Give Thanks- Children

I am grateful for children.

I’ve always been able to understand these small persons much better than their adult counterparts. Children’s rules are far simpler, their criteria for being accepted into the group are far less cryptic.

A friend once pointed out to me how delightfully straightforward children are when expressing their needs. They have no shame in asking for our affection. Where we adults try to “drop hints” about what we want, children simply come out and say when they require a hug, or a kiss, or a snuggle.

I also love how their natural state is one of happiness and play. They are able to have fun for the pure joy of it, without trying to turn it into a competition or a money-making scheme. They do what they love, simply because they love it.

Without a doubt, children are the best people I know.

#givethanks

Finding Our Purpose- Matthew 5:16, 1 Corinthians 12:26

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.

COMMENTARY

And whether one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it
Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works
Can you imagine a world where all of the petty competition and comparison are gone? In today’s world we have insecurities that make us jealous of others’ accomplishments, when we should be rejoicing with them. Or if not that, we are repulsed by that idea of jealousy and over-correct into a false humility, not daring to appear “special” ourselves.
I’ve expressed this in previous sections, but it is alright for you to be special, and it is okay for others to be so as well. We do need to be humble, we do need to give God the praise for our talents, and we must never use our abilities to make another feel that they are somehow “worse” than us.
But, none of that means that we are supposed to dim the wonderful light that God has given us. Having a purpose to fill and a talent to show makes the world brighter and helps others to see more clearly. When one is vibrantly living out the purpose for which they were made it helps everyone.
Children are remarkable in how they are able to be both fearlessly proud of themselves, and fiercely proud of others. I am convinced that this is one of the aspects of children Jesus had in mind when he commanded us to be like them.

That They Might Have Joy- Personal Example #3

One of the motivations for this study was that I have been feeling an increase of joy over the past year and wanted to examine the reasons why. As I’ve considered the matter I have identified three basic reasons. Today I’ll discuss the third.

A little over three months ago my wife and I discovered that we are expecting our second child. Now I’ll be perfectly honest, along with the immediate joy at this news, I also felt a great deal of anxiety. As time has allowed me to settle into this life change, though, I have found the anxieties to be fleeting and the joy to be abiding.

Being a father is the one of the most rewarding roles I have ever had, right up there with being a husband 🙂 It feels good to give my time and energy to my son, to make things for him, to help him process his life. I am very excited to do these same things for our new daughter as well.

Being a father is certainly one of those things that I feel completes me, something that gives expression to an essential element of my soul. It puts me better in touch with the mind of my Heavenly Father.

Years ago, the first time my wife and I got pregnant, she had a very painful miscarriage. Given that this was our very first pregnancy, my mind raced to all sorts of worst case scenarios. I began to dread whether this was to be our lot in life, and whether our family would feel incomplete because of it.

In the end that was a short-lived fear. But after that very brief taste I have the greatest sympathy for anyone who is not able to have children of their own, for whatever reason. It seems that some of the core joys in life are not intended for everyone. That is a very hard truth of this fallen world, and one that should move each of us to mourn together. At the same time, it also gives us all the more reason to deem precious the joys that we are allowed.

The Family of God- 1 John 4:7-8, 11

Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.
He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

COMMENTARY

He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love
I think we all know that we are supposed to love each of God’s children…but sometimes we just don’t. How can we make ourselves feel things for those that we don’t know, or for those that irritate or even offend us? It seems an impossible requirement.
But then, when I look at my young son I realize that most of us were once able to love so freely, when we were still children. Children are able to love others as soon as they meet them, children are able to forgive and restore love instantly. But while growing up we become jaded and cynical, we start making stipulations to limit the affection we show our fellow man.
That does not have to be the end of the story though. The maker of all things is also the re-maker of the heart.
We must never forget that we did not invent love. We are not the authors of how it works. We are not the ones that set the rules for when it comes into the heart. All we have power over is whether we keep it out.
God is the gatekeeper of love, and the closer we get to Him the more love He gives us for His children, the more He restores our natural affection for all mankind, the more He binds us to them. Perhaps you cannot make yourself love another, but God can.