Family Devotions

//Family Devotions
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Chronological Scripture Readings for the Passion Week

Christians often use this week to remind themselves of the events of the last week of Christ’s life. Indeed Scripture devotes a disproportionate amount of space to this final week. Perhaps you could use the following traditional placement of the events for your devotional thoughts this week.
palm-sunday-2
Saturday
John 12:2-11 (see also Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 4:3-9)

Sunday – Official Presentation of Jesus to Israel
Luke 19:29-44
Matthew 21:11-17
(see also Mark 11:1-11, John 12:12-19)

Monday – Cleansing of the Temple
Mark 11:12-18
John 12:20-50

Tuesday AM – Official Challenge of Christ’s Authority
Mark 11:19-25
Matthew 21:23-23:39 (see Mark 12:1-40, Luke 20)
Mark 12:41-44 – The Poor Widow

Tuesday PM – Prophesies Based on Jewish Rejection
Matthew 24:1-25:46

Wednesday
Matthew 26:1-16

Thursday – The Last Supper
Luke 22:7-16
John 13:1-38
Luke 22:17-20
John 14:1-17:26

10:30 PM- 1:00AM? – Gethsemane
Matthew 26:30-46

Friday AM
2-3AM? – Arrest
John 18:2-12
Matthew 26:47-56

2:30 AM? – First Jewish Phase: Annas
John 18:13-24

3-4:30 AM? – Second Jewish Phase: Caiaphas
Matthew 26:57-68

4:30? – Peter’s Denials
Matthew 26:69-75

5-5:45? Third Jewish Phase: Sanhedrin
Luke 22:66-71
Matthew 27:3-10

6:00? -9:00AM – First Roman Phase: Pilate
John 18:28-38

6:00? -9:00AM – Second Roman Phase: Herod
Luke 23:6-12 – Herod

6:00? -9:00AM – Third Roman Phase: Pilate
Matthew 27:15-26
John 18:39-19:16
Jesus on cross
Matthew 27:27-32
Luke 23:26-33a

9:00-12:00 Noon
Matthew 27:35-44
John 19:18-27
Luke 23:33b-43

12 Noon to 3 PM –
Matthew 27:45-56
John 19:28-30
Luke 23:46
Matthew 27:51-56

3-5 PM
John 19:31-42
Mark 15:42-45
Luke 23:55-56

Saturday
Matthew 27:62-66

Sunday AM
Matthew 28:1-8
John 20:1-18

Afternoon?
Matthew 28:9-15
Luke 24:13-35

Sunday PM
John 20:19-25
Luke 24:36-43

Help For Family Devotions

I love this article on no-frill family devotions. In it the author proclaims the trouble with “big” family devotions – inconsistency.
Family Devotions
Key paragraphs:

“I was grateful for an older friend who came along and encouraged me to scrap the complicated model and simply pick up the Bible and read it to my family. “Just start reading through a book of the Bible, maybe start with the Gospel of John,” he said. “Now that my kids are grown, they tell me that our time together reading the Bible was the most meaningful part of their spiritual formation.”

“When I asked him what kind of discussion they had about the text, he said they would talk about what the passage revealed about God and what it revealed it about us and our need for God–but he said there were many nights his family would simply read a chapter from the Bible, pray for the Holy Spirit to illuminate it, and call it a night. He pointed out that squeezing in a no-frills family devotion was better than skipping them just because of limited time.”

That’s been our argument all along. As a reminder, our articles on this subject are here:
Introduction to Family Devotions
7 Principles to Guide Family Devotions
10 Suggestions on What to Do for Family Devotions
4 Practical Suggestions for Family Devotions
When NOT to Have Family Devotions
4 Questions to Ask When Reading Your Bible

From Desiring God: Six Benefits of Ordinary Devotions

Jon Bloom at Desiring God gives Six Benefits of Ordinary Devotions. Good to pass on to our children.

Soul Exercise (1 Corinthians 9:24, Romans 15:4): Devotions are like exercise for our souls.
Soul Shaping (Romans 12:2): The body will generally take the shape of how we exercise it. Running shapes one way, weight training shapes another way. The same is true for the soul.
Bible Copiousness (Psalm 119:11, Psalm 119:97, Proverbs 23:12): A thorough, repeated, soaking in the Bible over the course of years increases our overall Biblical knowledge, providing fuel for the fire of worship and increasing our ability to draw from all parts of the Bible in applying God’s wisdom to life.
Fight Training (Ephesians 6:10–17): Marines undergo rigorous training in order to so ingrain their weapons knowledge that when suddenly faced with the chaos of combat they instinctively know how to handle their weapons.
Sight Training (2 Corinthians 5:7, 2 Corinthians 4:18): Jesus really does want us to see and savor him. Savoring comes through seeing. But only the eyes of faith see him.
Delight Cultivation (Psalm 37:3–4, Jams 4:8, Psalm 130:5): Devotions are one of the ways we cultivate delight in God.

Read this whole article and then read for family devotions. These same principles are true for family devotions.

 

 

The 3Rs for Digging a Little Deeper in Your Devotional Time

Kevin DeYoung gives 3Rs to help dig a little deeper in your devotional time. Find something in each Scripture to

  1. Rejoice
  2. Repent
  3. Request

So for this morning one verse I read was Psalm 25:1-15. For verse 4. Show me the right path, O Lord. Point out the road for me to follow.

1. Lord, I am so thankful that you are a God who guides, who points out the path, who hears prayers for guidance.

2. Please forgive me for the times that I have not requested aid. I have gone headstrong in my own way.

3. Specifically, show me the right path in ______________ . What would you have me to do?

 

Try it. Teach it to your children. Use it for family devotions.

Family Worship Month

January is Family Worship Month. It is a great time to recovenant with the Lord to bless your family in this way. You can look at this link and this link for more resources. And you can read the following blog posts from a forthcoming booklet.

Introduction to Family Devotions
7 Principles to Guide Family Devotions
10 Suggestions on What to Do for Family Devotions
4 Practical Suggestions for Family Devotions
When NOT to Have Family Devotions
4 Questions to Ask When Reading Your Bible

While you are here, you might also check out the verse lists for topical studies if you have older children and our booklet for training your family in public worship.

Family Devotions|

Family Devotions – A Great New Year’s Resolution

Everything fights against having family devotions. You know you should but…..

Maybe you are asking why start again when I know that I will slack off? Did you know that an airplane is offcourse 90% of the time? How then does it arrive at its destination? By making constant corrections. You too can arrive at your destination by making constant corrections.

I need the challenge to restart this great means of grace? Do you?

Read some of these articles for encouragement.
Introduction to Family Devotions
7 Principles to Guide Family Devotions
10 Suggestions on What to Do for Family Devotions
4 Practical Suggestions for Family Devotions
When NOT to Have Family Devotions
4 Questions to Ask When Reading Your Bible

What to read? Depending on the ages of your children you might:

  • Read through a Bible Story Book.
  • Read through a gospel – Why not start with Matthew
  • Read through Proverbs.

You can do it! Let’s get back to honoring the Lord and acting as priests in our homes. Let me know what you are doing.

Verse List – Is Anything too Hard for God?

Note: These verse lists are given as quick, topical studies to help moms and dads do studies on a date with their child, for family devotions, or for teens to do on their own.

Unbelief: Sarah’s laugh of unbelief (Genesis 18:12-13) still finds its equivalent today in cynicism or a resigned laugh toward God and our circumstances.

Response: The Lord responds with a gently, rebuking question: “Is anything too hard for the Lord? (Genesis 18:14), This theme of the power of God over impossible circumstances is repeated  many other places as well including:

Job 42:3 – I know that you can do all things.
Matthew 19:26 – With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible.
Luke 1:37 – Nothing is impossible with God.
Ephesians 3:20 – Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly that all that we ask or think, according  to the power of at work within us…

Good verses to remind our young children and teens. When God speaks, we cannot laugh with unbelief. Is anything too hard for the Lord?

When You Should NOT Have Family Devotions

This is the fifth article on family devotions. The introduction is here. Seven Principles to keep in mind is here. 10 Ideas for Devotions is here.

The devil, the flesh, and the world will fight this time of family discussion and prayer. It is possible for this time to become negative, where the family is in a downward cycle of conflict around family devotions. Perhaps the children are not under control for a discussion and so there is constant distraction and correction. Maybe you as the leader are droning on, boring your family  to tears, and not asking questions to involve the other family members. Perhaps you have been following a long established pattern that is… to speak plainly, boring.

Whatever the reason, if family devotions is a negative experience, make a strategic retreat to regroup. If the problem is discipline, seek to work with your spouse to come up with a plan for control. Perhaps move from the table to the living room. If the problem is that you are teaching over the children’s understanding, find a devotional book that is appropriate to their ages. You can find a solution. If family devotions is a negative experience, suspend the time until you can figure out how to solve the problem.

But don’t give up. This time is too valuable. God will give you grace.

This is the fifth article on family devotions. Read them all here  here and here and here.

4 Practical Suggestions on Family Devotions

This is the fourth article on family devotions. The introduction is here. Seven Principles to keep in mind is here. 10 Ideas for Devotions is here.

Here are a few more practical suggestions for family devotions that our family has followed over the past 20 years.

1. Start while the family is eating. If you decide you want to have devotions around the dinner table, then it might be good to start while everyone is still eating. This will help focus the conversation and keep little people occupied.

2. Let little hands do something to keep them busy. If you decide you want to do something a little longer after dinner then make sure their hands have something to do. Our family let little hands color or play with a small toy. I would often ask a few questions to make sure they were listening… and they were!

3. There is nothing wrong with moving completely away from the table to the couch. If you move from the table, you are making devotions a bigger deal. The advantage is that you will spend a longer time together. The danger is that once you get up from the table you will get distracted and not get back to devotions. The other danger is that you will make devotions such a big deal that you will quickly give up when you don’t have a large amount of time. At times, our family did move away from the table and I would read to our children on the couch, but our default was always to stay at the table.

4. Solve the Bible Dilemma – When opening the Bible at dinner time there are three options. One, Dad brings a Bible and the others listen (or find something to do with their hands when they are little.) Two, the family has generic “devotion” Bibles that are brought enmass to the table so that the family can follow along with their eyes. Three, the children go and get their own Bible so that they can look at the verses with their own eyes.

Our family has done all three of these. Dad or Mom bringing his own Bible is efficient but the children can be more passive. Grabbing generic devotion Bibles and looking a different verses keeps our older children engaged and looking at more complicated passages with their eyes. Having their own Bibles allows them to see the verse or story so that later they may go back to it. Each methods has its positive and negative points.

Family devotions is hard work. But it is worth the work. And yields great fruit. As I said in the introduction, though not specifically commanded by Scripture, family devotions seems to incorporate a number of biblical commands.

Read all the articles if you are interested. The introduction is here. Seven Principles to keep in mind is here. 10 Ideas for Devotions is here.

Next time: Why You Should NOT Have Family Devotions!

10 Suggestions on What to Do for Family Devotions

This is the third article on family devotions. The introduction is here. Seven Principles to keep in mind is here.

In the previous article, I suggested mixing things up. This leads right into the question of, “What do I do?” Over the past eighteen years, our family and other parents in our church have done all sorts of things. It depends on the needs and ages of the children.

1. Read a book of the Bible. Sometimes our family would read through a book of the Bible. After reading through a chapter I might ask them a simple question or two like, “What can we learn about God (Jesus, the Holy Spirit)? What can we learn about ourselves?” As the children grew older, we invested in some paperback Bibles that we kept on a shelf by the table so that everyone was looking at the words together.

2. Memorize a verse. A meal time is a great time to memorize a verse together as a family. When we decide to do that I would read the verse aloud several times. Then I would close the Bible and say it out loud. Then it was Mom’s turn. Then the oldest on down to the youngest. As the children  have grown older, I have started asking them what is the latest verse they are memorizing.

3. Proverbs chapter of the day. Sometimes we would read the Proverb chapter of the day. “Today is the 15th? Let’s read Proverbs chapter 15. What can we find in here about wise living?”

4. Issue of the day. As our children have grown older we have continued the tradition of family devotions. However, sometimes the discussion of the day’s activities brings out an issue that provides a teaching opportunity. A few simple questions helps set us on the right track, “Wisdom is seeing things from God’s perspective and making proper choices accordingly. What is God’s perspective on that issue? What verses should we go to?”  The great benefit here is that we are letting God address the topic from his word and we are modeling the idea that the Bible has the answers to what we are dealing with. It is not just a book to get us into heaven, but also a book to help us live a life pleasing to God.

5. A Christian Testimony.  If a Christian guest was joining us, we would regularly ask them to give us their salvation testimony or another spiritual life lesson they had learned. These simple questions showed our respect for our guest, built them into our children’s lives, and provided a chance for them to hear about God’s work today.

6 Sword Drills.  If you want to have a crazy time, do a family sword drill. Our family was so competitive that I could not do this too much. A sword drill is when the leader calls out a verse and all the participants race to see who can get to that verse first. Sometimes we would do Bible drills to a memory verse. I would stagger the beginning times to let the little ones start earlier than the older ones. We actually had to stop doing this because it got so rambunctious and competitive! But my children look back on it today with great memories.

7. A Discussion of Personal Devotions. Sometimes we would all read the same thing for personal devotions and talk about it as a family. This is helpful because then the children can ask questions they had during their reading. This can also be tied in with reading a book of the Bible together.

8. A Discussion of Family Sunday School. Our church has often tried to have an opportunity to have parents and children study the same portion of the Bible. Sometimes that has been in the Sunday School portion of church and sometimes it has been in the family small group. Family devotions provides a chances to do our assignment and discuss the word together.

9. Reading a Book Together. At different points, we have read different books together. When the children were young, they were family Bible books especially for young children.  As the children grew older, we have read different books or even just a chapter of a book.

10. Applying the Message. One very important habit we have tried to inculcate in our family is talking about and applying the Sunday sermon to our lives. Good questions include: “What do you remember for this morning’s message? What illustration do you remember? What did God speak to you about? How do you think you are going to apply this morning’s message.”

Next time we will talk about several other practical suggestions.