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Posts Tagged ‘Children’s Catechism

Astonishing Good News

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This month (March 2014) we mark the one year anniversary of the Catechism instruction curriculum in the 4-year-old through 3rd grade Sunday School class. Consider this impressive list of essential and timeless doctrines that these young ones have learned over the past 12 months:

  • God made everything – including all of us, His image bearers. God made us for His own glory, and for this reason we are called to love and obey Him, because He made us and takes care of us. (Series A)  (Genesis 1:27; John 1:3; 1 Corinthians 10:31; John 14:15; 1 Peter 5:7)
  • There is only one God, existing in three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. God is a spirit – omnipresent and omniscient – and, as such, He does not have a body like men, so that we cannot see Him, but He always sees us. Nothing can be hidden from Him. As the omnipotent Ruler, He does all His holy will. (Series B) (Deuteronomy 6:4; Luke 4:18a; John 4:24; Proverbs 15:3; Psalm 139:7; Luke 1:37)
  • The Bible – God’s Wonderful Library – is the means the Lord has provided for us to learn about Him and how to live in obedience to Him. His Book was written by holy men who were taught by the Holy Spirit, with each Testament given to us for a different purpose: the Old Testament teaches us how God prepared a way for the Savior to come; the New Testament proclaims the good news that the Savior has come! And we learn from both that He will come again for all His children. Doubly good news! (Series C) (2 Peter 1:21; Psalm 119:11; Zechariah 2:10; John 20:31; Hebrews 9:28b)

During a break between series, we also spent four weeks leading up to Christmas learning more about Jesus’s Family Tree and how our Savior’s birth was promised from the beginning of the world. We also discovered how the Lord provided types and shadows of Him and the work He would do for us in life, in death and in eternity. What a poignant and majestic message that provided for us during our Christmas season! (Advent Series)

Now as we look ahead to Resurrection Sunday, the day we set aside (not as a special holy day, but as a marker on our calendar) to consider the journey Jesus Christ made to the cross and the miracle of His glorious triumph over sin and death, the children will be hearing the message of the final lesson in Series C.  “What do the Old and New Testaments promise about the risen Savior?” Incline your ear to this astounding answer: “The Old and New Testaments promise that He will come again for all His children.”

Why is this an astounding answer? Because only a reigning, living Savior can rescue His people from this dying world.

No Cross No Crown

Have you heard the good news? He is alive! We do not worship the memory of a good man who lived two thousand years ago. We bend the knee in devotion and cheerful and willing submission to the Son of God, the King on the throne, who is as alive today as He was when He walked the earth. Just as He has released us from the chains of sin’s punishment and power, He will one day snatch us from the presence of sin. Nothing has ever in all of time had the power to do that. Nothing. God has promised that “Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Hebrews 9:28).

His word is true.

 

 

 

 

 

This post first appeared at the Three Rivers Grace blog.

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Written by mrsdkmiller

March 27, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Is there a chokehold on your heart?

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This post first appeared at the Three Rivers Grace blog on Wednesday, January 29, 2014.

Question: Why did God give the Bible to us?

Answer: God gave the Bible to teach us about Himself and to show us how to live.

The heart is a mysterious thing. Not just the muscle and arteries and chambers parts of it. It’s fascinating enough to examine and marvel at God’s ways of creation. But the heart, as described by Scripture, is truly a mysterious thing, for, as Jeremiah said, “Who can know it?”  (Jer. 17:9b)

vine

It will be where our treasure is  (Matthew 6:21).

It holds the wellspring of life, and must be guarded above all else  (Proverbs 4:23)  by the peace of God  (Philippians 4:7).

A pure heart must be created anew by God, accompanied by a steadfast spirit  (Psalm 51:10).

Even when the heart of flesh fails, God Himself is the strength of a spiritual heart  (Psalm 73:26).

The desires of my heart are directly related to my delight in the Lord  (Psalm 37:4).

The pure in heart are blessed, and as such, will see God  (Matthew 5:8).

When we teach the lessons of the catechism to children, we know we’re not doing so in a vacuum. There are countless levels of application the Lord will provide for us – all of us, from the children to the teachers to the parents to the helpers. There are just as many opportunities to meditate on the truths and consider how they fit with the pieces of doctrine and teaching the Lord has us hear from other sources – sermons, books, fellowship and discussion with friends, child training sessions, social media posts, music.

The filter for all of this is the heart. Is my heart prepared to hear what the Lord has to say to me about Himself, what He has done, and how He wants me to live for Him? Or is it opposed to the Bible’s teachings and exhortations; the Spirit’s prodding, comforts, and rebukes — even the Gospel message of grace and promise? Is my heart murmuring, fretting, vexing? Does it go about, unfettered, on unstable, disquieted, and tumultuous jaunts? Is it distracted? Is it sinking in disappointment?

Jesus cautioned the worries and cares of this world and its afflictions and distractions can choke out the Word as surely as invasive vines can throttle a plant or journeying roots can undermine a tree. Jeremiah Burroughs says in his classic work, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, “God would have us depend on Him” despite the external events that might cause our hearts to fret or be disquieted. This contentment of the soul governs how we look to His word. How we regard the Bible and its purpose feeds our understanding of whence comes a heart ready to love and trust God.

I must not neglect to consider the matters of the heart when training up my children in the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord, to be attuned to internal rumblings that would oppose what the Lord wants to do or say, not only to me, but to them, as well.

Written by mrsdkmiller

February 1, 2014 at 7:40 am

Posted in Apologetics, Doctrine

Tagged with

Magnetic Pull

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Pleased to be contributing over at Three Rivers Grace Church… here’s yesterday’s post.

If you’re like me, a compass is one of those pieces of equipment that you never have with you when you need it, even though your kids have received dozens over the years from VBS. And if you’re like me, you know that a compass points its user to the North Pole, but perhaps you aren’t aware that the Pole is so called because from it emanates one of the two magnetic fields that protect our planet from dangerous, charged particles from the Sun, known as solar wind.  Regardless which way a compass is turned, the needle always points North, which can be determined by turning the compass so that the needle points at the “N” on the dial. There is only one North, and all properly aligned compasses will have a needle point in that direction.

So what does this have to do with the Catechism question, “Are there more gods than one?” The answer, “No, there is only one God”, speaks of uniqueness, but it also speaks of exclusivity.

Throughout history and today, the lost have worshiped many things – the sun, trees, or idols fashioned by man – or men in place of the one true God. Sunday, children’s teacher Chris Dove led the class through a discussion of how false gods – idols – can be material things or people on whom we improperly place our devotion and worship. But let’s be practical; most of us, children or adult don’t, Rachel-like, keep a stash of stolen idols hidden under our covers. Surprisingly, children understand this concept, and the kids in the Sunday School class were quick to identify the types of non-material idols from their own lives: watching TV, playing video games, following sports, and focusing on appearances.

But there’s a subtle difference between simply identifying an idol as anything we regard as more important than God, and that which draws our hearts away from where God (in His revealed will) would have them be. Ask a child, “Do you love the Steelers more than you love Jesus?”, and very likely the answer will be a resounding “NO!” But if, in some way, being obedient to the Scriptures should come in conflict with following the Steelers, how might that child respond? How would you respond?

When the needle of a compass is pegged on the “N”, we know it’s being pulled by a magnetic force from the North Pole. If a strong magnet is brought close to the compass from the opposite direction, the needle swings around, away from its intended focus. An idol can also be anything that turns our actions and thoughts away from God toward our own desires, causing us to want what satisfies our wants, rather than to want what God wants – exalting ourselves, instead of Jesus.

What the Bible calls us to is to want what God wants. To want His wants.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. (Ps. 37:4)

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Like the needle being drawn toward North, magnet to magnet, God’s own children are drawn toward Him. But like a weak compass can be diverted by another magnetic pull, drawing the needle away from North, so the hearts of God’s children – my heart – can be pulled away from God’s wants and toward satisfaction of my own wants and desires. When I saw Miss Chris illustrate this with the magnets and compass in class, a weighty feeling of great sadness fell on me. This is what happens when we let our wants dominate and pull us away from our precious Lord and Savior. Paul’s warning in Ephesians to idolators is dire: “For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Eph. 5:5

But we’ve also learned that the Holy Spirit is the power at work within us, to keep our thoughts stayed on Christ, and to deliver to our hearts the desires of God. There can be only one true God, and His strength to sustain us and hold us cannot be matched by any idol, material or immaterial.

A sound and edifying sermon on Soul Idolatry delivered by Puritan David Clarkson is available HERE.

 

Written by mrsdkmiller

July 30, 2013 at 10:09 am

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