Let Them Come!

Picture by artist, Frances Hook  “Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray.  The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.”  And he laid his hands on them and went away.”

Matthew 19:13-15

Lord, you did not ignore the little ones or their parents who brought them to you.  You took time to be with them and touch them.  Your hands, that were later nailed to the Cross, connected children to you.  You continue to connect both young and old to you through the waters of Baptism where you forgive sins and give the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for reaching out to us.  Keep us in the one true faith, for Jesus’ sake, Amen.

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Like A Little Child

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“Therefore it is for the children. The child is small and knows he is small (that is all that Jesus singles out in the child; He says nothing of his innocence, loveliness, or charm); the child is always looking up to persons greater than he; he cannot ever forget how small he is, and he has not yet learned to deceive himself into the belief that he is as big as anybody. The child receives. Children are the world’s best askers and beggars; they are the world’s best accepters of gifts and receivers of presents. – The finest characterization of our Lutheran Confessions is Schlink’s, who says that they breathe the air of child’s delight at having received a gift. “Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” “Humble himself” – a child does not make himself smaller than he is; he knows how small he actually is. That is why turning, being converted, is a turning to childhood. That is why greatness comes to the childlike. The emptiest receives most; only he will be great for whom “greatness” has lost all meaning, for whom only God is great, as only God is good. God is Creator, and he works ex nihilo. He puts Himself into selfless lives; He pours the wine of His gladness into empty cups; He fills empty hands; He justifies the ungodly and raises the dead. When the brazen idol of our greatness has melted before the blaze of God’s greatness and lies a little pool to reflect God’s glory and the glory of our lord Jesus Christ, then we shall have begun to be Christians, then we have become at least apprentice theologians.” ~Martin Franzmann

Lord God, from whom all blessings flow and fill us with undeserved goodness, mercy and love, we give you thanks and praise. As we begin this week may we remember the goodness that flowed from your Son’s pierced side, the mercy extended to all mankind, and the everlasting love spoken “Forgive them.”  May we walk as your beloved children and be found faithful in all that we do and say to the glory of Your Holy Name.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Come Out!

Photo by Justin Knight

Photo by Justin Knight

Under the bed

dust bunnies and all

next to my brother, Christ,

Our Father calls

‘Dearest ones, come out!

The sin that drove you

to hide away

has been carried away by Him.

I don’t see the dirt

I don’t smell the stench

I don’t feel the grit

of your gossip, greed or lust.

I see my daughter next to My Son

clean from head to toe.

I see my seal,

the Spirit-Guarantee

marked upon your breast

when faith entered in

through Water and the Word

and your life in me began.’

  * * * * *

“So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh to live according to the flesh.  For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

The Spirit himself bears witness with our Spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

Romans 8:12-17

Thank You Abba Father for the wonder of Baptism when I was adopted as Your very own.  You gave me the gift of faith through the Water and the Word.  Thank You for Your love, for daily providing me with all that I need to live, for keeping me safe from harm and danger, for seeing the right-ness of Your dear Son, Jesus, in me.  Abba Father may I live for You today in love and gratitude and be found faithful as Your beloved child.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

September 19 Fourth Commandment Living

Photo by Joel Millhouse

Photo by Joel Millhouse

Isaiah 30:12-33:12;  Galatians 5:1-12;  Psalm 63:1-11;  Proverbs 23:22

“Listen to your father, who gave you life,

and do not despise your mother when

she is old.”

Proverbs 23:22

Honor your mother and your father.

“What does this mean?”

It means that

“we should fear and love God

so that we do not despise or anger our parents

and other authorities,

but honor them,

serve and obey them,

love and cherish them.”

(Luther’s Small Catechism)

Lord God,

help us to keep the Fourth Commandment.

Bless and preserve our family relationships

that your Name may be glorified.

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

September 16 A Parent’s Heart

Image by Matt Gruber

Image by Matt Gruber

Isaiah 22:1-24:23;  Galatians 2:17-3:9;  Psalm 60:1-12;  Proverbs 23:15-16

“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad;

my inmost being will rejoice when your lips speak what is right.”

Proverbs 23:15-16

And so our Heavenly Father rejoices

when we speak His name

and proclaim Him as our Lord and Savior.

Sweet music to his Creator ears.

Likewise, when our children

confess with their mouths

Jesus as Lord

we rejoice

for we know they have

Eternal treasure

in their hearts,

and their future is secure.

Lord may we continue to pray for our children and our children’s children that they may know and confess you as Lord and Savior of their lives.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen

September 15 Really?

Photo by Matt Gruber

Photo by Matt Gruber

Isaiah 19:1-21:17;  Galatians 2:1-16;  Psalm 59:1-17;  Proverbs 23:13-14

“Do not withhold discipline from a child;

 if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.

If you strike him with a rod, you will save his soul

from Sheol.”

Proverbs 23:13-15

Really?

Really.

Discipline is for our good

and for our children’s.

Discipline means setting limits

and providing consequences when they are breached.

A crooked sapling needs the subtle pressure of a guiding

rod or rope to coax it to grow straight and tall.

We and our children bend with our

human nature–

our old ‘Adam’–

and our loving God applies his discipline

through His Word and the power of the Holy Spirit

to straighten us up,

to make us more like him.

Sparing discipline is not a recipe

for growth.

Wise discipline applied with love and discernment

protects the growing child

and gets him/her to adulthood

in one piece!

Lord, grant that we submit to your loving discipline and grow.  Grant that all children may have loving caregivers whether they be parents, teachers, guardians, or grandparents who will help them to grow strong in mind and body and soul.  For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

August 27 Train Up

Image by Amanda Petty

Image by Amanda Petty

Job 23:1-27:23;  2 Corinthians 1:12-2:11;  Psalm 41:1-13;  Proverbs 22:5-6

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

Proverbs 22:5-6

 

Wisdom giver from on high,

give us wisdom

words to say

acts to follow

in your way

so that our children

will come to know

You

as the Way, the Truth

and the Life

and though their lives

will take many turns

may they always

find their way

back

to You.

Bless parents, teachers,

coaches, mentors,

guardians

and all those shape

the lives of those

in their care,

for Jesus’ sake,

Amen.