Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. “Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it – Luke 18:16, 17.
We should never hinder anyone from coming to Christ, least of all our loved ones. The Bible says that God loved the world so much that He gave His beloved Son so that those who believe in Him will have everlasting life.
Mothers brought their babies and children to Jesus so that He could bless them. When the disciples tried to prevent them, Jesus wasn’t pleased. In fact, Mark 10:14 says that He was greatly displeased.
Jesus loves children. Just as He was happy to receive those little children in the region of Judea He is happy to receive our children today. Children love Jesus. My four year old son told me that he loves Jesus and he likes to sing songs and watch animated movies. When he was a toddler we dedicated him to the Lord. At bedtime we bought read Bible stories and he prays before and after.
As a child I grew up to a Catholic mother and an Anglican father. We went to my mother’s church every Sunday and my father’s only on special occasions such as Easter and Christmas. I don’t remember my mother or father reading Bible stories to me as a child. I didn’t get to really know the Lord until I was an adult. I want do things differently with my son. I want to him to grow up having a loving and lasting relationship with His Savior.
It’s never too early to teach them and you want when they are older that they hold onto what they have learned from you and carry it with them all the days of their lives. You want to follow these words of advice, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
As a mother who loves the Lord, lead your child to Christ. Read to him or her. Watch movies together. My husband and I watch Nest Family animated stories from the Bible. We learn from these simple but beautiful stories every time we watch them. Talk to your child about Jesus and what He means to you. Find ways to bring Christ to your child.
…when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and
I am persuaded is in you also – 2 Timothy 1:5
This evening I listened to a beautiful song of praise by Karen Davis. I used to play this song every Friday evening because it put me in the mood for worship. Watch the video.
It sometimes brings tears to my eyes when I sing this song. Jesus is worthy of our praise and adoration for who He is and all that He has done. He left the glory of Heaven and came here to earth in flesh to live among fallen mankind. He didn’t come to be served but to serve. He came to give His life as a ransom for many. He came to teach, heal and lift people’s hopes and change their lives for the better.
He broke down so many barriers. He treated women with respect. He had women followers and some of them funded His ministry. He spoke to a Samaritan woman and didn’t condemn her for being married five times and living common law with the sixth man in her life. In fact, He offered her a life of change and hope. He spoke kindly to the woman who had the issue of blood after she touched His robe and was healed. He called her “Daughter” and sent her away with the knowledge that her faith had made her well. She had spent so much of her money and none of the doctors was able to help her.
Jesus was gracious to the woman caught in adultery. He exposed the hypocrisy of her accusers and they went away in shame. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman. He sent her away in peace and told her to stop sinning. He welcomed the woman of questionable character who entered a pharisee’s home to anoint his head and feet with expensive oil. He forgive her sins even as those present condemned and scorned her. He healed a woman who was bent over for many years on the Sabbath. He brought joy to the parents of the sick twelve year old girl when he brought her back to life and the widow who was one minute crying because she was on her way to bury her son and the next rejoicing because he was raised to life.
Even as He hung on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive those who wanted Him dead and placed His mother in John’s care. Jesus was always putting the needs of others before His own. And this is why it is not surprising that He was willing to lay down His life for His friends and offer Himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. He was the King of kings and the Son of God but He didn’t come to this earth in glory. He was born to a young virgin in a manger of all places. He was wrapped in swaddling cloth. He was humble at birth and throughout His life. He worked as a carpenter until it was time for Him to begin His ministry. He didn’t have a place of His own. He was always on the go, preaching and ministering to many. He chose ordinary men to become His disciples. He didn’t stop loving Peter because he betrayed Him. He didn’t stop loving the other disciples because they deserted Him. He appeared to them so that they could see that He had risen as He said He would.
He appeared first to Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons. What a life she must have had before she met Jesus. The other day as I read the Bible I realized that Jesus affects people in three distinct ways after He changes their lives:
1. They tell others – e.g. the Samaritan woman
2. They follow Him – Mary Magdalene
3. They serve Him – Peter’s mother-in-law (soon after Jesus got rid of her fever)
What about you? What effect does Jesus have on you? Have you told others about Him? Are you one of His followers? Do you serve Him?
This weekend, reflect on Jesus and what He did for you. Think about the great sacrifice He made for you so that you would not perish but have everlasting life with Him. Share His story with someone. I personally will lift my eyes to the Lord on high and praise Him. I will thank Him for loving me so much that He endured the indignity of the cross.
“Who would dare to accuse us, whom God has chosen? The judge himself has declared us free from sin. Who is in a position to condemn? Only Christ, and Christ died for us, Christ rose for us, Christ reigns in power for us, Christ prays for us!” (Romans 8:33, 34, Philipps).
Tears came to my eyes when I read these scriptures. Jesus was in a position to condemn us but He died for us instead. John 3:17 states: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. Jesus came to save. An example of this is when the woman caught in adultery was brought to Him. Her accusers wanted to stone her to death according to the moral law. Jesus said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first” (John 8:7). Of course, when the woman’s accusers heard this, their consciences bothered them to the point where they dropped the stones and walked away, the older ones first.
When Jesus was alone with the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”
She said, “No one, Lord.”
Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
Jesus saved this woman from death. He did not condemn her but showed her grace. He died for her and for us. Then He rose, giving us hope of the eternal life we can have once we accept and believe in Him and victory over the wages of sin which is death. He stands at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.
I remember when I used to use Liquid Paper like paint, smearing it over the mistakes I made making my pages look messy. I discovered today that it was a woman who invented this wonderful liquid eraser.
Bette Nesmith Graham never imagined that she would be an inventor. She was a divorced mother, trying to support her young son. She learned typing and shorthand and got a job as an Executive Secretary. She was an efficient worker who took great pride in her work and she searched for a better way to correct typing errors. It occurred to her that if artists painted over their mistakes on canvas why couldn’t typists paint over their mistakes too?
She set about preparing what was originally called “mistake out”. She put some tempera waterbased paint, colored to match the stationery she used, in a bottle and took her watercolor brush to the office. She used this to correct her typing mistakes… her boss never noticed. Soon another secretary saw the new invention and asked for some of the correcting fluid. Graham found a green bottle at home, wrote “Mistake Out” on a label, and gave it to her friend. Soon all the secretaries in the building were asking for some, too.
Things rapidly progressed from there. In 1956, Bette Nesmith Graham started the Mistake Out Company (later renamed Liquid Paper) from her North Dallas home. She turned her kitchen into a laboratory, mixing up an improved product with her electric mixer. Graham’s son, Michael Nesmith (later of The Monkees fame), and his friends filled bottles for her customers. Nevertheless, she made little money despite working nights and weekends to fill orders. One day an opportunity came in disguise. Graham made a mistake at work that she couldn’t correct, and her boss fired her. She now had time to devote to selling Liquid Paper, and business boomed.
Bette Nesmith Graham believed money to be a tool, not a solution to a problem. She set up two foundations to help women find new ways to earn a living. Graham died in 1980, six months after selling her corporation for $47.5 million (http://inventors.about.com/od/lstartinventions/a/liquid_paper.htm).
Liquid paper became a widely used office product in the 20th century and a lifesaver for many office workers, thanks to a secretary who out of frustration with having to retype pages because of mistakes, decided that there had to be a better way.
For the vision is yet for an appointed time; But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; Because it will surely come, It will not tarry (Habbabuk 2:3).
We can trust God’s word. No matter how long it may take, in His good time, it will come to pass. God promised Abraham and Sarah that they would have a son. It took it years and years. It took so long that Sarah decided to speed things up. She made her own plans for a child by involving her maid Hagar. Of course, things did not work out. Hagar ended up leaving and Sarah was back to square one. God again told Abraham that he would have a son but this time, He made it clear that the child would be with Sarah. And at the appointed time, God’s word came to pass and Sarah was gave birth to a son. God’s vision for Sarah tarried but it came at the right time. Sarah had a child in her old age, proving that nothing is impossible with God.
Joseph had to wait more than two years for his dreams to come to pass. During that time, he was sold to into slavery; was falsely accused of attempted rape and sent to prison. He spent two years in jail before his life changed for the better.
Simeon waited a long time to see God’s Savior and it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. One day, he received word from the Holy Spirit that the Child was in the temple. Simeon held Him in his arms and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; For my eyes have seen Your salvation Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
Jesus promised that He would return one day. He said, “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2, 3). We know that we can trust Him. If He says He will come back, we can be absolutely sure that He will. We don’t know when He will come. Only the Father knows but we know that just as He sent His Son here at the appointed time to save us, He will send Him at the appointed time to take us home. In His Word, He promised, “For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry (Hebrews 10:37).
To us, the greatest demonstration of God’s love for us has been his sending his only Son into the world to give us life through him. We see real love, not in that fact that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to make personal atonement for our sins (1 John 4:9, 10, Phillips).
When I read this, tears came to my eyes. God loved us first. He created us in love. He loves us so much that He sent His Son to atone for our sins. Jesus died in our place. He died for our sins so that we could be saved. It is not God’s desire that anyone should perish. He wants everyone to accept Jesus as their Savior so that they would not perish but have everlasting life.
Paul states that the proof of God’s love is that while we were sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-8). Imagine. God loves sinners. He sent His Son to die for sinners. He died for the ungodly. Jesus died when we, sinners, needed a Savior. God sent His only Son so that through Him He could reconcile us to Himself (2 Corinthians 5:19). It was when we were powerless to save ourselves and about to perish that God interceded and sent His Son at just the right time to die for us sinners.
When we look at the cross, we should not just see it as an instrument of death and suffering but as the depth of God’s love. Paul explains this in verse 9, “So, now that we have been made righteous by his blood, we can be even more certain that we will be saved from God’s wrath through him.”
But when the kindness of God our saviour and his love towards man appeared, he saved us – not by virtue of any moral achievements of ours, but by the cleansing power of a new birth and the moral renewal of the Holy Spirit, which he gave us so generously through Jesus Christ our Saviour. The result is that we are acquitted by his grace, and can look forward to inheriting life for evermore. This is solid truth. (Titus 3:3-8a, Phillips).
In light of the Academy Awards which are happening this Sunday, I thought I should salute two women who made Oscar history. The first is Halle Berry. Her gutwrenching portrayal in Monster’s Ball of a hard-working waitress struggling to raise an obese son while her husband sat on death row earned her the Best Actress Oscar, making her the first African American woman to accomplish this.
The emotional scenes in the movie were raw. In the nude scene with Billy Bob Thornton, Halle seemed to be comfortable with baring it all. In an interview, she was asked about this. “But with Monster’s Ball, without this scene, I think it would be a very different movie. I think it’s a pivotal moment and from that moment on, you understand why these two people get together.” What helped Halle to really let herself go was, the fact that “Billy [Bob Thornton] went to the same place I went to. He was as naked, as nude, as exposed, as I was. You saw everything on him as you did me. Men don’t have breasts so we didn’t get that thrill. But he was just as vulnerable.(http://www.beatboxbetty.com/celebetty/halleberry/halleberry/halleberry.htm).
In another interview, she admitted that “it was tough, but like I said, not tougher than when I had to abuse my overweight son. No tougher than that. That was probably tougher than the love scene.”
Halle was not director Marc Foster’s choice for the role of Leticia but Halle pushed until she won him over. She explains how she managed to convince that she was right for the part and why she was so determined to get it. “I just know that I was relentless in my approach. I just wanted a chance to sit in the room and tell him who I thought she was. My take on the movie. How I thought I could breathe life into her. I wanted a chance to tell him all these things that were brewing inside of me and I finally got that chance. And then I met with him a couple of times, and then the producer, and then Billy Bob, until they just gave in.
“It’s a wonderful character for a woman to play and we don’t see them that often. I think they are becoming more available but not that often. I think I related to her right away when I read the movie screenplay. I was riveted. I wanted to know what would happen to her. Things kept happening, the unthinkable, twists and turns and I started to care about these people (http://www.iofilm.co.uk/feats/interviews/h/halle_berry.shtml).
Her persistence paid off. On 24 March 2002, Halle Berry made oscar history. “I am so honoured, I’m so honoured, and I thank the Academy for choosing me to be the vessel for which this blessing might flow. (http://www.cinema.com/news/item/5850/halle-berry-makes-history-with-oscar-win.phtml).
Eight years later another woman makes oscar history. Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the Academy Award for Best Director for Best Picture winner, The Hurt Locker.
“This really is… There’s no other way to describe it, it’s the moment of a lifetime. First of all, this is so extraordinary to be in the company of such powerful, my fellow nominees, such powerful filmmakers who have inspired me and I have admired for, some of whom, for decades. And thank you to every member of the Academy. This is, again, the moment of a lifetime” (http://www.altfg.com/blog/awards/kathryn-bigelow-oscar-acceptance-speech-494/).
Bigelow was once married to fellow director James Cameron. Bothwere both nominated for Best Director at the 2010, 82nd Academy Awards.
In April 2010, Bigelow was named to the Time 100 list of most influential people of the year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathryn_Bigelow).
Kudos to these two remarkable women who used their talents to make waves in the movie business. They prove that anything is possible once you set your mind to it. Each of us can have our “moment of a lifetime”.