadly, Terah died.

Then one day God spoke to Abram. "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you."

When Sarai heard the news she probably became nervous. Boxes to pack, food to prepare, animals to herd, servants to delegate, so much to do.

Some of their conversation might have been:

"And when does God want us to go?"

Abraham cleared his throat, "Ummmmm, now."

Sarai's jaw probably fell down to the floor. Then she sighed, smiled and probably said, "OK, Dear. Ah, do you have directions for where we're going?"

"Actually, no. But I know God will lead us. Oh, Sarai, we should take my nephew, Lot, with us, too...and don't forget to pack my favorite lamb's wool sweater."

Abram loved the Lord. He understood the importance of God's command to go to a new place, even though he didn't know the exact place or reason why.

Sometimes God asks us to change. Maybe we move to a new home, maybe one of our parents leaves, maybe an older sibling gets married or goes to college, many changes happen in our lives. If we are willing to obey, God will show us and teach us great things.

What could we say to a friend who is sad because things are changing in their life? What would you like someone to say to you?

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reaching for the Stars

By Mary Vee

350 years following the flood Noah died. There were many people on the earth. Quite a large group chose to live in the plain in Shinar which was later called Babylon. Everyone spoke the same language. Wouldn't it be nice to travel to Germany or Italy or some other country and speak the same language as the people who live there?
The people decided it would be a great idea to make a huge city with fancy buildings. Everyone agreed. Then someone suggested, "Let's make a tower that reaches to the heavens."
"Yes!" said another. " That's a great idea. Everyone will know us and we will be famous."
"Yes!" said someone else. "With such a wonderful city there will be plenty of room for our children and their children and no one will ever have to move anywhere else."
The people made bricks and used tar to build their buildings. All they thought about was their city and how wonderful it was looking. They worked long hours everyday to make the tower taller and taller. At the dinner table families told about their day making city buildings. Everyone was excited thinking about the city...and no one thought about God.
God knew they needed help. The people forgot to follow the ways Noah taught his sons.
One day, as the people met at the tower to pull more bricks high up to the top floor, God created many languages and gave them to the people. Micah and Thomas and Matthew, and thousands of others said words like: hand me another brick. Men standing near them shook their heads and said something like: what did you say? No one around understood!
Actually, God was the only one who understood all of the people. He is willing to listen to us and to help.
People today can speak the same language like English or German or something else to each other, and yet not be understood.
Sometimes kids feel others don't understand them. What do you suggest for a kid who feels someone doesn't understand their problem?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Noah's Family Smell Fresh Air

By Mary Vee

After 40 days of pelting rain, rockin' and rollin' in an ark, and stuffy, smelly air, Noah and his family were ready to get out of the ark. It continued to rain softer another 110 days. But even after the rain stopped, they had to wait for the rain to soak down into the ground and collect in places like oceans, seas, rivers, and lakes.
Shem, Ham, and Japheth probably said, "Are we there, yet?"
Noah probably answered, "Yes, but there isn't any land for us to step on, yet."
His son's probably answered, "Awwwwww."
Finally, after being in the ark 370 days, God told Noah and his family it was safe to come out. Think of the time it takes for your next birthday to come after the last one. That's about how long they were in the boat!
The family step out of the ark and gazed at the incredible view. Noah took a deep, long breath. Suddenly he noticed..."Phew! We need a bath!"
The animals ran, thumped, scurried, and flew out of the ark squawking, chirping, meowing, roaring, and neighing. They search for a clean, fresh place to stretch their bodies.
God cleaned the air. He also cleaned his people by starting over with only those who loved Him. Noah and his sons searched for materials to build an altar to the Lord. Then they held the first church service honoring God, our creator, after the flood.
When we get in the habit of doing wrong things, our spiritual lives have a bad smell. We need to talk with Jesus and tell Him we are sorry, and really mean it. We need to truly work to stop doing the wrong thing. Then we will feel clean again on the inside.
How do you think Shem, Ham, and Japheth felt when they stepped on the dry ground?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Most Thrilling Roller Coaster Ride Invented

By Mary Vee

Noah and his family heard the tapping and splushing of rain against the outside of the ark. Thunder grumbled and roared..they'd never heard it before. Lightening suddenly flashed into the one window. Noah screamed and bonked his head on a shelf. The ark began to rise like an elevator. Noah and his son's wives held their woozy stomachs . Powerful waves jarred the ship up and down, left and right, back and forth giving Noah and his family the first and most thrilling roller coaster ride invented.
Almost everyone on board grabbed something to hold on to. Seth planted his feet firmly on the planks and spread his arms out like a surfer. Japheth climbed on top of the rail to the horse's stall, waved his hat, and shouted "Yee Haw!" Ham stacked bundles of hay from the bottom of the hull to the top floor, 5 stories high, to sail down the world's tallest slide, that is, until he was jarred off into the tiger cub pen.
Noah's wife spilled a tray of freshly squeezed lemonade while on her way to serve Noah. Noah sat back and laughed at the circus knowing everyone was safe.
Sometimes strange things happen to us. For those who believe in Jesus, we can sit back like Noah knowing we are safe.
Was there a time you didn't feel safe? What can you suggest for kids to do when strange things happen to them. How would you like someone to help you?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Time to Go - All Aboard

By Mary Vee

The time finally came for Noah, his wife and sons Shem, Ham, Japheth and their wives to go on their first cruise. Their ship (ark) was big enough to hold two of every kind of animal plus a few extra. Wowsers! God knew Noah's family would need plenty to keep them busy. Staying in the ship without going up on deck to see the sights could get boring.
They got on board and spent the first seven days deciding who would feed the elephants and who would brush the horses. The animals talked like animals do to the Noah and his family. It really helped drown out the noise of the teasing and mean things people outside the boat were saying. Shem laughed when the tiger tail tickled his nose. Ham held his breath when the bear gave him a hug. Japheth taught the mocking bird to say, "Hi Dad, What's for dinner?"
After seven days, the family met for the eveing meal. Noah told them that God would close the door the next day. "This is going to be an exciting trip. You boys need to make up some games we can play with the animals." Noah led his family in prayer, praising God for the new adventure.
Then God closed the door.
If you could play a game with an animal that couldn't live in your house, what would you play?