Week 3: Deuteronomy 6:5-7
5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 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. (NIV)
|5 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
|5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
||5 Love God, your God, with your whole heart: love him with all that’s in you, love him with all you’ve got!
6-9 Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night. Tie them on your hands and foreheads as a reminder; inscribe them on the doorposts of your homes and on your city gates.
In this chapter, Moses was exhorting the Israelites to listen to God, to open their ears and really hear what God was telling them. The result would be a better understanding of and willingness to follow God’s commandments. As many Christians know, this is one of the multiple mentions of the greatest commandment; Love the Lord your God. Loving God isn’t an external action, one in which we try to show our faith by our actions (although in loving God, our external actions are to reflect God’s love). Loving God is an internal action, with its roots in our heart. When we are truly able to love God in our heart, our love for him is stronger, and we are naturally more successful in displaying the characteristics of his love.
- How are you doing on loving God? How are you doing in growing your wisdom of God as a man? Before sharing with your child this week, spend some time reflecting on your own life. Make a list of specific things you need to improve. Do you need to institute a daily reading time? Is your prayer life active? How are you displaying God’s love at home with your spouse? With your child? How are you doing with memorizing the first two scriptures?
- Explain to your child what, “Love the Lord your God with all of your heart, and all of your soul, and all of your strength,” really means. Include the fact that Christianity is the only religion where we don’t chase a God. God has come to us. Through Christ’s death on the cross, God has come to us. He has forgiven us for our sins. He is there to help us through our days: celebrating the good and giving us strength for the bad. There is absolutely nothing we can do to gain his love, and absolutely nothing we can do to lose his love. Plant the seed in your child that THIS is who Jesus is, and because of this, he deserves our love.
- Ask your child his thoughts about Jesus. Again, this is a good time to just listen and take notes. Find out the starting point for your child so you know what to build on in the coming weeks.
Week 2: Psalm 32:8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. (NIV)
|I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.
||Let me give you some good advice; I’m looking you in the eye and giving it to you straight:
It is debated as to whether these words were spoken by David, the Psalmist, or God. The prevailing opinion seems to lean more toward God speaking to David. Regardless, the message can apply to us directly. A Christian must gain the Biblical truth through his own studies, and then must teach these truths to others. And all teaching is to be done in a Godly way, modeling Christ’s love for us.
In week one, you identified the role models in your child’s life. Of all the positive role models, it is crucial that fathers take the lead in intentionally providing the proper Biblical instruction on a consistent basis. As wonderful as all the other influences may be, your child needs to be exposed to a consistent Biblical message from you, one that is THE top message ingrained and used as a filter for all other information. If you fail at this, your child will find another person to emulate, and that is something that you quickly lose control over.
- Reflect on your father. Make a list of the things you remember him teaching you directly…positive and negative. Commit to yourself to continue his legacy with the positive lessons, and to change the negative ones.
- Discuss with your child why YOU are the one to go through this year of devotions with him. Share the important items from your reflection of your father. Be vulnerable with your child. If he sees you opening up on a deeper level, he will become more comfortable to do the same in the future.
- Create the vision of what you want your child to grow up to be like when he is 20 years old. Be very specific in every way. Discuss this with your child, laying out your vision for him. Seek your child’s input as well. Publish this vision in your house for constant reminders and encouragement.
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. (NIV)
|Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
||Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
||Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.
The book of Proverbs is a collection of short sayings that have great wisdom and advice, providing a firm, wise, and Biblically moral foundation. If we read them literally, they sound like promises. We must remember though, that wisdom can be learned and internalized, but still not utilized in daily life. With the free will that we have, there is no guarantee that wisdom will be applied as we live our lives.
Children get wisdom from many places: their parents, television, teachers and classmates at school, neighbors, etc. It is crucial that they are provided the proper Biblical instruction on a consistent basis. This must start at an early age, and leave little room for the counter-influences to become the wisdom they internalize. The hope is that the impression left by the instruction will stick with the children as they encounter various situations.
The best instruction does not come from words, but from modeling. Children are observant, and they pick up the little things they see on a daily basis: love, humility, generosity, honesty, but also selfishness, laziness, impatience, and dishonesty.
- Have your child identify the role models in his life. Be sure to dig deeper into what that person is modeling. Also be sure to dig into negative role models. This is a good time to just listen. It is important that your child feels comfortable opening up to you without judgment. Make notes about things to that concern you, but hold those discussions in reserve for the future.
- Talk with your child about this year of devotions. Explain what will be involved, and why it is important to you to complete this project with your child.
For years, as I have continued to build my relationship with God, have raised my two sons, and been moved to work with fathers and help them reconnect with their kids. I have been looking for a good devotional for fathers. I just haven’t found one I like. They have been too shallow, too general, and just not applicable. So I made it my mission to create a devotional for dads. I want it to be doable: short enough for them to complete despite a busy schedule. I want it to be educational: helping them in their walk with Christ. I want it to be convicting: helping them realize and celebrate the positives in their lives, but also recognize and repair the negatives. I want it to be a father-son project: sharing the time, their experiences, their values, and their wisdom with their children.
With that, here comes the work. I welcome all feedback from everyone willing to read and go along this journey with me. Please subscribe to this blog, try the devotions, and leave comments with your thoughts. I am looking for help with the writing, the Biblical truths, the application…everything.
I believe it’s a father’s role to lead his family, in a loving and humble way. I understand that some families do not have a father present. My prayer is that that family is fortunate enough to have other male role models for the children. I also recognize the importance moms have in raising their children. This project is in no way diminishing the value of moms and what they do on a daily basis. I obviously cannot speak to being a mom. I welcome feedback from moms as well though.
Thank you for considering joining me on this journey. Let’s make a difference in the world together.