Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

It’s history repeating itself once again. The first was during the time of Moses, when the Jews or the Children of Israel were persecuted by the Egyptians, driven to the desert to suffer for 40 years. Then, the persecution of the Jews during the time of the Nazis, and now another round of suffering under the hands of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and Islamic State or ISIS.  Christian persecution is alive and real today.

Such incidents can lead to certain doubts and questions about the Christian faith. Are these signs to convert? Forsake Christianity to escape persecution? If there’s anything that the Bible tells us, however, it is the fact that God promised his followers that they would experience persecution, but also that Christ is victorious in the end.

Isaiah 49:16

“See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.”

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

The Lord will remember us in Christian persecution

Despite everything that’s happened to Christians in Iraq, Syria and other parts of the world, there’s still hope. God will never forsake His people.

Thanks to the Bible, fear need not strip Christians of their faith. Give your children this sword of Truth by reading the Bible and Bible Stories to them daily. To know more about Bible heroes, including Moses, who delivered the God’s people out of Egypt, their faith will be strengthened. Of course, for children to truly appreciate the word of God, they should be given a source that they can relate to. The Moses Bible story app can provide the great teachings at a level that they can understand.

Understanding Christian Persecution Through the Moses Bible Story App

Children learn quickly and easily through stories. Accompanied by songs, puzzles and coloring games, they will be able to absorb what a story is all about. Moses’ life, his childhood and the burning bush are just some of the stories included in the Bible stories app.

So make it a habit to read the Bible and instill the same to your children. When they become familiar with the word of God, their faith will not waver, regardless of the adversity they face. Make this task easier on your part by using a Bible story app that’s fun and engaging, yet profound.

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

In preparation for Easter Sunday, 4Soils has teamed up with David C. Cook publishers of great Sunday School curriculum to bring you resources for you and your child!

Of course, don’t forget to read the story in Sproutville! Which is made available for FREE to everyone between now and Easter Sunday 4/20/14

Discussion Guide to Prepare Your Child for Easter

Three chapters of the Easter story from Gethsemane to the cross to the resurrection on Sproutville!

Parent Devotional

Why do you believe that Jesus is alive? Luke 23:46—24:12 reports Jesus’ victory over the grave as historical fact. Other eyewitness accounts in the Bible as well as Old Testament prophecy support Luke’s account. But the women who went to the tomb did not go expecting to find Christ alive. They went because they had known the love of Jesus. They wanted to honor their memories of Him.

When the 11 disciples were told what the women had seen, they didn’t believe that Jesus was alive. Even though Jesus had told them it would happen, they didn’t believe. Did Peter run to the tomb expecting to find Christ alive? He went away wondering what had happened (Luke 24:12). What did it take for Peter and the other disciples to believe that Jesus is alive?

The women, Peter, and the other disciples believed that Jesus is alive when they had a personal encounter with the risen Lord. Not until we encounter the risen Lord can we truly believe that Jesus is alive.

As you celebrate that Jesus is alive, thank Him for what His death does for you. Prepare your heart to worship our risen Lord. Then let that excitement overflow as you worship with the children.

Tips for Discussing this with your Children

Children this age are eager to embrace the wonder of Bible stories that teach about God’s power. They don’t need to understand how God does a miracle in order to accept the fact that He can do miracles. This lesson is an opportunity for you to encourage their natural sense of wonder about God.

  • Children are very trusting. Don’t assume that they, like Peter and the disciples, will doubt that Jesus is alive. They will believe the Bible. Encourage their faith by confidently stating that Jesus rose from the dead and is alive.
  • Share with the children your own joy and wonder over the Resurrection. Share what is meaningful to you about the ways your family/church celebrates that Jesus is alive. Point out to them special decorations, traditions, or music that show the joy of this occasion.
  • Give the children time and opportunity to respond to the lesson. Each part of the lesson is designed to help you interact with the children and what they believe about Jesus being alive.

 

Activity: True or Not?

This activity will teach children they can believe Jesus is alive. The activity will get children thinking about things they believe.

Instructions to children: Listen to some sentences I read. If you think what I say is true, show a thumbs-up. If you don’t believe it’s true, show a thumbs-down.

Read each statement below one at a time. After each one, let the children show what they think. All of the statements are true. The information following the statements gives details on why they are true. 

  • It snows in the middle of summer. The snowflakes almost always melt into raindrops before they reach the ground, except in very cold places like the North Pole. 
  • Your fingernails and your hair are made of the same stuff. Both are made of keratin. A bird’s feathers are also made of keratin. 
  • A little frog in South America is the most dangerous animal in the world. The skin of just one poison arrow frog contains enough poison to kill hundreds of people. People put the poison on the tips of arrows. Lions and poisonous snakes are dangerous, but it would be hard for one lion or snake to kill hundreds of people. 
  • The humps of a camel do not hold water. The humps are fat. Fat gives food energy so camels can go a long time without food. Their stomachs hold a lot of water. 
  • Hummingbirds can fly backward. Hummingbirds can rotate their wings similar to the way we can rotate our shoulders. This allows them to push backward just as we can swim in a backward direction. 
  • Sponges are animals. Sponges are like sea anemones. They are animals that attach to rocks. They don’t have eyes. 
  • Glass is made from rock. Sand, lime, and soda, which come from rocks, are melted together to make glass.

All these statements are true. You should have believed every one and given it a thumbs-up. Let’s talk about what you believe.

Sharing Time

  • What is something you know is true? Let the children tell their ideas. Some children might tell things you are certain are not true. This is okay. Simply acknowledge what they say.
  • What does it mean to believe something? Believe means we accept something is true. We believe things we are completely sure of. Make sure your children understands what it means to believe something. Give an example, such as: The sun rises in the morning and sets in the evening.
  • What are some things you believe? They might talk about believing people love them, the day of the week, their name, God’s love, the Bible is God’s Word, and so on

 

Bible Story Review Questions

Q: Who died on a cross?
A: Jesus died on a cross. 

Q: What is a tomb?
A: A tomb is a cave for burying dead people.

Q: Why did the women go back to the tomb?
A: They wanted to put spices and perfume on Jesus’ body.

Q: What surprised the women at the tomb?
A: The tomb was open. The stone was already moved away.

Q: Who suddenly stood beside the women?
A: Two angels.

Q: What did the angels tell the women?
A: Jesus is alive.

Q: What did the women do?
A: They remembered what Jesus said. They went to tell the disciples what they saw and heard.

Q: Who believed that Jesus is alive?
A: Peter, the disciples, and the women believed Jesus is alive.

Q: What can we believe about Jesus?
A: We can believe that Jesus is alive.

Prayer Time

Let’s use our prayer time to talk with Jesus about what we believe. You might want to tell Jesus that you believe He is alive and thank Him for rising from the dead. Begin a time of silent individual prayer, then close your prayer time.

Here is a suggested close.

“Dear Jesus, thank You for rising from the dead and that You are alive. In Your name I pray. Amen.”

Movie Review: Noah

The big Hollywood movie has been highly anticipated, so we went on a team outing to watch it and see how they portrayed this powerful story.

Movie Review: Noah

First, some team bonding over yummy Indian food Movie Review: Noah

Movie Review: Noah

Team Outing Indian Food before Noah Movie

Now, where were we, oh yes, the movie.

NOTE: SPOILER ALERTS!!!

As story tellers ourselves, we appreciate the difficulties of imagining and filling in the real-life interactions that are left unsaid, or only hinted at, by the Bible. If the director only used the details provided by the Bible, the movie would have a 15 minute run-time!

Some of the imaginative parts: like the watchman rocks who helped Noah build a lot of the ark, felt a bit “action movie” ish, almost like they recycled transformers

We liked how it explored the concept of sin and wickedness of men, and was not so black and white about “good” vs “bad” people.  Noah recognized that even within himself and his family, there are wicked intents, it is within mankind itself because of the fall and the seed of Adam. We saw that even in Noah’s family, with the strife between father and both sons over their children and future.  Ham would betray his father over a girl he barely met for a few hours, but the desire to procreate and have his own family is strong I guess.

The descendants of Cain wanted to control their own destinies, not let God.  While I see how it really helped with the human elements of the plot to have Noah be that decider of the future of mankind with his own family, this is fundamentally where the movie missed the “point” of the Bible as a whole – that God had a plan to redeem mankind from the beginning.  The choice was not Noah’s, the sacrifice was made by God by sending Jesus, his own Son, down to earth to redeem mankind and take on the punishment for our sins.  God didn’t make it up as he went along, he had this plan even in Genesis, though he was heartbroken at the rebellion of man.  God loved us so much that He would give up His only son to be killed at the cross by man, for man.  THIS is the gospel, and THIS is why 4Soils exists, not to re-tell an old story, but to tell an on-going story, that applies to you and me today.

What did you think of the movie?  And are you taking your children to see it?

What can you learn from Joseph’s brothers?

In the Bible Heroes: Joseph app, children around the world read about God’s faithfulness to his promises and to Joseph. But what can we learn from Joseph’s story about his brothers?

What can you learn from Josephs brothers?

One of the key lessons is not making rash decisions in anger. Joseph’s brothers were angry at him because of three reasons:
1) he tattled on him (Gen 37:2)
2) he was the favorite of his father Israel /Jacob (Gen 37:3)
3) he shared his dream that his brothers will bow to him (Gen 37:5-11).
Joseph’s brothers hated him so much that they wanted to kill him (Gen 37:18)!

Why does the Bible teach so strongly against anger, and equates it to murder (Matthew 5:21-26)? Anger is the enemy of reason. Men do in the heat of passion what their reason, in a moment of objectivity, abhors. You are never in greater danger than when you let anger take its hold on you.

After all, if in fact Joseph’s dream really came from God, then his brothers should not resist God’s perfect will, and if not, they could have dismissed it and chuckled at Joseph’s arrogance.

Prayer for all of us (parents, children, and parents to set a good example for their children): Help me Lord to have self control and quickly forgive. Help me to not do things out of anger, lest I regret what I do and say.

Today, we released the pre-K version of our Joseph story, appropriate for children 3-5, with even more games and activities, in addition to our original Joseph release better fit for children 6-8.  I hope these apps will be helpful in teaching your children about this and other lessons from the story.

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re-release of the Christmas app!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

We first learned about Joni and Friends several years ago, when our friends Ji-Young and Diane started disability ministries at churches we attended.  Our connection to JAF deepened as we supported Diane on mission trips with Wheels for the World and Family Retreats, programs JAF runs to share Christ’s love with people who have disabilities.

Joni has an amazing story that humbles me each time I hear it, and I was so grateful for the opportunity to visit JAF’s headquarters and meet Joni and her wonderful team earlier this year! She even signed (with her mouth!) a Chinese copy of her biography for my parents!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Joni’s Biography in Chinese

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Signed by Joni to my parents, by her mouth!

Here’s a brief snippet of her story if you don’t already know it, but check out their website for more amazing testimonies and teachings!

When at the age of 17, Joni Eareckson faced life in a wheelchair after a reckless diving accident, she could barely hold on to hope. But through the help of Christian friends, Joni found hope and faith in Christ. And that’s why now she wishes to share that same encouragement with you. Because whether you are sitting in a wheelchair, struggling with a broken marriage, stressing over school, or enjoying a life with very few setbacks, we all are in need of hope in Jesus Christ.

Today, we’re excited to announce the fruits of the beginning of 4Soils’ partnership with Joni and Friends: we’re re-releasing of our Christmas Story app of Jesus’ birth with narrations by Joni Eareckson Tada herself!

Announcing the 4Soils partnership with Joni and Friends and re release of the Christmas app!

Narrated by Joni of Joni and Friends

In partnership with JAF, we’re planning more apps and extra content for Sproutville. So stay tuned in the coming year, there’s a lot to be excited about!

A Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrath

Image

ToA Gentle Answer Turns Away Wrathday’s post comes at the suggestion of a friend and home school mom, Tammy, and is from Sally Clarkson’s blog I Take Joy.  Sally describes herself as a Christian woman, wife, mother, writer, author, blogger, dreamer.  I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with Sally’s husband and son who is doing a film about the Prodigan SonThis message hits home not only for parents, but also for how we interact with our spouses in the heat of frustration, or seemingly unreasonable people!
==============================
Here’s Sally’s post:

“A gentle answer turns away wrath. But harsh words make tempers flare.” Proverbs 15:1

Standing in the hallway of the hotel where we were hosting our mom’s conference, I noticed a sweet mama who looked as though she was at the end of her rope. Holding a several months old baby, who was arching his little back and crying as though his heart would break, she looked beside herself.

Offering to hold her little one so she could get some rest. Sure enough he would begin to quiet and then something, probably a little girgly tummy would cause him to begin to wail once again. I held him up, check to cheek, his to mine, with my mouth aimed toward his little ear.

Softly I began to talk to him and then I would sing the song so often sung to my children, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” very softly, very gently. He would quiet down. Then another cry would begin, and I would talk to him very softly, “You are not alone, you are so very precious, you are a darling boy,” lyrically, holding his soft cheek so he could feel mine. Each time my voice started, his little eyes got big and he would quiet.

Suddenly, he fell fast asleep.

Whether my children were young and tiny or old, and if they were in a snit, if I wrapped my demeanor, by my will, in softness and gentleness and answered their anger in a gentle voice, non-accusing eyes, they were more likely than not to listen to me and to respond.

“I understand you are feeling frustrated or angry, but I want to listen to you and understand what you are saying so that I can help you.”

Angry words answered with loud voice and accusation, just adds fuel to the flame of anger. Gentleness and sympathy puts water on the fire of one’s angry heart, and soothes the frustrated feelings.. Once I had this scripture in my head and learned to use it in many relationship situations, I saw how effective this piece of wisdom was—all of us desire, in our frustration, to be honored.

There is no absolute solution or formula to calming an angry quarrel. Yet, wisdom from proverbs has often saved the moment for my family.

A hormonal teen, an exhausted toddler, a school-aged child, or a husband who is angry—all of these, long to be treated with focused attention, an understanding heart and a loving response.

As we all know, it is natural to react in like—anger to anger. However, it is from the Spirit of Him who is love that leads us to react in love. And yet, as the Spirit lives through us, we will see His power and fruit drawing others to Him in us, when we choose to remember bits of truth he has left for us to follow. A gentle answer, turns away anger.

Gentleness grows stronger with practice. It comes with humility. It grows as wisdom and takes root in the heart that values the ones she loves. May God grant us to become gentle in our love, that others may see Him through us.

- See more at: http://www.itakejoy.com/a-gentle-answer-turns-away-wrath/#sthash.ceyNctyE.dpuf

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!

The 4Soils team is writing to you from Durham, NC!  Part of the team just moved here today and have gotten settled into our new home.  God has really led and provided for us in this journey, including a fully furnished home that we were able to rent from a family who loves the Lord, a free upgrade from the car rental company (otherwise I’m not sure the compact car reserved would have gotten all of us and our luggage back in one trip), and generous parents of a friend who dropped off some additional linen and a bucket of South Carolina peaches.  Not to mention the many friends who have reached out to their contacts for welcoming faces that I look forwarding to seeing and meeting while we’re out here.

It’s a day of many firsts for several members of the team:

First trip to Cracker Barrel (a personal favorite of mine) and finding the challenges of the peg game (best we got was 2 pegs left, moving up from “eg-nor-ra-moose” to “pretty smart” over the course of waiting for brunch) A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!

Stocking up with Costco and Li Ming Chinese supermarket (thank God again for the upgraded car!)

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!Finding out that cost of living in indeed cheaper here all around, not only greatly with our house but even the Costco rotisserie chicken is $1 cheaper

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!Lastly breaking in the kitchen with our first home cooked dinner – Taiwanese beef noodle soup and baby bok choi, with some fresh watermelon & raspberries for dessert (the team all loves fruit and veggies, so I think we’ll be eating pretty healthy)

A new chapter, hello Durham, NC!We’re looking forward to our time here, connecting with customers, partners, investors, and future teammates.  May God continue to lead us in this new journey!

Lessons from the garden

God teaches lessons from the most unexpected places.

Recently I’ve taken up gardening.  It’s really therapeutic to take care of something that started from just a seed, see it sprout, grow, and hopefully bear fruit.  Just like the parable of the sower that the 4Soils name is based on.

In the past couple of weeks, I was really happy to see that my tomato and pickle plants from the garden balcony of our apartment has grown really tall!

Lessons from the garden

But then I remember saying out loud – when is it going to bear fruit?! because I can’t wait to actually have some fresh homegrown tomatoes and cucumbers.

That’s when my husband remarked, “that’s what God says to us too!”  And how true.  While God loves to see growth, when our faith is just a seed that’s planted, and in the beginning that’s his primary concern: that we grow strong, eventually if we only just keep growth (attending Bible study, going to sermons) but don’t display fruit, He will say, where’s the fruit?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23

I hope that I will not only be good soil, and grow, but also bear fruit.

Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. – Matthew 13:8

Are you bearing fruit?  or just simply growing?

A Song to Remember

Songs have a powerful way of helping us remember things. Whenever I try to think about the 50 states of the US, I still return to a song that I learned in elementary school.

God told his people to use Song to remember His goodness on various occasions, such as with Moses and David.

In Deuteronomy 3:19-22, the Bible says:

“Now therefore, write this song for yourselves, and teach it to the sons of Israel; put it on their lips, so that this song may be a witness for Me against the sons of Israel. 20 For when I bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, which I swore to their fathers, and they have eaten and are satisfied and become prosperous, then they will turn to other gods and serve them, and spurn Me and break My covenant. 21 Then it shall come about, when many evils and troubles have come upon them, that this song will testify before them as a witness (for it shall not be forgotten from the lips of their descendants); for I know their intent which they are developing today, before I have brought them into the land which I swore.” 22 So Moses wrote this song the same day, and taught it to the sons of Israel.

This is why 4Soils has partnered with the Child Evangelism Fellowship to bring you “SING” in the Bible Heroes apps. Our first song, God’s Power, is available on all Bible Heroes apps for free. Look forward to more songs in store coming soon!

What are some of your favorite Bible songs to teach your children?