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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Day 18 Advent Jesse Tree

Today is Day 18 of the Advent Calendar Jesse Tree devotions. The symbol, or ornament, for Day 18 is that of a heart with writing on it.

The scriptures are Jeremiah 31:31-34 - “The time is coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the Lord. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the Lord. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people; and

Hebrews 8-10 which explains the history of how this law came to be written upon our hearts; and

Acts 16:31 - They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household."

The Old Testament and New Testament tie the story together by explaining how God promised a new covenant that would be fulfilled in christ and a time when His Law would be written upon the people's hearts. The 10 Commandments (Law) was given & broken. Now, God has laid out a new "law." This law is written upon each of our hearts. Some may refer to it as our conscience. But, it goes deeper than that. It is a drive, a desire and a knowing of how to serve God even if we don't have his Law in front of us on paper. We have it written upon our hearts to know good from evil and to give us the compassion and desire to serve Christ with everything we do, think and say. The physical Law or tablet of stone could be broken or taken away or banned. But, this New Covenant "Law" is written upon our hearts. No one can snatch it away from us. Though, we can reject it. The way to receive this promise personally is to believe with all your heart. But, we also need to keep it fresh in our minds. Then, think upon God's Word, put it into your heart and build upon it. In Deuteronomy it tells us to speak about these truths to our children and to write them on the tablets of their hearts. This is why memorizing scripture is vitally important. If the physical Bible is taken from us, we will still know God's Word.

Activity: Notice the comparison between God's New Covenant Law and the Law given to Moses. A great activity for children (and parents as well) is to cut out a large heart shape from construction paper, and hang it up so you can see. Then, gather a few scriptures you would like to memorize or have your children learn. As you and your children learn these scriptures also write what you learned upon this construction paper heart. Soon the heart will be full & you and your children will have also filled your own hearts within you.

Today's ornament for the Jesse Tree is the symbol of a heart with writing on it. This can be done simply by cutting out a piece of red felt into the shape of a heart & writing scripture upon it or using a toothpick to engrave scripture onto a heart shaped out of clay and then baked. Make sure you make a hole for a string to hang the ornament when done. Or, be creative and get more complex.