Jesus Walks on Water

October 31st, 2014

jesus-walks-on-waterWhen Jesus walks on water, the disciples think they are seeing a ghost. They cry out in fear. It is night, and they are in a boat, presumably fishing. At first they probably wonder whether their eyes are playing tricks on them, but when Jesus gets closer, they are certain there is a human form coming to them on top of the water.

My kids drew pictures to illustrate this biblical scene. In the top picture, the disciples are looking out of their boat to the Lord, while lightning and thunder rages on the sea.

Jesus-on-waterPeter is so excited to see Jesus when He identifies who He is. Peter says, “If it’s You, tell me to walk to You on the water.” Jesus does so, and Peter steps out of the boat with incredible faith that causes him to actually walk on water.

Peter walks miraculously on top of the water.

This fact is overlooked by most people who tell the story, who focus on the fact that eventually he begins to sink because of obvious gravity and an apparent lack of faith. When Peter stepped out of the boat at first, he had the faith to walk on water. But the knowledge of gravity caused him to sink because he was shocked at himself, that he was actually walking on water.

Let’s enjoy the moment of Peter walking on the water, even though the miracle only lasted a few steps.

Jesus-in-the-stormPeter begins to sink, and he cries out to Jesus to save him from drowning. Jesus reaches out and pulls him up out of the water, returning him to the boat. The other disciples are probably thinking they’ve gone insane, watching two people walking around on top of deep water, which is impossible. Because Jesus was God, He had control over nature and was able to do anything He wished. And poor Peter felt like a failure for sinking even though I give him points for being gutsy enough to step out of the boat in faith in the first place!

peter-walks-on-waterIf your children are too young to draw, here is a coloring page of the scene:

Here is a printable craft to help kids remember the story:

Here is a super cool black light activity, depicting Jesus walking on water:

If you enjoyed this post, you will love the huge Bible section inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Foolish and Wise Builders

October 29th, 2014

foolish-and-wise-builders

My children drew pictures of the parable of the foolish and wise builders, and we re-enacted the story by making two houses–one on sand and one on a rock. We sprayed them both with water from the hose, and we filmed what happened. One house was destroyed while the other house remained firm. (The secret is to not hook together the Legos from the house built on the sand! My son Nathaniel invented this idea when I asked him for a way to make the house fall down.)

foolish-and-wise-builders

The man who built his house upon the sand was foolish. When the rains and floods came, his house was demolished because he had no foundation.

The first drawing on this page shows one house built on the sand, closer to the tumultuous waves. The house built on the rock was obviously on higher ground. Sand is always found on a beach, so it is sea level, compared to a house built on a rock that is solid and strong and elevated above the danger of the waves.

foolish-builder-parableThis next drawing shows lightning, thunder, wind, and waves demolishing the house built on the sand. The house built on the rock, however, stands firm.

parable-of-wise-builderWhat materials you use for building your house also matters. My daughter drew a man building a house with sticks rather than bricks. She might have been thinking about the second and third little pigs from the Three Little Pigs story. But it’s appropriate spiritually that we not only have a strong foundation for our house, but that we build our house out of things that will last.

wise-and-foolishWhen Jesus explains this parable, He says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Matthew 7:24-27 NASB

If you enjoyed this story, you will love the Bible section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

#13 Saltwater Experiment

October 27th, 2014

saltwater-experiment

This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for my work in writing this post.

Today we are doing a fun saltwater experiment where we freeze water with different amounts of salt to see which solution freezes faster. Yes, it’s like a race to see which freezes first! This experiment is from Christian Kids Explore Chemistry by Bright Ideas Press, and we have been working our way through the fun experiments in this book.

First you will want to get four plastic cups and label them by writing on a piece of paper with a black marker. We attached the labels to the plastic cups with packing tape. These are the labels:

  • Water
  • 1 teaspoon salt + water
  • 2 teaspoons salt + water
  • 3 Teaspoons salt + water

Pour water into the four glasses and measure the correct amount of salt to put into each glass. Stir the solutions until the salt has dissolved. Now place them all in the freezer. If your freezer is a drawer like mine, you will need to lodge the glasses in place with a frozen lasagna or other large froze object. (Watch the video to see how I kept the glasses from falling over in the freezer.)

Which glass of water will freeze first?

freezing-saltwater-experimentAfter two hours, the glass with only water in it was solid ice. The glass with one teaspoon of salt in the water was a little less solid than the first glass. You could scrape it like a snow cone because it wasn’t completely solid. The glass with two teaspoons of salt was even less frozen, and the one with three teaspoons of salt was not frozen at all when I broke through a thin layer of ice on the top. Under that thin layer of ice was liquid.

The more salt that you have in the water, the longer it takes to freeze. After four hours, all the glasses were more frozen, but the one with three teaspoons of salt was still quite liquid.

After 24 hours, we checked the glasses again, and all of them were finally solid. Take a look:

So what does this mean? Salt lowers the temperature at which water will solidify, so when you are making ice cream, for example, you can put salt on the ice to keep the ice cold longer.

You can also use salt to melt snow in your driveway in the winter.

saltwater-ice-experiment

Bethlehem Scene

October 24th, 2014

bethlehem-sceneMy children drew a Bethlehem scene from the nativity story in the Bible. They could choose any of the scenes from the birth of Jesus found at the beginning of the books of Matthew and Luke. My favorite rendition of the nativity story is from Luke 2. My father used to read the story to us each Christmas Eve before opening gifts.

Linus in the Peanuts cartoon told this story from the book of Luke:

An angel appeared to Mary, telling her that the Holy Spirit would cause her to conceive and give birth to the Son of God. While Mary was trying to figure out how to explain the situation to Joseph, an angel appeared to Joseph, telling her that Mary was going to give birth to Jesus, and that she had conceived through the Holy Spirit.

joseph-and-angelHere is a drawing that one of my sons decided to choose for his scene of the nativity story. The angel appears to Joseph in a dream.

bethlehem-scene-2

Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, where they give birth to a son and place Him in a manger, because there was no room at the inn. That’s because there were a lot of people in town for the census.

nativity-drawing

Angels appeared to the shepherds in the fields outside of Bethlehem, and the shepherds ran to find baby Jesus. They bowed down and worshipped Jesus, and Mary and Joseph must have marvelled when the shepherds described the choir of angels announcing the birth of their baby.

Here are a couple of ways to experience the Bethlehem scene in a hands-on way:

If you enjoyed these drawings, you will love the entire series 31 Days of Drawing through the Bible.

John the Baptist Unit Study

October 22nd, 2014

john-the-baptist-unit-studyDuring our John the Baptist Unit Study, one of my children dressed up like John the Baptist. We drew pictures of John the Baptist, made crafts, and dramatized his life. After hearing the Word of God regarding John the Baptist in the four gospels, I read the chapter about him from Wilkinson and Boa’s Talk Through Bible Personalities. My children had a well-rounded view of this prophet by the time we started doing hands-on activities.

The Birth of John the Baptist

First we saw prophecies that foretold the coming of John in Isaiah and Malachi. The birth of John the Baptist was surrounded by strange events, since his father Zacharias saw the angel Gabriel and didn’t believe the news when the angel told him that he was going to have a son in his old age. So he was struck dumb and wasn’t able to speak until the birth of his son. Meanwhile Elizabeth saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and jumped in her womb before he was even born!

Here is a craft about the birth of John the Baptist:

Here is a video clip about the events surrounding the birth of John the Baptist, which is part of The Nativity Story:

John the Baptist Eats Locusts and Honey

In the wilderness, John ate locusts and wild honey. You can have your kids taste honey and observe a grasshopper in a terrarium. (Pet stores sell crickets for cheap, but beware that they chirp at night and are irritating.) John looked like a wild madman.

Here are a couple of activities depicting the wildness of John the Baptist:

grasshopper

Here is a printable craft about grasshoppers:

Here are some of my kids’ drawings of John the Baptist living in the wilderness:

John-the-Baptist-drawing

John-the-Baptist

John-the-Baptist-children

John the Baptist Preaches Repentance

He spoke in sharp rebukes and harsh words, and people flocked to him to hear him preach and be baptized by him. He preached the gospel: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

John-the-Baptist-hands-on-activities

Here is an activity to help children learn how to repent of sin:

When Jesus walked towards him, he said, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” He said he was not worthy to untie the sandal of Jesus. Here is a hands-on activity about untying sandals:

The Baptism of Jesus

John baptized Jesus. At His baptism, Christ’s identity was confirmed by God the Father speaking, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The Holy Spirit descended as a dove at the same time.

Here is a video clip about the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist:

Here are some activities and printables to help you as you study the story of John baptizing Jesus:

baptism-of-Jesus

Baptism of Jesus: Hands-on Lego Activity

Here is a re-enactment of the baptism of Jesus, done with Legos:

John is Beheaded

Even before John was born, he leaped for joy when Mary the mother of Jesus entered the room. John recognized the presence of Jesus even before birth. So why did he doubt when he was in prison? John’s doubts probably came from the fact that he didn’t know that Christ was going to come again, and a lot of the prophecies weren’t being fulfilled. Jesus answered John with Scripture that was being fulfilled at the first coming of Jesus.

Christ said this about John: “Among those born of women, there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist.” (Matthew 11:11)

Because Herod was not happy about being told he had done the wrong thing to marry his brother’s wife, he had thrown  John into prison. Later when Herodias’ daughter danced for Herod, he granted her any wish she desired. After consulting with her mother, she asked for the head of John the Baptist on a platter.

head-of-john-the-baptistBack when I taught at a Christian school, every Reformation Day, the students would come to school dressed up as characters from the Bible. One year I had a kid come as the head of John the Baptist on a platter on a table. I though it was clever how the head was covered up and uncovered by another student. A bit gruesome, but biblically correct. Thus ends the life of John the Baptist.

If you enjoyed this John the Baptist Unit Study, you will love the huge Bible section of the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

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