Man-kind, (including children), shall not live by bread alone, but by every word the proceeds out of the mouth of God.”
~ Matthew 4:4
Our children need God’s word as much as we do. God compares His word to physical food, which we all need to survive. I am reminded, especially right now, how much our bodies require food for survival. I see the violence and looting in the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda in the Philippine islands as people try desperately to supply food and provisions for themselves and their children. This greatly saddens me.
Let me say here that my heart and prayers go out to the hundreds of thousands of people without food and supplies there at this time. I am so encouraged and strengthened, though, by the brethren there who are such a great light, displaying hope and faith in God, sacrificing for others while they are in need themselves and waiting for His provisions. The Philippine people are struggling day by day to survive.
We need God’s spiritual provisions also. The Bread of Life, God’s word is that provision. This is so important! It is given for our survival spiritually. Is God’s word that important to us, that we would sacrifice our time and efforts to search it out? His words give us the strength to survive the spiritual storms of life and become a light to others in the process. (I Peter 3:15)
God tells us that we are to keep His word in our hearts at all times.
Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate on it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then you shall make you way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
We are admonished by God to teach our children His ways. (Deut 11:19-21) We can accomplish this in many ways. For the young children, coloring Bible pictures and lessons, reading Bible stories, play-acting roles of Bible characters are great ways to stir interest. As they grow we continue to teach them, in hopes that they may become like the Bereans, searching the scriptures daily for their ‘spiritual food’ for themselves and being ready with an answer for the hope that lay within them. (Acts 17:11)
Do we have the same desire for spiritual food as we do for physical food? If we do not have the time throughout the day to study God’s word, we may not survive spiritually. Can we trade some of that “me” time for time with God? How important is that favorite TV show anyway? David said that he longed to meditate on His word, that it was His heart’s desire day and night.
Psalms 119:97 “O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day. ”
I don’t know about you but I have a long way to go. I want to crave (hunger for) God’s word as much as physical food. My heart’s desire is that God would give me strength to do just that.
Our “spiritual” survival in this ‘evil and adulterous generation” depends on it. God desires to give it to us. We must ask for it as Christ said…”Give us this day our daily bread. (Matthew 6:11) Requesting it isn’t all that is needed. We must pick up that spiritual manna and ingest it, letting it become part of our and our children’s lives, (Exodus 16:4)
Ingesting God’s word is, indeed, our admonition, but as I said, we are also commanded to feed our children that same spiritual food, teaching them to seek it out themselves as they grow. So, in regards to that, I’d like to put a plug in for Sally Clarkston’s “Mission of Motherhood ~ Touching Your Child’s Heart for Eternity.” In it, she speaks of a method of teaching her children to have a strong desire to read and study His word, so that they in their hearts will be fed spiritually throughout their growing years.
“ARTS “is a way which she taught her children God’s Word. Here is her plan. Perhaps you can use some or all of the points. We used a few of these points. I’ll explain how we did if afterwards.
A. R. T. S
A – Ask a simple question about the passage to spark interest before reading the story. For example, I might ask, “What is the greatest treasure in all of the world that you would like to own? What would you give to have the treasure?” before reading the story about the pearl of great price.
R- Read the passage enthusiastically and with interest.
T- Talk about this passage. Sometimes I give a list background on the story. Or I might ask the children what the story meant, how the people in the story acted, or what God was trying to communicate.
S- Supplication. Close the time by praying together. Often the prayers relate to the passage: “Lord, help us be more compassionate to others, as the good Samaritan was.”
The little formula got us through years of short devotions. As the children began to mature and needed more substance, we began to offer them incentives for reading through the Bible for themselves. We would promise a special date for an ice cream cone or dinner with Mom or Dad when they had read through the Old Testament or New Testament. We memorized passages of Scripture together by repeating the words out loud each morning at breakfast.
Next, we began to show the kids how to use the concordance in their Bibles to study the topics that were relevant to their own lives. For instance, when they were caught in immature arguments, I would have them look for three verses that addressed the issue of how to speak to each other or the dangers of an uncontrolled tongue. Then I would have them write a paragraph about how these verses applied to the situation with their offended brother or sister. By learning to search through the Bible for themselves, they became familiar with using it to give instruction for their life questions and issues.” (from Mission of Motherhood)
There are many ways of teaching our children God’s word, as the idea above, but one thing is for certain: we need to show the example of the love for God’s word and ingest of it ourselves daily. This is the most important of all the methods that can inspire our children to desire the Bread of Life themselves. God help us all to take in of the wonderful provision of spiritual food that God has provided for each and every one of us everyday.
PRAYER: “Father, you have called us to raise up your heritage, our children, to love You and do Your will, to feed them the Bread of Life. We humbly beseech you for the strong desire to take in spiritual food as much as we do hunger after our daily physical food. We ask that you help us teach our children Your word, to encourage them to feed their hearts on Your word and not on the food of this world, that they may be strong through the spiritual storms of life that may befall them. We know that You hear every prayer, and we thank You for hearing our request, for You are always near, and we await your power and strength to do so. We love You and thank you for providing us with daily bread, our daily spiritual manna. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.”
If you desire to know more concerning God’s plan for mankind and our need for His Daily Bread, please see “Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread” and “The Feast of Unleavened Bread: Replacing Sin With the Bread of Life” for a wonderful articles on the blessing of His word.