In the New Testament, the English word “wrath” from the Greek term ὀργήν may originate with humans or God. Human wrath is vengeful and always denounced. God’s wrath, however, is always God’s just response against sinfulness. God’s wrath is both present and future—present in that it rests on those who have not believed in Christ (e.g., John 3:36), and future as a promise for those who die in their unbelief (e.g., Rom 2:5). Of the two Greek terms for wrath, ὀργήν at times suggests the premeditated intent of the heart, but not always. Regardless, Christians should not conduct their lives in patterns of wrath against others, but rather, seek peace, even with their enemies, praying for their persecutors (Matt 5:44) and leaving all forms of righteous vengeance to God (Rom 12:17-19).
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Word Study on Wrath Gk #3709
The English word “patience” from the Greek term τέλειος has the idea of fullness of completeness. Something that is τέλειος is fully accomplished and lacks nothing. Old Testament sacrifices were without blemish. Old Testament saints were blameless. However, God is the standard of τέλειος. Christians are to look to Christ as our example of full spiritual maturity. So, when the Bible uses the word τέλειος for Christians, it means being wholly surrendered—heart, mind, and strength—in every aspect of life to the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the Spirit transforms us by renewing our minds to discern God’s will (Rom 12:2) and continually leading us in living out the fullest expression of the law of liberty by conducting our lives in personal purity and sacrificial love toward others (Jas 1:25-27).
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Word Study on Perfect Gk #5046
The English word “patience” from the Greek ὑπομονή has the idea of staying, remaining, or abiding under a burden or situation. It describes the Christian’s inner disposition to hold fast to faith through various trials. Patience is a necessary part of the fruit-bearing process in the Christian life (Luke 8:15). Its source and sustainer are God (Rom 8:25), beginning with a focus on God’s promise of eternal hope for the Christian (Rom 2:7), growing through trials (Rom 5:3-4), being evidence of the surety of the promise of eternal life (Heb 10:36), and manifesting as a habitual character trait of the maturing Christian (Jas 1:3-4, 2. Pet 1:5-7). Thus, patience strengthens the Christian’s faith, evidences their inner maturity, and produces spiritual fruit in their life for the Kingdom to the glory of God.
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Word Study on Patience Gk #5281
This is a simple game I made to wrap up our lesson series to help our kids review the Seven I Am statements Jesus said. It consists of two sets of pictures and titles (14 pairs) with a game title card and a directions card. The directions are pretty self-explanatory and most kids already know how to play memory. Just explain that you have to match one picture with its corresponding title.
Also, you don’t have to be super crafty to make this! For super-easy printing and cutting, the template is designed to work with Avery business card paper (template 8871), which means you don’t even have to cut it out! Or, to make the cards more durable, print the template on cardstock, laminate them with a thermal laminator, and cut along the border with a paper trimmer or a straight edge and rotary cutter (this is how I did our set).
Download the totally-free printable template here: Seven I AMs Memory Game
John 15:1-17 is another teaching that Jesus shared with his disciples during the famous Farewell Discourse, the last series of teachings that Jesus gave his disciples. This time of teaching began after the Passover meal as Jesus washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-5) and continues until Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32, John 17). The Farewell Discourse includes many noteworthy instructions, one of which is the seventh of Jesus’ I Am statements, “I am the true vine” (John 15:1).
The word picture of a vine for the people of God was not new. In the Old Testament, God compares Israel to a vine and a vineyard on several occasions. The idea is that God the Father chose, planted, and tended to Israel just like a gardener chooses, plants, and tends to a seed as it grows into a vine. God chose Israel from among the nations (Deut 14:2), planted them in the Holy Land (Deut 1:8), and provided for all their needs in many ways, both physical (rain, water, food, etc.) and spiritual (Law, priests, prophets, etc.). Unfortunately, the Israelites of as a whole proved to be unfruitful branches and required much “pruning” through exile to Assyria and Babylon.
However, a small remnant of faithful Israelites was enough for a future hope of the nation. Further, out of this remnant, the Father brought the Son, Jesus, into the world as a human baby. Jesus, the true vine, is the fulfillment of the word picture of the vine used to describe God’s people. And now the identity of God’s people has expanded to include Gentiles (non-Jews) who trust in Jesus Christ. Gentiles are the wild branches grafted into the true vine (Jesus Christ). So the church (all the branches) includes both Jews and Gentiles, whoever believes in Jesus.
If you believe in Jesus, then the Holy Spirit lives within you alongside your spirit (Eph 1). The Holy Spirit illuminates our minds and refreshing hearts tot help us grow, just like the water and the sun that helps the branches grow (Gal 5). And the Bible, God’s Word, is our spiritual food that helps us grow (Luke 4:4), just like plants need food from the soil to grow. And as we grow in Christ, our lives start to show the Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22). This is what it means to abide, or remain, in Christ, our true vine.
To download the full kids lesson resource guide for free, including suggestions for videos and crafts, click here: Seven I AMs 7 The True Vine
John 13:33-14:14 occurs in the famous Farewell Discourse, the last series of teachings that Jesus gave his disciples. This time of teaching began after the Passover meal as Jesus washed his disciples’ feet (John 13:1-5) and continues until Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32, John 17). The Farewell Discourse includes many noteworthy instructions, one of which is the sixth of Jesus’ I Am statements, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
Jesus was explaining to the disciples that he was returning to God the Father. Thomas asked Jesus how to follow him to the Father, and Jesus replied, “I am the way.” One of the ideas that John emphasizes strongly is that Jesus is the express image of the Father and that, through Jesus, the Father gives us access to Himself (John 1:14-18). Indeed, the invitation to become God’s children has been given to everyone; but it may be received freely only by believing in Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13, 3:16).
Jesus, by claiming to be “the way” to the Father, acknowledges these truths. As Jesus lived “the way” of the Law, fulfilling its righteous demands, he became our “way” to the Father. Because while conviction comes through the Law (John 1:17, Psalm 19:7), salvation comes through believing in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). And in the moment of believing in Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our hearts alongside our own spirit, sealing us as children of the Father (Ephesians 1:13-14) and, over time, making us more like God the Son, as we yield to the leading of the Spirit in our lives (Romans 8:12-29, 12:1-2).
To download the full kids lesson resource guide for free, including suggestions for videos and crafts, click here: Seven I AMs 6 The Way, the Truth and the Life
Although final spiritual resurrection to eternity was not clearly stated in the Old Testament, the idea that the deceased who loved God continued to live on spiritually and would see a future time of glory traces back to the Psalms and the Prophets. A future resurrection hope for believing Israel is especially meaningful in the Prophets and Poetic books (Job 19; Pss 16, 49; Isa 16; Ezek 37). The New Testament quite clearly teaches spiritual resurrection in many places, with Jesus being the firstfruits and that of believers’ being similarly promised (1 Cor 15).
Here in John 11, Jesus’ power over death and life is on full display. At the beginning of the chapter, when Jesus receives the news of that Lazarus is sick, he delays. This seems like an unkind thing to do for a dear friend and out of character for Jesus—until we remember that Jesus’ primary mission wasn’t healing people but preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:14). So, when Jesus says in John 11:4, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it,” he is not speaking to the causal link between the sickness and Lazarus’ death, but to the physical restoration miracle that brings Lazarus back to life and offers further confirmation that Jesus is God the Son, the express image of the Father made flesh who came to accomplish God’s plan of salvation for humankind (John 1:18).
The religious systems of the world teach many kinds of afterlives, referring to paradise, nirvana, etc. Other people claim not to believe in any afterlife at all. But the Bible teaches that everyone dies, and after that comes the day of judgment (Heb 9:27). However, believers need not fear the day of judgment, because Jesus covers us with his perfect love (1 John 4:17). So, when the day of judgment comes, everyone who believes in Jesus has their works of sin crossed out because we are covered by the righteous works of Jesus (Rev 20:11-14).
To download the full kids lesson resource guide for free, including suggestions for videos and crafts, click here: Seven I AMs 5 The Resurrection and the Life
Shout out to Two Peas & Their Pod for their Classic Banana Bread Recipe, which served as a foundation for my recipe. You can check out their recipe here: https://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/banana-bread/
Blueberry Banana Bread
- 1/2 cup mashed banana
- 3/4 cup finely shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup melted unsalted stick butter, cooled slightly
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 large egg at room temperature, beaten
- 1/2 tsp (imitation) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the mashed banana, shredded zucchini, and melted butter.
- Add the brown sugar and mix well.
- Add the egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
- Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Then gently fold in blueberries.
- Spray a 9×5 glass loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Then pour in bread batter.
- Cook at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
- Allow to cool at least an hour before slicing and serving.
Shepherding is one of the oldest professions, going back to Abel, a son of Adam and Eve (Gen 4:2). In ancient times, political and spiritual leaders were sometimes compared to shepherds because of their position of authority over the lives of people. There are two kinds of shepherds: hirelings, who shepherd other people’s sheep for pay, and true shepherds, who shepherd their own sheep (and others’) with their lives.
The Bible compares God to a shepherd (Pss. 23:1, 80:1), as well as Moses (Isa 63:11) and the Persian king Cyrus (Isa 44:28). The Bible also promises punishment for the bad shepherds of Israel (bad spiritual leaders) and that God, the Good Shepherd, will one day bring his flock Israel back to the land inheritance he promised them (Ezek 34).
When Jesus referred to himself as the Good Shepherd, the Jews who heard him were reminded about God’s promises of punishment on Israel’s bad shepherds and God’s promise to be the Good Shepherd to Israel. And when Jesus explains later how he gives his sheep eternal life and how he is one with God the Father, it was clear that Jesus was revealing his own identity as God the Son Incarnate while predicting his own blood sacrifice on the cross that would provide final atonement for sin.
Psalm 23 provides a beautifully detailed picture about how God, the Good Shepherd, cares for us, His sheep. In light of Jesus’ self-revelation that he is the Good Shepherd, we can see how Psalm 23 isn’t merely a wonderful song of comfort, but a clear declaration about the greatness of Jesus’ love for us. His love toward us is immeasurable and unfailing, so great that he gave his own life as a perfect sacrifice to save sinners, to everyone willing to receive the invitation to believe in him.
To download the full kids lesson resource guide for free, including suggestions for videos and crafts, click here: Seven I AMs 4 The Good Shepherd