“When our inner child is not nurtured and nourished, our minds gradually close to new ideas, unprofitable commitments, and the surprises of the Spirit. Evangelical faith is bartered for cozy, comfortable piety. A failure of nerve and an unwillingness to risk distorts God into a bookeeper, and the gospel of grace is swapped for the security of religious bondage.” Brennan Manning, REFLECTIONS FOR RAGAMUFFINS, Pp.221″He called a little child and had him stand among them. And He said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4
“Then little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who brought them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:13-14
For some reason, I never took the idea of angels, or guardian angels, seriously. Recently, however, I came across the following words spoken by Christ within the context of discussing the connection between God and children:
“See that you do not look down on these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” Matthew 18:10 NIV
As a father to a four year old little girl (with a baby boy due in October) this verse is extremely comforting to me. I often find myself worrying about the dark circumstances of the future world that they will be living in. However, Jesus has guided the willing for far longer than I can comprehend and he will be faithful to guide my kids, too.
Just over a week to go until I’m forced back to the classroom to prepare for a new year. My time with my daughter is more recognizable as a prize possession – now that our remaining days for making summer memories are numbered. It is the thickening tension between not wanting to let go of the radiant sunshine that lit my summertime with her and the impending reality of all that has yet to be done to prepare for school.
I know that I’ll never get this time back again. I know that this, here, is one of the most golden times of my life. She’s so beautiful and she floats so effortlessly on a river of pure joy.
Moments of reflective recognition like this cause me to check myself just to make sure that I’m not investing too much of my own awe and emotion on her existence (as if that was possible!). On the contrary, I think this appreciation that I have is just a sliver of that which I’ll experience when He returns.
”And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
I’ve found that the longer I go without reading at least a bit of scripture, the further I drift from fulfilling life. I’ve just started using some online commentaries to help me try to understand verses that confuse me a bit. This has been very helpful, yet, also very frustrating. It does seem like any verse can be used to support multiple positions. But, then I realize that there is a constant, identifiable thread of truth when the bible is looked at as a whole and not in dissected, distorted parts.
My family is bi-denominational. As a family we alternate weekly attendance to a Catholic church (my wife) and a Presbyterian church (me). She does so very much because it is familiar to her and is tradition while I, though I admit this view could be considered slanted, attend hoping to really come closer to God’s will for my life. She doesn’t seem to have any real rationale for following the Catholic template, but, refuses to let go.
This family dynamic provides a lot of opportunities for me to raise questions, though. By referring to a couple of online commentaries, reading the scripture in different translations, e-mailing my wife’s priest and my pastor, I have resolved my confusion about Matthew 16 when (as the Catholic interpretation implies) Christ named Peter the leader of the church and established the beginning of what Catholics would come to refer to as apostolic succession. Basically, there is no evidence in scripture that Peter was ever the high leader of the original church. Under the concept of ‘sola Scriptura’ (scripture alone), if its not in the scripture, it is not valid. Therefore, the concept of apostolic succession is not valid.
Once you peel back the legitimacy of the foundation of Catholic doctrine (a perverted series of traditions established by fallible men and not “holy fathers” or “popes”), the real power of Martin Luther’s break and the superiority of scripture over religious bureaucracy is evident.
I believe that it must have been easier to live as a Christian prior to modern times. There are so many distractions that divert our attention from what is real and true. I know that I am at my worst when prayer and devotion hasn’t been a high priority in my life. This is not to say that with prayer and devotion I am invincible. Far from it! But when I keep my eyes on Him who is invincible, my Faith is proven to have been well placed.
When He came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed Him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before Him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out His hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” He said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cured of his leprosy. Matthew 8:1-3