Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 15 “God Speaks the Ten Commandments”

Sweet Publishing | FreeBibleImages.org

By Janth English

Read Together: The children of Israel had been busy preparing to come before God for three days. As God approached the mountain, there were thunder and lightning strikes; the mountain quaked and the ground where they stood shook. There was an awesome display of God’s power as He descended to the mountain! Even Moses, who had been in God’s presence before, was so afraid that he too trembled! The top of the mountain looked to be on fire as God thundered the Ten Commandments from its midst. The display was to show the Israelites how mighty and powerful God is, so that they would remember and obey Him. Sadly, the Israelites were so overwhelmed by the power of God that they pleaded with Moses to ask Him not to speak to them directly anymore, because they feared they would die. God asked the Israelites to keep the Ten Commandments so He could bless them, and they agreed.

Read Together: Exodus 19:12–25; 20:1–26

Discuss:

  • Explain that the Ten Commandments are still in effect today (Matthew 5:17–18).
  • Why is the Sabbath Commandment important?
  • Explain that the Ten Commandments were given by God for our good; they are not a burden (1 John 5:3).
  • Discuss the beneficial effects of the Ten Commandments. What would the world be like if no one told lies, or if no one took what didn’t belong to him or her? How would the world be transformed if everyone put God first and loved Him?
  • Discuss the relationship between obedience to the Ten Commandments and the peace humanity desires. Help your child understand that it is breaking God’s laws that leads to the unhappiness mankind experiences. Use an example like stealing or lying to demonstrate this.

Review Memorization.

Exodus 20:1–17 – The Ten Commandments (long form)

Printable PDF – L3.15

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 15 “The Tower of Babel”

Sweet Publishing | FreeBibleImages.org

By Janth English

Read Together: The city of Babel was the beginning of Nimrod’s empire, and the beginning of mankind’s post-Flood attempt to govern himself apart from God. Nimrod led the people to build a very tall tower in rebellion against Him. But God was not pleased with their actions, so God decided to confuse the people’s language. They couldn’t share ideas and so they weren’t able to keep working on the tower. The word “Babel” itself means confusion, and you can imagine what happened when God confused the languages. Only those who spoke the same language could understand each other, and God divided the languages along family lines. People stayed with those they could understand, and they began to settle in their own territories as God wanted them to. Needless to say, work on the tower ceased. The Tower of Babel was never completed, but the attitude of mankind’s rebellion against God continues to this day.

Read Together: Genesis 11:1–9

Discuss:

  • Ask what the people of Babel did to show their defiance toward God.
  • Ask your child to imagine working on a group assignment when suddenly he or she could not understand anything other members of the team were saying. Would they be able to work together as a team? This is the same situation that occurred in Babel when God confused the languages.
  • Point out to your child that God wants people to communicate and understand one another. This is why He will restore a pure language to mankind in the Millennium (Zephaniah 3:9).

Review Memorization.

Genesis 11:9 “Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

Printable PDF – L2.15

Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 15 “Noah, the Ark, and the Flood”

Sweet Publishing | FreeBibleImages.org

By Janth English

Read Together: Following God’s instructions, Noah immediately began to build an ark to save his family and the land animals from destruction. Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, may have worked on building the ark for many years. While the people surely made fun of him for building a boat on dry land, Noah warned them to repent and obey God so that they too could escape the coming Flood. No one but his family listened to Noah. In the end, there were only eight people that entered the ark: Noah, Shem, Ham, Japheth, and their wives. God sent seven pairs of every clean animal to the ark, males and females, so He could preserve their lives. He also sent two of every unclean animal, a male and a female, as well as seven pairs of birds, males and females, for Noah to keep in the ark. After Noah, his family, and all the animals were inside, God sealed the door to the ark. After seven days, it began to rain. The waters from under the earth gushed up and the rain from heaven poured down, for forty days and forty nights! The water was so high that it covered the mountains! Only those on the ark survived.

Read Together: Genesis 6:13–22; 7:1–20; 2 Peter 2:5

Discuss:

  • Ask your child why God destroyed all land animals, birds, and human beings. Ask why God spared Noah and his family.
  • Ask your child how many people were aboard the ark and who they were.
  • Explain to your child that during the time that he was building the ark, Noah was warning the people about the coming Flood. God was giving them an opportunity to repent and be saved. Emphasize God’s mercy in wanting the people to be saved.
  • Explain to your child what makes animals “clean” or “unclean.” Why did God tell Noah to take more clean animals on the ark than unclean? You may want to use this as an opportunity to talk about God’s dietary laws in Leviticus.

Review Memorization.

2 Peter 2:5 “And [God] did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.”

Printable PDF – L1.15

Assembly Notes: Set a Guard Over My Keyboard

By Thomas White, Student at LivingEd-Charlotte

“The social media in the Work is a good thing, a very good thing, and it’s reaching a lot of people that we might not normally reach. Rightly used, social media are very helpful to millions of people in their daily communications…we should learn as much as we can, and then apply it, and then act with knowledgewhen we’re using social media, either for the Work, or for other, personal use.” ~ Mr. Dexter Wakefield

This week, Mr. Dexter Wakefield’s thought-provoking assembly informed me that God’s Church is actually more active on social media than I am, and I consider myself a fairly hip millennial. (That was a joke. Please never say “hip” to millennials.) The Living Church of God is on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram, and as Mr. Wakefield pointed out, there’s a very good reason for this.  “Of the four main platforms that we use,” Mr. Wakefield revealed, “we have over 700,000 followers.” He went on to say that approximately 171,000,000 minutes of Tomorrow’s Worldand Living Church of God video have been watched on YouTube. Even if you avoid social media like the plague, you have to admit that this is exciting! As God used radio to proclaim His message in Mr. Armstrong’s day, He’s now using social media and the broader internet to proclaim that same message in ours.

“Anonymity has its perils. … There’s a huge amount of money associated with social media activity, and if you’re going to avoid being taken advantage of, it’s essential that you act with knowledgewhen engaging with such media.”

But like sugar, alcohol, and croquet mallets, social media can be incredibly dangerous if used inappropriately, and Mr. Wakefield did not shy away from addressing its dark side. He described the “Social Validation Feedback Loop,” which is essentially the addiction that develops when we feel internet-popular. I’ve experienced it myself; if I post on Facebook, and people start “liking” that post, the amount of time I spend on Facebook skyrockets. It feels good to be liked, and the minds behind Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter are well aware of this. They want us to spend every evening entranced by our phones, because for them, that’s advertisement revenue. As Mr. Wakefield repeatedly and poignantly said, we have to act with knowledge (Proverbs 13:16), with an awareness of how God wants us to spend our time. Do we apply the principle of moderation to our screen-fueled socializing?

 “People behave differently when they are anonymous. … They’ll do hurtful things when they’re anonymous. … And how much more so when they’re typinganonymously? … When you use social media to communicate, just be sure you act with knowledge…”

If a random person on the street walked up and said, “Hi! Let’s be friends”, I would naturally be a bit suspicious. If that person wore a ski mask, I would be more suspicious, and probably run. As Mr. Wakefield pointed out, social media makes it possible for people to try to gain your trust while wearing fabricated identities as their ski masks, so socializing with people you’ve never met offline is usually a bad idea. Acting with knowledge means being careful about who we believe online, as well as being careful about what we put there. “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth,” reads Psalm 141:3, and today, as Mr. Wakefield said, “mouth” could just as easily be “keyboard.” The internet is a mixture of good and evil, and if we act with knowledge, God can keep us from the latter.

Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 14 “God and Israel: A Marriage Covenant”

By Janth English

Read Together: Have you ever been to a wedding? Think back to the ceremony and the wedding vows. You may remember that the minister asks the groom if he is willing to be a faithful husband. That means, is he willing to provide for, protect, and cherish his soon-to-be wife. In the same ceremony, the bride is asked if she is willing to love, honor, and obey her soon-to-be husband. They both must answer “I do” or else they don’t get married! And when they say “I do,” they have entered a covenant, which is a solemn promise to do what they said they would do. When you read Exodus 19:3–8, you can see that God proposed to take care of Israel in response to her obedience. If Israel would obey, God promised prosperity, peace, and safety. When all Israel said, “I do,” they promised to obey God. But sadly, they did not keep that promise. However, that is not the end of the story! Today, the Church is the “Bride of Christ,” which is preparing to marry Jesus at the resurrection. That means that each person, when baptized, agrees to enter into a marriage covenant with Christ (meaning, to honor and obey Him). In return, Jesus Christ, as the Church’s Husband, promises to love and faithfully care for each member of His Church. The marriage between Jesus Christ and the Church will take place at the resurrection, just before the Millennium begins. As all brides do, we look forward to that glorious event!

Read Together: Exodus 19:5, 8; Leviticus 26:1–6; Jeremiah 3:14, 20; Ephesians 5:31–32; Revelation 19:7–9

Discuss:

  • Discuss with your child the relationship between Jesus Christ, who was the God of the Old Testament (1 Corinthians 10:4), and ancient Israel. Did God perform His duties? How did ancient Israel respond?
  • Discuss the relationship with Jesus Christ and the Church. Show how it is an intimate family relationship. Use this as an opportunity to discuss the roles of fathers, mothers, and children in the family.
  • Explain that if your child is old enough to be baptized before Christ returns, he or she will have the opportunity to be part of the bride of Christ, too.

Review Memorization: Exodus 20:1–17, The Ten Commandments (long form)

Printable PDF – L3.14

Children’s Bible Program – Level 2: Lesson 14 “Nimrod’s Kingdom”

The Bible Journey – thebiblejourney.com | FreeBibleImages.org

By Janth English

Read Together: The people began to put their faith and trust in Nimrod, and Nimrod began to feel very proud of himself. The name Nimrod can mean “rebel,” and Nimrod was truly a rebel. Nimrod is known in history to be a ruler who turned people from the true worship of God and caused religious confusion. According to some historical sources, he began to gather people together in cities rather than encouraging them to spread out over the earth as God wanted. Initially, the reason for keeping people together might have been for protection. But it soon became clear that Nimrod wanted the people together so he could be a powerful ruler, and he became a cruel tyrant over them. Nimrod set out to establish a world-ruling kingdom and his first city was Babel. He also founded Erech, Accad, and Calneh in the land of Shinar which is near modern-day Iraq. He also took lands in Assyria that were occupied by the descendants of Shem, which included Nineveh, Rehoboth Ir, Calah, and Resen. This was likely not done peacefully, and it is probable that Nimrod introduced war again to the human family after the Flood.

Read Together: Genesis 10:6–12

Discuss:

  • Help your child identify ways in which history suggests Nimrod rebelled against God.
  • Nimrod was born in the third generation after the flood. Discuss with your child how short the time was before mankind forgot the lessons of the Flood. This is a good opportunity to discuss the fact that people who don’t learn from their mistakes are often doomed to repeat them.
  • Nimrod was a “mighty hunter” who helped the people in the beginning. But history says he had pride and credited himself for his accomplishments. Ask your student how humility might have helped Nimrod. Take this opportunity to talk about servant leadership.

Review Memorization:

Genesis 11:9 “Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.”

 

Printable PDF – L2.14

Children’s Bible Program – Level 1: Lesson 14 “Noah Finds Grace”

By Janth English 

Read Together: There was one man during this wicked age (the time before the flood) who continued to follow God’s laws. His name was Noah, and Noah was a just man. That means he tried to treat everyone fairly, as the Bible teaches us to do, and just like we want to be treated in turn. He followed the example of his great-grandfather Enoch, who had also walked with God. “Walking with God” means that Enoch and Noah loved God and obeyed Him. God says that He shows His servants when He is going to send destruction on people because of their sins (Amos 3:7). Noah was a faithful servant of God, and God told Noah that He planned to destroy the earth with a flood, but would save Noah and his family because of his obedience to God.

Read Together: Genesis 5:21–32; 6:8–10; 13–14

Discuss:

  • Explain to your child that people lived very long lives before the Flood.
  • Ask your child how Noah must have felt living in such a wicked society.
  • What do you think about God being merciful to Noah and his family and saving them from the flood? Do you think they were happy about that?
  • Help your child understand that to be righteous means to keep God’s commandments in faith (Psalm 119:172), and that we too can be righteous.
  • Discuss with your child what it means to “walk with God.”

Review Memorization:

2 Peter 2:5 “And [God] did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.”

Printable PDF – L1.14

Assembly Notes: The War of the Worlds

By Thomas White, Student at LivingEd – Charlotte

“We do not live, ever, in a godly culture as long as man is in charge here.” ~ Mr. Gerald Weston

It’s not just a classic science fiction novel by H.G Wells, or one of roughly six gazillion alie  n invasion movies. It’s what’s being fought right now, on this earth. Mr. Gerald Weston’s Assembly this week highlighted the cultural warfare all around us, as Republicans battle with Democrats, “liberals” clash with “conservatives,” the “left” dukes it out with the “right,” and we, as God’s people, hopefully stand our ground against the whole lot of them. In a world where cultural warfare and political ideologies seem to infect virtually everything we see, it can be all too easy to get caught up in one agenda vs. another, this party vs. that party, capitalism vs. socialism…and forget that the war we should be fighting is between two trees, between Satan’s world and the coming Kingdom of God.

“The word of God is the foundation of our beliefs, and we need to constantly keep that in mind…we do have to understand what God’s mind is on some of these subjects, and sometimes you have to search a little bit, because it’s not always readily evident in every case.”

Of course, not one of us would ever purposely side with Satan’s world. We do, after all, know that it’s eventually going to lose, and we genuinely want to honor God with all we choose to do and be. But what if we don’t always recognize when we’re on the wrong side? Our enemy is a master manipulator, so as Mr. Weston said, we have to be constantly critiquing what the world presents as favorable. Do we ever catch ourselves thinking of an unborn child as a nigh-inanimate “fetus” instead of a baby? Are we ever tempted to shrug off homosexuality as “just another type of love”? One way that I often find myself sliding into the world’s camp is simply by considering one sin “less bad” than another. That’s exactly what the world wants us to think, while God’s word says, “whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all” (James 2:10).

 “A culture involves more than one person…it involves a common set of beliefs and standards…and those common beliefs and standards must come from Scripture.”

As Mr. Weston adamantly said, we have to look at everything that’s happening, everything that the world’s culture is hurling at us, from the perspective of God’s revealed plan. The agenda of humanity is always going to be in rebellion against its Creator, so whatever the subject, we have to search God’s word for His perfect perspective on it. It’s important to stay informed, but there’s a big difference between being informed and being invested, and if we find ourselves supporting one ungodly culture over another, it’s probably time to refocus on the culture we really need to spread across the world. As Mr. Weston has said many times before, there can be no compromise; there are only two trees. In the war of the worlds, are we confident and unyielding in the side we claim to be fighting for?

 

Books Mentioned:

Economics in One Lesson by Henry Hazlitt

Student Thoughts: Unit 4 – Lessons of Peter’s Denial

Here are a few comments from students answering the “Student Thoughts” question from Unit 4, Lesson 3: Why did Peter deny Christ (Luke 22:54-62)? What can we do in our own lives to make sure we do not deny Him (Matthew 10:32-33)?

________________________________________________________________________________________

Why did Peter deny Christ?  Here is a man who exhibits great boldness.  He is the one that always has a ready answer. He is the one who asked to walk out on the water to Jesus.  He tells Jesus that he would not allow Him to be put to death, and he really meant what he said. Here’s is a man, armed with a sword, who attempts to protect Christ from being taken captive. And, he is told to put away the sword!  Peter was expecting a Messiah that would institute the Kingdom immediately, and all of a sudden things were not going where he had thought.  He had to be very confused, but even so Peter continued to be as close as he dared to Jesus.  He and John were the only ones that we see that did follow along.  Peter was terribly frightened. His leader was having the unthinkable happen to Him, and all this just didn’t match up with Peter’s concept of what was going to occur.  All his bravery was not enough.  He could not rely on his own strength.  Pushed into the corner, he did what is the human thing.  He lied.  He denied Christ.  Something that only a few hours before, he would have thought impossible.  Fear, confusion, and despair, and then the awful knowledge that he had denied the Christ.  We can be very thankful that this is included for us to read and to learn from, because there are vital lessons and warnings for us.  We cannot do what we must do on our own strength.  Our faith and trust must be in Christ and the Father. Things that we encounter don’t always appear as clearly as we would like, and so we have to develop that relationship with Christ and the Father so that we begin to develop the mind of Christ.  Peter’s weakness there gives us hope and comfort because we see that upon his repentance he was forgiven. God extended mercy to him as He does to us upon repentance.  Peter was relying on his own power and strength and he failed just as we will fail if we think that we can do anything right using only our own power.  There may be a time when we will be put to this extreme test, and we have the example of Peter to help us.  It is easy to make God in our own image and have it “all figured out,” but when things don’t work out the way we think, we learn to trust that God know what He is doing, and His way is always right.” – MJB

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Children’s Bible Program – Level 3: Lesson 13 “Israel Prepares to Meet God”

Author: Janth English

Read Together: God changed Jacob’s name to Israel. Israel’s descendants lived in Egypt and grew into a great nation. But the Egyptians enslaved them and put them to hard labor. God worked many miracles to free Israel from slavery. After the death of all the firstborn in Egypt, God led Israel out from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. They miraculously walked on dry land through the Red Sea, and God protected His people from the Egyptian army. God told Moses to bring the children of Israel to Him at Mt. Sinai after they left Egypt (Exodus 3:12). A few weeks after leaving Egypt, the children of Israel were encamped near Mt. Sinai, the mountain of God. God called Moses and told him to offer the people of Israel a special agreement, called a covenant. Israel would obey Him, and in return, He would make them His special people. The people agreed. God instructed the Israelites to clean up and wash their clothes, and “consecrate” themselves (which means to prepare themselves to meet with God). They were getting ready to meet their Creator!

Read Together: Exodus 1:1–14; 14:5–31; 19:1–11

Discuss:

  • Explain that even though they had witnessed God’s miraculous interventions, Israel had not been obedient since leaving Egypt. They complained about the water and food (Exodus 15:22–25; 16:2–3). They broke the Sabbath (Exodus 16:26–29). And they complained against Moses (Exodus 17:2–3). Explain that experiencing miracles does not make it automatic that a person will respond by having faith in God.  We still have to choose to obey and respond to Him.
  • Ask your child why he or she thinks God told Israel to bathe and wash their clothes. What preparation would one make to visit the Queen of England? Use this as an opportunity to emphasize why we dress up for Sabbath services.
  • Discuss what it means to be “consecrated,” which means “set apart for holy use.” Explain that the Church is the Israel of God and that we are set apart by God’s Holy Spirit. Help your child understand that if our parents (or parent) is baptized and in the Church, that means that we have a chance to have a relationship with God that we otherwise wouldn’t have (Acts 2:38–39, 1 Corinthians 7:14)

Review Memorization:

Exodus 20:1–17 The Ten Commandments (long form)

 

Printable PDF – L3.13