Family devotions are a tricky thing for a lot of families:
Where do you start? What are the best resources to use?
When we were looking for something to for our family to use, we were recommended Marty Machowski’s Long Story Short, ten-minute devotionals taking families through the Old Testament and connecting it all to Jesus.
For the better part of a year now, we’ve been working our way through this devotional and it’s been a fantastic experience (aside from, unfortunately, learning that some of the imagination exercises make our oldest daughter cry). But as we’ve been trekking through the Old Testament, in the back of my mind, I’ve been wondering what resources are available to look a little more in-depth at the New.
That’s one of the many reasons I’m excited about Machowski’s follow-up, Old Story New: Ten-Minute Devotions to Draw Your Family to God.
Those familiar with Long Story Short will find Old Story New very comfortable. Each 5-day lesson looks at a particular portion of the New Testament (from Matthew through Revelation), with two days of initial examination, day three connecting it to the gospel, day four completing the lesson, and day five taking you to one of the Psalms or the Prophets to see what we can learn about Jesus.
This lesson plan is hugely helpful because, while it should be obvious that the gospel is about Jesus, it leads to some tremendously helpful conversations. For example, recently, we were looking at Matthew 2:7-21, where we read that Herod planned to kill Jesus as a toddler, but an angel of the Lord warned Joseph to flee until Herod’s death (and fulfilling multiple Old Testament prophecies in the process).
The question that gave us pause as we read as “Why did God prevent Jesus being killed as a baby, but allow it when he was a man?”
Think about it:
Theoretically, Jesus could have been killed when he was two. In fact, he could have died at any number of points in his earthly life. But he didn’t until the exact moment appointed for him. Why?
Because he had to fulfill all righteousness. In order for Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice we require to pay for our sins, he needed to live under the Law. He needed to keep the Law perfectly. This would have required him living well into adulthood. Our sin could not have been atoned for by baby Jesus, toddler Jesus or preteen Jesus—it had to be the man, Jesus Christ, who would bear the punishment for our sins.
This is dinner conversation at the Armstrong house.
(Yeah, we’re kinda weird.)
One of the things families will need to consider when looking at a resource like Old Story New is how much time they want to devote to using one book or series of books. Combined, Long Story Short and Old Story New represent a three-year long journey through Genesis all the way to Revelation. Think about it this way: When we started these devotionals, Abigail was four-years-old; when we’re done, she’ll be seven. This is a little less than half her life we’re talking about!
It’s a big commitment, but it’s one we’re all-in for.
We want our kids to have a solid understanding of the Scriptures—not to just know stories or good moral lessons, but to know how everything connects to Jesus. We’re glad to have Old Story New be a part of that process. I hope it’ll be a part of it for your family, too.
Title: Marty Machowski
Publisher: New Growth Press (2012)