Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Plan-Here's How We're doing it

If strategy is not your strong suit (it is not mine), I hope these types of posts are helpful. If strategy is a place you thrive, you can be even more diligent in this. Here we go...

As I shared in yesterday's post, September's focus is LOVE. We define love as "the decision to give at all times no matter what to have a right relationship." We use one memory verse per week. Keep in mind the age ranges of your children. Ours are all under 8 years old, so we pick verses that are manageable for them to learn in a week, but not too easy. We used some of 1 Corinthians 13 last year. God's Word is packed full of verses about love so take your pick! Below are our verses and some examples of questions we might ask. I love this because it also challenges me to deepen my knowledge of the Scriptures in order to explain them thoroughly to my kids. Not to take them out of context, but teach them each according to the full counsel of God's Word.

Week 1
Memory Verse: Mark 12:29-31
"This is the most important, Jesus answered: Listen, Israel! The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is:Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these."

We discuss briefly what it means to love the Lord with all you are and love other people as much as you love yourself. I ask them things like, what are some things we can do to show God that we love Him? How do we love Him with all our hearts? What are some things we can do for other people to show them that we love them... specifically family, teachers, students and those we cross paths with each day? We also talk about showing others preference before ourselves.

If your kids are a little older or you want to go further, my husband uses 4 "D" words to explain loving God with ALL the...

Heart: That's our Desires. How do we love God with what we want?
Soul: That's our Delights. How do we love God with what we enjoy or take pleasure in?
Mind: That's our Decisions. How do we love God with how we make choices? When given an opportunity to make a choice ask 3 simple questions. Is it wise? Is it best? Does it please the Lord? (Our kids actually made this into a small song)
Strength: That's what we Do.

Week 2
Memory Verse: 1 Peter 4:8
"Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins."

This week we covered loving people SO much that even when they hurt us, we can forgive them because of our great love for them and having received God's grace toward us. We address loving another person when we're hurting and don't feel like loving and loving another person enough to apologize when we have hurt them. Ask any questions that may further your children's understanding of the verses and define terms they may not understand. Definitions are very important for our children to understand and for us to explain them to make sure we understand.

Week 3
Memory Verse: John 13:34-35
"I give you a new command: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

We focused on how this command is distinct from loving your neighbor as yourself and loving as Christ loves. When we love our neighbor as ourself, we do for our neighbor as we would want to be done for us. "But God demonstrated His love toward us, in that, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us," (Romans 5:8). We expanded upon the idea from the previous week of loving unconditionally, being willing to give up our lives for others regardless of who they are, where they come from, what they look like, or what they have done.

Week 4
Memory Verse: Romans 13:8
"Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law."

This week we focused on two major questions: 1) What does it mean to owe someone? 2) How does love fulfill the law? We rehearsed the Ten Commandments and specifically asked the question, "If we love God and love others would we do the things God has said not to do? Would we do the things God has commanded us to do? We described owing someone as someone providing a service or doing something to you or for you and you having the burden, responsibility, and duty to pay or repay them. We linked that to discussions about finances and the reality that being a Christian provides us the righteous duty of giving to others. After all, "It is more blessed to give than to receive," (Acts 20:35).

My prayer is that we would be faithful in communicating the wonders of The Lord to the next generation and that starts in our homes. I hope you'll join us in doing the same! In October, we're taking a look at Joy!:-)

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