Veterans Day, 2005
LESSONS FROM LITTLE CHILDREN
Have you ever wondered if there was something we could learn from a little child that has such value that it could determine whether or not we get into Heaven? You may ask how could a little child possibly teach me anything? After all, how much could a little child know? We have to teach them not to talk to strangers, how to read, write, dress themselves, brush their teeth and even what to eat.
Perhaps it’s not what a little child knows that we need to learn, but how they behave. It is true that they are not always obedient and they may not like to eat their vegetables, but how does a little child act towards their parent.
1. They love unconditionally
2. They trust without questioning
3. They believe what you say
4. They depend on you to supply their needs
5. They count on your protection
6. They are thankful for little things
7. In their eyes you are the greatest
Most of all they are humble. They know they are small and powerless beings in a world full of mighty and evil giants. Yet when they hold your hand or they are in your arms they are fearless.
So why would we need to consider these attributes of children? Take a look at what Jesus has to say: Matthew 18:3 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. (KJV) Matthew 19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. (KJV)
Jesus used the innocence and openness of children to show us the kind of attitude we need to have if we expect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We are to love the Lord Unconditionally even if it means our own death. This type of love is a choice and does not require us to have warm fuzzy feelings. We are to trust the Lord. He is the "Good Shepherd" and means us no harm: John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. (KJV)
We are to believe what He says. God does not lie nor can He: Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; (KJV)
We are to depend on the Lord to supply our needs: Matthew 6:31-34 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. 34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. (KJV)
We are to trust the Lord for His protection: Psalms 91:2 I will say of the LORD, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. (KJV) Proverbs 14:26 In the fear of the LORD is strong confidence: and his children shall have a place of refuge. (KJV)
We are to thank God for all things no matter how small they may seem: Psalms 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. (KJV)
Colossians 3:15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. (KJV)
In our eyes God should be the Greatest: Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (KJV) 1 Chronicles 16:26 For all the gods of the people are idols: but the LORD made the heavens. (KJV) Psalms 136:5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. (KJV) Jeremiah 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. (KJV) Proverbs 16:4 The LORD hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil. (KJV) Psalms 136:5 To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever. (KJV) Jeremiah 51:15 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding. (KJV) Hebrews 6:13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself, (KJV)
We are to be open and humble. There is no point in trying to hide anything from the Lord because He knows your every thought and deed. Ps 94:11 The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. (KJV) So knowing this we should confess our sins to the Lord: I John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV) We are to be humble: Psalms 10:17 LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear: (KJV) James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (KJV) 1 Peter 5:5-7 5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: 7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. (KJV)
Jesus freely gives His blessing to those who receive it trustingly. Entrance to the Kingdom of Heaven requires childlike humility. Anyone that does not receive God’s kingdom as a gift now with the same trusting attitude of a child will never enter it and will be excluded from eternal life. Eternal Life is not gained by any works of the flesh (our good deeds, church attendance, or charity) or because we deserve it. We must take the Lord at His word. Believe that Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead. We must trust the Word of God that Jesus Christ has paid our debt in full.
If we as believers are trusting the Lord as little children trust their fathers, then we are His children and heirs to all He has promised us.
Copyright 2005 (c) by Rev. A. M. Buchanan. All rights reserved.
"And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually."
What the patriarch did early in the morning, after the family festivities, it will be well for the believer to do for himself ere he rests tonight. Amid the cheerfulness of household gatherings it is easy to slide into sinful levities, and to forget our avowed character as Christians. It ought not to be so, but so it is, that our days of feasting are very seldom days of sanctified enjoyment, but too frequently degenerate into unhallowed mirth. There is a way of joy as pure and sanctifying as though one bathed in the rivers of Eden: holy gratitude should be quite as purifying an element as grief. Alas! for our poor hearts, that facts prove that the house of mourning is better than the house of feasting. Come, believer, in what have you sinned to-day? Have you been forgetful of your high calling? Have you been even as others in idle words and loose speeches? Then confess the sin, and fly to the sacrifice. The sacrifice sanctifies. The precious blood of the Lamb slain removes the guilt, and purges away the defilement of our sins of ignorance and carelessness. This is the best ending of a Christmas-day–to wash anew in the cleansing fountain. Believer, come to this sacrifice continually; if it be so good to-night, it is good every night. To live at the altar is the privilege of the royal priesthood; to them sin, great as it is, is nevertheless no cause for despair, since they draw near yet again to the sin-atoning victim, and their conscience is purged from dead works.
Gladly I close this festive day, Grasping the altar’s hallow’d horn; My slips and faults are washed away, The Lamb has all my trespass borne.
C. H. Spurgeon
Poem – Only a Branch
ONLY A BRANCH
"I am the vine, ye are the branches." -John 15:5
Poem – Only a Branch
"Tis only a little Branch,
A thing so fragile and weak,
But that little Branch hath a message true
To give, could it only speak.
"I’m only a little Branch,
I live by a life not mine,
For the sap that flows through my tendrils small
Is the life-blood of the Vine.
"No power indeed have I
The fruit of myself to bear,
But since I’m part of the living Vine,
Its fruitfulness I share.
"Dost thou ask how I abide?
How this life I can maintain?-
I am bound to the Vine by life’s strong band,
And I only need remain.
"Where first my life was given,
In the spot where I am set,
Upborne and upheld as the days go by,
By the stem which bears me yet.
"I fear not the days to come,
I dwell not upon the past,
As moment by moment I draw a life,
Which for evermore shall last.
"I bask in the sun’s bright beams,
Which with sweetness fills my fruit,
Yet I own not the clusters hanging there,
For they all come from the root."
A life which is not my own,
But another’s life in me:
This, this is the message the Branch would speak,
A message to thee and me.
Oh, struggle not to "abide,"
Nor labor to "bring forth fruit,"
But let Jesus unite thee to Himself,
As the Vine Branch to the root.
So simple, so deep, so strong
That union with Him shall be:
His life shall forever replace thine own,
And His love shall flow through thee.
For His Spirit’s fruit is love,
And love shall thy life become,
And for evermore on His heart of love
Thy spirit shall have her home.