Monday, October 22, 2007

The Obedient Heart

Deuteronomy 5:3 "You shall have no other gods before [a] me. 4 "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand {generations} of those who love me and keep my commandments. 7 "You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. 8 "Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. 11 For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. 12 "Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the LORD your God is giving you. 13 "You shall not murder. 14 "You shall not commit adultery. 15 "You shall not steal. 16 "You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 17 "You shall not covet your neighbor's house. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his manservant or maidservant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor." 18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." 20 Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." 21 The people remained at a distance, while Moses approached the thick darkness where God was. Idols and Altars 22 Then the LORD said to Moses, "Tell the Israelites this: 'You have seen for yourselves that I have spoken to you from heaven: 23 Do not make any gods to be alongside me; do not make for yourselves gods of silver or gods of gold. 24 " 'Make an altar of earth for me and sacrifice on it your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, [b] your sheep and goats and your cattle. Wherever I cause my name to be honored, I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it. 26 And do not go up to my altar on steps, lest your nakedness be exposed on it.'
Working with Children, I know the importance, of teaching our children obedience. I have seen how children act when they have no guidelines set before them. Children who are obedient, are more likely to succeed in life, because they already have those rules set down before them, and we need to teach them that obedience is important from a very young age. The guidelines the Lord has given us is the ten commandments, and we can teach our children the commandments in a simple way at a very young age. We want the children to understand that Jesus wants them to be obedient, Jesus loves an obedient heart.I am not a Mother, but when I have my nieces and nephews over, they have a few guidelines they know they must live, by and they know that when they are bad there will be punishment. It is important that they know that when they disobey God’s laws there will be repercussions as well. We need to follow God’s laws because just as our earthly parents set down rules for our own good so does our Heavenly Father. The Lord gives us these laws for our benefit, just as we teacher our children not to touch a hot stove for their benefit.As a child I learned the importance of being obedience, because when I wasn’t obedient I knew that a punishment would come. My parents were not overly strict, but they knew the importance of teaching me obedience, and because of that I am able to live by that example. I may not have always agreed with the punishments given to me for disobeying, but I learned quickly what was acceptable and what was not and I am able to pass those lessons on to the children I work with. I am able to show them by example what it is like to have an obedient heart, and serve Christ.Having an obedient heart and being perfect are to very different things. We can live our lives to serve Christ, and still not be perfect. Only Christ himself walked this earth living a perfect life, but we can repent when we are disobedient, and ask the Lord to forgive us he will forgive.Being obedient to Christ, in a world that more and more seems to be going against the very values, the very ways we as Christians are brought up by isn’t always easy. Our children are getting conflicting images of what is right and wrong, which makes it even more important that we teach our children what Christ wants from us, and we teach them what it means to have an obedient heart. We also need to teach our children how to make decisions that Christ would approve us, that is a very large part of having an obedient heart.Today I worked with the kids as I normal do, and the three year old decided she did not want to be obedient, so we had to discuss with her the importance of doing what Jesus would want her to do. I told her that Jesus wants her to be obedient, in the way a three year old can understand. She had to be told that Jesus does not like it when we are disobedient, it may not be easy for a three year old to understand, but if we share the lesson with them over and over again, they will understand.The three year old is the youngest child I work with, we go to a small church, and there are generally only a few kids, so I find it important that I lay down the rules in a way that they can all understand. The older children also know that they are expected to set an example of what it means to have an obedient heart. They know that the younger children are watching them, and that the younger children tend to follow by example, and if the older children are respectable generally the younger children will be too.I know too that as a member of the body of Christ, I need to lead by example. If the world sees that I am not leading a life that is pleasing to the Lord they will think that they don’t need to be a believer, because I am showing them that I do not follow the Lord’s commands, but if I lead my life with an obedient heart, and show the joy that I have in serving the Lord, that example will shine through in my walk with Christ. As I have stated it is important to show our children and non believers what it means to be obedient to Christ, babes in Christ need to have an example set before them just as parents set rules and boundaries before there children. The rules and boundaries are set to show what is acceptable and what is not, and are set for the good of us. We can not live our lives in a way that is not pleasing to the Lord, we have to follow the guidelines set before us by the Lord, through his word. The Bible.

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