Devotions

THE CHURCH IS NOT CLOSED

The church is not closed – never has been – never will be, according to Ephesians 3:21. If you are not able to go to the church building of your choice tomorrow, CREATE YOUR OWN. Doing church at home is a great way to come together as a family. Have someone pick out a verse to share and discuss it as a family. YouTube is loaded with worship songs that have the words on the bottom. Pass juice and bread/crackers and take Communion together, talking about the meaning. Go around in a circle and share one thing you are thankful for (keep the game going until you run out of things to think of). Put on worship music (with or without words) and just lay quietly as a family, enjoying the peace of His presence. Ask Jesus what He wants to say to each person and spend time asking, listening, and sharing. Spiritual intimacy is great for family connections. Gather the kids and ask them for ideas – they always come up with great ideas. 

Remember that the Kingdom is JOY – partnering with JOY as a family for your home church brings the Father great delight. Play a game, laugh, be silly and enjoy the JOY. Invite another family over to join you!

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

People often ask me what I do for family devotions. I have done a variety of things over the years. My goal is to water their spirits every day just like I do their minds and tummies. I haven’t focused on the HOW as much as I have the WHAT. I felt led to buy each of them a personal devotion and a new journal for Christmas. I coached them on how to read, process, and journal. I felt like God was highlighting that my children are very comfortable with getting prophetic words for people, which I love, but sometimes we need to speak truth and life over people. It will only transform those around us if our words are anchored in HIS truth (the Word). I am having them read and process the following questions each day. 

What did this reveal to me about who God is? 

How can I relate to the story/Scripture? 

What can I be thankful for because of it? 

Who needs to hear this truth today? 

And then they are crossing their chicken lines and growing in their capacity to ask God to highlight one person who needs to hear the truth they now carry, and they are speaking it over them through text, phone call, or email. I feel like parents need to hear this. Were my kids jumping up and down at the thought of a new journal and devotions? No. Did they fully understand the heart behind the concept of journaling? No. Did they do it on their own? No. Did they thank me profusely for caring about their spiritual growth? No. Did I do it anyway? YES!!!!! Because in this house, we serve the Lord, and this is what He has led me to do with them.

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Do you ponder God’s grace as much as you ponder your guilt? Is your list of blessings as long as your list of complaints? Is your mental file of hope as thick as your mental file of dread? Focus on the giants, and YOU stumble. Focus on GOD, and the giants tumble! You can rewrite the story for the next generation by teaching them how to build their mental file. Grab a piece of paper, and together as a family, begin answering these questions: Where have you seen God move this week? How did Jesus help you today?

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Parents often feel pressure to lead their children spiritually. While there is a mandate to train and raise our children, I think sometimes we put too much focus on the HOW. My greatest tool for leading my children is to simply stay hungry myself and share with them what God is doing in my life. Every morning we would meet in the family room at 7 to check in, talk about our day, evening schedule, and it is my time to feed their spirits before they go out in the world. I was camped out in John 10 and came across this line, “My sheep recognize my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one shall snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else, so no one can kidnap them from me. I and the Father are one.” I highlighted to them that they could never be kidnapped from Jesus. They can never be taken away from Him. That simple line and 2-minute family devotion taught them a lot about who their Father is and placed a wall of security around them as they went out the door.

LORD’S PRAYER

I am teaching my children about the Lord’s prayer and what it means to pray, “Heaven come – on earth as it is in heaven.” One morning during family devotions, I told them how I grew up with the belief that God was good and heaven was real, but for later, once you die. It gave us hope for what was to come. But I have learned over the years that Jesus died so we can have life and have it abundantly NOW. We talked about what the Kingdom of heaven looks like; peace, love, joy, power, clear mind, empowerment, connection, belonging, patience, honesty, truth, being seen, known, heard, understood, valued, attached to Him, family, etc. I had them think of something happening in their world and hold it in their hands. I then had them declare and pray, “Heaven, come” over that situation. Lauren felt anxious about the pep rally and having to be present but also take photos for the yearbook, not fully knowing where to be and when. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she instantly felt peace and confidence that she would be able to figure it out. Emma was burdened by the girls in her class who gossiped behind their friend’s backs and wanted to say something to them. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she got an increase of conviction that she was to figure out how to lovingly speak truth to them in a way that invites them into something greater (not just calling them out on it). She felt like she was to wait and really go after this with Jesus before saying something. Hudson was really burdened that he did not manage his time well last night and had homework due. When he declared, “Heaven, come,” he felt like God said to use the remaining 15 minutes and get it done. He said there was no way he could do that as it would take at least an hour. I told him to declare, “Heaven, come” over his time. Fifteen minutes later, he put it in his backpack and said, “Well, it might not have been my best job, but I did get it done.” WOW. Ellie was concerned about a test where she had to memorize something. When she declared, “Heaven, come,” she felt like God was highlighting her identity and that she was still loved and wanted even if she failed. Could you imagine a generation of ambassadors for Jesus who declared heaven COME to the world around them as a lifestyle?

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Turn family devotions into a time of character training and making memories by having each child take a turn picking a subject and then teaching it. One morning, Ellie (then 6) asked Jesus what He wanted to say to each of us and then drew them in picture form on a sticky note and hid them in the living room. She was so cute as she called us in for a ‘family meeting’ and then began to play the hot/cold game to find them. I love this because they are learning leadership, how to teach others, and how to come up with creative ways of releasing the Kingdom. There were no yawns doing family devotions that morning!

FEEDING THEIR SPIRIT

Gather the kids and talk about the importance of feeding their bodies with healthy food. Remind them of the difference between sugar treats and healthy foods that produce fuel for their growing bodies. What would happen if they skipped a meal or a day’s worth of eating? Their tummy would begin to rumble, and soon, their discomfort would affect their emotions. Then talk about how God has given them a brain to think and how significant our thoughts are. If we say to ourselves, “I am stupid,” we will begin to feel stupid and eventually will act stupid. God wants us to feed our minds with thoughts that are in alignment with what He thinks about us, “I am priceless,” “I matter,” “My voice is significant,” “I am loved.” Talk about our spirits and the importance of feeding our spirit with life-giving things such as worship, talking with God, hearing what He has to say to others, reading the Word, loving others, thanking Him, asking Him for help, sharing testimonies, etc. When we feed our spirit with things like fear, lies, nursing hurts, offenses, and being entertained by the things of the enemy (murder games, violence, etc.), we will have a much harder time experiencing His love which He designed to be poured out to those around us. He still loves us, but our ability to receive and embrace it is affected. I often use this language with my children, especially after I notice the fruit of not being fed, “Hey, what have you done lately to feed your spirit? It looks to me like you might need to sneak away and spend some time with Jesus.” Or “Wow, that comment was not very kind. What things are you feeding your mind lately?” All of these things are like putting a spoonful of fresh, organic veggies in our mind and spirit. Failure to feed our mind and spirit leaves us dry, empty and feeling disconnected. Help your children make a list of ways they can feed their mind and spirit and then feed them daily.

FAMILY DEVOTIONS

Testimony from a mom in class: “I desire my children to be sensitive to the spirit. I can’t imagine my job as a mom having any greater value than pointing my kids to Him. I have been incorporating what I am learning in your class in our family devotions.”

What I love about this testimony is that she is taking what God is teaching HER and allowing her children to reap the fruit at the same time. The best Christian material, devotions, and studies are simply bringing your child into your own journey with Him.

BE INTENTIONAL

One morning, Lauren (then 15) led our family devotions. All of the kids woke up super late and assumed that waking late meant we would forgo our new commitment to meet in the living room at 7 EVERY morning to spend time with Jesus as a family. We talked about the sacrifice it sometimes takes to follow Jesus and that if their outfit, hair, makeup, packed lunch, etc., were perfect, it would add little to their day, but giving God room and time to speak to them would fill them in a way the other things can’t. Lauren chose to read to us from her daily devotion about the urgency of the Lord’s return and making every day count. She had each of us think of one person in our world that needed to know they were loved, and then we asked Jesus to show us HOW. Lauren shared that God highlighted a new girl at school who was crying. When she asked Him HOW she could love her, He said to hand her a card with her phone number on it and invite her to come over for dinner and go to youth group with her. The Spirit of God was all over this assignment, and we spent the rest of the time praying for Lauren’s confidence to walk in love and obedience. The ONLY thing Lauren had planned was to read the verse. God showed up and did the rest. We don’t have to be a Bible scholar, school teacher, or executive leader to usher our children to Jesus. We need to be intentional about making space and have faith He will show up.

LEADING TEENS

I have been growing discontent with leading my family spiritually. It is so easy to buy into the LIE that teens don’t want to engage, or that busyness is just a fact of life. I called a family meeting, and we had a deep heart-to-heart about our relationship with Jesus and how we operate as a family. I walked away so impacted by their hunger, even though it looks different now that they are older. We spent a lot of time processing, pondering, and praying about what it looks like to play in the Kingdom at their ages. One of the things we decided to do was each take a day of the week and lead family devotions. It was my turn, and I had them draw out a picture of themselves, and we passed the papers around in a circle, each adding what we saw inside of them (kindness, creativity, leadership, etc.). Then one person spoke over the person next to them who they are. It was so crazy simple yet life-giving. I feel such a renewed sense of hunger to keep going after their relationships with Jesus in a fresh new way.