Monday, January 20, 2014

Christ focused scripture study ~ Preparing for baptism

I am preparing my 7 year old for baptism (when he turns 8 he will get to make this decision).  I feel like there are certain things that he should feel in his heart when he decides to get baptized.  I don't want it to be my day- I want it to be his day.  I want him to remember years later how he felt when he made the decision & how special that day was for him.  I remember my baptism.  I was 8.  I know that 8 year olds are still children, with a lot to learn about the world.  However, they are old enough to know right from wrong and to make choices and be held accountable and they are at an age of responsibility.  I remember how I felt.  I was excited.  I thought about the idea of my sins being washed away.  I had seen my friends and my older sister get baptized.  I thought about the fact that I was following Christ.  I knew that I would then be a representative of His church.  I was excited about every bit of it and I knew the responsibility I was accepting.  I did not know much about the spirit- other than that He witnesses truth to us.  People had talked about "offending" the spirit.  I had heard that you could receive warnings, promptings, inspiration, comfort... etc... I had felt the witness of the Holy Ghost- like a glow of love and light in my heart, and I had felt comforted, but I hadn't experienced the other things.  They said He would be a constant companion to me after my baptism.  I wasn't sure what that would be like.
Oh! how I love remembering that day!  My older sister was so excited for me. I remember when I felt that glow in my heart.  It was familiar to me. When all the fuss was over, I still felt that warmth in my heart.  I remember feeling it for an extraordinary amount of time.  It alarmed me to a degree, that it didn't dissipate.  I feel so blessed to have these memories.  I want my son to be prepared.  I want him to know what Baptism means, I want him to know what it means to make that sacred covenant.  I want him to be able to recognize the feelings of the Spirit.  I made some goals and as we progress, I find new inspiration to help me prepare my son.  My first goal was to read the Book of Mormon and the New Testament and have a few key lessons with Josh at home about baptism.  We're progressing in our scripture study.  The other night I read a remarkable testimony of Christ by President Joseph Feilding Smith.  As I read, I could feel the sincerity of his words and how deeply struck his testimony was in his heart.  I pondered over it for a moment and thought about my own testimony.  I had in my head, goals about helping Joshua know about the peripherals in the church- the plan of salvation, priesthood, the restoration, all of the things about the Book of Mormon prophets...  but I realized that those are not the things I was excited about on my baptism.  They were indeed cool, but I was excited about the core- I was excited to take part in the atonement Christ made for me.  So, I made this study plan to prepare my son with a fervent testimony rooted deep in Christ.
It is something we will do as we read the scriptures to help the kids interact with them and understand them in a more tangible way.
1. The Mission of Christ
(These are picture cards which we will use to show what part of His mission He is fulfilling as we read)
      T- Teacher/ Governor -This is when Christ is telling us the law and consequences
      H- Help/Comforter - This is the personal help and comfort he offers each of us.
      E- Exemplar- This will be expressed beautifully as we cover his life.  The light of example.
      M- Mediator/Redeemer- This deals with the sacrifice he made for us and the intercession he
                                          continues to make for us. The Mercy.
      C- Creator - He created the Earth & our physical bodies, he is still creating us spiritually.
2. Following Christ
     A. Christlike Attributes -A jar in which we put attributes of Christ as we come across them.
     B. Footsteps -This is an application idea- where we have examples of ways Joshua can follow                   Christ in his life. It will contain commandments. It will be printed on footstep shaped paper.
3. How Jesus Feels about me, Promises, and Blessings from following Him.
     This is a Heart themed pouch in which we put scripture quotes & such about the Love & Promises.
4. Beware Bucket
     This is where we put the warnings.  This will also contain commandments, but it will be the "avoiding sin" category rather than a "righteous acts" category as in the above under 'Following Christ'.

As you probably noticed, some of these things will be connected.   As He shows an example and what we are to do, we will have attributes to put in the jar footsteps to follow (part 2 above).  As Christ speaks help and comfort to us, we will have things to put in the heart pouch (part 3 above).  As He Teaches/Governs, we will be able to put things in the Beware Bucket (part 4 above).

This is, as yet, an untested scripture aid.  However, I'm optimistic about the outcome.  I'm hoping it will help engage the kids in the reading and help them gain a testimony of Christ and feel His love and know what He desires for them.  As a mother, I love my kids with all my heart...  Sometimes I don't think my heart is big enough for the love I feel for my boys.  I remember how my own mother's love protected me from making bad choices. However full and profoundly I love my dear little ones, I know they also need to know the love of their Heavenly Parents and their Savior.  In my wonderful love for my kids, I still make mistakes and find the end of my rope of patience. I want them to have a source of perfect love to rely on when my love isn't enough or when they question my love for them.  In God's love, he won't make mistakes and he won't lose his patience with them.  I feel like I could try to teach them a thousand other things and they would all fall flat if they didn't know about the love behind it all. I'm very excited about this plan.  I feel we all will benefit from the Christ centered- application oriented study.

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