The Lord of Peace

I was so blessed one morning as I read the Apostle Paul’s greeting of peace, wishing the Thessalonians that the Lord of Peace give them peace at all times and in every way. I thought of a way to illustrate it, with a circle of peace. It encompasses everything. At all times and in every way. That includes everything. I wish you that peace!

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything here. My physical condition has taken a toll on me this winter; hopefully Spring will make for more energy.

Jamie’s Special Easter Egg

I have updated all the components for this story–excellent for Easter! Find it on the Illustrated stories page. Here is the link:

Jamie’s Special Easter Egg

Passion Week Pictures

I have also put together some pictures for Passion Week. Our artist, Ab-Shalom, is enjoying his eternity with Jesus. I am so thankful for all the artwork he has left for us. We don’t take anything with us when we go, but our works can follow us. His art is going to continue to bless children for generations to come. Until Jesus’ return, I hope!

Passion Week pictures to color:  For coloring       Size A4:  For coloring A4

The pictures in color: Passion week images CO      Size A4: Passion Week images CO A4

Power Point: Passion Week PPT     PDF:  Passion Week PDF

May you have a wonderful Easter Season, blessed by the Lord of Peace,
at all times and in every way!

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A Stone as a Witness

Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit for us to be witnesses, in Jerusalem, in Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (see Acts 1:8). That is perfectly clear, but can a stone be a witness? Let’s see:

Joshua gathered the people for his farewell. He reminded them of the wonders God had done during the long pilgrimage from Egypt. Most of them did not know how the first stage of the journey; they were the new generation born in the desert.

After reminding the people of the things that God had done, Joshua recorded them in the book of the Law of God. Then he did something very interesting; he lifted a huge stone and placed it under a tree that was next to the sanctuary of the Lord. “This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us” (Joshua 24:27).

A stone as a witness? A witness of what they had promised.

  • Only the Lord will we serve.
  • Only the Lord will we obey.

Let their proclamation resound like an echo: “We will serve the Lord our God and obey him!”

Here are some biblical references about using a stone for something special:

  • Jacob used a stone as a “pillow” and then he set it up as a pillar, proclaiming that it would be God’s house (Genesis 28:10-22).
  • Jacob and Laban. Jacob took a stone and set it up as a pillar when he and his uncle made a covenant (Genesis 31:45-53).
  • God gave Moses commandments on tablets of stone (Exodus 24:12).
  • Joshua wrote on stones all the words of the Law (Deuteronomy 27:1-7; Joshua 8:30-32).
  • Joshua set up a stone as a witness (Joshua 24:21-27).
  • Samuel named a stone Ebenezer: “Thus far has the Lord helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12).
  • Elijah took twelve stones and built an altar to the Lord (1 Kings 18:30-32).

Jesus is the cornerstone: the stone that the builders rejected has become the capstone (Psalm 118:22; Mark 12:10; Ephesians 2:18-22; Romans 9:30-33; 1 Peter 2:1-6).

I encourage you to trust in the Lord, whatever happens in your life. Joshua was Moses’ servant and then was put in charge. His difficult mission was the conquest of Canaan. At the end of his days, when he said his farewell to the people, he proclaimed what I hope each one of us can say a heartfelt amen to:

“As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

This concludes the story of the long journey of the people of Israel to the Promised Land. I hope you have enjoyed it.

God bless each parent and teacher. Hugs and greetings to the children. I love you all!

Welcome to read the story of Joshua’s farewell, #8 in The Promised Land.

 

The Warrior Young at Heart

Today’s story is about one of my favorite Bible heroes. As far back as I remember, I’ve admired this warrior, who at age 85 felt as young as when he was 40. That’s the kind of vigor I want to have. How about you?

Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David, Job, Isaiah… Among these people, that God calls “my servant,” is this brave warrior, Caleb. In a previous story we saw that he returned from exploring the Promised Land with a positive report of faith and trust in God. But his fellow spies, except Joshua, discouraged the people, so much that Israel was punished for their unbelief and had to wander forty years in the desert, as shepherds.

Read Numbers 13 & 14; Deuteronomy 1:19-40; Joshua 14:6-15.

Throughout his years of wandering in the desert, Caleb did not forget the mountain he had seen in Canaan. Moses promised him that when entering Canaan he could conquer it.

This servant of God is an example of persevering, of not losing the vision or the “dream” from our early years. No need to age the soul!

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Let’s be encouraged to be faithful and courageous servants, “with another spirit,” as it says about Caleb. Our beloved Savior makes us “more than conquerors.”

See Romans 8:37-39; Isaiah 40:29-31; Psalm 103:1-5.

Welcome to read the story #7, Caleb Conquers Horeb in: Conquering the Promised Land.

Grandpa Eleazar telling the children about his hero

Next week we will have the final story in the series about the escape from Egypt and the conquest of the Promised Land.

Be bountifully blessed!

Joshua’s Reading of the Law

Imagine that you are with the Israelites on Mount Ebal. Joshua has built an altar of very special stones. On the stones he has written the Law of God. The priests have offered sacrifices. Now everyone is ready for long sessions of listening to the reading of the Law.

Read Joshua 8:30-35. There was not word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read to all the assembly… Did you notice that the children were also there?

For today’s story I imagined Elizabeth, as I would have been as a child. So she wouldn’t get bored while listening to the reading of the Law, she drew pictures in the sand.

There are different learning styles. Surely you have noticed that some kids cannot be still without doing something with their hands. That’s my style. I learn better when I’m doodling, most of the time palm trees. I wonder how many palm trees I’ve drawn in my lifetime? The reason I draw palm trees is because they remind me of the vision in which Jesus called me to minister to children. I have written my testimony in Spanish, now I realize I need to do it also in English. It will come!

Here is a short version:  A Vision Come True

See all my testimony stories here:

https://mx1414.wordpress.com/testimony-stories/

So, there were all the people listening to the reading of the Law. Later, when they wanted to read the Law, they had to climb to Mount Ebal and read what was written on the stones.

God had given Joshua commands regarding the Law, so that he would prosper, and everything would go well for him. There are three things I have emphasized for the children, things that are very important for everyone.

  • Think about the Book of the Law
  • Talk about the Book of the Law
  • Obey the Book of the Law

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

What children and adults could not do at that time, is something we sometimes take for granted. We have the Bible and we can read it whenever we want! But even today there are those who don’t have access to it, because it has not been translated into their language or because they live someplace where the Word of God is forbidden. In some places they must copy the Bible by hand to be able to have it.

The Bible, the Word of God, is a great treasure. Let’s take advantage of today’s story to focus on the great privilege of having the Bible.

Welcome to read Story #6 in The Promised Land: An Altar on a Mountain

I’m sorry I had to make such a long pause in finishing these stories. Now we have two more to go. The next one will be about Caleb, and then a story of Joshua’s farewell.

Blessings!

 

 

A Circle of Hope

To have a 15-year old boy text you to asking if he can have a sleep-over at your house is pure joy! I had that experience yesterday. My grandson David came after school to stay overnight. We went to McDonald’s for dinner, but what came over me when I got home was not so joyful. It seems like this winter season I’ve been coming down with a cold every other week.

I’m sorry I haven’t been able to start up again where I left off with the stories. It will be pure joy when I get the strength to get back on track.

There is something the Bible talks about as pure joy. James, the brother of our Lord Jesus, writes about it. And it’s not something we might think of as pure joy.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

Pure joy when we are tested? Why should we be happy when we face all kinds of trials? Because the testing of our faith develops perseverance.

The man Job was tested beyond what anyone of us has gone through, I’m sure. He was stripped of everything—his children, his wealth, his health. He was so bad off his friends hardly recognized him. His wife told him he should just curse God and die!

The testing was to show Satan and his evil forces that Job’s love of God was genuine. Job stood the test. He recognized that it was a test. How could he consider it pure joy? Probably because he knew what the result would be.

“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me,
will come forth as gold.”
Job 23:10

What a comforting assurance! After being tested, he would come forth as gold.

James, who starts his letter by telling us what pure joy is, reminds us that we are blessed if we persevere under trial. The testing of our faith develops perseverance.

In Romans 5:2-5, the apostle Paul reminds us that we should “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” But we should also rejoice in our sufferings. Why?

  • suffering produces perseverance
  • perseverance produces character
  • character produces hope

That is what I call the Circle of Hope.

“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into
our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us”
(Romans 5:5).

Who is our Hope? Jesus is our hope of glory (see Colossians 1:27). That’s why we can consider any test with pure joy. Jesus is our hope!

There is so much to say about the subject of counting it pure joy when we are tested. Maybe this introduction to the subject will inspire you to do a study of your own. Look back on your life. I’m sure you will see how the trials and tests you have gone through have brought you closer to God.

Reflect on the Circle of Hope. Amid suffering you are encircled by hope. And hope will not disappoint you.

King David made a heartfelt prayer asking God to test him. Let’s make it our prayer. Maybe you’ve already prayed it.

Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23,24

Consider it pure joy when you are tested. Keep in mind that you will come forth as pure as gold!

(Scriptures correspond to New International Version)

 

Have a Blessed New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Now comes the excitement of opening a new “book” with 365 unwritten pages, the days of 2019 that only our Heavenly Father knows. May the New Year be your best to date.

We will soon pick up the story of Joshua and the conquest of the Promised Land.

My motto for this year is JOY. Psalm 16:11 tells us that in the presence of the Lord is fullness of joy. That is what will be my reminder daily. I wish the same for you. Live in God’s presence and have joy unspeakable and full of glory.

Nothing compares to the joy Jesus brings. Read Jesus’ final speech to his disciples in John 14-16 and see how important it was for Him that our joy should be complete.

May 2019 be full of joy!