Friday, March 29, 2019

And A Little Child Shall Lead Them...

"Suffer the little children to
 come unto me...for such is the
kingdom of God." (Luke 18:16)

With milder temperatures on the horizon and the promise of Spring in the air, I am at last coming out of some winter doldrums!  Just taking a quick survey of my own family and thinking about all the sickness and calamities we've been through  this winter, I'm  praising God for a change of season! How about you?

Speaking of a change, my heart was so encouraged as I tuned into my church's 6:30 a.m. prayer line this week and heard young people, one as young as 4 years old reading God's word and praying for the needs of our community and country!  Now that's something you don't usually see kids do on Spring Break!

It certainly sparked a ray of hope in my life and a bit of optimism for this world!  With deeper thoughts on the matter, I got this insight...youth have always been in the forefront of hope and change during times of darkness. Throughout history the greatest moves of social activism and human rights have been led by young people! The civil rights movement, marches for gun control, women's education in the middle east, are just a few! 

 It sure gives credence to the many scriptures that point to youth vitality, strength, and value in the world.  Perhaps that's why the enemy is so determined to wipe them out!  He perceives them as a great threat to his evil campaign and anything he can do to deny, extinguish, or destroy their potential in Christ is on his agenda.

Even as I type this blog, scripture after scripture tells me this is so!  In the Gospels (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:13-16; Luke 18:16), Christ's own disciples discounted the importance of children to His kingdom!  Incredible when you think that the Lord, Himself at the tender age of 12 was found in the Jewish temple schooling the Rabbis (Luke 2:45-50).

It's true,  present day young people are sometimes hard to understand!  Their lives are so complicated.  Their thinking is beyond what I can decipher.  Their outspoken, sometimes ill-mannered speech and conduct a bit offsetting at times.  But I still respect and honor and I am generally inspired by them for the most part. 

That's why I tend to stop and listen, even while gritting my teeth when they are passionate about something!
Psalm 8:2 (NLT) says, You (God) have taught children and infant to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. Youths can be sources of wisdom!  We may have to check our ego a bit and get beyond what we see on the surface.

We see the Apostle Paul encouraging a younger generation in I Timothy 4:12 (NLT): Let no one despise or think less of you because of your youth, but be an example for the believers in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.  He warns those of us who are mature in the faith to heed Ephesians 6:4 (This is after admonishing children to be obedient in 6:1) - do not exasperate (frustrate) the children by being too harsh in discipline but take them by the hand and lead them (Message Bible Translation).  It's hard to imagine isn't it that we can frustrate our children as much as they frustrate us!  Maybe that's why in Isaiah 40: 30-31, he says that that even the youth grow tired and weary...

So then maybe our prayers should become a bit more focused.  Yes!  Continue to pray for their safety and protection!  Yes!  Let's pray that they obey the voice of God rather than culture and return to the faith of their parents!  But let's also pray that we may be a voice of influence to help guide their energy and passion toward things that are wholesome and character building.  Let's help them use their passions for Christ!

Youth are not the leaders of tomorrow, we need them right now!  Our young adults are called Millennials.  This makes me think of the role Spirit anointed youth will play during the Millennial kingdom (the time when Christ returns and sets up His kingdom on earth). 

The prophet Isaiah describes a scene in Isaiah 11:6, that shows  a time of peace and harmony in the world. We are told symbolically that those with natures like wild beasts (wolves and leopards) and deadly and poisonous snakes (cobras and vipers) will be changed and under the submission of Christ. When you read carefully the text you see that children have no fear of them.  They are quite comfortable and confident in their midst.  I see this boldness and confidence foundational to the prominent role they will be playing. 

We don't know when Christ will set up His kingdom but what we can do in preparation for it is  set a godly example before our young people and continue to show unconditional love when they fail!  OUR YOUTH NEED PARENTS NOT FRIENDS, so let's make sure we're doing our part before THROWING SHADE!

Why not start by encouraging a young person you know with a kind word! Catch them doing something good and tell them so!  I'd like to start with the young people who hosted my church's prayer line this week: 


 Chris, Mason, Daniel, Joshua, Lexxus, and A'via


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