Tag Archives: Teaching God’s Word to Children
I recently shared with my family that my biggest regret as a mom was not helping our children learn to read and study the Bible. As a rather young mom and new Christian, it took me awhile before I realized the importance of daily Bible reading in my own life. This happened several years after receiving Jesus as my Savior.
While on vacation with our daughters and their families, we took the opportunity to reinforce some Bible truths during a creation trail.
Arriving near the top of Hot Springs Mountain (Arkansas), everyone hopped out of their cars and quickly located a shady spot with some large rocks to sit on. I quickly handed out small brown bags with these words written on them: Creation Vacation, “In the beginning God created…” (Genesis 1:1).
After sharing a brief devotion about creation and the significance of Sabbath, I asked everyone to look for special finds along the trail that remind them of God’s creation. They later amazed me with all the unique items that filled their bags.
“The red berry reminds me of the blood of Jesus.”
“Butterfly wings, an awesome find!”
“This fern sprig will remind me of our special trail with our grandchildren.”
It is extremely important to teach our children and grandchildren God’s Word, beginning at an early age.
In Old Testament times, the primary purpose of education among the Jews was the learning of and obedience to the law of God, the Torah. The word Torah can refer to all Jewish beliefs, however, it commonly refers to the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
The home was considered the first and most effective environment in the education process, and parents were considered the first and most effective teachers of their children.
Deuteronomy 6:5-7 gives clear instruction into how parents are to teach their children about God: “ 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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.”
Parents are instructed to use various ordinary activities of life as avenues to teach about God. All of life permeated by spiritual meaning and teaching about God can flow naturally from life’s everyday activities as parents choose to be intentional in training their children.
Basic means of imparting spiritual knowledge to children is by example, imitation, conversation and stories. Parents can utilize the interest aroused in their children by actual life observances (birth of a child, holidays, illness, death, marriage, Sabbath, vacations, and so on).
If we don’t teach our children to follow Christ, the world will teach them not to.
“14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
Spoken words are pleasing or unpleasing to God.
It’s relatively easy for me to speak kindly when “all is well.”
Not so easy, during stressful moments.
Yesterday was one of those moments. Thus, I hesitated to complete this post.
Prior to sinful words proceeding from the mouth, provoking thoughts loom.
Thoughts originating in the hidden places of the heart where only God can see.
18 “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person” (Matthew 15:18-20 ESV).
Unspoken words identify the condition of one’s heart.
I have found that the only way to keep my thoughts pure is to meditate on the Word of God.
12 “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires” (Hebrews 4:12 NLT).
Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. 2 Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. 3 They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard.4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.
God has made a home in the heavens for the sun. 5 It bursts forth like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding. It rejoices like a great athlete eager to run the race. 6 The sun rises at one end of the heavens and follows its course to the other end. Nothing can hide from its heat.
7 The instructions of the Lord are perfect, reviving the soul. The decrees of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. 8 The commandments of the Lord are right, bringing joy to the heart. The commands of the Lord are clear, giving insight for living. 9 Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever. The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair. 10 They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold. They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb. 11 They are a warning to your servant, a great reward for those who obey them.
12 How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. 13 Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin.
14 May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19 NLT).
Faith at Home Moment:
Parents and grandparents, how is your Bible reading? Our children’s first impression of the Bible begins with us. When we exhibit a love for God’s Word through daily Scripture reading we are setting a holy precedence for our children to follow. Here are a few suggestions for reading the Bible.
– Set aside a specific time and place to read the Bible each day.
– Pray before reading the Bible, asking the Holy Spirit to give you clear understanding.
– Use a journal/notebook to write down the thoughts God gives you while reading the Bible.
Suggested Resource: How To Read the Bible (So it Changes Your Life.) http://www.cometothefire.org/books/how-to-read-the-bible-so-it-changes-your-life
Select an age-appropriate Bible for children. There are many good ones to choose from. Visit a Christian bookstore or check out some online at:
“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13).
I fondly recall my grandmother’s reverent posture as we entered the church sanctuary every Sunday morning. During my young impressionable years, I took notice. Soon after sitting on the pew, my grandmother quietly bowed her head in prayer. No one told her to do this, I thought. This simple act of worship remains in my heart and mind today.
Facebook friends: May the Psalms draw you near to God.
“1 Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. 2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. 3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. 4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. 5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!
6 The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.
7 He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. 8 The Lord is compassionate and merciful, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. 9 He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. 10 He does not punish us for all our sins; he does not deal harshly with us, as we deserve. 11 For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. 12 He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. 13 The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. 14 For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust. 15 Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. 16 The wind blows, and we are gone— as though we had never been here. 17 But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children 18 of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
19 The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything.
20 Praise the Lord, you angels, you mighty ones who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. 21 Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! 22 Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everything in all his kingdom.
Let all that I am praise the Lord” (Psalm 103 NLT).
Faith At Home Moment
Reverence: Honor or respect that is shown to someone. A gesture of respect is to bow. (Webster Dictionary)
I sense a decline of reverence toward our Heavenly Father in our society. This saddens me. According to the Bible, “The fear of the LORD is the foundation of true wisdom. All who obey his commandments will grow in wisdom. Praise him forever!” (Psalm 111:10).
I know I fall short many times when it comes to honoring my Heavenly Father, through self-centered words, thoughts, and actions. My desire, however, is to please God by revering Him for who He is.
Teaching our children to honor and respect God should be a high priority. We honor God by making Him number one in our lives (at home, church, work, and play); secondly, we honor God by respecting others. Jesus summed it up this way: 37 “Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'” (Matthew 22:36-40 NLT).
Help your children memorize the Ten Commandments, and discuss how each commandment honors God and respects others. (Read Exodus 20:1-17)
The Children’s Version of the Ten Commandments
1. Have no other gods.
2. Have no idols.
3. Honor God’s name.
4. Honor the Sabbath day.
5. Honor your parents.
6. Do not murder.
7. Do not commit adultery.
8. Do not steal.
9. Do not lie.
10. Do not covet.
Family Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, help me to honor you in all that I say and do. I can’t do this without your help. Please forgive me when I fall short of honoring you and respecting others. I ask this in your precious Son’s name, Jesus. Amen.
What consumes your thoughts on a daily basis? Take a few moments to answer this question (it won’t take long), then reflect upon the following.
If your thoughts are continually focused on this world and all the “things” promising satisfaction, you are no doubt miserable! Take it from a person who has from time to time walked this dead-end path. Fortunately, I’ve learned a better way of thinking….that leads to a life that fully satisfies, and at times, splashes hope, joy, peace, and love onto those who happen across my path.
Note to self and friends: Learning and living this out is a daily surrender and dependence upon God.
Most recently, I found myself consumed with worry. Yes, the big W. Although I memorized Philippians 4:6 many years ago, I hadn’t been living it out, nor had I replaced my stinkin’ thinkin’ with thoughts that lead to hope, joy, peace, and love.
First, let’s look at one of my favorite passages of Scripture:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
– Worry about NOTHING
– Pray about EVERYTHING
– Thank God for ALL THINGS
Often we try to avoid or rid ourselves of thoughts that are unhealthy and or unholy with our own will power. This is not the best method. In fact, we will find ourselves powerless over thoughts that originate from the flesh, the world, and Satan, unless God’s power, through His Holy Spirit is at work in our lives.
Paul instructed the Church of Philippi, and future Christians, to fill their minds with the following:
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Philippians 4:8-9).
I believe this is a great plan! Instead of going around with stinkin’ thinkin’, I’d much rather think upon such things that lead to peace.
Parents and grandparents, take this challenge.
No more Stinkin’ Thinkin’!
Discover the meaning of such things and then help your children/grandchildren catch you living out a thoughtful life in Christ, setting an example for them to follow.
Brief definitions (paraphrased from Webster Dictionary, etc.):
True — Agreeing with the facts, not with anything false. And I will go a little further than Webster: Not only agreeing with the facts, but living a life that substantiates all that is true. Qualities: steadfast, faithful, honest, just, truthful
Jesus said, “I am the true vine…” (John 15:1).
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Noble — Having, showing, or coming from personal qualities that people admire (such as honesty, generosity, courage, etc.)
The Scripture that comes to mind: Proverbs 31:10 – The Wife of Noble Character
Right — Morally correct or acceptable; agreeing with the facts or truth; accurate or correct; speaking, acting, or judging in a way that agrees with the facts or truth. Sounds somewhat similar to the definition of True.
Pure — Not mixed with anything else; clean and not harmful in any way; being free from what vitiates, weakens, or pollutes; being free from everything that might make dirty, change, or lower the quality
Synonyms: spotless, stainless
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob” (Psalm 24:3-6).
Lovely – That what is attractive or beautiful especially in a graceful way; very good or likable; very pleasing; having a beautiful character
“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:7).
Admirable — Deserving to be admired; deserving the highest esteem
Excellent — Very good; extremely good; that what is superior or first-class
“Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question–if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments” (Matthew 19:17 NLT).
Praiseworthy — Deserving praise; worthy of praise
God is worthy of all our praise.
“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being” (Revelation 4:11).
Daily Challenge: Read and meditate on God’s Word (Holy Scripture).
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it” (Joshua 1:8).
“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT).
All Scripture is NIV unless otherwise noted.
Passion (from the Latin verb patere meaning to suffer) is a term applied to a very strong feeling about a person or thing. Passion is an intense emotion, compelling enthusiasm or desire for anything. (Wikipedia)
1 often capitalized : the sufferings of Jesus between the night of the Last Supper and his death 2 a plural : the emotions in general b : strong feeling or emotion 3 a : great affection : LOVE b : a strong liking c : an object of desire or deep interest (Merriam-Webster Student Dictionary)
People have a great passion for many things. Just to name a few:
Football – On September 29, 2014, the Kansas City Chiefs fans reclaimed the record for loudest crowd roar at a sports stadium. Chiefs’ fans made enough noise to register a 142.2 dbA reading at Arrowhead Stadium while playing against the New England Patriots.
Vacations & Fitness – (Online Advertisement) Take Your Passion For Fitness on Luxury Adventure Vacations With Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures – Two leading brands in the active lifestyle and fitness worlds are teaming up to offer Reebok Fitness Vacations by Austin Adventures. This partnership seems to offer a series of vacations that promote fitness as a way of life. Now you can combine two passions at the same time!
Food – (Quote from chef blogger): “I have a passion for preparing and serving great food. I have a goal of getting a great meal on the table every evening in around 45 minutes.”
Attempting to trick Jesus, a religious “expert” posed the following question.
36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment” (Matthew 22:36-38).
I believe this is the greatest passion.
There’s no room to be lukewarm as a Christian. In fact, being lukewarm makes God nauseous.
14 “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:
These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. 15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:14-16).
From the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus promises the following:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled”(Matthew 5:6).
My life passion (mission): To intentionally pass down my faith in Christ to my children and grandchildren. 2 Timothy 1:5
So, what’s your greatest passion?
In 2015, why not cultivate a great passion for loving God, in your children and grandchildren.
Break the record for loving God.
Pray fervently and often.
Give up a favorite beverage (Starbuck’s, soda, etc.) for a month, and set aside this money for a work and witness trip or other service project.
Skip the family vacation one year (or more), and instead, spend this allotted time and money towards serving at a local or global mission.
Rather than wasting endless hours on social media / T.V., etc., use this time for personal and family Bible study.
Purposefully reach out to your neighbors with kindness and the love of Christ.
Intentionally share your faith in Christ with unsaved friends, relatives, coworkers, etc.
Use your gifts and talents at your local church. Serve together as a family when applicable.
Have a Happy and Fulfilling New Year….
by living a life of passion for Christ.