This week: The Desires of Our Heart

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4

Using colored mini-marshmallows, let children arrange them on a non-stick baking sheet in any way they like, as long as they’re touching. I recommend using parchment or wax paper. They might create pictures of their favorite things, or fun patterns. You are going to bake them in the oven at 300 degrees for 5-10 minutes. They will melt together, and kids will be able to admire (or eat!) their works of art.

As the marshmallows are baking, tell the kids the scripture verse for this week and discuss what it might mean to them:  What does it really mean to delight in the Lord?  What are the desires of your heart? Check on the marshmallows…

Have the kids find Psalm 37:4 in their Bibles and read them aloud. They may be slightly different, but will have the same message. If they are using the NIRV version it should be this: Find your delight in the Lord. Then he will give you everything your heart really wants.

Don’t forget about the marshmallows! Take the marshmallow cookies out of the oven now!

marshmallow pic devo

As the treats are cooling, ask the kids to re-write the verse in their own words, and be prepared to be amazed at their unique understanding of God’s word. Encourage them to dig into God’s Word even more during the coming week.  evan devo

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?

This week: Be Silent!

We think even a foolish person is wise if he keeps silent. We think he understands what is right if he controls his tongue.  -Proverbs 17:28

I like the way Mark Twain (or Abraham Lincoln, the attribution is debatable) is credited for describing Proverbs 17:28 this way: “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

There is so much wisdom in keeping silent. Do you ever re-think a conversation, wishing you could claw back that thoughtless comment. It takes work to control our tongue. It is a serious flaw: The more we speak, our chance of pronouncing damaging remarks greatly increases. The more we speak, the more trouble and drama we’ll heap on ourselves. Fact.

The words of our mouth can trap us – Proverbs 6:2

When we speak too much, sin abounds – Proverbs 10:19 

Harsh words are like swords – Proverbs 12:18

So in conclusion, the more we keep quiet, the smarter we’ll appear!
To help us remember to keep our mouths closed, we’ll play Chubby Bunny. The trick to this game is to see how many marshmallows we can ft in our mouth and still close it enough to properly say “Chubby Bunny”. Obviously, use caution when asking young children to stuff their mouths to overflowing 🙂  Maybe use small marshmallows for young children, but middle school on up to adult can play using large marshmallows.Count on using at least four large marshmallows for each player. The rules are: no swallowing, no spitting, no chewing, no drooling. The toughest part is actually the drool, in my humble opinion. Keep going around and having each player add one more marshmallow and clearly speaking “Chubby Bunny”. When all players but one have been disqualified, you’ll have your Chubby Bunny Champion!
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 family night 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: Be Content

” I’m not saying that because I need anything. I have learned to be content no matter what happens to me. I know what it’s like not to have what I need. I also know what it’s like to have more than I need. I have learned the secret of being content no matter what happens. I am content whether I am well fed or hungry. I am content whether I have more then enough or not enough. I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength.”  -Phil 4:11-13

I’d like to highlight a fantastic ministry: Family Time Training. I was fortunate to get trained from the founder, Kirk Weaver. He’s spent years planning unique and fun family activities that deliver a great message with eternal perspective. He offers free family night adventures at www.famtime.com .Try this one, adapted from the Halloween alternative activity here:

The same way we choose which attitude (or face) we wear, we’re going to put faces on marshmallows. Present each child with one of the following situations and have the children show you how their own face might look as they colour the emotion as a marshmallow face.

• There is a young girl who usually goes to bed at 8:00 pm. She stayed up late and it is now 4 hours past her regular bedtime.

• A boy thought his mom was in the backyard and he was all alone in the house. He went into a dark closet to get a clean shirt, and he heard a voice say, “What are you doing?”

• A girl just scored the winning goal in a soccer game.

• A boy is trying to get the attention of his friends by pretending to fall down and telling funny jokes.

• A girl just found out that her cat got outside and is missing.

One of the earliest Christians was a man named Paul. Paul wrote several of the books in the Bible, and he was persecuted for being a Christian. Do you know what persecuted means? People try to hurt you because of what you believe. Paul also had very hard times as he traveled around to tell others about Jesus. Listen to all the things that happened to Paul. Read 2 Corinthians 11:23-27.Paul was put in jail just for telling others about Jesus. How do you think Paul felt in prison? Talk about what it must have been like to be in prison. Hard! Paul tells us in one of his letters that he was “content” in prison. In fact, Paul tells us that he has learned to be content despite his circumstances. Read Philippians 4:11-13 together. Paul was content (happy and peaceful) when he had food, and when he didn’t have food. Paul teaches us that we can choose our attitude (what face we put on). We don’t have to let circumstances, the things that happen to us, determine our attitude. Just as Paul chose to be content when he was in jail wrongfully, we can choose to be content even during bad times. When we wake up in the morning, we can choose to be grumpy or we can choose to have good attitudes. When someone hurts our feelings, we can choose to let that ruin our day or we can choose to forgive and start over feeling happy.

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?

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!

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: Casting Lots

“Casting the lot settles disputes and keeps strong opponents apart.” Proverbs 18:18

Take some large marshmallows and encourage the kids shape them into dice. Once the die is formed, mark it with dots from 1 – 6 with a permanent marker. (These will not be edible)  It will harden in that shape. Practice throwing them to see if they really are equal sided. Probably not, but don’t worry, its all for fun!

Explain what “casting the lot” actually means. It is the fairest way to make a decision when there isn’t a clear answer. It isn’t gambling, because there isn’t a hope for gain and a fear of loss. When each outcome has the same chance there isn’t a win and a loss, it’s one way to choose between two equally right options.  In ancient times they used colored rocks and sticks mainly, now we tend to use dice or flip a coin. Some families use “pick a number between 1 and 10” and the closest to the predetermined secret number decides the outcome, and others use “rock, paper, scissors” or other games of chance.
dice
This story may be helpful in explaining the idea that sometimes in a problem both sides are right, and more than one answer is fair, yet we still have to make a decision:
It’s Not Fair!
Imagine 2 teams playing soccer together. The Big Blue Team is older and has been practicing for 2 extra years. They are better skilled then Young Yellow Team and within a few minutes the Big Blue’s have scored 3 goals on the Young Yellow’s. The Young Yellow Team complains It’s Not Fair! because Big Blue is bigger kids that they could never beat. The parents discuss switching some of the Blue Team players with the Young Yellow’s to make both teams more evenly matched. The Big Blues argue that Its Not Fair! to break up their team just because they been practicing extra hard. They deserve to win.
What should the parents do? Which answer is more fair?
Whatever the children decide, they’re right!
Both solutions are right and both fair, depending on who’s perspective you’re thinking about. If you’re on Young Yellow Team you’d think the match-up wasn’t very fair to begin with. If you’re a part of the Big Blue Team, you might think you’re entitled to beat them fair and square.
Aren’t family members sometimes “strong opponents”? Does it ever feel unfair? Role play a problem kids are coming up with and pretend to roll the dice to decide the outcome. Is this a good method to solve problems? When would it be a good idea to cast the lot? Look up Proverbs 18:18 in your Bibles, and pray for wisdom to know how to settle disputes, especially with strong opponents!
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: Peacemakers

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9

Hold up one colored mini-marshmallow and say something like “Look at this 1 lonely marshmallow. It can’t do much by itself, but when we put a bunch of them together we can create something beautiful!”

Peacemakers are people that try and bring harmony. They help everybody feel good, even though we are all different.

Create a picture with colored mini-marshmallows. Family members can make their own pictures separately or work together to produce a giant masterpiece. Enjoy this time together and mention how the different colors and patterns make everything better.

marshmallow

Keep a handful of marshmallows handy and let the kids know that for the next few days, whenever you notice somebody in the family going out of their way to be a peacemaker you’ll reward them with a “piece” of marshmallow 🙂

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: Saver or Spender?

 “The wise man saves for the future, but the foolish man spends whatever he gets”     ~Proverbs 21:20

This week we’re going to try and discover if our children are natural savers or spenders. Many people succumb to the lure of instant gratification- even when they KNOW they will get less later on. Place one marshmallow on a plate in front of each child with instructions not to eat it yet. Then casually remark to the kids that you need to step away for a few minutes. Briefly explain that they can eat the marshmallow if they want to, but if they wait till you get back you will give them another one.

Hopefully at least one of your children was able to resist temptation and save the marshmallow.  Reward their wisdom by doubling  their investment! Finish off the lesson by discussing Proverbs 21:20 and how we can all grow in self-control.  The wise man saves for the future in many areas- how can we be good stewards of our money, our food, our rewards, our time and our talents? Plenty of food for thought!

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?

This week: Juicy Fruit

 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. ”     ~Galatians 5:22-23

How many fruit of the spirit can your children remember?

I found it helpful teaching our kids that there are 3 fruit with 1 syllable, 3 fruit with 2 syllables, and 3 fruit with 3 syllables.
This week we’ll be asking our kids to help us grow in our fruit.
Take out a marshmallow or two and put it on a plate in the microwave. In less than a minute it should double in size. Being careful not to let little fingers touch, place the plate with gigantic marshmallow on the table for the kids to see. It is helpful to place a regular marshmallow beside to prove it has grown. Which marshmallow looks juicy and plump? It looks more delicious.See how quickly it grew!
(Most kids find it pretty amazing, and I haven’t heard a single complaint about a marshmallow exploding in the microwave)
If you have a green banana or other “not ready” fruit, place it on the table along with a fruit that is edible.   Which fruit looks sweeter?
How does fruit develop- get bigger and sweeter? It starts as seeds, but with water, good earth, and time, wonderful fruit grow. 
The Holy Spirit gave us 9 wonderful fruit, but we need to properly develop them so they can be big in our lives.
So how do our Holy Spirit fruit grow? What do we need to do to help our good fruit get bigger?

Ask the kids if they know what the 9 fruit mean and look them up if necessary. Then- here’s the real challenge mom and dad, ask the children to point out your biggest fruit, and your smallest fruit. Ask them to help you grow bigger fruit and brainstorm ways you can make better choices. The next time you notice somebody acting with kindness praise them for developing sweet, juicy fruit!

 

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: Win the Race!

 “In a race all the runners run. But only one gets the prize. You know that, don’t you? So run in a way that will get you the prize. All who take part in the games train hard. They do it to get a crown that will not last. But we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

So I do not run like someone who doesn’t run toward the finish line. I do not fight like a boxer who hits nothing but air. No, I train my body and bring it under control. Then after I have preached to others, I myself will not break the rules and fail to win the prize.”     ~1 Corinthians 9:24-27 New International Reader’s Version (NIRV)

 runner

This week we are going to run a race of sorts. We are going to push a marshmallow across the room- with our noses! Decide in advance how long the race track will be and create a start and finish line with masking tape or a piece of string perhaps on the floor. If space allows I would recommend having different lengths of tracks or even different routes altogether for each child, based on their age and skill level.  TRUST ME: Use the larger marshmallows, because I can tell you from experience that if you are competitive like me you will hit your nose on the floor if you use a mini-marshmallow. And that really hurts. Don’t let the kids think about their route or practice their nose-pushing techniques beforehand, just throw them into the race. Time them each separately, and then have your children try it again. Their race should have been faster the second time.

The point we want to reinforce is this:  God has a special job for each of us. We all have our own race to run. Don’t give up! Let’s not worry about what others are doing, but focus on getting better and better at the race God has set before each of us.  We want to win our own race. What special job or race does God have for your children? They may already have an idea. Ask each person in the family what they can do now to start training.

For more discussion:

Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us

Philippians 3:13-14 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Isaiah 40:31  But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

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. Keep a prayer journal and each week add in prayers. 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?

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