Category Archives: Streams in the Desert

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Bible Gateway

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Lazy Is as Lazy Does

 

Hebrews 6:12

Sometimes it’s interesting to look up a word in the dictionary and see what it really means. “Lazy” means “not easily aroused to activity.” A lazy person just doesn’t want to try very hard. For example, lazy students don’t make much effort in school; they don’t study very hard or do their homework well. They might even try to get someone else to do it for them!

There is something inside all of us that wants to be lazy. But the Bible teaches that we must not be lazy when it comes to our faith. Instead, we need to be willing to make an effort. We are to follow the examples of people in the Bible who demonstrated faith and patience, even when they had problems. That’s how they grew strong spiritually. It’s good advice because being lazy—especially being lazy about prayer and reading our Bibles—in the long run doesn’t feel good. There’s nothing like jumping in, doing a task well, and then feeling the satisfaction of a job well done.

Dear Lord, Help me to be faithful to my work, both at home and in school and help me to remember to pray and read the Bible so that I can be everything you want me to be. Amen.

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids – A-Mazed

 

Ecclesiastes 7:13

Have you ever been in a maze—the real kind that’s made out of hedges and paths? There’s one at a palace in England called Chatsworth House. It is a very complicated maze. Every hedge is the same height so there are no identifying features to help you even go back the way you went in.

It could be frightening to get into a maze and not be able to find your way out. Life is like that sometimes. We find ourselves in situations where we don’t know where to turn, and when we do make a choice of which way to go, it ends up being the wrong way. It’s scary when our situation gets worse and worse. But there is someone who knows every turn, every path of our life. Jesus is that someone, and he came to guide us through life. When you are confused and don’t know which way to turn or which decision is best, you can rely on Jesus to lead you. Isn’t a relief to know you don’t have to make decisions on your own? Ask for his guidance and wait patiently for him to show you the way out of your problems.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I really get mixed up when I’m trying to make decisions about my life. Please guide me and help me to listen for your voice telling me the right way to go. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – All Alone

 

Genesis 32:24

Some kids love to be alone. They like to go into their rooms and read or think or play music. Other kids can’t stand to be alone. The more company they have the better.

Being one way or another is not better or worse. We all have preferences. It is interesting, however, to think about some of the great characters of the Bible and their miracles. Many of their great miracles happened when they were alone. Jacob in the Scripture above was alone when he met an angel who wrestled with him. Moses was by himself when he saw the burning bush. Peter was alone on a housetop when he had a vision giving him instruction about what he was to do next. Jesus often went off alone by himself to pray and think.

Maybe these people knew something we need to know, especially if you are one of those who likes lots of activity and company all the time. There is so much noise in our world coming into us that it can be very hard to hear God’s voice telling us what to do. Once in a while we need to shut off the iPod, close down the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and just listen to see if God might want to say something to us. You might be surprised at what he says to you.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I use all the noise in my life to keep me from talking to you and listening to see if you have something to say to me. Help me to listen for your voice. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Pit Crew

 

John 10:41

In the world of professional auto racing, only a few people get to be drivers and have their names splashed across the newspapers and TV. But for every successful racecar driver, there are dozens of back-up people, many of whom are called the “pit crew.” Pit crews are vital to the success of any racer. When the driver comes off the track and heads to the pit, the crew springs into action. They fuel the car and change all the tires in seconds. They make minor adjustments and get the driver back out on the track. Time spent in the pit impacts the outcome of the race. A slow pit crew can cause a driver to lose.

In the Bible, John the Baptist is an example of someone who never got to be the “driver.” He was more like part of Jesus’ pit crew. John’s role was to tell everyone that Jesus was coming and they should get ready. While John did not perform any miracles, he had an important job to do by alerting everyone that someone was coming soon who would take away the sin of the world. When some people asked John if he was the Christ, he simply replied, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.’” It takes a really big person to step back and let someone else shine in the spotlight. But when we perform the most everyday, insignificant tasks, God still sees what we are doing.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I want to be the person everyone talks about and praises, but help me to be humble. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Be Patient!

 

Psalm 37:7

When we read the Bible, it seems like miracles happened every day, but it wasn’t really that way. In the Old Testament, for example, God performed amazing miracles when he freed his people from slavery in Egypt. First there were ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Then, when Pharaoh sent his army after the slaves, God parted the Red Sea so his people could escape from the Egyptian soldiers. And if that weren’t miracle enough, God closed the sea at just the right time so the entire army drowned!

That’s a lot of miracles one right after the other, but God’s people had waited four hundred years for these miracles to begin. For four hundred years they were slaves and held onto God’s promise that they would one day be free to go to their Promised Land. Four hundred years is nearly twice as long as the United States has existed as a country. It’s a long, long time.

Not many people like to wait; and they especially don’t like to wait a long time for something they really want. How about you? Do you get impatient when the Internet connection isn’t fast enough or when the microwave seems to take too long? It can be even harder when God is the one we’re waiting for, hoping he will do something.

What do you wish God would do for you? Are you praying about it? Are you waiting for an answer? God knows what you need better than you do. He cares about you. Patience helps us wait quietly knowing God is going to give us exactly what we need.

Dear Lord, I have a hard time waiting. I know you have plans that are much bigger than anything I can think of. Help me to wait patiently for you to answer my prayer. Amen.

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Believe!

 

Mark 11:24

A young boy who lived far away from his grandmother loved video games. His grandmother knew he loved to collect the different games and told him she would send him a special new game for his birthday. When his birthday came, there was no video game in the pile of gifts and no note from his grandmother saying she had changed her mind. When his friends asked him what he got for his birthday, he listed all the gifts he had opened and then he added, “And my grandma’s going to send me a new video game.”

His mother overheard him and asked him about it later, “The game from Grandma didn’t come,” she said. “Why did you tell your friends it was going to be here?”

“If Grandma said she would get it, she will. So it’s just the same as if I had it now.”

Days later when there still was no video game, he asked his mother, “Do you think it would do any good for me to email Grandma and ask her if it’s still coming?” His mother encouraged him to give it a try.

Grandma wrote back the same day she got her grandson’s message and said, “I haven’t forgotten your game. I have been looking everywhere trying to get exactly the one you wanted, but have not been able to find it. I’m sending you some money so you can buy it in Chicago. Would that be all right?”

This boy believed in his gift when he could not see it. He knew his grandmother would not let him down. She would keep her promise. That is what faith in God is all about. We know him and we know he will not fail us. We know he will keep his promises, and we live waiting for him to give us what we need.

Dear Lord, Help me to believe that you are at work even when I can’t see anything happening. I know you hear me when I pray. Thank you for listening. Amen.

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Don’t Fret

 

Psalm 37:1

What in the world does “fret” mean? Here is a little word that doesn’t have any positive definitions. It means “to worry, to be discontent, to have something be eaten away by something else.” It means, “to torment or irritate or upset someone or yourself.” So when the Bible says not to “fret” it means “quit worrying about it.” That’s not always easy to do, is it?

Here’s another little word with a negative definition: Envy. Envy is a kind of jealousy. The dictionary defines it as the “resentful or unhappy feeling of wanting somebody else’s success, good fortune, qualities, or possessions.” We can envy someone else’s clothes, their looks, their friendships, their talents, or their achievements. For example, when a friend does well on an exam, instead of being happy for her, you feel jealous and you wish it could have been you instead. That’s envy.

The Bible says that we shouldn’t fret about or envy the apparent success of people who do wrong. Do you know someone who got rewarded for cheating? How did it make you feel? Did you fret and feel envious? Unfortunately, fretting and envy don’t change the situation, but they do make us miserable. That’s why the Bible says not to fret or envy. And although people who cheat to get ahead appear to be getting away with it, they’re losers in the long run.

Dear Lord, I admit I have both fretted and been envious. Please help me to be content with doing honest work and to trust you with the rest. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – You Are Worth More than Flowers

 

Matthew 6:30–33, The Message

Have you ever wandered deep into the woods and found a beautiful flower blooming there? Ever wondered who, besides you, will ever see that beautiful flower? Jesus talked about that. He said that God gives a flower so much beauty and detail and then he may put it in a place where no one ever sees it. Why? It is because God makes everything perfect whether or not anyone notices. Everything he makes has a purpose. You have a purpose. And he didn’t make any mistakes when he made you. Even if you sometimes feel like you are hidden in the woods where no one notices you, God has a purpose for your life.

Because you are his child, God will take care of all your needs. Jesus told the people of his time to stop worrying about everything. He told them that God knew they needed certain things to live. He said that if God dressed the flowers that are here today and gone tomorrow, God will certainly take care of his children—that includes you—who are much more important to him than flowers.

If you can understand that God loves you and wants to take care of you, life will be a lot easier. God knows what you need. God knows what your family needs. Count on the fact that God knows, and trust him.

Dear Lord, I know you love me and that you care about my needs. Help me to trust you to take care of me and my family. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids -In God’s Time

 

Genesis 21:2

Did you ever notice that God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry? Often it seems as if he waits until the last moment to answer our prayers. God had promised Abraham that he would make a great nation out of him, but Abraham had no children. How was he to become a great nation if he had no son? It was thirty years from the time God first promised Abraham a son until he held his little boy, Isaac. Later, Isaac’s son Jacob had twelve sons, and the children started multiplying. After many years they formed a nation—the nation of Israel.

What is your family praying about? Is there something you’ve waited and waited for? Don’t give up. Keep praying, and God will answer in his time, which is always perfect.

When Isaac was finally born, there was much happiness in Abraham and Sarah’s house. God’s promise was worth the wait. And it will be for you too. When Jesus finally answers your prayer, you’ll be smiling.

Dear Lord, I’m looking forward to that happy day when you answer my prayer. Amen.

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Night Songs

 

Psalm 77:6

Animals that are active at night rather than during the day are called nocturnal. For example, nightingales are birds that sing at night. That’s how they got their name. People aren’t like that: we’re awake and working while the sun shines, and we go to bed and sleep during the night.

Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night because you are worried about something? David, the man who wrote the psalm above, sometimes couldn’t sleep. While he was awake at night, he used the time to pray, sing, and think about God. In another place David says, “My eyes stay open through the watches of the night, that I may meditate on your promises” (Psalm 119:148). Instead of worrying about his problems, David took the time to think about God’s promises.

The next time you are lying awake, try singing a song from church. Or ask Mom or Dad to pray with you. Perhaps it would help just to remember that God said he would never leave you alone.

Dear Lord, Your promises are just as good in the night as they are in the daytime. Thank you for your love. Amen.

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids – No Stress

 

2 Corinthians 1:8–9

Today we call pressure stress. You hear many people talking about stress. Stress can be bad if all we do is worry. It can be good if it pushes us toward the only One who has answers for our stress—God our Father.

Once a stressful situation has passed, you come out of it with the ability to help other people. Think about the last time you had to study for a hard test. You probably felt pressure until you finished the test. But now when a friend talks about being stressed out about an exam, you know exactly how he or she feels.

Or do you remember a time when your mom got really sick or your dad traveled away for several weeks? Was it stressful for the rest of your family? But when the sickness or travel was over, you were relieved. Now, you can be understanding when others face a similar situation.

The most important thing to remember is that any time you face pressure, turn to God first. If you learn to rely on him, you will experience his peace and the stress won’t be as overwhelming. Then you will have a truly helpful answer to offer others—God’s strength.

Dear Lord, Everybody talks about being “stressed out.” I’m so glad you are the answer to all stressful situations. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Above the Clouds

 

Job 37:21

When you read a verse like the one above from Job, you may begin to wonder what was going on with Job and his friends to bring up such a conversation.

These guys said to Job, “Do you know how God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash? Do you know how the clouds hang poised?… Can you join him in spreading out the skies, hard as a mirror of cast bronze?… Now no one can look at the sun, bright as it is in the skies after the wind has swept them clean.” In other words, “Job, you don’t know enough to understand God’s ways.”

Then God answered Job (chapters 38–41; read it sometime—it’s beautiful). God said that he is the one who has created everything the way it is. God sees the sun even when to us it is covered by clouds. Now Job knows he can hear from God. He can understand what God is doing in the world when he learns to consider that God’s perspective is so different from ours.

Do you want to hear from God and see his bigger perspective? You can if you will pray with all your heart and ask God to show you his plan and his way.

Dear Lord, I know you made everything, understand everything, yet you want to talk with me. You give me understanding. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids -Every Single Thing

 

Mark 9:23

Everything? Wow! That’s some promise, Jesus! The promise was given when a man brought his son to Jesus. The boy had an evil spirit living inside him. It made the boy do strange and sometimes dangerous things. The father said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” That’s when Jesus answered with a question, “‘If you can’?” and then said, “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

So what do you want from Jesus? Would it be good to pray for something then add, “If it is your will”? That’s the hard part of knowing how to pray—are we praying the way God wants us to pray?

Understanding that Jesus can do everything is easy because God’s Word says it is true. But that doesn’t mean God will automatically do everything you ask. Even though he can, he may delay an answer—or do something else—to develop your faith. For example, God told Joseph that Joseph would rule in Egypt one day. But many years passed before God put Joseph on a throne. During that time, God tried Joseph’s soul but developed his faith.

The challenge for us is to believe God’s Word that says he can do anything, but then trust that if he doesn’t do what we ask, he is up to something else for our good.

Dear Lord, I believe it. You are the one who can do everything. I trust you and whatever answers you give me. Amen.

Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

 

As a young girl, one of my favorite bible stories was the epic encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. With David meets Goliath odds, Elijah faces off against 450 prophets of Baal in a contest pitting the God of Israel against the Canaanite god Baal. Which deity would answer the prayers of the respective prophets to consume the altar sacrifice?

This is an incident filled with dramatic tension and awesome displays of power. The Lord answers Elijah with fire from heaven that not only consumes the sacrifice, but also licks up every last drop of water poured out from not one, but four pitchers of water. The story ends with the destruction of the prophets of Baal and the peoples’ declaration that the Lord is God.

Now, as a grownup, I still love this story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal, but not for the reasons I loved it as a young girl. Instead, I love what seems to be an anti-climactic postscript to the story. Despite seeing the glory and power of God on display in such dramatic fashion, and winning a great victory, Elijah falls into what could likely be called depression. Threatened by Queen Jezebel, he runs for his life into the wilderness. There, under a lone broom tree, he prays to God to take his life, not once but two times. As one commentator notes, “Those who have suffered mental anguish in their lives know all too well the depths to which Elijah has descended. He (and they) has entered the deep spots in the psychological ocean, and then has found a narrow slit in the ocean floor, a Marianas Trench of the soul, where he descends further still into the inky abyss. All he can think of is his desire to die.”(2)

As one reading this story, this is a surprising turn of events. How could Elijah feel this way? After all, didn’t he just see God mightily answer his prayer? One might expect a God who would reproach Elijah for feeling so badly, for his lack of faith, for his despair. And yet, the narrative offers no exhortation or chastening. Instead, an angelic messenger is touching Elijah, urging him to eat bread and water prepared for him by a heavenly servant. Indeed, the angel comes again and feeds Elijah a second time urging him: “Arise, eat for the journey is too great for you.”

Given God’s firey display from heaven in the encounter with the prophets of Baal, the reader might expect another dramatic display from God. And indeed, as Elijah waits on Mount Horeb, the Mountain of God, he experiences a strong wind, and a mighty earthquake, and then a consuming fire. But with each of these cataclysms the narrator repeats a refrain: The Lord was not in the wind, or the earthquake or the fire. Instead, the Lord comes to Elijah in a gentle blowing. God meets Elijah at the very place of his despair, not with correction or reprimand, not with a “buck up and get going” or a “keep your chin up” but with a grace as gentle as a soft breeze.

Like Elijah, there may be days when we feel at the height of heights, assured of all answers, victorious in our daily battles, maybe even confident of God’s saving activity all around. But there are also days when we need permission to feel badly. Despair is our only friend and the obstacles and challenges of life conspire against faith, hope, and love. It is deeply encouraging to see that, even in this place, God draws near with gentleness.

The gentleness of God on display in Elijah’s dark depression is the same God sung about in one of Israel’s ancient psalms:

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I make my bed in the nether world,
behold you are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
even there your hand will lead me and your right hand will lay hold of me.

Continue reading Ravi Zacharias Ministry – Space for Sorrow

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Shout for Joy

 

Isaiah 24:15, The Message

When your favorite team wins a huge victory, you just can’t help shouting for joy. When you are given an important award, you jump up and down in happiness. When you get a gift you have been wanting for a long time, you want to tell all your friends about it. You want to broadcast the good news.

When we take the time to think about all God has done for us, there is so much good stuff that we could certainly shout for joy about it. What has God done for you that could make you jump for joy? Has he healed a grandparent from a scary illness? Has he given your mom or dad a job or a better job? Has he helped you improve your grades or your basketball game when you prayed and asked him?

Even if he hasn’t done any of those things for you, he has made a way for you to go to heaven with him. Also remember that in tough situations, God is doing good things. He loves you even when you act ugly. When you are sick, he may use it to help you rest or to encourage someone else who is ill. Maybe you don’t feel like yelling out loud to God in all situations, but look for reasons to praise him. Something about giving thanks and praise to God out loud makes us feel better.

Dear Lord, As the writer of Isaiah said, “All praise to the Righteous One!” You are my God, and you are mighty. Thank you for loving me. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Diamonds in the Making

 

2 Corinthians 7:5

Carbon is a soft natural material, but it is also the raw material from which diamonds—the hardest substance on earth—are made. How does that happen? Diamonds are formed 75 to 120 miles below the earth’s surface. When carbon buried deep in the earth is put under extreme pressure, and when the temperature is at least 192 degrees Fahrenheit, the carbon changes into diamonds. Scientists discovered that there have been only three times during Earth’s history when diamonds were made, and the planet no longer makes diamonds as it once did. Diamonds are highly valued as jewelry. Maybe your mother or father has a diamond ring. Diamonds are also valued in industry. A diamond saw blade will cut through almost anything.

In the Scripture verse for today, the Apostle Paul describes being harassed, or troubled, on every side. He was under extreme pressure, but God used that pressure to change Paul from an ordinary person into an extraordinary man of God. And God can do the same thing for us. When we feel like everything is pushing on us so hard we cannot stand it, it could be that God is changing us from soft material into a beautiful diamond that he can use.

Dear Lord, I hate to be under pressure. Help me to understand, though, that you can use my troubles to create something new and beautiful in my heart. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids   A-Mazed

 

Ecclesiastes 7:13

Have you ever been in a maze—the real kind that’s made out of hedges and paths? There’s one at a palace in England called Chatsworth House. It is a very complicated maze. Every hedge is the same height so there are no identifying features to help you even go back the way you went in.

It could be frightening to get into a maze and not be able to find your way out. Life is like that sometimes. We find ourselves in situations where we don’t know where to turn, and when we do make a choice of which way to go, it ends up being the wrong way. It’s scary when our situation gets worse and worse. But there is someone who knows every turn, every path of our life. Jesus is that someone, and he came to guide us through life. When you are confused and don’t know which way to turn or which decision is best, you can rely on Jesus to lead you. Isn’t a relief to know you don’t have to make decisions on your own? Ask for his guidance and wait patiently for him to show you the way out of your problems.

Dear Lord, Sometimes I really get mixed up when I’m trying to make decisions about my life. Please guide me and help me to listen for your voice telling me the right way to go. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Be Patient!

 

Psalm 37:7

When we read the Bible, it seems like miracles happened every day, but it wasn’t really that way. In the Old Testament, for example, God performed amazing miracles when he freed his people from slavery in Egypt. First there were ten plagues to convince Pharaoh to let God’s people go. Then, when Pharaoh sent his army after the slaves, God parted the Red Sea so his people could escape from the Egyptian soldiers. And if that weren’t miracle enough, God closed the sea at just the right time so the entire army drowned!

That’s a lot of miracles one right after the other, but God’s people had waited four hundred years for these miracles to begin. For four hundred years they were slaves and held onto God’s promise that they would one day be free to go to their Promised Land. Four hundred years is nearly twice as long as the United States has existed as a country. It’s a long, long time.

Not many people like to wait; and they especially don’t like to wait a long time for something they really want. How about you? Do you get impatient when the Internet connection isn’t fast enough or when the microwave seems to take too long? It can be even harder when God is the one we’re waiting for, hoping he will do something.

What do you wish God would do for you? Are you praying about it? Are you waiting for an answer? God knows what you need better than you do. He cares about you. Patience helps us wait quietly knowing God is going to give us exactly what we need.

Dear Lord, I have a hard time waiting. I know you have plans that are much bigger than anything I can think of. Help me to wait patiently for you to answer my prayer. Amen.

Streams in the Desert for Kids – Help Me!

 

Matthew 15:22–23

A man once had a dream about Jesus who came upon three young men. As he came to the first of the three, he bent down to talk with him and smiled. He even gave a quick hug. Then he came to the second. He only put his hand on the young man’s head and gave him a quick look. Then he came to the third young man. This time he just walked right past and didn’t do or say anything.

Those who were watching wondered what that third young man had done to cause Jesus to ignore him. So they asked Jesus why he treated each young man so differently. Jesus said, “The first young man is a new Christian and he needs all the help I can give him. I wanted to encourage him, so I spent time with him. The second young man is a little stronger and loves me a little more. I can trust him and so I didn’t spend as much time with him. I was not ignoring the third young man. I love him very much and I’m training him for a very important role in life. I want him to be able to trust me even when it seems I’m not paying attention. It’s important for what I want him to do.”

When you pray and it seems like your prayers are being ignored, know that God hears you. God’s silence isn’t anger or disapproval. In fact, he loves you very much and it could be that he is training you to trust him even when it feels like he’s not paying attention. Perhaps he is preparing you for a greater role than you ever imagined.

Dear Lord, I still have a lot to learn about trusting you. Help me to believe you are at work no matter what I see. Amen.

 

 

 

Streams in the Desert for Kids – They Didn’t Even Get Their Feet Wet!

 

Psalm 66:1-2, 6

The Bible is full of stories about how God helped his people when they faced impossible obstacles. When God parted both the Jordan River and the Red Sea so his people could cross over, the pathway through was completely dry. They didn’t even get their sandals wet. When Jonah was thrown overboard, God sent the big fish to save him from drowning and get him to dry land. When Naaman faced a debilitating disease, God told his prophet Elisha how Naaman could be miraculously healed in the Jordan River.

Our God is one of miracles and grand gestures of love. Because he loved us first, we are privileged to love him back, even when facing big problems—especially when facing big problems. In the Bible, Job faced exceptional pain and tragedy when he lost his home, his possessions, his health, and, worst of all, his family. And yet in his grief, he demonstrated love for the Lord who loved him first. “At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said … ‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised’” (Job 1:20–21). The same God who chose to save his people with miracles didn’t spare Job from his pain. But God still delighted in Job. And Job still rejoiced in God. Their relationship was deep and it helped Job face his tragedy.

Dear Lord, I don’t know when I’ll have to face something really hard. What I do know is that you go ahead of me and make it possible for me to pass through hardship. Thank you for loving me that much, Father. Amen