Friday, February 19, 2010

Lessons On Parenting

Tonight we had a family service at our church.  I have to admit~I was hesitant to go, because it is a Friday night.  I should always figure that when I'm like that, God just shows up.  And He did in a big way.  My kids and I were blessed because of it tonight, and I got to reconnect with my high school best friend.  How good is God?

It was a fun time of worshiping with our families, watching a live gameshow, then the kids went on a treasure hunt throughout the church.  The parents stayed where put for a short message from Jason Noble, the director of Children's Ministry Agency.  I was immediately hooked, because like us, he has 4 kids.  Get their ages~11, 9, and 6 year old twins.  Hello?  Sound familiar?  The only difference is that ours are all boys and 3 of his are girls, with his son being 9.

He spoke on Deuteronomy tonight.  On parenting.  Because, let's face it: life is full of ups, downs, obstacles and challenges.  I thought I would share what he spoke on tonight~it's eleven principles taken out of Deuteronomy chapter 6.

1:  Get the commandments inside of YOU.  Deuteronomy 6:6 {in the Message translation} says this: "Write these commandments that I've given you today on your hearts.  Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children."  *Kids are followers~they mimic what they see.  When they SEE YOU living a life that is full of God, they tend to follow your lead.*

2:  Love God.  Deuteronomy 6:5 {still in the Message} says this: "Love God, your God, with your whole heart.  Love Him with all that is in you, love Him with all you've got!" 

3:  Teach and model God's commandments.  Deuteronomy 6:6 {NIV this time} says this: "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts."  *Again, this is acting, doing, living out our faith.  And teaching it to our kids.*

4:  Talk about the things of God.  Deuteronomy 6:8,&9 say this:  "Tie them {the commandments} as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

5:  Instill a thankful heart towards God.  Deuteronomy 6:12 says this: "Be careful that you not forget the Lord, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery."  *Let's face it here, folks: we are a sinful people and without God in our lives, our lives end on this earth.  If we know God and He lives and dwells within us, our real life begins with our last breath on earth.  That is all there is to it.*

6:  Teach children to respect God.  Deuteronomy 6:13 {back to the Message again} says this: "Deeply respect God, your God.  Serve and worship Him exclusively.  *Respecting God starts with church.*

7:  Help them to see how much God loves them.  *God wants us to know how much He loves us, and He assures us that our lives will increase greatly after this life on earth ends.  We think our lives are good now, just wait until we get to Heaven!*

8:  Teach them to worship only God.  Deuteronomy 6:13,14 say this: "Fear the Lord your God, serve Him only and take your oaths in His name.  Do not follow other gods, the gods of the peoples around you."  *A god can be a sport, an addiction, a tv show, basically anything that takes our time away from God.  We must set our priorities in life now while our kids are young.  Children have developed their personalities by age 3, and by the age of 9, they've established their world views.  Think about that~and if necessary, re~prioritize our lives!*

9:  Encourage them to always do the right thing.  Deuteronomy 6:17 {The Message} says this: "Do what is right; do what is good in God's sight so you'll live a good life and be able to march in and take this pleasant land that God so solemnly promised through your ancestors, throwing out your enemies left and right~exactly as God said." 

10:  Be willing to answer their questions.  *Life is hard and kids are full of questions.  When they ask difficult questions if you don't know how to answer them, be honest with them.  Take a moment and pray about it, and ask God for guidance and wisdom.  He will direct our words, and He'll give us enough to answer.* 

11:  Help them see how important God's blessings are.  Deuteronomy 6:24 says this: "The Lord commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the Lord our God, so that we may always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today."  *Can we live without God?  Of course.  But I don't want to.  He never promises that life with Him will be easy~but it will be eternal and with His hand on us, it will be a fulfilling life.  I know that God has richly blessed my family, and I give all the praise to Him for that.*

I hope you gain as much from this as I did.  I am always on the lookout for parental advice, and as believers we should all stick together.  Times today are different and more difficult than ever before.  I pray that you find this useful~I'm definitely keeping it handy around my house.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.  Love to all.

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