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 Quotes on Family Worship

To teach our children is a personal duty; we cannot delegate it to Sunday school teachers, or other friendly aids; these can assist us, but cannot deliver us from the sacred obligation; proxies and sponsors are wicked devices in this case;…”  Charles Spurgeon

Abraham had in his tent a house of God and a church, just as today any godly and pious head of a household instructs his children in godliness. Therefore such a house is actually a school and church, and the head of the household is a bishop and priest in his house.” Martin Luther

Speaking of family worship, “…if you have not a church in your house,  it is to be feared Satan will have a seat there.”  Matthew Henry

Nothing must be allowed to interfere with this duty: all other domestic arrangements are to bend to it.   Under no circumstances should family worship be omitted. If we would enjoy the blessing of God upon our family, then let its members gather together daily for praise and prayer. ‘Them that honour me I will honour’ is His promise.”  A.W. Pink

If we want to bring up a godly family, who shall be a seed to serve God when our heads are under the clods of the valley, let us seek to train them up in the fear of God by meeting together as a family for worship.”  Charles Spurgeon

10 Reasons To Have A Yearly Bible Reading Plan

Article by Jim Spencer
Founder and Teacher, TFWRC.com

 

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The turn of the calendar year is a great time to think and plan regarding Bible intake.  But why should I plan for it?  This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are ten reasons to have a yearly Bible reading plan.

Why plan for Bible reading?

1. If I don’t plan for it, it probably won’t happen.

2. Much like food for my physical body, the regular intake of the Word is vital for my spiritual growth and health:  “…like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,…1 Peter 2:2

3. The more that I am filled up with the Word, the more it will spill over naturally into my home, workplace, church, marketplace, neighborhood, and other settings: “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. Deuteronomy 6:6&7

4. The more that I read and meditate on God’s Word, the more I will find the path of my life more brightly illumined by the light of God’s wisdom and direction: “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:105

5. I will be more prepared to resist and overcome temptation.  “I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  Psalm 119:11

6. I will be a more useful instrument for evangelism: “How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard?  And how are they to hear without someone preaching?Romans 10:14

7. If I am not regularly reading God’s Word, I probably will not be meditating on it, to my own spiritual disadvantage:  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”  Psalm 1:1-3

8. I will be better equipped for the ways in which God purposes to use my life for His kingdom:  “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16&17

9. I must first be a hearer of the Word, if I hope to be a doer of it:  “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

10. If I don’t plan for it, it probably won’t happen.

Okay, that’s technically 9 reasons, but I thought that reason number one was worth repeating. I know myself, and without real intentionality and a well thought out strategy, things that I would like to do and even strongly desire to do can get lost in the busyness of the rest of life.

Ligonier Ministries has compiled a great list of Bible reading plans that you might find helpful:  https://www.ligonier.org/blog/bible-reading-plans/

Parental Influence

Article by Jim Spencer
Founder and Teacher, TFWRC.com

By God’s design, the Christian home affords a unique opportunity for the advancement of the Gospel and for making disciples.  God intends for fathers to bring up their children according to His Word (Eph. 6:4) and He has woven into our children an innate inclination toward parental instruction, not to mention that He requires of them, “…hear my son your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”  Proverbs 1:8  He has provided the perfect context for this to take place – the home.  This is a God-given arrangement and opportunity that we want not to squander.  Let us be good stewards of the time and place that God has given us to impart to our children His Word and His ways.    In this regard, J.C. Ryle wrote:

We depend, in a vast measure, on those who bring us up….this is one of God’s merciful arrangements.  He gives your children a mind that will receive impressions like moist clay.  He gives them a disposition at the starting-point of life to believe what you tell them, and to take for granted what you advise them, and to trust your word rather than a stranger’s.  He gives you, in short, a golden opportunity of doing them good.  See that the opportunity be not neglected, and thrown away.  Once let slip, it is gone for ever.”

Keep It Simple

You might be overwhelmed at the thought of daily leading your family in a time of worship, wondering where you will find the time to prepare. Don’t be overwhelmed! Family-worship can be done effectively and profitably with very little preparation and with just a little bit of planning. Simply decide on a Book of the Bible that you are going to read through in your family-worship times and each night read a short section of that book together and make any comments that the Spirit of God might lay upon your heart.

You do not have to be a “Bible Scholar” to lead family-worship, just a believing father or parent who loves God and loves His Word – that is who God has called to “bring children up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” He will be faithful to supply you with all that you need to accomplish the task that He has called you to.

Don’t be overwhelmed at the thought of leading family-worship. Simply call your family together every day, open the Word of God and pray as the Psalmist did; “Open (our) eyes, that (we) may behold wondrous things out of your law.” Ps. 119:18; read a short selection together; talk about it; if you don’t have answers, look things up, study it together as a family, add a song or two and a time of prayer and you have family worship. Keep it simple and you will find it easier to be consistent and you will find your times of family-worship to be rich and profitable.

By way of note – as you move forward in leading family-worship in your home, one of the best means of ongoing preparation that you can engage in is your own personal daily time in God’s Words. To the measure that you fill your cup with the Word of God is the measure to which you will be able to pour the Word into the lives of those in your home. No matter where you are at in your knowledge of the Word, you can begin family-worship today – and as you do, simply begin a plan of reading through the entirety of the Bible, and once you have done that, do it again, and again, and again. I am confident that you will find the fruit of that discipline to be an immeasurable help and blessing as you lead your home spiritually.

Praying for Our Children

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I find it easy to slip in to the mode of putting me at the center of any hope that I have for my children’s salvation and spiritual growth.  If I just share enough Scripture with them.  If I am just a good enough example for them.  If I just protect them from negative influences well enough.  If I, I, I…  The problem with too much I is that it doesn’t leave much room for the Lord.

Of course, I am not meaning that God can’t work when I become imbalanced in my approach to parenting – when I depend too much on myself for a “good” spiritual outcome in my children’s lives.  Rather, I am so grateful that God so graciously works even in the midst of my sometimes lop-sided tendencies – and that is just the point.

It is good for me to be reminded that in God’s economy, while I am called to spiritually labor in the fields of my children’s lives, it is God who I must depend upon to ultimately bring the increase.  When I have that reality in mind, I am so much more apt to saturate my labors, and the hearts of my children, in fervent prayer.  At least one thing that prayer says, is, “God, I need you!”  And that is so true in my parenting.

Here is a good word and reminder from J.C. Ryle on the importance of prayer as we invest spiritually in our children’s lives:

Without the blessing of the Lord, your best efforts will do no good. He has the hearts of all men in His hands, and unless He touches the hearts of your children by His Spirit, you will wear yourself out for nothing. Therefore, water the seed you sow in their minds with unceasing prayer. The Lord is far more willing to hear than we are to pray; far more ready to give blessings than we are to ask them—and, oh, how He loves to be petitioned for our children. And I set this matter of prayer before you, as the capstone and seal of all you do. I believe the child of many prayers is seldom cast away.   [The Duties of Parents; J.C. Ryle, (1816-1900)]

Strength in Weakness

Often, a feeling of inadequacy that results in inactivity accompanies the thought of leading family worship.  Let me encourage you today with the words of Matthew Henry from his sermon A Church in the House – Restoring Daily Worship to the Christian Household:

Do not plead your own weakness and inability to perform family worship.  Make use of the helps that are provided for you.  Do as well as you can when you cannot do so well as you would, and God will accept it of you.”  pg. 77

In this regard, the words of Paul to Timothy come to mind; “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.”  2 Timothy 3:16&17  What a glorious truth, that God provides all that we need to accomplish all that He calls us to do.

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed at the thought of leading your family in daily worship, be encouraged also that Christ will be your strength in weakness.  Remember the words of Paul to the church at Corinth; “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.’”   Trust in Him and boast in your weakness and rejoice in the reality that God never calls us to anything that He will not give us the grace to do – even the good work of family worship.

Walking With the Wise

Scripture promises wisdom as a result of close friendship and fellowship with the wise and warns of the danger and personal destruction that results from intimate relationship with fools.  Proverbs 13:20 says; “Whoever walks with the wise, will be wise; but the companion of fools will suffer harm.”  The Bible gives a clear picture of what a fool looks like when it says in Psalm 14:1; “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”  The book of Proverbs further describes fools as; ones who “…despise wisdom and instruction” Pr. 1:7; one who “…utters slander” Pr. 10:18; and whose heart “…proclaims folly.” Pr. 12:23  Intimate relationship with such as these, the Bible warns, will lead to ones own corruption and personal demise.  Proverbs 13:20 also makes it clear that the opposite is true, those who walk with the wise, will be wise.  Who are the wise?  Jesus said; “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24  A wise man, or woman, is marked by faithfulness and obedience to God’s Word.

Companionship with fools produces fools and companionship with the wise produces wise men and women.  The point of Proverbs 13:20 is clear: we will become like the ones with whom we intimately fellowship.  For this reason, we should be especially diligent to help our children, particularly in their formidable years, to learn to identify and walk with wise people.  Fathers and mothers, that of course begins almost exclusively in their relationship with you, and as they grow that sphere of influence will broaden, ultimately to the point where they will one day be out of your home and making decisions on their own regarding who their most intimate companions will be.  Helping them learn, while they are young, to discern who those companions are who will help them grow in wisdom is critically important and will be a great blessing to them throughout life.

One of the primary ways that we walk with the wise is through personal friendships and relationships.  The friends and families that we build our closest relationships with, who we worship with and who we have in our homes and around our dinner tables, will help our children see first-hand what walking with the wise looks like.  Also, as we read the Bible we walk with the wise in Scripture.  And yet another way that we can walk with the wise is by walking with those who have gone before us as we read about their lives through great Christian biographies.  This can be a profitable element in our times of family worship.  Reading Christian biographies in family worship allows all in the house to walk with those from generations past who loved God and worshiped Him and served Him.

If you do not already, you might consider including the regular reading of Christian biographies in family worship.  This, of course, should not replace Bible reading, however, in addition to it I am confident it will prove to be a helpful and fruitful means of walking with the wise.

By way of note, our family has found the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series by YWAM Publishing a great resource for biographies that are suited for a wide range of ages.

On “Your” Heart

There is no member of a household whose individual piety is of such importance to all the rest as the father or head; and there is no one whose soul is so directly influenced by the exercise of domestic worship. Where the head of a family is lukewarm or worldly, he will send the chill through the whole house; and if any happy exception occurs, and one or another surpasses him in faithfulness, it will be in spite of his evil example.” James W. Alexander; “Thoughts on Family Worship” pg. 16

What, but deaf ears, will our words fall upon when we speak of the ways of God but do not love them and live them ourselves?

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:5-9

May the expression of our hearts be that of the Psalmist when he said: “…there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.” Ps. 73:25  Let us pray the words of David; “Create in me a clean heart, O God.”…that I would love You “with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my might.”  May our children not only hear us speak of God’s Words and His ways…but may they see it clearly in us.  That is a faith they will long to follow.

A Convenient Time

Find a time of day for family worship that allows you the most consistency.  We have found that just before bed-time each night works best for our family, but maybe around the breakfast or dinner table would work better for you.  The point is simply to identify the time of day that allows for the greatest consistency in your families’ schedule.   And then, do everything you can to guard that time.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” Matthew 13:45&46

Just as the merchant in Jesus’ parable sold everything to gain the priceless treasure of the kingdom of heaven, so, with an appreciation for the immeasurable value of daily time together in family worship, sell everything, as it were, that the treasure of this time would go uninterrupted.  The fruit that it will bear will far outweigh the value of many other good things.