Browsing Tag

Joseph

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #17: Proverbs 6:19–One who Sows Discord among Brethren. (This FBT has a fun quiz game!)

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:  “One who Sows Discord among Brethren 

Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

I frankly struggle a little writing about this today because coronavirus has had the unexpected consequence of many Christians actually getting closer to one another—if that’s even possible!  I had a phone conversation with a brother today whose wife has broken her shoulder, and heard his voice break as he described the food and cards and calls and prayers from the family of God. There are three of our women in the church who are nurses and are taking regular turn-about dropping by to check the incision and bandages.  Christians are a tight bunch.

This proverbial wording is easy to understand.  We all know about Biblical analogies using farming, sowing and reaping.  Seeds are comparatively small, but once planted and watered, grow into something much bigger.  That’s good with watermelons, but it’s bad with sin. This Proverb is about sowing discord.

“Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psa. 133:1)!  What’s behind sowing discord among Christians in a congregation is usually less about the church and more about the person who sows the discord. For selfish reasons, one who sows discord is, probably without thinking, willing to forfeit unity that is good and pleasant in order to have his own way. Ironically, he is apt to jump into this sin without making an overt decision. It’s just that he sees something off-putting—something he takes personally—and shares his aggravation with other members.  Perhaps it’s a disagreement with a difficult decision the elders have made about an expenditure or about a sad withdrawal of fellowship.  Perhaps it’s about something bothersome that an elder’s wife said.  Perhaps it’s simply a display of bitterness in his heart (see Ruth 1:20).

It is a great deal easier to fix this problem before words about the offense are spoken than after. So, the solution, while difficult, is simple today:  Think before you speak (Ja. 1:19).  My aggravation may actually need to be discussed, but have I chosen the right person for that discussion? Have I thought about my tone and the grace (or lack thereof) of my words?  If I pondered this personal upset for a few days, would it seem to matter as much?  Have I prayed about this matter?

A number of times in my life I’ve talked with elders and preachers after a church has fallen into sad disunion. Often, as with a burned, smoldering house in which the fire marshal finds the exact source of the flames, it is easy for the leaders of the body to pinpoint the origin of the division.  In view of Proverbs 6:19 which says God hates “…one who sows discord among brethren,” I wouldn’t want my name attached to this sin.  Protect the unity of brethren.  It is so very precious and can be lost in such a short time.

Family Bible Time from Glenn and Cindy–Joseph Finale

Quiz your kids in a game with the following questions. You can make a fun game in one of a variety of ways.

1)Use your Candyland board game and draw a question from the green bowl if you land on green, from the blue bowl if you land on blue, etc….If someone can’t answer the question, he forfeits his turn.

OR

2.) Give each person a clipart picture of the coat of many colors (printable free from this site: http://clipart-library.com/josephs-coat-of-many-colors-coloring-page.html). Go around the room asking questions and each time a correct answer is given, the player gets to color in a stripe on the coat. The first one to have a fully colored coat is the winner.

OR

3. Make a simple scavenger hunt. In each hiding place in your house, have a question and directions about where to look next. Example: 1. Look in the refrigerator. 2. (in the fridge)…What was Joseph’s father’s name? Now look on Mom’s bed. 3. (on Mom’s bed)…What did Jacob give to Joseph? Now look in your bathtub. Continue on with a dozen or so questions/places. If one person is stumped, let another person answer and continue on until he/she is stumped.  In the last hiding place, have a little “treasure-prize” for everyone who answered three or more correctly (or whatever number you think is appropriate.) A great treasure prize for this game is a bag of glow-in-the-dark stars for a bedroom ceiling (Joseph’s dream) or a little bag of twenty nickels or dimes (20 pieces of silver for the Midianites) or a basket with three cookies in it (the baker’s loaves).
If you are particularly creative you might find colorful fabric pieces, like the coat, to tag the questions in their hiding places.

OR

4. You can play Nerf Wars and if you get “shot,” you have to answer a question correctly to keep “living.” If you miss the answer, you’re “dead” (out of the game). Whatever you play, a little prize is a great idea. In Family Bible time homes, parents learn to hoard little prizes. I think our grandson’s favorite prize of last week was an old wasp’s nest Glenn found under the eave of the house somewhere.  (He could not wait to go home and scare his dad.) The prize can also be a privilege, like staying up fifteen minutes later than siblings or choosing the flavor of ice cream (if we ever get to go shopping again after COVID-19)

You can be more creative than we are and think of your own game. It doesn’t have to be complicated, of course.  Our grandson played this with a jar of marshmallows this week. When a person answered a question right, he got a marshmallow. whoever had the biggest pile at the end, got to trade in his marshmallows for a little prize (or he could keep and eat the marshmallows.)

Here are the questions in three categories. You may not need them all, but we hope your kids can answer them all. You might want to look them over and make sure you’ve covered them all before beginning the game.

Tiny People Questions:

  1. Who had the coat of many colors?
  2. What did Joseph’s father give him?
  3. Who took care of Joseph?
  4. Who was in the pit?
  5. Who did Joseph obey?
  6. What colors were on Joseph’s coat?
  7. Did Joseph share with his brothers?
  8. What is true success?

Middle People Questions:

  1. Who was Joseph’s father?
  2. Why did Joseph’s brothers not like him?
  3. Which brother did Jacob love the most?
  4. What did Joseph dream about the sheaves?
  5. What did Joseph dream about the stars?
  6. Where did the brothers put Joseph?
  7. What kind of animal did the brothers kill?
  8. What did the brothers do with Joseph’s coat?
  9. What did Jacob think happened to Joseph?
  10. Who bought Joseph to be a slave?
  11. In whose house did Joseph end up as a slave?
  12. What did Potiphar’s wife hold in her hand when Joseph ran out of the house?
  13. Where did Potiphar put Joseph after Mrs. Potiphar lied?
  14. What two people had dreams in Joseph’s prison?
  15. What was the baker’s dream?
  16. What was the butler’s dream?
  17. Who forgot about Joseph when he got back to Pharaoh’s house?
  18. What was one of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  19. What did the dreams of Pharaoh mean?
  20. Who, did Joseph say, could tell what the dreams of Pharaoh meant?
  21. Who did Pharaoh put in charge of storing up food in Egypt?
  22. Who got hungry and had to go to Egypt to get food?
  23. Joseph pretended that he thought the brothers were ______ when he was testing them.
  24. Who did Joseph tell the brothers to bring to Egypt if they came a second time?
  25. What did Joseph put in the sack of Benjamin?
  26. Why did Joseph send the servants to catchup with the brothers when they were going home the second time?
  27. What did Joseph invite the brothers to do at the end of the story?

Big People Questions:

  1. Which brother did not want to kill Joseph?
  2. Who help Jacob to mourn over Joseph?
  3. Why did Jacob not come to rescue Joseph after the brothers sold him?
  4. What reason did Joseph give when he refused to lie with Potiphar’s wife?
  5. Why did Joseph always end up having so much responsibility everywhere he went?
  6. What did the two prisoners’ dreams mean?
  7. What request did Joseph make of the butler?
  8. When did the butler remember Joseph?
  9. Tell what happened in each of Pharaoh’s dreams?
  10. What did Joseph have to do to get ready to go before Pharaoh?
  11. What rank was given to Joseph when he correctly interpreted the dreams of Pharaoh?
  12. How many times in all did the brothers go to Egypt?
  13. Which brother gave his own life as as surety for the safety of Benjamin?
  14. Why did Joseph cry when he hugged Benjamin?
  15. How many souls went down to live in Goshen?
  16. What were the two tribes that came from Joseph?
  17. Which of Joseph’s son’s was oldest?
  18. Which of Joseph’s sons received the biggest blessing?
  19. How long did Jacob live in Goshen?

Pray with your children.

Repeat the definition of true success: Living your life and going to heaven.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

FAMILY TIES IN THE SOCIAL DISTANCE #16: PROVERBS 6:19–A False Witness who Speaks Lies

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: A False Witness who Speaks Lies (Proverbs 6:19)

Proverbs 6:16-19

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

Ahab wanted Naboth’s vineyard so badly he could taste it.  I’ve stood and preached at the Jezreel valley where Naboth once cultivated this piece of ground, and today it is a beautiful, albeit empty, valley. The evidence of Naboth’s work has disappeared with the passing years, Ahab’s palace is reduced to a memory, and the people who then lived have been in their graves for centuries.  But there was a day when things like a vineyard which adjoined his palace meant a great deal to King Ahab.  His wicked wife Jezebel employed a couple of men who would lie for money, and that’s what they did. Their false testimony cost Naboth his life (1 Kings 21).  God hated what was done on that day because He loved truth and justice.

Few of us will sit in a court of law in which our testimony will be heard, but we all often produce judgments of people. You can hear a sermon about Jesus’ teaching on judging on our website and learn more about this common form of false testimony: https://westhuntsville.org/sermons/ f

For today, consider God’s teaching of commitment to justice, and let the inescapable fact of His universal truthfulness thrill your heart. 

“He loves righteousness and justice;

The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord” (Psa. 33:5)

 

“For the Lord loves justice,

And does not forsake His saints;

They are preserved forever,

But the descendants of the wicked shall be cut off” (Psa. 37:28).

 

“To do righteousness and justice

Is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice” (Prov. 21:3).

 

“These are the things you shall do:

Speak each man the truth to his neighbor;

Give judgment in your gates for truth, justice, and peace” (Zech. 8:16).

One day God moved aside to allow the injustice of evil men time enough to deliver His Son to be crucified (Rom. 8:32), and, as Isaiah wrote of Jesus, “In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth” (Acts 8:33).

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 50

1. At the close of Genesis 49 Scripture describes Jacob’s death in these words: “He drew his feet up into the bed and breathed his last, and was gathered to his people.”

The same was said about the death of his grandfather Abraham (Gen. 25:8); that he was gathered to his people. Discuss with your children that Jacob’s body wasn’t taken back to Canaan, where his fleshly relatives were buried, at this time. That wasn’t the meaning of these words.  This rather has reference to our spiritual family.  “For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Eph. 3:14-15).  The most important people in my life are those who are Christians and they are my family in the best sense. We are family. 

Have your children think of the things they love to do with their family at West Huntsville or your congregation; things that they can’t wait to be able to do again. Sing this song with your younger children, to the tune of “Mary had a Little Lamb” 

Family is in the Lord

In the Lord

In the Lord

Family is in the Lord

The people that I love. 

 

I can’t wait to be with them

Be with them

Be with them

I can’t wait to be with them

The people that I love. 

2.  As chapter fifty begins, Jacob’s funeral is described. Read verse 1-3.  Explain mourning, and embalming, and funerals in an age-appropriate way with your children. If they have never attended a funeral, this discussion, once again,  could be good preparation.  Answer their questions in a gentle and thoughtful way. Death will probably steal some people they love and create painful days to come in their young lives. Remind them that the only important question when someone dies is “Did he/she obey God?”

3.  Impress your children with the truth that some sins have a lingering effect in your mind. Joseph had shown great kindness and forgiveness to his brothers, and yet, after their Dad died, the Bible says this:  

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him.”

So they sent messengers to Joseph, saying, “Before your father died he commanded, saying, ‘Thus you shall say to Joseph:I beg you, please forgive the trespass of your brothers and their sin; for they did evil to you.’Now, please, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of your father.” And Joseph wept when they spoke to him” (Gen. 50:15-17).

Discuss the concept of a guilty conscience, and how that some sins create more strain against the conscience than others. Have older children talk about sins that might really hurt the conscience later on. Have they experienced this? Why is this true? 

Then talk about forgiveness through Christ.  “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1: 7-9). Explain to older children that the cleansing in 1John 1:7 is a continual action; that, if we are Christians, the blood keeps on cleansing us. Use the example of a thermostat which detects a need to work in your house and how it automatically “kicks in” when needed. That’s how the blood is, only infinitely more accurate and powerful.  It activates whenever we sin, if we are doing our best to walk in His light. 

Tomorrow night we will finish up the narrative of the life of Joseph with a quiz game. We will see which family member knows the most about Joseph. 

`

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #15: Proverbs 6:18–Feet that Swiftly Run to Evil

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: Feet that are swift in running to evil…(Prov. 6:16-19)

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

You may be surprised at the number of Bible passages that reference feet.

When communities rejected the teaching of the apostles, they were to shake the dust off their feet (Matt. 10:14). Women came and worshiped at the feet of Jesus (Matt.28:9).  It is better to be lame than to have two feet and be cast into hell (Mk. 9:45).  Jesus washed His disciples feet before His crucifixion (Jn. 13:5).  The early Christians laid money at the apostle’s feet (Acts 4:35). 

Feet that are swift in running to evil is a poetic way of describing a man who yields to his temptations with no hesitation. James explained to us that Satan finds what tempts each man the most and makes sure each man faces that exact temptation: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed” (Ja. 1:14).  It’s not so different from a man who fishes for a particular kind of fish with the bait he knows has historically caught the most of that species.  That’s a troubling thought when applied to the way the devil works in our lives.

The Lord said to Saul on the road to Damascus,  “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads” (Acts 9:5).  Goads were sharp sticks mounted behind oxen who were yoked to a plow.  When they kicked back at their task, the goads hurt them.  It’s an apt illustration of a man or woman who knows what is right but is doing wrong and his/her conscience hurts.  Do you have goads hurting you right now?

Consider thoughts which ought to slow a person down when faced with temptation to sin:

1.  The Lord suffered on that cross and died for my forgiveness. I owe Him better than to walk boldly into sin.

2. My fellow Christians would be hurt and disappointed. 

3. My influence for good in my children would be compromised.

4. My influence for good in my unbelieving co-workers and friends could be  destroyed.

This one in our list of things God hates is about caring enough, being diligent enough to stay faithful to my God.  I take care in my daily decisions and work to think things through, rather than acting hurriedly and rashly. I think before I speak, before I go, before I act, and I judge all things by God’s will. Like Paul, I work to have a “…conscience void of offense toward God and toward men” (Acts 24:16).  

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 49

In the last days of Jacob’s life he spoke to each of his sons and prophetically described what would happen in their lives.  We do not have miraculous, prophetic ability like Jacob did and I’m glad.  It must have been painful to tell some of these adult sons that because of their weak qualities, life would be filled with troubles of their own making.

Talk with your children about each of these weaknesses described by Jacob and encourage them to have the strength to be different and better:

1. (Vs. 3-4).  Reuben was Jacob’s firstborn son, who, presumably, would be the future leader of the family; but Jacob summed up his character with three words you should explain to your children: “unstable as water.” Pour water in a glass  and then a casserole dish. Challenge your children to think about how the water takes the shape of whatever container it’s in.   “Sometimes it’s tall and skinny like this glass. But then it’s wide and flat like this casserole dish. It just changes and can’t be controlled. It will not stay in any certain shape like play dough does.” Make sure they understand the concept of being so easily changed. Ask them if we should be like Reuben and change our minds about right and wrong all the time. Reuben was undependable; always changing, like the water.  Do you know anyone like this?  Teach your children about being steady and dependable:  fulfilling commitments, keeping their word, and consistently doing their best, no matter with whom or where they are.

2.(Vs. 5-7). Simeon and Levi were cruel to animals and to people.  Merriam-Webster defines cruelty as, “disposed to inflict pain or suffering : devoid of humane feelings.

Discuss a connection between someone who is cruel to animals and to humans. 

A righteous man regards the life of his animal, but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:10).

Children who are careful to never be cruel to animals will probably never be cruel to humans. If your children have pets, think about some behaviors that would be cruel to their pets. 

3. (vs.10) To Judah Jacob says, “The scepter shall not depart from Judah nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; And to him shall be the obedience of the people” (Vs. 10).

Teach your children that Shiloh is Christ, and that Christ was promised to come from one particular son, Judah (Heb. 7:14).  One of the amazing proofs that Jesus is the Son of God is the many prophesies in the Old Testament which pointed to Him hundreds of years before His birth.

4. Sing the names of the 12 sons of Jacob. The West Huntsville kids have our tune, but lots of people sing these to the tune of “Ten Little Indians”

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah

Issachar, Zebulon, Dan (Pretty good!)

Naphtali, Gad and Asher

Joseph and Benjamin.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #14: Proverbs 6:18–A Heart that Devises Wicked Plans

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs: A heart that devises wicked plans (Prov. 6:16-19)

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

The KJV phrases this, “A heart that deviseth wicked imaginations.”  It isn’t the actual sin a man commits which is under consideration here, but merely the act of planning it. It’s a great example of God wanting more than our actions. He always wants our hearts.  This is abundantly taught in Scripture.

“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45).

“But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18).

“…that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

“Clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart” (2 Cor. 3:3).

One more. This one involves Peter writing to Christian wives who were married to unbelieving husbands. He elaborates on what those wives can do to convert their mates.  “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God” (1 Pet. 3:3-4).

Perhaps our greatest challenge and goal in walking as Christians today is to focus and protect that “hidden person of the heart.”  That person is in a place others cannot see, and that hidden aspect alone makes this difficult. A man may appear on the outside to be devoted to Christ when his hidden person of the heart is full of filth and corruption. Eventually what’s in his heart will be revealed:  “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34).  “For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Ecc. 12:14).  

Take deliberate steps to keep your mind away from evil and on the things God approves.  Keep your Bible in a place of easy access and read it every day.  Meditate on what you read.  Pray without ceasing.  Seek out faithful Christians for your closest friends.  Always push back against Satan when you realize his wicked plans are forming in your imagination.

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 48

1. In the close of chapter 47, Jacob was preparing to die. He asked his son, Joseph, not to bury him in Egypt, but to carry his body back to Canaan; to his family’s cemetery.  Joseph promised to do as his father asked. 

This might be a good time to gently, and in an age-appropriate way, discuss death, funerals, and burial with your children.  Put an emphasis on the fact that we do not bury people’s souls; we only bury their physical bodies.  Explain James 1:26, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also,”  Tell them that we all have two bodies: a physical one that people see, and a spiritual one that people don’t see.  

2.As we begin chapter forty-eight, we see that Joseph brought his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim, to Jacob to receive their blessing. Explain to your children what a will is and how it works. Emphasize that a man can change his will before he dies however he chooses, but that, when he dies, the will is unchangeable and must be carried out precisely, if at all possible.  This lesson will be important for when you teach them later about the last will and testament of Jesus Christ, the New Testament (Heb. 9:16-22).

3. In order to give Joseph and his descendants a double blessing, Jacob adopted Joseph’s two sons. He made them as his own sons.

“And now your two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who were born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine” (Gen. 48:5). 

God was guiding Jacob through this blessing, and Jacob put his right hand on the head of Ephraim and his left hand on Manasseh, thus giving the more favorable blessing, reserved for the oldest, to Ephraim. Ephraim was the youngest. Joseph tried to correct this mistake, but Jacob said he knew what he was doing .  “But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations” (Gen. 48:19).  

While you don’t have God guiding you in the way He guided Jacob,  He does guide you as parents through His word. Use this time to talk to your children about your dreams for them. Tell them you dream of the day when they will become Christians, marry Christians, and teach their children and grandchildren to love and serve Jesus. Talk to your older children, who are Christians, about the important upcoming decisions (college or not, friendships, dating, marriage and parenting) and how they will all be guided by the most important decision of serving Jesus. Try to make them see that many decisions have already been made because of that one big decision made in hearts as they surrendered to Jesus. 

4. Pray with your children. Make sure they hear Dad say often in prayer (provided there’s a faithful dad in the home): “Help _______ and ___________ and ____________ to grow up to marry Christians. Help the mom and dad of the children they will one day marry to, right now, be raising them up to love you more than anyone or anything else in this world.” 

5. Make sure small children can always fill in the blank of this sentence with the word Christian. “When I grow up, I’m going to marry a ___________________.” Practice this verbally tonight and very frequently. 

     

 

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #13: Proverbs 6:17–Hands that Shed Innocent Blood

 

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:  Hands that shed innocent blood (Prov. 6:16-19)

These six things the Lord hates, 

Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:

A proud look,

A lying tongue,

Hands that shed innocent blood,

A heart that devises wicked plans,

Feet that are swift in running to evil,

A false witness who speaks lies,

And one who sows discord among brethren.

God hates murder, but God does not hate all killing. Every word in this, the third in the list, is important: “Hands that shed innocent blood.”  When God, in the Ten Commandments, said “Thou shalt not kill,” He was forbidding murder; not all killing. Not all killing is murder. The Old Law created cities of refuge as a remedy for a man who accidentally killed another man (Deut. 4:41-43). That was killing, but it wasn’t murder. Killing animals was endorsed by God from the beginning (Gen. 1:29-30). In both the Old and New Testaments, God clearly endorsed capital punishment of the guilty (Gen. 9:6;  Rom. 13:4). God sometimes commanded Israel to kill in war (Joshua 6). So, pay attention to the wording of exactly what God hates here: the deliberate taking of innocent human life. Centuries later, the apostle John would write, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 Jn. 3:15).  

Now leap-frog over the obvious examples of murder in today’s news and get to the one which is by far the most egregious kind of murder in our world, despite being promoted and applauded as guiltless. It’s abortion.  I cannot imagine an act which better illustrates what is meant when the Proverbs writer said that God hates “hands that shed innocent blood.”  

Consider that the Greek word for baby is brephos, used of the baby Jesus: “And this will be the sign to you: You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Lk. 2:12). The same Greek word is used of John who was still in the womb of his mother, yet unborn!  “And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk. 1:41). When the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write this passage, He called both the baby in the womb and the baby outside the womb, brephos: baby. Killing a baby in the womb is the moral equivalent of killing a baby outside the womb. Man has imagined that killing an unborn child is different in order to protect the wickedness of abortion. He has defended the horrid act of murder.  

One more thing to consider: A website which has been tracking the Novel Corona numbers in the last couple of months has posted that, worldwide, just under 40,000 have died. The Associated Press published its most recent abortion numbers in the U.S. for one year: 862,000.  

God hates the hands which commit the murder of abortion.

Today in prayer, thank God for His amazing gift of human life and pray that our world will awaken to the murderous darkness of abortion.

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 47

1.Teach your children about the practice of a man recommending another for a position.  Based on the respect Pharaoh had for Joseph, he immediately offered a trusted position over his own livestock to whomever Joseph recommended: 

 “The land of Egypt is before you. Have your father and brothers dwell in the best of the land; let them dwell in the land of Goshen. And if you know any competent men among them, then make them chief herdsmen over my livestock” (Gen. 47:6).

Use this to again teach your children the importance of always telling the truth; always keeping appointments; always fulfilling tasks with excellence.  There will be times in life when they will be of great service to others by similarly extending recommendations.

2.  It is important in life to elevate the blessings of God over the unhappy things of life.  Even in trials we should  speak of God’s goodness. The poorest of Christians is still greatly blessed. Hear the sad answer the aged Jacob gave to the king when asked “How old are you?”   

“And Jacob said to Pharaoh, ‘The days of the years of my pilgrimage are one hundred and thirty years; few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their pilgrimage’” (Gen. 47:9).

Make sure your children understand that Jacob’s answer to the king did not include any of the blessings of Jacob’s life. Make sure they know that we should constantly be telling others, especially unbelievers about the blessings of God.

3. Decide if your children are old enough to understand the following observations:

Joseph served Pharaoh to the degree of using the plague to strip the Egyptians of all their their wealth and fill the treasury of the King:

‘So when the money failed in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us bread, for why should we die in your presence? For the money has failed.” Then Joseph said, “Give your livestock, and I will give you bread for your livestock, if the money is gone” (Gen. 47:15-16). 

Those monies lasted a year, but the famine continued. Because they had not money or livestock to buy back all the grain they had charged during the seven years of plenty,  Joseph agreed to trade grain for their lands, and their bodies.  They would become Pharaoh’s slaves.  They all agreed.

“Then Joseph said to the people, ‘Indeed I have bought you and your land this day for Pharaoh. Look, here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the harvest that you shall give one-fifth to Pharaoh. Four-fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and for your food, for those of your households and as food for your little ones.’”

A. By taxing their grain in the first seven years and selling it back to them during the time of famine, Joseph had saved their lives.  Question: Did he do a good thing?

B.  Could it be that Joseph was following God’s instructions?  It would not be long until Moses came before a different Pharaoh, introduced the ten plagues, and spoiled Egypt.  Egyptian wealth would largely be used to fund the exodus of Israel from the slavery and oppression they experienced in Egypt.  Could that have been Joseph’s long-term motive? Could it have been God’s plan? 

Emphasize to your children that God’s plans always happen. He always makes a way for things to work out for the good of his people. Read Romans 8:28 to them and talk about its meaning. Sing one verse of “I Know the Lord Will Make a Way for Me”

I know the Lord will make a way for me.

I know the Lord will make a way for me.

If I walk in heaven’s light

Shun the wrong and do the right

I know the Lord will make a way for me.

 

Tell your children that this hymn was written by Paul Epps, a minister for the Lord’s church.

4. Pray with your children. Be sure to pray that God will make his people stronger through the coming days when lots of people in our land will likely be ill.  Pray for the leaders in our churches, that they will make good decisions to help us be stronger on the other side of this sickness.

Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Family Ties in the Social Distance #12: Proverbs 6:17–A Lying Tongue

My husband, Glenn, is sharing these daily lessons  for our West Huntsville family as we are necessarily (because of the virus) spending less time physically together in worship, study and fellowship. We may be “socially distanced,” but  we’re a close-knit family and we want to keep it that way! One way to stay on track together, spiritually, is to think about a common passage and make applications for our lives together even when we are unable to assemble as frequently. I’m sharing these daily family lessons here for those in other places, whose families (or even congregations) might benefit from a common study in these uncommon days of semi-quarantine. There are Family Bible Time guides included, as well. You can adapt, shorten or lengthen them according to the ages of kids (and adults) in your family. Blessings.

From Glenn:

My Favorite Proverbs:  Seven Things God Hates: A Lying Tongue (Prov. 6:16-19)

When you were a child and consciously tried lying for the first time, you had no idea you had taken a small, childish part of something of this magnitude in this world.  Satan invented it (Jn. 8:44) and has enjoyed practicing lying since he smiled assuringly and said to Eve, “You shall not surely die.” She believed him and introduced sin into the world.

Lying is bad because truth is good.  Christ is the epitome of truth; so much so that Scripture says He is the truth (Jn. 14:6).  Use your imagination and you’ll be shocked with how frightening things would become if God wasn’t opposed to lying. The Bible would not be dependable. You couldn’t be sure if Jesus died on the cross to offer redemption to mankind or not.  You wouldn’t be confident that the church was the sphere of the saved (Col. 1:13).  Did God really create this world in six days (Gen. 1-2)?  These are ridiculous things to question, of course, but they illustrate just how critical it is that our God cannot lie (Tit. 1:2).  I love Him for His love of truth because it gives me security.  I want to emulate Him in this love.  

 The same is true in my marriage.  I love my wife because she always tells the truth.  As our children grew, we were persistent in stopping lying quickly before it could become a devastating habit.  We talked of the truth and valued truth. The same value is absolutely necessary in my work, my medical treatments, my friendships, and my banking.  Any of these things can be corrupted by lying.  The Psalmist wrote, “You shall destroy those who speak falsehood.”  This is obviously a serious subject.

I’m thankful the Gospel is described in Scripture as “the truth”.  Meditate on that today as you reaffirm your love for truth in all aspects of your life:

“Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever”  (1 Pet. 1:22-23).  

 

 

                                                                     

 

Story Time from Glenn and Cindy:  Genesis 46

1. Just before Jacob went to Egypt to live in Goshen God reassured him about this major decision:  “I am God, the God of your father; do not fear to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there” (Gen. 46:3).

God didn’t give Jacob details about how he would protect him and why he shouldn’t fear.  He simply said, “I am God….”  Sometimes your Mom or Dad will tell you to do something and you respond, “Why?”.  The answer is, “Because I’m your father,” or, “I’m your mother.”   What does it mean when they say that?  What did it mean when God said this to Jacob?

“Be still, and know that I am God”  (Psa. 46:10). Sing this verse now if your children know the tune (or make up your own tune. “Twinkle, twinkle little star works pretty well.)

2.  Speak to your children about the genealogy presented here (vs. 8-27).  Explain that this will help us with historical facts as the nation grows great in number,  but also teach them that such genealogies give us a perspective about ourselves—that while we are important to God, we are one small part of a big picture.  For all these people, who lived their lives and are now gone,  one thing ultimately mattered:  whether or not they were faithful to the God of Jacob.  Make a brief genealogy of your family beginning with your children’s great-grandparents and coming down to them. Show them pictures, if you have them, and put those photos in a line.    Teach them that they belong to this family and that they are important. Teach them that all that matters is whether or not they obey God and teach their children to obey him.

3.  Joseph taught his brothers how to speak in Egypt about to their occupation.  It was better to Egyptians to hear them say, “We work with livestock” than to say “We are shepherds.”   Use this lesson to teach your children about being polite and the kinds of things that endear them to other people instead of being offensive.  Give them examples. You may even want to let them tell you which sounds better:

It is better to say “No, thank-you,” than to say “I really don’t like squash.”

It is better to say “Excuse me,” than to say “You are in my way.”

It is better to say, “Please be quiet for a moment.” than to say “Shut up.”

It is better to say, ” Great dinner. May I be excused,” than to say “I’m done. I don’t want any more.”

It is better to say, “May I see that?” than to say ” Give me that.”

It is better to say, “That was fun. Now let’s do…” than to say “I’m tired of doing this.”

4. Talk with your children about the moment when Joseph hugged his father for the first time in many years. Talk about how hard it is for parents and children to be separated. If there has been a time when your children have been away from you, talk about how happy it was to come back together. Talk to them about how our Father, God, does not want to be separated from us and that only when we choose sin do we ever have to be separated from God. Talk about how happy it is for God when people who have left Him repent and come back to Him. Do your children know anyone who has recently done that?

5.  Pray with your children. Ask God to help us remember that He is God.