A Dirty Devo…All is Rubbish

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Family Devotions

Below is a family devotion you may use with your family and/or you may pass it on to someone else.   Share it with the people in your small group to do with their families or even send it off to your grown children, so they can do this with your grandchildren.  We hope it will bless your family as it has others.

Helping You Have Homes Devoted,
Jonathan and Carrie

(If you haven’t started family devotions, you are not alone.  Statistics show that only 9% of church families do any form of worship/study in the home. Break the stats! Click here for a quick video on some simple insights to starting a Family Devotion.)

A Dirty Devotion: It’s All Garbage
(This devotion has many questions. Choose what works for your family.  Change and add to it according to the ages of your kids…Don’t feel like you need to use everything here, but you always want to leave them with some way they can apply it to their lives.  I would suggest you also talk about it a day or two later.  If you bring it back up and discuss it (at dinner, for instance) they will be more apt to remember it, and the ongoing processing of the scripture can create great discussion about God throughout the week!)

Start by asking:
When your friend is SO excited after receiving a new _____________ (you can fill in the blank with something), how do they act?
[They talk about it constantly, they’re excited, they want to tell others, they want to show it off, etc.]

What is one thing that you have that you are very excited about? Something you earned?  And why?

Read Philippians 3:8
I also consider everything to be a loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Him I have suffered the loss of all things and consider them filth, so that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:8 HCSB)

How Might Paul describe that thing of yours?

What is it about following Christ that in comparison makes everything else seem like dirt, garbage, dog poop? (That’s what it says in the message version).
[It stinks, it’s gross!   That’s how we need to view everything that might keep us from knowing Christ and His awesome plan and purpose for us!]

VISUAL ILLUSTRATION: I dare you to get some garbage or even dog poop and put it on the table for your kids to see and smell and I promise they will never forget this devotion! You can keep it in the trash bag or put on some plastic.

What things has Paul lost, given up, to follow Christ?
[Freedom (he is in jail).  Friends. Safety. Security.  The good life.  He was in prison, beaten mocked, etc.]

What is one thing that might be keeping us as a family from knowing Christ better? What is one thing that might be keeping you from knowing Christ better?  [Popularity. Time. Money. Stuff. Fun. Sports. Facebook and other online activities.]

Why is it hard to give up these things?

[IF TIME PERMITS, YOU CAN CONTINUE OR THIS COULD BE PART II TO BE DONE AT ANOTHER TIME.]

How can you tell when someone loves something more than Jesus?

What is the second commandment? [Exodus 20.  No idols!]

What are “idols” in today’s world?

How do you know when something is an idol?  [It’s hard to know. But if that thing keeps you from going to church, from spending time praying or reading the Bible, or keeps you from time with Christian friends;  If this thing pulls you away from Jesus.]

What might you love more than Jesus?

How might we (as a family) or you keep this from continuing to be an idol?

Is it possible we/you could allow God to use this thing to bring Him glory?  [Sometimes, God gives you desires, talents, gifts and skills that can become an idol (you become proud like Samson or Saul and instead of using these things for God, you use them for your own selfish ambition.  You can use your interests, talents and gifts to show your love for God to others. You might want to write this down somewhere and discuss it throughout the week.  Plan to talk about these together at meals or turn off the TV when everyone is around to talk about it.]

Close in prayer!

Family Devotion: Thankfulness

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Family Devotions

Devote some of this weekend to God by doing this devotion on being thankful!

THANKFULNESS- Luke 17:11-19.  Only one out of ten men came back to thank Jesus for healing them.

Begin by asking:

  • When was a time someone did something for you where you felt really thankful?

After reading (or having someone in the family read the verses), ask these questions to spark a discussion on the value of being thankful.  (I realize there are more questions than needed, ask those that will work best with your family to help create the character of thankfulness.)

  • What is leprosy? Why was it such a serious disease physically and socially? (It was a contagious skin disease.  Those who had it had to leave all their loved ones and live with those who had leprosy.  No one could ever touch them.)
  • Why do you think only he came back to give thanks? (He recognized and believed in who healed him and the others didn’t.)
  • Why is it important to note that he is a Samaritan? (Samaritans don’t respect or like Jews and yet he came back to praise God.)
  • Why do you think the others weren’t thankful?  (They may have been so selfish and so excited, they were more concerned about telling others and doing things they haven’t been able to do, than recognizing the source of their healing.)

 

How about us?

  • What has God done for us?
  • Why is it hard to recognize what God has done for us, (see God’s answered prayers)? (The biggest reason is probably because we don’t really expect God to work, so we really don’t look for Him to.)
  • Would our outlook be different if we really lived out Proverbs 3:5-6 or Matthew 6.33?
  • How can we try, even more, to look for what God does, to see God’s answered prayers? (Here is one idea: write prayers down in a pad and then write the date next to when they were answered.  It is incredible to look back after doing this for 5 years and remember all of God’s answered prayers.)
  • How can we as a family, show our thanks for what God does?

 

Want to go deeper (have some teens you want to challenge)?

  • Jesus said this man had faith.  How did this man show his faith? (He went out of his way to give thanks and praise to God.)
  • Giving God our deep thankfulness is a way we reveal our faith in God?  Why? (It expresses our trust in Him. It shows we acknowledge His answered prayers.  That He is at work.  That He gets the glory.)
  • How do we demonstrate our thankfulness to God?
  • What was the result of this man’s faith? Luke 17:19…  He was already healed, so what was made “well?”   (People’s New Testament says it this way, “His faith had not only saved his body, but he had been born to the new life, his soul was saved.”)

When Should Children Learn to Tithe? (and a family devotion)

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in 5 Minute Devotions, Blog, Family Devotions

As soon as they are old enough to want to buy stuff, it’s time to start opening up with them about how you spend and give. As you think about your giving for next year, consider bringing your children into the conversation. Carrie and I are open with our children about our finances. We show them the checks we write as we give God our “offering.” We even stopped the automatic withdrawal from the bank, because we wanted our children to actually see us write the check and put it in the plate on Sunday mornings.

We know this is a value we can’t JUST TEACH our children. It’s a value they will NEED TO CATCH as we live it out.

Why do we want to do this at an early age?
First of all, it models for them we trust God at His Word. (Matthew 6.33)
Secondly, it models for them our obedience. (We, as adults, have to be obedient, too!)
Third, they see that we are serious about giving back to God.
Forth, when they see us give, it gives us credibility when we encourage them to give 10% of their income (allowance, birthday money, etc.)
Fifth, God deserves it! (He is faithful! He is good!)
Sixth, it teaches them that Mom and Dad keep our priorities straight, (our spending and desire for money in it’s proper place)!
Seventh, it supports and helps other people! (That is what Caleb said (our 8 yr. old.)

Some of you may have an unknown financial future. Trust us, we can relate! Trust God that He will provide. Let your kids see you trusting in God! They need to know that God does bless, that His Word is true, that He does care and He will take care of us! Matthew 6.33!

FAMILY DEVOTION:
Want to lead your family in a devotion on this topic? It can be as simple as doing this at the next meal time together.

Say, “Mom and dad want to share something with you. Will one of you read from Matthew 6.33?
(Have a child/teen read.)

Ask, “What does this say about God’s character, His Qualities?” Let them answer. (He will provide, He is trustworthy, dependable.)we should to seek Him

Ask, “Do we need to worry about anything? Why?

Ask, “What do we need to do?” (Seek His Kingdom.)

Ask, “What does that mean?” (To seek and do what He wants for us rather than always what we want.)

Say, “Someone read Malachi 3.10. This is why we offer to God first a part of what He has given us.

Ask, “Why do you think God gave us this command?” (It shows who really trusts in Him, keeps our priorities straight (focused on Him), He wants to provide and take care of those who are faithful to Him. It’s also one way God’ uses us to provide for other’s needs, etc.)

Ask, “Why is it important for you to give of your allowance, even if it’s a small amount?” (It’s because you need to be obedient even in the small things. It develops a habit, a tradition. When we can obey God in the little things, God will know He can trust us in bigger things.)

The Cronkhite’s give out allowance on Saturdays (this way it’s close to Sunday) and ask them how much they are going to offer back to God and to set it aside to bring to church in the morning.

Hope this helps.
Jonathan

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