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.

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal Son

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonLast night, I read the Parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15:11-32 to my two older children.

After I finished, the first thing the girls asked was:

“Why did the bad son get a party?”

Why, indeed? What does Christ want to teach us in the parable of the prodigal son? In the story we meet two sons—one who stays and nurtures his father’s financial legacy and another who leaves and squanders it.

But then the squanderer returns to the fold and his father rejoices.

I think that sometimes, each of us are the squanders. God doles out His everlasting and infinite love in equal portions to each of us. He hands out His legacy to everyone who is around and then, He lets us run away with it.

Some of us run far. Others of us stay nearby. But most of us, leave and come back over and over again. And God accepts us and when we return, He rejoices. We’ve been found!

To my children, I asked them how they would feel if they left the family, made mistakes and needed to come home—wouldn’t they want and need open arms and joyous hearts to fortify their resolve to do better?

We all need that fortification. And we all need to be reminded that it is never too late to be found and God, like our earthly fathers, is waiting up late for us to return home. God is waiting to give us the gift of unconditional love and everlasting life.

Our heavenly Father and our earthly Fathers give us so many gifts—we inherit their legacies and how we choose to spend it is entirely up to us. No matter how we choose, we can rest assured that our Fathers will forgive us, guide us and celebrate us!

“But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has ben found.” (Luke 15:32)

Fatherhood, Forgiveness and Faith: The Parable of the Prodigal SonWant to teach your children more about The Parable of the Prodigal Son? Share the story of the Prodigal Son, available in the App Store and as part of Sproutville! Sproutville is a great compliment to your family Bible reading and a great activity to get your children excited about the greatest story ever told!

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.”

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

In preparation for Palm 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!

Discussion Guide to Teach Your Child About Palm Sunday

Comment below to let us know if you’d like to see more resources like this and how you’ve used it to engage your child during this season!

Parent Devotional:

There are all kinds of people, influences, and powers that want us to treat them as our king. Jobs, family, hobbies, bill collectors, and so on want our attention. At times it’s like they all want to be our kings. They want us to give them more and more of our energy
and attention.

Of all the ones who seek to gain our attention, Jesus alone is worthy of praise as our King. God has crowned Him with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9). We glorify Jesus for all He has done for us.  He has shown us the Father (John 14:9). By His death He forgives our sins (Acts 10:43). He gives us abundant life (John 10:10) and our hope of eternal life in
glory. Declare Jesus is your King in word and deed.

The Gospel passages for this Bible lesson teach us how the people in Jerusalem praised Jesus as their King.  You can learn from their enthusiasm to help you teach your children to make their own ways to praise Jesus their King. Ask Jesus to show you meaningful and engaging ways for your class to praise Him.

Take time now to exalt the Lord of lords, and King of kings in your own way.

 
Tips for Discussion with Your Child:
Children this age might think kings and queens lived long ago or only in make-believe stories.
Today’s lesson will teach the children that they have a King who may be very different from the way they think about kings. Here are some ideas to help your children to begin thinking about Jesus as their King.
— Long ago and in storybooks kings sat on thrones and wore fancy clothes. But thrones and fancy clothes don’t make someone a king. Jesus is King because He is God’s Son. He has always been King.
— Different kings rule over different things. Some rule over lands and people. Others rule over the hearts and minds of people. Jesus wants to rule over the hearts of your children to help them do what is right.
— Jesus is King even if we don’t listen to or obey Him. When we choose to praise Him as our King we learn that He is the greatest King we will ever have because of His great love and power to save us from our sins.
Suggested Discussion Questions
1 What do kings do? 
Children might say kings tell people what to do; they wear robes and crowns, and sit on thrones; they make 
rules; they lead countries; they’re rich; they live in palaces, etc.
2 How do people treat kings?
They might say people bow to kings, follow their directions, serve them food, and so on.
3 Who is your king?
They might name government leaders, Jesus, or people. They might not have an answer. This question will help children consider the possibility that they do have a king. You
don’t need to tell them now that Jesus is our King. The fun of this lesson will be discovering that fact.
Bible Story Review Questions
1 Where was Jesus going?
A: Jesus was going to Jerusalem.
2 How did Jesus go into Jerusalem?
A: He rode a donkey.
3 How did the people treat Jesus?
A: They treated Him like their King. They praised Him by laying down their coats, waving palm branches.
4 What did the people shout to Jesus?
A: “Hosanna” and “Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!” and “Blessed is the King of Israel.
5 Why did the people praise Jesus?
A: The people praised Him because of all the things He had done and because they saw Him as the King.
6. Who can we praise?
A: We can praise Jesus our King.

Applications for the Week
1. How will you praise Jesus our King during the week?
Encourage your child to tell you an idea. S/he might suggest ideas from the pictures they put on their paper palm branch (see downloadable activities #3).
2 When will you praise Jesus our King?
Let the children suggest some times. They could say right now, during family devotional
times, at school, at home, and any time! Tell the children they will honor Jesus by praising Him as our King.
Prayer Time
Pray with your child to praise Jesus our King. You might encourage him/her to pray aloud his/her own prayers of praise to Jesus.
Here is one suggestion if time is short
“Dear Jesus, I praise You for being my King. In Your name I pray. Amen.
Discussion Guide courtesy of David C Cook. 

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?

Spiritually Guarding Our Children

How much do you as a parent protect your children vs. expose them to the world?  Nicole shares her views in the post below.  On the iPad, do your children get to play all mindless games?  or are you cognizant of what they’re being exposed to on their mobile devices and use it as a way for them to interact with the word of God?

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Spiritually Guarding Our ChildrenNicole Crone is a homeschooling mom of six children ages 8 months to 13 years that resides in Rockmart, Georgia. Nicole’s greatest hope is that her children will continue to grow in the Lord and walk in His truth. She blogs at www.childrenareablessing.org about family life, homeschooling, and the high calling of being a wife and mother.

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Spiritually Guarding Our Children
As mothers, we are called to protect our children.  But what type of protection are we to offer?  Of course we should protect our children from physical harm, such as playing with matches, falling down stairs, and bullying on the playground.  Do we feel the same way concerning emotional and spiritual harm?

During the thirteen year time span that I have been a mother, I have been accused of many things.  Some phrases that come to mind…

You sure do overprotect your children.

Better watch out, one day that bubble you keep your children in is going to pop!

When your children are grown, they are going to rebel against everything you have taught them.

These accusations have been hurtful, especially when coming from family!  They have caused tears, and much second guessing of my mothering skills on my part.  The world (and many well meaning Christians) tell us that we must expose our children to evil in order for them to stand against it.  That to not allow our children to attend public school, to date at 14, and watch PG-13 rated movies is foolish.  But is this biblical?

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. ~Philippians 4:8 (NLT)

Through much Bible study, I have never seen any verses that go something like this, “Expose yourself to evil, in doing so you will be able to stand against it!” Actually, I have seen quite the contrary.

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.  And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.  The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.  Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.  For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. ~Psalm 1:1-6

Everyone knows that we are to protect our children physically.  Even the world champions that.  As Christians, we are to take the next step by protecting our children emotionally and spiritually, and we should actually be more concerned about the spiritual than the physical sense!

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)

Through scripture we see that God is our protector.  He is our shelter and our shield.  When we protect our children from ungodly influences, we are exhibiting God-like character traits.  Godly mothers should resemble the nature of God, which is the definition of God-like.

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. ~Psalm 46:1

He that dwells in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ~ Psalm 91:1

The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. ~Psalm 121:7

Mothers, when we protect our children from physical, emotional and spiritual harm, we are showing our children the very nature of God.  May God use us mightily to lead our children to Him.  Our God can and will prepare our children’s hearts to serve Him while we shelter them from evil.

Be blessed!

More articles by Nicole can be found on her blog at: http://childrenareablessing.org

Guest Post: Expanding Children’s Minds with Bible Stories

Guest Post: Expanding Childrens Minds with Bible Stories

As the mother of three children – ages 9 and 6 (yes, I have twins) – it is mindset to go beyond the education they receive in school. With the importance schools place on standardized testing, I want to teach them the things they need to know in life that are not included in these tests. Their understanding of courage, faith, and perseverance are just as important as learning reading, writing, and arithmetic. I have found the Bible is the best way to teach them these things.

Here are some of the ways the Bible has helped my children to grow:

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Our Development Cycle: Illustration

Our Development Cycle: Illustration

4Soils is based out of the Venture Studio at Stanford, but our illustrator, Noel, works from his home in the Philippines.  This means that most of our communication—everything from the Sphinx’s smile in Joseph, to the color of Queen Vashti’s hair in Esther— is decided through email.

Sometimes it’s difficult communicating exactly what we’re looking for in text. Sometimes, after sending emails back and forth, we have to open up an image editor and draw a mockup. It’s magical how immediately a picture can make things clear.

Our Development Cycle: Illustration

Illustrations play a similar role in our apps. They clarify the story text. They bring the Bible to life, helping children imagine how Joseph must have felt when his brothers tossed him into a cistern and sold him as a slave. So just like when writing our stories, we take great care to make sure our story illustrations really support the Bible text.

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Our Development Cycle: Story

Our Development Cycle: Story

Ever told a great joke you just heard, only to find it’s not quite as funny when it leaves your lips?

Telling Bible stories feels a lot like that. The Bible is the Greatest Story Ever Told– it’s the most influential story in Western culture– it’s the bestselling story each year, every year. And it’s the divinely inspired story that’s changed the lives of millions of people.

How do you tell a story like that?

The short answer is, with a generous dose of humility.  It’s a challenge that keeps us on our feet. But it’s a thrilling challenge, because we believe that mobile devices like the iPad and iPhone provide exciting opportunities to present the Bible to children in new and interactive ways.

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