Friday, April 26, 2013

Practical Steps to Godly Education



As I was writing my last post.  I couldn't help but be reminded that God calls His people to a different way of education.  Not an education of the world but an education of Him and His Word.  Romans 12 is one of my favorite chapters in the WORD, because it is such a clear reminder of how we are to live. 
Romans 12
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[ faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;

    if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.

In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

We are to be set apart, holy, people.  We are to show love and humility towards others.  We are to recognize that everyone is gifted in different ways and is to use their gifts as God directs them.  We are one body, but each has a different role to play, and we are to love those who are different from us.  Even those who persecute us.  But how in the world do we teach this type of lifestyle to our children in a corrupt and evil world.
In my previous post I outlined Deuteronomy 6:5-9.   I wanted to take that outline and give a few practical ways we could put these verse into action.  I want to first say, that Jeremy and I in no way have this all figured out, but these are just some things we have learned along the way.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9
 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  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 doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

1. Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, and strength.
(parents first we must have our hearts, souls, minds, and strength set on the right thing.)
One thing I have learned to do is not get out of bed before I focus my heart and mind on Christ.  I take a few minutes and ask God to help me remember who he created me to be and to help me be all that He needs me to be today.  I also use my shower time each day as a time to pray.  These are two times of the day that I usually can focus on God and who He is and who he wants me to be without interruption.  Jeremy and I have also found that a good church family, with good Bible teaching and instruction helps us stay focused on Christ.  It can because it is made up of people, and people are hard to live with.  But, as iron sharpens iron, so we also sharpen one another.
2.  Put God's WORD in your heart.
(We can't teach what we don't know.)
This is a hard one for me.  I have a hard time memorizing God's WORD.  But I keep at it.  Get in the WORD at least once a day.  It doesn't have to be hard.  If you are teaching your children a verse, then learn it too.  If you are taking a class at church than do the assignments.  Keep a Bible in the bathroom.  Read a verse or a chapter every time you use the bathroom.  Seriously, it works.

3. Put God's WORD in your children's heart.
(By force if necessary.)
There are lots of ways to get the WORD in your children's heart.  There are Christian CD's with scripture song or read to them.  We sometimes play the CD"S when the kids are going to sleep at night.  We also do a Daddy Bible study twice a week.  It takes about ten to fifteen minutes.  Daddy picks a section of scripture, he reads it to the family.  Then each night he takes one verse at a time of that section and we memorize it and he draws a picture of that verse for us on a white board.  We all copy the verse and the picture, and discuss the verse.  Each night, we recite all the verses that we have memorized, and by the time we are done with the section of scripture we have it all memorized.  An example of a section of scripture would be the Lord's Prayer or the Beatitudes, etc. 
4. Talk about them when you sit at home.
(Make your home a place that God and His WORD are mentioned often.)
This one is easy.  As you sit down to meals talk about the things of God and how you see/saw God in your daily lives.  As you sit down in the evenings to relax as a family, read together or watch a movie and discuss the Biblical views and values in the books or movies.  We rotate between reading a missionary story in the evenings and reading a character quality book.  Some examples of books that  you can read together are "Kisses from Katie," "How to make Brothers and Sisters best Friends,"  and "How to stop complaining, whining, and arguing in yourself and your kids."  As you read and discuss these books you help your kids apply scripture to their lives.
5.  Talk about them when you walk along the way.
(Teach your children that God is with us everywhere we go, and not to be ashamed to talk of Him and His WORD no matter where they go.)
One of my favorite times to visit with my kids is as we are driving around here and there.  This is often when my kids share their own deep thoughts and questions on life.  It allows me to point them back to God's Word again and again.  Listen to your kids and their silly chatter, and encourage them to talk about even the smallest of things with you.  When they are going into the store, school, or anywhere remind them of who they are in Christ, and pray with them to be all God created them to be.  I almost always remind my kids before we get out of the car who we are and how we behave.  This makes a huge difference in their behavior and their confidence. 
6. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.
(start your children's day and end it with God's WORD.)
Teach your kids not to start their day without connecting with God first.  I encourage my kids not to leave their rooms until they have prayed and sought God in the morning.  Then when they go to bed at night, we teach them to again reach out to God.  Sometimes we sing to God, sometimes we read a Psalms, and sometimes we just reach out in prayer and gratitude to start our morning.  At night, we like to review our day and see how God was with us and often the kids will spend their own quiet time in the Bible before they go to sleep.
7.  Tie them on your hands and bind them on your forehead.
(When something is in your hand it is easy to give it away, when it is on the forefront of your mind (memorized) then you are ready to share it with others.  Help your children be ready to give an answer for their faith.  1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect...)
This section is about teaching our kids to know their beliefs and God so well, that when someone else looks at them they see Jesus.  When our kids look at us they should see Jesus.  This is not about physically applying verses to our bodies, it is not about tattoos.  It is about God's WORD being so much a part of our lives, that when others, even our kids, look at us they see it in action.  Basically, it is practice what you preach.

8. Write them on the doorframes  and gates of your house.
(Create a home that when your children go and come from it they see and know God's WORD comes and goes with them.)
I take this section very literal.  If you come to my house you will see that I have scripture placed all over our house.  It is there to remind us of who we are in Christ and how we should live.  Some of the verses are in nice frames and others are printouts on card stock.  Some is handwritten on poster paper.  I encourage the kids to read the verses each time they pass them.  But, I do believe this verse can be symbolic as well.  The place where we live should be a witness to the WORD in our hearts.  When people drive by, or visit our homes they should know that God dwells there.  By maintaining our home and being good stewards we are a witness to God in our lives. 

As we live our lives in this fallen world we can be set apart people.  As God's people we are a people of discipline and order.  No matter if we work out side the home, send our kids to public school, attend church every week, or homeschool our kids, do a home church, or homestead, we are all called to train up our children.  The gift of parenthood, is a high calling that every Christian must take seriously.  In closing, remember this:
Philippians 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

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