Let the kids come…

As we grow in the Lord our faith is to mature also. While at the same time never letting go of the wide-eyed wonder of a faith that is childlike. So, how do we mature and show childlike faith? (Matthew 19:13-15) In Jesus’ day, it was customary for Jewish parents to bring their children to rabbis for blessings. Therefore, some brought their kids to Jesus in Matthew 19:13~Then children (παιδίον paidion) were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people. (ESV) The word (παιδίον paidion) or children gives us the word pediatrics and pediatrician. It refers to infants and small children. How many of you brought your children before the Lord to be blessed, dedicated or christened? The parents recognize the power and authority of Jesus and bring their kids to be prayed over. But the disciples rebuke the people—that doesn’t work for our Lord. Matthew 19:14~but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (ESV) 

This is great news for us, it means we can come, even though we do not completely understand the Bible or God before we are saved. Anyone and everyone who comes to Jesus with childlike faith can enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 19:15~And he laid his hands on them and went away. (ESV) It is important to notice that though Jesus is on a schedule, the timing already set, bound for Jerusalem where He will be arrested and crucified and yet He takes time. I understand what it is to have a schedule, but our emphasis in this life is to be on ministry. Heaven is not limited to adults, so our emphasis shouldn’t be either. To find your place in eternity we must all show childlike faith. 

Today, in an effort to stir up our most holy faith, take time to pray and ask God how you can take a simple step of faith. Just sit quietly as you reflect and listen to what He has to say. Then when you hear, respond. It may be a phone call, email, or text. He may ask you to write a card and mail it to someone, or the Lord may ask you to say something to a person along your day. Whatever it is, take the childlike step and do what the Lord asks and watch as your faith grows.



Your Place In Eternity

Eternity, by definition it means infinite or without end. For some, it is a very long time, as they think it can still be measured or understood in some possible human way. For others, eternity is to live an eternal life where we are to be with God as Jesus Christ is with Him, and not just ourselves but with each other whom Christ has redeemed. Eternity is where we live in the essence of time as God intended and not simply a progression of years added like candles to a cake in an ever-increasing fire hazard that needs its own permit for burning. The word of God is very clear, just as Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3, we must be born twice if we are to only die once. 

The gift of eternal life comes to those who confess and believe in Jesus (Romans 10:9), who is Himself the resurrection and the life, written in John 11:25~Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die. (NIV) The fact that this life is eternal indicates that it is perpetual life given to those who place their faith in Jesus, and it goes on and on and on, with no end. This week, we want to discuss our place in eternity. As Matthew 19 opens, Jesus teaches us about marriage, divorce, and singleness. He shares that none is better than another, rather we are to live up to the Biblical standards taught in scripture, saying that each is a gift. As we turn our attention to the incidents in the second half of chapter 19, we are provided with an opportunity where Jesus reveals for us, the reader, three requirements for obtaining eternal life. 

Life everlasting is a gift given to us by Jesus who takes our sin to the cross, dying in our stead. Instead of passing over this quickly, I want you to take time today to reflect on your salvation. Ask the Lord to reveal anything that might hinder your growing faith. Confess whatever He shares, placing it under the blood of Jesus, then ask Him to cleanse you from any or all unrighteousness. Make sure to pause and listen with intentionality. He may say something about a relationship or even something you said or may have done. What is crucial is that you respond. After you respond, thank Him for all He has done in your life. If you have time, make some notes on how it is that you came to know the Lord as you prepare to share what the Lord has done in your life.



Many Gifts

What? It is NOT God’s will for everyone to marry (Matthew 19:10-12). Before you get hung up on that, many of you shot hoop in your driveway with the clock expiring and the game on the line only to miss the buzzer-beater. What did you do? You took a knife to your ball and knock the goal down with your parent’s car in a fit rage. NO! You simply restarted the clock and did it over and over and over, one day you’re going to get better, I hope, and well, eventually you hit the buzzer-beater and ran around arms extended as a champion, you heard Dick Vitale say…Oh my, did you see that? It’s a barn burner baby. For others it was the kick, the jump, the walk, you got the best interview. You were supposed to be LeBron or Wilt, Brady or Montana, You were the next Walter Cronkite. 

Perhaps you may have even dropped out of school like Peter Jennings, but the big break never came. Life has a plan and the disciples realize Jesus is saying marriage is a lifetime commitment and say in Matthew 19:10~The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” (ESV) Listen as Jesus responds Matthew 19:11~But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. (ESV) So, for some, it is a spiritual gift. Those given the responsibility of marriage are expected to accept and adhere to what the Bible teaches about it. Likewise also about celibacy.

Jesus then gives some various reasons a person might remain single by identifying three types of eunuchs. Let’s break down what Jesus is teaching us. Matthew 19:12a~For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, (ESV) This refers to those who are born impotent. Second,  Matthew 19:12b~…and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, (ESV) This refers to eunuchs who were usually slaves and served in government, having frequent access to royal women. 

Third, Matthew 19:12c~…and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…(ESV) This refers to those who choose to remain single so they can serve God more effectively. This means that it is not God’s will for everyone to marry. Sadly, many single Christians are pressured by other believers to find someone to marry. I have a friend named Tim. He is single feels that this is what God has for Him in life. He is open to marriage if the Lord brings him someone, but he will not settle. Every time he moves for his job, he battles being single because people feel the need to mix in and even ask, What’s wrong with you? Singleness is mistakenly viewed by some as spiritually inferior or second-class citizens of heaven. That is simply not true according to the apostle Paul. Listen to what this spiritual giant writes about his own singleness in 1 Corinthians 7:7~I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that. (ESV)

Paul is referring to the gift of celibacy or singleness. This is a spiritual gift that God gives to some. The Bible doesn’t teach celibacy is better than marriage. For example, Hebrews 13:4~Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (NIV) Moreover, the Lord says in Genesis 2:18~Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” (ESV) Referring to the permanence of marriage and celibacy Jesus says Matthew 19:12d~…Let the one who is able to receive this receive it. (ESV) This means we must put aside worldly opinions and receive, or accept, what the Bible teaches. Now the question arises: What do I do if I am guilty of a non-Biblical divorce? Our answer is found in 1 John 1:9~If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  (NIV) 

Confession is admitting our sin is indeed sin, and not just a mistake, a blunder, or someone else’s fault. When we confess, we own what we did and God is faithful, He is reliable, and will do as He promises. God will forgive, which means to send away our sin, so it never returns. Then He will cleanse totally removing its stain. There is nothing the blood won’t cover, be it an unbiblical divorce, a struggle in singleness of a hardening heart. This is what it means to be washed in the blood of the Lamb. It is God’s absolute forgiveness. (Revelation 7:14)

Today I ask: are you living the life God gifted you? Put your life, your marriage, your singleness under the blood and live whole-heartedly for God. Jeremiah 31:34~No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (NIV) You don’t suffer from spiritual sclerosis, just take a trip to see the greatest heart doctor there is, Jesus. I believe He has an appointment just for you, right now.