January 21, 2008
Isabella and Jesus
By Van Walton
“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: ‘Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.’ Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.”
Mark 10:13-16 (MSG).
My friend Kathy is a grandmother of three. You would never know it if you saw her. A former dancer, she is tall, athletic, and beautifully young. I am so impressed with my friend who returned to school in her fifties, earned a nursing degree and is now working full-time. During her spare time she enjoys her grandchildren.
Every once in a while her granddaughter, Isabella, visits her Nana for a sleepover. Kathy uses these times to tell Isabella about Jesus. However, the first time Kathy tried to introduce her granddaughter to Jesus, Isabella flatly said, “But I can't see Him.”
The next time Isabella spent the night, Kathy decided to get creative. She got out her stethoscope and showed Isabella where her heart is inside her chest. Then she had Isabella ball up her fist and she explained that it was the same size as her heart. Kathy then asked, “Can you see your heart?”
Isabella said “no,” so her Nana held the stethoscope to her chest and let her hear her heartbeat. "Is your heart in there?”
“Yes.” Isabella responded.
“How do you know?” her grandmother asked.
“I can hear it!” She said.
“Well, one day you will begin to hear Jesus even though you can't see Him.”
Isabella doesn’t know how blessed she is to have a grandmother who is not put off by a child’s uninterested answers. Kathy’s perseverance reminded me that whether I am talking with my own children, my little neighbors, or my nieces and nephews, I can have an impact on their spiritual lives by finding creative ways to teach them about Jesus.
Dear Father in Heaven, I know it is no accident that children are all around me. I ask your special blessings on my neighbors, the children of my dear friends, my nieces and nephews and my own precious children. You have equipped me with everything I need to share the gospel with them. Please give me wisdom and discernment as I interact with the children in my life. I want to introduce them to You. I anticipate the day of celebration when one of these children would come to You because of something I said that opened their eyes and heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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From the Pound to the Palace, by Van Walton
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In the midst of any given day an adult who interacts with children has the opportunity to invite God into ordinary conversations. Begin your day by asking Him to show you the life lessons He wants you to teach. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to touch a child’s heart. Begin praying for one particular child in your realm of influence.
Develop their trust in God by explaining we can depend upon God to give us daytime and nighttime, every 24 hours.
Point to nature and say, “If what He makes is this beautiful, can you imagine what we will see when we see God face-to-face?”
Read Bible stories and apply them to everyday life: Read a story about Jesus and those He healed. Ask a child to ride along with you to deliver a meal to a sick person. Remind a child that Jesus cares for children.
Do I take time to direct children’s attention toward God?
Do the media I offer my children - books, DVDs, television programs - contain Biblical lessons?
Have I modeled a prayer life for my children?
Proverbs 31:28, “Her children stand and bless her…” (NLT)
Acts 2:38-39, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children…” (NIV)
Proverbs 31 Ministries
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Monday, 21 January 2008.