Since we've had all three kids at home, and are packing up the unnecessary items so we can put our house on the market, I haven't had much time to blog. We also have not been doing devotionals every night, but we don't feel guilty about that. Remember the first day, when we told the kid this was a privilege? That means that you also aren't allowed to feel guilty or condemned when you didn't get it done! (It's called grace, it's amazing!)
Last night we read John 11. This is a familiar passage where Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. It also has everyone's favorite memory verse:
"Jesus wept". John 11:35I am proud to say that we all memorized it last night! LOL
We have abandoned the provided devotional (sorry Pastor Zack!) and have just been discussing our favorite parts, the most interesting parts and if we learned anything new about Jesus. We also keep a dictionary, concordance and Bible handbook nearby in case we need to delve in deeper (my favorite thing to do!) It usually takes us about 15 minutes to read the chapter aloud, then we discuss for about 20-30 minutes, depending on how involved we are getting. We always close in prayer. I cannot tell you how amazing it is to read the Bible with your children! When we get to the prayer time and are sharing needs, asking for help - it is clear once again that this is our primary "small group". I have tears in my eyes right now, because I am so blessed to have this experience with my family!
We spent a little time discussing "Jesus wept", asking why He wept. He had already told the disciples that Lazarus was only "asleep" and would be raised from the dead. So He wasn't crying for Lazarus or for His own loss. We speculated that it could be one (or all) of the following:
- He was sad that Martha didn't have faith in Him
- He was moved with compassion at their grief
- He was empathizing with them
- He was angry at the devil, since this was not the way it was supposed to be. No one was supposed to die or grieve, but because of sin the world is broken, and it made Jesus mad and sad.
We also spent some time discussing the plot to kill Jesus (vs. 47 - 57). This wasn't the first time Jesus had been in danger, but it was the first time that there was an organized, political plot to kill him. To help the kids understand, we asked them what they would think if Pastor Zack didn't like another pastor in town because "he was performing many signs" and he was afraid that more people would go to his church. (Just to be clear - we know this wouldn't ever happen - we love Pastor Zack!) The kids thought that was pretty funny, especially Calvin!
One thing that is a bonus through this is that we are teaching our kids to pray on their own. We've always done bedtime prayers and encouraged them to pray on their own, but this is the first time that we've consistently been having them pray aloud (other than meal time!) The first night was a struggle, now they don't have any trouble! We have them think of one thing (at least) for which they are thankful, then one thing they need God's help with. We even had the opportunity to share:
Psalm 139:23-24 (New American Standard Bible)When one of the kids couldn't think of anything they needed help with. We encouraged them to ask for God to tell them if there was something they needed to work on.
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
Try me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.
If you aren't doing devotions with your family (don't panic!), I encourage you to start small, just read a passage or a chapter and discuss it. Don't worry if you don't have all the answers, sometimes the questions are better than the answers anyway! Look for these few things: What did we learn about God? What did we learn about man/ourselves? What principle or character trait did we learn, and how can we show that better in our lives?
And - don't beat yourself up if it's not every night - just start again (and again!)