I couldn’t decide what to title this post. There were so many things I wanted to highlight. I could have called it “Parenting 101” or “Delighting in the Lord” from Psalm 37 or “Wisdom, Respect & Stupidity” from our Proverbs reading.
Or even, “Mary, Saint or Sinner” because there is so much confusion about the mother of Jesus. Does she intercede for believers? How should a Christian view her? You can read more about this in today’s New Testament commentary.
But because I like these posts to be practical, something you can put to use in your life today, I decided to focus on the practical ways we can apply God’s parenting principles.
Deuteronomy 5 & 6
10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way
Chapter 6.6-9 is one of the clearest passages on parenting. It says:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
First we are to hide God’s Word in our hearts. Then we are to faithfully teach it to our children, not just in formal ways, but as we go about our everyday activities—when we are relaxing at home or having a family dinner, when we are out running errands, when we go to bed at night and the first thing in the morning.
We should constantly look for ways to incorporate spiritual lessons into the events of everyday life. But we can’t do that unless He is an ever present reality in our own lives—unless we’re aware of His involvement all the time, in the daily routine of life.
Do you stop to consider what He says when you feel the pressure to make a sale at work? When you have a fussy child? When the waiter gets your order wrong? When you feel unjustly accused? When someone just zipped into your parking space?
Do you seek His guidance when faced with a decision or a choice to respond to some person or situation? Do you seek His peace when your are anxious or His ability to forgive when angry?
Is Jesus only someone you sing about on Sunday or is your relationship with Him a reality all the time?
Where’s your Bible? Is it where you’ll see it and pick it up first thing in the morning or does it spend the week in the car with empty soda cups and gum wrappers and until you carry it in to church on Sunday?
And the last time you had a personality conflict, a fight with your spouse, or were treated unfairly… who was the first one you called? Your Savior or your mom?
Is God on your mind when you lie down and when your rise up? Is He a “frontlet between your eyes”? Is He on your heart and in your mind all the time? If not, how can teaching them to your children become normal and natural? And what can you do to become better in these areas?
Two Simple Ways to Start or Keep Growing
- Read a Psalm or two before going to sleep at night. If you’re anything like me, I don’t do well reading anything “heavy duty” at night. I sometimes try, but find myself reading the same paragraph over and over. But reading a little in the Psalms will help us go to sleep with God in our heart and mind. “When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches” (Ps. 63.6).
- Read a chapter of Proverbs a day. There are 31 chapters. So making it a daily habit will take you through the book of wisdom every month. Try reading it over breakfast with you children or on your lunch hour at home or at work.
But don’t wait until you think you’ve “arrived” when it comes to knowing God’s Word. None of us has arrived. Learning God’s Word is a lifelong journey. Begin applying what you know.
10 Steps to Parenting God’s Way
- Stop and pray when you or your kids need help, are faced with a decision or must deal with difficult people (Jas. 1.5).
- Teach and model humility by being quick to admit when you are wrong and willing to ask for and grant forgiveness to others, even when it’s difficult (Matt. 5.23-24, 6.14-15, 7.3-5).
- Teach and model overcoming evil with good (Rom. 12.17-21).
- Practice good, biblical communication, including: speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4.15, 25), using words that are edifying, timely and full of grace (Eph. 4.29), not clamming up, giving the silent treatment or letting the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4.26), attacking the problem and not the person (Eph. 4.29, 31-32), and replacing sinful anger with kindness, compassion, and forgiveness (Eph. 4.31-32).
- Model the importance of being part of God’s family by being involved in a biblically sound church (Heb. 10.25).
- Teach and demonstrate respect for authority (Eph. 5.21, 6.1-3; Rom. 13.1-7). Don’t expect your children to respect your authority or any other if they hear you talk disparagingly about your boss and civil authorities or if you don’t back up their teachers and other people in their lives.
- Teach and model the importance of integrity in all you do. That means going back into the store when you realize you didn’t pay for something. It means not taking advantage of others or trying to get something for nothing (Lk. 6.31).
- Be consistent with discipline even when you’re tired or stressed (Eph. 6.4). Good parenting takes work. Don’t discipline in anger (Eph. 4.29, 31-21).
- Have family devotions (Deut. 6.6-9). There are many books and resources available for every age level, but be sure to include simple Bible reading and discussion. Keep it age appropriate.
- Let them see you pray and read your Bible on a regular basis (Josh. 1.8; 2 Tim. 2.15, 3.16-17; Eph. 6.18; 1 Thess. 5.17).
(For more on parenting see links below.)
TODAY’S OTHER READINGS:
Delighting in the Lord
Verse 4 says, “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
What does it mean to “delight yourself in the Lord”? It’s about finding your deepest joy and “delight” in Him! It’s about spending time with Him in His Word, and allowing Him to put His desires in your hearts.
Wisdom & Stupidity
“A man will be commended according to his wisdom, but he who is of a perverse heart will be despised.”
A person who has a reputation for wisdom will be sought out and praised, but a foolish person will be despised in the end. The NCV says it this way, “The wisdom of the wise wins praise, but there is no respect for the stupid.”
Proverbs 31.10-31 talks about the characteristics of a wise and virtuous woman. The passage ends by saying, “Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates” (v. 31). Wisdom and godliness stand out! People notice and, though they may not always acknowledge it (because God’s wisdom is convicting, as well), they will ultimately see the difference.
Mary, Saint or Sinner?
Mary, her name brings to mind many different images according to our cultural and religious upbringing and understanding. We name our babies after her. Some pray to her, revere her, and believe she can intervene and do miraculous things.
But as Christians, how should we view her?
We should respect her. She willingly risked her reputation and, possibly her life, and chose to trust in God. Since she was “betrothed” to Joseph, sex with someone else would have been adultery and punishable by stoning.
She risked her relationship with Joseph. She had no way of knowing whether or not he would believe her and apart from God’s intervention, he didn’t.
She risked her relationship with her parents. They could have cast her out.
We can learn from her willingness to trust God, in spite of, all those possibilities.
But she is not God. She is not the queen of heaven. She is no more a saint than any other follower of Christ. She cannot answer prayers or intervene on our behalf. She was a fallen person just like you and me, and she needed her Son to be her Lord and Savior just as much as each one of us!
What are you willing to risk for the cause of Christ? What’s more important to you—pleasing God or pleasing people? Your relationship with Christ or your relationship with some other person?
Would you obey God in the face of persecution or imprisonment or ridicule or death?
How are you doing in your parenting? Is God at the center? In what ways could you improve?
May God shine the light of truth into our hearts and help us to be willing to follow Him in any and all circumstances.
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