Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reading Daniel

One of my favorite times of the day has become reading the Bible with my kids each morning. Let me tell you...when I don't do it, my day stinks! And, it really is up to me. I can't rely on my kids to motivate me to sit at the kitchen table and pull out the Bible. If it were up to them, they would continue to putz around in the morning. But, I am banking my children's lives on one verse of scripture: Isaiah 55:11 "...so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

God's Word will accomplish a work. Period. God's Word has power and is effective.

My job, as Momma, is to pour that Word into my children's lives. Daily. And then trust that His Word will do a work. It's not about me...it's about Him.

It took us only four months to get through Matthew - ha! Those four months of reading and conversations were amazing, though. The kids got to know Jesus. To actually read his words and not simply be told a story in Sunday School was a new experience. They get bits and pieces of Jesus' teachings at church, but they had never been given the whole picture; birth to death to life again, sprinkled with thought provoking teaching, miraculous wonders, and challenging requests. And the three oldest kiddos soaked it all in.

My question for weeks was where do we turn next? Harry wanted to study Revelation (that is so like Harry!), Eleanor requested an Old Testament book that was more of a story (that is so like Eleanor!), and Isabel just sat and played with her hair (that is so like Isabel!). I didn't make a decision for a few weeks - I simply let us finish Matthew. Then, in a clear voice I heard DANIEL. Perfect! There is an amazing story for Eleanor, deep and confusing prophesy of end-times for Harry, and for Isabel...well...it is time spent together.

So, on Monday we started Daniel. I am always amazed at the questions the kids ask as we read. The kids wanted to know why we call Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego those names, when those are NOT their given names, but rather names that Nebuchadnezzar gave them. They wanted to know how old Daniel was and what had given him the courage to not partake in the good food, but rather chose the better path. They commented on how Daniel's first response to being told the king's dream was to praise God...not to run to the king crying, "I've got it!". And then they laughed at how short the king's memory was (falling down praising God and then the next moment building a golden statue of himself that all must bow down to!). This is good stuff!

The home school mom in me pulled out maps of the different empires and we discussed those in reference to the statue of gold, bronze, silver, iron and clay. And we were even able to tie in teaching from Matthew and the kingdom of God, how it is here and it is coming. I often sit back and am amazed at how much these three "get it".

And then, I am reminded, that it is all about God's Word! If I am faithful to my part, pour it into their lives and their hearts, God's Word is going to see to it that something is accomplished. I have no idea what that will be...for now, it is knowledge - historical and Biblical. There are also spiritual gains - I am sure of that! I want my kids to have this knowledge in order to guide them as they face tough decisions as teenagers and young adults. I am learning that the Bible is so rich in so many ways....the kids gain that history knowledge, an understanding of geography and how places in the Bible correlate with places in today's world, and their vocabulary is enriched. But, most importantly, they are learning how to recognize the voice of God. They are hearing His words daily. My prayer is that they recognized God's voice so well that they know when they are hearing a voice that is NOT God's - and turn away from that voice, seeking the one true voice.

All three older kids have come to me in the last two weeks saying the same thing: I have decided to follow Jesus, but I don't feel any different. Do I have to ask him again? Did I do something wrong?

I am sad that our children feel like asking Jesus into their hearts should bring a rush of emotions, should result in a drastically new life...when in reality, they wake up in the same bed in the morning, are faced with the same annoying little brothers making too much noise, and go off to school to do the same thing over and over again. I think the Christian world has sold us a bill of goods - instead, I should be telling my kids that deciding to follow Christ will be challenging, difficult and hard at times. There WILL be those mountain top experiences where you feel your heart leaping out of your chest, but we can't live there. God is in the whisper, the slightest breeze, the mundane of our lives. That is where we learn how to follow Him.

All I can do right now is model and teach my children the importance of being in The Word each day. The Word will teach them how to follow. And I know, without a doubt, that God has great plans for these kids!


Heather said...

Traci- thanks for sharing this. I have been wanting to just sit with my kids in the morning to read from the bible or pray, but just haven't gotten myself together enough- thanks for the inspiration and example!

milreb said...

What a great foundation you are giving your kids that will serve them no matter the directions their lives take. It sounds like you are all being blessed by your investment!

Brooke said...

Love the 2nd to last paragraph! So true, and so great that you are teaching your kids that now! They will be wise beyond their years!