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balancing Your spiritual diet

Creating a Balanced Biblical "Menu" in Your Home

by Ti Barnhill


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COMMANDS, DECREES, AND REGULATIONS ARE official-sounding words. That is just what we find in Deuteronomy 6:1-9. In these verses, God commanded parents to teach His law to their children. He laid out exactly how this should be accomplished. We are to teach our children of God’s love and greatness at every opportunity—at home, on the road, in the morning, and in the evening. We should put reminders everywhere so our families can see them and remember God’s love.

Many families today have no formal time, other than church services, when they focus their attention on God. There is little discussion of God. Family devotions used to be a staple activity in the Christian home, but many Christian families have laid aside family devotion time. We have gotten so busy with work, sports, and school that we forget to make time for God.

We focus on temporary distractions instead of eternal matters, and then we wonder why our kids seem spiritually disconnected. Too many leave it to the church to train children in spiritual matters and neglect home instruction.


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Recently, Fox News reported a shocking story of abuse. Jennifer and Alex Wood pleaded guilty to two counts of felony child abuse and one count of aggravated battery after his two daughters were discovered in an advanced state of starvation. A social worker discovered the girls, ages six and seven, starving and dehydrated in the basement. The home was well stocked with food and Jennifer Wood's children, a four-year-old girl and an eight-year-old boy, were found to be healthy and well fed. However, Alex traveled frequently on business, and his two daughters told police they ate only when he was at home.

As spiritual newborns, we take in God’s Word in small, easy-to-handle quantities. As we mature, we ingest God’s Word in more meaningful, satisfying ways. (See Hebrews 5:11-14.) The more we mature as Christians, the more deeply we will enjoy feasting on God’s Word.

If the only time my family or I get fed from God’s Word is at church, then we are malnourished—much like Alex Wood’s children. We need to be fed regularly to grow and be healthy. If we neglect our time in God’s Word, we will be ineffective and unhealthy as Christians and as Christian parents. If we neglect to lead our families to find nourishment from the Savior, we are guilty of starving our children spiritually.

Will you make time for the One who sustains your life? Will you choose to grow closer to your heavenly Father by spending time with Him each day? Will you guide your family to spend time with Jesus during the week and not just on Sunday?

Try these steps to begin a family devotion time in your home:

  • Set an appointment (before school, after supper, or before bed).

  • Protect your family time, but be flexible when important events arise.

  • Make it a fun, enjoyable time to communicate with and about Jesus.

  • Use a devotional book to encourage discussion and to guide you to explore the Bible together.

  • Be thorough but concise. Don’t let it drag on and become a chore.

  • Play games together and laugh!

Listen to your children and provide counsel. Be open and understanding. Kids have huge things going on in their lives, but they will never share them if they know you will merely respond with a sermon.


ABOUT THE WRITER: Ti Barnhill has been the minister of youth at Temple FWB Church in Greeneville, NC, where he has served four years. He and his wife Beth have one daughter, Julia Elizabeth.



©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists