Archive for April 2011

40 days of wisdom – wise vs foolish


As parents, it is hard to seek wisdom in our own lives let alone teach our children to do the same. Satan desires to paralyze us with guilt over our foolish life decisions. We do not feel we can speak into our children’s lives because of behavior that we exhibited in the past.  Parents who refuse to share  lessons learned from mistakes miss a prime discipleship opportunity with our children. Proverbs empowers Christians to embrace mistakes and learn from them. Use these verses as guidelines on how to speak to your children – 13:14, 16:21, 15:23, 18:20

“Good teaching come from good learning and Proverbs has more to say to students than teachers. Proverbs is concerned with the learning of wisdom. The book makes is clear that there are no good alternatives to learning wisdom. We are either becoming wise learners or refusing to learn and becoming foolish failures. Proverbs encourages us to make the right choice.”(from Life Application Bible)

High School (taken from the Life Application Bible)

Read through these verses and compare Wise Learners and Foolish Failure. Make a chart and then compare it to the following one. Discuss a foolish failure in your life and how you changed or may change to a Wise Learner. Ask your high schooler to pray for you this week to be wise in your home, job and relationships.

Wise Learner vs. Foolish Failure in Proverbs

10:8, 23:12, 25:12 = Quietly accepts instruction and criticism vs. Ignore instruction

12:1 = Love discipline vs. Hate correction

12:15, 21:11, 24:6 = Listen to advice vs. Think they need no advice

13:1 = Accept parents discipline vs. Mock parents

10:17 = Lead others to life vs. Lead others astray

13:18 = Receive honor vs. End in poverty and shame

15:31-32, 29:1 = Profit from constructive rebuke vs. Self-destruct by refusing rebuke

Middle School – taken from  youthspecialties Talk sheets: Psalms and Proverbs

Read the following with Proverbs 18:2. Everyone has an opinion. Some people state their ideas on all kinds of things that they know nothing about. Godly wisdom, however, teaches people to seek understanding, insight and knowledge. It teaches people to listen more than talk. It teaches people to respect others who are speaking or walk away from foolish people who talk inappropriately, too much, in anger, with name calling and those who talk about nothing. How much does your family value words? Do you treasure them or waste them. More verses on your words: Philippians 2:14, Proverbs 27:2, Proverbs 17:5, Titus 2:12, Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 20:3

Discussion Questions:

1. Have you ever heard someone talk about something that they knew little about? What were your thoughts about the person while they were talking?

2. What would you do in this situation? Your friend always has a lot to say about everything. The problem is, he doesn’t really know a lot about most of the subjects or topics. Sometimes you’re embarrassed for him because he makes such a fool of himself. You want to be his friend, but want to help him too.

3. Have you ever had someone interrupt you when you speak? How does it make you feel when you get interrupted? Do you interrupt others often? Why do you do it? Do you care about what they are saying or only what you want to say?

Elementary and Preschool

Hard-boil one egg and let cool. Mark one egg with an “A” and the other with a “B”, or whatever marks you choose, so you can tell them apart. Show that the hard-boiled egg is easy to spin around like a top, but the uncooked egg will not spin as often as you try. You will compare the hard-boiled egg to someone with a hardened heart who will not receive instruction. Just as we can spin the hard-boiled egg, the devil can make someone with a hardened heart do things they know is wrong because they will not listen to teachers, parents or grandparents. They will not listen to God’s instructions in the Bible either.

What you will say:
I have here two eggs. Except for the fact that one is marked “A” and this other one is marked “B”, they look the same. However, they are very different. Let me show you. I need one volunteer. (Give the volunteer the hard-boiled egg.) What I would like you to do is spin this egg around like a top. Can you do that? That was easy, was it not? Now I need another volunteer to spin this other egg. (Give the second volunteer the uncooked egg.) What is wrong, are you having trouble spinning this egg? Some children may know already, in any case let the children experiment with the two eggs for a moment, and then ask to have them back. Explain that the difference between the two eggs is that one is hard inside, while the other is still liquid. We can spin the egg with the hard inside around.

The Bible says, “Blessed is the man who always fears the Lord, but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble” (Proverbs 28:14). This hard-boiled egg is like someone with a hardened heart and will not accept correction. Satan can make this person do things they know are wrong. Someone who is obedient to the Lord, and does not let his or her heart become hardened can resist the power of the devil. Like this egg with the soft center that we cannot spin around, a Christian who is obedient to the Word of God, accepts instruction and who follows the Lord cannot be controlled by sin. We must make sure our hearts do not become hard, like a hard-boiled egg.

40 days of wisdom – Honesty

Parents: The following excerpt is from Growing a Soul by Bob Flanagan (p.19-20)

“Imagine your child is walking across the stage to recieve his or her hig school diploma. After she turns to the crowd and makes eye contact with you. Beyond the smiles and the obvious pride or relief, what qualities do you hope your child embodies? The following is a list of Christ-like qualities and attributes that Paul describes in Romans 12. Love without hypocrisy, abhor evil, cling to the good, be kindly and affectionate to one another, don’t be lazy and let others do all the work, try to carry your own burdens, be enthusiastic, serve the Lord, be joyful, have hope, be patient, pray regularly, concern yourselves with others needs, give to others, be friendly, don’t hold a grudge, bless your enemies, rejoice when others are happy, mourn with those who mourn, don’t plan revenge.”

 I know that it  is impossible for all people to embody this list. I don’t include it to be discouraging on our journey to Resurrection Sunday. I include it to help us realize that being Christ-like is impossible without contemplating the Cross and what Jesus did on it for us. How can can we even study wisdom in Proverbs if we will never measure up. The reason we strive to be Christlike is not to earn God’s favor but to show thankfulness and gratfulness for what He has done. The wisdom of Proverbs are good rules to live by that God included in the Bible because He created us and knows what is best for us. These wise words when followed generally keep us out of harms way in this world, but they are not accheivable on our own power. We need a savior.

High School: Proverbs 11:3 and Romans 12:3 (the following it taken from Kelli Mahoney)

Being honest is not always easy. As Christians we know how easy it is to fall into sin. Therefore, you need to work at being truthful, and it is work. The world does not give us easy situations, and sometimes we need to really work to keep our eyes on God in order to find the answers. Being honest can sometimes hurt, but knowing that you are following what God wants for you will make you more faithful in the end. Honesty is also not just how you speak to others, but also how you speak to yourself. While humility and modesty is a good thing, being too harsh on yourself is not being truthful. Also, thinking too highly of yourself is a sin. Thus, it is important for you to find a balance of knowing your blessings and shortcomings so you can continue to grow.

How honest are you? Most people think they are pretty honest people, but about 83 percent of Christian teens also believe that moral truth depends on a particular situation. Take this short quiz to see if you are as truthful as you think you are:

1. Your best friend asks you if she looks good in her new prom dress. You:

A. Tell her she looks good, even though the dress washes her out.
B. Advise her to get a tan. That will help with the coloring. However, don’t tell her why. It will just hurt her feelings.
C. Tell her to return the awful dress. She can look better, and you’ll help her.

2. A friend tells you he’s been using steroids, and he wants you to promise not to tell anyone. You:

A. Promise, then tell your parents.
B. Promise and don’t tell anyone.
C. Don’t promise. You know he’s in trouble and he really needs help.

3. You get out of the store and realize the cashier gave you an extra $5 in change. You:

A. Go home. Hooray! An extra $5. It’s the cashier’s fault, after all.
B. Slip the $5 back on the counter by the cashier.
C. Give the money back to the cashier so she can put it back into the till.

4. When the teacher left the classroom someone wrote a nasty work on the board. The teacher asks you after class if you know who did it. You:

A. Say you weren’t paying attention. You don’t want people to hate you.
B. Tell her you think it was a certain person, but you just aren’t sure.
C. Sure you tell her. It was really nasty and that person should be held accountable.

5. You overhear some people talking and whispering about a friend of yours. You don’t say anything, but later your friends asks you if people are taking about her. You:

A. Tell her you haven’t heard anything. Why hurt her feelings?
B. Tell her you heard something, but sugar-coat it.
C. Tell her what you heard and help her solve the problem.

Scoring Key: Give yourself the following points for each answer: A=1  B=2   C=3

  • 5-7: You are a moral liar, meaning you often lie to protect the feelings of others or protect your standing among friends. While you don’t lie for the sake of lying, you can find ways of telling the truth that will increase your honesty quotient and keep others from feeling crushed.
  • 10-12: You usually only lie when it depends on someone’s feelings. While you may think you are protecting the person, it really isn’t. Try to work on being more forthcoming and honest in the way you deal with situations. If you are tactful, you will find that the truth comes out much easier.
  • 15-13: You are a truth-monger. Just be sure that you are not being too brutal in your honesty. Otherwise, keep up the good work.

Middle School: Proverbs 11:3  (the following was written with material from Youthspecialties: Proverbs Talksheets)

Is it ever right to lie? Watch this clip about the effects of lying in Camp Rock the Movie.  Is it ok to lie if it does not hurt someone, or to make friends, or to feel special, or to help someone else? These are hard quesitons. Proverbs is very clear that lying is not a good idea for our lives. Lies come back to hurt us. Integrity is a challange and not veryimportant in our cluture sometimes. Will we be true to our word? Will we cheat at sprots, games, or schoolwork? The battle to live a life of integrity never ends. Take some time to talk about the the pros and cons of honesty.

  • Why do some people think it is easier to lie? Why is it sometimes more hurtful or harder to tell the truth? Why is dishonesty promoted in culutre sometimes? Why do dishonest people get away with so much?
  • More verses on honesty in Proverbs: 10:18, 12:17, 12:19, 12:22, 16:13, 19:5 & 9, 20:17, 21:6, 28:13, 28:18, 28:23

Elementary: Proverbs 12:22

Have your children tear of a small piece of masking tape off the roll and write the word “Lie” on the tape. Have the kids tear a second piece of masking tape off the roll and write the word “Second Lie” on the tape. Instruct them to cover the first piece of tape with the word “Lie” on it with the second piece of tape. Have the children continue in this manner five or six times. As the kids work, ask them to think about a time when they told a lie. Did they have to tell additional lies to cover up the first lie?  Instruct the children to pick up their tape, which is layered in lies, and using the roll of masking tape they should roll tape around and around their small pieces of tape until they get a roll of tape about the size of a baseball. Say “One little lie, may need to be covered by another, then another and another, on and on it goes, until it becomes hard for the liar to remember what is the truth and what is a lie.

The telling of a lie may seem innocent at first, but just as a small snowball rolling down a mountain can turn into an avalanche, lying can become just as uncontrollable and destructive. Once you start lying it becomes hard to stop. As Christians we should take great joy in knowing that we delight the Lord when we tell the truth. Have the children throw their ball of tape into the trash can and vow to tell the truth at all times. Read Proverbs 12:22 together.

Preschool: Proverbs 12:22

  • Play a game with your child in which you ask him questions that are clearly true or not true. For example, you say, “I’m a dinosaur” and your child answers, “Not true.” Or say, “I have blue eyes” and your child answers “true.” Start with something fun or silly like the first question and gradually turn to questions that are more reality-based and connected to actions, for example, take a candy off the table and eat it, then say, “I didn’t eat the candy.” Explain to your child that we call such untrue statements “lies.”
  • Make one heart pocket for each child. Fold a piece of red construction paper in two, or use two 5 and 1/2 inch squares of fun foam, and use the template to cut out two identical hearts for each pocket. Glue the edges of the hearts together about two thirds of the way up, so that you can still insert slips of paper from the top and not fall out. After the glue dries, use a hole-punch to make holes all around the edges of each heart pocket. Then, with a dark marker, write the words, “WHAT IS IN YOUR HEART?” on the front. Finally, cut strips of string or yarn, about 36 inches in length, one for each child.
  • Explain the importance of putting Jesus first in our lives. We need to put Jesus first in the way we speak to others and tell the truth. Have your preschooler draw pictures or trace words that are truth: I am a boy, we have a dog, i like peaches etc. Have your preschooler cut them out to put them in their heart pocket. Write Proverbs 12:22 on the other side of the heart and have your preschooler string the hearts pocket together with the yarn or string.