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Family devotions that are tangible, memorable and fun

Do you ever wonder what you should be doing with your time and how to choose the most important things? I certainly do! We have only a short time on this earth. How can we invest in what matters? I am encouraged that God tells us what is important. When we invest in these things, we can be sure that it is not a waste of time. One of these things is teaching children about God.
“And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (Deuteronomy 6:6-8, New King James Version)
All Christian parents are called to a form of home education. They do not all homeschool, but they are all called to faithfully teach their children about God at home. Due to this, I have been investing time in beginning a morning devotion tradition in our family. We have found that attaching Bible reading and prayer to a meal time is the most effective way for us to remember to include devotions in our lives. We find this easy at dinner time, because we always eat together and we usually have plenty of time.We are mindful, though, that children learn better in the morning. So we have begun to eat breakfast together and to have a short time of Bible reading and prayer then as well.

I've begun with some themes Dave has said that he'd like to characterise our family: faith, holiness, generosity, humility and hospitality. We'll do a week on each. I'm finding a verse or short passage for each day and then looking for a fun illustration to go with it. Last month I was privileged to be able to submit a book review of Treasuring God in Our Traditions to Passionate Homemaking. Reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions was a reminder that children benefit from tangible teaching tools. It has been fun to try to make the verse for each day tangible.

We enjoyed a display of grass and lilies for Jesus' teaching about having faith instead of worrying.

  “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin;  and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30, New King James Version)

When we started our holiness theme this week, I used a cookie cutter to make paper bodies to put on our plates.
  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. (Romans 12:1, New King James Version)

We haven't made every morning "tangible", but it has been fun to aim for this. Right now Natey doesn't understand, but it is still fun to watch his responses. He laughed when we had a doll on the table with a burden created from socks and string, which was designed to represent Pilgrim losing his burden of sin through faith in Christ. He also tried to eat one of the paper bodies! My goal in beginning morning devotions now, and putting effort into tangible displays, is that we will be better prepared when he is old enough to understand. Preparing breakfasts (rather than eating cereal and fruit on the go) and planning devotions has made extra work, but it is wonderful to know that it is definitely a valuable time investment!

Trev  – (January 7, 2010 at 4:18 PM)  

Hi Sherrin,

I enjoyed the read and your new (?) blog. You have captured well the importance of education extending to discipleship, in the home. Stories and re-telling the Bible over and over are so important.

Covenant blessings to you and all your family,

Anna  – (January 8, 2010 at 7:28 AM)  

I really like how you are visually and tangibly teaching each lesson. Great post! Thanks.

Roelien –   – (January 11, 2010 at 1:39 PM)  

Hi Sherrin!
Enjoyed your blog.
We have several children bibles on different levels. Kids have very good questions on parts of scripture and we enjoy talking about it together.
Dinner time seems our best time as we have more time then and now time pressure of catching the school bus.
Channel Christian school is briliant, and our children are very happy there. They are learning to apply all of scripture to their daily life in relationships and morals and values.
best wishes with the free range egg wishes! See you wednesday, we will check out your vegie patch!

Anonymous –   – (January 13, 2010 at 10:46 AM)  

Sounds great. You should publish your devotions so that others can use them too! Love Janelle.

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