Friday, November 3, 2017
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Well, it's been kind of a long time since our daughter was a little girl, all grown up, married, a mom and all. But the other day she told me about a Bible verse she learned as a little girl and has never forgotten. You've probably heard it, "If God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). Then she told me why she's never forgotten it. One day when she was pretty young I brought her to my office, and at lunchtime, we walked downtown to get something to eat. And, as Lisa remembers very vividly, we passed this storefront that must have been a fortune teller's place. There was a picture of a big human palm in the window, signifying that the occupant did palm reading. Now, Lisa tells that I explained to her what that all meant-and that night she got to thinking about it. And really she was too scared to go to sleep. At which point she says I knelt next to her bed and I gave her a word for today from the Word of God: "If God be for us, who can be against us?" She went to sleep repeating those words. She said she never forgot them, and she's hung onto them many times in the years to come.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Living Proof."
Lisa said to me, "Dad, you know why that Bible verse became part of me? Because it was linked to a real experience." There's nothing new about that. That's how God's been telling parents to make God real to their children for 3,000 years.
Our word for today from the Word of God, Deuteronomy 6:5-7 - instructions for parents who are trying to raise children in a morally confusing and increasingly pagan culture. Does that sound familiar at all? Well, that was the situation in the time this statement was written, and hey, it's an awful lot like our situation today. And you know what God's parenting strategy is? Well, it's still the same.
Here's what it says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Notice here, first of all, that God says you should be showing your children a love-relationship with God, not a religion. He goes on, "These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children." OK, impress your son or daughter with them-don't just tell them about it. How do you do that? Here's what it says, "Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down and when you get up."
So, God's saying show them your Lord, show them His ways, not just in formal spiritual settings, but in the casual classroom of everyday life. This is spontaneous stuff, it's not preplanned. It's teaching that looks for, that prays for teachable moments to arise in a child's life, and then gently introduces God's statement into that situation. When a verse is a response to a real-life experience, and when your child can use it to handle that experience, that verse becomes part of them! They've just experienced living proof that God and His Word are the real deal.
It's a basic principle of learning that we learn what we live. And that we don't really learn something until we're in a situation where we really need it. Just before the first Gulf War, I heard a soldier admit that most of them had paid little attention when chemical warfare was talked about in basic training-but now when it was covered, they were taking notes and listening intently. Why? Because suddenly they were in a situation where that might just be needed.
So God advises parents to communicate His truth in real-life situations: sitting at home, walking or driving somewhere together, when you're getting up, when you're wrapping up the day. It's those spontaneous lessons-responses to things that happen in the course of a day. Those are the ones that are never forgotten.
So look for and pray for those wonderful, teachable moments in the life of your child. And let the daily experiences of your child's life be the blackboard on which you write the powerful words of God.