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.

Nic at night

This month our Rotation includes the well-known verse from the Bible, John 3:16. Definitely point it out the next time you see it lofted high at a game.

Fans holding up a religious sign

Did you know that this famous verse was spoken by Jesus in the context of a mysterious nighttime meeting? A man named Nicodemus, who had a lot to lose if his visit were noticed, came to see Jesus in the cover of shadows. It was an investigative sort of a trip, as Nicodemus had questions. Not only was it dark outside, but Nicodemus himself appeared to be “in the dark.”

To add to the intrigue, tell your kids this story is called “Nic at night.”

Who was this Nicodemus? Our story is found in John 3:1-17. We learn that Nicodemus was:

  • a Pharisee (recall that the Pharisees argued with Jesus and ultimately saw to his arrest)
  • a teacher of Israel
  • a part of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish ruling council during the time of Jesus.
  • These descriptions tell us that Nicodemus was a prominent, respected, religious leader; a real Bible-scholar.

    So, what was the reason for Nic’s nighttime trip to see Jesus?

    Nicodemus could easily have been labeled an opponent of Jesus, yet it seems that Nicodemus was perhaps a covert follower. We only learn later (in John 7:45-52) that when the Sanhedrin had suggested early on, the arrest of Jesus, Nicodemus asked for just-treatment, and that after Jesus’ death, Nic helped with his burial (John 19:38-42). Since Nicodemus is knowledgeable about Scripture and specifically what the prophets of the Old Testament foretold, maybe Nicodemus has an inkling about who Jesus might be.

    Could he be the Messiah?

    At a minimum, Nicodemus seems to be looking for something more in his life; something that is missing; something he saw, or heard about, in Jesus. It sounds like a situation that would bring anyone to want to know more about Jesus. And herein lies one of the beauties of this story…

    It’s okay to ask questions.

    Whew! That’s a relief to know! I sure have questions. It is okay to ask tough questions, and it is okay if there aren’t always straight answers. (We’ll see that Nicodemus likely left his visit with Jesus even more confused.) Pondering and questioning are good!

    What questions do you have for Jesus?

Photo credits: Click here for info on banner photo (not visible in readers or email).
A frequent sign held up at games by, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.