Thursday, January 10, 2013

Deuteronomy 6:6-9 | A New Lesson Learned


6 And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7 Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. 8 Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. 9Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
 
My mother used this verse as her mission statement in raising my sister and me. Everyday, I can remember her sitting us down with our Bibles, singing a song or two, and then reading God's Word to us. Many times she would teach us something she had learned in her own devotional time, which was usually in the middle of the night (as a mother now, I totally get why she had her devotions then!).
 
Yesterday for my devotions I read Deuteronomy 6:6-9..... again. I can't tell you how many times I have read this passage in my life time. But yesterday it struck me differently than it ever has before.
 
How many times have I tried to reinvent the wheel? How many lesson books have I found to teach my children God's Word? How many devotional lesson plans have I written out so that I have a lesson for Addie and one for Ian? How many times have I felt stretched beyond my capacity because I am trying to do more than what God Himself requires me to do?
 
Verse six tells us that we "must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today." We all know what those commands are. There are ten of them, which He later goes into great detail to explain, in case anyone thought they might find a loophole to get around following them.

As parents, we have to commit to these commands ourselves. We cannot teach if we have nothing to teach. We are going to have better credibility with our children if they see us following those commands instead of just trying to teach them the commands.
 
"Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up." The same thing over and over and over again. Throughout the day. When situations pop up. When a choice needs to be made. When an attitude or thought threatens to become an action. No lesson plan required! Just keep your eyes open for teachable moments.
 
"Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." It should be so visible to our children, such an ever present lesson, that everywhere they go they remember what they have been taught at home.
 
Do you have verses placed on the walls of your home? My mother did. She used to get a lot of her decorations from Home Interiors, and many of their pictures and wall decor had verses on them. I learned 1 Corinthians 13 "Love is patient...." from our bathroom wall! I will forever remember the downstairs bathroom in our two story home when we lived in New Jersey because of that verse! The Lord's Prayer was on our living room wall above the TV.
 
When I was a teacher, one of my staple decorations in my classroom was a chart of the Ten Commandments on the door of my classroom. I did that because of this verse.
 
Sadly, as I think about it, the only verse I have on our walls is Joshua 24:15 "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." For me it is in a significant spot. It is on the main support wall for our home. But I cannot let that be it. I want.... no, I need my children to see God's Word before them. 
 
Having our children memorize scripture is vital also. They are so quick to memorize the lyrics to a cool song, lines to their favorite movie, and moves to their favorite dance. Yet, those things are so temporal and fleeting. I get so excited when Addie recognizes something in life and can relate one of her AWANA verses to it without anyone telling her to.
 
Our children also need to know where to find things in the Bible. I know there are apps for our iPads, tablets, and phones which make the actual, physical Bible book "unnecessary", but nothing compares to actually holding that wonderful Book in our hands and searching for "that verse that we know is in there", "that passage that I love", or "this verse I read the other day". Our children need to know how to look for a passage found in the middle or Amos or Joel and learn that those thin sheets of paper hold the most powerful words in the entire world.
 
So, today when devotion time comes, it is back to the basics for us. We will start with commandment one and work our way over time to commandment ten. And when we get there we will start all over again. Yes, we can expand our lesson each time and add Biblical examples to how to follow those commandments and what will happen when we don't, but I am not going to overwhelm myself with coming up with a lesson plan for each child when God has already written a great lesson plan of His own.

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