The Lord your God has directed me to teach you his commands, rules and laws. Obey them in the land you will take over when you go across the Jordan River. Then you, your children and their children after them will honor the Lord your God as long as you live. Obey all his rules and commands I’m giving you. If you do, you will enjoy long life. Israel, listen to me. Make sure you obey me. Then things will go well with you. The number of your people will increase greatly in a land that has plenty of milk and honey. That’s what the Lord, the God of your parents, promised you. Deuteronomy 6:1-3

Make up some trail mix with the kiddos, letting them mix the ingredients or even choose a few of them. Some suggestions are mini marshmallows, banana chips, raisins, nuts of any kind, chocolate chips or carob chips, candy pieces, dried fruit, yogurt chips, popcorn, pretzels, cereal or whatever else you can imagine. Pack the mix into small baggies and store extras in the fridge.

trail

The bible is not a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick out the pieces you like and ignore the rest! But in order to fully understand that we have to know what our Bible says.

Read the beginning of Deuteronomy together and challenge the kids to retell the first verses in their own words. Do they want to live a long happy life? Of course! Do they want their children’s children to honour God? YES!

Then we need to obey the rules and commands in the Bible, not just the ones we learn in Sunday School. We need to study them for ourselves. Ask the children how they would like to learn the Bible themselves, whether it’s in a group setting or privately, by listening to an audio Bible, reading aloud, or reading quietly. And then help them achieve that goal. They’ll have days they don’t feel like it, but they will thank you for installing that discipline, really they will, one day.

He waters the furrows with abundant rain. Showers soften the earth, melting the clods and causing seeds to sprout across the land.  Then he crowns it all with green, lush pastures in the wilderness; hillsides blossom with joy.”

Psalm 65

1-2 O God in Zion, we wait before you in silent praise, and thus fulfill our vow. And because you answer prayer, all mankind will come to you with their requests. Though sins fill our hearts, you forgive them all. How greatly to be envied are those you have chosen to come and live with you within the holy tabernacle courts! What joys await us among all the good things there. With dread deeds and awesome power you will defend us from our enemies,[a] O God who saves us. You are the only hope of all mankind throughout the world and far away upon the sea.

He formed the mountains by his mighty strength. He quiets the raging oceans and all the world’s clamor. In the farthest corners of the earth the glorious acts of God shall startle everyone. The dawn and sunset shout for joy! He waters the earth to make it fertile. The rivers of God will not run dry! He prepares the earth for his people and sends them rich harvests of grain. 10 He waters the furrows with abundant rain. Showers soften the earth, melting the clods and causing seeds to sprout across the land. 11-12 Then he crowns it all with green, lush pastures in the wilderness; hillsides blossom with joy. 13 The pastures are filled with flocks of sheep, and the valleys are carpeted with grain. All the world shouts with joy and sings.

This psalm speaks of new life, of creation, of spring. There is a feeling of overcoming in this psalm of David, as if he has been through a hard time previously. Sometimes seasons are more than a time of year. Tell kids about a hard winter in your life (waiting for a long time for something, a time when your prayers didn’t seem to get answered), and a new spring. (like maybe when you had children- or started your career- or went to high school). Just like cycles in nature, there are many seasons of life. As David teaches us in this psalm, we need to keep praying, trusting, and believing that God will bring us through! As spring is blooming all around us, it would be fun to try and make marshmallow flowers- the kind you see on fancy cupcakes. While we aren’t baking for this devotional, if you had some cupcakes bought or made ahead of time it would definitely be a bonus.  

20150518_161943_resized_2Supplies are large and small marshmallow, sugar and some kind of food coloring. Drop some coloring into a small bowl of sugar and mix to create colored sugars. Though most of us have some food coloring in the back of the baking shelf, if you’re desperate for color try juice or melt a colorful hard candy in the microwave and add it to the sugar. Once you have the suger just give the kids some marshmallows, a knife or scissors, and a plate each. The sugar will stick to only the sticky “cut” face of the marshmallow.

1) Cut a large marshmallow in half to make a large sticky circle.
2) Cut mini-marshmallow lengthwise DIAGONALLY to create petals.
Press the petals sticky side into the sugar.
3) Place the petal color side up onto the round sticky large marshmallow.
This is what the petals will stick to. Alternatively, if you have any icing they will stick to that as well.20150518_163108_resized_1

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. 

John 14:26  But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Family Time Training is sharing their post with us this week. If you like this teaching tool,  check out their unlimited access to 280 family devotionals for only $6 per month www.famtime.com

You need 3 clear glasses, milk, a large heart cut out of cardboard, chocolate syrup and two spoons.Place three glasses on the table. You say the words in bold. These glasses each represent a different type of person. Pour cold milk in each glass so it is 3/4 full.The milk represents the choices we make in life like attitudes, thoughts,and actions.Put the cardboard heart over one of the glasses. The opening of the glass represents the person’s heart. We have three glasses, one represents a closed or hard heart and two are open. Jesus is the bottle of chocolate syrup. He is not welcome in the life of the person with a hard heart. Since the other two people have open hearts, Jesus can come in. Pour in the chocolate syrup so that there is a visible layer of chocolate on the bottom of the glass. These two people have Jesus in their lives. When we have Jesus we also have the Holy Spirit represented by this spoon. Place a spoon in each of the two glasses. Stir the spoon in one of the glasses and point out how the color of the milk changes. The stirring represents the Holy Spirit being active in a person’s life: listening to what the Spirit says and doing it. This person’s life looks different. People can tell by the choices that he makes that he is a believer. Do not stir the spoon in the other glass.This represents the person who believes in Jesus, has the Holy Spirit in his life but does not listen to the Spirit or do what the Spirit says. The attitudes, thoughts, and actions (milk) looks alot like  the non-Christian. It’s hard to see the difference. This might be a “Sunday Only” Christian.

The three glasses represent the three types of people in this world. The non-Christian who has a closed heart, the Christian who goes to church but doesn’t let God influence his life, and the Christian who is actively listening to the Holy Spirit. As a Christian have you got milk? Or have you got chocolate milk? Allow children to drink the milk and chocolate milk as you complete this lesson.

John 15:26 “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.”

John 16:13 “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.”

Mark 16:1-8
When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdelene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “

He Is Risen!

Image result for he is risen easter rolls

Bake some easter buns with the kids- just take a package of store bought refrigerated dough (large buns work best) and follow the directions to roll them into buns- but wrap a marshmallow into the center of each one. Bake them as usual, and as they cook the marshmallow will melt into the dough and give the bun a slightly sweet taste, but most important- there will be a hole in the middle where the marshmallow was. This is the empty tomb.

While waiting for the buns to cook read the scripture together and reflect on how it would have felt if you were one of those people to go to the tomb and find it empty. Would you be afraid if you saw an angel? Would you be nervous if a grave was empty? If children want, you could even act out the scene. Once the buns are ready to eat, enjoy some sweet goodness and thank God that Jesus rose from the dead to save us all! Romans 5:8: But God demonstrated His love for us: that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only son. Anyone who believes in Him will not die but will have eternal life.

Let’s live out our gratefulness and share the good news! He Has Risen!

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?

Did Jesus eat honey?

Honey was the sweetener of the day when Jesus walked the earth, and He would’ve eaten it often. I’ve wanted to make my own marshmallows for some time, and now that I’ve found a recipe for a healthy version made with honey (only 4 simple ingredients and twenty minutes!) it seems appropriate to focus on honey marshmallows this week. The recipe only takes 5 minutes to prepare, but then it needs to set for about 20, so while you’re waiting, quiz the family on these honey verses to see how sweet their scriptures skills are:
Ask them to guess the answer, and then look it up to see who’s the fastest:
How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Who is this verse talking about? (Psalms 119:10)
Then their father Israel said to them, “If it must be so, then do this: take some of the best products of the land in your bags, and carry down to the man as a present, a little balm and a little honey, aromatic gum and myrrh, pistachio nuts and almonds. Who’s the man that is receiving the gift? (Genesis 43:11)

I was clothed with camel’s hair and wore a leather belt around my waist, and my diet was locusts and wild honey. Who am I? (Mark 1:6)
When he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. Who is he? (Judges 14:8)
So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey. Who am I? and What land is this? (Exodus 3:8)
The house of Israel named it _____, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. What is it? (Exodus 16:31)

Enjoy the marshmallows!  The only ingredients are Knox gelatin, honey, salt, and vanilla. Here are the links to two healthy recipe’s at UrbanPoser and WellnessMama.

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?

“Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.”  Hebrews 13:5

There is a difference between needs and wants.  Gather around a table, and place a few carrots, cucumbers or other healthy snacks in front of each family member.  In the center of the table, place a platter of marshmallows.  Ask what life would be like without marshmallows. Then ask what life would be like without vegetables.  Ask everyone to take a bite of their healthy snack then discuss and then a marshmallow:  What is the difference between vegetables and marshmallows? (Veggies don’t taste as good; vegetables are a need, marshmallows are wants.) If you had to choose between unlimited veggies for a week, or only 10 marshmallows, which would you choose?  Share:  We can survive without marshmallows because our bodies don’t need them to keep us alive.  But if we didn’t have vitamins from healthy food we wouldn’t feel well at all.  This is the difference between needs and wants.  Have each person draw a picture of things they touch or use in a typical day (beds, clothes, food, toys, books, etc.)  Circle the ones that are needs.  Remember to explain that what some people consider to be a “need” could be considered a luxury to someone in a different socioeconomic situation. (Example: pillow, variety in food, snacks, warm baths, etc.) Discuss:  If you had a limited amount of money to spend, and you owned nothing, which things on your list would you buy first? (A bed, house, clothing.)  What does this tell us about the way we spend our money? (Most is spent on “wants”; we really don’t have many things we have to buy.)  Share:  A wise spender doesn’t use all of his money for “wants” or luxuries before taking care of the needs.  To be wise spenders, we must first take care of the things that are most important, and then we can think about buying some of the things that are “wants.”  Close in prayer thanking God for His provision in providing for the family and taking care of our needs, and asking for wisdom in using money the best way possible to live a life glorifying to Him.

{This weekly activity was adapted from an excellent free resource called Heritage Builders. They provide free bulletin inserts each month to encourage parents to make family time a priority. Check ’em out!}

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?

 

Every good gift and perfect gift is from above” James 1:17

Christmas is coming and I’m sure children everywhere are hoping and praying for their favorite gifts. Let’s take this week to discuss showing Honor as a gift to others.

Honor is so important, because it determines how we do things. How we relate to one another. It makes an enormous difference in family life because adults and children alike can sense when somebody is genuinely interested in adding value to them or doing the bare minimum. At the National Center for Biblical Parenting, we teach families to honor each other with a practical definition.   Honor is: treating people as special, doing more than what’s expected, and having a good attitude. You can teach even young children that honor is making people feel special.

Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes, In You and Your Kids - BookThis activity comes from the book: “Say Goodbye to Whining, Complaining, and Bad Attitudes- in you and your Children!”

You  need to prepare a gift for each person in the family. Each person except one should receive something enjoyable. Might I suggest MARSHMALLOWS!  It could also be little trinkets, candies, or some change. One gift however, should look just as pretty wrapped up, but inside is something undesirable. Rocks or dirt work well, an empty container or a piece of paper towel will do.  

Give each person a gift and let them open it. When they received a good gift, how did it make them feel? Special, valued, nice, happy, smiling. How does it feel to receive a bad gift? sad, angry, worthless. Honor is like giving a gift to somebody. We can make people feel special, or sad. Let’s choose to give gifts of honor to our family and friends. Make a list of ways to show honor to those around us: use kind words, go out of our way to help somebody carry something, help others with chores when we’re done ours, empty the dishwasher without being asked, say please and thank you, brush our teeth the first time we’re told, agree to play brother or sister’s game, celebrate others’ milestones or rewards, doing more than was asked, and doing it with a smile.

Keep the list handy and throughout the week look for honoring words or behavior. Praise children (and adults) for giving gifts of Honor just like the gift of marshmallows, When you see dishonoring behavior you can stop and teach at that moment: Wow- that was a lot like giving a gift of dirt!

Read the Bible verse together and thank God that His gifts are always good.He has given us the best gift ever- eternal life with Him!

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?

“Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” -Luke 2:10

This week I’d like to highlight Focus On The Family Canada. This is an excellent free online resource for all things parenting, but it also has links to relevant articles and audio clips on everything from marriage to movie reviews. I recommend you take a look.  For this Marshmallow Madness, we’ll create a yummy gift idea- Candy Nativity Kits that you prepare and give away with a note for families to build and eat together. I love that not only are we enjoying spending time talking about Jesus’ birth as a family, we are planning to share the gospel with others.  This project requires a few more items than I usually allow, but I think in this case it’s worth it! The kids will be excited to build their own Nativity scene,  and while you admire them I suggest you read together the Scripture account of Jesus’ birth in Luke 2:1-20 I chose the New International Readers Version to link to, because I find it is written the easiest for children to understand. If you want to read the King James Version for the old school flavor than click here.
You can link directly to the article on Focus on the Family (you’ll need to scroll down to the bottom) or read it below:  Focus on the Family Candy Nativity Scene

Pack a kit of supplies to make this candy Nativity scene, and your gift is sure to be a hit with kids! Below you’ll find a list of essential supplies, but you’ll want to include plenty of extra candy to allow for mishaps (and children who can’t resist “taste testing”).
Let your youngsters help by counting out supplies and packaging them in baggies. Most likely though, they’ll be hankering to build their own Nativity scene instead!
Complete your kit with a card of instructions, including the image above. Here’s some text you can use:
Candy Nativity craft kit
This bag of treats
Looks good to eat
But first, enjoy some fun;
Make a sweet Nativity
And rejoice that Christ has come!
 
Your kit contains:
4 chocolate Reese® Bells (to make four torsos)
4 Reese Miniatures Peanut Butter Cups® (one each for Mary’s and Joseph’s lower halves; remove wrappers from two more cups for “kneeling” shepherds)
7 coloured jellybeans (6 for heads, and one wrapped up to form baby Jesus’ body
4 black jellybeans (slice these lengthwise to make the sheep’s heads)
1 roll of Fruit By the Foot® (for head coverings)
1 snack-size Snickers® bar (hollow it out a little to make the manger)
1 Hersey’s® Kiss (for the angel’s body)
3 miniature marshmallows (for the sheep’s bodies)
1 package of Chocolate Ice Wafers (to build a stable)
aluminum foil (for the angel’s wings and halo)
1 pack of toothpicks
Instructions: To hold each figure together, insert a toothpick into the base of the figure and push it up through the middle of the torso and partway into the jellybean “head.” Push toothpicks into the wafers to stabilize the stable, if needed. Take 12 toothpicks and colour the wide ends black on both sides to make the sheep’s legs.
 
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! 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: Covered in Favor

“For you bless the righteous, O Lord; you cover him with favor as with a shield.” -Psalm 5:12

This week we’re going to make a fun snack. final productMelt any kind of chocolate in the microwave- I used colored melting chocolate from Bulk Barn. The kids can dip large marshmallows in the chocolate with toothpicks and place them on wax or parchment paper. Then look up Psalm 5:12 while the chocolate sets and discuss in depth what that scripture means to you.

Talk about the wording.What does righteous mean?God’s people are righteous when they are in a right relation with him, when they enjoy his salvation.  How does God bless the righteous? What is favor? To show delight, to treat as special, to give extra benefits or blessings.Can you imagine being covered with favor? The scripture talks about covering the Lord’s people with favor as with a shield. Why is it good to have a shield? It protects us from harm. It is strong.It covers our most important parts. We can hide behind it. Isn’t that so good to know that God wants to cover us like that?   Enjoy eating chocolates covered in delicious favor as you consider how much Jesus wants to cover us with His love and favor!

group pic

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?