Teaching Your Children the Art of Biblical Meditation

Yeah….I know what you’re probably thinking…and yes, I said the “M” word. Meditation. You’re likely thinking about people sitting in a well lit, sparsely furnished white room, with their legs crossed, holding out their arms and saying….”Oooooohhhhmmmmm, Ooooohhhhmmmm.” I understand. I did too! But, that’s not the kind of meditation I’m referring to. I’m talking about scriptural meditation. It’s an art that we as a whole, are at risk to lose (if we haven’t already) amidst the hustle and bustle of modern day life. Simply being still in the presence of the Lord.

The Art of Biblical Meditation

In our best intentions, we keep our children so busy, but the truth is that they crave to be silent before the Lord just as we do.

Joshua 1:8

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

For us grown-ups, it’s sometimes as simple as sitting on the front porch in the morning before the rest of the world wakes, our cup of coffee in hand, just silently thanking God for the trees, the sky, the birds, and all the many blessings. Other times, it’s heart-wrenching silence, praising God even though life gets hard. Sometimes, it’s even letting your mind dwell on a single scripture from the Word of God while we wash dishes and watch the hummingbirds. Sometimes, it’s being literally still and quiet, and soaking up the wonders of His glorious creation.

It seems so often, that we as adults tend to believe that children are flat out incapable of being quiet and still before the Lord, but I would argue that children crave time to be quiet and still. They need thinking time. They require time to ponder the great things of God, just like we do. But, in thinking we are doing the right thing by keeping them busy constantly, we are neglecting to teach them to be content with stillness.

Psalm 77:12

I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.”

Teaching Our Children Biblical Meditation

Our children crave time to ponder big thoughts about God. Train them to be still and quiet in the presence of the Lord.

A few years ago, I went to a women’s bible study and took my then-preschooler, Isaac. It was called BSF, short for Bible Study Fellowship. I highly recommend it. Anyway, part of their children’s program was to “lay down for five minutes and think about God” after the lesson. Isaac had a really hard time with it at first. Oh, he struggled! So, I began to work with him at home. We would lay on the floor and just be quiet and still and “think about God.” Well, he finally one day, came out of his class and said victoriously, “Mom!! I laid down today the whole five minutes!” And then, defiantly, he said, “but I didn’t think about God. I thought about tractors!” I didn’t know whether to rejoice with him at the time or crawl under the table! It took us a few more months working on the art of being silent and thinking about God, but we persisted together! And I began to see how this affected him not only in understanding more about God, but also in his ability to sit still for a period of time, and to focus on tasks. I also saw the fruit that the practice brought in sitting and listening in “big church”.  I began to see the value not only spiritually, but also in every other area. Isn’t that the way God is many times? We follow His leading, and He blesses us with unexpected things?

Nowadays, our meditation time looks a little different. We have three more kiddos being quiet and still with us. And it’s our very favorite time. I always schedule it after our Bible reading each morning so they can have the opportunity to think and ponder the thoughts we read and discussed. Now we listen to a hymn as we meditate on the Lord. Many times, I’ve found that after our silent time, one of the kids will open up discussion again and we’ll continue for another 30 minutes or so just talking about their big questions.

Psalm 1

Blessed is the one     who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take     or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,     and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,     which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—     whatever they do prospers.

The thing is…meditating on God’s Word requires training. It’s not natural for any of us to sit still and do nothing-just think. So, at first, your kids might just respond like Isaac did. That’s ok! Persevere with them, Mama! Teach them by example, and by consistency. Show them that it’s an important part of the day. Most days, Lydia still tells me that she thinks about her dolls and ponies during our time of meditation. But, it’s ok! She’s learning.

Here’s how it works at our house. In the morning, after morning chores, we get together for Bible time. We sing songs, recite our memory verses, and then I read from the Bible and we discuss it as we go. Then, I have everyone pick a spot in the living room, get really still, close their eyes, turn on some great, soothing hymns, and we just sit and ponder the great things of God. I tell the kids to pray, to thank God for things, to think about our passage that we read today, or to just sit and listen to the words of the hymn. When we first started, I played a 2 minute song, and that was it, but we’ve stretched it out now as much as 8 minutes, and many times, they aren’t ready to stop.

This is why I say children crave that still, quiet moment in their day, just like we do. After the song, we all meet together in the middle of the living room floor and we share about what we thought about.

This time is SO fruitful for our family. It’s also a great way to begin your day…centered on God.  It is my prayer that my kids will continue this practice long into their adulthood.  It has been such an oasis for me personally, that I want that for them as well.

I wanted to leave you with a few of our favorite hymn albums to listen to during our quiet times:

Lullaby Hymns

A great resource for teaching your children the art of biblical meditation

Hymns of the People

Another great resource to teach your children biblical meditation

Suggestions for Summer Reading with Your Kids

Ahhhh…summer.  The word alone sparks visions of blankets spread across open fields and a big stack of books. It is one of my deepest desires as a mother to impart my love of reading to my children.  Reading just opens up worlds that otherwise we would never visit.  It ignites imaginations, it fuels our play, it challenges and refreshes our weary mind.  I have found that summertime is a natural time to nurture this.  Many of us, as parents, feel that when our children reach the age of reading themselves, they no longer need us to read to them.  Quite the contrary though!  Reading aloud is one of the greatest gifts of time we can give our children.  It is in read aloud times where they learn things such as tone, timing, and emotion.  It’s where they can connect with you through great literature.  Never stop reading to your children.

When reading aloud to your children however, I would give one piece of advice.  Choose a book that they would not choose on their own.  Choose great literature.  Look for the Newberry Award Seal.  This helps them to realize that great books many times hide behind a more “boring” looking cover.  It also helps to expose them to literature that they would never read otherwise.  To help you with this, I’ve compiled a short list of some of our favorite read aloud books.

Goonie Bird Greene

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Summer Reading LIst for Your Kids

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Mrs Piggle Wiggle

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Ramona and Beezus

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Fudge-A-Mania

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

The first few books I’ve listed are great for younger kiddos as well as older elementary children.  I think a lot of the time, we save chapter books for older kids, but preschoolers love chapter books too!  My girls have been listening to chapter books since they were babies, and they absolutely LOVE characters like Ramona, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and Goonie Bird Greene.  After reading one of these books, they will talk about them for weeks!  The key to reading aloud to children of any age is to let them keep their hands busy.  Let them build with Legos, let them work on a puzzle, let them color or draw.  When their hands are busy, their ears are listening!

Here are some suggestions for older children.

Jim Elliot

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Twenty-One Balloons

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Cricket in Times Square

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Walk the World's Rim

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Tree in the Trail

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Summer Reading List

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

Island of the Blue Dolphins

Summer is the perfect time to read aloud with your children. Here’s a list of some great books to keep you busy all summer!

 These are all books that we have loved and learned from.  You can never go wrong with reading aloud to your children.  So, what are you waiting for?  Go grab a blanket and a book and head outside for some sunshine and reading!  I’m headed that way too!

Bigger Family Organization

Ok, ok…in all honesty, 99% of the time, I don’t consider us to be a big family.  However, sometimes it seems like I have 50 kids.  And although it seems like adding one more to my existing three wouldn’t be a big deal, it really threw us for a loop.  I mean, all of our routines were thrown off to a degree, and we kind of had to start all over.  I realized that I was going to have to reach a whole new level of organization if I wanted life to flow relatively smoothly.  So over the last few months, I have found some organizational breakthroughs in trouble areas that have helped us tremendously and wanted to share them with you.

Problem Area #1: Medicine

My family is notorious for forgetting medicine.  We are terrible, terrible medicine takers.  We rarely finish an entire dose of antibiotics and a daily medicine, Psh!  Whatever!!  But….over the past few years, my crew has gotten to the point where we can’t forget medicine any more.  Lydia, Isaac, James, Tim and I all have daily medicine, almost all of us take Claritin, and really, I wanted everyone to take a multivitamin.  What’s a mom to do?

Enter the pillbox system!  You thought it was just for older people didn’t you?  Nope!  I have reinvented the pill box!  (Imagine me standing like a superhero when you read that…it’s how I feel about it!)  So here’s what I do:

Bigger Family Organization

Excellent Organizational Tips for Bigger Families

Every Saturday, I pull out our medicine bottles for the week and divvy out all the medicine for each day into each person’s pill box.  Then, each night, we all meet in the kitchen and take our meds and vitamins.  I store them in a silverware holder which is perfect, because things like nasal sprays and liquids meds can easily be slipped into the front slots.  It also helps me stay ahead of needing new medicine, because I can easily see at the beginning of the week if I need a refill of something and I set the empty bottle on the counter as a reminder to get it filled the next day.  Love this!

Problem Area #2:  The Paper Problem

We have a pretty serious paper issue at my house. As in…there’s a lot of it. Paper from schoolwork, paper from bills, paper from Tim’s work, notes that need to be saved, paperwork that comes with the adoption process….the list goes on and on and on. So, I use what’s called a Command Center. No, I actually didn’t come up with this one, but I sure wish I had! I saw it first at A Bowl Full of Lemons and just loved the idea, so I tried it, and it worked beautifully. I’ve been using this system for about three years now. It’s super easy. When the mail comes in each day, I throw away any junk mail, and I put any bills in the first file labeled, “To Pay.” Anything that needs to be filed goes in the second file labeled, (you guessed it!) “To File”. Then, the next four files are for my kids’ work. This works great with school or home school. When work comes home from school, I go through it immediately. Anything that I need to save, I stick in James’s folder. Anything that is trash, I throw away immediately. The same principle goes with home school. All their work that I want to save goes in their files until I can file it more permanently (usually about once a month I’ll do a big filing session and put things in their permanent spot).

Bigger Family Organization

Great ideas for organizing bigger families

The next two files are for Tim and me. I used to get in trouble all the time for throwing away things that Tim needed. It never failed that a piece of paper would sit on the counter until I just couldn’t stand it, so I would finally throw it away, just for Tim to walk in five minutes later and ask for it. It never failed! But, now, when I’m not sure, I just stick that paper in his file and it’s there when he asks for it. I keep my file for anything that I want to keep or need to do.  No more cluttered desk space!

Problem Area #3: Chores

With four children, I must admit, I have grown weary of spending my days cleaning. I have tried just letting some things go…but I just can’t! I am just not that kind of person. I desperately wish that I could function with a little mess and clutter though. However, it’s ok…I have to accept that I’m a compulsive cleaner and picker-upper and work with it. So this summer, that’s just what I have decided to do. I realized that if I’m spending all my time cleaning the house, I will get to the end of the day and feel as though I haven’t spent much time with my kids at all.

So, I decided that in addition to our regular daily chores (making bed, brushing teeth, etc), we would have “duty areas” each day. The areas rotate daily so they don’t get too boring. This is essential. I have four duty areas: Laundry Duty, Kitchen Duty, Bathroom Duty, and Outdoor Duty. These are all trouble areas for our family…and yes, I know…it’s pretty much the entire house! Here’s our chart.

Bigger Family Organization

Ideas for Bigger Family Organization Trouble Spots

The basic idea here is that whatever child has laundry duty will help me and eventually do some or all of the laundry that day, depending on age and skill level. The same goes for the kitchen, although this seems to be the favorite of all the kiddos (psst…they get to help cook and plan the meals for the day!).  Bathroom Duty is a simple wipe down of the bathroom.  Outdoor duty consists of picking up trash and toys, watering plants, and cleaning up the car.

Hopefully these ideas have given you some organizational inspiration. I haven’t done one of these organizational-type posts in a while because I haven’t felt that organized in a while, but we’re getting there once again. Baby steps, right? What are your favorite tips for organizing your family?

Exclaiming the Gospel

  Today, I’m inviting my sweet husband, Tim, to be my guest blogger. He recently preached a sermon and wanted to share it with you here. I hope it speaks to your heart as it did mine.

Mom and Dad Vertical

This may be a little choppy as these were my sermon notes but I think that you will be able to follow it.  I started with a verse or verses from John chapter 1 35-51. We will see the first converts to Jesus’ earthly ministry. John the Baptist had been paving the way for him, and now we see him exclaim that he is here and show us how to do the same.

Thanks for reading,

Tim

John 1:35-36

35 The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36 and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!”

The Lamb of God!”

What we can see in these first converts is that God put a system in place of entrusting this beautiful present called the gospel to ordinary men to spread. He could have used Gabriel and trumpets or donkeys and rocks, but instead he chose to use fallen people. Fallen people to tell the world that God sent his Son to be our Messiah just as the Old Testament had foretold thousands of years before. John was also never afraid of the gospel. He had already seen the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus, and he was ready to tell others that that Son of God he was talking about is now here.

 

John 1:37 37 The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus.

Heard Him! He didn’t whisper, “Behold the Lamb of God.” No! He said, “Behold the Lamb of God!” With an exclamation point! He exclaimed, and what became of his exclamation? John’s disciples heard and followed Jesus! Yes! John was not only the first to recognize Jesus as the Son of God, but he was also responsible for the first two followers of Jesus because of his exclamation. Exclaim the gospel!!!!
John 1:38 38 Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?”

They called him teacher because they recognized that they wanted to learn from him.

 

John 1:39

39 He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.

 bible pic

So we see their journey with Christ getting deeper. They want to know Jesus on a more personal level.

John 1:40-41 40 One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).

What was the first thing Andrew does when he is converted? He goes to tell someone else. He sat and learned from the great Teacher and he next thought was, “I’ve got to tell someone.” I can hear him now. “Where’s my brother. Simon!!! We’ve found him, we’ve found the Messiah,!! Simon!! Simon!! We’ve found the messiah!!”   Just like John the Baptist, we see Andrew exclaiming the gospel. Jesus’ first two converts were won by exclamation. And now Simon is about to see how real this Messiah really is.

John 1:42 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

He then changed Simon’s name to Peter. How cool would it be for Jesus to change your name? Jesus looked at Simon and said, “You’re going to be so different. You’re are going to have a different name. Peter is now in the same ranks as Abraham, Jacob, and Paul. When we adopted James, the first thing we did was to give him a new special name, signifying that he is now a member of our family and not the same person that he used to be. Peter is now a member of the family of God. Now here is where Jesus teaches me to not be too dogmatic in this gospel message. He says ok I’m going to give you authority to spread my gospel but I’m still God.
John 1:43 43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him,“Follow me.” Jesus decided to go and decided to find Phillip.

So far we have seen two converts who have came to Christ based on another apostle’s testimony but here we see Jesus directly calling out to Phillip, “Follow me!”

John 1:44

44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter.

 6287240997_53ff1460da_z

They were buddies from the same hometown -not a coincidence. Undoubtedly Phillip would have heard this gospel message from his buddies. So why did Jesus deliberately seek out Phillip instead of allowing those that he knew to tell him? I believe that it is to show his sovereignty and to keep us from being to puffed up in thinking that it is us who is doing the saving. We can’t save anyone, we can only exclaim the gospel. The miraculous transformation of a sinner’s soul is reserved by Jesus and him alone. So I believe that the Phillip calling is an exclaimition of Jesus’ power. But Phillip doesn’t drop the ball here and say we’ll Jesus called me so I guess that he will personally seek each and every sinner that he wants to convert. Phillip could have said like so many of us do, this salvation cruise ship is nice. I’m going to go up to the deck to tan. Wake me up when we get to heaven or when karaoke starts. No, he immediately goes to tell someone else. He grasps the concept that our journey is not on a cruise ship but instead it is on a coast guard ship in the middle of millions of drowning people, who don’t even know they are drowning and in need of saving.

John 1:45

45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

The first thing Phillip did was to run and tell Nathaniel, (exclaimation point) He exclaimed that the messiah that all these Old Testament prophets spoke us was here. The entire Old Testament suddenly made sense to Phillip now. He now sees that every Old Testament major character was a small picture of who was to come in Christ. In this case Moses was a type of Jesus because Jesus was going to lead his people out of the bondage of sin. Once you see that Jesus is in the entire Bible, you can’t unsee it. It’s everywhere.

John 1:46 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”

We see here we see Nathaniel didn’t have a lot of faith. He said (paraphrased), “You mean this guy is from that hick town of Nazareth, That place? Yeah right.” He didn’t immediately grasp on to what Phillip said but Phillip was not dissuaded. He said come see. Now Phillip had just a small mustard seed of faith that was enough to get him off the couch and follow Phillip to Jesus and that little mustard seed is all Jesus needed.

John 1:47

47 Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!”

This is a wow momemt. Jesus immediately saw his faith and judged his heart and saw that his intentions were pure. Nathanael was not perfect in the sense that Jesus was perfect but Jesus could see through his rose blood covered glasses that Nathanael was there for salvation. When we get up off our couch and start walking toward Christ our sins are immediately washed away by Jesus.

John 1:48-51

48 Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered him,“Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

At this point I can see Phillip, (who had just figured out and told Nathanial that the old testament prophets were talking about Jesus), get Really excited. I can see him about to bust like a contestant on family feud and say, “Oh, oh,, he’s talking about Jacob’s ladder. Jesus is Jacob’s ladder. Yes!!! Who can I tell next. This Jesus is amazing!!!”

Genesis 28:12 And he dreamed and behold, there was a ladder[a]set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven. And behold, the angels of God were ascending and descending on it! 13 And behold, the Lordstood above it[b] and said, I am the Lord, the God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac. The land on which you lie I will give to you and to your offspring.14 Your offspring shall be like the dust of the earth, and you shall spread abroad to the west and to the east and to the north and to the south, and in you and your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Another WOW moment comes when Jesus is relating himself back to the Old Testament. He says y’all remember that Jacob ladder dream that he had, well I am him. I am the link between heaven and earth and I am the one that was spoken of when God told Jacob that through his offspring the entire earth shall be blessed.. Just to put this into perspective, Jacob’s ladder was 2000 years before this point and time. That would be like the year 4015 from now and a story continuing for that long and really taking that long to be fully explained.

There is an ocean of drowning people around us that need to know that there is a Savior who can pull them out of the darkness and into the light. That before the foundation of man God had a plan. The Bible is not just a random collection of various authored books over thousands of years. It is a systematic explanation of our need for a Savior and our Savior s love for us. My prayer is that God would lay a person on your heart to share this message with.

Mothers and Children

Some of my earliest memories are of my mother taking care of me. I can remember everything from her taking my temperature when I was sick to giving me Flintstone vitamins every night (did anyone ever figure out where Betty was?) to making my favorite meal (lasagna!), I always knew that with her there at my side, I would be ok. On the rare occasion that I forgot my lunch at home, I could count on her to be at the school before lunchtime to bring it to me. She wore herself out making sure that my sister and I had everything we needed. Most of my own mothering style, I have learned from my mom. From cuddling up on the couch with my babies and reading a picture book to putting hydrogen peroxide on cuts and boo-boos and blowing on it (cause it burns!)…those are all things I learned to do from my mama.

But what if you, as a mother, wanted to do these things, but couldn’t? What if there were no vitamins each night to give? No medicine when your child  was sick? What if there was no lunch at all? What if there were no books to read, and even if there were, no one with the ability to read them? What if there was no peroxide or Band-Aids to put on boo-boos?

gfa children
Not only are many mothers across the ocean not able to provide the absolute basic needs for their children, but many families in Asia feel forced to actually sell their children in order to feed the rest of their family. When they are sold, these children are introduced into a world that no child should ever have to live in. A world that is completely empty of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a world that is full of evil. While we in America could never imagine the possibility of this, we have to remember that we live in a very different reality from many areas of the world around us.

This is what mothers in Asia and around the world face each and every day. Wanting to provide and care for their children, but falling woefully short due to their circumstances. It’s difficult to hear, and it would be so much easier to just not know about it, but it’s so important for us all to know. Because when we know, we are called to action. When we are called to action, we can accomplish things for the glory of God. And this is why I love Gospel for Asia. Gospel for Asia has a ministry called Bridge of Hope where families in America can sponsor a child each month and that child will have medical care, food, and an education provided for them. What a gift you can give a family. What a difference we can make all the way across the ocean! I can’t think of a better way to minister to a mother than to help her care for her child. This is one way we can take the gospel to the ends of the earth. In the last two years, I have come to realize that it is our duty as Christians to care about the things that God cares about. God cares about those who have no hope. He cares, and since he cares, we should care too.

mom and child gfa
When you consider this with your family, think about this…nowadays for a family to eat out one time, it’s about $30 or more. If your family skips one restaurant meal a MONTH, you can feed, clothe, provide medical care and an education for a child for an entire 30 days. When I was reading through the book Revolution in World Missions, I was strongly convicted of the amount of money I waste every day on unnecessary items that another family could use just for the absolute bare basics. It really puts things in a different light. Will you pray about supporting a child in Asia? Maybe two children? Will you ask God what you can do? Can you provide the bare basics for a child out of the abundance in which God has blessed you?
1 John 3:17 ESV
But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

Click here to visit the Gospel for Asia site and see how you can help!

Click here to receive the free book that changed my view on world missions and my own life!

Gospel for Asia Logo
FOR KIDS: Parents, here is a kid-friendly version of the above story to read to your children to get them involved in World Missions.

How does your mom take care of you? Does she take care of you when you are sick? Does she put a Band-Aid on when you fall down and get a cut? Does she make your favorite meal sometimes? Does she read to you? Moms are so important and so special. But can you imagine a mother who wants to take care of her children but can’t? Can you imagine a mother who wants to cook for her family but has no food? What about a mother who wants to take care of their child when they fall, but they have no Band-Aids? What about a mom who wants to help her child feel better when they are sick, but there is no medicine? What if a mom wanted to read to her children but didn’t know how to read? How do you think that mom would feel? How would that child feel?

In Asia, a country all the way across the world, this is true every day. There are mothers who are not able to care for their children. That would be so hard. Some mothers have to sell their children in order to have food to feed the rest of her family. We can’t imagine that can we? That’s because your mom and dad would never, ever sell you. But we live in a very different country where we have lots more help. In Asia, it happens, and it’s very sad…it’s sad for the child and for the family.

But there is good news…you can help! Yes, you! The Bible says in

1 John 3:17,
“ Suppose someone sees a brother or sister in need and is able to help them. And suppose that person doesn’t take pity on these needy people. Then how can the love of God be in that person?”

When we see or hear about someone in need, God wants us to do what we can to help. And a ministry called Gospel for Asia has made a way for us to help! Talk to your mom and dad and pray about what you and your family can do to help these mothers and children in Asia to have hope.

I’m linking up today at one of my favorite places to hang out with my Arkansas blogger friends:

Arkansas Women Bloggers

An Announcement for Redeeming the Days Blog

 

I have been blogging on and off for about 9 years now. Yeah, I know…crazy. It began as a journal, or a way to post pictures of Isaac. Then, it kind of morphed from there. I tried my hand at some crafting posts and some recipe posts. Now, three blogs later, I’m still at it. The funny thing is that I’ve never really cared if anyone read it or not. It’s always really been for me. If anyone read it and enjoyed it, that’s just been an added bonus in my book. That’s why you don’t see ads on my blog. That’s also why I have never made money off my blog. When I recommend a book, I get no commission. It’s sincerely because the book impacted me deeply and I want to share it. I’ve come to realize that blogging is really and truly an outpouring of what’s in my heart. And, as much as I have tried to put it on the back burner, it keeps on bubbling up. But, recently, God has taken me in a new direction for this blog, and I’m excited to share with you the journey that I’ve been working through.

I am a reader-always have been. But, I have a confession…I LOVE children’s fiction. And I can’t stand adult fiction. It’s just not something I’ve ever been able to read and really enjoy. Therefore, for “pleasure reading” I always end up reading Christian non-fiction or books about homeschool or rearing children. I know, it’s weird. I just feel really good about making my leisure hours somehow productive. Ha! Anyway, I stumbled upon a book called, Revolution in World Missions by K.P. Yohannan, the founder of the Gospel for Asia ministry. It was a free book, as in a they-will-mail-it-to-you free book-not just a Kindle edition. I couldn’t pass it up! When I got it, it sat on my shelf for a while as I read through some other books, but finally curiosity got the best of me, and in all honesty, I will admit, I ended up putting it in my bathroom so I could read a little bit at a time in peace. Yes…this is the only way I get any reading done. I take extra long bathroom breaks. I know that’s probably too much information….just keepin’ it real for you-it’s a good technique when you have four children. So I read through it really slowly, and every day, the few pages I read just cut me through. I mean, I felt so convicted with every page turn, so changed, so moved to action in world missions. I literally mentioned to Tim a few times that we could just head on over to India and be missionaries and it would be just fine with me. If you know me, I rarely leave Morrilton, I can count on one hand how many states I’ve visited, and I’ve never been to another country. Yeah, I’m a homebody. So you can see that this book really and truly was doing a work in me.

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After a while of reading this book and the Holy Spirit really beginning to move in me, I knew that I had a part in this. I knew that while jetting off to India was not the right thing for us at this point, that still, God had something in mind for me to do. But, I just couldn’t figure it out. And in the meantime, my head was so clouded with so much I was mulling over that I felt as though it might just burst. I couldn’t rest, I couldn’t think clearly, I was cranky.   And if I can just be totally frank with you, in my mind, I was going through a huge adjustment with our adoption, and I kind of felt like God should just give me a little rest from any other conviction, right? That makes sense doesn’t it? But, that apparently is not how God works with me. Not in this case. So finally, one night I just broke down and shared my thoughts with Tim, and he felt that all of my crankiness and poor outlook on things was due to the fact that I was supposed to do something that I wasn’t doing. When he said that, it clicked, and I knew. I was supposed to be writing. I was supposed to be pouring my thoughts onto the computer screen.

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So, I went back to the Gospel for Asia site, but this time, I wasn’t looking for somewhere that we could go. I was just looking….and sure enough, tucked away in the site menu, I found a little button that said, “Sign Up to be a Blogger for Asia”. And my heart leaped. I knew that was it. I couldn’t go be a teacher across the ocean, but I could be a voice. Maybe a tiny voice in a great, big world, but a voice all the same.

And it occurred to me…that’s what God has called me to do on a few accounts. It is my prayer to be a voice for those who don’t have one….for the orphans in our own community to the women and children destitute and starving in Asia. It may not be much, but I have to do my part to contribute. So, the big announcement is that I am now officially a “Gospel for Asia Blogger”. And periodically, I will be bringing you stories from across the world. It is my hope to write these stories in a family-friendly way, so that you can share my posts with your children. Because we need to raise up children who are more passionate about the things that God cares about and less passionate about the things of the world. And I will tell you that when you begin to read some of these stories, the things of this world look so very pale. I also plan to share with you missionary studies that you can do together with your family. I’m really excited about the direction that the Lord is taking my blog. I have realized in the past few weeks that writing is something that I have to make time for…it’s something that is good for my soul. It’s actually what I do for me just as much, if not more, as I do it for others. And while I don’t think that I’m an amazing writer, I hope and pray that these stories will challenge you, encourage you, and empower you, as they have me.

I’ll begin sharing more soon. In the meantime, check out the free book that completely changed the way I think about almost everything. Click on the banner below:

 

Missionary from the Past, Lesson for Today

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For the past three years, my life has been deeply impacted through homeschooling my children. One of the reasons for this is that our curriculum has included studying missionaries. Never in my life have I given much thought to missionaries. ..although I am really ashamed to say that. But over the past three years, we’ve had the pleasure to read and RE-read stories of great missionaries like George Muller, Gladys Aylward, and my most recent favorite, Jim Elliot. For several weeks, every day we would read a little bit of the Jim Elliot biography, and every day, my kids would beg me not to stop reading. Truthfully, I didn’t want to stop reading either. I mean, I knew what was going to happen, I knew that Jim Elliot and his missionary friends died (sorry for the spoiler). And I even prepared my kids for it so they wouldn’t be shocked and surprised. But I think that what kept us reading was just wondering how on Earth God could actually cause good to come from that terrible, awful situation. After reading the book, the kids and I all agreed that it was the best missionary story we had read yet (and we’ve read some really great stories). Then, we watched the Torchlighters movie of Jim Elliot and the documentaries which followed, which I highly recommend. And oh my…Jim Elliot and his work for the Lord has been on my mind ever since.

Let me give you a brief synopsis of the story, made popular through the movie “End of the Spear”, although I can promise you I won’t do it justice, so I strongly urge you to read one of his many biographies.   Jim Elliot, along with 4 other friends and their families, moved to the jungles of South America to minister to unreached native groups. At first they worked with the Quichua (KIT-choo-uh) Indians, but all the while, they had in their hearts to reach the Aucas (Ow-kahs). The Auca Indians were the most feared Indian group around. Every tribe was scared of the Aucas. No one knew where they lived, and they killed anyone who came close for any reason. There was never peace between the Aucas and surrounding natives. Therefore, no missionary had ever been into the heart of Auca territory to carry the Gospel to these people. So, Elliot and his team began to pray and devise a plan to reach these people. They began by dropping gifts in a bucket from a helicopter and shouting friendly Auca phrases from a loudspeaker on the helicopter. Then, they finally felt it was time to make contact, so they set up camp in Auca territory. At first, they had three Auca visitors. That visit went incredibly well. Then, a few days later, out of nowhere, Auca warriors came and speared each one of the men. The amazing thing is that each of the missionaries carried a gun….and although there was plenty of time, not one of them took it out to use it. They willingly gave their lives because they knew that retaliation would only strengthen the fear of the Aucas to the outside world along with destroying any chance of them hearing the gospel.

Though the story itself is amazing, what’s even more astounding is what happened after the death of this missionary team.  After the horrifying incident, rather than coming back home, the missionary wives continued their work with the Quichua Indians. However, by an incredible string of events, the Aucas found out that the missionaries had guns yet chose not to use them.  Because of this fact, they asked Jim Elliot’s wife and the sister of another man who was killed (Nate Saint) to go and live among the  Aucas , and they were able to bring the gospel to them. Their willing sacrifice did not come back void. In fact it drove the Aucas toward this message that these men so willingly gave their lives in order to share. As time went on, Nate Saint’s son, Steve, also went to join his aunt and live among the Aucas. They became like family to him, and one of the men who had speared Saint’s father actually “adopted” him as his own son. The Auca tribe is vastly different today because of these five missionary families. They no longer hold the derogatory name Auca which means “savage” but now go by their true name, the Waorani. The Saint family has taught them to provide medical treatment for their own people, and now they are beginning to share the gospel and teach other tribes around them this technology. Wow. What a story for the Father’s glory.

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This got me to thinking….I told you that Jim Elliot and the Aucas have been on my mind the past several weeks, didn’t I? There is no other group on the planet that is willing to give their life to spread a message. There are many religions that would honorably die in defense of their religion or even kill others through their own suicide in the name of their religion, but who else would willingly die just to offer someone a chance to hear the gospel? Wow, what a sacrifice! These men didn’t know exactly what was going to happen but from day one, they were willing to face death if it were part of the Lord’s will.

There are many belief systems in this world but only one that has such a pure sweet message that would invoke such a response when met with hostility. 2 Corinthians 4:7  “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us not knowing any kind of truth.”

This made me think about us today with the Muslim community, particularly the radical Muslims. The Aucas feared a people who offered grace just as many Muslims do today. Muslims do not understand grace and fear people who believe in a God who offered grace. They fear people who do not live scared of their god. We Christians fear our God but we are not scared of him because we have experienced his grace. As a person who has dealt with my fair share of fear in my life, I understand what fear can drive people to do. It causes us to shut others out, to dislike (even hate) others in order to protect ourselves, to constantly live on “go”, never in the perfect rest that only comes from God.

I just wonder….what if more people were like Jim Elliot and his friends? What if more of us decided to truly “lay down our life” to take the gospel to the ends of the earth? What if rather than saying that these people deserve to go to hell, our hearts ache for them to know Jesus? Because we deserve to go to hell too. I deserve nothing more than hell myself. It’s simply by grace that my eternity is sealed with God the Father. I’ve heard so many say that it’s impossible to take the gospel to these “radical”, “savage” people. Guess what? They said the same about the Aucas. And I believe that the same was probably said about Saul, who became our beloved Paul. Oh, if only we better understood the love of Jesus and walked in it daily. How different our world might look. I am so thankful for the examples of Elliot, Saint, Youderian, Fleming, McCulley and their families, who so selflessly gave that even today, fruit is springing up from their ministry for the Lord.

Oh Father, forgive me when I have found people to be “unlovable”. Forgive me when I have failed to see them as a soul and simply viewed them as a barbarian deserving of nothing more than hell. Help me to remember that I am deserving of nothing more than hell too. Thank you for your grace through Jesus Christ. God, help us to do what you have called each of us to do…to walk and to love like Jesus did. May this always be in our hearts as we go through our days, and may we always, at the very least, be praying for the people groups who have yet to know you, and for those who can do more, please give a willing heart.

Check out these resources for families to learn more about Jim Elliot.  I promise it will change you and your family.  You can’t read a story like his and be the same person.

Jim Elliot Biography for Children & Families

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Jim Elliot Torchlighters DVD

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