Sunday, December 23, 2012

"How-to" on Luke 9:17

A few weeks ago I got to share at my Bible study, to a group of about 200 women.  I was very blessed by the time, and wanted to record it here so I can remember it for years to come! This is mostly verbatim, but changed things to “read” better since it was “talked.” Hope you are blessed by it as much as I am to share it:

 I am excited to share what God has been doing in my life.  My life is busy - not busy go here go there, but busy because I have three children 5, 3 & 6 months.  

They are true gifts, and five years ago God began teaching me the meaning of His Word in Luke 9:23 - 

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
There is nothing like caring for children that demonstrates what ‘deny thyself’ really means!

These three are so fun! and I treasure them very much. So when I read 

“...anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 9:17

I asked God what do You mean by this?? I have three children here. What can I learn from them?

Let me also say, even if you do not have children, I am sure you all have been around them to know what they are like.  God answered my question through my children’s behavior. This has helped me understand what He meant when we had to receive the kingdom of God like a little child.

First, Children just believe!  Whether children are in a Christian home getting taught from Deuteronomy 11:18-21:

“Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 19 Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 20 Write them on the door-frames of your houses and on your gates, 21 so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land the Lord”
Or in a secular homes teaching them about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny - Children believe what you tell them.  So for the moms, teachers, aunts and grandmas out there let us continue to point their young minds to the One True God, because guess what??  They’ll believe ya!

So because of this God is asking me to be less cynical, to be less skeptical, less negative and MORE FAITHFUL!  

Jesus says in Matthew 17:20:

“...if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”
Let us BELIEVE like children, in Him and His true words so we can see His miracles in the smallest of things.

The smallest of things leads me to my second point - my children LOVE God’s creation like no adult i’ve met. I believe this is because many things they are seeing for the first time. 

I can’t forget Christopher being 18 months old, and we were walking along side the road, trying to get somewhere. It was either a playground or home, but he kept stopping and looking down at something on the ground.  I nudged him a little further on our walk, and again down to stare.  Annoyed, I looked to see what He was inspecting, and it was ANTS.  God told me to stop, and ponder through Christopher’s eyes what he was fascinated with. 

I won’t go into the details of Ant’s life, but this little creature is amazing. An ant is able to carry 100x its body weight.  Think about that - times your current weight by 100!  Its a MIRACLE!! God created the ant, a nuisance to us, but a joy-filled discovery to an 18 month old. 

I would never have appreciated that had Christopher not been slowing our walk by staring at these little moving things along the street!  God’s creation is perfect, and my kids value it more so than anyone else I know!

God tells us in Genesis 2:15 to take care of this earth. 

I love  how the Psalmist in 104:24-25 puts it:

How many are your works, Lord!
    In wisdom you made them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.

There is the sea, vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.”

Let us appreciates God’s creation like a child who experiencing it for the first time!

My third point that my children have taught me is about forgiving & forgetting.  My middle child is three and VERY independent.  We have our battles, and I sometimes believe I am just as immature as she is. 

After our battles, I am in our highest of emotions, but once we are through it she can switch and be happy. Just. Like. That.  Where I tend to hold onto my anger and frustration - she barely remembers that it has happened. She looks at me with a happy smile, while I am steaming, and says, “mommy may I have some juice?” And I want to SCREAM: "JUICE?? JUICE?? You want juice after what just happened??"

I am once again reminded of verses on anger like the one in Eccelisastes 7:9”

“Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.”

Or this great one from James 1:19

“Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry...”

Moments after “battle” i am still heated, while McKinley doesn’t even remember it has happened.  She is my example to forgive, forget and have more patience that I am certainly not capable of on my own.  Thank-you Jesus for living inside of me, and continuing that good work you began in me! (Philippians 1:6)

I could keep going on how I receive the Kingdom like a child, but I will just mention one more.

Lastly, my children just love.  Because of their lack of experience they don’t see people in the same lens I do.  In the beginning of the summer we invited a homeless woman to live with us.  Ms. Sandra is a very large woman, and is African American.  She couldn’t look more different than anyone else in our house. 

Our first day she was with us, I agonized over what they children would think of her.  How would they react to her.  What would they say.  And after the initial warming up, they acted as they should, and as if she was supposed to be there!  Within an hour my daughter asked if she could sit in her lap.  

It was a proud moment for a mama, and I realized they love with out strings, with out conditions, and with out stereotypes.  This is how God loves.  I pray everyday that God would enlarge my heart like my children's. 

Psalm 103:11-12

“For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
    so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
    so far has he removed our transgressions from us”

I hope these four quick points helped you understand what Jesus meant when He said to receive the kingdom of heaven like a child. I pray we can all: believe Him better without reservation, appreciate His creation more like the first time seeing snow or a rainbow or leaves fall from a tree, forgive quickly as if we have never been hurt, and love with others with out abandon! 

All pictures taken by the lovely Amanda Puryear.  Website here.  Facebook here.

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