Let This Be Written

A few years ago our family had the privilege of seeing an amazing exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls at our local science museum. How incredible to see those ancient words of God – words that He miraculously preserved in jars inside of caves for two thousand years! What a mighty act of God! Preserving words on paper for two thousand years would be impossible for man, but it was possible with God.

Seeing those scrolls reminded me of Psalm 102:18, which says, “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” I am indeed thankful for those men of long ago who obediently and diligently wrote those precious words down on scrolls so that my generation and my children could see them and praise God.

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit also reminded me of Psalm 145:4. “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” What a great verse this is for homeschool moms – and all parents and grandparents for that matter. If we could only teach one subject as homeschoolers this year, I think this should be it.

In her story book Bible The Mighty Acts of God, author Starr Meade explains that the purpose of telling stories of God’s mighty acts isn’t for entertainment value or good moral examples. The purpose is to make known the wonder of God’s great character.

Likewise, John Piper of Desiring God says we want the next generation to have not just heads full of right facts about the works of God, but also “hearts that burn with the fire of love for the God of those facts – hearts that will sell everything to follow Jesus into the hardest places of the world.”

That’s quite a vision for our students! And as this new school year begins, Psalm 102:18 and Psalm 145 are great encouragements to pass on to my children not just what I know about the one true God from reading the Bible, but also to pass on – heart to heart – what I personally love about God and how I have witnessed Him at work in my life. He has revealed specific attributes of His character – like His faithfulness, compassion, and unfailing love – in specific moments and seasons throughout my life. Knowing by heart those personal faith stories and marveling at God’s great character will fuel my children’s love for Him and better equip them to pass the faith on to their own children someday.

When I take time to recall how God has acted mightily in my own personal history, God is magnified and I am encouraged and comforted. But in order to recall these little faith stories and declare them to my children, I must first record them somehow. That involves watching for God’s grace in daily life, taking lots of pictures, making lists of specific things I am thankful for, writing down prayer requests, keeping a blog, and scrapbooking when I can. These practices take time and no, I don’t keep up with all of them regularly. But these practices are quite meaningful to me because together they build the history book of our lives.

Puritan Pastor John Flavel says, “There is not such a pleasant history for you to read in all the world as the history of your own lives, if you would sit down and record from the beginning hitherto what God has been to you, and done for you; what evidences and outbreakings of his mercy, faithfulness, and love there have been in all the conditions you have passed through.”

So what does praising God and declaring His greatness in the bits and pieces of my personal history look like? Some days it’s telling a story about my childhood as we eat lunch or reading aloud a passage from an old blog post or an old baby journal. Other days it’s looking at photos in a family scrapbook, reading an old letter from a grandparent, or clicking through a digital photo album of last week’s field trip.

In looking back at these records through the lens of God’s goodness, I see things I did not see before. I see ways He has cared for us, provided for us, comforted us, strengthened us, encouraged us, healed us and equipped us. I see how He has brought us through trials and sorrows. I remember joyous moments I would forget otherwise. And as I share all those insights with my children, I praise God.

Jonathan Parnell at Desiring God says the most essential detail to look for in our personal history is God’s mercy to us through Jesus.

“Every detail of God’s goodness to you has come through the blood of Jesus,” he says. “Look back on these providences and remember that you’ve earned none of them. They come by Jesus, or they don’t come at all. His cross is the most vivid demonstration of God’s love for us, and every little good we’ve seen has flowed from that glorious fountain. It did yesterday, and it will tomorrow.”

Parnell also suggests several other details to look for, such as God’s care for you, wisdom for you, grace for you and humility for you, as well as His goal in all your provisions and His goodness in comfortable stuff like socks. He explains each of these ideas thoroughly in an article online entitled “Seven Details to See in Your Past.”

This school year, I pray that teaching the next generation about God’s mighty acts and sharing stories of His goodness and mercy will be a higher priority each day. I pray that we keep pre-algebra and science lessons in the right perspective. I thank God for the fresh encouragement given by Asaph in Psalm 78, a passage which the ESV Bible titles “Tell the Coming Generation.” And I pray that we may arise and tell our children truths about God so that they set their hope in God, keep His commandments, and never ever forget the works of God.

 

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Pass It On!

God keeps bringing Psalm 145 to my attention lately — a timely reminder to pass on to my children all that I know about the one true God. 

First, as part of our homeschool curriculum this year, I purchased a fabulous new family Bible story book by Starr Meade called The Mighty Acts of God. The author’s note for parents explains that the book gets its name from Psalm 145:4. “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.”  

Meade goes on to explain that the purpose of telling stories of God’s mighty acts isn’t for entertainment value or good moral examples. The purpose is to make known the wonder of God’s great character. What a great verse Psalm 145:4 is for parents and grandparents! 

One way of declaring God’s mighty acts is by talking about them, and another is by writing about them. Psalm 102:18 says – “Let this be written for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the LORD.” 

Over Labor Day weekend, our family had the privilege of seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls at our local science museum. How amazing to see those ancient words of God that He miraculously preserved in jars inside of caves for two thousand years. What a mighty act of God! And how thankful I am for those men of long ago who obediently and diligently wrote those precious words down on scrolls so that my generation could see them and praise God! 

My daughters also were quite inspired by seeing the Dead Sea Scrolls, and they were eager to create their own scrolls at home. (We just glued parchment paper to wooden dowels to create them.) 

Laurel writes in her scroll.
Linnea uses hieroglyph stamps on her scroll.
We wrap each scroll in felt to help preserve it.
our jar of scrolls

Another way to pass along truths about God is through song. And that’s actually another way God brought Psalm 145 to my attention. While my husband was leading worship music at church a few weeks ago, he found this fantastic song for a Sunday morning offertory. Our very talented friend Mia sang “The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate” beautifully. It’s one of those songs that you can’t help but sing along to, and the words are right from Scripture. Many are right from Psalm 145. Listen to this version from Vineyard Church and you’ll see what I mean: 

Putting Scripture to music usually helps greatly in attempts to memorize it. So when the fall Sunday School classes kicked off at church this week, I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that my oldest daughter’s weekly memory verse comes from Psalm 145. It’s verse 9: “The LORD is good to all; He has compassion on all He has made.” She came home from class with it already memorized, thanks to that song she’d heard over and over!

What’s more, my youngest daughter and I have been studying the seven days of creation in Genesis this past week, so “all He has made” has been at the forefront of my mind. Her memory verse isn’t from Psalm 145, but it dovetails nicely into this message of God’s mighty acts. Luke 18:27 says, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Preserving words on paper for two thousand years would be impossible for man, but it was possible with God! 

So, as we dive deep into a busy new school year — teaching the next generation about God — I am thankful for the fresh encouragement in these ancient words of Psalm 145. When I am tempted to be angered by my children’s attitudes or behaviors, I cling to those words “gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, rich in love.” Lord, help me respond to my children the way You respond to Yours! 

I am so thankful that God is good to all and compassionate on all He has made. I am thankful that He provides for my needs and watches over me. He is worthy of praise for ever and ever! 

Psalm 145

A psalm of praise. Of David.

 1 [a] I will exalt you, my God the King;
       I will praise your name for ever and ever. 

 2 Every day I will praise you
       and extol your name for ever and ever. 

 3 Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
       his greatness no one can fathom. 

 4 One generation will commend your works to another;
       they will tell of your mighty acts. 

 5 They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty,
       and I will meditate on your wonderful works. [b] 

 6 They will tell of the power of your awesome works,
       and I will proclaim your great deeds. 

 7 They will celebrate your abundant goodness
       and joyfully sing of your righteousness. 

 8 The LORD is gracious and compassionate,
       slow to anger and rich in love. 

 9 The LORD is good to all;
       he has compassion on all he has made. 

 10 All you have made will praise you, O LORD;
       your saints will extol you. 

 11 They will tell of the glory of your kingdom
       and speak of your might, 

 12 so that all men may know of your mighty acts
       and the glorious splendor of your kingdom. 

 13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
       and your dominion endures through all generations.
       The LORD is faithful to all his promises
       and loving toward all he has made. [c] 

 14 The LORD upholds all those who fall
       and lifts up all who are bowed down. 

 15 The eyes of all look to you,
       and you give them their food at the proper time. 

 16 You open your hand
       and satisfy the desires of every living thing. 

 17 The LORD is righteous in all his ways
       and loving toward all he has made. 

 18 The LORD is near to all who call on him,
       to all who call on him in truth. 

 19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him;
       he hears their cry and saves them. 

 20 The LORD watches over all who love him,
       but all the wicked he will destroy. 

 21 My mouth will speak in praise of the LORD.
       Let every creature praise his holy name
       for ever and ever. 

By the way, the girls and I have been reading The Mighty Acts of God aloud, and it’s really well done. I highly recommend it.