Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Painted fingers and toes

I don't usually wear nail polish. Mr. Theophilus doesn't like the way it smells, I can't keep it nice for more than a few hours.

But today, I'm wearing polish.

Why? As a tangible reminder to be a bearer of good news.

Today my girls and I looked at the story of Naaman's wife's servant. She isn't even named, but the wisdom of a little girl lead to the healing of an army commander.

Even though she was a nameless servant, she pointed someone to God.
Even though she didn't get any benefit out of it, she pointed someone to God.
She shared her faith in a real way, and it bore fruit.

We talked about Isaiah 52:7: How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bear good news! The girls thought that feet that had just climbed a mountain were probably pretty dirty and stinky, but they seemed beautiful when they came with God's good news.

To remind ourselves to proclaim peace, good tidings, and salvation, we painted our toenails. While it wasn't the neatest job, it gave us an opportunity to talk about who we could share good news with and ways to do it.

So I'll wear my diamond sparkle pink nail polish this week, and remember to bear good news whenever and where ever I can.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My little bit of oil

The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.” Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.” She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”

But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing. She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
2 Kings 4:1-7

Even though the girls in my class are 8-10 years old, they face problems that seem as big as the widow and her son's problem: moving across the country, ugly divorces, and just the general problems that come with school, family, and relationships.

So today we read about the widow and her oil. Even though it seemed like nothing, God was able to use her meager resources to fulfill her needs--with some to spare. While the girls don't have olive oil, they do have things they can offer to God--their hearts, their attitudes their hands, their allowance. So we decorated "_____'s Oil Jar", and filled them with slips of paper with what they could give to God, and prayed for faith to call on Him when we have a need, trust directions that might not seem rational, and eagerness to do whatever He asks of us.

I need to remember this too. I often feel overwhelmed by problems bigger than my olive oil supply. It's a reminder to dedicate what I do have to God, and ask him to multiply it for his glory.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

David vs. Goliath

When you think of kids in the Bible, David definitely comes to mind. Last week we talked about how David was selected to be king--a lesson that resonated with the girls. This week we talked about David and Goliath, and next week we'll talk about his friendship with Jonathan.

One of the challenges in teaching Biblically literate kids is that they think they know the story. Isn't that true for adults too? So how do I make it fresh and new?

Well, we did our usual strategy--we acted it out. It was a long story, broken into four scenes, but we made it through. But in our "think about it time" we focused on 1 Samuel 15, 25-27:
25 Now the Israelites had been saying, “Do you see how this man keeps coming out? He comes out to defy Israel. The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.”
26 David asked the men standing near him, “What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

What was different about David than the men in Israel's army? Why was he willing to stand against a giant that grown men cowered and hit from?

He remembered whose battle it was.

It wasn't him, going for wealth, a wife, or prestige. He knew that this was God's fight, not his.

When he went up against Goliath, it wasn't just him, his sling and a few smooth stones against Goliath; it was him, his sling, a few smooth stones and the Almighty God of Israel, and with God on your side, nothing is impossible.

How quick I am to forget that--to see the giant in front of me instead of the God who has my back. I'm prone to "yes but" God instead of seeing the "but God" who wants to do things for His glory through me.

To impress on the girls how big Goliath was, we made a nine foot Goliath and put him on the wall (his head hit the ceiling!) We then threw tape ball stones at him, saying "The battle is the LORD'S!" The first time was for fun; the second time I had them pray about a battle they're facing (I know some of them are going through divorce, moving, and parental instability, so the battles loom large), and remember that God is on their side, and is the one really fighting the battle.

They got it. And I hope I can too.

Lord, help me step out in faith and call on You to fight Your battles through me. Help me to see you behind me instead of the seeming giant in front of me. Be with the girls this week, and help them trust You as you work in and through their lives.