Children: Rewards Packed with Potential

“And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children” (Isaiah 54:13), and “Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psalm 127:3) are just some of my favorite Bible verses when dealing with the subject of children. Those precious treasures God has blessed us with are a reward.

Children have always had a special place in the heart of God. 

Jesus showed the value in the lives of these innocent ones by teaching the adults that unless they put on childlike faith, unless they “Be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).  

Days of parenting may not always be sitting by and watching children play in the best of their innocence and zest for life. Guiding young hearts may not always work out like the after-school specials or shows we see on tv. Some days of parenting can be difficult and frustrating, but may those days not take the focus from the heart of the child. Children are a beautiful blessing, and each one comes packed with potential.

From a lesson I previously published found here, I wrote:

“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).” 

May you find inspiration in the Word of God as He reminds us of the blessings of children. They are rewards packed with potential.  

More inspiration:

  • “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
  • “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). 
  • “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers” (Proverbs 17:6). 
  • “Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments.  His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed” (psalm 112:1-2). 

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“The Lifter of My Head!”

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” Psalm 3:3

How much wrestling have you dealt with in life?  How many in just this week alone?  In the heaviness, in the heart, our God stands as the One who lifts our head:

“When confidence in others is fleeting,

And friends cannot be found.

It is God who restores,

And lifts my countenance from the ground.

 

Running, exhausted, weary, and worn.

With His salve of love,

He heals this heart

That was torn.

 

He takes the troubles,

As if they didn’t exist,

Encourages us in Him,

And our hearts, He lifts.

 

No more to feel like

I’m fighting alone.

God has lifted my head

And, called me His own.”

Friend, when troubles find their way into your life, remember Your heavenly Father is He who fights with you and for you.  David found himself in opposition often.  Some were of his own doing, and some were from others who pursued him with unrighteousness.  But in his heart, he never failed to keep believing in God, to keep his confidence and praise in the One who not only saw his sin and his circumstances – but God was also He who held his life in His hands.

A praise was never far from his lips.  Even when he was down, he knew in whom he believed.  He knew that in everything, God is the one who can restore and exalt.  God is the one who can return a smile to his face and gladness to his heart.  God is He who can bring a victory in the midst of a mess therefore, David kept his hope in the one and only true living God who can carry him and lift him during the hard times of life.

Friend, I pray that you will find your solace in God today.  May a praise be on your lips for the God who can save.

“I will praise thee, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will shew forth all thy marvellous works.” Psalm 9:1

“And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.” Psalm 27:6

Your biggest source of encouragement is found in God alone!

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“A Prayer for Wisdom and Spiritual Understanding”

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Colossians 1:9

Although we may live in an age where information abounds, we also, in this time, live with more misinformation than ever before.  And through the various sources afforded to spread thoughts, ideas, information, and misinformation, the disease of misinformation not only spreads far and wide-reaching beyond unprecedented bounds, but it also spreads rapidly like a devouring fire bent on the destruction of all in its path.

When the Apostle Paul learned of the faith of those in Colosse (1:4), his immediate and urgent response was to pray that they would be filled with the knowledge of God’s will “in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.”

God’s will, God’s Word, forever, will always be the right path to walk in one’s life.  But there will always be dangerous detractors that will try to pull people from God’s will and His Word.  But a heart of understanding will see the light in God’s Word and let it illuminate the pathway for fulfilling His will in their life.

While in prison in Rome, Paul, knowing the tender faith of these converts, did not want them to be imprisoned by false ways and false doctrines, by a stream of misinformation that would threaten to derail them from the truth they found in Christ Jesus.

Today, we need to, as the Apostle Paul did, prioritize praying for wisdom and spiritual understanding.  The same threats that sought to derail those in Colosse from their faith are the same threats that can do the same today – misinformation.

I would urge you to not only pray for genuine wisdom and spiritual understanding but to safeguard your own heart and faith against anything false, trying to infiltrate what you believe.

Take a proactive approach in minding what comes into you.  Many are careful to watch what goes into their bodies but neglect the same due diligence to their souls.

Another thing you must do is compare.  I know – there is so much taught to us about not comparing, but this is one thing you should compare.  Take what you hear and see and compare it to the Word of God.  The Word of God is always going to be right, and therefore, it will always be the proper compass to navigate your life by.

Lastly, watch who you listen to.  With the availability of social media and the various platforms for one to express their views, make sure what you are taking in is from good, solid Bible teachers and resources.

What we understand about our faith, the world, and the times we are living in needs to be viewed through the lens of godly and holy wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Do not neglect the study of His Word to gain the richest understanding of all.  And do not neglect to pray for His wisdom and spiritual understanding to direct you in His holy will and truth.

Father God, it is Your truth we need in our lives every day and in every way. 

” . . .let God be true, but every man a liar . . .” (Romans 3:4)  

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Listing and Lifting the Saints in Prayer

There has been such a burden on my heart for the saints of God lately. The body of Christ needs our prayers. Not that He, Christ, has lost any power, but the children of God need one another to lift them in prayer.

So much has been happening in our world, and I see so many who are dealing with confusion, and it seems to be upsetting their personal worlds in a way that is hard for them to comprehend. It is times like these when it is easy to lose focus on what really matters and to center ourselves in our faith, and what, and in whom, we believe.

Times like these can raise many questions in a heart, swaying them with insecurity and doubt therefore, we, as brothers and sisters in Christ, need to watch out for our family – watch out for the family of God. We need to see their concerns and empathize. We need to see their struggles and offer help if we can. We need to understand (as best as we can) where they are coming from and encourage them in their journey forward.

The community of Christ needs one another. This is not something we engage in as a one-time practice. The Bible teaches us to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). As we walk through our day, we will likely face many people. And, these people may be facing many things, challenges, and worries (including the saints). What a difference it would make in their day to feel the comfort of fellowship holding up their arms in the fight as Aaron and Hur held up the arms of Moses (Exodus 17:12). Victories can be won in lives when they are encouraged through the right means.

We have all dealt with challenges. We have all faced overwhelming circumstances and, the right word, from the right person who was caring at the right time, made all the difference.

Even if we cannot come alongside someone physically; friend, we can lift and list their name and situation in sincere prayer, and with genuine, heartfelt concern, to the Lord. If the thought of a person drops in your heart today, do not hesitate to ask God to help them in the areas that are hard to figure out. Ask God to reach into the crevices of their heart and speak peace as only He can. If you see someone ready to crash under the weight of it all, ask God to intervene supernaturally to keep them from any seen or unseen danger or destruction.

We are so vitally important to one another. We are not designed to go about this life alone.   “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another…” (1 Thessalonians 5:11). The care and concern we show for one another speak highly of the care and concern we have for Christ and His body (see Matthew 25:40).

We all want to make it on this journey. And our concern for souls should compel us to be concerned for others, that they make it too. As you are in prayer and listing your personal petitions to the Lord, take the time to list and lift the saints of God, as a whole and individually, in your prayer as well. May God bless His church with added strength, grace, and encouragement, in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort;  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”

(2 Corinthians 1:3,4)

“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.  For even Christ pleased not himself. . .”

(Romans 15:1-3a)

Photo above by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

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The Father’s Hand is Still Moving!

When you read the stories in the Bible, stories that tell of God’s great moving power in the lives of people, what goes through your mind?

Do you think within yourself of the possibilities of if you were in Abraham’s shoes, or what it would be like if you present watching David fight Goliath, or maybe if you were there with the three Hebrew boys plus One in the fire, or with Daniel in the lion’s den?

Each of these stories is unique and beautiful in its way.  Each story tells how God took ordinary individuals and did extraordinary things for them and through them.

As I contemplate the stories, or I should say, the recorded events of these lives in the Bible, I see phenomenally mighty works done.

I see God moving faithfully in these lives who said “yes” to Him; in the lives of those who chose His will over their own.

As extraordinary as those events and lives are that are recorded, I am reminded that God is still in the business of working out remarkable things in surprising ways through people’s lives today.

Hebrews 13:8 reminds us, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”  And that with the Father, who does all things perfectly, there is no “variableness, neither shadow of turning” James 1:17.  The faithfulness and moving of God that was present when the pages of the Bible were written are still very much alive and active today.  It may not look like walking on water, speaking dry bones to life, or walking through the Red Sea on dry ground (but, if God wills, those miracles can come to pass again).  Perhaps they look like someone just taking brave steps to step out into the unknown and experience with God something they could have never imagined.  Maybe it may look like a repentant soul rising out of the ashes and coming back to life spiritually.  Or even adversity parting the way because God commanded it to hush that you may receive safe passage.

The point is, no matter how God chooses to move today, He is still moving.  The things He is doing in the lives of present-day people are a reason to get very much excited.

Their stories of deliverance, help, and another chance are phenomenal miracles to them and us, and we can rejoice because we know the Father’s hand, we read about moving in those historical lives, is still moving today.

After all, we are here today, also.  And, if we took the time to reflect and review the pages of our personal history, we know that we have a reason to praise God for His moving hand in our lives, as well.

God is still in the moving business today!  You may consider yourself to be ordinary.  But remember, it is the ordinary who God chooses to do the most extraordinary through. “Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered” Psalm 40:5.

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Sheltered in Love

“For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me…” Psalm 27:5

Father God, Yours kingdom is an everlasting kingdom (Ps. 145:13), and it is Your truth that endures to all generations (Ps. 100:5).
Help us to keep our eyes on You today and our faith steadfastly planted in Your hope. Though the world may seem chaotic at times, You, O God, are the sureness upon which we rest. You never fail, nor shall Your mercies ever fade. For, when we place our trust in You, we are planting it upon He who is eternal, and good, and perfect. In You, O God, we have unending joy, solid peace, and the immutable security of Your love. When all else seems to shift and the times seem to be tumultuous, Father God, You have us carefully sheltered in Your love.

My life is hid
In the secret place.
Sheltered in love,
Held by God’s grace.

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If only…

“If only I may touch His garment, I shall be made well.” Matthew 9:21, NKJV

If only.  You have probably spoken or thought those words before.  I know I have.  Most of the time, these words said are like wishful thinking.  But what is astounding about this woman with the issue of blood was the action she put behind the desire of her “if only.”  She wanted to be healed and spent many years seeking a cure.  When Jesus came to town, she took the opportunity presented to her.  She knew that if she could reach out to Him, she would no longer have to wonder what it would be like to experience healing.  She had faith that she would.  Her belief propelled her from dreaming about her “if only” into putting action behind it.

Her story is powerful and quite an eye-opener.  For many, the “if only” does not come with expectation.  Perhaps that is why there is a lack of action toward fulfilling it because they are not expecting a change.  But wishful thinking was not for this woman.  She had already suffered enough, and now was the time to do something about it.  Granted, she had tried to “do” something before.  But now her doing is taking her, by faith, to Jesus Christ, whom she is convinced, can make her whole.

Are you convinced enough to move your “if only” from wishful thinking to have enough faith to do something about it?  That’s the difference between the two.  Wishful thinking is just that.  It does not expect the situation to change but, it is fun to dream and think about it.  Faith says I believe that things will change.  It is not always going to be like this, and it is waiting to back that faith up with actions that declare what it believes.

Hebrews 11 tells many stories of faith done in action that moves because of one’s belief.  When Peter himself wanted to walk on water with Jesus, he didn’t sit in the boat with the others and dream about what the waves would feel like under his feet.  He lifted his legs over the side of that vessel and stood where only his faith in Jesus would allow him to stand.

Faith is not at all passive.  Nor is it just about dreaming.  It is also about doing.  What is your “if only” asking you to do today for a better tomorrow?  There are many awe-inspiring and beautiful things still to be done in the lives of God’s people.  Don’t let your “if only” be a reason to put it on the shelf to collect dust.  Instead, let your “if only” propel you forward into wholeness.

Today, we can believe for more. Hope for more. And, put faith into action because our God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” Ephesians 3:20.

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God, Our Shield | Psalms of Encouragement

“For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.” Psalm 5:12

Defended.  Protected.  Covered.  God is our shield.

Held.  Watched for.  Wrapped in His love.  God is our shield.

Under His safety, we hide.  The umbrella of His grace is over us.  God is our shield.

He is over us as a mother hen is over her chicks.  He surrounds us with a hedge impenetrable.  God is our shield.

He stands at the ready, guarding.  He rebukes enemies relentlessly.  God is our shield.

He is our trust in the midst of the storm.  Our comfort when life hurts.  God is our shield.

It is to Him we run in times of chaos.  In Him, we are concealed from harm.  For, God is our shield.

“He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.

Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” Psalm 91:1-4

God, Our Shield Encouragement from the Psalms:

“But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.” – Psalm 3:3

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.” – Psalm 18:2

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.” – Psalm 28:7

“Our soul waiteth for the Lord: he is our help and our shield.” – Psalm 33:20

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” – Psalm 84:11

“Ye that fear the Lord, trust in the Lord: he is their help and their shield.” – Psalm 115:11

“Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.” – Psalm 119:114

“My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.” – Psalm 144:2

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Finding Rest in Times of Unrest

As a child being afraid of the dark, nighttime was not pleasant for me.  Some nights rest would be hard to come by and I would wake my sister from her bed to come with me so that I could get some rest.  There was something about the presence of having someone there with me in that dark time that was comforting.

Dark times and seasons of weariness can keep people balled up in a bundle of nerves.  But, when they realize someone is with them, someone is there holding their hand through the tough seasons; it helps them endure until they arrive on the other side of the difficulty they were facing.

Times of unrest may come in many ways.  The word “unrest” means that things are disturbed from their normalcy.  Suddenly, things do not look or feel like they usually do.  One can wake up to a world in a moment that is different and unfamiliar because of certain events.  Things like this make people nervous about what is going on.  That nervousness can turn to fear and panic.  But for those who have attached themselves to the Lord, throughout the Word, He speaks of comfort and rest in times of uncertainty.

Moses in the past needed reassurance about continuing to lead the children of Israel, and God spoke this promise to him: “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest” (Exodus 33:14).  Those words would, no doubt, carry him through the difficult task of leading a multitude of people who were often referred to as being “stiffnecked” (vs. 5).  Those very people he led and labored over and prayed for would test his patience many times over, but I can imagine those reassuring words God spoke to him kept feeding encouragement to his soul – because, even when it did not look like or feel like it, Moses knew he was not alone.  He may not always be able to rely on people, but Moses could always rely on God, and oh, what comfort that is in the darkest of times.

Later, Moses would be instructed to pass this same level of encouragement on to the people because there would be days, and there would be battles they would face which would seem to be much more than they could handle.  But Moses relayed this message to them: “When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (Deuteronomy 20:1).  On the way to the Promised Land there would be some times of fighting – but their certainty in the midst of everything they would face; their rest, would be found in the presence of God with them.

And that is the key to finding rest in times of unrest.  It is realizing, that as a child of God, no matter what we face, we do not face it alone.  The fighting may still be there.  The dark days may seem to eclipse the good – but through it all we are never alone.  There is great comfort in that, and we still have that promise with us today, and His name is Jesus.

Although this is not the Christmas season, we are still reminded of what was spoke of Him by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us” (Matthew 1:23; see also Isaiah 7:14).

“God with us.”  Those beautiful words of reassurance were spoken to Joseph, but they are words of reassurance to us all – “God with us.”  In the darkness, He is there, with His people, promising to never leave them, nor forsake them (Hebrews 13:5).  In the uncertainty, it is His presence that allows us to find rest.  That is why David said, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).  David found reassurance in knowing that God was with him in the dark valleys of life.

We have seen how God’s presence brought rest in the most trying times in the past, and we have the reassurance of Jesus (God with us) with us even today.  But we also have this promise into eternity.  Jesus said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3; emphasis mine).  Regardless of the uncertainty and unrest we face, there we will have a heavenly joy that will never fade away.  There we will have “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), untouched and unbothered by the things we see down here that are before us.

But, to get there.  To receive that reassurance of rest for today and for that time to come, you must be born again.  You must be saved.  The Bible tells us, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:8; also see 2 Chronicles 15:2).

Are you seeking to draw near to Him today?  Jesus is the only true rest that you will find in any time of unrest.  But only those who attach themselves to Him can claim this promise for their life: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).

We have “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  But, as the Son of God, Jesus came and died for our sins that we might be free (John 3:16; John 8:36).  The Bible tells us, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

If you want to find true rest and be in right standing before God, you need to surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accept Him as your personal Savior.

After hearing Peter’s powerful message on the day of Pentecost, the hearts of the people were pricked, and they asked, “What shall we do?” (Acts 2:37).  In the very next verse, it says, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

Jesus once said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27, 28).  Do you hear Him calling you today?  Will you answer the call?  In Christ Jesus is the only place where you will ever find rest in times of unrest. With Jesus, you will never have to fear the dark.

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