L-A, Mella & translator// "Cree" and L-A at Father's House School//Two cuties at Riverview
Laurie-Ann has fallen in love with the Riverview kids, and many of them love her too. While they can still act a bit crazy from a sugar high (Mella’s sweets), they do respond and grow. We decided to see if they were listening. Before L-A started a talk given on April 18th, she asked if they could still remember the basics from the talk given on February 14th. It was about God changing hearts of stone to become a heart filled with love (a heart of flesh). They remembered! So L-A shared the following talk, and found that she brought two extra sponges with her. The sponge is her symbol of soaking prayer and a good memento. So after the talk, Mella gave a contest of different questions that the kids could answer to see if they were listening and learned from the talk. It was astounding at how much they remembered! Here’s the talk – it may bless you as well.
"Last time I shared with you, I talked about God giving us a new heart. We learned about God changing our hearts from stone to a heart that loves. God wants to give us his heart – like this paper heart but much bigger. (Put the heart on my chest)
Now let’s pretend this heart was ten times the size of this one, only it would still fit inside of me. That’s how big our hearts can be when filled with God’s love. It’s all about God’s love. We need to receive God’s love, so we can give it to others.
We need to ask God to fill us with love every day. We need to stop and spend time with him. Yes, you are kids. Jesus LOVES kids. You can love and touch people’s hearts. You don’t have to be a grown-up. So I have a secret in how I keep my heart full. I’d love to share it with you. We need to spend time with Jesus every day. EVERY day. His love is like fuel for our hearts. We run on love, not sadness or anger. So in your time with Jesus, you read the Bible. You also share your heart with him.
And then you quiet your heart so that you’re only thinking about Jesus. Other things may be good, but this is your special time with Jesus. It says in the Psalms, to be still and know that He is God. When we take the time to wait before the Lord, He responds. So I do something called Soaking Prayer. It’s when we soak in God’s love, like you can soak in a swimming pool without splashing and laughing. And it’s also like when you’re really thirsty and only cold water will make you feel satisfied. Coke, Fanta or Stoney Ginger Beer won’t stop your thirst. Water will.
And you may not know this, but we made of water. We need water to keep us alive. We also need God’s love to keep us alive. I have a sponge here. (show sponge) This sponge can be used to wash dishes. It can also wipe kitchen counters and sinks. But it won’t work without water.
Uncle Tony, please come on over here. (Rub the sponge against Tony’s arm). (Tony reacts) Tony, how does this sponge make you feel? (Tony says: It doesn’t feel nice! It’s hard and scratchy!)
So let’s pretend your heart is like a sponge that is dry. It has no water in it. If your heart is hard and scratchy, you might be rude and mean. But if your heart is filled, then you’re loving. Some sponges get really hard and when you rub them on the counter, it squeaks. And when you rub a dry sponge on you, it doesn’t feel very nice. So we have water here in this bowl. And we have this sponge. Let’s see what happens when we soak the sponge in the water over a long time.
(L-A dips the sponge in and keeps immersing the sponge – but it’s not that full yet. She dips again and again)
Tony (says to the kids): Do we need more? (yes)
So, what do you think happens in your day if you are tired and someone pokes you? This is a day that you didn’t have a chance to spend time with Jesus. Do you get mad? Do you laugh? Do you get upset and tell them to go away? So think - what could happen if someone pokes you AFTER you’ve spent time with Jesus? (L-A finally squeezes the sponge with the water coming out in streams)
Jesus says that whoever comes to him would have streams of living water flow from their bellies. He fills us with his deep love inside – just like this sponge and water. We are the sponge. He is the water.
Now I don’t want someone poking you, but things like that happen in life. What matters is that if you have a heart filled with love, love will be your language every day. So how do we do this at home? We don’t need a sponge and water. You need a quiet place to yourself. It helps to have soft worship music, since sometimes you can fall asleep. And you need to just rest and think of Jesus. And he will fill you with peace and love. He may even give you a little picture or speak loving words from the Bible into your heart. I’d like to pray with you. Lord Jesus, thank you for my little brothers and sisters. You love them. I love them. I ask that as they sit here before you, that you would touch their hearts. Let them feel your presence. And in this time of peace, speak to them. In Jesus’ name."
I’m finding that there is always a side of spontaneity when I talk to these (and other) children. Two weeks prior, I was asked in an impromptu way by the international students at the Iris Father’s House Discipleship School to also speak on soaking prayer. I was completely surprised, since I had not taught this for some time. So I’m glad I was reminded, since it was a perfect follow-up with the children on the stony heart becoming one of love.
You never know how some of the children will react. Take the reactions of the adults and magnify them many times – and you’ll see what I mean. I was given an impromptu translator to share my message line by line in Afrikaans. Some of the kids clearly understood both languages, so they got a double teaching. Also, both children who ‘won’ a sponge, will share them with their mothers, and will likely tell them about the soaking prayer they learned at kids’ club. Next week, I speak to both the Avian Park kids (at My Father’s House Worcester) and the Vinkrivier Farm kids. But each time my heart grows bigger and I’m stretched. May your heart but full and stretched too. It just may keep you from a spiritual heart attack!
Tony and Laurie-Ann Copple (usually Laurie-Ann)
L-A's devotional blog
TONY'S DEVOTIONAL BLOG
Tony's south african journal