"Obedience brings blessing; disobedience brings discipline."
A dear friend of ours gave us a framed picture with these words on it. I put it in the main room of the house where we spend most of our time so we can see it often. How many times I have known what the Lord wants of me yet have chosen to follow my own way. How much happiness, joy and peace He gives me when, no matter how hard it may be, I simply choose to surrender my will to His. As undeserving as I am, He just pours out His blessings upon me. I am so amazed at how much He loves me! I am beginning to see more and more how very precious a pure, humble, yielded, repentant heart is to God. All my labors, giving, and prayers are not worth anything if my heart is not sweetly yielded to my Lord. Obedience is better than sacrifice (I Sam. 15:22).
I have seen many times the loving discipline of the Lord when I am not obedient. When we were little, my Daddee would always say to us, "Obedience is doing what you are told to do, when you are told to do it with a happy spirit." It is often those last two parts that I fight...doing it WHEN I am told or the Lord first brings it to my mind; and doing it with the right spirit. How Satan deceives us into thinking how very terrible it is to have to obey. Here God is just waiting and wanting to pour out His blessings upon us and we so often run, rebel, and turn from the very God who gives us breath and loves us so. Yet the undescribable joy He gives when we turn to Him and simply and humbly obey. He is so good!
My older two boys are with Daniel at the home of a very wise and godly man. They have gone there simply to listen and be taught at this man's feet. Our little ones are sitting around me playing "choo-choo train" and the middle ones are doing their school work. After about 2 weeks of beautiful spring like weather, it is a cool, rainy morning and since it's so quiet right now, I thought I'd take a few minutes to answer a couple more of your questions.
What do you do for morning Bible time?
I know that we as moms want to do what is best for our children. Often times, I would find myself wanting to find "the perfect" system or curriculum or book to use for a particular subject. I think that many ladies have the tendency to fret that they are not doing something right or there just may be a better way to do something that they are missing.
I am happy to share what we do for our family devotions, our school time, or any other area of our daily lives. I have learned so much from others through what I have observed or they have shared from their lives. But what the Lord really impresssed upon my heart a couple years ago was "faithfulness"....using what God has given me and what I know to do, and then just being faithful. I had spent so much time putting things off or only doing them half heartedly because I just wasn't sure if I had the best method, when all along, if I had just started or given my best with what I had, we would have been much closer to our goals than we were now.
In the area of family Bible time/devotions, I encourage you all to just start and be faithful no matter how simple it may be. Reading a verse, talking about it, singing a song to the Lord, ect... And most importantly, ask the Lord to use that precious time to work in you heart and that of your children.
Our morning Bible time is done around the breakfast table. Daniel prays and then while he and the children are eating, I read aloud a chapter from a book. We have read a variety of books choosing ones which encourage us in the Lord and our walk with Him. Currently, we are reading "Wisdom with the Millers". It is the fourth of the "Miller" books we have read and they are excellent. We have read a wide variety of Christian biographies and many missionary stories. We have read all four of the "Moody Family" books by Sarah Maxwell as well.
After I finish reading, Daniel opens the Bible and reads a chapter from God's Word. We are currently reading through the Psalms. Then Daniel will choose a verse or two which he will talk about and encourage us all to meditate on throughout the day. We end in prayer and then do our breakfast clean up chores and begin school for the day.
In the evenings, we also meet together as a family for time around God's Word before bed. In Mexico, Daniel often has to work late into the night, so if he is unable to be home, I have that time with the children. Since we have been here in the USA, it has been wonderful having Daniel often home in the evenings and then of course, he will lead. Our evening Bible time always begins with prayer and a time of singing. Daniel pulls out his guitar and we will sing anywhere from two to ten songs. Then we use that time to talk about whatever the Lord has on our heart, often things we have noticed in our lives or the lives of the children in which we need to work (i.e. bickering, laziness, contentment ect...). We also use the time to praise the children for applying God's Word and what they have learned as we notice that as well. We use Scripture verses and examples found therein for teaching, correcting, and encouraging. Sometimes, the children will also recite for the family the Bible passages that they have been working on during their Bible memory time each day in school.
We end with two things...first, we ask if anyone has anything that they want to confess...if they have done anything wrong or wronged anyone during the day and haven't made it right. It is a sweet time of confession, repentence, and forgiveness. And finally, we take prayer requests and go around the room giving each a turn to pray.
Then it is "hugs, kisses, and to bed" :).
Well, I need to begin teaching again as I hear them wrapping up their given assignements. Thank you so much for praying for us! Have a wonderful day as you joyfully obey! :)