Animals are a great way to teach children about God. Every animal has so many unique gifts God has given them. Just the sheer variety and beauty give glory to God. The scriptures are right when they say that creation is a testimony to God. (Romans 1:20)
Yet, atheists will try to use God’s creation to disprove God’s existence. We recently were blessed to meet a woman whose mission is to use animals to teach children about God. I think she put it perfectly.
Poor Beriah! Joseph’s son Ephraim had two sons who were killed by the men of Gath. After their death, Ephraim had another son whom he named Beriah “because there had been misfortune in his family.” (I Chronicles 7:23 NIV) Can you imagine going through life knowing your name reminded your father of the death of your brothers? No small burden for poor Beriah!
Things might not have turned out so well for Beriah, but normally the naming of children in Israel was an exciting moment. The meaning of the name and the parent’s favorite Jewish heroes of faith, often influenced the choice. In fact, Jesus is actually the Armaic form of the name Joshua.
On Sunday, the adult Bible class I attended had more fun, excitement and pure joy happening in one place than I had seen in awhile. Our teacher was discussing the idea of dreaming big dreams for God and with God. He divided us into groups and handed each group a sheet of paper with a ministry from our Church written on it. We had several minutes to dream big dreams for that ministry. The only stipulation was that we could not censor the dreams as to whether or not they were “viable”.
We haven’t had a chance yet to see everyone’s dreams, but it seemed like every group was excited about their list. It was refreshing to dream big dreams without censorship.
Apple pie is a staple of Thanksgiving in many families. Fresh apples from a nearby orchard combined with flaky crust and smells of cinnamon seem to call everyone to the kitchen with offers to help – taste of course! This time bring your children into the kitchen and let them help you bake the pie. Besides being a great life lesson and wonderful bonding time, you can use the experience to teach your children a difficult concept about God.
Before you start peeling the apples for your pie, ask your children if they know the parts of an apple. If they don’t know, start peeling the apple. Place all of the peelings in a pile. Next slice all of the useful fruit off the apple and place it in another pile. Put the core in a third spot. Show your children how an apple has three parts – the peel, the fruit and the core. All could be described with the word “apple” as part of its name. If the parts were put back together, it would also be an apple.
I love the summer months. Although the new school schedules have eaten into some of those old “hazy, lazy days of summer”, we still tend to have a slightly more relaxed life. I love the idea of sleeping late, wearing flip flops and deciding between reading a book or walking on the beach. I hope this summer you can take some of those relaxed days and spend some time sharing God with your children.
There are a lot of fun things you can do with your child this summer that will help her grow closer to God. Some will re-inforce God’s Words, while others can re-inforce godly principles. I promise: you and your child can have a joy filled summer that will make wonderful memories while also bringing your child closer to God.