Faith of a Child

Most children love to sing. Children are also natural worshippers. They worship animals, bugs, toys, those they love, and themselves, especially their own image in a mirror! Plus they are dramatic in their adoration. But have you thought that really, they’re admiring the image of God,  when they look in the mirror? Perhaps we lose sight of his image as we age and become jaded, or allow sin in our lives. God created us in His image! It’s no wonder Jesus instructed us to have faith as a child. He said we should accept the kingdom of God like a child. (Luke 17:18) We must simply believe and accept God without hesitation and be full of trust, in honesty, not hiding anything.

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John 4:23-24 “But the time is coming-indeed it’s here now-when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.”

Why are children used as an example? Because children, who have not been abused or hurt, are very trusting in nature. They take things on face value. They haven’t been jilted by a boyfriend or girlfriend. They haven’t had a marriage crumble. They haven’t faced financial struggles. They haven’t raised children or had miscarriages or had their own children die. They haven’t seen the cruel side of life yet and they have an amazing capacity to love! They won’t lie, because they don’t know how. Their negative behaviors are only learned from adults. The word purity is the best way I can describe an innocent child. They’re in tune with the Spirit! Children take ownership of things and events. They have zeal.

Children sing in the same way they live life. As a child, I had a few songs I considered ‘my songs.’ So when the choir leader stood up and asked for everyone to turn in the hymnal to any of these songs, I didn’t understand why the whole church was singing ‘my words!’ I ‘owned’ these songs, didn’t they know?! 🙂 I would get vocal too. My poor mother trying to shush me as others sang ‘This is my story…’ and me saying to people nearby, “It’s not YOUR story! It’s MY story!” Mom and I had a long talk after church about how everyone has a story to tell. Imagine that! Or the song ‘Trust & Obey…’ I was a bit sassy as a preschooler, I thought the author wrote that song for me as a lesson! “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus…” The instructional portion of the song to me, had formulated from previous reprimands when I was a toddler. I used to plant my feet, at the top of the outside stairs, refusing to go into church. My very anemic mother had to get an usher to pick me up and carry me inside, sometimes to great protest. But the singing was my favorite part of church, and I quickly forgot my reason for not wanting to go in.

My five-year-old granddaughter sings with zeal! She loves to go into the ‘adult church’ because of the music! She sings loud enough, that you can pick her out of the crowd. Children sing with abandon, children trust God with abandon. That is why, their faith is so convincing and sound.

As a child, I loved and adored the missionaries who came to our church to tell about their experiences. I wanted to be a missionary when I grew up, because it sounded like a great adventure! At the ripe age of three, I was sobbing as I ran into the room where my mother was ironing. My mother asked why. In my childlike enunciation, I told her, “I can’t be a mi-un-ary!!” My mother again asked why? I stated, “Because I’m not even a Chis-tun!” Thankfully I had a wise mother who simply asked if I wanted to ask Jesus to come into my heart and had already explained the process of accepting Jesus, prior to that day. She said, “Then you need to ask him and confess your sins.” With childlike faith, I dutifully prayed for him to come into my heart and then I was elated. I danced all around, because my burden was lifted! I could be a missionary!

Matthew 18:3-5 Then he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. So anyone who becomes as humble as this little child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. “And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.

My prayer: Make my heart pure as a child Jesus. Help me keep the zeal and fervor for you and allow me to share it as boldly as a child would, without hesitation and not caring who may reject me, because we (you & I) are in this together forever!

Hey Jesus!

With Palm Sunday this week, let’s talk about Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem. Remember, this happened just before Passover. Jesus had dinner with Mary and Martha. Lazarus was able to eat with them, because Jesus had raised him from the dead. As dinner was being prepared, Mary poured a fragrance from the Alabaster jar and anointed Jesus feet, wiping them with her hair. Judas took objection to this lavish gift and act of worship. Judas Iscariot, was the one who would soon betray Jesus and was the disciples’ treasurer and embezzler. We see where his heart was. The very next day was when Jesus was to enter Jerusalem. Many people had heard of the story of Lazarus and about the miracles Jesus performed. With this news, they were anxious to see them both. The priests, who were jealous of the attention being taken from them, were plotting to kill Jesus and Lazarus. We see where their hearts lie too. Both the priests and Judas were looking at monetary losses. 

My daughter was teaching her children the story of Palm Sunday and asked her three and a half year old son what the people said when Jesus entered Jerusalem, riding the donkey. He said, “Hey, Jesus!” While funny and cute, and not the answer she was looking for; I think he nailed it more than all the attendees at Palm Sunday then and today. When we truly know “Jesus” and what his name means and stands for, then it is sufficient. ‘At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow!’ (Philippians 2:10) Pray in the name of Jesus, ask anything and it will come to pass… (John 14:13-14 & 16:23-24) Call on the name of Jesus and you will be healed. (Mark 16:17-18) By the name of Jesus, we enter into salvation. (Acts 4:12) 

When my 3.5 year-old grandson said, ‘ Hey Jesus,’ he said a mouthful! Isn’t it just like a child to remind us what’s important? He encapsulated everything Jesus stood for by saying his name. The Hebrew meaning of the name Jesus comes from Yeshua, the first part meaning “God.” YWVH used over 6,800 times in the Hebrew Bible and translated, Lord. The second part of the name Yeshua means deliverer, to save, or rescue. Putting this together, Jesus means God delivers, saves, and rescues, through the Messiah, who bears God’s name. 

So what did they say to Jesus riding into Jerusalem? “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Hosanna was an appeal for deliverance, the rest is the meaning of his name. On Palm Sunday, some of those who were there shouting, were doing so because they caught the fervor of others. It’s okay to catch fervor, but it doesn’t take hold to take on another person’s fervor as it does to have your own, through a personal encounter. When you have a personal encounter with Jesus, you may be the one saying, “Hey Jesus!” and meaning it with as much zeal as “Hosanna, Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 

Jesus asked his disciples who they said he was. I ask myself who do I say Jesus is? Yes, I revere him, I do not take lightly his worthiness of revere, awe, wonder, or praise, but I also know that he is approachable. He is my ‘Hey Jesus!’ whenever I need him and he is My deliverer today and everyday. He doesn’t expect palm branches or alabaster jars, but I’ll gladly lay them down and pour them out for him. It’s more an attitude of what’s behind the words, than what the words are. Who do I say Jesus is? He is my all. 
Matthew 16:13-20  Let him be your ‘Hey Jesus,’ your all, and your salvation today. 

Hearing from God

I may get people riled up, but I hope it’s with enthusiasm for the things of God and not annoyed at what I say. Have you ever heard someone say that God doesn’t speak to man? Which one of us is interpreting the scriptures incorrectly? Because, In my view God speaks to me every time I listen.

When man was hiding in the Garden, didn’t God call out to Adam & Eve? God talked to man then and he does now. Didn’t God talk to Noah about the ark and to Moses about the law? Didn’t he give Solomon wisdom and give David songs and psalms? Didn’t God speak to Esther about her people through Mordecai? And didn’t he speak to Elisha & Elijah? What about the virgins with oil? Or weren’t the writers of the Bible divinely inspired? What about the disciples? (They had Jesus Christ!) There are countless people and ways in the Bible that God speaks, why would he stop speaking and become silent? Why would a God who created man for fellowship quit communicating with us?! In 1 Corinthians 2 doesn’t it say the Holy Spirit will give understanding and all spiritual revelation to us as we study the word? If that isn’t God speaking to me, then I don’t understand my native language. I don’t need a priest or minister to interpret the Bible for me either, because I’ve been given a divine interpreter to translate parables and the truths of God. It’s the Holy Spirit – or God himself.

And if you’re incensed by my last statement. I’m only a part of a body, just as anyone else who believes in the redemptive power of the blood. We are joint heirs with Jesus. To carry that thought further, we need each other. We are joint heirs of a body of believers who each have a purpose in life. We each have certain strengths, unique to each individual, but it takes many members to make a whole and get the job done. We shouldn’t be focused on what others are doing or if their position in life or ministry is better, but whether we are doing what we do best and doing it well. There should never be any jealousy in the body!

Can you imagine how your own physical body would work if one day your eyes were mad at your ears for hearing and they quit focusing? How would you see? Or what if you feet decided your hands had it better and they decided not to move? How would you walk? When our body functions properly and healthy, we can see and hear correctly, we walk upright and with dignity, a spectacle of beauty. Just think of those who overcome insurmountable handicaps physically, they find ways to make things work, which is beautiful also, but they’d love for their whole body just to cooperate the way it should! God designed the church body to fit together like a healthy physical body. When we work in unison and allow each to do their part, we are a great team, a fully functional family. We are not a dysfunctional one, like so many have grown up in, but the perfect family God intended. When we recognize our position and the strength of others, it is then we are hearing from God, we are plugged into his will, we are the Ruth’s of today. Ruth was the one who heard from God, his companion and friend, and she was beautiful to look upon. When we function as a body, each doing our part, we are companions to God, fully serving him, hearing from him, and we are beautiful to look at in the eyes of God and others who believe.