Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ethan's Special Decision

Something very special happened in our house tonight . . . Ethan asked Jesus into his heart to make his heart clean! Here is the story of how it happened.

Last night at Mission Friends at church, Scott and I taught the kids how to make salvation bracelets. This was our first night teaching 4 year old Mission Friends. The lesson was about people in other countries who make crafts for a living, so that is why we chose the bracelet making activity. The bracelets seemed to be a hit with the kids, and we talked about what each color bead meant. I will give both the 4 year old description we gave the kids, along with a more detailed one at the end of this post.

Well, tonight at the dinner table, Ethan and I were talking about his day. He shared with me how he had gotten mad at Mama Bailey at the grocery store today because she told him not to push on the cart, and he hit her. He said he told her he was sorry, but he seemed to be almost joking/laughing about the whole situation. I got very serious and told him how disappointed I was in him that he did that. After talking about it for a few minutes, he got very sad and solemn and asked if I would give him a hug. I of course told him how I was happy he told Mama he was sorry, but we also talked about other things he could do instead of hitting when he gets mad - like telling Mama he was mad and talking about it, or trying to calm down and count to 10.

After that I decided to move on and I asked him if he remembered what the different colors meant on his bracelet. He had obviously worn his bracelet all day today. He asked me if I would help him remember the different colors. So, we went over each of the colors and I asked him questions to help him remember the meanings, rather than just tell him. He seemed to really understand when we said that our hearts are dirty with sin, and when we believe in Jesus and say we're sorry, that Jesus will make our hearts all clean again. I then thought it might be good to tie in the earlier sin of hitting Mama Bailey into my illustration. It seems like he really "got it" then.

Then as serious as can be, he looked at me straight in the eyes and said, "Mommy, will you help me say that so my heart will not be dirty anymore and will be clean?" I really wished Scott would've been home from work by now, but I knew that I couldn't put this off . . . it was clear to me that the time was NOW. So, I asked him if he wanted to pray to ask Jesus into his heart to make his heart clean and to take away the sin in his life. Ethan said he did. So, at first I really didn't feel like I was prepared to do this, but again I felt the Lord saying, "This is the time, I will help you to know what to say." I felt like this was so important, and I didn't want to mess anything up or tell him something he wouldn't understand. But I let the Lord lead me, and at first I just prayed out loud for Ethan that he would understand everything that we had talked about, and I reiterated everything about the meanings of each color of bead and how it can help us remember what Jesus did for us. Then after I finished that prayer, I asked Ethan if he wanted to repeat a prayer after me to ask Jesus into his heart. He said he did, and so from what I can remember, the prayer he said after me out loud went something like this, "Dear Jesus, I know that I have sin in my life when I do things that You are not happy with and that makes my heart dirty. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins to save me and make my heart clean again. Please come into my heart to make it as white as snow. Thank you Jesus." After Ethan finished praying this out loud, he looked at me and had the biggest smile on his face. We hugged and I told him how happy I was that he is now a new Christian! He said, "What does it mean to be a new Christian?" I said it means that you just asked Jesus into your heart! And he said Oh! :-) I told him that I knew he didn't understand everything about being a Christian yet, but that he would continue to grow and learn what it means every day. Boy did those bracelets come in handy to help me explain everything to him! I then got out my Bible and went over the verses that back up everything we talked about. Some of the verses I read him are at the end of this post with the descriptions of the colors of the beads. For my own memory's sake, I will list them here as well:

Romans 3:23 - All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Romans 6:23 - The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
John 3:16 - For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
1 John 1:9 - If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Romans 10:9-10 - That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

When Ethan turned 4 back in February, I really began praying that God would help me to teach Ethan the plan of salvation so that he would understand it and one day come to know Jesus as his Savior. I had always prayed this for Ethan, since the time he was born, but when he turned 4, I think it really hit me hard, because that is the same age that I asked Jesus into my heart. I remember that I had a very basic elementary understanding of the whole thing, but I know that there was a change in my life and heart when I made that decision with my mom praying the prayer with me when I was 4 years old. So, I have no doubt that Ethan, in his 4 year old mind, understood what he was saying when he said this prayer. I look forward to many years of him growing in his faith. I am so thankful to Jesus that now my son is a true believer and will be with me forever, even into eternity! I will continue to pray for Ethan's understanding in this decision, as well as for Caleb to one day make this decision for himself too!

Sept. 11th is a day we all remember from 2001 as a horrible terrorist attack on our country. I am thankful to God that now we will have a happy memory of Sept. 11th, 2008, when Ethan asked Jesus to come into his heart and make his heart clean!

Here are the descriptions of the colors of the beads on the salvation bracelet:

Black - Our hearts are "dirty" with sin. Sins are the things we do wrong in our lives that Jesus and our parents wouldn't want us to do; Sin is what separates us from God. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Romans 3:23

Red - The blood that Jesus shed when He died on the cross for our sins, like when you get a "boo-boo" and it bleeds and you have to put a band-aid on it; Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave, paying the price and penalty for our sin. He provided the only way to God. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

White - When we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, Jesus will make our hearts clean, as white as snow - just like after you get clothes out of the washing machine and they are white and clean; When we become a Christian God cleanses us from all unrighteousness and washes us whiter than snow. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

Blue - We talked to the kids about baptism, and after they make the decision to accept Jesus into their lives, that baptism is going under the water and coming up again as a new, clean person, so the blue stands for water and being baptized; One of our first acts of obedience is to publicly confess our faith through baptism. "So then, those who had received His word were baptized; and there were added that day about three thousand souls.. " Acts 2:41

Green - Things that are green are grass, trees, plants, etc. . . when they get water they grow. When we become a Christian, we have to grow as a new believer in Jesus and learn more and more about him through studying our Bible, and going to church, etc; "But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen." 2 Peter 3:18

Yellow - Reminds us of the promise we have when we are Christians of a home in heaven. The streets in heaven are paved with gold; "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I got and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." John 14:2-3


  1. Praise the Lord! We are so very excited and thankful that the Holy Spirit led Ethan to accept Jesus as his savior. Jill, your courage to continue the conversation with Ethan was as it should be, turning to the Lord for guidance, receiving immediate strength, and helping lead Ethan to salvation. We all have a lot of responsibility to help you and Scott mentor Ethan as he grows and matures as a new Christian.

  2. Oh Jill, Praise the Lord! We are rejoicing with you. The boys are growing so fast and I am so proud of you for being sensitive to Ethan and the Holy Spirit. What a legacy you are leaving!

  3. Jill and Scott,
    WooHoo that is so awesome and exciting. I'm so very proud of Ethan and both of you, Jill and Scott, for being such a great example and teacher to Ethan. I have been so excited to read the blog to find out about Ethan's special decision you emailed us about. I think I almost started crying I am so happy : ) Love you all!

  4. we are dying to know what was the response from Daddy? Did he and Ethan have a special chat?

  5. Mark and Amanda, Yes, Scott was definitely excited when he got home. He actually walked in right as we were still going over the Bible verses, so he got to share in that time a little with Ethan too. Of course he wished he could've made it home just 5 minutes earlier to experience the whole thing too, but there is plenty of time for teachable moments between them regarding this decision every day! :-) Ethan has been very shy about the decision and sharing it with the ministers at church, so we have just told him to let us know when he is ready to tell them because we know they will be excited for him. So, that part and baptism will probably come later. All in God's perfect timing!