Online Focus | The Role of the Holy Spirit

A quick glimpse of what you may be missing…

In John 14:16–20, Jesus emphasized that after His departure to be with the Father, the disciples would not simply be abandoned (the Greek term used in verse 18 is orphanous, meaning “orphans”). Rather, through the power of the Holy Spirit (1 John 3:24), Jesus and the Father would dwell inside true Christians (John 14:20, 23). The Holy Spirit imparts both understanding and strength. It flows out from God (15:26), and connects our minds to His. God is Spirit (4:24); the Holy Spirit is not some separate and distinct personality of the Godhead. Rather, the Holy Spirit is the means by which Christ and the Father make their presence felt in the hearts and minds of believers.

The Holy Spirit is God’s outflowing power (Luke 1:35). It imparts God’s love as it is “poured out” in the hearts of believers (Romans 5:5). It is the means by which He created and brought into existence the very universe (Psalm 104:30). It is the power by which He works in the minds of human beings made in His image (Genesis 6:3). It is also the power by which the lame miraculously walked, the blind saw, the deaf heard and the dead were raised from their graves during Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry (Luke 5:15–17).

The Bible describes the Holy Spirit in various ways. Primarily, the Spirit is compared to wind. After all, pneuma—the Greek word for “spirit”—means “wind” or “breath.” In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word translated “spirit” is ruach,and has the same meaning as the Greek pneuma.

From Unit 4: Passover to the Resurrection – Lesson 2

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 12 “Noah’s Family Expands”

Moody Publishers | FreeBibleimages.org

Author: Janth English

Read Together: Did you know that Noah’s name means “rest”? His name showed the hope his father had that God would use Noah to bring deliverance to His people. And of course, that’s what God did. God used Noah to preserve the human race. When Noah and his family left the ark, God commanded them to be fruitful and multiply. This means God wanted them to have large families. All nations, races, ethnicities, and cultures–all people today can trace their lineage back to Noah. Noah saw many of his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren because he lived for 350 years after the flood. He lived a total of 950 years, which was common for people in the pre-flood era. However, after the flood, the length of most people’s life began to shorten. Within about five generations after the flood, people were living less than two hundred years. Noah also lived to see, just as God had said, that man’s heart is inclined toward evil (Genesis 8:21). People did not learn from the problems of the pre-flood world. Not long after the flood, the human family was again walking contrary to God.

Read Together: Genesis 5:28–29; 9:18–29; 10:1–32

Parents:

  • Help your student to see how families are the structural building blocks of society.  Notice that families grown large became nations.
  • Point out to your child the care that God took to record the descendants of Shem, Ham, and Japheth and where they lived. One reason for this is so that we can identify modern nations by their ancient names.
  • Noah was a preacher of righteousness before and after the flood (2 Peter 2:5). He also was the elder and leader (“patriarch,” which means the male head of a family or tribe) of his growing family. Discuss with your child why people did not listen to Noah. Explain that human beings have freedom of choice, but that Satan the devil influences their decisions.
  • The people did not listen to the wisdom of Noah who was a “preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet 2:5). Ask if this is a common problem in families today. Think aloud with your child about Proverbs 1:7–8; 10:21. Ask your child if they can think of an incident in which things went wrong because someone failed to listen to their elders.

Review memorization:

Genesis 6:9 “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect [upright, blameless, or wholehearted] in his generations. Noah walked with God.”


Printable PDF – L1.11

Printable PDF – L1.9-L1.12

Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 12 “God Punishes Cain”

Sweeting Publishing | FreeBibleimages.org

Author: Janth English

Read Together: When God accepted Abel’s offering but did not accept Cain’s, Cain got very angry. He got so mad that he killed his brother! He became the first murderer in the human family. God knew that Abel was dead and came to talk to Cain about murdering his brother. God asked Cain where his brother was. Instead of admitting what he had done, Cain tried to hide what he had done from God and was not sorry for his actions. He replied to God, saying, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” This lesson will show the idea of cause and effect. It will show that certain things happen because of our actions, when we don’t obey God. It will also show that everyone must love his neighbor.

 

Read Together:

Genesis 4:9–16; Luke 10:27

 Discuss:

  • Explain to your child that God, who knows everything, knew Cain had killed Abel. Cain couldn’t hide it from God, and neither can we hide our mistakes or sins from God.
  • Ask your child what Cain’s attitude was when God asked about Abel.
  • Discuss with your child Cain’s punishment. He was sent away from God and the community. Why would God send Cain away from the others?
  • Help your child understand that thinking bad things can lead to bad actions.
  • Ask your child how following the law to “love your neighbor” could have changed Cain’s life.

 Review memorization:

Luke 10:27 “So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”

More to Do!

These activities are optional, but some children may find them enjoyable.

  • Show love for your neighbors by creating cards for the widows, widowers, or other older members in the congregation.
  • Help your child to plan a good deed to do for someone in the family.
  • Your child may like to sing along with this cute song Thank You God.

Printable PDF – L1.11

Printable PDF – L1.9-L.12

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 12 “Inheriting the Promises”

Author: Janth English

Read Together: After Abraham showed God that he would obey Him no matter what, God made His promises to Abraham unconditional. These promises included rulership, military power, and ownership of the most productive land on earth. Yet, Abraham died without having received them. Did God lie? No! God passed the promises on to Abraham’s son Isaac, and from Isaac to Jacob. Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel, had twelve sons, who next received the promises. Through Jacob, God gave the “scepter” promise, which includes kingship and the promise of the future Messiah, to Judah. A scepter is a staff that a king holds, which represents his rulership and authority. The promise of the Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who was born of the tribe of Judah and who will rule over all nations. The “birthright” promise of national wealth and greatness was given to Joseph. The English-speaking nations of today, who are descendants of Joseph’s sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, have inherited the birthright promises. Many of the blessings we enjoy today are a direct result of Abraham’s obedience to God, and God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises to Abraham.

Read Together: Genesis 35:9–15; 48:8–20; 49:1–2, 8–12, 22–26; Hebrews 7:14

Discuss:

  • Ask your child how they think Abraham felt about not receiving all the promises during his physical life.  What was Abraham’s focus (Hebrews 11:13–16)?
  • Encourage your child to think about the millennium. Will Jesus Christ be the Messiah and King of kings? Will the descendants of Jacob possess national wealth and greatness?
  • Remind your child that the identity of the English-speaking peoples can be proven. Refer to the booklet The United States and Britain in Prophecy by Mr. John Ogwyn.

Review memorization:

Genesis 18:19 “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Printable PDF – L3.12

Printable PDF – L3.9-L3.12

Second Thoughts: What News is “Good News”?

By Thomas White, Student at Living Ed – Charlotte

“We do have a biblical mandate to develop wisdom, to develop understanding, to develop discretion, knowledge. …we should be watching, learning from what happens around us.” ~ Mr. Jonathan McNair

The concept of “News” has been around almost as long as humanity itself. Things have always happened, and people have almost always had to be told, so news isn’t new. But our access to it certainly is. Now we have podcasts, more websites than we can possibly keep track of, scores of television channels, radio stations, that one uncle who always seems to know what’s going on, and newspapers for the traditionalists among us. The vast number of available news sources can ironically make it more overwhelming to keep up with the world’s endless shenanigans, at least for me. Fortunately, Mr. Jonathan McNair’s Assembly this week offered ways to manage the myriad of news sources clamoring for our attention, in order to minimize the risk of being misled and focus our attention upon “good news.”

“…the system is geared to get our attention, to catch our eye, to make scoops, and it’s not from God’s perspective.”

If news is coming from humans, which it pretty often the case, then news is biased. As God’s people, our task is to recognize its biases, and that all sources of worldly news have a slant. This being the case, we should always know the source of the news we keep up on, and consider the perspective of that source. Doing so enables us to read or listen with an awareness of the source’s bias. Even a largely fact-oriented source is based on the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as such, it’s going to contain just that: good and evil. Bits of both.  As Mr. McNair pointed out, we should seek the most credible and objective news sources we can find (that one uncle probably isn’t the safest bet), but accept that none of them will give us the unvarnished truth every time. It’s tempting to just trust “conservative” sources and shun “liberal” ones, but is that really exercising discernment? Would Satan let it be that easy?

“We are not involved in politics, so be careful where you stand. Even though you don’t vote, even though you may not go to the ballot box, you can still be political in your perspective if you’re not careful.”

We’re also humans (crazy, right?), so we’re also biased. That’s unavoidable, so Mr. McNair suggested that we need to understand ourselves and recognize what our biases are, and why we have them. The most dangerous sources of “news” are out to manipulate rather than inform, and knowing where we are biased can protect us from having our emotions played with by certain topics. As Mr. McNair pointed out, we all need to be looking for God’s perspective, not remaining content with our own, so it would probably be wise to ask members of God’s ministry where they get their news from, and what they’ve noticed about those sources. Understanding our own perspectives, thinking critically about our sources of news, and keeping God’s greater plan at the forefront of our minds can help us to “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).

Second Thoughts: Working Effectively and Efficiently

By Thomas White, Student at Living Education-Charlotte

“You know, God gives us a certain amount of time. … We all know that it’s a resource that, once it’s gone, you can’t get back.” ~ Mr. DeSimone

Students everywhere will tell you that there always seems to be just slightly too much to get done, and just slightly too little time in which to do it. This week’s assembly was focused on minimizing that problem, as Mr. Mike DeSimone related three fundamentals to working effectively and efficiently. The first, naturally, is time management, which is simply the process by which we do the best we can with the minutes we have, not wasting any of the time God has gifted to us. This involves consciously tracking our time, and actively considering how we spend it. If we rely solely on our memories, which are often almost as deceptive as our hearts, we will never have an accurate perception of how our time is truly spent. As Ephesians 5:15-16 instructs, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” In order to “redeem” our time, we have to know what we are redeeming it from, and making the effort to record the length of our daily activities is a solid way to find this out.

“…I’ll work on both [tasks] at the same time…Or…get one done more effectively, more efficiently…then I’ll get done the second task…more effectively, more efficiently, more accurately.”

Proverbs 22:29 reads, “Do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before unknown men.” An effective way to meet some unknown men, then, is to multitask, because multitasking is really only “switch-tasking,” and it’s both ineffective and inefficient. We can’t actually multitask; it’s an exceptionally rare person who can genuinely do two things at once. Most people who think that they’re multitasking are simply switching from one unfinished task to another, over and over, and spending very little time actually focusing on one objective. Switch-tasking only ensures that one is putting halfhearted effort into two things, and therefore taking twice as long to accomplish either one. I often find that while I might not be switch-tasking in a literal sense, I’m switch-tasking in my mind, mulling over an entirely unrelated problem or goal when I should be focused upon the task at hand. In what ways can we improve our focus, as students, employees, or even spiritual warriors, so that we may excel in our work?

 “…getting rid of waste…getting rid of things you don’t need, and…bringing things in so that you can work most effectively. …really, it comes down to organization.”

Often, being productive leans pretty heavily upon being organized. Organization is not so much an inherent character trait as it is the putting into practice of what manufacturers call “Lean 5S”: Sort, Set (in order), Shine (clean), Standardize, and Sustain. Organizing a daunting task into ordered, manageable chunks can reduce mistakes, improve focus, and increase productivity by giving one the confidence to actually make progress. Even in our spiritual lives, sorting through individual problems we need to overcome can often yield more fruit than thinking, “I have to reach perfect purity, and I have to reach it yesterday.”  We can all probably be more efficient and effective in everything we do, whether our tasks are physical or spiritual in nature, so it’s worth the effort to think about how we can better organize each part of the work set before us.

 

Books mentioned:

The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 11 “Cain’s Anger Turns to Murder”

Sweeting Publishing | FreeBibleimages.org

Author: Janth English

Read Together: Cain became very angry when his offering was not accepted and Abel’s offering was. He would not stop being angry, and he blamed Abel for Cain’s getting into trouble. Cain let his anger grow and grow, and as a result, he even began to hate his brother. That led to him murdering Abel. God says we must love each other as much as we love ourselves (Luke 10:27). And God says we should not even hate an enemy, but love them (Matthew 5:44). In this lesson, we will see how anger can grow and turn into hatred if we let it. And hatred can lead to murder. But God wants us to respect others and have self-control. That leads to peace!

Read Together: Genesis 4:4-8; 1 John 3:1112, 15; Proverbs 16:32

Discuss:

  • Ask your child what Cain’s attitude was like.
  • Explain the advice God gave to Cain to correct the situation. (God told Cain to do the right thing and learn to control himself (Genesis 4:7).
  • Ask how Adam and Eve must have felt when they learned Abel was dead. Discuss how sin affects everyone.
  • Talk to your child about respect, treating others the way you want to be treated, having self-control, and learning to resolve conflicts. Show how things could have been different if Cain had shown respect and exercised self-control. He could have tried to resolve the conflict with his brother.
  • Explain that God desires all people to live in peace, and that takes respecting other people and having self-control.

Review memorization.

Luke 10:27  “So he answered and said, ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”


Printable PDF – L1.11

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 11 “God Makes Another Covenant”

Sweeting Publishing | FreeBibleimages.org

Author: Janth English

Read Together: Noah had warned the people, but they would not listen. After Noah and his family entered the ark, God closed the door and sealed it. The rain poured down from the sky, and the waters under the earth were opened up. For forty days and nights it rained, and the waters covered the entire earth. No animal that lived on land survived. After being on the water for five months, the ark came to rest on top of Mt. Ararat, which is in modern-day Turkey. Noah, his family, and all the animals stayed on the ark for another seven months while they waited for the waters to recede. Noah had been on the ark for a year, but the first thing he did upon leaving the ark was to make a sacrifice to God and worship Him. God decided that He would never again destroy everything because of man’s wickedness. God made a covenant with Noah, all his descendants, and every living creature that He would never again destroy the earth by flood. The sign God gave in remembrance of the covenant is the rainbow.

Read Together: Genesis 7:1624; 8:122; 9:117

Parents:

  • Some people believe that the flood was just a local flood somewhere in the Middle East. Explain to your child it was worldwide. (Hint: God said He would destroy “from the face of the earth all living things” [Genesis 7:4], and that “all the high hills under the whole heaven were covered” [Genesis 7:19], and that when the water receded “the tops of the mountains were seen” [Genesis 8:5]).
  • Ask your child what would it be like for Noah and his family to stay aboard the ark for a year. What would they eat? Where would they sleep? Where would they get fresh water for themselves and the animals? Building the ark was no small task, and it took a lot of planning.
  • Point out that God gave Noah, his sons, and their wives the same command that He gave Adam and Eve. Can he or she point out what that command is?
  • Ask your student if he or she has seen a rainbow. Explain that whenever a rainbow in seen in the sky, God wants us to remember that His promise is still in effect. Ask, what was that promise?

Review memorization:  

Genesis 6:9 “This is the genealogy of Noah. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God.”


Printable PDF – L2.11

 

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 11 “The Promises Made Unconditional”

Sweeting Publishing | FreeBibleimages.org

Author: Janth English

Read Together: God promised Abraham that he would be the father of many nations. God said that Abraham’s descendants would be as many as the sand on the seashore!  Yet Abraham and Sarah were getting old with no heir. In spite of their old age, Abraham and Sarah believed God would fulfill His promises, and He did. Isaac was born when Sarah was 90 and Abraham was 100 years of age. Abraham had waited 25 years from the time God first made the promise that he’d have a son. Ishmael and his mother were sent away, but God promised to make his descendants grow into nations as well. Just as Isaac began to mature as a young man, God told Abraham to sacrifice him on Mt. Moriah. Abraham set out early the next morning to do what God said. No wonder Abraham is called the father of the faithful! Abraham began to carry out God’s instructions, and Isaac, in obedience to his father, allowed himself to be tied up. When Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, God stopped him and provided a ram for an offering instead. By Abraham’s act of faith, God knew that Abraham would always obey Him no matter what. Because of Abraham’s faith, God made His promises to Abraham unconditional. That means they would happen no matter what.

Read Together: Genesis 18:115; 21:121; 22:119; Romans 4:3; Hebrews 11:1112, 1719.

Discuss:

  • Point out to your child that Ishmael is the forefather of Arab people today.
  • Ask how long did it take for Abraham and Isaac to reach Mt. Moriah. What was Abraham thinking during that time? Did his faith waiver? Explain.
  • Discuss with your child Isaac’s role in this story. What does his attitude say about him?
  • Ask how Abraham became a friend of God. Discuss how we can become God’s friend (John 15:14), and what it means to be a friend of God.
  • Faith works. Abraham believed God so he did what God said. Ask your child to think of an example in which faith was demonstrated by actions.

Review memorization:  

Genesis 18:19 “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the LORD, to do righteousness and justice, that the LORD may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Printable PDF – L3.11