Teaching Your Children To Love God

 

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Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. 

Let’s face it Parenting is hard. It’s really hard, it is a full time job. We live in a day and age that is extremely busy and hectic and full of distractions. But, there is in my opinion no greater joy than being a parent.  Our children are, first and foremost, an incredible blessing from the Lord. Psalm 127:3 refers to them as a heritage and reward. God instructs us to be good stewards of the blessing and heritage He has given us. He shows us in the above scripture just how we are called to raise our children.

The family is under attack in this country.  I don’t believe there has been a time in my lifetime when there has been such an attack on the home as there is today.  From broken homes, the TV shows and movies of the entertainment industry, there is a concerted effort to destroy the home as God has ordained it. 

There should be no question in our minds that Satan wants to destroy the family.  It has been the core of our society all these many years.  There should also be no doubt that he has been successful in many areas of our country and the world. 

I believe that the key to life and how to preserve our families is: to love God.  This is the key to Christianity, the whole story of God’s redemptive love.  The cross, the resurrection, the coming of the Holy Spirit to reveal God’s will, the preaching of the gospel throughout the whole world, believing and obeying the gospel.  All of this is summed up in the love of God.  All of this is simply a way by which God has made it possible for us to love Him. 

This is why it is vitally important for parents to teach our children thru instruction and by our example to Love God. Since it is true that the most important thing in life is to love God, and that everything else flows from that, if you had one wish above any other, would that wish not be that your children would learn to love God?  Of course, it would be.  In the verses that follow, beginning with verse six, we have four steps clearly outlined that must occur in a home if children are to learn this greatest of all secrets: How to love God.

“You shall teach them diligently to your children….”  Here is personal instruction — imparting knowledge about God to your children.  This means teaching them scripture, because it is the Bible that teaches us and informs us about God.  Here it is declared the responsibility of parents to instruct their children in the revelation that God has given to us about Himself.  No one can truly love God without knowing Him.  Thus, the first step in teaching our children how to love God is to teach them to know Him. That means teaching them what the Bible says about God.

Notice the pronouns that are used in this passage. You shall teach them diligently to your children.”  Not they, but you!  This is not the job of the Bible class teacher or the church.  It is your job!  The church cannot substitute for the parents in this responsibility.  At best the church and it’s Bible classes can only supplement what the parents teach.  We hear a lot today about the church losing it’s young people.  As a result, there are all kinds of youth programs started and “youth ministers” hired to conduct these programs.  Could it be that the loss of young people to the church is not to be blamed on the church, but on the parents who are ignoring their responsibilities to teach their children to love God? I believe, there are way too many parents who are trying to give the responsibility of teaching and raising their children to the public school system and/or to the church. We know they will not learn about God thru our public schools, in fact the opposite will probably be true. Parents (praise the Lord not all) today can be so busy “making a living” and working to provide material things for their children and themselves, caught up in the busyness of life, that they find themselves failing in the most important aspect of life — to love God themselves and to teach their children to love Him. In this scripture God places the responsibility of teaching your children to love God directly upon your shoulders.

But let me encourage you, no matter where this great truth finds you, start just where you are.  I know it’s hard not to look back and regret the past mistakes we  may have made, but we need to begin right now to apply these great principles. Even if our children are grown, we must begin right now to perhaps influence our grandchildren.  Such is the grace and mercy of God, such is the glory of His nature and character, that He will forgive us of past failures and help us to begin again (1 John 1:8-9).  So begin right now to put these great principles into practice in your home.

Teaching Our Children To Love God

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One of the biggest blessing in my life has been to homeschool my children.  The Word of God was a major part of our day, starting with quiet devotions in the morning and spilling over into every subject – handwriting, history, and language arts.  We used Deuteronomy 6 as our mission statement and model.

“Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.  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. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

As parents this is our first responsibility, the Bible tells us that children are a gift from the Lord, specially created for His pleasure and divine purpose (Psalm 127:3-5; 139:13-16). God has entrusted us with our children for a very short time, during which parents have the responsibility of training, instructing, nurturing, and disciplining them, as well as overseeing their education (Ephesians 6:4). At the same time, I realize home schooling is not for everyone and that’s o.k.  But, it is imperative that Christian parents teach their children the Word of God from a young age, showing them how to incorporate it into their daily lives, trusting continually in God. We are to keep His words on our heart, to think on them, to meditate on them, to reflect on them. Knowing we cannot give our children what we do not possess. We cannot pass along what we do not own. No one else can do it for us. We are to love the Lord with all our heart and to share and model that love with our children.  Our children are watching us and modeling our attitudes and behaviors. They are parroting back our attitudes about Christ and His church.

Every part of the day as a family is an opportunity to spend time in the Word together, whether the Bible is in front of us or not!

Hopefully, Long after you and I are gone our children will have raised their children and have seen their children’s children will come to know you, nothing else will matter but that we here today taught our children to know Jesus Christ as their Savior from sin. Nothing else will matter—certainly not the money we saved, the businesses we ran, the houses we lived in, or even the friends and memories we shared—none of that will matter. The only thing that will matter will be the Gospel—the saving Truth of Jesus Christ, which has brought life to us and to our children. That is the greatest gift you can give your child—the gift of life, real life, in Jesus Christ.

I pray Lord that we know in our heart the One in whom we  believe. That You are Lord, our God and that Your word of promise will not fail. Thank you Lord that Your grace has redeemed us to be your own. May our love for you overflow in our hearts as we teach our children your ways, that they may grow to Love you and your Word.  Help them Father to grow in the grace and knowledge of You.

May the peace of God that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

A Cheerful Heart

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When I think of this verse, I immediately think of my daughter Jenni.  Jenni was/is the most happy carefree child I have ever known.  Anytime, I made eye contact with her she would ALWAYS break into a big grin, even when she was unhappy with me for disciplining her, try as she might to be unhappy she just could not do it!  There are so many things she did that brought me so much joy!  When she would laugh, it’s the best sound I’ve ever heard (still is), unconditional love, hugs and kisses, snuggling and just watching her learn new things each day, it’s all just priceless and pure joy to behold.

Memories like these will definitely make you smile, maybe even tear up. A warm glow fills you like a candle, burning  deep inside your soul.  Children give us unconditional love, as adults we can learn a lot from children, they have no biases when it comes to love. If you smile at a child, he/she will beam a huge smile back at you for no reason other than your presence. Children do not love with expectation of something better in return, they just love.

Think about it. To everyone, all over the world, a smile is the universal expression of friendliness and goodwill, and even a tiny baby recognizes that a smile is a happy thing.  Smiling is also good for you… it lowers your blood pressure, helps your immune system to work better, and releases natural pain killers, endorphins, and serotonin.

There is no downside to a genuine, warm smile, and for that grumpy or harried someone who is having a really bad day, your friendly smile can be a real mood changer. Try giving the gift of a smile… and giving it freely throughout your day. You may be surprised at what a difference a smile can make!

Nothing reveals more about our hearts than our words and actions. Our heart contains the motivations for what we do and why we do it. We are encouraged through scripture to pay attention to our hearts with due diligence. As we continue to grow in our relationship with Jesus Christ—our hearts will become more convicted about sin and more tender loving towards people especially the lost

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7).

One of the best blessings in being a believer in Jesus Christ is the peace that rises above every life situation. While others are fretting with worry, believers have the power of the Holy Spirit to guard their hearts and minds with peace and joy that has no human explanation. Having peace and joy allows believers to continue to go through hardships painful situations without regret. The key to having peace in our hearts is surrendering all our prayers to God and trusting in Him to take care of each one.  Just as the body can’t function well without a healthy heart, neither can the Christian with a spiritual heart—we will be sluggish in our work, hard at hearing God’s word, and slow to recognize His presence. The consistent disciplines of the Christian faith of prayer, Bible study, and fellowship will keep our spiritual hearts hearts pumping strong towards our eternal destination.

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for not only saving my soul, but for the promise of healing also.  I do appreciate the many times over the years that You have healed me personally.  I also thank you for the gift of healing as I have prayed and You have touched others with Your healing virtue.   You truly are the Great Physician. I do appreciate that about You.  Lord, I do want to always remain in a joyful attitude, no matter what might come my way.  Fill me with Your love, joy and peace daily, so that I might be an example of Your goodness. I ask this in the name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.

My Daughter And Queen Esther

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For Such A Time As This

I think every little girl dreams of being a princess.  My oldest daughter Summer’s favorite bible story was about Queen Esther.  She always enjoyed reading and learning about this amazing Queen that God chose, not to mention watching the video a million times!  From a very early age Summer was all girl, she loved to dress up like a princess with all the jewelry and crowns.  I wanted her to learn and hear about real-life princesses and queens that were brave, strong and selfless.  The Bible has the ultimate queen heroine Queen Esther!

The book of Esther takes place during exile in Persia and recounts the plot to exterminate the Jewish nation. Since Esther has miraculously become Queen, she was in a unique position to foil the evil plot. Her cousin Mordecai utters this famous quote to Esther regarding her divine destiny: “Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Chapter 4:14)

As a mom, I was glad that she wanted to emulate Esther and here is why:

Esther is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other woman.

Esther was a queen who knew the power of when to speak and when to remain quiet.

Esther had courage: Remember Queen Esther when she said the words, “If I perish, I perish.” She was undoubtedly a brave queen. She was a remarkable woman who was willing to risk her life to save her people. She was a woman of principle who was willing to put the lives of others ahead of even her own life. She was an outstanding example of serving others even under the most stressful circumstances. Jesus Christ said, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).

Esther’s beauty came from the inside where the presence of God’s unfailing love lived in her (Esther 2:8) Over and over in Esther’s story, we see she found favor. “Favor” is the word hesed in Hebrew and it means “God’s unfailing love”. Favor was the secret of Esther’s beauty. When the people saw in the palace, including the king, it wasn’t only her physical appearance they were seeing. They were seeing the presence of God inside of her.

Now, my daughter Summer is an adult getting ready to have her own family. If I was asked to describe my daughter; Esther would come to mind why? Because she is fiercely loyal, smart, determined, brave and deeply faithful.  She always carries herself (even as a small child) with grace, modesty and style, she has an inner (as well as outer) beauty.  I like to think that those early years of studying, reading and watching Esther ‘s story are now part of her DNA. That was the beauty of homeschooling, I could do and did a complete curriculum study on Esther.

Like Queen Esther (4:14), we each have been created for His purpose – “for such a time as this.”

We can all use this story in our everyday lives. Most of the time our lives will be pretty routine, but all of us have a few defining moments when we may be called on to put godly principle above personal benefit. What will you do when you encounter those defining moments in your life? What will you do when you face “such a time as this”? Will you choose to do the right thing as opposed to what might give you some personal benefit?

Esther shows all of us the way, and we can be inspired by her example.

I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. (Isaiah 61:10)