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Help Wanted: Looking for Someone to Make My Kids Love the Bible

WOWM - Tips and Encouragement

This is a guest post by Jessica Thompson and is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.

Help Wanted

Help Wanted: Looking for someone to make my children understand and love the Bible. My husband and I have tried everything, from bribery to anger to manipulation and they don’t seemed interested at all. If you can take on three kids, ages 5-10 and instill in them a love for God’s Word. I will pay you $100 per week.

I would never actually put an ad like this on Craigslist, but I have been tempted. It is unbelievably frustrating and hopeless to spend time reading a devotional or the Bible to your children to find out at the end of it that two of the kids were playing rock, scissors, paper under the table and the other one had fallen asleep (that explains why they were so quiet and “attentive”).

As Christian parents, we hope that our children will say with David and with us, “In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches . . . my soul is consumed with longing for your rules at all times” (Ps. 119:14, 20).

Examining Our Own Hearts

Now stop, read those verses again and ask yourself this question: Do I even do that? I know I personally don’t. There are mornings, weeks, and months when my heart is hard and indifferent to the Bible. There are mornings, weeks, and months when I am distracted and would rather do anything but sit and meditate on the Word of God.

So my question to you is, “Why do we expect our children to be any different than we are?” And yet, we do . . . and then we get angry and depressed when they don’t seem to care. Only a true believer’s heart would want to read or understand the Bible, and, at times, we expect our children—who may not be believer—to act as though they are. Let’s get real honest here: we might even force our children into a charade of sorts, showering them with praise the more they act like they are enjoying their devotional time.

Please hear me: it is good and right to read the Bible with your children; it is good and right to share your love for God’s Word. However, we can’t force our kids into the kingdom of God.

Help from Above

There is One who can fill that “help wanted” ad above. It’s actually his job, not ours.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)

It is the Holy Spirit’s job to make your children love Jesus and love the Bible. And it’s his job to do that in your life, too. You can trust Him to do His work.

Practical Tips

But what can we do to make it easier for our kids to love God’s Word, instead of merely forcing it on them?

First and most importantly, pray . . . and not just during devotions. And don’t pray the “guilt prayer” while seated around the table: “God, help these children stop messing around. Help them to sit still because you love kids who listen.” Rather, pray like Paul prayed. Ask God to help your kids come to know his unfathomable love for them and that they would consequently come to love His Word.

Second, don’t make the Bible out to be a book of morality. That isn’t the message of Christianity. The Bible is the story of God’s unrelenting, redeeming love for sinners. Do your children know that? Do you know that? Or have we reduced God’s Word to a bunch rules and regulations?

I know I don’t want to read a list rules. But give me an action-packed story about a good King fighting for his people and I’m hooked.

Last, remember their salvation isn’t up to you. This realization will free you to enjoy them and your devotional time with them, even if they don’t. Their response to the Word doesn’t define you as a parent.

Simply put, trust God when it comes to helping your kids understand and love the Bible. He’s the help you’re looking for.

Jessica Thompson is the author of Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family and the coauthor (with Elyse Fitzpatrick) of Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids with the Love of Jesus. She is a wife, a mother of three, and a member of an Acts 29 church.



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Christ in All of Scripture – Job 42:10–17


Job 42:10–17

“And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and ate bread with him in his house. And they showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him. And each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold.

And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning. And he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. He had also seven sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first daughter Jemimah, and the name of the second Keziah, and the name of the third Keren-happuch. And in all the land there were no women so beautiful as Job’s daughters. And their father gave them an inheritance among their brothers.

And after this Job lived 140 years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, four generations. And Job died, an old man, and full of days.”

Is the book of Job’s “happy ending” tacked on? Is it a sort of reassurance, to make the reader breathe easy again after emerging from the wringer? No. Job’s happy ending is a resolution that deserves the word “profound.” As ever with God’s work in a person’s life, Job’s character or inner self is more important to God than Job’s “doings.” Thus, the provided-for life that Job ended up with was not provided until he prayed in selfless fashion for his three unworthy friends (Job 42:10).

We are also told that Job’s sufferings were “all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him” (Job 42:11). Everything that happens to us comes from God. “He’s got the whole world in his hands.” Such truths challenge us no less than they challenged Job, but they are also responsible for leading Job (and us) to a right understanding of the God who provides eternity—even if it is through earthly difficulties. God’s purposes are eternal as he weans us from earth and woos us to heaven.

Finally, Elihu’s prediction of how Job’s life was supposed to end, actually came true: “If [people] listen and serve [God], they complete their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasantness” (Job 36:11). “Job died, an old man, and full of days” (Job 42:17), with his losses restored and possessions increased (Job 42:12–16). Even his children were doubled, if one considers the existence of those already in eternity with those new on earth. As the expression goes, “It’s never too late.” We could also say, on the basis of Job, that things are never so bad that God is not present and “able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Of course, for many of those who suffer in this world, prosperity and pleasantness await fulfillment in the new heavens and new earth, but this reality is no less real for those of faith. Through Job we learn that God will do whatever is necessary to claim the hearts of those he loves. His eternal love is solace, sufficiency, and satisfaction for all whose ultimate hope is in him.

It’s the old, old story, of Mary Magdalene, Zacchaeus the tax collector, Peter the denier, James and John the Sons of (raging) Thunder, Paul the Christian-tracker, and Cornelius the sideliner. And us. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

This series of posts pairs a brief passage of Scripture with associated study notes drawn from the Gospel Transformation Bible. For more information about the Gospel Transformation Bible, please visit GospelTransformationBible.org.


July 21, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Gospel Transformation Bible | Author: Lizzy Jeffers @ 8:38 am | 0 Comments »

Video: Elyse Fitzpatrick on How She Reads the Bible

WOWM - Personal Story

This video with Elyse Fitzpatrick is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.

In this video, author and speaker Elyse Fitzpatrick explains why she stopped reading through the entire Bible every year and reminds us that God doesn’t get “mad” at us when we miss a day of reading his Word.

Elyse Fitzpatrick on How She Reads the Bible
from Crossway on Vimeo.

Elyse M. Fitzpatrick (MA, Trinity Theological Seminary) is a counselor, a retreat and conference speaker, and the head of Counsel from the Cross Ministries. Fitzpatrick has authored or coauthored 18 books, including Because He Loves MeGive Them GraceComforts from Romans, Comforts from the Cross, and Found in Him.


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July’s New & Notable Books

Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds

Jen Wilkin (Foreword by Matt Chandler)

Offering a clear and concise plan to help women go deeper in their study of Scripture, this book will equip you to engage God’s Word in a way that trains your mind and transforms your heart.

“This book has served to clear the fog in my heart and mind when it comes to studying God’s Word, and I absolutely cannot wait to purchase many more copies for the women in my life who I know will love it too!”
Bethany Dillon, singer/songwriter

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


The Wonder-Working God: Seeing the Glory of Jesus in His Miracles

Jared C. Wilson

Following up where The Storytelling God left off, this book by Jared Wilson examines Jesus’s miracles as recorded in the Gospels, defending their historicity, explaining their meaning, and highlighting their significance for Christians today.

“Christianity is supernatural. We read the Bible and see God doing things that can’t be explained rationally. I love this book, because Jared Wilson helps us worship the miracle worker, and not settle for just wanting and worshiping miracles.”
Darrin Patrick, Lead Pastor, The Journey, St. Louis, Missouri; Vice President, Acts 29; Chaplain to the St. Louis Cardinals; author, The Dude’s Guide to Manhood

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


Matthew: A 12-Week Study

Drew Hunter

In this 12-week study, pastor Drew Hunter leads readers through the Gospel of Matthew, helping them come face to face with Jesus Christ, Israel’s long-awaited Messiah. Part of the Knowing the Bible series.

“Skilled authors and notable editors provide the contours of each book of the Bible as well as the grand theological themes that bind them together as one Book. Here, in a 12-week format, are carefully wrought studies that will ignite the mind and the heart.”
R. Kent HughesSenior Pastor Emeritus, College Church, Wheaton, Illinois

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


Philippians: A 12-Week Study

Ryan Kelly

Designed for individuals and small groups alike, this 12-week study through the book of Acts explores the history of the early church after Christ’s ascension. Part of the Knowing the Bible series.

Knowing the Bible brings together a gifted team of Bible teachers to produce a high quality series of study guides. The coordinated focus of these materials is unique: biblical content, provocative questions, systematic theology, practical application, and the gospel story of God’s grace presented all the way through Scripture.”
Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


Proverbs: A 12-Week Study

Lydia Brownback

In this 12-week study, author Lydia Brownback leads readers through the book of Proverbs, uncovering its wisdom for godly living that both glorifies God and leads to blessing for his people. Part of the Knowing the Bible series.

“This Knowing the Bible series is a tremendous resource for those wanting to study and teach the Bible with an understanding of how the gospel is woven throughout Scripture.”
Bryan Chapell, President Emeritus, Covenant Theological Seminary; Senior Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Peoria, Illinois

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


The Big Picture Story Bible (Paperback Edition)

David R. Helm; Illustrations by Gail Schoonmaker

Designed for kids ages 2–7, this best-selling children’s Bible presents the remarkable true story of God’s love for the world from both the Old and New Testaments with simple words and striking illustrations. Now available in paperback.

“Christians parents looking for a Bible storybook they can trust will welcome The Big Picture Story Bible. Parents, grandparents, and others will see this book as a friend as they teach their children the things of God.”
R. Albert Mohler Jr., President and Joseph Emerson Brown Professor of Christian Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Learn More | Excerpt | Buy Now


The Song of the King (Redesign)

Max Lucado; Illustrations by Chuck Gillies

Freshly redesigned with a new cover, this classic children’s tale by best-selling author Max Lucado will enchant a new generation of young people. Follow along as Carlisle, Alon, and Cassidon—three heroic knights—embark on a treacherous journey to win the hand of a beautiful princess. Their only guide on their quest is the king’s song—a beacon meant to direct their steps toward the ultimate prize.

A powerful illustration of the Christian life, this beloved book will draw children in and teach them important lessons related to endurance, temptation, and the faithfulness of God.

Learn More | Buy Now


July 18, 2014 | Posted in: AAA - BLOG UPDATE,Book News,New Releases,News & Announcements | Author: Matt Tully @ 8:00 am | 0 Comments »

Video: Jen Wilkin on Staying Motivated in Bible Study

WOWM - Personal Story

This video with Jen Wilkin is part of Women of the Word Month, a free 31-day campaign designed to encourage and equip women for transformative Bible study. Learn more or sign up at crossway.org/women.

In this video, author and Bible study leader Jen Wilkin offers some advice for staying motivated in our reading of God’s Word and explains the limitations of topical Bible studies.

Jen Wilkin on Staying Motivated in Bible Study
from Crossway on Vimeo.

Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and teacher of women’s Bible studies. During her thirteen years of teaching, she has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. She is the author of Women of the Word: How to Study the Bible with Both Our Hearts and Our Minds.


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