Family Time with God
Family devotions don't have to be formal sit-down events. Use these quick ideas to connect with your kids during meals, in the car, or at bedtime. The more involved "Family Night" ideas will help you create memorable evenings (or afternoons) with the whole crew. Whether you use one of these ideas each week or only manage to squeeze in a couple during the next two months, you'll be teaching your children that any time is a great time to learn about God.
Family Night Fun
Let Love Rule
Point: Overcome evil by showing the love of God.
Gather: Paper and a Bible
Go: Have two of your children sit across from one another. Hold a piece of paper vertically between them and have them press their noses to the paper, so the paper is in between their noses. Tell them you will remove the paper so that their noses will be touching. The first one to blink loses. If you have more children, let them play each other until you have a champion. Older children can help referee the matches.
Ask: Was it easy not to blink? Why or why not?
Share: Sometimes God will ask us to do things for him that feel uncomfortable, like being kind to someone who isn't kind to us. But because we love God, we try to do what he asks us to do, like Jesus did.
Read: Romans 12:19-21 and ask: What does God tell us about those who wrong us? How should we treat them?
Share: God shows his love to others through the kind things we do for them. It's a tremendous honor to be the messengers of God's love here on earth.
Remember: Doing as God asks is not always an easy task.
Pray: Allow time for family members to share prayer requests.
Point: God works through you and me.
Gather: Dimes and pennies, winter gloves, latex gloves (tight fitting).
Go: Have each child wear the winter gloves and try and pick up the change from the floor (time limit 90 seconds). Next, have them wear the latex gloves and repeat the exercise.
Ask: Which gloves let you to pick the change up more easily? Why? How does God want us to "fit" with him?
Share: God carries out his ministry on earth by working through you and me with the Holy Spirit. We are his hands, feet, arms, ears, and mouth.
Read: John 15:5-8 and ask: What is Jesus trying to tell us with the branch and vine example?
Remember: Others need us to be like Jesus.
Pray: Ask God to help each of you be more like him.
Words "Appley" Spoken
Mealtime Prayer: Lord, help us to speak only words that help others and build them up.
Main Course: Serve golden apples in a beautiful bowl for dessert. Then read Proverbs 25:11 about "words aptly spoken." Have everyone say something kind about someone else in the family before crunching in.
» How are wise, loving, considerate words like an apple?
» How are foolish, unloving words like rotten apples?
» Read Ephesians 4:29. What does this verse tell us about how we should treat each other?
Mealtime Prayer: Thank you for all the special moments and memories you've given us.
Main Course: Bring a photo album with pictures of your kids to the table. Read Malachi 3:16.
» Which photos show some of your favorite memories?
» What moments of your life do you think God has fun remembering?
» What do our best memories have in common?
Fill in the Blanks
The nondriving parent reads familiar verses from the book of Matthew, leaving a key word blank. Then the children say the missing word. If they don't know the verses, see if they can guess the right answers.
Here are a couple to get you started:
1. When Jesus called James and John, Matthew 4:21 says they were "in a __ with their father."
2. Jesus says in Matthew 23:24, "You strain out a gnat but swallow a __."
Take turns telling really bad jokes. The player who gets the loudest groans from everyone else wins. Here are a few to try.
Q. What was the name of Jeremiah's horse?
A. Isme! Well, he was always saying, "Whoa is me!"
Q. What's big and green and lies on the ocean floor?
A. Moby Pickle!
Q. What did God say when Noah asked him how to build the ark?
A. Go for (gopher) wood!
Q. What did the judge say about the skunk in his courtroom?
A. Odor in the court!
Read the story of David and Goliath in 1 Samuel 17. David was able to defeat Goliath because he trusted God to be with him and to help him. God is also with us, all the time. All we have to do is trust him. What things can you trust God with in your life?
Dear God, Thank you that you are with me and also with (child's name). Please help us to trust you in all we do. Amen.
Find a puzzle that's easy. Put the puzzle together with your child. Then, share that sometimes things in life seem to be falling to pieces, like this puzzle before we made it. But with God's help, those pieces can be put back together. What pieces of your life can God help you with right now?
Dear God, Thank you that you are there for us when we need you. Please help (child's name) with (list the things they said and any others you can think of). Amen.
Heritage Builders, a ministry of Focus on the Family, is dedicated to training and equipping parents to pass on a spiritual heritage to their children. For more information or to request resources visit: www.heritagebuilders.com
Copyright © 2002 by the author or Christianity Today/Christian Parenting Today magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Christian Parenting Today.
January/February 2002, Vol. 14, No. 3, Page 20
Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women
Family Time with God
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