Friday, March 1, 2013

Testimonies and Faith FHE

Purpose: To help family members to increase their faith in Jesus Christ and grow their testimonies of Him.

Possible scriptures: Matthew 8:5-33; Matthew 17:20; Mark 5:25-34; John 11:25; Romans 10:17;James 2:17,26; Hebrews 11:1,3(the entire chapter is beneficial); 1 Nephi 2:16; 2 Nephi 9:23; Alma 5:45-47; Alma 32:21, 26-43; Alma 34:17; Alma 37:33; Ether 12:6(the entire chapter is beneficial; Moroni 7:25-26,36-37; Doctrine and Covenants 5:16; Doctrine and Covenants 42:48; Doctrine and Covenants 76:19-24; Doctrine and Covenants 88:118;

Possible Songs: I Feel My Savior’s Love, Children’s Songbook page 74; I Know My Father Lives, hymn 302 or Children’s Songbook  page 5; Come Follow Me, hymn 116; I Need Thee Every Hour, hymn 98; Father in Heaven We Do Believe, hymn 180; I Know that My Redeemer Lives, hymn 136;

Possible Materials: a mustard seed and a picture of a mustard tree (the best one I can find is here, copyright M Mandella); A picture of Noah(and this one); pictures of Christ performing miracles; drawings of soil and flowers; A picture of Nephi and his brothers. A picture of Lorenzo Snow

Preparation: Begin with prayer. The best way to teach faith is by example. Ask yourself how you are doing with the basics of the gospel. Can your family see you praying, studying the gospel, and following the Savior? Read the suggested scriptures and any articles listed in Resources. ALSO NOTE: this would be a great lesson to invite the missionaries over.
Children: Watch the videos on Noahand your choice of videos on Christ doing miracles. There are many to choose from.  Think about what faith is. Think about how plants grow from a little seed.


Introduction: Begin the lesson by asking the family the difference between belief, faith, and knowledge. Then have a strong family member (the father, if possible) lift each child. Ask them if they know that the family member is strong enough to lift the child? Ask them why (because they experienced it)? Ask the family if they believethe family member wouldn’t drop them? Belief and knowledge are part of testimonies. Now ask each child to get in front of the family member and close their eyes and fall backwards. Regardless of how they respond, teach them that this is faith: willingly accepting the promise to catch him or her made by the family member and doing what they were asked to do.

Discussion: Ask the family, “What else do we know about faith?” Answers may include “it is the first principle of the gospel,” “A spiritual gift,” “a hope for things which are not seen which are true,” “a principle of action,” “a strong belief of truth that makes us want to be good,” and “faith causes miracles.” Discuss how faith really drives us through our day, even if we do not recognize it. We eat breakfast because we have faith that our bodies will work enough to need the nourishment. We learn new things because we have faith we will benefit from the knowledge in the future. We work because we have faith we’ll receive a paycheck. We plant seeds because we have faith that the plants will grow. Next ask who our faith should be in (Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father), what that means (that we trust him so much we’ll do whatever he asks), and what can happen when we have faith in Him (the Atonement becomes applicable, we can be forgiven and gain eternal life).

From the Old Testament: Noah showed immense faith even in the face of mocking because he listened to the Lord and built a boat on dry ground and gathered animals when the Lord commanded him. Read Hebrews 7 and Genesis 6:12-8:19.

From Jesus’ Teachings: Read Mathew 17:20. Show the family how big a mustard seed is. Then show them the picture of the tree. Discuss how something so little grows into something so big. Faith usually begins as a small thing, sometimes only the desire to believe. Also how if we had faith as big as that tiny seed, we would be able to move mountains. Discuss as a family ways to grow our faith. Just as we develop talents by studying, practicing, and working at something until we get it, we can build our faith.

From Jesus’ Ministry: Jesus Christ often interacted with people who had faith. These people had the faith to be healed, to ask healing for others, and many other miraculous events. As a family, study Matthew 8:5-33and Mark 5:25-34. Discuss how miracles come after we ask in faith, and sometimes after we have been tested a while to make sure we believe. It’s called “trial of our faith.”

From the Book of Mormon: Alma taught a lesson on faith. He said Faith is like planting a seed. Read Alma 32:21, 26-43 as well as Alma 34:17. Discuss the different types of growing conditions. Also discuss that we can best cultivate our faith with desire and with prayer. It also takes searching and studying (See Doctrine and Covenants 88:118) and living his teachings that we have already received; that is the cultivating of the soil.
            Activity: create illustrations for the different soil types and plant “flowers” in the “soil” and see how they grow.

From the Book of Mormon: Read 1 Nephi 2:16. This is how Nephi gained his testimony. Ask the family what steps Nephi followed (first he desired. Then he asked Heavenly Father. But is that all? Lastly, he acted upon it. He didn’t rebel like his brothers did. He applied faith to his testimony).

From Modern Prophets: How do we know that Christ even existed? This is a fundamental and important realization. Very few people have ever seen Him or His miracles. Yet the power of their words touches our hearts (through the Holy Ghost we learned about last week), and their testimony can become our testimony. Discuss as a family how the testimony of others is enough to give us the desire to plant the seed of faith. {I’m a Forgotten Carols groupie, and the song that comes to mind is “The Shepherd,” a song sung by a shepherd that missed the whole visitation because he was asleep.} Discuss how many testimonies we have of the Savior. Read Doctrine and Covenants 76:19-24, and discuss The Living Christ; also share the story of Lorenzo Snow in the Salt Lake Temple found in chapter 20 of Teachings of Presidents of The Church: Lorenzo Snow, first section.

Further discussion: Discuss the difference between faith and testimony (Faith is doing, testimony is knowing). Go back to the introduction at the beginning of the lesson. Our testimonies only come by revelation through the Holy Ghost. We have to work and live for them through faith. Everyone must gain a testimony for themselves; others cannot give you their testimony. Also discuss how testimonies are usually not gained overnight, but continually. We are often just given a piece at a time. For older audiences, you may also wish to discuss the difference between a testimony and conversion.

Challenge: Challenge each family member to be prepared to bear their testimony at the beginning of next Family Home Evening. Help them to be comfortable with the idea, and tell them it is a safe environment to practice where they know that everyone loves them and will benefit from their testimony. If anyone does not feel comfortable doing so next Family Home Evening, do not make them. Offer to help younger children.

Resources:   Primary 3 lesson 7; Come, Follow Me lessons on building spiritual self-reliance; Gospel Principles Chapter 18; Family Home Evening Resource Booklessons 11 and 16; Bible Dictionary: Faith;

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