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My children(2 boys & a girl-ages 15,13 & 11) & I read from a devotional book each morning. I used to get feedback which would create some great discussions but for the last few months nothing. Maybe I should try a new devotional book, any ideas? It seems it has almost become a chore to do our devotionals and some days I am afraid I am pushing them away rather than strengthening their relationship with the Lord.

This is especially true with my 15 yr.old. I worry knowing he is growing up fast and my inlfuence on his spirituality is becoming less and less.

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Comment by David Logsdon on November 23, 2010 at 11:21am
Thanks for the refreshing stuff - all of you gave. As a father of 4, it is easy to assume they will pick up things by watching me minster, but we must live the DT 6!!!
Comment by Gerald Polmateer on November 19, 2010 at 11:40am
Having a good understanding of how to interpret scripture helps to teach our children things such as literary structure, literary genre, Hebrew poetry, figures of speech, how to interpret in light of its historical context, grammar, parts of speech, how to go from exegesis to theology, how to arrive at the correct interpretation such as thinking differently than an American (who thinks with a Greek philosophy) to arrive at the correct interpretation by thinking like a person who is living in a Jewish culture with Jewish ways of thinking and values. That by itself is an education and teaches one to think like others they do not always understand. There is loads of misinterpretation because people do not understand how to interpret in light of its historical context.

For example in Matthew when Jesus spoke about abolishing the law as American we think of doing away with the law. Jesus is using rabbi talk in that context and it is not at all about doing away with the law.
Comment by David Kruse on November 19, 2010 at 11:04am
This topic has been on my heart, lately, too.
Our family of five kids (aged 10-15) have three devotional connecting points in the day: I say a prayer in the kitchen at breakfast (when most of them are there!) that includes a virtue that I'm praying for them that day. At supper, each kid has their assigned day to lead us in table grace and choose an after-supper, at-the-table activity to focus us on God together (often a devotional book, sometimes an inspiring story, seasonally a passage of Scripture to memorize, and rarely, a family dance). At bedtime, we try to spend some time in conversation and prayer, when they're relaxed and can reflect on their day.
One helpful thing a friend of mine shared was to go to his kids at bedtime and sit on the end of their bed and not say anything! Instead of coming with an agenda, he let them start the talking, if they wanted to.
After reading the responses to your original post, I'm inspired to supply my kids with some key books. They are all bed-time readers.
Comment by Sharon Pearce on November 19, 2010 at 6:16am
Dear Rod,
I totally agree with teaching our children from the Word of God and making that your devotional of choice. But, having said that sometimes as parents we aren't as creative in our devotions and we need some help. Check out Family Life in Focus with Dennis Rainey. Family Life has a couple of devotional books which draw from the scriptures and they give some really practical and "Oh, is that what that means!" responses from kids. Of course, our children are watching our lives, what we do and what we say speaks volumes to them. We must walk the talk.
Comment by Rod Bigford on November 16, 2010 at 11:16am
Thanks for the comments Alan. I have been thinking a lot lately about spending more time with my kids individually. No doubt at these ages they are on different ends of the spectrum so they will be more likely to open up more on a one on one basis. Of course the Bible should be our source of all wisdom. I guess the devotional books seem to make it a little easier.
Comment by Alan Satorius on November 15, 2010 at 10:10pm
Dear Rod,
In answer to your quest for ideas, I have one suggestion - use the Bible as your devotional book; it contains all the answers you and your children could need - make it alive for them and you.
I mentored 3 of my children - an older boy and 2 girls. We would have what we called 'times'. In these 'times' I would start out (each one individually - privately) with how their week went, and what has been on their minds or concerning them - I would take time to listen and not so much commenting. I would ask them if we could pray for anything that they had need for. I would ask them if I could help in any way. This built a relationship that they could share very personal concerns, worry, and troubles, and I would not criticize, but encourage. Then we would go through a chapter of a book of the Bible, usually from week to week, go through the book of the Bible - verse by verse: "what is the Lord saying to you and me?" Share with them what it says to you, and how this helps you with some of your concerns, then ask them to share theirs. We would take a verse and memorize it (both of us) for the next time. We would then have prayer time, first me, then them. I would always thank God for them, and tell God that I love them and want to care for them.
The ground rules were that this was an individual time, with no one else present. Also what they shared about themselves, would not be shared with anyone except what they allowed.
I would try to answer all their questions from the Word of God (Bible), and give Godly advice if they were going down the wrong path. No topic was excluded, including getting along with bullies, sex, or any thing that was on their minds. After a while, we built a close relationship together - always sharing my troubles and failures (appropriately) and asking them for prayer for me. My children have gone through struggles in their adult lives, but are thoroughly grounded in Christ, and they are not departing from them.
I hope this helps.
In Christ,
Alan Satorius
Comment by Roy Lee Saint on November 10, 2010 at 11:44am
Hey, bless you this is great!
Comment by Gerald Polmateer on November 9, 2010 at 10:32am
My point was that it does not have to be about a specific devotional time, theme, or place. We want to encourage our children to be equipped to grow. As a pastor and being in church regularly I was told by some pastors who had grown children and were making disciples that to have had a specific devotional time was probably not the best but to work off of their natural curiosity. At the time it made no sense to me but it does now. We supplied many books. Most of them were read within a few days. I am talking about book of several hundred pages. I would guess that several hundred books were read and many bibles worn out by the end of high school. We want to stir up in our children a passion for a lifetime of learning and walking with God.

I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have had conversation that lasted into the early hours of the morning because something was brought up. Often that happened when we were sitting on the couch just talking. That still happens today over the phone when faced with a problem.

I am more concerned about teaching children to fish than giving them a fish.
Comment by Rod Bigford on November 9, 2010 at 10:18am
Thanks for the comment Gerald. I agree with you, as a matter of fact Deut. 6: 6-7, may be our primary inspiration for having a devotional time with our children. For me it opens up the discussion toward spiritual things and then I can relate them to every day life.
Comment by Gerald Polmateer on November 8, 2010 at 7:21pm
When I was many years younger I asked much the same question and two godly men told me the same thing. That was to practice Deut 6. It is much more about leading them by example and attitude than pushing them through text. Better to teach them how to make wise decisions, etc. and know God than to get through text.


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