Tag Archives: innocent




From: inspirationalarchive

A letter written to a man on death row by the Father of the man whom the man on death row had killed:

You are probably surprised that I, of all people, am writing a letter to you, but I ask you to read it in its entirety and consider its request seriously. As the Father of the man whom you took part in murdering, I have something very important to say to you.

I forgive you. With all my heart, I forgive you. I realize it may be hard for you to believe, but I really do. At your trial, when you confessed to your part in the events that cost my Son his life and asked for my forgiveness, I immediately granted you that forgiving love from my heart. I can only hope you believe me and will accept my forgiveness.

But this is not all I have to say to you. I want to make you an offer — I want you to become my adopted child. You see, my Son who died was my only child, and I now want to share my life with you and leave my riches to you. This may not make sense to you or anyone else, but I believe you are worth the offer. I have arranged matters so that if you will receive my offer of forgiveness, not only will you be pardoned for your crime, but you also will be set free from your imprisonment, and your sentence of death will be dismissed. At that point, you will become my adopted child and heir to all my riches.

I realize this is a risky offer for me to make to you — you might be tempted to reject my offer completely — but I make it to you without reservation.

Also, I realize it may seem foolish to make such an offer to one who cost my Son his life, but I now have a great love and an unchangeable forgiveness in my heart for you.

Finally, you may be concerned that once you accept my offer you may do something to cause you to be denied your rights as an heir to my wealth. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I can forgive you for your part in my Son’s death, I can forgive you for anything. I know you never will be perfect, but you do not have to be perfect to receive my offer. Besides, I believe that once you have accepted my offer and begin to experience the riches that will come to you from me, that your primary (though not always) response will be gratitude and loyalty.

Some would call me foolish for my offer to you, but I wish for you to call me your Father.

The Father of Jesus

Paid In Full

From: inspirationalarchive

A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealer’s showroom, and knowing his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted.

As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study. His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautifully wrapped gift box.

Curious, and somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather-bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold. Angry, he rose his voice to his father and said “with all your money, you give me a Bible?” and stormed out of the house.

Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old, and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. Before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.

When he arrived at his father’s house, a sudden feeling of sadness and regret filled his heart. He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still gift-wrapped Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages. His father had carefully underlined a verse, Matt.7:11, “And if ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children,how much more shall your Heavenly Father which is in Heaven, give to those who ask Him?”

As he read those words, a car key dropped from the back of the Bible. It had a tag with the dealer’s name, the same dealer who had the sports car he had desired. On the tag was the date of his graduation, and the words PAID IN FULL.

How many times do we miss God’s blessings because we can’t see past our own desires?

The Voice of the Nature of God

From: My Utmost For HIs HIghest

I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: ’Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ —Isaiah 6:8

When we talk about the call of God, we often forget the most important thing, namely, the nature of Him who calls. There are many things calling each of us today. Some of these calls will be answered, and others will not even be heard. The call is the expression of the nature of the One who calls, and we can only recognize the call if that same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not ours. God providentially weaves the threads of His call through our lives, and only we can distinguish them. It is the threading of God’s voice directly to us over a certain concern, and it is useless to seek another person’s opinion of it. Our dealings over the call of God should be kept exclusively between ourselves and Him.

The call of God is not a reflection of my nature; my personal desires and temperament are of no consideration. As long as I dwell on my own qualities and traits and think about what I am suited for, I will never hear the call of God. But when God brings me into the right relationship with Himself, I will be in the same condition Isaiah was. Isaiah was so attuned to God, because of the great crisis he had just endured, that the call of God penetrated his soul. The majority of us cannot hear anything but ourselves. And we cannot hear anything God says. But to be brought to the place where we can hear the call of God is to be profoundly changed.


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From; Our Daily Journey

Titus 1:1-9
An elder must live a blameless life. . . . An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life (Titus 1:6-7).

Read 1 Timothy 3:1-13 to see what else Paul says about the qualifications for church leadership.

Why do we sometimes choose church leaders based on their abilities instead of their character and spirituality? What qualities do you feel are most important for a church leader?

Many people trust their pharmacists more than their pastors! According to a 2012 Gallup poll, respondents were asked to rate the “honesty and ethical standards” of 22 different professions. Seventy-five percent ranked pharmacists as high/very high. Car salesmen and members of Congress were trusted least. Sadly, church leaders ranked eighth, and only one in two said the ones they know are men of integrity.

Paul had left Titus on the island of Crete to lead the unfinished work there. He was to “appoint elders in each town” (Titus 1:5). But what kind of man was Titus to appoint to church leadership?

“An elder must live a blameless life” ranked first of the 17 qualifications (Titus 1:5-9), a quality so important that Paul repeated it (Titus 1:7): “An elder is a manager of God’s household, so he must live a blameless life.” Why is this so important? Damage to a church leader’s reputation is damage to God’s reputation (Nehemiah 5:9Romans 2:241 Peter 2:12).

A church leader “must not be arrogant or quick-tempered; he must not be a heavy drinker, violent, or dishonest with money” (Titus 1:7). But he should be hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined (Titus 1:8). Not only must a leader meet high moral standards in his personal life; he must have a strong grasp and understanding of God’s Word—firmly holding to it, able to teach it to encourage others, and refuting those who oppose it (Titus 1:92 Timothy 2:15).

An elder “must live a blameless life” (Titus 1:6-7). The person who leads God’s church should possess high moral character and a godly reputation (1 Timothy 3:7). Compromising on these qualifications may be the reason many people trust their pharmacists more than their pastors.


wrestling with God

Genesis 32:13-32
A man came and wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break (Genesis 32:24).

Read Lamentations 3:1-23for a look at one prophet’s struggle with God. Look upActs 22:6-11 and compare that story with Jacob’s experience.

What happens when we try to out-maneuver God in our lives? What things are typically at the center of our struggles with God?

Often, on Saturdays in the 1980s, my brother and I watched professional wrestling on TV. We were mesmerized by the acrobatics and the seemingly super-human body slams that shook the wrestling ring. We rooted for the good guys and pointed at the screen exclaiming things like “Did you see that?” and “Ooooh, that had to hurt!” Fortunately, we did not try (many of) those moves at home.

The Bible records one incredible wrestling match between Jacob and an opponent—God in the form of a man. Obscured by the veil of night, He approached and “wrestled with [Jacob] until the dawn began to break” (Genesis 32:24). Apparently Jacob was one scrappy guy, because he hung in there until his Opponent dislocated Jacob’s hip with just a touch (Genesis 32:25). Despite Jacob’s efforts to out-maneuver God, God was still in control.

Even with a disabled hip, Jacob refused to loosen his grip unless he received a blessing. God renamed Him “Israel” (which means “God fights”), blessed him, and then went on His way. Left alone, Jacob realized, “I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been spared” (Genesis 32:30). Jacob met the day injured, sleep-deprived, but astonished by his encounter with his Maker.

Are you struggling with God today? Maybe His Word has revealed His will for your life in a certain area, but you’re not ready to surrender. You know He wants you to give up an addiction, regain your integrity at work, or abandon a relationship that’s not honoring to Him.

Don’t wrestle through the night as Jacob did. Acknowledge God’s perfect, loving ways and surrender to Him. Let His comfort renew your hope (Psalm 94:19). Cling to Him and stand amazed as you encounter the living God.

Humility of a Child


Unless You Become As A Little Child




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).

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?”

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.”

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.”

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

Children’s Prayers



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