Welcome to Family Faith and Fun Fridays! As the week winds down and I anticipate more family time over the weekend, I often ask God for one good idea that will enable me to bring the Word to life and bring our family together. Usually, the activity overflows out of something the Lord has been teaching me through His Word during the week. I’d like to invite you to join me and my family in the adventure. Sometimes I’ll post things we’ve tried; other times I’ll post an idea in the works. If you’ve got thoughts to add or suggestions on how to adapt or improve the activity, please don’t hesitate to comment.
The Vocabulary of Truth
This summer I've challenged my children to give God their "first five." Though I don't believe there is any magical time to read the Word, I do know from experience that if I don't open my Bible immediately in the morning, the distractions of my day often prevent me from opening the Word at all. There's no better time to try to establish a school-year habit than during this marvelous season of "hazy, lazy summer days." With no school bus to catch and no school bags to pack, we can linger in the Word without a sense of hurry and "have-to." I can pull my little ones on my lap when they awake and read from their children's Bible. I can answer my school ager's questions as they work through their devotion books and Bible reading plans, and I can model the "first five" myself without hauling out of bed at the break of dawn.
While I've delighted in watching each child rise to our challenge, I've been praying for ways to explain the "why" behind Bible reading. I don't just want my kids to view time spent in the Word as just another "to-do" on their check list of responsibilities. So when I stumbled on Jill Savage's simple explanation of why we need to read God's Word, I was thrilled! In her book Real Moms, Real Jesus, she writes: "When we read the Bible we increase the Holy Spirit's vocabulary in our lives.... (the) Holy Spirit takes truth from our heads to our hearts."
Immediately, a memory from our married life overseas came to mind. When Rob and I were living in Salzburg, Austria, we functioned by using the disjointed but growing bits and pieces of German that we were learning. We carried an English-German pocket dictionary for emergencies and learned enough of the local jargon to make small talk in shops, to read menus in restaurants and to understand street signs and train directories. However, when we decided to take a weekend excursion to Italy, we discovered that traveling without an ounce of Italian language knowledge robbed us of many of the simple joys that the experience could have offered. When we sat in a restaurant, we couldn't read the menu well enough to order a meal we liked. When we wandered through the old Italian town, we walked right by some key historical sights because we couldn't read the signs directing our steps. Quite simply, our poor Italian vocabulary limited our joy.
The same is true when we live with a limited vocabulary of truth. When we don't carry God's Word in our hearts, we are unable to follow the Holy Spirit's prompts as He leads us toward joy. Our adventure with God is reduced to aimless wandering rather than sensational sight-seeing.
In order to communicate this idea to my children, I challenged them to a scavenger hunt. I let them know that I had a sweet treat for anyone who could collect all the items on the list. The only problem? Pieces of the hunt were written in Spanish, a language my children don't know. Though they tried to guess what they were supposed to collect, their efforts were unsuccessful. When we they were finished, I handed them each the same hunt written in English. They moaned as they read the very simple directions and realized that if they'd just known Spanish, they would have easily secured the promised prize.
After our silly activity, I read Jill Savage's quote to my kids and explained that without God's Word in our heart, we just run around aimlessly, unable to do the things He's asked us to do. And we miss the sweet rewards of following His directions. Then, we did the same hunt with a new set of directions: one that was written ALL in English. We marveled at how simple the activity was when we were equipped with the necessary vocabulary. And we ended with the sweet treat that was promised.
If you want to offer a simple "why" for Bible reading, here's the hunt we used, along with the English translation. Enjoy!
- Find something you would wear in the Invierno.
- Find something azul.
- Get something you could wear that is Blanco.
- Bring me a toy Perro.
- Get something that you might feed to a Caballo.
- Find a Manzana.
- Bring me something that would hold a Bebida.
- Get the utensil you would need if you were going to eat Sopa.
- Bring me el lapis.
- Find a blue un libro.
And the English version....
- Find something you would wear in the winter time
- Find something blue.
- Get something you could wear that is white
- Bring me a toy dog.
- Get something that you might feed to a horse.
- Find an apple.
- Bring me something that would hold a drink.
- Get the utensil you would need if you were going to eat soup
- Bring me a pencil
- Find a blue book.
May your weekend be filled with Words of Truth! And the SWEET TREAT of hearing God's voice above all the others!