Make Ready

touchbible-verse-image-net-luke-1-17_5

“… and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

Many versions read:

“… so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” NASB

“… to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”  NKJV, NIV

… placing “the Lord” at the end.

 

But many other translations read:

“… to make ready for the Lord a prepared people.”  CSB, DBY

“… to make ready for the Lord, a people prepared.”  YLT

 

Whichever way the Bible reads, I have been looking closely at the two phrases in this small portion of Luke 1:17.

“…, to make ready …” 

ἑτοιμάζω

hetoimazō

STRONGS NT 2090

to prepare:—prepare, provide, make ready (G2090 refers to internal fitness)

 

“… prepared.”

κατασκευάζω

kataskeuazō

STRONGS NT 2680

to prepare thoroughly (properly, by external equipment; whereas G2090 refers rather to internal fitness); by implication, to construct, create:—build, make, ordain, prepare

 

to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”  Luke 1:17 ESV

In reading this verse, my first thought was that both “make ready” and “prepare” meant the same thing and they do in a general sense.  Where the divide comes is when the definitions distinguish between external and internal preparedness.

The external layer of a person is prepared:

John the Baptist was sent by God to turn hearts to see their sins, be grieved over them, come to repentance and be baptized in preparation for the coming of Jesus.  Each one to repent can be prepared through this process of repentance.  We will be convicted and cleansed.  Through this conviction and repentance, we are being prepared.

Then, the internal person must be made ready to meet the Lord:

Because of the initial preparation, our hearts and minds are open and welcoming towards the Lord Jesus.  Our souls will find joy and comfort as we hear the gospel even as we are challenged and confronted by the Truth.  We are being transformed in the process and come to know His grace and are able to receive His mercy.  As we walk in obedience to His Word and His will we are being made ready for His coming.

large_1x_spotty_flowers

I recall so clearly the moment when I repented of my sins.  I grieved over the many times I hurt God by my actions and words.  I was being prepared for I wanted to be right with Jesus.  I asked Him to be my Lord and Savior.  From that very moment, I knew that things changed inside of me.  I received a grace that I had never known.  I was washed clean and then washed clean again… hundreds or thousands of times since.  Each time, I have grown deeper in my walk with Jesus.  I was made ready in my admission of my sinful ways.  I was then able to accept my salvation in Christ by faith.  I am continually made ready as I read God’s Word, as I pray, as I learn to walk closely to my Savior.

M. Henry says in his Commentary, We must be prepared by grace in this world for the glory in the other, by the terrors of the law for the comforts of the gospel, by the spirit of bondage for the Spirit of adoption.

The bud is made ready to become a blossom from the inside-out.  The blossom is prepared to glorify the Lord with its outward beauty.

white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds

Am I ever done being made ready while here on earth?  I have met my Savior by faith.  One day, when I meet Him in the clouds, will I no longer need to made ready?  I believe not!  Christ is so beautiful to me now.  I desire that He would be all I need while here on earth, but I must admit that things of this world do draw me in.  I wish that were not true, but it is.  As I age, I can say that things of this world are less and less important and I do have more peace.  I pray that He will be all I need or want on the other side.  Hallelujah!!!

large_1x_spotty_flowers

Heavenly Father, I thank You again, knowing that when I called out asking for Your forgiveness for the many ways in which I wandered aimlessly, sinfully, and disrespectfully towards You, Your immediate forgiveness of me rained peace upon this woman.  I am so grateful, Father.  I became prepared.  As I began to understand You and Your Son and the Holy Spirit, I was made ready to receive Your Son as my Lord and Savior.  The Holy Spirit has come to dwell in me and continues to grow me in Your Word, in grace, and in love.  I am just overwhelmed by Your love and hope and peace…gifts only You can give me.  Oh my!  I am filled with a welling up inside of me.  You are my All in all.  Your Son is precious to me and I pray in His Holy Name.  Amen. 

8213ba8b106f9c53124e7f45360e2f1f

 

 

Graphic of Luke 1:16-17https://www.touchbible.net/image-browser/?version=1&book=42&chapter=1&verse=17

Spotty Flowers: https://dryicons.com/vector/spotty-flowers

Photo of apricot blossoms: http://www.photos-public-domain.com/2012/05/08/white-apricot-blossoms-and-red-flower-buds/

From Burden to Praise

eab87e6372c2e0737a54e83672065483

Now when they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to Me.  If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”  This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet, saying,

 “Say to the daughter of Zion,

‘Behold, your king is coming to you,

humble, and mounted on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” **

The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them.  They brought the donkey and the colt and put on them their cloaks, and He sat on them.  Most of the crowd spread their cloaks on the road, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!”  And when He entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds said, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”  Matthew 21:1-11

Jesus knew His time was near.  He knew the Scriptures filled with prophecies about Him.  He knew.

A beast of burden is a draught (draft) animal that carries or pulls heavy loads, such as a donkey, mule, llama, camel, or ox.  It can also be any domesticated animal trained to perform tasks for humans, such as a herding dog or a trained falcon.  Often, the animal will be under a yoke, teamed up with one or more of the same kinds of animals.

Jesus came into Jerusalem on a donkey, as per the prophecy in Isaiah 62:11.  The donkey, the beast of burden, carried the One Who would be carrying our burden of sin to the Cross.  Jesus came that we might be saved.  Jesus came that we be made white as snow, cleansed of our sins, for the Father.  

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.”  Isaiah 1:18

crucifixion-of-christ-near-amarillo-tx_0113
Jesus calls us to follow Him and bear our crosses.  Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.  Luke 14:27

Yet He is there by our side to carry the load with us.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”   Matthew 11:29-30

Cast your burden on the LORD,
and He will sustain you;
He will never permit
the righteous to be moved.  Psalm 55:22

He wants our dependence, our submission, our obedience.

All God’s plans have the mark of the cross on them, and all His plans have death to self in them.E. M Bounds

Jesus-Will-Carry-Your-Burdens-photo

We, as Christians, are called to help one another as He helps us.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  Galatians 6:2

8dcb60551caceb4b0d880b3138b12e7f

As we approach Palm Sunday, may our hearts turn to the One Who came to this earth to save us from ourselves.  May we look to the One Who carried our sins to the Cross, cleansed us wholly, that we could be His.

“It is to the Cross that the Christian is challenged to follow his Master: no path of redemption can make a detour around it.”― Hans Urs von Balthasar, Unless You Become Like This Child

I have received the most beautiful gift, Father, for which I am ever so grateful.  May I never look upon a “burden” as being too much for me.  May I see Jesus yoked with me in all that I am called to do and to be.  May I remember Who the Holy One is Who used a beast of burden to ride into Jerusalem, but became the One Who carried all of the burdens to the Cross where He died a terrible crucifixion, yet He did this for me.  I praise You, LORD.  Hosanna, in the Highest.  Hosanna, oh save, I pray.  “Praise God and his Messiah, we are saved.” Hallelujah.  I rejoice in the Holy One.  You are my salvation, LORD Jesus.  You knew and you know, LORD Jesus.  You know me, Jesus.  Praise Your Holy Name.  In the Glorious Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

 

beblacksig

 

** Isaiah 62:11

Christmas Coming…

Where I've Seen Jesus ... in the Midst ...
Christmas coming Oh! to breathe the air of God as He comes to us as a child, as Immanuel, as the breath of Heaven, as the Way, the Truth, the Life.  

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.  John 1:9

Oh, to be sensitive and anticipating Christmas coming!

Where I've Seen Jesus ... in the Midst ...

Mary heard and knew Christmas coming:

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.  And the virgin’s name was Mary. …”  Luke 1:26-27

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”  Luke 1:31-33


And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born
 
will be called holy—the Son of God.”   Luke 1:35

Mary honored Christmas coming:
And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.  Luke 1:38

Joseph became aware of and honored his vows for Christmas coming:

… an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”   Matthew 1:20b-21

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.  Matthew 1:24-25

Elizabeth felt Christmas coming:

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!  Luke 1:41-42

John recognized Christmas coming…from the womb:

…the baby leaped in her womb.  Luke 1:41

Zacharias prophesied Christmas coming: 

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to His people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:76-79

The shepherds saw, heard, and believed Christmas coming:

And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:9-12

The angels rejoiced for Christmas coming:

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom He is pleased!”  Luke 2:13

Simeon awaited Christmas coming:

And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  Luke 2:26

“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen Your Salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.”  Luke 2:29-32

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

Anna, the prophetess waited, was sensitive to, and then praised Christmas coming:

And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of Him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.  Luke 2:38

The wise men saw Christmas coming:

“For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.”  Matthew 2:2b

Prophets prophesied Christmas coming:

Micah – But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  Micah 5:2

Ezekiel – And I will set up over them one Shepherd, My servant David, and He shall feed them: He shall feed them and be their Shepherd.  Ezekiel 34:23

HoseaLet us know; let us press on to know the Lord; His going out is sure as the dawn; He will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth.”  Hosea 6:3

Isaiah – Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.  Isaiah 7:14

Thus says the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to one deeply despised, abhorred by the nation, the servant of rulers: “Kings shall see and arise; princes, and they shall prostrate themselves; because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”  Isaiah 49:7

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

Christmas coming:

  • in a manger over 2000 years ago
  • in Salvation
  • in Grace
  • in Truth
  • in the Word
  • in a cloud 
  • in my heart each day
  • in the praises of His people
I see Christmas coming.  Christmas comes in the Christ, directly to my heart as my LORD and Savior.  He comes in the quiet of prayer.  He comes in the darkness as the bright and shining Light.  He comes in love and joy.  He comes as the Word.  He comes in a song.  He comes every day, every moment of every day.  Some I miss.  Yet He comes and waits.  I wait with anticipation and adoration.  I feel Christmas coming from the inside-out.  Truly remarkable moments!

Thank You, Heavenly Father, for blessing us with Your One and Only Son.  Thank You for opening the eyes of my heart to truly see Christmas coming.  May I be sensitive to Christ coming, the Holy Spirit within me forever teaching me, praying for me, loving me.  May we each take the time to ponder the Truth of Christmas.  May we each treasure the beauty of Your gift to us.  The Son of Righteousness has come to us, to me.  He is the absolute expression of Your Love to us.  He is our King.  He is our Shepherd.  He is our LORD.  He is the innocence of the Babe in the manger.  He is Birth in me, Rebirth in me.  He is Forgiveness.  He is Love.  He is Salvation.  I thank You, Father, for Your Son… for Christmas Coming.  Amen and Amen.  Selah…
Where I've Seen Jesus ... in the Midst ...
images
bwdarkgreen sig

Simeon Waiting

Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.        Luke 2:25

παράκλησις

paraklēsis

consolation

  • a calling near, summons, (esp. for help)

  • importation, supplication, entreaty

  • exhortation, admonition, encouragement

  • consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment [thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)]

  • persuasive discourse, stirring address [instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse]

Simeon was waiting for the Consoler, the Messiah.  The Holy Spirit was upon him.

Oh, Father, I praise You for giving this man the testament of Your Holy Spirit.  He knew Your will for his life and waited.  Waited!  He knew the gift that You were giving to this world in Your Son.  He let the Holy Spirit lead him into the temple at that very moment.  He knew.  He waited.  Hallelujah!


And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not
see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.  And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the Law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now You are letting Your servant Greek bondservant
depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation that You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to Your people Israel.” 
Luke 2:26-32

Simeon prayed.  Simeon was so attuned to God that he believed that God was delivering His Messiah as promised to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.  He knew.  He believed.  He had read the Word and knew God’s promises.

Simeon called Jesus “Your salvation.”  He is.

The Lord has bared His holy arm

before the eyes of all the nations,

and all the ends of the earth shall see

the salvation of our God.  Isaiah 52:10

Simeon called Jesus “a light for revelation.”  He is.

He says, “It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant
To raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the preserved ones of Israel;
I will also make You a light of the nations
So that My salvation may reach to the end of the earth.”  Isaiah 49:6

Simeon said Jesus was “for glory to Your people Israel.”  He is (although not very many have seen Him…yet).

“In the LORD all the offspring of Israel
shall be justified and shall glory.”  Isaiah 45:25

 The sun shall be no more
your light by day,
nor for brightness shall the moon
give you light;
but the LORD will be your everlasting light,
and your God will be your glory.  Isaiah 60:19

Father, I praise You.  You have shown us Simeon in Your Word.  He loved You and spent his days in prayer, seeking Your face.  He came face-to-face with You, by Your Son, Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Consoler.  He knew that this Child was You.  He knew because He walked with You and fed upon Your Word, upon You.  Oh, LORD, I am so filled with gratitude that You showed me this about Simeon this week.  May I seek Your face each and every day.  May my walk be as You design it, and not in my way.  May light shine upon me from the Sun of Righteousness, revealing Your Truth in and through me.  I thank You, Abba Father, for the most beautiful Gift possible, Your Consolation to me.  You have reminded me that I am to continue to be ‘expectant’ for You to show up in my life at any time, at all times.  In His Name, I pray.  Amen.

 “‘…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”  Luke 3:6

images

BW sig dark blue

 

Painting–Simeon’s Song of Praise by Aert de Gelder, 1700-1710/Public Domain:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nunc_dimittis#/media/File:Aert_de_Gelder_-_Het_loflied_van_Simeon.jpg

Betwixt and Between

Betwixt and Between:

a midway position :  neither one thing nor the other

Thanksgiving is over.

Christmas is soon.

holly

A large Thanksgiving meal–prepared and eaten.  Giving thanks for the many blessings we have had throughout the year–a reminder that all throughout the year is time to be grateful.

Yes, yes, I’ll get back to that after Christmas.

When the meal is done and all have gone home, many pull out the decorations and begin to prepare for Christmas.  There are about four weeks to plan, shop, write and send cards, possibly travel, prepare another meal.  It feels hectic. It can be.

Wait…this season is beautiful.  It is filled with reminders: the coming birth of Jesus Christ, Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem in preparation for the census, a manger will hold the newborn Babe, a star directs shepherds to the Christ Child, the Holy One.

We should be aware and watching for the Star of Bethlehem, be traveling with Mary and Joseph, be there at the manger.

star

Why are we rushing to and fro in search of something material when the true Gift is coming right into our hearts?  Why are we so busy with things that are ‘expected’ yet may not be ‘necessary?’  Why are we not still, awaiting for the Savior to come?  Why are we not looking up?

I know, I know.  Christmas is when we gather and give.  Gift-giving may be to children and others.  There may be expressions of love.  Family and friends who have been apart for a long time may come together for the holiday.  I am not saying that this is all wrong.  But we need to slow down and look up.  We need to remember Who Christmas is about and what He means to us.  He came to save us from our sins, from ourselves.  He came to lay His life down for us…for me.  

     For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Luke 2:11-14

Father in Heaven, forgive us for being so wrapped up by the world and all of the things of it.  Forgive us for forgetting Who You sent into this world for our salvation.  Forgive us for thinking that we understand what this beautiful Christmas season is all about when we often barely give Jesus a thought in the hustle and bustle of Christmas.  Father, I pray for the many who are so caught in the stuff of Christmas.  I pray that they will not miss another Christmas of You, of Jesus.  I pray that they will see all that they have been missing for far too many years.  I pray that the eyes and ears of our hearts be opened to the coming of Your Son, Your One and Only Gift.  May we stand before the manger in awe this Christmas and know that Your Love has come to us, come for us.  May we be still and quiet so we will know the Spirit of Christmas.  May our hearts be calm to hear Your Voice.  I pray that we will see Your perfect Gift.   May praises come forth from our lips and hearts; may our songs be filled with thanksgiving.  Father, I pray that we will not be standing betwixt nor between, but would stand strong with You and beside You.  I so pray this in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.     

bwdarkgreen sig

 

Unsearchable

romans11_33b
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
  Romans 11:33

ἀνεξεραύνητος

anexeraunētos

not searched out, i.e. (by implication) inscrutable:—unsearchable

ἀνεξιχνίαστος

anexichniastos

not tracked out, i.e. (by implication) untraceable:—past finding out; unsearchable.

that cannot be comprehended

past finding out

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

These two Greek words almost look alike, mean almost the same thing with just slight changes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Versions of the Bible use different words to lay this meaning out before us:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!  NLT

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!  NKJV

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!  NIV

Oh, the depth of the riches

both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God!

How unsearchable His judgments

and untraceable His ways!  HCSB

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!  NASB

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!  NET

Impossible, untraceable, beyond our ability to trace or to find out, unfathomable…the greatness of God, His Omnipotence, His Omniscience, His Omnipresence…He is far more than we can possibly understand at this time.

Your righteousness is like the mountains of God;
Your judgments are like the great deep;
man and beast You save, O LORD.  Psalm 36:6

Your way was through the sea,
Your path through the great waters;
yet Your footprints were unseen.  Psalm 77:19

God, You are more than my mind can wrap around yet my heart feels Your love and Your care for me.  I know You are with me and hear my prayer.  You are unsearchable but I am learning more and more about You.  I am in love with You and praise You for Who You are.  I thank You with my whole heart for saving me through Your Son’s sacrifice and His love for me, for many such as I.  He was resurrected from the grave and told His disciples that He will return for them, for me.  One day, we will be together and You will still be more than I could have imagined here on this earth.  Will I be able to fathom You even then, Abba Father?  Your mercy, Your grace, Your greatness, Your faithfulness, Your power and Your might?  Jesus said that we may not understand but one day we will.  I look forward to that day, Abba Father.  I lift this prayer in the Name of Jesus.  Amen.

Jesus answered him, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”  John 13:7

grand-canyon-south-rim-overview-011

befuschiasig

Photo:  Heartlight.org @ http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/526.html

Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

bwturq sig

** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
9780874866308_p0_v3_s192x300

P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

backtoschool