Today’s Readings: click here – Psalm 119:97-104; Numbers 11:18-23, 31-32; Matthew 18:1-5 (to open the scripture links – hover over, right click, open hyperlink)
Our three readings today have a special interwoven message that ‘When God is all we need, we have all we need.’ I wholeheartedly believe that, and no matter what, I know that I was made on purpose for a purpose and he is always with me. Life is Good!
One common claim people make one time or another, is wishing there was a ‘life manual’. An instruction manual of life, to tell us just how to get it right when things seem so out of sorts, especially raising kids, keeping a marriage strong, being faithful, serving God, overcoming grief and disappointment. I recall when my kids were little and I just couldn’t seem to get it together, I expressed my frustration with ‘Why isn’t there a manual that comes with having kids?’. I have never forgotten the answer that came that day.’ ‘There is a manual, it’s the Bible’. I remember thinking, ‘What in the heck is THAT going to tell me about raising these kids?’. As my faith grew and God became more present in my life and family, and scripture began to shape who I was as a child of God, a wife, mother, daughter, and friend, I soon realized that everything I needed to know was right there between the covers of that book! The more I read and studied scripture, connected with others through church groups and events, I found answers, guidance, strength, peace, freedom and unconditional love that soon became my ‘life manual’. Psalm 119:97-104 is a reminder of just that, to seek God through His word and everything we need is right there. We just have to trust that God’s plan and way is clear and concise through prayer and submission. Surrounding ourselves with other believers is a reassurance when doubt tries to creep in. I find that GOOGLE is a a great source for finding those perfect fitting scriptures for any season, struggle, diversion, uncertainty, wandering faith, and even joy and thanksgiving! I GOOGLE everything… !
The scripture today in Matthew clearly expresses that our faith should be like that of children; “Childlike”, I like to call it. Not ‘childish’. ‘Childlike’ resonates with and embraces the neediness, dependency, and smallness of those who understand their place in the kingdom of God. ‘Childish’ is simply refusing to grow up. There is a very distinctive difference and not a new term to anyone familiar with Christian thinking and practice. We’re often directed to passages like Mark 10:14: “Let the children come to me,” Jesus says. “Do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.” The point here is that we should be childlike in our faith, trusting our heavenly Father the way a kid trusts his earthly parents with reverent dependency and trust. Faith is essential to life as a Christian. Faith is both necessary and a gift. Without faith, it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and we are saved by grace, through faith—and that faith doesn’t come from ourselves, it is given to us by God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Faith is not something that we produce within ourselves. It is an essential piece of armor in which we are fitted so that we are protected from Satan’s warfare against us. (Ephesians 6:16).
Faith is a very humble quality, which is perhaps why it is associated with childlikeness. Jesus’ disciples were concerned with which one of them was the greatest, or the closest to Him, or the most important. But Jesus responded to their debate by taking a small child to His side and saying that ‘the least among them was the greatest’ (Luke 9:46-48). He told them that they were to “become like children in order to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 8:3). Jesus was pointing out the truth that a child is completely dependent on adults for safety, sustenance, and knowledge, just as we are to be with Him because were not made to do this life unguided and alone. The faith God looks for is humble, teachable, and trusting— like that of a child.
In this way, the Christian is to have childlike faith, a faith looks outside itself for salvation. Salvation is a gift; man does not pay for or contribute to his salvation—it is entirely of God (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 8:1; Romans 5:1). Just as a child has to use his father’s money to pay for a Christmas gift he plans to give his father, we depend on God’s provision for everything, even the good works we do in His name (Ephesians 2:10). The world sometimes misunderstands the idea of childlike faith, thinking that Christians are childlike, or childish because they believe in myths and fairytales. But this is not the Bible’s meaning when it compares His children. Instead, childlike faith is a metaphor for trust, dependence and love, and an encouragement to ask for what we need (Matthew 7:11). Childlike faith keeps us from exhausting ourselves through failed attempts to pick apart God’s sovereignty and deity. It aligns us with His peace and comfort, knowing with utmost certainty who we are in Christ Jesus.
Here are a few songs for your spiritual listening pleasure!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your promises, guidance and strength found in scripture, as it is my LIFE MANUAL. It is so holy and true and it is my source of life. Help me to understand it more everyday with an open mind and faith like a child, trusting You beyond anything my heart and mind can comprehend. You alone are my source of light and I trust in you entirely. Thank you Lord Jesus, for your constant watch over me, for I fear nothing, and love deeply.
(resources; compellingtruth.org, thegospellocation.org )