Free Toddler Lesson - Week 8, Psalm 23 Series

MY FAVORITE TIME IS THE TIME I SPEND WITH MY SHEPHERD!

Concepts Children Learn:
Nothing is better than being in the quiet place with my shepherd.
I take time to be with my shepherd.
My shepherd loves spending time with me.

Prep: Mark bible with memory verse: Psalm 23:2 and Jeremiah 29:12. Print either color story pages 1, 2 (bw only), 3 (bw only), 4, 5, or black & white story pages 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, to use with the story. You don't need to read the words on the actual story pages. They are for use as posters or coloring pages. Only read words that are not in parentheses for the lesson. The words in parentheses tell you what actions you do. The numbers in parentheses tell you what Story Page to hold up while you are telling the story.

LESSON: MY FAVORITE TIME IS THE TIME I SPEND WITH MY SHEPHERD

Bible Memory Verse: Psalm 23:2. Other verse used in lesson: Jeremiah 29:12.

Today we have another story about Psalm 23. Do you all remember Marshmallow the little lamb? In our last story about Marshmallow, we learned how much his shepherd loved him. Let's listen closely, as we hear today's story.

(1) As soon as the sun came up over the hill, Marshmallow woke up with a burst of energy. He had so much energy that he forgot to go give his shepherd a hug and spend time with his shepherd like he usually did. He got busy playing right away.

(2) First, he colored with his crayons for awhile. But, he couldn't think of what to draw, so he soon got tired of coloring. His shepherd missed talking to Marshmallow. He wondered why he didn't come over to spend time with him this morning. He just wanted to talk to Marshmallow and spend some time with him, so he called out to Marshmallow. (Whisper:) Marsh-mal-low! But Marshmallow was just too busy to spend time with his shepherd. When he was done coloring, he started playing a game with the other little sheep. But the other little sheep were running too fast, and he couldn't keep up with them. He soon got tired and out of breath, but kept trying to keep up with them. Then, he heard his shepherd's voice again. (Say in a whisper), Marshmallow, Marshmallow! But, he didn't listen to the sound of his shepherd's voice. He was still too busy playing.

(3) Next he thought: what fun it would be to build with blocks. He had fun building with the blocks for a while. But then the other little sheep started being mean to him. They were taking his blocks. Then they knocked down the house that he built. But, he remembered what his shepherd had told him... His shepherd had told him to be nice anyway, even when they were being mean. So he was nice for a while. But, then he got tired of being nice. He got cranky and started yelling at the other little sheep. He stomped off to go be by himself. He started crying because he felt all alone. He missed his shepherd. Just then he heard his shepherd's voice again. "Marshmallow! This time, he listened, and he ran straight to his shepherd!

(4) His shepherd's arms were wide open, so Marshmallow came right over to his shepherd, and his shepherd hugged him tight. Tears were running down Marshmallow's cheeks. "What's wrong, Marshmallow?" asked the kind shepherd, while he brushed away Marshmallow's tears. Marshmallow explained: "The other sheep were being mean to me when I was building with blocks. I was nice for a while, but then I got mad and ran away." "Oh, my precious little lamb", said the shepherd, "I missed you so much. I wanted to be there with you. I wanted to comfort you. I wanted you to come and find rest with me. I wanted to help you be kind. I mostly just wanted to love you. I missed you so much; and I kept calling out to you, but you didn't hear my voice." Marshmallow looked shyly up at his shepherd and said, "Well, I-I did hear you calling, but I just got too busy playing, so I didn't come to you. You're right. I should've come to you. You do always comfort me and dry my tears; and you help me do what is right. And, you're always there to listen to me. I'm s-s-sorry. C-can we spend some time together now?" His shepherd grinned really big! and said excitedly, "Yes, of course! You can spend time with me any time at all, for as long as you want to! I love spending time with my little sheep!"

(5) So Marshmallow took the shepherd's hand and let his shepherd lead him to a beautiful, quiet place in the pasture, where the birds were singing. Can everybody show me what the birds sound like?Tweet, tweet, tweet. (Let them join in making bird noises). There was a beautiful waterfall nearby too. His shepherd spread out a blanket for the two of them. He sat down on a blanket and motioned for Marshmallow to come sit next to him. He put his arm around marshmallow. They talked and talked for a long time. Marshmallow told him everything that happened to him that day. The kind shepherd listened closely and comforted Marshmallow when he was upset. They talked and laughed some more. The kind shepherd reminded Marshmallow that he would always there when he needed him. And he reminded him of his promise that he would always care about him, and give him everything he needed.

(4 again) So after talking and laughing with his shepherd for a while, Marshmallow was rested and happy! "I'm so glad you finally came to talk to me," said the shepherd. "I'm glad too", said Marshmallow, "I feel so much better, now.", said Marshmallow. "Thank you for being the best shepherd, ever!, Marshmallow said as he gave his shepherd a big hug. "You know I love you so much! I want you to know that you come to me whenever you need help, or whenever you just want to talk." Said the shepherd. Marshmallow wondered why he had stayed away from his shepherd for so long. He knew now he would never get too busy for his shepherd again. He knew he needed the love of his shepherd. He always felt so rested and happy after spending time with his shepherd. From now on, he would spend time with his shepherd every single day; After all, his favorite time of day was the time he spent with his shepherd. THE END

CIRCLE TIME: (What does this mean for me?)

Does everyone remember our Bible Verse? (Read Psalm 23:2, then repeat it with children.) Let's talk about the story. Remember in the story how Marshmallow couldn't think of anything to draw? He needed his shepherd to guide him. And, remember how he couldn't keep up with the other little lambs? He needed his shepherd to comfort him, too. But, when Marshmallow ignored his shepherd's voice, he was left to deal with his problems all by himself. When he didn't go to his shepherd for help, he didn't have anybody to help him. Remember how he got tired of being nice and started yelling? He needed his shepherd's help, didn't he?

If you've been here the last two weeks, you already know that Jesus is our shepherd. He loves us so much and takes such good care of us. He wants us to follow him. He also loves us to spend time with him. After all, he is our best friend. Just like we spend time with our other friends, we can spend time with Jesus too. He loves for us to go to talk to him.

Does anyone remember how we can spend time with our shepherd, Jesus? (Give the children time to answer). That's right. We can go find a quiet place by ourselves to pray to him. Sometimes we get really busy and we forget to take time to be with our shepherd. But, its never too late to go be with our shepherd. As soon as we remember, we can stop what we're doing and run to pray to Jesus. He is always there with open arms, just like the shepherd in the story was. He is waiting there for us. He wants to hear all about our day. He wants to listen to how we feel, and help us. He just wants to be with us because he loves us and cares about us so much! We read in our Bibles about this. (Read Jeremiah 29:12). Jesus loves to listen to us. Learning about Jesus is another way to spend time with Jesus. We can come to church, or ask someone to read the Bible to us. Remember how Marshmallow felt so much better after his shepherd promised to always be there for him? We have comfort when we learn about God's promises too.

Remember how Marshmallow got lonely and missed his shepherd when he didn't spend time with him? We feel lonely when we don't spend time with Jesus, too. But, we don't have to be lonely. We can spend time with Jesus every single day. Some people talk to Jesus the very first thing in the morning when they wake up. They pray even before they get out of bed. That's a wonderful way to wake up, isn't it? That way, you can think about Jesus all day long! But, no matter when you spend time with Jesus, it will become your favorite time of day. I know it is my favorite time of day. Nothing is better than being with my shepherd, Jesus.

PRAYER: Allow children to take turns praying after you or a helper prays.
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