Category Archives: Quiet Times Podcast

It Can’t Wait: Teaching Our Children About God

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I wonder, as families, are talking about the Lord very often? I mean, really, if I were to ask you if we should be talking about the Lord, you’d answer, “Yes, of course we’re supposed to be talking about the Lord!”  However, when it comes down to it, it’s not as easy as it sounds, is it? It’s easier to put the Lord at the end of our day or at the end of our conversation, if we even remember Him at all.

Sometimes, we only mention His name when we need help. I think this is the common response— we we run to God only in times of crisis or emergency. Certainly, God is there in those times, but I wonder what our families would look like if we ran to Him on a daily basis rather than in times of crisis or struggle.

If you already have your Bible, turn with me to a familiar passage that most of you probably know. It’s in the Old Testament, in the book of Deuteronomy, chapter 6:5-7.  This is what it says:

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.”

A couple of years ago, my husband and I began a writing project called Firmly Planted.   The heart behind this Bible study is to engage the whole family in the study God’s Word.  One book, with activities and engaging questions for all ages. We began this project in response to something that we saw happening within the homeschool community, but as we spoke to our friends outside the homeschool community we began to see that many of us were struggling with the same thing.  We talk a lot about walking with the Lord, but we are not doing anything proactively to teach and train our children in the ways of the Lord.

This may require a sacrifice of time and energy on our part as parents, but one thing is certain:  if we don’t teach our children about God, the world will do it for us. We want our children to know the Lord, we want them to give Him the same place in our families that He holds in the universe. The Bible says that God is the Creator of all things.

So, as you consider your family, take a step back and ask yourself, “Are we studying the Bible as a family? Do my children see me reading the Bible? Do they know that God has a place in our family, that He is the most important part of our family?”

God deserves a place in your family, busy mom, and, you know what? He deserves first place. He deserves to be at the head of the table. Our children need to know that God is real and personal.  They need to know that He loves them and wants to have a relationship with them.

Does this take effort?  Yes, it does.

Someone asked me one time, “How do you make your children love the Bible?”  I had to laugh a little as I remembered all the times that my children had grumbled and complained when we gathered the family for devotions.  They would say things like, “Really mom? Do we HAVE to do that?” I’d like to say that it was perfect, but there were times where arguing was involved. Looking back, I can honestly say that the most important times that I remember with my adult children were when we were reading the Word and God really spoke to them in such a way that they began to see their relationship with Him in a personal way.

Let your kids see that God takes first place in your family. Although God deserves to have priority in the lives of your family members, don’t just do it for Him. Put Him first in your family for the sake of your family and you will find that there is tremendous blessing in walking with God.

My grandpa used to say,

“If you keep God outside of your family, there will be problems inside your family.”

Grandpa was right.  We see this in our culture, too.  Where we remove God, we struggle and suffer.  Walk with God, busy mom. Spend time in His Word with your kids and then see what God will do.

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P.S.  Have you been enjoying these daily devotions in podcast format?  I hope so—because I’m sure enjoying recording them!  Let me know how you’re doing—and feel free to post questions, too!  I hope these daily devotions are helping you get into the Bible on a consistent basis.

Heidi St John Firmly Planted Family Devotional For All Ages

God Works Through Suffering

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Hi moms..

Today I am going to talk to you about a difficult subject and I hope you can bear with me for a couple of minutes and open up your Bibles to the book of James

I want to talk about suffering today.

It’s been a difficult month, I won’t lie to you, for our family. We’ve had to walk through very difficult situations and some where we’ve watched our daughter walk through. Earlier this month, a new mom had given birth to her stillborn baby, and she was full term and it was right before our daughter Savannah gave birth to her baby, Noah. And right after Noah was born, about a week or so, another dear friend of ours lost their baby in labor, also.

It was a difficult thing to walk through with my daughter as she fought with the questions that we often fight with, like why them and not me? Why do bad things happen to good people?

And so, I’ve been thinking about suffering a lot and what the Bible has to say about suffering. And, what I think, as believers, we need to remember that God is working in the midst of pain; God is working.

It is the job of a Christian to look more like Jesus.

Open up your Bibles with me to James chapter 1. Starting in verse 2, we read of James’ point of view on trials and suffering. James has written this letter to teach Christians the practice of Christianity, to teach them what it means to walk with the living God.

And, James says if we have real faith, we will show it by acting like real Christians, no matter what it is that we are going through, even if it’s suffering, if we’re angry, if we feel like we’ve been wounded, or unjustly treated.

There is the heart of the Holy Spirit inside of us when we know Jesus.

Starting in verse two, in chapter 1, James says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its works so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. If any of you lack wisdom, he should ask of God who gives generously to all not finding fault, and it will be given to him, but when he asks, he must believe and not doubt because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

If you read earlier in the Bible in the book of Deuteronomy, 4:31, we read, “For the Lord your God is a merciful God; He will not abandon you.”

So, how do we respond when trials and temptations come our way?

Well, the first thing that we are learning to do as Christians is to be thankful, for we see this over and over again in the Bible.

Ask yourself, do I have a heart of faithfulness? Do I have a heart of thankfulness? Am I wallowing in self pity? Or am I allowing God to work through the midst of suffering that I find myself in?

We NEED to have a heart of thankfulness and a heart of faithfulness.

And, we need to believe that no matter what comes our way, that God is inherently good and He loves us, and that He is working THROUGH the pain that we are going through.

Satan WILL lie to you when you are suffering. He will say to you that other people are watching and that you have to put on a face, because people are watching. Which is true, because Hebrews says we are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, but, remember that God also understands your humanness, and when we believe “Oh I have to do it well,” that is performance based.

The other thing that we tend to fall into is the fact we want the approval of other people, and that is approval based.

Mom, hang on to the fact that God already approves of you. He loves you, He sees your suffering, and He knows that you want to serve Him.

And so, as you go through sorrow and temptation and suffering, trust the Lord for His goodness for you and that His mercies are anew every morning. And allow Him to fill you up.

I have a friend who used to say to me that if I lived in the future, that I would live with fear and anxiety, and if I lived in the past, I couldn’t have victory in the present.

The same thing is true when we are walking through suffering.

We cannot imagine, or take ourselves to a future place because it will take us to a place of fear and anxiety.

So, we need to learn to live in today.

TODAY is God’s gift to me and tomorrow (like the Bible says) has enough worries of its own.

So, learn to trust the Lord, today, busy mom. He cares about you; get alone with Him, allow Him to come in, lay down your sorrows at His feet and allow Him to work through the midst of the pain.

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Heidi St John Firmly Planted Family Devotional For All Ages

Finding Rest Through Surrender

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Are you struggling and in need of rest?  As mothers, we spend our lives taking care of others. So how do we find refreshment and rest for our own bodies and our own souls?

In Matthew, Jesus said,

Matthew 11:29

New International Version (NIV)

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

I’ve been thinking about what that means during this season of recovering from surgery and walking through some difficult changes in my life.  It’s caused me to stop and think about whether or not I’ve taken His yoke, or if I’m wearing a yoke of my own design.  One thing’s for sure: when I wear a yoke of my choosing, it’s not a “easy” or “light.”  It’s burdensome and heavy.

God wants His children to learn to conform to His heart for them. He wants to carry our burdens with us. More often than not, I’m discovering that whenever I struggle under the weight of a trial in my life it’s because I’ve been unwilling or unable to surrender to the season of life that the Lord has me in.

In the verse above, we can see that Jesus extends an invitation to rest—and He gives three things we must do in order to find that rest from burdens we carry:

  1. Come to Me: God wants us to come to Him first, before we do anything. Before we take on a project or say “yes” to another weekly activity.  He wants us to come to Him.
  2. Take My Yoke: Don’t take God’s good idea for someone else’s family on yourself.  Jesus taught us that that His yoke is designed just.for.you; for your soul alone. 
  3. Learn from Me: I think Jesus’ gentle reminder here was intended to keep us from relying on the teachings men rather than getting into God’s Word and seeking after Him personally.  As we have seen over and over, people fail.  But God doesn’t. His heart is that we would seek Him first.

So why do we still struggle, even after we’ve come to Christ?  Here’s the key:  Jesus said in John 15:4,

“Remain in Me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in Me.”

It’s the abiding that gets us most of the time, isn’t it?  Surrendering and laying down our will for His is something we must do. It’s an act of the will. When we choose to remain in Him, we find rest.  Rest is found in remaining in Christ when things get tough.  This doesn’t mean thing will be easy—but I’m here to bear witness to God’s unfailing mercy and the peace He gives that really does “pass all understanding.”

If you’re struggling to find a way to surrender to the Lord today, remember that He’s waiting for you.  The God of the Universe is waiting—just for you.  We are loved by our Creator!

Surrender is a daily thing.  Ask the Lord to help you abide in Him today, busy mom.  Ask Him to help you learn what surrender looks like.  He wants to carry your burden with you.

Stay surrendered and find rest,
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Heidi St John Firmly Planted Family Devotional For All Ages