Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Knowing God's Word, Obedience, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

Parent Practice

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1

Image result for angry childObviously, I don’t believe that there are children out there reading this blog. However, as Christian parents who are raising our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord, we try to infuse their understanding with scripture.

There have been many times that my children do not want to and have not obeyed me. And when they receive the consequence, their faces are often downcast like Cain’s was in Genesis when he didn’t bring an offering in the right way. They pout and cross their arms, more angry that they are in trouble for their wrongdoing than upset with themselves for having done wrong. There is no repentance in them in these moments.

But I have long felt led to mete out consequences with an explanation. Discipline with the scriptural-behind-the-scenes. I want my children to know that Mama loves them and that God loves them. And because of this, God has placed my husband and I as their spiritual guardians until which time they are able to choose for themselves. But also because of this, God expects them as the children to obey. And not just saying and doing something because that’s what they’ve been told, but Ephesians says obey in the Lord. The Hebrew here could also be translated obey as to the Lord.

We have a saying in our house when it comes to obedience. Quickly and cheerfully. If God asked us to do something, or if we desired to do something for someone we love, we would do so quickly and cheerfully. So obeying Mama and Papa, to God’s glory and honor, should be done the same way.

That does not mean that we will never be wrong. It does not mean that it will always be fair or fun. But if our children learn to obey us quickly and cheerfully now, while they are young, then this same habit and the emotion it carries, will follow with them into their college and career, into their own marriage and family, and for the rest of their lives when the only one that they will need to obey is God.

Mama and Papa? We’re just practice, we’re just getting them warmed up for the real deal.

Posted in Children, Christian Family Devotions, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Knowing God's Word, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

All Day Teachable

“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.” Deuteronomy 6:7-9

Image result for scripture on the wallAs an educator, this scripture really hits home for parents passing on the truth of God, as A.W. Tozer puts it, “undimmed and undiminished.” In verse 7, we’re commanded to impress God’s commands on our children, and then God uses the remainder of this passage to let us know how we can make that happen.

In undergrad, I read plenty of studies about the merits of teachable moments, active engagement, time on task and enriched educational environments. Since God created our brains and understands how we each learn best, it’s no wonder that He prescribed research sound educational techniques for families long before the first schools were ever founded and even longer before even one research study was done on the subject.

Teachable moments are those times when a we seize the natural interest/curiosity of a child as it blooms in front of us and make the most of the opportunity to infuse them with as much understanding as they can get at that time.  When God herein basically tells parents to keep His Word activated throughout the day, the natural result of this is to saturate our children with the knowledge of the Holy in response to their inquiry as life presents them with questions and challenges.

Active engagement means that the student is the one who is directing the investigation and time on task means that it is the student who is actively processing the material. What better way for this to occur than when the family’s daily discourse centers around God’s Word–sitting and walking all day from getting up to going to bed?

Enriched environment means that a history class will have visuals and other materials that keep the whole room focused on the subject of history–specifically the points of history being studied in the current unit. And the same goes for math, health, science, world language, et al. God actually commands His people to take it a step further here. Yes, post them all over your home and even on the landscaping around your home, but also wear them on your body–jewelry, t-shirts, hats…the more we can infuse our lives with the Word of God, the better we will remember it.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Knowing God's Word, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

Heart Soil

“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.” Deuteronomy 6:6

Image result for heart soil + imageWhile we are to love the Lord our God with all our hearts [Deuteronomy 6:5] , we are also to hide His Word in [Psalm 119:11] and to keep His commands on our hearts as well. Why our hearts?

According to scripture, the whole heart is comprised of intellect [Genesis 6:5-6; Psalms 19:14, et al], will [Proverbs 16:19 and 19:21, et al], and emotion [1 Samuel 2:1, Jeremiah 4:19, et al]. It is the figurative core of our physical being, not the literal muscle called the heart. It is the command center for how and what we think, choose and feel. In essence, it is the fabric of who we are as individuals.

We love God with all our hearts so that we will we choose to lovingly obey Him. In obedience, we hide His Word in our hearts so that we will not sin against Him, and that also means that we will not sin against fellow man. But that scripture wasn’t yet penned when the law was given a second time in Deuteronomy. David was not even a twinkle in his mother’s eye when God instructed His Israelites in how to pass faith onto their children.

And the thing is, faith is not genetic, it’s contagious. But only a genuine, living faith is contagious, not a soured or dead faith. God tells the Israelites to plant His commands in their own hearts for two reasons; 1) so that they personally will live right before Him, and 2) so that their children will see their genuine, living faith, their relationship with the one true God, and learn to love and trust Him because of it.

Have you given your whole heart to God? Do you continue to hide His Word in your intellect, will and emotion? Have you planted God’s commands in the soil of your heart so that they spring to life before your children’s eyes? Do your children see genuine, living faith emanating from the very center of your being in all things?

Posted in Uncategorized

With All Your Strength

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Generation Heroes

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Image result for rock climbingMost people are aware of their own strength. How much they can lift. How far they can run. What other exertion they can tolerate to what extent and for how long. And we tend to stay within these limits, because we know that pain awaits on the other side. With training, we can increase our personal strength threshold, but we can never completely erase the limitation of our humanity.

And we should take care of our bodies out of love for our Creator. We only get one physical being to carry us through this world. How we care for it–or not–often determines which physical limitations we will face in life. Though it is appointed to every one to die once [Hebrews…

View original post 216 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

With All Your Mind

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

Generation Heroes

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Image result for Looking to heavenThough intellect is a part of our whole heart, our mind is that conscious stream of thought, that which holds our focus and demands our attention. So we are to love [an act of will] God with all of our conscious thought, focus and attention.

The world sends us messages both to attract and to elevate the status of our own minds. Our thoughts, focus, and attention have fallen prey to much media research. Most of us can quote commercials or sing jingles, and buy into sale ads for the many unnecessary–yet desirable–products of today. And who hasn’t heard phrases like Get your mind in the game and Mind over matter? On the one hand, the world would like…

View original post 233 more words

Posted in Uncategorized

With All Your Heart

Deuteronomy 6:5, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.”

Generation Heroes

by Kristen C. Strocchia

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” Mark 12:30

Image result for Hands Heart SunsetIn this, the greatest of all commands, we are called to love God first of all with our whole heart. Not the pulsing tissue-vein-and-artery pump that delivers lifeblood to our bodies, but our spiritual heart which nourishes our soul-man with faith, hope and love.

The Bible tells us that our whole heart is a triune spiritual organ made up of our intellect [Genesis 6:5-6, Psalms 19:14, et al], our will [Proverbs 16:9 and 19:21, et al], and our emotion [1 Samuel 2:1, Jeremiah 4:19, et al]. Unfortunately, just like our physical heart, our spiritual heart was damaged when sin entered the world.

Before sin, the central purpose of the human heart was to revere God. But when sin entered the world…

View original post 271 more words

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

Let My People Know

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4

Image result for wrestles with godIsrael–Jacob’s God-given name. One who contends–or wrestles–with God [Genesis 32:28]. And Jacob’s descendants have ever after been known by the same. Israel–God’s chosen people. In their obedience, they were an example of His blessing. In their disobedience, an example to the nations of the consequence of sin and punishment from on high.

But when God brought His people out of Egypt to bring them in to the Promised Land [Deuteronomy 6:23] He put His name on them for all the world to see and know that He was the God of Israel. With His name written on their Nation, He needed His people to know that the gods of Egypt were false and that the gods of the Canaanite cultures were also false. That there is no other God beside our Lord and Creator [Jeremiah 10:6].

He cannot be divided into many smaller gods–one to rule sunlight, another for moonlight, one to rule seas, and a smaller one to rule rivers. Every culture on the planet shares the spiritual remembrance of a divine being, but Satan perverted, diminished or fractured the understanding of this memory into pantheons of false deities–every one an idol.

But God’s intention when He instituted the ministry of home, was that the family would–as A.W. Tozer puts it–pass on undimmed and undiminished that noble concept of God that we received from those who came before. That we would lead by example in reverence for the one true and infinite God, and denounce without hesitation every false authority created by finite man.

When this is the heart of our home, then it will also be the heart of our children.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Loving God, Parents, Prayer, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized

Hear

“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One.” Deuteronomy 6:4

Image result for ear + imageThe opening verse to the Shema is so critical to growing a family and a personal life in the Lord. First, as Israel was being led into the desert out of Egypt and given heart-set commands from God, He addressed the Egyptian and Canaanite mindsets around them. One they were leaving, and the other they were about to walk into.

Before even this though, God opens what He is about to say with a single instruction.

Hear.

It seems like simple a simple word, one that a reader can gloss over, take for granted. But herein lies a world of trouble for many who would come to Christ.

Hear. To be told or informed of. To be aware of or know the existence of. To listen or pay attention to. To listen to all that someone has to say. To listen and grant.

In our day, many have become ultra-visual receptors. That is that we listen with our eyes. TV, social media, devices, billboards, everything around us grabs our attention and stimulates our understanding through the lens of sight rather than the filter of ears.

But I believe that the Israelites had also become a visually stimulated people, absorbing all of the sights and cultures of their masters in Egypt. That is why God needed to tell them when He uprooted them from the only life they’d ever experienced–because at the exodus, none alive had ever lived outside the bondage of Egypt save Moses–and began to instruct them by telling them to use their ears.

Jesus addressed this deficit as well, saying, “Whoever has ears, let them hear” [Matthew 11:15, 13:9 & 14:43; Mark 4:9 & 4:23; Luke 8:8 & 14:35; Revelation 2:7, 2:11 & 3:6].

Why? Because God speaks. He spoke all that is into existence [Genesis 1:1]. He spoke with His Creation–Adam and Eve [Genesis 3:9]. He spoke to Abraham [Genesis 17:9] and the other patriarchs. He spoke through the prophets at many times and in various ways [Hebrews 1:1]. He sent the Word of Life–His Son, Jesus–to speak and call the world to repentance [Matthew 9:7]. He spoke on the day of Pentecost to people from every language group [Acts 2:4-6]. And He still speaks today.

And because God also hears [1 Samuel 1:20]. He hears our prayers. We wouldn’t petition the throne of God if we didn’t believe with our all hearts, souls and minds that He alone is able to do beyond all that we could ask or imagine–and that He wants to, because He loves us.

We love Him because He first loved us. Shouldn’t we also hear Him, because He hears and listens to and grants petitions to each of us?

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Loving God, Parents, Seeds of Faith, Uncategorized

Love Rooted in Sincerity

“The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” 1 Timothy 1:5

Image result for roots + imageTimothy is commanding his readers not to teach falsely–no false doctrines, no mythologies and no theologies based in genealogies. What we believe–not just if we believe–about the Bible is important. And not just for us, but for our children and our children’s children.

You see, God is love. And the greatest two commands teach us to first of all love God and, from that outflow, to love our fellow man. Moreover, false teachings don’t stem from love and are not themselves loving. Because false teachings aren’t based in the love of God, they’re based in the self-love of man. And false teachings aren’t the saving truth of a loving God.

The will to love God, ourselves and others comes from three things–a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith. Holiness. Goodness [by God’s standard, not man’s]. Absolute certainty in the God we hope in but cannot see with our physical eyes. And these without falseness.

Posted in Children, Fostering Godly Character, Growing Up Together, Loving God, Parents, Prayer, Seeds of Faith, Spiritual Autonomy, Uncategorized, Worship

The Bread of Sincerity

“Give us today our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11

Image result for injeraIn our society today, it is hard for our children to imagine the need for God to provide food for us. After all, most of us have jobs and are able to make sure that our children not only eat what they need, but much of what they want–as much as they want, as often they want–everyday.

However, we try to impress on our children that even this type of bounty comes only from the Lord. He provides us with our job. He blesses us with the ability to be able to enjoy a variety of foods at each meal and other times throughout the day. He still maintains the seasons and global systems that allow food to grow. By His design our bodies extract nourishment from our food and deliver it throughout our bodies.

So demonstrating sincerity in mealtime prayer as thank God for providing for us is a very real thing. Our children need to see and hear our sincerity. Because we truly would not have the blessings and bounty that we do in our every day lives without God. That is not to preach a prosperity gospel. Not at all. But only to acknowledge that it is God who owns the cattle on a thousand hills [Psalm 50:10]. It is God who provides. It is God who gives the increase.

And it is God who sincerely deserves the glory for the good things that we are able to provide for our children.