Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bible. Show all posts

Jan 2, 2019

Most Popular Posts from 2018

This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site! 

Another year come and gone. To me, it seems time speeds up each year! But now that Chritmas and New Year's are over, I need to hunker down and get to work. I'm currently finishing up a historical fashion book for Dover Publications. (Years ago, historical fashion books were my mainstay and I've enjoying getting back into that subject.) And as usual, this year I want to try to make this blog better than ever...meaning, I want to hear from you! What do you wish I'd blog more about? Let me know in the comments or through a social media message.

This is also the time of year I look at this blog's stats to see if I can understand my wonderful readers even better. It's always fasncinating to see which posts you like best.






I also look at which posts are all-time favorites:
Happy new year!

Dec 28, 2017

Top 5 Most Popular Posts for 2017 - Plus Top Posts of All Time!

This post may contain affiliate links. All opinions are my own. Please see FCC disclosure for full information. Thank you for supporting this site!

2017 is nearly at an end, which means it's time for reflection and maybe some new goals. This year has certainly been a life-changing one for me: Reversing my diabetes (and most of my other health complaints) through a keto diet; hubby no longer commuting 92 miles one direction in order to get to work; and my need to do more to help support my family financially. And one of the things I always do around this time of year is access this blog.

So let me ask: What are my readers (you!) needing from me? Please, let me know in the comments below!

Another way I learn what readers want is to look at this blog's most popular posts from the previous year, and for the entire life of the blog. (Did you know I've been writing this blog since 2009?! Holy smokes!)

Most Popular Posts from 2017

# 5. Catnip for Human Medicine 
This popular post was inspired by the catnip patch that came with our homestead - and which our cat (who also came with our homestead) adores. I was surprised to learn catnip is so beneficial for humans, especially for helping us relax. It also repels mosquitos better than DEET. Find out what else catnip is good for by clicking here.

# 4. How to Get Out from Under the Laundry Pile
A lot of you struggle to keep up with your family's laundry, and in this post, I give you my best tips for how I make laundry easy and stress-free.

#3. Can I Use My Instant Pot Pressure Cooker for Canning?
The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker (buy it here) hit the world by storm in 2017, and my third most popular post definitely reflects that. In it, I dispell myths about using pressure cookers as pressure canners. Be sure to read it before you can!

#2. Cauliflower Chowder Recipe
Combine the Instant Pot and a keto recipe and you get my second most popular post from 2017. This is actually a revised version of a non-keto, non-Instant Pot recipe I posted in 2015. It's been a family favorite, so when I went keto, I was thrilled it was easy to make low carb. It's also easy to make in the Instant Pot (or slow cooker/crock pot, or the stove top).

 #1. 50 Low Carb and Keto Thanksgiving Recipes
When I started eating keto in December of 2016, I never dreamed that keto recipes would turn into the most popular posts on my blog! It's really a testament to this healthy diet, which truly works for treating type I and type II diabetes, cancer, Lyme disease, epilepsy, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, metabolic disorder, sleep disorders, pain, infertility (especially PCOS), multiple sclerosis, and other diseases - not to mention for losing weight, especially when the pyramid diet fails. (I've lost 45 lbs., my husband has lost 60 lbs.) Keto works, my friends!

Most Popular Posts of All Time

#5.  Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets
Here's a little secret: I hate pickled beets. But my family loves them - and, apparently, so do you! This post from 2014 continues to be among my most read.

#4. The Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net
I'm glad I'm not the only one who loves a good apron - or two, or three, or...Since 2011, this post has pointed ya'll to some pretty awesome, free patterns for my favorite kitchen accessory.

#3. 6 Ways to Teach Kids the Books of the Bible
I'm so happy at least one God-centered post is popular on this blog! ;)

#2. How to EASILY Clean Ceilings & Walls - Even in a Greasy Kitchen!
It turns out, greasy kitchens are my specialty. I also specialize in finding "lazy girl" ways to clean. This post from 2014 combines both these "talents."

#1. How to Train Chickens
This has been my most read post since 2012, which cracks me up! I'd have never thunk it. But I guess hubby and I are pretty good at getting our hens to cooperate and do the things we want them to.

Aug 29, 2017

Tips for Successful Devotions with Young Kids {How to Do Children's Devotions}

Tips for Successful Devotions with Young Kids
My most important job is to teach my children about God. There are many ways to go about this: praying with and in front of my children; talking with my kids about how God affects our every day lives; having theological discussions with my children; reading kids' devotionals and other Christian books for children; listening to and watching Christian media for kids; among other things. But reading the Bible with my children is a top priority.

The only trouble with Bible reading with young children can be very, very difficult to get them to listen. Many mothers complain their little ones wiggle too much, or argue during Bible reading, or or touch each other, or kick each other, or breathe on each other, or otherwise cause disruptions that make Bible reading impossible. If you have this trouble in your home, read on. Here's what works for us:

* Choose your time wisely. You and your children are probably at your freshest in the morning. Evening devotions are okay, too, but I find I'm more likely to feel impatient when it's nearly bedtime - and my children are less likely to remember what we read.

* Make sure your children's needs are met. If they are hungry or thirsty or need to use the restroom, it will be impossible for them to pay attention to the Bible. So get those basic needs out of the way before you begin.

* Try singing first. Sing a hymn or a Bible verse (for example, something from Hide 'Em in Your Heart) with your kids. Encourage them to stand up, make hand motions, and even dance. This gets the wiggles out.

* Try mealtime. Typically, I read the Bible to my children while they eat breakfast. I find they listen very well while they are eating a meal (not just a snack), and that breakfast becomes a mostly laid back time, where we can easily discuss the Bible.

* Try quiet activities. If for some reason I can't read the Bible while my children eat breakfast, I usually sit on the couch in the morning and have the children gather around while I read. But they don't just sit; they have quiet activities to do. Usually this is coloring or drawing, but anything works as long as it isn't noisy and leaves them free to listen. Truly, most children seem to listen better if their hands are busy.

* Pick the right Bible. There's nothing wrong with reading a regular, adult Bible to your children. (Although you'll probably want to skip certain, more mature sections.) However, I believe it's invaluable to have Bibles your children can more readily understand. Not only should each child have his or her own Bible (which should be geared toward their age group), I recommend having a children's Bible storybook that appeals to all your children - except perhaps the babies and toddlers in your family. In addition, I like having several children's Bible storybooks around, so we can finish one and - instead of repeating everything we just read - pick up another. Invariably, the stories are a bit different and the author's approach lends a freshness to the stories. Click here for my Bible recommendations.

How do you make devotions with young children work in your family?

Originally published 4/30/14.

May 15, 2017

The Busy's Mom's Guide to Reading The Bible

Finding Time for Reading the Bible
This post was originally published in 2009.

I admit it. Some days the only Bible I read is a children's picture Bible. As the mother of two small children, it's a real challenge to find adult reading time. Yet the Bible admonishes us to nurture ourselves with God's Word (Deut. 11:18, 1 Pet. 2:1-3), to equip ourselves to serve God with it (2 Tim. 3:17, Eph. 6:17), to help us steer clear of sin by reading it (Ps. 119:11)...and who can forget the lesson of how Jesus beat back Satan by quoting Scripture (Matt. 4)?

If you're having trouble finding time for the Word, here are some tips that may help:

* Get up early. If you can get out of bed before anyone else (or at least before the children), spend time with the Bible. If this will not negatively impact your parenting and spousal skills (sleep deprivation can turn me into a totally different woman!), this may be the best solution for you.

* Use nap time. I always find it tempting to use the rare times my children nap to catch up on household chores. But it's better to use these precious minutes for something more important: When your little ones are snoozing, read the Bible and spend time with the Lord.

* Listen to the Bible. If you can block out the noise of your little ones (Earbuds, anyone?) and focus on an audio version of the Bible, this is an excellent way to get some time with the Word.

* Use movie time. Once my little ones are at least two years old, I find it acceptable to plop them down in front of an educational DVD. An excellent use of this time for me is to sit nearby, reading my Bible.

* Read to your child. I began doing this when my daughter was about 3. In the mornings, after I get the baby fed and changed and give my daughter a cup of juice, I sit down with some tea and open my Bible. Sometimes I read silently, but usually my daughter wants me to read out loud to her. She plays quietly nearby and listens - which not only means I get some Bible time in, but she's benefiting from the Word, too.

* Settle for less. Pre-kid, you may have read chapters of the Bible in one sitting. But now that you have little ones, it's okay to lower your expectations. Even reading and meditating on a single verse is an excellent thing.

* Pray about it. God wants you to have time for the Bible, so pray, asking him to help you find or make the time.

Dec 29, 2015

Most Popular Posts 2015 - and All Time!

I've been blogging at Proverbs 31 Woman for six years (and have written over 1,140 posts!), but honestly, I never have any clue which posts are going to be the most talked about or viewed. They say the Lord works in mysterious ways, and judging by what posts are most popular here, I have to agree! It's always a pretty eclectic list. I hope you enjoy it!

(P.S. Want to see more popular posts from Proverbs 31 Woman? Check out the Pinterest page "Most Popular Posts at Proverbs 31 Woman.")

Most Popular Posts from 2015:

1. Why I Don't Watch HGTV (And Maye You Shouldn't Either)

2. Free Art History Curriculum: Edgar Degas (this whole series is popular, but this is the most popular post from the series)

3. How to Kill E.Coli on Vegetables and Fruits

4. No Fail Healthy Pie Crust Recipe

5. Keeping the House Cool in Summer (With and Without AC)

6. 12 Old Fashioned Birthday Party Games for Kids

7. How to Make a SCOBY for Kombucha

8. "I Am..." A Self Worth Craft for Kids

Most Popular Posts of All Time:

1. How to Train Chickens (and Get Them to Do What You Want Them to Do)

2. Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net

3. 6 Ways to Teach Kids the Books of the Bible

4. Best Ideas for Upcycling Jeans

5. How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Stove

6. How to EASILY Clean Ceilings and Walls - Even in a Greasy Kitchen

7. Canning Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)

8. Easy Refrigerator Pickled Beets

9. Freezing Apple Pie Filling

Jul 31, 2015

How to Know God's Will for Your Life

I am blessed with wonderful in-laws. They have never treated me as anything less than their daughter - and they are wise in Christ, too. This week, when my dad-in-law (an ordained minister) read my post about asking children what God wants them to be when they grow up, he wrote me a wonderful email about knowing God's will for your life. It's so good, and expounds so much on what I originally wrote, I asked him if I could share it with you. He said yes. :)


I believe you have addressed a most important subject in life. I am still grappling with that question. Maybe I still have not grown up!

I recall a chart I taped on my freshman dorm wall entitled, 'How To Know God’s Will For Your Life.' It came out of an on-campus chapel service concerning that topic. After all, freshman collegians are not far removed from 9 year olds! It went something like this:
  • Seek to know God’s plan through concerted prayer.
  • Allow Him to speak to you through his Word.
  • Seek Godly counsel. 
That was okay for the moment; however, almost without notice, living life began eroding my Godly resolve, and in time I lost sight of the commitment required to achieve God’s direction for my life; I  drifted between being oblivious to the thought of God having a goal for my life, to an attitude of superficially-breathed prayers that asked God to bless the course I had chosen. 

At a Youth For Christ, Campus Life conference for high school Campus Life leaders in 1971, the speaker was addressing this subject. He said something that Mom and I believe revolutionized our concept of knowing God’s will. He said,

'If you are actively seeking it, then you are in it.'  

The specific life-calling was not as important as the attitude in which we approached our future. I believe you captured that when you introduced the God-factor into the equation [in your post]

Some years later, I sorted out a short-list of what I believe is a guideline for living - concepts necessary to live as a Christian:

CREATOR. Acknowledge God as our Creator. 
Truly if we recognize Him as our maker/molder, then we are the clay and it begs the question: Why did He put me here - what is His plan for me?

PURPOSE. Realize that our Creator has put us here for His purpose. 
We had no say concerning where and when we were born, who our parents were, or in what culture or ethnic group we entered life. As God controlled our birth, He will develop our life-plan - and yes also our end-of-life plan.

WORD. Trust the Bible to be God’s Word.
Know that everything needed to answer life’s questions and provide direction is addressed there. 'Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.' (Psalm 119:105)

OCCUPY. 'Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus…'  (Col. 3:17) Understand that our ultimate objective for life is developing a relationship with our Creator that will last forever.

DESTINY. Adam and Eve experienced fellowship with their Creator until they chose to go their own way. 
I ask myself, 'Why am I a Christian?' My answer has to be the same as Peter’s: 'Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.'  (John 6:68This life is but a precursor for our eternal existence with our God and His son Jesus - a return to paradise.


Dec 31, 2014

Most Popular Posts - for 2014, and for all time!

The most popular post!
It's always fun for me to see which posts are most popular on this blog. (They are never - never! - the posts I imagine will most interest readers!) Oddly, what shows up as popular depends upon what source I look at; but studying stats from Blogger, Pinterest, and other top sources, it's easy to see which posts are all time favorites and favorites for the year. And since recent months have brought a great many more readers to Proverbs 31 Woman, I thought it would be fun to share these lists with you - especially since many of the posts are from years' past. It's a pretty eclectic list; enjoy!

(P.S. Want to see more popular posts from Proverbs 31 Woman? Check out the Pinterest page "Most Popular Posts at Proverbs 31 Woman.")

Top 5 Posts for 2014:

1. 52 Simple Sewing Projects for Kids

2. 10 Things I Learned During Our Tiny House Test Run

3. The Letter of the Week Series, especially Letter R

4. Free Art History Curriculum: Claude Monet

5. Walmart Savings Catcher: Hit or Miss?

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of All Time:

 1. How to Train Chickens  (it completely cracks me up that this is the most popular post among readers!)

2. 6 Ways to Teach Kids the Books of the Bible

3. Best Free Apron Patterns on the Net

4. How to Clean a REALLY Dirty Stove

5. Best Ideas for Upcycling Jeans

6. Canning Pickled Green Beans (Dilly Beans)

7. Harvesting and Making Your Own Chamomile Tea

8. How Much Money Can You Save Gardening & Homesteading

9. 52 Simple Sewing Projects for Kids

10. Easiest Fruits & Vegetables to Grow

Sep 27, 2013

Immersing Your Children in God's Word

As I aspire to become a Proverbs 31 Woman, my greatest responsibility is to train my children in the way of the Lord. As a person who did not grow up in a Christian home, this is sometimes more challenging than anything else I aspire to. But one of the greatest ways I can reach this goal is to immerse my children in God's Word. It's also one of the easiest - at least once you get the hang of it. My motto is: Never let an opportunity go by to read, talk about, or refer to the Bible. As Deuteronomy 6:5-9 says:

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."*
Here are eight ways I immerse my children in God's Word. Are you doing all of them?

* Read to the children from your Bible. I like to do this at the beginning of the day - often while the children eat breakfast or while they color - both of which seem to improve their listening skills. I have recently taken to reading from the book of Proverbs. It seems there are fewer challenging words in this book, plus it's packed with excellent advice for children. We either proceed or follow this Bible reading with prayer.

* Read to them from a storybook Bible. Our favorites are The Big Picture Story Bible (for the youngest) and The Jesus Storybook Bible. Both do a great job of revealing Jesus in both the Old and New Testaments. We also read vintage The Bible Story (by Arthur S. Maxwell); this series does the best job of covering almost all the stories in the Bible than any other children's Bible storybook I've seen. (Although I dislike all the assumptions the author makes about Jesus' pre-ministry years. I just edit this as I read, though.)

* Have them read from their Bible. For beginning readers, the Hear Me Read Bible is a nice choice. For readers who are a little more advanced, Zonderkidz publishes individual "I Can Read" leveled books that are Bible stories. More advanced readers should do fine with an NIV or NIrV translation of the Bible.

* Listen to the Bible. You can listen to it free at BibleGateway, Biblica, and Audio Bible, among many other places.

* Listen to Christian music. I want my children to know those old hymns; Hymns for a Child's Heart really speaks to them. We also listen to and sing together the memory verse songs in Hide 'Em in Your Heart. It's fine to listen to Christian music for adults, too, but I do think it's smart to have some music that is kid-specific and refers to actual passages of Scripture.

* Use other Christian media. My children have benefited tremendously from listening to Adventures in Odyssey and Jonathan Parks CDs. Learn about other great Christian media for kids by clicking here.

* Memorize scripture together. It is so true that the verses we memorize as children remain with us as adults.

* Refer to scripture throughout the day. This is perhaps easiest when we are correcting our children - especially if we can relate the correction to a memory verse. For example, if one child steals another's toy, you could say, "Is that doing to John as you would have him do to you?" But don't limit the scriptures to correction; use them in praise, too. For example, "Oh, Laura! I know it was hard for you to share with John, but you did a wonderful job of doing to others as you would have them do to you. I know God is pleased with you...and so am I."

How do you immerse your children in God's Word?

* In this passage, the Bible is referring specifically to the Ten Commandants - the foundational information everyone needs to know in order to repent and accept Christ's grace. But I believe it also applies broadly to all of God's Word.

Photo courtesy dvest / 123RF Stock Photo.

May 15, 2013

How to Bring Your Children to Christ - Plus a FREE Lesson Plan

"How to Bring Your Children to Christ is a book every parent should read..."

As a mother, there is nothing I desire more than for my children to know and serve God and be saved through Jesus Christ. Yet I see that:
  • 88% of children raised in Christian homes leave the church at the age of 18 - and don't return (SBC)
  • 64% of "decisions for Christ" are made before age 18. 77% are made before age 21 (Barna).
  • An estimated 4% of Gen Y are likely to be Christians in adulthood. 65% of their grandparents’ generation were Christians; 35% of their parents' generation were Christians. (Bridger Generation by Thom S. Rainer).
I've blogged before about some of my thoughts on why many children are falling away from God. But Ray Comfort, in his book How to Bring Your Children to Christ...& Keep Them There: Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion really gets at the heart of it: Many of our churches, our pastors, our youth leaders, and parents have stepped away from the biblical way of bringing people to Christ.

Comfort's premise is pretty simple. While no parent can do anything that will, with 100% certainty, bring her child to Christ, she can follow the principles laid out in the New Testament: Teach the 10 Commandments in such a way the person (in this case, your child) truly feels the tragedy of his or her sin. Then teach that person to dedicate himself to the Bible, prayer, and obeying God.

Comfort does a good job of laying out how you might do this with your child, explaining why it's important to discuss more difficult topics like Hell, and how to explain all of the 10 Commandments in a way that even young children can comprehend. He also offers plenty of ideas for the language you might use, and activities that will aid your "presentation." (My kids' favorite was when I "stole" money from their father's wallet to illustrate that even stealing something worth very little - a penny - is still stealing in God's sight. My daughter, especially, liked it when I took her favorite stuffed animal and loved it so much I neglected all else; this gave her a vivid example of loving one of God's gifts more than loving the Giver of gifts.)

How to Bring Your Children to Christ is a book every parent should read, even if she thinks her child is already saved. It not only helps to ensure your child really "gets it," but it also makes it easier for you to act as missionary in your home - and beyond.

I liked this book so well, in fact, I typed out a lesson plan to use with my 7 year old daughter. Her understanding of faith is very good, and she "asked Jesus into her heart" several years ago, but this is a lesson children should hear repeatedly throughout their life.

The lesson plan is based almost exclusively on Comfort's book, but I found it easier to have all the information in an easier-to-read-as-I-teach format. It also includes links to helpful, free, games and songs you can use to help your child memorize the 10 Commandments. You can download the lesson plan in Word format here.

Dec 5, 2012

Using Scripture for Correction

It's never too early to read the Bible to your children. But there also comes a time when Proverbs 31 Women must start using the Bible as a tool for correcting her children.

I do not claim to be an expert on this topic. I have but two children, both still young. I have no seminary training. But I do know God admonishes me to correct and discipline my children. (See God's reaction when Eli doesn't discipline his sons, for example. See also 1 Samuel 3:13, Proverbs 29:15-17, Proverbs 3:12, Ephesians 6:4; and much more.) 

One of the most loving and biblical ways we can do this is by using Scripture.

Positive or Negative?

It is perhaps easiest to use Bible verses admonishing our children not to do something. For example: "You shall not steal" (Ex. 20:15) or "the Lord hates...a lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:16-17). These are important parts of scripture and should certainly be known by everyone - parents and kids, included. 

However, I feel it's important to temper these more negative verses with positive ones. So if, for example, your child has a problem with a sassy mouth, you might teach her Ephesians 4:29: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths..." But I also encourage you to include a verse phrased in a positive way, such as Proverbs 16:24: "Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones." 

I also strongly believe these verses, whether positive or negative, should not be your child's only exposure to Scripture. That could result in a very slanted view of the Bible. So make sure you are reading the Bible to your child every day; be sure to talk about what you read, too.

Not only can verses be positive or negative, but so can you. If you read your child a Scripture with an angry tone of voice, or an attitude that is disrespectful or belittling, you will fail. You might make your child obey for the moment, but in the end, her attitude about the Bible and God will be greatly damaged.

Finding Scripture

There are a few books out there that help parents target Scripture to their child's behavior. Instruction for Righteousness comes to mind, as does The Child Training Bible. And any Bible concordance will help, too. But honestly, I find the easiest tool is Google. Just type in "Bible says about" plus the topic of interest. For example, I recently Googled: "Bible says about mouth" and a number of sites came up listing Scripture on our mouths and speaking. I find this works with most any topic.

Methods of Correction


When your child is not yet able to read or write, I think the best way to use Scripture for correction is to simply read a Bible verse to them, then talk about it. I recommend you read directly from your Bible (rather than just reciting a verse or reading it from some other source) so your child has a visual reminder of where the Bible verse comes from. Be sure to explain any difficult words or concepts. Ask if your child has questions. Then read the Bible verse one more time. 

This sort of correction can be used alone for minor offenses, or alongside other correction (such as a time out) for repeated or more serious offenses. Whether you choose to read and discuss the Scripture before or after the additional correction depends upon your child. Consider when he or she will be most receptive. Try it both ways to see which works better.

Young Children Who Read:

Once your child can read and write reasonably well (usually by first grade), you can select age appropriate/reading-level appropriate verses for him to read by himself or with help. (I highly recommend using NIV, NAS, NLV, or NiRV versions of the Bible so as not to confuse children with difficult language.) Then I suggest you either:

1. Have your child write the verse repeatedly, making sure she reads back what she writes.

2. Have your child memorize the verse.

Either will help your child to remember the lesson being taught. Other ideas:

* Have your child write a paragraph or two about how the verse can be applied to the child's life.
* Have your child act on the verse right away. For example, let's say your child just called his sibling something mean. You might read him Ephesians 4:29, then have him say several uplifting things to his sibling.
* Have your child make a list of things to do/say that relate to the verse. Again, going back to Ephesians 4:29, your child could make a list of words of encouragement he could give to whomever he offended in the first place.
* Do an art project related to the verse. There's no reason this can't be fun! The idea is to help the Scripture stick in your child's mind.

Remember to continue explaining more difficult parts of the verse to your child, and be sure to ask your child if she has any questions about the verse.

Tweens and Teens:

By the time you child is in her tweens, you can ask her to find appropriate Bible verses on her own. Continue to discuss the Scripture with your child, and consider some of the options under #2 (above) to help cement them. Focus not only on helping your child learn about the Bible and what God wants from her, but also on teaching her how to use the Bible as a tool. She should learn how to easily find references on any topic in the Bible, for example.

How do you use Scripture to correct your children?

Nov 30, 2012

Advent: Focusing on Him

Since Thanksgiving, I've been exhausted and sick with one ill child and one very grumpy child. I have a feeling I'll be simplifying this December.

But one thing we will not omit next month is an advent devotional. Thriving Family magazine has a simple and to-the-heart advent activity calender this year. If you don't receive the magazine (which is free, by the way), you can download the advent publication for free, right here. The devotional calendar takes minutes a day - and I know it will help my kids (and me!) focus on the true meaning of the Christmas season.

For those of you who are feeling more energetic, check out previous posts on advent. There are many simple ideas in these posts - as well as more elaborate ones:

 Advent Activities for Kids
 Advent Begins!
Activities to Go With Popular Christmas Books

Sep 14, 2012

Impress Him Upon Your Children

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

Fortunately for we parents, the Bible is full of parenting advice from the true expert: Our Heavenly Father. This little section of the Old Testament is one very important example. Lately, I've been searching myself: Am I truly doing God's will in this area of my life? If not, then I need to change now. My children's lives depend upon it.

I love how the scripture starts by telling parents to look at themselves first: Do we have a passion for God? If not, our children will know it and learn from it. How about you? Do you read the Bible daily? Do you spend time in concentrated prayer with God every day? Do you pray without ceasing? (1 Thes. 5:17) Have you memorized key scriptures? (Deut. 6:6)

Is it difficult - very difficult! - to love and serve the Lord this way when we have small children. And yet what moms of young children need is exactly this focus on God. Yes, it's a struggle. But it can - and must - be done. (For tips on this struggle, please read Developing Your Prayer Life, Let Your Kids Hear You Pray, Keeping the Bible Handy, Memory Verse How-To, Finding Time for the Bible, and Finding Time to Read the Bible Together.)

Then God tells us to "impress" these things onto our children. How do we do that? By talking about God and the Bible constantly. By living like Christ. 

This is, I think, the area where many Christian moms struggle the most. In church and in popular Christian books, we hear a lot about developing our personal relationship with Christ - but we hear almost nothing about training up our children the way these verses in Deuteronomy insists upon.

It is not enough to, once a day, sit down and read a Bible storybook to our kids. It's not enough to pray with them at meals and before bed. No, the Bible says we must constantly talk to our children about God's commands - at all times of the day, no matter where we are. How does one, in a practical sense, do this? Here are a few examples from our household, from a few days ago:

* First thing in the morning, my 7 year old was up and playing. She was being noisy, so I reminded her to be quiet, since her brother was still sleeping. She gave me a mad expression, so we talked about why it's important to put others first, practicing Christ-like servitude.

* After breakfast, my 3 year old lied about having a poopy diaper. I got down to eye level with him and explained that lying is always a bad thing. It's always best to be tell the truth because God hates lying lips (Proverbs 12:22) and lies always cause more problems than they seem to cover up.

* My children and I watched a nature show. Although we have several that are made from a creationist point of view, this one was secular. And, like all such secular shows, it talked about and earth that is billions of years old. So I paused the movie to hold a discussion about this topic. Because we've had other conversations like this, I let my 7 year old take the lead. "What do you think about the idea that the world is billions of years old?" I asked her. "Well," she said, "the Bible says the world is thousands of years old." We talked about how to get that calculation from the Bible, then I asked, "Do you think we should believe the Bible or scientists?" Both children agreed the Bible was a more accurate source; I confirmed that we should always look to the Bible first for answers. Unlike scientific theory, it does not change through the years.

* The show we were watching also contained an ad because it was recorded off television. My children aren't used to ads, to I had to explain what it was. Then I asked, "What do you think the purpose of an ad is?" My 7 year old said, "To get you to buy stuff." Bingo! And, as Kimberly Eddy writes in her book Joyful Momma's Guide to Quiet Times in Loud Households, all ads come down to "the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life." (1 John 2:16)

* Later in the afternoon, we went for a walk. But first, we had to find my 3 year old's shoes. We searched high and low and I was loosing my patience. So I stopped, gathered the children to me, and prayed. It was just a simple prayer asking for peace in our hearts - and to help us find the shoes. A minute after praying this, I found the shoes. I thanked God, out loud.

* On our walk, I pointed out different things in nature: Types of trees and flowers, how the roots of plants soak up water, and so on. But whenever possible, I mentioned God's hand in these things.

* In the evening, as I was making dinner, I grew frustrated by constant interruptions as I was quickly trying to whip dinner together. I stopped everything, looked up to Heaven, and thanked God for children who interrupt me because that means we are home together and they love and trust me. I also thanked Him for food that can't seem to get cooked; at least we have food in our household. While I didn't specifically include the children in these prayers, they were observing.

* After dinner, I printed a Bible verse on a piece of paper and taped it to my desk as a reminder for myself. When my children are better able to read, I will encourage them to do similar things with Bible verses. For now, it's enough that they see me doing this.

* At bedtime, my 7 year old said she had something to tell me that she was a little afraid to say. I encouraged her to always be honest with me, even when it's really hard. I pointed out that Mommy, like God, is always there to listen and help and love, no matter what may have happened. It turned out her confession was minor and innocent, but I took advantage of this moment to remind her about confessing her sins to God so he can forgive her and wipe her slate clean.

In short, we must show our children how God is a vital part of our everyday lives.

How do you follow Deuteronomy 6: 5-9 in your household?

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