Monthly Archives: January 2019
Family devotions can be difficult and discouraging. Below are some challenges you may have run into:
- It’s hard to make consistent time.
- The children won’t sit still or be quite for any amount of time.
- We (parents) haven’t taken the time to formulate a reasonable plan and expectation.
The struggle is real.
As a matter of fact, you may be able to think of many other reasons why a family devotion just won’t work. Yet God’s word clearly places on parents the primary responsibility to make disciples of their children by teaching them the life-giving truths of the Spirit-inspired scripture (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and Ephesians 6:1-3).
We want to help you trust and obey God’s word, and so we have provided the following resource for 2019. If you are utilizing the 2019 Eagle Heights Bible reading plan, you will notice that at the end of each week there is a question in bold (see the example below). This question is also in the Big Picture Questions and Answers Booklet pictured above. There is also a handy poster inside each booklet. These are available at the Eagle Heights Connection Center.
TRY THIS PLAN FOR FAMILY DEVOTIONS
- Plan a consistent time and place you can have a family devotion. You may have to adjust on occasions, but carve out a time that works most of the time and stick with it.
- Make known reasonable expectations. For example, let them know that your time will only last for 10 minutes. Ask them not to get up while it’s devotion time. Ask them to raise their hand if they want to speak. Don’t try to do too much.
- Begin with prayer
- Ask the question from the catechism booklet or poster: “Who is God?” Let them try to answer. Give them the answer and show them what God’s word teaches by reading the verse from the Bible. (Note: We have provided Bible references to the catechism questions because there are not any in the booklet or on the poster.)
- Try to think of a brief story or object lesson to illustrate this. This will help you learn God’s word and will help them grasp abstract concepts.
- Say to them, “Throughout the week we will ask you this question(s) to help you memorize the biblical truth.” Do this every day. It will only take a minute or two.
- End with a song that everyone can sing together.
This is simple enough and looks pretty easy – right? It won’t be. But if you stick with it, you will create a new habit and God will not only use in the life of your children, He will use it to change you. Pray for conversations and fruit, and whatever you do, don’t give up. Jesus Christ was and is faithful. Follow His example.
“And never cast off the habit of reading in the Holy Scriptures; for nothing feeds the soul and enriches the mind so well as those sacred studies do.” Theonas of Alexandria, 300 AD
When reading the human writers of the Bible, it’s unarguably clear that they believed that their Spirit-inspired writings are the key to a vibrant and joy-filled Christian life.
Jeremiah writes in Jeremiah 15:16: “Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”
Everywhere one turns, the writer’s of the Bible talk about the Bible like Jeremiah talked about the Holy Scriptures. The scriptures are essential spiritual sustenance. They are a guiding light that feeds the soul with lasting truth.
I deeply desire for the people I pastor to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and I am convinced that there is no abiding joy in Christ a part from the regular intake of His Spirit-inspired word. God’s Spirit uses God’s word to empower God’s people for God’s mission.
For this reason, we have provided a 2019 Bible Eagle Heights Bible Reading Plan. But having a plan is not enough. Many are the plans of many, but few people act on those plans. The reasons for this are many and varied, but some simply don’t know what to do when they actually read. It’s not just reading that we hope to accomplish for the sake of checking it off our to-do list, but reading to know and enjoy God through Jesus.
So here are five ways you can make your Bible-reading plan more nourishing and joy-giving in 2019.
- Pray: LORD God, open my eyes to see life-changing truth for your glory, my joy and the good of others. This prayer will help you to be ready to receive revelation from the Creator and Redeemer, but it will also orient you toward receiving the truth so as to be changed to be more like Christ.
- Ask: What does this text teach me about God? This question keeps us from turning the Bible into a self-help book. The Bible begins with God: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” God is the primary initiator and chief actor, so look for God’s character and actions first, lest you try to take that role.
- Ask: What does the text teach about me as a part of God’s people? Having put God first, now we can begin to think about how we can trust and obey all that Christ commands as His disciple in light of what we are reading. We must do this so that the Bible does not become a textbook. But we must also ask how it impacts us as a part of the body of Christ. Yes, each of us is saved by grace through a personal response to Jesus Christ, but we are saved to be a part of His flock. We must not neglect the body of Jesus, and in doing so neglect the Head, Jesus.
- Ask: What difference does it make? Bible reading should make you more like Jesus. It should reorient your affections and actions. If it doesn’t make a difference in the way you think and live, then something is wrong.
- Determine to dwell on a truth you read for the rest of the day. This is what we call meditating on the Bible. You must dwell deeply so that the Bible gets deep into your heart and mind so that you are being transformed. If you read, forget and move on, then you will be like hard dry ground that does not soak up a much needed rain. Discipline yourself to ponder something that struck you as especially meaningful and helpful.
Bible reading is important, but you must have a consistent plan and approach. You will never be better off by reading the Bible less. I hope you fill your life with more of God’s word in 2019.