I hope you're having a Happy Thanksgiving!! I thought I'd honor the holiday by sharing something for which I'm thankful.
Wait for it.... I'm thankful for...… PODCASTS!! Aren't they awesome!
In all honesty, I'm serious. I am thankful for a couple of specific podcasts. My kids and I spend a bunch of time in the car. Earlier this year, I came across these podcasts. There are three that I will be sharing with you today.
First I want to encourage you to think about using podcasts as an effective way to share Biblical truths with your children. I have a friend who calls kids a captive audience in the car. They can really only listen (or watch) what you make them while in the car. It's not like they can walk away. However, the fun part is that these are podcasts my children ask for by name. Let's take a look!
The first one is "Kids Bible Stories" by Jessica White.
Jessica does a great job of retelling stories in scripture. Each podcast is about 8-12 minutes long, which is a perfect length for younger listeners. She jumps around throughout the Bible and even attaches an application with each story.
The second one is "By Kids, For Kids Bible Stories" by Audiovisual Education.
This one will warm your heart!! It is hosted by two Australian boys. They dramatize each story complete with voice changes and dramatic music for effect! They stepped through major stories from Creation to the time of Joshua. I'm not quite sure why they stopped making new episodes, but hopefully they will start up again in January. Each episode is about 5-9 minutes long. This is my three year old's favorite. She asks to listen to it, daily even though we've listened to each episode at least three times each.
The final one is my favorite and thankfully my kids thoroughly enjoy listening to it. "Truth Seekers: Bible stories for Kids" by Sherilyn Grant is the best!!
Sherilyn started at creation and began walking through the story of Truth. Each episode is about 10-15 minutes long and covers one specific piece of the story of the Children of Israel. At the end of each episode she asks the question, "What truth do we see in this story?" and invites the listener to discuss a truth about God that we can learn from this story. She also never leaves an episode without telling you exactly where in scripture you can read the story discussed.
All three of these podcasts have been a blessing! This is a fun way to fill my kids with scripture daily!! I love how these shows start conversations about God's Word and pricks their hearts with questions.
Another suggestion is the Bible app that allows you to listen to scripture with no frills. We used this feature while studying for the Bible Bowl earlier this year. This feature is available in multiple versions so that you can choose one that will be understood by younger listeners.
I certainly hope you're able to take time to share your faith with family and friends this week (including your children)!! I hope that you're able to show your family and friends just how thankful you are for them being the blessings that God meant for them to be in your life!!
I'm so amazed by my God! He opens my eyes to spiritual lessons through even non-spiritual means. The reason I love this so much is that He loves us enough to teach us where we are and using what we already see/hear/experience. I was watching a TV show a few weeks back when this lesson smacked me upside my head.
There's a father with a college age daughter. After ghosting him awhile (with him relentlessly pursuing her), she finally agrees to dinner with him. During dinner, she drops the bomb on him... she's pregnant. This is why she had pulled away from him. Sound familiar? Her "mistake" (sin) had caused her to be afraid to be in the presence of her father! (If this doesn't sound familiar, here's your homework: Luke 15:11-32 and Genesis 3 paying special attention to verses 9-13.)
Now she had decided to "fix" her mistake by having an abortion and she wanted her father to go with her to the clinic. Even though he wasn't devoutly faithful (he mentions having not stepped foot in a church for decades), he just doesn't think this was the best option because of what little faith he had. He also had no appetite to support it. So he pays for the food and leaves her at the restaurant....alone.
Now you know, as a parent, this wouldn't be something that he just doesn't think about. This whole situation eats at him for quite awhile. Later as he's walking around the city looking for clarity, he happens upon a church. He goes in to schedule an appointment with the minister. Instead he happens upon a wise janitor. After explaining in broad detail his situation and how he's feeling, the janitor paraphrases Hebrews 13:5 ("...The Lord has promised that he will not leave us or desert us.") and tells him that one of the best qualities of Christ is that He won't leave us, EVEN when we're caught up in the consequences of our sin!
Now regardless of your views on abortion, you can't negate God's rules for us sexually. It is only within the bonds of marriage, and only with your spouse. This girl had messed up, and more than anyone else, she knew it!
Here's the lesson I heard from this. When our children are in trouble, ESPECIALLY of their own making, we CAN'T just walk away if we want to imitate Christ's love for them. Now by no means am I saying that we should ignore their iniquity and call it love. What I am saying is that no matter what, my kids have me!
Another place we see this spelled out in scripture is in Deuteronomy 31:6,
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”"
Thank you, Lord!! Thank you for not running to leave me alone every time I've messed up! Thank you, Lord for loving me through the mess, not just after I'm cleaned up. The reason God wants us to obey His commands isn't because He's a control freak. It's because He knows one of the things that happens to us when we sin is that we put space between us. He wants to be close to us at all times. He wanted to walk in the garden with us, but we couldn't follow the rules. Our children are affected by the exact same illness (sin).
One of the ways that we get to model the unconditional love that God has shown us, is to be there when they mess up; and continue loving on them.
Father help me to be the example of You perfect love that my kids need to see. Help me not to run away in the times that they need me most. EVEN when they've chosen sin over you.
I don’t know about you, but I have this image in my mind of who I want my kids to be as adults. Before you go beating me up, yes there was a time when this image included a loving spouse, a great fulfilling career and 2.5 kids in a great school district. Thankfully I have spiritually matured past this. These days this image I have of my kids’ future looks dirtier tougher and even more fulfilling than any career could ever be. My desire now is to see my babies living a servant’s life. My desire is that my kids’ lives are marked by the pain and heartbreak that Jesus experienced as He walked through this fallen world. (But let’s be honest, I’m still hoping that at least one of them has those 2.5 grankids for me!!)
Not too long ago I heard a sermon about next level living. The preacher talked about how over time, your life should be marked by a change for the better. Sports is an area in which this is very clear. Take a great high school basketball player. When she firsts starts playing, she can barely dribble the ball and maybe she only plays a day or two a week. As she matures, she plays more often, eventually daily, and she’s able to dribble with her eyes closed. When she gets to high school, her workouts are more intense than they were years before this. By the time she makes it to college, her workout routine is even more intense. Once she gets drafted by the professional teams, her workouts and practices are much more intense and frequent. This is like the saying, “What got you here won’t get you there.” The same is true in your spiritual walk. Each day should be a maturing effort toward the Standard (Jesus).
One of the points he made that stood out the most to me is this, “Don’t be pharisaical in your walk. You should be pushing your brothers and sisters to be better, rather than looking down on them”. Do you remember the parable Jesus told? Flip over to Luke 18:9-14,
“The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
9 He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else: 10 “Two men went up to the temple complex to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee took his stand and was praying like this: ‘God, I thank You that I’m not like other people — greedy, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of everything I get.’
13 “But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even raise his eyes to heaven but kept striking his chest and saying, ‘God, turn Your wrath from me — a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this one went down to his house justified rather than the other; because everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
In this parable Jesus specifically addresses this pharisaical thinking. It was the fact that this Pharisee was so caught up in his own righteousness, that he forgot the true goal of our lives. Looking down on those around you for any reason, is wrong and against the call of God on our lives. His intent for you being set apart was never so you could sit on a pedestal and look down on the other image bearers around you. His goal was that you could show others that He loves them even in the midst of their sin covered mess….just like He did you!
Our goal isn’t to just make it to Heaven. Our goal is to make it to Heaven and take as many people with us as we can!! This is what’s called being mission minded. This is what I want to see in my children once they become adults. I want my babies to see God’s image all around them and like Jesus, be so moved with compassion that they desire to serve and love on them so much that they ask, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 2)
What about you? What is it that your heart desires to see in your children?