Read through the Bible—Week 18

The book of Romans finishes up with instructions for living a life of love, and the book of Judges looks at a chaotic time for among the tribes of Israel.

Day 1     Romans 10-12
Day 2     Romans 13-16
Day 3     Judges 1-3
Day 4     Judges 4-6
Day 5     Judges 7-9
Day 6     Judges 10-12
Day 7     Judges 13-16

The weekly readings on my blog are from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, with simple background information, checkpoints, and journaling space. Available in print and e-book formats.

Living a Godly Legacy—Part 3

You want your children or grandchildren to know that God and faith are important parts of daily life, but sometimes it seems impossible, right? Getting everyone off to school or childcare and getting everyone to bed on time can seem like herding cats. How can you add one more activity to your family’s busy schedule?

The good news is, you don’t have to. Just bring God into the things you are already doing with your family.

Part 1 of this series explores what it means to live the legacy you want to give your children and why that’s important. Part 2 looks at the starting place—our own relationships with God and with our children—and what God’s Word tells us about sharing our faith with the next generation.

Here in Part 3, I’m sharing ways you can begin to live a faith legacy for your children simply by bringing God into more of your family’s activities.

Talk

Help babies, toddlers, and preschoolers begin to connect God with their expanding worlds. For example, at the zoo or the beach or the park, talk about creation and thank God out loud for making what you see. Make it natural—“God gave the giraffe such a long neck!” “Thank you, God, for the birds we hear.” (Yes, we can talk to God without bowed heads or folding hands!)

If a child is afraid of the dark, remind him God is always with him as you give a hug and turn on a night light. With children of all ages, talk about the things you do and why you do them—celebrating holidays, serving others, or going to church, for example.

Form the habit of talking with your children to show them who God is while they are young. Someday you will need to be talking to them about how knowing God relates to drinking and drugs, sex, abortion, evolution, and a host of other issues.

Share the Word

Your children won’t know the Bible is important to you unless they see you reading it. During a crisis one Christmas, a friend’s young daughter grabbed her mother’s Bible and sat down to “read”—although she didn’t know how to read yet. She had seen her mother go to the Word for help and decided help was needed!

Besides the traditional devotional time some families have with their children at bedtime, other parents read the Bible aloud at breakfast with their children, or do their own reading aloud as children play nearby. They won’t understand everything, of course, but you will be surprised by how much they do understand and remember.

What kind of music plays in your home and your car every day? Little ears (big one too) easily absorb God’s Word set to music. Try Scripture Lullabies at bedtime. We also love the CD included in My Sing-Along Bible by Steve Elkins for a musical journey through the Bible especially for kids.

Pray

We all learn to pray by praying, and children learn by hearing you pray and praying with you. So be sure to add prayer to the times you are already with your kids—meals, bedtime, and anytime you’re talking about a problem.

When my daughter Sheila was five or six, a neighbor boy continually pestered her. Finally we told her, “The next time he bothers you, tell him that if he doesn’t stop, you’re going to let hit him back” (and she did). That ended the problem, but at work I heard another mom telling how her first-grade twins were handling a bully at school. Each night, she was praying with her twins for the child who was bothering them.

Why hadn’t I thought to do that? Praying about problems hadn’t become a natural choice for me yet.

Accomplishments, disappointments, illness, pets, your family’s needs and the needs of others—show your children how to bring each day’s experiences to God.

Serve

Involve your children in service with you. If you make a meal for another family, take a child with you when you deliver it. Are you passionate about a cause? Let your children experience why. One of my daughters takes her children when she cares for the children of refugee women while they attend English classes. Her boys are learning to value caring for others who are different from them.

Find Christian community

Show your children that not only their own family has faith in God—others do too. Include friends from church in play dates and social events. If extended family members aren’t believers, look around for those who could be surrogate grandparents or aunts and uncles to your kids and get together with them for holidays and special events.

Sometimes we hear that faith is more caught than taught … but the truth is, it is both. And your example—your choices every day—can model faith and teach it too. Just choose to bring God in to the activities your family is already doing.

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Read through the Bible—Week 17

The Israelites settle by tribes in the Promised Land in the second half of the book of Joshua. The letters section of the New Testament opens with the book of Romans, written by Paul.

Day 1     Joshua 13-15
Day 2     Joshua 16-18
Day 3     Joshua 19-21
Day 4     Joshua 22-24
Day 5     Romans 1-3
Day 6     Romans 4-6
Day 7     Romans 7-9

small WomansGuideBibleThe weekly readings on my blog are from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, with simple background information, checkpoints, and journaling space. Available in print and e-book formats.

Read through the Bible—Week 16

Happy Easter! He is risen!

In this week’s readings: The apostle Paul arrives in Rome as the book of Acts concludes, and Joshua leads the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan as God directs.

Day 1     Acts 19-21
Day 2     Acts 22-24
Day 3     Acts 25-28
Day 4     Joshua 1-3
Day 5     Joshua 4-6
Day 6     Joshua 7-9
Day 7     Joshua 10-12

small WomansGuideBibleThe weekly readings on my blog are from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, with simple background information, checkpoints, and journaling space. Available in print and e-book formats.

Living a Godly Legacy—Part 2

mother with her children at the seaside at sunsetIn Part 1 of this series, I talked about living a legacy for our children and grandchildren—realizing that the way we live every day is the legacy we will leave. Is a legacy of faith your goal like it is mine? Then here in Part 2, let’s begin by looking at our own relationship with God, as well as our ties to the young ones we love so much.

Relationship with God

We all need to evaluate ourselves honestly (and periodically too). Do you have a deep, rich connection with God, or if you’re new to faith, are you working on it? How does that show itself day by day? Bottom line, if we want our kids and grandkids to know, love, and obey God—how well do we know and love him, and how well do we obey?

I don’t remember a time I didn’t believe in God or believe Jesus is God’s Son and my Savior, but even years after I formally chose to follow Jesus, I couldn’t truly say that I knew God. Not until 2000, when I was invited to join a group of women who would read through the Bible in a year and meet weekly to talk about what we read, did everything began to change.

If you feel the need to be more connected to the Lord, begin by reading the Word simply with the purpose to know Him better. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness” (1 Peter 1:3 NIV).

Need a good reading plan? Go here. Want to listen rather than read? Try BibleGateway.com or the YouVersion app. You can find reading plans on those sites too.

Connections with Our Children

Next, ask yourself some questions about your relationship with your children. How well do they feel known by you—seen and heard? Do they feel respected? Do they talk openly with you, bringing you their serious questions? How deep is your heart connection?

In order to guide and teach them, we need to know what children are thinking and feeling and understand their personalities, talents, and quirks. Be the expert on your child. Ask questions that invite conversation, and listen to what they have to say. Model sharing and connecting. Draw them out.

Knowing children—or grandchildren—well makes it easier to pray specifically for them too!

Sometimes, situations from the past interfere with the present. If you’re carrying around baggage you don’t want to be part of your legacy to your children, don’t be afraid to find help from a qualified professional counselor.

What God Says We’re to Do

The Bible is not a rule book. But it does contain instructions for living as God’s people, and those include how to share faith with our children.

Make God a natural part of daily life. “Listen, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” —Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NLT

Invite and answer questions. “And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal. And he said to the people of Israel, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground.’” —Joshua 4:20-22

Tell the next generation.
“O my people, listen to my instructions.
Open your ears to what I am saying,
for I will speak to you in a parable.
I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
stories we have heard and known,
stories our ancestors handed down to us.
We will not hide these truths from our children;
we will tell the next generation
about the glorious deeds of the LORD,
about his power and his mighty wonders.
For he issued his laws to Jacob;
he gave his instructions to Israel.
He commanded our ancestors
to teach them to their children,
so the next generation might know them—
even the children not yet born—
and they in turn will teach their own children.
So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
not forgetting his glorious miracles
and obeying his commands.
Then they will not be like their ancestors—
stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
refusing to give their hearts to God.” —Psalm 78:1-8 NLT

Love and memorize God’s Word.
“I have hidden your word in my heart,
that I might not sin against you.
I praise you, O LORD;
teach me your decrees.
I have recited aloud
all the regulations you have given us.
I have rejoiced in your laws
as much as in riches.
I will study your commandments
and reflect on your ways.
I will delight in your decrees
and not forget your word.” —Psalm 119:11-16 NLT

Teach and instruct about God and His ways.
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” (nurture, training, admonition)
“Fathers, don’t make your children bitter about life. Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction.”
—Ephesians 6:4 NLT; GW

Prepare our children to receive salvation.
“But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.” —2 Timothy 3:14-17 NLT

Step Up to the Challenge

Our children’s faith will be severely challenged in our broken world. But we can equip them for the fight. Next week in Part 3, I’ll share some tested ideas you can put to work in your family every day.

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Read through the Bible—Week 15

After a day in Psalms, this week’s readings turn to the book of Acts, the story of the beginning of the church and how it grew as the gospel spread.

Day 1     Psalms 38-41
Day 2     Acts 1-3
Day 3     Acts 4-6
Day 4     Acts 7-9
Day 5     Acts 10-12
Day 6     Acts 13-15
Day 7     Acts 16-18

small WomansGuideBibleThe weekly readings on my blog are from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, with simple background information, checkpoints, and journaling space. Available in print and e-book formats.

Living a Godly Legacy—Part 1

iStock photo

Last fall two different events—a sermon and a MOPS talk—got me thinking about how we pass faith on to the next generation. I realized we don’t just leave a legacy, we actually live it too.

Legacy: “A gift; something passed on; something received from the past; the influence of a person or thing.”

What we do every day, even the simplest choices and interactions, form the legacy we give our children and grandchildren.

For my grandchildren (and if I were raising children in my home today), I want them to grow up to know, love, and obey God all their lives. For me that includes knowing and loving God’s Word, having servant hearts, trusting Jesus for salvation, and growing to be more like Him. That’s the result I want my influence to have.

I do want them to remember me with smiles, but more important than their memories of me is the outcome, the effect, the influence of my life upon theirs. That’s what I know you want for your children too.

I need to be reminded just about every day that all my actions have impact on the present and the future. Maybe you do too. We will be remembered one way or another. We will influence others one direction or another.

The legacy we leave is the life we are living today.

Does that mean our bad days and wrong decisions ruin our legacy forever? Nope. God is in the business of redemption, and He is more than ready to help us leave a legacy of faith to our children and grandchildren.

It’s the overall pattern of our lives that has the most effect, and it’s never too late to begin to write a new ending!

Lessons Learned

What I want to share with you about living a godly legacy is based more on the mistakes I made and the things I didn’t do than what I did right when my children were young. But I also can encourage you because my daughters are godly women and mothers today, actively building faith in their own children.

Over the years and along the way, I’ve learned a lot—by getting to know God better, by parenting adult daughters, and by becoming grandmother to five little boys.

In this four-part series, I’ll share some of those lessons with you. We’ll look at our relationship with God and with our children first. Then we’ll see what God says we’re to do and look at ideas for how to do it.

Finally, I want to encourage you—you can do this!

Read through the Bible—Week 14

This week’s readings all come from the first section of the book of Psalms, the “hymnal” of the Israelites, many of them written by Israel’s King David.

Day 1     Psalms 6-10
Day 2     Psalms 11-15
Day 3     Psalms 16-20
Day 4     Psalms 21-25
Day 5     Psalms 26-30
Day 6     Psalms 31-34
Day 7     Psalms 35-37

WomansGuidetoReadingtheBibleThe weekly readings on my blog are from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year, with simple background information, checkpoints, and journaling space. Available in print and e-book formats.

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Read through the Bible—Week 13

wgrb17textUp this week, the second half of Deuteronomy, including Moses’ poignant glimpse of the land of Canaan. Then the start of the first book of the Psalms, the hymnal of Israel.

Day 1     Deuteronomy 16-18
Day 2     Deuteronomy 19-21
Day 3     Deuteronomy 22-24
Day 4     Deuteronomy 25-27
Day 5     Deuteronomy 28-30
Day 6     Deuteronomy 31-34
Day 7     Psalms 1-5

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10 Kids Easter Books for All Your Easter Baskets

Helping children catch and understand Easter joy can be as simple as choosing a book to add to an Easter basket or give as a gift. Here are 10 good choices for you to consider.

indexMy First Easter (Worthy Kids/Ideals). Bright photos of Spring and Easter objects, one per page. Includes a simple cross.

51GX+JRlazL._AC_US500_QL65_The First Easter (Zonderkidz). A little lamb tells the resurrection story.

610bjnWrX7L._SX497_BO1,204,203,200_My Easter Basket (B&H Kids). Links the colors in a child’s Easter basket to a simple telling of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection.

71lJfWU4vmLThe Story of Easter (Worthy Kids/Ideals). A simple introduction to the meaning of the day—Jesus loves us.

61ZtS8jdIyL._SX381_BO1,204,203,200_      978-1-4964-0311-7

Jesus Lives! and Easter Surprises (Tyndale Kids). Both with stickers for completing the illustrations and other activities too. These books are a wonderful value.

71tS2bIh2wLThe Sparkle Egg (Worthy Kids/Ideals, above) and The Legend of the Easter Robin (Zonderkidz, below). Picture books for elementary grades both focus on God’s love and forgiveness.

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51vqC9wn1hL._AC_US500_QL65_My Friend Jesus (Thomas Nelson) introduces elementary-aged kids to the story of Jesus and having a personal relationship with Him.

HFEDKHope for Each Day: 365 Devotions for Kids (Tommy Nelson). Short daily devotions for children and families too.

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