Memorize More Scripture!

In our home we are resurrecting our memorizing muscles! They have atrophied with disuse lately, I am ashamed to say. Life goes that way. Important things get squeezed into the background by other duties that scream louder for our attention.

But, quietly, the Holy Spirit keeps whispering, “You need to hide God’s word in your heart. You need to teach your children to do this too.” And, I am determined to listen and work little by little on fortifying the fortresses of our minds with Bible verses.

Why bother, in this age of instant apps, smartphones that hold the entire Bible in our pockets, and every imaginable tool to study the Bible? The only answer is BY FAITH. We are so lazy. We would rather click our phones than unzip our Bible cover and find a page. We’d rather search any app than search for a topic in the Word. And, our minds are shrinking with all this instant access to everything. I think that it makes us lazy spiritually. We just shrink from any hard work. But, by faith we have to override all of this ease, and remember that one day we are quite likely to have our Bibles taken away from us. What about when we lose power permanently for standing strong for God’s law? If we have only made the habit of clicking on the EGW app or the Bible app and not downloaded them into our permanent memory banks, we will be empty in many ways. We need the Bible to help us fight against temptation, so that we can meet Satan with “It is written,” and not just our own strength.

So, we must make the habit of memorizing the Bible. One verse at a time. We are told that our minds will strengthen as we put forth our efforts.

In light of all of this, I thought I would share a few resources that have been helpful to our family as we have worked on Scripture memorization. Currently, we are working together on Matthew 4:1-11, or how Jesus met temptation. I chose this one because we want to know how we can follow His example and succeed in our areas of weakness.

Listen to this talk first! 

The talk above is by Chad Kruezer, and it has been a real inspiration to me. I’d also recommend reading the chapter in Great Controversy about the Waldenses if you want to get inspired. Check out how many chapters Fanny Crosby had memorized — five chapters per WEEK!! She could recite the entire Pentateuch, all four Gospels, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many Psalms chapter and verse. All this being blind! Makes me wonder what’s wrong with my memory! Disuse is the only excuse.

Another resource we have found inspiring is the book, Ten Peas in a Pod, by Arnold Pent. It tells the amazing story of a family who homeschooled before it was called that, and who made Bible reading and memorization such a part of their everyday life that several of the children memorized many whole chapters and books of the Bible. It is a great read-aloud for your family and it will entertain as well as inspire!

If you need another inspiring account of a family who got their children into memorizing, here is one. The author/mom shows how she helped her children to successfully memorize the book of James.

This is a good book about scripture memorization that will give you tips, reasons, and stories to inspire you. The book is on sale for only $3. I paid more several years ago, but I think they just want to get them out to people!

If you have a Kindle, or any device where you can install the Kindle app, then there is a book that we have found to be quite helpful. You can find it in the Kindle Store. The reason this particular book is helpful is because it contains the entire Bible, divided by book, which is not so rare; many online Bibles offer this, I know. But, this book has the advantage for memorizes of offering an option where, once you have your verses on the screen, you can may either read the typed out verses, or click on the number of the verse to change the text into first letter only (see the photo below). This way you can jog your memory of the verse or passage without seeing the whole words, which gives your mind a chance to remember what’s coming next.

Here is the option of first letter only verses.

It works similarly to the way I memorize without the book. I write my verses on one side of an index card, and on the other side I just write the first letters. Then when I review them, I have cues, but not answers.

Scripturetyper.com This app is such a wonderful resource!  You can use the website online or download the app. You can add verses/chapters and join groups if you want. It saves your verses and gives you a reminder to review them at intervals. This is good for everyone! Our boys like to practice their verses often when we get into memorizing! You have several options for how to memorize and review your verses. You can just type the whole verse out, you can type using just the first letters, or you can have certain words blanked out on your screen so that you have to remember those words, while the words typed in will help you as you go along. It remembers your speed, and you can challenge yourself to keep improving your speed and accuracy. PSST…don’t tell your kids, but this also sneaks in a little typing along with the Bible memorization! We have the Scripture Typer Pro, which allows us to install it on five devices, so we can all be using it at the same time, wherever we are! It is well worth the price.

Thy Word Creations produces nice books that help you to memorize whole portions of scripture or whole chapters. They have well-known chapters set to music with a CD. These have been invaluable in our home. Every song that we have learned in this way we still have memorized years later! I am including the product webpage, and an amazon.com link, since it looks like many are not in stock on the webpage.

Thy Word Creations website—children’s projects

Teen and adult products

Amazon link

The following website offers a phone number to obtain Bible memory verse songs that go along with the My Bible First Kindergarten and Primary lessons.

My Bible First

This link is a resource for memorizing the entire chapter of Psalm 119. I do not have it yet, but have listened to the samples and they are very nice! This is my next project! Our son started memorizing Psalm 119 and almost had it down, with no ”help” like this CD, until he got sick. With a little brushing up, I know he will have it mastered. You can download the album or purchase the audio CD. I am always amazed at the talent that some people have to be able to set these passages to nice music.

There is an app that last I knew was free, and used to be available for both iOS and Android. Now I am not seeing it updated on the App Store, which makes me sad. I am including it here, on the chance that they will decide to update it, since it is a wonderful app. This app is put out by Fountainview Academy, and has hundreds of songs from the KVJ Bible put to music. Lovely music. The app is Scripture Singer. I really enjoy it and still have it downloaded onto my old phone.

There are probably hundreds of resources and tips for memorizing the Bible. I have just listed ones we have used with success from time to time. One of the best ways to have success is to join with friends who also want to memorize, because then you have accountability. Our best times memorizing have been when we had a little group who met weekly and memorized together. So much easier than when you feel like no one will know whether you succeed or not!

Feel free to share any ideas you have as well, because we are all here to help each other!

Kindness

“That in all the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:7.

What is the difference between being nice and being kind?

Let’s compare kindness with being nice.

Nice has the connotation of being agreeable, friendly, having manners, and being polite. A lot of it is based on how we want others to see us for what we do.

Kindness is based on doing something because of the love in your heart, and needs no recognition. While being kind will be nice, it comes from a different motivation.

Kindness is an attribute of God, but is not found consistently in humans. Kindness is found throughout the Bible, but the word “nice” is not found in the KJV. The human imitation of God’s kindness does not come naturally. None of us are kind. Only as a fruit of the Holy Spirit can we be truly kind.

Kindness will be gentle and mild. It will also treat those that disagree with you (or are even being mean to you) in a Christlike manner with love and respect.

Kindness is how we are on the inside, our character, because of the Holy Spirit’s working in our lives, and will cause us to be sensitive to the physical, emotional, or spiritual needs of others.

Kindness is the way love behaves. It is love in action. A person is kind because of God’s love living in them. They will be kind even if the other person does not deserve it.

In our culture today we talk about random acts of kindness. Kindness is not a random act. That would be a nice act. It is not wrong to do these things, but if you’re not nice or kind at other times, have you really changed anything? But, if you are kind to all, like buying someone’s lunch or coffee, and all the time, are you really making a difference in the world?

As we seek to instill in our children the character traits we want to see in them (and us), let us be careful that we have them examine why they do something nice.

In summary, you could say that it encompasses the fruit of the Spirit, because it is patient, gentle, has goodness (doing good/nice deeds), meek, and temperate, while being done with love, joy,and peace.

I have appreciated this quote from Ellen White: “To love as Christ loved means to manifest unselfishness, at all times and in all places, by kind words and pleasant looks,” MS 17,1899.

Trust in the Lord

As I’m sitting here wondering what to blog about, I’m looking at different child-rearing Scripture verses, noticing that there are plenty to choose from but none seem inspired to write about this month. I have only one thought that comes to mind: trust in the Lord. After a half hour of fruitless study with the constant badgering of the Spirit whispering, “Trust in the Lord,” I cave and submit. This is not going to be a blog article on homeschooling or child rearing because apparently that isn’t what needs to be heard today. My apologies folks. You are getting a summary of my personal Bible study on trusting in the Lord. May you be blessed and encouraged this day.

What does it mean to trust in the Lord? What happens to us when we put our trust in the Lord? With all things let us let the Holy Word speak for its self. The word “trust” in the verses we’ll be reading here comes from one of the following two Hebrew words: H982 bâṭach — to trust, rely on, put confidence in; and H2620 châsâh — to take refuge in, to trust in. Let’s keep these definitions in mind as we read from the Word. In no other book do we see the phrase “trust in the Lord” employed more than the Psalms; it’s referenced more than 13 times. I pray as we read each verse that you take the time to ponder the fullness of each promise.

  • “They that trust in the LORD shall be as mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth for ever,” Psalm 125:1.
  • “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes,” Psalm 118:8-9.
  • “Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield,” Psalm 115:11.
  • “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works,” Psalm 73:28.
  • “The righteous shall be glad in the LORD, and shall trust in him; and all the upright in heart shall glory,” Psalm 64:10.
  • “And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD,” Psalm 40:3.
  • “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed,” Psalm 37:3.
  • “The LORD redeemeth the soul of his servants: and none of them that trust in him shall be desolate,” Psalm 34:22.
  • “Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD,” Psalm 4:5.

We also find “trust in the Lord” in other places of Scripture as well.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding,” Proverbs 3:5.
  • “He that is of a proud heart stirreth up strife: but he that putteth his trust in the LORD shall be made fat,” Proverbs 28:25.
  • “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength,” Isaiah 26:4.
  • “Who is among you that feareth the LORD, that obeyeth the voice of his servant, that walketh in darkness, and hath no light? Let him trust in the name of the LORD, and stay upon his God,” Isaiah 50:10.
  • “The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him,” Nahum 1:7.

Trusting in the Lord is not a difficult concept to understand, but, oh, how hard to put into practice. To trust in the Lord is to fully trust, rely on, and put confidence in our Savior over all else, as well as taking refuge in His gracious goodness and love. By putting our trust in the Lord, a change starts to take place in our hearts and minds, drawing us closer to Him as well as shaping us more into His holy people. My hope and prayer is that you remember to always put your trust fully in the Lord.

Resolve to Read Scriptures in 2018

This year our family is going to focus on Jesus. That sounds crazy, right? We should always be focused on Jesus, but sometimes our focus is broad where it should be narrow.

It’s easy to tell our kids as we’re walking through the woods, “The tree has nuts because God made it that way.”

We can answer the questions, “Mom, why is the moon a full moon sometimes?” with blanket statements about God’s seven days of creation, but will I always be around to answer them? I hope so, but if I’m not, I want my boys to know where to find all the answers they need. The Bible.

The B-I-B-L-E, Yes, That’s the Book for Me!

The Bible is not merely ancient stories about redemption and Christian church heritage. Now that my oldest son is reading, he has the entire bunch excited about reading the Bible. This affords me countless opportunities to use the scriptures in our home.

Science

We are a country family through and through, and our boys love to play and get dirty. They are filled with questions about the world. The incessant why that tires us moms out midway through the day is what drives these kids, and I’m ready to take advantage. The moon is in the sky because God put it there, but there is a whole scientific system that God put together in doing so — time keeping, gravity, ocean tides, light, and more. Because God made everything on earth, we can use the Bible to help explain anything we see on earth. The kids love this.

Math

Math has been a struggle in our house, but since my son is so interested in reading the Bible, it is easy to turn a math lesson into something fun. First grade addition: we hate it, right?! When you read through the New Testament account of Jesus collecting disciples, addition isn’t so bad. Finding as many animals as possible, cutting them out, and adding them to a crude drawing of an ark can be fun, and can be a science, math, and art lesson!

Language

My son’s favorite thing is to find the red letters so that he can read Jesus’ words. Jesus’ words are red, but other systems of language like quotation marks, punctuations, and literary devices are used throughout the Bible. Poetry and prose are used. Even references are used when Jesus and angels, even Satan, quote prophets. Study parables and then let your kids write their own that teach the same lesson. Illustrate a story and combine art with language. The possibilities are endless.

Social Studies

When we’re cutting and hauling firewood, it is tiring. It can be cold. It can even be frustrating to think how easy people with central air and heat have it. For us, though, we can use it to teach a lesson. In Bible times they had to light a fire to cook, to warm bath water, to survive cold nights. The amount of work it took to bathe and to cook led to the large gatherings that took place in the Bible, like Passover meals, Sabbath meals, and even foot washings. Start a discussion about other cultures, and what the culture of Christianity used to look like. What did evangelism look like in the beginning of the church? What about church itself? Was there Sabbath School? What about other cultures today?

When you use the Bible as your textbook, it is possible to teach every subject. When you combine God’s Word with your own knowledge and experience, as well as everything you know about your kid, it can be the best lesson for everyone included. Give it a go. This year look to Jesus for supplementing your homeschooling lesson plan. We are.

Some of Our Resources

The Bible App for Kids

Kids’ Club Bible Lessons

Children’s Ministry Magazine

SDA Homeschool Families

Let it go, let it go, let it go … Let the worry go

We homeschool our kids; therefore, we worry about our kids. Right? Wait, shouldn’t that say we are parents; therefore, we worry about our kids? We also homeschool; therefore, we worry about our kids, their schooling, curriculum, nutrition, money, bills, food, clothes … in short EVERYTHING! Hmm, no, something is still wrong with that statement. After all, we don’t have the monopoly on worry, do we? I have friends who are working parents, and they worry about EVERYTHING. And, other friends who are stay-at-home parents and send their kids to a brick-and-mortar school, and they worry about EVERYTHING! So, it seems that first sentence should say, “We are human; therefore, we worry about EVERYTHING.”

As homeschoolers (Ok, parents/grandparents to young children), we get up running. There is food prep for the day, lessons to plan, and our own time with God, before they get up. Then the first thing we do is start worrying about getting the “proper” (whatever that means) breakfast into our kids. Then we start working on getting our worship time in, chores done, and school started for the day. But, little Suzy wakes up in a mood, and so it looks like it’s going to be “one of those days” for the whole house. So, now we worry about why Suzy is in a bad mood, whether we can afford to take the day off school, and whether her mood will affect Joey and Billy. And, all of this before lunch. Sigh. That day’s lunch becomes the pizza found in the back of the freezer. While they eat, we worry if we can get Suzy to do her math, Billy to work on penmanship, and Joey needs to work on his algebra. But the arguments start, and it seems the mood has indeed infected the rest of the kids. The stress mounts and so does our frustration. Our spouse gets home, only to find a dirty house, the kids fighting, and no dinner, which sometimes becomes a new set of stressors. The prediction rang true – It really was “one of those days”.

When we finally go to bed that night, after reading 18,000 bedtime stories to Suzy (so she will pretty please just go to sleep, already!), we are wiped out. But, of course, now we can’t sleep, no matter how tired we are! Our brain is spinning in circles. It has decided we need to relive every conversation we have ever had, go over the grocery list for tomorrow, next summer’s vacation, and curriculum for 2019. SIGH! So, we lay in bed staring at the ceiling, our spouse peacefully sleeping beside us (which, let’s face it, we resent) and worry. About EVERYTHING!

Credit: http://soulinmotiononline.blogspot.com/2010/12/good-worrying.html

Worry is exhausting! It becomes frustration, resentment, and stress. The stress often translates into yelling, lashing out, bad moods, and crankiness for everyone in the house. And, the longer it goes on, the harder it is to break the cycle.

Worry is a human trait and we carry it like a badge of honor. However, and this is important … that is NOT how God has asked us to live. In Matt 6:25-34, Jesus asks us to trust him and rely on him for those needs such as shelter, food, and clothes. God takes care of the birds in the air and Jesus even goes as far as to remind us that we mean so much more to God than the birds. Jesus said, “… I tell you not to worry about everyday life …” in verse 25. And, He goes on to remind us that our “heavenly father already knows all your needs” in verse 32. Now isn’t that a comforting thought! We serve a faithful and loving God, and He loves us so much that He will provide our every need!

Credit: https://achristianpilgrim.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/matthew-6-33-34.jpg

Of course, this isn’t going to stop us from worrying about all of this. It does, however help us to focus upwards when we have those bad days. God is ever-faithful and that was proven when He sent Christ to die for us on the cross.

Phil 4:6-7 says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

We have been directed to turn our worries to God. To not only give Him the burdens, but trust Him completely with them. Which, of course, means not yanking the worry, fear, pain, or problem back to deal with on our own! I have used the analogy that I sent my prayers to God in a balloon, but I keep the string attached to my wrist, so if I don’t feel He is working fast enough for me, then I can yank it back and take care of it for myself! (Can you say control issues?) The problem with that method is two-fold. First off, it means I don’t have the trust in my Savior, Jesus Christ — trust I should have for someone who gave himself over in sacrifice for my sins! The second issue is that yanking it back causes more stress or worries to build up. I am not gaining anything, well, except wrinkles and weight, by not giving these issues to God. I am, however, losing sleep, peace, and joy.

I fully believe we were led by the Holy Spirit to homeschool our three boys. It was not an easy decision, and there was a lot of worry about curriculum, money, what people would think, and yes, even socialization. But we chose to take a leap of faith and all the worrying in the world wouldn’t make it any easier. I had to trust God in this.

I learned a lot about trusting God in the years we have been homeschooling. There were seasons of fear about food, clothes, bills, and shelter. But, even in the hardest times and darkest days, God provided the food, clothes, and shelter we needed. My worry was not welcome, not needed, and only served to make me sick.

Credit: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSPSMVtHV_Kx_XtdHWV6MzvBu2QtOldtfzqdREwrrcKNOQ4pCbW

There is a simple joy in letting go. A definite peace in giving all of that to God. A freedom in knowing Jesus has me in His arms. That in His loving embrace I can rest and trust He will meet my family’s needs.