The antique gold plated pocket watch stands proudly on my dresser. It has “Wm. McCracken” hand lettered on its face. It was given to my grandfather at his “retirement” from the mission that was influential in leading him to Christ and sobriety. He served on staff there for over a decade after his transformation.
I put it there intentionally … so that I am reminded everyday of my spiritual heritage. My God story starts with an alcoholic grandfather who had a life changing encounter with God because of his addiction. His watch is an “Ebenezer”… a visual memorial of my family’s God story. The prophet Samuel erected a memorial to help fathers tell the story of God’s faithfulness to their children (I Samuel 7:12).
Recently I raised another “Ebenezer” in our home. On our mantle sits a carefully folded American flag … 4 of its stars shining through the triangular case. It is the flag that drapped my father’s casket. It is a powerful symbol of not only his service to our country as an island hopping Marine in WWII, but to the victories he experienced after he returned home. Dad overcame a tremendous amount of adversity … you can read about those in the book.
My question to you is … what are the “Ebenezers” in your home … the artifacts and heirlooms that are displayed in your living spaces that help you tell your family God story? If you have some … please leave a comment about them and let’s get a little story telling going on …
In our small survey you shared that you struggle with establishing a regular time and place for family devotions. Karen and I wrestled too. When our two sons were little guys we found that bedtime worked the best for us for three reasons: First, we were all usually home at bedtime, (I did teach some night courses that interfered sometimes). Second, it was a pre-determined time during the school week; it was regular. And third, they shared a room … so that made it easy.
As our boys got older and our bed times began to vary, we re-adjusted our time to the breakfast table. Again … we were all usually home … we all had to eat … and we all ate at the kitchen table. We just needed to co-ordinate the best time before we left of the bus or work. It required an earlier rise and shine … but we wanted to make it a priority. It proved to be a great place to pull out the devotional book and pray together before the day.
The Israelites of Moses’ day, in an attempt to Keep their kids from Canaan, and obey Deuteronomy 6, would have a prayer time with their kids first thing in the morning and before heading to bed, using verse 4 as the centerpiece of this time:
“Hear O Israel the LORD, our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all of your might … and you shall teach them diligently to your children …”
There are no “right” or “wrong” times to make this happen. The key is to find and set aside a regular time and place for you all to meet together as a family to spend some time interacting with God’s Word … and Him more days of the week than not.
I want to drill down on how I can help you get your family devotions working more effectively in your home … would you please take a minute to answer this question … it will give me some helpful info on what to start writing about in the days to come …