Sparrow Coloring Pages

Read the story that accompanies these coloring pages in the book “Bible Stories: God’s Love“.

To download these pages, right click on an image and select “save as…”

Sparrow bible verse coloring pageSparrow coloring page for children 2

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Zero Credits, Full Benefits

children's story zero credits full benefits

Elsa Sichrovsky

As a college freshman, one of the things I disliked the most was required, zero-credit Physical Education (PE) classes. At my university, undergraduate students were required to take four consecutive semesters of PE. I hated the feeling of working for nothing.

In addition, I was truly out of my element at PE. My first course was an elementary badminton class. My teacher smiled at my first shots, and I sensed the smile was one of humor rather than admiration. I would have much rather spent the time poring over a textbook or writing reports, instead of sweating as I tried to master basic maneuvers most of the other students were adept at.

That year, I was bemoaning my plight to a friend of mine, a woman who’d never had the chance to go to college. When she heard my groaning, she blurted out, “Why are you complaining? Many people have to pay lots of money to learn badminton with a professional coach! And you can do it every week as part of your studies? I’m envious!”

I just stared at her, too shocked to come up with a response. To her, the PE course, which was the bane of my college life, was a special boon that she envied! I realized I could go on childishly whining through my two years of PE, or I could get off my proverbial sofa in the library and build some muscles. Rather than focusing on the fact that I was not going to get any credit for those courses, I could focus on the fact that PE class gave me the opportunity to learn a sport from a professional.

zero 2My friend’s remark prompted me to examine my responses to other unappealing aspects of college life—the cafeteria menu, my professors’ evaluation systems, the early-morning exams—and I found, to my embarrassment, that my complaints stemmed from a deeper lack of trust in God’s love for me and His perfect wisdom. I couldn’t apply Paul’s admonition to “Give thanks in all circumstances” until I learned to see every annoyance as a jewel of God’s love in disguise.

By the end of the semester, I had not only picked up basic badminton skills, I had also improved my hand-eye coordination and physical endurance in general. Most importantly, I had become more conscious of the times when I get stuck on unattractive wrapping and miss the gift. As the German poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said, “It is not doing the thing we like to do, but liking the thing we have to do, that makes life blessed.”


Images designed by Freepik. Story courtesy of Activated magazine; used by permission.

Free Ebook: Farmyard Heroes

Farmyard Heroes free ebook epub mobi for childrenClick here to download the free ebook (epub/mobi)

Jenny the baby chick wanted more action and adventure in her life, but she could not have guessed how suddenly her world was about to change! Discover how she and her friends were about to become Farmyard Heroes.

 

A Spiritual Exercise: Past and Future

New Year Activity for children

The New Year is a great time to take stock of the past year and set goals for the next. Here’s a spiritual exercise to that end.

Begin by lighting a large candle, which represents Jesus, the light of the world. Read and think about these verses from the Bible:

“I [Jesus] am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

“You will light my lamp; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28)

Use the big candle to light the small candle, representing you.

Take a few minutes to reflect on the past year. Take into consideration these three areas of your life: your studies, your home life and relationships with family and friends, and your personal life.

What in the past year, in each of those areas, are you most thankful for? You might have many things in each area. Thank God for them. You may want to jot them down for future reference.

Then take a few more minutes to reflect on the coming year. In terms of those three areas of your life, what are your prayers or aspirations for the coming year? Write those things down, either as a personal prayer or in point form, so you will have them to refer to as the year progresses and be reminded to thank God as He answers your prayers.

With a few simple modifications, this exercise can also be done with family or friends:

Light the large candle, read the Bible verses aloud, and briefly discuss them.

Take a few minutes for everyone to think about and write down the things they are most thankful for from the past year, then a few more minutes for everyone to formulate their prayer for the coming year. (Or with advance notice, everyone can prepare their list ahead of time and take as much time for reflection as they like.)

Then, as you go around your circle, each person lights their small candle and reads or explains to the others what they are most thankful for in the past year and what their prayer is for the new one.


Image designed by Freepik. Text adapted from Activated magazine; used by permission.

Joyeux Noël

joyeux-noel-christmas-carolJoyeux Noël retells the story of a well-documented event that occurred on a battlefield in France on Christmas Eve, 1914.

One engagement of the Great War (WWI) involved some 3,000 soldiers from the Scottish, French, and German armies. On Christmas Eve, the German side began to sing “Silent Night.” The Scots answered with a bagpipe accompaniment, and soon all three sides were singing the same song in unison from their trenches 100 meters apart. Imagine them singing together, in three languages, from the same trenches where a few hours earlier they had been killing one another. What a contrast!

Coaxed into peace by the warmth of this universally loved song, the warring sides ventured out of their trenches and agreed on an unofficial truce. In some places along the line, the Christmas truce lasted for ten days. Enemies exchanged photos, addresses, chocolate, champagne, and other small gifts. They discovered that they had more in common than they realized, including a cat that wandered from side to side and made friends with everyone, which both sides claimed as their mascot.

The erstwhile enemies communicated as best they could in each other’s language. The German commander, Horstmayer, said to French Lieutenant Audebert, “When we take Paris, it will all be over. Then you can invite me up for a drink at your house in Rue Vavin!” “Don’t feel that you have to invade Paris to get a drink at my house,” Audebert replied.

joy1lrgThe friendship that was forged between the warring sides went beyond mere pleasantries. The morning after the Christmas truce ended, each side warned the other of artillery shelling that they knew was coming from their artillery units. Their newfound sense of camaraderie was so strong that each side even sheltered soldiers from the opposing side in their trenches to keep them from harm.

What brought about this incredible transformation? It all started with a shared love of Christmas music.

This incident reminds us that there is a cure to war, and that is to stop demonizing our enemies and learn to love them, as Jesus enjoined us to do (Matthew 5:44). Everyone needs to love and be loved. If we would each make an effort to get to know others with whom we seem to have little in common, we just might find, as the soldiers on that battlefield did, that we have quite a bit more in common than we realized.


Text adapted from Activated magazine. Used by permission. Images from the movie Joyeux Noel (2005) directed by Christian Carion. Used under Free Use guidelines.