Saturday, February 23, 2013

Family Time Picks for January and February

A.W. Pink once said: "The Bible is not designed for lazy people.  Truth has to be bought (Prov. 23:23), but the slothful and worldly minded are not willing to pay the price required. That "price" is intimated in Proverbs 2:1-5: there must be a diligent applying of the heart, a crying after knowledge, a seeking for an apprehension of spiritual things with the ardour and determination that men employ when seeking for silver; and a searching for a deeper and fuller knowledge of the truth such as men put forth when searching for hid treasures - persevering until their quest is successful - if we would really understand the things of God.  Those who complain that these articles are "too difficult" or "too deep" for them, do but betray the sad state of their souls and reveal how little they really value the truth; otherwise they would ask God to enable them to concentrate, and reread these pages perseveringly until they made their contents their own.  People are willing to work and study hard and long to master one of the arts or sciences, but where spiritual and eternal things are concerned it is usually otherwise."

How true his words were and very much still are today. How many times have I been told: "I've gone as deep as I want to go," or "I don't have time to read the Bible," or "I have other things I have to do," or "Look at all the ministry things I do and how I serve at church... that is how I serve God", or how many people simply read the Bible without meditating on its truths or even think about what it means to apply it to their life? Today's culture has lost the love of simply being alone with God and seeking Him.

Does it take time? Yes. Does it take discipline and determination? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Is the wisdom gained worth as much as gold and silver? It is worth much more!  Sadly, convincing others of that truth is not easy. Even though (as the western church) we say we are christians, where we we prioritize our time paints a much different picture. Statistically we are spending 40+ hours a week watching TV (and that doesn't include the time spent on the web, playing video games, reading novels, sports, etc...). Jesus takes a back seat to our other priorities. Where our time and money is... there is where our hearts are.

We want our children to grow up with the mind of Christ, with a insatiable love for the Word of God, with a love FOR God which translates into habitually spending time with Him, meditating on and memorizing His word. We want them to see the world how God sees it, to love people how Christ loves people, and to humbly serve Him with their lives. We want them to know about and study the great minds and missionaries of the past (Baxter, Bunyan, Bradford, and the puritans, Edwards, Calvin, Waldo, McCheyne, Murray, Augustine, Brother Andrew, Brother Yun, Mueller, and countless more). We want to teach them to work hard, study hard, and to be men and women of virtue. We want to pass the truths of the faith on to them through a lifestyle of discipleship which is what we see illustrated in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Home schooling Discipleship allows us to pour our time into our children, molding them, training them, teaching them, and demonstrating the love of Christ to them.

Do we struggle and fail? Epically and every day. We constantly have to repent and seek forgiveness from our children and our Lord as He sheds light on our shortcomings. We constantly "examine ourselves" to make sure we are in the faith (2 Cor. 13:5). But is that an excuse to give up? No. Is it hard? Yes. Is it exhausting? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes! Do we have it all figured out? No we do not. With much prayer we seek to know how to raise our children in this manner as we plow through this unbroken ground hoping to pave a family legacy for generations to come. We read books and follow blogs by others who had this vision. We seek other families and listen to teachings from Godly men who are leading their families, pouring into their children, and washing their wives with the water of the word. But we also thank God for the resources that are available to us. Especially, because in the eyes of this culture (and EVEN in the eyes of the typical western church) we are extremists who "take the Word too far.."  Our "friends", family members, acquaintances, and even those within the typical church see us as that family: You know, the weird, unsocialized homeschoolers who eat weird, take the Bible too seriously, have a ba-jillion kids, reject dating and encourage courtship, make-people-want-to-sin, etc... you know.... we are THAT family. So to have a community of believers who have the same vision is invaluable!

But while we are serious about God's Word and giving them a Biblical worldview, it does not mean that it is a "dry" and super-serious undertaking that bores our kids to death... quite the opposite. There is so much wonderful, biblically-founded media out there and we are always looking for more things to learn from. But finding a place to start can be overwhelming, so I wanted to share some things that have blessed our family time so far this year! We are fortunate to have resources available to help immerse our family in the truth of God's Word and the application of it to everyday life! These resources have been so fun the last several weeks, and while we don't do them ALL EVERYDAY, we have routinely used all of them the past couple of months.

Balancing the Sword - This is a 2 volume set that gives questions/answers for every chapter of the Bible. It is filled with awesome illustrations and quotations from a variety of Christ followers of old. We use it to ask the kids questions about their daily Bible readings from their chronological reading plan and their monthly Proverbs reading plan.

Trial and Triumph - This is a book with several biographies of people in church history. It has been a great family read-a-long spurring many great discussions. From Peter Waldo, Augustine, Anselm, Bunyan, St. Patrick, etc. there are 46 biographies and you are sure to learn a lot!

Dangerous Journey - This is a great retelling of Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress with AWESOME illustrations! Another great read-a-long stirring great family discussions!

How A Spider Saved A Man's Life and 51 Other Spurgeon Stories - We love C. H. Spurgeon and this little, fun book of children's stories is just great! They are concise, interesting, and keep our kids wanting us to read several at a sitting. There are great lessons to be learned from each story.  There is also a 2nd volume by the same author that we will definitely be getting!

The Peleg Chronicles - This series of 3 books is set in post-Babel times where paganism abounds. But there are some who still believe in Noah's God! The Bible speaks of huge beasts and giant people... what would it have been like to live back then??? Join us in reading about dwarfs, dragons, giants, and the faithfulness of a few in this series. These novels are packed with scripture and action. My 10 year old and I are reading them now. My 7 year old will begin soon. We are loving this series!

How to Disciple Your Family - a 200 Year Plan - I got my husband this DVD series for Christmas and we are carefully working through it. It has been great in giving us a model for family discipleship, prayer points for our kids and generations to come, a family catechism, etc... Doug Phillips and Geoffry Botkin are the presenters on the DVD's. Both of them are great teachers and examples of fathers who are raising godly children. I would definitely recommend this series (and almost anything that Vision Forum sells)!

The Kingdom Series - Wow... what can I even say about this series to do it justice? This is a series of 6 books (we purchased the audiobook version) that is a medieval parallel to the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Be sure to click on the link to read more about the plot... but I highly recommend this! The audio (drama) books are SOOOOOO well done! Because our family tends to spend a lot of time on the road, we listen to it in the truck during our hour long trips between here and out west. The story has ALL of us captivated and sitting on the edge of our seats! It is really worth the money! I love how the audiobook allows us all to enjoy it together! Even our 2 year old begs us to turn it on!

Well, there you have it! These are the resources that are blessing us at the moment! What are your family's favorites????

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