This week the blog is sponsored by Reformed Free Publishing Association. This post is about their brand new picture book, I Belong: Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 1 for Children, written by Joyce Holstege and illustrated by Meagan Krosschell.
We all know the importance of doing daily devotions, not just individually, but at a family level, too. We all have busy lives, but we know that the end result of setting aside a time for family worship each day will be an encouragement for both ourselves and for our children.
The Two Struggles
On the other hand, sometimes we can become discouraged when it comes to devotions. Do you face either of these two struggles in your own family worship?
- We want to rely solely on the Bible in our family devotions, but when we’re honest with ourselves, we confess just how difficult it is to apply biblical doctrine to our youngest children’s lives.
- Or with good intentions we might purchase a highly-rated children’s devotional book, eagerly opening it up with our family members when it’s time for daily devotions. But after a few pages of reading and a few minutes of reflection, we realize that this is not quite the devotional we are looking for. We can appreciate its goal of instilling readers with good character traits like courage and honesty. But what we do not see is a strong focus on the nurturing of children’s faith in Jesus Christ or the comfort they find in belonging to him.
A new devotional resource from Joyce Holstege, a veteran Christian school teacher, provides a solution to both struggles. I Belong: Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 1 for Children is a picture book that explains and applies the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism to children ages four to eight.
Why did Joyce base her devotional on the Heidelberg Catechism and on this question and answer? When the Heidelberg Catechism was first written in 1563, it was designed to be a teaching tool for parents and teachers seeking to instruct their children in the fundamental doctrines of the Reformed faith. It’s a beautiful confession that is still widely used in Reformed churches today. And question and answer 1 emphasizes the comfort we have as children of God, the theme woven throughout the entire Heidelberg Catechism.
Using I Belong in your family devotions will benefit your children (and you!) in at least these three ways:
Your children will learn biblical doctrine: Just like the question and answer itself, Joyce’s book is doctrinally rich. From spiritual adoption, to atonement, to a life of good works, children are taught not just about the love of God generally, but about how much he loved his people, sending his only begotten Son Jesus to redeem them from their sins.
Your children will understand what you are reading to them: Doctrine is absolutely necessary for our children, but if they don’t understand it, chances are they won’t be able to draw comfort from it later in life. I Belong explains the doctrines of the Christian faith in a way that even young children understand. Consider how Joyce explains the comforting concept of atonement:
God promised Adam and Eve that he would send his perfect lamb Jesus to pay for their sins. God promises that Jesus paid for all your sins, too. When Jesus died on the cross, his blood paid for your sins. He bought you with his blood, so that you can be called his child. This is called atonement.
Your children will enjoy what you are reading to them: I Belong is a devotional that will hold your children’s attention as you read. Joyce frequently addresses her audience of young children (“you”), reminding them that the comforting promises contained in this question and answer are for them. Your children will also love the book’s twenty-two beautiful, full-color illustrations created by talented young artist, Meagan Krosschell.
You can purchase your copy of I Belong: Heidelberg Catechism Question and Answer 1 for Children here.