T-E-L-L, I’m gonna tell

Jackson (in the center with a white shirt) sings at VBS family night.

In front of a packed house Thursday evening, my little boy got up with his friends and sang his heart out for Jesus.

My joy may have matched his while I watched Jackson’s face beam as he sang and did all the motions to the songs. Lauren squealed and pointed out her brother. She was proud, too!

Jackson has been a natural performer since birth, and loves to sing and act out stories. But, he has also struggled with stage fright. There have been many times when he just lost it as he looked out into an audience or would refuse to get on stage altogether.

However, this night, he walked up confidently and smiled wide. He praised Jesus with all his might! The enthusiasm of the children was contagious as they shouted for their Savior:

T-E-L-L, I’m gonna tell!
Y-E-L-L, I’m gonna yell!

Everybody needs to know
Jesus loves them so

There is nothing that pleases me more than when I see my children connecting with God. My heart overflows when they grow in their understanding of His love and express their love back to Jesus.

God feels the same about you and me.

There is nothing God wants more than for us to be close with Him. He deeply desires for us to grow in His love and enjoy His gift of grace. He longs for us to talk with Him, to ask Him the hard questions, to share His words with others. He is the proud parent watching His children get on stage and sing.

When Jesus obeyed His Father and was baptized, God was so proud He could not keep silent. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus like a dove, and God spoke audibly to the crowd and to Jesus, “This is My Son, in whom I am well pleased!” This was the first time Jesus demonstrated to the people around Him how He would rescue them from the chains of sin and make a way for us to have a restored relationship with the Father, through His death, burial and resurrection. And, because of His obedience to God’s redemptive plan for mankind and submitting and pledging His very life for you and me, God loudly spoke His pleasure over His Son.

Today, I want to please my Savior. I submit my life to His plan, no matter where that leads. I want to hear Him say He is pleased with me. If that’s your prayer, too, I know we have work to do as we filter our lives through His forgiveness and faithfulness.

When we shift off-key and our voices falter, I will remember that God’s love never wains for His children. He loves us, not because of what we do or don’t do, but because we are His children.

And as I accept His love and He shapes my heart and life, I want to make Him proud.

Burning Book

I am so thankful God was watching over Jackson this morning when I was not.

Jackson started shouting to me, “I burned the book! I burned the book!” as I was coming down the hallway after changing Lauren’s diaper. I put her down and raced toward him. He had a panicked look on his face and held out his book to me. I glanced over his shoulder and saw the candle I had lit earlier with smoke wafting from where the wicks were burning just seconds before.

The book-burning candle

I turned over the book, and sure enough there was a dime-sized black mark on the back, warm to the touch. Even though I had put the candle in the middle of the kitchen counter, which is too far for Jackson to touch from either side, he decided he would reach up with his book and rest it over the candle jar. That snuffed out the wicks and burnt the book.

The implications of what he had done hurtled through my mind, and with a pounding heart I tried my best to explain to him how dangerous and wrong his actions were. Jackson knew he shouldn’t have done it, yet he just didn’t understand in that moment how serious the consequences could have been.

Sin is like that. It may look beautiful, like a flickering candle, and even fill a room with its sweet fragrance. Its presence can soothe, and even hypnotize. It’s hard to determine how close you can actually get to the flame until it is too late. Damage from the flame can heal, but the scar will always remain.

Are their areas of our lives that we are flirting with sin, or not taking precautions to distance ourselves from that sin? Are we doing something, or not doing something, that is making it easier for others around us to fall into temptation? Just because we are not currently involved in sinful activity doesn’t mean we are fully protecting ourselves and those around us.

I do think some of my warning to him did sink in, because the first thing Jackson did when we got to story time at the library was tell one of his friends the whole story. He also then explained that the fire could have made the house fall down and we all could have died, so don’t put books on fires.

That’s advice we can all use.