Weight of Glory

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“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

Corinthians 4:17

Glory is measurable. Its definition is, honor won by notable achievements. Beneath that description is another term, magnificence. These are terms of divine royalty, something that we both carry and display as beings made in God’s image. Upon searching for verses about glory,  here are some that stood out to me:

 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. – Philippians 4:19-20

For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. – 2 Corinthians 4:6

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. – John 1:14 

The term “glory” is found throughout the Bible in relation to God. However, when I searched for verses that talked about “weight of glory” only one popped up, Corinthians 4:17, listed above. And to my surprise I found it was directed towards us, “...are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” I believe this is the “heavenly treasure” that is mentioned in Matthew 6:20:

“But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.”

When we think of treasure, we think of man-made items, things that tarnish and are eventually lost. Generally what we perceive to be a treasure, is garbage to someone else. But when it comes to glory, honor, and love….these are universal treasures, because they all cost something. They are created and birthed from God’s own being. His kingdom is filled with this kind of treasure, and we each have a storehouse.

Through sacrifice, Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sin, he took care of our debts and put us in right standing with God. Through this offering, we have eternal salvation. Hence the fact that we all have a storehouse in heaven with our names on them (symbolically). If we want to fill those storehouses, that is entirely up to us, right here and now. If this wasn’t so, the Bible wouldn’t say that we can store up treasure, or that we can achieve glory in heaven that outweighs any earthly glory.

So what does that mean for us? It’s time to start investing! Nothing precious is free, nor should it be. Everything comes with a price and that price is sacrifice. If this makes you uneasy, let me explain further. We all have sacrificed something. The moment we became a Christian we sacrificed the old self and its ways. When you asked him/her to marry you, you were willing to give up your single life for the sake of a lifetime united with them. Maybe there was a time in school when you could have walked past someone being bullied but decided to defend them, sacrificing your own security. Life is full of these sacrificial moments both small and large, as a Christian, though we are tested greatly, we aren’t alone.

Jesus knows sacrifice, he understands how difficult it can be for us humans to let go sometimes. I’ve read stories of martyrs who felt the presence and comfort of God in their great moment of sacrifice. And that same peace and comfort is there for us in our small sacrifices too. The fact is, the more in love we are with Jesus, the more we will sacrifice, and it will even be joyful! It’s like the saying goes, “it’s better to give than to receive.” When you are motivated by love, their joy becomes your own. As Christians, the bride of Christ, our Lord’s overflowing joy should overflow in us. More of him is the answer to any problem we may face. It really is all about relationship with Jesus.

God deserves all the glory. And yet He places crowns on our heads and gives us the keys to His kingdom, where the first become last, and the weak become strong. What king would lower himself? Would give His only Son? Would pour out glory and love that cannot be weighed on His people? …He gave it all for me….now what can I sacrifice for Him?

 

 

 

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The Hidden Agenda

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This picture isn’t pretty to look at. And yet it clearly shows a battle that is taking place in our society. A battle between what is morally right and true, against what is perverse and false. How did all this come about? What has become of the world where truth was once prized above all else?

I must say part of this shift in our society is because we have failed to be the church God called us to be. A church of love and full of the Holy Spirit. Without these components, the church becomes self-righteous, prizing the law above the Covenant of Jesus. The church becomes a place of judgment and condemnation, and lacks power, which was never God’s intention or will. Naturally, people would rise up hating the church and the God they follow, never knowing the true message of Christ or his love.

It is a tragedy that can still be reversed. God is the redeemer, and He is awakening the church again to the great call. I have seen first hand, the impact such a church can bring about. Amazing testimonies of healing and redemption all because a church surrendered themselves to the Holy Spirit, who is Christ with us.

What has become of the world while we were sleeping? What damage has satan inflicted on our brothers and sisters? What is his hidden agenda?

I believe satan’s ultimate goal, is complete rebellion against God. This involves more than we realize, as one cannot just rebel against their creator without also rebelling against themselves, “the creation”. To slam the door on God is to slam the door on our identity as children of God, designed with a purpose, handcrafted by one who makes no mistakes. It isn’t  surprising that people are more depressed than ever, hating their bodies and even their gender.

Rebellion against God includes rebellion against His morality. What God has established as right and wrong has been our moral compass for generations. Our societal laws are formulated by God’s commandments. Today we see those laws being attacked and rewritten, and we can continue to see a new “morality” take its place. One built around relativity and convenience.

Do you see why we can no longer hide behind our church doors, condemning the world and using the cross as a means to strike fear into unbelieving hearts? It. Doesn’t. Work. Hell fire and brimstone teaching may outwardly produce results in some places, but inwardly breeds fear of punishment, not love. Love is the only thing that can heal, restore, and truly change a person.

In a society so far gone, we can’t expect people to know they are doing wrong. We can only show them what they are lacking. Satan has handed them all the counterfeits, he has given them the weapons to destroy themselves, disguised as everything they thought they ever wanted. They are so hungry and they don’t even see it. It’s our job to show them what they are truly hungry for, to love them as Christ does, and to live our lives set apart. That we would be in the world but not of the world, dispelling darkness and never missing an opportunity to demonstrate the heart of God the Father.

I want this to be a message of hope, a call to rise up and take back the world from satan’s grasp. He stands defeated, but we still have a job to do. If we didn’t, Jesus would be here already!  Let the Holy Spirit move, let his presence rest upon you….I believe he has much to tell us…and show us.

Love people, with no hidden agenda. That’s all there is to it.

 

Photograph

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“We keep this love in a photograph
We made these memories for ourselves
Where our eyes are never closing
Hearts are never broken
And time’s forever frozen still”

-Song: Photograph by Ed Sheeran

I love looking through old family pictures. Sometimes I will dig them all out and allow myself to fall into a time that has slipped away. I find myself forgetting the names of the faces that held me close at one point in my life. So long ago it seems, but in the face of time, happened only yesterday. Taking pictures can be an obsession, I used to snap pictures of everything in my haste to remember, and yet I failed to make a memory. Fear of time passing tends to make it pass faster. My fondest pictures are, truly, the ones only in my mind. The moments I put the camera down and lived.

It can be painful, always being so nostalgic. Maybe that’s why I love photography, antiques, and old TV shows. They all preserve a time that has passed, a time that can no longer be. People and stories that shouldn’t be forgotten, and yet, also shouldn’t be brought back to life. What I mean, is God places us all in the right era and time. We take the stage of life right on queue, singing our song and leaving our mark, preparing the scene for the next lineup or generation. We dishonor our past by living in it. What they sacrificed and died for was for us to live in now. Our freedom, for instance, we enjoy now because our distant relatives understood what it meant to be on the stage of life. They could have lived only for themselves, and yet they recognized that once they left the stage others would fill the space, their children and grandchildren needed a better world, and so they took it upon themselves to make it so.

When I look back that is what I see. Men and women sacrificing to make the world a better place for their children. Did they always get it right? No. Were their times of selfishness? Yes. But it was their time, to live, love, and die. Each chasing what they thought had lasting meaning and purpose, hoping their story wouldn’t be forgotten, but never desiring that the future generations would look at their time and long for it. They always wanted the future to be better than what they had, just as much as we want our children to live in a better world and society.

As Christians, we have forgotten what others have paid the price for. We have failed to secure the ground that has been won by our ancestors. There shouldn’t be doubt today about the spiritual gifts, we shouldn’t be stuck in religion, love should still be our legacy! Instead of looking back and declaring that God only worked in those times, we need to remind ourselves again that God NEVER changes, He is the same God in every era, and He didn’t start off big to become smaller in His works and wonders! It was His desire that we would look back and see what is possible through Him, and do greater things now because of it. And we have accepted the past as our endnote just as we have accepted the final page of the Bible as the end of God speaking to us. I say this with caution, He wouldn’t contradict His Word, but He will compliment it and work in new ways through it. The Bible doesn’t contain Him. To be honest, what really could? He is infinite and full of mystery.

The past should be remembered, it’s ok to take pictures and to be nostalgic once and awhile, but if we find ourselves always longing for the past we need to ask ourselves, why? I long for the morality of the past, the patriotism and simpler times. I also long for the innocence and naivety of my youth, the days spent with people that are now asleep, or have moved beyond my reach. No matter what I wish, I can’t fall into those pictures and relive those moments. I can’t tap my heels together and bring about a new world. Our world would not gain anything to go back in time, just as we wouldn’t gain anything to go back to our youth. We would be living in a museum.

Our past should stay in the past, but we record the past so that we remember where we came from. A photograph can bring you back in time and remind you of who you were, and that should give you hope, should spur you into growth and hopeful expectation of the future. I want to be more than that girl in the photograph, I want our world to be more than it was back then, I want my ceiling to become (the next generations) floor.

Yesterday

Forever apart

And a part of me

Were the days 

I spent playing

Along the stream

The waters still moving

Though never the same

Time had erased

The river I claimed

No sound of laughter

No gentle breeze

Water no longer

Up past my knees

But maybe it’s not the river

But me

That has undergone change

Like the current I see

Yesterday is gone

Like a seed to a tree

I don’t regret

Those changes in me

Though I no longer

Play by the stream

I’ve learned a great lesson

About legacy

Yesterdays’ seed

Is tomorrow’s tree

Forever apart

And a part of me.

The Grafted Branch

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“Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”

-Romans 11:19

Someday it is my hope to adopt a child…though it will be wonderful to have our own children, I can’t ignore the many kids who don’t have a family, who deserve to belong and grow up safe and loved. That child would be my own regardless of DNA, in my heart I would be their mother and they would be my son/daughter. How I love them, and I don’t even know them yet.

Adoption today is very expensive, more expensive than getting an abortion! Many mothers feel that abortion is more merciful than putting their child up for adoption, writing off their life story as a failure before it ever began. They hear about the horrors of being an orphan, and for many children, those fears are warranted. Moving from home to home, with no one to call mom or dad, never fully rooted and never fully knowing their worth. Instead, they feel like a burden, a waste, a mistake…never was it God’s intention for us to give up our children. If we root ourselves in Him, we are the only ones who were made to raise our children. You may not believe me, but His original design is always the best.

It’s time we put a new face on adoption. We were adopted into the kingdom of God after all, and are very far from understanding what that means. The symbolic image of the grafted branch found in Romans gives us only a vague understanding of what it means to be included in this family tree. It also gives us a dire warning to not fall into pride or self-righteousness.

18 do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you. 19 Then you will say, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.” 20 That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast through faith. So do not become proud, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. 22 Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you too will be cut off.23 And even then, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (Romans 11:18-23)

Through Jesus sacrifice, we have been given salvation (grafted-in). Something that originally wasn’t possible. In the Old Testament, we had the law and fear of God. Only a few could even stand in His Presence without perishing. Some were even considered close to God. But after Jesus, the veil was torn, signifying that we no longer were held to righteousness by the law but through Jesus. Through him, we can all now have a personal relationship with God, and not just as friends. “And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”‘ (2 Corinthians 6:18) We are God’s sons and daughters! What does that mean exactly? Well first, remember that Jesus is God’s only begotten Son, which means “of the same kind.” We are human and God is not. Jesus has always been with God and is a part of God. We are God’s creation, therefore when He calls us sons and daughters, He is inviting us, adopting us into His family, the Trinity.

We aren’t the black sheep of this family. God doesn’t call/label us adopted ones or outsiders. He calls us His children. When He looks at you He thinks, “that is my son,” and, “that is my daughter.” It’s more than we can imagine, more than Adam and Eve experienced in the garden, and they walked with God!

As son’s and daughters we’re not only grafted into this amazing family but we also now share its inheritance! Jesus blood paid for a lot more than we realize. The Bible isn’t just a story of salvation, it’s also the greatest story of redemption. What does God do with anything that satan has taken or destroyed? He repairs the damage, yes, but on top of that, He multiplies His blessings and outpourings. He is the ultimate redeemer, and guess what? He has ultimately redeemed you. The Bible is, in fact, a story of a God who romanced a world, died for her and brought her home. Not so sure? Why is it that our favorite fairy tales are those of sacrifice and love? We were made to be loved, so much so, that we crave stories that involve someone giving themselves up for the sake of rescuing us. Our heart of hearts knows what it is lacking, and so it speaks freely in our literature, art, and music.

Our power is in the root, Jesus is our root. Through him, we have been grafted into this great family, given a heritage we are still learning to walk in fully, and have been given an identity that no one can take from us, children of God. Our job now is simple, accept this great identity and share with others the great news! That they too can join this family. God wants to adopt them! We live in a fatherless society, a world of people who believe they are orphans, hungry for the love of a father. It’s our job and privilege to tell them that they have exactly that. A father who loves them and paid the price for them to walk in relationship with Him forever. We have a home and a family, we are branded with love, and God’s heart is for us, His children.

I’ve been grafted in, have you?

The Unknown Jesus: Part 2

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“The truth shall set you free and the truth has a name; he’s over in the woodshop right now covered in sawdust. Everything is about him. And freedom is a process that happens inside a relationship with him.”

The Shack

What’s the first image that comes to your mind when you think about Jesus? We have talked about appearance, most likely you view him as I do with long brown hair and a handsome compassionate face. But what is he doing in the image? I’ve seen many images of Jesus laughing, praying, crying, teaching, and healing. The most familiar image of all, Jesus on the cross. All these images are derived from the last few years of his life, the only years…despite his birth and his temple visit as a boy, that we know of. There are still over 30 years of undocumented life.

What we do know is that Jesus was a carpenter like his earthly father Joseph. That life as a Jew under Roman control was harsh, and that he grew up in Nazareth, a place despised by Jews because it was full of Gentiles. As to whether Jesus was an only child is widely debated, but I’d like to think that Mary and Joseph continued having children in their youth just as others did.

Since his birth, we see Jesus only once more, in the temple after Passover. It is believed he was 12 years old, and at that time, knew his purpose and identity. He proves this to his parents, not in disobedience, but in obedience to his heavenly father. As to what he did after that we can only guess was in preparation for his ministry.

The truth is Jesus came to do more than cover our sins, he came also to become our new high priest. What does that mean exactly? As high priest you were the mediator between God and men, you offered sacrifices to cover their sins and guided people in the ways of righteousness, as it says in Leviticus. However, there were rules you must follow to keep such a divine title. Leviticus 21 goes on to list all the rules, among those being, he shall not, “…tear his clothes.” (21:10)

They brought Jesus before the high priest, he was bruised and bloodied yet his face was set and he was as silent as a lamb before slaughter. The priest’s questions reverberated through the halls with no reply.

The high priest said to Him, “I [e]adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are [f]the Christ, the Son of God.” 64 Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, [g]hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

65 Then the high priest tore his [h]robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” (Matthew 26:63-65)

At that moment, the high priest was no longer Caiaphas, having disobeyed the law in tearing his robes, Jesus was now able to take the position as our high priest.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Those 30 years before ministry I believe Jesus spent simply being human, experiencing everything we experience in our day-to-day grind. Understanding pain, heartache, loss, joy, peace, longing etc. Growing up and the challenges and changes that brought, as well obeying his parent’s authority and learning how to live in a society that struggled under oppression. In those 30 years, Jesus was becoming our perfect high priest, able to understand and relate to being human because he himself was.

Even when his ministry began, he walked through life as a man dependent on the Father. Never once did he work apart from God, and that is the image we should mirror and follow, for what can we do apart from Him? We see satan attempt to trick Jesus into calling on his power as God, and in trying to make him question his identity as God’s Son.  And at Jesus’s death, we see him cry out to God, “Lord why have you forsaken me?” Showing he was able to feel separation from his Father, just as we do when we fall into fear and anguish. At any point Jesus could have used his power, could have called down angels from heaven to rescue him, he could have chosen never to feel hungry or thirsty, and yet he limited himself, bringing himself down to our level in order to understand us. Never again can we say that God doesn’t understand what it’s like to be us because of Jesus.

There is so much more to Jesus, much we have yet to unveil, as John said, “Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” That’s quite a statement coming from a man who had walked with Jesus. And now we await that same Jesus’s return, preparing the church and sharing the gospel until the one true Christ comes down from heaven with eye’s ablaze for the kingdom of God.

Then I saw heaven standing open, and there before me was a white horse. And its rider is called Faithful and True. With righteousness, He judges and wages war. He has eyes like blazing fire, and many royal crowns on His head. He has a name written on Him that only He Himself knows. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and His name is The Word of God. The armies of heaven, dressed in fine linen, white and pure, follow Him on white horses. And from His mouth proceeds a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God, the Almighty. And He has a name written on His robe and on His thigh: King of kings and Lord of lords. (Revelation 19:12-17)

The Unknown Jesus: Part 1

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“Although by nature he is fully God, Jesus is fully human and lives as such. While never losing the innate ability to fly, he chooses moment-by-moment to remain grounded. That is why his name is Immanuel, ‘God with us.'”

The Shack, by Wm. Paul Young

I must say, I’ve read many religious books by many well-known preachers, evangelists, and prophets, but this book is by far one of my favorites in its description of God’s love and relationship through the Trinity. Its truths are pretty profound also, but the heart of this story is where it’s at, not many books really tackle understanding the heart of God in such a way that it’s made tangible to us mere humans.

From that ‘heart’ perspective I want you to put aside all religious luggage that you may be carrying against this book and its views. It was written symbolically by man, a man who I believe had revelations from God, but putting that aside as well, it is one man’s way of trying to paint a picture of God’s love. And let me say, though he did a great job, there isn’t a person alive who can truly behold the heart of God and put it into words we can understand. This book is a window, a voice of hope and if you read it as such, it will change you regardless of what religious background you may or may not have. How? because encountering God’s heart, even through the eyes of someone else, changes you. That’s the kind of love our Papa has for us.

Now to the subject! I really wanted to talk about Jesus, and particularly, how he is portrayed in this novel and in our religious society.  First, starting with his appearance because appearance is where it all starts. When you first meet someone you take them all-in physically, and then through time, you shift your focus more internally. In this novel/movie, Jesus is portrayed as an Arabic man who looks commonplace. I think we can all agree that this is a more accurate portrayal of what the real Jesus would have looked like given the people and place of his origin. And yet we have become so accustomed to the pictures of a long, brown-haired angelic man, handsome, with piercing eyes and white skin. I’m not saying it’s blasphemous to picture Jesus in our own way, but we need to be careful about being drawn by appearance more than by the heart.

I’m afraid many of us wouldn’t recognize the real Jesus if he approached us in a crowd…and this time, I’m not talking about appearance alone. What if we have done more than just made up an image of Him, what if we made up his character also? Have we created a Jesus we wanted to see instead of the Jesus who is the way, truth, and life? Even the Pharisees made this mistake! They didn’t recognize the Son of God even though he was healing the sick and raising the dead right in front of their eyes. Why? They had their own imaginings of what they thought Jesus would look and be like. Where he would come from and how he would work through mankind.

It’s no surprise that people today lash out against opposing views religiously. We all have our own beliefs concerning the heart of God, when that is attacked we attack in kind….the pharisee’s killed the real Jesus. And yet we still make their mistakes today. Clinging to our truth instead of THEE truth, that often hurts and stings and makes us feel vulnerable.

That’s the big problem. We have molded Jesus into something that is more comfortable for us. We don’t want to see a Jesus who looked like any other man just as much as we don’t want to watch a movie starring an unhandsome actor. We made a Jesus who appears appealing just as we have built our church services around appearance and performance. It’s all lights, guitars, and uplifting words, but no heart and soul.

I’m not pointing fingers, I’m just as guilty as the next guy. I have trouble imagining a Jesus apart from the pictures I’ve seen. And when spreading the gospel, I’m particularly wanting to paint my own pictures of Jesus, as the gentle Lamb instead of the Mighty Lion who flipped over tables in his zealousness for God. We don’t serve a “tame” God, nor is His own Son the tame version we have made him be. Jesus was very radical for his time, so radical it cost him his life, and even then he stormed the gates of hell for the very souls that had killed him. It takes more than a good, tame man to do what he did.

So my question to you is this, do we really need to make Jesus appealing? Do we need to create an image of him to draw people in? Do we need to pull people to our churches with free handouts and great shows? The very first churches didn’t have technology, stain glass windows nor towering cathedrals. They didn’t have rocking worship, free coffee or wifi, those components may help create a welcoming atmosphere but they aren’t what makes a church.

All they had was brotherly love and the Holy Spirit. They were a family who wanted to grow, not so that their church pews would be filled, but that more people would share in the great love of the Father. Jew or Gentile, wealthy or poor…sons and daughters of God, loved by Him uniquely and completely.

Jesus is appealing, compelling, and perfect. He is a lion and he is the lamb, a sacrifice for many. What did he look like? He was a human like us and yet he stood out from the crowd. Not that he stood out physically, with dark curly hair, tan skin, and brown eyes. He looked commonplace. And yet people turned to stare at him when he walked by and a question rose to their lips, “who is this man?” His smile conveyed a thousand, “I love you’s,” and his arms were never crossed but always opened wide, inviting. His voice was human but his words gripped the very soul and filled it with longing for a world unseen. He wore sandals on his feet, dusty from constant travel. His clothes were plain and used, and yet there was a radiance about him, like a royal King in disguise amidst his people. His laugh was hearty and child-like, and to stand by his side was completeness. What other man could compare to Him? He was a brother, a teacher, and the greatest of friends.

The unknown Jesus, will be unvieled again.

A Child’s Gift

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“Children are the hands by which we take hold of Heaven.” 

Henry Ward Beecher

I held her in my arms, the most beautiful gift and most precious miracle. With big blue baby eyes full of wonder and trust, believing in what is good, pure, and lovely before ever knowing the meaning of this life. Holding her was like holding a promise, that God is good and that what we pray matters. She was a survivor that very well could have been a miscarriage, but prayer saved her and here she was.

This experience will always stay with me. It is the first healing I had been a part of. God heard me despite my fears and worries. He brought life into a broken situation, as was His will all along. Now, I am all the more outraged at the heinous crimes of abortion, at all the lost children that have been reduced to a mere bunch of cells. I see the overwhelming efforts of those whose morality is still intact, fighting against the injustice of our society in the hopes of saving lives, and I also can’t ignore the growing number of children discarded and put in foster homes. Is it not a crime enough that we are destroying our present society and selves? What we are doing to our children may well effect tomorrow’s world. What inheritance are we leaving for them?

I know the world is still full of people who value children, but it seems a lot of the voices that are being heard through the crowd are painting an opposite message. Those in childcare are being paid very little and often take the brunt of the blame for the raising of children. Babies are being talked about as if it is debatable whether they are in fact living beings. Neglect and abuse are at an all-time high against children, and their treatment doesn’t always improve when placed in a foster home. Children are often treated as burdens and labeled with mental ailments to avoid placing blame on the parents. Now gender is being attacked and erased from the curriculum as well as religion. Children are left with very little guidance as to who they are and what they should believe. And yet we continue to blame them when they eventually lash out at the confusion enveloping their lives.

What has become of families? So much brokenness and separation. So much fear towards their children, who first came as a blessing and gift. As the Bible says in Psalm 127:3-5:

Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their opponents in court.

A child has always been considered a joy and blessing from God. The Bible even states that Heaven is made for children and those who are child-like in their faith. That they are the greatest of these and crowned with glory. Have we forgotten that we were all once children, and to God, we are still His children! Though we are adults physically we have forgotten that we must be child-like towards our Father. To believe and trust Him just as our children do instinctively.

Even I have needed that reminder, at the age of 23. The truth is, it’s hard to worry and fret about adult problems when surrounded by children at play. It sparks something deep inside, something lost, that causes everyone to smile and dream again. We underestimate them, their abilities to cope and understand things that we often miss. Sometimes one small phrase from a child, a single observation or thought can leave us changed. You don’t have to be a professor to teach someone, heck, you don’t even have to be three years old!

I’ve seen the effect a single child can bring to someone. Especially someone who has suffered great loss. In the face of death, a baby can bring so much light. As novelist/philosopher, Fyodor Dostoyevsky said, “ the soul is healed by being with children.” Or as American poet Carl Sandburg said, “a baby is God’s opinion that the world should go on.” Both these quotes are spoken by people of experience, people that discovered something of great value in the eyes of a child. And isn’t that what we see in the face of a newborn baby, hope, and love? That though there are pain and loss in this world there is also life and a future to protect.

You may or may not like children, you might even be afraid of them or think that they don’t like you. I promise you this isn’t true, God made us all able to relate and guide children in the ways they should go. And He created each and every child to be a blessing and promise. You will never meet a child who is bad, maybe a child who is hurt and feeling unloved, but never is any child born angry and resentful. I have taken care of children from many backgrounds, and have found that the ones who “act-out” are the ones who need love the most, so much so that they are screaming inside and doing things that they know will get them in trouble, why? because even negative attention is still attention. They are just like us, hungry for love, needing a father to guide them and people to help them. Searching for something and someone, a hand to lead them home.

What I See

Little hands lifted high

amidst a crowd of disbelief

eyes that see a mountain move

Before it came to be

Mouths that speak in certain truth

of things I cannot see

And feet that jump, dance, and move

To heaven’s own heartbeat.

A child, crowned in victory

That is what I see.