Thursday, December 11, 2014

Children are God's Gifts---He sent a baby to save us! 

"Don't be frightened Mary," the angel told her, "for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus." Luke: 29-31


 He did not appear in the world as a rich, royal, dignified man. God in the flesh is born as a baby, going through childhood until he reaches the age to begin his ministry. God chose not to have His son skip over the baby days, childhood, or teenage years. He sent His son to save us and sent him as an innocent baby. Not only does this show us how much God loves us, but how much he values babies and new life. The angel told Mary "God has decided to bless you." God sees new life---His ultimate creation---as a blessing. The way God sees life and blessing is usually the opposite to how man sees life and blessing.

 Children are seen as burdens by a large portion of society. We want to limit them, control them, rid ourselves of them, and not have to give too much of ourselves away. We want more and more material things and we will gladly exchange human relationships and love for the things that will pass away and for temporary pleasure. We are afraid they will 'ruin our future', but this is not God's way. Jesus came and showed us what it truly means to live for others. There was nothing in life that Jesus collected to show His status, He didn't limit His surrender to God, He fully submitted himself to living for God's kingdom.

Jesus wasn't distracted, and the enemy wants to distract us. He wants to distract us with hobbies, the internet, tv shows, vanity, and anything that can take up so much time that it soon looks like 'the best' life has to offer and we are living for those things. Truly we are cheating ourselves and not giving God control, and perhaps do not understand what it really means to live God's way.

"It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin." Luke 17:2

Have we fully surrendered to God? For the most part, if we are hanging on to any form of control, we haven't. Surrendering to God means giving everything away to Him---our very life. Just as Jesus showed us. It's allowing God to teach us, guide us and direct us on His path. Most of the time this involves giving up that which does not serve our good, and which does not benefit our soul or our growth. The layers we clutter ourselves up with, stuff, screens, busyness and bad habits---we somehow see as freedom. Living the way of the world is slavery to the wrong master. Living God's way---following His commandments, living simply and learning to value what God values---is where true freedom is found.

"I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives." John 12:24

Children are the very ones we are to raise, walk alongside, mentor, disciple and love. They bring us out of selfishness and childishness. If our heart is tender and open enough, we sense that God uses them to grow us up and push us along the path of holiness. Even if we do not have biological children, there are children everywhere who are being rejected and do not feel the value and love we should be showing them. To show a child God's love is one less child growing into adulthood with a hard and bitter heart. They have known love and they will show love.  Jesus knew love---His father's love---and He showed it to the world.

Psalm 113:9 says "God nests the once barren woman at home---now a joyful mother with children. Praise the Lord!" In God's perfect wisdom, he nests us at home with those we love. To live for them, to give up for them, and to love them and show them God. To God, being with children and spending time with them is His ultimate blessing. God made Mary a mother, to Jesus, and to other children. He gave her His blessings. He did not give her the "ultimate" career life with recognition and bonuses, He didn't bless her with a face that did not age or physical perfection, nor material things---He blessed her with children.

May we wrap our hearts and minds around God's true blessings this Christmas season and ignore the false and hopeless "blessings" of the world. 

"Glorify the Lord, O Jerusalem! Praise your God, O Zion! For he has strengthened the bars of your gates and blessed your children within your walls." Psalm 147:12-13

"The Bible calls debt a curse and children a blessing. But in our culture we apply for a curse and reject blessings. Something is wrong with this picture." -Doug Phillips

"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats it's children." -Nelson Mandela

"The greatest legacy one can pass on to ones children and grandchildren is not money or other material things accumulated in one's life, but rather a legacy of character and faith." -Billy Graham

"To be a good father and mother requires that the parents defer many of their own needs and desires in favor of the needs of their children. As a consequence of this sacrifice, conscientious parents develop a nobility of character and learn to put into practice the selfless truths taught by the Savior Himself."  -James E Faust







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