Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Really Impress Them (when you get up)

Finally! My last post in my How to Really Impress Them series based on Deuteronomy 6's command to impress God's Word on the hearts of your children. If you missed any previous posts, here they are in order:
How to Really Impress Them (an intro)
How to Really Impress Them (sitting at home)
How to Really Impress Them (along the road)
How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down)
How to Really Impress Them (when you lie down) continued

Today's final topic is How to Really Impress Them (when you get up).  This is what I do to teach my children diligently about God's Word when we first wake up.

Because we home school, I have the opportunity to relax and spend time with my kids in the morning when they get up. No one is pulled out of bed and rushed out the door. They get to sleep until they happen to wake up, hopefully fully rested. If I've gotten up early enough like I want to, them I'm usually still sitting at the kitchen table with my Bible for my own quite time with God when they get up. I love watching them slowly saunter down the stairs in their footy jammies with rats-nest hair. I allow them to plop down on the couch and turn on the TV to finish waking up while I start prepping breakfast. Then, we sit and eat breakfast together every morning, accompanied by reading and talking about the Bible.

We recently finished a book that I used as our daily devotions during breakfast during the past 18 months called Learning About God from A to Z.

My computer won't save it when I crop out the Amazon arrows....grrr.

I stumbled across this at a used book sale for a few bucks and threw it into my pile. I had no idea the value this book would bring to our family. For each letter of the alphabet, the focus is on one character trait of God. A - Almighty, B - Blessing Giver, C - Creator, D - Deliverer....X - Exalted, Y - Yahweh, Z - Zealous. There are a variety of activities and many verses for each. It's a great interactive teaching tool. We took our time and went slowly through the book, really digging in.

My oldest loves to look up and read the verses for our morning devotions. Even the baby sister wants in on the action!

Each letter also had one memory verse so we learned all 26 of these together, making up motions to help us remember them (and making practice more fun).

I HIGHLY recommend Learning About God from A to Z as a family devotional book for ALL ages. My kids have come to know who God says He is, to understand the imagery the Bible uses to describe Him, and what these character traits look in their personal relationship with Him. They learned at least 26 ways to praise God with the scripture verses to back them all up! Little did I know when I tossed that book in my bag a couple years back.

We finished this book shortly before Easter this year and I had another book (I'd also picked up at a used book sale) about the life of Jesus that I had planned to use for morning devotions next. However, due to my state of disorganization in our almost-home, I couldn't (and still can't) find it! I'm SO bummed! So during the couple weeks leading up to Easter we read each gospel's account of the stories between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday and worked on these wreaths along the way.

Since Easter, we've been working through this Brother Offended book from Doorposts. (We call it the Sisters Offended book!) It's a scripture-based, illustrated booklet (with a helpful summary chart) that teaches children what the Bible says about how to handle disagreements with siblings (or anyone for that matter). It includes each person's responsibility to work it out together and come to peace. I make copies of the pages for the kids to color while we talk.

It has been a great way to start our day each morning and I've lost count of how often I've had opportunity to remind them what we've been learning and encourage them to live it out. The timing was right when a friend recently recommended another Christian sibling relationship book called Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends: How to Fight the Good Fight at Home. Of course I bought it. I'm not sure if we'll run right into that for morning devotions or wait for another time. I'm still not sure what I'll do when we're done with the Brothers Offended Book. Maybe I'll end up finding that missing Life of Jesus book.

After our reading and discussion, we each take a turn to pray out loud together. In case you missed it, you can read here how I taught my kids to pray and why we no longer do this out loud together before bed.

How do you impress God's Word on your children's hearts when you rise? Do you have any family devotion materials you love to use in the morning? Do you discuss the Bible or pray at all before everyone starts their day? If you have any good habits or traditions for starting your family's day off right, please share!

Before I sign off, there are two important notes I want to leave you with as I wrap up this series.

First - diligently teaching your children God's word is an all-the-time job. While God specifically laid out the times when you sit at home, when you walk along the way, when you lie down and when you get up, its obviously not limited to those times. Making that great impression happens in between those specific times as well. Its in the conversations you have with your kids and the behavior you model for them throughout each and every day.

Second - I really have strived to be obedient to God's commands in Deuteronomy 6 and I still feel like I fall so short. I'm honored that God wants to use me to impress His Word on the hearts of my children. But as well as any of us may ever do this, we are actually powerless to change them. I am humbled by 1 Corinthians 3:7-8 that says, "So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor." As I impress God's Words onto my kids' hearts and minds, I am simply planting and watering seeds. Only God can use His living, active and powerful Word to change my children's hearts. Only He can give them a new heart and put a new spirit in them. Only He can remove from them their  heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26) I can't think of any better reward than seeing the harvest that will result in the lives of my children because I am obedient and God is faithful.

If you've been blessed, convicted, encouraged or challenged in any way by reading this series, please let me know. I've got stats to show me people are looking at them but I'm discouraged at the lack of feedback from my readers. I really want to know what YOU do, what YOUR favorite resources are, what habits YOU'VE developed. I want to learn from and be challenged by YOU!


Thanks for reading and sharing! God bless. :)

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