For years, parents were taught that the key to raising happy children was to do everything we could to build up their self-confidence through praise. It’s not working. (more…)

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Family Time Training

“… If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation”  2 Corinthians 5:17

This week we are going to showcase another wonderful family ministry. In addition to being licensed as a presenter with the National Center for Biblical Parenting, I had the privilege of meeting the founder and president of Family Time Training, Kirk Weaver, when I was in Houston for training. I appreciated his genuine heart to teach biblical truths using family fun. As you’ll see, these activities are meant to be super exciting -the neighbourhood kids will be inviting themselves over!  Head on over to his website at www.famtime.com where you’ll find a free monthly activity (and more free ones in the archives) as well as details to subscribe to unlimited activities that you can choose based on the ages of your kids or the values you want to teach. Brilliant!

Here is a portion of this months free activity:
Teaching Goal: God created the “family” as a vehicle to get His children safely
to the home in heaven He has prepared for them.

Materials: A shoe box
1 raw egg
1 zip lock bag
Newspaper
Tape
Markers
Shiny piece of fruit

Read Deuteronomy 6:7. One of the most important reasons God created families was so
that parents would teach their children about His laws—the Bible is filled with God’s law.
God’s laws are designed to get us to heaven safely so we can live with God for all eternity.
Family Time is one way we, the parents, try to teach you God’s laws for living. Can you
think of other ways our family learns about God’s important life lessons? Listen to answers.
Going to church. Children’s and/or youth programs. Christian radio. School. Grandparents.
Other Christians. The Bible. Prayer.

ACTIVITY: This shoe box represents our family. This raw egg represents a member in
our family. Pick a family member who has a personal relationship with Jesus. Write the name
of that family member on the egg. Write the name “Jesus” on a zip lock bag, put the egg in the
bag and seal it tightly. The zip lock bag represents Jesus. {Name} is a Christian so they are
in Christ. We are going to use strips of newspaper to protect the egg from breaking during the crisis. Tear the
newspaper into strips. We are going to write on some of the paper strips ways that our family learns about God.
Pack the box full of newspaper strips. Remember, these strips of newspaper represent having God’s lessons in
our lives. Let’s see what happens in a crisis when we know and follow God’s lessons.
Drop the box- if packed securely the egg should not break.
Open up the box and point out that the person is in Christ. Point out that the lessons kept the person from breaking. Remember, the box represents our family. The most important thing is that each of us is in Christ represented
by the zip lock bag. That means we believe and follow Jesus. Next, as a family, we need to
be reading our Bible, listening to our parents, doing Family Time and participating in
church so we can be safer and more protected when hard times come.

Memorize: Family is God’s way, To safely guide our day.

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Build Your House

“The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.”  Proverbs 14:1

build your house
Yes, that is Spider Man’s car in the driveway.

We’re going to build houses with marshmallows. And then eat them.

You’re going to want to give everybody in the family their own handful of marshmallows, since not only are the kids going to be touching and squishing them, but licking them will act as glue. You’ll be amazed at what you can build once you lick them!

Look up the verse together and then talk about it as you build. What does the Bible mean “to build up our house”? I teach kids it means “to add value”.  How can we add value to our homes, our family? Our city, our world? On the other hand, how does a foolish woman (or man) tear down her house like in the scripture?  What are some things that we do in our family to take away value from each other?

Additionally, God wants us to consider how we build ourselves up-  If we are wise, we will add value to ourselves by what we learn, how we act, the words we speak, and what we focus on. We should choose to build character.  An excellent novel our family read aloud helps kids understand character. Ralph Moody’s book “Little Britches: Father and I were Ranchers” depicts a father trying to instill the value of building character: “A man’s character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn’t do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth.”

As you’re building, ask which is harder: building up or tearing down. One of the kids towers could fall apart, which is a perfect opportunity to observe that tearing down can happen in a moment, but building up takes focus and careful planning. Unfortunately, one lie can seriously weaken a stellar reputation. One mean comment to a family member can trigger a series of foolish destruction.Let’s all decide to be wise in building up our house, and the next time somebody is inconsiderate to someone else, or hurting their own character you can use this lesson as a starting point by asking, “Are you building up or tearing down? Is this wise or foolish?” 

Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Welcome to the easiest family devotional you’ll ever come across- Marshmallow Madness! We can do this!

I challenge you to spend 20 minutes a week being intentional about passing your faith on to your kids
           …and all you need is a bag of marshmallows.

This week: Fiery Darts

“… In addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.”  Ephesians 6:16

This time we are not specifically teaching about the whole Armor of God, we are focusing on the shield of faith and defending against the fiery arrows of the evil one. Depending on the age and maturity level of your children, decide how open you will be when you are teaching about Satan’s attacks.  You might want to play the game below and have a quick discussion now as a family, but be prepared to explain it more in depth later to older kids. The point of this game and lesson is to be able to recognize some of the “fiery darts” the enemy uses to mess with our faith, and that the “shield of faith” is what we need to use to resist him.

The kids are going to love this game- we’re taking turns pelting each other with tiny marshmallows!  Have one child sit on the floor and the other members of the family receive a certain number of marshmallows to try and hit him/her. It shouldn’t hurt, especially if you are using the mini-marshmallows.  Thankfully, we aren’t going to light them on fire and send them over!
Now give the child something to try and block the mini-missiles. This is representing the shield of faith that we are commanded to use. It could be a plastic plate, an aluminum pan, a rubbermaid tote lid, anything at all.
Afterwards, ask the kids what those fiery darts of the evil are anyway? What does our enemy throw at us? I think, since we are to use faith to rebuke them, they are things which cause us to doubt. I think our enemy puts wrong thoughts in our mind: mean thoughts, thoughts to distract us when we are trying to pray or read the Bible (It’s amazing how many , harsh thoughts criticizing our teachers, parents, or pastors. Terrible thoughts can cause us to question our own salvation and our belief in our heavenly father. Some might even wonder if Jesus really saved them at all!  We don’t have to accept every thought that burns into our head. We need to extinguish lingering darts and recognize that they are an attack of our very real enemy!
But how? The shield of faith protects us, but only if we use it. And holding up this shield is as simple as speaking God’s Word. “I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day” 2 Timothy 1:12 and  “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). That is putting on the shield of faith.  When a thought falls into your mind, ask yourself if this is from God. Would God say this? If not, then rebuke that fiery dart for what it is, a lie from the devil.  As a family, declare the truth of our amazing God and encourage each other to be strong with their shield of faith.
Finish off with a quick family prayer. God cares about every area of our lives; let’s encourage the children to pray about whatever is on their hearts. Add to your prayer journal weekly, and be sure to leave space to jot down a quick note when God answers the prayer. Your kids will grow stronger in their faith when they can look back and see what the Lord has done.How did this work for you? Did you adapt it to fit your family?

Ding! Ding!

In this corner, we have “Getting out the door in the morning!” In the other corner, we have “Bed time!

Standing in the other corner is “Coming home from school!” and in our final fourth corner, we have… “Meal Times!

These can be fun family moments, instead of what feels like 12 rounds for the heavyweight title. This two hour training session will show you how to create a realistic routine, that will tear down the boxing ring! Get equipped to win for your family!

Monday, January 20th at 7pm at at Regina Apostolic Church (808 Assiniboine Ave. E.)

If you would like more information about the workshop or have any registration, payment, or childcare questions, please call 306.789.1772 and ask for Mackenzie (Family LIFE Administrative Assistant). Cost is only $20 per person or $30 per couple and supervised childcare is included so register the kids! Register online today at www.familyliferegina.com or phone Regina Apostolic Church 306-789-1234.

Train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

Train.”  It’s an interesting word… because it can be interpreted so many ways.  To some it can mean discipline.  To others it can mean to educate, but I believe it is meant to mean a good mix of both with a slant towards educating.  Too often we think of training as punishing undesirable behavior. However, training for a sport means we practice good habits until they become natural to us. We research the best methods for success and we re-run those methods over and over to get across that finish line first. When we fail, we analyse what went wrong.  If we can put so much effort into training for things like sports, why aren’t we, as parents, putting in all the work for our children? Training our children the way they should go is more comprehensive then having them sit in a corner for a designated length of time.

We should be applying the same principles to train up our children, so they can succeed at the most valuable race they will ever make: the future that God has planned for them. Three words will get you started on the right path:

Practice, practice, practice.

Practice trouble areas.  Here’s a common example.  How many times have you felt helpless just trying to get the kids out the door in the morning?  Simple disobediences’ can lead to quick tempers and just a bad start to the day.  So… practice it.  (Never in the morning! ) Call a family meeting, pick a time and explain how “disobedience at the door” affects everyone.  Have them practice getting coats on, sitting quietly, or whatever else you want to see in the morning routine.  Make it fun, grab a stop watch and time the family.  By practicing trouble areas, without the “time crunch busy go-go” morning environment, you will start to see… better mornings out the door!  If a certain child displays selfishness, have him or her practice showing love and selflessness by thinking of 3 things they can do to add value to those around him.  Praise character as it increases, and acknowledge even the smallest change of heart as it becomes evident.  This is a smart way to walk out the daily faith commanded in Deuteronomy 6.

Link everything to character. Instead of asking a child to put away their toys, ask them to show diligence to complete their task. Don’t just talk about not being late; instead explain how being punctual demonstrates respect. If you’re going to have a chart and put stickers on it when a certain habit is established, make sure to reward the character not the habit. For example, “You did a great job of making your bed, and brushing your teeth this week!”  This could be better explained by adding “You showed respect for our home by getting your responsibilities done on time!”

Here is a link that lists character traits (and their opposites) along with a Biblical definition and Bible verse for each. Spend time focusing on a different attribute each month, or post it on the fridge and consult it when you see a particular weakness that needs addressing.

Teach your children character now, and it will equip them for success in their own race.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. Hebrews 12:1-2

Got a great idea to teach character? Please comment and pass it on!