“You never really lose until you stop trying”
- Mike Ditka
The Bible can transform the heart and minds of people of all ages, including children. When I visit my grandchildren, one of the favorite things that my grandson and I like to do together is go to the Christian bookstore. We spend hours walking the aisles and talking about everything from crosses, to children’s books, to CD’s, church, God and so much more. On our last shopping trip, I learned a valuable lesson. While we were browsing through the store, I found a CD of scripture verses that were put to music for children. I decided to buy it for the kids and all day long they listened, learned, and began to sing along with the words. I was very surprised when later in the afternoon Kaleb came to me and asked if I could write one of the verses on a piece of paper so he could put it next to his bed. He said, “Grandma, if I read that verse then I won’t be afraid at night.” The verse he wanted me to write down was "I will give you peace...and you will be able to sleep without fear” (Leviticus 26:6).
Kaleb is eleven years old and he loves to play soccer. He dresses for the game with his team jersey, soccer shorts, sports socks, shin guards, and soccer spikes. As he runs on to the field, he has confidence in his role. He is dressed and ready to take on the challenges of the other team. After his comment about the scripture verse, it occurred to me that God has given us a responsibility to teach children to spend just as much time dressing for the daily challenges against the enemy of God, as they do for their other activities. By having them put on the armor of God, they will learn to successfully stand up against temptation and danger and learn to make wise choices.
Biblical Reference for Armor of God - Ephesians 6:11, 14-17...
"Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.... Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
The verses about the Armor of God may seem hard to understand, but here is an easy way to explain them to children:
Belt of Truth: If we are to stand up against evil, we must stand by the truth. The Word of God is truth and shows us the right way to go in life.
Breastplate of Righteousness: Jesus makes us right with God – He protects our hearts.
Sandals of Peace: As Christians, we need to walk with inner peace. Our feet should always be ready to take us places to tell the Good News to others.
Shield of Faith: Without faith it is impossible to please God. He is willing to give us the faith we need to defend ourselves against Satan, and walk boldly.
Helmet of Salvation: We have salvation through Christ today and forever. We must guard our minds – the Bible tells us to think on good things.
Sword of the Spirit: The Bible is our sword. God’s word tells us what is right and wrong, and shows us how to live. Our battle is fought by prayer.
In order to put on the Armor of God, we all (adults and children alike) need to read God’s Word, and keep it in our heart and minds! Whether we are battling the enemy, confronted by a non-believer, or put in a position to make a choice between right and wrong, scripture gives us commandments for living a life in Christ, and the foundations of truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation.
I don’t know about you, but I find the challenge to memorize scripture really hard. Kids learn quickly by repetition... my old brain is a little more challenging. So here are a couple of different things that I have found helpful:
1. Highlighting scripture verses in my Bible has not only helped me remember the verses, but also where they are found. Sometimes I will write a date next to a verse, like my favorite verse from a certain Beth Moore study and the date I started the study, or like the verse Kaleb asked me about. I wrote his name and the date next to that scripture, and every time I come across that verse, it brings a smile to my face. My Bible has become not only a resource, but a journal of memories from my spiritual journey.
2. I’ve created a word document on my computer and every time I hear a verse I want to keep close at hand, I add it to my “scripture file.” I use it when I am writing verses in greeting cards, need an encouraging word to offer someone, or a quick reference for a “bad attitude” day.
3. I also like to purchase small scripture cards from the Christian bookstore and post them on my refrigerator, my work computer, my mirror, use as a bookmarker, etc. They’re not only great reminders, but as I see them over and over again, it helps with the memorization.
It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle.... action required... Colossians 1:28 – 29 declares, “We proclaim Christ, admonishing and teaching our children with all wisdom, so that we may present all of our children perfect in Christ. To this end we labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in us, their parents.” This week’s sparkle idea is helpful tips for teaching children scripture verses:
• If they are old enough to read a Children’s Bible, you could encourage them to do so by giving them bible verse stickers for each day they read their Bible.
• Some other resources that are available on christianbook.com include posters with Bible verses on, a memory verse flip calendar for children, memory verse mystery books (grades 1-3).
• As I mentioned earlier, there are also great CD’s of scripture memory songs for children of all ages.
• Bible puzzle books and coloring books are a way to learn and have fun at the same time. I’ve found these items are available at most Dollar Stores.
Why not take a child shopping this weekend...and check out your favorite Christian bookstore. Time invested in the spiritual lives of children is an eternal investment!
BTW... When I began my blog in January, I compiled a “Life List” of mini-goals that I would like to accomplish in my lifetime. One of those items was memorizing Bible verses... now is as good a time as any to challenge myself. So, my goal is to have my first 25 verses (and their reference) memorized by the end of the year. Want to join me?
Let the countdown begin...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver
Lord, your Word is a lamp unto my feet. Thank you for giving me
the opportunity to help teach my grandchildren your Word. Amen.