Tag Archive | children

Faith of a Child

I work in an elementary school. This year I’m working in the 2nd grade. I love children, so this suits me. The Lord is gracious to fulfill me spiritually and professionally.

I really like working with the younger kids. I’ve worked in Pre-K to grade 2 in these latest times, and in the past taught 4th and 5th.

There’s something about the randomness of little kids and their thought patterns that amazes and tickles me. You never know what they’re going to say. They way they think is precious and in a lot of cases, logical.

Last week I was assigned a special project apart from my regular duties. I was pulled to do a Reading Assessment on all the kindergarteners. Yay! I’m with the smaller kids again!

The kindergarten kids had seen me around. I am on duty in the morning and afternoon, and I greet them as they come in and I’m with them for half an hour at car riders. They also see me in the hallway.  I don’t directly work with them, though. I’m some roving, random adult in their school lives.

What I noticed about these children is that when I came out the door and asked to take a student to my little office I’d set up in the hallway, to do a test, they were all gung ho! Every time I’d come to their door, they say “Are you going to get me?” “Is it my turn?” They were all excited to come with me for a test.

Once settled in our chairs, I explained that they should read a short story book to me and then they would retell it in their own words and answer some questions. Not one of the children balked or asked why or crossed their arms. Not only did they work, but they worked hard.

Occasionally I needed to have them read and retell a second book and if I asked them if they needed a break or wanted to continue, all the ones I asked wanted to go straight through. They were eager.

Most of them even said “thank you” at one point.

I started thinking about the Bible and Jesus. I started thinking about attitude and excitement and submission and effort.

If someone came to my door and wanted to test me, would I be eager? Excited? Striving to do my best? Would I be happy and polite? Trusting and pliable?

Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. And he took them in his arms and blessed them, laying his hands on them. (Mark 10:14-16)

The faith of a child is just that- full of wide-eyed trust, utter submission, striving to please. Barnes’ Notes says of the Mark verses,

As a little child – With the temper and spirit of a child – teachable, mild, humble, and free from prejudice and obstinacy.

I learned a lot being with the 5 and 6 year olds. Where they excel, I sometimes fall short.

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What happens to children who die?

When the September 11, 2001 attacks happened, television interviewer Larry King invited pastor-teacher John MacArthur to his program to discuss the event. King asked MacArthur, “What happens to babies who die?”

MacArthur simply replied “instant heaven.” Knowing the vagaries of television, MacArthur explained later that he had purposely given a clear and short answer because he knew about sound bites. However, on the following Sunday he chose to further explain to his own flock the biblical reasoning behind his stance.

The Bible doesn’t definitively declare one way or another where the unborn, stillborn, babies, and children go when they die. However, there is a cumulative body of scriptural evidence that supports the stance that they do go to heaven.

A horrific church massacre that happened in Texas this past Sunday, and several of the killed were children. A one-year-old, 5-year-old, 7-year-old, were among the killed, as well as a woman who was 8-months pregnant, so that unborn child died as well. I believe there were others, though their ages were not listed among the victims’list yet.

I thought it would be a good time to raise the issue again. What happens to children who die?

I can’t begin to imagine the grief that the parents and relatives feel, especially of the youngsters who were killed. If we are believers,

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

We have hope of Jesus, eternal life, reunion with friends and relatives…and our children.

The 2003 book that emerged from MacArthur’s series on the issue is called “Safe in the Arms of God”.

Tim Challies reviewed it herefavorably.

We mourn when there is a tragedy – of any kind – but “our concerns related to death always seem more profound and heartrending when we are dealing with the death of a child. An accident or illness seems especially tragic and poignant when the life of a little one is lost,” wrote John MacArthur.

According to Genesis 1:26-28, mankind was given the power to produce life in a deathless world. Adam and Eve were expected to “be fruitful and multiply” – to procreate and fill the earth with children who would never know death. God’s original plan was that all lives ever conceived would live for all eternity.” MacArthur, Safe in the Arms of God

We know that sin entered the world and death not only came into it but personally touched Adam and Eve, who lost their son.

I wrote about that here, in an essay titled after the painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s rendition of the moment, called “The First Mourning.” Adam and Eve lost their son to violence, and they wept knowing their sin brought its wages: death. No, Abel was not a youngster, but his loss must have been no less agonizing for the parents.

Please take a moment to read it. It’s profound and encouraging.

Yet we are called to love. It is our love that is supposed to make us distinct from all others.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)

Hard, I know. I can’t even tread close to the fire of anger and grief in the loss of a loved one. But knowing the child is safe in the arms of God offers a comfort and a mercy that should dissipate the anger and give room to forgiveness. “Lack of forgiveness destroys relationships” said John MacArthur in a recent sermon “Forgiveness in the Age of Rage.

This lack of forgiveness that destroys our relationships includes our relationship with God. Forgiving the one who murdered a child is necessary. Forgiving God who allowed the death of a child is necessary. Our relationships should be characterized by love, forgiveness, charity, and Gospel.

The little ones who died in the Sutherland Springs church massacre, and also the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012 where 20 children were gunned down, and all the other little ones who have died throughout the ages due to illness, war, or abortion, are safe in the arms of God.

The book is small and short, but scriptural as to explanations why those who die in the womb, infancy, or young are now safe in the arms of God. You can read it and be comforted or offer it as a comfort to one who is grieving.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted
and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

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Further reading

Forgiveness in the Age of Rage

The First Mourning – painting

These essays show from scripture why their authors believe children who die go to heaven.

Charles Spurgeon: Infant Salvation

R. Albert Mohler, Jr. and Daniel L. Akin: The Salvation of the ‘Little Ones’: Do Infants who Die Go to Heaven?

John Piper: What Happens to Infants Who Die?

Something positive, cute, and endearing

Today, a little something different. We’re all used to the world’s dark news. The negativity of the world and the evil that is all around us can be discouraging. Here’s something I hope will lift your day and bring a smile to you.

From the internets:

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The righteous who walks in his integrity— blessed are his children after him! (Proverbs 20:7).

From the BBC, their new kids’ network CBeebies. It’s 2-minutes:

 

 

Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. (Luke 18:17).

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:28).

Even though there is persecution, false teachers, racism, riots, and evil, there are still fathers who love their children, and there are children with a child-like perspective that someday we will all be blessed with. The faith of children, pure, unadorned, unadulterated, and loving. May I be like a child!

Always remember, as long as there is Jesus, there is Hope!

Have a blessed day!

Children are a reward not just for parents

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3)

Children are a blessing and the verse above refers to children born to biological parents.

Many verses speak about children. The Bible makes it equally clear that all children (especially orphans) are to be regarded as vulnerable and to treat them kindly. Jesus holds them in high regard. They are to be trained up in the way they should go. They should not be provoked. They should be unhindered in their approach to God and His laws. They are to be protected else a millstone hung around the neck of one who causes them to stumble. They are a crown to the aged and streets full of happy children playing are a sign of God’s favor. They are an answer to prayer. Orphans (“the fatherless”) are objects of care and concern.

With all the attention given children, we know that the Lord cares for them. In thinking of kids, we often restrict ourselves to thinking of the family. I propose that anyone who works with children has a God-given privilege to adhere to the Bible’s verses regarding them, as well. The children are a heritage for the parents, but also for the teacher, the foster mother, the nanny, the social worker, the nursery school administrator, the playground monitor. Each and every child is a gift from the Lord, to each person the Lord has assigned to watch over them.

Then Esau looked up and saw the women and children. “Who are these with you?” he asked. Jacob answered, “They are the children God has graciously given your servant.” (Genesis 33:5).

Children are a gracious gift, If you work with children in any way, you are blessed.

Since He is coming again, what kind of people should we be?

I used to teach kids at church on Wednesday nights. I love their conversations and their thoughts and their joy. One night they were asking about Jesus and heaven. They got so excited when they figured out that their Christian friends will be in heaven too. They practically jumped out of their seats when they made the connection that they will actually see Jesus and hang out with Him. They started making plans, clapping their hands … Ironically, the verse being taught that night was of Mark 10:13-16, “suffer the little children to come unto Me, do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Boy, does it ever. Let US be excited, innocent, planning, expectant, too. Are we? We should be!

I love that photo of the cross lifted up and the verses referring the Jesus who is lifted up. It’s a comfort to know He is in the Holy Place. It’s also a comfort to know He is returning to catch up His Bride into heaven. He will lift us to His abode and we will never be troubled by sin again. Best of all, we will be with Jesus.

John MacArthur said: You don’t know how long you’re going to live or when Christ will return. That demands a different approach to life. Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return Part 1

Since He is coming again, what kind of people should we be? Peter asked the question in the second epistle, chapter 3, where he is explaining the last things.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. (2 Peter 3:11-14)

It’s not an esoteric, or abstract, or irrelevant question. The sermon linked above will help us learn from the Bible how to live in anticipation of His coming. The children I mentioned in the beginning knew how to live in anticipation of a living and present Jesus in their lives. Let us do the same. Let us be as children, who have no power, are meek, teachable, excited, trusting, and above all, loving Christ simply and beautifully.

Encouragement: How many will be in heaven?

I’ve looked at the numbers and have been discouraged by the seeming few that will be in heaven. The proportions of saved to lost seems wide. All the world died in the flood…except for 8. All four cities of the plain were smote …  only four people escaped … and one of them turned out to be false. The road is broad and many are on it, while the path is narrow and few find it.

I’ve written about that proportion here

I’m looking at the numbers and they don’t look good

and here

Many ‘Christians’ will be left out of heaven

I’ve also been discouraged by the lack of solid churches and the difficulty in finding them. Many of you have written to me about the same thing.

In listening to Justin Peters last night teach about child conversions, he said the encouraging regarding both topics. In his lesson he also named off a list of many solid churches he is personally familiar with.

It is easy to get discouraged when looking at the broad swathe of Christianity, and it is easy when we see so much heresy, so much compromise even from the supposedly good guys. It’s rampant. But there are good churches out there God does have His people everywhere. They’re not in the limelight, they’re not in the spotlight.  … There are good churches, it’s just that they’re in small places. They’re hard to find, but they’re out there.

He said this about numbers in heaven. I’m glad to know I wasn’t the only one who gets discouraged. I’am also glad to know that I overlooked something. Children who have died will massively add to the number in heaven-

I believe that the best understanding of scripture holds that when a baby, toddler, young child dies, that little one goes to heaven. … Have you ever thought about this? have you ever been discouraged at how few people go to heaven? When you look around the world, there’s 7 billion people on this planet and I think it is safe to say that well under and only probably less than 1% of truly born again, there’s a lot of people who say they’re Christians but they’re not. It can get kind of discouraging can’t it? But you know what? Have you ever thought about how many hundreds of millions or billions of children have died? In a miscarriage, before they were even born? Or how many children have been killed in abortions? Or how many children have died at early ages? Do you know where all those young ones are? They’re in heaven. There’s going to be a lot of folks in heaven! It’s going to be a busy place, with a lot of people in it! (Source)

In the lesson, Peters had previously explained from scripture why he and most others believe that infants, toddlers, and children will be in heaven. There was a biblical context for his statement.

In the United states alone, there have been 60 million abortions in the last 40 years. All those aborted children are in heaven. The worldwide infant mortality rate due to natural causes is also very high. It always has been.

The infant mortality rate (IMR) is the number of deaths of infants under one year old per 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator of the level of health in a country. The infant mortality rate of the world is 49.4 according to the United Nations and 42.09 according to the CIA World Factbook. The under-5 mortality rate of the world is 73.7 according to the United Nations. (Source)

Praise the Lord, the numbers of departed children I’d overlooked when thinking of heaven massively increases the number that will be there. Bless the Lord, and bless the children waiting for us there (whatever age they will be upon heavenly entry).