Memorising Scripture Together

Memorising Scripture Together

Do you memorise verses from the Bible?

I didn’t go to Sunday School as a child, and didn’t become a Christian until I was a teenager, so I didn’t even think about memorising scripture until much later in life.

bubbles

Then when I did begin, I memorised a few verses here and then, but quickly forgot them. So I tried another idea: to commit the whole of the book of James to memory. However, by the time I got to the end I had forgotten the beginning! So I pretty much gave up.

When my first husband became ill, my Bible was my most treasured possession – I held on to God’s word tightly. It became to me a shining light in the darkness like never before . . . and I began to memorise large chunks, even whole chapters.

This time, I copied the chosen scripture passage into a notebook, and as I added to it, I would (and still do) go back from the beginning and re-memorise each passage until had gone through them all. Only then would I add a new one!

Sadly, I didn’t get into the habit of memorising scripture with my children, but I wish I had, because the Word of God builds faith and encourages where nothing else will do.

But you can learn from my failure . . . why not start a programme with each of your children? You could start with one single verse, to get off to a flying start, then add another when you have learnt that one.

Why not decorate a book for each of your children and learn verses with each of them? Allow them to choose their own Scriptures – you can always make suggestions. They can test you and you can test them – you can learn together.

Imagine how this could deepen your relationship! Not only that, you will be giving your child a foundation in God’s word that can change their life. Some things will pass away, but God’s word will never pass away.

bubbles

Janet WilsonDon’t delay! Start now!

Janet

P.S. If you have found this helpful, please forward this to friends and share on facebook/twitter – spread the word and the encouragement! 🙂

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Is Your Child Amazing?

Is Your Child Amazing?

The answer to that question if of course, a resounding YES! Every single person on earth has incredible gifts and talents that no other person has . . . and that includes our children. My daughter makes patchwork quilts for refugee babies – you can see what she does here: With Love Baby Blankets for Refugee Babies

blankets for refugee babies

It doesn’t matter how old we are  – adults and children alike can do amazing things – so let’s encourage and support the younger members of the family if they have a great idea, particularly if it means they will be helping others in the process!

Here’s a link to an article chronicling how eight amazing children have made a difference:

Children who have done amazing things . . . and that’s only a small percentage of the incredible ways children have changed or are changing things for the better, all over the world. (There are hundreds of stories all over the Internet, too – you only need to do a quick search!)

So if our children show an interest in doing something for others, however large or small,  let’s encourage and support them. So many children grow up with ridicule, which quickly puts a quick halt to their creativity. Let’s make sure we don’t squash our children’s talents – let’s give them every opportunity to use whatever gifts the Lord has given them to faithfully serve others.

Christian Parenting Challenge #11 – Play With Your Children

Christian Parenting Challenge #11 – Play With Your Children

Challenge 11
Play with your children

Boy playing

Playing is learning, and playing together is learning with added fun!
Small children love it when you play with them. It’s not always easy to find the time to do that, though. With the never-ending round of chores and responsibilities, playing can easily get unintentionally sidelined. However, we are seriously missing out if we don’t play with our children – and they are missing out, too. So today’s challenge is to play together!

Benefits of playing
The benefits of playing are enormous, for you and your children . . . so definitely worth taking time out for. Here are a few benefits (many are on the learning theme, but not all!):
Helps with self-discipline: “keeping the rules”.
Refreshes mind and body.
Playing relieves stress.
Playing can aid creativity and problem-solving.
Some games create a challenge to overcome.
It’s great to win!
And it’s great to learn to lose graciously.
Playing builds social skills, e.g. taking turns.
Playing together aids communication skills.
Playing should be lots of fun.
The simple act of playing with our children can bring about all these amazing benefits. It’s also a great way to balance discipline, and for you to take yourself less seriously. Fancy being a pirate? 🙂

A few random thoughts
If your child needs help in a particular area, you might like to think about a game that could help, e.g. a number game if they struggle with maths. But only if it’s fun, OK? 🙂
Games should give everyone playing an equal footing, or it’s only fun for those who have a better chance of winning, or who are in charge of the “rules”.
Competition can separate rather than unite – watch out for this!

So what could you do?
Games don’t have to be board games – they can be games of chase in the park, ball in the garden, pirates in the living room, teddy bears’ picnic in a bedroom . . . with imagination, there are no limits!
Whatever you play, whether it’s building towers of blocks with a baby, trains with a toddler, snakes and ladders with older children, doing a jigsaw puzzle, building a spaceship, dressing dolls, or competing on a computer game, don’t do it half-heartedly.
Engage fully with your children – make it fun, keep eye contact, don’t allow yourself to be distracted by other things, and try not to be too bossy. (Oh, and don’t allow them to be too bossy either!)
If you have a time limit, say so at the beginning, so your children know you will only be able to play one game, or will have to tidy up at seven o’clock, say. That way there won’t be unrealistic expectations.

The time trick
As parents, we need to cultivate the habit of playing with our children while they are small. If we haven’t spent time with them when they have wanted us there, they might not want us to spend time with them when they are older.
If the years have taken you unawares and they don’t seem to want to be with you, do not feel despondent. Never give up – remember, it’s all up from here, because you have decided to make a change! Sometimes older children can be cajoled to join in a game, but if not, keep asking from time to time. At least that way they will know that you are now wanting to spend time with them. Keep praying that one day they will say yes. You could ask what they would like to play – but be prepared to be thrashed at their favourite computer game!
The time when our children are children is such a narrow window – we absolutely must make time to play with them while we can. It’s a trick of time to say “tomorrow”, because those precious hours tick away and it’s all too easy for tomorrow to become today, then tomorrow never comes.
So, go play today, and have fun!

Over to you!
Decide whether to play with all your children together, or play with them separately.
What do they love to play? What do you like to play? If you can choose something you both enjoy, so much the better! Jot down a few ideas in your notebook.
Go find your children and make some suggestions.
Enjoy your game!
Let us know how it went: www.facebook.com/christianparentingchallenge We’d love to see some photos of you playing together. 🙂

“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21

For the future:
Make playing with your children an essential part of your life.

3 Daily Prayers For Our Children

3 Daily Prayers For Our Children

3 Daily Prayers For Our Children

I pray the Lord’s prayer (aka the Disciples’ Prayer) every day on waking, but praying it specifically for our children is a great idea, because it is Biblical, simple, and, like a onesie (all-in-one garment), covers everything!

Praying hands on a Bible

“Please provide them today with their daily needs.”

You can go on to elaborate! These might be physical, emotional, spiritual, relational.

“Please forgive them their sins, and help them to forgive those who have sinned against them.”

Job prayed in this way for his children. Our children need to know God’s forgiveness, as well as the release of being able to forgive – we can pray for this!

“Please keep them away from temptations and all the plans and schemes of the enemy.”

The enemy likes to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came to give us abundant life! We can pray for the Lord’s protection over our children, whether it’s worldly pleasures luring them away from walking with God, battles with their own sinful nature, or other external evil influences.

We do not pray to a God who is far away, but a God who is near, and He loves our children even more than we do, so we can pray with confidence. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. So let’s pray!

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Thank you for reading – may you be blessed as you pray!

Janet

P.S. If you find this helpful, please leave a comment and share the blessing with your friends!

 

 

 

 

Christian Parenting Challenge #30 – Make Today A Special Day

Christian Parenting Challenge #30 – Make Today A Special Day

Challenge 30
Make today a special day!

Family having fun together
The final challenge
Congratulations on getting right to the end of the Christian Parenting Challenge! So here’s the final challenge – making today a special day. Hey, you deserve it!

Every day is a special day
Somebody once argued with me that if every day is a special day, then that means there’s no such thing as a special day, because they are all the same!
I know what he meant, but still, if we are honest, there are so many special things about today. If we stopped to count our blessings, wouldn’t today feel like this is such a special day?
Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is unknown – none of us know what is going to happen in the future. But today is unique, beautiful, filled with grace, blessings and promises!

The final challenge
So, what can you do to make today a special day? What would make it special for you and your children? Maybe you could:
Repeat one of the challenges – what did you enjoy doing most?
Go out for a coffee and cake/breakfast.
Enjoy an ice-cream.
Play a favourite game.
Read a story by candlelight.
Go out for a walk with a torch in the dark.
Have a bonfire.
Share a bag of doughnuts.
Have a laugh and a chat.
Go out somewhere special.
Light candles at dinner.
Make a list of all your blessings.
All through the day, think of other things you can do or say to make the day special . . . tell your children you love them, praise them for something they have done well, pray with them about something on their mind, remember a Bible story together, take some photos. All these little things make such a difference, and really do add up to make a day special. When your children have grown up and flown the nest, you will look back at these special days with nostalgia and so will they.

Over to you!
Congratulate yourself for having made it this far!
Write in your notebook any ideas you have for making today a special day.
Pick one item from the list, or choose with your child!
Enjoy your special day.
Let us know how your special day went, and how you feel, now you have completed the Challenge. We would love to hear how you got on: Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page! 🙂

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called ‘Today’.” Hebrews 3:13

For the future:
Go back and do the challenges as many times as you like. And if you make today a special day, every day will be special, because every day is “today”!

Christian Parenting Challenge #29 – Communicate

Christian Parenting Challenge #29 – Communicate

Challenge 29
Communicate

dad and son
Communication is the foundation for relationships
We communicate in different ways with different people. We communicate differently with our colleagues than with our partner, for example. The child/parent relationship is different again. It would be inappropriate for us to share our innermost thoughts and fears with our children, but we do want them to be able to open up to us. How can we encourage them to do this?

Trust, time, care
Trust is essential for deep, authentic communication to flourish. We won’t open ourselves up to someone we don’t trust. Conversely, the people we share with on the deepest level are the people we trust the most. We know that they won’t hurt us, break a confidence, laugh at our fears, or manipulate us. Our children need to trust us, or they will not share with us. If we can raise their confidence in us and allow them to talk to us now, when the issues are small, they will have confidence to talk to us when the issues get bigger, and they really need our help.
We also need to give them time to open up, and to know that we care about them.

Authentic relationships
Today’s challenge is to talk about something with your children that needs to be discussed (this might be a challenge to do with each child separately). The very first challenge was spending some time listening – today is all about two-way communication. The idea is to talk together about something: to put across your view, and to listen to your child’s.
Whatever topic you choose, pick a suitable time and place. Perhaps you could go for a walk, go fishing, bring up your chosen topic at the meal table, in the car, on the way to school, or in their bedroom . . . whatever you think would be best.
Most of us have topics we know we really ought to deal with, but have been putting off. At this point something may already have come to mind that you know you need to talk about . . . that is almost certainly the subject you need to broach today! In case nothing springs to mind, here are some ideas of topics you might like to talk about:
Sharing.
Chores.
Illness.
Financial issues.
A family matter.
A school issue.
A problem with behaviour.
The facts of life.
Keeping safe on the internet.
Something about church or their spiritual life.
And there are so many more! Anything you may have been avoiding talking about . . . today is your day! You might prefer to talk about a really simple issue, but let me encourage you not to pass up this opportunity to bring up a subject you know you should broach.

Good communication
Jesus said whatever needed to be said in just the right manner. To those who needed a gentle word, he spoke gently. He blessed, rebuked and encouraged, warned, inspired and always spoke the truth. At times he was angry, particularly with those who not only refused to listen, but tried to stop others listening, too. To be like Jesus is our aim! Still, while we’re getting there, here are some tips for good communication:
Decide on the outcome you want to achieve before you start. For example, do you want your children to know how ill grandma is, and be able to talk about how they feel about that to you?
Show that you want to talk and listen, by your body language.
Be tactful, especially if it’s a tricky topic to handle.
Keep your tone of voice calm and cheerful, if you can. If you can sound caring, rather than accusing or judgemental, you are more likely to get a good response.
Be open to new ideas – you never know, your children might have an interesting new take on an issue, or help you to understand something better.
Listen to what your children have to say about your chosen topic. Reflect back what they have said, to make sure you have understood their point of view.
Make sure you understand what they are trying to say, even if they aren’t expressing it in quite the right way. Ask questions if you’re not sure.
Be encouraging. Try to avoid being scathing, sarcastic, forceful or aggressive.
If your child starts to moan or whine, or speak to you disrespectfully, stop them gently but firmly, and ask them to use a different tone of voice.
And absolutely don’t let them overhear you telling your friends what they said. If they do, it might be a long time before they talk to you again.

Doing our best
Some of you will breeze through today’s challenge! Others of you might have to take a big gulp and be bold and brave. If this is you, well, just have a go. The best thing you can do is to practice – to just do it, then keep doing it, and realise that although many times you may seem to fumble around the issue and get all your words wrong, it’s all a step in the learning curve of life!

But my teenagers only grunt . . .
All I can say is, do your best. You may be surprised how much is going in when you talk. Exasperating it may be, but don’t give up, because although the teen years seem to last forever, they don’t, and it’s great to be still talking to them when they come out the other side!

Over to you!
Decide what it is you would like to talk about with each of your children, and what outcome you want to achieve.
Choose a suitable time and place.
Write in your notebook everything you think/feel about this issue, and how you will broach the subject.
Go communicate!
Let us know how it went Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page!

“Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:14-15

For the Future:
Try to keep communicating. When something crops up that you would like to talk about . . . take a deep breath and just do it!

Christian Parenting Challenge #28 – Be A Good Example

Christian Parenting Challenge #28 – Be A Good Example

Challenge 28
Be a good example

Child dressed as Darth Vader
We are role models
Children copy everything we do. It’s how they learn. They learn to smile by copying our smile. They learn to talk by copying what we say. They learn everything by imitating us, from how to use a knife and fork to how to react in social situations, to how to pray. It is therefore essential that we are good examples!
Actually, most people prefer to be shown what to do, rather than to be told what to do. Think for a minute about a person who has been a good role model to you, past or present. What is it or was it about them that you particularly responded to?
The Bible says that we should train up our children in the way they should go. There’s no doubt that if children are brought up with swearing, fighting, stealing and cheating, they are more likely to follow this pattern of behaviour themselves.
On the other hand, if children are brought up with love and caring, they are more likely to be caring, loving people themselves.
There is no guarantee, of course! And the Lord’s grace knows no bounds. Still, we must do the best we can, and be the best example we can, because long after our children have forgotten our lectures, they will remember what we were like.

What sort of example are you?
Here are some particular areas where we need to set a good example in our words and in our actions:
In our church life. Are we caring members of our local church? Can we be overheard praising and encouraging other church members?
In our personal walk with God. Do we pray and read the Bible on our own and with our family? Do we talk freely about biblical principles, about what the Lord has done for us? Do we exude the gratitude, joy and peace that come from walking with God?
In our families. Are we kind, caring, patient, forgiving, fair?
In the wider community. Are we reaching out to the people around us? Do we show a care for people in other parts of the world who are suffering?
Are there any of these you could perhaps improve on? Do you want your children to be gossips and liars, grumblers and complainers? No? Then don’t lie and gossip, moan and complain. Do you want them to be people who care, who encourage, who use the gifts that God has given them to serve others? Yes? Then do those things yourself. Whatever you want your children to become, model that behaviour. They won’t forget.

Be the best that you can be
We can not guarantee that our children will turn out into model citizens, but praise the Lord, his grace abounds just as much to our children as to us! Even people with the most miserable of backgrounds who come to know the Lord can be transformed, so don’t beat yourself up over the past if you think you have got it wrong – just work towards being the best you can be today.

Over to you!
Write about a person who has influenced you for good in your life – what was particularly inspirational about him or her? Thank God for them.
Write down the areas in life where you are already a good example to your child.
Jot down some thoughts on how you could be a better example, perhaps copying the example of someone who is/was an inspiration to you.
Decide on something you could begin to change right now.
Pray about this, write it down on a card to put in your Bible as a constant reminder . . . then put it into action!
Let us know how you feel about being an example:Come over to the Christian Parenting Challenge facebook page!If you tell others what you are going to change, that might help you stick to it!

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good.” Titus 2:7

For the future:
Determine to be an excellent example in all things.

Be encouraged! What other parents say:
“This is an area I feel very challenged about. I am constantly asking my children to spend less time in front of the telly or on their I-things/phones, yet how often do I pick social media and watch the box? This is something I’d like to change. The result – still a work in progress but I hope to be able to give my children my whole attention when they speak to me and I will require it of them too!”