Monday, May 14, 2012

Devotions | Put God First

For those of you joining us from Kristi's blog, welcome! I am really glad you stopped by. Kristi and I attended youth group together at what is now Sayre Woods Bible Church (Oh, heavens! I was about 17 in the photo making Kristi about 15 or 16). After I moved out of state, we lost touch for quite a while until my mother passed away. Kristi contacted me and through back and forth letter writing, emailing, facebooking, texting, and phone calls, we realized that we were twins of each other living in separate parts of the country! We are so much alike it is down right scary at times. Like the fact that we were both planning to write on devotions with children today. So we decided to link up with each other. Please, be sure to check out Kristi's blog to see what she does with her children and their devotion time.

I have mentioned in the past that devotions are a crucial part of my day. But I also want them to be a vital part of my children's day as well.

So what is a mommy to do?

We are so careful as mothers to make sure that our children eat three meals a day, take their baths, put on clean clothes, and get plenty of exercise, but we need to make sure that our children's spirits are receiving the same amount of care as their physical bodies are.

The Bible says in Deuteronomy 6: 6-9- 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 door frames of your houses and on your gates.

Impress them on your children.
Talk about them when
  • you sit at home
  • you walk along the road
  • you lie down
  • you get up
Tie them on your hands and foreheads
Write them on the door frames and gates

That sounds like a lot of Bible teaching and training! And in our world of constant technology and social networks and smart phones and fun apps, giving our children that much spiritual attention will take us away from our other "fun" things.

Here's a reminder: our children can go to heaven, our smart phones cannot. So where should our time be invested?

The month of May is always family building month at our church. Two Sundays ago, our pastor reminded the congregation that bringing their children to church every time the doors are open is great, but we are not to depend on the church to teach and train our children. That is our job as parents. The church is only to supplement what is being taught at home.

My mother took Deut. 6 very seriously.... literally.

In the mornings, she would have a devotion with us in addition to our personal devotions that we were to have. Up until the day I was married, my mother sat with me at the kitchen table and had a devotional with me. I can even remember being in the second grade (before I was home schooled) and learning about Moses and the ten plagues, one plague a day while I ate breakfast before school.

Mom talked about the Lord no matter what she did and taught us that God and His Word were not to be compartmentalised and reserved for Sundays only. She took advantage of each and every teachable moment and used the Bible to show us the truth that she was trying to get across to us. Our faith was something that was to be with us in everything we did. While watching television, she would use the news and scenarios to teach us right and wrong and what God's Word said about those issues and situations. And most of the picture decor in our home had Scripture written on them so we could always see God's Word wherever we were.... even in the bathroom.

Here at home, I am doing the same things with my children. But today we are only going to focus on devotions.

Addie, Ian, and I sit down after Brian leaves for work and we will read from a devotional. We have read individual Bible stories over and over again until the lesson has stuck. We have read through Bible account books. Right now we are reading through a book that I had as a child, Proverbs for Kids from THE Book.

I could just read the page for the day and say that I read the Bible to my kids, but what will they have learned? As I am reading, I rephrase things to make them understandable to a 4 year old. And although Ian is only 7 1/2 months, I don't treat him like he can't understand what we are talking about. I talk to him as though he knows what I am saying.

We do this first thing in our day because I want my children to learn that we must put God first in our day. And in all honesty, I know that I can get so busy with home schooling, caring for Ian, and house work that I can easily forget to take the time with them to read the Bible.

At nap time, Addie and I read a story from another devotional book in addition to our library books. We have gone through three devotional books at this point. The one we are currently using is really old and I doubt is even in print anymore. In the evening, Addie has another devotion time (right now it is with Brian). Although it sounds like it might be "too much" for little ones, Addie will not let us skip any of our devotion times no matter how late it is. She looks forward to those times. And I am so glad.

What are the benefits to investing this much time into my children's spiritual health? I can definitely say that it has opened up a lot of spiritual dialogue with my daughter, whether it is on the topic we have been studying or another topic that pops into her mind (and, believe me, anything can pop into their heads when they are 4 years old). But she knows that these dialogues are welcomed and encouraged because of the time we spend with her having a devotion time.

On Saturday morning, completely unprompted, Addie told me, "When we go to heaven, I'm going to miss our home."

I explained to her, "When we go to Heaven we won't miss our house. It is so wonderful in Heaven!"

You could see the wheels turning. "When will we go to Heaven?"

I told her that when it is time for us to go to Heaven, Jesus will call us.

"But what if I don't hear him?"

"Do you have Jesus in your heart?"

"Yes," she said.

"Only people who have Jesus in their hearts will hear him."

"Okay!" and she was off.

Spending that extra time with our children having a devotion time is so important because this is how we build the foundation in their lives for helping them develop convictions, which I will be writing about tomorrow, Lord willing.


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