Q and A: Family Bible Time for Ages 6-12

Question: Okay, I have a couple of questions about Family Bible Time. I know how you would do a family night with the younger kids…but what about Ariel’s age 10 going on 16?  I guess if you could just give me examples of what you and Glenn did, that would be helpful.  Also, did you give a prize EVERY night or just sometimes?  I have given her candy if she recites 5-10 verses depending upon circumstances. I could see where we could play games while listening to Hannah’s 100 in the background – repetition does work it’s magic.  It makes me laugh because if I come across a passage that we’ve learned through your family, I sing it while I’m reading it 🙂

Answer: Well, for Ariel’s age, I think your reading Discovery and the Beginners Evidences Correspondence course from Apologetics Press (Apologeticspress.org) would be a good start at Bible time. if you read a section and talk about it and then have her fill in some of the questions (a very limited amount) or work a puzzle from discovery before the next night, that would be a start. Then I would recommend (for your husband’s benefit) studying “Headed to the Office” (colleybooks.org) as a family. You could tell Ariel that you were putting it in her head so that she could start knowing, even now, what kind of man she was going to look for in a husband one day. I think also, for her age, playing Bible Twenty Questions (let me know if you don’t know how to play Twenty Questions) would be a good thing…and Bible charades. (Don’t have a prize every night…maybe once every two weeks.) Have one night where you have found a faithful missionary to whom Ariel can compose a letter to ask questions about the culture and work and send her small contribution. Let her write for the Bible time. Have another night each week when you find a passage or Psalm about someone who was very grateful (the leper or Mary and Martha) and let her write thank you notes to all the people who have given her gifts or blessed her life in other ways. Have Digger Doug nights, where you watch an episode of Digger Dug’s Underground together (apologeticspress.org). Have a night where she reads aloud a chapter of Ruth from the Easy-to-Read version. Do this for four nights and then on the fifth and sixth nights, get her to make a flip chart (just use a school notebook) of pictures of the story. Then on the seventh night, let her tell you the story using her flip chart. One night have her go outside and pick a flower and then find what Jesus said about flowers in the Sermon on the Mount. One night let her tell you all the things salt is good for…look online. This lesson goes on and on. Then let her find what Jesus said about salt in the Sermon on the Mount. One night, let her find a Bible lands map of the Holy land online and print it off. Then on the following nights you can read through the missionary journeys of Paul in the book of Acts and let her draw the arrows and tiny pictures of what happened in these places as you read through his journeys. Light a candle in your dark house and read by candlelight what Jesus said about candles in the Sermon on the Mount. We also loved certain stories from “The Book of Virtues.” We would read a story out loud to the kids and then let them find verses that taught the same lesson from the Bible. When we studied Genesis together, we put a roll of white paper all around the wall of one of our rooms and each night we let the kids draw what we had read about that night, till we had a whole timeline of Genesis starting with creation and ending with Joseph’s family down in Goshen. Sometimes they would paste things on the time line, like a miniature “coat of many colors” they had cut out of striped fabric or kernels of corn to fill in the shape of a number 7 to signify Joseph’s solution about saving up the corn during the seven lean years. Tell Ariel to let me know when she can sing the whole book of James and I will send her something I want her to have. Be sure to video some of her memory work, so she will know you think it is very important.  Sometimes we just went around the room and quoted verses. You had to quote a verse that began with any word that was in the person’s verse who went directly before you. To make it competitive, sometimes we would challenge dad to quote a verse before or after any verse that we could quote. Sometimes we went through the books of the Bible and challenged each other to say one verse in each book. For sheer fun, we challenged each other to say all of the books of the Bible in one breath. One of us, who is particularly long-winded, can say them through twice in one breath. And, finally, some of our favorite nights were under the stars or in our little living room or in our van…just singing praises. We just went from one person to the next choosing the song…pretty much favorite times we remember. Every time we ended with prayer…still do.  This is a start. Let me know if you need more, but I’m pretty sure they will come to you naturally and you will quickly become a Deuteronomy 6 “all day long” mom. Much love to you and all moms who are molding hearts and lives for eternity!

P.S. There’s also a three week guide for Family Bible Time in the back of the book “Picking Melons and Mates” that’s great for jump-starting your daily time together. It’s an easy DIY kind of outline. You can get it here: http://thecolleyhouse.org/store#!/Children/c/3290196/offset=0&sort=normal

 

Sister to Sister: Q&A–About the Order of Creation…?

QuestionMarkQuestion: It appears to me that the first contradiction in the Bible comes early on in Genesis one and two. In Genesis one, trees came before  Adam. In Genesis two, they are after Adam. It is the same with birds. In Genesis one, Adam and Eve were created at the same time. In Genesis two, Eve was created some time after Adam’s creation. How do Bible-believers reconcile these contradictions? 

Response:

Well, the purposes of Genesis one and two are different. I do not believe there are contradictions in the chronology. Chapter one is a chronological accounting of the creation without intense attention to detail. Chapter two is a retelling, but is done topically, rather than emphasizing the order in which the creation occurred. Chapter two adds much detail. But I cannot see at all that chapter two indicates that the plants were made after man…perhaps the plants of the garden of Eden were planted after the man was made, but many gardens have been planted since the making of man. Similarly, chapter one tells us that God made man and woman on the sixth day. Chapter two adds to that account the details of what occurred in between the creation of man and the creation of woman on that day. The details of day six are omitted in chapter one and given in chapter two. 

Scholars also tell us that the Hebrew word for “formed” in Genesis 2:19 really could just as well have been translated “had formed” so that it could have been translated “Out of the ground, the Lord God had formed every beast of the field.”  The Hebrew word is “yatsar” and it means “molded” or “had molded”. This is a second explanation for this alleged contradiction. It is important to remember that there must be only one possible way to reconcile two seemingly contradictory passages, in order to validate the veracity of the text in question. 

Chapter one is an overview. Chapter two is a “rewind” with details added. Add to that the Hebrew meaning of the word “yatsar” and you have dissipated any contradiction between the first two chapters of Genesis. It’s often laborious to examine each passage the skeptics bring in their attacks on the veracity of the Word of God. But it is faith-building and it is the only way to answer the critics: one passage, one possible explanation at the time.

(Excellent articles more fully detailing these issues are found here: https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/749-do-the-first-two-chapters-of-genesis-contradict-one-another—–and here: http://apologeticspress.org/AllegedDiscrepancies.aspx?article=643&b=Genesis)

 

From the Archives: All Dirty Uniforms Welcome!

softball-340488_960_720Question:When ball games, work, or other activities in which our young people may participate require them to leave mid-game, mid-practice etc…in order to make it to the services of the church, is it a wrong thing for them to wear their uniforms to worship services or Bible classes?

Answer:

Are you kidding me? What better statement to the church, the world, the Lord and the devil can a young person make than the one he wears to that service! He says “I was involved in what many people consider to be the most important part of life: sports. But that’s not the most important thing to me.” She says “ I’ve had to make it clear to those on my team and to my coach that my participation in this activity is a distant second to my faithfulness to the assemblies of God’s people.” It is a statement that so many of our adults need to hear.

When our young people wear ball uniforms to worship, my husband stands from the pulpit and makes a very clear object lesson from the young people who sit there in that attire. He says something along these lines: “We are so blessed to have young people of faith who chose to be at the gospel meeting tonight. Look at these guys in their uniforms. They left the field at the bottom of the seventh inning. They don’t know whether their team has won or lost. But there is one victory they are determined to win and it is the most important one. We are privileged to have men in uniform in our midst. And it’s a blessing to get to clean up a little dirt if it falls from the cleats of these guys. I know you will tell them how proud you are of the choice they made tonight.”

I have, unfortunately, heard of those who have criticized these young people for wearing uniforms to services. How could any church member get his conscience’s consent to discourage a teen or child who has made such an extremely difficult decision by criticizing the wearing of the uniform? I would be afraid of the wrath of Diety who called a little child to him and said “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven…But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for Him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the sea.”

For every one of these children who show up in uniform there are generally several adults who made conscious choices to be elsewhere that Wednesday night or during that particular service of the meeting. Perhaps our time would be better spent addressing the decisions of those who are failing to seek first the kingdom (lovingly helping them arrange priorities), than addressing whether or not the kids who made courageous decisions to fly in the face of negative peer pressure are spic and span when the first song begins. May their souls always be clean. May their lives always be unspotted. But let all dirty uniforms be welcome!

Questions and Answers: Unspoken Prayers

3349205988_f95fd8c813_bQuestion:

Often I see  on Facebook a request for unspoken prayers. Does God hear and answer unspoken prayers?

Response:

If you mean by an “unspoken prayer”, a prayer that is directed from a Christian to heaven  from the mind of a  man or woman without being audibly spoken, the answer is “yes”. God can hear your prayers without your saying them aloud. We learn this from Hannah in I Samuel 1. 

If, in reality, you mean by an “unspoken prayer”  a request that Christian friends pray for you  in general terms so that God can respond to the specific needs of your life without necessarily revealing all of those needs to the ones who may be praying, the answer is, again, “yes”. Surely God knows all of our needs and certainly, if a friend asks me to pray because some difficult things are going on in her life, I am happy to honor that request. I don’t have to know the details because the Father knows them and can respond in ways that are far superior to any solutions that I might have, even if I knew every detail of my sister’s struggle. Sometimes, women will call such a request an “unspoken prayer request”. They simply mean that the details of their needs are not spoken to those to whom requests are being made. 

If you mean, though, by “unspoken prayer”, a nebulous better-felt-than-told sort of heavenward inclination—a wish toward God that you don’t take the time or energy to articulate or speak to the Father—I do not believe we have any promise that he will respond to those wishes. He has asked us to make our requests known to Him with supplications (Phil. 4:6). Would anyone argue that God does not know the needs or wishes of His children without our speaking them? Of course, our Father knows our needs (Matthew 6:32). But He wants us to express, in words, our requests. He also wants us to give Him our thanksgiving. It’s not enough to feel thankful to God, even though He knows our hearts (I Thessalonians 5:17,18). So, if by “unspoken prayer” you mean a wish or feeling that you never express, vocalize or articulate, I do not believe there’s any Biblical evidence that God responds to such a “feeling”, particularly if a person is not humbly relying on the power of Biblical prayer in her life. Since Jesus taught us how to pray in Matthew 6:9ff and Luke 11:2ff, and the pattern clearly includes very specific requests, we should utter, from our hearts, words that, to the best of our human abilities, express our needs before His throne.  

 

Sister to Sister: Questions and Answers–Marital Insecurity?

imagesTonight, when I sat down to write, I had several messages in my inboxes that needed responses. One was from a young wife in a far-away place who has begun to lack the confidence she needs to feel like she’s “good enough” to be in her husband’s circle of friends or to be at his level of competence. She even has feelings of jealousy toward another woman, who actually is not a threat to her marriage; more like a small part of her husband’s life before marriage. She knows that her husband is a good man, but still, she’s struggling with being what she wants to be in her attitudes toward him. She asked for my advice. Now I know I do not have all the answers and we all struggle at times with insecurities, but perhaps this post, even to an anonymous writer, can help someone else who’s feeling not-quite-good-enough in a marriage that’s good, but can, like almost all of our marriages, be even better with a little work. The irony of an imaginary threat is that, given the expanse of mind to grow, the perception, though false, can cause some real pain. Let’s be careful not to cut each other with imaginary knives.

Here’s the response:

Of course, you are all he wants. You are beautiful and, just from the short time I observed you, I know you are funny and the center of his attentions. I am so glad he made the decision to become a Christian and I am so thankful that you both want the marriage to be a God-directed union. That is the way you can spend eternity together. 

From what you have told me, I do not believe you have any threat to your marriage to worry about at all. The threat is only inside of you. Here’s my advice: 

As your husband is a new Christian and growing in the Lord, he will become less and less impressed with people who are worldly and more and more enamored with the beauty of holiness. I would like to see you put all of your efforts into being the kind of woman who wants, with all her heart, to follow the Lord. Tell him that is what you want for your marriage; to grow in the Word together and be all you can be, as a couple, for the Lord. 

Then, let me send you a copy of our marriage book, “You’re Singing My Song”. Ask him if he will commit to reading a short bit of it each night together…just a page or two. It will draw you closer  together and I believe it will strengthen your sense of intimacy with him…to know that you are the woman who is in the most intimate circle that he has. 

Then, I want you to intentionally grow past this. You believe that the only threat is inside your imagination. I do, too. SO realize that your life is short and that you would not want to be treated this way if the shoe was on the other foot. Follow the golden rule and treat him the way you would like to be treated. In fact, when those feelings of insecurity rise to the surface, MAKE yourself do something your husband really loves…a back rub, a note on his bathroom mirror, a meal that he loves….whatever he likes…INSTEAD of confronting him about what he might be thinking. You will be surprised how this will draw him to you and you will grow in your confidence. 

I believe your husband wants to be a man of God. You are so blessed in this way. Praying for you! Now, to what address can I send this book?

Sister to Sister: Q and A…Should a Single Christian Adopt?

Unknown-1Is it always wrong for a single person to adopt children?

Recently, I made the statement, in the context of gay marriages, that the choice to raise children in homes without parents of both genders is detrimental to children. I certainly believe that two homosexual people do a great disservice to children they might bring into that home. Such an atmosphere is extremely spiritually damaging to children.

But the question arises: “Did you mean to say that it is always wrong for a single Christian to adopt children?”

I did not intend to convey that. It is true that, given the choice between a Christian home with a single parent or a Christian home with two parents, I believe the godly home with two parents is far superior for many Biblical and logical reasons. I do not believe it would be a good thing for a single Christian  mom to adopt a baby if there was a Christian home with a mom and a dad available to be the adoptive parents of that baby.

But that option is, unfortunately, not always available. Thus,  I believe a truly Christian single mom may be the best available choice. It  is the better choice if the other options all involve parents who are not Christians.

Let me be clear. Our desire for all children, as Christians, is that they are raised for heaven. If you are single and your home is the best scenario available to facilitate heaven for a child, then It would be a right thing for you to adopt that child. If there is a better opportunity for facilitating that, then you should want to yield to that opportunity. If a single parent is the only available Christian parent, then, by all means, let’s connect the child to the Lord whenever possible.

Deep and foundational principles of Christianity should rule huge decisions like adoption. Agape instructs us to make every choice along the way with much prayer and the will to do what is in the eternal interests of the soul of the child. I understand that we do not know the future and we cannot always accurately predict just what is best for a child, but, to the best of our human abilities, we should unselfishly seek heaven for those children who need parents.

…And let us not forget that those of us who already have children should be operating daily on the same principle. Every parenting decision should be rooted deeply in our indomitable will that every soul in our homes will ultimately live in heaven.