Family Devotionals Online

January 29, 2021

Hi Parents & Grandparents,


Here are the websites for some free online devotions for families.


Truthforkids.com

 (has devotions for kids aged 5-8 and for kids aged 8-12, Bible activity pages, Teaching tips and tools, free book downloads, Gospel for kids, Child related topics, Bible reading guide and help for kids facing difficulties)


Freekidstories.com

(has sections for 1-4 years, 5-7 years, 8-11 years, activity pages, Bible stories, basic Christian principles, Character Values, Christian Values, Coloring pages, devotionals, early bird readers, free reading program, teens category, moral values, and videos, all in English and Spanish)


Family Devotions:


Do you have a family devotional website or app you use?


Let us know about it, by clicking here, so we can share it with others!

8 Easy Tips for Family Devotions

January 25, 2020 by Lisa Streu and Kristin Charles

Hi Parents & Grandparents,


Here are some easy tips to help you with your family devotions. On Friday’s post I’ll put some free online devotions that you can try. Lisa


Family devotions are worth every minute of set-aside time.  Here are some ways to initiate devotions with your family and how to keep them going strong:


  1. Keep Them Regular: Set a specific time of day, such as during breakfast, after dinner, or before bed.  Sticking to the routine will help you to incorporate it more regularly into your daily life.
  2. Keep Them Easy: Have everything you need to do your devotions in a prominent place.  For example, utilize a dining room table basket as a centerpiece and as reminder.  In the basket, include napkins, salt and pepper shakers, a Bible, and a small devotional book.  Even if the adults forget to initiate the devotions, your kids will see the visual and remember.
  3. Keep Them Engaging: Cater your Bible teaching to the age of your children.  Keep it relevant to their daily life.  For younger children, keep the devotions short to coincide with their attention span.   For older children, communicate with them as adults.  Allow them to select topics, ask questions, and give them the responsibility of teaching occasionally.
  4. Keep Them Real: Make sure your children know that you are not infallible.  If you have wronged them in any way, ask for forgiveness and explain how you want to handle yourself next time.  Provide a model of grace, humility, and forgiveness for them to follow.
  5. Keep Them Growing: Think of practical ways that you can each apply what you have learned in the devotions.  Be the first to apply the lesson.  Deliberately look for love in action in your children or spouse.  Encourage one another.
  6. Keep Them Flexible: Inevitably, there will be days that will not fall into the routine.  Be creative and do devotions on the run.  Incorporate a favorite Bible verse or challenge into the plans for the night.  Live out your faith in the drive thru, at the soccer game, and while grocery shopping.  (Some of our best faith conversations have been in the car.)
  7. Keep Them Imperfect: No one’s family devotions will be perfect.  Know that and keep trying anyway.  Persevere and hold onto the truth that God’s Word will not return void.
  8. Keep Them Fun: The last thing you want is for your kids to roll their eyes during this time.  You want them to eagerly anticipate the Bible teaching.  Consider acting out lessons with dress up clothes and/or puppets, make verses hands on, create things together, have fun, and be silly.

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list.  So, what works for your family?  We would love to hear your comments and suggestions by clicking here!  Thank you!

8 Small Resolutions that can Change Your Family

January 22, 2021 by Focus on the Family

A wise parent once wrote: “No mom is full of more false hope than when she puts up a new chore chart.”


Parents love new beginnings, those hopeful moments when we vow to be better. Our children are going to start being more responsible and respectful, and as parents, we will be more present and patient. This year’s going to be different!


But change is difficult, particularly lasting change. Without steady, uphill determination, our resolutions are often neglected after a short time.


Yet sometimes we strike gold. We make a small change – an adjustment in communication or a modification in discipline strategy – and that change really seems to work, sticking around for the long haul and improving family life.


We asked some of our friends to share what small changes they’ve made that produced a lasting difference in parenting. We hope you find inspiration from their insights and perhaps discover some ideas that could impact your own parenting. But remember: It’s often better to focus on one change at a time. You’re more likely to make lasting changes when you limit your focus until that change eventually sticks.



Resolution No. 1: Have dinner as a family


Small change: When our children were young, we began to see that our captivity to activity was keeping us from eating meals together. We ate anywhere but together, often with the television blaring. My husband and I decided that having meals together as a family was one change worth fighting for.


This change required intentional planning. We had to turn down activities that would keep us away from home at dinnertime. Menu planning was essential. My Crock-Pot became my best friend. And we made it an absolute rule that the TV was turned off before we sat down.


Lasting difference: Most of my kids are now out on their own, but it always surprises me how they still look forward to lunch or dinner at home. I’m also amazed at all the old stories they still talk about, stories that happened around the family dinner table. It’s the place Grace held her nose with one hand and shoved broccoli into her mouth with the other under the watchful eyes of her father. It’s the place where arguments have erupted – and forgiveness has been extended. The place where we laughed and cried and celebrated all of life’s little accomplishments. – Joanne Kraft, author of The Mean Mom’s Guide to Raising Great Kids



Resolution No. 2: Offer grace in frustrating moments


Small change: One change in my parenting came the day I started hugging my children when I really wanted to yell at them. My kids are only small for a short time, and I had to recognize that the little mishaps and careless decisions they make will not matter much in 10 years. So I look them in the eyes and hold them and give them all the love and grace they need in the moment. When the incident fades a bit, we talk a little about how we can learn from it.


Lasting difference: It’s true that children need to learn from their mistakes and understand how to make better choices, but I became a better mother when I recognized that this goal is much bigger than the moment at hand. What truly matters in those times of frustration is how I treat and nurture their hearts. It takes just a few minutes to clean up spilled milk, but much longer to mend a broken spirit. – Susan Allman Trevathan



Resolution No. 3: Pray for your kids


Small change: Coming to terms with my own inabilities has been a powerful difference maker in my parenting. I’ve always dreamed of having boys, but I had to recognize that I really have no idea how to raise men who will be respecters of women and lovers of God. I know nothing about raising protectors, promise keepers and peacemakers. But I do know how to cry out to God on their behalf.


About four years ago, I began praying Scripture over my children. Since then, it has become a passion of mine. I love to take the Word and substitute my boys’ names when I can, asking God to bless their lives and their decisions. God’s Word is “living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).


Lasting difference: Like many parents, I’ve been overwhelmed and exhausted, seconds away from defeat. Prayer is the missing piece of the puzzle. I’ve learned that parents who pray for their children recognize their own inability to change their children’s hearts, putting their faith and hope in the God who can. – Brooke McGlothlin, author of Praying for Boys



Resolution No. 4: Let them own their behaviour


Small change: My husband and I have learned to help our kids take more ownership of their behaviour. For example, we ask them to imagine the type of person they want to be in the future – what type of father, mother, sister, brother or friend. Later, we bring them back to that conversation and remind them of what they had told us.


Lasting difference: Our kids have started to understand their own goals and reasons behind good decisions. They no longer see us as just Mom and Dad telling them what they have to do, but as parents helping them stay accountable to the picture of who they want to become. – Nicole Brodrecht



Resolution No. 5: Build on the good


Small change: As a speech therapist, I found ways for patients to practice difficult sounds without knowing what they were practicing – so they couldn’t rely on old, bad habits. One of my main beliefs about parenting developed from this work: The best way to unlearn ingrained habits is to bypass the obvious conflict. We just can’t keep telling ourselves to stop doing something that we’ve become accustomed to doing. Our minds resist change. But when we construct a platform of success from what we do well, new habits come more naturally.


For years, I was a screaming mom. After all the wasted effort of telling myself to control my yelling, I recognized I needed a strategy that circumvented my weakness. I’d trained my kids to know that their tantrums were ineffective. I told them, “You know how Mommy doesn’t do what you ask when you’re screaming? Sometimes Mommy needs help with that rule, too. From now on, listen to Mommy when she uses a calm voice, but if Mommy screams, say, ‘Excuse me,’ and walk away.”


Lasting difference: What a change! The kids loved it. When I yelled, my son would say, “Sorry, Mommy is screaming. Excuse me.” He would then turn on his heel and walk off. Screaming no longer worked! That little trick permanently changed the entire culture in our home. – Hettie Brittz, author of the (un)Natural Mom



Resolution No. 6: Set physical boundaries


Small change: A few years into parenting, I decided I needed to start establishing clear boundaries. I’m not talking about consequences for my kids’ misbehaviour. Those are good and necessary, too, but what I really needed were actual physical boundaries.


When our kids were young, they could go pretty much anywhere they wanted in the home. Their toys were everywhere. They were everywhere. So I started creating rules for places that were simply off-limits to my kids. No exceptions. Mom needs barriers. She needs drawers and cabinets and a bedroom door that kids cannot open without permission. She needs to have games and puzzles stored and kept in specific areas.


Lasting difference: That decision has stuck around for the long haul, greatly improving my job as a parent. Motherhood is a far more sane and enjoyable experience when Mom gets a little space to herself. – Marcia Fry



Resolution No. 7: Find someone to keep you accountable


Small change: One thing my friend Cheri and I have in common is our constant battle over clutter. We’ve both made huge improvements, but it is an issue we work on constantly. So whenever we make a new step in our journey – forward or backward – we discuss it with each other. We dissect it, determining how to not let a poor decision happen again, or at least not as often.


Lasting difference: It’s been hard work, but accountability has brought lasting change. I’ve never made as much progress as when I have a friend to inspire me.

Sometimes you need someone to give you a vision for what your life can be. It doesn’t matter if she is a phone friend, Internet buddy or face-to-face friend you meet with over coffee. Real change comes when we have someone to help keep us accountable. – Kathi Lipp, author of Clutter Free: Quick and easy steps to simplifying your space



Resolution No. 8: Create healthy surroundings


Small change: Environment is more important than willpower. I recognized how true that idea was years ago when I was adjusting to a healthier lifestyle. I can promise myself that I won’t eat sweets for a day, but when the doorbell rings and I receive a tin of caramel popcorn, what happens? I promise myself that the next day I won’t eat sweets. A tempting environment can drain a person’s self-control.


This principle has impacted my husband’s and my parenting, as well, particularly as we train our kids to have a healthy relationship with media and technology. If we instruct a child to limit her screen time to an hour a day but then give her a television in her bedroom and a tablet loaded with her favourite games, she will struggle. So we don’t allow TVs or digital devices in our kids’ bedrooms. But there is always convenient access to board games, art supplies and quality books. Mealtimes and commutes are no-screen times.


Lasting difference: We’ve boosted our kids’ ability to make healthy choices by focusing on the environment that we’re raising them in. Family life has potential for so many opportunities to connect with our children, and we don’t want a world of digital distractions to rob our family of these powerful moments. – Arlene Pellicane, author of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom


Do you  have family resolutions? Let us know about them by clicking here.

Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith - Part 4

January 18, 2020 by Focus on the Family

The Most Critical Question

Natasha Crain points out ways moms and dads can help their kids connect with God and keep communication lines open. When doubts creep in, don’t panic. Ask questions and keep praying.


Key takeaways from this episode:


If your kids express doubts about the Christian faith, acknowledge that trusting in an unseen God can be difficult. It’s not like relating to friends at school.


But God does give us ways to know Him. Show them how God speaks to you through His Word, through prayer, through other believers, and through serving.


If you are feeling desperate because your children are getting older and don’t seem to have any interest in God, remember to pray and keep the relationship lines open. Ask them questions. Tell them you want to hear their objections or doubts and understand their point of view. Keep the relationship open by interacting with them.



Read and meditate on this Scripture:


“Look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 

– 2 Corinthians 4:18 (ESV)


Please let us know your thoughts or comments or testimony of how God is working in your life through any of the Kids Ministry materials by clicking here.





Get help from some related resources

// Articles and broadcasts

Read the article Parenting your teen as they wrestle with their faith 

Read the article Steering your young adult back to faith

Listen to the broadcast Helping your millennial child reconnect with God

// Resource suggestions

It's Not Too Late helps parents get past feelings of inadequacy by demonstrating how much teens still need their parents’ love and spiritual guidance. Dan Dupee also shows how you, as a parent, can offer that guidance and help your teen embrace a vibrant faith of their own. 

Order your copy here

 

 Abandoned Faith reveals what matters to today’s young adults and why many of them struggle to believe. It also gives hope-filled guidance to parents and church leaders on how to win millennials back to the Lord.

Order your copy here

  

Evidence That Demands a Verdict presents the truths that transformed Josh McDowell from an agnostic to a committed believer. Topics covered include the reliability of the Bible, the deity of Jesus, historical and archaeological evidence that supports the Bible and more. 

Order your copy here



Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith - Part 3

January 15, 2020 by Focus on the Family

Know Whose Voices You Are Listening To


An atheist might ask, “If God exists, why doesn’t He write something in the sky to help us know who He is?” or “Where did the universe come from?” But our faith isn’t a blind leap in the dark. In video 3, Natasha Crain shows parents how to approach this and similar types of questions from their children. Knowing the answers to these questions – and where and how we got the Bible – will help you point to objective evidence outside your personal experience with God.


Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Your personal testimony is important. But you can’t export your faith to someone else. You need objective evidence outside of your faith experience to help someone else seek the truth.

  • A good place to start is Scripture. Parents should teach their children where the Bible came from and why we can trust it as true. Bible stories or songs don’t answer challenges to history, accuracy and authority.

  • Point kids to the evidence we have in the physical universe and on earth, then ask good questions, including “What’s the best explanation for these things?”


    Read and meditate on this Scripture:

     

    “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” 

    - Romans 1:19-20 (ESV)


    Please let us know your thoughts and comments by clicking here.



Get help from some related resources



// Articles and broadcasts


Hear more from Natasha Crain on the broadcast Answering your kids’ tough faith questions


Browse our series page on Apologetics to build your own background knowledge


// Resource suggestions



For parents of kids ages 8 to 18, The 21 Toughest Questions Your Kids Will Ask About Christianity from apologist Alex McFarland equips you to answer your kids’ questions about God, Jesus, the Bible and the problem of evil.


Order your copy here


 



Forensic Faith for Kids teaches kids to think like a detective to solve a case, in the process equipping them with skills that help them navigate tough questions about faith in Jesus. Ages 8+


Order your copy here


More for kids from this author


 


It Couldn’t Just Happen offers kids biblical answers to their questions about evolution, providing fun activities

and fascinating examples of how God sustains the universe. Ages 7+


Order your copy here




Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith - Video Series Part 2

January 11, 2020 by Focus on the Family

Exposing Your Kids to Other Ideas


In the second video, Natasha Crain explains how Christian parents can embrace the fact that they don’t always have immediate answers and may have their own doubts. Watch below as Natasha shows parents how to press forward through their own doubts or uncertainties.


Key takeaways from this episode:


Your children can mature in their faith by learning why secular values and ideas conflict with God’s Word and how Christians can offer biblical responses to challenges to the faith.


Doubts and questioning can be healthy if they lead to searching the Scriptures. Talk openly about the difficult aspects of following Jesus and seek answers together. As your kids grow older and have their own questions, you’ll be a safe and reliable source for answers.


As a mom or dad, you ought to encourage your children to make the Christian faith their own, not just because you believe it. 


Read and meditate on this Scripture:


“In your hearts, honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” 

– 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)


Get help from some related resources



// Articles and broadcasts


Read Natasha Crain’s article Teach kids how to defend their faith


Read Natasha Crain’s 10 tips for having deeper faith conversations with your kids


Read the article When your child doubts the existence of God


// Resource suggestions



Written in kid-friendly language Case for Faith for Kids addresses questions like Do all religions lead to God? Why does God allow bad things to happen? Can you have doubts and still be a Christian? Ages 8+


Order your copy here


Order the Student Edition for ages 11+


 



Case for a Creator for Kids explores advances in our understanding of cosmology, physics and DNA to answer kids’ questions

about creation: How did the universe begin? Was everything created by chance? How can we know? Ages 8+


Order your copy here  


Find more for kids by this author


 



TrueU DVD series: Reassure your senior high or university student with compelling arguments for faith from history, philosophy, cosmology and biology. Titles in the series include Does God Exist?, Is the Bible Reliable? And Who Is Jesus?


View the series here



Raising Your Kids to Defend Their Faith - Video Series Part 1

January 4, 2020 by Focus on the Family

In video one, Natasha Crain encourages parents to learn about the truths of Christianity and how to answer common questions about the faith. It may seem intimidating at first, and it will take some time and practice, but if you ask God to guide you, the Holy Spirit will be with you as you learn. Once you get started, you’ll feel encouraged that your children trust you as the primary shaper of their faith.


Key Takeaways from this Episode:

  • God has given parents the privilege and responsibility of helping children learn, understand and grow in the Christian faith and in a personal relationship with Jesus.
  • Be encouraged! This video series is designed to be a resource to help you get started in learning more about apologetics. Along the way, we’ll point you to helpful tools to deepen your understanding.

Read and meditate on this Scripture:

“For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7 (ESV)


Please let us know your thoughts and comments by clicking here.



Get help from some related resources

// Articles on building a robust faith in your child

Read Natasha’s article 4 challenges to your child’s faith and how you can counter them

Read the article Building lasting faith in kids: Proven ideas from Sticky Faith research

Browse our series page Nurturing your child’s faith for loads of ideas on sharing your faith with your kids, including how to deal with their doubts.

// Resource suggestions

Natasha Crain’s book Talking With Your Kids About God will equip you to discuss questions like Do science and religion contradict each other? Why does God seem so harsh in the Old Testament? How do we know God hears our prayers?

Order your copy of this book today and get $4 off when you use the promo code*: ABOUTGOD

 

Talking With Your Kids About Jesus equips you for essential conversations about the truth of Jesus’ identity, miracles, teachings, death and resurrection.

Order your copy of this book today and get $4 off when you use the promo code*: ABOUTJESUS

 

Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side from Natasha Crain helps you deal with 40 challenging questions like Don’t all religions point to the same truth? Can we trust the Bible’s authors? What facts support the resurrection?

Order your copy here