“The Treasure of the Heart”

The heart holds so much in it, and it is there in the heart where we store and follow the things that are most important to us. There, in that place, is where the things we treasure reside.

To God, the heart matters. David is quoted as being a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22), and rightly so. Though he made mistakes in his life, and though he sinned before God, his heart never stopped beating after God. When faced with his wrongs, David didn’t make excuses for his behavior. He repented of them and sought forgiveness.

Solomon, David’s son, was a man especially blessed by God in a way no man had ever been blessed. He was endowed with extraordinary wisdom and wealth (1 Kings 3:9-13; 29-34). God also told Solomon, “And if thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days,” (1 Kings 3:14).

Although his riches and wisdom abounded, the heart of Solomon turned away from following the Lord and went after false gods (1 Kings 11:1-8). His heart was “not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father,” (1 Kings 11:4). Thus, we see a great comparison between those who follow God with their all and those who don’t, and that comparison starts in the heart.

Although God had appeared to him twice and specifically said this shouldn’t be done (1 Kings 11:10), Solomon, because of the women he loved, allowed his heart to be filled with the false ways of their false gods, which in turn, turned his heart from following the one and only true God.

Friends, we must mind the heart with all diligence. Proverbs instruct us, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life,” (4:23). Jesus said, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh,” (Luke 6:45; see also Matthew 15:18-20; Mark 7:20-23).

What treasure is your heart holding? As we go through life, there will be times when we must take a heart examination to make sure it is in good health producing good treasure. This world can wreak havoc on a heart and if one is not careful, the heart can become tainted and impacted in a very negative way.

David took the matters of his heart seriously. When he sinned against the Lord he sought to realign his heart to the will of God. Instead of ignoring the problem and letting the problem grow worse and worse, David took his heart before the Lord, and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me,” (Psalm 51:10).

What David showed us is, if one does not like what the heart is producing or has produced, we can take these matters of the heart before God and seek His help to get it straight. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise,” (Psalm 51:17).

It is in the heart where we store up our trust in God (Proverbs 3:5). It is there in the heart where we hide God’s Word (Psalm 119:11). It is in the heart where we show our true love for God (Matthew 22:37). And, it is in the heart of man that God looks upon and judges (1 Samuel 16:7).

Outwardly, Solomon seemed to have everything, but inside he lacked what God was looking for the most – a heart that was after Him.

A heart that is after God is a heart that has prepared itself to be after God. There are so many choices one can turn to and each choice will fill us with something. When Solomon made his choice to fill his life with that which is false, false ways and ideas took root in his heart and led him astray.

In comparison, even in his wrongs, David took his heart to God, admitted his wrongs (Psalm 51:4), and sought restoration (Psalm 51:12).

When one seeks to have a heart filled with the things of God, God will fill it, and that filling will produce beautiful treasure.

Material wealth will fade, but the treasure of one’s heart will follow them through all eternity. What treasures are you storing today?

Lord, increase me in You. Help me to look to You and Your ways continually. Help me to keep my heart and my feet on Your righteous pathways. Fill me up with more of You till my life and my heart is overflowing with Your good treasures. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, I pray, AMEN!

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“God is worthy of so much more!”

Have you ever filled a glass to the brim, and just when you thought it could not hold any more liquid, you added another drop, then another, and still another?  So far it has not overflowed, so carefully, and oh so gently, you continue to go just to see when enough is enough.

Can I tell you, we can push ourselves to what we think are our natural limits in praising God and it will still never be enough.  There is no quota that can really satisfy the complete exaltation of God who has done so much for us.  There is no sufficient amount of thankfulness, sacrifice, or service that says I have completed my duty to the Lord.  To Him, whom the Word declares, “No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly” (Psalm 84:11) – to Him, who will “liberally” give wisdom if asked (James 1:5) – to Him, whom we can lift our eyes to daily, and find the help and strength we need (Psalm 121:1-2) – to Him, we can never, ever exhaust our worship!  God is worthy of so much more!

Reading in 1 Kings, I came across the historical telling of king Solomon at the temple dedication.  There, “Solomon offered a sacrifice of peace-offering unto the LORD, two and twenty thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep…” (1 Kings 8:63).  Did you see those numbers? That’s 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep – wow! Earlier in the same chapter when “the ark of the LORD and the tabernacle of the congregation, and all the holy vessels that were in the tabernacle, even those did the priests and the Levites bring up.  And king Solomon, and all the congregation of Israel, that were assemble unto him, were with him before the ark, sacrificing sheep and oxen, that could not be told nor numbered for multitude,” (1 Kings 8:4-5).

In other words, there was no limit to their praise for the God of all glory!

The psalmist once wrote, “Seven times a day do I praise thee because of thy righteous judgments,” (Psalm 119:164).  There is no cap for the honor due to His name.  To him, God is worthy of so much more!

While there may be a lot of things we cannot control in this world, one thing we can still do is give God the praise – and lots of it.  That’s why David declared, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth,” (Psalm 34:1) when he had to act crazy before a king to save his life.

We may not understand everything, but we can still praise.  That’s what Paul and Silas did in prison, they prayed and praised God (Acts 16:25). 

We may wrestle with hurts and disappointments, but we can still praise. 

We may not even have all the answers, but we can still offer up to God the glory and praises due to Him, and lots of it (Psalm 29:1-2).  Just when you think it’s enough, in the heart of a true believer, there’s still more room for praise.  Like those drops of water, we can add another reason to praise, and another, and still another. So, let His praises overflow in your life today.  Whether it’s a loud, vocal praise, or a song of adoration you carry in the heart – Praise Him!  Because in joyous times or in hard times, God is still worthy of our praise, and so much more!

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Throwback Thursday – Happy Thanksgiving!

Hashtags have found a way into our lives and in our standard of communication.  These keywords or lettered initials are used for several reasons.  They increase the probability of likes on a post or picture.  They can link you to others who are expressing the same interest in a particular subject or person.  At other times, they make a statement without going too deep into content.

One of my favorite hashtags I see people use is #tbt (Throwback Thursday).  When you see these, people are sharing stuff that you may not have been privileged to see before.  Perhaps it was a photograph from an exotic honeymoon vacation many years before you met the individual.  Or, how about when people share pictures of themselves as babies or young children.  I like to look at these the most and compare their features to what I see today and mark the resemblance, and so on.

Throwback Thursday gives us a view to people’s past.  These moments shared are often joyful and heartwarming, bringing out the “Aww!” of nostalgia.

The more I think about it, the more it came to me that our Thanksgiving celebrations are like those throwbacks we see posted in social circles.  For it is at Thanksgiving, if we are nothing else, we are grateful.  When our minds take in the year we just went through – all the Lord God has brought us through, we are grateful.  When we see His hands working in things for which we had no control, we are grateful.  When we look back over our lives, when we take our own trips down memory lane and see His deliverances, His help, His love and mercy, His grace and anointing at work in our lives, we are grateful.  When we see those snapshots of where we have been and compare them to where we are now, we are grateful.

For at Thanksgiving, a time in our history, we set aside this day to express gratitude and thankfulness for what the Lord has done for us.  We enjoy a feast of good food.  We enjoy fellowship with family and friends (even if some of it is done virtually this year).  We come together for the reason of celebrating with like minds and like hearts.

While this year those gatherings may look different and the feasts for some may seem smaller or not quite what you are used to, let’s keep the grandness of this day – the reason for its purpose front and center: thankfulness for all God has done for us.

During this Thanksgiving, this throwback Thursday, reminisce on God’s faithfulness through this year and through your life.  In your mind’s eye, allow yourself to wander and spend some time on those beautiful snapshots, those past moments, those photographs of your life, and be reminded of His faithfulness at work.

And, while many of us can’t meet or come together as we usually do, we have those good memories of great love and times shared in the past.  We have the love and memories from our Heavenly Father and the love and memories of those blessed souls He has placed in our lives that we call family and friends.

Today, as I look back, I am thankful for so much.  In the little details and the grand adventures, I am thankful.

I have had times of tears and times of joy, but knowing God is still with me today and He has an even greater plan beyond what we see for this day or even for this year – I am thankful.

No wonder David wrote, “I will bless the LORD at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth,” (Psalm 34:1).  There will be some times that are harder than others, but it is God who sustains us and protects us, and loves us through it all.  Therefore, we praise.  Therefore, we still give Him thanks!

I pray that however this Thanksgiving finds you, it will find you in the peace and love of the Lord above all.  Blessings to you and Happy Thanksgiving!

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“Have A Warmer Heart Than Usual!”

“But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,” Luke 10:33

I live a good distance from the church I attend which means lots of driving and observing time.  Often times, on my way to church I look out my window and I stare.  Some may think I’m being rude, but it’s the exact opposite.  I look at that person sitting on the stoop or the one standing on the corner, and I wonder.  I wonder about what they may have gone through that day.  I wonder what it is that made that person look so sad.  I wonder about the mom on the bus stop struggling to get the stroller, baby, and bags onto the bus.  I wonder.

How often have we really taken the time to see beyond the people to see the person, to really try to imagine you walking in the shoes of another?  To see what’s going on inside the person without judging the outside?  To show a tender heart instead of a wagging head, disapproving eyes, and a simple tsk-tsk-tsk?

When it’s all said and done, it is the “royal law” of love that wins out every single time (James 2:8).  Thinking beyond oneself will go farther and make more of a difference in the world we live in.  Why?  Because that’s what Christ did for us!  He looked beyond Himself, beyond His own needs and hurts, and saw what the world needed.  The world needed a Savior.

Even during His earthly ministry, it has been noted in the Bible, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion…” (Matthew 9:36).  To the leper: “And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him…” (Mark 1:41).  To the mom who just lost her son: “And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her…” (Luke 7:13).  To the world: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” (Luke 22:42).  To His enemies: “Father, forgive them;  for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34).

That’s how warm Jesus’ heart was toward people.  He had a genuine concern to look at people from the inside out instead of the outside in.  He saw the person beyond the people.  So did the Good Samaritan.  Despite the rejection and animosity he had faced down through the years at the hand of the Jews, the wounded man lying before him needed his help.  He was not going to let those years of bitterness or even indifference change his resolve to help the one that needed him now.

Paul taught the church in Ephesus to “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us…” (Eph. 4:32-5:2).

Followers of God are concerned with the person on the inside.  A child of God is warmed to the plight of the human in humanity and sees them for who they are.  They are someone that God is concerned enough about to allow His Son to die.  Shouldn’t we then have that same compassion for one another?

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Living This Life for the Life to Come

Uncertainty. If it is not a word on many lips, it’s a word that many are feeling in their hearts. A bothersome restlessness that leaves one’s thoughts in an upheaval of mess because they just don’t know what’s around the corner next. Will this happen or that is a question many are asking.

Worrying about our times and futures seem to be among many normal conversations of the day. Not that any can blame one for expressing their concerns regarding the menagerie of mess that seems to be swirling around us. With so much hanging in the balance, making many feel like their load is going to capsize at any minute, what can we, as individuals do?

In the natural, I think the most any of us can do is prepare as best as we can with the means we have available to us. This will not look the same for each of us. For many, these times bring greater stress than for others and it really stretches one beyond their comfort zone.

There are just things that we as individuals cannot control. We just can’t. And the constant worry and stress over it gets us nowhere.

Then, there are things we can control, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others.

Physically, everything is dependent on what a person is able to do or not to do. But the preparation for a better spiritual future is the same for everybody and is not dependent on any earthly resources, means, or ingenuity. The greater spiritual outcome we hope to obtain, and the heavenly reward up ahead is only dependent on what Christ already did on the cross for us, and us choosing to believe and accept Him and follow Him with our whole heart and our whole life, for He is the only way to experience that greater future. Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven (John 14:6).

As we watch the news and look out into this world, we may scratch our heads wondering what this world has come to. It’s hard for us to digest some of the despicable acts of human nature. It’s hard to see evil running rampant. It’s hard to see innocent people being hurt. People making wrong choices. Disfunction knocking on so many doors. It’s hard to witness what this world has come to.

It’s also hard dealing with some of our own personal issues and struggles. And the word “uncertainty” seems to just get bigger, and bigger, and bigger, and bigger, taking on a life of its own.

While uncertainty in the here and now seems to keep growing for myriad of reasons, in Christ, we really do have a future that is certain, secure, and real. It’s better than anything we can prepare for or lay up in our present-day. For everything here will pass away one day and all that will matter is the future we have prepared for in the time to come.

John, in the book of Revelation, wrote, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sin,” (Revelation 21:1).

One thing is certain, all that we see with our natural eyes will one day be gone for good. Our hope is to be in what we have laid up for spiritually. Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also,” (Matthew 6:19-21; see also Luke 12:34; read Luke 12:33-44).

While many are so focused on the here and now, how many are living this life for that life to come?

I’m in no way bashing being prepared and taking steps to secure things needed for family and friends. Rather, I want us to examine the focus of our hearts and where our treasure truly lies. Putting more stock in the here and now will not ultimately profit us (read Luke 12:16-21). We must ask ourselves, are we worried about being more “rich toward God” (Luke 12:21) or toward the things of this world?

Live this life for the life to come and no matter what takes place down here, you will have a greater reward, a greater treasure up ahead that will never fail you or be taken away from you. The word “uncertainty” doesn’t exist there.

There, “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away,” (Revelation 21:4).

There, “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son,” (Revelation 21:7).

There, “The nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it…” (Revelation 21:24).

There, in that heavenly place, “There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads,” (Revelation 22:3-4).

While uncertainty may remain here, there in heaven, will be nothing but blessed assurance, peace, beauty – everything good, right, and holy.

Live this life for the life to come and your preparedness will not be for naught, and your treasure will never be misplaced or lost.

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No matter what it looks like, God is faithful!

Our circumstances never matter as much as the faithfulness of our God. Yes, we may not wholly understand the reason and season for tears, but when one takes to heart the providence of God; when one leans back and views the previous encounters of His loving hand at work in their life, the realization that if He worked in such a time as that, then by faith, in this, I can declare too that with God, nothing is impossible, (Luke 1:37).

His working hand may not appear to maneuver things in the same fashion as He did before – but, He’s still here. The disbursement of His blessings may not rain in showers as they did before. Perhaps there is another way He wants to move our hearts into new territories of faith. Perhaps we have cleaved to our preconceived perceptions too long and our good Father wants to show us that no matter what it looks like. No matter how the fight formed may appear, it does not negate His faithful stance for His people.

Our God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. And, His holy Word declares there is nothing… there is no thing that shall be able to separate us from His love (Romans 8:35-39).

Circumstances, unsettling things, unknown situations will periodically appear in our lives. And while that is true, we must remember that our God is not a “periodical” God. He doesn’t just show up in times of happenstance. He doesn’t make His rounds to see who or what He wants to attend to and deal with at that moment.

No. But He is forever faithful. Never let what you’re dealing with shatter that wonderful truth: GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL! Cleave to Him because, my friend, He is cleaving to you. You are engraved in the palm of His hand (Isaiah 49:16). You are never far from His mind (Psalm 40:5). You are never forgotten (Isaiah 49:15). You are never left on your own (Hebrews 13:5). Your life and future are part of a beautiful plan He has laid out for you (Jeremiah 29:11). Never stop believing in the One who fights for you (Romans 8:31); the One who is on your side (Psalm 118:6).

He was faithful in the yesterdays of life. He will be faithful in the todays of life. And, He will always be faithful in the future of our life (Hebrews 10:23).

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

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Sunday School Lesson – “Jesus Blesses the Children” Mark 10:13-16

VERSE DISCOVERY: Mark 10:13-16 (KJV, Public Domain)

There is a familiar scene that plays out in many families between dad, mom, and the little ones.  It is the one where the father, playing with his children, tosses them into the air and catches them on a band of giggles coming from the child while the mother stands on the sidelines holding her breath.

The father with a sure grip and a steady hand has no qualms playing this innocent game.  The child, often young, just thinks it is absolutely hilarious to go for this free ride.  The child never worries about being caught.  The child never worries about being hurt.  The child only sees daddy.  Daddy loves me, daddy cares for me, I trust daddy and daddy will never let me fall.  Therefore, I will enjoy playing with daddy.

From the time that children are born, they have an innate capacity to trust.  They are literally at the whim of their caretakers and can do nothing for themselves.  Their dependency is constantly on others to feed, care for, and love them in their most vulnerable state.  In their innocence, they do not judge by anything outwardly but, only by the love they receive inwardly.

Children are a gift from the Lord (Psalm 127:3).  Children are our future.  These little ones will be the next carriers of God’s Word.  They will be the conduits through which generations after them will find their way to the Lord and His salvation.  At the same time, children can teach us so many things and one of the things they teach us is how to have faith.

Faith gets over-complicated in the adult way of thinking while children just simply receive, remain dependent, trust, and believe.  And that is all God asks from all His children, no matter what their age is.

 Parents Desire

Mark 10:13 “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.”

Teachings on the kingdom of God and examples of what true faith looks like were never far from Jesus’ vocabulary.  He took many times and opportunities to open the understanding of all who would listen and heed what God looks for in a true follower of His.

In this lesson, He gives us an undeniable example of both as parents in the crowd “brought young children to him.”  The desires of the parents in question are to have Jesus “touch” their children thereby blessing them. This was not an uncommon practice in this ancient culture.

The truth is parents always want what is best for their children.  If they find a good thing, naturally they would want their children exposed to it as much as possible.  Many modern-day parents spend an enormous amount of money each year to give their children the best clothes, education, housing… the best start in life, if and as they are each able to do.

The parents in today’s lesson saw Jesus teaching and healing and showing compassion to many people, many times over.  He was (and still is) the best thing they could give to their children.  Why would they not want their child exposed to Him?  Why would they not seek a “touch” from Jesus for their little ones if they could?

A child’s faith often starts with their parents (or guardian), and in the home.  It’s where God gave the command of responsibility to Moses for the parents to “teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house…” (Deuteronomy 6:7; see also Deut. 11:19).  There are many variables that go into raising a child.  Parents really must take into consideration and calculate what their children are exposed to on a daily basis and whether or not it is beneficial to their physical and spiritual wellbeing.  The guidelines given to Moses to pass down through the generations was to ensure that the most impressionable of society receive the proper exposure to the things of God; to what would benefit their children the most.  This would also ensure the longevity of the faith amongst the community as a whole.

Those in today’s lesson wanted to expose their children to Jesus.  They wanted Him to touch their little ones with a blessing.  They brought their children near to where Jesus was, giving them the opportunity to hear of His teaching and wisdom on life and the kingdom of God.  The Bible encourages us to, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it,” (Proverbs 22:6).  This stands as a strong lesson that if we want our children to be exposed to Jesus, then we, as parents, must take that responsibility and not depend on others to do it for us.  When it comes to our children’s faith there can be no complacent parenting.

“And his disciples rebuked those that brought them.”  The disciples didn’t have the same vision for the children as the parents did.  The Bible does not exactly state why their rebuke was so strong (although many speculate).  But they did prohibit the parents from bringing the children nearer to where Jesus was and made no attempts to hide their displeasure at the intrusion.

Did they think the children were unworthy of the Master’s time and consideration?  Maybe they believed Jesus was just too busy and important to deal with the likes of these.  Who knows?  Perhaps it would have been prudent for them to ask Jesus first instead of thinking to act on His behalf.  The fact of the matter is they stood in between Jesus and the children.  Something Jesus highly disapproved of.

Everyone MATTERs TO JESUS

Mark 10:14 “But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.”

Jesus intervened.  Jesus has never turned away a desiring soul.  He has never told a mom or dad no who sought physical or spiritual healing for their child.  And He was not going to turn down or turn away those who desired a special spiritual blessing or touch for their children now.

One of the most precious things I love about our Lord is His ability to see value in everybody.  Those whom society thinks are the lesser, non-important, are magnificent in the eyes of our God.  The Bible teaches us, “But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows,” (Luke 12:7).

To Him, it does not matter where you live, what your social status in life is, or anything else like that.  It does not matter if you are aged with wisdom or new and in the innocence of your years.  He that knows the days then, the days now, and the days to come and sees beyond all of that, straight down to the very soul He loves.  With that, He invites or allows (“suffer” as this lesson puts it) them to come unto Him.

Previously I wrote in another lesson, “The feet of faith walk forward believing God is, “and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” (Hebrews 11:6).  Faith in its highest form removes all worldly shackles and just rests in the truth that if it is His will, there is nothing that can hinder God from performing a miracle in one’s life.  Ethnicity, background, and prestige all fall away in the eyes of our Savior whose only view is that of an opened heart filled with belief,” (Word for Life Says/The Centurion’s Great Faith).  All are welcomed before Him: man, woman, and child.  Many are quick to write off young people, but our youths’ matter to Jesus, too!  Everyone matters to Him!

“Forbid them not,” Jesus commanded.  Do not prevent people, no matter who they are, from drawing nearer to Christ.  The constraints that society then and now may put on some people are not recognized by God.

Youths especially come packed with potential.  For example, Samuel was dedicated to God as an incredibly young child (1 Sam. 1:21-28) and became a righteous judge of God’s people.  Josiah, became king at the tender age of 8 (2 Chr. 34:1), and “in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images,” (2 Chr. 34:3) and eventually went on to make great reformations for God’s people in turning them back to true worship (2 Chr. 34-35) which all started while he was still young.  Timothy learned from his grandmother and mother about true faith and helped the apostle Paul during his missionary journeys and in the establishing of new churches (2 Tim. 1:5).  And, let us not forget our Lord Jesus Christ who was found at the age of 12 in the temple with the “doctors”, amazing all who saw Him and heard “his understanding and answers,” (Luke 2:41-52).   It is far better that potential is tapped in young people for the glory of God than for the things of this world.

I am sure the disciples thought they were doing their best in providing protection and care for their Master.  Yet, Jesus has always had an open-door policy when it comes to people.  People matter to our Savior, even the littlest people – the kiddos.  Jesus always had a heart that burned for drawing people near and exposing to them the kingdom of God.  He loves people.  He loves children.  And He loves you, too!

“For of such is the kingdom of God.”  God’s kingdom is made of those who trust Him with total abandon and are dependent without inhibitions; that have faith and just believe as through the eyes of an innocent child.  Too many adults are hindered in their faith due to life experiences.  But children just accept and believe and love and trust.  They are prime examples of how His sheep come to the Shepherd and humbly follow His lead.

Faith as a Child

Mark 10:15 “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”

Continuing His line of teaching on the kingdom of God, Jesus reiterates the one who wishes to enter in must “receive” it “as a little child.”  Those who choose not, forfeit their right to “enter therein.”

Why? Because the same characteristics that made that celebrated faith like a child acceptable in heaven are not found in those who refuse to receive it.  In fact, the exact opposite is usually what is present.  Instead of trusting, one may see self-sufficiency, and instead of a heart surrendered in faith, one may see it being lifted in pride.  Of course, one does not have to go far in realizing these are things God opposes.  They are not found in His children, the accessors of that heavenly kingdom, therefore to them who refuse to receive it as a child, access is denied.

The promise of heaven awaits any and all who will humble themselves as these children do and put on those same traits.  Walking in a lifestyle that opposes the fruit of the Spirit which is often found in these little ones is to oppose the working of the Spirit in that life.  Flesh wins and carnality overtakes that individual prohibiting them an opened door into the heavenly realm.

Do not be like the children of Israel.  God led them through the wilderness, and they fell short of the promise that lay ahead of them.  Losing out on the spiritual blessings of entering heaven would be far worse with more significant eternal consequences than that of an earthly Promised Land.  Therefore, it is prudent that one takes on this faith, which He describes as being like a child in their trust and willingness to receive, that they may enter in.

Blessed by Jesus

Mark 10:16 “And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”

After His lesson on the benefits of having the same faith as these little ones that were brought before Him, Jesus granted the parent’s request and “blessed them.” 

Look at Jesus’ actions closely. He did not just speak a word over them as He could have.  He did not send one of the disciples to relay the blessings.  No.  He got personally involved with each child there in showing them the compassion of the Savior.  He lifted “them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”  I get the impression that He possibly took the time to lay hands on each child individually as any good father or spiritual leader would and speak a word of encouragement over each one of them (just my thoughts).

Remember our introduction: “The child never worries about being caught.  The child never worries about being hurt.  The child only sees daddy.  Daddy loves me, daddy cares for me, I trust daddy and daddy will never let me fall.  Therefore, I will enjoy playing with daddy.”  Jesus is calling for all of us to turn to Him with that same kind of innocent and trusting faith found in children.  Your heavenly Daddy loves you!  Turn to Him.

PDF Full Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Jesus Blesses the Children

Suggested Activities:

Lesson Opener:  If you tried to put a picture to the word faith, what would that picture look like? What would it show? (As you present the questions in the following paragraph to open the lesson, have pictures ready that depict the scenes being spoken of.)

Would we see one authoritatively speaking with power to the multitudes (show picture)?  Would we see miracles and signs being performed (show picture)?  Or would you see the face of an innocent child (show picture)?

When Jesus taught about what those who enter the kingdom of God and what they would be compared to, in this lesson, He likened them to the picture of an innocent child.

While all the others are very real signs of things being done by those who profess and walk in the faith – what it all boils down to is if one wants to enter His heavenly kingdom, they must, in faith, receive it as a child.

Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Jesus Blesses the Children

Kid’s Journal Page: Kid’s Journal Page – Jesus Blesses the Children

Blank Journal Pages: These pages, one designed for adults and one for children, can be used to bring out, remember, or write a particular part of the lesson you wish for you and/or your class to focus on.  Click>>Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages to access the journal pages.

Paper Bag Puppet Craft:  Younger students can also put together a paper bag puppet depicting themselves and, on the back, attach the phrase from the printable available on site which states, “Jesus Thinks I’m Special, Too!”  Click here for the printable PDF.

 

Draw the Scene: Jesus Blesses the Children Draw the Scene

Memory Verse: Jesus Blesses the Children Memory Verse

Word Search: Jesus Blesses the Children Word Search  Answers: Jesus Blesses the Children Word Search Answers

Crossword: Jesus Blesses the Children Crossword  Answers: Jesus Blesses the Children Crossword Answers

Word Scramble: Jesus Blesses the Children Word Scramble  Answers: Jesus Blesses the Children Word Scramble Answers

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“Thou art my hiding place!”

When trouble comes my way,
You are my hope and stay.
When the winds of adversity blow near,
You are He in whom I have no fear.
When I am dazed, lost, or confused,
You and hope in Your Word will see me through.

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details. 

“You Have to Work It!”

“He who tills his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows frivolity will have poverty enough,” Proverbs 28:19, NKJV

“Something for nothing!”  It seems to be the way of the world.  Many are searching for the next big thing that is going to push them toward success yet when the face of work peeps around the corner they run in the opposite direction.   The truth is, life takes work and a lot of it.  Anything worth having is going to take work.  Something will never come out of nothing,  It takes an effort of heart and mind, strength, and endurance to see the results we may desire for our futures.

For example, the farmer will not dare to go out into the field hoping to reap that which he has not sown for.  If no seeds were put into the ground and the field had not been tended to – if the work has not been done, he knows that when the time of harvest comes there will be no produce, no benefits to reap from.  Yet, many still go out into the field seeking to reap when they have not planted.

“He who tills his land!”  He who works it!  He who puts forth an honest effort knowing that if he keeps persevering and keeps pushing forward eventually he will reach the point of plenty, of being able to reap off of the goodness he put into it.  Your land is what God gave you.  It is your gift, your ability, your talents, and skills.

Many put a lot of faith in things that will not produce a harvest.  Work what God gave you!  Guard what you do with your time and efforts.  Are they leading you to where you want to be?  Is what you’re doing sowing into your future?  Will you be able to reap “plenty” from the seeds you have planted today?  We only have one life to live, by the grace of God, make it count!  Work it today!  God bless you in all your endeavors today 🙂

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God is our very present help!

Dear Friends, are you in a present time crisis?  Has trouble found you when you least expected it and at the very wrong time possible?  The wonderful thing about being connected to the wonderful, heavenly Father is that no time is an inconvenient time for Him to come and help – even right now, presently.

God is never bound by the limits we experience or others we may run to for a source of hope and strength.  God is also the only One who not only knows us completely through and through, but He knows more about the details of our struggles, hurts, and pains than any other.  In His omniscience, there is no part of us – no part of anything we endure or go through that He is not aware of.  As such, there is no other place, person, or thing where we can truly find the satisfaction of help where we need it the most.

Please, do not misunderstand me.  God is not to be beckoned and treated as if He is an imaginary genie to grant our every wish on a whim.  No, but He is a promise keeper and so much more, who invites us to come to Him and seek His face – seek what He has to offer and trust His will and His timing – trust Him alone and above all during the times of conflict and uncertainty.

He, in His perfect love, is concerned about you and the things that are presently before you.  And, He knows that you are concerned about them too, and thus, He has allowed these assurances of His love and willingness to be available for help to be declared over and over in His holy Word, such as what the psalmist wrote when he said, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble,” (Psalm 46:1).

There are times when I need Him in all those areas.  I need to find that in my weakest moments, in Him I can obtain strength.  When the storms are angry and blowing tempestuously in my life, He is my refuge and safety.  And yes, when troubles in any shape and form rear its ugly head, that God is our very present help – our right now source through it all.

Oh, if only every day were sunshine and rainbows, but alas, we know that there will be times when things and situations stir that makes us uncomfortable, shake us a bit, or cause some unsure feelings to arise.  But, the truth of what the psalmist wrote still stands just as sure today as it did when it was originally written, and the summation of that verse states that God cares deeply and lovingly for you.  Why else would He concern Himself with your present circumstances?  It is His love for you that compels Him.  It is His concern for you that causes His eye and heart to see what you are dealing with and moves Him to come to your aid.

Come, and take comfort in these blessed words that speak of His help and care for His people, and for you:

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.” (Psalm 46:1-7)

Copyright © Word For Life Says.com (Sharing any posts or lessons can only be done through the share buttons provided on this site from the original posts, lessons, and articles only. You can reblog from the original posts only using the reblog button provided, or share using the share buttons provided from these social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, etc., and they must be shared from the original posts only. All other repostings are prohibited. Posts and other items of interest found on this site MAY NOT BE COPIED AND PASTED, downloaded, uploaded, etc to another website or entity not listed (physical or electronic).  See COPYRIGHT PAGE for more details.