Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Write them on the door posts and on the gates"

Deuteronomy 6:9 says, "Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." (NIV).
A plaque given to us last year for Christmas
Several years ago when Philip and I began thinking of concrete ways of implementing Deut 6: 7-9 we starting trying to find ways to implement the principles found in verse 9. Traditionally in Jewish culture,  a mezuzah accomplishes this command. The idea is that scripture is to be used in the home in such a way as to bring to mind and aid in the memorization of Scripture. With the explosion of vinyl wall art this is becoming much easier!
Taken from Deut 6 this is right above the main staircase (we live in a second and third floor apt) done in vinyl. It's not finished yet -I'd like to somehow make it look like it's in a large picture frame but still uncertain of how I want to accomplish this to make it more attractive. This is what everyone sees when they are sitting in our living room.

Several years ago we went to the P.Graham Dunn studio here in Ohio and visited their "second hand" section. These were relatively inexpensive.
These are at the bottom of the landing between second and third floors.
The plaques are of Psalm 37:4 and Phil 4:4. I purchased the frames at Walmart and took some mark-down fabric scraps to make the background and match the color scheme for this area.
This plaque of Deut. 6 was also from P. Graham Dunn and placed in a frame over the main bathroom sink. This protects the wood from getting wet and the boys can see it every time they wash their hands and brush their teeth.

Home Interiors used to carry some Scripture decorations (though I've not checked recently). I purchased this heart with Matthew 5:8 above my kitchen sink. The notecards are my memory verses that I'm currently working on - I can wash dishes and work on memorizing them at the same time.

More recently, Philip has begun saying the Hebrew blessing over our family in the mornings after breakfast. When he's done we respond with this verse that I just printed from Word,  put in a frame and placed on the hutch (china cabinet).

In the upstairs bathroom we have 1 John 1:5 above a Thomas Kincaid picture.

This hangs above my ironing board as I'm working (given to me by my brother, Jonathan Slagenweit).

Our goal has been:
  1. Keep scripture in front of them that will remind them of principle truths of God's Word.
  2. Make it attractive - I'll have to admit when Philip first mentioned implementing this principle (I'm ashamed to admit it!) I thought, "How tacky! It's going to ruin my whole decorating style!" What I learned is - "my style" isn't as important as  A. following the commands of Scripture and B. doing what is going to impact my children for good and eternity. This was before wall art and doing a Google search on "Scripture wall art" produced a million results!
  3. Stay within the budget! There are lots of creative ideas for implementing this principle using just a computer and a pretty frame. 
If you're needing some more ideas you might be able to find some at Doorposts (which is a favorite resource of mine!) since they're running a contest with this theme of implementing Scripture into our homes. I'm anxious to see some more ideas that might work for our family.

How do you implement Deut 6:9? I'd love to hear/see your ideas!

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Devil's Been Talking To Me

When our oldest son was two and a half years old we had a conversation that will forever mark a change in my parenting thinking. Somehow in the everyday training I kept thinking that if you instill the right principles, diligently teach doctrine and create a loving, nurturing environment in which they can explore and grow then somehow, with much of God's grace at work, these children will be able to withstand attacks of the enemy when they come .... somewhere down the road.

We were traveling home from a family gathering when Philip asked our oldest, "Allan, what has God been saying to you recently?" (I highly recommend doing this for numerous reasons - they recognize that God is a person who wants to have fellowship with them, God is a personal God who is very interested in every aspect of their lives, God can talk to them about problems they are having that aren't readily apparent to us as parents but they let us know things to be watching for.) Allan replied on this occasion by saying that God really hadn't been saying a whole lot (which sometimes happens). There was a pause and then he said, "But the devil's been talking to me." He said it so matter of fact that I was stunned - he's only two and a half!

We hadn't really talked about a theology of the devil other than he's the one who tempts us to do wrong. Philip, who was driving, reached over and turned off the music we'd been listening to. "Tell me what the devil's been saying to you buddy." At two a half years old he replied, "He told me that God really doesn't love me. That it's not true." Two conflicting emotions rose us within me at that point - my heart sank realizing that already Satan was working to undermine both our authority (because we're the ones who had taught him that God loves him and we know that from Scripture) and cast doubt on God's character and I found myself instantly angry! How dare Satan create in my child doubt about God's goodness, love, and trustworthiness!

I then realized for the first time the reality that as Christian parents we are engaged in warfare for our children's minds and souls. I don't tend to look at the world and my part in accomplishing God's will on earth as a battle. But that day I was reminded that there are forces at work beyond my sight, that I have no control over. And so a new dimension of parenting became very important to us. Fasting and praying.

Every  week we take one meal time (currently it's Saturday lunch) to spend time to fast and pray for our children. This dimension of warfare should not scare us but rather drive us to action. And what a blessed assurance to rest our concerns in the hands of a heavenly Father who can see so clearly both worlds.