KidsView  | The Adventist Review for kids and those who always will be kids at heart | September 2017

2017 Week of Prayer Readings

By Gary Wagner and Deena Bartel-Wagner

First Sabbath

The Truth About God

It’s time for family worship,” Dad called out. “Bring your Bibles.”

Luc, Tess, and Jake grabbed their Bibles, and after prayer Dad asked, “Did you know there was a time that people didn’t have Bibles in their homes?”

“Bibles and others books were very expensive because they were copied by hand,” Mom explained. “Also, Bibles were written in Latin, and most people couldn’t read them.”

“So how did they learn about Jesus?” Tess asked.

“The pastor told them stories from the Bible at church,” said Dad. “The problem, though, was that some people said God was harsh and wanted to hurt people. 

“In the Garden of Eden Satan told a lie to Eve, and she believed him,” said Jake. “She didn’t trust what God had said.”

“God wanted to be with all His friends on earth,” said Dad. “But as earth became more populated, some people began telling Satan’s story about God being harsh and unloving.”

“Martin Luther, a boy who lived in Germany, heard these stories about a harsh God and was sure that God was angry with him. So he tried to live a perfect life,” said Mom. One day during a terrible storm Martin vowed that he would work for Him. He became a pastor and studied his Bible even more. This didn’t make Martin any happier, though. He still believed he had to live a perfect life.”

“If Martin loved Jesus, why was he so unhappy?” asked Tess.

“We’ll talk more about that tomorrow during our worship time,” said Dad.

 

Bible Verse: 

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching and for showing people what is wrong in their lives. It is useful for correcting faults and teaching how to live right” (2 Timothy 3:16, ICB).

 Activity:

When you think of God, what pictures do you see in your mind? Draw a picture of God to share with your family.

 

Sunday

God's Rescue

Luc was eager to have family worship. He wanted to hear more of the story of Martin Luther.

Dad reviewed that sin happens because of disobedience and separates people from God. He also reminded the family that Satan wants people to believe that God is harsh and unloving. 

“One day as Martin was reading the book of Romans, something changed his life,” said Dad. “Let’s read Romans 1:16, 17:

“I am not ashamed of the Good News. It is the power God uses to save everyone who believes. . . . The Good News shows how God makes people right with himself. God’s way of making people right with him begins and ends with faith. As the Scripture says, ‘The person who is made right with God by faith will live forever [ICB*].’ ”

Luc asked, “Isn’t the good news the story of Jesus and His life?”

“That’s right,” encouraged Dad.

“Then Paul is saying that if people believe the story and that Jesus died, God can save them,” Luc said. “I’m not sure what the ‘made right’ means, though.”

“It means a person who isn’t blamed by God for anything wrong,” said Dad. “Martin realized that  Romans 1 tells us that God had a plan to rescue humans from sin. When Jesus died on the cross, that was part of the plan.”

“Martin then began to tell other people,” said Mom. “He even made a list of 95 ideas about this and nailed it to the door of his church in Wittenberg, Germany.”

“About this same time a man named Johannes Gutenberg invented a printing press that could be used to print Bibles,” said Dad. “And scholars began translating the Bible into English. Soon many people were able to read and own their own Bibles.”

I’m going to study my Bible every day, thought Luc.

Bible Verse

“Lord, you do what is right. And your laws are fair” (Psalm 119:137, ICB).

Activities

Find the city of Wittenberg, Germany, on a map.

Make a list of reasons you want to tell others about God.

 

Monday

Reaching for Jesus' Hand

Luc and his family opened the storage shed door and began taking out yard tools. 

Mom sent Luc to help his dad, who was setting up a ladder next to the house. 

Dad climbed the ladder up to the roof.

“This ladder reminds me of our worship talks,” said Dad.

“How can a ladder have anything to do with sin and being righteous?” asked Luc.

“Run, get Mom, Tess, and Jake,” said Dad.

“We’ve been studying about sin separating us from God. This ladder made me think about Jesus, His death, and what that means for us. When Adam and Eve sinned, they created a gap between themselves and God.”

“But God sent Jesus to die for our sins,” said Tess. “Didn’t that take care of the gap?”

“That’s right,” said Dad. “Jesus became the mediator between God and each one of us.”

“After Jesus lived a sinless life, died, and rose again, He filled the gap between us and God. 

“When we accept Jesus, we move toward Him and stretch out our hands. He reaches out to us, but doesn’t let go of His connection with God,” said Dad. “He is the connection between us and God.”

Bible Verse

“There is only one way that people can reach God. That way is through Jesus Christ” (1 Timothy 2:5, ICB).

 Activity

Luc and his parents stood far apart and stretched out their arms to show how Jesus is the mediator between people and God. 

Try this with your family. 

 

Tuesday

Washing Off the Dirt

Luc, Tess, and Jake were working in the family vegetable and flower garden when Mom called them inside. “I have something to show you,” 

she said.

Mom was standing at the counter in front of two vases of white flowers. 

“These flowers reminded me of what happens after we are justified,” said Mom. I’m going to put some coloring in the water of one vase. See how the water changes colors?”

“It turned red!” said Jake.”

“That’s right,” said Mom. “The red water symbolizes the blood of Jesus, and the white flower is our life. Keep watching the flower and see what happens. We know that when Jesus died, He shed His blood for us.”

Mom then explained, “Another word for Jesus’ dying and shedding His blood for us is atonement. It means that the blood of Jesus changes our sin and makes us spiritually clean.” 

“Look, the white petals are turning red!” Luc said excitedly.

“The red coloring in the water is being absorbed into the flower petals,” Mom said. “Our lives are like that when we accept Jesus and follow Him. We begin to change and become different in how we act and treat other people.”

Mom added, “Jesus’ life flows into ours, just as the colored water made the white flower red.”

“I love Jesus and want to be changed,” said Luc. 

“Me, too,” said Tess.

Bible Verse

“But he was wounded for the wrong things we did. He was crushed for the evil things we did. The punishment, which made us well, was given to him. And we are healed because of his wounds” (Isaiah 53:5, ICB).

Activity

The blood of Jesus washes away our sins and makes our lives new again. With your family, sing the song “Nothing but the Blood of  Jesus.”

 

Wednesday

Who's Tapping on Your Shoulder? 

School was out for the day, and Luc’s new friend Simon wanted to play video games.

“Hi, Mom. Can I go over to Simon’s?” 

Luc said quickly as he dropped his backpack by the door. 

“Are his parents home?” asked Mom. 

“And what are you going to do while you are there?”

Mom asked the two questions he dreaded the most.

“I don’t know if his parents are home,” Luc admitted. “Simon wants to hang out and play video games.”

When Simon joined their class six weeks ago, Luc invited him to sit with him at lunch. Simon seemed nice, but some things he said made Luc uncomfortable.

“I’m glad you are trying to make Simon feel a part of your class,” said Mom. “It’s important that we treat everyone kindly. But you aren’t allowed to play video games without us checking them out first.”

Silence filled the room as Mom waited for Luc to speak. “Simon is new and doesn’t have many friends. I want to try to reach out to him. But he does and says things that make me feel uncomfortable,” said Luc.

“When you feel uncomfortable about something, that is the Holy Spirit nudging you,” said Mom. “Do you remember when we talked about asking Jesus every day to take over our lives?”

“Yes, and I’ve been praying that every morning,” said Luc.

“Jesus is answering your prayers by sending you the Holy Spirit,” said Mom. 

She continued. “The Holy Spirit wants to help you make right choices. As you let Him work in your life, others will be able to see it.”

Mom paused, then asked Luc, “So what are you going to do now?”

“I think I’ll call Simon and see if he can come over here,” said Luc. “I need some help building my backyard fort!”

Bible Verse

“The true children of God are those who let God’s Spirit lead them” (Romans 8:14, ICB).

Activity

Wrap up in a blanket and imagine the blanket is the Holy Spirit wrapping around you. How does it make you feel? 

 

Thursday

My Heart is Full of Joy

Luc looked at the bags sitting beside the door. 

Excitement filled him knowing that in just a few hours  he would see his grandparents.

Grandpa always told them stories and Grandma cooked and baked wonderful food. A warm feeling came over Luc and he soon fell asleep.

“Hey, sleepyhead.” Luc rubbed his eyes.

“Are you going to sleep this entire visit?” the voice asked again.

“Grandpa!” Luc cried with happiness. “I guess I must have fallen asleep.”

Luc grabbed his bag with one hand and Grandpa’s hand with the other. Together they went into the house. The smell of freshly baked bread tickled Luc’s nose.

As the family ate their evening meal, everyone shared about what was happening in their lives. Soon the meal was over, and it was time for worship.

“Tonight I’d like everyone to share something they are thankful for and why,” said Grandpa. “Jake, let’s start with you.”

Finally it was Luc’s turn. “I’m thankful I have a family who is so happy,” said Luc. 

“Some of my friends have families who fight all the time. I’m glad mine doesn’t.”

When Luc looked at Grandpa, he noticed tears in his eyes.“

“What you said means so much to me,” said Grandpa. 

“You see, there was a time when I was just plain mean. I didn’t have any control over my temper or my attitude,” said Grandpa. “That was before I accepted Jesus into my heart. When I confessed my sins to Him, I asked for Him to change me.”

“Every day I prayed that Jesus would help me keep my temper under control,” said Grandpa. “Some days I did. Then I would thank Jesus for helping me. Some days I would get really angry. Then I would have to ask God to forgive me. With God’s help I eventually controlled my temper.”

“Wow!” said Luc. “We’ve learned about the fruit of the Spirit, such as peace, kindness, joy, and self-control. I think you have the fruit of the Spirit, Grandpa!”

Bible Verse

“Also, I will teach you to respect me completely. I will put a new way to think inside you. I will take out the stubborn heart like stone from your bodies. And I will give you an obedient heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26, ICB).

Activity

Mix four tablespoons of white vinegar with one teaspoon of iodized salt. Drop several coins in the mixture and allow them to soak for several minutes. Take the coins out of the solution and dry. What happened to the coins?

 

Friday

What can I Say?

It was raining, so the planned fellowship lunch in the park had to go indoors.

Mr. Jones came and stood by Luc. “I’m disappointed we couldn’t go to the park,” said Mr. Jones. “The park is a great place to find people to witness to.”

How?” asked Luc.

“Sometimes I look for a person who looks sad,” said Mr. Jones. “I’ll smile at them and tell them I hope they have a good day. Sometimes they talk about what bothers them. I listen, then ask if I can pray for them.”

“You could do the same thing at school. I’m sure there are students who have struggles,” Mr. Jones added.

“I’ve seen some of them, but was never sure what I should say,” admitted Luc.

“I have just what you need, and you can make it yourself,” said Mr. Jones. He pulled a little book out of his pocket and handed it to Luc.

The book had a green cover. Inside were blank pages that were black, red, white, and yellow. “How can a book with no words help me remember what to say?” Luc asked.

“The colors will help you,” said Mr. Jones. “Black reminds us that we are sinners who do wrong things. This is what our life is like with sin.”

Mr. Jones turned to the red page. “Red reminds us that Jesus died and shed His blood on the cross for us.”

The next page was white. “White means that our sins are washed away!” Luc said excitedly.

“And here’s the best part—yellow promises we can live with Jesus forever! What does the green cover mean?” asked Mr. Jones.

“Green usually means growing things,” said Luc.

“That’s right,” said Mr. Jones. “Once we accept Jesus, we have to grow in our new life by reading the Bible, sharing Jesus with others, and spending time in fellowship with other believers.”

“I just happen to have some sheets of colored paper with me. Would you like to make a witnessing book after lunch?”

“I sure would,” said Luc with a grin.

Bible Verse

“Jesus said, ‘Come follow me. I will make you fishermen for men’ ” (Matthew 4:19, ICB).

Activity

Make your own witnessing book. You can use colored paper, cloth, or felt.

 

You will need:

black (2 1/2” x 3” square)

red (2 1/2” x 3” square)

white (2 1/2” x 3” square)

yellow (2 1/2” x 3” square)

green (5” x 3” rectangle)

 

1. Place the colored squares on top of each other in this order: black, red, white, and yellow.

2. Wrap a length of green paper, cloth, or felt around the colored squares to form a book binding.

3. If you are using paper squares, staple the edge of the book that is the spine. If you are using cloth or felt squares, sew a one-inch seam down the green felt side, making sure to sew through all colored squares. The seam should bind the book and its pages together.

 

Second Sabbath

The Best Family Reunion

I’m so excited, I can’t stand still,” Tess exclaimed as she swept the floor. “Uncle Jack and Aunt Mary will be here soon. I finally get to see Beth again!”

Luc was excited too. “Billy, Sam, and I will be able to play ball together,” he said. “It’s

going to be so much fun.”

The minutes ticked by as they waited for their aunt, uncle, and cousins to arrive, but it seemed as if time stood still. Finally a horn honked in the driveway.

Tess flung the door open just as Uncle Jack started to knock. “We thought you’d never come,” said Tess.

Everyone got settled, and Mom poured glasses of iced lemon water.

Mom asked if anyone needed a refill. “I would like one, please. It was a long trip today, and this cold drink tastes good,” said Uncle Jack. “A family reunion makes a long journey worthwhile.”

“I just wish you could stay here forever,” said Luc.

“Wouldn’t that be nice,” said Aunt Mary.

Luc thought for a minute and then said, “One day we’ll have a family reunion that will never end.”

“That’s right,” Dad agreed. 

“I can’t wait!” Everyone nodded in agreement.

“You should have seen Luc and Tess before you arrived,” said Mom. “Every few minutes they were running to the window to see if you had arrived. It was a good reminder of how we should watch for the second coming of Jesus.”

“We didn’t just get ready today. Mom has been cooking and baking all week long. She said she wanted to be prepared when you arrived,” Tess said.

“That reminds me of a Bible verse I read this week,” said Uncle Jack. “It’s 1 Corinthians 16:13. It says, ‘Be careful. Continue strong in the faith. Have courage, and be strong’ ” (ICB).

During the next few days the kids played and explored the backyard and prayed and studied their Bibles together. The families sang around the piano. As a special treat they all went to the lake for a picnic and swimming. Too soon the family reunion was over.

As the car was loaded up, Tess couldn’t hold back her tears. “We had so much fun together,” she said. “I wish you didn’t have to go.”

Uncle Jack held her close. “It is sad, but we’ll see each other again,” said Uncle Jack. “If we don’t, remember to watch and stand firm. We all want to be ready for Jesus to come. Then the best and never-ending family reunion with Jesus will begin.”

Bible Verse

“Then when Christ, the Head Shepherd, comes, you will get a crown. This crown will be glorious, and it will never lose its beauty” (1 Peter 5:4, ICB).

Activity
Draw a picture with all the people from your family you want to come to your reunion. Do all of these people know who Jesus is and that He’s coming back? If they don’t, make sure you invite them to the party.

____________
The children’s readings were written by Gary Wagner and his wife, Deena Bartel-Wagner. Gary serves as a pastor in the New York Conference. Deena uses her gifts of communication as editor for Adventist Chaplaincy Ministries at the General Conference. They eagerly anticipate the soon return of their Savior, Jesus Christ.