The Little Colt that Could: A Ride Fit for the Lamb of God–A Palm Sunday Bible Story

Welcome to the third installment in this special coronavirus series of stories. My hope is that kids can find this to be a unique way to worship and study while we’re all staying away from our normal places of worship. Please share it with any kids in your life who might enjoy it! These stories help me to remember that God is with us and has a plan for us, just like always. Stay safe and well!

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, then think about the questions.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

Click on the picture to hear a reading from Luke 19:29-44, Zechariah 9:9, and Revelation 7:17. Then, choose a question or two to think and talk about, or make up your own questions!

  1. Why do you think the disciples told the owner of the colt that “Its master needs it.” Wouldn’t the owner be the animal’s master? How could Jesus be the master or Lord, as many versions say, of the donkey?
  2. The crowd that welcomed Jesus called him a king. Do kings usually ride on donkeys, especially young donkeys? What kind of an animal would a king normally ride into battle on? What kind of image does a “colt of a donkey” put into your mind about who Jesus is and what kind of a king he might be?
  3. The old Testament passage, Zechariah 9:9, foretold that the Jews’ Messiah, or Savior-King, would come riding on the colt of a donkey. The people of that day felt very oppressed by the Romans. Do you think that maybe they were looking for a different kind of savior? Do we still look for a different kind of savior, one who rescues us from our immediate problems?
  4. The passage in Revelation calls Jesus the Lamb of God. Back in Jesus’ day, priests sacrificed a perfect lamb to pay for their sins and become right with God. What does Jesus’ ride into Jerusalem have to do with him being called the Lamb of God?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather: Thorns and thistles, Timley, I just thought of something. Shep always talked about Jesus being the Good Shepherd, but now he’s also the “Lamb of God”?

Timley Mouse: Right, so?

Sophie: So, how can he be both?

Timley: I’m not sure. Maybe it’s one more piece to the puzzle about who Sky Painter really is. The more we read the Bible, the more it all fits together–the old parts and the new parts, they tell one, big story.

Sophie: I’m a little worried about Jesus, the Lamb, riding into Jerusalem. Even though the crowds are cheering today, didn’t the priests sacrifice lambs at the Temple? Sounds like he’s heading into trouble!

Timley: We’ve wondered long and hard about your cross necklace being a ‘t’ for ‘trouble’ and we got into loads of trouble in the Holy Land. If we read on in Luke, we’ll find out that Jesus definitely got into some trouble. We’ll also see that he wasn’t a lamb with a lower-case ‘l.’ Jesus is an upper-case Lamb of God!

 

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest. Watch for a new edition to be released soon from Brimstone Fiction! This post was originally number ten in a previous series of animal stories in the Bible.

 

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It’s Sunday! Time for Another Bible Story: You Snake! The World’s First Bad Guy

How it works:

  • Listen to the story, or read the Bible passage found after the audio link.
  • Think about the questions and talk about them with a friend.
  • Finally, hear what Sophie and Timley have to say about it!

This is a reading from one of the very first stories of the Bible, from the  book of Genesis (Chapter 3:1-15):

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.'”

“You will not surely die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”

The man said, “The woman you put here with me–she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.

Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”

The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”

So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, ‘Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

Questions to think about. Pick a couple or think of your own:

What did you hear when you listened to this story? Did the serpent or snake sound like a “bad guy” to you? Why or why not?

What does the story tell you about Adam and Eve? Why do you think the fruit was tempting to them when they had the rest of the garden to choose from?

What does the story tell you about God? In chapter 1:29-30, God tells Adam and Eve that he was giving them “every” green plant in the garden for food. Why do you think he also said that they couldn’t eat from this one tree? Do you think it’s possible that God would have eventually let them eat from that tree as well?

Can you think of situations where something sounds good at first, but then the reality is very different? What were the consequences of disobeying God?

Why do you think Adam and Eve were suddenly afraid of God? Can you ever really hide from God? How might that be a very good thing? As the story goes on, God eventually makes real clothing for Adam and Eve that will protect them better than the fig leaf clothing that Adam and Eve made for themselves. What does this show about God’s character?

Why do you think this story is in the Bible? What do you think verse 15 is talking about when it says that the people will “crush your head” and “you will strike his heal”? Did God have a plan to ultimately save his people from the ultimate “bad guy”?

Now let’s hear from Sophie and Timley. What have they got to say about it?

Sophie Topfeather (looking concerned): I don’t really understand what was so awful about the serpent, do you-oo Timley? He was just asking Eve a question!

Timley Mouse (rubbing his tail thoughtfully): Think about it, Sophie. What if your grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl told you not to do something, and then I asked you if that’s really what he said. How would the Great WHO take that?

Sophie (frowning): Good point, Timley! He wouldn’t like that at all. He would say that you-oo were trying to make me doubt him or even worse–

Timley (slapping his sword against his paw): It would take a pretty brave–or foolish–mouse to call the Great WHO a liar. I wonder what was in it for the snake. Why did he care what fruit tree Adam and Eve ate from?

Sophie: That’s a great question. You sure are a big thinker for being such a little mouse! Well? What do you-oo think, reader? Who-oo would care about separating God from his people? Was he successful?

Author’s Note: Sophie and Timley are characters from a novel for kids ages 8-12, Sophie’s Quest, A newly revised and even illustrated version is on its way (to be published by Brimstone Fiction), but in the meantime, if you like Sophie and Timley and want to read their adventure, let me know and I’ll send you one of the original copies at cost! Send me a note in the Contact page and we’ll work it out.

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The Last Time I Wanted the World to Stop–And It Did

oliviaFifteen years ago or so, I remember feeling somewhat stressed by life. Everything was basically fine, but my work life felt stalled by lack of direction and usefulness, I had taken my unpublished novel as far as I could take it and had no idea how to improve it but knew it wasn’t publishable yet, and I adored my family, but I was getting tired of the routine of it all–the same dirty dishes to wash every day, the laundry, the cleaning.

I needed a changeup, as they say in baseball. I didn’t know what to change, though. Did I need a new job? What did I have to do to my manuscript to make it publishable? Was it worth all the time I had spent on it? I felt like I needed to stop the world for a minute or two so I could think a clear thought that wasn’t interrupted by a thousand other things.

And then, the world did stop for me. I had thyroid cancer. Part of the treatment was a trip to the hospital where my doctor watched me swallow a large pill of radioactive iodine and then telling me, “Run. Get home and stay there.” Continue reading

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It's Sunday! Time for a Bible Story!

rat image“Wear real pants, Monday through Friday.” That’s one way my family is trying to keep the days from blurring together. All four of us in my household are now working from home and looking for ways to better organize our days. “Real pants” was my youngest daughter’s great idea!

Other organizing principles: We still put out the garbage on Monday night, we still eat ice cream on Friday, and we still worship–albeit remotely–on Sundays. In the spirit of the last one, I’m celebrating the Sabbath–God’s Day–by reposting my “Animals in the Bible” series. Listen to a story, ponder a few questions, and then read a short skit based on the characters in my Adventures of Sophie Topfeather series.

Continue reading

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The Great WHO’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies revisited

Every year, I notice that someone in Australia searches for this old post. The hazelnut cookies must be pretty good! Maybe you’d like to try them this Christmas, too. I’m going to! They are Sophie Topfeather’s favorite cookies, made by her grandfather, the Great Wise Horned Owl of the Park. He does everything well–too well, if you ask her! This is the one thing he does well that Sophie does NOT find annoying.

Merry Christmas, everyone! The end of the post has an update about my Sophie Topfeather series.

The Great Wise Horned Owl’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies:

Gather enough hazelnuts to make 1/2 cup when chopped.

Choose a foggy, moonless night for baking. You don’t want to alarm any people by the sight of smoke rising from your tree.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature.

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup granulated sugar

1 egg, unbeaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 squares semisweet chocolate, melted

1 cup flour, stir before measuring

1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

To prepare the hazelnuts, place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally. Watch carefully to make sure they don’t burn. Transfer the nuts to a dish towel and let them steam briefly. Then rub them in the towel until the skin flakes off. Cool completely before using.

Once the nuts are cool, put them in a small bowl and chop them finely with your sharp talons. A  knife would also work on a cutting board, but be careful and have an adult nearby.

Cream butter until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in salt and sugar. Add egg; beat well. Blend in vanilla and chocolate. Mix in flour, then chopped hazelnuts, mixing until well blended. Drop by level tablespoonfuls of dough, 2 inches apart, onto greased cookie sheets. Stamp lightly with a flat bottom glass covered with a damp cloth.

If desired, sprinkle more finely chopped hazelnuts over the top of each cookie. Bake for about 15 minutes, until done.

Makes about 2-3 dozen cookies.

Original recipe from http://southernfood.about.com. Sophie Topfeather and the Great Wise Horned Owl of the Park are characters in my children’s novel, Sophie’s Quest.

Look for the entire Adventures of Sophie Topfeather series to be republished by Brimstone Fiction, beginning in 2020, including the NEW third book in the series, Sophie’s Gold Rush

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Framed!

Corrected link!

Framed! first appeared on https://christianchildrensauthors.com/2019/11/11/framed/

I thought you might enjoy it! Click on the link and it should come up. 

I write guest posts for this group every two months. Other than that, I’ve been hard at work on a new website, so stay tuned for that, and the new edition of Sophie’s Quest is being worked on right now–complete with black line illustrations!

 

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Framed!

Framed! first appeared on https://christianchildrensauthors.com/2019/11/11/framed/

I thought you might enjoy it! Click on the link and it should come up. 

I write guest posts for this group every two months. Other than that, I’ve been hard at work on a new website, so stay tuned for that, and the new edition of Sophie’s Quest is being worked on right now–complete with black line illustrations!

 

Posted in Faith | 2 Comments

Play “What If?” and Change the World

Ramadan starts today. What can Christians do to love their Muslim neighbors?

Click on the link to read my post on the Christian Children’s Author website:

http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2019/05/06/play-the-what-if-game-and-change-the-world/

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“Are Unicorns in the Bible?”

I was curious about the sudden uptick in kids checking out the Bible in my school library. It wasn’t until I overheard two kids discussing whether or not there were unicorns in the Bible that I finally understood.

Kids are crazy for unicorns right now. All the kids’ clothing manufacturers, toy-makers, book publishers, lunch box designers, etc., have seemingly worked together to create a conspiracy of Unicorn Madness. So, it wasn’t too shocking to hear that someone, somewhere, had started a rumor about unicorns showing up somewhere unexpected–even in the Bible.

When one of the students checked out a Bible last week, I asked her about the whole unicorn thing. “Oh, yes,” she said. “There’s unicorns. I heard.” I tried to set her straight, and said that I had read my Bible through a couple of times, and, sorry, but no unicorns.

I had a little time at the computer while waiting for some stragglers to check their books out, so I turned to my trusty Bible Gateway website and typed “Unicorn” into the search box. Imagine my surprise when a verse from Daniel popped up!

Daniel 8:5 reads: “As I was thinking about this, suddenly a goat with a prominent horn between his eyes came from the west, crossing the whole earth without touching the ground.”

Huh. Not exactly the shining white horse with a rainbow mane that adorns a lot of t-shirts and backpacks these days, but there it was: an animal with a single horn between his eyes.

Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me” ((Luke 18:16). He might have added, “Even if they’re just in search of unicorns.”

I can’t wait to tell the 2nd grader that I was wrong.

What are you excited about this week?

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Skipping Chocolate for Lent? How’s that Going for You?

I was never very successful as a kid whenever I attempted to give something up for Lent. Neither my family nor my church emphasized it as an important part of my faith, so I usually started with some good intentions and gave it up a few days later.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, you might like to read my post on the Christian Children’s Author website. I write about a new way to think about Lent this year–more of a giving in than a giving up. It’s more meaningful to me, and maybe it will be to you, too. Part of a life-long journey re-orienting our lives toward Jesus.

You can find it here: http://christianchildrensauthors.com/2019/03/11/lent-turning-toward-the-one-who-saves-us/

Thank you for reading! Do you recognize Lent? Please share your thoughts in the comments on the Christian Children’s Author site, or here.

Blessings,
Sonja

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