Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Blessings of "Bible-Time" with my kids

I have been blessed with the opportunity to have evening before-bedtime Bible-time become a habit with my children. So much so that my kids practically stage a coup if we just sing and pray without reading if it is too late in the evening. Now I think that any child would have a desire for the consistency of a bed-time routine regardless if you read Mother Goose, Dr. Seuss, the Bible, or something else – but I am very grateful that my children have become accustomed to the Bible reading and look forward to it, and they do not really have a spoken desire to read something else.

Now if that isn’t sweet enough that my kids love Bible-time, they also love to talk about the Bible and ask questions…and that is where I am really pleased. Bible-time, in my house, is not just a time to read the stories of David and Goliath, Samson, Daniel and the Lions Den, and the birth of Jesus, but it is a time of teaching them big truths for their little hearts and minds to wrestle with. I might mention how I deal with some of the subject matter later (like the doctrine of the Trinity) and how I address it with them or what some of my goals are, but for now let it be known that we deal with some pretty heavy stuff for almost 6 year-old and a 3 ½ year old to wrestle with.

Although the nightly Bible-time that we have is very consistent, my preparedness for each time is not very consistent. I’m not saying that it is imperative that I need to study for hours each day in order to teach my children the evenings lesson (not that it would be a bad thing to do this and it would definitely be beneficial), but if we’re going to read the Bible (which we normally do) usually we read what the kids request. Noah might say, “I want to read Abraham” – this means…anything where Abraham is mentioned, and so the field is pretty wide open – and Micah might say “I want to read something that we’ve never read before,” so the field is wide open but it has lent to my not preparing anything. What I always prepare to do is to get the gospel message of their sin, God’s anger at sin, their just punishment before God, who Jesus is, His death and resurrection, and salvation grace through repentant faith – to get that message to them nightly. Now, this is no small thing, for these are the subjects that they must deal with first before any other level of teaching or application can be addressed. But, I did not like that I was walking in unprepared to deal with whatever we might read…so I tried something new yesterday.

The day before we’d read a little bit in Luke 2 about Jesus staying at the temple and interacting with the teachers. I told the boys that the next night we’d read about John the Baptist. So the next morning I read Luke 3 to be thinking about what we’d read later in order to be prepared. Now, I am not sure of which factor played the bigger role, but between having the Scripture on my mind during the day and the questions of my boys – I was greatly blessed by our Bible-time.

So without typing out our conversation (a conversation between a daddy and two small children is hard enough to follow when you’re present), suffice it to say that some of their questions, my answers, and the application of bearing fruit in keeping with repentance (Luke 3:8) and those not bearing fruit being cut down and thrown into the fire (Luke 3:9) were, I trust, helpful to their little minds and hearts as well as provoking me to want further study and understanding on some of the things in this text.

I don’t know how we would have progressed had I not been a little prepared for that specific passage, but I do know that having been prepared I was blessed more by reading and talking about the Word than other times.

…who’d’a thunk it?

So tonight – we’re reading about the baptism of Jesus. Fun stuff!

Soli Deo Gloria.

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