Scripture: Luke 15
- Students will learn that God is with them, even when we do not understand his plan.
- Students will create a kit to spiritually prepare themselves for times when life is challenging.
- Students will participate in an activity to help them remember God is always with them even when things seem hopeless.
- Students will practice repeated readings and read aloud to aid with fluency.
How does reflecting on written thoughts and feelings help us remember that God is here through difficult times?
Materials: writing supplies, small blank booklets (or for a cheaper option, staple construction paper together to make a booklet), examples of encouraging poems, quotes, Bible verses, blank cards, shoe box or similar small box to place items in ( unless you want everything contained in the booklet)
Review the story of David, Achish, and the Amalekites, focusing especially on the many challenges that David faced while waiting to become king. Remind students of the people that had opposed him and that it might have been difficult for David to have faith in God’s promise for his life. Discuss that it can be difficult to trust God in the middle of trials, especially when trials are long-term or there are many small trials that add up. However, God is always present and has a plan in place for our lives that is often above our understanding.
Tell students that they get to make a kit filled with things they can read and do when they are going through challenges and it is hard to see God’s plan. Help students choose poems, verses, and quotes of encouragement that they can read during troubling times. You can provide several printed ones and students can copy or cut-and-paste them in a small booklet. Let students practice reading them aloud to each other. Encourage repeated readings for fluency practice. More advanced students can write their own poems or encouraging short stories. Especially focus on understanding the meaning of some of the figures of speech and similes in several of the writings.
Discuss the importance of writing as a means of preserving ideas. Being able to write helps us preserve history, share stories, and uplift others over time. It is good to write down things when times are good so that we can remember them when times are hard. It is also good to write when times are hard because it can help your mind process the trials and relax.
Kits can include:
• Bible verses
o Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:9, Isaiah 49:13, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 31:24, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4, Psalm 16:8
• Summaries of Bible stories that show God’s plan
o Noah’s family in the flood
o Birth of Isaac
o Joseph’s rise to 2nd in Command over Egypt
o Birth of Jesus
• Poems and Song Lyrics
o Footprints in the Sand by Mary Stevenson
o Jesus Loves Me
o God is an Awesome God
o God is So Good
o Jesus, you are good and wise
I will praise you when I rise.
Jesus, hear this prayer I send
Bless my family and my friends. –Author unknown
• Blessings Journals: Students write at least 1-3 blessings each day.
o “God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing.” C. S. Lewis
o “True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity[faithfulness] to His Promises.” Francis Chan
o “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.” Mother Theresa
o “Remember that valleys are necessary to have mountain peaks.” (Challenges are necessary to understand the good times too.)
• Uplifting pictures by artists or pictures drawn by students
• Cards of encouragement from others and blank cards to write to others
- What can we learn from how God kept his promises in the Bible?
- What did David have available to him when he was discouraged?
- What emotions have you felt that are similar to David?
- Create an event similar to a poetry reading. Provide candles, small snacks, hot chocolate, pillows, and a cozy atmosphere. Students each choose one item from their kit that they would like to present. Provide a podium or special chair for the reader. Allow students to ask questions and respond to each other.
- Have students choose one item from their kit to memorize. Discuss why memory is important. You may not always have you kit with you and it helps you understand the words better. Assign students accountability partners and let them write a plan for how many words to memorize each day. Discuss good memorization strategies. Strategies: choose 3-6 words to memorize each day. Post the words on things you frequently look at such as a doorway, refrigerator, commonly used bag, etc. Say the phrase and eliminate one word each time you say it until it is memorized.