The Thing We Can Not Give And What We Can

by Kimberly on June 6, 2011 in Faithfulness, Grace, Nurture, Responsibility, Servanthood, Uncategorized

As I go through each day walking hand in hand with my six daughters, watching as they grow into the young ladies that God created them to be, I realize that the one thing that is vital to being a successful homemaker is something that is out of my power to give.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? ~Mt.16:26

There is no benefit in nourishing food, beautiful surroundings or graceful manners if it ends in an eternity apart from God.

While it is not within our power to save our child’s soul or to hand them a relationship with Christ, that does not mean that parents have no responsibility. It’s a paradox of sorts.

We are commanded to raise our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4) and to teach them all that God has commanded (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) beginning with the fear of the Lord (Proverbs 1:7) while trusting in the grace of God and the work of His Holy Spirit to accomplish what we can not.

Salvation, relationship with Christ is a gift of God’s free grace that is in no way merited nor earned.

What is our responsibility? What practical things can parents do to begin to fulfill our duty to point our children toward relationship with Christ?

Bible reading

In our home each of the adults and all children who are able to read, even beginning readers, spend individual time reading the Bible daily. Those who are unable to read listen to God’s Word being read.

By the time our children are fluent readers they read through their Bible four times each year (We use this schedule).

In addition to this individual reading, we read the Bible corporately both morning and evening and we begin each ‘school’ day by reading God’s Word.

Prayer

We encourage our children to come before the Lord in prayer both publicly  (before meals, naps, bedtime, and during family worship) and privately (during their time of morning Bible reading and before bed at night). We seek to remind them to pray about everything; every decision, every need. When the little ones fall we thank God for His protection and ask Him to heal their boo boo.  When the bigger ones have a request we encourage them to ask the the one who can give them all they need.

We pray that God will teach us to pray and that we will understand the privilege of  being able to come into the very presence of God.

Bible Memorization

Hiding God’s Word in our children’s (and our) hearts is another important way we can encourage relationship.  Our family uses this system each morning after family worship to memorize new Scripture and to review what we’ve already learned.

We also memorize Scripture through music.  Jamie Soles has two albums of Psalms set to music, Ascending (Psalm 120-134) and Pure Words (Psalm 1-16). We’ve also used  the Sing the Word CDs by The Harrow Family as well as our church’s Psalter to learn Scripture through song.

Family Worship

Each morning and evening, Mark takes time to sit down with our family and give us instruction from God’s Word. He reads a portion of the Bible, then teaches from it and applies it to our lives. We finish by having a time of prayer and singing.

Sometimes we work through a Bible study book.

Corporate Worship

Need I say more? It is important to be part of a church family. It is within this family that our children are able to practice their service to others.

Service

We learn to serve God by first serving others.

But it is not this way with you, but the one who is the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like the servant. For who is greater, the one who reclines at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at the table? But I am among you as the one who serves. ~Luke 22:26-27

In contrast with the world, Christians are called to serve. We are called to take the least desirable tasks (Jesus washed the feet of his disciples), we should not be devoted to receiving recognition, but devoted to serving those  in need. Once we begin to open our eyes to those around us, the needs are so vast and so great that we can not possibly meet them all, but we can begin.

Are we teaching our children how to love and serve others or are we teaching them that they don’t have time because right now their education, competition, sports, etc. is more important?  The need is great and there are so few who take the time to serve, that even within our churches there are people struggling with no one willing to step in and help.

Our girls can and should learn to serve by helping in their own home, but they can be a tremendous blessing to others if they are also willing to serve in other homes.

Beginning at 10 or 11 our girls spend time regularly in the homes of others helping to cook, clean and take care of children for young moms or serving as a companion and helper to the elderly. We pray that they are learning to be the hands and feet of Christ.

While the one thing that we most desire for our children is something that we can not give to them, we can seek to obey God in how He commands us to raise and educate our children.

We obey out of our love for Him and  we storm the gates of heaven begging that He will grant that our children would love Him also, that He would bestow His free gift of Salvation on our precious little ones. Then we trust, knowing that He will accomplish His perfect will.

Photo credit Morningstar1369

Kimberly

Kimberly is a homeschool graduate, thanks to her mom's cancer diagnosis. Now married to Mark and blessed with eleven children; Kimberly homeschools, washes mountains of laundry, mops acres of floors and attempts to live deliberately by examining each decision in light of God’s word. She blogs about managing it all at Raising Olives.

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{ 28 comments }

jay quiverfull families June 6, 2011

great piece.

Debbie June 6, 2011

What a GREAT article – and links to great resources. Thank you! For the encouragement, exhortation and practical advice. These are the things I desire to give my children – and this post helps me get a real vision for doing so!

Sharlene Huizinga June 6, 2011

FYI…Jamie Soles also has a new album out of more Psalms. It is called Songs from the 40s, 50s and 60s. It focuses on the Psalms from Psalm 40-60. We just had Jamie and his family do a concert in our church! Great musician!!

Mimi2mykids June 6, 2011

Thank you for this wonderful reminder.

Corri June 6, 2011

I really enjoyed this post. It has given me some ideas to try to use with my young family! 🙂

Christy@OneFunMom June 6, 2011

Thanks for this post! I look forward to implementing more Bible-focused time as we enter the summer. We can focus more on building better habits while on the break from homeschool. I also love the ABC Bible verses from No Greater Joy.

Sarah June 6, 2011

Thank you for these ideas. I need and want a way to enforce the role the Bible needs to play in our house. Usually I am the only one who leads in this area – the children enjoy AWANA but even then I feel it’s more to get prizes than to really memorize so I’ll be revisiting this as we enter the new school year. Thank you.

Darlene June 6, 2011

Thanks so much for this today! It’s exactly what my soul needed. Praise God!

Heather Anderson June 6, 2011

I appreciate seeing what others are doing in their homes. It reminds me to stay on track, and also step it up in some areas. Thank you.

Kathleen June 6, 2011

Thank you for the thoughtful post and for the links as well.

Alexxus June 6, 2011

First, let me say that is a lovely post, filled with lots of goodies. 🙂 But allow me to ask – is reading through the entire Bible 4 times a year really necessary?

Homeschool on the Croft June 6, 2011

I love the fact that you recognise both sides of the coin:
A) our responsiblities in bringing up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and
B) that we can not *give* salvation to our children – yes, there are promises and responsibilities, but grace is a gift of God – not earned in any way.
I soooo admire your Bible reading. I have to confess we don’t do as much as you….. don’t do as much as I’d like either. Note to self: pull up your socks, Anne!
Thanks so much for this x

Sweetpeas June 6, 2011

I’m curious, what’s your reason for requiring your children to read through the Bible so quickly? I find that, for myself, while some years I choose to do some sort of “through the Bible in the year” plan, other years, I am much more blessed to read only a couple verses per day (either topically or a specific book or whatever) and really dig into those verses. I read through the Bible several times as a child, and I really don’t think I got much out of it. My focus was on reading the required verses to put the checkmark on the chart, not really digging into what I was reading. So, I’m just curious to hear your reasons for requiring your children to read a certain amount?

Kimberly June 6, 2011

Alexxus asked,

is reading through the entire Bible 4 times a year really necessary?

No, neither is praying before meals, naps and bedtime, having a time of family worship morning and evening, or spending time memorizing Scripture each morning at breakfast, etc. it’s just what we do. Necessary is Ephesians 6, Deuteronomy 6, Proverbs etc.

Sweetpeas wondered,

what’s your reason for requiring your children to read through the Bible so quickly?

There are a couple of reasons. For many years we read through the Bible one time each year. Then a year and a half ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to read through the Bible in 90 days. We asked our children if anyone wished to do it with us. All of them wanted to.

We all loved it. We found that we understood more, got more of the ‘big picture’ and understood better how everything worked together by reading it at that pace rather than the slower, once a year, pace. The children asked if we could continue doing it every 90 days. Currently most of our children are ahead of the schedule in their reading because they enjoy reading the Bible. So we read through four times a year because we enjoy it.

The other reason is a matter of priority. Since we require our children to spend an hour each day reading quality literature it makes sense that they spend that amount of time reading the Bible, which we believe is more important.

Perhaps I didn’t make it clear in my post, but we (each of the children and Mark and I) spend time each day memorizing Scripture and digging deeply into a few verses at a time both in our time of personal Bible study and during times of family worship, so we don’t read the Bible at this pace INSTEAD of digging deeply into Scripture, we do it in ADDITION to digging deeply. The Bible reading helps us to become familiar with God’s Word, all of it and as we become familiar with all of God’s Word we come to know who God is.

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. ~2 Tim. 3:16-17

We believe that for our family, it is important to regularly read all of God’s Word and this is how we do it.

april milstead June 6, 2011

This post really touched me and gave me some really good tips, thanks!

Jonnie Bernier June 7, 2011

I really need to step it up I have been reading through the one year Bible for a little over a year, and I am only on Sept. 20th. This is my first time reading all the way through the Bible, and I have already purchased a King James version to read after I finish the one I am currently reading (NLT). I have begun to read my children a Bible story at the breakfast table everymorning while they are eating – thanks to your great ideas. I am also interested in possibly reading a chronoligical Bible at some point.

I love the way you continue to mention service to others my oldest child is just 9 years old, and all my children help out around our house, but I am hoping to get moving on helping others outside of our home, I would love to do something with the elderly, as a whole family.

Once again Wonderful post. Thanks!

Kelly June 7, 2011

Kimberly,

Loved this post! These reminders are so good and so needed for us busy moms. If you don’t mind my “plug”, I’ve also put 9 long passages of Scripture to music on our By Heart Scripture Songs CD. We have found it very helpful in easily memorizing Scripture.

Christin June 7, 2011

I agree, Kimberly. My husband and I did the Bible in 90 Days Challenge together last summer and though intense, it helped us be disciplined in reading the Word and it really helped us to see the bigger picture.

I was curious to know how your children handled reading that much of the Word at once, but you answered my question in the comments. 🙂 I have a 9 year old who is a quick, fluent reader and she could handle reading that much. My concern is would she want to. I would love her to, but I don’t want her to become bitter toward God’s word by being “forced” to read it. (Not saying you do that, I was just speaking of our own situation–how I would love that, but don’t know if she would go for that.) I suppose it’s something we could ease into.

Do you check up (hold accountable) on your children’s reading? To be sure they did it or have them narrate? I would have to keep on top of my daughter as she tends to get side tracked and “forgets” to do those things she is supposed to do.

Thank you so much for sharing all of these things. You have given me some things to consider. 🙂

Becky June 7, 2011

Thank you so much for this post and all of the ways to build and grow our faith walk with our little ones (and us to for that matter!!!!) I am excited to begin the Bible verse memorization box!!

Gail June 7, 2011

Wow! What an inspiration! My first thought were similar to those who asked the questions ‘why?’ You are so right! The Bible is so much more important than any other book we read! so really, ‘why not!?’ Thank you for sharing your resources with us!

Jacqueline B June 8, 2011

Thank you for the reminders and inspiration. Will you please pray that I would be faithful in each of those 6 headings above? (Especially with a dear husband who is not against them, but is not actively involved in any of them either.)
I know this site is for raising girls – I have two boys. I’d appreciate some ideas for service for them. They are 11 and 5. I think serving each other would be a good start; any ideas for what would be appropriate and foster love/appreciation between them? I’d also appreciate ideas for having them serve in our neighborhood. I’m embarrassed to say they haven’t done much of this.
Thank you.

Kimberly June 8, 2011

Thank you Kelly.

Christin asked,

Do you check up (hold accountable) on your children’s reading? To be sure they did it or have them narrate? I would have to keep on top of my daughter as she tends to get side tracked and “forgets” to do those things she is supposed to do.

The quick answer is no. As you mention, our ultimate goal is for our children to read the Bible because they love God’s Word (you may be interested in this post where I explain why we ‘require’ Bible reading at all) and for our children who are reading the Bible four times a year, there is little need to check up on them anymore, they actually hold us accountable by asking us where WE are. 🙂

We naturally have a lot of discussions about what we are reading as we go through our day, the kids ask of questions about things they don’t understand and as we discuss other topics the children bring up applicable passages of Scripture in such a way that Mark and I have few doubts that they are actually reading and understanding God’s Word.

That said, we have some beginning readers who are making their way through the Bible one time this year or simply through the New Testament in one year. It’s their first year reading regularly and they require some checking up on. Here’s what we do with the little ones:

1. We pray for them.

2. We all read our Bibles together first thing each morning. This helps the little ones develop a habit, it allows the big kids to set an example and shows Mark and I that they are spending time reading each day.

3. We do ask them what they are reading and sometimes have them read it to us. (One of them is still a beginning, beginning reader.)

I think that if you’re concerned about your daughters desire to read the Bible, perhaps you should give her the option to read in 90 days or to use one of the yearly read through plans. There is something about them wanting to take on the challenge themselves that helps with motivation.

Our children had all read through the Bible in a year plans multiple times before we started reading through in 90 days, so the habit was already established.

Jacqueline B ~ I hope to get back here and give you some answers later, right now I have a to read MY Bible. 🙂

Chris June 8, 2011

Great post! We just heard Jamie Soles in concert as well, and got some of his CDs. Our kids also love Steve Green’s “Hide ‘Em In Your Heart” CDs, which are Bible verses, word for word, set to music. And, Judy Rogers does some really nice shorter catechism songs for kids too.

Rhen @Yes, they are all mine June 8, 2011

Wonderful post!
We have re-evaluating much of our family’s worship and Bible study time. We currently have a bible study in the morning with myself and the children, and they have individual Bible reading times. Hubs and I have decided to implement a family reading time and prayer time every night led by him. I am super excited!
I will be reading him this post as an encouragement to several of the decisions we have made recently in an effort to focus on God even more and to serve.
Thank you!

Christin June 9, 2011

Thank you so much Kim. I really appreciate your feedback. It looks like we are going to work through the Bible in a Year first.
I know my daughter enjoys “crossing things off” a list and highlighting her Bible reading each day, believe it or not, would probably help motivate her. 🙂

That being said, I think I will read alongside her so that we can have those discussions you mentioned. Oooh you have inspired and motivated me – encouraged me greatly. THANK YOU!! {I am SO happy you are a contributor here! You have so much to offer all of us, as a Titus 2 woman. Thank you!} 🙂

lag June 9, 2011

I agree completely with the importance of daily reading; however, reading the Bible as it is put together can be extremely confusing. Without proper context, and an understanding of chronology of events, I can’t see how most kids could begin to understand it. The Narrated Bible is a great tool to help with this problem. I also really love “What the Bible is all About” by Henrietta Mears. I think it is still in print. Don’t agree with everything in it doctrinally, esp. premillenial stuff and “ask Jesus into your heart” salvation, but it is great for teaching specifics about each book of the Bible and the big picture.

Kimberly June 9, 2011

lag,

Our Bible reading experience is limited to ourselves and our children, but we’ve found that our children have quickly grasped the flow of the narrative of Scripture and are easily able to put the books in chronological order. They’ve been able to do this by simply reading through the Bible. It’s a long book, but the story is not that complicated.

That’s the beauty and miracle of God’s Word, it’s simple enough for children to understand, but reveals all that is necessary for our lives.

The understanding of how the whole story fits together has been one of the advantages we’ve found in reading through the Bible at a quicker pace. You can not miss the fact that Ezra and Nehemiah are contemporaries, for example, when you read through the entirety of both of those books in less than 3 days.

Jennie June 10, 2011

Loved this!!!

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