Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast Episode 033 - What is Better Than Reading Scripture to Your Children?
Welcome to the Terri Hitt – Purposed Parent/Connected Child Podcast
Episode #033 – What is Better Than Reading Scripture to Your Children?
Thank you for listening to the Purposed Parent/Connected Child podcast. My prayer is that you and I will parent with purpose and confidently connect with Christ and our children moment by moment.
With each child I have raised, I have learned more about being a parent and a person submitted to God. I’ve shared on the podcast before that I have always been a good mom. Through the graciousness and mercy of our Heavenly Father, I’ve become a godly mom. There is such a difference!
If we pay attention to the needs of our children, strive to be with them daily, discipline when needed, and so on, this world allows us to be good parents. We take pride in the fact that we are good parents. When we discover the difference between good and godly, a lifetime opportunity for discipleship extending toward eternity awaits us and our children! In order to arrive at the understanding between these types of parenting, we must begin with seeking the Lord. Of course, many agree that reading Scripture to your children is the best way for them to come to know Christ. I disagree. It is so much deeper than simply reading the Bible.
As a young mother, I thought that if my children knew I loved Jesus and I talked about Him, imparting knowledge of and love for Him that my children would come to follow the same faith. As I grew in my wisdom and understanding of God, I came to understand that there is so much more!
Parents can’t be held accountable for whether our children decide to follow Christ, but we are responsible for growing them in the fullness of knowledge of the Lord. We are called to lay a strong foundation built on the solid ground of Christ. We are the tillers of the ground before the foundation is laid, and we are the carpenters that will carefully examine the construction of the house and quickly seek to address any repairs that must be made.
Our walk with God through Christ and the way weallow Him to carry and create us anew daily is the sweet aroma that will attract and guide our children toward Him. In order for our children to have an interest in Jesus they must see Him clearly in us and desire the same relationship. What a joy and privilege we have been gifted!
Where is the best place to start to ensure that we are God-driven in your pursuit of Christ and your desire to resemble Him in life and parenting?
A strong passage of guidance is found in Matthew 4:1-11,which says, “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry. The tempter came to Him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Then the devil took Him to the holy city and had Him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command His angels concerning you, and they will lift You up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will bow down and worship me.” Jesus said to him, “Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’” Then the devil left Him, and angels came and attended Him.”
In this short passage much is revealed about Satan’s tactics and the faithfulness and holiness of Christ. The devil knew whoJesus was and intended to sway Him from the task He was to carry out. If Satan knew who Jesus was and the power He carried, yet still attempted to distract and sway Him, the devil will certainly attack our children!
At Satan’s urging, Jesus could have proven Himself and turned stones into bread, but Satan wasn’t the one Jesus followed. His eyes remained on the Father. Jesus had intentionally gone into the wilderness to fast. In Scripture, the wilderness has typically meant a time of preparation. This was an important and crucial time for what was to come with Christ. Satan desired to ruin the mission Christ was on. Testing and tempting Jesus was a targeted attack, and the devil had nothing to lose. For Jesus to succumb to such an easy temptation to take the chance at having food would have ruined what God was about to do through Christ. Think about the significance. Just as in the garden of Eden, the devil tempted with food. However, Jesus, fully God and fully man, did not take the bait. Through the power of Christ within us, we also do not have to take the bait when temptation arises. Guess what? It is within our strength, and it is our duty as parents to teach our children to rely on the same power.
Next, the devil tries to cause Jesus to throw Himself from a temple in order to cause angels to rescue Him. Satan saw that Jesus had trusted God in the first test of temptation, so now he twisted his ploy to try to force Jesus to jump in order to show that He still trusted God. In his appeal, Satan even quotes Scripture in his tempting speech. But Jesus used godly wisdom, knowing well that God promises protection for His own, but also crafted us with common sense and wisdom from Him. Just as many people quote the Bible out of context and false preachers twist passages into something they are not, Jesus recognized the devils tactics. We are wise to teach our children more than just words from God. They need to learn and trust depth and context.
The last temptation from the devil seems more desperate. Calling for Jesus to worship him, Satan offers all the kingdoms of the earth and promises them to Jesus if He would only bow down and worship him. It is as though Satan believes he can tempt Jesus to forgo the suffering of the cross and just take all that is His already. Although many have easily believed the great deceiver, Jesus did not. Christ knew that He must continue to follow God in complete obedience and focus. It was His privilege and birthright to do so. Christ would never follow or serve Satan. Just as He remained focused on truth, we have the task of embedding the truth of God and the love of Christ into our children.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit within us, we can complete our privilege and birthright to be the guiding force of godliness for our children.
While parenting, it is almost like we are in a time of roaming the wilderness. So many trials and triumphs surround us. We can feel alone, but we never are. Just as Jesus was tempted, we are tempted. Our spouse is tempted. Our children are tempted. But as Christ kept His eyes and mind focused on the Father, drawing strength and fortitude from Him, we can trust and rely on God to guide us through the wilderness years of parenting and guard our children as we direct them to Him time and time again.
Our source of spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and parenting strength is God’s Holy Word. It serves as the answer to every need and question we have. The key is reading and studying the Word so that we know the resources available to us.
The Bible is the life manual we wish for, yet forget we have.
1. Imparts Truth – John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”
2. Saves – John 14:6 says, “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”
3. Sanctifies – John 17:19 says, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
4. Protects – Psalm 94:22 says, “But the Lord has become my fortress, and my God the rock in whom I take refuge.”
5. Blesses – Psalm 1:1-2 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night.”
6. Enlightens – Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
7. Guides – Psalm 32:8 says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.”
8. Rewards – 2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.”
9. Provides Life– Matthew 4:4 says, “Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
What are 5 ways to do more than simply read Scripture to your children?
1. Establish a routine to read and study God’s Word together. In order for you or your children to know and grow in the Lord, you must make Him a priority. It’s hard, but well worth the time and energy it takes to establish a consistent schedule. Study God’s word on your own to build and shape your character, knowledge, and trust. Study it with your children and family.
2. Write or memorizeScripture together. Any time spent memorizing or writing Scripture carries benefits and blessings. To teach your child this habit is a beautiful goal that will bring lasting blessings if they continue in it.
3. Pray together. Use God’s Word in your prayers. Encourage your children to do the same. Ask God to teach and enlighten you and your children through studying and living His Word.
4. Teach and PracticeCritical Thinking. Children must learn to effectively approach and analyze information and form godly discernment. They must know how to defend their faith in order to make it their own as they grow, mature, and make important decisions.
5. Live Your Beliefs. Show your children that it is important and honoring to God for each of you to live what He commands through words, actions, reactions, attitudes, etc.
What are some tips to help you do more than simply read Scripture to your children?
1. Be age appropriate. Purchase age appropriate Bibles for your child to use in personal reading time. Also break verses or passages down to an age appropriate level. You can get the meaning and importance of the Word across even when you change words you use to explain Scripture. Using drawings, music, poems, skits, and toys to enact Bible scenes is very helpful with younger children. I used a white board often with my youngest. The drawings enabled her a deeper level of understanding than just using words as she was learning a new language.
2. Vary lesson lengths. Make your lessons shorter or longer, depending on the ages of your children and the subject matter you are studying. Stretch your children, but do not exasperate them. Make time to answer questions. When questions arise that you cannot answer, find the answers together. It’s wonderful when you both grow in the Lord together.
3. Remember that God’s Word is applicable to every age and season of life. Allow your children to experience God’s love, grace, and mercy, as well as learn His commands. The Bible is for your children, but is not simply about them. Teach them it is about the love of God and encourage them to find Him in the Words.
4. Teach and grow the basics you’ve imparted to them as your children mature and life situations arise. Use Scripture to guide daily events, as well as the praise and the discipline you give them. Pray that your growth in God and guidance through Him will allow you to see and grasp opportunities to illustrate what you and your child have learned and are learning together in the Bible.
Remember, the wilderness years of parenting allow us to continuously and prayerfully connect with God to renew our mind and heart through Him, His Holy Word, and the wisdom He imparts to us through both and the Holy Spirit alive within. The closer we draw to Him, the closer we are to those we love and carry a greater ability to draw them nearer to the One who holds the key to a life of love and godliness that leads to a beautiful eternity with Christ together.
Dear Heavenly Father, Your goodness to entrust children to us is astounding. We are so thankful and filled with gratitude at Your lovingkindness and mercy toward us. Thank you for allowing us to raise Your children and showing us the ways to direct them to You if we only choose to do so. Enable us to please You more and more daily as we strive to draw nearer to You and make You clearly known to Your children. May their hearts and souls cry out for You and find You through the godly instruction we impart to them. May they grow to be faithful followers of You and continue longing for You and obeying You throughout their life on this earth. Equip us to be the parents You created us to be and please don’t allow us to stray from Your desires or will. In the precious name of Jesus we pray. Amen.
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Remember, if we are not purposed in knowing Jesus ourselves and showing Him to the next generation, the world will sway them away from Christ. I pray that what you hear on this podcast draws you nearer to God and helps you cling to Him, despite any circumstances in your life. Until next week, keep looking Up while focusing on new ways to Parent and Connect With Eternal Perspective.