First Friday: Raising Fishermen

Once upon a few kids ago, I was diligently at work completing my weekly Bible study when, in all her 18-month-old guile, my little girl began to foil my plans.

First, she grabbed the Bible. Then, my pen. And finally, the coffee.

Oh, the coffee.

Hadn’t anyone told this child that you do not mess with a mama’s coffee? Especially before noon? And particularly when the grabbing leads to spilling?

All over mama’s Bible study handout?

Right or wrong, I snapped. Full on snapped. At a kid still in diapers.

Although my memory now fails me, I suppose my verbal snap went something like, “Mommy needs to get this done, and I need you to just leave me alone!!!!! AAAAH! Pbbblt.”

Not one my finer mommy moments, to say the least.

Especially when her eyes filled up with crocodile tears.

I would like to say that the tears pressed upon my heart enough to remember what was really important. But sadly, I half-heartedly hugged her. And popped in an Elmo video.

Then I blithely went back to filling out the freshly-stained bible study handout.

And in doing so, I royally messed up.

You see, that day I chose to be a Pharisee.

I made the law and the text more important than love. I showed my baby that religion was more important than relationship. And I communicated that studying God’s word was more important than doing what it asks of me.

The truth is the world doesn’t need more Pharisees. What it needs is fishermen. Full-on, hard-core fishermen, willing to do whatever it takes to permeate the darkness with light.

But honestly?

In my Sara selfishness, I’d rather be and raise a Pharisee.

It’s less complicated. It’s easily measured. And it’s definitely more predictable.

But by the same token, it is completely and utterly ineffective.

True, Pharisees love to study half a million ways to Sunday on what it means to fish. Or to explain all the many fishing techniques to the greater public. Or to hold said public to their self-created and sometimes outrageous fishing standards.

But the crazy thing is, despite all their study, planning and brain power, Pharisees forget to fish. In other words, Pharisees study and study and study for an exam they never take. And what kind of sense does that make?

Not. A. Bit.

Its probably why Jesus never said, ‘Come and follow me and I’ll make you a bunch of Pharisees.”

And yet, I still struggle. Part of me wants to hope that my success as a mom is measured in only teaching my kids the truth. Believing that somehow, I can get away without showing them what to do with the truth we’ve been given.

Recite memory verses. Check.

Go to church. Check. Check.

Pray every night. Check. Check. Check.

But the truth goes beyond checklists. And activities. And routine.

The truth gives us the promise of Psalm 119:105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” The truth guides our steps so we can effectively cast our nets. And the truth lights a fire under our backsides, motivating us to get up from the blooming table and do something.

Something that might even cause my old Pharisee-self to ask a telling question:

“Sara, do you really think you need a lamp at your feet if all you are doing is studying, sitting and cerebrating?”

No, I don’t need a lamp or a light to be a Pharisee. For that, I only need a lot of books, pens and a bevy of self-righteousness. But I do need a lamp to fish, especially in the darkness.

And yes, fishing may be messy and smelly and unpredictable. It may be measured in faithfulness rather than in numbers. And it may put me smack dab in the middle of the deadliest storms.

But even so, God’s truth shouts to me so loudly that I cannot miss what needs to be done.

It’s time for me to leave my comfort, my need for control and my self-righteousness on the shore. It’s time for me to get in the boat with my kids in tow, trusting God through the storms. And it’s time for me to set His lantern at the bow with these words visible at the stern:


We’ll be back when the sea is empty

Or when it’s time to come Home

Whichever comes first

Sara Cormany guest posts on the first Friday of each month. Sara is mommy to six-year-old Grace, four-year-old Drew and one-year-old Sophie. When she is not wiping noses, changing diapers or chasing her kids, she is a sometimes writer and a sometimes teacher to teenagers. But her most cherished role is that of one who is perfectly held by Jesus. She loves watching Him take the broken, the messy and the seemingly mundane of her everyday and turn it into something beautiful.

Friday Introduction: The Bible in Rhyme

 When I was growing up, we would read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2 on Christmas Eve. We read it from the King James Version of the Bible. I think I was 8 or 9 years old before I understood that “sore afraid” meant the shepherds were very scared, not in pain.The Bible can be confusing and hard to understand sometimes, even for adults. Sometimes the language is difficult, and sometimes the way the sentences are structured makes reading it out loud difficult. The Bible is supposed to be a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105), but if we can’t understand what it says, then we miss out on its illuminating wisdom.

For millennia, the Bible was a shared oral experience. Most people couldn’t read, so the priests and scribes would read it out loud. That tradition has been mostly lost, but reading the Bible together as a family is an important way for our kids to learn about
God. Unfortunately, the difficulty level of the Bible makes it hard for kids to wrap their minds around what’s being said.

That’s why I think today’s Friday Introduction is such a great tool for families. The Bible in Rhyme is just what it sounds like. It’s a paraphrase of the Bible, written entirely in rhyme. It’s easy to read and easy to understand. Written by Kyle Holt, The Bible in Rhyme is designed to be read out loud.

This is what Kyle has to say about  it:

“It’s a great tool for parents to share the Bible as a family.  Small children love to hear the rhythm and rhyme.  Older kids can join in the reading.  But this is the whole Bible.  The good, the bad, and the particularly nasty.  So it’s probably a good idea to either know the section you’re about to read, or read it before hand and make sure that you aren’t about to read the story of Lot and his daughters, or something in that vein.

One other point, and it goes back to my No. 1 goal in this.  If you’re a parent who thinks, ‘I don’t really know the Bible myself,’ then The Bible in Rhyme is perfect for you and your family.  Your children get the stories as well as the rhythm and rhyme, which is great.  And you get a chance to learn the stories yourself without it being super-abridged for little kids, and without it being the extremely HARD to understand full version.  This book is really intended for people who need an easier way into the real
Bible.  Get the message and beauty of the Bible in a fun way…then go experience the holy texts themselves with a much clearer understanding.”

It took Kyle a year and a half to write The Bible in Rhyme, and he originally thought the task was too large and too difficult. With a background in songwriting and poetry, Kyle chose one style of rhyme for the whole project — except the Psalms. And it’s not just for kids.

“I want this to be something that adults get into.  This is a paraphrase of the whole Bible – it’s not a children’s Bible.  It contains all the bad stuff too, murder, betrayal, incest and hate, and it doesn’t sugarcoat it just because it happens to rhyme.  I’ve had a lot of people tell me that they read a section of The Bible in Rhyme and thought, ‘The Bible doesn’t really say that.’  Then they go and look and realize that no matter how many times they read the Bible, they had not understood some passage or section.  I want
everyone to get to the heart of the message.”

When he’s not rhyming the Bible, Kyle is the president and co-founder of U Inc., a software company in Overland Park, Kan. He lives in Overland Park with his wife, Kim, and their three children. He is currently working on a new project to continue his goal of making the Bible more accessible to more people around the world. You can learn more about him on His website.

The Bible in Rhyme is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble in both a paper e-book formats.

Kyle is giving away a copy of The Bible in Rhyme to one of the Everyday Truth blog readers today. All you have to do is head over to his Facebook page, like it, and leave a comment saying you heard about The Bible in Rhyme at Everyday Truth for a chance to win.

This is a fantastic tool for families to use to make the Bible more accessible for everyone. It’s not a Bible you want to study from, but it’s a great way to get both you and your kids interested in learning more. Check it out and avoid the “sore” shepherds in your Christmas reading this year.

I’m Thankful for the Bible

Each day until Thanksgiving, Everyday Truth is looking at a different reason to be thankful in a family devotional. Use these devotionals with your kids to help keep your family focused on giving thanks. If you missed the introductory post, check it out here for directions on creating a “Thanksgiving wall.” When you’re done with the devotional head on over to the Everyday Truth Facebook page and join in the discussion of why we’re thankful for God’s Word.

Do you like to read? I do. I’ll read just about anything I can get my hands on. I’ll even read the back of the cereal box if it’s the only thing around.

Books can teach us new things and take us to new places. When we read a book, we can travel around the world, go back in time or blast into space. We can fight pirates, meet a prince in shining armor or solve a mystery. But there’s one book that is better than all the rest.

This book tells a true story, and it’s written just for you. It tells the story of someone who loves you. It includes giants, wars, kings, lions and even some romance. It is the greatest story ever told.

You can find it all in the Bible. God told different men over thousands of years to write down the story of His love for us. It starts with the world He created for us to live in and ends with an assurance that Jesus will return. In between we see how God showed His love for us in the way He led the Israelites out of slavery, the way He provided for His people through the centuries and the birth and death of Jesus.

But the Bible isn’t just an accounting of events. It gives us directions for how to live our lives. It talks about how to be a good friend, how to deal with people who don’t like us, what to do when things are tough and even how to treat our parents. That’s a lot of stuff to pack into one book.

Psalm 119:105 says “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” That means if we read the Bible, God will show us what He wants us to do. But we have to spend time reading our Bibles for that to happen.

Spend some time today reading your Bible. Thank God that His word has survived through the centuries. Thank Him that His word is true and useful. Write on your Thanksgiving wall today one way that you are thankful the Bible can help you.

Friday Introductions: Mom’s Toolbox

I know a lot about the Bible. I’ve been teaching and writing Bible studies for nearly 10 years. But, you know, I have never made it through the Bible cover to cover in one set period of time.

Oh, I’ve started with the read through the Bible in a year reading plans several times, but come March or April, I usually get bogged down and busy and end up giving up.

That’s why I’m so excited about today’s Friday Introduction. Starting July 11, I’m going to be joining up with some other ladies online to do The Bible in 90 Days program. This reading schedule takes you through the Bible in 90 days.

One of my favorite websites, Mom’s Toolbox, is hosting this program. At Mom’s Toolbox, you’ll find a site loaded with insightful devotions, great tips for being a better mom and even some yummy recipes.

Amy does a great job of keeping you encouraged and giving you practical ideas that you can implement in your own home.

But the thing I’m most excited about is her dedication to helping people read through the Bible with The Bible in 90 Days. She’s even offering a Bible survey reading for your kids so they can do it along with you. The readings for kids are shorter, and they won’t read all the way through the Bible, but it’s a great way to challenge your kids to get into the Word.

Why read through the Bible, you ask? The Bible is God’s love letter to us. It’s the complete story of who He is. Even those seemingly endless passages of laws in Leviticus have something to tell us about God’s character. If we never read it all, we miss out on finding out more about God.

Psalm 119:105 says “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Reading all of God’s Word brings light into our lives and helps us to follow where God leads. Putting God’s word into your life is never wasted. Isaiah 55:11 tells us “My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Spending time in God’s word is never wasted.

I’d love to have you check out Mom’s Toolbox. (You can also find Amy on Facebook and Twitter). But I’d love it even more if you’d join me in reading The Bible in 90 Days. If you’re interested, head on over to Amy’s site and sign up, then post in the comments here that you’re taking part. I’ll keep a list of participants from Everyday Truth, and we’ll have our own encouragement and discussion group via Facebook and email.

So, grab a friend, sign up at Mom’s Toolbox, and join me in an adventure through the Bible. You definitely won’t regret it, and you might make some new friends along the way.

Blizzard Warning

For nearly a week, the weather forecasters have been telling us we’re going to get hammered wtih snow today. We’re under a blizzard warning, and school is cancelled even though it hasn’t even started snowing yet. It’s been a long time since our area has seen a blizzard warning. This is unusual weather. The grocery stores were doing a booming business yesterday as everyone stocked up for the storm.

With all the talk about big storms, my husband suggested that I write about snow days today. I told him I had already exhausted my store of snow day ideas on all our previous snow days, but as I thought about it, I realized that a blizzard is an entirely different animal.

Did you know that back in the pioneer days, homesteaders would tie a rope from their house to the barn, so they could use the rope as a guide when the snow was blowing so hard they couldn’t see? They would keep one hand on the rope so it could guide them to the barn. That rope was a lifeline. Blowing snow can blind you and get you so turned around that you don’t know which you are going. If you lost contact with the rope you could wander around in circles and freeze to death just feet from your own front door.

When trials and danger come our way, God has given us a rope, too — His word. The Bible is our lifeline to guide us through the blizzards of life. It keeps us on the path and helps us find our way home. Psalm 119:105 tells us “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God’s word offers us guidance and comfort as we weather the storm.

But, like a person in a blizzard, if we let go of the rope, we can get lost. We can be close to where we want to go and never get there because we’re not following the path God laid out for us in His word.

If the blizzard is headed your way, tie a rope between your front door and a tree in your yard. When the wind is blowing crazy hard, and it’s hard to see, bundle up, and have everyone put a hand on the rope. Use the rope to walk from your front door to the tree. Talk with your kids about how the Bible is like that rope. It guides us and helps us to know what to do when a storm comes in our lives.

If you’re not in for a blizzard or you just don’t want to get cold and snowy, tie a rope between two places in your house. Blindfold your kids and have them use the rope to get from one place to the next. Use the same explanation after you have finished the task.

If you are in the path of this storm, stay safe and warm. Find a teachable moment today and grab it. Use the storm to show your kids how to keep their hand on the rope of God’s word so they can weather the storms of life.