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CHAPTERS AND VERSES

Once upon a time, the books of the Bible did not contain chapters and verses. The books were written without any divisions or breaks or sections.
Chapter divisions as we know and have them now can be traced back to Stephen Langton in the 12th century while verses were created in 1448 by Nathan, a Jewish Rabbi (he only sectioned the old testament into verses). Thereafter, in 1551 (only 471 years ago), Robert Etienne developed verses for the New Testament.
By the 16th century, the Geneva Bible became the first Bible to use both chapter and verses divisions for the old and new testaments. Since then, other published Bibles have followed the pattern.

The idea of chapters and verses was a great one because it makes reading the Bible a more pleasant experience. Imagine how tasking it would be if we just had run on lines and no sections. They did a great job and we should all be grateful. It is definitely easier to look up John 3:16 in the Bible than to manually search ‘for God so loved the world’ with your eyes 👀. The convenience of chapters and verses cannot be overemphasized.

Why is this information important?
Well, for starters, we can now understand how to and how not to read the Bible. We know now that context is necessary and you cannot just pick out one verse you like without looking at the larger context (other verses and chapters in many cases).

Sometimes, you’d notice a disconnect as you read the chapters, like something is missing and you find that something missing in the next chapter. That’s because the original writers didn’t write in chapters and verses so obviously the people who partitioned though they did great but they would miss a thing or two in terms of coherence. For example, a lot of scholars agree that The end of Matthew 16 should have been placed with the beginning of Matthew 17 since it continues the story.

I’m teaching this to my children this weekend, will you do the same?

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Mummy, why did God put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the garden?

My four year old asked this a few weeks ago and I smiled. I was more than happy to answer her. However, I needed her siblings to hear the response too so a few days later, I gathered them around and we had to discuss this.

Many adults ask this as well, they cannot understand why God placed a forbidden tree in the garden in the first place. Many atheists also Cite this as a reason not to believe in Christianity.

The first thing to understand here is that, God loves us but he doesn’t force us to love him. Love is a gift that is freely given. I asked my children is they are being forced to love any of their friends or even mum and dad and they all responded ‘no’.

With love comes freedom and responsibility. Meaning God loves us but also gives us free will to either choose or reject Him (you can further explain this by saying, God allows us freedom to either obey or disobey Him).

Therefore, God allowed the tree of knowledge of good and evil to grow in Eden inorder to give Adam and Eve a choice to either follow him or reject him. God also have them clear instructions.

My 8 year old reminded me that it was neither the fault of Adam nor Eve, it was the serpent who deceived them.

My response: well, yes, but the serpent did not force Eve to eat the fruit. He twisted the truth and made disobedience look harmless and attractive. He didn’t tell them what they stand to lose if they disobey God.

My 8 year old: that means EVERY TIME we disobey, we are obeying the serpent.

Me: exactly!!!!! Every disobedience to God is obedience to the serpent.

We ended this little meeting with a memory verse from Genesis 2:17 KJV

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil , thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

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3 reasons to teach apologetics to your children

Teaching the defense of the faith is teaching God’s truth- really, they go hand in hand. See this as a helmet needed to protect them from secular culture which seems to be gaining dominance.

For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment; that the Lord may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.

Genesis 18:19

This verse encourages me to teach and instruct my children properly about all things Biblical including the defense of the faith. Not only did Abraham love and obey God, he taught his children to do so too. Irrespective of every other responsibility he had, he knew that If he failed to groom his children in the knowledge and ways of the Lord, he would have failed woefully as a father.

Knowing this, here is why we need to teach apologetics to our children:

  • The Bible instructs us to. Severally in the Bible, we see that knowledge is key in proclaiming and defending the faith. A few weeks ago, I mentioned 1 Peter 3:15 but it does not stop there. We have 2 Timothy 2:25-26, Luke 2:14-15, 2 Timothy 4: 1-4, Titus 1:9
  • Defense of the faith if properly taught, enables children to think well. Because people scrutinize the Christian faith, we have to teach our children to think and detect fallacies as well as carry out sound investigation. We have an example in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 where Paul commended the Bereans and called them ‘noble’ because they would always search the scriptures to see if what Paul was saying was in fact the truth.
  • Learning to defend the faith gives children a firm foundation. As Morgan Ferrer puts it, we can fortify their spiritual foundation. If we do not do this, they can be wrecked because there are wolves out there seeking to snatch them from the faith.

So, let me know in the comments if anyone has ever challenged the validity and reliability of your faith. Did you know how to respond?

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Do my children need apologetics?

I will cut straight to the chase and scream YES! They do! Your children need to know that the Christian worldview is actually grounded in reason, it is not all about having blind faith as many think.

The first thing to remember is to keep it simple. Depending on the ages of your children, you may choose not to use the term ‘apologetics’ because it may sound complex. Apologetics simply means giving a rational defense for the Christian worldview.

Did you know that from as young as 5 years old, children raised in Christian homes have deep questions about God and the Bible and our answers to these questions matter. In fact, I think children ask the toughest questions about God. Many of our churches and Sunday Schools do not effectively tackle any form of apologetics and children silently nurse the doubts they have until they eventually decide that they are done with the church.

Many times it seems to us that they woke up one morning and abandoned everything they once believed in whereas these doubts had been there all along. It is no longer to think that daily morning devotions, church attendance and scripture memory would keep our children in the faith.

In this generation, children are exposed to so much and for the most part, they are too young to analyze the information they are exposed to. They therefore absorb everything that is thrown at them.

I read a study carried out in the U.S. by Barna Group in 2011, which showed that 1 out of 9 young people lose faith in Christianity. This struck me because these people aren’t just losing faith in their denomination or their local church but in Christianity as a whole. That was 2011 but judging by the state of the world right now, I imagine that the statistics may have changed a bit, it could be 1 in 6 right now (I will get updates on this and let you know).

To conclude the matter, your children need apologetics. I have rambled enough in this post so I’d dedicate the next post to telling you exactly why your children need apologetics…please stay tuned!

Kindly recommend this blog to someone who may find it useful!

Blessings and Love ❤️

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BE READY TO GIVE AN ANSWER

Once upon a time, I felt it was pointless to defend the faith. I remember telling people “God does not need us to defend him”. How wrong I was! If I ever uttered those mindless words to you, I humbly apologize.
Don’t get me wrong, if we don’t defend God, he still remains God however apologetics helps us deal with the doubts of people who wonder why we take our faith so seriously.

I highlighted 1 Peter 3:15 in the pic above. Kindly read through. Peter wrote this to the persecuted Christians in Asia Minor. In the midst of their suffering for Christ, people would see how hopeful they were and wonder what kind of faith they possessed.

This mandate is not for pastors or elders only. We should be able and willing to defend the gospel we hold dear with gentleness and grace.

This same verse is often cited as the reason for ‘Christian apologetics’. Apologetics comes from the Greek word apologia which is taken directly out of 1 Peter 3:15. In Greek, it means a defense, as in a court of law. Christian apologetics, therefore, has to do with making a case (or defense) for the validity of the Christian faith. Like I said, this isn’t just the job of pastors, elders and people with PhDs 😉

Peter obviously knew that the average Christian would be faced with questions about their faith from all kinds of people. In fact, Peter himself had to defend the faith severally- Acts 4:8-12, Acts 3:11-26, Acts 2:14-39, Acts 5:29-32.

Understand that the very fact that we are called to be separate from the world would lead to suffering and mockery. We see people dedicate their lives to proving that the Bible is a lie, we also see people dedicate their lives and careers to proving that God does not exist.

Learning to defend the Faith will help you make logical arguments with non believers who are curious to know why you are a believer. This means it may help you win a soul.

Aside from my personal testimony, I believe in Christianity because there is outstanding objective proof that Christianity is true (we will come to this later…stay glued to this page).

Remember though, Peter says as we do this, we must honour Christ as Lord in our hearts.

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Can I re-introduce myself?

Welcome to a new week!!!!

Let me reintroduce myself…

I’m Iniobong (Ini), I’m a full time wife and mother of 4 adorables. I am also the Founder/Director of Ja’el Christian Schools.

I began Heavenly Minded Mum in 2016 (when I was pregnant with my third child and first daughter) to encourage parents to pray for their children. Then I was grappling with major fears in my pregnancy and I knew prayer was the only way out, so I encouraged like minded people to pray for their babies in the womb as well.

A lot has changed over the years, these days I’m so concerned with equipping my children to think Biblically in a secular culture as well as teaching them to defend the Christian faith. Expect posts on these topics if you follow this page.

Thankful to all those who have followed over the years. I really hope you stick around.

Blessings and Love ❤️

Also, join me on Instagram: @heavenlymindedmum

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MY 2022 READING LIST

Here are the books I plan to read this year! Two books are not in the pic as they have not arrived yet.
Do you have any reading plan for the year? What kind of books would you be reading. I’d list out mine below:

1. Say you’re one of them by Uwem Akpan

2. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas

3. Parenting is heart work by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller

4. Christians going to hell by Seung Woo Byun

5. They had a dream by Jules Archer

6. Transforming children into spiritual Champions by George Barna

7. Swamp full of dollars by Michael Peel

8. Confessions of an Illuminati by Leo Lyon Zagami

9. Introduction to Christian education and formation by Ronald Habermas

Kindly share what you are reading below. Also, have you read any of the books on my list? Leave a review please

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all!!!

My new year greeting is coming in a bit late I know and sincerely apologize. I lost access to my Facebook account and we have a large following there, I was hoping to send one message via all the platforms.

I am so excited for this year because I am reminded of how merciful God has been. I know many of us are feeling super grateful especially considering how the past almost two years have been.

What is your plan for the year? I do not do resolutions as such however, I do have a general mindset every year of drawing closer to God and learning more scripturally. It applies to this year as well.

I also set business goals (we will talk about this much later).

Family goals remain the same but more intense as my children grow up! My 8 year old is beginning to ask interesting questions and I must say, I need your prayers 😂

Welcome to 2022 my beloved people. May we draw nearer to the Lord this year. Amen!!!

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Giving Thanks

It is officially thanksgiving week in my church. This is one season I always look forward to.

Aside from getting a chance to thank God for all His mercies throughout the year, my faith gets built up by the testimonies from other people.

This year was a rollercoaster but through it all, God remains faithful. His mercies are new every morning. Even in chaos, God is good.

This is the mindset I am trying to instill in my children. Our love and gratitude to God cannot waiver as the tides come and go.

What are you thankful for this year? What difficulty tested your faith? In the midst of tough times, can you boldly declare that God is faithful?

“Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”
‭‭I Chronicles‬ ‭16:34‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

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Stand up for Jesus!

Hello all, it’s been a minute since I posted here. I apologize and I promise to do better.

A year or so ago, I taught my children about Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego. The emphasis then for me was learning to stand for God even if the whole world is not.

Have you ever wondered how difficult it must have been for Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego? They watched people they knew bow to the golden image. People they were probably friends with or may have been colleagues with.

Many of us cannot do things our friends do not approve of. Many of us cannot stand up for our faith in moments of adversity. Many of us, cannot quote certain aspects of scripture on social media for fear of backlash.

Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego did not care about the backlash. If the government says, those who worship God publicly will be locked up, many Christians will desist from public worship. Here is the my favourite part of the story:

“Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?” Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.””
‭‭Daniel‬ ‭3:15-18‬

They acknowledge how powerful God is, that God could save them. However, they clearly express that even if God did not save them from the doom about to befall them, they still will not bow to the golden image.

Dear Christian, these are the kind of children we need to raise. It may not be easy but it is possible. God is counting us to raise the Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego of the next generation. Giving our children Christian names is simply not enough.

Ask your children what aspect of this story they like the most. Also ask what they would have done if they were in the shoes of Shedrach Meshach and Abednego.

Finally, Ask them if they have friends who love God as much as they do.

Enjoy what is left of this weekend!

May God’s peace reign in your life.

Ini ♥️