Devotions and delights
Books to quiet the soul and frame a new year
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Seekers by C.S. Fritz: Seekers leads families on an interactive adventure of discovering “who God is, how He works, and what He calls us to do.” It contains 20 cases—each with riddles, codes, puzzles, art, and clues—that families can solve together. Fritz chooses various themes from Scripture, such as God’s presence, power, and provision and the grace and new life we have in Christ. The colorful book’s drawings and notes resemble a sketchpad. Endnotes (for parents) include theme explanations, answers to riddles, and discussion questions. (Ages 8-12)
Defend Your Faith by Jesse Florea: This book contains 100 devotions aimed at helping kids answer the question “Why do I believe in God?” With simple and relatable writing, Florea emphasizes that having questions about God and the Bible is good, and truth is found in God’s Word and the person of Jesus Christ. The devotions fall under seven categories, some that help kids dig deeper into the Bible and others that explore science and historical figures who defended (or defamed) the faith. This book includes selected Scriptures and could complement a child’s Bible reading, but should not replace it. (Ages 8-12)
Exploring the Bible Together by David Murray: Murray likens Bible reading to an expedition into new territory. His 52-week devotional provides families a compass: Each week includes a theme, six daily Scripture readings (usually about five verses), discussion questions, a key verse to memorize, and suggested prayers. On Sundays, it provides questions to prompt discussion and reflection on the day’s sermon. In the course of a year, families will touch on major themes from the Biblical metanarrative. Murray gives parents a simple, doable structure to incorporate Bible reading as a habit into their children’s lives. (Ages 6-12)
Every Moment Holy by Douglas Kaine McKelvey: This book teaches readers that moments are sacred, helping them to train their minds and hearts to recognize God’s tangible presence in their everyday lives. It includes rich, Biblically based prayers on topics including table blessings, mundane chores, recreational activities, celebratory events, and sorrowful moments. McKelvey wrote some liturgies for routine personal recitation, while others include leader and group responses intended for memorable or difficult occasions. McKelvey releases his second volume in February, a book of liturgies on death, grief, and eternal hope. (Ages 12 and up)
Happy Hymnody is a community of parents who desire to instill family worship and gospel truths into their homes. It began when April Brover and her husband decided to incorporate singing and memorizing one hymn per month into their children’s bedtime routine. It caught on as friends began following along. The Happy Hymnody website has copy-work printouts (for kids to practice writing the lyrics) along with background on the hymn writers. Parents can select various renditions of featured hymns from Happy Hymnody’s YouTube channel. On Instagram, Brover, a mother of four, explores the truths behind the hymns. The goal, she writes, is to grow a community of families committed to raising children who savor and serve Christ.
Happy Hymnody coincides well with hymnals some families might already have on hand, such as the Then Sings My Soul series by Robert Morgan (Thomas Nelson, 2003), the Getty Kids Hymnal (Getty Music, 2016), or student hymnal Hosanna, Loud Hosannas (self-published by Barbara and David Leeman, 2014). —M.J.
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