You know I speak, preach, blog and have even written a book about the family and the importance of training up Christ-centered children. Yet, I was reminded again how far short I feel at living up to this goal. On Tuesday night we were having devotions and we were talking about Romans 12:1-2 where the Bible talks about being a living sacrifice and how we are not to conform to the patterns of this world and that we are to renew or minds, then we can know the will of God. The question was asked, “How do you renew your mind.” Great question. The simple answer is rather simple as well…STUDY the Bible. Want to renew your mind…STUDY the Bible. (I’ll tell you in a moment why the word “study” is being highlighted.)
We finished up the devotion time…prayed…put Andrew and Clara into bed and continued on with the evening. Later on about 10 pm, I went up to Kandace’s room (my 13-year-old daughter) to say goodnight. Here are my three beautiful daughters with Kandace on the left…
As we were exchanging “good night” pleasantries, she said, “Dad, can I be honest with you?” I said, “Sure!” She said, “Dad, I struggle getting anything out of the Bible when I read it.” She said, “I’ve been stuck in Psalms forever and I’m just struggling Dad.” I said, “Ok, well…let’s talk about it.”
I sat down on the edge of her bed and she joined me. I said, “Talk to me, honey.” She said, (and I have permission to share this), “Well, I sometimes feel like the Bible is boring and hard to understand, but I know I’m supposed to read it, but I’m not getting a lot out of it.” I said, “I appreciate your honesty, Kan.”
At that point it hit me. “Goofy…you’ve not even showed her how to STUDY the Bible. What’s wrong with you?”
Ever had one of those moments of realization that hits you on the head like the Golden Corral skillet from the old commercial.
I said, “Kandace, I’ve failed you my dear.” I’ve never really sat down and showed you how to study the Bible. I’ve missed that somehow! Please forgive me!” She said, “No problem, Dad. You have talked about it before, I guess…but, maybe I wasn’t listening.”
“Dad,” she said, “I just want the Lord to speak to me.”
“Great…He will…grab your Bible and let me show you how…”
She grabbed her Study Bible. Now you know what a Study Bible is.
It’s a Bible that has a ton of notes, pictures and maps and a cross-reference index running down the middle of each page that allows you cross reference Scriptures in different places of the Bible. I call them “rabbit track” references. I love a good rabbit track…
don’t you? I opened it up and reminded Kan about how to use it. She said, “Dad, I know all that…but, how do you get anything out of it.” I said, “Ok, I’ll show you.”
At that moment I prayed hard…”Lord, what do you want me to share her.” And in a nanosecond He said, “Ask her.”
“Kan…what are you struggling with?”
“Well…nothing really big…I just…well…I guess I just battle in trying to do the right thing all the time…”
Then it hit me. The temptation of Jesus. That’s a supreme battle.
I flipped over there and I said, “Ok…let’s read together and I’ll show you how to study this thing. This is gonna be good!” I said, “I’ll read out loud.” I started reading…
1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And after fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” …
Kandace then almost bolted off the bed, “Dad…Jesus was hungry because He’d been fasting and the Devil came out Him where He was the weakest.” I said, “That’s right darling.” She said, “Dad, I felt the Lord speak that to me! That’s how the devil works…he comes at us at our weak points.”
“Yes ma’am, he sure does.”
There was a revelation at that moment in her mind. The Lord had spoken into her thoughts and this is something I believe she will carry with her for a long, long time. As we continued to read about the first two temptations we got to the second one where Satan took Jesus to the “holy city.”
Kandace said, “What’s the holy city?” I said, “Let’s take a look.” There was a small letter beside of the words “holy city” that cross-referenced Luke. We flipped over to Luke’s account of the temptation and bingo…there it said, “Jerusalem.” I said, “See, sometimes one Gospel writer will fill in something that another one might not have said.”
The look on Kandace’s face was priceless. She was seeing how STUDYING the Bible works. She was getting it! What a revelation for my girl!
I believe Kandace is beginning to see the value of STUDYING the Bible versus just reading it. I have learned from experience that reading for distance (several chapters) a day might not be as valuable (and I really don’t think it is), than just reading for depth (or studying) the Bible.
The Bible says we are to “study to show ourselves approved.” And so, what an experience I had with my daughter.
Kandace hugged me with a big ole hug and said, “Thanks so much Dad!” I said, “I’m sorry that I didn’t do this a long time ago.”
Maybe those of you who are reading this can learn from my mistake. I’m grateful for the Lord’s patience with me…
…and my daughter’s.