Monday, March 10, 2014

Exploring Grace Together

Exploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the FamilyExploring Grace Together: 40 Devotionals for the Family by Jessica  Thompson

Two things to know up front: 1) I am always looking for good resources to utilize in family devotions/discipleship of my children and 2) Jessica Thompson co-authored one of my all-time favorite books, Give Them Grace.  Give Them Grace was used by the Lord to re-frame how I interact with my children and refocus my efforts and attention on preparing my children to receive the Gospel rather than be nice, neat, rule-keeping citizens.  When I had the chance to get a review copy of a new work by Jessica Thompson designed for family worship I could not wait to enjoy some grace saturated devotionals with children and my wife.

This work is perfect for family worship. The devotionals are short and use a narrative format that really engages young minds.  Thompson includes some questions that are probing and thought provoking.  The kids love it and so do we.  It is focused on grace which is great because, to be honest, I do not need much assistance with drilling the Law into my children.  I am a pro at that.

This work is not comprehensive.  It is a terrific supplement to a Bible reading program but it will not replace your children’s Bible study.  Here is an example of one of the devotions to get a better idea of the contents.

The Secret
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.--Romans 8:38–39

Paige has a secret. The secret is about something she has done. She has done something very wrong, and her secret is making her feel awful. She feels that she can’t tell people, because they won’t love her anymore. She is really scared of getting into loads and loads of trouble, too. So Paige keeps her secret hidden away in her heart. And although she never speaks of it, it is always there, like a giant mountain that she just can’t seem to get away from. Everywhere she turns, it seems as though the giant mountain is right in front of her, threatening to hurt her. Paige thinks that nothing she can do will make the mountain go away. Paige is right—there is nothing she can do, but there is something God has already done.

Paige needs to hear Romans 8:38–39. Paige especially needs to hear the very end of this passage, “. . . nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” What Paige doesn’t believe is that even though her secret is big, God’s love for her is even bigger. God’s love makes the biggest secret mountain seem like a tiny anthill when compared to his love.
He promises that nothing will change his love for you if you are one of his children. There is nothing and no one stronger or bigger than God’s love for his family. His love never stops; it never gives up on you. The things you do can’t make him love any less. All you have to do is believe he is as loving as he says he is, even though you know you don’t deserve his love. He loves you because he sees you in Jesus Christ. That means that when he looks at you, he sees only his perfect Son, Jesus. You see, not only is God our treasure, but we are his treasure too. His love for his treasure is perfect, and it never changes—ever. Kind of hard to believe, right? Our God is just that good and that kind.

1) Do you have a big secret mountain that seems so big that nobody can love you?
2) Do you believe that there is something one of God’s kids could do that would make God love him less?
3) Do you understand what the Bible means when it says, “. . . in Christ Jesus our Lord”? If not, ask the adult reading with you to explain it.
(Pages 23-25)

I hope you can see from the devotional above how beneficial this work is for children.  But I also hope you can see how wildly encouraging and edifying it is for the adults who are leading and participating with it.  While this work is geared towards children, the truths she communicates are those life-changing, soul-saving, dead man-raising eternal truths of Scripture that cannot help but build up those who have ears to hear.  Time and again I was being ministered to greatly as I worked through this book.

Thompson covers many topics.  Discouragement, fear, dealing with those you cannot get along with, praying and a lack of desire to, and many others.  The recurring theme is grace.  Grace heals.  Grace encourages.  Grace cures.  Grace motivates.  This book is all of grace and is all about reflecting all glory back to the One to whom it is deserved.
This is a truly encouraging and edifying book for families to enjoy together.  It is always good to see just how amazing God’s grace is and how much His grace transforms who we are.  Get a copy of Exploring Grace Together and then do just that with your family, explore God’s amazing grace together.  While you’re checking out, grab a copy of Give Them Grace and see what it does to your parenting and to how you interact with others.

I received a review copy of this book through Crossway’s book review program.

Content taken from Exploring Grace Together by Jessica Thompson, ©2014. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187,

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