Celebrate!


Rejoicing with Training Hearts for Jesus Graduates!!

I am rejoicing with Regina Jones, as she celebrates with her first Training Hearts for Jesus Graduates from Highfields, Harare!  Transforming homes! Transforming countries!!

Tea and Oxen

Oxen

Up at 6:00 a.m., attempting to jump in the shower before the little ones open their eyes.  You wonder if they can hear when you open your eyes, because so often they begin their fussing as soon as you peek at the new day.  So often your day begins before you are spiritually, mentally, or physically prepared.  Once again you feel slightly out of control and a little cheated of that hope for the morning peace, maybe even that short devotional time.  Once again you’re moving at the speed of light, almost like trying to run in front of a fast moving train! If you don’t get them breakfast fast enough, you have fits and tears until the food hits their tongues.  The laundry sits in piles in the hallway, and you can’t seem to get near enough to it to deposit it into the washer because of diaper changes, storybook time and the play dough set-up squeezing out all the tasks that are so vital to keeping your world turning.  You feel discouraged, depressed and defeated!  Has it ever crossed your mind (as it has mine), that if only you didn’t have these little ones demanding so many of your designated daily minutes, that your house would feel warm, fresh and inviting?  You’re table would be ready to receive your sisters in the Lord for the slightly sweet cup of tea and the smell of freshly baked coffeecake (vs. the smell of dirty diapers) would sift through the air and fill your home with the invitation for fellowship?  Hmmm….

Have you ever heard or actually stopped to think about Proverbs 14:4?  I love this verse.  As is often true of God’s Word, it has the ability to set my mind straight, comfort me, encourage me and give me the determination to push on for the prize!

Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,

but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

Proverbs 14:4

As we long for that “manger” that is in order and the sweet fellowship around our dining room table, truly what is valuable is the precious task that God has ordained for our lives, to bring up our little “oxen” in the admonition of the Lord.  We have to keep our eyes on what’s to come, not on this present day.  Our manger could be empty and would be peaceful, but what could that do for the Kingdom of God that would be as much a privilege for us as having those little lives trained up to become the next generation’s Christian workers, bringing in the harvest for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom?

Mommies, be encouraged!  The hand that rocks the cradle, truly rules the world.  Say “yes” to God and allow Him to use you to impact the lives in your home!  Only then will they make the difference for those who will grow up in homes and schools with no God.  Work to bring your children to the place that their knowledge of the love of Christ will spill out as an offering to the future adults in America, that they may know the living God, and the life of transforming grace. Teach your children to Love God with all their heart, soul and mind, and love their neighbor as themselves (Matt. 22: 37-39) and watch the fruit that will be gathered as a result!

You missed your morning devotions?  After breakfast, sit down with your little ones and share a morning devotional with them.  I have sometimes been more effected by the children’s devotionals than some of my favorites.  Purchase small little baskets, so when it’s time to do the laundry, your little one is by your side helping with his own little basket of laundry.  Allow him to empty the dishwasher (of course previously removing sharp knives or easily breakable items first :0)).  That’s when you have the opportunity to pour into his heart with your words of wisdom, instead of promoting the worldly wisdom of some foolish stranger on television.  If you involve them in the duties of the day, instead of being a distraction, they become a part of the family team.  They will feel so productive, as if they are part of the solution instead of the problem.  Kids love to be an important part of the family!!  They won’t be getting into trouble, just to get your attention.  It will take a little more time and patience for you to get the duties of your day completed, but it beats not doing them at all.  And in the long run, your little ox is growing into the strong ox that will till the fields and gather the fruit for Heaven.  Your investment, your joy, your treasures! It’s so much better than a cup of tea!

Sharon Cannavo


Cornerstone in Zimbabwe???

It’s a NEW update from our sweet missionary, Regina!! How exciting! At this rate, there may be a Cornerstone Community School in Zimbabwe soon! Wow!! So Cool!

Hi Sharon!
So sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve emailed! It has been so crazy busy, and everytime I have had free time there have either been power cuts or the internet has been down. I love having internet on my phone, but its not easy to send real emails from that!
I hope things are going well with your family and with Cornerstone! It sounds like (from Facebook) that things are going well!
Our Training Hearts For Jesus class in Highfields is going so well! I just love it… I look so forward to Monday and Friday! The parents are so into the class, they love what they are learning and are actually putting what they are learning in to practice, it is so encouraging! I feel so good about what is happening, and with our next class we are going to implement parent support groups, and I am going to have some of our fabulous students facilitating the conversations. Because our classes now are mostly “lecture” style (because of the language barriers)it will be good to increase the amount of time that the parents can share their experiences and questions. For the first few classes (the whole 14 week sessions) I will be with them in case there are things that come up that they need help with, but I am so confident that they will be able to handle it!
LEAD, the school that we offer the classes at right now just has a preschool and a Bible college, but they are hoping to open a grade 1 in January (grade 2 and 3 if they can get funding) and then each year after that, they will add a grade. They want to have Training Hearts classes running throughout the year and they will require the parents to come to the class! The pastor and director have been so impressed with the changes they have seen in the families!
One of the mothers in the class, has a child in the preschool and another child in grade 3. Her child in grade 3 was really misbehaving. She was really at her wits end and her marriage was really falling apart. She has thrown herself into the class AND since then, church. Her older son is now one of the most excited and helpful kids in Sunday School. I love watching what is happening in their family. The mother has been elected Secretary of the women’s ministry and has signed up at the college for computer classes. She is so full of joy! She is so thankful for Training Hearts, it makes my heart so happy!
Please keep the babies on your prayer list. We have had a difficult meeting regarding social welfare this week and I really need your prayer regarding God’s direction through the government beaurocracy. There is a new baby that was abandoned last Thursday. She was found on the edge of a river in the biggest high density in Harare. She is so beautiful. They have named her Natalie, she was born probably last Wednesday or Thursday. Please keep all of them in your prayers: Evans, Peterson, Kelsey, Panashe, Mary and Tinotenda. They are all such precious gifts from God.
I really want to find a way to have your parents praying for our parents. I need to be able to send you a picture. Its such a bummer, my camera completely broke- we can’t get anyone to fix it- the repair people think that it’s the gears, so when ROCK sends a team in October I am going to send it back with them to get it fixed, and most of the time my internet is SOOOO slow that it’s hard to upload from my camera, but I will try to make it a point to try this weekend when I have more time to spend on the internet!
Please send prayer requests from your class as well… our students here have been requesting them!!

I love you and am so grateful for the opportunity to teach this curriculum here!

Sarah’s Testimony

I receive emails from Dads and Moms that have taken or are currently enrolled in the Training Hearts for Jesus biblical parenting class.  It is such an encouragement to read how the lives of these families are being transformed with the application of God’s Word through this class.  Here’s a peek at one of the emails I received recently.  I hope you are as encouraged as I was :0).

Sarah and her Family

Sarah's Group

Hi Sharon,

I wrote a little story about my day today on my blog and linked it to the Training Hearts for Jesus website. I hope that’s alright with you. If you’d like to read it you’re more than welcome to. www.fitzlife.com

Also, just a little testimony here… A few months ago Ben spent the night at his cousin’s house and it was not the best evening for my sister-in-law. It wasn’t awful, but it was a lot of work. Last week Ben was invited to go to Legoland for his cousin’s birthday. I was a little nervous because I wouldn’t be there to help (read: micro manage) Ben’s behavior and the last thing I wanted was for him to be a burden for my brother and sis-in-law during Gavin’s special day. Mark and I have really been working on training Ben’s heart in certain areas (think first-born traits) so it was with a lot of prayer and conversations with Ben that I sent him off on this really fun day. I talked at length with Carrie (sis-in-law) after they got home and these words about brought tears to my eyes; she said, “Ben was a joy, really, a delight. He was completely different from the boy who spent the night a few months ago. He was compliant and agreeable, even when he didn’t get his way. When Gavin chose to do an activity Ben went along with it without complaining or trying to be the boss.” Praise the Lord! God is so good, and so faithful. I just wanted to share that with you so you and Mario can be encouraged that your time serving through THFJ is not in vain and He is absolutely using your wisdom to build His kingdom.

Blessings to you…

Sarah

P.S. This is by no means saying our work is done… I think we will be training hearts in our house, unless Jesus returns, for at least 18 more years. 🙂

Training Hearts is Touching Little Hearts

The babies that Regina speaks of in this following email are healed and healthy, thanks to many of your prayers.  I thought you would enjoy hearing how Training Hearts played a part in the divine intervention for the welfare of these little ones.  In the mean time, Regina and I, and so many others, are still praying that these babies will receive a permanent home with a mommy and daddy who will love them.  Please read on:

Email Update:

Ok Sharon, this is the story of how I met these special babies!! You are going to love this one!

One of the ladies in out Training Hearts class came to our one on one sessio very distraught.  Her 18 year old daughter was pregnant and miscarrying.  This family was on the verge of being evicted from their home because neither this woman nor her husband are working (remember zim has a 90% unemployment rate) and couldn’t afford medical care for her daughter who claimed to be  2-3 months pregnant and miscarrying.  We helped with the medical needs of the daughter (dr visit and medicines) and a couple of weeks later this mother called me and asked if I would come to Harare Hospital with her after class because her daughter Florence had given birth to a premature baby, she had actually been 7 months pregnant and the baby weighed 1.1kg!!

I went with her to the hospital and while I was awaiting permission to go into the room with the incubators I made friends with the nurses.

I asked about the babies across the hall and she told me they were dumped babies and took me in to see them. There were 5 gorgeous babies at that time! The youngest was a 3 days old (left for adoption he was the product of incest and rape) the oldest is Evans. He 10 months old and had never been outside the hospital since the day he was born and dumped on the side of the road.  He still sleeps in The plastic tray that newborns are brought to their mothers in, except he’s getting so big that now he likes to lounge with his legs over the sides!

Each of them had a heartbreaking story that so speaks to the desperation and lack of hope in this nation. I loved them all instantly, but all four of us that were there that day (myself, Nyasha and 2 pastors) agreed that little Kelsey (2 months old, HIV +) was the most beautiful thing we had ever seen. She is so special.  She was found dumped in a maize field and brought to the hospital by social welfare.  She is always happy and smiling and just brings joy to everyone.  She is very light skinned and because she was found in a neighborhood that is known for being “colored” (what mixed raced people are called in zim) they assume that she is probably colored as well.

I came daily to pray with Florence and her premature baby boy (she named him Nyasha and they are doing so well health wise) and would stop in to hold the babies in that room as the nurses from NICU are so busy.

All of the babies are amazing and I have grown to love all of them.  They all light up now when they are held (before it was not that way) and they love to be loved on.

Last weekend the 2 big boys (Evans 10 months and Edward 6 months) had been retested for HIV because they both tested positive at birth and 6 months. This 3rd test cameback negative for both of them! We all celbrated last Sunday when the nurses read the results. But, even as we were celebrating we noticed the babies weren’t feeling well. Edward had a fever of 40 and Evans had a temp of 39. The doctor came to see them and started them on antibiotics. 4 days after having his HIV status changed to negative Edward went home to be with Jesus. He was so very lovely. He laughed all the time and was so proud of himself when we would hold him up in a sitting position, these babies are so developmentally delayed because they lay flat on their backs all day.  I was so shocked and devastated by the news, because he literally died from lack of medical treatment, and yet he has lives his entire life in a hospital.

Evans was still presenting similar symptoms and Kelsey began to as well. Thursday when Edward died I finally threw a temper tantrum with social welfare and demanded that the babies receive medical treamtment or allow us to take them somewhere so that they could be properly treated.  I have kind of filled you in on the rest of the battles with the healthcare.

I just love the way God works. Most people dont realize That there are so many abandoned babies. I am just so grateful that because of training hearts we have met these babies and can stand in the gap for them and fight for them!!!  God is so good. I have several familieswho are interested in adopting and are going to come and visit!! A family who wants to adopt Kelsey was supposed to come see her on Sunday, but we have to postpone until she’s feeling better. Please continue to pray for her and all the babies. We meet more and more of them each day.

Love, Regina Jones, Rock of Africa

Training Hearts for Zimbabwe!

Regina Jones

Gigi in Zimbabwe

Regina Jones is one of the most incredible missionaries I have ever met.  She is young, single and gave up everything to serve the Lord in His call for her to reach the people of Zimbabwe, Africa for Christ.  Knowing that the knowledge of Christ must continue through a life of learning God’s Word and sanctification, Regina began looking for a biblically driven parenting curriculum that would bring the necessary discipleship into the homes of these hurting families.  That’s when she contacted us at Training Hearts for Jesus.  Here are two very exciting email updates that will give you a glimpse into the impact that Training Hearts for Jesus, as orchestrated by Regina, is having on these precious families in Zimbabwe.  Before you read, I want you to know that you can help provide Regina with the necessary curriculum.  If you will consider doing this, please email me at ContactUs@traininghearts.org.

Email 1:

Hi Sharon,
Well Training Hearts for Jesus, Highfields is going full swing!  We are meeting Mondays and Fridays and people are so committed! They love it!  The family situations are heartbreaking and so I am meeting with each family individually this week to get to know them and to see how we can help.  Some of the women/families I am going to have to meet with on a weekly basis, but God is really moving.
This week a man (who doesn’t come to the class because of work) came to meet the pastor who’s place we are doing the class at and said “Pastor Lovejoy, things at home are different, I think it’s because what my wife is learning in that class, so thank you.” HA! Already! I am telling you, I think we are going to see miracles! The teaching on marriage was DIFFICULT, but SO GOOD! We have about a 35% rate of marital fidelity in class… this is heartbreaking but I think pretty common for Zim, so we are talking A LOT about that!
Talking about how the family unit is the unit for change in a family/tribe/community and nation has been so inspiring.  So many people complain about the condition in this nation, and are praying for a governmental change, when they are unwilling to even change a simple behavior/thought pattern in their home.  There was an awakening in class when we started talking about the results of marital unfaithfulness.  At one point I said, “you all wrote that HIV is a major issue in your family [because so many people have to raise nieces and nephews and other relatives  because of the high rate of HIV orphans] but your government will not eradicate AIDS, but living our sex life the way God commands, certainly will” and you could have cut the tension with a knife… BUT, the majority of the class has said that they never thought about the connection between adultery and HIV—CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!?
Please be praying for us, we have about 40 families in the class at this point, I will get you the exact numbers next week.  We even have some pastors (praise God) and 5 students from the school of ministry are being allowed to take the class as an elective!! Imagine if pastors can catch this material and the concepts! Sharon, you are certainly having an impact in Zimbabwe at the moment!
Please be praying for me, the class is TIME CONSUMING! It is hard because so many of the families are in such distress, but I know that God is moving and I love seeing their faces light up when they catch one of the concepts! We are also laughing a lot in class, which I think is really nice for the ladies in class who don’t seem to have many friends! We are building a community, which is probably the most important part!
I think the students from the school of ministry (who are fairly educated and read well in English) will need the curriculums.  I am probably going to need a few more as well.  So there are 6 students, and I will need maybe 4 more curriculums if possible.  I really need another copy of the DVD’s because mine are pretty scratched from all the African dust in the dvd players! Some of the sections do not play well at all!  Please let me know how we can work that out!
Another exciting announcement is that Nyasha started the school of ministry, he is one of the students in the class and he seems to be pretty interested in the material which is really nice!
I know you were super busy with the end of the school year, but I hope that everything is going well and that you are enjoying the beginning of summer! It is winter here and I am tired of feeling cold already!
Love you!
Regina

Email 2:

Families of Zimbabwe

Families of Zimbabwe

Training Hearts for Jesus, Highfields is a HUGE SUCCESS! The parents are committed and we are seeing changes already!  Because of the testimonies from the parents at church and in the neighborhoods people are coming every day asking to sign up for the class, so we are going to have to start another class very soon!!! I am so excited about that!
This week in class (we meet every Monday and Friday) we were talking about the heart of behavior.  (Last Friday) as we went over the material, I try not to get frustrated with how long it takes to teach each thing…. And I am trying to remember that some of this is so important, that if we don’t get it, the rest of the information will be lost, I could see some of the parents with tears in their eyes.  We were talking about the heart as the most important thing.  We took time to stop for questions and when we did, rather than questions (which we usually have so many of them because so much can be lost in translation) we had a lot of conviction.  Parents aching to share what the Holy Spirit was convicting them about.  It was unbelievable.  We had to go WAY over, so that people could keep sharing their hearts and so that we could talk about the difference between condemnation and conviction.  It was SO powerful.
One of the pastors who had been encouraged to come to the class by his mentor, but had not regularly attended came up to me after and said, “I have not taken this class seriously, because n my culture parenting is for the women to talk about and is something that we do haphazardly at best, but I was so convicted today about what I did with my own children.  I will not miss another class, I need this for myself and we need to teach this to our nation.  We cannot keep using culture as an excuse to teach our children ungodly ways”  I was overwhelmed!
We had women share that because they were ashamed of how their daughter had sex so young, they even encouraged them to have abortions, many times leading to death because of infection (abortion is illegal in Zimbabwe so it is done in very unclean and unsafe ways).
We had many parents convicted that they had been more concerned about their child’s education at school than about the growth of their hearts.  People saying that they never thought to read the Bible or pray with their children, because it is so hard to get them to sit still.
Oh Sharon, this class, more than any other has been so difficult to teach and yet the parents ARE grasping the material!  They want to do better.  When we meet for our one on one sessions, they come with questions, examples and they want to know how to make their home a more godly environment. Thank you so much for all you have done for me and for the people of Zimbabwe.  This curriculum is making a huge difference!
I was asked to teach Bible school on Sunday and we started memorizing Matthew 22:37,39 with the kids.  Some of their parents are in the class and they said the kids were trying to teach them and quiz them on the verse!  I love it!
As a side note, I had a terrible flu this week.  I woke up Thursday morning not feeling well and by Friday afternoon I wasn’t sure if I ‘d be able to make it through class, of course.  I prayed about it and felt very clearly that I was to still have class, as much as I wanted to cancel!! But God is so good, and I did make it through class, and Sunday School and class on Monday.  It is now Wednesday and I am starting to feel a bit better, almost human.  My stomach issues seem to be settling down, but I am so glad I didn’t cancel class, I see now  that it was really important to push through!
How are things going on your side? Are you enjoying the summer yet?
With lots of love,
Regina
If you would like to support Regina Jones, go to Rock of Africa.

What Does Summer Mean to You?

As administrator for Cornerstone Community School school, I spend the school months being driven by the demands of a schedule and the needs of the hearts of the families involved with our school. I praise the Lord for such a gift of ministry and am awestruck that He would consider me for the job, but by June I am drained from the pouring out of myself to my husband, my children and to the school. As I consider my days of summer, I feel like a child as my impatience and enthusiasm for those freer days begins to build. Only, unlike my childhood, my refreshing and excitement comes, not necessarily from a swim in the ocean, but from my rebuilding in God’s Word. The gift of being able to sit by the seashore with my Bible, devotionals and yes, my inspirational Christian fiction :0), is exactly what the Lord uses to give me that “be still” rest and that cool drink from the water of Life. Only because of these slower, more Christ-filled days, am I ready to push up my sleeves and dig into another year of ministry building little people into Christian leaders for the future. All for the glory of our King!

What about you? What does summer mean to you?

Sharon Cannavo

Plans and Hopes

I once heard a man verbalize his impatience with those who quote Jeremiah 29:11.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,

He declared it was not a quote for us today, but was directed specifically at the Jewish exiles in Babylon, who had been exiled due to their rebellion against the Lord. These Jews, who at the time were being encouraged to accept their consequence, settle in, stop listening to the lies and promises of the false prophets, plant gardens, marry and increase, and basically  bloom where they were planted.  Was all that true?  Yes.  But, is that the end of the history lesson? Absolutely not!

I said nothing at the time because I wanted to think it through and figure out why his declaration so saddened my heart.  I felt he was a representative of many believers who tend to forget what the point of God’s Word is all about.  There can almost be a sense of egotism, belittling others who rely on the hope that comes from verses like this.  These scoffers become overly scholastic about the scriptures, forgetting the very reason God taught holy men to write the Bible.  Please, don’t misunderstand me.  I am all for studying the Word of God, and being a good berean, correctly dividing His Word through proper interpretation, but that should be on the heels of remembering that God’s purpose for us is to know Him.  The only revelation of God’s character that we have is His Holy Word.  The Bible is filled with history from the creation of the World into the 90’s.  Why doesn’t the Bible go beyond that?  Because God was satisfied with the Scripture’s revelation of who He is and His plan for salvation at that point.  Everything that God wants us to know about Him is found in the 66 books of the Bible.  From that point on, the degree of intimacy we have with the person of God will depend on the intimacy we have with His Auto-(written by God, the Holy Spirit)-biography.  Do we spend time with God, through His Word on a daily basis?  If not, how can we possibly know Him or the plans He has for us?

Interestingly enough, I have often gained encouragement through Jeremiah 29:11, not because I think God is going to do in my life exactly what he declares to the exiles in this passage, but because I take a huge amount of hope in the revelation of His compassion and love that he pours out on these very disobedient children.  As I have spent hours walking through the Old Testament, I have been both frustrated by those “stiff necked” people of God, and at the same time, humbly convicted in the knowledge that without the power of His Holy Spirit in my life, I would have done no better.

As a mom I have desired the very best for my children.  I have done everything I can to raise them up according to the admonition of the Lord and I have failed at so many points.  No matter how hard I try, I can’t do it perfectly.  That is where knowing the precious, loving, compassionate character of my God and Savior, through His History Book becomes so impacting!  I do believe that God knows the plans He has for me and for my family.  I do believe He has specific plans for my children, and in my frailty I cannot thwart His plans.  He is God!  In God’s gentleness and love, I do believe His plans are to prosper us and not to harm us.  Does that mean there will be no trials, no illness, no poverty in our lives?  Absolutely not!  Hardships will be a part of His good plan (I know that because I read that as a pattern in His Word), but I have the opportunity to accept that as His good plan and to trust the outcome in the hands of my loving and compassionate God.  Even David, when conscience stricken regarding sin, repenting and asking for relief from his guilt, was given three options for consequence:

So Gad went to David and said to him, “Shall there come upon you three years of famine in your land? Or three months of fleeing from your enemies while they pursue you? Or three days of plague in your land? Now then, think it over and decide how I should answer the one who sent me.” (2 Sam. 24:13)

and in response:

David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the LORD, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into the hands of men.”(2 Sam. 24:14)

“His mercy is great”!  Will God prosper us? Yes, spiritually.  And He will keep us safe eternally.  That is where my confident hope lies as He has provided us with the firm truth of Salvation through the blood of His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, who is our propitiation.  One cannot have this promise of hope for the future and the avoidance of harm if that one has not submitted her life under the authority of King Jesus.  My children will have to go through their trials in life.  As they make their decisions to be submitted Christians, they will spend the rest of their lives being refined in the fires that are their sanctification.  I would worry for them more if they did not go through the hardships, for God chastens those He loves.  His character, as seen in His Word, is that of the perfect Father.  One who knows the plans He has for us.  Plans to prosper them/us and not to harm them/us.  Plans to give us a hope and a future.  The question is not whether this scripture is for us today… but whether we trust Him with the Truth of His Words to us.  I am so grateful that my children sit in His hands, and not my own.  As their mom, I will be committed to continue to direct them to the relationship that saves, as found between the covers of the Bible, that they may glorify God their Father, and enjoy Him forever!

Sharon Cannavo

Celebration with Confirmation

Mario and I, along with Devin and Judy Doherty, would like to take this time to join you in spirit as you celebrate the events of this weekend.

We pray through this day that is called Good Friday, and are tempted to feel guilty or sad for being the cause of our Jesus hanging on a cross and suffering our punishment. As Christians, we must not give into the condemnation. We must rejoice in God’s perfect and merciful plan to offer us forgiveness for sins and the ability to be saved through Christ’s complete work on that cross. God is pleased (Col.1:19) and Christ was willing (1 John 3:16), and so we have every reason to rejoice! Doing otherwise would be placing our reasoning and logic above God’s, and would not glorify Him. That is AMAZING! The agape love of God for us is AMAZING! We have a hard time reconciling it, but God tells us to come like a child, with the same innocent trust and confidence of a child (Mk.10:15). He tells us there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus (Rom. 8:1)!

Then on Sunday, we celebrate with fresh eyes and open hearts, as we allow the truth of the rising of our Savior to be as new and relevant as if it is the first announcement of this event! So, we say to you all, may you have a blessed Good Friday and a very joy-filled Easter!

Together we thank God that the largest part of the purpose and vision of Training Hearts for Jesus ministry is to bring up a new generation to know and understand these truths in the very deepest part of their hearts. That they, who may be redeemed, will be purified for Him, a people for His own possession who will be zealous for good works (Titus 2:14), and without the work of Christ, which we truly celebrate this day and the days to follow, are our only hope for this purification and possession to occur, both for us and our children. Praise the Lord!!
God is good and everything He does is good!!

In that, we rejoice with you in our Jesus,
Mario and Sharon Cannavo and Devin and Judy Doherty

Backwards Obedience

John 14:15  If you love me you will keep my commandments.

Many times this verse is read and understood in reverse.  We are so conditioned in this world to think that we must do in order to get. So, we read this verse like this:

If you keep my commandments, then I will know that you love Me.

In reality, we cannot possibly do enough of anything to give anything to God.  That was the whole point of Him sending His precious Son to the earth to die for our sins.  If we could do (in this case, work) in order to get (in this case, salvation), then Christ’s death was in vain and we have no need for a Savior.  Of course, as disciples of Jesus Christ, we desperately know we need Him to be our Savior!  Therefore, it is our complete reliance on our Savior, and our humble acceptance of Jesus that prompts us to respond in joyful gratitude and good works for the redemption, forgiveness, and salvation that is freely given to us through Christ’s work on the cross.

So, while it is important to teach our children obedience to the Lord and to daddy and mommy, it is imperative that we are not confused.  We do not want to inadvertently mislead our children into the misconception that their relationship with Christ can be earned through works.  When we are training the hearts of our children to be obedient to Jesus, we must be very careful not to imply or send the message to our children that their obedience or good works is what they do to prove to themselves and those around them that they love Jesus.  Amazingly, this could promote pride…the very sin that could harden their hearts and keep them from a relationship with God.  Instead, we must help them understand that when they do something good or make an obedient choice, it came as a result of the fruit of the love of Christ in them, as we are not able to do good in and of ourselves.  We want them to be God-reliant, not self-reliant.

Phil 2:13  For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to His good purpose.

This gives us cause to rejoice with our children when they do good, thanking God for His perfect grace and love in us.  His goodness in us becomes our blessing both for ourselves and for those around us.  When we see our children obey and do good, let’s help them to give glory to God!  Let’s be happy for them as they learn that goodness is a reflection of the love of Christ.  Sometimes….once in a while….it is even fun to celebrate obedience and goodness with an ice cream.  Cherish the simple times and moments of celebrating God’s love with your children and watch how they fall in love with Jesus!

John 14:12  Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I do.

Sharon Cannavo
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