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May 6, 2014

Immersing Your Children in Truth

As parents, we have a tremendous responsibility to teach our children - not just about Jesus - but how to WALK with Jesus. David and I want our children to be passionate about their faith...in love with their Savior...eager to spend time meditating on truth...faithful in prayer.

Immersing Your Children in Truth
Truth

While lessons in these areas may look a little different for each family, here are a few things we do in our house and a few resources that have worked great for us:


Breakfast & The Bible - In our kitchen, we have a basket of Bibles for little ones. During breakfast, I will read a story from one of these - what a great way to start the day. This is somewhat of a new addition to our routine, so we are still working to make it a tried-and-true habit, but we are getting there.

These Bible Cards are a great resource we use at meal time (and sometimes at bedtime). 

Prayer before Meals - At mealtime [and beyond] we try to encourage real, authentic prayer and not simply memorized recitations.

Prayer throughout the Day - Anytime we receive news of a situation that needs prayer, we stop and pray about it...out loud...with my little ones. The other day, we received news that a friend had lost someone very close to her. I told Caleb about it and we said a prayer for this precious family. The morning my hubby had car trouble...we prayed about that, too. The day my uncle received a good report from his cancer doctor, we stopped and thanked Jesus for this blessing. At the start, implementing this may feel awkward for you and your family...especially if your children are older...but while it may seem out of your comfort zone, what an incredible way to teach kids the truth that God wants us to be in constant communication with Him...all throughout our day...taking our requests and reasons for thanksgiving before His throne.

Scripture Music - While there are so many incredible resources out there, my absolute favorite is Steve Green's Hide 'em In Your Heart Collection. I grew up listening to these cds; As a teacher, I shared them with my students; and from the time my Caleb was a newborn, he has fallen asleep listening to Scripture. (These are also a part of the rotation of music we listen to in the car - I do not want to miss any God-given opportunity to introduce them to truth.)


Life Lessons Recording - Another power tool to use at bedtime/in the car is Adventures in Odyssey's audio series! Their movies are great, but I especially love their Life Lessons audio recordings.
Photo Credit: Christian Book Distributors
Truth-Based Books - I love books that teach a faith lesson:
There are so many great ones out there, but this series from Tara Reeves is a current favorite!


Isaiah 55:11: So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

A Faith-Based Preschool Environment - We are wholeheartedly passionate about faith-based education. We want our children to be instructed by those who are living lives committed to the Savior...those who will instruct them to see all areas of curricula through the lens of God has the creator and sustainer of all things. Our specific situation currently includes a mixture of homeschooling as well as faith-focused nursery/preschool classes, co-ops, etc.


Bedtime Bible Reading - What started as an advent activity, reading through the Jesus Storybook Bible has now become a regular bedtime practice.
As a family, we gather together before bed and read from this Bible or Sarah Young's "Jesus Calling Bible Storybook".

Church Training - On Sundays, Caleb attends an excellent program at our church. In his class, he is being taught - not just babysat while Mommy & Daddy attend the worship service - but taught age-appropriate Scriptural truths (more on that later) while also enjoying an extremely unhealthy dose of goldfish crackers! *smile* Our goal is for Caleb to also - at times - attend the adult service with us. We want him to know the name of our church...the name of our pastor..the theology in the songs that we sing...the importance of being still and meditating on God's word. Our goal is to slowly transition him into this, and we have started by simply bringing him in to the service for just a few minutes at the end. As the sermon comes to a close, hubby goes and retrieves our toddler from his class. They return to the service together in order for Caleb to "participate" in the closing songs, announcements, etc. Some weeks aren't as smooth as others; but that's completely understandable...He is a pre-schooler in training.


If we believe that God is good, we must teach our children to praise Him. If we believe that God is in complete control, we must teach our little ones to trust Him in all things. If we believe that God's word is life, we must teach our children to spend time in His word. Modeling all of these things...involving them in these practices...not just telling them to do it...or telling them how important it is.

Proverbs 6:21-23: Bind them upon your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you; For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life. 

We - very much on purpose - want to completely immerse our children in truth and teach them - from the cradle - what it looks like to walk minute-by-minute with the Savior. We desire for them to seek Him with their whole heart. Our greatest longing is that they will abide in Him all of their days and live out truth and love before those who are living without hope.

What a challenge this has been for us, because we ourselves must be walking this way in order to teach them what it looks like, and oh how Satan wants to keep this from happening in our home and in yours.

Training our children in this way has required that we get dead serious about our faith - when little ones are watching, there is no room for wavering. I absolutely acknowledge that no one is perfect and it is actually beneficial for children to see how their parents respond to mistakes, etc. but I am simply trying to express the seriousness of this issue for us.

What does this look like for you family? Do you need to adopt some new habits? Do you need to make some changes? We have most definitely been challenged to do so!

Some of the changes we have made have been easier than others. One of the most difficult things we did was move our church membership. Since before David and I were even engaged, we were part of wonderful, Christ-centered faith community. We were challenged there...We grew tremendously there where God had planted us, and we had always felt very thankful for this blessing in our lives; but it started to become clear to us that He was calling us to make a change, and I know from past experience that it is always best to do exactly what He asks of us- whether big or small.

Saying goodbye to what we had known was bittersweet, but now...months later...we can look back and see God's hand, God's timing, God's specific direction, and we are so thankful to Him for that. We are excited about where He has lead us. We are thrilled to see - even our toddler - learning how to defend his faith, how to walk daily with Jesus, how to live a life of faith no matter he goes.

In order to live this kind of life before you children, you must first of all, have a personal relationship with Christ...not just know about Him, but know him personally in a way that impacts how you live moment-by-moment. Oh how I long for you, dear reader, to know the hope of Christ...Will this result in perfection? Will this be easy? I will tell you from personal experience - no way! It will be messy...It will be difficult...It will be a struggle...but it will be 100% worth every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears~


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