Journey with Jesus

Journey to Jesus

Know Jesus?  If so, you’re on a journey with Him- one marked by level plains, arduous hills, mountain tops, and dark valleys.  Jesus is our best traveling companion because He has experienced it all for us.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.          (Hebrews 12: 1b-2, NIV)

Holy Week presents Christians with an opportunity to revisit and remember the depths of Jesus’ redeeming love. This Holy Week or Passion Week is nearly upon us, and I’d like to share a resource written for a children’s ministries classroom; adaptable for family devotions, small groups, co-ops, or wherever your imagination takes you. Having seen this program in action, I have found it meaningful for children and adults as they “journey with Jesus” together.

This resource started with a vision I had to help children experience each step Jesus took towards the cross, never retreating, to redeem us from sin and death. It took two good friends to make the vision a reality, and God blessed us with such sweet communion as we planned each detail. Thank you, Kristie Blevins and Alicia Moss!

Please consider downloading and using these materials to assist you creating a memorable Holy Week for you and your family, church, or small group. It was created to be used in one sitting, but is easy to stretch out over several days. It is especially meaningful if used with a mix of generations.

Journey with Jesus Links

The Journey with Jesus experience is comprised of three parts: the lesson plan, the map, and the “destinations.”

Journey with Jesus Lesson Plan: You’ll need one lesson plan per teacher/family. Be sure to read through the lesson plan in its entirety to see how all of the parts work together and decide what adaptations you’d like to make so this plan works for your situation. This plan was originally written to work with The Story for Children: A Storybook Bible, by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill, and works well independently from The Story for Children.

Journey with Jesus Map: You’ll need one map per participant. Each participant will draw a predetermined, easy-to-draw symbol on the map as each “destination” is visited. When complete, participants will have a reusable Holy Week map and scripture guide.

Destination Resources: As you proceed on your journey you’ll make stops at various “destinations.” Each “destination” has a picture illustrating a particular scene, a scripture to read, and a symbol to copy onto the map. There are two downloads per “destination.” Resources for “destinations” 1-8 can be found in numerical order when you open the link.

Should you download these resources, will you please be sure to let me know and how you plan to use them?  I’d also love to hear how using these resources blessed your Holy Week experience.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3, NIV)

Lenten and Easter Blessings,

Cheli

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Unpacking the Book of Ruth: Elimelech

In conjunction with HelloMornings, I’ve just started a journey through the book of Ruth.  I can’t wait to see what gets unpacked along the way.

Until today I have never questioned why Elimelech led his family to Moab; I figured it was self-preservation.  Reflecting on the setting, I now understand that He traded the God-promised land of Israel for a place of provision outside of God’s protection. (Life in the Promised Land probably didn’t meet with expectations.  But then, people don’t really like being punished for sin, do they?)

It seems reasonable to think that God might have been ready to give up on His people, but He didn’t.

“When the LORD raised up judges for them, the LORD was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.  Judges 2:18 (NASB)

So even when things look dismal, I have to remember that I’m a citizen of Heaven, remind myself that God is with me, remain faithful, and walk forward in faith.  My circumstances need not dictate my level of faithfulness and belief.

I look forward to sharing more personal discoveries as I walk through Ruth over the next six weeks.

Have you recently made a new discovery while reading a familiar passage of scripture? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings,

Cheli

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Small

God is big.  I am small. Sometimes I need a reminder like the one God gave to Job:

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you know so much. Who determined its dimensions and stretched out the surveying line? What supports its foundations, and who laid its cornerstone as the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Job 38:4-7 (NLT)

God has it under control.  I need to surrender everything to Him. 

I’m joining others at Lisa Jo Baker’s, Five Minute Friday in writing on the prompt, SMALL.

Blessings,
Cheli

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Dayenu

Wonders.

Passover.

Red Sea Exodus.

Miracles.

Dayenu.

“It would have been sufficient” (translation for the Hebrew word dayenu) for the Lord to save and rescue his people, but He didn’t stop there.  The God of the universe in a conversation with Moses bares his heart:

You have seen what I did to the Egyptians. You know how I brought you to myself and carried you on eagle’s wings.  Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the nations of the earth; for all the earth belongs to me. Exodus 19: 4-5

It was not sufficient for God.  He wants more for us than we can imagine.  Hear this message.  Write it down.  Put it on your heart: you are God’s “special treasure.”

Blessings,

Cheli

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My Banner

The Israelite exodus is underway.  The Lord has saved his people from slavery, oppressive government, and pursuing enemies.  Frustration mounts as the parched Israelites again wonder if it wouldn’t have been better to die in Egypt.  The people ask,

Is the LORD here with us or not? Exodus 17:7 (NLT)

The question gets asked, and in the next verse we find the Amalekites attacking the children of Israel.  Is God here or not?

Joshua gathered the army, Moses raised the “staff of God” in the air, and as long as Moses’ arms were in the air the Israelite army had success.  Reinforcements, Aaron and Hur, held Moses’ arms throughout the day until finally Joshua’s troops overwhelmed Amalek’s forces.

Yes, God is here.  In the middle of the wilderness, despair and attack.

Moses built an altar there and named it Yahweh-Nissi (which means ‘the LORD is my banner’).  Exodus 17: 15 (NLT)

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The banners of nations, the colors, are found leading parades, rallying the people, and staking ground.  The Noah Webster 1828 Dictionary defines a banner as “the principal standard of a prince or state.”

Commemorating the moment, Moses acknowledges that the battle belonged to the Lord, the people were His, and He was there.

Yes, God is here, and He is my banner.

Blessings,

Cheli

In what ways do you experience God as your Yahweh-Nissi (your banner)?

I’d love to hear about it.

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Generation to Generation

My family and I are reading through the Bible chronologically using the One Year Chronological Bible (NLT).  The blessings to our family are numerous, some known and some yet to be known. It is exciting to see God’s Word passed from one generation to the other. 

24 “Remember, these instructions are permanent and must be observed by you and your descendants forever. 25 When you arrive in the land the LORD has promised to give you, you will continue to celebrate this festival. 26 Then your children will ask, ‘What does all this mean? What is this ceremony about?’ 27 And you will reply, ‘It is the celebration of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt. And though he killed the Egyptians, he spared our families and did not destroy us.'” Then all the people bowed their heads and worshiped.  Exodus 12: 24-27

I encourage you to engage your children in God’s Word and participate in faith traditions with them.  You will be blessed!

Hugs,

Cheli

 

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Advent 2013: Week Two Recap

Amidst the hurry of the holidays our family took time to watch as Ann Voskamp lit the Peace candle from her farm in Canada. We read the devotional thought from Ann’s book, The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas, and with joy hung the eighth Jesse Tree ornament on our tree.  Peace often alludes us during this season, but this week we slow to contemplate the perfect peace that God provides.

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Day 8: We have peace because we don’t work for our salvation; it is a gift.  God doesn’t ask us to climb a ladder to Him; He came down to get us.  God said to Jacob,

Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land. For I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”  Genesis 28:15 (ESV)

Day 9: P-E-A-C-E amid the trials and difficulties of life, P-E-A-C-E when we’re assaulted by those who mean harm, and P-E-A-C-E because our God is always present and transforms the ugly-difficult for our good.

You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:20 (NIV)

Day 10: We have peace because God clearly communicates from a heart of love how to have an intimate and meaningful relationship with Him.

Oh, that their hearts would be inclined to fear me and keep all my commands always, so that it might go well with them and their children forever!      Deuteronomy 5:29 (NIV)

Day 11: A scarlet thread, bright as blood, is woven through the text of the Bible– sacrifice pays the price for sin.  Sacrifice makes peace between holy God and sinful man.  Perfect peace comes through Christ who paid the price once for all.

Behold, when we come into the land, you shall tie this scarlet cord in the window through which you let us down, and you shall gather into your house your father and mother, your brothers, and all your father’s household.   Joshua 2:18 (ESV)

Day 12: Peace can come in the form of almost unnoticeable daily details, that when we look back on them we see the hand of God.

But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.  Ruth 1:16 (NIV)

Day 13: Save the struggle for the world, we can have peace because God is not concerned with our performance– our hearts are all that matter to Him.

“…For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”                        1 Samuel 16:7 (ESV)

Day 14: We have peace because we see and know the Light in the darkness.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined.  Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)

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The “unwrapping” of week three has already begun and the excitement is building.  Jesus is our peace!

Advent Blessings,

Cheli

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