He Makes All Things New

He make all things new. These were the words that have been echoing in my heart for several days now.

I finally got a moment to lean into what God was telling me with these words.

Several years ago, I had one painful situation after another knock me down. At one point, I was on the floor asking God to make it stop because I didn’t think I was going to make it through another blow.

By God’s grace, I am no longer in this horrendous season but to my surprise, it has left a trail of destruction in its wake. The lingering effects of this painful season have been lies, fear, and distrust of God and others.

This morning on my walk the Lord opened my eyes. I was acutely aware that even though I trust Him and love Him there are areas in my life that I need to let go of. If I want to grow deeper as a person and in my faith I need to let go.

Let Go!

Friend, I am not sure where you find yourself in life but maybe God is prodding you this morning to let go of the past, the pain, the labels and the hurt you’ve been carrying.

Let go so you can make room for Him to restore the broken pieces and renew your mind.

I have to remember that He loves us as we are and He loves us too much to leave us where we are.

So in His gentleness, God showed me how I’ve had my fists tightly wrapped around the pain, the mistrust, the labels, and the hurt.

Holding onto these things robs me of joy, it fills me with distrust and makes me cynical with fear of the future.
God lovingly prodded me to let go by filling me with His presence and reminding me that He is with me.
He filled me with His word and reminded me of truth of who He is.

Only you can bring beauty from the depths of all my pain. Only You can take this shattered heart and make it beat again. Oh, You hold us all together in Your hands I surrender all I have and all I am.

He makes all things new.”
(“All Things New” by Big Daddy Weave”)

In Revelation 21: 1-8 we are reminded that there is a day coming when all things will be new. “Behold, I make all things new.”

And Look to God

In the mean time, we can look to God and preach to ourselves–

Look for God’s goodness.

Look for the good.

Look for God’s hand at work.

God is always at work even when all seems dark and lifeless. I will look for God’s hand at work in the storm and in the aftermath  amongst the debris.

I am certain to see the goodness of the Lord… Wait patiently for the Lord; be strong and courageous. Wait patiently for the Lord.” Psalms 27:13

Family Devotion Resources to Help You Connect Your Kids to God’s Word

I sat across the cafe table and I asked a good friend, “Is it worth the battle? The battle to do family devotions. Sometimes there’s not enough time, other times they are in a bad mood. I feel like I’m canoeing upstream.”

She confessed that even though she strongly believes in growing her faith she hasn’t been very intentional with family devotions with her family.

We both shared our hearts concerning the battle of family devotions. I shared with her how my love for God grew in such a beautiful way as a child. How my childlike faith was the foundation that has rooted my adult faith. How I talked to God about my day as if He was sitting on the bed with me. How He got me through some challenging times in life.

I walked away from our conversation knowing without a doubt this battle is not about family devotions but about connecting my children to their Savior through God’s word, by living it out in our lives and serving others.

What I learned as a child was that God is real and He deeply cares about me. I drew near to Him and in my childlike faith, I never doubted that He was there.

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” Galations 4:6

I learned what this verse says at an early age not because I had some special connection with God but because his Spirit was in me as He is with all those who come to know Jesus as their Savior.

I didn’t understand this as a child but looking back now I see that our time in God’s word as a family and in Bible study groups, our prayer time, and serving others were the things that solidified my faith beyond an experience but to God’s truth.

So I’ve been on this journey to change our habits and language from “family devotions” to “connecting with God or spending time with God”. Because it’s not about a checklist to read a verse but it’s about connecting with our Heavenly Father. He wants to guide us, be with us, and journey with us in this life as we lean into His word and His presence.

Outsourcing Spiritual Formation

We are an outsourcing generation. We outsource our grocery shopping, house cleaning, dinner meals, house upkeep, car maintenance, and Bible learning…

There is good reason to outsource many things like plumbing, music lessons, or fixing a leaky roof. But when it comes to our children’s spiritual formation it’s important that we rise up and fulfill the calling God has given us as parents.

Creating faith rhythms in our home doesn’t require a seminary degree or a specific role in the church but simply a love for God and His word.

I can say this because my parents didn’t have a middle school education nor were they officially ordained in ministry but their love and dependence on God was something they taught me and it impacted my life. They stumbled through reading God’s Word but they still made this and prayer a priority in our home. All done imperfectly but nonetheless, the message was clear

— God’s word is our guide and He can be trusted.

Let’s stop pointing the finger at society, peers, music, media, and other influences as reasons why our children aren’t following God. Let’s stop hoping they’ll get God’s word into their hearts on Sunday school, youth group, or their mentor.

Instead, let’s start intentionally creating a family culture that’s deeply rooted and grounded in God’s Word and God’s love. Ephesians 3:17

Family Devotion Resources to Help You Connect Your Kids to God’s Word

Let’s start today by making a commitment to get into God’s Word as a family. Maybe you haven’t done it for yourself and this is the motivation you need. I share an article HERE on how you can create faith habits for yourself when you don’t have a lot of time.

Make drawing our children to God a priority! Below are some resources that will help you. If you want more resources and free printables you can subscribe HERE to my newsletter that comes to your inbox once a month.

Family Devotion Resources that are Bible-focused to do with Kids

Most of these are for kids who are upper elementary-teens.

Simple Way to Get Into God’s Word using the 1,2,3 Bible Study Method – I designed this to use with kids to encourage them to dig into God’s word for themselves. You can start with easy books like Psalms, Ephesians, or the book of John.

15 minutes a Day: John Bible Study by Kari Denker I like her studies. We used her John & Galatians study to go through as a family elementary-high school. It was simple but profound at the same time. She also has the option to doodle in some of her exercises which your more creative child might enjoy.

Defined by Kendrick brothers goes through the book of Ephesians. We are currently going through this as a family because they have adult, teen, and kid versions of their study. I bought my kids the study for their level and we each did it on our own throughout the week. Then on Thursday evenings, we talked about what we had learned and watched the videos on Lifeway.

Armor of God by Priscilla Shirer I really enjoyed doing this as a family. She also has adult, teen, and kid versions of her study. You’re studying the same thing but at your own level and can discuss it as a family. We really like the studies that have the same study for different levels. Each child worked on each day on their own and on Thursday evenings we talked about what we had learned.

The Purpose Driven Life for Kids – This one is more of a devotional than a Bible Study but my teens really enjoyed it.

How Great Is Our God – This one is geared toward children but when I would read it to my 1st grader our whole family always enjoyed it.

God’s Names is a another wonderful study to get your whole family into God’s word discovering who God is. I really enjoy all of her studies for our family. God’s Promises is on my list for this coming school year.

The Family Devotional: Stories from the Bible to Help Parents and Kids Engage– There are 52 short Bible readings, with background information, discussion questions and activities.

Exploring the Bible Together: A 52 Week Family Worship Plan – This book doesn’t have a lot of fluff. It gets you in God’s word, asks 1 question, 1 sentence application, and a prayer.

YouVersion Bible app is a quick way to do a 5 minute devotional with your kids via technology. You can easily add family members or friends. My son uses it with friends as well. It gives him a verse of the day in the morning.

Now that you’ve decided to make God’s word a priority in your home you’re ready for the next step.

Plan. Come up with a plan and make it a simple plan. If your kids are young start with 10 minutes a day. You can do this in the car on the way to school, in the morning, at a meal, or before bedtime. Pick the day or days you will dig into God’s word.  Be flexible if those days don’t work then tweak it instead of giving up. If you have a busy week and miss a week of spending time in God’s word together then pick up the next week. It’s not the end of the world and your kids are seeing what it looks like to seek God in the midst of life.
related article: Family Devotions How to Make Them Stick

Practice. Simply start digging into God’s word. If you don’t have the time or the finances to purchase a Bible study don’t worry. You don’t need it! Simply open up the Word of God and start! I’d suggest you start with the book of Psalms or the book of John.  Use my free 1,2,3 Bible Study Method and ask God to guide you as you work through it. We’ve used this with our elementary-high school kids.

If you didn’t notice I’m using P’s to help you remember–Priority. Plan. Practice. Purpose.

And now for a final “P”–purpose. Remember the purpose of family devotions as you walk through establishing this Faith rhythm in your home — it’s to draw closer to God, hear from Him and allow Him to guide and speak to you through Scripture.

More resources:

Create Habits of Faith that Are Contagtious

Teach Your Kids to Pray

How to Connect with God When You Don’t Have Much Time

Are Family Devotions Even Biblical? Should You Do Them?

In your faith journey, you’ve probably heard over and over again the importance of having a quiet time and doing family devotions with your kids.

One day I wondered if the term “devotional” is even in the Bible. Does the Bible ask us to have family devotions?

Are Family Devotions Even Biblical?

Well, the term “devoted/devote” is found in the Bible but not “devotional or devotions”. So let’s take a closer look at what is meant by this word.

The dictionary defines devotion as “love, loyalty, or enthusiasm for a person, activity, or cause.” We show devotion to God by how we spend our time and resources.

The word “devotions” is used to describe our practices of worship, prayer, spending time in God’s word. So when we take time out of our day to devote it to prayer, God’s word and worship can all be forms of our devotion.

But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to ministry of the word.

Acts 6:4

So even though the word “devotions or devotional” is not found in the Bible we are called to devote ourselves to God and we do that by how we live our life.

What are Family Devotions?

You’ve probably guessed by now that the term “family devotions” is not found in the Bible but we are called to teach God’s word, train and disciple our children. Developing a family culture around the verse found in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is our goal.

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise”

Family devotions look different for every family. Each family is unique in its dynamics and needs so it will vary how and when you teach God’s word to your children. But make no mistake to think it’s optional. Ephesians 6:4 tells us to “bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord”.

Research done by the Fuller Institute has shown that teens who continue on in their faith into their adult life had faith routines in their home and adults in their life that lived them out. Obviously, there is no full-proof “formula” but these two components amongst other things were strong predictors of a firm faith in teens.

So in the simplest of terms “family devotions” is an intentional time you gather as a family to point your children to God and build one another up through His Word. You can do that through prayer, worship, scripture memorization, and daily Bible reading.

Don’t let this definition put “family discipleship” in a box. I started this article with the verse in Deuteronomy which tells us to point our children to Christ throughout our whole day.

What Family Devotions Looks Like In Our Home

We are currently going through the book of Galatians as a family. We usually do this in the morning because this works for our schedule. My kids are digging into Galatians on their own and then on certain days we huddle as a family to discuss what God has been teaching us.

Our kids are older now so we can do this. We wouldn’t be able to do this 5 or 10 years ago simply because they weren’t developmentally capable.

As I think about my childhood, I didn’t like family devotional time. It was boring. But as an adult, I look back at that time and I’m so thankful my parents were faithful and they didn’t let our little attitudes deter them from teaching us God’s word.

Because my parents gave me the beautiful gift of introducing me to Jesus through His word and as I saw them live out their faith I want to do the same.

If we don’t teach them God’s Word, who will?

Family Devotional Reminders

  • Family devotions are a wonderful thing to get started with your family but it’s good to remember that it is God who changes our hearts not a routine.
  • Schedule it otherwise the “urgencies” of the day will take over.
  • Family devotions can help keep you accountable to drawing close to God on an individual basis.
  • All new routines take time so just because it’s not working the first few days doesn’t mean you need to give it up completely. Give it time and if needed make some adjustments.
  • There are many methods for having a family devotional but only one message–His Word.
  • Spending time in God’s word connects us to Him and changes us.
  • Being in His presence reminds us of who He is and who we are in Him.
  • As believers, we are called to teach our children God’s word but it doesn’t mean that our children will necessarily follow Him. We plant seeds but it is God who waters them in His time.
  • Start simple.
  • You better believe the enemy will bring about distractions, disruptions, discouragement and any other “dis” so don’t give up.

My husband and I are both “doers”. Though there is a place for “doing” in our faith journey it’s not what saves us. Nor do we earn our love by going to church, being good, doing devotions, or serving. We are loved and that’s why we serve and follow God.

My prayer is that the Holy Spirit would help our children understand this message at a young age.

Heavenly Father, We come before you and ask for your mercy on our children. May our children know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that they may be filled with all the fullness of you our God. In your name, amen.

based on Ephesians 3:19

Where Joy Can Be Found!

We are all looking for happiness. If you look up the word happy or joy you’ll come up with millions of articles with tips and tricks to find joy.

I was pregnant with my 2nd child. The thing about my pregnancies that I often forgot is how sick I got during the 9 month pregnancy. I would vomit all day, every day and with the second I didn’t just vomit but I felt nauseous all day. I was absolutely miserable.

I remember one day just laying on the couch watching my 2-year-old playing and at one point he turned around and said, “It’s okay mommy. You’ll feel better.” I felt bad I didn’t have the energy to be myself for him but thankfully he was my easy-going and compassionate child so we survived.

I tried many things throughout the day to get my mind off the sickness and often I succeeded but sometimes it was consuming. One day I was sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself and sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Out of nowhere the song, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Down in my heart…” popped into my head and I cried out to God, “Please help me! I have no strength and I feel miserable.” This joy is supposed to be in my heart but I don’t feel it. I feel everything but joy.

Somewhere along the way I got confused and believed it was MY job to come up with this joy that surpassed the trial and circumstances I found myself in. Sometimes it worked but more often than not it was short-lived. As I heard that song I was reminded–this joy is already in me. It’s in my heart.

The Fruit of the Spirit is Joy

Today I want to share with you where joy can be found. Often we miss going here. We go looking for joy within ourselves but that leaves us lacking. We go looking for it outside ourselves and that leaves us disappointed. So let’s look for joy in the source that never ends and never disappoints.

Let’s take a look at Galatians 5: 22-23. You may have read these verses several times so I want a point a few things out that can be missed.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

One of the things I’ve discovered along the way from this popular passage in Scripture is the following:

  • The bigger context of this passage: Paul is writing the book of Galatians to believers who insist on adding to the Gospel. He emphasized in Chapter 1 that we can not add anything to the work of Christ. But the Jewish believers insisted on telling the Gentile believers that other things were needed such as circumcision or the law.
  • The “fruit” of the Spirit is a singular fruit not various fruits like many children’s books like to illustrate. It’s one fruit with many components. We don’t get just one or two of these qualities like joy without patience.
  • When we put our faith in Jesus and know Him as our Savior, we receive an amazing gift in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit indwells us and as we allow the Spirit to lead we grow and bear fruit.
  • The fruit or evidence of the Holy Spirit working in us is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Before this in verses 19-20 he names the fruit or evidence of the flesh, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry…”

So Joy is something we have in us because the Holy Spirit is in us. Nothing can take it away not circumstances, evil or hardship. Deep seeded joy comes from the Holy Spirit.

Please don’t miss this –joy can only be found in His presence. I didn’t add this verse in our list of verses but it’s a great one to memorize.

You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. Psalm 16:11

We can have joy even in the difficult moments of life. I’ll explain how below.

Already filled with Joy

When you put your faith in Jesus you are filled with the Holy Spirit. I believe that anyone can feel happy regardless of their knowledge or belief in Jesus. But only those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior can experience this deep-seated joy that only comes from the Holy Spirit.

Here’s the thing that Paul is trying to tell us throughout the book of Galatians is that our salvation or the work of the spirit is not earned or something we do but something done and through us when we come to know Jesus as our Savior. When allow the work of the Spirit in us we are walking in the Spirit and joy, patience, love, gentleness spring forth because it is Christ in us. So even when life is hard, we can still have joy because joy comes from Christ in us.

His joy changes us in the midst of those challenging circumstances, even when He chooses not to change our circumstances.

M. H. Tuten

It’s the joy that Paul talked about feeling even in the midst of persecution in Acts 13:52. When you have a moment go back and read that passage 42-52. We see all the persecution and trials the disciples were experiencing joy.

Do you see what else verse 52 says they were filled with? Yes! That’s where our power comes from not from our own inner power or from positive thinking because God knows all of that runs out. So instead of searching inside ourselves as finite beings, doesn’t it make more sense to go to an infinite source. To the fountain of joy, peace, patience, love…–God the Holy Spirit.

Joy Verses

I’m sharing 5 verses to help you focus on joy in the midst of a challenging season.

Psalms 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God,
    to God my exceeding joy,
and I will praise you with the lyre,
    O God, my God.

Psalm 118:24 This is the day that the Lord has made;
    let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 119:111 Your Word is my treasure;
    my heart’s delight.

Thursday: Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is my strength.

Friday: I Chronicles 16:27 Strength and joy are in His place.

Free Joy Verses Printable!

Simply click below to download your free Joy Verses!

Family Fruit Challenge

I’m joining a group of bloggers this summer to bring you a Family Fruit Challenge. Each blogger will share a characteristic of the fruit of the spirit with fun activities you can do with your family.

Join us as we learn about the fruits of the Spirit and learn to rely on God to produce His fruit in the lives of our kids!

Sign Up for the Challenge HERE!

The FREE 10 Week Family Challenge:

* A short, weekly devotional about one of the fruits of the Spirit, contributed by 9 different guest writers (10 weeks total, including intro), delivered straight to your inbox!

* Printable memory verse cards about the fruit of the week.

* Printable “Fruit” cards to display in your home.  

* Links to activities, songs, games, and crafts that will help your children learn about the fruit of the week.

* Ideas to help motivate your kids to put into practice what they’ve learned.

* Oh, and by the way, it’s totally FREE!

Summer Routines and Rhythms Challenge

Once upon a time, I decided that we were going to “go easy” on all of our routines and rhythms. I thought that maybe if I did things a little more “carefree” they would just fall into place all on their own. After all, we’d been doing these rhythms and routines for years.

The result of my “carefree” little to no routine living was this:

  • Constant nagging. Did you practice for piano lessons? Did you do your reading? Have you had breakfast? Why are their shoes and backpacks at the door?
  • Chores and routines out the window. Nothing that needed to be done was getting done. So I spent a lot of energy and time saying things like this: Who is doing dishes? Why haven’t you done them yet? Why is your bed still not made? It’s 6 p.m. in the evening.
  • Faith routines. It was pretty much non-existent.
  • Sibling rivalry. A lack of structure creates lots of opportunities for you to become a referee of all their silly arguments and fights.
  • Irritated parents. There is nothing more frustrating to a parent than to repeat youself over and over again all day, every day. Those types of interactions between you and your child create lots of tension in the relationship which in turn also means your child is frustrated with you. It’s hard to see the good happening when all you see are messes, things that aren’t getting done, screen zombified kids who are hungry all day and are fighting over who gets to sit in the green chair.
  • Constantly frustrated children. Your constant reminders are seen by your child as nagging or criticism. Though they play a big part in these interactions they don’t see it from that perspective they just hear an angry, irritated parent telling them they didn’t do something right.

Whew! Just writing that made me cringe at the thought of all that energy and time wasted. Instead of connecting with your children your constantly correcting them all summer long. Now that sounds fun! (insert sarcastic voice)

So through all of that, I was reminded of what I tell my clients all the time–When you aim at nothing you get whatever or pretty much nothing.

I learned the hard way that when we have some healthy flexible structure in place it gives us the freedom to have fun, our children know what to do without being told every 10 minutes what needs to be done and they aren’t in constant “fight-out-of-sheer-boredom” mode.

Buy our Summer Routines & Rhythms Challenge to help you create some peace and fun in your home.

Summer Routines & Rhythms Challenge

So I want to help you enjoy your summer by teaching a few tips and tricks to create a flexible but structured summer. The awesome thing about these rhythms and routines is that you’ll be able to use the basic principles all year long.

Join me in our Summer Routines & Rhythms Challenge! I will teach you how to create a structure that fits YOUR family and can be tailored to the stage of life your family is in. I will show you how to bring a family team mentality into your home and your children will sense they have something valuable to offer.

I am a certified life coach with 20 years of experience teaching workshops, classes, and seminars to parents to help them bring connection and faith in their home.

I want to help you be intentional in your home this summer! The structure actually brings flexibility and margin. Everything below is customizable for your family. In my workshops I teach you:

Who needs this?

  • If you feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do.
  • You feel like you’re doing it alone and doing it all.
  • Living in stress mode constantly.
  • Are you tired of chaotic summers?
  • If you have children from 3-16 years olds?

So are you ready for more peace, connection, and time for you to enjoy life and your family this summer?

Click on the button below to purchase your Summer Rhythms & Routines Challenge. (Once you’ll pay you’ll get an email sent with your videos and instructions.)
On sale!!! Normally $24.99