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Prepare your children to stand strong in this age of questions and contradictions. David and Goliath. Noah and the ark. Jonah and the whale. Children love stories of Bible characters. Yet they need more than just the stories. They need to understand the truths that lie behind these stories. Truth that will answer tough questions such as: Who is God? What if I'm a Christian and I still sin? What does God want me to do? Why did Jesus have to die? How will I know if others love Jesus? For many years, Ken Taylor has been giving children this biblical foundation through his books. While containing profound truth, they are written in simple and plain language that kids can understand. Full of stories and straight talk and complete with suggested Bible reading, questions for thought, relevant prayers, and songs to sing, Devotions for the Children's Hour will give your children the head start they need to stand on the Rock of Salvation in this shaky world.
Brief anecdotes discuss questions relating to God and the Bible. A prayer, a hymn, and suggested readings from the Bible follow each chapter.
There Is Only One God
I n some countries where the people don't have Bibles and don't know very much about God, they think that there are several gods. Some of them think there are two gods, some think there are four gods, and some of them think there are even a hundred gods or more. Or they may think that the sun and the moon are gods, so they bow down and pray to the sun and moon. They ask the sun and moon to take care of them and help them.
Can the sun or the moon help us? No, these do not have life; they are not persons who can help us. They are only things that God has made to give us light, to keep us warm, and for us to enjoy. They are not gods, but they are made by God. We should never pray to things that God has made but only to God Himself.
Should we pray to the angels? Are they gods? No! The angels are alive, and there are some of them right here in the room (though we can't see them), but we shouldn't pray to them because they aren't gods. They are helpers, and that is why God made them. The angels love God, and there are so many of them that we cannot even think how many there are. Most of them are in heaven thanking and praising God and telling Him how glad they are to serve Him. But some of them are down here on earth helping us.
Up there in heaven are there any other gods except our God? No, God has made everything there is, and He did not make any other gods. That is why He is angry with those who pray to anyone but Himself. He is also angry with anyone who loves anything more than God. We must love God even more than we love our mothers and fathers and the nice things we have. For God gave us our mothers and fathers and all the other nice things. That is why we must love God best
One day a minister wanted to know if a little girl knew that there is only one God. He said to her, "Katherine, how many gods are there?"
She said, "Only one."
"How do you know that?" asked the minister.
"Because," the little girl said to the minister, "there is only room enough for one God. He fills the heaven and the earth."
And the little girl was right.
Something to read from the Bible: Exodus 20:1–6
1. How many gods are there?
2. Can the sun or the moon hear us when we pray?
3. Should we pray to the angels? Are they gods?
Our heavenly Father, we thank You that You are the one and only God, that You are greater than anything else up in heaven or down here on the earth. Help us to love You with all of our hearts, and to serve only You. This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
A hymn to sing:
All hail the power of Jesus' name
Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!
Bring forth the royal diadem,
And crown Him Lord of all!
Who Is God?
There are many things we need to know. We need to know how to read and write; we need to know about arithmetic and social studies. But there is something much more important than reading and writing and arithmetic and social studies. Can you think what that most important thing is? I will tell you. It is to know about God. This is so important because God made you, and if you don't know God, you won't know what He wants you to do.
Who is God? God is a Person who lives in a lovely place called heaven. We do not know just where heaven is, but we think it is far above the stars. It is a place where all of us would like to live, and if we know God and love Him, then we can go to be with God and the angels when we die. That is another important reason for knowing about God.
Shall I tell you some more things about Him? Do you know that God is a Spirit? This means that God is a Person without a body. You and I have bodies with our spirits inside them, but God does not need a body.
God is truly the most wonderful Person there is. He is kind and good. He never, never does a wrong thing. And He is so great that He can do anything He wants to. He made the world and the grass and the sky and the sun and the moon and the stars. He made the angels, and He made you and me. He made everything. He sends the thunder and the lightning and the rain. When the springtime comes with beautiful flowers and blue skies, it is because God makes it so.
Where is God? We have already learned that God is in the beautiful country of heaven, but God is also here in this room listening to us talk. He is next door too. Isn't it strange that God can be here in our house and at the same time can be next door? He is everywhere! He is with the missionaries in other countries and with the people in the big ships on the ocean. We can only be in one place at a time, but God is everywhere all at the same time.
One of the most important things for us to remember is that this great God is always loving us and always watching to see what we are doing. That should make us very glad, and it should make us careful about the things we do. We would not want to do anything God doesn't like. We know that our great God in heaven is always seeing us and helping us do good things.
One day a man wanted to steal some watermelons from a field and took his little boy with him. The little boy was eight years old. His father told him to stand near the fence and watch to see if anyone was watching. While his father was in the field stealing the watermelons, the little boy suddenly called out, "Daddy, Someone is watching you."
The man came running back to his little boy. "Where?" he asked. "Who is watching? Where is he?"
"Daddy," said the little boy, "when you were looking to see whether anyone could see you, you forgot to look up into the sky. God is looking down and watching you."
The little boy's father had never thought about that and decided not to steal watermelons anymore. The little boy was a good helper to his father because he reminded his father about God.
Something to read from the Bible: Isaiah 6:1–8
1. Does God have a body like you have?
2. Can you think of at least two places where God is, right now?
3. Can God see us at night when it is dark?
O God in heaven, holy God, forgive us for our many sins, for we are often bad. We thank You that You forgive us through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A hymn to sing:
Come, Thou Almighty King,
Help us Thy name to sing,
Help us to praise:
Father, all glorious,
O'er all victorious,
Come, and reign over us,
Ancient of Days.
Where Did God Come From?
There are many wonderful things about God that we cannot understand. We have already learned one of those things. We have learned that God can be everywhere at the same time. How strange this seems; we cannot understand how that can be at all! God has not explained this to us. When we get to heaven, He will tell us all about it, and then we will know.
There is something else about God that we cannot understand. To tell you what this other thing is, I am going to ask you a question. Where did God come from? Did He have a father and mother? No, God did not need a father and mother. He was never born. He was never a little child in heaven who grew up. He was not born in heaven, because He has always been alive. He has always been great and wonderful, just exactly the same as He is now. He has always been alive.
God was alive yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that. He was alive before you were born and before Mother and Daddy were born. He was alive before Grandfather was born and before there were any rocks and trees and grass and animals. He was alive millions and millions of years ago, before anything else happened.
Who made God? No one did. God was not made by anyone. God has always been alive. We cannot understand this, but we know that it is true.
God is always going to be alive.
We should know that we will always be alive too. That is the way God has made us. We will not always live here on earth. Some day our bodies will grow old, and we will go away to live in another place. We can go then and live with God if we have been loving Him while we live here on earth with Mother and Daddy and our friends. We must learn to love God very much.
Some foolish people spend their time here on earth loving themselves instead of loving God. When they die, God will not want them in heaven but will send them away into a dark, sad place where they must live without God forever.
If we are going to live forever, then we must be very careful how we live now. But I am going to tell you a story about a rich farmer who forgot that he had to live forever.
This farmer went out to his barn and saw that it was full of grain. He went to another barn that he owned, and it was full of grain too. This made him very happy because he had so much in his barns. He knew he could sell the grain for a lot of money and that it would make him very rich.
"Oh," he said to himself, "now I will not need to work anymore. Now I will have a lot of money to buy plenty of whiskey and to eat more food than I should and to do all kinds of bad things."
When the farmer went to bed that night, he was still thinking about how rich he was and how he would spend his money, but he didn't think at all about what God wanted him to do with the money.
That night the rich farmer died. He had to meet God, and it was too late to remember then that God had wanted him to love the Lord Jesus and use his money to do good things and to tell others about Jesus.
I hope you will remember that you will always be alive, and I hope you will not be like the foolish rich man.
Something to read from the Bible: Luke 12:16–28
1. Was God ever born?
2. Was God alive before there were rocks and trees?
3. How long has God been alive?
4. How long will you be alive after your body dies?
Our Father in heaven, we thank You for giving us eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us today to do the things that will please You. This we ask in Jesus' name. Amen.
A hymn to sing:
When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We'll sing and shout the victory.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
We have already learned that there is only one God. Now we must put on our thinking caps and think very hard, because I am going to tell you something that you will not understand. But don't feel bad, because no one else has been able to understand it either! And yet it is one of the very most important truths in the Bible.
This is what is so important: our Father in heaven is, of course, God; but did you know that Jesus is God, too, and that the Holy Spirit is God? All three of them are God. And yet there are not three Gods but only one God.
You will probably want to ask me how that can be true. How can three persons be God, if there is only one God? Could it be that Jesus is another name for God and is not a different Person? No, the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are not just three different names for God. They have different work to do. Jesus and the Father made the world and stars and everything else, and Jesus is God. Jesus said, "I and my Father are one."
And when Jesus went from the earth back to heaven to be with God the Father, He sent the Holy Spirit, who is also God, to be with us.
But there is only one God. Sometimes people have tried to describe how three different persons can be one God by thinking of a three-leaf clover that has three leaves and yet is just one clover. Other people have tried to help us by telling us to think about water. Sometimes water is wet like it is when we drink it, sometimes it is hard when it gets cold and becomes ice, and sometimes it is steam. Yet it is all water, even though it is three things. Or perhaps we could try to imagine three people all having the same mind. These illustrations may help us, but we can never really understand these things until we are with Jesus. But we know they are true because Jesus tells us so in the Bible.
It is so important to know about these things because some people have thought that Jesus is not really God. But if Jesus is not God, then He could not have been our Savior. Only God can help us; Jesus helps us because He is God.
Do not worry if you do not understand all about these things. When we get to heaven, then we will know, and until then we can obey God and love Him even though we do not understand all about Him.
A man in India once kept asking a missionary to explain about the Trinity—for that is the word we use to mean that there is only one God and that the Father and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are God. The missionary tried to explain this to the man. But the man kept asking more questions about it, so the missionary told him a story. "Once upon a time in a certain country everyone was getting sick. So the king sent medicine to a doctor to give to the people to make them well. One of the sick men had never seen the king, and asked the doctor so many questions about him that the doctor had to spend all his time answering the questions and didn't have time to give the medicine to the people and many of them died.
"When the doctor went back to see the king, the king asked whether he had given the medicine to the people. 'No,' said the doctor, 'I had to explain about where I got the medicine and didn't have time to use it.'"
It is important to know about the Trinity, but our work is to tell people that Jesus died to save them, and not to try to explain to them about the Trinity. We have good medicine for their souls, and we need to use it.
Something to read from the Bible: Mark 1:9–11; John 16:7–15
1. How many gods are there?
2. Our one God is three different Persons. Do you know Their names?
3. Can you use the illustration of water to explain about these things?
4. Why did the doctor do the wrong thing in trying to answer all the questions?
O God, our heavenly Father, You are too great for us to understand, but we thank You that we can understand the love of God. Help us to grow in Your love and help us to honor the Father. In Jesus' name. Amen.
A hymn to sing:
Holy, holy, holy,
Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning
Our song shall rise to Thee;
Holy, holy, holy,
Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons,
If We Cannot See God,How Can We Know He Is Alive?
Who can see the wind? Neither you nor I! But we don't need to see the wind to know that it is there. We know it is because we can feel it against our faces and see the trees and grass moving when the wind blows. But we cannot see the wind.
We cannot see God either. But we can know He lives by the things He does. Some people say, "If I could see God, then I could believe that there is a God. But I can't see Him, so I won't believe in Him."
But that isn't fair. Those people believe the wind is real when they can't see it because of what it does. And they can know that God is there because of what He does.
Can you think of some things God does that make us know He is alive?
Well, for one thing, we can see the stars and the sun and moon. Did these just get in the sky by themselves? No, Someone put them there. When we see a house, we don't think it just grew there by itself. We know someone built it. And when we look up at the stars we know they didn't just happen to be there either. Someone put them there. God did.
Do you know why we cannot see God? It is because God doesn't want us to see Him yet God is so great and so wonderful and so bright that if we saw Him, it would kill us. Some day, if we obey God, He will take us to heaven when we die, and then we can see God as He is. Then it will not hurt us to see Him, but will make us very happy.
Even though we cannot see God we can love Him very much. The Bible tells us about God. It tells us how much He loves us and how good He is. We do not need to see God to love Him.
A mother had been talking to her little girl about loving God. The little girl said, "Mother, I cannot see God, and how can I love Him unless I do?"
A few days later the little girl received a package in the mail from a friend she had never seen. In the package was a present. The little girl opened the package very carefully and inside she found a beautiful picture book. She looked at the book for a long time and then ran over to her mother and said, "Oh, Mother, I love this book, and I love the lady who sent it to me!"
"But you have never seen her," said the little girl's mother.
"No," said the little girl, "but I love her because she sent me this present."
That is the way we can love God even though we have not seen Him. He has given us so many wonderful things, such as our homes and our fathers and mothers, that we can thank Him and love Him, even though we have not seen Him yet.
Excerpted from Devotions for the Children's Hour by Kenneth N. Taylor. Copyright © 1982 Kenneth N. Taylor. Excerpted by permission of Moody Publishers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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1. There Is Only One God
2. Who Is God?
3. Where Did God Come From?
4. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit
5. If We Cannot See God, How Can We Know He Is Alive?
6. Why God Made Us
7. Some Other Things About Our Wonderful God
8. Who Are the Angels?
9. Who Is Satan?
10. How God Made Adam and Eve
11. How Sin Came into the World
12. God Plans for a Savior
13. Some of God's Friends
14. My Good Shepherd
15. The Most Important Thing a Child Can Do
16. What Happens When We Ask Jesus to Be Our Savior?
17. Why Did Jesus Save Me?
18. If I Try to Be Good Will Jesus Save Me?
19. A Child of the King
20. Where Was Jesus Before He Was Born?
21. How the Baby Jesus Was Different from Every Other Baby
22. The Miracles of Jesus
23. The Death of Jesus Christ
24. Jesus Becomes Alive Again
25. Jesus Goes Back to His Father in Heaven
26. Jesus Is Coming Again
27. The Holy Spirit
28. May Christians Do Wrong Things?
29. Who Is on the Throne in Your Heart?
30. Keeping the King on His Throne
31. Bearing Fruit
32. How Can You Tell Whether Someone Loves the Lord Jesus?
33. What If We Sin After We're Saved?
34. Why It Helps Us to Be Punished
35. A Letter from God
36. How Do We Know the Bible Is True?
37. What Happens H We Do Not Use Our Bibles?
38. What Does God Want Me to Do?
39. Why Do Christians Disagree?
40. What It Means to Forgive
41. A Prize for You in Heaven
42. The Lord's Day
43. Are You Angry with God?
44. Going to Sunday School
45. What Are You Going to Be When You Grow Up?
46. Who May Talk to God?
47. Who Made Everything?
48. Telling Lies