Thursday, January 13, 2011

Teaching Our Children Diligently

Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 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 upon 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.

Do you know how to train your children in character and God’s Word? It is important that we pray for God to grant us the diligence, patience and love to teaching them God’s Word daily. Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” But, as I break the scripture in Deut. 6:6-9 apart, God is teaching me much more on how I can train my children Godly character through His Word. As great as my intentions may be, I often read them stories from the Bible or do daily devotions, but these methods are not as great as sharing my personal insight and application. You see, the more of God’s Word I have internalized (v.6), the more I see my children’s spiritual growth.

The more I share my life’s lesson with them, the more effective God’s Word will internalize within (v. 7-9). Lou Priolo writes in Teaching Them Diligently, “ Your goal should be to increasingly become like one of the scribes Jesus speaks of in Matthew 13:52, who knows the Scriptures so well that he “brings forth out of his treasure things new and old,” that is, things he has learned from others and things he has figured out for himself.” Therefore, God is calling me to place His Word in my heart and in my soul first, so that I may ‘impress’ these things in their hearts.

If I truly believe that my life’s questions can be answered in the Word, it’s imperative that I live it out through daily meditation and reading by myself and then with my children. At this time, I am finding out there is no effective shortcut to training my children. The more I seek the scriptures for wisdom and instruction, the more I am finding my character needs altering at the same time. I do feel encouraged that as long as my children see my need for God’s grace and mercy, daily seeking change and His will, they will seek God to change their inner being through watching me.

I’d like to encourage you that as you are doing your regular Bible reading, studying, talking, and singing songs of praise with your children, you will be able to show them how the Scripture can govern all areas of your lives. Ultimately, if God’s Word is in your heart, it does affect your entire life.

I also believe as we spend more time in His Word, we will begin to feel more confident in training our children. We have been given the responsibility to indoctrinate our children, the question now is not whether we are going to teach His Word to them, but rather are we going to obey God’s Word ourselves.

A God-Given Profession - - Homemaker

Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be the very last, and the servant of all.” Mark 9:35

Homemaker is the best profession to live out the above passage. It is a profession of service, and truly a role for biblical womanhood. One cannot be a homemaker and be selfish and discontent. But in these self-centered times, we are bombarded with a message that housework and child-rearing is something less than desired or important to making a difference in society. God is not fooled.

Keeper at Home, may I encourage you to reread Proverbs 31, and delight yourself in this profession. May you see that there is great gain in service to your family, and that the Lord finds great joy in seeing you build-up His kingdom.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Surviving Fatigue Raising a Newborn

There is no simple solution to escape fatigue when you just birthed a newborn. I almost hesitate to write this blog post because I do not want to tell you a list of things that you should do. It seems like I’ve had plenty of advice and warnings in the past. Many of these advice are out of good intentions, but every life and situation is so different that some advice are almost difficult and undoable. So whether you have one child or many children, whether you have family or friends around to help, we all need to rely on the Lord for strength and encouragement. He is faithful to provide what we need when we need it.

Since moms of a newborn baby is already sleep deprived, it’s very difficult to have that designated prayer and devotion time first thing in the morning, especially if that first thing in the morning begins with a feeding and diapering at 2 a.m., with a followup of the same thing at 5:00 a.m. Moms shouldn’t be loaded with guilt because they aren’t able to have the personal time with the Lord. Scripture says we are to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.) Moms of a newborn baby may sacrifice their time with the Lord in the mornings, but they don’t have to sacrifice a relationship with Him throughout the day. Throughout the day, a mother can offer up prayers of thanksgiving for this new life in her arms. She can ask Him to give her the strength to care for her other children, to make the meals, or to clean up the messes. She can ask Him to show her how to direct the home school schedule with the older children. The quiet time with the Lord happens throughout the day, and it may be for a few seconds or a few minutes.

It’s also easy to be distracted by things that may discourage like the dishes that pile up in the sink, the spills and messes throughout the day, and even the pants that still don’t fit 2 weeks postpartum. It’s important to have a joyful heart though. I find that by playing worship and praise songs on the radio, iPod, or CD player can be refreshing, keeping my heart joyful and thankful. In Psalm 126:3, “The LORD has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.” Throughout Scripture, the word “joy” is often expressed with a shout or song to the Lord for the ‘great things He has done’. Simply humming a hymn does wonders for one’s spirit as well. When I hear it, say it, sing it, the enemy and my flesh is unable to defeat my spirit and purpose. (Psalm 118:14-16, “The LORD is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation. Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous.”)

Eventually, I will have time with the Lord, but I do continually to read the Bible with my children. I have several readers in the household, so during our devotion, I have them read the Word while I may nurse, change diaper(s) and sip a cup of herbal tea. I try to make family bible reading a priority because the Word tell us that all those who go to Him will be satisfied. I have seen the result of keeping our devotion together. (John 4: 13-14, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”) There will be times where the kids will remind each other what we read during devotion time, and many times it will apply to me as well, and I’m convicted. One day we read a passage in the Bible about God answering people’s prayers, my young son pointed out that God answered our prayer of bringing dad safely home from work, just like God answered Isaac’s prayer for Rebekkah to be pregnant. I was awed at how sensitive he was to sensing God at work through our prayers. I may not have the time or energy to have a daily personal devotion, but as a family, we are still growing in the Lord together. When I had really young children, I played CDs of the Bible that I checked out from the library. I had Scripture on 3x5 cards that I'd flip through several times in the day. Spending time in the Word can come in so many different forms.

The Lord knows how much you can handle in this season of life. He is the provider of your needs. He will provide you enough rest and strength to handle the day’s tasks. The Lord will also give you the wisdom to plan your schedule, assess the priorities, and He will protect your physical and emotional being. This season of your life will pass quickly, and these tiring days will no longer be the memory of raising your children. The most important thing of my post is to encourage moms to always keep the focus on Him and to always seek Him first, and the Lord will be faithful to carry you through.