Friday, October 26, 2012

{Windy Hill Orchard}

Today the kids and I visited a local apple orchard. We had never actually been there before although we've lived here for more than 9 years. We had so much fun! It was the perfect length (just over an hour) to keep anyone from growing bored after doing an activity for too long. I do hope to go back again when TJ is able join us, perhaps next year.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

{Theology Talk}

Lately I've been able to have some really meaningful conversations with the boys about theological topics. I love that I am able to have these talks because it reveals their hearts to me, and also it gives me an opportunity to share my own weaknesses with them. Lastly, it helps all of us to know how to specifically pray for the others.

Tanner read a story for school that was based upon the passage of Luke 15:3-10. If you are not familiar with this passage, it is a parable (earthly story with a heavenly meaning) that compares a lost sheep to a lost person (person who does not know Jesus as Lord and Savior). In the story, there is a shepherd herding his sheep to the fold for the night. A fold is a safe place for the sheep to go because it is surrounded on all sides by a fence made of stone or brick. There is only one entrance, and the shepherd would guard the entrance to keep wild animals from attacking the sheep at night, and also to prevent the sheep from straying away. The shepherd has a total of 100 sheep, and as he is herding the sheep, 1 sheep goes off on his own in search of greener grass. He keeps straying farther and farther away until he is no longer with the other sheep. The shepherd herds his sheep into the fold and counts them. As he does, he realizes 1 is missing. The shepherd searches for his 1 sheep that is lost in the wilderness. He finds the sheep on the ledge of a cliff, barely clinging to the mountainside. The sheep is crying out for help. The shepherd hears the lamb's cry and rescues it from impending death and brings it back to the other 99 sheep who are safe inside the fold. When he does, he tells the other shepherds he has found his lost sheep and they all shout for joy and gladness.

There is so much theological truth in this story (and subsequent Bible passage) that I would have been foolish not to discuss it with Tanner. We talked about how Jesus is our Shepherd, and like the shepherd in the story, He cares for each of His sheep. When we trust Jesus as our Savior, we enter into His protection, much like the fold for the sheep. Before we were saved, we went our own way, just as the sheep in the story did. It is usually when we are at our weakest that we hear God calling to us, and it is then that we finally call back. God rescues us from impending death (eternal death in Hell), and when we were saved, all the angels in heaven rejoiced with the Lord, giving thanks and praise to God. Tanner really thought about that and I think it helped to make salvation seem more "real" instead of abstract.

The other conversation I was able to have with both boys was based upon Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45, along with some stuff we've been learning about in history as we study the Old Testament. Those passages say that what we say comes from what's in our heart. In history, we've been learning a lot, but especially the significance of wells. Wells were so important in those days because that's how people got their water for their daily use, including caring for their families and animals.  I was able to explain to the boys that our heart is our "well", and our mouth is our "bucket." Just like a bucket always draws up whatever is in the well, so it is with us. If we have kindness towards others in our hearts, kindness will come out of our mouths. If we have generosity and love in our hearts, it will come out in our speech. Likewise, if we have anger and a mean spirit towards someone, it will be shown by our speech. That was really telling for all of us because we all (myself included!) need to remember that and apply it to our lives. God knows our hearts and sees what it is in our well.  There are times when we need to get our well clean, and asking forgiveness is how we do it. The boys are fully aware that I am not perfect, especially in this area of speech. This was a wonderful opportunity for me to share God's way with them and gave us a common bond: all three of us need God's grace and power in this area in order to get our hearts right with God so that we please Him with our speech.

Thankful for these opportunities to share about God in everyday tasks with my kids...