Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Give PEACE a Chance

“The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, PEACE, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)

The apostle Paul wrote to the people of the Christian church in Galatia about NINE good things the Holy Spirit could bring about in their lives if they would allow Him to direct their thoughts and actions. These words to the Galatians, in the verse above, apply to us as well!  In the past couple of posts, we have looked at the love and joy that God can grow in our spirits, and this week we will consider the fruit of PEACE.

When we know that God is with us, we can be at peace in our spirits, no matter what is going on in the world around us. When we are at peace, we do not give ourselves over to being worried, afraid, stressed, or anxious. A sense of peace is a sense of safety, which can sometimes be hard to hold onto without God’s help. We can be at peace when we trust that God is in control, and will take care of us according to His will and His plan.

If you like puppets, you might enjoy listening to Douglas explain the fruit of peace to kids in this video message. (The first three minutes contain the content, while the last minute or two are an invitation to visit Doug’s website.)
A bird called a dove has been a symbol for peace for many centuries. It is also a symbol for the Holy Spirit, which makes sense since God’s Holy Spirit can bring about peace in our lives and in our hearts. 

We are going to make a craft using our hand to create a dove, and it can remind us that our peace is found in Christ.

1. Trace around your hand onto a piece of white paper, and then cut the shape out. 
2. Glue it down to a piece of colored construction paper. 
3. Add a small triangle of yellow paper for a beak, and draw in an eye with a pen. 
4. You can add this Bible verse to the dove if you would like: “Christ Himself is our peace.” (Ephesians 2:14)

(Many thanks to for this craft idea, and to my daughter for the use of her hand for my craft pictured below.)

Once you start singing “I’ve Got Peace Like a River,” you’ll have a hard time stopping! And—BONUS!—this song covers peace, love, and joy, which are the three fruit of the Spirit we have learned about so far. Check out the video below, and I know you’ll sing along!

Spend some time talking, parent and child, about times when you feel worried or afraid. Brainstorm together ways that you can both feel a greater sense of peace in those times. 

One great option is to pray and talk with God; whenever we feel worried or afraid, we can ask God to make us more aware of His presence, and it will give us a greater sense of peace.

Other ideas for feeling a greater sense of peace when we are worried or afraid might include: cuddling, going for a walk, reading a favorite Bible story (a good one for such times is the story of Jesus calming the storm in Mark chapter 4!), drawing a picture or doing some form of art, singing songs, and spending quiet time patting a family pet. 

Consider making a list of all of your ideas and posting it where the whole family can reference it when they need to.

(Many thanks to Pinedale Christian Church for the idea for this conversation.)
Photo Credit: Susan Lowry Hare
If you missed the earlier posts on fruit of the spirit, you can find them here:

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Jumping for JOY

“The fruit of the spirit is love, JOY, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)
We have been learning about the fruit of the spirit—all the good things that the Holy Spirit can bring about in our lives when allow Him to direct our thoughts and actions. First, we looked at the fruit of love, and now we’re going to look a little more closely at the second fruit on the list—JOY.

Have you ever enjoyed laughing at a funny joke, or felt happy about a big win on the soccer field? Have you ever had the pleasure of eating a delicious cookie, or felt the comfort of a warm hug? We usually feel pretty happy during moments like these! But God teaches us in the Bible that we can feel joy even when times are tough, and things don’t seem to be going our way.

How can that be? The Bible teaches us that the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). With God’s help, we can feel joy no matter what is going on around us! When we come to the end of our own resources, we can call out to God and trust that in His great love, He will care for us.  

We can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Philippians 4:13), so through the fruit of the spirit, joy, we have the strength to keep going; keep being friends with God by talking to Him in prayer; keep learning from Him by reading the Bible; and keep praising Him for His love and care. We are filled with joy when we allow ourselves to recognize that we are in the presence of God.


Take a few minutes to enjoy this song by Rend Collective, “The Joy of the Lord is My Strength.” Once you know some of the words, go ahead and sing along!

Movement Activity
Today’s a good day to JUMP FOR JOY! Spend some time outside with your jump rope on the next nice day. How many times can you jump the rope without stopping? Here’s a challenge: Learn the nine fruits of the spirit, and recite them, calling out one fruit every time the rope goes under your feet. Can you do it? Or try reciting Nehemiah 8:10 as you jump, saying one word every time the rope goes under your feet: The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Younger children can jump in and out of a hula hoop or a jump rope placed in a circle.

Coloring Page
Click here, and print out a coloring page for the fruit of the spirit, joy:

If you missed the earlier posts on fruit of the spirit, you can find them here:

Thursday, April 23, 2020

LOVE is My Superpower

“The fruit of the spirit is LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
(Galatians 5:22-23)

In the last post, we wrote about the fact that “the fruit of the spirit” refers to all the good behaviors that the Holy Spirit can bring about in our lives when allow Him to direct our thoughts and actions.

Now, we will focus on the first of the nine fruits listed in the Scriptures: LOVE.  

With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can show love to others: not just to our friends and family members, but to people we don’t know, and even to our enemies!

Jesus instructs us in John 13:34: “Love others as I have loved you.” One of the ways we can demonstrate our love for others is to pray for them. Today’s craft gives us a chance to think about the people we want to pray for, and we can use it as a reminder to hold them up in prayer each day!

Here are instructions for the craft. Older children may be able to complete the steps independently, while younger children will need some help. You can see a sample of the finished craft at the end of the instructions.

Step 1: Fold a piece of paper in half, top to bottom. (Copy paper or construction paper work well.)

Step 2: Place your hand on top of the paper with your pinky finger along the fold. Use a pen to outline around your hand.

Thankful for my daughter Katy's participation
as hand model :)

Step 3: Cut around the outline of your hand. I cut well inside the marked line so the ink didn’t show. Make sure you leave the left side of your pinky outline uncut; this is where the two sides of the paper will remain attached.

Step 4: Unfold the paper, and write the name of someone you are praying for on each of the fingers. You may include specific names of relatives, neighbors, and friends, or you may pray for more general groups of people, such as “doctors and nurses,” “sick people,” “people who are hungry,” or “people in our government.”
You may also include the verse from John 13:34 if you would like: “Love others as I have loved you,” as shown in the photo. Color and decorate any way you would like, and don’t forget to use your folded hands booklet to remind you to show LOVE for others through the act of prayer.
We have time to pause before we speak or act. We can ask ourselves: "Are these words or actions coming from a place of LOVE, or from a place of anger, irritation, fear, or boredom?" When we shift to speaking and acting from a place of LOVE, we will find that our words and actions toward our family, our friends, and other people around us will shift also.

If you missed the post introducing the fruit of the spirit, you can find it here:

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Fruit of the Spirit: Introduction

For the past five months, I've been serving my church as the assistant to our Director of Family Ministry. The two most recent months have taken place under stay-at-home orders in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic. 
My role used to include working in the office, making curriculum adjustments and craft preparations;  connecting with volunteers and parents as Sunday school classes began and ended each week; meeting for prayer with staff; and attending special evening events and holiday services. Now I've joined the ranks of those attending meetings via Zoom, reaching out to our parents by telephone, and preparing resources that are made available through emails and Facebook posts. Both "versions" of ministry have blessed me, and of course, I hope that our efforts have been "enough" for our families, until we can meet again face-to-face.

Each week, I've been developing a set of activities to introduce our church kids to the idea of "Fruit of the Spirit," based on this verse from Paul's letter to the church in the city of Galatia:
"The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law" (Galatians 5: 22-23) 
My time as Assistant to the Director of Family Ministry comes to an end at the end of this month, and we only will have made it through love, joy, peace, and patience. My plan is to continue to develop activities for the remaining fruits, and share them here, so that I can bring the series to completion.

The idea of the fruit of the spirit is completely in line with my personal devotional reading, which has focused on what are often referred to as "the spiritual disciplines." These practices are actually ways in which we can make ourselves available to the Holy Spirit to bring about the fruit I've been sharing with our youngest church members!  After I finish this activity series about the fruit of the spirit, I am planning to move into a series that highlights what I've been learning from my reading about the spiritual disciplines. There are no accidents; I think God has been putting this together in my life for my spiritual growth, and I am happy to share the journey with anyone who stumbles upon the record of it here.

An Introduction to the Fruit of the Spirit
At a time when we are all facing unfamiliar restrictions on our movement and activities, it is good to be reminded of our freedom in Christ and the “fruit of the spirit,” against which there is no law!
When you hear the word “fruit,” you probably think of things like bananas, apples, and strawberries. But the word “fruit” is also frequently used to describe the results or profit of something; you might have heard the phrase, “the fruit of our labor,” referring to “the results of the work we did.”

So, reread the verse above with the word “result” in place of the word “fruit,” and you will understand that this is a list of the results of letting the Holy Spirit direct our thoughts and actions.

The phrase “fruit of the spirit” refers to nine behaviors that are the result of the work of the Holy Spirit in a Christian’s life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I think we can all agree that these behaviors can help us get through the current challenges we are facing! When we allow God’s Holy Spirit to work in our lives, He allows us to bear all of this good fruit.

Some of these fruits we enjoy from God’s Holy Spirit may be easier for us to define and understand than others. Let’s start with some crafts and activities that remind us of all nine fruits, and then we can focus on particular fruits in the coming weeks to make us more open to the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives.

Don’t forget that any and all of these crafts and activities can be completed while enjoying fresh (or canned) fruit, dried fruit snacks, or a fruit smoothie!

Fruit of the Spirit Bookmark:
Visit for bookmarks that can be printed off in color to use in your Bibles or storybooks. For a little something “extra,” you could laminate them, punch a hole at the top, and tie on yarn or ribbon.

Fruit Basket Craft

Visit for printables available in color, or in black-and-white for you to color! Print, color, cut out, glue the fruit onto the basket, and display for a colorful reminder of the work of God’s Holy Spirit inside of us!

Fruit of the Spirit Word Search
Visit for "easy" and "hard" versions of a  word search, so you can tailor the activity to your child’s age. Print out the word search, and let the children see if they can find all the words in the Word Bank.

Fruit of the Spirit Rock Art Activity
No printer? No problem! Here’s a fun activity that doesn’t involve paper or printers.  Spend some time outside gathering smooth rocks. Bring them inside and wash them with soapy water. Allow to dry. Then, using acrylic/craft paint and a paint brush OR markers, such as Sharpie brand, write out a fruit of the spirit on each of the rocks you have gathered. (Remember that the nine fruits are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.)
If you want to get even more creative, add patterns around the word, or drawings of actual fruit, such as bananas, apples, pineapples, and grapes!
Each family member can create their own set, OR create a “family rock garden” with everyone creating a painted rock or two. Gather the painted rocks where everyone can see them, perhaps around an indoor plant, or in a bowl or on a tray on the kitchen counter or dining room table.

Next Post: The Fruit of the Spirit, LOVE
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