All posts by Lois

Unwavering faith that brings results

Experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in the results of faith. God is the source and giver of faith that permeates our lives and brings results that only God can do.

We cannot create faith. Through God, we can experience it.

‘Believe and receive’ is not ‘name it and claim it.’

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.

For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop” {Mark 11:23-25, Amplified Bible).

Just believe and you have it? Name it and claim it? No, that is not what this Scripture teaches. The type of faith Christ is talking about was taught in the Old Testament also, long before Christ taught it in the New Testament. Of course Christ, through the Holy Spirit who inspired the Old as well as the New Testaments, is the Author of the the following passage from Proverbs as also.

“Trust GOD from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track” (Proverbs 3:5-6, The MSG).

From Proverbs 3, we get a hint of the source of this faith: God is the author. We cannot muster it up. We cannot earn it. It is a gift from God as we “listen for God’s voice in everything…everywhere.” We cannot create faith. We can only experience it.

Struggling with doubt

So how can I get God to give me this faith that receives answers to its need? One man did it very simply. He just asked for it with a yearning heart, and set the example for us all:

“And it has often thrown him both into fire and into water, intending to kill him. But if You can do anything, do have pity on us and help us.

And Jesus said, [You say to Me], If You can do anything? [Why,] all things can be (are possible) to him who believes!

At once the father of the boy gave [an eager, piercing, inarticulate] cry with tears, and he said, Lord, I believe! [Constantly] help my weakness of faith!” (Mark 9:22-24).

We simply ask God with an “eager, piercing” even an “inarticulate” cry. In other words, we ask him sincerely. We recognize our own inability to believe with this kind of faith (“help my weakness of faith”). We may not even be able to express our need (inarticulate), but God knows our heart.

God responds to the truth in our hearts, not to the words we on our lips. We ask God to give us this faith constantly, as the father in the above Scripture did, and to teach us to live in a way to receive it constantly.

Mark 11:23-25 (first passage in this study) also teaches that we cannot believe with sincere faith if we harbor un-forgiveness. “Let it go” the Bible teaches. When we “leave it, let it go” Christ promises that he will “forgive you your own failings and shortcomings and let them drop.” So the basis of this type of faith is being right with our fellow-man, and right with God — the first two Commandments found in Exodus 20, to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 22:40).

How can we find faith like this?

This leads us straight to the Source, the Author, the Giver of faith that takes over our lives and brings the results that only God can do: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV)

Yes, faith comes by reading God’s Word. Do you read the Bible, God’s Word, daily? We must live according to God’s principles to experience this unwavering faith. Yet, how can we know God’s principles if we are not reading his Word?

Living by faith

Paul said to the Colossian Christians: “My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving” (Colossians 2:6-7 Amplified Bible).

We cannot have this unwavering faith unless we first have an unwavering life. We cannot believe and receive unless we first commit all situations of our life to the Lord Jesus Christ. So now it is time to go forth and experience faith, live in faith, and rejoice in faith. We can trust God, not because we muster up the faith to believe, but because our God has proven himself faithful!

Live in God’s Word today,
Lois

Thank you for keeping the nursery

Is keeping the church nursery just a menial task for those with no significant functions in the church? Take another look at this important ministry and its impact on evangelism!

Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me'” (Matthew 19:14).

Thank You for Keeping the Nursery

Mama left me in the church nursery.
She said, “You can stay here and play.”
I was very afraid, but you comforted me,
And Mama found Christ that day.

At least once a month in the nursery,
You served God by caring for me
So Mama could attend church and learn to make
Our home everything it should be.

There were those who said, “I’m too busy,”
Or, “I don’t want to miss church today;
I’m too young; I’m too old; I’ve done my part —
The nursery? Please, don’t ask me to stay.”

But you said, “No, I’m not too busy.
I’m just the right age I know.
I could never do enough for the King that I serve.
When you need me in the nursery I’ll go.”

My life might have been so different
If you had not answered God’s plea
For workers to serve where the need is so great,
To care for little people like me.

Thank you for keeping the nursery.
Mama taught me to follow Christ, too.
Many people had a part, but the most special one
To me will always be you.


I’ve had many requests to reprint this poem since I wrote and placed it on my website in the late 1990’s. Permission is granted to reprint Thank You for Keeping the Nursery in printed format for use in your local church or Christian group. Please include the following copyright notice and link information: “Permission is granted to reprint Thank You for Keeping the Nursery, courtesy hopeundivided.com, in printed flyers, bulletins, newsletters, etc. for use in your local church or Christian group. All other rights reserved.” Publication online, for commercial use, or for any use other than specifically granted above, is forbidden without written permission. Please contact Lois to request permission for any other use.

0. Lessons from Elijah – Contents

Read Scriptures from a Bible translation children can understand. Guide the boys and girls in answering questions, then explain and share your response.

Treasures from God’s Word are your children’s most valuable heritage.

Preparing to Teach

Always pray before each session. Ask God to show you how he wants you to guide your children in the lesson for today. Ask him to help your children understand and receive his teachings.

I often told my children, as I taught them from God’s Word, something similar to this: “Sometimes you’re disappointed because your friends have things I can’t provide for you. But what I give you here is worth more than any of that. These are my treasures.” I didn’t want to just teach them principles and stories. I wanted them to teach them to treasure the the Bible, and show them how to dig into its riches.

Table of Contents

Introduction Lessons from Elijah Devotions for teaching children
Lesson 1: How big is God?
Lesson 2: What will we do?
Lesson 3: Will we be cowardly or courageous?
Lesson 4: Who is to blame?
Lesson 5: How can we know what is right?
Lesson 6: Are we willing to stand alone?
Lesson 7: Will God keep His Word?
Lesson 8: Will God really take care of us?
Lesson 9: Is God angry when we mess up?
Lesson 10: How do we prove who we really love?
Lesson 11: What if we haven’t obeyed God as we should?
Lesson 12: How does God talk to us today?

A Bible for children

I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for the Lessons from Elijah links to BibleGateway.com Scriptures.

The Holy Bible Contemporary English Version Children’s Bible is recommended as a reading level for ages 9-12. I have The Learning Bible: Contemporary English Version, and its notes to explain meaning on every page, as well as colorful, informative illustrations, tables, charts and maps make it an excellent home study Bible for teenagers and adults. The “Learning Bible” edition is large and heavy, so it’s probably not the best choice to carry to church. Here is the version information published at BibleGateway.com for the CEV:

Uncompromising simplicity marked the American Bible Society’s translation of the Contemporary English Version Bible that was first published in 1995. The text is easily read by grade schoolers, second language readers, and those who prefer the more contemporized form. The CEV is not a paraphrase. It is an accurate and faithful translation of the original manuscripts.

It’s easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children.

Next – Introduction: Lessons from Elijah Devotions for teaching children

12. How does God talk to us today?

Leading children in family devotions to understand the Holy Spirit’s ministries of comfort, counsel, guidance, and help to obey God’s commandments.

“The Holy Spirit will come and help you” (John 14:26).

God sent his Spirit to help and remind us

Read John 14:16-26

  1. How did Jesus say He would come to us after he went back into heaven? (In the form of the Holy Spirit.)
  2. What is another name for the Holy Spirit? (Comforter or Counselor.)
  3. What does this name mean that he will do for us?
  4. How did Jesus say we will know right from wrong? (His commandments and words — the Bible — will teach us.)
  5. Who did Jesus say will help us understand the Bible? (Verse 26.)
  6. Can we live the way the Bible teaches by ourselves?
  7. Who did Jesus send to help us live the way the Bible teaches? (Verse 16.)
  8. Challenge Question: What are the three things we’ve just talked about that the Holy Spirit will do for us?
    1. Comfort us.
    2. Help us understand the Bible.
    3. 3. Help us live the way the Bible teaches.
  9. Thank God for sending the Holy Spirit to help us and remind us about the things we have learned.

Back to Lessons From Elijah – Contents


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

11. What if we haven’t obeyed God as we should?

Instructing children at mother’s knee or in a Sunday School class. Learning about sin, choosing repentance and forgiveness. We love God, and will obey him.

God is ready to give us another chance.

God will forgive us if we admit we’ve done wrong.

Yesterday we talked about choosing. See if you can remember these things:

  1. When we choose to do wrong, what is that called? (Sin.)
  2. Who are we choosing then? (The devil)
  3. When we choose to live the way the Bible teaches us to live, what is that called? (Obedience or obeying God and Jesus.)
  4. Who are we choosing then? (God and Jesus.)

I’m going to read what Jesus said about obeying, when Jesus was teaching His disciples. (Read John 14:16-26).

  1. What did Jesus say we will do if we love Him? (Obey Him.)
  2. What did Jesus say about anyone who doesn’t obey Him? (They don’t love Him.)
  3. If we say we love Jesus, but do wrong much of the time, do we love Jesus? (No.)
  4. Do we love Jesus if we are trying very hard to please God and Jesus but mess up and do something wrong? (Yes.) Explain your answer.
  5. If we choose to live the way we want to live, is that obeying Jesus? (No.)
  6. What is obeying Jesus? (Choosing to live the way the Bible teaches.)
  7. If we realize that we have not been living the way the Bible teaches because we have been choosing our own way or choosing to do wrong much of the time, what should we do? (Ask Jesus to forgive us.)
  8. How long will we have to wait before Jesus will forgive us? (He forgives the moment we ask.)

Next – Lesson 12: How does God talk to us today?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

10. How do we prove who we really love?

Teach more than religion. Encourage lifestyle devotion to Christ in action and moral behavior motivated by love and freedom of grace.

“We are ruled by God’s wonderful kindness” (Romans 6:15, CEV).

Choosing to please God because he loves us

Read 1 Kings 21:1-25.

  1. The Bible says King Ahab was more wicked than any of the kings before him. What wicked thing did he and his wife Jezebel threaten to do to Elijah in yesterday’s story? (Kill him.)
  2. Who do you think was the most wicked, King Ahab or Jezebel? (Jezebel thought of the idea, but Ahab agreed to it. It is just as bad to agree to join in a wicked thing as it is to suggest it.)
  3. What did King Ahab call Elijah in verse 20? (His enemy.)
  4. Elijah was sent by God to warn King Ahab. When Ahab called Elijah his enemy, who was he really calling his enemy? (God.)
  5. Who put King Ahab up to much of his wickedness? (Jezebel.)
  6. Since Jezebel put him up to it, why did God accuse King Ahab? (God held King Ahab responsible for his own actions and also for being the leader in his home.)
  7. Why did God tell Ahab He would punish him? (Verse 20b.)
  8. There is another place in the Bible where God talks about choosing between God and the devil or between pleasing God and sin. Listen and be ready to tell what this Scripture means to you. (Read Romans 6:15-18.) What does this Scripture mean to you?
  9. The Bible says when we do wrong we are choosing sin and the devil. If we really choose God, we will show it by trying to please him. Which way will you act?

Next – Lesson 11: What if we haven’t obeyed God as we should?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

09. Is God angry with us when we mess up?

Elijah feels alone and discouraged. God provides special care from a wind storm, an earthquake, a fire, and a still small voice or gentle whisper.

God is always ready to help us do better.

Deeper understanding for mom

Read 1 Kings 19:7-21.
Read verse 13 again in the Contemporary English version, then choose “Amplified Bible” from the drop-down menu, then the drop-down “King James Version” and “New International Verson” as well.

  • The Contemporary English Version version translates the original language as “a gentle breeze,” but adds a footnote that it can also mean “a soft whisper,” or “hardly a sound.”
  • The Amplified Bible (which gives various possible meanings of the original language the Bible was written in) translates this as “a still, small voice,” but indicates it can also mean “a sound of gentle stillness.”
  • The King James Version translates this noise “a still small voice.”
  • The New International Version translates it “a gentle whisper.”

I chose the NIV’s “a gentle whisper” to describe this for children, because it explains the way God dealt gently with Elijah.

God speaks to Elijah and comforts him

Read 1 Kings 19:7-21 with your children.

  1. Was God angry at Elijah for being discouraged?
  2. What did god say to Elijah? (Why are you here Elijah?)
  3. After the first time Elijah told God that he felt all alone, what happened (4 things)?
    1. A wind storm that shook the mountan and tore the rocks loose.
    2. An earthquake.
    3. A fire.
    4. A gentle whisper.
  4. What do the wind storm, earthquake, and fire tell you about God? (That He has great power.)
  5. What does the gentle whisper tell you about God? (That he is very gentle with those who love and serve Him.)
  6. What two things did God tell Elijah when Elijah told God again that he felt all alone?
    1. There were 7000 others who loved God.
    2. That God would give Elisha to Elijah for a special helper.
  7. Can you think of a time when you needed some special care and God gave it to you as he did for Elijah?

Next – Lesson 10: How do we prove who we really love?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

08. Will god really take care of us?

King Ahab and Jezebel’s plot to murder Elijah. An angel from God brings food and shade, and God talks with Elijah and provides him a helper named Elisha.

God provides everything we need when we go with him.

God comforted Elijah when he was discoraged

  1. Read 1 Kings 19:1-14 — King Ahab and his wife Queen Jezebel were very wicked. They wanted to kill Elijah because he served God.
  2. Why was Elijah discouraged?

Tell 1 Kings 19:15-21 like this:

The Lord sent Elijah to talk to Elisha. The names Elijah and Elisha sound a lot alike. Remember, Elijah is the one that we’ve been talking about and Elisha is the one that God sent Elijah to. God told Elijah: Tell Elisha that I have chosen him to be prophet in your place some day. But for now I’ve chosen him for you as a special helper. I also want you to know that there are 7000 people in Israel who love God. You are not alone! So Elijah went and told Elisha what God said, and Elisha was glad to be Elijah’s special helper.

  1. When the bush was just a tiny seed as God was making it grow, do you think that God was thinking of Elijah and how he would someday need the bush for shade?
  2. God must have taken special care to grow that bush big and full of twigs so it would give good shade to Elijah!
  3. When Elijah went to sleep under the bush, what happened? (An angel touched him.)
  4. Who sent the angel? (God.)
  5. What did the angel bring to Elijah? (Hot bread and water.)
  6. When Elijah lay down again, what did the angel do? (Gave him more to eat so he could travel to Mt. Horeb.)
  7. What would happen when he got to Mt. Horeb? (God would meet him.)
  8. Who provided the cave for Elijah to live at Mt. Horeb? (God.)

Next – Lesson 9: Is God angry when we mess up?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

07. Will God keep his word?

God fed Elijah through a widow and ravens for 3 years. Elijah proves his faith, and God keeps his promises when Elijah prays, sending fire and rain from heaven.

Hearing before it happens, believing before we see

God sent the answer when Elijah prayed

Review

  1. Remember God had told Elijah there would be a famine of three years without rain. How did he take care of Elijah during these three years (1 Kings 17:6, 13-15)? (He sent the ravens and the widow woman to feed him.)
  2. Remember that after three years God sent Elijah to Ahab. What did God promise to send (1 Kings 18:1)? (rain)
  3. When Elijah came to Ahab, how did Elijah prove his God was real (1 Kings 18:17-40)? (By calling fire down from heaven)

Today’s Lesson

Read 1 Kings 18:41-46

  1. Why did Elijah say, “I hear a mighty rainstorm coming!” before there were any clouds in the sky? (See 1 Kings 17:1, and 1 Kings 18:1)
  2. Since God had already promised rain, why did Elijah pray for it? (Read John 16:24 — God can do all things, but he only works on earth in response to our prayers.)

Go back to 1 Kings 18:41-46.

  1. How many times did Elijah send his servant to look for a cloud?
  2. What did Elijah do while the servant looked?
  3. What does this teach you about prayer?
  4. How big was the cloud the servant saw the 7th time he looked?
  5. Elijah had already proved his faith by “hearing” rain before it happened. How did he prove his faith again after the servant reported the little cloud?
  6. What did God do in answer to Elijah’s faith?

Next – Lesson 8: Will God really take care of us?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.

06. Are we willing to stand alone?

Teach how Elijah and his God challenged 450 prophets of Baal at Mt. Carmel. Build excitement as Elijah proved God is real! Adapt the story to age of your group.

One person plus God is always enough.

One man plus God against 450.

Read: 1 Kings 18:17-40

  1. Do you remember how many prophets of Baal there were when Elijah called all the people to Mt. Carmel? (450)
  2. How many prophets of God were there? (one — Elijah)
  3. Why was Elijah not afraid to stand alone before 450 prophets of Baal? (Because he knew his God was real!)
  4. What did Elijah tell the people? (v. 21)
  5. What did the people answer? (v. 21)
  6. Who can tell the story of what happened when the one prophet of God and the 450 prophets of Baal called on their God/gods at Mt. Carmel?
  7. Why did Elijah ask God to send fire from heaven? (v. 37)
  8. What did the people do and say when they saw who is the real God? (v. 39)

Next – Lesson 7: Will God keep His Word?


I chose the Contemporary English Version as the default translation for Lessons from Elijah. Its easy reading and accurate translation make the CEV an ideal version for children. For more information, see A Bible for children.