Becoming Like Children

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2‭-‬4 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.18.2-4.NIV

What does it mean to be like little children?

The message says it this way:

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
Matthew 18:2‭-‬5 MSG
https://bible.com/bible/97/mat.18.2-5.MSG

The part about starting over like children caught my eye. In our Christian walk, we have to start somewhere. God is asking us to become like children & start over.

When faced with a situation, children tend to ask parents what to do and trust what they are being told.

When I was a counselor, kids were not afraid to tell me what their parents had told them to do. They would say “mom/dad told me/said…” You may have even been told a similar statement by a child in your life.

Why are we so afraid to say what God says about something? Speaking Gods Word is just like that. We are saying what our Heavenly Parent says to do. We are trusting what He says.

When the world is telling us it should be one way, we need to say what God says and say it boldly like a child would.

Following what God says isn’t always easy, unless we become like children. Children want to please their parents. Most parents out there may beg to differ at times, but they do desire their parents approval.

If we seek after and desire God’s approval, we will find it easier to do what He says.

We will still be tempted, but it will become easier and easier to turn to God ,if we become like children. When a problem arises our first response will become prayer, seeing what the Bible says, and then doing what God is telling us to do.

The Bible is God’s Word & it shows us how God wants us to live.

Studying the Bible is part of our Christian walk. We have to know what it says in order to do what it says & we need to know what it says before situations arise.

I know I need to read it multiple times a day. Sometimes it’s little doses & once a day it is deeper study. But it all helps me live better.

Prayer is another key component. Talking with God & listening to what He says. Kids don’t know what their parents say unless they’re listening. So if we aren’t listening, how will we know what He says.

Communication

Difficult at times.

Saying things just right.

Don’t want hurt feelings.

Don’t want anger.

Don’t want to make things worse.

Do I say something.

Do I not.

Feeling awkward.

Feeling unsure.

Can I just hide?

Giving It To God

I was reading a devotion tonight that reminded me to give my situations to God.

I need to trust Him. He has my best interest at heart.

I may want something to be a certain way or to happen, but God’s timing is perfect. He knows what He is doing.

There are several things in my life that I want to be different, but I can’t make them different by forcing it. I need to leave it in God’s hands.

Holding onto it only makes me anxious. I constantly plan how it might happen. If I leave it with God, then I don’t have to worry & plan. I just know it will happen when it is supposed to. It’s less on my plate.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33‭-‬34 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.6.33-34.NIV

One step at a time

God showed me something else while unpacking the other day and I wanted to share.

I was working on the one box at a time strategy & he showed me how important it is to take one step at a time. He told me that even if the step seems small or trivial, it is still important to do so.

For example, this week, while unpacking, God was getting me to go slow and not to do too much at one time. I wanted to get major stuff done this week.

But He showed me how rest after a certain period of time is also a step. Trying to do too much at one time could hurt me.

Yesterday is a good example. I did several more boxes than I probably should have trying to get things done. I was exhausted and my back was killing me.

Rest is an important step. Not only does it give physical & mental rest, but it allows God to work during those times.

I have seen God work for me in times when I wanted to go make things happen. But I listened to God and rested. At the end of the rest period, I realized He had been working on my behalf. He was opening doors and performing miracles. That has happened on so many occasions.

With the unpacking, we have come a long way. We still have a bit to go, but most of it is done. He showed me that even with the rest periods, it could still get done & that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. I also needed help with some things, so waiting for my husband to be available to help was part of it. I can’t do everything all by myself, which is a whole other topic in itself.

Progress

I was sitting here thinking of the mountain of boxes that I have to unpack, now that we have moved into our new apartment.

Then I noticed the pile of empty boxes by the door. I have a lot left to unpack, but I have already made progress. When I start feeling overwhelmed I can look at the stack of boxes by the door & see how far I have come.

One box at a time is how it will get done.

The same is true for other areas of life.

When we are discouraged about how far we have to go in life or overwhelmed by what has to be done. Look at how far you’ve come & take it one step at a time.

Nothing Separates

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.38-39.NIV

There is nothing you could do to make God love you less or turn His back on you. You are not too far gone. There is nothing He won’t forgive. Me and you are the reason He came and died and then rose again. So that we could be reconciled to Him and be part of His family. He loves you unconditionally! There is nothing that could make Him love you less than He already does.

God’s Will

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
Matthew 26:39 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.26.39.NIV

There are 2 things that struck me about this verse.

The first thing is that Jesus was willing to do whatever God’s will was no matter what. . If you read the whole story, you’ll notice He prayed this prayer 3 times.

Then I asked myself if I was willing to do that. Am I willing to do what God wants me to do no matter what? I would hope that the answer is yes. If I’m being honest though, there are times when I’ve been so scared to do what He is asking of me & I didn’t rely on Him, so I gave up & didn’t do it.

Much like Peter denying Jesus 3 times (Matthew 26:69-75).

Peter was forgiven and so was I. But I still think things like, do I have what it takes or will that happen again.

Well, considering that I still make mistakes, I’m sure there will be a time when I make another mistake. Mistakes happen more often than I’d like to admit.

The second thing I noticed is that He still asked God to take away the situation.

It’s okay to ask God to take away the situation. His answer may be no, but we can still ask.

We may need to go through the situation for some reason.

Jesus had to go through the situation in order to save the world & He did it because He loves us.

For us it may be a lesson to help us grow or it may help someone else in some way.

But we can still ask God.

Sold Out

What does it mean to be sold out to Christ?

I had a thought today. A comparison really.

Think back with me here. Remember what it was like to be a teenager and have that person or thing you were crazy about.

For me it was New Kids on the Block. Some may have to Google who they are. I remember begging mom to take me to concerts (I went to 2). I was always asking for merchandise (I had plenty). I wallpapered my room with posters. I had tshirts. I had all their music. I read books about them. I watched videos over and over. I even dressed up as one of them for Halloween one year.

I wanted to know everything about them. I wanted to meet them. I never did meet them though.

But if we take that same mentality and put it towards loving the Lord.

I’m not saying we need to have posters of Jesus or statues or other such merchandise.

My main thought here is that if I put myself in an environment where Jesus is what I’m seeking, then I will be more like Him.

If I read/study my Bible over and over so that I know more about Him and what He is like. If I listen to messages about Jesus. If I go to church and spend time with others of the same mentality. If I listen to music that is about and for Him.

Make life about Him. The more I do that, then I will become more like Him.

I know I have a long way to go to be like Christ. But God is still working on me and He doesn’t give up.

What is your life centered around? Just something to think about.

Known

The song “Known” by Tauren Wells was introduced to me a few weeks ago, when my pastors daughter, Sophie, sang it in church. She did such a beautiful rendition that I wish I had her version to share with you. But I do like both versions.

This song is now a new favorite and has been on my heart since that day. This song talks about what it’s like to be fully known and loved by God.

Hard truth equals the stuff that God tells us that may be hard to hear, but He loves us so much and He wants to see us grow.

Ridiculous grace is that he loves us and is always giving us opportunities to get up and start over. He loves us no matter what we do. Nothing can cancel His love for us.

I am aware of how inadequate I am in my relationship with Him, yet He loves me anyway and wants to show me how. He works with me and never gives up.

The song calls His love bulletproof. Nothing can separate us from Him. Not even death. In fact death ushers us into His immediate presence.

Blessed in the Storm

Well, I think it’s time to share an event that happened almost 2 weeks ago.

I came home after work on July 11th. Waded through the down pour to get to my front door. Only to find that someone had kicked in the front door. I decided to go in. Mostly because I needed the bathroom & I didn’t want to stand in the rain.

No one was in the apartment. I thank God for that.

I will stop right there & say that it was a blessing that I didn’t show up earlier. I usually don’t hang out at the office after clocking out. I usually just head out the door. But that day I stood around and talked to a couple of coworkers for at least 15-20 minutes. I believe that was God keeping me safe.

It seemed like it happened later in the day. Maintenance also said they were working on the apartments facing ours all day until 4pm and didn’t see anything. So it had to have happened around the time I would have gotten home.

Now back to the event. I took an assessment. There was a mess in the living room. I noticed my husband’s laptop was gone. I continued. The safe & cash box were open in the closet & rifled through. I noticed the cash we had set back for vacation had been taken. In the bedroom I also noticed my laptop was gone & some drawers & bags had been gone through.

My heart sank. Because it was going to be hard to replace what was lost. As well as my laptop had some of my writing on it.

I was also kind of scared for if they came back. I texted my husband to call & come home. He had a chiropractor appointment. I couldn’t get a hold of him. I called the police. They said they would be there as soon as possible, but due to the weather there were a lot of emergencies going on. I later found out that a grocery store was on fire not to far away, among other events.

So I waited. My husband finally called me back & let me know he was on the way home. He called his dad. His dad came over and sat with me until after my husband got home, so that I would feel safe.

The apartment maintenance came and secured the door for the night.

My husband and I waited for about 8 hours for the police to get there. I fell asleep after awhile during the wait.

They took our statement & list of what was taken.

Then we went back to bed. We were a bit shaken up, but God allowed me to get rest.

My husband took the next day off to take care of getting everything done that needed to get done.

After work the next day we sat down & realized they also took the Wii U, all the controllers we had for it, & a game. So we called the police back. They came out relatively quickly this time & took down our added items.

All the officers that came to the apartment were extremely nice & helpful. May God bless them.

That Friday after work, I was a little nervous coming home. I would be there a couple of hours by myself. I wasn’t sure what I would find when I got there. God reminded me He was the one walking me to the door. I felt better. All was good when I got home.

We were supposed to leave on vacation the next morning & we didn’t know whether we could afford to go or not now.

God blessed us immensely though. Found out my husband had taken some of the cash that we had set back for some reason, so they didn’t get all of it. A couple of different family members blessed us with some money for our trip. Thank you very much to those family members. You know who you are.

We still left on vacation in faith. God took care of us & provided for our rest & relaxation.

We enjoyed our week long vacation to Oklahoma to visit family and friends.

Spent time together celebrating our 11th wedding anniversary & made it home safely.

We may have been robbed, but God is restoring us. He has/is taking care of us every step of the way.

Writing my blog may be interesting without my laptop until I can get a new one. But I’m improvising for now. I still have my phone.

Eye of the Storm by Ryan Stevenson really speaks to my situation.