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More Than a Story


Raising Children the Deuteronomy Six Way

more than a story

By Renee Swopes


One afternoon while running errands, my son Joshua, who was eight at the time, told us he was writing a book.

“It’s about a boy who goes to the beach with his family and gets stung by a stingray. He’s afraid to go in the water, but that night he reads his Bible and remembers about David. So, he asks God to give him courage to go swimming. The next day he goes in the ocean, and his parents are really surprised! I’m working on the next chapter where he’s getting bullied at school and he’s gonna learn about forgiveness.”

My husband and I looked at each other and smiled. After years of praying for ways to show our children that the Bible applies to everything we face, Joshua’s story gave us hope that our prayers and efforts were making a difference.

We want our kids to know that the Bible is filled with God’s words to help with everyday concerns and challenges. It’s part of a promise we made when we became parents more than 14 years ago.

I laugh when I think about the day we made our promise public. Joshua was two weeks old when our pastor asked us to be part of a baby dedication ceremony and share how we planned to raise Joshua to know Christ.

Although we were only asked to speak for a few minutes, you would have thought we were going to preach the Sunday sermon or write a thesis paper on Christian parenting. We spent hours searching our concordance and writing pages of notes outlining every Bible verse that included the word “children.” When we turned to Deuteronomy 6, we found just what we were looking for— clear instructions from the heart of God for moms and dads.

“And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:5-8).

These words shaped the promises we made before our family and friends that Sunday morning and paved the way for us to lead our children to Christ by making Him part of our everyday lives.

We talk about what God is teaching us personally and look for ways to live out those truths daily. We read stories about people like the Good Samaritan and brainstorm how we can show our neighbors compassion. We pray together during our carpool journey and talk about how we’ve experienced God’s presence when we sit down for dinner or lie down at the end of the day.

Just like the little boy in Joshua’s story, we go to God for courage when life stings. We let our kids see us struggle with our faith in hard times and thank God for His faithfulness in good times. As our sons live out their faith, we listen for what God is teaching them. We hope the promises we made as their parents will lead to promises of their own, as they commit themselves wholeheartedly to the commands we are teaching them each day.

Renee Swopes

About the Writer: Renee Swope is a national speaker, author and co-host of the Proverbs 31 Ministries international radio program. For more encouragement, visit Renee will be a main event speaker at the D6 Conference in Dallas, TX, September 23-25, 2009. For more details, go to




©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists