After breakfast, my family likes to linger at the table and savor
our time together as we laugh and share before Daddy has to leave
for work. After the giggles wind down a bit, my husband pulls out
a devotion book and reads to all of us, stopping to discuss and
ask questions. With children ranging from five years old to fourteen
years old, we've had some trouble finding devotions that weren't
geared toward specific age groups. We found a few children's devotionals
that are written for multiple ages, but most of these consist of
a short story about a child facing a temptation or a struggle,
followed by an average of three questions about how the child should
behave in the given scenario. The answers are always sadly obvious
and require no effort or thought on the part of the listeners.
If there is a scripture, it is generally a short verse that acts
as a kind of 'moral of the story'.
Last year, we went through Joyce Herzog's devotions for families,
called Stepping Stones, and loved them. Though written
for children, they were a blessing to all of us. We were challenged
with the truth of God's Word. Eventually, the book came to a close,
and we were on the hunt once more for a devotion that we could
enjoy together. We searched for over a year without luck. After
many mornings without spiritual meat, we would pull out the Bible
to supplement the books we were using. Eventually, we gave up on
ever finding a devotional and continued to read s cripture instead.
After our devotion time together, the children would start their
school day with their own Bible studies. While there is always
something to be gleaned whenever Scripture is read, I kept hoping
that I might somehow run across a devotion, to make it easier for
my younger ones to stay focused as they listened and to guide us
in explaining Scripture.
Finally, I discovered Maxine Randall's book, called Bright
Gems for His Crown. It contains 93 daily devotions written "to
help build qualities of character in children." Children are
not the only ones able to benefit from these devotions. Everyone
in my family enjoys sitting down to listen to this devotional.
There are 31 topics taught in the book, such as "Trusting God" and "Doing
Your Best." Different aspects of the topics are taught three
times over a course of three months. For instance, while learning
about Being Responsible, children will learn how to "Do Your
Duty," "Keep Your Word," and "Take Care of Things."
The layout of the book is a little different from what I am used
to. Month One, Day One is followed by Month Two, Day One on the
following page. You would need to flip ahead 30 pages to find Month
One, Day Two. In this way, each of the topics is covered once a
month for three months. If you prefer, you can go straight through
the book, ignoring the days listed, and cover different aspects
of each topic for three days in a row.
The book is actually written so that students can study it independently,
but it also works well as a family devotion. Each day's reading
takes less than ten minutes. Bible verses are read and then explained
in such a way that children can understand them. Then they are
discussed in such a way that children can understand how to apply
them to their own lives. While very brief, the lessons are also
very strong. A simple activity is given at the end of each day's
lesson, which is intended to be finished later in the day to illustrate
the lesson. These activities can be done with regular household
items, such as pennies, baking soda, or even just imagination and
discussion. There is something for everyone in this devotional,
and it makes a great start (and ending) to our day.