A Time-Tested Way to Encourage Good Behavior by Becky Brandvik {GIVEAWAY}

Jesus was always generous, kind, respectful, hardworking, truthful, responsible, and so much more. He’s the perfect role model for all of us – kids and adults alike!

When I was a child I sometimes spent summer vacations with my grandparents, who lived in Florida. My sister and I were allowed to eat candy for dinner, sleep in half the day, and go and do wherever we wanted. The mantra was, “Anything goes at Grandma and Grandpa’s house!” We never felt like they disciplined us, but we were always anxious to please them by doing the right thing. There was just something different about my grandparents, but as a kid I couldn’t quite put my finger on it!

My grandparents liked to teach us grandkids good behavior by modeling the life of Christ. They lived and spoke Scripture regularly. As a kid, I thought this was a goofy thing to do. Whoever heard of going around and quoting Scripture all the time? One day it hit me! This was their teaching style! They weren’t trying to annoy us– it was simply their “subliminal method” of teaching and reinforcing good behavior in their grandkids. My grandparents sincerely wanted to model to us how the Bible can be a real, living part of our lives. It’s not just a dusty old tome that you allow to rot on your book shelf. It’s a testament to how we should live our lives every single day.

God’s Word is there to help us through our time on this Earth giving us guidance, comfort, and teaching us right from wrong. My grandparents modeled this principle numerous times to us in ways that no other believer has ever done for me. They actually modeled good character by inspiring us to be just like Jesus.

Just Like Jesus Storybook

There is no better way to teach children right from wrong than by showing them how to model the character of Jesus. Author and songwriter Stephen Elkins has written a great resource called I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS. In this fun and colorful book, stories are paired with lessons that teach about the character of Jesus. Lessons about Jesus’ character – how He was always humble, caring, hardworking, kind, honest, respectful, generous, and so much more.

When applied to everyday living, we should walk as Jesus walked and live as Jesus lived! After all, HE is the perfect role model for living our lives the way God intended us to live. So, the next time the kids misbehave ask them, “Who wants to be JUST LIKE JESUS?” That’ll get their attention for sure! They’ll strive to please God which in turn will please you as a parent!

Sneak Peek Lessons:

JESUS was PATIENT
If you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you. 1 Peter 2:20

JESUS IN THE BIBLE
You must be very patient to catch a fish! Jesus showed us how to be patient. He spent three whole years teaching people about God’s love.

He was never in a hurry. He even prayed for people who did unkind things. He knew they were lost and needed His love. Jesus was “fishing” for people who would love Him back!

Want to win a copy of I Want to Be JUST LIKE JESUS? We are giving away five copies. Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter!

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Bold Middle School Faith {Bible GIVEAWAY}

Bold Middle School Faith
photo credit: Lauren Macdonald via Flickr Creative Commons

Tweens feel like they are in a constant state of change. And they’re right. With all of the adjustments they go through physically, mentally, and emotionally, nearly every aspect of their lives is changing! If you know anything about middle school, you know it can be a pretty tumultuous time. Sometimes friends embarrass each other on purpose because they think it’s funny. Gossip and B.O. abound. Blending in is a survival tactic. First crushes develop. Things get plain awkward, scary, and upended at this age. Most who survived middle school would never willingly return.

Could you imagine if you knew then what you know now—about the Bible, God, faith, and prayer?

You may have heard about God’s unconditional love and His faithfulness back then, but the longer we walk with God, the stronger our faith becomes. Chances are, you’ve learned to depend on God much more as you’ve seen His faithfulness and consistency play out in your life. Most likely you’ve learned to extend grace to others more freely as you’ve experienced God’s mercy and unconditional love firsthand.

Imagine if your middle-schooler’s faith was resilient and flourishing at this young age!

What would happen if your middle schooler prayed more faithfully? worried less? trusted God more? navigated friendships and hurtful or humiliating situations with more grace, care, and understanding? What if your middle schooler had bold faith?

Each one of us is on our own journey. Our particular paths may look different, but as Christians we are all seeking to follow Jesus every day of our lives. We are continually gaining new perspective on life and faith and seeing more clearly our purpose here on earth. To walk with God is to be in a constant state of change, not unlike middle school. The minute we become stagnant in our relationship with God, our growth suffers.

How can we help tweens fully embrace their faith in God and live boldly?

The Bible is God’s love letter to us. Every word in it was written just for us. God speaks to us through the inspired words on the pages of Scripture, and the more time we devote to reading God’s Word—the Bible—the stronger our foundation will be.

One of the most significant influences in your child’s faith is you. What are they learning about God by observing your actions, your words, and your prayers? Do they see you reading your Bible? praying? depending on God in tough times? modeling bold faith?

Practical ways to encourage middle schoolers to be bold and courageous in their faith:

  • Model it for them!
  • Pray and ask God for wisdom and insight into how you can encourage and deepen your child’s faith.
  • Seize the big and small opportunities to encourage your child’s relationship with God each day.
  • Reflect on ways you can help them notice and discover God working in their lives.
  • Talk about what they have read in their Bible, then explore how God might be speaking to them each day through their Bible reading.
  • Discuss ways to apply the Bible to their own life in specific situations they are going through currently.
  • Talk about what God is doing in your life. Share ways that you personally are depending on God, or ways that your family is.

As we teach middle schoolers to always trust God—even when things get hard at school, with friends, or at home—they can develop a faith that withstands the trials. God loves them as much as we do—and way more! God speaks to them through his Word, and he speaks directly to their hearts.

Faith becomes real for kids when it connects with their world, and the New Living Translation is great for tweens because it is so easy for them to understand. The language isn’t archaic or difficult, which can cause barriers to understanding and application. Instead, they can glean more from reading their Bibles with confidence. When tweens read the Bible and understand what it says, God can work in their hearts!

Girls SlimlineGuys Slimline

The Girls and Guys Slimline Bible covers were designed just for tweens! In fact, they were chosen by a focus group of tween students! The Bibles also include a dictionary/concordance to help tweens look up key words and find passages on subjects they are interested in, full-color maps, a matching ribbon marker, and a presentation page. The extra-special Girls Slimline Bible has a BOLD FAITH theme on the back cover and endsheets, and the cover is made of soft, bright neon material with a glittery silver lining around the edges! The Guys and Girls Slimline Bibles make great gifts for the tweens in your life! Be encouraged as you begin (or continue!) the exciting and joy-filled blessing of walking alongside your tween on their faith journey through middle school and beyond.

Want to win a copy of one of these Bibles for a tween in your life? Let us know in the comments whom you would give it to and whether you’d want the Girls or Guys version! We will choose a winner from the comments on November 15.

Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to the winners: Debbie, Angela Barnes, Ken Ohl, Marianne Sandling, and Charles-Linda Bradshaw.

Why Making a Mess Can Help Your Whole Family Learn God’s Word {GIVEAWAY}

Kids are the ultimate doers.

They come home from school with a backpack full of papers they’ve colored, figures they’ve drawn, and crafts they’ve made. Before their bags have even had time to make an impression on the couch, they’ve raced to the backyard or to the park with their friends where hours pass as they build castles out of sand, rainforests out of monkey bars, and as-yet-unseen worlds seen only with the eyes of their imagination.

When we grow up, it’s easy to look back at all of this activity and dismiss it as childish play—fun, certainly, but not educational. By middle school, we come to believe that real learning comes from sticking our nose into a book until knowledge mysteriously transfers from the ink-splattered pages into the recesses of our brain. The problem is that this simply isn’t true.

Don’t misunderstand: book-learning is good and necessary for a well-rounded education. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise to Christians that learning through doing is equally as important for adults as it is for kids. After all, Jesus taught with hands-on lessons and illustrations.

Of course, the Gospels tell us that Jesus was a stand-out student of the Hebrew Scriptures, and He would frequently quote or paraphrase those Scriptures to His followers in order to reinforce or remind them of what God has said. But just as often, Jesus chose to teach those around Him by doing.

He walked on the water. He broke bread and fish into thousands of pieces. He raised Lazarus from the dead. He cleared the Temple. He died and rose again.

Even when Jesus taught with His words, He often used parables, metaphors, and illustrations instead of simple statements of fact. He created mental playgrounds for His followers where they could feel the surroundings and circumstances of the characters. They could feel the outrage of the older, faithful brother when their father welcomed his repentant brother home and celebrated with a feast.

It will always be important to read Scripture. But as Jesus demonstrated by His own teachings, it is equally important for kids and adults alike to do Scripture.

hands-on-bible

That’s what makes the Hands-On Bible so special. The Hands-On Bible uses this same type of experience-based learning to communicate God’s Word in an active, understandable way.

With hundreds of fun, memorable activities, the Hands-On Bible is packed with activities and experiences that invite kids (and maybe even their parents!) to crawl inside the Scriptures and do God’s Word! There are over 102 Hands-On Bible Experiences, 52 Key Verse Activities, and 16 Bible Bonanza Experiences that serve as jumping off points to learning God’s Word by doing.

Whether you use it for family devotions or for your kids’ not-so-quiet time, the Hands-On Bible is the only children’s Bible that teaches and reinforces the lessons of the Bible in the same way Jesus taught—by seeing, experiencing, and doing. As James says, “Don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says,” (James 1:22, NLT).

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Want to win a copy of the Hands-On Bible, newly revised by our friends at Tyndale House? We have FIVE copies to give away. To enter, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below.

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