The Blessings of Proverbs

Our adult children share the benefits of being taught Proverbs…

In my last blog post, I shared the importance of sharing the book of Proverbs with your children.  I recounted how my husband had read through and discussed Proverbs with each of our four children.  He met with them individually one month each year until he or she graduated from High school.  This began after each had become a Christian, so Proverbs was read 8-12 years depending upon their age of salvation.  We found this to be a very fruitful study for them and began to see the Word really take root in their daily lives.

Our four children are all now grown and married with children of their own.  I posed this question to them recently.  “How did reading Proverbs with your Dad over the years affect your lives?” I now will share each of their responses to this question in their own words…

Our oldest, Billy, replied in this way. “It showed me what Godly discipline looked like in watching Dad’s consistency as he read Proverbs every January for years. It revealed Dad’s desire for me to read the Word and apply it to my life. It helped me in my achieved goal of saving myself until marriage for my wife.  And it showed me the need for Godly wisdom in my day to day life.”

Our second son, Timothy, shared these thoughts. “Reading Proverbs so often with Dad was very helpful through my life in teaching me about making wise decisions in every aspect of my life, whether in choosing my friends or my wife and just choices in life in general. It showed me the importance in seeking wisdom from the Lord more than worldly thought or things. Erin, my wife, and I are going through Proverbs right now and I will definitely read it with my four sons as they become older.”

Katy, our oldest daughter, responded this way. ” Proverbs is still my favorite book of the Bible.  I liked being able to ask Daddy questions as we read through the chapters.  That helped me understand it better.  I still often read my Proverb for the day and I will definitely read it with my children.”

Kristen, our youngest, share these thoughts.  “I appreciate it now as an adult that Dad took the time to go through the Word with us consistently each year.  I knew it was coming and that it was important, though I often did not appreciate it as a kid. (Dad was consistent in telling proverbial jokes too. (ex.- the leach has 2 daughters, crying give, give). These times of reading Proverbs helped me come to an understanding of the importance of having wisdom and knowledge in my life as the greater concept. I saw Dad’s spiritual leadership in our family.  He took time to do this . It was a great example to me of a Godly father who wanted to expose me to God’s Word. And it was also a picture that helped me see what kind of husband and father to my children that I would want.”

So whether it is Proverbs or any of the Bible…. teach your children the Word of God and it will not return void but bring fruit when they are old….

Teach Your Children the Proverbs

Hear my son; hear my daughter the instruction of the Lord.

In a previous post, I pointed out the benefits and blessings of seeking wisdom as we are instructed to do in the book of Proverbs. I continue now to look at the value of teaching the wisdom of this book to your children.  Children are likened to little sponges.  They are going to soak up whatever you pour over them.  Your three year old can use technology as well as you can, or at least as well as his grandparent can. He can sing songs, repeat commercials and many of your own comments.  And.. he can also learn God’s Word!  Do not neglect teaching him verses beginning at a young age.

When our children were elementary school age my husband began reading Proverbs with each of them.  He chose the month of their salvation to be the month that he would read through Proverbs with them. Of course, we had other times of verse memory and Bible stories, but this was each child’s special time with their daddy to read Proverbs.  Each day 1 chapter would be read and discussed, so by the end of the month they had finished the 31 chapters. Year after year this was their practice through high school.

We saw how, over time, these words really sunk into their lives and hearts. For example, Proverbs was a platform for teaching sex education for one son as “rejoice in the wife of your youth” and “have nothing to do with the prostitute who awaits in the street.” were read and discussed.  Our daughter commented on why she had turned down a date with a certain young man because…”she was to have nothing to do with an angry man”. There were numerous such applications that could be seen in their lives.

So I encourage you to teach your children Proverbs. Use whatever method God leads you to use. Be consistent and do it when they may not be all in… It will definitely be worth your time. God’s Word will not return void. Prayerfully trust God to work these truths into their hearts. An added benefit will be that you will come to know this book really well.

After writing this, I asked each of our now grown children how studying Proverbs in this way affected their lives…  Their responses to this question will be in my next post.     So stay tuned….

 

Teach J O Y to Your Children

Teach your children the priority of Jesus, Others, and You…. so one day God will put this way of living into their hearts.

In Matthew 22:36-39, Jesus is asked which is the greatest commandment.  He answers by quoting both Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18.  Matthew 22:37 says “And He replied to him. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Deut. 6:5) and verse 38…this is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it; You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Lev. 19:18

Jesus clearly gives this commandment to us to pursue. It is  one of the most important teachings of Jesus that we should come to live out more fully each day..  Recently I was spending some time with my daughter and her family.  Numerous times I heard her speak to one of her 4 preschoolers these words… “Remember J O Y (spelling out the letters) and what does that mean?” She would question him or her. Then the child would respond, “Jesus, others, and you.”  My daughter would say, “Yes, Jesus first, others second, and you third.”. She was beginning early to teach her children these great commandments. As they would tousle over a toy or want to be first, they would be reminded of J O Y.

We all come into this world selfish and continue in that mode sometimes for a long time.  It is a sin we constantly deal with; so to begin teaching this early to your children is so very wise.  You will have to remind them often but then that is what training is, but awareness is given and truth is taught.  Like all, your children will struggle with obeying this command but at times, hopefully and increasingly so , they will get it and will obey. It will be planted into their minds so one day God may plant it into their hearts.

It will also testify to those around who hear this mother teach her children a code that few in this world really ascribe to.  It will also be a reminder to this young mom and to a grandmother who listens in, that we too must practice J O Y; Jesus, first… others, second… and you third.

 

My January Memoir

Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.

The past days, as I have cleaned out clutter, reorganized spaces, and rid myself of the seldom used things; I find these hours are much more than utilitarian.  I love January.  I love fresh starts and new beginnings.  I actually love to clean out what has become rubbish and organize my stuff for easy access and streamlined appearances. Call me crazy, but these tasks give me a great deal of pleasure.

Memories flit through my mind as I clean out the “boy’s room”. These boys are now in their 30’s.  A photo, a book, a card takes me to a former time when they ran around my knees, climbed into my lap and generated fun chaos in my now quiet home.  As I perform these practical tasks, my heart moves to the spiritual lessons amidst these activities.  I believe God speaks to us often during our days and we in turn can converse with HIM. (What  a privilege to share thoughts with the Creator of this universe, Who is my Father!)

The first of these lessons is the one of thankfulness that comes forth as I glean the blessings of those days.  I am thankful for who these young men are today and that they were loaned to me to train and love.  I am also reminded that life is not in our stuff. As I discard different items, I hold on to the memories associated with them and store them in my heart. Life is in the eternal, in the plans and mercies of God to lead us in those plans.  Did I always know what I was doing as a young mom? No!  Did I do it all right?  NO!  But nevertheless, God used me in those places during those days to teach and develop my sons, (and also me) to become the people He intended us to be.  He was in control all the while and I never was.  Yes, I did have responsibility to help clear out the rubble, to bring some order and discipline to their lives as I now bring to their former room.  But all along God was in control and now at my stage of life, I see His hand and heart guiding me all through  those days.

I pull aside some of the toys, (30 year old Stars Wars figures), books (Hardy Boys and a picture Bible) and a steel drum from a long ago trip.  I will give these to their sons to play with and am reminded that along with these retro toys I can share with this next generation of boys the truth I shared with their dads.  God reaches down through the generations with the same Truth.  May I take time to share these important things with this next set of boys. May I not attempt to “win them over ” with stuff, but invest my love and time and prayers to contribute to their growth spiritually… to invest in the eternal.

So clean out that attic, organize those kitchen cabinets, but search for your own lessons.  Let God speak the miraculous among the mundane.  Listen with a heart of praise and gratitude to a Father who has redeemed you from the chaos and rubble of sin to give you abundant life,  joy unspeakable and His very own peace.  Allow Him to clear and clean out the attics of your wrong thinking, the closets of your fears, and the cabinets of your worries and settle down and abide in the clean, orderly, home of His Heart…

Grateful Children

Grateful children are not born. They come here demanding us to meet their needs, as we should.

Grateful children are not born. They come here demanding us to meet their needs, as we should.  As these children grow older, they can grow more demanding rather than less. How can we raise grateful children? Should our children learn to be grateful?

When we look around us these days and listen, we hear the words, thank you, far too seldom. We live in a world that is increasingly of the mind set that others owe me, that I am entitled, that I deserve everything. I believe that one of the greatest lessons we teach as parents is that of teaching gratitude. Psalm 107: 7 simply says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.” Teach your child this scripture along with so many others you can choose from in the Bible. God commands that we give thanks. In order to learn to be grateful to Him, our children must be trained, yes, I said trained, to be grateful for all that is given to them. It would be desirable for our children to run to us expressing their gratitude and at times this can happen. Just as God loves it when we run to Him daily to thank Him for His abundant gifts and blessings.   More often though, He hears us asking for more and more, just as our child may continue asking, not satisfied with what she already has been given.

When our children were small, we made a concentrated effort to train towards gratefulness. When given something, they would have to respond with  a “thank you”. After they had eaten a meal around our table, they would have to say, “Thank you for the good meal. May I be excused?” (Sometime they would leave out good, but would still have to say thank you.) It even became a sing-song response. They were required to write thank you notes as soon as they could print. Were these thank yous coming from their hearts?  Not most of the time, but it was building the habit in them until their hearts could know true gratitude.

Hopefully as they responded with gratitude to their parents and others, they would learn to respond the same way to their Father God one day. The value to not take gifts of any kind for granted, no matter how great or small and to see all of life as a gift from a good God is priceless.

Now I do see gratitude in the hearts of our grown children. They often say thank you and express appreciation. That does not just happen. For a number of years it was mostly something they had to say, but gradually it sinks in and they become grateful people and grateful people are more joyful. We would often say to them, “Gratitude affects the attitude!” And it does…..

see also; An Arrow in the Hand of a Warrior….

A Wise Woman Builds

Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with he own hands.

Proverbs 14:1 tells us … “Every wise woman builds her house, but the foolish one tears it down with he own hands.”

We wives and mothers have great power. We play a major part in building our homes.  The question that we must ask ourselves very honestly is, “Do I build up or do I tear down?”

I build up or I tear down with my words.

I build up or I tear down with my attitude.

I build up or I tear down with my actions.

I hold the ability to set the daily tone for my home.  The saying, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” is often truer than we would want to believe. How do I send my husband off to work each day? How do I greet my children as they wake up or as they return home? Is the tone of my home one of peace (though it may not be quiet)? Is there tension and strife cutting through the air? Is it an atmosphere of laughter rather than complaining?  Are kind words heard more than whining (maybe even my whining)?

If your first thoughts after reading this is …” This is just too much responsibility. I am not perfect! I am not going to get it right all the time… I know that I often tear down rather than build up”. Well, I agree. But you know, this verse begins with words of hope and the answer to our dilemma. It begins with …every wise woman.. We can build our homes when we are being wise women. Jesus is Wisdom personified, and when He dwells within us we can have His wisdom because we have HIM. His WORD (the Bible) gives wise instruction in every page and as His Holy Spirit teaches us and empowers the application of His Word to my every day life, I can become that wise woman who builds her home and thus blesses all who live there.

I do not want splinters in my hands or splinters in the hearts around me. I do not want to tear down my home  with my own hands. I do not want to be a foolish woman.  Lord, teach me to be a wise woman so I may build in my home, Your Kingdom. May my home speak of Jesus and bring You Glory…