Stop, Look, and Listen

stop
 

NOTE: This publication is from the For My Child Ministry site. Reposting is not permitted without express written permission.

TEACHER’S DEVOTIONAL: The mind is the battlefield – a place of warfare between sin and righteousness where the outcome of our hearts reveals the victor. The word of God tells us that we are to put on the mind of Christ. Why? Because sin is first conceived in the mind and gives birth to temptation. Romans 7:23 says “But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” The battle may be hard at times but through Christ it has already been won. Let us learn that “the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1-:4-5)

Read Philippians 4:8 and put it into practice.

 

THE OVERALL MODULE GOALS FOR THE CHILDREN ARE:

  • 1) Understand where their thoughts come from.
  • 2) Understand that their thoughts directly effect their heart and behavior.
  • 3) Understand that God the Holy Spirit helps them to not believe and obey bad/ wrong thoughts.

 

NEEDED SUPPLIES:

 

MODULE MEMORY VERSE: Psalm 94:11a – The Lord knows the thoughts of man.

 

LESSON #1: GLORIFY GOD

PRECEPT #1: We were made to glorify God in our thoughts, words, and actions (behavior).

BIBLE VERSE: Psalm 86:9 – I will praise You, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name forevermore.

BIBLE VERSE INTERPRETATION:

BIBLE VERSE INTERPRETATION: We were made to glorify God. Remember to glorify God means to honor, lift up (exalt), praise, and worship God in our thoughts, words, and actions (behavior).

Our spirit is connected to our heart, the place where Holy Spirit lives. Our soul is connected to our mind, the place where we think. Our spirit and soul talk to each other.

Our body holds our spirit and soul just like a container holds water. Our body (eyes, nose, mouth, arms, legs, and feet) move, say, and act out what is in our minds and hearts.

NOTE: Ask the children if they remember the greatest commandment? Randomly select a few students to answer. Listen to their responses, give positive/ encouraging feedback and clarification/ correction if needed. Continue on with the following:

Always remember that the greatest commandment is “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’” (Luke 10:27). Each of us are commanded to love God, ourselves, and others with all our:

  • 1) Heart
  • 2) Soul
  • 3) Mind
  • 4) Strength

God tells us this because our mind is where we have understanding & deep thoughts. Our heart is where we have feelings & thoughts, and our soul is our life (living, breathing, moving, doing, and saying).

Knowing and understanding (in our mind) that God made us, Jesus saved us, and Holy Spirit helps makes our hearts to have love for God (the Father, Son, Holy Spirit). When we love God with all our hearts we will live our lives (what we think and believe, what we do, and what we say) to glorify Him.

Have the children energetically repeat after you:

  • 1) “God knows me!”
  • 2) “God loves me!”
  • 3) “Jesus saved me!”
  • 4) “Holy Spirit helps me!”
  • 5) “I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength!”

Psalm 94:11a tells us “The Lord knows the thoughts of man.” God made us and knows how our hearts, souls, and minds are connected. God knows how they work together. He also knows that we don’t have enough power to love and obey Him on our own strength. This is why Jesus saved us and sent Holy Spirit to live in our hearts. Holy Spirit gives each of us the power to love and obey God. 1 John 4:4 reminds us that “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

ACTIVITY #1:

ACTIVITY #1: Have a general discussion with the children about how Holy Spirit helps them to love God. Use a question and answer approach for the conversation in order to keep the discussion focused on the topic. Remember to give encouragement and positive feedback to responses as well as clarification where needed.

WRAP UP:

WRAP UP: Restate precept #1 – We were made to glorify God in our thoughts, words, and actions (behavior).

CONCLUSION (THE BIG PICTURE):

CONCLUSION (THE BIG PICTURE): Conclude by telling the children the Good News: We all make mistakes and do wrong and bad sometimes. When we do wrong and bad it is called sin. Sin is disobedience to God. We all sin. Sin separates us from God. God the Son (Jesus) came to save us from sin. Jesus Christ is our Savior.

The Bible says “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). This means that if you A) admit that you are a sinner because you have done wrong and bad; B) believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to earth, died on the cross, and came back to life to take away all of your sins; C) confess that Jesus is Lord and ask Him to come into your life; Jesus will come just like you ask!

Jesus Christ (God the Son) will come into your life and cover you with His love! Jesus will take away all your sins and you will be forgiven! He will love you and never stop loving you! He will never leave you! Jesus will send God the Holy Spirit to live in your heart. Holy Spirit will help you and fight for you! Holy Spirit will show you how to obey God. Holy Spirit will give you power to overcome (defeat) sin. Holy Spirit will help you spread God’s love to others! You will be in a relationship with God and you will never be separated from God again!

 

LESSON #2: THOUGHTS

PRECEPT #2: Sin always starts in our minds.

SCRIPTURE READING: NOTE: Open the scripture reading with a review of the story of Jonah by asking the class if anyone remembers the story of Jonah. Randomly select a few students to answer. Listen to their responses, give positive and encouraging feedback as well as correction if needed. Continue on by theatrically reading the passage from Jonah 1:1-3.

Jonah 1:1-3 – Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

SCRIPTURE INTERPRETATION:

SCRIPTURE INTERPRETATION: The passage we just read is about how God told Jonah to do something but instead of Jonah doing it he decided to disobey God. God wanted to save the people of Nineveh by sending a message to them. God gave the message to Jonah but something inside of Johan made him disobey God. Let’s see what happened.

ACTIVITY #1:

ACTIVITY #1: NOTE: As you dissect Jonah’s thought process make the break down interactive.

1) First Jonah heard a message from God.

2) When he heard the message his heart felt something at the very moment.

  • NOTE: Ask the children what they think Jonah felt in his heart. Listen to their responses, give positive and encouraging feedback.

Relay to the children that when Jonah first heard the message from God his heart probably felt good. Jonah wanted to do what God told him to do; he wanted to obey God.

3) A second thing happened (almost at the same time) right after Jonah’s heart wanted obey God. A different thought came into Jonah’s mind. The thought said to him “Why should you help the people of Nineveh? They don’t like the people of Israel. They are mean and hurt your people. You shouldn’t help them. Let them suffer like the way they make your people suffer. After all those people of Nineveh would never help you or any other Israelite.”

  • NOTE: Ask the children where they think the thought came from. Listen to their responses, give positive and encouraging feedback.

Relay to the children that the thought brought temptation to Jonah. Temptation is wanting to do something wrong/ bad. It was a thought sent to him to disobey God. The devil was trying to tempt Jonah into disobeying God.

4) The thought started to make Jonah’s heart feel different. His heart started to feel a little sad and probably a little mad.

  • NOTE: Ask the children how they think Jonah’s heart felt by this point. What happened to Jonah when he kept listening to the thought? Listen to their responses, give positive and encouraging feedback.

5) Jonah kept listening to the thought in his mind and started to feel confused. Then is heart started to change. His heart became hard like a rock.

  • NOTE: Ask the children what choice did Jonah make when his heart became hard like a rock? Listen to their responses, give positive and encouraging feedback.

6) The next thing we read is that Jonah fled to Tarshish. Jonah disobeyed God.

We all have a mind and we think. Our minds helps us understand the things around us and believe or not believe things. Our minds also has an effect (influence, impact) on our hearts. Our minds causes our hearts to feel certain ways. We behave (act, react, respond) the way we feel in our hearts. In the passage we saw that a thought came into Jonah’s mind and tempted him to disobey (not listen to) God. In the end Jonah decided to listen to the thought. The thought sent confusion to his heart and Jonah disobeyed.

God knows our thoughts, but He never puts bad thoughts (temptation) into our minds. James 1:3 say “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone.” This means that God never puts bad/ wrong thoughts into our minds. God is love. He only sends good thoughts to us; thoughts to do right and to do good. When bad/ wrong or sad thoughts come into our mind it is not from God.

  • NOTE: Ask the class the following – “Since God cannot put bad/ wrong and sad thoughts into our minds who do you think is doing that? Who do you think is tempting us to do bad/ wrong? Who do you think is tempting us to disobey?” Randomly select a few students to answer. Listen to their responses. Give positive and encouraging feedback and clarification where needed.

The devil (satan) is the one who puts bad/ wrong thoughts in our minds. It was the trick he used to tempt Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden. His trick worked and sin came to human beings. The devil is still using bad/ wrong thoughts (temptation) to trick us into sinning (do bad/ wrong, offense, disobedience).

The devil wants to separate us (pull us away) from God by making us sin (do bad/ wrong, offense, disobedience). Bad/ wrong thoughts (temptation) are opposite of God’s thoughts and our thoughts. The devil can put bad thoughts (temptation) into our minds real fast …many times in seconds. If we listen to the bad/ wrong thoughts then they will tempt us to disobey (sin against) God. Sometimes it can be very hard for us not to listen to those thoughts …almost like a battle in our mind, but if we keep listening to them we will start to get confused, believe (agree with) the bad/ wrong thought, and end up saying or doing bad/ wrong (sin, disobedience, offense).

Proverbs 23:7a says “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.” Whatever we think in our minds will make ours hearts feel and believe a certain way. When our hearts feel and believe a certain way we will live (think, say, and do) in that way.

God will always put good thoughts in our minds. God the Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and will fight to help us obey God. When we have a bad/ wrong thought (i.e. disobey our parent or teacher, keep a bad secret, hit a person, laugh when someone gets hurt or is made fun off, make fun of someone, not to forgive someone, etc.) never listen to it and never follow (obey) it. Instead, look real carefully (examine) the bad/ wrong thought. Holy Spirit will show us that the thought is not good. Holy Spirit will speak to our hearts and tell us to do the right thing.

The more we practice looking carefully (examining) our thoughts before acting on it we will become better in not letting the devil trick us into sinning.

ACTIVITY #2 (OBJECT LESSON):

ACTIVITY #2 (OBJECT LESSON): Set out 3 bowls. Fill the first bowl with cotton balls (obedient heart), fill the second bowl with play dough/ clay (confused heart), and fill third bowl with stones/ rocks (disobedient heart).

Relay to the class that the devil (satan) sends bad/ wrong thoughts (temptation) to our minds very fast; many times almost instantly. When we are tempted with bad/ wrong thoughts Holy Spirit will always speak to our hearts right away and show us not to follow it. If we follow (obey) the bad/ wrong thoughts our hearts will feel different. Next, tell the children that each of the bowls represent (show) how our heart feels when we have certain thoughts and decided to listen to those thoughts.

As you go through the exercise make sure to stress to the children how fast the thought-heart-action process occurs in each of us. Stress that we have to be very watchful (alert) to catch our thoughts and examine each of them before we act.

Relay to the class that in the activity they will be looking at the thought-heart-action process. Everyone will get a turn to give one example of a real life situation. For each situation given you will ask them:

  • 1) What was the situation (i.e. what were you told to do or what did you have to do)?
  • 2) How did your heart feel at that moment?
  • 3) What was the first thought that came to your mind (i.e. what did you think),
  • 4) What did it make your heart feel like?
  • 5) Did you have a second thought that was different from the first one?
  • 6) What did the second thought make your heart feel like?
  • 7) What did you decide to do (i.e. free will choice)?
  • 8) Why did you make that decision?
  • 9) How did you heart feel after acting out your decision?

To start to activity give an appropriate personal example (EXAMPLE: When I was leaving the store I saw a person coming out and they had a lot of bags in their hand. They didn’t ask for help but I could tell that they really needed help. I had a thought to ask if they needed help; my heart felt soft (point to and touch the bowl of cotton). But another thought came in my mind that said if I stop and help the person I would be late for my appointment. This made my heart feel different; I felt kind of strange and a little confused (point to and touch the bowl of play dough/ clay). In the end I decided to not help the person because I didn’t want to be late; my heart felt hard (point to and touch the bowl of rocks or stones). While I was driving away I felt real bad that I didn’t help. I asked God to please forgive me for not helping the person. I asked God to help me to do the right thing the next time).

Close the activity by relaying tho the children to never believe that a bad/wrong thought is coming from their own mind & heart. All bad/ wrong thoughts (temptation) comes from the devil because he wants us to disobey (sin against) God. When bad/ wrong thoughts come to mind never follow (obey) it instead say “No!” to it. Holy Spirit lives in our hearts and will show us the right choice to make.

WRAP UP (THE OVERALL MODULE TAKE AWAY):

WRAP UP (THE OVERALL MODULE TAKE AWAY): God will never put a bad/ wrong thought into your mind. All bad/ wrong thoughts are temptation and come from the devil. Holy Spirit lives in your heart and will help you by giving you the power to not follow (obey) temptation.

CONCLUSION (THE BIG PICTURE):

CONCLUSION (THE BIG PICTURE): Conclude by telling the children the Good News: We all make mistakes and do wrong and bad sometimes. When we do wrong and bad it is called sin. Sin is disobedience to God. We all sin. Sin separates us from God. God the Son (Jesus) came to save us from sin. Jesus Christ is our Savior.

The Bible says “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21). This means that if you A) admit that you are a sinner because you have done wrong and bad; B) believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He came to earth, died on the cross, and came back to life to take away all of your sins; C) confess that Jesus is Lord and ask Him to come into your life; Jesus will come just like you ask!

Jesus Christ (God the Son) will come into your life and cover you with His love! Jesus will take away all your sins and you will be forgiven! He will love you and never stop loving you! He will never leave you! Jesus will send God the Holy Spirit to live in your heart. Holy Spirit will help you and fight for you! Holy Spirit will show you how to obey God. Holy Spirit will give you power to overcome (defeat) sin. Holy Spirit will help you spread God’s love to others! You will be in a relationship with God and you will never be separated from God again!

Share your thoughts! We are conducting surveys of the lesson and we value your feedback. Please complete our short survey. Your input could be included in future enhancements of the lesson.