To show that night time devotionals with our children don’t have to be long, dull, or drawn out, I want to share what I did with my kiddos earlier this evening.
Tonight, when I gathered them to read, we began with C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters.
Initially, I didn’t tell the boy what the book was going to be about. I wanted him to see if he could figure it out as I read aloud. My daughter, on the other hand, already knew the premise. She initially didn’t want me to read the book because it’s one of her assigned reading for her studies. I convinced her it might be a good idea to go over this material 2 times so that she can get a better comprehensive understanding of the content and of what Mr. Lewis was trying to say in this book.
By the end of the first of chapter, the boy was stumped. He could not figure out who the patient was. He was also clueless as to who was the Enemy. Normally, when we read books, the protagonists is always the “good person” and the antagonist the “bad guy”. The boy knows this so he was having a hard time putting the characters in this typical context.
Mr. Lewis turns that whole assumption upside down in this book, giving us a fascinating next few weeks as we delve into how our real enemy operates. Not only am I looking forward to reading the rest of the book with my kiddos I am also excited for the ensuing conversation that inevitably will follow each chapter.
The next book I wanted to read was a teen guide to John Calvin’s Institutes. My daughter became intrigued with the title, I think it was because it had the word “teens” in it, and asked if she could read it for school. I was a little disappointed because I wanted to unpack that book with both of them. I sadly succumbed to letting her read the book on her own terms for school. Now I will just have to figure out a weekly lesson plan to see where it can fit into her already jam-packed reading school schedule. But I will not complain.
With my second read aloud gone, I went to our bookshelf and picked out a book we had read before. I liked the short devotional aspect to it and whenever the devotion references scripture, I make my kiddos break out their Bibles and read.
Tonight’s scripture reference was Isaiah 53:5-6. It was used to answer question 20 of the Westminster shorter catechism.
Q. 20 Did God leave all mankind to perish in the estate of sin and misery?
God, solely out of his love and mercy, from all eternity elected some to everlasting life, and entered into a covenant of grace to deliver them out of the state of sin and misery, and to bring them into a state of salvation by a Redeemer.
Here we see the origin and foundation of the remedy God has provided for human sin and need. God has chosen some, indeed, a great number, to be saved. He has his reasons for his choice, but these reasons are in him not in us. We are not chosen because of anything in us or because we have some claim on God. It is solely of his love and mercy, and we do not deserve, nor can we earn, his favor. God’s choice was made in his own mind before creation, and a covenant made with Christ on behalf of elect sinners. Christ undertook the part of a Redeemer, that is, he agreed to place himself in the position of those the Father had given him, and to meet their obligations. In this way, he would redeem them, that is, buy them back from bondage.
Ephesians 1:4-7 – even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 have some of my most favored words in the entire Bible. Reading these words seem to always bring me to tears.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Isn’t that just comforting to hear?
To close out our devotional, I had the kiddos read Isaiah 53:5-6. I wanted them to connect prophecy concerning Christ with the reality of why he came. He came for his elect…this we know. But to read why he came for his chosen is mind blowing.
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.
After they read the scripture in Isaiah, we closed our Bibles and I played his video for them. I only allowed them to listen to the lyrics and the music. I know that they are not ready to see the images in this video. I’ll wait until they are older for that.
Then we prayed and thanked God for his mercy and love.