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Family Bible Reading Plan for Holy Week

The Gospels spend more focused time on the the final week of Jesus ministry, than on any other part of His time on earth. This week was an intense period of teaching in Jesus ministry, as he prepared for what He knew to be coming, and also prepared His disciples for what they had coming. As Easter is becoming more and more commercialised, it is important that as families we emphasis what this week is about. It is a time where, as individuals, and as families we should be focusing again on what Christ did for us. I have put together this Bible reading plan for this purpose. I have not included every single detail of Jesus teachings during this period of His ministry- there is too much to go through, especially with younger children in mind. Mary the sister of Lazarus’ worship of Jesus is remembered during Holy Week. It is a wonderful piece of scripture to meditate on during this time, and can be found in John 12: 1-8, especially given the prophetic act of her worship in relation to the death of Jesus; another account of this is in Mark 14:3-9. Also the washing of the disciples feet is another portion of scripture I have not included, but could be incorporated into Thursday’s reading (it is found in John 13). These two events in the run up to Jesus death give scope for doing some sort of hands on time of remembrance and worship- for example washing each others feet. Or lighting a scented candle and having a time of family worship. MONDAY Mark 11:12-26 Jesus clears the Temple, and He curses the fig tree. TUESDAY Luke 20 This is a portion of the teaching Jesus gives in the Temple, in the context of questioning by the Pharisees. WEDNESDAY Matthew 25 Again I have continued with more of the teaching Jesus gave in the Temple during this time. This is the Parable of the Virgins. THURSDAY Luke 22:7-71 This reading contains the Last Supper, and the arrest of Jesus. FRIDAY Luke 22:47-23:48 The crucifixion. SATURDAY Luke 23:50-56 This was the Sabbath day- the day Jesus lay in the tomb. A day where the Son of God, the Creator of the Universe lay dead. I find this painting by Hans Holbien the Younger very powerful: SUNDAY John 20 HE IS RISEN! Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Celebrating Advent

We do not follow the liturgical calendar of the church, but I always hold Advent dear to my heart. Growing up in a traditional Church of Scotland the annual singing of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” heralded the beginning of Christmas. The haunting, sorrow; it’s shear beauty, touched me deeply. I could not understand why it seemed so full of sadness, when it was to usher in the start of Christmas? O Come O Come Emmanuel O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free Thine own from Satan’s tyranny From depths of Hell Thy people save And give them victory o’er the grave Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, Thou Key of David, come, And open wide our heavenly home; Make safe the way that leads on high, And close the path to misery. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes, on Sinai’s height, In ancient times did’st give the Law, In cloud, and majesty and awe. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel. The carol is the very longing of our souls for the coming Saviour. Advent means “Coming”, we are celebrating the Coming of Jesus, both then, and the awaiting of His Coming.The knowledge of the sorry state of humanity without Jesus. During the Sundays of Advent we light the Advent Candles. These symbolise: Hope, Love, Joy, Peace. I believe there is a sense many “Comings” of Jesus. As we go through the Seasons of our faith there are times when the reality of different aspects of Jesus character are more “real” than others. We go through seasons of knowing the Joy of the Lord powerfully, then we go through other seasons where His Holiness has us awe-struck. But there are seasons when the Lord feels distant, where we can feel lost and alone. At such times we need an Advent in our lives. We need the Hope, Love, Joy and Peace of Jesus to flood our beings and bring renewal, healing and newness of life. Advent is a time to reorient our lives- cleaving, seeking Hope, Love, Joy and Peace: only...

Advent Bible Study for the Whole Family

Christmas is coming! Children have growing levels of excitement! Advent is a wonderful time not to only teach the “Christmas Story” but to delve deeper into why Jesus came. It is a time where you can go back to the beginning and explore the Word, to take a journey from Genesis to the manger in Bethlehem. We often do some sort of Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is a French tradition which his growing in popularity within the modern evangelical church. For a Jesse Tree you make different ornaments, with symbolic meaning. These tell the story from the Garden of Eden, to Fall, Noah’s Ark, Abraham, the Law and Prophets all the way to the birth of Jesus. There are many sites where you can print Jesse Tree ornaments to make with children. We also use a simple Bible Study, suitable for younger children, so the whole family can take part. I found one by Ann Voskamp on the Homelife website. This Advent Bible Study is a perfect length to use with children, and can easily be used along with a Jesse Tree. Jesse Tree Links A Holy Experience Jesse Tree Faithful Provisions The Crafty Journal Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Disciplining or Training the Heart of the Child

I write about discipline very tentatively. When I read disciplining articles or books I always image in the author to have these perfectly obedient children! I do not- I have four very different children. The oldest two in particular could not be more different. To be honest if I only had my oldest daughter, I would probably feel highly qualified to write about disciplining children, she is obedient and good- the type of child you can take anywhere! However, The Knight Boy is far more challenging! He has been sent from on high to humble me, and kill off any notion of perfect parenting! Having the Knight Boy has challenged everything I would think about parenting. I have had to really meditate and pray over scriptures like: “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you punish them with the rod, they will not die.” Proverbs 23:13, and “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6. What do these scripture look like when worked out in life? With such very different children I have quickly learnt that one size fits all will not work in discipline. With one child a gentle word is enough to correct them, with others they need more serious consequences. I have also come to learn smacking is not necessarily the best option. I have nothing against smacking, I do not believe it a evil of society that needs to be banned. But I also have found it does not always work. Children are complex humans and an ABC of how to take them from being babies to good, well adjusted adults does not exist. Raising a child is more about knowing that child than a how-to-manuel. I have found my style of parenting soften as time has past. The scripture I find most challenging is, “Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Colossians 3:21. Being firm and strict is not a problem for me- I am not afraid to discipline bad behaviour, however I am learning to train more the heart of the child. The Jedi Boy is not a naughty child, he is deeply inquisitive and determined. It is better to call him spirited. Over the years I have started to now see his behaviour, not as the problem, but as a symptom: the fruit of something. As a parent I need to find the root behind the behaviour. And then tackle the root! That does not mean if he has just been rude...

Follow The Joy

It has shocked me how brutal parenting can be, and as a consequence it is easy to grow hard. During the times when I find myself becoming hard I shout more, cry more, feel overwhelmed, and guilty. Condemnation begins to weigh heavy upon me- I am a terrible parent, I can’t do this, my children will need therapy to “get over” their childhood. And the downward cycle continues. However, I do not want to be this kind of hard mother. Life is life, and the pressures of living will always be there- like death and taxes! I have to find the joy and follow it! Where God is there is joy… I want some of that please, I want some of that for my children. Following the joy may mean overcoming tiredness, apathy, even fear… but you and your household will reap the rewards. Think about the times as a mother you have known joy with your children: is there are pattern? I have noticed I experience joy chiefly when reading with them, and being in nature- surrounded by beauty. So to cultivate joy, I want to increase the amount we read together- not always easy with a broad age range of children, and a 1 year old who likes to throw his books at you when you try to read to big boys! Secondly I need to seek out beauty in nature… my doorstep is slightly limited in beauty. This means the motivation to bundle the four children into the car in search of wild places. Small steps towards intentionally improving everyones lives. Otherwise the drudgery of day to day life can sap the zeal from you and make every one depressed. I don’t want this to be the memories my children have our our home. Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...

Maternal Spirituality: Lessons from Brother Lawrence...

Brother Lawrence, was a 16th century monk who’s relationship with God brought people to visit him in the monastery, such was the Presence of God around this man. He led a simple life, but he was no heavy weight within the monastery. Lawrence was worked in the kitchens, and hated the work. However, one of the first keys to Brother Lawrence intamacy with God was his attitude towards all the tasks he was to undertake. Brother Lawrence turned everything into worship. He worked not for man but for God. “That as he knew his obligation to love God in all things,” He would also seek God for the grace to do all things required of him. Lawrence had a lame leg, which made many of his duties difficult. So he would seek not only to do them for God’s glory, but he would come simply before God and ask for the grace to be able to do all things. That when an occasion of practicing some virtue offered, he addressed himself to God, saying, Lord, I cannot do this unless Thou enablest me; and that then he received strength more than sufficient. Now in the home we serve our husband’s and children. And although we love them, and want the best for them in all things it is hard. They are human, we are human… they can be down right annoying at times. When we come to an end of our natural strength I am reminded that pouring ourselves out for people, no matter how much we love them, is not the best way. Pouring ourselves out as an act of worship brings God’s Presence, and his blessing into the situation. If in serving our families, we are first serving God, then we are on the way to leading a life of Practicing the Presence of God- a life of worship. When done for God the washing up, the changing of nappies, the hoovering, all the endless tasks no one sees and no one thanks you for become worship- seen by your Father. A blessing to God. “I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship” Romans 12:1 Share this:PrintFacebookTwitterEmailLike this:Like...
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