The Value of Devotions by Karen Whiting {GIVEAWAY}

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Devotions with little ones formed the framework of my mothering years. I am still seeing the benefits of taking time in God’s Word with my five little ones who are now grown. For that reason I am passionate about devotions for children, especially preschoolers.

The devotions gave us a sense of purpose, and I made sure days revolved around what we read and also made sure we’d do one each day. If we didn’t get a devotion done before bed, then we skipped desert, as I’d say, “If we don’t have time for the sweet Word of God, we don’t have time for other sweets.” That really helped my children remind me to have some of God’s sweet words!

Benefits

Let’s mention some benefits. It’s easy to realize it helps children get into a habit of reading the Bible and communicating with God to nurture their spirit. However it surprised my husband and me to realize how it also gave them a jump-start on learning. Listening and talking about a Scripture increases a child’s listening comprehension, and that promotes great reading comprehension. We also noticed they could talk with us about any topic through the years because the devotions touched on all aspects of life. They more easily conversed with adults. The Scriptures also increased their vocabulary. Thus, devotions promote cognitive skills.

In activity-oriented devotions like My Princess Devotions, the themes cultivate character development and promote motor development. I placed hospitality in May as part of a theme of tea parties. Planning and hosting teas help little girls learn to greet people, be gracious hosts, and serve others and also helps foster good manners. Other months include generosity, compassion, trust, honesty, and cheerfulness.

The gross motor development comes with activities such as praise walks, dancing, and exercises that are part of various daily devotions. I planned to emphasize using a different body part each month (i.e. feet in October, hands in February). Small motor development is promoted with craft and cooking activities in other devotions. A variety of activities help children realize God cares about all aspects of their lives and helps develop various learning styles.

Tips on doing devotions

  1. Be open-minded. Open hearts to God’s guidance and children’s thoughts. If children stray from the meaning, reread God’s Word or look at another passage on the same topic to enlighten them!
  2. Be consistent by setting up a routine and time for devotions. Choose the best time: early in the morning, after school, or in the evening.
  3. Be enthusiastic. It’s catchy! Praise your child for participating.
  4. Avoid distractions. No eating, no phone calls or TV during devotions.
  5. Plan a reasonable time limit. Ten minutes is good for growing children. When the time is too short to cover the lesson, carry it over to next time!
  6. Don’t be afraid of silence as you wait for your child to respond to a question you ask.
  7. Make Dad a part of the devotions. Choose a time Dad can participate in person or by phone/ internet call.
  8. If Dad travels often or is deployed in the military consider buying a digital copy for him to read along.

Devotions and Your Child’s Personality

Children are different and respond according to their temperaments. An outgoing child likes to act out Bible scenes and share what they learn. A shy child may prefer to do devotions in an intimate setting and will like to journal or draw but may not want to share verbally as much.

Set the stage for success by responding to your child’s personality. For the outgoing child, make it a fun time that can include visiting friends. For a child who is a natural born leader and likes to take charge, let your little one help choose the place and time to do them and also let your child have extra time to discuss the topic. For a little one who is more relaxed and would rather sit and not do things use some encouragement and follow devotions with a snack or reading another book. For the shy child, make it a special parent-child time alone and be patient to wait for the child to think and answer questions.

If you want to do devotions as a family, make sure to include everyone in discussions. A talking stick might help where you pass the stick around for each person to have a time to talk.

Results

I believe that making God part of daily life fosters a sense of purpose and helps children mature. It may not change their IQ, but I thank the Lord that my children are kind, considerate, and serve others. They have remained close to one another and to the Lord. That’s what we want the most as parents.

We can still talk about anything. I am also thankful that one son who experienced twelve years of a 24/7 migraine was able to cling to Scriptures with hope. The Lord healed him last November so we are also thankful for that.

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GIVEAWAY

We have five copies of Karen Whiting’s book The One Year My Princess Devotions to give away here at ParentLife Online. Enter using Rafflecopter below.

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His Children, Our Children by Jessie Weaver

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The longer I am a parent, the more convinced I am that God told us to be fruitful and multiply so we could have a small taste of how He views us.

There’s the baby stage. We’re needy, but altogether loving. I think of all the hours we spend staring at our little ones as they lay on the floor, or toddle around, or clap their hands together. Does it put a big grin on the Heavenly Father’s face to see us in the early stages of knowing Him?

And then comes the terrible twos. And threes.

We are so rebellious it can be funny sometimes. We question everything, absolutely, just to see what the limits are. We are wild in our rebellion and yet needy to the core.

I imagine, somewhere, that it tapers off. (At least I pray that it does. My daughter is still 4, and if her rebellion doesn’t dissipate soon I may have to go to the asylum.) When I consider my Christian walk I think it’s much like growing from a child to an adult: there are some rough patches, some times where I don’t even want to be close to Him. There are times of sweetness. There are times when I fall on my face and wonder what on earth I did to deserve such trials. And there are times when I just am, passing through without wonder but without hurt, either.

I can’t imagine all the lessons I will learn as a parent as my children travel through adolescence. It’s scary, and crazy, but the best visual aid about God I’ve ever been given.

Do you find yourself wondering if God sees you as a toddler sometimes? What things do we do as Christians that are an awful lot like a small child?

January Giveaway Winners!

Congratulations to the 10 winners from our January giveaway! You will receive a copy of the book listed as well as a copy of More, Adventure, or Bible Express. Jodi will be in contact with you soon to get your addresses.

Here are the winners:

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Samantha – The Family Reading Bible (Zondervan)

Stacy B – Sistergirl Devotions by Carol M. Mackey (Revell)

Caroline – The One Year® Devotions for Preschoolers 2 by Carla Barnhill (Tyndale Kids)

Rebecca – Day-votions for Mothers by Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Zondervan)

Leslie – Good Morning, Lord by Sheila Walsh (Thomas Nelson)

Wendy Snipes – A Cup of Comfort®: Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media)

Belinda – Day-votions for Grandmothers by Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Zondervan)

JessieLeighThe One Year® Mother Daughter Devo by Dannah Gresh with Janet Mylin (Tyndale)

Heather HammondDay-votions for Women by Rebecca Barlow Jordan (Zondervan)

Mary B – Jesus Calling by Sarah Young (Tommy Nelson)

 

January Giveaway

A new year is a great time to renew your commitment to spending daily time with God. The ParentLife team wants to help you grow in your walk with the Lord with our January giveaway. We have 10 devotional books to give away!!

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But wait … it gets better!! We’re also giving away a copy of More, Adventure, or Bible Express, amazing devotional resources for kids, along with each devotional book.

Entering to win is simple. Simply leave us a comment on this post. Let us know which devotional book would be your first choice. (Keep in mind, we might not be able to send you your first choice, but we’ll do the best we can.) Also tell us how many kids you have and their ages (that way we will know which devotional magazines to send you)!

Spread the word! Winners will be randomly selected on February 1st.

USA only. LifeWay Employees are not eligible to win.

Jump by Tim Abel

When my daughter was 2 years old, she was learning to climb up and down the stairs in our house. I remember standing behind her, then beside her, helping her up and down the stairs. It was not long before she did not need my help when she was climbing up the stairs. She was a "big girl" and she could do it by herself! However, she still needed my help to start walking down the stairs because the banister started several steps down from the top landing. 

She would stand at the top of the landing and call for me to come help her to the banister. I would climb the stairs and drop to my knees about four steps from the top landing. After I was in place, she would back up, take a running start, and jump into my arms giggling. Once she was in my arms I would set her on the stairs by the beginning of the banister. She would then carefully walk down the steps without any additional help.

It is funny how helping my daughter reminded me of some very important truths that I had allowed to be crowded out by the circumstances and obstacles of life. Sometimes we all need to be reminded that we can call out to our Father and He will always be there.

One afternoon I went upstairs to my office and was quickly followed by my daughter. She played in her room while I was working. After I completed my tasks, I quietly snuck downstairs. She soon realized that I had gone downstairs and cried out for me to come help her. I told her, “You are a big girl and you can do it yourself."  I quietly peeked around the corner and watched her nervously try to take that first big step.

As she peered down that first step, I wondered what she must be thinking. What an obstacle! She finally sat down and tried to crawl down to reach the banister. However, just looking down all those stairs was too much for her. She was scared. She called out for me, her father. I came around the corner and stood at the bottom of the stairs. As soon as she saw me turn the corner she started backing up to jump into my arms. My heart dropped as I realized that she was not going to wait until I was in my normal place before she jumped. I tried to race up the stairs, but it was too late! I caught her in mid-air halfway up the stairs. I was immediately upset that she had done such a crazy thing!

As I angrily carried her down the remaining steps, God stepped in and broke my heart. You see, I had been struggling with a series of obstacles in my life. I found myself overwhelmed by that first big step and then scared as I looked beyond. When my daughter was confronted with her obstacle, she called out for me, her father. When she saw me come around the corner the obstacle before her melted away as she jumped into her father’s arms.

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I learned a very important lesson that day. I can allow the obstacles in my life to become so large that they overshadow His presence. Or I can be so steadfastly focused on God’s presence that He is able to continually contend with and transform the obstacles before me.

Psalm 73:23 says our Heavenly Father is always with us. Just as my daughter knew that I would always be there for her, we can know that our Heavenly Father will always be there for us. We must continually maintain our focus upon Him, especially when we are facing life’s obstacles. We can’t do it alone; we will always need our Heavenly Father’s presence and guidance in our lives. He is always there waiting to catch us as we jump by faith into His loving arms.

Tim and his wife, Tammy, have been married for 15 years. They have three children (Hannah 9, Elijah 8, and Samuel 6). Tim has been called to the full-time pastorate. He completed his Bachelors degree in pastoral studies at Cedarville University. He is currently creating a terminal illness ministry prior to entering the full-time pastorate.

Have you ever learned spiritual lessons through the actions of your child? Share your insight with other ParentLife readers by leaving a comment.