Nicole Carpenter, author of 52 weeks to Fortify your Family: 5-minutes messages for LDS Living 28 Jan 2015
We are raising our children in a volatile world. The lines between right and wrong, good and evil continue to fade. We worry about our children and pray that they are strong enough to handle it all.
They absolutely are. But we can fortify them even more.
One way we can strengthen our families is to share 5-minute messages or theme-based devotionals with your family. These messages should be quick and simple, yet very powerful.
Each week, offer a scripture, thoughtful questions, quotes, or a video. You can use each mini-devotional as a guide to engage your children in conversations that draw them closer to Heavenly Father through the scriptures.
Although each daily devotional can be customized to your family’s needs or concerns, here are five such devotionals that you can use in your home this week:
#1: GOOD WORKS
Greek playwright Sophocles said, “To be doing good deeds is man’s most glorious task.” Jesus believed this, too, and taught that we should love one another. We learn in the New Testament that it is also important to show our love through service and good works.
1 John 3:18: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”
As we share this scripture with our families, we can ask them what love through deeds might mean, with questions like:
How do we show love through our deeds?
How does your heart feel when you do good things for other people?
Can you remember something someone did for you that made a difference to you?
It’s very easy to recognize a disciple of Jesus Christ by their actions and good works. One who loves Jesus makes different choices in hard circumstances. You can see it in their countenance and in their actions—even among strangers.
D&C 18:38: “And by their desires and their works you shall know them.”
How are our good works really a reflection of our Savior and Heavenly Father?
Who do you know who always strives to do good things for those around them?
#2: TRUST IN GOD
Trusting in God can often be challenging as our minds naturally seem to fill with doubt or fear. Elder Henry B. Eyring taught, “You show your trust in Him when you listen with the intent to learn and repent and then you go and do whatever He asks.” But ‘going and doing’ is scary when we don’t know what is before us.
Proverbs 3:5-6: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
After discussing this quote and scripture with your family, you may want to ask questions like:
Do you think it is hard to trust in the Lord?
Why is it scary to do something the Lord has asked you to do?
How can we ‘acknowledge’ the Lord?
When we trust our Heavenly Father we are not only protected but blessed.
Jeremiah 17:7 “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”
What blessings have you seen in your life because you put your trust in God?
Did you know that the absence of conflict is actually not enough to bring peace? Real peace felt in our souls comes from God.
1 Corinthians 14:33: “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.”
Peace comes through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
John 16:33 “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Ask your children what peace means to them, with questions like:
What is conflict?
What does peace feel like for you?
Can you think of a time when your life was crazy or upsetting and you still felt peace?
No matter what challenges or trials we face in our lives, we always have the power to find peace. We get to be the keepers of peace in our lives and can choose to always seek after things that bring us peace.
Romans 14:19: “Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”
What can we do to keep the peace in our life?
Throughout history the Lord has commanded His people to build temples. The temple is the Lord’s house on earth.
2 Samuel 7:5-7: “Go and tell my servant David, Thus saith the Lord, Shalt thou build me a house for me to dwell in?”
The first temple built in this dispensation was the temple at Kirtland, Ohio. And it was quite a sacrifice for these early saints.
D&C 109:5: “For thou knowest that we have done this work through great tribulation and out of our poverty we have given of our substance to build a house to thy name, that the Son of Man might have a place to manifest himself to his people.”
As you reflect on temples, ask your children:
Why do you think temples are so important to the Lord?
Why should temples be important to us?
What things do we have to sacrifice to attend the temple? Is it a worthwhile sacrifice?
I think it’s really important for our home to be a special place like the temple. Elder James E. Faust taught, “In addition to temples, surely another holy place on earth ought to be our homes. The feelings of holiness in my home prepared me for feelings of holiness in the temple.”
#5 SPIRITUAL GIFTS
Spiritual gifts come from our Heavenly Father and are given to every faithful person.
D&C 6:10: “Behold thou hast a gift, and blessed art thou because of thy gift. Remember it is scared and cometh from above.”
As we receive these gifts, they will strengthen us and help us to bless and strengthen others.
D&C 46:26: “And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.”
Sometimes our children need our help to identify their gifts. Here are some questions we can ask our family:
What are examples of spiritual gifts?
Can you think of a spiritual gift you have?
How can the Holy Ghost show us our spiritual gifts?
Why would someone seek another spiritual gift?
It’s important that you don’t neglect your spiritual gifts. And, as a family, you can work to help each other improve their gifts.
1 Timothy 4:14: “Neglect not the gift that is in thee…”