Let’s Talk About Family Devotions and Truth-Telling!
What do you think of when you hear the words: family devotions? If you’re new to my podcast or the Christian faith, you might have no idea what that means. Does it mean that family members spend time sharing about how much they are devoted to each other? If that were the case, my younger kids would either make it a joke or make it a fight. “I AM more devoted than you! No, I am!”
Or maybe you’ve been around church for a while, and you know that the term family devotions means that you should gather your kids together daily to read God’s Word—or a devotional book—and pray, but in reality, it just doesn’t happen. Life is busy, right? So for many years, whenever I heard the term “Family devotions,” I felt guilty. I never thought I was doing enough.
Yet, what is required? What is important?
As we’ll talk about on this podcast, parents are the primary spiritual influence on their children. What we do DOES make a difference, but before we jump into talking about being a faith-focused parent, or about family devotions, I want to talk about truth-telling. Mainly, I want to chat about our kids. How do they KNOW that the grace and sacrifice of Jesus are enough? More than anything, I want to focus on our kids, knowing that.
Here’s an email that I received recently through my website. I’ve edited it down, and I won’t share any details, but I think the heart of this teen girl’s message is essential:
I’m a teenage girl who’s grown up in a Christian home, but I’ve never had a personal relationship with God myself. It’s not that I hate God; in fact, I want to know Him. But, almost a year ago, I just started feeling worried about not knowing God. Now I feel anxious all the time about not knowing God, and I want to get to know Him better and become a Christian, but I don’t know how … I keep on praying and telling God that I need Him, asking Him to help me, that I want Him to take away my sin, but nothing ever changes. I don’t know if I’m just not sincere enough? That I don’t fully understand how to come to faith? That I’m not truly sorry for my sin? The Bible says that only God can save us, not we ourselves, so how do I come to believe? Would you please pray for me and pray that God would work mightily in my life to bring me to Him?
My heart just broke when I read that. So this is what I wrote back:
Thank you so much for your message. I remember feeling the same way. However, there is a significant shift from “wanting to do the right thing and being a good Christian,” to truly understanding that God loves me completely.
The truth is that I felt like this for a very long time. For so, so long, I tried to make God happy and do everything right. It’s very, very hard. It wasn’t until the last seven years that I truly felt loved by God. I remember one day, after having a hard day with kids, I had a HUGE pile of laundry. I was overwhelmed and stressed out, and I felt like I wasn’t doing anything good enough. Then, at that moment in my laundry room, I felt God speak to my heart. “I love you just as much with this large pile of laundry and when you feel you’re not doing anything right.” That moment was the beginning of understanding how crazy God is about me.
More than anything, a relationship with God takes faith. It’s trusting that from that, you’re already completely loved and accepted. I’m praying that God will speak to your heart. Maybe read through the Psalms and allow those words to speak to you? Know I’m praying too!
If you’re a parent, grandparent, or mentor, this note probably caused you to pause. I felt the same. Sometimes we are so diligent about teaching our kids about God that we forget to remind them how much God adores them. Also, we are good about teaching our kids about the rules, but sometimes we forget to share about grace. The good news is, no matter where you are or how old your kids are, TODAY is a day you can share the Good News of Jesus with them.
Today, I’m talking to Michael Kelley, the author of the family devotional book The Whole Story for the Whole Family. I LOVE this devotional, but I want to make sure to emphasize something Michael said as we chatted:
“Having a family devotion lays the groundwork so you can have more spontaneous conversations all throughout the day.”
Friend, don’t feel guilty if you haven’t gathered your family around you to read God’s Word or a devotional in a while. Instead of feeling guilty, I hope you walk away from this podcast feeling inspired, knowing that whatever steps you take, you are leading and influencing your children in unique ways and wonderful ways. So don’t make this an item on your to-do list. Instead, ask God to help you lead your children to Him so that they may know Him, accept Him as Lord of their lives, and live in the confidence in their relationship with Him for all of their days.
I know you’re going to enjoy this podcast!
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Scripture to ponder
If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. Isaiah 7:9
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Mentioned in This Episode
Who is Michael Kelley
Michael Kelley is a husband and father of three who lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he serves as the Sr. Vice President of Church Ministries for LifeWay Christian Resources. He is also the author of Wednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and God, Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life, and Growing Down.
Connect with Michael
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