My husband and I have been reading Children's Bibles to our kids since my oldest was born. Every night we would sit with him, even as an infant, and read the bible to him. We continued to do this as best as we could with each of them for the last 8 1/2 years. We just finished, a few weeks ago, My First Hands-On Bible. I loved this one because it had great questions after the story, activities you could do, a Jesus connection and a prayer. I recommend this one to families with pre-school to 3rd grade. My 3rd grader still really enjoyed answering the questions and doing some of the activities.
Before we read this bible I was reading The Jesus Storybook to them. This one is an amazing Children's Bible! I think my favorite! It even made me cry a few times while reading it to my kids. This one was great for me to read personally and the kids enjoyed it too.
However, I am starting to get tired of reading the Children's Bibles and have been looking for other devotional type books to read with them at night. I think they are ready for more and I am trying to figure out a way to teach them about the meaning of what we are reading. I want them to take what they are hearing from the bible and learn to apply it to their own lives. I know they are ready for this and I understand that my 4 and 2 year old wont be getting much from these nightly devotions just yet, but maybe just hearing the words will make them more familiar as they get older.
So where to start?
I decided it had to start with their issue of complaining and arguing. I was exhausted by all the complaining going on and we were stuck in our house for a few days because of Hurricane Sandy. So after the storm was over we went for a long walk in a wooded area by our house. They got all of their energy out and were able to sit and listen to my first off the top of my head devotion. These devotions are actually changing my children's thoughts and actions. So each night after I have a devotion with my children I am going to try to record how it went here. I pray these posts will remind me of our answered prayers through God's word, help me in the future with my younger two, and help other moms out there looking for ways to teach their kids more.
So complaining and arguing went first.
Proverbs 21:19 (NKJV)
"Better to dwell in the wilderness, Than with a contentious and angry woman."
For my kids I changed woman to child. I told them that I would rather sit in the middle of the forest we just walked through than sit in the house with them and all of their arguing and complaining. That is what this verse is saying and it was how I was feeling. I would rather be in a nice quiet place all alone than listening to their constant fighting and complaining. I talked with them about how God doesn't want us to want to be separated by arguing and complaining, but that is what sin does to families. And arguing and complaining are sins.
Mark 3:25 (NKJV)
"And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand."
If our house is divided and we are all running away to our own rooms to be away from each other and away from all the arguing and complaining our house will fall apart. If you build a house out of legos and then cut it in half can it still stand? If you build a house out of graham crackers and then cut it in half can it still stand? It can't and neither can a family if everyone is divided in it.
My husband and I talked with them about how we want to have good relationships with them as they grow up where everyone wants to spend their free time together. Where we would all rather choose playing games together over playing alone. And all of this division is caused by the sin of arguing, complaining, whining, and fighting.
Then we discussed how sin separates us from each other, ruins relationships with each other, but it also separates us from God. I asked the kids who came to save us from our sins and make it so we didn't have to live a life separated from each other and God. This is when light bulbs were going off all over the place. They knew it was Jesus and they then understood what it meant to be separated from each other because of sin. Now they were understanding that because of Jesus they were able to be forgiven, forgive each other and no longer be separated from God or each other. We prayed, they each asked for forgiveness too, from God and from each other. We also talked about how to love each other with thoughtfulness and be thankful for each other. I had each of them tell the others what they loved about them and what they were most thankful for. We did this for the next few nights and it really made them all smile and laugh and hug without being asked.
I would love to say there is no more complaining and arguing in our house now, but I can say that there is less.
Hebrews 13:1 NKJV)
"Let brotherly love continue."
The next night I focused more on complaining...