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Come as a child

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"Beware that you don’t look down on any of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels are always in the presence of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18:10, NLT)

My 18-month-old granddaughter searched through the colorful set of nativity figurines when her daddy asked, "Ava, can you find Baby Jesus?"

She grabbed the tiny baby in a manger of hay and placed it in front of the small stable. Her attention span lasted through the placement of Mary, the mother of Jesus, a cow and a small lamb. She quickly toddled away making the sheep sounds, "Baa…baa!"

As I finished setting up the nativity scene, I prayed silently and thanked God that our three sons and their wives make it a priority to teach their young children about our Savior. "Lord, draw all our little ones by Your Spirit and help them have a strong and intimate faith."

In Jesus’ day, parents brought their children to get a Rabbi’s blessing, so it was not unusual for a mother or father to approach Jesus and have Him lay His hand of blessing on the child’s head. Three of the gospels record an incident where the disciples restrained parents who had brought their children to Jesus. They thought He should not be bothered, but the children were welcomed when He called out, "Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them!

For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children." (Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14 and Luke 18:16)

Jesus even used a child’s humility and receptivity to God as a standard for all who approach God’s Kingdom. "I tell you, those who do not accept the Kingdom like a young child, cannot enter."

Jesus used a dramatic illustration of His devotion to children when He dealt with His disciples’ self-centered desire for position and status in the Kingdom of Heaven. He called a small child over to Him and positioned the child before the disciples and 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." (Matthew 18:3-4)

Jesus knew that children can be easily led to faith in the Lord because they simply give their trust—until they are taught otherwise. He warned that parents and adults will be held accountable for the way they influence the faith of a child.

"Anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me. But if you cause one of these little ones who trusts in me to fall into sin, it would be better for you to have a large millstone tied around your neck and be drowned in the depths of the sea." (Matthew 18:5-6)

I was drawn to Jesus as a young child in spite of the turmoil created by an abusive, alcoholic father. The way adults in my life dealt with their pain created barriers and moved me further away from the love of God. God removed these barriers by giving me a gentle step-father who created a stable home for my mother, sister and me. Because of that, I found life in Christ as a teenager. My new life impacted my entire family and ended several generations of living without God.

Each one in our family came to Jesus like a little child. In simple trust, we received His forgiveness and discovered a new purpose for our lives. Like the children who came close to Jesus when the restraints were removed, we received His touch and His blessing. My husband and I have taught the treasure of knowing Christ to our children. Their God-centered parenting draws their young children to a simple faith and trust in Jesus. The miracle happens when children are not hindered in their faith, but exposed to sincere Christ-like love.

Through our service in church and the outreaches of LIFE, our entire family is devoted to removing the enemy’s barriers for children. There are many types of barriers, but when the hindrance is removed, children can trust and receive to God’s love. That causes the heavens to rejoice, "For of such is the Kingdom of God."

This week

Notice how receptive a small child is to love and resolve to keep that openness and simple trust in your relationship with God.

Prayer

"Father, I thank you for sending Jesus to break down barriers. We come to You like a child to receive Your loving touch and blessing."


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