Sunday, 13 November 2011

Scripture and our children.

How can a young man keep his way pure?
By living according to your word.
I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

The above scripture got me thinking about how and why we should be hiding the word of God in our hearts and the training our children to hide His word in their hearts and thereby creating a life long store house of His goodness.
Who does God hold responsible for the training of our children ?
Parents Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord

So, what is the ultimate goal of parents in child-training ?

“To raise morally responsible children who reach adulthood knowing right from wrong, and make wise choices based on biblical knowledge. To accomplish this goal, we need to develop a moral conscience that comes from the Bible and to do this we must place it in the hearts of our children.” (Joey & Carla Link Mom’s Notes )

“We can raise our children to be successful by the worlds standards—but if their hearts are not turned toward God, we will miss the mark by God’s standards. While the world may judge our children against the standards of intelligence, appearance, money, power and fame, God will judge them by their hearts— “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” As their parents, we are raising our children for God’s approval.” (Clay & Sally Clarkson Educating the WholeHearted Child)

The Word of God says:
Matt 6:21 For where your treasure is there will your heart be also.
Matt 12: 35 The good man from his inner good treasure flings forth good things, and the evil man out of his inner evil storehouse flings forth evil things.
Psalm 119 : 11Thy word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.
Often times we take for granted that we understand the common words that we use every day and because of this I some times like to look up the meanings and that in itself is a tremendous encouragement as it opes up for me the depth of the word. Here are a few from the above scriptures:
  • Treasure - riches accumulated, a treasure is a store of wealth
  • Accumulate To become greater in quantity or number; increase
  • Heart The vital or essential part, by memory, The centre of mans personal activities, the source whence the principles of his actions derive their origin.

  • Eph 6:11 Put on God’s whole armour—the armour of a heavy-armed soldier, which God supplies—that you may be able successfully to stand up against all the strategies and deceits of the devil.
  • Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.
By hiding His word in our hearts we will be successful to stand against the evil one and his ways and most importantly we will not sin against the Lord.

  • Eph 6:17and the sword the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God.
  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 These commandments that I give to you today are
We need to be teaching our children the whole word of God including the old testament which contains His commandments.
Firstly the word needs to be in my heart and then I am to impress them on the hearts of my children.

  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ...Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up
By the standard of this verse its a daily everywhere you are.

  • Deuteronomy 6:6-9 ...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.
  • I delight to do Thy will, O my God; Thy Law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
  • And that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Timothy 3:15
The Lord encouraged His people to have scripture everywhere before their eyes to help them remember.

Benefits of memorization:
  • Memorization helps children learn what is right (wisdom) from what is wrong (foolishness)
  • It encourages children not only to obey Mom and Dad but also to obey God (our highest and ultimate objective)
  • It helps them realise it's not because Mom and Dad say to do this or that but ultimately it is the Lord we are in obedience to. It is His standard not ours.
  • It helps them learn about our majestic God, His wonderful ways, and His unconditional love for them.

So what does this look like for us?
    1. Start as soon as they begin to talk. Don’t underestimate your child! Before 2 years of age most children can memorize a whole verse, and before 3 most children can memorize a whole psalm such as Psalm 100.
    2. Do it consistently. Set aside time daily for new learning and for review of prior learning.
    3. We need to establish in the minds of our children the authority of the Bible, God’s written word.
    a. Teach them to respect the bible.
    b. Teach them to love the bible “ Oh how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the dayPsalm 119:97
    c. Teach them to like the bible, don’t use it as a form of punishment.
    1. We need to read the bible to our children on a consistent basis. “Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” Romans 10:17
    a) Take your toddler and say ‘Come it’s your special time with God’ and cuddle up and read a toddlers bible with them and on occasion a verse or two together from your bible.
    b) Don’t stop reading to your children when they can read for themselves.
    c) Have family devotions. It doesn’t have to be long say 10 min after a meal before everyone goes their separate ways. When using material to supplement your devotion use books that use the Bible as it’s guide. Ask questions get family discussion going for the older students. For the younger ones use stories to illustrate the point.
    d) Teach them to have their own devotions and to use a note book to record their journey.
    1. Time spent in the Word needs to be fun.
    a) The manner in which we present the Bible to our children shapes their attitude for life.
    b) Use age appropriate bibles
    1. Have a plan for practically incorporating scripture in your family.
    a) Target a topic per month eg honesty. Plan lessons around this
    b) Don’t push beyond their capacity to learn. Be realistic in your expectations but at the same time don’t underestimate their ability either.
    1. Identify goals of personal Christian growth which you hope your child will accomplish by the time they leave home
    a) Having a consistent quiet time on their own.
    b) Knowing how to lead some one to Christ on their own
    c) Knowing how the basics of mentoring a new Christian.
    1. Identify your doctrine/beliefs which you hope your child will learn as part of the Christian life view before he/she leaves home.
    2. Identify the character values you want your child to have in their lives.
    a) Galations 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
    1. Teach your children about the history of the Christian faith.

  • Always teach the reference along with the verse.
  • Consistency is the key.
  • Review is critical. Use Meal times, traditional times, creative time, child initiated times, when he is getting dressed in the morning, getting ready for bed etc.
  • Affirmation and reward is critical to your success.
  • The process needs to be unique to your family. Try one of the following ideas:
  • Use sign language as you say your verse.
  • Repetition. Some children enjoy jumping so have them jump on the tramp or skip practicing their verse.
  • Write up the verse on a white board and as you learn erase out a word till all the words are erased.
  • Pictorial memorization. Write the verse and substitute words with pictures eg a heart with a heart !
  • Or a scripture to song music CD. Find your family’s unique way and go for it!
  • Jessica over at Our Family for His glory has a great post on scripture memory: Top 10 ways to memorize scripture

Source documents:
Thy word have I treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against Thee.
Psalm 119 : 11

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