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.

– Diane

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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– Diane

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.

– Diane

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!

– Diane

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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– Diane

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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– Diane

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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– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 12

wgrb17textJohn ends his Gospel with his purpose for writing, and Moses provides a “second law”–a second telling of the law—in Deuteronomy.

Day 1     John 16-18
Day 2     John 19-21
Day 3     Deuteronomy 1-3
Day 4     Deuteronomy 4-6
Day 5     Deuteronomy 7-9
Day 6     Deuteronomy 10-12
Day 7     Deuteronomy 13-15

– Diane

Well-Nourished—by the Word

file000667247480Do you take a multivitamin or use a dietary supplement? I have, and now I keep some Ester-C and echineacha tea on hand to help me fight off colds. But day to day, I’m trying to nourish my body with a whole-foods, plant-based diet.

It’s a challenge to view vegetable and fruits, nuts and seeds as staples when they’ve been sides for so many years.

But it’s getting easier. And I feel better when I eat this way.

Why am I telling you this?

Because just as nourishing myself with physical food can be a struggle (do I want to chop up all these vegetables to roast for dinner, or could we just go out for pizza? . . .), choosing to “feed” on God’s Word can be a battle too.

Each Sunday I’ve been posting a schedule for reading through the Bible in a year, from my book A Woman’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year. Reading the entire Bible and discussing it weekly with a women’s group impacted my life in so many wonderful ways. It also proved the value of the practice of reading the Bible daily.

Probably because, as someone has said, “The Bible is the only book whose Author is present with you when you read it.”

But this year I’ve been struggling. Not just to read God’s Word, but to want to. Ugh.

Too much going on? Health issues in the way? Seemingly unending cold winter days devoid of sunlight? All of the above.

A sermon here, a few chapters there, an online search of verses related to a writing project . . . I’m in the Word, right?

But I’m starving.

Last night and this morning, I picked up a Bible in a different translation than I normally read. I checked the reading schedule and jumped back in. I asked the Holy Spirit to give me insight.

I read slowly, as if enjoying a health-giving meal that I didn’t want to end too soon.

If I want to make God’s wonders known to the next generation—and I do—I need the life-giving nourishment and power He spreads out for me every day. To see consistent time in His Word as the daily staple of my life, not a side.

How about you? (You don’t have to read through the Bible in a year. But pick a Bible book to read slowly several times, or a Bible study you’ve been wanting to explore. Listen to an audio Bible as you drive or run. Ask a friend to read with you and check in with each other during the week.)

We have an enemy who wants us weak and hungry.

But we have a Father who makes us strong and full.

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– Diane

Read through the Bible—Week 11

wgrb17textAfter finishing up in Numbers, this week turns to the John’s Gospel—a studied look at the One who is the way, the truth, and the life.

Day 1     Numbers 31-33
Day 2     Numbers 34-36
Day 3     John 1-3
Day 4     John 4-6
Day 5     John 7-9
Day 6     John 10-12
Day 7     John 13-15

– Diane