Tag Archives: memory verses

Fighting the Comfort Idol

Part of the reason I chose my word of the year last year had to do with fighting my idolization of comfort.

I love to just be my old self. The fleshly self.

I have always been a very negative person. When I’m just seeking my own comfort, I can see it staring at me through a wall of frowns and pessimism.

My poor husband sees it the most because around him, I don’t have to hide it.

Last week, I was sitting in my chair, about to open my Bible. The day before, I had decided to start reading 2 Corinthians because of its theme on suffering (and I thought I might need to hold onto that amid our adoption!)

Instead of opening my Bible first, which is what I usually do, I prayed first. I prayed for deliverance from the gigantic black hole that is my emotions sometimes. I asked for God’s power to fight my comfort idol, to be really satisfied in Him – and GRATEFUL!

Then, I opened up to 2 Corinthians 1…. where I was blown away by a treatise on comfort! Oh God your faithfulness astounds me!

 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Our hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort. (2 Corinthians 1: 3-7, ESV)

Y’all. I just don’t have the words. I want to memorize this:

 For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. (v. 5)

I really have nothing else to say. I think He said it all.

Do NOT Follow Your Heart

“Follow your heart.”

“Trust your feelings.”

“If you feel it, then it must be true.”

What do you think about the truth of these statements? I mean, these are sentiments we are taught growing up. These are things we feel are true (there’s a little fallacy there for you logic buffs).

God gave us our feelings, our emotions, our heart. They’re not bad, are they?

I was a little blown away by something I read this morning in 1 John – one of the great “love” books in the Bible.

In 1 John, John is telling us that the world will know us by our love. The way we love each other and the lost is our greatest witness to the world.

But in chapter 3, he tells us how we can know we are saved. How we can be assured our lives have been changed by the gospel. The answer is still love… but it’s interesting that there even has to be a question.

And here’s the real killer. In verse 19, he says

By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; (1 John 3:19, ESV)

“Reassure our heart”….Y’all…

OUR HEARTS LIE TO US!

Eve’s gut lied to her in the garden when she trusted the serpent. Once we are saved, our heart continues to doubt our salvation. You’re really not a believer. Look at you! 

But when we see our love, our fruit, we reassure our hearts with the evidence of our faith.

Does it surprise you that we have to do this? I know that my heart is a liar, and yet this truth blew me away.

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9, KJV)

He goes on in chapter 3:

for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;  (vv. 20-21)

Our Father sees us through His son, Christ. He knows our heart through that filter. And when we fight down the lie about our heart, we are confident to do the work that God has called us to. Otherwise, our heart is so busy tearing us down that we are incapacitated!

Don’t let the lies win!

Action item: If you’re having trouble believing this truth, get with another believer and identify the lies you’re believing that are not Biblical. Memorize scripture that fight those lies, and pray for each other.

 

Intentional November (Connecting Thanksgiving Kids’ Crafts to the Gospel)

Intentional October was a huge success in my house. We memorized one verse each week of the month, and we learned the new ones while we made a craft. Throughout the week, we kept the craft out and used it to review the verse.

Only one of the crafts was a big disappointment. The rest were awesome! So awesome that I have already planned out Intentional November and Intentional December. Woohoo! (And I added pictures to the October post if you want to peek or pin any.)

So below you will see a link to a craft idea I found on Pinterest, a Bible verse to memorize, and how you can connect the verse and craft to the gospel. I’d love to hear if you’re participating in the Intentional activities and how they’re working out for you. 🙂

Week 1: 11/1-11/3 – This is a continuous activity throughout the month.

Craft: Thankful Tree – We have already set ours up – see it in progress above! I pre-cut a bunch of leaves so that we can just add new ones easily each day. And all guests are invited to put up a leaf, too. I can’t wait to see it in full bloom. 🙂

Verse: Psalm 118:1

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. His love endures forever.”

Connection to Gospel: It is so obvious through Scripture that our God is a good and loving God, but the ultimate showing of God’s affection and goodness is displayed through the gospel – that Jesus willingly laid down His life to save the lost (me. you. everyone.). Share the gospel with your child, and emphasize God’s goodness through this Godly plan. Tie in the “enduring” nature of this love by communicating that our salvation is sealed when we give our lives to Jesus – it lasts forever!

Week 2: 11/4-11/10

Craft: Hanging Pumpkin

Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

Connection to Gospel: I plan on hanging our pumpkin from the light fixture in the dining room and talking about the pumpkin in terms of harvest. Sometimes we will have much and sometimes we will have little. And no matter which one we have, it is God’s will. And since our God is good (review Psalm 118:1), we know His will is good and we can give thanks! This is a great time to pray for those who currently have little.

Week 3: 11/11-11/17

Craft: Coffee Filter Tree

Verse: 1 Corinthians 15:57

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Connection to Gospel: This verse clearly lays out the gospel in relation to thanksgiving. We can be sure of our victory over death and sin through Jesus! I am using the thankful tree and trees in general as a symbol of thanksgiving this month. And it would be a great follow up to explain that when Jesus died, it was on a cross made from a tree.

Week 4: 11/18-11/24

Craft: Pasta Turkeys

Verse: 2 Corinthians 9:11

“You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.”

Connection to Gospel: This week is Thanksgiving! We will be feasting and serving and praying and rejoicing. Connect all of the festivities of the holiday through the gospel this week. Even if it involves sacrificing comfort and expense to see family members. I’m going to use this turkey to explain the holiday (because Samuel is not quite 3 and doesn’t remember). However you are serving others this week, explain that when we give, we are the ones who are blessed with thanksgiving! Isn’t that great! How are you getting your kids in on service this week?

Week 5: 11/25-11/30

Craft: Sensory Tray and Leaf Impressions

Matthew 7:17

“So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.”

Connection to Gospel: We start off with a diseased heart, but God wants to give us a new, healthy heart! He does this through the salvation offered to us through Jesus and through the Spirit working in our lives.

 

 

Intentional October (Connecting Kids’ Crafts to the Gospel)

Connecting October Crafts to the Gospel

I recently got a ginormous urge to start doing crafts with my 2-year old son Samuel. My mom did so many fun crafts with us growing up; it was truly formative for me. I’ll never forget all of the glue, glitter, paint, and love that all bonded together to make refrigerator art.

With October here and holidays on the horizon, and ahem, Pinterest available, there is no better time to start! (By the way, let’s follow each other – my profile is here.)

I picked up my pin boards, dusted them off, and started going through crafts for October with the idea to do one craft per week themed off of the month (i.e., Halloween).

I printed out my calendar for the month and assigned the crafts I chose curated (because you actually have to look at these things to see if they’re good or not!).

::Enter lightbulb moment::

We’ve been printing off the monthly calendar to assign our memory verses for each week. Er, ahem, my husband has been. 🙂

Why not connect the craft to the Bible verse to the gospel!?

So that’s my plan, starting with October. Here’s what I’ve come up with to try out this month:

UPDATE 11/2012 – I added pictures of our finished crafts!

Week 1

Craft: Jar Luminaries (from Momtastic.com)

jar luminaries

 

Verse: John 8:12 (partial)

My selection, “Jesus said, … ‘I am the light of the world.'”

Connection to Gospel: In this passage, darkness is where you are when you aren’t connected to God through Jesus. Talk about how in the dark, you can’t see where you’re going or what you’re doing. You can’t even have a purpose because you can’t see anything around you. With Jesus, however, it’s like a bright light. You can see a toy, and decide to pick it up; you can see people and their needs and decide to help (purpose). You know clearly what you are doing. You can also compare light and darkness to a plant: when a plant has no light, it cannot grow and eventually dies; it must have light to survive and thrive.

Week 2

Craft: Spider Handprints (this pin is also for Frankenstein faces)

Verse: 1 John 4:8 (partial)

My selection, “God is love.”

Connection to Gospel: I will use the spider handprints to name attributes of God – 1 for each leg of the spider (perhaps loving, holy, all-powerful, all-knowing, patient, omnipresent, just, creative). Choose a verse to memorize that goes with one of the attributes. Use each leg to talk about what God is like and how that is shown through Jesus and his death/resurrection. Don’t underestimate your child’s ability to understand! Use simple phrases to define the large words. In my case, I will focus on God’s ultimate display of love by giving Jesus so that we can be with God forever.

Week 3

Craft: Frankenstein faces

Verse: Psalm 56:11

“In God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?”

Connection to Gospel: The frankenstein is an opportunity to address your child’s fears. Assure them that God’s sovereignty means that we can trust Him no matter how scared we are. If the child is ready, you can expand on this by explaining that this doesn’t mean we will only have good things happen to us, but that everything that occurs is part of God’s plan to bring glory to Him – even Jesus didn’t want to go to the cross, but He knew that it would bring glory to God and connect His children back to Him.

Week 4

Craft: Monster candy holder

Verse: Mark 12:44

“They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.”

Connection to Gospel: Our candy holder will be placed out at our neighborhood block party. I plan on talking with Samuel about why we host this party (to connect with others in hopes of building relationships in which we can share the gospel of Jesus). He might want every piece of that candy for Himself, but we can give even the things we need and love the very most to worship God on mission.

Week 5

Craft: Glow Stick Eyes (this one bombed for me!)

Verse: “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Connection to Gospel: (The glowing eyes will also be placed out at our block party.) We talk about getting strength from God a lot in our house, but I think it’s so comforting to know that God is looking to strengthen us! If we are His, He is there, pumping strength into our lives. Strength to trust Him, to worship Him, and to share Jesus with others.

I’d love to post the pictures from these sites, but that’s called stealing. So instead, please click through the links to find out if this is something you want to do along with me!! 😉

Photo credit

Memorizing Scripture via Your Children

Memorizing Scripture is one of the most vital ways to enliven your spiritual life. If you have God’s word stored in your mind, the truth has more chance of consuming your thoughts than the wisdom of the world.

When I was in college, I learned some very practical, amazing tips for meditating on and memorizing God’s word. It rocked my world, to be honest. That was the first time I was able to memorize Scripture with any “stickiness” in my brain. It was a time of richness in God’s word.

I’ve tried to go back to those disciplines, and I haven’t done very well. It has nothing to do with the methods – they are still the most rock star Scripture memorization techniques I’ve seen. And they hardly take any time. But a lack of discipline (ahem, laziness) is a lack of discipline.

Enter a new spiritual growth method: Using your children. Ha!

We want our children to grow in the Lord and practice spiritual disciplines, don’t we? If we build in time with our kids to help them grow in their faith, it will also strengthen our own.

It was really my husband Brad’s idea to start teaching Samuel Bible verses. It was a genius idea! That little sponge can learn “Moves like Jagger” lyrics, why not the Bible? So what if he’s only 2!? It begins now.

So, often, at dinnertime, we will go over his memory verses. Occasionally, he can say entire verses on his own, and for the others we give him prompts to help him continue. I think this little guy is up to at least 6 verses already, and he’s always asking for new ones.

Do you know what that means? I have to know them, too! And I get to practice them often! And it’s amazing to watch him enjoy it, too!

So, yes, currently, I’m using my son’s memory verses to commit my own Scripture to memory. And I feel brilliant for doing so.

In what other ways could I take advantage of his learning to aid my own? Give me some ideas in the comments.

Check out My 1st Book of Questions and Answers* to see how you can teach your kids giant theology in very simple question and answer form.

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Use Dyeing Easter Eggs to Learn Memory Verses

I have such fond memories of dyeing Easter Eggs with my family. We did it every single year without fail. My brothers and I got to choose our dye colors and write our names or put stickers on the eggs. My mom always made a ton, and then she made a giant jar of pickled eggs and beets (which are delicious and I miss them!).

Last week, Samuel and I dyed eggs for the first time. He loved standing on the chair and watching, dipping his fingers in the dye every time I turned my back. He got a big kick out of the tablets dissolving in the vinegar because they’re super fizzy. We used one of the kits from Paas that has the dye tablets, cups, egg dipper, and magic crayon.

Oh yes, you remember the magic crayon. You get to write your name or whatever you want on the egg before it’s dyed, and like magic, that part of the egg isn’t dyed at all, revealing your secret message. Such fun!

I didn’t look up where Easter eggs and the Biblical Easter (celebrating Christ’s resurrection) intersect, so I just made up my own illustration. I told Samuel that eggs symbolize life, and we’re celebrating that Jesus rose from the dead – He’s alive! So we’re coloring eggs to celebrate!

We decided to focus our magic crayon messages on the gospel, too. For example, we wrote words on the eggs that were sort of color-coded to the Gospel Fuzzies song (this isn’t the exact rendition we use, but kids love this and Samuel knows what all the colors mean – at 2!). So the green egg says “Growing,” gold says, “Heaven,” and so on.

In the middle of dyeing eggs, I had the idea to use them when practicing our memory verses! Brad started teaching Samuel some Scripture – and it’s such a great idea, even at 2. Those little spongy minds can learn anything, and Samuel is into it. He loves anything having to do with “Bible verses,” as he says.

So on a couple of eggs, I wrote the Scripture references we have been working on. Later on, when he gets to choose an egg to “eat” (or just unpeel as the case may be), we have to say the memory verse first.

By the way, my eggs are brown eggs, so that’s why the colors turned out all vintage-y looking. Don’t they look fab!? I didn’t know if they would color at all. I feel so accidental-Martha-Stewart.

What fun ways are you incorporating the gospel into your Easter eggs, baskets, and candies? I need some more ideas!