Acts of Love

On Motivation and Encouragement

Grace Food March 10, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans,Teaching and Learning,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 11:02 pm
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Grace Food: Pretzel Object Lesson

Ages: Ages toddler to teen

Objective: For students to have a concrete image to aid them in understanding God’s redemptive plan

Materials Needed:

Bread Flour

Yeast

Salt

Sugar

Egg

Oil

Water

Baking Soda

Sea Salt

Bible

Baking Sheet

Tongs

Measuring Cups and Spoons

Bread Machine (or mix dough manually)

Large Pot

Condiments

Procedure:

1) Prepare Pretzel Dough. (I use the following recipe and mix the ingredients in my bread machine on the dough cycle. Not sure exactly how you would prepare the dough manually)

3 cups bread flour

1 cup water

tablespoon sugar

teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 1/4 teaspoons yeast

(Makes 6-8 large pretzels)

(Layer in bread machine according to manufacturers instructions; usually liquid, dry, and then yeast)

2) Give each student a piece of dough. Tell them you are going to tell them a story about God’s Grace and Love. Ask the students about the beginning of the world. Where did the story of Man begin? When students start talking about the Garden of Eden be sure to ask them to describe the garden. Be sure to emphasis that the garden was perfect, and that people and God were able to live close to each other.

3) Ask students what went wrong in the Garden of Eden. As you have a discussion about  how the devil, in the form of a snake, tempted Eve, ask the students to create a snake out of their dough. Discuss how sin entered the world and men and women were banished from the garden and thus separated from God.

4) Next, discuss God’s plan to redeem man and solve the problem of sin. Read the following verse: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15). Ask students who this ‘head crusher’ is? Who is God going to send to destroy the devil and sin once and for all: Jesus! Younger  students will enjoy ‘crushing’ their snake’s head. You may discuss tools for not falling into the temptation of sin, and ways to resist the devil.

5) Next, explain that although men and women are sinners, God still loves us. Read John 3:16, “For God so loved the world He gave His one and only Son that whoever shall believe in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.” So, God can redeem this ugly snake, the sins’ of man, through love. Students can take their snake, and turn it into a heart, thus forming a pretzel!

6) Add a teaspoon of baking soda to a large pot of boiling water. Place each pretzel in the water for about 10 seconds, and then place on a greased baking sheet.

7) Brush each pretzel with egg white and sprinkle with sea salt.

8) Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes, or until pretzels are thoroughly cooked. (cooking time will depend on how thick your pretzels are–just regularly check them so they don’t burn)

9) Serve pretzels warm, with dipping sauce of your choice. Be sure to give thanks to God for His unfailing love and grace!

A Few Notes:

* Monks used the pretzel to represent God’s love in the middle ages, this is not my idea–I just modified it slightly.

* This lesson can be modified for any age. I have done it with toddlers and high school students. Just engage the students in age appropriate discussions regarding sin.

* If you have the time, pretzels can be left to rise for one hour after they are formed, and before they are boiled. I usually skip this step and do not notice a difference, as long as the dough has been allowed to rise before hand.

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Grace Defined March 6, 2012

Filed under: Serving,Teaching and Learning,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 12:15 am
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Lent Day 13

Grace, a noun

* beauty of form or movement

* a sense of what is right

* a short prayer of thanksgiving before a meal

* a delayed allowance as a favor

* mercy

Grace, in the Christian context is defined as the unmerited mercy that God gave to mankind by sending His Son to die on a cross and give us eternal salvation.

Synonyms: elegance, poise, ease, pardon, charity, forgiveness, benevolence, prayer, generosity, respect, esteem, enrich, glorify, and elevate.

Antonyms: disfavor, ugliness, tactless, ill-will, spoil, insult.

one can fall from grace, have grace, extend grace, and be in good or bad graces with another person.

Grace is related to three greek words:

1) Charis: the state of kindness and favor, often with the focus on benefiting another.

2) Charisma: gracious gift

3) Chairo: to rejoice, be glad, and delight

The Hebrew word for grace is Chen, which is defined as favor, charm, and the moral quality of kindness.

Grace and Mercy are two parallel aspects of God’s character: Grace is getting the good that we do not deserve, and Mercy is not getting the bad we do deserve. Grace is God’s favor, that which God does for the benefit of His people. It is something we can never earn through works; it is totally free.

Grace conquers sin

It is a way of life

It is sufficient

It lightens our burden

It is beyond our understanding

Grace heals

Grace forgives

It is the opposite of ego

It helps us to accept

It fills our hearts

It sustains us

It allows God to see us for our best, and not for our worst

It allows us to love and be loved

It fills our churches, our homes, and our lives

It is glory with no beginning and no end

It is eternal

It is assurance and peace

It is hope and light

It is all around us

Grace is Amazing.

 

“Amazing Grace 

how sweet the sound 

that sav’d a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found

was blind but now I see”

~ John Newton

 

 

 

Prayer for Yemen March 3, 2012

Filed under: Teaching and Learning,Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 8:19 pm
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Lent Day 11

A Prayer for Yemen

  “Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations.” Romans 1:5

1) Pray that the people of Yemen would hunger and thirst for the forgiveness and righteousness found in the person of Jesus Christ.

2) Pray that God would remove the obstacles that prevent outsiders and Christians from sharing their testimony with the people of Yemen.

3) Pray that God will raise up intercessors and those willing to reach out to the people of Yemen.

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4) Pray that God will soften and prepare the hearts of many to be open to receiving the Gospel.

5) Pray that strong local churches would be built in Yemen.

6) Pray that the Christians in Yemen would be strengthened and unified in love and holiness.

7) Praise God for the work that the Holy Spirit is already doing in the hearts and lives of the Yemenis people.

8) Ask for forgiveness if there is any judgement or misconceptions in  your heart in regards to muslim people. Ask that God would allow you to love the people of Yemen the way He does.

9) Ask God to comfort and protect the many children living in poverty in Yemen.

10) Ask God to comfort and protect the many young girls subject to forced marriage and human trafficking.

11) Ask that God would reveal himself to the men and women of Yemen through dreams and visions.

Psalm 67 

 May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make his face shine on us

so that your ways may be known on earth,

 your salvation among all nations.

 May the peoples praise you, O God;

 may all the peoples praise you.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for you rule the peoples with equity

  and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, O God;

may all the peoples praise you.

 The land yields its harvest;

 God, our God, blesses us.

 May God bless us still,

 so that all the ends of the earth will fear Him.

 

A Lesson on Mercy February 25, 2012

Filed under: Lesson Plans,Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 1:21 am
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Lent Day 3

Today I prepared a lesson on mercy for Makayla as a part of our homeschool time. Here is what we did:

Lesson: Jesus and Mercy

Objective: For the child to understand that Jesus teaches us to be merciful.

Materials Needed: fabric, glue, scissors, people cutouts, yarn, dowels, picture bible.

Time: 30 minutes

Procedure:

1) Using our illustrated family bible we read selections from Matthew chapter 4,6, and 7, Luke chapter 6, and also the Beatitudes.

2) We then talked about how Jesus teaches us to treat people including; feeding the hungry, loving people who hurt you, and caring for the poor and needy.

3) Using the cloth scraps, cutouts, and glue we then ‘dressed’ a figure who was in need of clothing.

Real Life Application: After the lesson and craft, we went through some of Makayla and Harper’s clothing and filled a bag which we dropped of at a local charity.

For tomorrow:

Cultivating a Heart for Mercy

 

Three Scriptures that Speak Mercy February 24, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 12:44 am
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Lent Day 2

1)

For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

Yesterday I was contemplating the idea that mercy is the greatest attribute of God, then perhaps this verse, which summarizes God’s redemptive plan, is THE mercy verse? It speaks to God’s leniency toward the human race. The ‘wages paid’ to reference the latin meaning of the word mercy I wrote about yesterday. Through Christ the pice is paid and mercy is given.

2)

No, this is the kind of fasting I want:

Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;

lighten the burden of those who work for you.

Let the oppressed go free,

and remove the chains that bind people.

Share your food with the hungry,

and give shelter to the homeless.

Give clothes to those who need them,

and do not hide from relatives who need your help. Isaiah 58: 6-7

This is a verse that has deeply and significantly penetrated my heart. It has motivated me to live out mercy and compassion in my own life, as a form of true worship. It is a verse I continually meditate on and pray. Consider the promises that follow:

The lord will guide you continually, 

give you water when you are dry

and restore your strength.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

Like an ever-flowing spring.   Isaiah 58:11

So God desires that we have compassion and alleviate the suffering of those around us, and He promises to sustain and strengthen us in the process! One would think that when you are continually serving others and giving of yourself, you would become tired and empty. However, with the awesome economy of God, the more you give the more you are refreshed both spiritually and physically.

3)

And the Lord God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife. Genesis 4:21

God has been compassionate towards the human race from the very beginning. He is the author and originator of mercy. Here we seed God taking time to actually cloth a fallen Adam and Eve. He replaces their poor attempt at covering their newfound nakedness with fig leaves. God’s solution to a problem is always better;  His solution is always sifted through hands of love. Although the curse was pronounced, the God of the universe actually took time to make clothes for the two very people who had just dishonored Him. What a beautiful moment–bittersweet and heart wrenching if you take a moment to really try to imagine it. He did not allow them to wander around in fig-leaves; He immediately poured out tender compassion, that was not deserved. How many times have you been provided God-Sewn ‘clothes’ that you did not deserve? Too many to count for me.

For tomorrow:

A Lesson on Mercy

 

Define Mercy February 23, 2012

Filed under: Teaching and Learning — Acts of Love and Good Works @ 12:38 am
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Lenten Reflections Day 1: Define Mercy

The word Mercy finds its origines in middle english, from the alglo-french merci, and the latin word merced meaning ‘price paid or wages’. Mercy is a broad term referring to benevolence, forgiveness, kindness, and compassionate behavior. It is characterized by compassionate treatment, especially to those under one’s authority. A disposition to be kind and forgiving. It is also something for which to be thankful for, a blessing. And also the action of alleviating distress or offering relief. Synonyms include: leniency, lenity, clemency and charity. An antonym is cruelty. There were actually two words for mercy in the Greek bible, eleeo, which means to receive what is not earned, and oiktirmor, which means tenderness.

Shakespeare describes it as effortless and mutually beneficial to all parties involved; ‘The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: it blesseth him that gives and him that takes’ said Portia to Shylock in “The Merchant of Venice”.

Some claim that mercy is the greatest attribute of God. There is an entire Roman Catholic devotion to the idea, which follows and venerates Saint Mary Faustina Kowalska, known as the ‘Apostle of Mercy’. This group desires to allow God’s love and mercy to flow from their own hearts toward those in need (shouldnt we all!?). Furthermore, the view mercy as the key element in God’s salvation plan–for it is through Mercy that He sent his Son to save mankind.

So, prehaps it is the greatest attribute of God?  I admit I had not thought of Godly attributes as categorised in some sort of hierarchy until this morning. It is this tender, compassionate, blessing that is the crux of the entire Salvation plan–so prehaps Christ is Mercy personified (among other things of corse)? The best of God transferred to the Son in order that we might be filled with the very same Mercy through the Holy Spirit–amazing, and certainly motivating.

For Tomorrow: Three Scriptures that Speak Mercy