Tag Archives: Child

Humble Child – Protecting Angel

 

The Little Girl in the Park

From: Inspirationalarchive.com

There was this little girl sitting by herself in the park. Everyone passed by her and never stopped to see why she looked so sad. Dressed in a worn pink dress, barefoot and dirty, the girl just sat and watched the people go by.

She never tried to speak, she never said a word. Many people passed but no one would stop. The next day I decided to go back to the park in curiosity to see if the little girl would still be there. Yes, she was there, right in the very spot as she was yesterday, and still with the sad look in her eyes.

Today I was to make my own move and walk over to the little girl. For as we all know, a park full of strange people is not a place for young children to play alone. As I got closer I could see the back of the little girl’s dress was obscenely shaped. I figured that was the reason people just passed by and made no effort to help.

Deformities are a low blow to our society and, heaven forbid if you make a step toward assisting someone who is different. As I got closer, the little girl lowered her eyes slightly to avoid my intent stare. As I approached her, I could see the obscene shape of her back more clearly. She was grotesquely shaped in a humped-over form. I smiled to let her know it was OK, I was there to help, to talk. I sat down beside her and opened with a simple Hello.

The little girl acted shocked, and stammered a “hi,” after a long stare into my eyes. I smiled and she shyly smiled back. We talked until darkness fell and the park was completely empty. I asked the girl why she was so sad. The little girl looked at me and with a sad face said, “Because I’m different.”

I immediately said, “That you are!” and smiled. The little girl acted even sadder and said, “I know.”

“Little girl,” I said, “you remind me of an angel, sweet and innocent. She looked at me and smiled. Slowly she got to her feet and said, “Really?”

“Yes, you’re like a little Guardian Angel sent to watch over all those people walking by.”

She nodded her head yes, and smiled. With that she spread her wings and said, “I am. I’m your Guardian Angel,” with a twinkle in her eye. I was speechless, sure I was seeing things. She said, “For once you thought of someone other than yourself. My job here is done.

” I got to my feet and said, “Wait. So why did no one stop to help an angel?” She looked at me and smiled, “You’re the only one that could see me,” and then she was gone. And with that, my life was changed dramatically.

So, when you think you’re all you have, remember, your angel is always watching over you.

 

The Compelling Majesty of His Power

From: My Utmost For HIs HIghest

The love of Christ compels us . . . —2 Corinthians 5:14

Paul said that he was overpowered, subdued, and held as in a vise by “the love of Christ.” Very few of us really know what it means to be held in the grip of the love of God. We tend so often to be controlled simply by our own experience. The one thing that gripped and held Paul, to the exclusion of everything else, was the love of God. “The love of Christ compels us . . . .” When you hear that coming from the life of a man or woman it is unmistakable. You will know that the Spirit of God is completely unhindered in that person’s life.

When we are born again by the Spirit of God, our testimony is based solely on what God has done for us, and rightly so. But that will change and be removed forever once you “receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you . . .” (Acts 1:8). Only then will you begin to realize what Jesus meant when He went on to say, “. . . you shall be witnesses to Me . . . .” Not witnesses to what Jesus can do— that is basic and understood— but “witnesses to Me . . . .” We will accept everything that happens as if it were happening to Him, whether we receive praise or blame, persecution or reward. No one is able to take this stand for Jesus Christ who is not totally compelled by the majesty of His power. It is the only thing that matters, and yet it is strange that it’s the last thing we as Christian workers realize. Paul said that he was gripped by the love of God and that is why he acted as he did. People could perceive him as mad or sane-he did not care. There was only one thing he lived for— to persuade people of the coming judgment of God and to tell them of “the love of Christ.” This total surrender to “the love of Christ” is the only thing that will bear fruit in your life. And it will always leave the mark of God’s holiness and His power, never drawing attention to your personal holiness.

The Little Boy

 

 

The little boy

From Academictips.org

Sally jumped up as soon as she saw the surgeon come out of the operating room. She said: “How is my little boy? Is he going to be all right? When can I see him?”

The surgeon said, “I’m sorry. We did all we could, but your boy didn’t make it.”

Sally said, “Why do little children get cancer? Doesn’t God care any more? Where were you, God, when my son needed you?”

The surgeon asked, “Would you like some time alone with your son? One of the nurses will be out in a few minutes, before he’s transported to the university.”

Sally asked the nurse to stay with her while she said good-bye to son. She ran her fingers lovingly through his thick red curly hair.

“Would you like a lock of his hair?” the nurse asked.

Sally nodded yes. The nurse cut a lock of the boy’s hair, put it in a plastic bag and handed it to Sally. The mother said, “It was Jimmy’s idea to donate his body to the university for study. He said it might help somebody else. “I said no at first, but Jimmy said, ‘Mom, I won’t be using it after I die. Maybe it will help some other little boy spend one more day with his Mom.” She went on, “My Jimmy had a heart of gold. Always thinking of someone else. Always wanting to help others if he could.”

Sally walked out of Children’s mercy Hospital for the last time, after spending most of the last six months there. She put the bag with Jimmy’s belongings on the seat beside her in the car. The drive home was difficult. It was even harder to enter the empty house. She carried Jimmy’s belongings, and the plastic bag with the lock of his hair to her son’s room. She started placing the model cars and other personal things back in his room exactly where he had always kept them. She laid down across his bed and, hugging his pillow, cried herself to sleep.

It was around midnight when Sally awoke. Laying beside her on the bed was a folded letter. The letter said:

“Dear Mom,

I know you’re going to miss me; but don’t think that I will ever forget you, or stop loving you, just ’cause I’m not around to say I LOVE YOU. I will always love you, Mom, even more with each day. Someday we will see each other again. Until then, if you want to adopt a little boy so you won’t be so lonely, that’s okay with me. He can have my room and old stuff to play with. But, if you decide to get a girl instead, she probably wouldn’t like the same things us boys do. You’ll have to buy her dolls and stuff girls like, you know. Don’t be sad thinking about me. This really is a neat place. Grandma and Grandpa met me as soon as I got here and showed me around some, but it will take a long time to see everything. The angels are so cool. I love to watch them fly. And, you know what? Jesus doesn’t look like any of his pictures. Yet, when I saw Him, I knew it was Him. Jesus himself took me to see GOD! And guess what, Mom? I got to sit on God’s knee and talk to Him, like I was somebody important. That’s when I told Him that I wanted to write you a letter, to tell you good-bye and everything. But I already knew that wasn’t allowed. Well, you know what Mom? God handed me some paper and His own personal pen to write you this letter. I think Gabriel is the name of the angel who is going to drop this letter off to you. God said for me to give you the answer to one of the questions you asked Him ‘Where was He when I needed him?’ “God said He was in the same place with me, as when His son Jesus was on the cross. He was right there, as He always is with all His children.

Oh, by the way, Mom, no one else can see what I’ve written except you. To everyone else this is just a blank piece of paper. Isn’t that cool? I have to give God His pen back now. He needs it to write some more names in the Book of Life. Tonight I get to sit at the table with Jesus for supper. I’m, sure the food will be great.

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you. I don’t hurt anymore. The cancer is all gone. I’m glad because I couldn’t stand that pain anymore and God couldn’t stand to see me hurt so much, either. That’s when He sent The Angel of Mercy to come get me. The Angel said I was a Special Delivery! How about that?

 

Encouraging story about changing 

From: Inspirational Stories.eu

Once upon a time, there was an unfortunate poor man. His home was also very poor – a small and empty house, where mice made their nests and spiders made their webs. People tried to avoid coming into his house – why should they stick their noses into those poor ruins? And the poor man thought that poverty is the reason of his misfortunes – his eternal destiny.
So once, the poor man met a wizard and complained to him about his poverty and miserable life. The wizard felt sorry for the poor man and gave him an unprecedented vase. And said:
– This is a magical vase that will save you from poverty.
The poor man took the vase and wanted to sell it at first and then spend the money on alcohol, as usual, besides, why would he need such a beautiful thing? But then he started admiring the vase and couldn’t take it to the market. He brought the vase home, put it on the table and started admiring it.
– It’s not right for such a beautiful thing to be empty, – the poor man thought. So he picked some wildflowers and put them into the vase.
It became even more beautiful.
– Not good, – the poor man though again, – that such a beautiful thing stands next to a spider web.
So the poor man started cleaning his house from spider webs, sweeping out cockroaches and mice, cleaning the dust, washing the floor and the walls, whitening the ceiling.
And it became clear that his house wasn’t poor, but rather warm and cosy. And the poor man wasn’t a poor man anymore, but a hard working host, who had no time for thoughts about misfortune.

 

God’s Word: Guiding Us to Follow Jesus

From: American Bible Society

Introduction

Acts 7:35—8:3: The story of Moses constitutes the major part of Stephen’s speech. He concludes by denouncing his opponents, and he is put to death by stoning. Saul approves of Stephen’s murder and persecutes the church.

Today’s Scripture: Acts 7:55

Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God.

Today’s Reading

35 Moses is the one who was rejected by the people of Israel. “Who made you ruler and judge over us?” they asked. He is the one whom God sent to rule the people and set them free with the help of the angel who appeared to him in the burning bush. 36 He led the people out of Egypt, performing miracles and wonders in Egypt and at the Red Sea and for forty years in the desert. 37 Moses is the one who said to the people of Israel, ‘God will send you a prophet, just as he sent me, and he will be one of your own people. ’38 He is the one who was with the people of Israel assembled in the desert; he was there with our ancestors and with the angel who spoke to him on Mount Sinai, and he received God’s living messages to pass on to us. 39 But our ancestors refused to obey him; they pushed him aside and wished that they could go back to Egypt. 40 So they said to Aaron, “Make us some gods who will lead us. We do not know what has happened to that man Moses, who brought us out of Egypt.” 41 It was then that they made an idol in the shape of a bull, offered sacrifice to it, and had a feast in honor of what they themselves had made. 42So God turned away from them and gave them over to worship the stars of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets:‘People of Israel! It was not to methat you slaughtered and sacrificed animals for forty years in the desert.43 It was the tent of the god Molech that you carried,and the image of Rephan, your star god; they were idols that you had made to worship.And so I will send you into exile beyond Babylon.’44 Our ancestors had the Tent of God’s presence with them in the desert. It had been made as God had told Moses to make it, according to the pattern that Moses had been shown. 45 Later on, our ancestors who received the tent from their fathers carried it with them when they went with Joshua and took over the land from the nations that God drove out as they advanced. And it stayed there until the time of David. 46 He won God’s favor and asked God to allow him to provide a dwelling place for the God of Jacob. 47 But it was Solomon who built him a house. 48 But the Most High God does not live in houses built by human hands; as the prophet says,49 ‘Heaven is my throne, says the Lord,and the earth is my footstool.What kind of house would you build for me?Where is the place for me to live in?50 Did not I myself make all these things?’51 “How stubborn you are!” Stephen went on to say. How heathen your hearts, how deaf you are to God’s message! You are just like your ancestors: you too have always resisted the Holy Spirit! 52 Was there any prophet that your ancestors did not persecute? They killed God’s messengers, who long ago announced the coming of his righteous Servant. And now you have betrayed and murdered him. 53 You are the ones who received God’s law, that was handed down by angels—yet you have not obeyed it! ” 54 As the members of the Council listened to Stephen, they became furious and ground their teeth at him in anger.55 But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw God’s glory and Jesus standing at the right side of God. 56 “Look!” he said. “I see heaven opened and the Son of Man standing at the right side of God!” 57 With a loud cry the Council members covered their ears with their hands. Then they all rushed at him at once, 58 threw him out of the city, and stoned him. The witnesses left their cloaks in the care of a young man named Saul. 59 They kept on stoning Stephen as he called out to the Lord, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!” 60 He knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord! Do not remember this sin against them!” He said this and died. 1 And Saul approved of his murder. That very day the church in Jerusalem began to suffer cruel persecution. All the believers, except the apostles, were scattered throughout the provinces of Judea and Samaria. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, mourning for him with loud cries. 3 But Saul tried to destroy the church; going from house to house, he dragged out the believers, both men and women, and threw them into jail.

Reflect

What do you consider to be the main points of Stephen’s speech? How did his listeners react (verses 54-58)? What were Stephen’s last words (verse 60)? If you were called upon to defend your faith, what would you say?

 

Am I Looking To God?

From: My Utmost For His Highest
Look to Me, and be saved . . . —Isaiah 45:22
Do we expect God to come to us with His blessings and save us? He says, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” The greatest difficulty spiritually is to concentrate on God, and His blessings are what make it so difficult. Troubles almost always make us look to God, but His blessings tend to divert our attention elsewhere. The basic lesson of the Sermon on the Mount is to narrow all your interests until your mind, heart, and body are focused on Jesus Christ. “Look to Me . . . .”

Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation— it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, “Look to Me and you are saved,” not “You will be saved someday.” We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, “Look to Me, and be saved . . . .” Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God.

Wake yourself up and look to God. Build your hope on Him. No matter how many things seem to be pressing in on you, be determined to push them aside and look to Him. “Look to Me . . . .” Salvation isyours the moment you look.

Devotional Thoughts

 

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Canceled Christmas

 — by Anne Cetas
Our Daily Bread Radio is hosted by Les Lamborn
Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of [Jesus]. —Luke 2:33
Bible in a Year:
Amos 1-3; Revelation 6

We felt as if our Christmas was being canceled last year. Actually, our flight to see family in Missouri was canceled due to snow. It’s been our tradition for quite a few years to celebrate Christmas with them, so we were greatly disappointed when we only got as far as Minnesota and had to return home to Michigan.

On Sunday, in a message we would have missed, our pastor spoke about expectations for Christmas. He caught my attention when he said, “If our expectations for Christmas are gifts and time with family, we have set our expectations too low. Those are enjoyable and things we’re thankful for, but Christmas is the celebration of the coming of Christ and His redemption.”

Simeon and Anna celebrated the coming of Jesus and His salvation when Joseph and Mary brought Him to the temple as a baby (Luke 2:25-38). Simeon, a man who was told by the Spirit that he would not die before he saw the Messiah, declared: “My eyes have seen Your salvation” (v.30). When Anna, a widow who served God, saw Jesus, she “spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (v.38).

We may experience disappointments or heartache during the Christmas season, but Jesus and His salvation always give us reason to celebrate.

How wonderful that we on Christmas morn
Though centuries have passed since Christ was born,
May worship still the Living Lord of men,
Our Savior, Jesus, Babe of Bethlehem. —Hutchings
Jesus is always the reason to celebrate.

Celebrate Winter

[Written by Joe Stowell for Our Daily Bread.]

Dec
15
2013

“Why are you cast down, O my soul? . . . Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance.Psalm 42:5

I love living where there are four seasons. But even though I love settling down with a good book by a crackling fire when it’s snowing, I must admit that my love for the seasons grows a little dim when the long gray days of winter drone on into February.

Yet regardless of the weather, there is always something special about winter: Christmas! Thankfully, long after the decorations are down, the reality of Christmas still lifts my spirits no matter what’s happening.

If it weren’t for the reality of Christ’s birth, not only would winter be dark and dreary, but our hearts would be bleak and have nothing to hope for. No hope for the freedom from guilt and judgment. No hope of His reassuring and strengthening presence through dark and difficult times. No hope for a future secured in heaven.

In the winter of a troubled life, the psalmist asked, “Why are you cast down, O my soul?” The remedy was clear: “Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance”.

In C. S. Lewis’ tales of Narnia, Mr. Tumnus complains that in Narnia it is “always winter and never Christmas.” But for those of us who know the God who made the seasons, it is always Christmas in our hearts!  —Joe Stowell

When our lives are heavy laden,
Cold and bleak as winter long,
Stir the embers in our hearts, Lord;
Make Your flame burn bright and strong.  —Kieda

Let the reality of Christmas chase away the blahs of winter.

 

“Approved to God”

12
15
2013

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth —2 Timothy 2:15

If you cannot express yourself well on each of your beliefs, work and study until you can. If you don’t, other people may miss out on the blessings that come from knowing the truth. Strive to re-express a truth of God to yourself clearly and understandably, and God will use that same explanation when you share it with someone else. But you must be willing to go through God’s winepress where the grapes are crushed. You must struggle, experiment, and rehearse your words to express God’s truth clearly. Then the time will come when that very expression will become God’s wine of strength to someone else. But if you are not diligent and say, “I’m not going to study and struggle to express this truth in my own words; I’ll just borrow my words from someone else,” then the words will be of no value to you or to others. Try to state to yourself what you believe to be the absolute truth of God, and you will be allowing God the opportunity to pass it on through you to someone else.

Always make it a practice to stir your own mind thoroughly to think through what you have easily believed. Your position is not really yours until you make it yours through suffering and study. The author or speaker from whom you learn the most is not the one who teaches you something you didn’t know before, but the one who helps you take a truth with which you have quietly struggled, give it expression, and speak it clearly and boldly.

The Christmas Story

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The Christmas Story

As found in the Holy Bible, in the book of Luke.

Christmas storyThe story of the Birth of Christ Jesus

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“About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius was the governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s hometown, for the census. As a decendant of David he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.

While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the hostel.

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”

At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: “Glory to God in the heavenly heights; Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.”

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the shepherds talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the shepherds were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The shepherds returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!”  (Luke 2:1-20).

christmas storyIt was a simple scene that first Christmas – a rough room, a young couple and nothing but a feeding trough to put the child in. It was probably quite cold and with family far away there was little help. Not exactly the Hallmark moment we like to show in Christmas pageants. And yet this rustic scene marked the greatest event in the history of mankind.

God’s Son became human and came to earth to save us. God had promised to send a Messiah, one who would save His people. He could have easily burst on the scene as a full grown man, a seven foot warrior with fiery eyes and arms of steel. This was what many people were looking for, but it wasn’t how God did it. He arrived in the arms of a young girl. He was, as another of our authors put it, “a very small package, wrapped in rags, given from the heart of God. The perfect gift.”

God gave His only Son to die in our place so that we, in all our brokenness, could know forgiveness. He came so that we could know what love feels like, real love – love that never leaves, love that never disappoints, love that is never betrayed. He sent His Son into a corrupted world to bring us hope.

How are you doing this Christmas?
Are you having a hard time finding hope in the world? Are you having a hard time finding peace? It doesn’t have to be that way. You can have peace and find hope and know forgiveness through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Saviour and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Bring peace to my world this Christmas. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

From: thoughts-about-God.com

Humility of a Child

 

Unless You Become As A Little Child

 

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The Greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven

1At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

2He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Causing to Stumble

6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! 8If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. 9And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”  Bible Suite

Character, Not Competition

Matthew 18:1-5

Jesus used a number of teaching methods. He made use of stories or parables; He would sometimes raise a question to provoke thought; and some of His teaching was in response to questions people asked. Also, the Lord made use of object lessons and sometimes the object was a person; in this case, a child.

“At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ‘Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me’.” (Matt. 18:1-5).

Competition
When I read their question I see something we call competition. I understand, these disciples were not fully enlightened at this time and that their view of the kingdom was probably influenced by carnal, political thinking. But I see something here that we call competition. This is confirmed by two other references:

In Mark chapter 9 he tells about an occasion on the way to Capernaum, where the disciples were fussing among themselves about “who would be the greatest,” (Mrk. 9:34). In Matt. 20 the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus and said: “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom.” Apparently there was a worldly spirit of competition between these men, in their earlier days. {There is certainly post-Pentecost evidence that these men conquered this spirit; though they were still tempted, see Gal. 2:11-16}.

I wonder if we shouldn’t think about this. Is there an ill-advised spirit of competition in our culture and even in religion that we need to be alert to? I believe there is. We see, sometimes, an ugly kind of childish competition between churches and religions; a party mentality – where one group attempts to defeat and humiliate another group, and feel proud of their defeat of the other side.

Among preachers, most readers have witnessed some very senseless, adolescent and ungodly battles – where competition was the issue not truth. It should be said, sometimes the non-preaching brethren contribute to this nonsense, by exalting men, playing favorites and choosing sides. Wasn’t this a big part of the problem in Corinth? Of course it was. It is childish; it is worldly, and it is a great hindrance to the work we were all called to do.

And this kind of repulsive rivalry and competition has torn some local churches apart – not over matters of principle, but matters of carnal envy and strife. It is a problem in our culture; it happens in religion, and sometimes brethren calculate, plan and manipulate in a vain effort to exalt themselves above others. “Who is greatest in the brotherhood?” “Who is greatest in the local church? “And all of this has led some to offer the cynical reply: “Who cares!”

This kind of thing is tiresome, unprofitable, childish and productive of no positive good at all. We need to guard against it! And when we begin to get caught up in subtle plans and methods where men scheme for pre-eminence, we need to remember who we are and quit it.

Immature contests of personal and party rivalry is sinful, but at this point in their journey with the Lord, they were asking, “Who is the greatest?”

Children
In reply to this ill-advised question – the lord “called a little child to him,” and “set him in the midst of them.” Jesus had a great regard for children and great concern for their welfare. You may remember the very touching story reported by Mark, in Mark chapter ten (to be cited below).

The story is told about a business meeting that was being conducted in a local church. There were no elders so there were business meetings every month to make decisions and plan the work. These men got together and one brother had decided IT WAS TOO MUCH TROUBLE TO HAVE BIBLE CLASSES FOR CHILDREN. He took up this issue and argued at some length about what a waste of time it was to deal with these pesky children. He finished his little speech and sat down . . after a few moments of silence, a brother got up and read this . . . in Mark 10:13-16 . . .

“Then they brought little children to Him, that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked those who brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’ And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them.”

They kept their Bible classes. Jesus had a great affection for children and He blessed them. On this occasion – in Matt. 18 – The disciples are wanting to know, “Who then is the greatest,” and “Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them.”

Conversion
He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Jesus and His kingdom IS NOT ABOUT the ranking of men from greatest to least; His kingdom is not like the governments and political administrations of men – – where power, money and numbers enjoy more influence than character and virtue. No! This King and this Kingdom is about changing your life and serving the Lord “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

The disciples had their mind of competition instead of conversion and in that regard, they were unenlightened, carnal and immature.

This King, Jesus, and this Kingdom is about changing your life, not out-doing your brother! This language is strong, direct and demanding: “unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”

And I think it was intended for us to notice THE NECESSITY OF CONVERSION IS ILLUSTRATED BY CHILDLIKE HUMILITY; infantile humility! Babies are dependent; they are teachable and innocent; very open about their needs, and they are not generally clamoring to out-do other babies and attain loved. They want to live and learn. These are kingdom qualities!

In order to be in the Lord’s kingdom I have to change! I must give up that competitive drive to be better than others; I must come face to face with my dependence, be open about my spiritual needs, and be willing to listen and learn and be governed by the King, Jesus!

I must be converted: From pride to humility . . from worldly ambition to spiritual ambition . . from godlessness to godliness. I MUST BE CONVERTED; Jesus said, you must be born again!

The gospel wasn’t given – just to be a free ticket into a good place; it was given to cleanse us of sin by his blood and change our lives, from the inside out! When I obey the gospel, I’m not just saying, “I was wrong about the church,” I’M SAYING: “I was wrong about how I was living my life . . I was wrong in my behavior . . I was wrong in my attitudes, ambitions and associations . . I was lost!”

Character, Not Competition!
What Jesus said next highlights one of the surest marks of true conversion I call this: Pure, Innocent Willingness To Serve! Verses 4 & 5 . . .

“Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.”

Humility, as we often see in babies; that’s what’s great! Not your status over others but your humility; your meekness and submission to the King! Your purity of motive and intention, that’s where true greatness is. Character, not Competition! This is about pure, innocent willingness to serve!

Consider – babies do not come into the world knowing everything about the world; they do not enter into life on earth encumbered by some of the perspectives and attitudes we have; we seem to do a good job teaching them these things as soon as possible, but babies do not come into the world with these ideas. Babies do not come into the world with any arrogance or selfish ambition. They do not naturally have a false and exaggerated pride that covets pre-eminence. They are content to be fed, to be loved and cared for. The extremes of human ambition and temperament do not drive them to seek glory and honor and aggrandizement.

Humility, as we often see in babies – – that’s the Lord’s definition of greatness; and it is absolutely essential in order to be converted and stay converted!

Constant Connection
We should say this: This childlike humility; this PURE, INNOCENT, WILLINGNESS TO SERVE must be a permanent, constant part of our character throughout our lives as the Lord’s people. This humility; this pure, innocent, willingness to serve not only brings us into the presence of deity . . It keeps us in that fellowship. This infantile humility is the basis of our constant connection to the Lord.

This humility is not to be understood as self-hatred! The humbling of self is not A bitter hatred of yourself; not a tendency to say and think ugly and depreciating things about yourself! Biblical humility does not mean – we should confess sins we’ve not committed. Biblical humility does not involve constant self-criticism . . or exaggerated confessions of your lowliness . . or an advertised low estimate of your self.

Biblical humility always goes hand-in-hand with the truth; the truth about who we are! Our real status – having a clear concept of our real status – that’s the basis of humility. And this must be a constant attitude!

When I let God’s word tell me about myself, and I accept that truth, about who I am – that’s the basis of this humility. And God’s Word tells me my real status has nothing to do with my reputation, my wealth, my position or rank; my genius, my success or my looks! I am a creature made in the image of God; but I’ve sinned; Christ died for me, so I can be saved and be a child of God!

Those simple facts form the basis of true humility which produces in my character, this thing I’ve called, pure, innocent, willingness to serve! This disposition I must have – to be converted, and to stay converted; this pure, innocent, willingness to serve. And this is based on my acknowledge of my real status: I am a creature, made in the image of God; but I’ve sinned; Christ died for me so I can be saved and be a child of God!

If I scheme and maneuver and calculate how I can promote myself –
I do not have this humility!

If my daily thought and occupation is to outdo others, and avoid that unambitious simplicity we see in Christ –
I do not have this disposition.

If I tend to look out for myself, and cannot see the needs of others…
If I want to chart my own course for me, regardless of God’s will –
I do not have this pure, innocent willingness to serve that should be constant within me!

If I am anxious to claim my freedom and independence…
If I expect everybody to serve me, attend to me and acknowledge my talent and greatness –
this childlike virtue is not in my character.

If I’m always comparing myself to others, seeking the praise of men and dreaming about my greatness –
I am unlike the innocent child in Jesus’ arms!

Paul said, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God . . humbleness of mind, meekness,” (Col. 3:12). Simon Peter said, “All of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility,” (1 Pet. 5:5). The prophet Micah spoke of those things the Lord requires – and he said, “To do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with thy God,” (Mic. 6:8). James reminds us, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble,” (Jas. 4:6). Solomon reminds us – that “By humility and the fear of the Lord are riches, and honour and life,” (Prov. 22:4).

And the perfect illustration of humility – Paul wrote about, in Philippians chapter two (Phil. 2:5-11).

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Conclusion:
How patient Jesus was in teaching His men the meaning of humble service. By a simple act, Jesus taught them and He teaches us, that this pure, innocent willingness to serve IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL TO BE CONVERTED, AND STAY CONVERTED.

Because of the Lord’s work for us, and His word to us, we should want to cleanse ourselves in His blood, of all self-pride, arrogance and empty ambition. The glamour of some high position, the appeal of human applause, and the drive of worldly competition should have no place in our hearts. Jesus said, “He that humbleth himself shall be exalted,” (Lk. 14:11 and Lk. 18:14). We humble ourselves when we come to Him, in obedience to the gospel. We must live as Christians by that same constant disposition, that pure, innocent willingness to serve Him. He says, “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 4.11; November 1997

Lovely Coincidence

 

 

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lovely coincidence

— Author Unknown

“In 1945, there was a young boy of 14 in a concentration camp. He was tall, thin but had a bright smile. Every day, a young girl came by on the other side of the fence. She noticed the boy and asked him if he spoke Polish, and he said yes. She said he’d looked hungry, and he said he was. She then reached in her pocket and gave him her apple. He thanked her and she went on her way. The next day, she came by again, bringing with her another apple which she gave him. Each day, she walked by the outside of the fence, hoping to see him, and when she did, she happily handed him an apple in exchange for conversation.

One day, he told her not to come by anymore. He told her he was being shipped to another concentration camp. As he walked away with tears streaming down his face, he wondered if he’d ever see her again. She was the only kind soul he’d seen across the fence.

He made it out of the concentration camp, and immigrated to America. In 1957, his friends had fixed him up on a blind date. He had no idea who the woman was. He picked her up, and during dinner began talking of Poland and the concentration camp. She said she was in Poland at that time. She said she used to talk to a boy and gave him apples daily. He asked if this boy was tall, skinny and if he had told her that she shouldn’t come back because he was leaving. She said yes.

It was her, the young girl who came by every day to give him apples. After 12 years, after the war and in another country… they had met again. What are the odds? He proposed to her on that very night and told her he’d never again let her go. They are still happily married today.

Now that, my friends, is a love story.”

apple girl

Children’s Prayers

 

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From: Rogerknapp.com

Children’s Prayers

A mother was teaching her 3-year-old the Lord’s prayer. For several evenings at bedtime she repeated it after her mother. One night she said she was ready to solo. The mother listened with pride as she carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. “Lead us not into temptation,” she prayed, “but deliver us some e-mail, Amen.”

A woman invited some people over for dinner. At the table she turned to her six-year-old daughter and said, “Would you like to say the blessing?” The girl replied, “I wouldn’t know what to say.” “Just say what you heard Mommy  say,” the mother answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, “Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?

A 5 year old boy was sitting down to eat when his mother asked him to pray for his meal. He replied, “Mom we don’t have to. We prayed over this last night.” His mother had prepared leftovers from the day before.

A 4-year-old boy who was asked to return thanks before Christmas dinner. The family members bowed their heads in expectation. He began his prayer,  thanking God for all his friends, naming them one by one. Then he thanked God for Mommy, Daddy, brother, sister, Grandma, Grandpa, and all his aunts and uncles. Then he began to thank God for the food. He gave thanks for the turkey, the dressing, the fruit salad, the cranberry sauce, the pies, the cakes, even the Cool Whip. Then he paused, and everyone waited–and waited. After a long silence, the young fellow looked up at his mother and asked, “If I thank God for the broccoli, won’t he know that I’m lying?”

A daddy was listening to his child say his prayer “Dear Harold,” At this, dad interrupted and said, “Wait a minute, “How come you called God, Harold? The little boy looked up and said, “That’s what they call Him in church. You know the prayer we say, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Harold be Thy name.”

One night Mike’s parents overheard this prayer. “Now I lay me down to rest, and hope to pass tomorrow’s test, if I should die before I wake, that’s one less test I have to take.”

A five-year-old said grace at family dinner one night. “Dear God, thank you  for these pancakes.” When he concluded, his parents asked him why he thanked God for pancakes when they were having chicken. He smiled and said, “I thought I’d see if He was paying attention tonight.”

A little boy’s prayer: “Dear God, please take care of my daddy and my mommy and my sister and my brother and my doggy and me. Oh, please take care of yourself, God. If anything happens to you, we’re gonna be in a big mess.”

Johnny had been misbehaving and was sent to his room. After a while he emerged and informed his mother that he had thought it over and then said a prayer. “Fine,” said the pleased mother. “If you ask God to help you not misbehave, He will help you.” “Oh, I didn’t ask Him to help me not misbehave,” said Johnny. I asked Him to help you put up with me.”

A little boy was overheard praying: “Lord, if You can’t make me a better boy, don’t worry about it. I’m having a real good time like I am!”

A little boy was saying his bedtime prayers with his mother: “Lord, bless Mommy and Daddy, and God, GIVE ME A NEW BICYCLE!!!” Mom: “God’s not deaf, son.” Boy: “I know, Mom, but Grandma’s in the next room, and she’s hard of hearing!

Little Johnny was softly saying his night prayers kneeling down, and his mother was beside him. “Say your prayers louder, darling, I can’t hear you,” Said Little Johnny’s mother. “But I’m not talking to you” was the instant reply.

One Sunday in a Midwest city a young child was “acting up” during the  morning worship hour. The parents did their best to maintain some sense of order in the pew but were losing the battle. Finally the father picked the little fellow up and walked sternly up the aisle on his way out. Just before reaching the safety of the foyer the little one called loudly to the congregation, “Pray for me! Pray for me!”

And this particular four-year-old prayed: “And forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.”

From: RogerKnapp.com

 

A Child’s Definition of Love

 

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From: Roger Knapp

A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, “What does love mean?” The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” Rebecca – age 8

When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.” Billy – age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” Karl – age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” Chrissy – age 6

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” Terri – age 4

Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” Danny – age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss” Emily – age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen,” Bobby – age 7 (Wow!)

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” Nikka – age 6

“There are two kinds of love. Our love. God’s love. But God makes both kinds of them.” Jenny – age 8

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” Noelle – age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” Tommy – age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore,” Cindy – age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” Clare – age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” Elaine -age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.” Chris – age 7

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” Mary Ann – age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” Lauren – age 4

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” Karen – age 7

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.” Mark – age 6

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget,” Jessica – age 8.” “A Child’s Definition of Love” from Rogerknapp.com

Stories of Joy and Pain

 

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Stories of Joy and Pain

A Significant Session

by Lisa Samson

“Sam and I go into the back primal room, and I’m losing my nerve. I let him know this, and that my fear is about going into some really deep work with a man present. So we talk about it for a bit, and I find I’m getting angry with myself that I’m getting sidetracked. That made my mind up.

I let myself go down into what I’ve always felt was a bottomless black hole, and an image came to me of being a very small baby lying in my crib with someone in the room. The next thing I know, I’m pushing out/away with my legs and arms, and I’m struggling with something, I don’t know what. I scream until I can’t breathe, and as I come fighting back up for air, I say “Stop I mean it!” This was significant, in that I understood my limits and respected them even in the midst of a life-and-death primal.

So we take some time to bring me out and get me more grounded in the present. And then Sam is looking me in the eyes and he says, “I think this is why you’re here, Lisa, this is why you came this weekend.” We talk about what I want to do, that it was very brave and significant for me to be able to stop and stay right where I was and see how I feel. I tell him what my perceptions were, and that I felt like someone was trying to hurt, or possibly kill me, and I decide to go back down. It’s amazing to me now, how easily I made that decision, based on the amount of fear I was feeling, and at that moment I had no idea of the outcome.

So down I go again with a death grip on Sam’s hand and when I can’t breath anymore, instead of the fear ripping me apart there’s this unbelievable strength that comes, and I’m finally fighting and screaming, “NO!!”, and suddenly I let go and come out the “other side.”

It took some time for me to realize what had happened, and even before I could really register that I had gotten past that horrible fear, I was sobbing and asking, “Why, why didn’t they want me?” The pain was somehow a little more bearable, I believe now, because I could feel how incredibly strong I was for making it through. I cried for awhile and told Sam I was having a little trouble with a man being there with me. After some time I was aware of his heart beat and I guess the idea came to me that it was just a heart beat, everything living has one, and I don’t have to compare or feel threatened, or act enticing, or be anything in relation to that heart beat. And for the first time since I’ve been doing this work I looked down into that crib with baby Lisa in it and instead of feeling all the rejection and pain and ugliness – I saw and felt a beautiful baby. Then I was reaching out for her and bringing her up into my arms, feeling her wiggling into me, all of her sweetness and innocence. Then there wasn’t any more division, the little baby was me and I was holding me and feeling how beautiful I was, how wonderful and sweet, so strong and with so much potential. I believe it was the first time I – loved – me.

Then I was aware of a tingling vibration all through my body. I kept wiggling my toes and flexing my muscles as I continued to recognize myself. And as if I could stand anymore joy suddenly I could feel my heart!! And then I cried more tears of joy. It was like tiny celebrations going on all through my body! I lay there for a long time in Sam’s arms crying tears of joy, laughing and smiling, feeling the love I hold for myself. Then after a time I would just think of someone and suddenly I was with them sharing my joy. I felt so wonderful and I said so many prayers. Then I cried more tears when I

realized that the next time I held my children “I” would really be there in a way I had never been before.

I talked and shared with Sam every minute expression of coming through the other side, and he told me about the first time he came through. I remembered saying to him how simple it is to just BE. Getting there is not, it is so much work, but I did it. I dreamed and dared, I planned, I made the decisions every step of the way, I faced the demons and won. I cried from my pain, I felt love for myself, and finally I said a prayer that someday I might help others find their way through to that kind of joy.” (Stories of Joy and Pain, by: Lisa Samson).

A Story of Appreciation

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A Story of Appreciation

 (Stories of Faith,Hope,Joy,Love, and Friendship, A Story of Appreciation.)
A young academically excellent person applied for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from  secondary school until the postgraduate research,
never did he have a year when he did not score highest marks.

The director asked,
“Did you obtain any scholarships in school?”
The youth answered “none”.

The director asked,
” Was it your father who paid  your school fees?”
The youth answered,
“My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid all my school fees.

The director asked,
” Where did your mother work?”
The youth answered,
“My mother works as a washer of clothes.
The director requested the youth to show his hands.
The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked,
” Have you ever helped your mother wash clothes?”
The youth answered,
“Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books.
Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.”

The director said,
“I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.”

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tears fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many cuts and bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed other people’s clothes everyday which had enabled him to pay his school fees. The bruises in his mother’s hands was the price that the mother was paying for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After cleaning his mother’s hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked:
” Please tell me what you did and what you learned yesterday?”

The youth answered,
” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also washed all the remaining clothes”

The Director asked,
” please tell me what you felt.”

The youth said,

Number 1,
I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not be the successful me today.

Number 2,
by working together and helping my mother, I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done.

Number 3,
I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationships.

The director said,
” This is what I am looking for to be my manager. I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.”

Later on, this young person worked very hard and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wants, will develop the “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts.

When he starts work, he would assume that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others.

This kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not find achievement.

He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying our  kids instead?

You can let your kids live in a big house, give them a Driver & Car for going around, Eat  Good Meals, learn to play the Piano, Watch a Big Screen TV. But when you are Cutting Grass or cleaning the car or working, please let them experience it. After a Meal, let them Wash their Plates and Bowls together with their Brothers and Sisters. Tell them to Travel in Public Bus, It is not because you do not have Money for Car or to Hire a Maid, but it is because you want to LOVE them in the right way.

You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair too will Grow Grey, same as the Mother of that young person. The most important thing is that your kids learn how to appreciate the efforts of their parents and others and experience the difficulty that goes into giving them every luxury and learn the ability to work with others to get things done.

 (Stories of Faith,Hope,Joy,Love, and Friendship, A Story of Appreciation.)