Posted in Ages 11 & above, God & Me

Effective Prayer

Prayer is talking to GOD and having a personal time of fellowship with Him. If you do not pray daily, well…. now is a good time to start talking to your father in heaven. It is vital for a fruitful and successful Christian life. When we talk to him daily, we build our relationship with him, if not he will always be a stranger to us. When we talk to him, we will also hear from him and will be able to recognize his voice. So let us begin our journey of prayer!!!

How do we pray?

Pray

Let us open the treasure book…

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

CLUE:1 Matthew 6: 6

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. 

Matthew 6: 6

Personal prayer time is not to show others your proficiency / fluency or to get their attention. It should be done in private – a secret time just between you and your father in heaven. This is what Jesus taught his disciples and what he practiced while on earth. He used to step away from the crowds & even his disciples and went to mountains for his personal time with God, spending all night in prayer. So first, move away from the crowds to your secret place to spend time in prayer.

CLUE:2 Philippians 4:6

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Begin prayer with thanksgiving. Remember everything God has done for, provided for, taken care of and thank Him for that. Then make your requests known to God.

CLUE:3
1 Samuel 1, Matthew 6: 7-8

There was a man named Elkanah from Ephraim and Hanna was his wife. She did not have any children and this made her very unhappy. Every year they would go as a family to worship and sacrifice to the Lord at Shiloh where Eli and his sons were the priests. One year as they went, Hannah was too sad and wept in pain before the lord and prayed. As she was praying, the priest Eli saw her and watched her. He thought she was drunk and rebuked her. But she told him

I am not drunk, but I am pouring out my soul before the Lord”.

Later on we see that God answered her prayer and a son was born to her, prophet Samuel who judged the people of Israel.

Hanna while praying poured out her soul before God. She was not pretentious or fake, but by pouring out her heart before God, she made her problem known to Him the same way she felt it. Her prayer was answered. So “be yourself” before God and “pour out your heart to him”.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore, do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.

Matthew 6: 7-8

Do not use vain repetitions while praying because you are not heard for the repeated words you speak. Your father knows all your needs even before you ask and you don’t have to always repeat them. Do not corrupt the relationship by talking only about your needs. Your needs will be taken care of !!!

CLUE:4
Mark 11:24, John 14:14

Therefore, I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.

Mark 11:24

If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.

John 14:14

Believing that you receive what you have asked for and asking it in the name of Jesus makes sure the prayer is answered!!!

Treasures uncovered

How to pray effectively

Pray in secret

Begin your prayer with thanksgiving

Be yourself before God and pour out your heart before him – do not be fake or pretentious and do not use vain repetitions

When you ask believe that you receive and ask everything in the name of Jesus

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us how to pray. Help us to pray daily and have a personal relationship with you. Help us to be thankful and be ourselves before you. Help us to believe that our prayers will be answered, in Jesus name AMEN!!!


Posted in Ages 11 & above, Life Skills

Forgiveness

We have been hurt by people many times in our lives. Few of them would have apologized, while others never bothered… Do we forgive those people who hurt us even if they do not say sorry? Well it is not easy… We might say “yes we have forgiven”, but we should do a self-check and see what we feel when we remember those people who hurt us. If it is anger or hatred or bitterness, then definitely there is unforgiveness. Un-forgiveness in our heart doesn’t do us any good, in fact it affects us very negatively.

Let us see what the treasure book has to say about forgiveness.

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

Clue 1: Matthew 18: 21-35

Peter, one of the disciples of Jesus asked him, “Lord, how many times should I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Is it seven times?” Jesus answered, “Not seven times, but seventy-seven times”. He did not mean to keep count each time someone sins against you or hurts you, but to keep on forgiving when they hurt you.

Then he told them a parable to teach the kingdom principle regarding Forgiveness. Parables are simple stories used to explain a moral or spiritual lesson.

The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant

Master and servant

A king wanted to settle financial records with his servants. There was a servant who owed him ten thousand bags of gold. (That is too much for a servant to payback. He won’t be able to payback even if he tried all his life.) This servant was brought to the master as he did not pay back and clear his debt. To repay the debt, the king ordered to sell this man, his wife, his children and all he had. The servant fell on his knees before him and begged ‘Be patient with me and I will pay back everything.’ The master took pity on him and let him go, cancelling all the unpaid debt. He would have lost his family and everything he owned. But the king was so merciful that this humongous debt was waved off – he didn’t have to return the 10,000 bags of gold that he borrowed.

When this servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.  He grabbed the servant and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.

He did not show this man any mercy. The amount this servant owed was only 100 silver coins which could be repaid. But for this small debt (compared to his own debt – 10,000 bags of gold) the servant did not show any mercy.

When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant, I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me. Shouldn’t you have shown mercy to your fellow servant just as I did to you?” In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

Jesus told them

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

God forgave our sins and took away from us the horrible punishment we deserve. Hence we should also show mercy and forgive people who have hurt us or have done terribly bad things to us. We should consciously learn to forgive no matter how hard it is, so that we experience God’s mercy and forgiveness in our lives. The hurt that we have faced is like the 100 silver coins compared to the punishment we deserve.

Clue 2: Mark 11: 25-26

And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.

Mark 11: 25-26

Even your prayers won’t be heard if you have an unforgiving heart. Only if we forgive, we will be forgiven.. this is the kingdom principle…

Treasures uncovered

FORGIVE

and you will be

FORGIVEN

Forgiving others is not easy, however without a forgiving heart we won’t experience our father’s forgiveness. Remembering the undeserved mercy and love we have received from our Lord will help us to have a forgiving and loving heart. If we do not forgive, unforgiveness in our heart leads us into bitterness and eventually to hatred, leading us into sin. So Forgive all those who hurt you!!!

Also make sure to ask forgiveness when you realize you have hurt someone. Remember!!! Only a brave person can ask forgiveness and it takes immense courage to say SORRY!!!

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us the kingdom principle about forgiveness. We thank you for the undeserving love and mercy you have towards us. Help us to forgive from our heart all those who have hurt us. Help us also to ask forgiveness to all people whom we have hurt. We love you Lord, in Jesus name, AMEN!!!


Posted in Ages 11 & above, The Negatives

Temptations!!!

In the world that we live today, many are the TEMPTATIONS around us that are ready to entice us and lead us to destruction. We have fallen into some already.

TEMPTATION is the DESIRE “to DO or HAVE something that YOU KNOW you should NOT DO or HAVE”.

Eve was tempted in the garden of Eden. She was enticed by the devil into eating the fruit that God told them not to eat and thus they SINNED.

Temptation can lead to sin if not dealt correctly. How do we handle temptations without falling into SIN?

Let us open the treasure book

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

Clue: Matthew 4:1-11

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. 

James 1:13

First thing we should know is that God does not tempt anyone – temptation is not from God. It is from devil.

When Jesus lived on Earth, he too was tempted by the devil, yet he was perfect without sin! How did he overcome the temptations?

SCENE 1

Jesus was in the desert fasting for 40 days & 40 nights. Then he was hungry and needed food – a physical need. The devil went to tempt him knowing his current situation and to take advantage of his physical weakness.

Temptation: “If you are the son of God, tell these stones to become bread”. The devil challenged Jesus to prove HE is the son of GOD by turning stones into bread to satisfy his hunger. The devil was trying to prick his Ego by saying “if you are the son of God” do this.

During times of physical or emotional weakness we might act without thinking and give in to temptations. So devil tries to attack us in our weakness as we have bigger chance of falling into temptations then. Be watchful!

How did Jesus respond?

Jesus knew he do not have to prove anything to the devil. Jesus answered quoting the scriptures

“It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’ ”

Did the devil stop there? NO he did not. Triumphing over one temptation doesn’t mean there won’t be more . Be vigilant always.

SCENE 2

Then the devil took Jesus to the holy city and made him stand on the highest point of temple.

Temptation: “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.” The devil was challenging Jesus to prove He is the son of GOD by throwing himself down and landing safely with angels. Throwing oneself down will kill – it is self destruction and is a SIN.

Also, because Jesus replied with scriptures the first time, the devil too used the scripture to put across his point- but unlike Jesus, he misquoted .

But Jesus replied,

It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

Jesus was not provoked by the devil and replied with apt scriptures. We should be very careful not to fall for misinterpreted scriptures.

SCENE 3

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor.

Temptation – “All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me.” He wanted Jesus to worship him. Worshipping anyone other than God is Sin.

Jesus is the son of God. He replied, 

Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Devil waited and approached Jesus in the time of weakness to tempt him. He tempted Jesus in different ways so as to entice him to SIN. Jesus did not fall into any of the temptation put forth by devil. He resisted the devil and fought him with the scriptures and the devil left him.

Treasures uncovered

Temptation is not from God and it can lead us to SIN

The Word of God is our weapon to fight temptation and overcome it.

Jesus handled each of the temptation, by quoting relevant scriptures. Word of God is the best weapon to fight temptation. Hence we need to learn the scriptures very well.

Jesus also knew his worth very well – Son of God. He knew he doesn’t have to prove anything to the devil. So are we – Children of God. We are not puppets in the hand of devil to jump here and there as he say. Resist the devil and he will flee from us.

Prayer:

Father, thank you for teaching us that we should fight our temptation with word of God. Help us to use realize the temptations in our life and fight it with the right scriptures. Thank you, in Jesus’ name Amen!!!!


Posted in Ages 11 & above, The Negatives

Trouble with studies?

Intelligence varies from person to person. Some are very bright in studies whereas some others find it very difficult to get through with their studies. Are you in the latter group that face difficulties with studies? No matter how hard you try, you are unable to understand certain concepts. If you ask for help, once or twice your teachers and friends would help and then they might show their anger on you or scold you for asking the same thing over and over. This makes you feel helpless & incompetent, and maybe a substance of mockery among friends and teachers.

writing

Can we do anything about this situation?

Of course yes, Is there anything too hard for the Lord???

Let us open the treasure book

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

CLUE 1: Daniel 1

Jerusalem was captured by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon.  He gave orders to take some of the young men as captives to Babylon – men who are handsome, healthy and who had an aptitude to learn. He wanted to teach them Babylonian language & literature so that he could use them for his kingdom.

Daniel and his three friends were among this group. Even though they had the choice to eat and drink as they liked, they kept themselves from eating or drinking anything that made them impure before God. This pleased God and God’s favor was upon them. They were trained in Babylon for a set period of time.

As for these four young men, GOD gave them KNOWLEDGE and SKILL in all literature and WISDOM; and Daniel had UNDERSTANDING in all visions and dreams.

Daniel 1:17

Now when the training period ended, all these young men were brought before the king. The king interviewed them and none was found like Daniel and his friends. In all matters which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the others who were in his kingdom. So they were appointed to serve the King.

There were other competent young men in their group but how did Daniel and his friends do so well? They took a firm decision in their hearts that they will not defile themselves before God and hence God’s favor was upon them. God was with them and gave them such understanding and knowledge that no one else could beat them!!! They were 10 times better than the others!!!

For the Lord gives WISDOM; From His mouth come KNOWLEDGE and UNDERSTANDING;

Proverbs 2:6

CLUE 2: 1 Kings 3: 4-15

Solomon, the son of David succeeded him as the king of Israel. The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream and asked him what he needs. Solomon asked for an “understanding heart” to judge people. The Lord was well pleased with the request and granted him the request. Solomon became the wisest of all times.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.

James 1:5

Treasures uncovered

GOD is our SOURCE of Wisdom, Knowledge and Understanding

ASK God and it will be GIVEN to you. Everyone who asks receives.

Wisdom, knowledge and understanding comes from God. No matter how hard things are, God can give you understanding. If we lack wisdom or understanding, ask God and he will give it freely and generously without rebuke unlike others.

Prayer:

Father we thank you for revealing that you are our source of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Help us to have a heart that is pleasing in your sight. We ask for your favor upon our lives. Father, we ask you to fill our hearts with wisdom, knowledge and understanding for everyone who asks receives. We believe that we have received it in Jesus name… Amen!


Posted in Ages 11 & above, Life Skills

Choosing Influencers

God chooses our family members for us, but we get to choose our friends. We cross paths with many people during our life time and some of those people take special places in our heart. They also influence our thinking and our actions. The people who influence our thinking, our decision making and our actions are our influencers. So it is very important to choose the right people as our influencers, because there are chances for us to go off-route if our influencers are not going in the right direction.

Friends

As Jesus said

….If the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.

Matthew 15: 14

Hence, we have to choose our influencers VERY carefully.

Some of us fall for good looks and trendy styles when we lookout for friends. Watch out!!! Appearances can be deceptive… Again as Jesus said

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:15

People can come to you looking like they are innocent and helpful, but they might have wrong intentions at heart – to use you for their benefit, to cheat you, to cause you trouble or to just hurt you!

So how to distinguish between the right and wrong people?

Let us open the treasure book to find clues

OPENING THE TREASURE BOOK undefined

Clue:
A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit

We already learned that when God looks at a person, he searches the heart (What does God notice in ME?). We are not capable of doing that, but definitely we can see what proceeds out of their heart.

“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:43-45

God made beautiful trees and each of those trees produce fruits according to their kind. It is universal that an apple tree bears apples, an orange tree bears oranges and a lemon tree bears lemons. These fruits do not come from thorn bushes. Each of the trees are known by the fruit they bear. Same way, people can be distinguished by the fruit they bear. A good person bears good fruit and an evil person bears evil fruit. A good person cannot bear bad fruit and a bad person cannot bear good fruit.

What is fruit borne by a person?

Fruit borne by a person is his / her speech and action. Speech and action proceeds out of the heart and reflects the heart’s contents. Because, out of the abundance of heart, the mouth speaks. Only if your heart is filled with good, good actions will proceed out. Same way, if the heart is filled with evil only evil actions proceed, how much ever people try to pretend otherwise.

Examples of bad and good fruits

Few of the bad and good fruits are given in Galatians 5:19 – 22

Bad Fruits

All kinds of sexual immorality, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, jealousy & envy, extreme anger, heated arguments & disagreements, selfish ambitions, rebellion against God’s true word, murder, drunkenness & loud alcohol partying, etc.

Good Fruits

Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, etc.

Treasures uncovered

Choose your influencers based on the contents of their HEART

Before letting a person influence you,

Be Watchful and find out the fruit borne by a person – the speech and actions that proceeds out of their heart

Evaluate the fruit with the word of God to understand if they are GOOD or BAD

Be alert and watch the actions & words that proceed out of a person. See if their actions are against the will of God or if it aligns with God’s will. Do not let evil people influence you, but at the same time you can be their influencer – help them change their ways by bringing them close to the Lord.

Prayer:

Father, we thank you for teaching us that it is important to choose the right people to be our influencers. Help us to be watchful and understand the contents of a person’s heart before letting them influence us. Help us to bear good fruit and influence our friends in the right way and help them come closer to you. In Jesus name Amen!