Feeds:
Posts
Comments

her fall Bible study

It’s primitive. But it’s finished, just in time for the new school year.


Because I want her to learn how to read the Word.

 

And because she’s 9 and wants it to be more entertaining than white paper and black pens.



And because I love her and know there is one who loves her far better. ❤️

The 3×5 Note Card

I have had a 3×5 index card with scribbled notes on it floating around on my nightstand, in my nightstand, under my nightstand…for at least a couple of years now. On one side it has written out an embarrassing attempt of deciphering a Nancy Drew computer mystery game (!). On the other side, it has questions.

I can’t remember all the details, but I remember writing these down in response to talking with a friend who was trying to figure out if she should address her husband on some issue that was going on. Whatever was going on between her and her husband, she was torn in the all-too-familiar-to-me fog of indecisiveness, and wondering if this “thing” was a “real thing” to be insistent upon, or if it was one of those “smaller things” that just needed to be let go of.

It’s an often asked question, in many relationships. When do you say something? When do you wait? When do you do your “Christian duty” and voice your wise opinion?

I have this note card floating around and see it and hold it nearly every other day. It holds my place in one book. Finds it’s way to another. Then drops down on the floor. Is lost by my kids as they riffle through my stuff. Then finally makes it home again. I can’t ever bring myself to throw it away. Do I read it everyday? Or even often? No. But I remember what’s on it. And, I did read it this week, and was convicted of how little intentional thought I’ve given to many decisions and opinion-voicing in recent days.

Not all circumstances require some kind of intense analyzing of whether to act or not. But for those things that cause the indecisive to wither away in sleepless agony, and cause the decisive to rashly proceed, I offer these questions. Questions I’ve asked myself, questions I need to ask myself, questions I want to ask myself.

Because, in the end, for the Christ-follower, the decision of how and when to proceed in something, like my friend who wasn’t sure how much of her “opinion” to voice with her husband that day, isn’t about making the right decision, or even making the decision itself. It’s about glad surrender of our opinions to our Savior within the context of our decision-making. Making his name and renown the desire of our hearts, and seeing that desire play out in very real, every day reality through the decisions we make.

I’m sure there are more things one could consider. But, to you who, like myself and my friend, need to prayerfully consider your decisions more often, I offer you our questions to get you started. Maybe they can go on a 3×5 note card of your own and float around your nightstand for awhile.

Thinking through the “thing” I want to make my voice heard on:

Is what I am observing sinful? Unwise? Or an opinion or preference? All matters that come up in life are not direct disobedience. Some may be unwise. Some things may be a personal preference. Knowing the difference will not only help keep me accountable before God, but guard my feelings if my preferences aren’t materialized. 

Am I being asked to wait and exhibit patience? Is this a weak area for someone, who is actively pursuing Christ and needs someone to persevere in patience alongside them? Or is this a “new” phenomenon that’s been brought to my attention, a blind spot that needs to be addressed? Is the circumstance I want to speak into something that needs another opinion voiced about? Or am I just eager to resolve what I am seeing?

How has my prayer life for this matter been? Have I been regularly, specifically praying for this matter/person/situation? Or relying on my own thoughts about the matter?

Thinking through the “response”: 

Is this an area I am prone to wander in? A weak area for me, where sin likes to creep in and flesh enjoy taking over? In other words, do I practically always want to be right? Do I almost always want to draw attention to another’s sin? Do I nearly always want to control decisions or do things my way? How’s the condition of my heart as I approach thinking and acting on this matter? What are my real motives? Am I seeing a lot of “self” in my thinking? Am I favoring something or someone I shouldn’t be?

Am I in God’s Word? Am I reading words on a page, or prayerfully meditating upon them? Am I justifying my “wisdom” and “rightness” by mostly reading others’ words about truth? Where I glean my wisdom from and how intimately I engage God’s Word often exposes how self-focused or motivated I am.

What would/does laying my life down look like here? What does laying down my preferences for another look like, here?

Mom Enough

I’m not a great advice giver. I never know what to say in the moment. But, I read this book a few years ago and it may have been one of the most encouraging books I had read that was written specifically for “moms.” So I thought I’d share it.

I’m actually not much into “mommy” books, or articles, or whatnot. I usually have to force myself to engage “those ones.” But, I forced myself at the time to read this one, and it gave me a much needed shift in focus. A call back to God’s purpose for me. It chastised me for my selfishness. And reminded me of the hope I have in Christ.

It’s free (two thumbs up!), written by several different gals (which is nice if one’s writing resonates better than another with you), and the chapters are short (you can skip around and don’t have to go in order!).

Download it. And then read little bits and pieces during those agonizingly long 45 minute nursing sessions (hello to staring at blank walls and nursery decor!!!), or even the 45 minute bottle sessions (if your kid is anything like my daughter was…seriously, though, aren’t bottles supposed to be faster or something?!), days when naps go well (glory!), and when the hubby watches the kiddos and you’re set loose, wild and crazy like, to the coffee shop.

Much love to you, fellow mothers. Praying you lay your life down for the sake of the gospel, and that you know what that looks like in the details of your life…in these days.

Find the book here for free at Desiring God.

kids’ Bible reading

At our house, we have begun nearly all of our “school year” activities. It has been a busy few weeks. But, it’s been hanging over my head that I need to post the actual Bible reading plan my daughter is using. I was going on and on about doing it, so I must be true to my word!

There are actually two parts to her “Bible study/reading.” The first part is a short, 4-day reading plan through a few of the Psalms. My intent with this reading plan is to help my daughter have some consistent time reading in the Word, and to begin learning to engage it. For this portion, though there are some elements of “Bible study” in it, this is not intended to be a thorough treatment of these passages. I also want to be careful to avoid extremes…legalistic reading, pure knowledge accumulation, “mindless” reading, responding purely out of emotion, or without wisdom. It is 3rd-grader approved, and quote, “better than the ones from last year we did.” So far so good, I guess!

I have five weeks of this written out; you are more than welcome to print them off for personal use. Perhaps they will be helpful for some. If they are, send me a note or comment below and I’ll post more as I prepare them.

They could be done individually, the way my daughter is doing it, or they could be used to help foster some discussion together. The Psalms I chose are in no particular order. I wanted to give her a taste of different Psalms, so I’m being intentional to include some from different genres of the Psalms – they are not all praise, they are not all lament. It would be easy to avoid “harder” ones, but I think there must be ways to allow our kiddos to engage all of it at some level.

The disclaimer: I sort of proof read these, and I know when you blog you’re supposed to be great at proofing, but this just didn’t happen, so you may truly find some typos. And, they are totally not comprehensive! After all, this is for a little girl’s daily reading and prayer time. I prayed and worked hard to be faithful to the Word, but I also did not agonize over these for hours on end. I pray there are no major exegetical fallacies (!). That being said, the primary resources I use for our Bible study are Bible Study by Kathleen Nielson, One To One Bible Reading by David Helm, a few resources passed down from my pastors, and my resources from a course I completed at http://www.simeontrust.org.

Second, in my previous post, I mentioned we’re trying to prepare for Sunday mornings at our church by reading through and doing some “Bible study” together so we’re primed and ready for the sermon. I don’t plan to post this portion specifically, because it’s primarily discussion. If you’re interested in the kinds of questions we talk about, though, I’d be happy to give some insight or suggestions! Just send me a note.

We do this typically on Fridays together, and it’s mostly a discussion that takes us around 30 minutes. On Sundays during the sermon, I’ve been having her take notes, listening for three specific things: 1) something we learned together about the passage (this helps us know if we were on the right track!), 2) something new she heard that we didn’t discuss or address (this helps her – both of us! – remain teachable, and appreciate the pastor’s work, teaching, and instruction in the Word), and 3) listen carefully for how the pastor asks us to apply it to our lives (this has been hardest for her to find, I think because it’s at the end of the sermon typically!). On the way home or later that day I’ll glance at her notes and/or ask her about what she heard.

This has been highly encouraging to me. She has gleaned a lot from the sermons recently. I praise God for some of the things his Word has really made her consider and think about during our Friday discussions and Sunday afternoons after hearing the Word preached!

But, lest you think we are super great at maintaining this rhythm – or you observe my daughter on Sunday mornings and question – we have not done this perfectly. This is our ideal, our goal, my vision for my daughter and myself as we study on Fridays. Traveling to see new babies in our family and spontaneous field trips has interrupted our “study” cycle. And sometimes, when we sit down to discuss it on Fridays, it’s just really, really awkward! I ask questions that sound boring or are filled with “ums,” she is unenthused, her eyes are glazed over, and it often has taken a few minutes before we really get to anything very “great.” However, once we finally get there, once we plow down and work together to see what God is saying, wow! God’s Word is real food for us, not plain ol’ words on a page. I just know he is delighting to see us make this effort to know him.

I’m praying these ideas spur many of you on to better and greater ones, as you work heartily to bring your littles before the throne of grace and truth!

Here are the five weeks of Psalm readings:

week-1-psalm-reading-study

week-2-psalm-reading-study

week-3-psalm-reading-study

week-4-psalm-reading-study

week-5-psalm-reading-study

I get very excited planning for my daughter’s home school year. It’s the craziest thing, since I never expected myself to be in this place…planning, organizing, looking ahead, looking forward, hopeful, anticipating…doing school with her (!).

I’ve just begun to plan out her “Bible reading stuff.” Several have asked me to let them in on what we’ll be doing as we go forward so I thought I’d start sharing it. Today arrived a couple of new books that I’m pretty excited about, so of course I had to start taking photos! Is there any other option in this technological world now?

We already have a few items, are still looking for some missing items (if it’s not under her bed, where could that book be at?!), have others that I’m not sure we’ll use or not, and are pretty set on the others.

IMG_20160701_113552233 I’m not exactly sure how it will all look quite yet, what she’ll do independently and what we’ll do together, but so far what I am fairly certain about is having several layers for her “Bible study.”

Please note that my daughter is going into third grade; some of these ideas will be too much for your little! And one other thing: I have great vision and ideals and goals…that sometimes play out beautifully and sometimes they just don’t. I overwhelm my husband sometimes with all my plans and ideas. Please don’t feel intimidated if this sounds like too much. I would be so sad if you were.

First, she’ll have a daily Bible reading plan. Last year we used this one and it was very sufficient for this. I wanted her to get in the Word independently, I had a new baby (’nuff said), and it introduced her to an Bible reading plan that didn’t overwhelm or intimidate her.

This year, I’ll probably come up with a plan for her myself. So far, I’m leaning specifically towards incorporating Psalm 119 because it speaks of having such great delight for God’s Word. After it gets organized, I’ll share it!

Second, she’ll have a new “topic” for school: theology. In the past she has been pretty entranced by my own studying, so I thought, well why not just be specific about it and add this in?? These are the books that came today, and how exciting to think she can claim to have her own “theology books!” So cute. I’ll be looking through them more closely to see how quickly I want to take her through each one and in what order. This is a part that we may do during the day, or sometimes do later with dad. These books could very easily be done during family time, if that’s your style.

First, we’ll be reading the children’s version of Paul Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, entitled Dangerous Journey. There is a study guide for this book, which I’ve ordered, and I’ll look at that to see how it can be utilized for discussion.

Second, we’ll be reading through a systematic theology book for kids by Machowski, The Ology. It has extra Scriptures and a question or two for each topic. The ages he lists in this are primarily for 6-12. If you have younger kiddos, we just received this book when we dedicated our son at church and it would be a great “theology.”

Third, we’ll be reading through some of her children’s Bibles to keep in mind that “bigger story” in Scripture. We own The Jesus Storybook Bible, The Biggest Story, and God’s Big Picture Bible.

I think those will be sufficient for the year. But if not, we’ll likely dive in to Sally Michael’s God’s Promises. We did her God’s Names in the past and really, really liked it (I think she was about 5 or 6 at the time).

We have done Catechism in the past, and may or may not do some of that again. It’s nice to have a change of pace. If you have older kids and want a supplement to Catechism memorization, we worked through these workbooks last year. They were a little difficult for her in second grade, but they did help us have some good discussion.

Third, she’ll be doing actual Bible study. I’ve had a difficult time deciding which book of the Bible to go through with her, but in the end, I landed on Luke. I really wanted to go through a gospel/narrative with her, and since I found out our church is preaching through Luke this fall, I thought this was practically a no brainer. We’ll be studying passages a little ahead of the preaching schedule, and my hope is that by the time they tackle it on Sundays, she’ll get a little more out of it than she otherwise would (and so will I!).

I am going to type up some pages for her/both of us to fill out. They’ll be simple, there will likely be work for her to do independently, and opportunity for us to discuss together. The work load won’t be huge. Reading through the passage once or twice during the week, doing a day or two of a few questions, and then our discussion of it together. We’ll see how it all plays out. (sigh) I love thinking about this part and can’t wait to see how it turns out!

This step has only just begun, but I’ll post it, too, when I’m done. I plan for us to start studying Luke at the very beginning of August so that we’ll be sure to “be ready” for our church’s sermons! (Egads!)

Fourth, she’ll have some Scripture memory. This is where the curriculum that our church uses on Sundays comes in to play. The amazing Children’s Ministry staff at our church does a beautiful job teaching Biblical truths to the kids in their care. We’ll take a day to do any worksheet she brings home from Sunday School and do our best to memorize the Scripture they are working on. There have been times when we’ve done this well, and times when we haven’t. We definitely need to grow in our self-discipline in this area!

I hope this is helpful for some. If I have the opportunity and mind for it, perhaps I’ll post my motivation and desire for all of this. The purpose behind the doing – to see God and his glory – is really the beautiful motivation of it all. I hope it will be yours, too.

Much love to you!

jane