Parenting as a Christian is a huge responsibility. We're not only responsible for the basic needs of our children, we also will answer to God for how we raised them. Did we "provoke them to anger" or did we bring them up "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord"? (Ephesians 6:4)
We can attend weekly church services, send them to Christian school & youth group, but our main focus needs to be on making our homes a place where our children learn about God. As we do life with our kids, they are definitely going to learn about God as they watch our example. It's also a great idea to get some "formal" discipleship happening, too.
Family devotions is a great place to start this discipleship culture at home. And today, I'm sharing a peek into how our family has been doing devotions & some of the resources we've used. I hope these are helpful for you & yours!
We have a 2-year-old & 3-year-old joining in, so we have to keep things pretty simple for now & stick to shorter devotionals for now. But our 8-year-old got his own ESV Bible last year, & he's been doing pretty well reading through that for his school assignments. This is the one we got. I wish I would have realized that it wasn't a "red-letter" Bible, but it still has some helpful notes & maps to help him as he learns.
We also have enjoyed the Gospel Storybook Bible by Marty Machowski. Our church uses the Sunday school curriculum that follows the stories in this one. If you struggle with making Gospel connections in the various stories told in the Bible, this is a great resource.
An all-time favorite is the Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones. The illustrations & language used are so life-giving. We've enjoyed following both the Advent & Lent reading plans that are available on the author's website.
The Promises of God Storybook Bible by Jennifer Lyell is another one that we were working through with our older 2 kids. We've put it on pause for a little while because the stories are a little longer & don't flow quite as smoothly. But, I do love the emphasis on God's promises & how all of those promises have been kept. I think that's an important lesson we all need to be reminded of, so it's definitely something I want my kids to learn.
Indescribable & How Great is Our God by Louis Giglio - Both of these do such a great job of using the creation to point us to the Creator. The kids always enjoyed learning little facts about animals or space or even microscopic organisms. These are short & definitely doable for little ones, but I see that he's got a new one called Indescribable: For Little Ones coming out March 2021.
Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones - This is the one we're currently reading. Each devotional takes a verse from the Bible & explains it in very simple ways. Very encouraging way to start the day for each of us!
Foundations by Troy & Ruth Simons - The Simons have 6 boys (or "mancubs" as Ruth calls them) & they developed this structure as that sought to train & instruct their children. We're planning for this book to be next for our devotions, but we'll see how it works with the little ones.
If you have other books that your family has enjoyed, please feel free to comment below to share with all of us!
These might not be something you use everyday for devotions, but they are great for little breaks in the routine. Or if your kids are smaller & would benefit from simpler stories & illustrations, these would be a wonderful starting point. I've recently worked on expanding our family's library of some theologically-sound, Gospel-centered books. Here are a few that I've either bought or have on my list!
Tales that Tell the Truth series - These books are so good for little hearts & big hearts, too! The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross is so rich in theology & helps you trace the Gospel story from the Garden to the Cross. God's Very Good Idea discusses diversity through the lens of the Gospel. Any Time, Any Place, And Prayer is the newest one & all about prayer.
Very Best Bible Stories - The illustrations in these are so sweet & the way each story is told is perfect for younger ones. I bought a few when they were on sale a few months ago, & they have been fun to read. Tyler & I have particularly enjoyed the Deborah one because that story is less familiar but still just as important.
Wherever You Go, I Want You to Know by Melissa Kruger - I get a little choked up every time I read this book. It has been compared to Oh! The Places You'll Go!, but it is so much better because it points your child to the most essential thing in life! Highly recommend!
Let me know if you have other favorites! I'm always looking for more books to add to the reading rotation in our house.
New City Catechism: We are very, very slowly working our way through this. I downloaded the app & switched it to Children's mode. This mode simplifies the catechisms a little, while still having access to the Scripture & commentary to help discuss the concepts. It also has songs to help kids (& their parents) memorize them easier! The kids keep asking why we're going so slowly & reviewing them so often. I just keep telling them that I need it just as much as they do!
Courageous World Changers: 50 True Stories of Daring Women of God & Brave Heroes and Bold Defenders: 50 True Stories of Daring Men of God - I'm looking to add these books to our routine this summer. They're short biographies of believers through the years. I love the idea of my kids learning about how the Gospel has continued to go forward even after the cannon of Scripture closed.
Any resources you want to share with everyone? Please comment & tell us!
I hope these are helpful resources for you to start your family devotions. Or if you just needed some other ideas to grow your current practice, I hope there were some ideas that met that need!
Melissa Kruger wrote a great article on the topic of Family Devotions in this post over on The Gospel Coalition. She has lots of age-specific resources listed & also some practical tips.
As always, I'm over on Pinterest pinning ideas for Family Devotions. And feel free to pin this post if you found it helpful!
(On a slightly unrelated note, I linked all of these to smaller Christian booksellers instead of Amazon. I'm not a big enough blogger to be an affiliate of any of these websites, but I just want to encourage anyone who finds this post to support sites other than Amazon when possible. Amazon has its place, but, when you are able to wait a few extra days for shipping, try to buy from one of these sites. It helps keep them in business & that's important in this day & age of increased censorship in the bigger companies. OK - I'm climbing down off my soapbox!)
Cheering you on!
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