Summer mornings in many households are much more relaxed than during the school year. Kids (and even parents on occasion!) may get to sleep a little later. Breakfast may be out on a deck or patio and eaten slowly while enjoying the beautiful weather. Many days may have no schedule at all, with family members playing outside, enjoying hobbies or reading fun books.
I want to encourage you this summer to take advantage of those relaxed mornings. Make a family devotional part of your new morning routine. Have breakfast outside or as an indoor picnic on a rainy day. Make it more than only reading some scriptures. Turn it into a godly adventure. Your adventure may last a few minutes or an entire day, but help your children understand the verses you read by helping them live it.
There are so many things you can do, but here are some ideas to get you started:
- Read about the Creation in Genesis (first chapters). Go on a nature hike, but preferably one near some “man made” things as well. Have your children point out all of the things God created. Marvel in the diversity and the beauty. Look at Romans 1:20 with your children. How does Creation point back to God? Read Job 38. What does Creation teach us about God? What role does God have in the creation of man made things? Read Colossians 1:16. End with a prayer thanking God for all of the beautiful, wonderful Creation He gave us to enjoy. (Note: This devotional would also work in a zoo or aquarium or butterfly house – anywhere there is a diversity of life.)
- Read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. Discuss the types of things that could happen today which some people may ignore while others do what God asks and serve those hurting. Make sure to discuss things your children may see or experience in their lives. Discuss one way your family could be the Good Samaritan today. Then gather everyone up and go “be” the Good Samaritan for a few hours or for the day. After you have finished, take time to reflect with your kids on the experience. What did they observe? What did they learn? How can they be the Good Samaritan more often in their lives? End with a prayer asking God to help your family remember to be the Good Samaritan to everyone you meet.
- Read the story of the ten lepers Jesus healed in Luke 17:11-19. Talk about what it means to be grateful. God, of course, deserves all of our gratitude. To whom else should your children be grateful? How can they show their gratitude to God and others? Have your children take a few minutes and show their gratitude to someone – encourage them to be creative and personal. It can be as simple as a short note or phone call or as involved as baking a treat together to take someone to thank them. Make sure and end with a prayer thanking God for everything.
- Read about one of the meals in the Bible when specific foods are mentioned. The Passover meal, the quail and manna in the wilderness, even the Israelites complaining to Moses in Numbers 11:5 about missing fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic all mention specific foods. Historical accounts outside of the Bible also mention dates, figs, pomegranates and other foods. Make a list of some foods your children may not have tried from these Bible stories, Many are in your average large grocery store. Or have even more fun and find a nearby ethnic market. Often Greek and Italian markets have many of the same foods, since Israel was influenced by the Greek and Roman cultures by the time of Jesus. Eating the foods of the Bible will make the Bible stories featuring food more realistic to your kids now that they have eaten some of these foods.
- Read about grape vines in John 15. The concepts are a little advanced for very young children, but even they can begin to understand the basics. Find a vineyard or someone who grows grapes in your area. Ask them about the pruning process and why it is so important for having a good crop. With older children and teens, continue the discussion in a more spiritual vein. Why does God sometimes “prune” us? What does that even mean? What crop are we supposed to be producing for God?
Have fun with it. Tie the scriptures to a concept God wants your kids to learn. How can you help them experience that concept in real life? If you want a lot of ideas, you may want to look at the An Introduction To Family Nights: Family Nights Tool Chest by Weidmann and Bruner. The devotionals in this series of books are more like object lessons, but will still add something memorable to your devotional times.
No matter how you choose to do it, I really pray you will have some family devotionals this summer. You may want to have them at night instead of the morning so Dad can participate, but make sure your kids get plenty of exposure to God’s Word this summer.
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