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Reading the scripture.
I'm a big advocate of reading scripture and seeing how God speaks to you as opposed to what He showed someone else. You have to start somewhere, though, and devotionals are a great way to begin with kids. Devotionals make an especially nice present for kids on Easter.
Some kids dive into God's word without hesitation. When my daughter came home from her first church camp at nine years old she declared, "Mom, I want to read the bible. Like, the whole thing." A dream come true for every Christian parent, right? I was in shock! Well, Delaney started off like gangbusters, and kept it up for a while reading from cover to cover daily, but she got bogged down in the laws of Leviticus. She tried jumping over to the New Testament but got frustrated in Romans. Romans? At 9? Seriously? I get frustrated with it in my women's bible study now! To prevent her from losing the habit of being in the word during breakfast we backpedaled and had her pick out a devotional.
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My son, Ellis, was the opposite. He didn't want to read his bible by himself. I looked at his fear of God's word as a negative at first. A friend pointed out to me that it's a positive. He has a reverence for the word. It's a serious thing. It's sharper than a two edged sword and he's nervous about wielding it on his own. Ellis needed his hand to be held through the process of wading into God's word and devotionals have been an integral part of that too.
Devotional reading should ideally be done in the morning. Start with the spiritual breakfast of champions! If you can't swing it then, try bed time with the goal of eventually switching to mornings. Mornings can be zoo-ish during the school year, especially if you have kids on different schedules. For a long time my son would ask for breakfast right as I was helping his sister hastily gather her homework to head out the door. Delaney, already established in her devotional time, would read on her own. Ellis would read his with me at night. Eventually the schedules evened out. Ellis, over time, became comfortable reading on his own in the morning and we discussed what he'd read once his sister was out the door.
Teaching your kids to take time to read God's word daily (or as close to daily as you can get) is the most important habit they'll ever develop. Make it a requirement. Ellis would shirk his devotion time for more computer games if I let him. However, he knows that he has to read a devotion in the morning just like he has to brush his teeth and make his bed. What we require of our kids teaches them what's important to us.
If you're not in the habit of taking devotion time for yourself, reading devotions with your kids will help to ease you into the habit as well. It's easy to get overwhelmed with life and say, "I don't have the time." Trust me, I've been there, done that, and bought the busy mom's day planner calendar for it.
I was challenged to try journaling for a month and given a free journal where I would read God's word, choose one verse and journal about it. At the end of the month I realized how much different I felt. In particular, I had more patience with the kids. I didn't feel like I was a victim on an emotional roller coaster anymore. The word is like a preventative mental health pill for me (trust me, I can use all the help I can get!). I may not be in the word every single day, but I try. It's a priority for me. If I start exploding like a volcano at the slightest provocation I usually figure out it's because I've been away from the word too long.
As with learning to eat food, before you can feed yourself, you're fed by someone else. With that in mind, I thought I'd share some of the devotionals that we've enjoyed, broken down into categories so you get a better idea of the spiritual content. Some devotionals are baby food , some are finger food, some are like using a spoon and some simply place the meat in front of you with a fork and knife , encouraging you to go at it for it yourself. Next week I'll post more selections for older kids and adolescents in part two. Be sure to check back!
IN THE, "BABY FOOD ," CATEGORY:
1) The first devotional we got for my son was, "Goodnight Warrior," by Sheila Walsh. This was a good choice for us because I already knew my son liked the book, "Will, God's Mighty Warrior," by Sheila Walsh. However, I did think they missed out on an opportunity by not including the character of Will in the devotionals. He's basically just on the cover.
This devotional is appropriate for older preschool and kindergarten kids. What's nice about this devotional is that if your kids are only used to a bible story book with only short summations of longer stories, this will introduce them to God's word. Each devotion starts with a few verses of scripture, a passage, really. It's a very simple readable translation and it's very large print, so it doesn't seem overwhelming. Then there's the commentary and a prayer or praise at the end.
It looks like there's a new devotional in the series called, "I Am Amazing Because God Loves Me." The companion for girls would be, "Sweet Dreams, Princess." Anyone who has read these with their kids, I'd love to hear if you liked them or not.
IN THE, "FINGER FOOD," CATEGORY:
2) "For Girls Only! Devotions," by Carolyn Larsen is a great devotional for girls in later elementary/early middle school.
My daughter flew through this book. It was hard to slow her down and keep her from reading two or three entries in a day! I know that's good sign, but you want the book to last a while so they can get the benefit daily. The content is more about the application of scripture to real life situations. Information is presented in a way that's so entertaining it can seem deceptively light on content. If your child takes the challenges in the book seriously it could be a great opportunity for growth. If you get this for your daughter I'd recommend checking in with her and asking if she's following up in real life.
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Posted in Transportation/Automotive Post Date 12/09/2019