Thursday, December 30, 2010

Finished II Chronicles

A couple of days ago after a little shift in focus at Christmastime we finished the book of II Chronicles.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle - Part 4

Train with this thought continually before your eyes --that the soul of your child is the first thing to be considered.

Precious, no doubt, are these little ones in your eyes; but if you love them, think often of their souls. No interest should weigh with you so much as their eternal interests. No part of them should be so dear to you as that part which will never die. The world, with all its glory, shall pass away; the hills shall melt; the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll; the sun shall cease to shine. But the spirit which dwells in those little creatures, whom you love so well, shall outlive them all, and whether in happiness or misery (to speak as a man) will depend on you.

This is the thought that should be uppermost on your mind in all you do for your children. In every step you take about them, in every plan, and scheme, and arrangement that concerns them, do not leave out that mighty question, "How will this affect their souls?. "

Soul love is the soul of all love. To pet and pamper and indulge your child, as if this world was all he had to look to, and this life the only season for happiness--to do this is not true love, but cruelty. It is treating him like some beast of the earth, which has but one world to look to, and nothing after death. It is hiding from him that grand truth, which he ought to be made to learn from his very infancy, that the chief end of his life is the salvation of his soul.

A true Christian must be no slave to fashion, if he would train his child for heaven. He must not be content to do things merely because they are the custom of the world; to teach them and instruct them in certain ways, merely because it is usual; to allow them to read books of a questionable sort, merely because everybody else reads them; to let them form habits of a doubtful tendency, merely because they are the habits of the day. He must train With an eye to his children's souls. He must not be ashamed to hear his training called singular and strange. What if it is? The time is short,--the fashion of this world passeth away. He that has trained his children for heaven, rather than for earth, for God, rather than for man, m he is the parent that will be called wise at last.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Finished Psalms

Last Saturday we completed our reading through the Psalms as a family and even started the book over again. This was not our first trip through this book, but it was our first time to read completely through it since we started recording our progress. The Psalms make an excellent way to start the day!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Advent Hymn 2010

Christ Jesus, the Messiah
© 2010, Phillip Gaeddert

Christ Jesus, the Messiah was
born as a little babe
Creator, King, and Son of God
in manger hay was laid

Salvation plan of God for man
to save elect from sin
was wrapped up in those swaddling bands
revealed to lowly men

Angels announced and shepherds heard
the message sent from heav’n
the virgin had just given birth
to Christ in Bethlehem

The shepherds rose and went with haste
to where the child was laid
and magi travelled night and day
with gifts and homage paid

Simeon blessed; Anna rejoiced
Messiah it was He
yet knew their sins of heart and voice
invoked a penalty

Christ Jesus, the Messiah was
born as a little babe
Creator, King, and Son of God
on Him our sins were laid

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle - Part 2

Train up your child with all tenderness, affection, and patience..

I do not mean that you are to spoil him, but I do mean that you should let him see that you love him.

Love should be the silver thread that runs through all your conduct. Kindness, gentleness, long-suffering, forbearance, patience, sympathy, a willingness to enter into childish troubles, a readiness to take part in childish joys,---these are the cords by which a child may be led most easily,--these are the clues you must follow if you would find the way to his heart.

Few are to be found, even among grown-up people, who are not more easy to draw than to drive. There is that in all our minds which rises in arms against compulsion; we set up our backs and stiffen our necks at the very idea of a forced obedience. We are like young horses in the hand of a breaker: handle them kindly, and make much of them, and by and by you may guide them with thread; use them roughly and violently, and it will be many a month before you get the mastery of them at all.

Now children's minds are cast in much the same mould as our own. Sternness and severity of manner chill them and throw them back. It shuts up their hearts, and you will weary yourself to find the door.

But let them only see that you have an affectionate feeling towards them,--that you are really desirous to make them happy, and do them good,--that if you punish them, it is intended for their profit, and that, like the pelican, you would give your heart's blood to nourish their souls; let them see this, I say, and they will soon be all your own. But they must be wooed with kindness, if their attention is ever to be won.

And surely reason itself might teach us this lesson. Children are weak and tender creatures, and, as such, they need patient and considerate treatment. We must handle them delicately, like frail machines, lest by rough fingering we do more harm than good. They are like young plants, and need gentle watering,--often, but little at a time.

We must not expect all things at once. We must remember what children are, and teach them as they are able to bear. Their minds are like a lump of metal--not to be forged and made useful at once, but only by a succession of little blows. Their understandings are like narrow-necked vessels we must pour in the wine of knowledge gradually, or much of it will be spilled and lost. "Line upon line, and precept upon precept, here a little and there a little," must be our rule. The whetstone does its work slowly, but frequent rubbing will bring the scythe to a fine edge. Truly there is need of patience in training a child, but without it nothing can be done.

Nothing will compensate for the absence of this tenderness and love. A minister may speak the truth as it is in Jesus, clearly, forcibly, unanswerably; but if he does not speak it in love, few souls will be won. Just so you must set before your children their duty,--command, threaten, punish, reason,-- but if affection be wanting in your treatment, your labour will be all in vain.

Love is one grand secret of successful training. Anger and harshness may frighten, but they will not persuade the child that you are right; and if he sees you often out of temper, you will soon cease to have his respect. A father who speaks to his son as Saul did to Jonathan (1 Sam. 20:30), need not expect to retain his influence over that son's mind.

Try hard to keep up a hold on your child's affections. It is a dangerous thing to make your children afraid of you. Anything is almost better than reserve and constraint between your child and yourself; and this will come in with fear. Fear puts an end to openness of manner;-fear leads to concealment;--fear sows the seed of much hypocrisy, and leads to many a lie. There is a mine of truth in the Apostle's words to the Colossians: "Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged" (Col. 3:21). Let not the advice it contains be overlooked.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Finished Titus and Philemon

Last Saturday we finished reading Paul's pastoral epistle to Titus and yesterday we likewise finished the book of Philemon.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle - Part 1

If you would train your children rightly, train them in the way they should go, and not in the way that they would.

Remember children are born with a decided bias towards evil, and therefore if you let them choose for themselves, they are certain to choose wrong.

The mother cannot tell what her tender infant may grow up to be,--tall or short, weak or strong, wise or foolish: he may be any of these things or not,--it is all uncertain. But one thing the mother can say with certainty: he will have a corrupt and sinful heart. It is natural to us to do wrong. "Foolishness," says Solomon, "is bound in the heart of a child" (Prov. 22:15). "A child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame" (Prov. 29:15). Our hearts are like the earth on which we tread; let it alone, and it is sure to bear weeds.

If, then, you would deal wisely with your child, you must not leave him to the guidance of his own will. Think for him, judge for him, act for him, just as you would for one weak and blind; but for pity's sake, give him not up to his own wayward tastes and inclinations. It must not be his likings and wishes that are consulted. He knows not yet what is good for his mind and soul, any more than what is good for his body. You do not let him decide what he shall eat, and what he shall drink, and how he shall be clothed. Be consistent, and deal with his mind in like manner. Train him in the way that is scriptural and right, and not in the way that he fancies.

If you cannot make up your mind to this first principle of Christian training, it is useless for you to read any further. Self-will is almost the first thing that appears in a child's mind; and it must be your first step to resist it.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: December 2010

Joy to the world! the Lord is come!

Isaac Watts (1719)

Joy to the world! the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heav'n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth! the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of his righteousness,
And wonders of his love.

Finished II Timothy

Tonight we finished reading through the new testament book of II Timothy.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Duties of Parents by J.C. Ryle

"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it."--Prov. 22:6.

I Suppose that most professing Christians are acquainted with the text at the head of this page. The sound of it is probably familiar to your ears, like an old tune. It is likely you have heard it, or read it, talked of it, or quoted it, many a time. Is it not so?

But, after all, how little is the substance of this text regarded! The doctrine it contains appears scarcely known, the duty it puts before us seems fearfully seldom practised. Reader, do I not speak the truth?

It cannot be said that the subject is a new one. The world is old, and we have the experience of nearly six thousand years to help us. We live in days when there is a mighty zeal for education in every quarter. We hear of new schools rising on all sides. We are told of new systems, and "new books for the young, of every sort and description. And still for all this, the vast majority of children are manifestly not trained in the way they should go, for when they grow up to man's estate, they do not walk with God.

Now how shall we account for this state of things? The plain truth is, the Lord's commandment in our text is not regarded; and therefore the Lord's promise in our text is not fulfilled.

Reader, these things may well give rise to great searchings of heart. Suffer then a word of exhortation from a minister, about the right training of children. Believe me, the subject is one that should come home to every conscience, and make every one ask himself the question, " Am I in this matter doing what I can?"

It is a subject that concerns almost all. There is hardly a household that it does not touch. Parents, nurses, teachers, godfathers, godmothers, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters,--all have an interest in it. Few can be found, I think, who might not influence some parent in the management of his family, or affect the training of some child by suggestion or advice. All of us, I suspect, can do something here, either directly or indirectly, and I wish to stir up all to bear this in remembrance.

It is a subject, too, on which all concerned are in great danger of coming short of their duty. This is pre-eminently a point in which men can see the faults of their neighbours more clearly than their own. They will often bring up their children in the very path which they have denounced to their friends as unsafe. They will see motes in other men's families, and overlook beams in their own. They will be quick sighted as eagles in detecting mistakes abroad, and yet blind as bats to fatal errors which are daily going on at home. They will be wise about their brother's house, but foolish about their own flesh and blood. Here, if anywhere, we have need to suspect our own judgment. This, too, you will do well to bear in mind.

(As a minister, I cannot help remarking that there is hardly any subject about which people seem so tenacious as they are about their children. I have sometimes been perfectly astonished at the slowness of sensible Christian parents to allow that their own children are in fault, or deserve blame. There are not a few persons to whom I would far rather speak about their own sins, than tell them their children had done anything wrong.)

Come now, and let me place before you a few hints about right training. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost bless them, and make them words in season to you all Reject them not because they are blunt and simple; despise them not because they contain nothing new. Be very sure, if you would train children for heaven, they are hints that ought not to be lightly set aside.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Finished I Timothy

On this Thanksgiving day we finished reading through the book of I Timothy! 

Give thanks to God who gives life to all things and give Him glory!
But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who in his testimony before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, to keep the commandment unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone has immortality, who dwells in unapproachable light, whom no one has ever seen or can see. To him be honor and eternal dominion. Amen.
(1 Timothy 6:11-16 ESV)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Finished II Thessalonians

Yesterday we finished our reading through the book of II Thessalonians.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finished 1 Thessalonians

Tonight we finished reading through the book of 1 Thessalonians as a family

Friday, November 5, 2010

Finished 1 Chronicles

Yesterday we finished reading through the book of 1 Chronicles.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finished Philippians

Tonight we finished reading our way through the book of Philippians.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: November 2010

A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Martin Luther (1529)

1 A mighty Fortress is our God,
A Bulwark never failing;
Our Helper He amid the flood
Of mortal ills prevailing:
For still our ancient foe
Doth seek to work us woe;
His craft and power are great,
And, armed with cruel hate,
On earth is not his equal.

2 Did we in our own strength confide,
Our striving would be losing;
Were not the right man on our side,
The man of God's own choosing:
Dost ask who that may be?
Christ Jesus, it is He;
Lord Sabaoth His Name,
From age to age the same,
And He must win the battle.

3 And though this world, with devils filled,
Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed
His truth to triumph through us:
The prince of darkness grim, -
We tremble not for him;
His rage we can endure,
For lo! his doom is sure,
One little word shall fell him.

4 That word above all earthly powers,
No thanks to them, abideth;
The Spirit and the gifts are ours
Through him who with us sideth:
Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God's truth abideth still,
His kingdom is for ever.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Finished Ephesians

Tonight we finished reading through the New Testament book of Ephesians as a family.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Finished Galatians

Late last week we finished reading through the New Testament book of Galatians.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finished II Corinthians

Tonight we finished reading through the book of II Corinthians.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Finished II Kings

Tonight, 10/3 we also finished reading through I Kings.

Finished 1 Corinthians

On Saturday night, 10/2 we finished reading through the book of  1 Corinthians.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: October 2010

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord

Julia H. Johnston (1911)

1 Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.

Refrain:
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace,
Grace that is greater than all our sin!

2 Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross. [Refrain]

3 Dark is the stain that we cannot hide;
What can we do to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today. [Refrain]

4 Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face,
Will you this moment His grace receive? [Refrain]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Finished Romans

Yesterday we finished reading through Romans!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Let the little children come

from J. C. Ryle's "The Duties of Parents"

But there are some who say that it is useless to urge children to attend means of grace, because they cannot understand them.

I would not have you listen to such reasoning. I find no such doctrine in the Old Testament. When Moses goes before Pharaoh (Ex. x. 9), I observe he says, "We will go with our young and with our old, with our sons and with our daughters: for we must hold a feast unto the Lord." When Joshua read the law (Josh. vmmm. 35), I observe, "There was not a word which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them." "Thrice in the year," says Ex. xxxiv. 23, "shall all your men children appear before the Lord God, the God of Israel." And when I turn to the New Testament, I find children mentioned there as partaking in public acts of religion as well as in the Old. When Paul was leaving the disciples at Tyre for the last time, I find it said (Acts xxi. 5)," They all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed."

Samuel, in the days of his childhood, appears to have ministered unto the Lord some time before he really knew Him. "Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him" (1 Sam. iii. 7). The Apostles themselves do not seem to have understood all that our Lord said at the time that it was spoken: "These things understood not His disciples at the first: but when Jesus was glorified, then remembered they that these things were written of Him" (John xii 1 6).

Parents, comfort your minds with these examples. Be not cast down because your children see not the full value of the means of grace now. Only train them up to a habit of regular attendance. Set it before their minds as a high, holy, and solemn duty, and believe me, the day will very likely come when they will bless you for your deed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Finished I Kings

Today we finished reading through the book of I Kings. As it contains some lengthier chapters we were much of the time limited back to one chapter per day. Still making progress!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: September 2010

Trusting Jesus

Edgar Page Stites (1876)

1 Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.

Refrain:
Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. [Refrain]

2 Brightly doth His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. [Refrain]

3 Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all. [Refrain]

4 Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all. [Refrain]

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Finished Acts

Earlier this week we completed our reading of the book of Acts. Tonight we started reading in Romans.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I Timothy 3:16

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:

He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.
(1 Timothy 3:16 ESV)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Finished II Samuel

Yesterday evening we finished reading through the book of II Samuel.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: August 2010

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty

Author: Joachim Neander (1680)
Translator: Catherine Winkworth (1863)

1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise Him, for He is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear, Now to His temple draw near;
Praise Him in glad adoration.

2. Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under His wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what He ordaineth?

3. Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee;
Surely His goodness, and mercy here daily attend thee.
Ponder anew What the Almighty can do,
If with His love He befriend thee.

4. Praise to the Lord, O let all that is in me adore Him!
All that hath life and breath, come now with praises before Him.
Let the Amen Sound from His people again,
Glady for aye we adore Him.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Finished John

On Monday night we finished reading through the Gospel of John!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Matthew 22:37

Last night Ian correctly quoted Matthew 22:37 (NKJV) without any help.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: July 2010

The Church's One Foundation

S. J. Stone (1866)

1 The Church's one Foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
By water and the word:
From heaven He came and sought her
To be His holy bride;
With His own blood he bought her,
And for her life He died.

2 Elect from every nation,
Yet one o'er all the earth,
Her charter of salvation
One Lord, one faith, one birth;
One holy Name she blesses,
Partakes one holy food,
And to one hope she presses,
With every grace endued.

3 Though with a scornful wonder
Men see her sore oppressed,
By schisms rent asunder,
By heresies distressed,
Yet saints their watch are keeping,
Their cry goes up, "How long?"
And soon the night of weeping
Shall be the morn of song.

4 'Mid toil and tribulation,
And tumult of her war,
She waits the consummation
Of peace for evermore;
Till with the vision glorious
Her longing eyes are blest,
And the great Church victorious
Shall be the Church at rest.

5 Yet she on earth hath union
With God the Three in One,
And mystic sweet communion
With those whose rest is won:
O happy ones and holy!
Lord, give us grace that we,
Like them the meek and lowly,
On high may dwell with Thee.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Finished Luke

Last Thursday night we finished reading through the Gospel of Luke. It has been good reading from both the Old and New Testaments each day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finished Ruth

At only four chapters in length it was a simple matter to complete the book of Ruth yesterday evening after only a couple days of reading. Tonight we will begin reading our way through I Samuel.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Completed Judges

Tonight we completed reading through the book of Judges together as a family. Many days we have been reading two chapters of the Old Testament at a time which has sped up the pace considerably.

Very much looking forward to moving on to the book of Ruth which is a welcome departure from the overarching theme of Judges where every man did that which was right in his own eyes. That is not to say that God's sovereignty is not evident in this book. In fact, it was very interesting to see God's hand actively working despite all the many poor choices and unwise actions of men mentioned throughout. Despite all of this God was not in the least bit hindered from fulfilling his will!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Finished Joshua

Last Saturday we finished reading through the book of Joshua. Joshua is a challenging book to read out loud!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: June 2010

I Know Whom I Have Believed

D. W. Whittle (1883)


1. I know not why God's wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.

But "I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day."

2. I know not how this saving faith
To me he did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.

But "I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day."

3. I know not how the Spirit moves,
Convincing men of sin,
Revealing Jesus thro' the Word,
Creating faith in Him.

But "I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day."

4. I know not when my Lord may come,
At night or noon-day fair,
Nor if I'll walk the vale with Him,
Or meet Him in the air.

But "I know whom I have believed,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I've committed
Unto Him against that day."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Finished Mark

Last week, while on vacation, we finished reading through the book of Mark. Keeping up while away from home was harder than anticipated and there were some nights where we just did not get to it, however, I'm glad we kept at it. The kid's definitely notice when we don't and even remind us if they think we forgot!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Finishing Deuteronomy

Tonight we finished reading through the book of Deuteronomy. Tomorrow night we will be starting Joshua. I am particularly looking forward to reading through this book since our pastor is currently preaching through it as well.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

J. C. Ryle on reading the Bible

1) Read the Bible with an earnest desire to understand it.

2) Read the Scriptures with a simple, childlike faith and humility.

3) Read the Word with a spirit of obedience and self-application.

4) Read the Holy Scriptures everyday.

5) Read the whole Bible and read it an orderly way.

6) Read the Word of God fairly and honestly.

7) Read the Bible with Christ constantly in view.

~ J.C. Ryle

7 Thoughts on Reading the Bible/

Friday, May 7, 2010

Psalm 1

Tonight Nathaniel quoted Psalm 1:1-6 in its entirety!

Finishing Matthew

Yesterday evening we finished reading through the book of Matthew.  We are moving on through the New Testament and starting Mark.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: May 2010

It Is Well With My Soul

Horatio Gates Spafford (1873)


1. When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

2. Tho' Satan should buffet, tho' trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

3. My sin--oh, the bliss of this glorious tho't:
My sin not in part, but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

4. And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend,
"Even so," it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Whole books of the Bible

In the last couple weeks I have had occasion to read a few books of the Bible completely out loud all in one sitting.  The other day (Saturday) I managed to read both I & II Thessalonians while we were finishing up lunch which helped to turn what started out being a raucous day into something quite a bit more palatable.  It was interesting to see how attentive both Ian and Nathaniel could be while I read two whole, albeit short, books of the Bible.

Earlier the previous week I took one evening and read through the whole book of I Corinthians aloud to my wife while she was trying to get the baby down to sleep.   That took quite a bit longer, of course, but she was unable to do anything else and appreciated being able to hear the word spoken even if the baby still wasn't asleep once I was through. 

There is great benefit to reading the Bible out loud.  Not only does it naturally slow us down, but it allows others to also hear at the same time.  We also increase our own comprehension by hearing as well as reading.  Add to this that the shorter books are quite easy to read, even out loud, in a single sitting.  Some books (Obadiah, Philemon, 2 John, 3 John, & Jude) are as short as a single chapter and over a dozen more are just four chapters or less.  It is indeed not burdensome then to expose both ourselves and those who can listen to much biblical content.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

John 3:16 & Acts 16:31

This past week both Ian and Nathaniel were able to recite their respective verses - John 3:16 (NKJV) & Acts 16:31 (NKJV).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Starting Matthew

Since Easter we have also started reading the book of Matthew in our family Bible reading time.  This allows us to read from both the Old Testament and New Testament each day.  Easter seemed to be a great time to make the transition since we were teaching the boys about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and reminding them at the same time about the birth of Christ which we covered back at Christmas time that made Easter itself all possible.  Since the New Testament begins with the gospels and the gospels begin with the birth of Christ it was a natural fit.  As a bonus, we now get to teach them firsthand about the life of Christ each day as we do our reading.

We plan to continue reading in both the Old Testament and New Testament each day.  The goal is one chapter from each every day.  This means, of course, that we'll finish the New Testament well before we complete the Old Testament, but that's just fine.  At that point, we'll simply start the New Testament over and continue through again.  No reason to get any more complicated than that - keeping it simple is still the plan.

Personally I'm excited about starting the gospels at the same time that we're still reading Deuteronomy.  Jesus frequently quoted from both the law and the prophets - and that's exactly what he came to fullfill!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Truth and Grace Memory Books

These books are great and really help to bring some much needed organization and structure to family worship time. They include wonderful suggestions for age appropriate memory verses and songs. In addition, each book also includes a useful catechism for helping to teach meaningful doctrinal truths. They may be small, but they are jam packed with a wealth of information.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Easter Flannelgraph

Last week over Easter we cut out felt crosses, soldiers, a tomb, several bystanders, a couple thieves, and several other related items and read through the account of the Easter story while showing it all graphically up on the flannel board.  It was a nice way to help the young ones get a better idea of what we were reading about and why Easter is so important.  We did a similar exercise at Christmas time.

The flannelgraph opened up lots of questions!  We'll definitely be doing this again next year!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Blood of Sprinkling and the Children

One thing I am sure of, and that is, that if we teach the children the doctrine of the atonement in the most unmistakable terms, we shall be doing ourselves good. I sometimes hope that God will revive his church and restore her to her ancient faith by a gracious work among children. If he would bring into our churches a large influx of young people, how it would tend to quicken the sluggish blood of the supine and sleepy! Child Christians tend to keep the house alive. Oh, for more of them! If the Lord will but help us to teach the children we shall be teaching ourselves. There is no way of learning like teaching, and you do not know a thing till you can teach it to another. You do not thoroughly know any truth till you can put it before a child so that he can see it. In trying to make a little child understand the doctrine of the atonement you will get clearer views of it yourselves, and therefore I commend the holy exercise to you.

What a mercy it will be if our children are thoroughly grounded in the doctrine of redemption by Christ! If they are warned against the false gospels of this evil age, and if they are taught to rest on the eternal rock of Christ's finished work, we may hope to have a generation following us which will maintain the faith, and will be better than their fathers. Your Sunday-schools are admirable; but what is their purpose if you do not teach the gospel in them? You get children together and keep them quiet for an hour-and-a-half, and then send them home; but what is the good of it? It may bring some quiet to their fathers and mothers, and that is, perhaps, why they send them to the school; but all the real good lies in what is taught the children. The most fundamental truth should be made most prominent, and what is this but the cross? Some talk to children about being good boys and girls, and so on; that is to say, they preach the law to the children, though they would preach the gospel to grown-up people! Is this honest? Is this wise? Children need the gospel, the whole gospel, the unadulterated gospel; they ought to have it, and if they are taught of the Spirit of God they are as capable of receiving it as persons of ripe years. Teach the little ones that Jesus died, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God. Very, very confidently do I leave this work in the hands of the teachers of this school. I never knew a nobler body of Christian men and women; for they are as earnest in their attachment to the old gospel as they are eager for the winning of souls. Be encouraged, my brothers and sisters: the God who has saved so many of your children is going to save very many more of them, and we shall have great joy in this Tabernacle as we see hundreds brought to Christ. God grant it, for his name's sake! Amen.

C. H. Spurgeon - The Blood of Sprinkling and the Children

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: April 2010

TRUST AND OBEY

Author: John H. Sammis, 1887

1. When we walk with the Lord
In the light of His Word
What a glory He sheds on our way!
Let us do His good will;
He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

2. Not a burden we bear,
Not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss,
Not a frown or a cross,
But is blest if we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

3. But we never can prove
The delights of his love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows
And the joy He bestows
Are for them who will trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

4. Then in fellowship sweet
We will sit at his feet
Or we'll walk by His side in the way;
What he says we will do,
Where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there's no other way
To be happy in Jesus,
But to trust and obey.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Finishing Numbers

Tonight we finished reading through the Old Testament book of Numbers as a family. Next up Deuteronomy!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Psalm 145:8-9

Tonight Nathaniel finally successfully recited Psalm 145:8-9 (NKJV) without assistance!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Oh So Close...

Ian is just oh so close to having his current memory verse memorized. Its almost as if he wants to be entirely sure of himself before he will say it without being helped. Last night I only had to help him with the very first words of John 3:16 (NKJV).  I'm almost certain that he knows it all himself.  Now we just have to encourage him to realize it!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Unless the Lord Builds the House

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the watchman stays awake in vain.
It is in vain that you rise up early
and go late to rest,
eating the bread of anxious toil;
for he gives to his beloved sleep.

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
the fruit of the womb a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
are the children of one's youth.
Blessed is the man
who fills his quiver with them!
He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
(ESV) Psalm 127:1-5

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Biblical Illiteracy

This really is our problem, and it is up to this generation of Christians to reverse course. Recovery starts at home. Parents are to be the first and most important educators of their own children, diligently teaching them the Word of God. [See Deuteronomy 6:4-9.] Parents cannot franchise their responsibility to the congregation, no matter how faithful and biblical its may be. God assigned parents this non-negotiable responsibility, and children must see their Christian parents as teachers and fellow students of God's Word.

Albert Mohler, The Scandal of Biblical Illiteracy: It’s Our Problem

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Blessings in Family Worship

The advantages and blessings of family worship are incalculable. First, family worship will prevent much sin. It awes the soul, conveys a sense of God's majesty and authority, sets solemn truths before the mind, brings down benefits from God on the home. Personal piety in the home is a most influential means, under God, of conveying piety on the little ones. Children are largely creatures of imitation, loving to copy what they see in others. "He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" (Psa. 78:5-7). How much of the dreadful moral and spiritual conditions of the masses today may be traced back to the neglect of their fathers in this duty? How can those who neglect the worship of God in their families look for peace and comfort therein? Daily prayer in the home is a blessed means of grace for allaying those unhappy passions to which our common nature is subject. Finally, family prayer gains for us the presence and blessing of the Lord. There is a promise of His presence which is peculiarly applicable to this duty: see Matt. 18:19,20. Many have found in family worship that help and communion with God which they sought for and with less effect in private prayer.

A. W. Pink, Family Worship

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Without Excuse

An old writer well said, "A family without prayer is like a house without a roof, open and exposed to all the storms of Heaven." All our domestic comforts and temporal mercies issue from the lovingkindness of the Lord, and the best we can do in return is to gratefully acknowledge, together, His goodness to us as a family. Excuses against the discharge of this sacred duty are idle and worthless. Of what avail will it be when we render an account to God for the stewardship of our families to say that we had not time available, working hard from morn till eve? The more pressing be our temporal duties, the greater our need of seeking spiritual succor. Nor may any Christian plead that he is not qualified for such a work: gifts and talents are developed by use and not by neglect.

A. W. Pink, Family Worship

Monday, March 1, 2010

Be Careful in Correction

1. Be careful that the misbehavior for which you correct your children for, was not learned by them from observing you. Many children learn their wickedness from their parents and then are beaten and chastised by them.

2. Be careful that you do not smile and make a joke out of their small faults, because that joking attitude about their “little sins” could be an encouragement to them to commit greater ones.

3. Be watchful that you do not use offensive and improper words in your chastising of them, because it is devilish to be bitter, and to call them names.

4. Be careful that you do not use scolding and threatening words, mixed with lightness and laughter, as this will harden their hearts. Do not speak too much, nor too often, but only words that are fitting to them with all seriousness.

John Bunyan, Christian Family

Hymn of the Month: March 2010

I STAND AMAZED IN THE PRESENCE

Author: Charles H. Gabriel, 1905

1. I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

How marvelous! how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! how wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

2. For me it was in the garden
He prayed, "Not my will, but Thine,"
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

How marvelous! how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! how wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me!

3. He took my sins and my sorrow,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calv'ry,
And suffered and died alone.

How marvelous! how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! how wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me.

4. When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
"Twill be my joy thro' the ages
To sing of His love for me.

How marvelous! how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be;
How marvelous! how wonderful!
Is my Savior's love for me.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Duty of Parents to Children

Your children have souls, and they must be born again by God, or they will perish. And also understand, that unless you are very prudent in your behavior to and before them, they may perish because of you: the thoughts of which should provoke you, both to instruct, and also to correct them.

First, to instruct them as the Scripture says, “bringing them up in the training and instruction of the Lord;” “Impress [the truths of the Word of God] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” [Ephesians 6:4; Deuteronomy 6:7]

John Bunyan, Christian Family

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Proverbs 1:8-9

Last night Nathaniel perfectly recited Proverbs 1:8-9 (NKJV)

Cares of this world

Many Christians live and work in this world, as if their Christianity was a low priority in life, and this world and its pleasures were all important; when indeed the things of this world are fleeting and Christianity is the one thing we need most [Luke 10:40-42].

John Bunyan, Christian Family

Friday, February 26, 2010

John Bunyan on the duty of the head of the family

1. First, concerning the spiritual state of his family; he ought to be very diligent and cautious, doing his utmost both to increase faith where it is begun, and to begin it where it is not. Therefore, he must diligently and frequently bring before his family the things of God, from His Holy Word, in accordance with what is suitable for each person. And let no man question his authority from the Word of God for such a practice; for the Apostle Paul strongly advises us that “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things,” in other words, be sure to do them. [Philippians 4:8]

John Bunyan, Christian Family

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Laboring Over the Gospel

The other day I took the time to give a thorough explanation of the entire gospel message to our oldest son. To the best of my ability I used language that he is hopefully able to understand. Because he's still quite young I often wonder just how much he knows and how much he connects the dots. I took great pains using verses that he has learned to explain to him that Jesus is God. I reminded him of our reading through Genesis and the creation story of Adam and Eve who had only a single, simple law that they were unable to keep and brought sin upon the whole human race as a result. I pointed out to him that he himself is also a sinner and gave evidence to him from that very day by reminding him of the law that has been given to him to obey his parents. I discussed that this sin creates a massive problem because God expects perfection. I pointed out in Leviticus that the animal sacrifices that the Israelites were to bring to God were to be perfect and completely unblemished and that God would not accept anything less. I labored over the fact that Jesus is both God and man who kept every law perfectly and did not have any sin in himself and could thereby be the most perfect and final sacrifice and that the sacrifices in the Old Testament were only a type of the ultimate sacrifice that was still to come at that time in Christ. I made specific mention of the fact that in order to deal with this problem of sin in us that something had to die to pay the penalty (since the penalty of sin is death) and that Jesus, as God, did in fact die and that his obedience even unto death is both sufficient and acceptable to God to deal with this problem and fulfill God's righteous requirement. We covered the fact that not only did Jesus, God the Son, die, but that he also rose again and is also even now living and reunited in heaven with God the Father. Finally, I stated that only those that believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ could be saved and that that too included his own need to believe.

Right now the soil is fertile. We earnestly pray that the seeds take root.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finishing Leviticus

Tonight we finished reading through the Old Testament book of Leviticus. Now on to Numbers!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Proverbs 4:1-2

Earlier this evening Nathaniel quoted Proverbs 4:1-2 (NKJV) without stumbling over any words.

Monday, February 15, 2010

John 14:6

Tonight Ian correctly quoted John 14:6 (NKJV) without any help!

Nice Large Print Family Reading Bible

The first Bible I began using during our family reading and devotion time was an inexpensive giant print Bible that I had purchased for less than $15 and had previously used for carrying to church for a couple of years.  It has been a great Bible - especially for the price - but after a few years of regular use I could tell it was not going to hold out forever.  After getting an unexpected bonus at work I decided it would be nice to get a new quality Bible for family use.

Recently I purchased an ESV large print Bible in black calfskin for just this purpose. It is the most expensive Bible I will likely ever purchase but since it will receive daily/regular use it is well worth it. Crossway also makes a nice large print pew edition for a very economical price that I had also considered.  Had I not had the bonus money to help out I probably would've ended up with this version and don't think I would feel like I was missing out.  Since the page numbers and text layout are exactly the same between the large print pew edition and the premium edition that I now own I may even end up getting a copy of the pew version later on.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crimson stains

We have been singing "Jesus Paid It All" this month as our hymn of the month. The other day we also ate beets with our evening meal and at one point accidentally spilled some of the juice on a place mat. Later that night I used the stained place mat as an example of what a "crimson stain" was like. It is also interesting to note that we also have snow outside right now. I think the boys have a slightly clearer picture of the meaning of the words to this hymn's chorus now.

I tried to explain to them how utterly impossible it would be to fully remove the small beet juice stain from the white of this place mat and that no matter how much you washed it you could still always see the evidence of a stain there. Yet what Christ has done for us is to take the whole of the stain of sin and make it even whiter than glistening snow through his completed and finished work of obedience to death on the cross.

I'm still not sure how clear that picture is to them yet, but it was an apt example that made a great object lesson.

Chorus:

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hymn of the Month: February 2010

JESUS PAID IT ALL

Author: Elvina M. Hall, 1865

1. I hear the Savior say,
"Thy stength indeed is small,
Child of weakness, watch and pray,
Find in Me thine all in all."

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

2. Lord, now indeed I find
Thy pow'r and Thine alone,
Can change the leper's spots
And melt the heart of stone.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

3. For nothing good have I
Where-by Thy grace to claim;
I'll wash my garments white
In the blood of Calv'ry's Lamb.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

4. And when, before the throne,
I stand in Him complete,
"Jesus died my soul to save,"
My lips shall still repeat.

Jesus paid it all,
All to Him I owe;
Sin had left a crimson stain,
He washed it white as snow.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

John 1:29

Yesterday Nathaniel correctly quoted John 1: 29 (NKJV). He said it again tonight also without help so its time to move to a new one!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Deuteronomy 6:4-5

Tonight Nathaniel correctly quoted Deuteronomy 6:4-5 (NKJV)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Its official...

...we are now officially Baptists.

Last month we requested membership by statement of faith and tonight we were officially approved by congregational vote.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Family Worship Synopsis

 A brief summary of the activities that occur during our family worship time:

  1. Scripture memory and/or catechism
  2. Singing (hymn of the month followed by Doxology)
  3. Bible reading
  4. Prayer

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wrapping up Exodus

Last night we finished our reading in Exodus. I had originally intended to continue reading through the Pentateuch. There are only 27 chapters in Leviticus so I think I would like to try. Plus, I really enjoyed reading Dueteronomy the last time I went through it on my own. Looking forward to making it back there again!

Monday, January 11, 2010

What is sin?

Nathaniel now knows what sin is:

"Sin is any transgression of the law of God."
(1 John 3:4; Romans 3:20; James 2:9-11)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

John 6:35

Tonight Nathaniel successfully recited John 6:35 (NKJV)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Leadership in the Home

Tim Challies series on Leadership in the Home:

Part 1 – Leadership in the Home: An Introduction
Part 2 – Leadership in the Home: A Defense
Part 3 – A Godly Man Leads
Part 4 – A Godly Man Protects
Part 5 – A Godly Man Provides

Psalm 78:5-8

He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments;
and that they should not be like their fathers,
a stubborn and rebellious generation,
a generation whose heart was not steadfast,
whose spirit was not faithful to God.

(ESV) Psalm 78:5-8

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it.

(ESV) Proverbs 22:6

Responsibility

The Council on Biblical Manhood & Womanhood: Family Worship

Monday, January 4, 2010

ESV Study Bible

We have been reading through the book of Exodus as a family.  The other day as we were continuing our reading in chapter 28 about the priestly garments I realized that the children (oldest is 5) had been getting disengaged not only that day but also for the previous several days during our reading.  Suddenly I remembered that the ESV Study Bible contains some very nice color representative drawings of many of the things we'd just been reading about including the ark of the covenant, tabernacle, golden lamp stand, alter, tabernacle court, and the most importantly the priestly garments which we had just covered.  I had originally purchased this study Bible for personal reference and never imagined using it in family worship, but the boys really enjoyed seeing the pictures of what these things might have really looked like.  It was nearly worth the purchase of the Bible just for that one use.

Keep It Simple

John Piper: How do you do family devotions?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Beginnings

It seems fitting to recap how we ended up doing regular structured worship together as a family.  When we were first married my wife and I would read from the Psalms together each evening.  We did this together for pretty much the whole of our first year of marriage until our first child was born.  After that, once he became old enough, we started reading to him from the Psalms each night as we put him to bed.  We continued this trend after our second child was born and eventually branched out and read through Proverbs, Acts, and the gospel of John.  With the children getting a bit older it became evident that more structure was necessary.  I also remember especially wanting to teach them specifically how to sit through church.  Having also been exposed to some pretty good teaching having to do with family worship I happened to be introduced to some great resources to help facilitate the process and morph it into what it is today..

I wish I could say that we have been perfectly consistent throughout this entire time, but nonetheless God has truly been at work to bring this to fruition and we want nothing more than to please him as a family, together as parents, and myself personally as a father.  Although we've been doing this for many months now, with a family so young we are truly only just beginning and look forward to the months and years to come.

Soli Deo Gloria

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Romans 6:23

Tonight Nathaniel successfully recited Romans 6:23 (NKJV)

Hymn of the Month: January 2010

I SING THE MIGHTY POWER OF GOD

Words: Issac Watts, 1715.

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at God’s command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through the Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that we can be, Thou, God art present there.

Deuteronomy 6:7

You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
(ESV) Deuteronomy 6:7