Archive for January 2014

The Gift of Love – Plan ahead for Valentine’s!

Did you read last week’s post and have good intentions, but then didn’t do anything?  Well, here’s an idea that may jumpstart you!  Forget the chocolate and flowers and give something new this year for Valentine’s.  Ummm…actually, chocolate would still be good.   But seriously, what about giving the gift of love through memorizing and reciting a verse or verses about love for a loved one?  This is something the kids could do for grandparents, a spouse could do for his/her beloved, families could learn together for each other, etc.  The entire chapter is below and I’ve bolded the most commonly quoted sections (verses 4-8a and 13).  Children of any age could make or help decorate a cut-out heart or card with the verse(s) on it to serve as a memory reminder and/or part of the gift.  Older children or teens might enjoy making their own version of the words in heart form, as seen below. 

Above is a sample of the type of “Take Action” ideas in Parenting with Scripture, paraphrased from the topic, Love

1 Corinthians 13 – The Love Passage

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.   If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.   It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.  For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.



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New Beginnings, not Resolutions Series – Scripture Memory

Watch this and tell me you aren’t inspired…and have a smile on your face!   (Click on picture to connect to the YouTube video.)

Abby Psalm 23

This video went viral about 7 years ago.  I happen to know this sweet little girl!  She is one of my best friend’s daughters as well as one of my daughter’s best friends.   I want you to know that though this video is precious, there is nothing extraordinary about Abby or her mom.  (Sorry, Julie!)  What I mean by that is, she’s a normal little girl with a normal mom.  The difference is that this mom took time to teach her three year old a passage of Scripture. 

Did you catch the key phrases in that last sentence? 

Took the time. 
A three year old. 
A passage of Scripture…not just a verse. 

What I think this exemplifies is that we too often underestimate what we and our children are capable of. 

Whether Scripture memory is a new beginning for your family or this is just some encouragement to keep going, here are some suggestions that I hope can be helpful. 

15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize
These are the Scriptures that I find most useful in teachable moments that pop up.  It’s a great place to start so you and your child will have them on your hearts when the opportunities arise to refer to them.  Click on picture to link to the free printable download.

15 Fabulous Verses to Memorize
(If link isn’t working, this is available for free on the “Downloads” section of .  It’s also in the back of Parenting with Scripture.)

Memorization Methods –
These include techniques for toddlers through teens.  Click on picture to link to the free printable download.

Fun Memorization Methods
(If link isn’t working, this is available for free on the “Downloads” section of  It’s also in the back of Parenting with Scripture.)

Where else can you find verses to memorize?

– Find verses from topics you frequently deal with using Parenting with Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments.

– Ask your child’s Sunday School teacher or your Children’s Minister.

– If your child goes to a church preschool, ask if their curriculum has verses that goes along with it.

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  Psalm 119:105

I have hidden your word in my heart…  Psalm 119:11a


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New Beginnings, not Resolutions Series – Prayer Partner

A number of years ago, I desired to join a group of moms that prayed for our preschool (like Moms in Touch).  The problem was, how would I fit that into my already busy schedule?  I just couldn’t add one more meeting to attend!  Nevertheless, I knew that I needed some accountability to pray for my family.  Why is it that I’m great at remembering to pray for a friend’s surgery or an extended family member in crisis?  But, I forget to regularly lift up the needs of those under my own roof?!  Please tell me I’m not the only one!

I was discussing this conundrum with a dear childhood friend, Amy, and we came up with a solution!  Prayer partners!  She had similar desires so we agreed to pray by phone weekly, most often on Wednesdays.  We e-mail each other our “praises and prayer requests” before our call.  We’ve found that preparing those ahead helps us have the time we need to prayerfully contemplate our family’s joys and concerns before being on the spot during the conversation.  Sometimes we enjoy catching up before we pray.  Other times we keep it short and sweet and run through the lists because of our time constraints.  We’ve been going for over 6 years now and what a joy it has been to pray through all the highs and lows.  It would be veeeeeeeery easy to have let this time slip away through the years as life tries to push it out of the way.  However, I know that both Amy and I are grateful to this time for not only our friendship, but also the incredible ways we’ve seen God work in our families through illness, job loss, unemployment, births, deaths, issues with our children, career changes, maaaaaaany decisions, and so forth.  Looking back through these years of praying, we can both say with certainty that in the good AND the bad, “God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good!”

If this strikes a chord in your heart, maybe finding a prayer partner is a new beginning for you this year!

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.  Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, 12

Helpful Tips for avoiding burn-out or it regularly turning into chat time:

  • Write out your purpose.
    Is this just for our families or for any prayer need we know of?
  • Write out guidelines
    How much will the total time be?
    How much time will each person share?
    How much time will be allow for prayer?
    Will we allow time for catch up or be careful to stick to prayer?

    This may sound too formal, especially if you are doing this with a good friend.  However, it simply helps everyone get on the same page and sets the stage for gentle reminders to be made if things are getting off track.

  • E-mail ahead the concise list of praises and prayer requests.  Thinking through things ahead allows for more prayer time.
  • Focus on praise as much as prayer.




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New beginnings, not resolutions – Family Devotions

When I introduced the series last week, I encouraged you to consider praying about how you could spiritual grow your family this new year. (  This post focuses on family devotions.  Following are ideas for all ages and levels of readiness…those who want to just get their toes wet, to those who want to dig in deep! 

Regular family devotions are some of our favorite times we share as a family.  They give us a chance to learn, discuss, and go deeper with each other and God’s Word.  If you aren’t sure where to start or are looking for something fresh and new, I have a few suggestions. 

For families with elementary – teens who want a topical approach:
Use Parenting with
Scripture: A Topical Guide for Teachable Moments as a family devotional guide and go through topical discussions and activities as a family.  Read this blog to take a peak into one of our family devotion times using this method –

For families with preschool – teens who want to integrate media and hands-on activities:
Try out  This page has 24 creative ideas for families with all ages. 

For families with babies – Kinder who want specific age appropriate Bible resources (birth-1, 1-2, etc):
Download this free list –

Bible Resource List by Age

For families with toddlers – elementary who want one simple (yet profound and excellent)  Bible story resource:
Try the Jesus Storybook Bible:  Every Story Whispers His Name.  
I had heard many families rave about this book, but thought my upper elementary kids were too old for it.  Then a blogger friend wrote, “In my ever so humble opinion, every human being on the planet needs to read it, because it clearly and plainly (in words that yes, even a child can understand) tells the story of the Bible.  The story of a baby sent from God to rescue the ones He so desperately loves.”  (  Now that we are reading it, I completely agree! 

For families of any age children who want to dig into God’s Word…the real thing…the actual Bible:
Simply pick up the Bible and read through it with your family.
  This is so simple, yet intimidating to many…including me!  But it’s not as daunting as you might think.  An excellent resource for this is Carrie Ward’s Together:  Growing Appetites for God’s Word.  It chronicles her journey of craving God’s work and tackling the seemingly crazy idea to read through the whole Bible out-loud with her preschoolers! 

I’m not sure I would even tackled this approach (I’m sad to say!) if it weren’t for our church body reading through the New Testament together last year.  This blog link shares a bit on how we got started.  It went great and I’m thrilled we did it! 

…I struggled to find a picture of a real family with all age kids as an image to represent this post.  I think that’s because there is no ideal or right way for family devotions to “look.”  Families are different, and therefore methods will be different!  Praise God for His Word meeting our unique families with whatever our needs are and however that looks.  Join the Durbin family devotional time and you will be amused that to see that our son is often hanging off the couch upside down. (No judging unless you’ve had a young boy.  We do discuss respect, but we also have to pick battles.)  And somehow, settling in for devotional time is a cue for our two dogs to go CRAZY acting like pin-balls around the room!   This sets off our animal nurturer daughter trying to get them to calm down.  Even with all that going on, we treasure these special times we carve out of the day. 

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”  Matthew 4:4



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