Tuesday, February 26, 2008
So-here are some haphazard thoughts, happy to be free from my ruminating soul.
"Education is not the filling of a bucket, but the lighting of a fire." William Butler Yeats
From one of the many audio cd's...can't remember which one...
"What we teach our children to love and desire is more important than what we teach our children to learn."
Some thoughts I have been chewing on for a while:
The third commandment teaches "You shall not take the name of your God in vain". I was not brought up to curse, so I am good on that one, right? Wrong.
If you reject, criticize, or speak down upon others (especially your brothers and sisters in Christ) you are rejecting, criticizing, and speaking down upon God's creation (we are His created.) and worse yet, His very image (we were created in His image.)
In the same way: if you dwell too much upon your flaws, if they hinder you, if you are overly insecure and ashamed of your features~you reject the image that God has given you, that is a reflection of himself.
This thought has hit me like a mac truck, because I am one of those horribly insecure beings who thinks terrible thoughts about themselves. Putting those thoughts into perspective had me down on my knees in no time.
Somewhat related to this (that is, being insecure), I often rely too heavily on Matt's opinion of me. Of course, as a wife, we ought to have the highest regard for how our husband's perceive us...but for me, I depended upon it as I would upon LIFE. I ask him, "Do you love me?" "Do you think I am pretty even though I have gained so much weight?" yada yada yada, ALL the time.
It occurred to me, though, that I was making an idol of Matt's opinion of me and by doing so, breaking the SECOND commandment, Thou shalt not make for yourself an idol." I still ask Matt these things (because I like to hear them) but I realize now, it is MORE important what God thinks of me than anyone else (even my dearest half). God doesn't think in terms of physical beauty but beauty of the spirit, of the heart.
"Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7)
Rather than find false assurance in Matt's love and devotion to me, I needed to focus my eyes on the HEAVENLY Father, the one whom I live to please. Only when I focus my eyes on God's view of me, can I appreciate Matt's view of me and thus, my view of myself.
And some notes from a sermon too good to pass up:
Ephesians 6:4 "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord."
~We must not have higher expectations than we do for ourselves. We know that we sin, we must expect our children to sin. We know that Jesus came to free us from bondage, and in doing so, He also frees our children. We ought not say: Jesus died for my sins, because I am a Christian. But YOU-you might grow up to be a covenant breaker, so I just don't know about you yet.
~We don't expect our children to eat portions comparable to Papa's at the dinner table. Don't be discouraged if they don't take in the 'meat' of the sermon, or as much as adults would. The Lord nourishes to our capacity, He knows our frame.
Covenant Status does NOT equal Covenant Faithfulness. Two great temptations of the church: Covenantal presumption or Morbid Doubt...both ditches on either side of the road. Both are dangerous.
Marriage is an objective institution, just as baptism is. If you are married, you are not all of a sudden void of the sin of adultery. Rather, BECAUSE of that ring on your finger, adultery is made possible in the first place. Being baptized means you are covenantally attached to Christ. That doesn't mean you will not sin, or that there is potential to screw everything up in rebellion later on. It means you will be rebelling against God. You will BREAK covenant with God, because you are IN covenant with God. You can not break a covenant if you are not IN one in the first place.
When our children sin, if we automatically question assurance of salvation, we are preaching DOUBT-not FAITH. We are teaching them to WONDER, to question, to be discouraged. Teach FAITH.
Say "BECAUSE Christ is in your life, this sin has to go." Not: "You sinned. Maybe you aren't saved."
If our children are weak in faith they need to be ENCOURAGED, not discouraged.
If our children stumble, we need to pick them up, not kick them down again.
If Christ and Sin are inconsistent in our children's lives, banish the SIN, not Christ. Don't banish Christ from your children. In relation to worship, this means INCLUDE the children in all of it. Worship is geared to be edifying to ALL God's people. Children are also God's people. This means, children need to be taught that everything that God gives to his people is for THEM too. Anything they can reach. any way they can participate makes God happy. If they sing out in church, God is pleased-even if it is off pitch. If echoes of little amen's follow the Amen of the congregation, God is pleased-even if it sounds more like "A-bas". If they can reach the food and the drink, God is pleased for them to participate-even if they aren't capable of full understanding. Every good thing that God has reserved for His people ought to be given freely to His little people. Covenantally Faithful participation is PLEASING to the Lord. We do not say: "When my child is strong and healthy, I'll feed him" and then, when he dies of starvation say "Good thing I didn't waste any food on him, because He was going to die anyway."
Jesus says "Come unto me, all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give ye rest." He doesn't say, "Come on down if you are strong and can take it." He calls for the weak, the tired, the immature, the small. Children are weak. Children are small. Children are included. They qualify.
~Joshua says "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Don't question, "Johnny? Do you want to love God?" Say: "Johnny. WE love God because He first loved us." Tell them they are Christians and then teach them how to BE Christians. Teach them how to pray, how to praise, how to love God; MODEL it for them."
The question is always raised (and the one I have always struggled with personally) : "But, WHAT IF our children grow up to become covenant breakers?" Then...treat it as what it is: rebellion. Deal with rebellion as rebellion.
Don't deal with ignorance or WEAKNESS as rebellion. Don't take your weak, small children and treat them as if they are in rebellion. They are not.
Don't get your children to conform to the standards...teach them to find DELIGHT in them. Don't teach your children to obey the commandments or else, rather, teach them to LOVE the commandments of the Lord and, if they do, they will WANT to obey them and find delight in doing so.
*I realize that there are many different people that visit my blog, from all different walks of life. The scope is from professed athiests to all different denominations and backgrounds.
I realize that not all will agree with all that is said, or even SOME of it. That's okay. I didn't write it to preach to anyone other than myself.
I typed these things out with the SOLE purpose of squirreling these notes away where I will be able to look back upon them, rather than have loose bits of paper all about the house, just waiting to be lost.