Memorize More Scripture!

Here is one of my favorite posts that I did a couple months ago on my homeschool blog site. We have listened to so many true stories of missionaries and ordinary people who have been thrust into almost impossible situations, and their ONLY HOPE and stay was the Bible verses that they memorized.  See my post Find Me a Good Book for many of these remarkable stories!

We are living in such confusing times! On one hand it’s parties and plenty; on the other hand we know that the sands in the hour glass are almost all spent. We don’t have years to prepare our hearts, and we don’t know how much time our children have either–with us or on their own. My prayer is that we can separate our minds from the rush of this life enough to put in the deposits that will last a lifetime, an eternity!

http://www.sdahomeschools.org/memorize-more-scripture/

 

In our home we are resurrecting our memorizing muscles! They have atrophied with disuse lately, I am ashamed to say. Life goes that way. Important things get squeezed into the background by other duties that scream louder for our attention.

But, quietly, the Holy Spirit keeps whispering, “You need to hide God’s word in your heart. You need to teach your children to do this too.” And, I am determined to listen and work little by little on fortifying the fortresses of our minds with Bible verses.

Why bother, in this age of instant apps, smartphones that hold the entire Bible in our pockets, and every imaginable tool to study the Bible? The only answer is BY FAITH. We are so lazy. We would rather click our phones than unzip our Bible cover and find a page. We’d rather search any app than search for a topic in the Word. And, our minds are shrinking with all this instant access to everything. I think that it makes us lazy spiritually. We just shrink from any hard work. But, by faith we have to override all of this ease, and remember that one day we are quite likely to have our Bibles taken away from us. What about when we lose power permanently for standing strong for God’s law? If we have only made the habit of clicking on the EGW app or the Bible app and not downloaded them into our permanent memory banks, we will be empty in many ways. We need the Bible to help us fight against temptation, so that we can meet Satan with “It is written,” and not just our own strength.

So, we must make the habit of memorizing the Bible. One verse at a time. We are told that our minds will strengthen as we put forth our efforts.

In light of all of this, I thought I would share a few resources that have been helpful to our family as we have worked on Scripture memorization. Currently, we are working together on Matthew 4:1-11, or how Jesus met temptation. I chose this one because we want to know how we can follow His example and succeed in our areas of weakness.

Listen to this talk first! 

The talk above is by Chad Kruezer, and it has been a real inspiration to me. I’d also recommend reading the chapter in Great Controversy about the Waldenses if you want to get inspired. Check out how many chapters Fanny Crosby had memorized — five chapters per WEEK!! She could recite the entire Pentateuch, all four Gospels, Proverbs, Song of Solomon, and many Psalms chapter and verse. All this being blind! Makes me wonder what’s wrong with my memory! Disuse is the only excuse.

Another resource we have found inspiring is the book, Ten Peas in a Pod, by Arnold Pent. It tells the amazing story of a family who homeschooled before it was called that, and who made Bible reading and memorization such a part of their everyday life that several of the children memorized many whole chapters and books of the Bible. It is a great read-aloud for your family and it will entertain as well as inspire!

If you need another inspiring account of a family who got their children into memorizing, here is one. The author/mom shows how she helped her children to successfully memorize the book of James.

This is a good book about scripture memorization that will give you tips, reasons, and stories to inspire you. The book is on sale for only $3. I paid more several years ago, but I think they just want to get them out to people!

If you have a Kindle, or any device where you can install the Kindle app, then there is a book that we have found to be quite helpful. You can find it in the Kindle Store. The reason this particular book is helpful is because it contains the entire Bible, divided by book, which is not so rare; many online Bibles offer this, I know. But, this book has the advantage for memorizes of offering an option where, once you have your verses on the screen, you can may either read the typed out verses, or click on the number of the verse to change the text into first letter only (see the photo below). This way you can jog your memory of the verse or passage without seeing the whole words, which gives your mind a chance to remember what’s coming next.

Here is the option of first letter only verses.

It works similarly to the way I memorize without the book. I write my verses on one side of an index card, and on the other side I just write the first letters. Then when I review them, I have cues, but not answers.

Scripturetyper.com This app is such a wonderful resource!  You can use the website online or download the app. You can add verses/chapters and join groups if you want. It saves your verses and gives you a reminder to review them at intervals. This is good for everyone! Our boys like to practice their verses often when we get into memorizing! You have several options for how to memorize and review your verses. You can just type the whole verse out, you can type using just the first letters, or you can have certain words blanked out on your screen so that you have to remember those words, while the words typed in will help you as you go along. It remembers your speed, and you can challenge yourself to keep improving your speed and accuracy. PSST…don’t tell your kids, but this also sneaks in a little typing along with the Bible memorization! We have the Scripture Typer Pro, which allows us to install it on five devices, so we can all be using it at the same time, wherever we are! It is well worth the price.

Thy Word Creations produces nice books that help you to memorize whole portions of scripture or whole chapters. They have well-known chapters set to music with a CD. These have been invaluable in our home. Every song that we have learned in this way we still have memorized years later! I am including the product webpage, and an amazon.com link, since it looks like many are not in stock on the webpage.

Thy Word Creations website—children’s projects

Teen and adult products

Amazon link

The following website offers a phone number to obtain Bible memory verse songs that go along with the My Bible First Kindergarten and Primary lessons.

My Bible First

This link is a resource for memorizing the entire chapter of Psalm 119. I do not have it yet, but have listened to the samples and they are very nice! This is my next project! Our son started memorizing Psalm 119 and almost had it down, with no ”help” like this CD, until he got sick. With a little brushing up, I know he will have it mastered. You can download the album or purchase the audio CD. I am always amazed at the talent that some people have to be able to set these passages to nice music.

There is an app that last I knew was free, and used to be available for both iOS and Android. Now I am not seeing it updated on the App Store, which makes me sad. I am including it here, on the chance that they will decide to update it, since it is a wonderful app. This app is put out by Fountainview Academy, and has hundreds of songs from the KVJ Bible put to music. Lovely music. The app is Scripture Singer. I really enjoy it and still have it downloaded onto my old phone.

There are probably hundreds of resources and tips for memorizing the Bible. I have just listed ones we have used with success from time to time. One of the best ways to have success is to join with friends who also want to memorize, because then you have accountability. Our best times memorizing have been when we had a little group who met weekly and memorized together. So much easier than when you feel like no one will know whether you succeed or not!

Feel free to share any ideas you have as well, because we are all here to help each other!

Advertisements

Homeschool Seasons, and Why Sometimes you have to “Fake it til you make it!”

I wrote this post for another homeschool site that I blog on. I ran across it again today and decided to share it here, as a record of my journey, and of God’s faithfulness through trials and times that appear dark. The following was my experience with homeschooling at the end of 2017.

As a blog writer for this group, and for my personal blog, I have never before experienced the writer’s block that I am currently going through.

I am a week late on my deadline, and not for unconcern. I do not take my commitment to this group lightly. Through the past month, I have frequently had ideas for blog articles buzzing around in my mind, but when the time came for me to harness them, they just didn’t seem to fit. So, I am going to write from my heart, and pray that what I share will connect with someone out there.

Sometimes on a homeschool page like this one, we present information, and it seems like we are some sort of experts on the homeschooling process. Just forget about that portrayal. I can assure you that when we share anything, it is because we have tried many ideas and finally found one that has worked, or that we hope will work out. We might not share the umpteen flops, failures, and moments of sheer desperation that led us to our “instant successes.”

This school year I prayed for opportunities for our boys to learn practical skills. I meant that prayer. But, I had no idea how that would play out. Even that is an understatement. My husband and I made plans for apprenticeship opportunities, in controlled settings, at predictable times, in mind for learning skills. I would drop off our eldest for a couple of hours with a mechanic, and go pick him up, or something like that. The details hadn’t materialized, but we had plans. Beware of plans. Of course, we have to make plans, but just be careful about holding too tightly to them.

You see, we had other plans too, plans which involved property, dabbling in homesteading, and clearing land. We had plans to ease into a “build-as-you-can” project, and slowly work our way into our off-grid Home-Sweet-Home. Through some unanticipated life turns, we suddenly realized that we would need to crank up the schedule of land preparation, and that “easing into it” would change to “get it in gear!”

The high-gear stage began when we needed to rent a piece of heavy machinery to help with the clearing. When you’re paying for a big machine, everything begins to revolve around efficiency so that you don’t waste rental hours. That’s sort of when homeschool began also to revolve around whatever we needed to do to “get ‘er done!”  Early hours, late nights, and a picnic every day became the norm, since the property is about an hour away from our home. We all got a sudden immersion into the ins and outs of putting in septic lines, rock characteristics, soil types, and so on.

This process has been exciting in many ways. After all, we prayed that God would lead us to a piece of country property, and He did. When we chose this property, we knew full well that to make it work, we would have to put in lots of work, and even that seemed like part of the romantic charm of carving out our own homestead, like in the olden days. We were all on board, eager, and gung-ho! Every day was a new challenge, but we knew that we would figure it out. Our boys suddenly had the chance to jump in and learn some practical skills as the oldest two ran the transit for the leveling of the septic lines, and everyone got to help install the field line components. Progress was clicking along pretty well, considering all of the rock we encountered. We got our garden and greenhouse site prepared, and holes dug for our orchard — 3x3x3 so we can plant them the Ellen White Method, that the angel showed her in a dream.  I remember standing up at the top of our property in the future garden, and thrilling as I looked over the wooded hills, just feeling blessed. It was my mountaintop time, when faith was easy.

Life is not all mountaintops, though, and as my husband had to go out of town for work, the full responsibility suddenly rested on me. This was fine, with what we initially had planned to accomplish. Then, additional projects popped up that needed immediate decisions.  Every day another challenge came that eventually left my head spinning, as I tried to make important decisions on the fly, figure out yet another DIY project, purchase supplies, and just keep life running. Let me say that I totally get the fast food concept now. I’m afraid Taco Bell became a more regular part of our lives, and home-cooked meals have become more a rarity than our regular fare.

This season has honestly been the most stressful season of homeschool that we have gone through, and are currently involved in. When I have more projects on my plate than I know how to deal with, I short circuit, and then we certainly experience the trickle-down effect through the ranks. As challenge after challenge has hit, I have seen myself at close to my worst. I have analyzed what we should and could be doing differently, but just keep coming back to the fact that life right now is not our ideal situation, but we have to keep plugging away. I have cried many times, overwhelmed with what new thing we must handle. And, I am finding that it is not always the biggest challenges that I crumble under, but the little annoyances — the loud noises when my mind screams for some silence, and the mental load of trying to understand multiple projects simultaneously.

In the last months, we have stacked up the projects, leaving little time for quiet reflection. As the mental pressures pile up, I found myself unable to process much more mentally, so I have been so grateful that my boys know how to cook. When I hear, “Mom, what’s for breakfast?” before I even have a chance to get the cobwebs out of my head, I am thankful when they just make it happen so that I don’t have to make another decision. My mind has been stuffed with septic line assembly, dump truck rental, fruit tree placement, hole size, distance and diameter, house site clearing, basement excavation, footer dimensions, root cellar placement and size, finances, sick child, phone that quit making calls, floor plans, mud and rain, driveway excavation, packing, and employee coordination. Then our sink and countertop failed us, and we found out just how poor we are at “figuring out” DIY.  Did I mention school? Allll this without Dad! Literally, when our month of focused excavation was completed, our eldest asked me what we were going to do the next day. I replied, “School.” “Only school?” he asked. “Yes.” He let out an audible sigh of relief at “only school,” and I realized that we all were just completely exhausted, physically and mentally.

The more overwhelmed I felt, the more time I noticed myself turning to Facebook. I realized it was/is an escape for me, and a natural way to “interact” while my husband and I have had decreased communication because of distance. I enjoy catching up, but I realized that my already overwhelmed mind didn’t need more material to think about. I have consciously been watching my time on FB this last week or more, and I see that it helps me. My mind can only take on so much before it reaches saturation. And then, when things are already challenging, the temptation to compare your life to the lives portrayed by others is quite high. This can compound feelings of inadequacy and frustration. But, what we need to realize is that on any journey, there are shadows and rainbows. Facebook posts tend to showcase the rainbows, and maybe it’s because we all need to cling to those moments where something actually does happen right. We as homeschoolers especially need to keep this in mind.

During this time, I have admittedly fallen behind in reading other blogs in our group. The other day, I randomly (I thought), while weary, feeling knocked down and dragged under the bus, stumbled upon this post on our blog. It’s the only blog post I have read in over a month. I don’t even know how I got through it, I was that tired, but somehow, some bells started to go off in my head. I particularly appreciated the links that were shared to Dr. Caroline Leaf’s materials. I began to listen to some of the messages, and I saw so clearly how, even though I legitimately have real challenges in our situation right now, I don’t have to drown under them. Jesus offers help, and it is with my cooperation, especially in my thought life. Wow. There is abundant material about the brain and how our thoughts form connections that contribute to our health, both mentally and physically. Truly, we are what we think. I haven’t read part two of the blog about our thoughts, but I will soon be doing so.

I feel like that reminder about choosing my thoughts has helped me. It has made me more aware of what I say since it reacts on me and others, like my children, reinforcing the positive or negative. And, I have seen how much the Lord really wants to help me to have a victory, not a defeat.

I will say that old habits are those that surface without our effort, and so much so in this area of what we say. I am literally praying often that God will give me a kind word, because when I feel overwhelmed, my natural reaction is negativity. Barbara O’Neill, a favorite speaker of mine, says that we must “fake it ’til we make it,” and that this indeed is a spiritual principle. This is a very helpful talk about the laws that govern our minds. I highly recommend it, and I need to go back and re-listen to it too!

Don’t misunderstand the Fake It ‘Til You Make It outlook. This does not mean to pretend your worries away, expecting that they will just vanish. Instead, it means choosing what we tell ourselves about what we are going through, and choosing to turn to beneficial sources like Bible promises to get our mental dialogue pointed in a positive direction. The Bible says, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in Thee,” Isaiah 26:3. This strongly suggests a partnership between us and the Lord. He promises us peace, but first we choose to train our minds on Him, His power, His ability, His goodness towards us. He is able to help us in every emergency.

Cheezburger Image 6084583680

Another talk that I appreciated is this talk by Maria Neblett, called The Language of Encouragement. She speaks so honestly about her struggles, and I really can relate to what she shared. But, she also shows us how to strive for victory and change the course of our homes. This talk I have listened to a couple of times, but really need to go back over it until I can truly make it my experience.

I hope that my ramblings have not been too random. God is good. He is real, and He is here for us. Satan wants to weigh us down and defeat us in any way that he can. We do have a part to play to cooperate with our Saviour, even if we have to “Fake it ’til we make it!”

Taking Care of Everyone…But you? – SDA Homeschool Families

This is another article that I had the privilege to share on a church-related homeschool support/encouragement site that I have begun to contribute to.

If you are a home-schooling mother, the points in this post will hopefully be good reminders.  I routinely have to remind myself of these things, because life so easily swallows up good intentions.  My biggest struggle is probably the rest.

My hope is that something in this article will strike a chord for the home-educating mother.

Source: Taking Care of Everyone…But you? – SDA Homeschool Families

Brain Game

imageHere’s an idea I adapted from a friend.  She calls it “Circle Time”.

What it is:  near the beginning of your school day (we do it right after our Bible lesson), hit several subjects quick, in the form of a little quiz-challenge.  I had no idea how our boys would take it, but jumped right in and tried. They actually love it, and it’s their favorite part of our school day currently (excluding break time)!

What we do:

I pull two to four cards from our Bible Question Card box related to our Bible lessons for that week Here’s what we use but any quiz book/cards/out of your head will do.

First–I ask 2-4 Bible questions quickly and see who can answer!

Next–if we have time, we do a Bible sword drill type question.  I read a verse and see who can find where I’m reading. I try to find important verses that they’d find handy to know.

Next comes the map game. Simply–I name a country, they find it on the map with the capital.  We are focusing on European countries, and I’ve been surprised at how many I’m not all that familiar with. For us, it’s better than focusing on the whole globe.  Learn one area well before moving on.  I usually do one or two only.

After countries we do 2 states.  Most of the boys know their states and capitals pretty well, so I may say the abbreviation, and let them find it quickly. Or, to make it harder, I’ve tried telling facts about the state, such as flower, nickname, etc.  They always want one more.  Everyone wants to find one first. I make it a point to stop before they get tired of it so they look forward to next time.

Finally, we go quickly over math facts. I do get groans here, but just pretend I can’t hear them.  We run through mostly times and division tables, 2-3 sets, for review.  I just have one boy who struggles here, so it’s nice to not single him out.  He gets the benefit of hearing and saying the correct answers, and we do more individual review later on.  This always reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie school scenes, where all the children recite together.

On a good day, this takes about ten minutes or less. Some days have stretched out more, mostly because the boys want more Bible navigation challenges, or more map searching. I like to see them excited. I am not kidding myself–I believe much of their enthusiasm  is fueled my the male need to conquer and win. For that reason, I attempt to avoid any spirit of competition, which immediately kills the nice learning atmosphere that we so desire!!

Thank you, Gloria, for the winning idea you passed along to me!

Now go make your own Brain Game!

Prepared?

“Shall not the judge of all the earth shall do right?”  Genesis 18:25

Tomorrow is the day. Court.  As much as my husband and I hoped to avoid it, we get to go.

 

What at will happen there?  Will the truth be told?  I believe it will, but that little twinge of doubt causes a ball of stress inside to make its presence known.

 

I know now we have done everything that we know of to get prepared. Documents are ready to hand over to the judge to tell our story.  We spent time outlining the timeline of events and have scrutinized our actions. We wonder what the judge will look for.  Have we done enough?  Did we follow all the rules?  Will our good intentions be understood, or will our motives be misrepresented?

 

With much care, we have analyzed our decisions, and appearing before the judge fills us with seriousness. We carefully consider how we will look when we appear in court, and select clothing that will convey respect and dignity.  We want to look like respectable people, and not call undue attention to ourselves in a showy, distracting way.  We would not show up in a careless dress either, indicating a flippant attitude towards the one who will be deciding our case.

 

We plan to arrive early, with all of our documents, our friend and realtor for moral support.  More importantly, we will show up as three people, but many more will go with us–for we have prayed that God’s holy angels will attend us.  So many good friends and prayer warriors have promised to intercede for us, that God will listen and hear our case, even as the judge locally will hear us.  So, we know that no matter what happens in the court room will be what God has allowed and planned for, whether we enjoy the outcome or not.  We will accept it at His will for us, for we have surrendered this case into His hands.

 

My mind automatically jumped to the connection between our physical preparation to meet the judge and our spiritual preparation to meet a higher Judge.  Do we not believe we are living in the Great Day of Atonement, where our cases are being decided for eternity, even as we go about our daily lives?  Am I as concerned about my preparation for when my case is brought before the Judge who never makes a mistake?    It really is a sobering thought.  Does my life, my attitude, my dress, and my words reflect the same respect that I wish to show to this earthly judge?  I am afraid that I must admit that this does not capture my attention as much as it really aught to.  Would I show up to the all-important court scene with no preparation?  I hope not.  My life and actions will answer that question.

 

Fast forward now…

 

I now have the benefit of retrospect, as I did not finish this post prior to the court date.

 

I have to say that I am amazed at how God gave me peace in spite of my nervousness.  As I drove to the appointment, I literally had a praise service in my car.  Bible promises flooded my mind, and since many of them were in song, I sang them aloud!  And as I did this, God brought more to my mind, one right after another!!

 

“The Lord your God, who goeth before you, He shall fight for you!”  Deuteronomy 1:30

 

“You shall not need to fight in this battle:  set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, Oh, Judah and Jerusalem, fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”  2 Chronicles 20:17, 15

 

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living.  Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and He shall strengthen your hearts.  Wait, I say, on the Lord.”  Psalm 27:13,14. NKJV

 

There were more as I drove along.  I realized that these verses were ones that I had memorized at different times with my boys as songs.  Isn’t God amazing?  He knows we need these verses, and He is faithful to bring them to remembrance.  We need to be more faithful to put them into our brains!!!!

 

The outcome was that The Lord did sustain us.  He went before us, and our case was decided in a just manner.  The judge was a good representative of our Heavenly judge in several ways.  He treated both parties with respect and kindness, even while upholding the law.  Even though the case may have been decided somewhat more in our favor, it was not a biased decision.  He simply looked at what was fair and just, and made his judgement.  We didn’t feel like we received special treatment at the expense of another, but we did feel like he understood our case.  He offered help to the other side as well.  There was some sadness and despair, which, unfortunately, comes many times, with choices made and laws broken.

 

In the end, we will each be able to say that our case was decided in a just manner.  We may have eternal thankfulness at our verdict, or we may experience the grief and despair that comes with persitently choosing to continue in a law-breaking life.  Thankfully, each of us do have a choice, and it can begin today.

 

I want to be prepared.  How about you?