Have you ever been uniquely moved by a passage of Scripture you have seen countless times; moved like you are seeing it for the first time?
That has been the case for me as we encountered the first several verses of Matthew 18.
Jesus, swamped by the demands of ministering to a broken world, takes the time to pull a little child close to Himself. He does this both to express love to the child and to teach a lesson. He holds up the child as an example of the stature we must embrace to become part of God's Kingdom. He says in no uncertain terms...Unless you become like this little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
A little later he issues a graphic warning:
...whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.
He admonishes those who would stand in the way of the spiritual growth of a little child.
Yesterday Emmitt was sick. it was the first time for us that he had a fever and was inconsolable. It broke my heart. I had a very busy day, and our little guy just needed to be held. Between appointments I came home. He was crying a heart-breaking cry. Little tears streaming from his sad little eyes. I picked him up, held him close and turned his head toward our favorite episode of Winnie the Pooh. He calmed immediately and within moments was sleeping. I stood with him in my arms, patting his back, gently rocking for quite a while. He slept.
It made me wonder how many times in our inconsolable, child-like moments, Our Father In Heaven scoops us up and just holds us.
Children matter to God, and they matter to SouthField as well. We do not provide children's ministries to keep kids busy while parents learn. We provide these opportunities because children can learn too! I started following Jesus at seven. I experience what would be seen as a call to ministry that same year. Seven-year-olds matter to Jesus!
Pray with me today that our church would always have a huge heart for children. Pray that we would never, never do anything millstone worthy toward one of these little ones Jesus loves so much!
Today's Prayer Focus
The first year of LifeWise Academy has been a blast! Imagine being able to provide religious education during school hours! Our laws still make that possible. Within a year we went from hearing about this opportunity for the first time to seeing an academy started in Channahon, complete with staff and a big red bus! Let's join hearts in specific prayers for LifeWise.
- Pray for the children attending who do not know Jesus. Pray that the Spirit would soften their hearts and that they would come safely home to Him.
- The best way to get word out is an excited student inviting another. Pray that God would raise up several children to be like the disciple Andrew, always bringing someone to Jesus.
- Pray that God would make the path clear for launching into more grades and more schools.
- Pray for those who continue to oppose our efforts. In Matthew we learned to love our enemies and pray for those who oppose us. Lovingly pray for their salvation. Lovingly pray for God to melt their hearts. Lovingly pray that God would thwart their efforts to oppose this good work.
- Pray against satan himself as he lures children toward sin and a life that will lead to nothing but despair. Pray against his efforts to destroy our children.
- Pray that God would grant us favor with the community as he did the early church in Acts 2.