books marriage and family

A worthy family devotional

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. …” John 14:6

One of my goals for this year is to start doing our family devotional every night at dinner again.  In our experience, having a pre-packaged, written out devotional that you can pick up and do with little preparation is essential for me.  After a long day of work, home school, chores, sports, etc., it’s easy to sit down to a family dinner and want to simply enjoy the fine food and fellowship … without more work and thinking, at least in my experience that’s the case.  Even with the best devotional and best of intentions, though, it’s been too easy to fall out of the habit of doing a focused family devotional. 

In any event, we’ve been studying Our 24 Family Ways by Clay Clarkson.  The Clarksons have written several excellent books (to include a good book about good books!) and run Whole Heart Online.  It’s a great study that I recommend to those of you with families.  The devotional is built around 24 week-long studies.  Each study focuses on one family attribute or “way.”  Each day consists of reading several Bible passages elaborating on that week’s way coupled with several conversation provoking questions relating to that “way.”  Each lesson concludes with a suggested prayer.  It’s Bible focused and requires no preparation in advance.  You just need ten to fifteen minutes, a Bible, and your family.

Each of the “ways” is set forth below.  The list alone is worth study.  Again, each way is the focus of a one week lesson.  Our kids have taken to memorizing the list.  It’s a good list for adults also.  I do well to review it regularly…

Our 24 Family Ways
from the book by Clay Clarkson

 Concerning AUTHORITIES in our family…

  1. We love and obey our Lord, Jesus Christ, with wholehearted devotion.
  2. We read the Bible and pray to God every day with an open heart.
  3. We honor and obey our parents in the Lord with a respectful attitude.
  4. We listen to correction and accept discipline with a submissive spirit.

 Concerning RELATIONSHIPS in our family…

  1. We love one another, treating others with kindness, gentleness and respect.
  2. We serve one another, humbly thinking of the needs of others first.
  3. We encourage one another, using only words that build up and bless others.
  4. We forgive one another, covering an offense with love when wronged or hurt.

 Concerning POSSESSIONS in our family…

  1. We are thankful to God for what we have, whether it is a little or a lot.
  2. We are content with what we have, not coveting what others have.
  3. We are generous with what we have, sharing freely with others.
  4. We take care of what we have, using it wisely and responsibly.

 Concerning WORK in our family…

  1. We are diligent to complete a task promptly and thoroughly when asked.
  2. We take initiative to do all of our own work without needing to be told.
  3. We work with a cooperative spirit, freely giving and receiving help.
  4. We take personal responsibility to keep our home neat and clean at all times.

 Concerning ATTITUDES in our family…

  1. We choose to be joyful, even when we feel like complaining.
  2. We choose to be peacemakers, even when we feel like arguing.
  3. We choose to be patient, even when we feel like getting our own way.
  4. We choose to be gracious, even when we don’t feel like it.

 Concerning CHOICES in our family…

  1. We do what we know is right, regardless of what others do or say.
  2. We ask before we act when we do not know what is right to do.
  3. We exercise self-control at all times and in every kind of situation.
  4. We always tell the truth and do not practice deceitfulness of any kind.