September 26, 2007

Hope in the Promises of Jesus

A Note to Parents and Teachers
In today’s world of uncertainties, threats of war and destruction, and fear of terrorism, children desperately need hope. Many suffer hunger, loneliness, and pain. Many are searching for peace, love, and security. Jesus is their only source of peace and hope.

The words of Jesus in John 14:1-3 provide our children with the wonderful hope of a bright future. Parents, teachers, and every member in the church need to share these promises with children. We need to help children find hope in Jesus. Let’s live our lives in a way that shows forth this hope.

These readings will emphasize through stories, illustrations, activities, and application the importance of trusting God’s promises of hope. For a start, try the following ideas with your children:

1. Develop promise cards for children. Ask each child to find at least 10 promises in the Bible and write them on cards approximately 3 x 2 inches (or on typing paper cut in half three times). The older children copy their promises each on a different card or paper; nonreaders draw something illustrating the promise. Encourage them to give the cards to a neighbor or to their friends at school, sharing the promise and the hope it gives them. Psalms 23, 37, 91, 121, Isaiah 43, and John 14 contain promises that are easy for children to find.

2. Start a thank-you prayer book and have the children write a short thank-you prayer to God for promises they find.
First Sabbath
Caught in the Storm

Memory Gem
“Do not be afraid. I am with you. Do not be terrified. I am your God” (Isa. 41:10, NIrV).*

Ask the children if they have ever been fishing or seen people fishing. Let them tell you what they know about fishing and fishing boats. Have the children share briefly some of their experiences. Then ask, “What are some of the dangers of fishing?”

Something went very wrong when Alice went ocean fishing with her dad. See if you can figure out why she was able to stay calm.

 “Oh, my line is pulling! I’ve got a fish, Dad!” Alice shouted excitedly.

 “Hold on tight and don’t let go,” Dad instructed Alice as he moved closer to grab her rod. “Wow! What a catch! It’s a lingcod!” Dad exclaimed as he opened the fish’s mouth to remove the hook.

 “The fish are really biting today!” Alice squealed. “May we go farther out for some of those nice pink salmon, Dad?”

“You’re getting hooked on fishing, eh?” Dad teased as he tossed the fish into the cooler box.

2007 1527 page23Indeed, it had been a great day for fishing. Father and daughter had started out very early that Sunday morning, hoping to bring in a great catch by the end of the day. Soon the little fishing boat was moving farther out to sea in search of Alice’s pink salmon.

As Alice and her dad were putting away their lunch boxes, Dad noticed some dark clouds in the sky.

“I hope it’s not a storm,” Dad sighed. “Maybe we should head on home, just in case. We’ll get our pink salmon another time.”

Alice was listening for the steady put-put of the starting engine but instead the engine sputtered, and her dad cried out, “Oh, no! We’re out of gasoline! I forgot the two gas cans we bought!”

“What should we do? Will we make it home?” Alice fought to stay calm.

“I’ll call the coast guard for help,” Dad said with some assurance as he fiddled with the boat’s radio. “Mayday! 
Mayday! Sting Ray calling!” He repeated the call for help three times, but there was no response from the coast guard.

By then, dark clouds began hovering over the boat, and the waves were becoming choppier. Fear tightened Alice’s chest. The wind was growing stronger and stronger. Her heart beat fast as thoughts of her mom; her dog, Rover; and her sister, Lillian, popped into her head.

“I’m scared, Dad,” she sobbed, curling herself close to her dad. “Are we going to die?”

“Don’t worry, my girl. Jesus will take care of us,” Dad assured Alice. “Let’s pray to Him right now.” And they cuddled together under the canvas sheet, praying for God’s help.

Alice felt better after they prayed. She knew in her heart that God was present because she felt a sudden calm in her heart. It seemed like hours that the howling winds tossed the little boat to and fro in the stormy sea when a foghorn blew loudly in front of the little boat. Dad threw back the canvas and jumped up.
 “Help! Help!” he yelled loudly, frantically waving a red towel.
The cargo boat responded to Dad’s call for help and towed their little boat back to safety. Dad vowed never again to be so careless loading the boat.

Remember the disciples who went with Jesus in a boat one evening? When they were sailing to the other side of the lake, a wild storm started. You can read the story in Luke 8. Jesus was sleeping, and the boat was about to sink. The terrified disciples woke Him up. They couldn’t figure out how He could sleep in such a wild storm. Jesus just stood up in that rocking boat, raised His arms, and commanded the winds to be still. He then turned to His disciples and asked, “Why are you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith at all yet?” (Mark 4:40). The truth is that the disciples had forgotten Jesus was with them in the boat; they thought it was just the storm and them. But it is never just we and the storm. Jesus is always there with us.

Jesus was present with the disciples through many storms when He was on earth. He was their source of peace. He calmed their fears. And after Jesus went back to heaven, He did not leave them alone. He promised, “I will ask the Father. And he will give you another Friend to help you and to be with you forever. The Friend is the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16, 17).

When Jesus lives in our hearts by His Spirit, we need not fear. The Bible says, “Turn all your worries over to him. He cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7). That’s what Alice and her dad did when their fishing boat was in that storm.

Think for a moment: What is your storm—the thing you are most afraid of? The dark? Or the ocean? Big dogs or bullies? Being alone or getting lost? Or are you scared of sharing Jesus with someone else? Talking to God about your fear always helps. Somebody wisely has said: “Don’t tell God how big your storm is; tell the storm how big your God is.”

It is OK for boys and girls to be afraid, but God does not want us to stay afraid. Read 1 Peter 5:7; Luke 8:24, 25; John 14:1, 16. Learn Isaiah 41:10.

What advice would you give to a friend who is afraid? What verse or story might help them?

Learn the song “My God Is So Great!” and sing it to your friends when they are afraid. Yes, “our God is so great, so strong, and so mighty, there’s nothing our God cannot do.”
*Bible texts credited to NIrV are from the Holy Bible, New International Reader’s Version. Copyright © 1985, 1996, 1998 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

A Friend You Can Trust

Memory Gem
“When I’m afraid, I will trust in you. I trust in God” (Ps. 56:3, 4).

Ask everyone to find a partner. In each pair, the shortest child will be the guide and tie a handkerchief, scarf, or necktie to blindfold the partner. When the start signal is given, the guide leads the blindfolded partner on a walk around the room so they don’t bump into anything. After the blindfolds are in place, rearrange the furniture to make it harder. After one minute, the children switch places. After another minute, signal everyone to stop and return to their seats. Ask, “What happened when you were blindfolded? Did you trust your guide? Is it easy to trust? What if your guide is your best friend, does that make it easier to trust?”

Wheez! Boom! Boom! went the loud blast in the sky. Everyone was running for shelter from the loud explosions that shattered the homes of the little city of Singapore in 1942.

War had come, and Jin Ping did not understand what it was all about. Life had been happy and safe, but now everything changed. Fear gripped everyone; no one outside the family could be trusted anymore.

One night Jin Ping’s father woke him from a sound sleep.

“Get up, son! Get up! We have to get to the boat!” Father whispered urgently.

2007 1527 page23“What? Where?” Jin Ping stammered.

“Don’t ask questions. Just do as I say,” Father commanded.

Soon Father, Mother, Jin Ping, and his little sister walked briskly through some dark alleys, stopping and hiding each time a dark figure passed by.

“We have to meet Uncle Poh at Temple Street. He will take us to the boat,” Father explained in a whisper.

“Can you trust him?” Mother asked doubtfully.

 “He’s OK, an old friend of our family; we can trust Uncle Poh completely,” Father assured her.

 “Why don’t we pray before we begin? We want God to lead us to safety,” Mother suggested. The family prayed and started out.

After walking for a long time, the family finally came to Temple Street and found a little place to hide in. Father looked left and right, then at his watch again, and soon he sighted three figures walking toward their hiding place. Father was about to get up and go speak with them when he suddenly realized that the three men were enemy soldiers. They were not sent by Uncle Poh. Wow! What a relief that the family was not discovered by the enemy!

The family remained quiet under the shelter for almost two hours. Soon, Father spotted another figure coming toward them. This time he heard someone whispering, “Kok Hua, are you there?” Oh, yes, it was Uncle Poh! He was calling Father’s name. He had come to rescue them. They could trust him!

Uncle Poh led the family through several dark alleys before arriving at the riverbank. A little boat was waiting. They jumped in quickly while Father hugged Uncle Poh one more time. Soon, the boatman rowed the boat out to sea. After what seemed like days and nights of sailing and hiding, the family finally reached the little island of Pulau Pinang of Indonesia. It was indeed a narrow escape!

The disciples of Jesus were filled with fear and doubt when Jesus was arrested that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. They ran as fast as they could to escape arrest. They didn’t want to be associated with Jesus. They couldn’t trust anyone. Poor Peter! He was so scared to be recognized as one of the followers of Jesus that he denied Jesus three times. Each time he said, “I don’t know the man!” (Matt. 26:72). But Peter soon remembered Jesus’ words that He would be raised from the dead. This gave him hope to know that Jesus would rise again. Because he trusted in the words of his Lord, Peter went with the 10 other faithful disciples to a mountain in Galilee where Jesus had promised to meet them. And there Jesus commissioned them to tell the whole world of God’s love for them (Matt. 28:16-20).

Have the children make greeting cards decorated with the memory gem, Psalm 56:3, 4. Encourage them to share the cards with some children in the hospital or orphanage or with a neighbor who does not know Jesus.

1. What does it mean to trust someone?

2. Reading your Bible and praying every day grows your friendship with Jesus. What does friendship have to do with trusting? [Answer: It’s easier to trust a friend.]

3. Can you think of any time in your life when you had to trust God in a difficult situation? Tell the class about it.

4. If someone said to you, “I am not sure if Jesus is really coming back again,” what Bible text can you use to help the individual trust Jesus? Read John 14:1-3.

Take-Home Activity
On a separate sheet of paper decode this cryptogram to find out what God can do if you trust Him.
A Mix-and-Match Family

Memory Gem
“‘I will be your Father. You will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord who rules over all” (2 Cor. 6:18).

Put up six to eight large pictures of multicultural families with children. Give the children time to observe the pictures. Ask: What are some similarities you see in all these families? What are some differences? What if family members look different? Is it still a family?

“Guess what, Carlos? We are going to bring home another baby sister,” Papa said excitedly.

“Really, Papa! Can I hold her this time?” Carlos asked eagerly.

“Oh, yes you may. You are going to come with us to the Children’s Home for little Chwee Li,” Papa assured Carlos.
The hours of waiting seemed unusually long for Carlos and his five brothers and sisters. But the time finally arrived. 
All six children filed into the old van with great excitement. Just think, another sister to play with!

2007 1527 page23Soon Mama uncovered the bundle in her arms to show the children the additional member of the family. There were wows and oohs! Excitement was in the air!

“Look at her eyes; they are so small. Can she see through those narrow eyelids?” Carlos asked with a puzzled look on his face.

"I have big, round eyes,” remarked 6-year-old Akeela.

“You are from Africa, but Chwee Li is from China,” Mama explained to the children. “Many Chinese babies have slanted eyes. God likes them that way; it’s another kind of pretty.”

“Why isn’t her skin black and shiny like mine?” asked Shackie as he touched the little baby’s hand.

“Mama, at school they call us the mix-match kids. Are we strange?” Junie asked curiously.

“Oh, no!” Mama exclaimed, her eyes lighting up. “You are each special to us. God gave you to Papa and me!”

“We have no children of our own,” Papa added as he held Akeela close, “so we looked for a special child to join our family.”

“We found Carlos first, and then we saw Junie, Akeela, Shackie, Ohnma, and Rachel. We just couldn’t say no. You may be from Africa, Philippines, or Myanmar, but God chose each of you for Papa and me, and we love you all.” Mama smiled as she hugged her six children.

 “Our family is different, eh? Red and Yellow, Black and White,” Carlos said contentedly. “I don’t mind that.”

 “I guess it’s OK to be a mix-and-match family. We are special!” Shackie chuckled.

Just think—you and I also belong to a special family—God’s family. In the beginning God created the whole universe (Genesis 1). Tonight look up at the sky and see all the stars and galaxies that He created, and think of God’s family, spread out throughout the universe, and know that you and I are part of one huge mix-and-match family.

The apostle Paul says, “He wanted us to be adopted as children with all the rights children have. . . . Because you are his children, he gives you what he promised to give his people” (Gal. 4:5, 7). Wow! When we choose Jesus, we inherit everything that God has for us.

John the apostle promised: “How great is the love the Father has given us so freely! Now we can be called children of God” (1 John 3:1). And Jesus promises: “There are many rooms in my Father’s house” (John 14:2), one for each of His children. Each person is important to Him—as if we were the only one.

Make a list of fun things you want to do when you live in God’s house. What would you like to explore? Where would you like to go? And who do you most want to be with? What will you tell your friends they must do so they can live in God’s house? I hope you would say that they only have to accept Jesus as their best Friend and love Him with all their heart.

1. God adopts us into His family when we accept Him. What are some things adopted children do to show their love and appreciation to their adopted family?

2. What in this lesson can you share to cheer up a child who lives in an unhappy family or feels lonely, unwanted, or unimportant?

Learn the song “I’m So Glad I’m a Part of the Family of God.” Illustrate the song with pictures of different people who are members of God’s family and ask your Sabbath school teacher or school teacher if you can share it with the rest of the children in your class.


Dependable Captain

Memory Gem
“Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The One who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23).

How many of you have been skydiving? Who would like to explain what skydiving is? If I were brave enough to try skydiving, what kind of instructor would you advise me to get? How important is it that my instructor be dependable?

The clear blue sky ushered in an excellent day for skydiving. Jason had looked forward to this day with great anticipation. Today he and his buddies, Bryant and Kumar, would be trying out the daring stunt of diving from the sky. That had been Jason’s dream since he was 7!

Can you imagine falling from more than 10,000 feet up? Jason had to admit that the idea was still a little scary. But nothing could deter the three from this breathtaking experience. So at the appointed time, they arrived at the McDowell Skydiving Center and met their instructors, Captain Lee, John Drury, and Mary Thomas.

“Men, today you can experience the thrill of a fall from 13,500 feet on your very first jump,” Captain Lee stated.

“Wow! That’s quite a fall!” Jason exclaimed uneasily.

“But, Captain, we don’t have any experience at all. It’s our first time,” Kumar reminded.

2007 1527 page23“Don’t worry; I’ll be with you,” Captain Lee said to Jason with a twinkle in his eyes. “You can count on me!”

“Hey, guys, for all first-timers, you are allowed to try only the tandem dive,” Mary Thomas announced. Tandem skydiving meant that they would be attached to an instructor by a strong strap. The instructor would help handle the parachute and other equipment. After receiving 30 minutes of training, Jason, Bryant, and Kumar geared up and boarded a plane that would carry them and 10 others up into the sky. The view from the plane was breathtaking. Jason watched the experienced jumpers prepare for their jump. Way too soon Jason felt a jostle on his arm.

“Come on; it’s our turn,” Captain Lee yelled, helping Jason to his feet.

“OK! I’m ready, but be sure to hold me close,” Jason yelled back nervously.

“Ready, one, two, jump,” shouted Captain Lee, and he and Jason jumped out of the airplane.
“Oh, I’m feeling dizzy,” Jason groaned. “I am dropping too fast!”
“I’m right above you, Jason. You can count on me!” Captain Lee responded, “Just relax and look around you. Look at the beautiful sky!”

Captain Lee came closer to Jason and held his two hands, slowly stretching them out to feel the wind and the thrill of the fall. Each time Jason called out for help, Captain Lee was always close by to help him. Indeed, Captain Lee proved a very dependable teacher.
Gradually, Jason relaxed and began to enjoy the dive. After what seemed like a long fall, the parachute opened up and together they dropped safely down to the ground. Cheers and claps went up from the crowd of people watching.

“Thanks, Cap. You were wonderful—a dependable teacher!” Jason exclaimed. “I don’t mind how many times I try it again with you as instructor.”

We are not going skydiving, exactly, but we have a dependable Friend who promises to take us out through space on the way to heaven. Jesus is not only totally reliable, but He loves us so much that He willingly died for us so we could take this space trip. God showed prophets thousands of years ago that He would send His Son to save men and women, boys and girls from sin. “But then the right time came. God sent his Son” (Gal. 4:4). God kept His word. We can depend on Him. No wonder King David exclaimed, “Lord, your word lasts forever. It stands firm in the heavens” (Ps. 119:89).

Jesus’ promises are always reliable. He delivers on His promises. Before He went back to heaven, He told the disciples not to be discouraged because “I will send the Friend to you from the Father. He is the Spirit of truth, who comes out from the Father. When the Friend comes to help you, he will give witness about me” (John 15:26).
Just as Jesus promised, at Pentecost when the disciples were gathered in one place, suddenly “all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. They began to speak in languages they had not known before. The Spirit gave them the ability to do this” (Acts 2:4).

Yes, Jesus promises us, “I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back” (John 14:2, 3). He will come back, and we want to be ready to meet Him.

Ask your students how the following Bible promises have been true for them and encourage them to tell about specific incidents if they can. [Be prepared to tell of your experiences to get them started.]

1. 1 John 1:7—If we “walk in the light” from Jesus, we will “share life with one another.”

2. 1 John 1:9—“If we admit that we have sinned, he will forgive us our sins. He will forgive every wrong thing we have done.”

3. Psalm 23:1, 6—“The Lord is my Shepherd. He gives me everything I need.” Or “I am sure that your love will follow me all the days of my life.” You can depend on all the Bible promises because “the One who promised is faithful” (Heb. 10:23). Repeat the memory gem together.

God wants us to tell others how reliable and dependable a friend Jesus has been to us. So choose a partner and practice telling them about how reliable you have found Jesus.

Play the riddle game by identifying the following dependable individuals in the Bible.

1. Moses depended on the spies to bring back a good report. Which two proved dependable?

2. The Jews depended on this brave queen to request the king to save them from their enemies. What was her name?

3. This dependable young man went from prison to be governor of Egypt.

4. This dependable girl was babysitter to a child who slept in a little boat on the water.

5. This dependable young man was a friend to the apostle Paul. (There may be more than one name.) If time allows, have the children make up their own riddles to ask the class.


A Brand-new Home

Memory Gem
“I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me” (John 14:2, 3).

Divide the children into groups of four. Give each group poster-size paper and a marker so they can list items they would want in their new home if they had to move overseas.

There was going to be a big change in the country. Everyone was talking about a new army that was taking over the government of their country.

The Acosta family decided that they should get out of the country before it was too late. They decided Father should cross the border ahead of the family and look for a job and a good place for his wife and two sons to live.

“Goodbye, Papa,” Pedro and Juan cried as they gave their father one last hug before he boarded the bus. “Do come for us quickly.”

2007 1527 page23“I will, boys. Take care of your mama,” Father replied with sadness in his voice.

Days soon turned into months, and every day Pedro and Juan waited anxiously for a letter or message from their father. Had he found a job yet? Had he found a place for them to stay?

After what seemed like years, finally someone came to the house with a letter from Father. Mama read every word of the letter carefully to the boys.

“Good news! Papa has found a place for us. He is fixing it up and making it nice for us,” Mama explained happily.

“Oh, great! When will we get to move?” Juan asked excitedly.

“Can we pack our things right away?” Pedro wanted to know.

“Good idea! But pack only the necessary things; we must travel light,” Mama reminded them.

Another week went by, and still there was no sign of moving. Pedro was beginning to lose his patience.

“Why is Papa taking so long? Has he forgotten us?” Juan complained.

“Son, stop complaining. Papa promised to prepare a nice place for us, and he will keep his word,” Mama reminded Juan.

Finally, after another week, word came from Papa that the family could move. Hoorah! The boys were ready to start out immediately. After days of riding on the bus and walking through dusty roads they arrived safely across the border. Papa was waiting for them!

“Papa, we love our new home!” Pedro exclaimed joyfully. “No wonder you took so long to prepare it for us.”

Jesus told His disciples that He was going to prepare a nice home for them, too. This is a place for everyone who loves Him and who wants to live with Him. In that special place you can lie beside the lions, and they will not harm you (Isa. 11:6). Won’t it be exciting to pet a lion or a leopard?

God has a place for you in His plan. He reminds us: “Before I formed you in your mother’s body I chose you” (Jer. 1:5).

Make some nice cards and draw pictures of that special, unique home that Jesus has gone to prepare. Share this promise with three friends who do not know Jesus.

1. What do you think Jesus is doing now that He went ahead of us to the Father?

2. What kind of extra special place is Jesus preparing for you? Look in Revelation 21 and 22 to answer this question.

3. How can you prepare to go to this special home? Stay close to Jesus through prayer and reading your Bible. Ask Him to help you tell others about Him.

Make up a poem about this “special home” and ask your Sabbath school teacher to let you share it with your friends in the class.


A Glorious Coronation

Memory Gem
“I looked, and there in front of me was a white cloud. Sitting on the cloud was One who looked ‘like a son of man.’ He wore a gold crown on his head” (Rev. 14:14).

Show the children pictures of kings, queens, princesses—royalty of different countries. Ask, “What makes a king or queen different from other people?” Kings and queens first get to wear their crowns at a special service called a coronation.

“Wake up! Wake up! You sleepyhead!” Mother called as she tried to pull down the sheet covering Ravi.

“Mmm, I’m tired,” Ravi sighed.

“Hurry and get up or you’ll miss the big show,” Mother urged.

“Maybe we should leave him to sleep on,” suggested big sister Premila [PREM-il-a]. “He doesn’t want to see the queen crowned.”

2007 1527 page23“OK! I’m ready to see the queen!” Ravi jumped up instantly awake.

This was an exciting day for everyone in Singapore in 1953; a pretty, young queen would be crowned. And the coronation ceremony would be seen on television for the first time across the world. You see, black-and-white television had just become available on the island, and not many homes could afford it yet. But fortunately for the Jeyakumar [JIGH-ya-koo-MAR] family, they had one small 14-inch television.

“It’s starting now, so you’d better come or you’ll miss it, Ravi,” Father called out excitedly.

“Wow, look at that carriage!” Ravi exclaimed. “I would love to ride in it.”

“Look! Here comes the young queen!” Premila added. “Isn’t she pretty?”

“Just look at her gown! Oh, I like that beautiful long cape!” Mother exclaimed.

It seemed like a long wait before the best moment of the ceremony arrived. Ravi was getting weary.

“When are they going to put the crown on her? Why so many prayers and speeches?” Ravi sighed.

“Just be patient,” cautioned Father. “Hey, look, the archbishop is getting the crown ready, and he is lifting it up now.”

The glorious moment came when the crown, with hundreds of glittering jewels, was placed on the head of the new queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. What a grand, majestic ceremony! Ravi and Premila would never forget it!

We will see the crowning of the King of kings, Jesus Christ, coming back in glory for all of us who love Him. He came as a defenseless little baby, and “has been tempted in every way, just as we are,” but without doing any wrong (Heb. 4:15). Paul tells us: “He will also come a second time. At that time he will not suffer for sin. Instead, he will come to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him” (Heb. 9:28).

Our friend, Jesus Christ, will come for us in glory. He is not just the crowned King. The name written on his robe and thigh is “The greatest king of all and the most powerful lord of all” (Rev. 19:16).
And much more! John saw it in a vision and describes it for us: “The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses. They were dressed in fine linen, white and clean” (Rev. 19:14). Can you imagine the powerful angels that will accompany Him as He travels to our little world? He comes to defeat the forces of Satan that are threatening His people. He is our crowned King!

Ask the children, “Can you describe how Jesus will come in glory? Will He come with bright lights?” Draw a picture of this scene and share it with a friend.

1. How can you be certain of Jesus’ promise to come back for you? Can you find some promises in the Bible?

2. How can you prepare yourself to meet Jesus, the King of kings?

3. How would you feel if you saw an army of angels coming with Jesus? Remember, they are coming for God’s people; they are coming for you. So how does that make you feel?

Have children cut some colored paper into 2 x 6-inch [4 x 10-centimeter] strips. On each strip of paper write down one Bible promise about Jesus’ return. Join everyone’s colored strips and form them into a long chain. Hang it in your room to remind you of Jesus’ promise that He will come back as the King of kings.


A Splendid Reunion

Memory Gem
 “‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking at the sky? Jesus has been taken away from you into heaven. But he will come back in the same way you saw him go’” (Acts 1:11).

Show some pictures or a short video clip of a wedding, a birthday celebration, or a family reunion. Ask, “Why are reunions so exciting and fun? What do you do when you get together for a family reunion?”

It was Grandpa’s eightieth birthday. Everyone was up bright and early to prepare for the big celebration. Mom and all her sisters were already busy in the kitchen. Uncles and aunts were already arriving. Rene, Bruce, Cheryl, and other cousins were coming too. What an exciting day!

2007 1527 page23Yolanda had looked forward to this special family reunion when she could show off her new tree house to her cousins. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a tea party up there?

“Hey, guys! Great to see you,” Yolanda said happily as she hugged Cheryl and Bruce, who had just arrived.

 “Oh, there are Rene and Kitty,” added Yolanda.

 “Guess what!” Yolanda exclaimed with a twinkle in her eye. “Dad built me a tree house. Let me show you.” All six cousins had so much fun up in the tree house that they preferred to stay there rather than join the adult party in the garden. But it was Grandpa’s birthday, and everyone was to celebrate with him. Besides, there was a huge, delicious birthday cake. All the kids got to help blow the candles out. The party finally ended at 11:00 at night. Yolanda thought reunions were so much fun; she and her cousins were already talking about the next one.

Do you know there is another grand reunion coming for you and me? Very soon in the future, Jesus Christ will come to take us home for a grand family reunion of the whole earth. The Bible tells us that “the Lord Himself will come down from heaven. We will hear a loud command. We will hear the voice of the leader of the angels. We will hear a blast from God’s trumpet. Many who believe in Christ will have died already. They will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them. We will be taken up in the clouds. We will meet the Lord in the air. And we will be with him forever” (1 Thess. 4:16, 17). It will be a reunion of the universe. We were separated from God through sin, but Jesus’ death on the cross made this reunion possible.

Wow! Can you imagine Jesus will come personally to escort us to the Father’s house? In the past, Jesus took Enoch to heaven (Gen. 5:24). He also came and took Elijah to heaven in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:11). Now, Jesus is going to take us from a world of sin, troubles, and death. He is taking us to be with Him. “Listen!” He has promised: “I am going there to prepare a place for you. If I go and do that, I will come back. And I will take you to be with me” (John 14:2). That is a promise Jesus will keep! Are you excited about this grand reunion?

Ask your teacher or parents to take you to visit a children’s hospital or orphanage. Bring colorful balloons tied with a Bible text to give out to the children. Tell them of the wonderful grand reunion they can celebrate when Jesus comes. Ask them to trust in Jesus who is coming again to take you and them home to His house.

1. How would you feel if someone you loved was dying of cancer?

2. Suppose someone said to you, “I am sick and tired of this world. All we have are shootings in schools, terrorist attacks, and kidnappings.” What would you say to them? What Bible texts can you use to help that person trust in a better future?

Compose a song or a poem about the grand reunion in heaven with Jesus and God. Share it with your friends in Sabbath school.

Final Sabbath

Summer at Schmidt’s Manor

Memory Gem
“There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. The Lord God will give them light. They will rule for ever and ever” (Rev. 22:5).

Show pictures of different types of houses ranging from small huts to large mansions. Ask, “Which type of house would you like to live in? Why?”

It was 6:00 Sunday morning, and Hans was already up. This was the day he had been waiting for! The family was going to visit Grandpa and Grandma Schmidt in Germany. They would spend a whole month there.

2007 1527 page23Hans couldn’t wait to see Grandpa and Grandma. But he especially loved Grandpa’s huge mansion; it looked like a castle. There were three floors with many rooms that he could hide and play in with his brother and sister. Of course, their cousins would join them too. Wow, just imagine how exciting this would be!

But the not-so-exciting part was the long plane ride. After what seemed like a long journey, they arrived at Schmidt’s Manor in the night, and Hans went to sleep immediately. The bright sunlight through the window awoke him the next morning. Jumping up from his bed, Hans suddenly remembered he was in Grandpa’s mansion. He ran down to meet Grandpa and Grandma Schmidt.

“Good morning!” Hans said excitedly as he ran to hug Grandpa and Grandma. “I am happy to be here!”

“We missed you all. But we’ll have a whole month together,” Grandma said with a smile.

Every day went by very quickly for Hans; there were so many exciting things to do. The family went fishing by the lake, hiking up the mountain behind Schmidt’s Manor, and hunting for goodies on market days. Hans’s favorite time was with Grandpa who showed him all the different rooms in his big house. He showed Hans his special rock and ax collections, and taught Hans how to shoot a bow and arrow. It was wonderful to learn from Grandpa. He seemed to know a lot of things. If he had a choice, Hans would choose to live with Grandpa forever.

Someday very soon in the future, all of us can visit Jesus in the heavenly mansion—a house much bigger and better than Grandpa Schmidt’s. John tells us about the glorious New Jerusalem: “The wall was made out of jasper. The city was made out of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of jewel. The first foundation was made out of jasper. The second was made out of sapphire. . . .” (Rev. 21:18, 19).
Can you imagine that! In this grand city “the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city. God’s servants will serve Him. They will see His face. . . . There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun. The Lord God will give them light. They will rule forever and ever” (Rev. 22:3-5). Don’t you want to be there? God wants us to be with Him. We must believe that Jesus died for our sins and ask Him to come into our life forever. Then every day we will try to live God’s way and love Him with all our heart. That’s what it means to be ready for Jesus to come.

Think of some things you would like to do with Jesus in the heavenly mansion. Share your ideas with a friend and pray together that God will help you to be a loving person like Jesus.

1. How can you prepare yourself to go and live in the beautiful heavenly home with Jesus forever?

2. Do you have a special relative who has not accepted Jesus? How can you help this person prepare for living in heaven with God?

3. How can you deal with the distractions of television, computer games, movies, and magazines that can prevent you from being ready to live with Jesus in that heavenly mansion?

Draw a picture of the heavenly home with family members you would like to be living with. Share this picture with your family and friends in your school or community who do not know Jesus.
Linda Mei-Lin Koh is the Children’s Ministries director at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland.