Category Archives: Home and Family

Our Duty as the Next Generation (eldercare)

     The seasons of life pass quickly.  We are in desperate need of Moses’ prayer, “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)

     Only with God’s help may we hope to be prepared for what the different seasons bring.  An inevitable season for most is old age.  This season is one in which we cannot do as much by ourselves.  We need more physical help from others than was necessary in youth and middle age.

     In most cases, however, before we reach that season, our parents do.  It rests on us, their children, to make some decisions about how and where our dear parents’ time will be spent.  These issues are not always pleasant to think about; nevertheless, as mature men and women, we have a duty before God that we dare not neglect until the eleventh hour.  Part of that duty concerns the care of elderly parents.

     From birth, a child’s duty to his parents is summarized in the Fifth Commandment: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” (Exodus 20:12)

     If we honor our parents, we will have long life.  (This does not mean that a deceased twenty-five-year-old was necessarily a dishonoring son.  He might have been.  Or he might have been a godly, honorable, upright young man whom God called home to eternal rest and glory sooner than most of his peers.  Perhaps twenty-five years was already a lengthening of his days.)

     The Golden Rule also applies.  “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12) How do we want to be treated in old age?  Do we want to be treated the way most older people are in twenty-first-century America?

      In America today, the elderly are generally seen as a burden or a bother—a hindrance in the worship of the beloved idols Self, Pleasure, Mammon, and “Good of Society”.  Grandparents are neglected as many of the next generation scatter and settle in different states.  It is expected that the government will take care of their needs, whether through federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare or locally-subsidized programs.

     When the parents are unable to live alone any longer, they are placed in a nursing home or assisted living facility.  Whether they are working through physical, mental, or emotional problems, they are left to fend for themselves with the aid of caregivers, nurses, and doctors.  The children may be called upon to make crucial decisions or may be disposed to pay an occasional visit.  Generally, however, the generations turn to their own ways—like sheep (Isaiah 53:6)—and have as little to do with the preceding ones as possible.  What a sad state of affairs!

     Why should we not do as the world does?  Why should we care for our parents?  Can we really offer them better care than what they would receive from professional workers in a nursing home?

     Yes, I believe we can.  We may not be professional nurses or therapists, but we are their children.  We should know their specific needs, personalities, and idiosyncrasies.  We can really give them cause to rejoice in the Lord when they see their children and grandchildren walking faithfully with Him.  Possibly, we could lengthen their lives.

     How can this be?  Of course, God has ultimate control over health and illness, life and death.  However, the conditions in which a human lives do affect the length of his life.  For example, most rural Americans live longer than most rural Africans because of the availability of clean water, nutritious food, medical care, safe and warm housing, and sanitary facilities.

     Likewise, if Grandfather lives with the next generation instead of alone, his son or grandson will do the outdoor work and lifting.  He will not become fatigued as quickly, but have more energy to spend time investing in future generations. 

     If Grandmother lives with the family instead of in a nursing home, she will be surrounded and cared for by people who really love her.  She is not one of fifty they have to serve.  Her family has time to listen to her and show her their affection.  Seasons of long idleness or being neglected much of the time in a nursing home could occasion despondency or discouragement, which could shorten her days.  “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine; but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Encouragement from family could help prolong her health.  We must take care of family as long as we possibly can.

     When Christ was on the cross, He showed Divine compassion on every human but Himself.  He pitied His murderers and interceded for their forgiveness before the Father.  He showed mercy on us all through His passion, making a way for us to renew fellowship with God.  And He ensured that His mother would be well taken care of after His death.

              When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!  Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26-27)

               Life holds many challenges and painful times for each of us.  Caring for older parents will not be easy, just as most of life.  But none of us will ever have to go through what Jesus did—bearing the sins of the whole world, being forsaken for a time by the holy God, hanging on a cross in solitary darkness.  In His agony, He remembered His mother and made sure she had a physical home and provider, just as He was even then providing a way for her and us to have a home in Heaven.

                 As we consider the sacrifice full-time care of our parents will require, we must also consider the full-time care they sacrificed to give us in our childhood.  Feeding us, clothing us, caring for us when we were sick, teaching us basic skills such as combing our hair and dressing…these would make up the minimum most babies and toddlers would hopefully receive from their parents.

                Unfortunately, in the socialistic America we have today, the government strives to make itself both god and family to citizens.  About half the population is on one government  program or another.  The majority of children are educated in government schools; and, if both parents work outside the home, the children likely spend most of their first few years in daycare.  

                A given daycare may not be directly subsidized by tax dollars, but the culture at large does encourage and pressure parents to pursue money and forsake time with their children as much as possible.  Thus some children of the modern and crazed era may not have had the privilege of as much time with their parents as others.

                In any case, according to the Bible, we must support our parents.  We exist today, to some extent, because our parents accepted God’s gift of a child and the challenges (and joys) that accompany this gift.

                We have seen the Scriptural mandate restated in Proverbs 23:22, which says, “Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old.”  Parents and grandparents are precious treasures from the Lord.  Let us not forsake them!  Let us love them, take care of them, hearken unto them, honor them, thank God for them, and show our gratitude in as many ways as possible.

                “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” (Proverbs 16:31) “Children’s children are the crown of old men;  and the glory of children are their fathers.” (Proverbs 17:6)  Our parents are our glory, and our children are their crown.  Generations together serving the Lord—what a beautiful but rare thing!  For any of us who are blessed with living parents and grandparents, striving towards this is a sure part of our holy calling.

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Copyright © 2014

Battling Pride

Pride.  Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18)  When pride cometh, then cometh shame:  but with the lowly is wisdom.  (Proverbs 11:2)  Much of my life has been a struggle with pride, with years spent building it and decades spent tearing it down.  Pride was likely not the goal of my parents in raising me, but it was the end result.  I was very sick when I was small and was miraculously healed, and I was reminded throughout childhood that God must have preserved me for a particular purpose.  While true, that has a way of building grandiose notions in a person, when not carefully moderated by doses of humility and reminders that, indeed, God calls everyone for a particular purpose.  As a result, my teen years and young adulthood were spent being puffed up and proud of accomplishments that were only the result of God’s blessing.  And my adulthood has been a work at tearing down the layers of pride and seeking humility, yet punctuated by times of looking for “big” things to do.

While some are specially called by God for a big, visible, public, groundbreaking, world-changing purpose (think of Washington, of Wycliffe, of Bunyan, of Luther, and such), for the vast majority of people, our biggest purpose is to be faithful in the sphere where God puts us.  The Westminster Catechism states that the chief purpose of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  That speaks of living out His will in a way that directs others to Him, that diverts praise and glory from us to Him, that ensures our eternal destiny to be a life with Him by salvation through Christ.  And scripture speaks often of the importance of raising succeeding generations for God, reminding them of His works of providence, and instructing them in His ways.  (Deuteronomy 6, Psalm 78)  We are called as well to serve others, doing good to all men, especially to those who are of the household of faith.  (Galatians 6:10)  While it sounds obvious, it has been a progression for me to realize that the world is changed – one life, one family, one community at a time – by preparing the next generation to serve Christ faithfully locally.  Truly, I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  (3 John 1:4)  If by the end of my life I can see a fruitful walk in each of my children and preparation for that walk in their children, then I will go to be with the Lord thankful for His blessing of my well-intentioned – yet inadequate – efforts and satisfied that my race was well run.  (2 Timothy 4:7)

God has a purpose for each of us, and work for all of us to do, and there is an immense beauty that appears as one begins to understand that our world now has six billion people on it, all created in the image of God, and each with a particular work to do, if only they would repent, come to salvation, and embrace their place in God’s kingdom and the life He wills for them.  What a marvelous Creator who could easily fit six billion moving parts – each with his own free will to be conformed over time to the mind of Christ – into a cohesive, integrated whole as His church working for Him here and as the bride of Christ in eternity.  There is no need for pride in man when one gets even a tiny glimpse of the glory of God.  (Psalm 8)

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Copyright © 2013

Turning Off the Television

My emancipation from television…  It might seem a strong phrase, since the word emancipation is usually connected with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.  In comparison, yes, the phrase is strong.  The plight of the slaves should not be minimized, and the intent of my phrasing is not to diminish the slaves but to emphasize the bondage that is possible to the television.

I grew up with television.  On Saturday mornings, I was the first person awake in the house and would be in the living room shortly before 5:30 a.m., watching the test pattern and waiting for the Woody Woodpecker cartoon to begin.  I would be sitting there continuously until about noon when the various cartoons ended.  Weekdays after school, I would arrive home and turn on the television for old comedy movies or for re-runs of old half-hour sitcoms.  I would watch the news with my parents starting at 6:00, and then at 7:00 would be game shows like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.  After that, we usually watched sports.  When I went to college, I would go to sleep with the television on ESPN and would wake up in the morning with it still on.  I remember back in the mid-1980’s that a visiting minister spoke at church and challenged the people to give up television for a week.  It was a completely foreign notion for me.  We didn’t take the challenge, but I still remember it because it seemed so strange.

So given that history, how did we become a family without television?  My wife had a lot to do with it.  When our oldest daughter was a toddler, I was still spending Sunday afternoons watching the New England Patriots’ football games.  We decided that wasn’t an honorable way to spend the Lord’s Day, so we tried going television-free on Sundays, unless we were watching a recorded sermon or Gaither Homecoming concert.  It was hard.  I was so used to having the television on, and so used to my nearly twenty years of Sunday afternoon football, that I really had difficulty giving it up.  But I knew it was the right thing to do, so we stuck it out and it eventually became easier.  From there my wife and I began to question other television fare that we had previously considered harmless and concluded that it really wasn’t worth watching.  We thought it was mindless entertainment – simply a chance to relax and unwind – but, in fact, it was filled with subtle messages that were intended to reshape viewers’ convictions and weaken any sense of a Christian’s life, beliefs, and service.  It also was taking up valuable time that should have been spent more profitably.  And so, we unhooked the antenna and moved the television out of the living room.  We still have it available to watch messages or pre-screened educational programs, but we haven’t had access to regular programming for close to a decade.

The freedom that comes from not being glued to the television and from not being dependent on it for filling time or for finding entertainment is substantial.  When our children are grown and raising families of their own, I hope they will continue to live TV-free and to redeem the time God gives them each day.  Anything less is a step backward and will leave them (and their descendents) needing to someday re-win a battle that has already been won, all while accumulating mental and spiritual scars.

There are Christian leaders who say you must embrace the culture – whether that is expressed in video, in sports, in music, in art, in books or magazines, in style of dress, or in any other expression of thought or belief – in order to win to Christ those who are in the culture.  I have difficulty finding support for that in Scripture.  In his second letter to believers in Corinth – a city full of pagans – Paul advised them to seek holiness and to avoid compromise with the wicked culture around them.  The first of these verses is used in modern churches to note that believers should not marry unbelievers (which is undoubtedly true), but its original intent applies in a much wider context:

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. ~ II Corinthians 6:14-18

In Jesus’ prayer before His betrayal by Judas, He noted the distinction between the world and those who make up His bride:

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. ~ John 17:14-18

Notably, He did not ask the Father to remove them from the world, but that they might be kept pure from its evils.  And, He pointed out that He sends His children out into the world for the same purpose that He was sent into the world – to be a shining light for God.  In His sermon on the mount, Jesus instructed His followers to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

In his first epistle, Peter noted the distinctiveness of God’s people.  To be distinct – to be recognized as being peculiar – one must be different.  Otherwise, there is no peculiarity, and with no peculiarity, there is no sanctification, as sanctification literally means “to be set apart for a sacred purpose”.

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. ~ I Peter 2:9-12

 Finally, in John’s first epistle, he very aptly describes the enticements of the world.  In consideration of modern media, one cannot come up with a more appropriate description:

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. ~ I John 2:15-17

And so, if Scripture confirms repeatedly that God’s people are to be set apart in thought and in action, that must be our standard – not modern preachers who water down the gospel to try to get more bodies in the pews, more sales of their books, and more accolades from the rich and famous.  Leave the television behind, take up your cross and follow Christ.

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Copyright © 2013

All Play and No Work Makes Jack a Slothful Boy

When I was a boy, I loved to play.  I was a high-energy child and loved to run and climb.  I was involved on various sports teams from about age eight up through high school.  I played with Fisher Price little people, grew into action figures, and later on enjoyed several early video games.  In the summers, I would almost daily ride my bicycle two miles to a friend’s house to play.  (It was so common that his older brother asked me, “Don’t you ever stay home?”  That one stung, but it was accurate.  That trip was my last visit, and I never went back.  I apparently needed a lesson from Proverbs 25:17.)

What’s missing from the above?  Work.  Oh, I did work some.  I helped with the gardens, and pitched in working summers in the local fishery with my father.  I helped mow the lawn once I was old enough and occasionally umpired baseball games.  Work was never a focus, though.  It was just something to get through quickly to get back to play, or it was simply a way to earn enough money to buy the latest toy or video game.  I still regret the few days each summer I woke up late and missed going out on the boat with Dad — especially because I was happy to be able to play the whole day away.

Looking back, I think I had a fairly typical childhood for the time, and sadly I think it is pretty much reflective of my generation of adults today.  The training we had when young shaped the men and women we became.  I have thirty-five to forty year-old coworkers who have their poker nights, their paintball games, and their networked video game parties.  I have former classmates who spend their free time with ATVs or snowmobiles or goin’ muddin’ in their four wheel drive trucks.  Theirs is a very different perspective on life, but it’s the one in which my generation was trained.

The World War II generation had its long struggle against facism and communism, persevering under extremely difficult conditions.  The baby boom generation followed and capitalized on the success of their parents, working hard and reaping financial prosperity.  Then came my generation, resting on our laurels, content to enjoy the prosperity earned by our parents, yet expecting to have it handed to us rather than to work for it.  Our mindset is one of entitlement:  equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity.  We are largely a generation of perpetual adolescents, content to work just enough so that we can “play hard”, as one sneaker manufacturer told us when we were growing up.

What’s missing here?  Responsibility.  Family leadership.  Child-raising and training.  Taking dominion over the earth.  The nobility of work.  Six days of labor each week followed by a Sabbath rest.  Stewardship over time, treasure, and talent.  Appreciation for the past.  Vision for the future.  Maturity.  Continual reformation in ourselves, our families, our communities, our states, and our nation.

It is not easy, but it is possible to change direction, to refocus, to truly repent of the sins of the past — including slothfulness — and to go forward purposing to make ourselves ready and available for the Master’s use.  We live in a lost and fallen world that is sliding farther from Christ each decade; it is our duty to help slow and reverse that descent, not to hop on a sled and ride the avalanche just because it is easier than turning our face to the wind and struggling back up the hill.

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Copyright © 2013

Hear the Word/Heed the Word

We can read the Scriptures with our children, but if we do not teach them to heed its instruction, it will yield little fruit in their lives.  The Bible says “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”  (James 1:22)

The only way to teach our children to follow the Word is to walk according to its precepts ourselves.  If we do not allow the Word to permeate and direct our lives, we cannot expect our children to care overmuch for it either.   They will view us as hypocrites; and they will be right.  We cannot tell them that the Word is important and completely disregard its truths.  Rather, what we read and learn in the Word must influence our thoughts, opinions, actions, decisions, purchases, appearance, speech, and the use of our time.  The Bible must be our daily guide, not a religious accessory.

We must also explain to our children that the Christian life is a journey.  It is a process of growth and sanctification.  We are to be constantly striving to be more like Christ.  This means that there will be books we would have had in our home ten years ago that we will not have now.  There will be programs we would have listened to ten years ago that we will not listen to now.  There will be activities we would have allowed ten years ago that we will not allow now.  And so on.  This is not hypocrisy — this is growth.  We need to share with our children from the Word what the Lord is teaching us and how we are striving to please Him in our home.

In the same chapter of James mentioned above, it goes on to say that a man who hears the Word, but does not respond to its instruction is like a man who looks in the mirror and recognizes he has a problem, but goes on his way without fixing it.  If we look into the mirror of the Word and are convicted of a sin, but do not repent and change, our hearts will become hardened to the voice of the Holy Spirit.  We will not be responding to His leading and we will miss God’s perfect will for our lives.

Many homeschooling parents delight in Deuteronomy 6 as a beautiful picture of family life because it directs parents to walk beside their children, talk with their children, and teach their children from early in the morning until they go to bed in the evening.  The same passage begins with this important reminder:  “Now these are the commandments, the statutes, and the judgments, which the LORD your God commanded to teach you, that ye might do them in the land whither ye go to possess it:” In other words, God is not only interested in having families know His Word; He wants them to obey it, as well!

Hear the Word.
Heed the Word.
Hide the Word.

Speak the Word.
Share the Word.
Send the Word.

Love the Word.
Learn the Word.
Live the Word.

 Be not deceived.

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Copyright © 2013

Q&A on Family Scripture Memory

Why should our family memorize Scripture together?

The first and most important reason to memorize Scripture with our children is that the LORD commands us to be constantly speaking His precepts into their lives.  It is impossible to be diligent in influencing our children’s hearts with words we do not know ourselves.  But if Scripture is part of our daily life and family vocabulary (just the way a special read-aloud becomes part of the family vocabulary by virtue of shared experience), then little ones will be hiding it in their hearts when they’re not even trying.  The Scriptures will come to their minds and lips just as a matter of course.  We have even seen an angry, screaming child (yes, we have days like that in our home, too) yelling Scriptures and praise songs at the top of his lungs simply because those were the words written on his heart!  Now, certainly that is not the appropriate way to recite Scripture and it wouldn’t count at all as worship before the Lord, but how much better for a child to have those words come immediately to mind than the filth that Satan would have there?

Where do we begin?

You could buy a program…but you might not stick with it for long.  Other programs for other family goals will come along and be new and seem more exciting and, just because human nature is what it is, the temptation will be strong to move on to the next thing.  An alternative would be to buy nothing.  Instead get out a Bible (American homes are overrun with unused copies of God’s Word) and commit before the Lord to memorize one passage with your children.

Just choose a section of God’s Word that is especially meaningful to you and start there.  If you really can’t think of anywhere you’d like to begin, choose a Psalm.  There are 150 of them and they vary in length, so you can peruse them to find one that seems like a good fit for your family.  Just think how pleased your family will be to have memorized an entire chapter of God’s Word together.  It will make you want to choose another one!  Then you’re on your way.  We’ve been memorizing in this fashion for years now, and we haven’t run out of material yet.  🙂  By the time you get one section memorized, the Lord will have placed something else on your heart that would be good for your family to learn together. We do memorize some individual verses as a family (these are especially good for quick reminders and instruction through the day), but a lot of what we memorize are passages of ten, fifteen, twenty verses so that the individual thoughts are in context.

Aren’t we just going to forget the first passage when we go on to the second one?

If you establish a pattern of review, then you won’t give yourselves opportunity to forget.  As soon as you have a few individual verses or a Psalm or other passage memorized, start a list.  When you are doing Scripture memory time with your family, spend some of the time for review and some of the time for new material.  At first, Scripture memory time will be brief, because everything is new material, but over time Scripture memory time can expand as your list of passages to review grows longer and longer!  We have our Scripture passages printed out and hole-punched.  We place a line of check boxes under each verse or passage (depending on whether it was memorized as a stand-alone or as longer piece), then each time we review it, we check off the box.  This way we know at a glance which ones need review and which ones we’ve just done.  When we get to the point where every verse or passage has a check mark, we know it’s time to start through the list again.

So how does this look in practice?

The method itself is simple.  It’s living it out that’s hard.  It is not easy to recite Scripture every day with your children.  They might misbehave.  They might not look interested at all sometimes.  You might not feel interested at all sometimes.  You might have a headache.  Believe me, Satan will come up with plenty of excuses for you to skip “just this once”, if you let him.  So be sober, be vigilant!  If you skip once, don’t let it be twice, or pretty soon your Scripture list will be at the bottom of the stack and everything else on the To Do list will look far more important.  But in reality, you’ll be missing out on the one part of instruction that is God’s priority.  You can give your children math lessons and that will be very helpful to them in the future.  You can give your children science lessons, and that also is useful and good.  But when you feed your children God’s Words, you give them LIFE.

In an nutshell, here’s the method our family uses to memorize new passages.  Let’s use Genesis 1:1 as the text and Dad as the memory leader for this example (though in our home Mom teaches new memory passages, too).

Dad: We’re going to start a new passage today.  Listen carefully and I’ll read the first verse of it to you.  “Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  Who does that say made everything?

Child: God.

Dad:  You’re right.  Thank you.  Why don’t we try this verse together?  Everyone repeat after me:  “In the beginning”

Family: “In the beginning”

Dad:  “God created”

Family: “God created”

Dad: “the heaven and the earth.”

Family: “the heaven and the earth.”

Dad:  “Genesis 1:1”

Family: “Genesis 1:1” *

Dad:  Great!  Let’s try that again… (Repeat above conversation starting with “In the beginning…”)

Dad: Now let’s see if we can say that whole line together.  “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1”

Family: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  Genesis 1:1”

Dad:  Good job.  That verse was kind of short.  Let’s try verse 2 this morning, too.  It says “And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”

Dad: Who moved upon the face of the waters?

Child: The Spirit of God.

Dad:  Exactly.  See that – it mentions the Spirit, a part of the Trinity, right there in the second verse of the Bible!  Let’s try this much: “And the earth was without form, and void”

Family:  “And the earth was without form, and void”

(From here Dad would continue breaking the verse into phrases of whatever length the family can handle repeating back accurately — the younger the children, the shorter the phrases may need to be, especially at first.  Then when verse 2 is memorized, Dad might say “Let’s go back and see if we can say both 1 and 2 together.” etc.  The next day, Dad goes back over the same verses.  Within a few days the family will know them well and be ready to learn more.)

THAT’S IT.  That’s the whole method.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  🙂  Dad and Mom commit to the importance of memorizing Scripture as a family.  Then they choose a passage, gather the family, and begin.  And do it again the next day.  And the next day.  And the day after that.  It would be especially helpful to have a particular time for family Scripture memory because then you can establish it as a habit in your home.  It becomes part of your routine.  The children know it’s what the family does.  Even the little ones who aren’t able to repeat anything will surprise you one day and be able to join in with a word here or there.  And until that day comes, you can know that those words are sinking into their minds and hearts and shaping their person to respond to the God of the Bible.

There must be more to it than that, right?

No, that’s really all there is.  We often add some variety by singing a hymn or praise song that goes along with the verse or passage.  Sometimes we review by having the Scripture leader read the passage and leave out words for the whole family to fill in.  Occasionally we do “popcorn” with really familiar verses and have one person start a verse and go round the table with each person filling in the next word as quickly as they can.  And we allow our older children to lead Scripture memory from time to time so they learn to do this with their own families someday.  But these are all variations on the same theme and any family that’s been attempting to memorize Scripture together would come up with these or similar ideas over time on their own.  We have found the two most important keys to family Scripture memory to be CONSISTENCY and REVIEW.

Final thoughts…

May God bless you as you purpose to learn His Word together with your family.  And once you have those first verses memorized — don’t keep them to yourself.  Share them with family, friends, and church folk.  Encourage others to hide God’s Word in their hearts.

We can equip our children to be battle-ready soldiers in the army of Christ by doing this one simple thing together day after day and year after year (remember that I said simple; I did not say easy).   Feed on the Word as a family.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

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Hear Isaiah 64:8

* When learning verses from a longer passage, we only learn the reference for the passage as a whole – we don’t say a reference before and after every verse.

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