Proverbs 2: 1-11

My son, accept my words.
    Store up my commands inside you.
Let your ears listen to wisdom.
    Apply your heart to understanding.
Call out for the ability to be wise.
    Cry out for understanding.
Look for it as you would look for silver.
    Search for it as you would search for hidden treasure.
THEN you will understand how to have respect for the Lord.
    You will find out how to know God.
The Lord gives wisdom.
    Knowledge and understanding come from his mouth.
He stores up success for honest people.
    He is like a shield to those who live without blame.
He guards the path of those who are honest.
    He watches over the way of his faithful ones.

You will understand what is right and honest and fair.
    You will understand the right way to live.
10 Your heart will become wise.
    Your mind will delight in knowledge.
11 Good sense will keep you safe.
    Understanding will guard you.   ~Proverbs 2: 1-11

Welcome back friends! This week we are going to look for treasures. Proverbs 2 is a powerful chapter to encourage us all towards Godly living. It teaches us stick-in-the-mud adults how to trust God and to discern the best solutions to life’s inescapable dilemmas. Our children are no different. They’re making decisions about who they want to be around, who they want to be, and they need wisdom and understanding to stay out of the mud themselves. (Figuratively and sometimes literally!)

Take 2 large marshmallows and write WISDOM on one, and UNDERSTANDING on the other. Once you’ve read the scripture together, discuss what these two words mean to you and have the kids give their own definitions. Notice that we are told to search for wisdom and understanding. Imagine if we knew there was buried treasure in our yard. We wouldn’t quit until we found it.  We need to have that same determination to make time to be wise. Pay attention to all the good things that come after wisdom and understanding (in verse 5). Success. Protection. How to choose the right paths. How to delight in knowledge.

Have the kids hide their eyes and count while you hide the marshmallows. When ready, release the children to run around the house searching. There is nothing better that hearing a child, breathless with excitement, shout out “I found it! I found WISDOM!”

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your family prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done. 

“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” Matthew 5:21-22 (Message)

Just let it go. We need to let go of our anger. Of course, in this translation Jesus didn’t specifically mean brothers or sisters only, but this could be a good scripture to reinforce the importance of siblings getting along!   Often we get angry because we think something isn’t fair, we don’t get what we want, or what we think we deserve. Just let it go. Would you rather be right, or wise? “A fool gives full vent to anger, but the wise quietly holds it back.” Proverbs 29:11  It’s difficult to form the habit of letting go of anger, but it is possible. In fact, with practice it becomes easier and easier.

Start letting go today, by unleashing marshmallows with your own homemade launcher. https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRZvp6s1mfeO1GLQfT2K1B7EkxBYGPHAvOjUZfF5W9MkNsoZqBeRg

Just cut the bottom out of a paper or plastic cup. Also cut the knot from an already blown up balloon, leaving enough balloon to pull it over the bottom. Depending on the size of the paper or plastic cup, you may need to tape the balloon on if it slips off. Now just throw in a marshmallow, pull the knot and….. Release! This is a super fun way to practice letting go, and make sure to challenge the kids to practice letting go of anger too. Pray together that we would trust God to give us what we need, and not try and fight for it. If we all can focus on loving our neighbours more than ourselves, I promise God will take care of the rest.

God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your family prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done. How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

He who walks with wise men will be wise. But the companion of fools will suffer harm. Proverbs 13:20

Play with your marshmallows, any size. Kids can do whatever they like with them, but eventually they are going to get quite sticky. Great! This week we’re praying for wisdom to choose good friends, and the more sticky their fingers are the better.

In Proverbs 13 (above) we are warned to choose to be around wise people. Ask the kids who would be wise choices for friends? Do they honor God? Are they obedient? Do they lie? How do you feel when you are around them?  Friends are like sticky marshmallows, the more we’re around them the more they stick to us, and we stick to them.  We should try to to spend time with people we want to be like. Make plans to visit with them soon.

Likewise, if we hang around with people who aren’t wise, they will also stick onto us, and that can be difficult to get off. Sometimes good people change and become fools because of their choices. Ask the children if they can think of any examples where good or bad behavior has stuck to them after being around someone. Picking up bad words or jokes are common, as is sarcasm or a disrespect for authority. On the positive side, perhaps kindness, patience or generosity has stuck to your kids from someone else. Nobody is perfect, or course, and everybody has issues they’re working on, but overall negative patterns suggest a strong friendship is maybe not a good idea right now.

Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33

We need to be careful who we invite into our lives.

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

This week: Be Silent!

We think even a foolish person is wise if he keeps silent. We think he understands what is right if he controls his tongue.  -Proverbs 17:28

I like the way Mark Twain (or Abraham Lincoln, the attribution is debatable) is credited for describing Proverbs 17:28 this way: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

There is so much wisdom in keeping silent. Do you ever re-think a conversation, wishing you could claw back that thoughtless comment. It takes work to control our tongue. It is a serious flaw: The more we speak, our chance of pronouncing damaging remarks greatly increases. The more we speak, the more trouble and drama we’ll heap on ourselves. Fact.

The words of our mouth can trap us – Proverbs 6:2

When we speak too much, sin abounds – Proverbs 10:19 

Harsh words are like swords – Proverbs 12:18

So in conclusion, the more we keep quiet, the smarter we’ll appear!
To help us remember to keep our mouths closed, we’ll play Chubby Bunny. The trick to this game is to see how many marshmallows we can ft in our mouth and still close it enough to properly say “Chubby Bunny”. Obviously, use caution when asking young children to stuff their mouths to overflowing 🙂  Maybe use small marshmallows for young children, but middle school on up to adult can play using large marshmallows.Count on using at least four large marshmallows for each player. The rules are: no swallowing, no spitting, no chewing, no drooling. The toughest part is actually the drool, in my humble opinion. Keep going around and having each player add one more marshmallow and clearly speaking “Chubby Bunny”. When all players but one have been disqualified, you’ll have your Chubby Bunny Champion!
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this family night work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Be Content

” I’m not saying that because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more then enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.”  -Phil 4:11-13

I’d like to highlight a fantastic ministry: Family Time Training. I was fortunate to get trained from the founder, Kirk Weaver. He’s spent years planning unique and fun family activities that deliver a great message with eternal perspective. He offers free family night adventures at www.famtime.com .Try this one, adapted from the Halloween alternative activity here:

The same way we choose which attitude (or face) we wear, we’re going to put faces on marshmallows. Present each child with one of the following situations and have the children show you how their own face might look as they colour the emotion as a marshmallow face.

• There is a young girl who usually goes to bed at 8:00 pm. She stayed up late and it is now 4 hours past her regular bedtime.

• A boy thought his mom was in the backyard and he was all alone in the house. He went into a dark closet to get a clean shirt, and he heard a voice say, “What are you doing?”

• A girl just scored the winning goal in a soccer game.

• A boy is trying to get the attention of his friends by pretending to fall down and telling funny jokes.

• A girl just found out that her cat got outside and is missing.

One of the earliest Christians was a man named Paul. Paul wrote several of the books in the Bible, and he was persecuted for being a Christian. Do you know what persecuted means? People try to hurt you because of what you believe. Paul also had very hard times as he traveled around to tell others about Jesus. Listen to all the things that happened to Paul. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.Paul was put in jail just for telling others about Jesus. How do you think Paul felt in prison? Talk about what it must have been like to be in prison. Hard! Paul tells us in one of his letters that he was “content” in prison. In fact, Paul tells us that he has learned to be content despite his circumstances. Read Philippians 4:11-13 together. Paul was content (happy and peaceful) when he had food, and when he didn’t have food. Paul teaches us that we can choose our attitude (what face we put on). We don’t have to let circumstances, the things that happen to us, determine our attitude. Just as Paul chose to be content when he was in jail wrongfully, we can choose to be content even during bad times. When we wake up in the morning, we can choose to be grumpy or we can choose to have good attitudes. When someone hurts our feelings, we can choose to let that ruin our day or we can choose to forgive and start over feeling happy.

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

For years, parents were taught that the key to raising happy children was to do everything we could to build up their self-confidence through praise. It’s not working. (more…)

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Build Your House

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”  Proverbs 14:1

build your house
Yes, that is Spider Man’s car in the driveway.

We’re going to build houses with marshmallows. And then eat them.

You’re going to want to give everybody in the family their own handful of marshmallows, since not only are the kids going to be touching and squishing them, but licking them will act as glue. You’ll be amazed at what you can build once you lick them!

Look up the verse together and then talk about it as you build. What does the Bible mean “to build up our house”? I teach kids it means “to add value”.  How can we add value to our homes, our family? Our city, our world? On the other hand, how does a foolish woman (or man) tear down her house like in the scripture?  What are some things that we do in our family to take away value from each other?

Additionally, God wants us to consider how we build ourselves up-  If we are wise, we will add value to ourselves by what we learn, how we act, the words we speak, and what we focus on. We should choose to build character.  An excellent novel our family read aloud helps kids understand character. Ralph Moody’s book “Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers” depicts a father trying to instill the value of building character: “A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”

As you’re building, ask which is harder: building up or tearing down. One of the kids towers could fall apart, which is a perfect opportunity to observe that tearing down can happen in a moment, but building up takes focus and careful planning. Unfortunately, one lie can seriously weaken a stellar reputation. One mean comment to a family member can trigger a series of foolish destruction.Let’s all decide to be wise in building up our house, and the next time somebody is inconsiderate to someone else, or hurting their own character you can use this lesson as a starting point by asking, “Are you building up or tearing down? Is this wise or foolish?” 

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! There are many wonderful devotions available, but these are for those of us ~myself included~ who have the best intentions but just can’t seem to get it together. We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith onto your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Wise Words

applesnewYou’ll need mini-marshmallows, an apple and something sweet and sticky like honey, jam or peanut butter.. For younger children, slice the apples yourself just before the snack, and provide each child with their own “lips”, some marshmallows and whatever sticky ingredient you’ve decided on. Not only are these mouths fun to make, they taste delicious. Personally, I recommend peanut or almond butter.

It’s a good idea to look up the Bible verse BEFORE the assemblling of the snack, or else have cloths available to wash up sticky fingers. If you look up the verses together before hand, it’s handy to be able to discuss them during snack assembly.

Study the scriptures below with the kids. Have a contest to see who can find the verses fastest. Younger kids can be paired up with older siblings or parents. Ask them why these verses go with the snack. You might be surprised at the insights your children have on the subject of kind words. What are sweet words? How can words be healthy for our bodies?

Psalm 119:103 (NIV)   How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!

Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)  Kind words are like honey—  sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

For older kids, challenge them with an extra twist:  In addition to the tasty treats, create one apple snack but instead of spreading the apple with a sweet sauce, use hot sauce instead. If you have a child in love with hot sauce you could use vinegar, baking soda, or worchestershire perhaps? Challenge them to have a bite. What’s the principle here? A little bit of harshness ruined all the sweetness. We can’t mix good and bad words, praise and cursing.

James 3:10 (NIV) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

Here are some more scriptures for discussion, if time allows:

Ephesians 4:29 (ESV) Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Ephesians 5:4 (AMP) Let there be no filthiness (obscenity, indecency) nor foolish and sinful (silly and corrupt) talk, nor coarse jesting, which are not fitting or becoming; but instead voice your thankfulness [to God].

Colossians 3:8 (ESV) But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.

Let’s use our mouths to bring sweetness and life to others!

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives, let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in your prayers. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.

How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

ImageFREE Parenting Resource Feb 14-17!

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As a parenting coach, these are the most common areas I am asked to help with. This book gets right to the heart of the issue and offers practical tips that you can use immediately.

I highly recommend getting a copy- and you can download it for free from Feb 14-17th.  Please share this great deal with everybody you know!

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Ding! Ding!

In this corner, we have “Getting out the door in the morning!” In the other corner, we have “Bed time!

Standing in the other corner is “Coming home from school!” and in our final fourth corner, we have… “Meal Times!

These can be fun family moments, instead of what feels like 12 rounds for the heavyweight title. This two hour training session will show you how to create a realistic routine, that will tear down the boxing ring! Get equipped to win for your family!

Monday, January 20th at 7pm at at Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Ave. E.)

If you would like more information about the workshop or have any registration, payment, or childcare questions, please call 306.789.1772 and ask for Mackenzie (Family LIFE Administrative Assistant). Cost is only $20 per person or $30 per couple and supervised childcare is included so register the kids! Register online today at www.familyliferegina.com or phone Regina Apostolic Church 306-789-1234.