How to hide reassuring words in our heart?

Put God’s Word in our heartThis week in Sunday’s school, we talked about hiding God’s Word in our heart.

Hide God’s word? What does that mean?

We call the Bible, “God’s Word” so this means we are hiding the Bible in our heart.

(If you’ve got a very literal kid they may wonder how one hides a book inside your body!)

How does God’s Word get into your heart?

It gets there when we know a verse (or verses) “by heart.” In other words, we have it memorized. This is not memory work like you would learn the facts for a test; this is a different sort of learning.

It’s the ability to roll right off of your tongue, a reassuring message from God.

This can be very useful when you’re faced with a challenge such as: Can I do this new task?

Open quote markI can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13


Open quote mark Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

So what are some ways to “put God’s Word in your heart?”

  • We used this one on Sunday: Learn the verse using Sign Language. We did this with Psalm 119:105 using signs for Word, Lamp, Feet, Light, and Path.
  • We also tried this one on Sunday: Say the verse using different accents or enunciations. Try using a British accent, a frog croak, a cowboy voice, a mouse squeak, a cheerleader yell, a Southern accent, opera style, and underwater. What others can you think of?
  • Use cup-stacking! (We also tried this one on Sunday.) Check out cup-stacking instructions for a 3-6-3 stack. (Refer to the free lesson we used on Sunday for a chart of how to count the cups.)
  • Also, check out this post and this post, for more learn-it-by-heart ideas.
What ways do you learn up-lifting words?


Photo credits:
Clip art heart in the Public Domain. Altered by moi and offered at Flickr.

Etch the words into your heart

Water stories?

In this Bible verse from Deuteronomy 11:18a, Moses is admonishing the Israelites to always remember what God has done for them.

'So keep my words in your hearts and minds.

As our kids learned earlier this year, God provided freedom from slavery in Egypt. Moses goes on to instruct the Israelites to teach their children about these liberation stories.

Teaching these stories is still today a priority for us as parents/caregivers. But not only the specific stories of Moses; we also need to ensure that our children grasp the reality of God’s love. You’re probably already doing this task through many avenues:

  • Reading and telling Bible stories,
  • Praying with your kids,
  • Teaching service to others,
  • Naming instances you see in the world of God’s love and grace, etc, etc.

Here’s another way:

Encouraging the memorization of scripture.

And the perfect spot to start: John 3:16. (Read it in different Bible versions here.)

A heart shape with God written in it

Etching God’s words of love into our children’s hearts.

This is not memorizing like you would learn facts for a test. This is a different sort of learning, for a different purpose. Tell your children: “We are keeping God’s word in our heart.”

That’s right, I said we. Because you’ll want your kids to do as you do. It will be a much more powerful lesson if you are working on this as well.

Learning God’s words by heart makes it instantly available when you need it. Your mind can pull them up faster than a smart phone, right?

How to go about this task? Here are some ideas:

  • Refer to this past post for hints. (No sense in repeating myself!)
  • Start ’em young: Age 2 has been suggested. (But it’s never too late to start! Though it does get harder with age.)
  • Say it differently: Try a fun way of saying the verse. Use a cowboy voice, cheerleader style, opera style, referee style, or baby style. What other ways can you think of?
  • More games: If you have a dry-erase or a chalk board, write out the verse. Then erase one word and say the verse with the missing word. Continue until all the words are gone. Don’t have such a resource? Arm your child with a stack of Post-it Notes. Write out the verse on a sheet of paper and use the Post-it’s to cover up the verse a word at a time.
  • More songs: Try this one on YouTube to learn John 3:16-17. Search for other verses to find songs.
  • Catch them on video: Once your child can say part of a verse, video them. I’ll bet they’ll like watching themselves, and saying the verse with themselves!
  • After you’ve mastered John 3:16, learn verses based on the alphabet. Try these ABC Scripture cards.
What are your hints for etching God’s word upon our heart?


Photo credits:
Water stories by Abigail Keenan, via Unsplash.
Heart clip art by rygle, via
Both licensed under CC0 1.0 Public Domain.

Psalm 23 – Should it be memorized?

Did you learn Psalm 23 as a child? I don’t remember how old I was when I learned it; I might have been a teenager. All I know is that it sure is hard for me to learn Bible verses at my age! I wish I’d learned a lot more of them when I had masterly memorizing skills.

Should our kids be encouraged to learn Bible verses?

A multiplication facts practice toolIn today’s educational settings is memorization still taught? Why should we memorize a Bible verse, let alone a whole chapter’s worth; we can just look it up on our ipod/ipad/smart phone, right?

In a dire moment would you take the time to look it up?

The key is to have readily accessible the words that can steel us in times of trouble. The only way to do that is to put God’s word into long-term-readily-available-brain-storage, often known as “learning it by heart.” (Call it memorization if you must, but maybe not in front of your kids.)

Hints for memory work with kids:

  • Repeat it. Have your child work on a memory task for only 5 minutes at a time. Repeat every day, always reviewing what was learned in the past before adding something new.
  • Tie it. Tie your memory work to a certain event—while waiting for dinner, or while in the car.
  • Write it. Ask your child to make a set of flash cards for reviewing verses. If you have a kinesthetic learner (one for whom learning takes place by doing a physical activity as opposed to listening) repeatedly writing out of a verse may be helpful.Bible Memory App for Kids
  • Type it. If you let your child use phone apps here’s a great one: The Bible Memory App for Kids. I use the adult version. I’m up to 30 verses memorized! (Hmmm, maybe my memory skills aren’t as bad as I thought!
  • Sing it. Make up a tune or use a well-known tune.
  • A sketch of a sheepDraw it. Encourage children to draw pictures that represent a verse.
  • Dramatize it. Enact being a shepherd or walking through a dark valley or an overflowing cup. I can see it!
  • Game it. Write out the verses on slips of paper then cut the slips in half. Play a matching game to see who can fit two strips together.

What other ideas do you have?


Photo credits:
Multiplication by licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).
Sheep Sketch by Jennie L.C. who had originally licensed this photo on Flickr under Creative Commons (CC BY 2.0).
App screen shot from

Been in a shipwreck lately?

A beached shipwreck

Have you been in a shipwreck lately? I mean of course, a figurative shipwreck.

The kids are driving you bonkers… The car needs extensive repairs… Or someone you know received a dire diagnosis…

What can comfort you?

It can be hard, can’t it?

Kids can experience shipwrecks too.

A friend moves out of town… A new school is looming on the horizon… Or there is sibling strife…

What can comfort your kids?

Sure, you’ll be there to give them a hug when needed. But what will they use as comfort inside?

What sort of self-talk will get used, in a shipwreck when you’re not around?

A recent Bible story our kids encountered at Vacation Bible Camp was about Paul in a shipwreck; a literal shipwreck! Read the story in Acts 27. Paul received comfort from God, before, during and after his shipwreck.

Will our kids seek comfort from God in the midst of their shipwrecks?

We hope that they will, but it takes some practice.

God’s word is comforting.

Spend time teaching your children to search for comfort in God’s word – the Bible.

The key is to put God’s word into their long-term-readily-available-brain-storage. (Often known as “learning by heart.” Call it memorization if you must, but perhaps not in front of your kids!) Make this a regular (and fun) activity – at bed time or at dinner time or at breakfast… any time. Just make time.

Why not start with the Bible Buddies – those little plastic characters that the kids receive at VBC. Look at them closely. There’s a Bible verse printed on each one! Tuesday’s verse was:

Open quote markYour promise revives me; it comforts me in all my troubles.

That’s from Psalm 119:50.
If that seems too complicated, try this version:

Open quote markWhen I am hurting, I find comfort in your promise.

What can you do to ensure that in your child’s shipwrecks, they turn to God?

a blue line

A heart with the word 'God' etched in itFor hints on ways to work at verse “memorization” see here and here and (updated) here!

Photo credits:
Shipwreck, by Katherine Hoppe, licensed on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.
Heart clip art by rygle, who has waived rights and dedicated the work to the Public Domain.