“From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies to silence the foe and the avenger.” Psalm 8:2
Children carry the spirit of truth. Ask anyone who spends significant amounts of time with little ones and they’ll concur. As self-centered as children can be, they can sincerely size you up in five seconds flat. There’s no faking it around them. If they’re too timid to verbalize their opinions, give them a blank piece of paper and a marker and they’ll show you exactly what they’re thinking.
One day, Jesus was in the temple. After causing a ruckus with the dishonest merchants, the people crowded around him, including the blind, the lame, the chief priests and the children. He touched the blind and they could see. He healed the lame and they could walk. The children took notice and sang his praise, “Hosanna to the Son of David!”
This infuriated the priests. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked Jesus, as if he put them up to it.
Jesus coolly replied, “Yes. Have you never read ‘From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise?’ ” And the chief priests had no further argument.
If little children can see the truth so plainly, how is it that us grown ups have such difficulty? What clouds our thinking, our vision, our hearts from the truth? What causes our eyes not to see? Our ears not to hear? Our hearts not to know? I don’t have an answer. I only pray to return to that childlike faith.
The children called it as they saw it that day at the temple. They knew they were in the presence of Jesus, the Lamb of God, the Son of David. I wonder what their artwork looked like that day?
Author of Auntie’s House
My dog died last Sunday. She was so loving and faithful to me. Everywhere I went she followed if she could. She would sit at my feet and bark if anyone knocked on the door – that is until her hearing got so bad she could no longer hear the knocks. Missy couldn’t bring me presents but she gave me presence. She had unconditional love.
I fear I’m not as faithful a friend as Missy when it comes to caring for my friends. I’m ashamed of how slow I am to respond in many situations. But there are other times when I’m true blue… An example happened just before I began writing this post when I got a friend request on Facebook from someone who was already my Facebook friend. Shortly after accepting the friend request I got a message from her through FB chat. I suspected it might not truly be her so I called her on the phone and my suspicions were correct. I notified Facebook and then sent messages to everyone who friended the impostor account sitting up late into the night as new friends were added to the impostor’s page. I might not have done it for any and every situation like that, but this friend is so dear to my heart and she and her friends could have easily been taken advantage of.
I’m not a Suzie Homemaker, so I’m not as likely to come running with food every time it is generally appropriate. But there are other situations such as the one I described above where I’m better able to be a friend. I tend to see a parallel with spiritual gifts. We are not given the same spiritual gifts but each has special God-given gifts. (See Romans 12). I can stand to improve, but I don’t see beating myself up for not measuring up to the expectations of all people as compared to the expectations of God, and I pray for the wisdom to know the difference.
How about you? What are some ways you offer friendship? Do some come more easily than others?
Again, I think of Missy. She couldn’t bring anything tangible into my life. She cost me money when you get right down to it, but she brought so much love and relaxation – something money can’t buy.
So again, I ponder… what is it that makes a good friend?
Time… availability… good will… smiles… encouragement… thoughtful gestures, no matter how big or small…
How many traits can you name in the comments below?
I love sharing life lessons with my grandchildren that demonstrate God’s love for us through all that He has created. I find that in almost any conversation showing them that God is active and alive in their lives may not be easy but it is worth the effort to try. And I get great joy when my nine year old granddaughter shares a book with me and says she knows I will like it because it has “God stuff” in it. Recently she shared her “I love Jesus” pin she received at vacation Bible school and I will cherish her sweet gift forever. It makes me realize that all my words need to be God words because little ears are listening.
We also talk about prayer and praying when we take our walks in the woods by our home or when we work together in my home office. I love sharing pretty paper and pens, notepads and supplies and enjoy listening as she uses her imagination as well as her heart to tell me stories. It was one of these times when she asked me about praying. Wow, the responsibility I felt as I chose my words was tremendous. In my excitement to tell her about how much I love God and prayer I wondered if I could tell her too much. Would my words discourage rather than encourage? How could I keep it simple and appropriate for her age? Would I sound too pompous or too phony?
As always, my wise little granddaughter guided me rather than the other way around. I can’t possibly repeat word for word what her 9 year old heart expressed but her words were simple. “Grandma, I can pray anywhere, can’t you? And if I can’t think of the words, I just think it in my heart.”
Wow, how do you top that lesson? From there we made up sentences for each other about where we could pray. Here is the simple poem we came up with and these sentiments will last me a lifetime.
Do you pray on your knees or while gazing into trees?
Do you fold your hands or simply stand?
Do you speak aloud or are you too proud?
Do you pray for another or leave that to your brother?
Do you pray from the heart or are you afraid to start?
It doesn’t matter your age or if you write words on a page.
Just remember God always cares about your prayers.
No truer words were ever spoken from a nine year old and this old grandma couldn’t have made a life lesson any more meaningful than this. I am blessed to have an influence on my own grandchildren and I pray for all grandparents that they can touch the hearts of their grandchildren with a life lesson from their hearts.
Not too long after I learned to read, my mother took me to the children’s library in Anaheim, California, where we lived, to get my first library card. That was the start of weekly trips to the library for armfuls of books, a routine we kept for years.
I loved that place! Shelf after shelf filled with books to explore. I walked the aisles, scanning titles and covers. Every visit felt like discovering a new friend.
I took my girls to the library too. And now one goes to the library with her young son, and one reads to her students, and both are looking forward to reading to the babies who will be joining their families soon.
My five-year-old grandson loves the library. And why not? Whatever he sees that looks interesting, he can check out and take home (with mom’s approval).
Solomon walked with his grandpa to a small neighborhood library when we were visiting Savannah in July. They came home with a bag full of books he’d picked out–beginning readers and a huge picture book about alligators. Solomon sat right down and showed me every book. He’d had a great time. Later in the trip, I took Solomon to a bookstore to spend some of his birthday money. The choices there overwhelmed him. But not at the library.
Most libraries have concluded their summer reading programs for this year. But a new school year awaits … and so does your public library!
Besides a parent’s lap, the library is the best place for children to develop a love of books, reading, and learning. Even in our high-tech world.
Does your child have a library card? If not, go get one soon!
The more that you read,
the more things you will know.
The more that you learn,
the more places you’ll go.
Visit Diane at www.abibleplace.com
© 2012, Diane Stortz
Do you shop for groceries? If so, you’re the gatekeeper who decides which foods come into your pantry. Decision-making at the supermarket impacts your family’s health and budget.
Here are a few tips for packing your grocery cart full of nutritious eats:
1) Never go to the supermarket hungry. Your rumbling tummy will impact your decisions and you may toss extras into your cart because they appeal to you at the moment. Guess what most of us reach for when we’re impulse buying? Junk food!
2) Stock mostly items from the perimeter of the store: fresh produce, dairy, eggs, and meats. Venture into the interior aisles for staples such as nuts, pasta, legumes, brown rice, cereal, and whole grain bread.
3) Check what coupons you have in your stash and skim the store flyers to see what’s on sale. But try to avoid convenience foods, even if you do have a coupon or they’re on sale. Processed foods are laced with salt, additives and colorings – yuck.
In today’s economy, using our food dollars wisely is critical. Bringing wholesome foods home feels good, plus it’s an investment in your family’s health. So … what’s on your grocery list this week?
Blessings to you,
Beth Bence Reinke, MS, RD