NewSong Press’s blog posts are designed to inspire parents and teachers with creative ways for children and teens to love writing and desire to share their Christian faith. This blog post focuses on the importance that children and teens delight in and rely on God’s profound love for them. With this rock-solid foundation they can write with a passion and dedication that goes beyond their pages.
A specific creative-writing challenge is included in this post to help with this discovery and reflection. Also, see the P.S. for inspiring links for young people in your lives.
As parents and/or educators, we strive to find meaningful ways for children to experience Gods’ love in profound and soul-touching ways. They can see His wondrous works in nature as they embrace the reassurance that God is our Creator of all good. As they learn the basis of our faith, they can come to understand God sent Jesus as our Savior and to help us know God’s love for all of us.
Jesus is God’s Gift to the World, to Help Us Know God’s Love.
God is holy, perfect. We learn in our Christian faith that we need a Savior, Redeemer King Jesus, to be cleansed and worthy of an eternal relationship with God.
But some of this can get fuzzy for children and teens, as well as some adults.
So, how do we help our children and students grow in their faith and trust in the most precious gift—a new life with Jesus, and for eternity? How do they love being loved by God, so it shines through them daily and forever?
Through a Mirror Dimly
Apostle Paul writes “now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…” 1 Corinthians 13:12.
Or to paraphrase The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson, it’s as though we are looking into fog. But some day the sun will pierce through, and we will see God’s love for us clearly.
In the meanwhile, we need to trust God, hang onto hope, and love with full hearts.
To help us, the first and greatest commandment is to love God. That love includes trusting and seeking God and wanting to obey and follow Him. The second is to love others…all others…as we love ourselves.
Frankly, even experiencing God’s love “in a fog” can be glorious. Young people can be encouraged to look for these God-moments each day. Then, when they know God’s love for them—they can learn daily what to do with this great and wondrous love.
Those who love, have been loved and grow from it. When have our children and teens experienced God’s tender mercies in their lives? When have they gotten the reassurances that God loves them for who they are? When has this caused them to grow and thrive in their own compassion for themselves and others, with deep gratitude for our Holy and Almighty God?
As parents and educators, how do we help them be attuned to this highly personal love from God so they can appreciate their blessings?
And so they can write about their faith from a perspective of love?
As some of you know, I lead a Good News Club. These Child Evangelism Fellowship Bible clubs for elementary age children are worldwide. In the United States, many, like ours, meet in public schools after the school day. During a club meeting, I sat by a dear, five-year-old girl while another volunteer reminded the children, God knows what’s in our hearts. The lesson was on David, who is known for being a man after God's own heart. (1 Samuel 13:14)
Out of the sweet mouth of babe, this kindergartner leaned towards me and whispered, “Of course God knows my heart. Jesus lives in my heart.”
How do we help our children and teens hang onto this assurance so it’s rock solid for them? Or shall we say,
Make a Timeline
Students can make timelines of their lives and think back on each time they personally saw God’s love and mercy in their lives or in someone else’s life whom they know well.
In 1 Samuel 7:12 Samuel made a stone as a marker to remember that God was their stronghold and help when they defeated their enemies. He called the stone Ebenezer (Hebrew: eben = stone; ezer = help). So, Ebenezer means stone of help. In this case, God’s divine intervention to tip the battle was a celestial bombardment—lots of thunder!
Perhaps you have heard the expression—"to raise one’s Ebenezer"? It’s intended to help us remember when we had difficulties and challenges and recall that God helped us through these hard times. That’s when we can “raise our Ebenezer” and remember God’s love and grace given to us.
For this writing assignment, students mark an actual or approximate date on their timelines each time they remember God’s help, as well as label each event.
Was it finding a beloved family pet that had run off?
Or a near miss from a potentially serious car accident?
Maybe even a less eventful time when they made a mistake, but in learning from their errors they also felt an enormous celestial hug
Hands-on “Touch Stones”
To add to this assignment, you may want to find or buy some smooth stones and tell your children each time they pick up a stone they should think of a time God has been faithful to them. They can paint the stones and write important Bible verses or keywords or dates from their memories. In addition to creating the timeline, children may want to stack their stones and with your help, glue the stones together with a glue gun or liquid nails. Their timelines and stacks of stones can be personal reminders to them of how God has helped them throughout their lives. They can also serve to teach them they can count on God to continue to be there for them in the future.
Here are two posts shared by Redeemer Bible Church in St. Petersburg, Florida, that can enrich your understanding.
Keep Writing about God’s Tender Mercies
To expand on this writing assignment, children can write a list of all the ways God has helped them this past year. Then they can write a list of goals or things they would like God to help them with over the next year or so.
There may be particular memories children rekindle from this exercise that can lead them into writing a longer essay or story.
You may want to teach your children about Samuel, who even as a boy was faithful to God. He grew to be a courageous leader, judge, and prophet, who loved God and obeyed him. God chose Samuel to anoint the first kings in Israel--Saul and David. When Samuel proclaimed the Ebenezer, he wanted people to remember God rescues when they humble themselves before God.
In addition to this, remember it was stones David used to overcome Goliath. Those stones were based on David’s strong faith in God, even as a teen. Children and teens can be empowered by their Ebenezer memory-stones to conquer personal evil “giants” that come their way, too. Knowing God has backed them in the past can give them courage to face opposition, as they trust in God for victories.
In 1 Peter 2:4-5 We are also reminded,
“As you come to him, THE LIVING STONE—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood…”
God’s love is so great for all of us. It’s the highest power there is. May you and your loved ones know it deeply through and through.
And as pastor and author Philip De Courcy says on Know the Truth, a media ministry, “We need to constantly warm ourselves at God’s fire of love.”
If we are following Jesus, the “Living Stone,” we are spirit-indwelt children of God and can warm ourselves with God’s love.
May you and those you teach be blessed and know God’s love,
Author of Victor Survives Being a Kid
P. S. Click HERE for a song to bless you and your family, from Slugs & Bugs, (based on Psalm 139), “What is the Word?” which includes the African Children’s Choir.
You may also want to read a kid-friendly version of Psalm 139 and focus on verses 13-14 on Psalmsforkids.com. We are wonderfully and marvelously made because God loves us.
Editor's Note: Would you like to see more posts to help you teach children and teens how to write, that include a Christian perspective? I invite you to sign up here. newSongpress.net
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