All of Heaven is Rejoicing...and us here on earth!

The greatest thing we ask God for is the salvation of our three boys. We pray specifically that they would realize as young boys that every human is born into this world as a sinner - that there is nothing good in them that they can do to earn heaven or to gain a right standing with God. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 has been our family Scripture passage for this 2009-2010 school year and we do our best to practice consistently the art of speaking about Jesus and using teachable moments in everyday life. We read the Storybook Bible in the evening as a family and always bring the story back to what Jesus did for us on the cross because that's the central part of the Gospel. We pray aloud over the boys at night asking God to show Himself to them and that they would trust with childlike faith. As parents, we strongly believe that God works his grace in their hearts and they respond in faith without manipulation. We wait patiently and expectantly for the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts. We let our boys know that Jesus is the greatest gift ever and that nothing compares to Him. Our boys know how much we love them, but we tell them that no matter how they act or what they say, that God loves them far more and deeper still. Because of our strong beliefs and prayers to see our boys follow Jesus with all their hearts, what happened on Thursday, January 7th, was a beautiful picture of answered prayer and great rejoicing!

Over the past year, Elijah has become more curious and more knowledgeable of the Gospel of Christ. It's such a blessing that he has rich heritage of godly grandparents. His Upwards basketball coaches, AWANA leaders, Sunday School teachers, friends, and other family members have spoken truth into his life and live a Christ-filled life before him.This past fall, Elijah got some Bible story CDs from Mimi and Pops. He chooses to listen to them nightly as he falls asleep. He is memorizing Scripture and wants to know what the verses mean. He has compassion for his classmates' needs and we hear that in his prayers for them. In the past few months as we have noticed this curiosity about salvation, we have been intentional to ask him questions directed to his own heart. Elijah often would reply with, "I'm not ready," or "I'm don't want to talk about it right now." We wouldn't press it. We, too, had to be prompted by the Holy Spirit, just as we were praying for the Holy Spirit to do His work in our son.

On Thursday, January 7, the kids were out of school because of the weather and Ben was getting hyped up for the big BCS Championship game between Alabama and Texas. Shauna and the boys were making paper snowflakes where Shauna made a brown snowflake while the boys were decorating their white snowflakes. (Remember, we look for teachable moments throughout our day.) The boys were laughing at the dirty snowflake I was creating saying it looked like the mushy dirty snow on the sides of the street. Shauna asked them how our hearts resembled the brown snowflake. Elijah knew the answer, like he often does. He said that our hearts are full of sin that is dirty and mushy. I asked, "How do our hearts become pure like the white snowflake?" Elijah answered, "You ask God to forgive you of your sins and to clean you up." We continued to talk a few more minutes. I then asked, "Elijah, what is keeping you from having a heart that is pure and white as snow?" He said that he wanted to go upstairs for a while. And as always, we don't want to pressure them, so I assumed conversation was over and that he was done with crafts for the day.
About 10-15 minutes later, Elijah came downstairs and said, "Mom, I've been talking with Jesus upstairs." To which I replied, "About what?" Elijah told me that he had asked God to forgive him of his sins and that he believed that Jesus died on the cross for his sins. Elijah went on to say that he gave his life to Jesus. "OKAY!" I said joyfully. We called Ben and he made plans to be home early so that we could talk and rejoice together.
That afternoon, Ben spent a few minutes confirming what we already believe happened earlier that day. We told our son that his salvation is sealed and that he has a home in heaven. We also let him know that the Holy Spirit lives in him and will guide him and let him know when he messes up. We told Elijah that all of heaven is rejoicing! So we rejoiced with him. Then Elijah, without our help, took a minute to pray and thank God for saving him and forgiving him.

Though Alabama became BCS Champions that night, nothing compares to our son, Elijah, becoming a Christ-follower! Below is what he wrote in his Bible:

(January 7, 2010 I gave my life to Jesus)