Tips for Scripture Reading with Little Ones

I like to read Scripture to my children while they eat lunch. This is not Bible “study” time. This is just them hearing the Word (and a little commentary from their mother because they just don’t get enough of that during the day!) I do this during lunch because they are all together, seated, have full mouths and are unable to interrupt. For those of you working outside of the home, you could do this at breakfast or dinner or bath time. Now, before you become too impressed, please know that I have been doing this for several weeks now and we are only on Genesis 16 and this is with me skipping the part about Noah getting gassed and naked because, well, who has time for that?kitchen bible

The fact is that there are days when I get about three verses read before the baby cries or someone steals their sister’s pickle or the 3 year old falls out of her chair. At first, this stressed me because I had this vision in my head of a chapter each day. I am a list maker and a list checker offer, so I have to guard my heart against making Scripture reading just another to-do item to get done.

I started the lunch time reading because I wanted the Bible, God, Christ to not be compartmentalized. Sure, we study Bible during school. But I don’t want it to be just a subject that they have between math and Science. I encourage them to have private time with the Lord during the day. But I don’t want their relationship with God to just be something they do at the end of the day in their beds. I want Christ to be what their lives are all about. I want their faith to be as natural and as necessary as their next breath.

So, I read – and here are some things I am learning along the way.

Tips for Scripture Reading with Little Ones

  • Have a designated Bible that stays in the kitchen.  If you have to run and find a Bible each day, it will never become a lasting habit. At first, I kept one on the window sill. It was a little out of sight, though, so I would often forget. Now, it sits in a bowl in the middle of our table.
  • Don’t have a preconceived notion of how much you will read each day. If you only get two verses read before someone has a meltdown, don’t sweat it. Smile, close it up and know that tomorrow is another day.
  • Point out interesting facts that they may miss. For instance, point out that Abraham was promised a child when he was 75 years old. Issac, however, was not born until he was 100 years old. No in depth study here. Just an acknowledgement that, sometimes, we must be patient as we wait for God’s promises.
  • Don’t be afraid to paraphrase. We are not having seminary classes here. If you think the words or content are beyond your little one’s understanding – use your own words.

Just have fun with it. In twenty years, your kids will not remember that you could not pronounce the name of a city or person. They will, however, remember growing up in a home where God was honored and His Word was read.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

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You may also find these Bible Study Tips for Busy Moms helpful!

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Hold Out Hope

Pondering Philippians: Chapter 2, Verses 12-18

When the wounds go deep and the pain pours out, hurting people need a place to go. We offer what we can: a gentle smile, a note of encouragement, a listening ear over a cup of coffee. Broken people can only do so much for other broken people.

How can we, as imperfect people, offer any hope of healing? What can we do for our brothers and sisters walking heavy hearted down a broken road?

When we see someone drowning – we can hold out the life line.

 Do everything without grumbling and arguing, so that you may be blameless and pure, children of God who are faultless in a crooked and perverted generation, among whom you shine like stars in the world. Hold firmly to the message of life. Then I can boast in the day of Christ that I didn’t run or labor for nothing. – Philippians 2:14-15

Hold firmly to the promises of God. That is what Paul says to believers who, like us, live in a sin-scarred world. And, epechō, the word used for hold firmly? It also means to offer or to hold out.

This world hurts and none of us are immune. We all have secret pains and public hurts. We all have family drama and sleepless nights. 

So, what’s the answer?

We hold fast to the Word of God. We hang on tightly to His promises. But we don’t grip the message of life with selfish fingers. We do not keep it close to our chest. We hold it out.

We stretch out our arms and we hold out the Word to the wounded. We hold out promises of the One who comforts and redeems.

By holding out and not just holding on, we say to another soul I see youI see you. And, more importantly, He sees you.

How do hurting people help hurting people? What can one scarred soul do for another? We can hold out the Word of life. We can throw them a lifeline of promises spoken from the very heart of God.

We can hold out hope.

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me and buxStacy Edwards (@sjedwards) is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

Bible Studies for Life Giveaway

We are so excited today to tell you about a new project releasing this fall from LifeWay!

Bible Studies for Life, a new ongoing resource, is the perfect material for any small group or Sunday school leader looking for a long-term Bible study. Check out more below:

Bible Studies for Life is built around three major pillars: to connect the unconnected, to strengthen families, and to disciple people with biblical wisdom.

And THIS WEEK, LifeWay is giving away a year’s worth of Bible Studies for Life for your entire church as well as an iPad mini!

I mean, who wouldn’t want to get in on that giveaway?

Click here to learn more about it. Hurry! The giveaway ends Thursday night!

The Gift of Suffering

Pondering Philippians: Chapter 1, Verses 19-30

Trials.  Pain.  Loss.  They are to be expected in this world.

We hear a sermon on grace in the midst of suffering and we say, “amen.”  Then we leave the church building and pray it never happens to us.  We will endure mild discomfort for the cause of Christ, but hope to dodge the bullet on any real pain.

We hope to make it through unscathed.  And if, by chance, we make it through with minimal damage – we thank God for His mercies and assume that He must really love us.

What, then, do we do with Philippians 1:29?

For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in Him but also suffer for His sake.

We have been granted the privilege of suffering.  Are we ever as close to Christ as when we feel the weight of the cross on our backs?  John Piper says it this way, “There is more of God to be had in times of suffering than any other time.”  More of God.  Shouldn’t that be our desire?

When we feel beaten up by the world and abandoned by those we love? More of you, God, give me more.

When the loss is so great and the pain so intense? More of you, God, give me more.

This verse is also translated this way:

There’s far more to this life than trusting in Christ. There’s also suffering for him. And the suffering is as much a gift as the trusting.

We live, most days, in ignorance of what it means to suffer.  But, if we are living for Him, our day will come.

May we suffer like Paul – for the advancement of the gospel and to the glory of God.

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Previous posts in the Pondering Philippians series:

Day 1: God is Not Through (Philippians 1:1-11)

Day 2: Your Painful Purpose (Philippians 1:12-18)

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me and buxStacy Edwards is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom. You can follow Stacy on Twitter (@sjedwards.)

How to Study Scripture

psalm 16Do you want to be a better student of Scripture, but struggle with where to begin? Do you hear someone talk about a “quiet time” and wonder what that even means? Trust me, you are not alone.

Several years ago, my grandpa passed away and we were going through some things in his home. Packed away in an upstairs bedroom there was a box. In that box were letters he and my grandma had written to each other when he was overseas during World War II. He had to leave her for a short time, but he promised to come back and he told her of his love. In return, she told him how she would be strong while he was gone and would faithfully wait for his return.

The Bible is not a list of dos and don’ts. It is not a bunch of “you do this or else” warnings. It’s a love letter. It is God saying to His beloved (those of us who are in Christ), You are mine and we will be together very soon. It’s one big, romantic, love letter written just for you. It is God promising to come again for us. It is a declaration of His love. Scripture is where we find strength, comfort and the ability to wait faithfully for His return. Do not read the Bible like a textbook. Cherish it like a love letter. 

With that in mind, here are some tips for studying Scripture.

  • Pray. Before you begin reading, ask God to help you understand what you are about to read. The Bible tells us that, after the resurrection, Christ appeared to His disciples and taught them. We are told that Christ “opened their minds to understand the Scriptures” (Luke 24:45.) Ask Him to do the same for you.
  • Read Slowly. It is very popular these days to read the Bible in 90 days. There are a thousand read-the-Bible-in-a-year plans. There is NOTHING wrong with doing those things. However, to truly “study” the Word, take your time. Think “love letter.” Imagine how you would pour over every word.
  • Read in context. Ask questions. Who is speaking? Who is listening? Where are they? Think about the passage I just referenced above, Luke 24:36-48. Read verse 37. But they were startled and terrified and thought they were seeing a ghost. How is that for drama, folks? That makes you want to go read the whole passage, doesn’t it? So, you’re going to ask yourself some questions. Who are “they?” They are the disciples of Christ. Who were they mistaking for a ghost? It was Christ. Why were they terrified to see Christ? They were scared because He has already, at this point, been crucified. Do you feel the tension? The excitement?
  • What now? When you have finished reading a portion of Scripture, ask yourself “what now?” Is there a command that you need to  obey? Is there a promise that you can claim? Is there a sin that you need to repent of and move on from?

I pray you find these tips helpful as you read God’s love letter to you.

You are loved, my friends.

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me and buxStacy Edwards is a trucker’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. She is a freelance writer and a homeschooling mom to four fabulous little girls. Stacy blogs at Servant’s Life where she uses her words to point others to the hope and encouragement found in Christ. If you need her, she’s probably hiding in the bathroom.

 

CLOSED: Q&A with Margaret Feinberg (and a Giveaway!)

Update: Congratulations to our winner, Mindy Stewart Morgan! We will email you this afternoon!
Today, on the blog, we are so excited to have Margaret Feinberg. Margaret (www.margaretfeinberg.com) is author of Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, & Wild Honey and Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God—both of which have accompanying DVD Bible studies from Lifeway. You can follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @mafeinberg. feinberg

This morning, she is answering some reader submitted questions. If you have a question, feel free to leave a comment! Let’s begin!

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Question 1 from Melanie in Atlanta: When I’m in the Word, I feel that wonder. But, what are your tips for retaining that wonder throughout the daily grind of life?

Indeed, the wonders of God abound in Scripture. But the Word is meant to be a foundational, grounding point for experiencing God’s wonder throughout your every day. It’s meant to open your eyes to the reality that God is at work all around you—in creation, in friendships, in forgiveness, in the fullness of life He wants to give each and everyone one of us. That’s what Wonderstruck is all about—living the reality of a God whose name is “Wonderful.” The best tip I can give is to do the 30-Day Wonderstruck Challenge at the end of the book—those daily activities and disciplines will help you experience wonder in your every day.

Question 2 from Kelly in Nashville: I love your writing so much! Do you have another book in the works? :)

I do have another book and Bible study in the works—and while the details are still being developed, let’s just say the book will challenge us to walk in the fullness of joy and abundance and life God has designed for each of us.

Question 3 from Sandy in Virginia: When you aren’t writing…what are you reading? Who are your favorite authors?

I love reading magazines ranging from Harvard Business Review to Popular Science to the The New Yorker. When I’m not writing, I tend to watch a ton of movies and television shows and become immersed in the stories. So my favorite writers tend to be screenwriters and producers like the brilliant Aaron Sorkin.

Question 4 from Mary Ann in Tennessee: Did you ever think you would be such an influential woman in the evangelical world?

Growing up near Cape Canaveral Florida with a father in the surf industry, I thought I might grow up and be an astronaut or a surfer, but never a writer or speaker or Bible teacher—demonstrating once again that God always has big surprises up His sleeve! Though I still want to enroll in surf camp one of these days.

Want to win a copy of Margaret’s newest Bible study Wonderstruck? Enter below!

 
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CLOSED Giveaway: The 7 Experiment Bible Study by Jen Hatmaker

Update: Congratulations to our winner, Becki S! Becki, please check your email!

Are you ready to stage your own mutiny against excess? HomeLife is giving away a copy of The 7 Experiment Bible study by Jen Hatmaker!

The 7 Experiment

Do you feel trapped in the machine of excess?

Are you finding that more isn’t always better?

Fight back against overindulgence, materialism, and greed by joining Jen Hatmaker in The 7 Experiment. This 9-session Bible study will teach you how to stage a mutiny against excess in seven critical areas of life.

Food. Clothes. Possessions. Media. Waste. Spending. Stress.

Learn more at www.lifeway.com/jenhatmaker.

Enter to win! The winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

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