Thursday, January 20, 2011

family devotions

In our home family time, devotions, famiy worship or whatever you want to call it can be seen being done at the kitchen table, pilled up on the couch, in the floor of any room (with carpet) or on any bed in the house!
And this is what we read...
No, not all at once, we like variety.  We have had family time, devotions or what ever you want to call it since Aubrey was born but it has been sporadic at best.  I guess we have always said it is important but by CHOOSING to do other things it lost its value and that is evident because of what we spent our time on.  I am not saying that we did bad things (many of them very good actually) but we talk about how we value our children, our time with them and we know what scripture says about our role in training and equipping them but THINGS were always robbing that time and WE allowed it... WHY?  I DON'T KNOW!  A few months ago we took another look at what that might look like in our house.  We have spent more time reading and playing together than ever before and we all love it!  And we don't feel guilty about it.  We usually read together at breakfast and then after dinner and/or before bed.  The four of us that can read take turns reading, we memorize scripture (the kids amaze me) and sing sometimes.  A lot of the time we feel like we need to tie Andrew down or sit on him.  He does do better if he can sit with me or Rusty and sometimes we let him keep his hands occupied by coloring or holding a small toy.  We want this time as a family to be positive so we do what brings us success in this area.  I'll tell you a little about what we read...

The Sugar Creek Gang series... there is always a lesson or moral to be learned.  The gang in the book prays when they approach hard times, not cheesy, very real and grabs the kids attention (they always ask for "just one more chapter")! 

School Days with the Millers (we have also read Prudence with the Millers and Wisdom with the Millers)... we love these!  They are stories about a family with children and the everyday choices and circumstances they might encounter in day to day life.  They use scripture to teach you how to chose the right answer or have the response.  I believe that the "Miller Family" is Mennonite so there have been a few stories that we would say are a little legalistic for us but we take away to apply to our lives from every story. 

The Jesus Storybook Bible... fun, real, applicable!  This is all about who Jesus is on a very understandable level!  Two thumbs up!  Great for all ages!

Big Truths for Young Hearts... In a world where absolute truth is slipping away or maybe even a thing of the past this book teaches those truths that we want our kids to hang onto.  There is scripture for memory with each lesson.  This is a little harder for the kids to listen to, it is not entertaining but they still are hungry to know who God is so we are teaching them through this book.

The Best of Bible Pathway... simply a 365 day devotional book.  Again a little harder for kids to hear but great none the less.  You can read a devotion and there is a daily scripture reading so the kids enjoy looking those up!

Making Brothers and Sisters Best Friends... we are not too far into this one but we are super excited about it!  God calls us to love one another, obviously.  What we have witnessed with many families is that brothers and sisters get along better with friends than they do their own siblings... amazing!  Family is much more of a forever thing than friends so we are using this tool to help instill the value of siblings loving one another well.  The book is written by a sibling group of 3, one who is adopted!

Window on the World...  Love it!  We are REALLY trying to have a much larger world view in our home.  This book walks through different communities and people groups around the world.  We pray for them, there are prayer requests written in the book.  The kids LOVE this!  We also have 2 maps hanging in our home (3 if you count the US map)... one is from Voice of the Martyr and shows the areas that are hostile for Christians and the other is a world map.  At the end of the day this book for us is about being informed and praying for our brothers and sisters around the world and it was well worth the purchase!  (The VOM magazines have been a very useful tool too, we get the adult and childrens versions).

With Maxi and Mini in Muffkinland AND Under the Tagalong Tree...  These were two devotional books that my Dad used to read to my brother and I.  The kids think they are great.  They have bible stories as well as stories that the kids can relate to today.  Another great resource to keep the learning exciting and fun.

Lastly we have Bible in Stories... we bought these from a traveling sales lady (there are 3 books in all that walk you from Genesis-Revelation)!  We use them along side our bible curriculum for school and also for devotions.  It truly is the bible in stories that children seem to understand a little easier.  Unlike several childrens books I have seen, this one does not leave out the bad... demons and punishments that seem harsh and so on.  Very thorough and amazing illustrations!

We DO read straight out our our bibles as well... everyone has their own!  The scripture we are memorizing is part of a system put out by the Navigators (Topical Memory System).  We see the importance of hiding God's word in our hearts.  When we are finished with this we will move onto the scripture in Big Truths for Young Hearts.

One question we do get asked a lot is about tv and video games and what do we allow and how much we allow.  So, for the record here it goes... we watch very little tv (we do not pay for tv service) and our "rule" is no tv except for a movie on the weekend.  We do watch some stuff for school and have the occasional rainy day or daddy works late day and the kids and I will watch something but we decided several years ago it robbed too much of our time.  We also realized that we were very desensitized to what was on.  We were laughing and finding entertainment in sinful things... a conviction that God laid on our hearts several years ago.  We also started noticing that when we went to peoples houses that the tv was always on.  We wondered what happened to normal conversation and personal interaction.  It was like there was very little conversation about anything except what has been happening on tv... it frustrated us!  So we don't hate tv, we just choose to use it seldom (I do LOVE a good movie)!  You can probably guess about the video games... we don't have any.  Again, a robber of time.  Carter has an addictive personality when it comes to video games SO we LOVE when friends or family have them so they can play there and enjoy it and look forward to it the next time they go back:)  We do allow the kids to play computer games, cd or online, they have specific ones marked.  We actually just found Big Bible Town and the kids love it... it is a cross between Webkins and Poptropicia but it is based on bible stories.  We have come to see the benefits of listening when the Holy Spirit speaks.  We DO NOT have it all or even partially figured out but we strive to love God well and embrace his grace and glorify him through our actions, time, money and so on.

That was L O N G!  If you have any other great books or resources you use PLEASE SHARE them with me:)

And here is a look at what I have been reading personally (either recently finished or reading now, always looking for recommendations here too)...




Thanks for sharing! We love to hear about how other friends tackle devotions with family. How did you like the Made to Crave book? I recently ran across her blog and info.

rutledgeramblings said...

Awesome post Liz! Our kids love our family worship time every evening. They hold us to it as well! When we say it is time to get ready for bed Alli always replies, "But we have to do vermotions!" It warms my heart to know that they crave our time together as family and being in God's word, singing His praises, and learning about living our lives according to His word.

Love you guys!

becoming 7 said...

Just started it Brandi! I will let you, so far it seems like it will be worth the read!

Stacey said...

Just so you know, we miss you guys!

love ya

The Waggoners said...

I meant to comment earlier -- I LOVED Maxi and Mini growing up! Can you still find those books? I'll have to hop over to Amazon and see!

becoming 7 said...

Cydil- I bet you can! The kids think it is great and I remember so many of the stories... they stuck with me!