Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Fresh Manna 2008© by Pastor Tim Burt
Matthew 18:6 “But whoever shall offend one of these little ones who believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
Can I ask you a question? Do you have any idea just how much God loves children? Jesus wasn’t casual in His conversations when it came to children. He loves them exceedingly and was not quiet about it. In Matthew chapter 18 Jesus is illustrating in story about one lost sheep. Ninety-nine were accounted for but the good shepherd went to look for the lost one and would rejoice more over the finding the lost one than of the other ninety-nine. Then He finishes the story by saying. “Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” (Matthew 18:14)
Look at those words – “… it is not the will of your Father.. that one of these little ones should perish.” Although this story is illustrating sheep, if you read the rest of the verses in this chapter, you would understand Jesus is talking about children. They are precious to Him. Why? Because when they are young and innocent, they are ready and hungry to learn of and have faith in His love and ways.
Jesus makes some other strong admonishments. In Matthew 18:10 He says,”See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in Heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” I don’t know if you realize this but there is always a witness - assigned to each child that is standing before the Father regarding how they are being nurtured in the Lord. Those witnesses are angels and they always have God’s attention concerning children.
Jesus also said, “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who trusts in me to lose faith, it would be better for that person to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around the neck. "How terrible it will be for anyone who causes others to sin. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but how terrible it will be for the person who does the tempting.” (Matthew 18:6-7)
Renee and I taught children's ministry many years ago for over eight years. We learned and discovered so many wonderful things about children through the experience. It truly helped us become better parents and ministers of the Word of God. The age group we ministered to was four and five year olds.
One thing we learned from them was that children continuously deal with fear - real fear. Its one reason children struggle to go to bed at night and often the reason they keep getting up. They are afraid! When we ministered to the children – often sixty of them at a time, we’d ask them to come to the front of the room if they desired prayer. The thing children most often asked prayer for was for fear at night and sometimes we had close to sixty of them asking! They'd want prayer so they weren't afraid of the monster in the closet or under the bed, or the bad man outside the window, etc. Of all the requests for prayer they would respond to, being afraid a night was number one.
What caused these fears? The movies, television shows, and the unscreened books from the library that parents let their children read that put fearful images in their minds. Many adults are afraid of the dark and spooky things yet have trouble admitting it. How much more children? Yet adults ignorantly expose the imagination of children to fearful things. Fear movies and television shows are currently a trend.
Beyond praying for the children, we taught them a precious promise from the Word of God that greatly helped them be strengthened in spirit and taught them to learn how to resist the devil themselves. The verse was 2 Tim 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." Part of our nurturing of children is not to put fear in them but to help them from an early age, take authority over fears. 2 Cor. 10:3-5 instructs us, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”
This verse is telling us that we don’t fight spiritual battles with human weapons – guns, swords, etc. We fight evil and demonic imaginations – any imagination that is outside of God’s word and will for us – with His power. We cast down evil imaginations in the name of Jesus. We make every thought that comes into our mind conform to God’s Word. If it is evil we cast it out. If it is good, we think on it. The weapons of our warfare are the promises of God to train and take authority as to how we think and take thoughts captive that oppose God.
This is what God wants us to nurture our children in. We will have the help of His Holy Spirit and the angelic host of Heaven.
What are your children exposed to – things that promote faith in God and an overcoming attitude, or things that are scary, horrifying, and fearful that produce torment. Trade devils for angels. Trade fear with the faith of David over Goliath. Trade the fictitious characters of evil for thoughts of the true heroes of faith!
God loves children and has placed them in our care. Our love and instruction to them will turn around to strengthen and nurture us. That is God’s plan.
Today’s Fresh Manna verse is strong and intimidating. It should be. Parents that love their children have that protective spirit over their children. Raise them in the power and love of God’s Word.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2008 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.