Monday, 1 June 2015

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

This picture hangs in our hallway:

It reads, "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119v105."
It's a way of remembering that we want God's Word to be at the centre. 

We are convinced that when we read the Bible, we hear God speak, and that God's words are true and life giving. 

As we bring up our children, we want to make teaching the Bible to them a priority. We know that it is only through God's Word that our children can know God. Only in the Bible can they learn of the life-giving work of Jesus. 

I am flawed and sinful and inconsistent, and there are many, daily occasions when I fail to live up to this. However, we strive to keep Jesus at the heart of what we do as a family.

Firstly, we read the Bible with our children every day. We do this as a family, with the children individually, and as part of our teaching time. We do so at various points in the day, including over breakfast and before each child goes to bed.

We try to be intentional about applying God's Word to whatever we are discussing. Meal times tend to be particularly fruitful opportunities for this, when all sorts of topics come up- science, politics, history, TV, books they are reading.

At times, a child will be facing a particular difficulty and I will open up the Bible with them. One of our children went through a period of fear about the future (which was very uncertain at the time), and I bought him a Mars bar, took him for a walk and a chat, and read Matthew 6:25-34 with him. Jesus' words, reminding us of a loving Heavenly Father who knows our needs, were of more comfort than any of mine could have been.

We try to point the children to the gospel when we have to discipline them- so they understand their need for repentance, and the forgiveness that is found in Jesus. It is a joy to remind a child, desperately unhappy about how they have messed up yet again, that God's mercies are new every morning.

Often this is messy and frustrating. Sometimes the children don't focus. Maybe I'm more concerned about getting on with today's work than about listening to their questions, or praying with them. Perhaps Bible time with one child is interrupted by another needing me, or we have all the children about to listen at breakfast time and someone needs an urgent trip to the bathroom.

We persevere, not because it is always easy or joyful, and certainly not peaceful, but because we are convinced that the best we can do for our children is to bring them under the sound of God's Word. Only in Jesus can our children find forgiveness, comfort, true joy and peace. Only through God's Word can our children know salvation. So we persevere, and we pray that God will work in our children through his Word and by his Spirit.

By God's grace, we have seen a steady growth in our children's understanding of the Bible. We have watched as our children increase in their confidence in the truth of God's Word. We have seen them grow in their knowledge of God and his ways. We have rejoiced as they understand more of the gospel, and how good it is that they can stand forgiven through the death of Jesus on the cross.
Often this is seen at unexpected moments. One day I was reading to my children when one of the younger ones was distressed that someone had died in the story. His older brother put his arm around him and comforted him by saying, "You don't need to worry, just trust in Jesus for forgiveness and when Jesus returns you will be raised to life again." 
Sometimes it seems like we're getting nowhere, but then we see how they have taken God's word to heart, seen that is true, and trusted in God's promises.

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