Monday, April 1, 2013

How to Really Impress Them

You do want to make a really great impression, right?

Don't pretend you don't care.

So, what are you thinking about?

STOP SCROLLING.  What kind of impression are you picturing?  On whom? In what area of your life?

Okay, keep going.

You are already making an impression on other people. At times its a conscious effort to leave a very specific impression on a certain group or person. But even when we're not thinking about it, your words and actions are leaving some sort of an impression on others. If you're a parent - those you leave the deepest and most significant impression on is your children.

If you're a Christian parent, you cannot ignore Deuteronomy 6 because it spells out exactly what you are to impress on your children and how. Here is a selection from verses 1 - 9.

"These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life...and be careful to obey so that it may go well with you and that you may increase greatly in a land...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 on 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 doorframes of your houses and on your gates."

So in order to really impress them, (you still want to, right?) you have to answer these questions:

Q: WHAT is the "them" that you are to impress?
A: The commands, decrees, and laws of the Lord your God. At the time this was written, the Israelites only had a fraction of the Bible that we have now. So for us, its really all of God's Word.

Q: WHO are you impressing God's Word on?
A: Your that they can impress them on their children...repeated for generations. Are you leaving this up to your child's Sunday School teacher? Don't! Christian school got it covered? Hardly! The God-given responsibility falls on you, the parent.

Q: WHY are you to impress God's commands, decrees and laws on your children?
A: 1. Because God teaches us to observe them.
     2. So you and your children can enjoy long life, that it may go well with you and so you will
         increase greatly in the land.
     3. Impressing is the means for the end of having God's Word on your children's hearts. There is no greater treasure you can give to your children than this. Are you giving them that gift?

And last but not least...

Q: HOW do you really impress them? How do you impress God's word onto the hearts of your children? The words "impress them" are found in the New International Version translation of the Bible but The New King James translation says to "teach them diligently." How do you teach your children diligently?

A: According to Deuteronomy 6, a prerequisite is that YOU need to love the Lord your God will all your heart, soul and strength. You also need to know God's Word yourself. Read it every day. Study it - on your own and with others. Not in a Bible study group? Join one right away - I can even help you find one right for you. Memorize scripture. (More on that to come.) But don't wait until you're a Bible scholar to start this process of impressing on your children's hearts. Start teaching them diligently TODAY with what you do know, and the more you learn, the more you can impress.

Verse 7 provides more details of the how. How do you teach your children diligently about God's words? Basically, it just boils down to "talk about them." Yup, that's it. Talk about the Bible - what it says, what it means, and how to live it out. Oh yeah, and God tells us when to do this.

But before I talk about WHEN, allow me to sidebar for just 3 comments.

ONE. I realized I've got a lot to share about this whole topic so I've decided to break it up into multiple posts. Each of the four distinct times that Deuteronomy mentions when to talk with your children will be covered in a separate post, so I've got at least a few more to follow. It is hard for me to find time to blog anymore - as evidenced in my recent archives - so I can't promise how quickly I'll get them out. But stay tuned, I've got the first few just about done.

TWO.  As I share how I've tried to really impress, but I don't want it to come across as a prideful ranting of "Look at me! Look what I do!" That is not my intention at all. My goal is to challenge and encourage other parents. I simply want to share what God has laid on my heart to do and give Him all the glory. I've been blessed to have Him convict me in certain areas and to have me stumble upon some amazing resources. I'd be selfish to keep them to myself. Also, I want to know how you are putting these verses into practice. I want to learn from you! Do you have some fresh, creative and effective ways that you teach your children diligently? Do tell! I'd also love for you to share with me about your favorite resources that you and your family use and love - the ones that help you as you obey the commands in Deuteronomy 6.

THREE. At least one of the other posts in this series will have an awesome {{{GIVE-A-WAY!}}} - my first ever!  One, worth over $75, it is actually priceless. I can't wait to give it to someone. Details on what and how to enter will follow in an upcoming post.

And on that note, I'm pausing here for now. Check back soon for more on each of the four times we're commanded to talk about God's Word with our children and my meager efforts for doing each.

Here are links to each post in this series:
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, cont)
How to Really Impress Them (when you get up)

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