You can find Part 1 of 3 here.
Why does God allow us to sin? – miss danielle
Why does God allow bad things to happen?
What does Jesus look like?
During the three days between Jesus death and resurrection, where was He?
You can find Part 1 of 3 here.
on sunday morning october 29 our kids studied about thomas’ doubt. we understand that, like thomas, many of us have hard questions about Jesus. so we asked each 1st – 5th-grade life group to submit three questions and boy did we get some great ones.
we took a wednesday night in collide and invited pastor david and his wife danielle to spend some time answering these questions. we are posting several of those video answers on each of these posts. these are a great resource for you to listen to as a family and refer to God’s Word together. we tried to keep all our answers based on scripture and not our opinions. may these prove helpful as you point your kids to Christ.
Where does God come from? Pastor David answers.
Did Jesus help God with creation? Mrs. Danielle answers.
Why did God make us? miss danielle answers.
Why does God make people with disabilities? Mr. Jon answers.
Is there really a talking donkey in the Bible? If so, what is God teaching us through the story of the talking donkey? Let’s take a look at this story in Numbers 22:21-39.
The Israelites were God’s chosen people. At one point, the Israelites traveled to the plains of Moab and set up camp along the Jordan River, across from the great city of Jericho. The people of Moab were afraid of the Israelites because they saw and heard that the Israelites destroyed the Amorites and took over their land. The Moabites were afraid they were going to be destroyed just like the Amorites.
The King of Moab was named Balak. King Balak sent some of his princes to find a man named Balaam. King Balak wanted Balaam to put a curse on the Israelites so they wouldn’t destroy the Moabites. King Balak even sent some money to give Balaam to try and bribe him to do the curse. When the princes arrived, Balaam tells them to spend the night and he will ask God what he should do.
Now Balaam knew that it was not God’s will for him to get paid a large amount of money to curse God’s people, but he prayed about it anyway. And, no surprise, God told him not to go with the men and curse the Israelites.
The same is true in our lives. There are some things we don’t need to pray about because we already know what God’s answer will be. Here’s an example: We know that the Bible tells us not to lie, so we know it is not God’s will for us to lie. There is no need for us to pray and ask God if we should tell a lie—the answer is always no!
However, King Balak was not willing to take no for an answer! He decides to send more important princes to again ask Balaam to curse the Israelites. Balaam again says no, but then tells them to wait until morning so he can ask God one more time. This time God tells him to go, but says, “Do only what I tell you.”
The next morning, Balaam gets up and saddles his donkey and goes with the princes of Moab. As they were traveling down the road, God puts an angel in the middle of the path with a sword in hand. Balaam’s donkey sees the angel and turns off the road into a field. Balaam begins to beat the donkey to try to get her back on the road. But the angel moves and blocks their path again, causing the donkey to crush Balaam’s foot against a wall! After a good beating, Balaam gets the donkey moving only to be stopped once again. This time the angel stands in a very narrow place. The donkey has nowhere to turn, so she just lies down. Now Balaam is really mad and begins to beat the donkey again!
This is when things get strange—God opens the donkey’s mouth and the donkey says to Balaam, “What have I done to you to make you beat me these three times?” Instead of acting shocked that his donkey just talked to him, Balaam angrily says, “You have made a fool of me!” The donkey replied, “Have I not always been there for you? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?” And Balaam honestly replies, “No.”
It’s only after this strange conversation with his donkey that God opens Balaam’s eyes to see the angel of the Lord in the road.
The angel tells Balaam that he is there to warn him. He says that if not for his donkey, Balaam would have been killed. This was God’s way of getting Balaam’s attention to make sure he knew that God did not want him to obey King Balak and curse the Israelites.
God sometimes uses strange ways to get our attention. This is evidence of His grace in our lives. He could leave us to go our own way, just as he could have let Balaam go, take the money, and curse the Israelites. Instead, He used a talking donkey to get Balaam’s attention.
Ultimately, God is protecting His people. King Balak wanted to use Balaam to curse God’s people. But God always protects His people. He’ll even use an animal like a donkey to show that He loves and cares for His people.
“They cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, will you refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?’” – Revelation 6:10, NAS
LAS VEGAS — Perched in his suite at a high-rise hotel overlooking the Vegas Strip, a 64-year-old retiree with no real criminal history and no known affiliations with terror groups rained bullets down into a crowd at a country music festival Sunday, killing at least 59 people and injuring hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. –The Washington Post
BATON ROUGE – Ten current or former students at Louisiana State University were arrested Wednesday in connection with the death last month of an 18-year-old freshman who became severely intoxicated during a fraternity hazing ordeal, the latest in a series of student deaths following such rituals. – USA Today
Are you ever overwhelmed by the evil…everywhere? How often do you look at the face of your child, even at their “worst” behavior moment, and want to cocoon them in your home/neighborhood/church forever? Do you ever wonder ‘HOW MUCH LONGER CAN A LOVING, HOLY AND JUST GOD LET EVIL CONTINUE?’
Yet in His scripture, in that “scary” book that “nobody can really understand” because it’s filled with “weird” visuals, The Lord Himself answers.
Beware, His answer may exasperate you….
“…they were told to rest for A LITTLE WHILE LONGER, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.” – Revelation 6:11 NAS
Oh, dear friend, God sees every face that suffers, every violent act. He is El Roi, “The God who Sees”. He saw Hagar leave her
son in the desert because she did not want to watch him die from thirst (Gen 16:13). The Lord responded by providing a well in the desert. He saw Nathanael sitting under the fig tree at a distance that the tree could not be “seen” by human eyes (John 1:48). The Lord responded by inviting Nathanael to follow Him.
Our God sees. And when you are overwhelmed by elementary lockdown drills, senseless violence and evil run amuck stop looking around.
Instead LOOK UP. Look up to focus on the nature and character of God. He reveals Himself in nature (Rom. 1:20) and there is no more beautiful time in our state, in my opinion, to see God reveal Himself than in the next few weeks.
Instead LOOK IN. Look in His word. HE has a message to give you a future and a hope (Jer. 29:11) through an eternal relationship with Him that you can be enjoying today (John 17:3); no matter what evil happens around.
“God is mean!” those were the words adamantly spoken to me by a young boy after i finished sharing the story of achan from joshua 7.
let me refresh your memory because when i taught this lesson five years ago, it was the first time i had ever taught it to children. after the israelites destroyed jericho they were instructed by God, through joshua, to burn everything that belonged to the people of jericho except silver, gold, brass and iron. those objects were to be brought to the house of the Lord. fast forward to their next battle with the city ai. even though God had promised the israelites the land, they were defeated badly and lost 36 men. joshua sought the Lord and the next morning found out that achan had taken a garment, silver and gold for his tent. achan’s punishment was that he, along with all that belonged to him, were to be burned. so not only achan, but his family, and belongings were killed.
i know, i know, it isn’t the story of creation, but God included it in his Word and what an honor it was to teach it to a group of children that day. the “God is mean” statement threw me off for a second, but through the help of the Holy Spirit, we were able to turn class time into a transparent discussion about God. we talked about the love of God and how He loved us enough to send Jesus to rescue us from our sins, but we also addressed the holiness of God. a Holy God must punish sin, and achan’ sinned against the direct commands of God.
this will definitely not go down as the easiest lesson i have ever taught, but even with its gruesome ending, it may be one of my favorites. you see we had church that day in that classroom. Bible-belt, church kids drop their pretenses and asked the hard questions while seeking to understand the nature of God more. this time was not filled with the easy “Jesus love me” answers, but with the same truths found with the honest seeking of God’s Word.
i love grappling with the tough, weird, boring, and gross passages with kids (at an age-appropriate level) because they require us all to think. there aren’t always easy answers in the tragic and mundane passages, but there is truth there just the same. i believe when we skip passages because they are boring or difficult, we miss an opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to meet us in our weakness and bring real discovery we couldn’t find on our own.
Each of us has a favorite passage or a favorite verse (If you are like me you have a couple). Often these passages are riveting stories: David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lion’s den, fiery furnace, Moses and the Exodus, Samson, Deborah, Gideon, etc. These are better than any movie or fiction we read- they keep us on the edge of our seats as we see the story of God’s redemption unfold. Other times, our favorite verses have direct practical application: reminding us of who Christ is, our identity in him, and how to follow Christ in our daily lives. For both kinds of verses and passages, we return to these familiar stories, again and again, hearing the word of God fresh with each encounter.
But there are other passages, that if we are being honest, have a CSPAN effect on each of us, causing us to doze off or our eyes to glaze over with disinterest. For me, worst of all are the genealogies- take Mathew 1:1-17 for example: “Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac was the father of Jacob…” And on the list goes obscure unpronounceable name after obscure unpronounceable name. Just when you thought we had left all that behind with the Old Testament, Matthew rattles off 42 generations of Israel’s history. Yet if we (if I) can lean into this passage for a moment, we see Matthew is making bold claims about who Jesus is and who he has come to save.
As he begins his Gospel, Matthew’s opening verse stakes out a bold claim for who Jesus is: “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ/Messiah, who Jews have been waiting centuries for and whose life will alter history- He is the one who has been sent by God to save (Yeshua= God saves). More than that, He is the son of David, and the son of Abraham- the fulfillment of all God’s promises to them. God’s promises to bless the nations through Abraham, to make him a great nation (Genesis 12), for David that his house and his kingdom might reign forever (2 Samuel 7) are fulfilled in Jesus Christ. If we allow our eyes to glaze over as Matthew begins his genealogy we miss what Matthew (through the Holy Spirit) teaches us about who Christ is and God’s faithfulness- not only in Israel’s history but in our own lives as well.
Yet Matthew doesn’t stop there- as he continues recounting the genealogy of Jesus, he gives us a picture of who Jesus came to save. We see Judah, who sold his brother into slavery and had two sons with his daughter in law Tamar (Gen. 38). We see women like Ruth and Rahab, a Gentile and a prostitute (Ruth 1; Joshua 2). We see a man after God’s own heart who stole Uriah’s wife and had him murdered to cover it up (2 Sam. 11). An unwed mother giving birth to the savior. We see sinners and saints, men and women, Jews and Gentiles, a nation at its zenith led by righteous kings and a nation in exile. Jesus Christ, the son of David, son of Abraham is descended from each of them and came to save men and women, Jews and Gentiles, sinners and saints like us.
Chances are if you are reading this blog, you are aware of the many ways God equips us to live for Him and bring glory to His name on a daily basis: time in the Word, prayer, community, worship, and the list goes on. Often I get too focused on all of these “good things” to ensure that I am equipped and forget that my focus needs to be on Who I am walking with. Should I still do all of those things? Yes, absolutely, but God is the One ultimately who equips me for the calling on my life. Anything I try to do on my own will fail.
There are so many times in the past several weeks when I found myself feeling anything but equipped. 57 days ago I became a [foster] mom to two sweet little boys. Every day has been filled with beauty, brokenness, joy, frustration, laughter, and tears. There have been many, many days when I haven’t felt equipped at all (even though I was doing all of the “good things” listed above). Chances are I am not alone and you have days like this too amidst the callings God has placed on your life. Thankfully, there is an Equipper much greater than all of my brokenness. There is a God who loves me, calls me, and equips me. He also loves you, calls you, and equips you. So when you feel like you aren’t good enough, smart enough, strong enough, patient enough, or worthy enough, rest in the fact that you aren’t any of those things, but there is One who is. He has called you and He is equipping you to fulfill that calling for His glory. How incredible that God uses our utter brokenness for His glory. When you feel like you are failing, rest in Him and trust that He is equipping you. Let’s rest in Him today.
The internet has a lot of good and bad things going for it. The information out there can lead down a lot of different paths, both good and bad. As parents in this new generation of technology, we are pioneers of this frontier without a clear path of where all this information will lead us in the end. If there’s anything I’ve learned so far on this journey, it’s that the answers, hopes, and encouragements we look for to fill our hearts and souls aren’t found in Facebook shared articles, Twitter hashtags or Instagram likes.
I think every parent of a rising generation probably gets the privilege of pioneering some revolution of society and we can’t predict how our children will end up. Generations have survived the mass use of fire, the car replacing the horse-drawn carriage, airplanes, and cable TV. Even in the ebb and flow of daily life, there are new things to navigate like different brands of baby formula, whether or not to buy organic, or if a staycation would be more a more beneficial way to spend Spring Break. We are constantly on the move, constantly changing. Seasons and Family Bible Verses change from year to year. How we see God leading our family is fluid.
As a mom, it would seem that I could easily take the role of the master, the teacher, the all-powerful ruler of my
house, but now more than ever I need to show my children that our lives are that of the perpetual student. I need to show them that their studies in God’s Word continue on lifelong. In Romans 15:4 it says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
I try to show them through my own example that God’s Word has something new for me every time I open it. I try to show them that I teach Life Groups because in studying the lesson, through His word and through the children in the class, God teaches me. I try to show them that through all this trying I am never going to be good enough. I’m never going to be the perfect example. I’m going to mess up and make mistakes. And that’s okay, because of God’s mercy and grace, that’s okay. Because the only perfect example is Jesus and He is accessible to us day and night when people, society as a whole, social media and the next revolution on the horizon let us down. The only place for us to find real hope and encouragement is in Him.
years ago i completed beth moore’s “believing God” Bible study and it has shaped me forever. we dove into hebrews 11 and i even challenged myself to memorize this passage. because i hid these words so closely in my heart they have been ever present in the highs and lows of my spiritual journey.
you may know hebrews 11 as the “by faith” or the “hall of faith” chapter. i simply see it as the standard for followers
as we walk in believing what we cannot see. there are two things that really grip my soul in this wisdom-packed passage.
1 – hebrews 11:11 “and by faith even sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.” as i recite these words i am filled with a mix of emotions and encouragement. i see faith boldly described as considering “Him faithful who had made the promise. ” what a release it is to be reminded that He remains faithful. what a challenge it is to be reminded that it is our job to remember that. i guess because i am a fixer and fighter that i often fall guilty of assuming a faithful God somehow needs my help. i love that sarah, who was way past childbearing age, could do nothing to make this promise complete. her goal wasn’t coming alongside a faithful God and offering advice, correction, and works, but looking to a faithful God and believing Him to be who He says He is.
2 – hebrews 11:13 “all these people were still living by faith when they died. they did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.” i think this is an important lesson for adults and kids. we are called to put our trust in Christ no matter the situation and know He is faithful, not only believe when His answers align with ours.
i don’t claim to have God figured out nor would i imagine any of these hebrews 11 heroes would either. i just hope and pray that as i grow closer to God i have faith to stand firm no matter the type or timing of His answer. HE IS FAITHFUL.
as i study God’s Word i see Him as faithful time and time again. this is why i am passionate about helping kids and families study God’s Word together. may these same truths can be seared to their hearts and change their journey forever.