Like a child
“I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. Mark 10.15
Jesus is again reminding me that He is the truth. This excites me! He also clearly tells us how to receive the kingdom of God. Children are open and receptive. The kingdom of God is a gift. We do nothing to merit it. It is totally by the grace of God that we receive. We need to enter God’s kingdom knowing we are helpless and without claim or merit.
After He had spoken these words, Jesus acted.
And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them. (v16)
As I receive the kingdom of God as I ought (helplessly and unmerited), Jesus takes me in His arms, He puts His hands on me, and blesses me.
Thank You that You have chosen me for Your kingdom. Thank You that You have freely offered me eternal life in You.
I pray that I receive You as a little child would, and that I will always do this.
I pray for those that do not know Your kingdom. I commend them to You. I ask You to call them to You and prepare them to receive Your gift of salvation.
Hear my prayer, Lord, for family, friends and acquaintances that they might be touched by You and come to You. I cry out. Lighten their darkness. Let them see the light, hear the Word, open their hearts and believe. Hear me, Lord. Touch them please. In Jesus name I ask. Amen.
But the Lord is faithful; he will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord concerning you, that you are doing and will go on doing the things that we command. 2 Thess. 3.3,4
In this letter Paul has already pointed out to the Thessalonians some of their shortcomings. He will further this before the letter ends. He also gives then directions for overcoming. He tells them clearly here that he expects them to obey his instructions.
But also, as Paul does regularly in his writings, he turns away from our difficulties to the God upon whom we must all depend. In using the very name of the Lord, he reminds us of the One who deserves, and indeed demands, that position of authority and guardianship in our lives. Yes, the Lord is my guardian. He will look after me. I can feel safe for He protects me, He directs and guides me, He is the way for me.
Paul reminds the Thessalonians, and us, that our great and gracious Lord is faithful. For me this means, firstly, that He is always there, and He will always be there. But His faithfulness is not restricted to His presence with me. In His Word He has set out many promises to me. His faithfulness is such that He will, in time, fulfil each and every promise.
He will strengthen me. He will guard me from the evil one. This is so encouraging. So often when I tussle with the contrary thoughts in my mind, the leanings of the sinful nature that seek to draw me into Satan’s power, I feel as if the fight is my personal challenge. Of course, I am not up to it, and so I struggle. I need to realise, and walk in the knowledge that God is with me. He knows all the grubby details of my thoughts and He will help me. He will fight with me. Indeed, He is ready to do this at any time.
I think it might be this knowledge of God’s intimate involvement in all of our life, the clean and the not-so-clean, that prompts Paul to state his confidence in the Lord that we will do the right thing.
I cannot ignore or minimise the difficulties that confront me and will continue to confront me. But I can lay hold of the character of my Lord God and know that He is greater than my lack of will power or my total integrity. He is greater than any of the wiles of the devil.
On Paul’s encouraging, I choose to place my confidence in the Lord and not in my own feeble nature and insufficient ability.
There are several prayers that Paul breaks into at different stages of this letter to the Thessalonians that I feel to record. In the midst of his identifying of difficulties with the Thessalonians, and his issuing of directions to them, Paul spontaneously opens in prayer for them. There is an immediate focus to this prayer, a focus that I adopt for myself today.
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. (2 Thess. 2.16,17)
May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
(2 Thess. 3.5)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in all ways. The Lord be with all of you. (2 Thess. 3.16)
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you. (2 Thess. 3.18)
I salute You and honour You as I come before You in this time of prayer. I offer myself fully to Your Lordship. I ask You to be Lord of all of me: Lord of my mind and all of my thoughts; Lord of my emotions and all of my feelings and reactions; Lord of my will and all of my behaviour; Lord of my spirit and my relationship with you.
I look to Your many promises to me, and I claim each and every one. I ask You to strengthen me. I know You do, and you will. Guard me, Lord, from the evil one and empower me to fight, with You, against his wiles, his deceits, and his dishonesty. The truth is: I am a child of God. I am Your son. My Dear Father, I bow before You in grateful thanks. Amen.