Hide It In Their Hearts
By Greg & Martha Singleton
The Bible tells us that God Himself loves to give good gifts to his children. It’s not surprising, then, that as parents we spend time and money and dreams and effort to give our children the very best that we can. Whether it is a bike or a trip to Disney World, a cell phone or acceptance at the best school, we dream of having the finances to give our children the very dearest desires of their hearts, willing to work extra hours and do without things ourselves, if need be.
And yet, the only thing that we can give them that will truly make them happy, the only thing that will not eventually end up outgrown or cast aside or used up, is something that costs us absolutely nothing but our own passion and commitment. And that is the Word of God, planted deep in their hearts, to serve as a hedge about them, to serve as a light for their way, to be their weapon in battle, their comfort in sorrow, their hope and their eternal joy. It is the one thing that goes with us from this world into eternity.
But many of us are at a loss for how to truly do so. Our family schedules are filled with church and school activities, and soccer practice and dance lessons, and when we do have a moment at home to gather the family, the computer and smart phones and TV and video games are pretty tough competition for even our youngest kids’ attention.
In the Old Testament, God instructs parents to write scripture over their doors, to tie it to their arms. He tells them to talk about Him and His ways when they are sitting in their houses, or driving in their cars…well, “walking in the way.” Just a little bit of purpose and creativity can go a long way toward changing all of that for any family.
Begin to look for opportunities to talk about God in your home. Maybe it’s as simple as saying “Did you know the Bible says God has ‘heavenly storehouses laden with snow?’” instead of just saying, “Wow. Look at that come down. I’ll have to shovel to get out of the driveway.”
When you go outside after dinner to shoot some hoops, make up a game where you have to say a Bible verse before you shoot. Or take your digital camera when you go on a walk, and let the kids take photos. When you get home, print them, and let the kids search for Bible verses that illustrate them.
Our book, Setting Up Stones: Making Your Home a Place of Worship, is full of ideas on how to accomplish this, from making mobiles with the youngest, to text messaging a pertinent verse to your teens.
The wonderful thing about the Bible is that in every story, every Psalm, there is something meaningful for all of us, no matter what our age, and our children’s hearts are open to the wonderful truths that are there.
Just this past weekend, we had our two-year-old grandson spending the night with us. At bedtime, we went to his room to say prayers, and tuck him in. But as he snuggled into the sheets after praying, he said, “I will both lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone oh Lord, cause me to dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8.” Clearly, his mom and dad have already been working to give him the gift of trust in God through His Word.
When our children were still in preschool, we read a short verse every morning from a children’s Bible and devotion book. One morning when Greg was away on business, four-year-old Matt, taking seriously his dad’s parting admonition that he was “the man,” while daddy was gone, reached for the book, and, opening it, began to read.
Peering over the top of the book in a near perfect imitation of his father, he “read” to his mom and sister, in a serious and emphatic tone, “The verse today is, ‘Do NOT cross the street.’”
We still laugh about that, but the truth is that even at his young age, our son had grasped the idea that the Bible was our definitive guide for how we would live. In a world where what is valued, and what society finds acceptable, is changing more quickly and constantly than a loose kaleidoscope, and one where the future seems more and more frightening and uncertain, the greatest thing we can do for our children on a daily basis is give them the eternal gift of wisdom and hope and truth to be found within the covers of the Bible.
“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my word shall not pass away.” Matthew 24:35
Martha and Greg Singleton have, for 30 years, met the challenges of balancing successful careers and raising a faith-filled family, and in the process, they have gained some valuable insights. Their first book, Setting Up Stones: A Parents Guide to Making Your Home a Place of Worship, was released by New Hope Publishers last year. It redefines worship in light of todays world, and presents practical examples and specific activities that parents can use to involve their family in dynamic, relevant worship, moving beyond the quickly read daily thought to engaging, entertaining exercises that captivate the whole family. This year, New Hope will release the Singletons' second book.
Chosen as one of Texas Top Ten Teachers by the University of Texas last year, Martha was also named by the Dow Jones Newspaper Fund and the Wall Street Journal as one of four Distinguished Newspaper Advisers in America in 2007. Since 1972, Martha has built some of the nations most highly acclaimed scholastic journalism programs. Greg has structured a successful career in marketing and public relations. He has been a partner for the past 20 years in a consulting firm that has provided creative sales and marketing direction for numerous companies across the country.
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