The Key of a Child

I really am not big on Bible verses in my blogs. I don’t think I have quoted even one verse directly yet. But this blog calls for a (direct) scripter quote. This scripture gives a fundamental point that we must get a hold of if we do indeed want to enter into God’s kingdom.

Mark 10: starting at verse 13 “PEOPLE WERE BRINGING LITTLE CHILDREN TO JESUS TO HAVE HIM TOUCH THEM, BUT THE DISCIPLES REBUKED THEM. 14 WHEN JESUS SAW THIS, HE WAS INDIGNAT. HE SAID TO THEM, “LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME, AND DO NOT HINDER THEM, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE. 15 I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, ANYONE WHO WILL NOT RECIEVE THE KINGDOM OF GOD LIKE A LITTLE CHILD WILL NOT ENTER IT.”

A child is often selfish wanting anything that she or he can get his or her hands on. Just from personal experience I know that my three year old sister asks for the world and then some. A child doesn’t seem to obey very well, either. Their favorite word, no doubt, is “no”. You need to watch them like a hawk so they don’t get into too much trouble. You need to pick up after them and clean them because they are so messy. Why then would Jesus tell us that we need to become like a little child to enter into the kingdom of Heaven? What qualities does a child have that I as an adult do not?

It is a really funny thing and you and I probably often wonder if Jesus was all there when He told us that we need to receive the Kingdom of Heaven like a little child if we wish to enter into it. But as frustrating it seems to be when it comes to a child’s ability to listen and obey I have found some things that only a child seems to posses now a days.

A child looks at the world with curiosity. As an adult I sometimes don’t have time for looking at new and unique stuff. I am too caught up in what I like to call “life”. But a child does not have a obligations to go to work, deal with family issues or need to talk to a friend at a curtain time. A child has time to examine a flower and even needs to be taught to stay away from a stranger because their natural instinct is to be friendly. A rubber ball or a lady bug are interesting things to a child. They have time to devote to things as simple as a pile of dirt. Yes, we can consider this a bad thing. “Billy! Get out of that dirt”, or “Sally, don’t bother that man”. But what if we as adults could get away from our common life and routine and spare some time for a stranger that might not have any friends? Or give time to things, that we have been taught don’t mean much?

A child is not afraid to show emotion. I realize that this can be frustrating at times. But what if we as adults were able to show others what we truly felt? There are many examples of my three year old sister telling me straight up to not call her a name she does not like. I never worry about her not telling me if she is hungry or wants to go to Mc. Donald’s. Too many times I see people that get made fun of, and instead of telling the person how they truly feel about what was said or done they act as though it is ok and laugh along with the crowd. So many grown ups hide there emotions so far inside themselves that they become lost and their self worth is extinguished.

As much as a child might seem to want everything so that they could be happy I do not see them as selfish beings. They aren’t just caring for themselves they grow attached to the people around them very quickly and begin to care for others. They are not worried if the person is rich or poor, strong or weak. They have not been taught who you should care about and who you should not. They see the people in need and truly feel for them without the lens that society tends to put onto us.

When I was sick with a fever above a hundred and was dizzy every time I stood up, it was my three year old sister who came to my side and asked me if I was ok and drew pictures for me so I could get better. There have been many times that I have been hurt and my sister was teary eyed because she couldn’t stand seeing me in such a condition. She was not interested in the mistakes I made that might have made me sick or the way I might have treated her badly a few days before. She cared about me getting better and was not afraid to show her love for me by the emotions she expressed and the pictures she drew.

Having a childlike approach is what counts when it comes to who enters into the Kingdom of God. Jesus does not need you to be a good student or athlete in school. He does not look at how skinny, fat, strong, or weak you are. Instead God wants you to strive for something more – to strive to become a child once again and see the world with the clear view that you were originally given and not look at it from the lens that society or even your friends have given you.

If you want to have a wonderful life, if you want to see the true value this world and the next has to give, if you want to be able to change the world you must see the world as a little child sees it–without judgment or condemnation, without the need for money or accolade.

The God Out Side The Box

Throughout my walk in Christ I have realized that words can be weak, that there are many talking about the coming of Christ but few that see the places He already is. For so long in my “Christian” life I saw God as an almighty powerful being (which is true). He was beyond anyone’s understanding and could not even be around the presence of evil because he was so pure (which is not Biblical). I was taught that God was only open to those who “believed” and it was our mission to bring Him to others.

For many years I walked in this world ignoring God when He came to me as a homeless man or showed up at work as a divorced man who had been dealing with alcohol abuse his whole life. I thought that the people who did not go to church were sinners and most likely did not believe in the one true God.

In all people I believe there is Jesus. A few years ago I had a revelation and I truly started seeing God, not in all the places I was taught He would be (church friends I grew up with, Sunday morning worship, etc…) but more so in the places that needed me the most. I saw God in the streets and the needy. I saw God in those who struggled and had been hurt. He was able to show Himself to me because I finally understood what He meant when he said, “What you do for the least of these you do for Me.” Jesus is in the least of these, but once we become Christians our tendency is to “clean up our act” by putting on a dressed up (often less honest) form of Godliness.

Have we forgotten that Jesus lived thirty years before He started his ministry? How often it is that we forget that Jesus was homeless? Have we also forgotten that it was the religious leaders of the day who persecuted Jesus the most? It was not in the church that we saw Jesus move. But, instead in the streets and homes of sinners. The faith that I saw in Jesus’ day was not illustrated by the Pharisees and church goers but instead by the sinners and the “non–believer’s”. I saw a Roman soldier come to Jesus and have enough faith that his daughter was healed. It was a blind man that I heard calling out Jesus’ name even when every one else was telling him to “shut up”.

The true Godly weren’t the ones that went to church and were well respected by other “godly men“. But instead, they were the ones who the religious voices of His day did not think worshiped the same God as they worshiped. The true Godly were like the Roman soldier or the out cast who ignored his peers and society in order to cry out God’s name.

Many people in the church cry out for God but are they really willing to look for Him. I have experienced God in some amazing places. But they aren’t the places my church told me to look. In Ephesians 2: starting at verse 8 it says “FOR IT IS BY GRACE YOU HAVE BEEN SAVED, THROUGH FAITH –AND THIS NOT FROM YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD–”. In so many Christians I see this gift covered up by the obligation to be “Godly”. We put on “prayer”, we put on “serving the body”, we put on “tithing”, we put on “Church going”. None of which are bad unless they hide the God-likeness God gave us.

Let us as the body of Christ release the gift God has given us rather than bury it. We are not required to go to church, pray out loud, or even “have our act together” to receive His gift. HE ALREADY GAVE IT TO US! He is a personal God who is already around us, in us, and with us. We aren’t filling a God hole we are exposing the gift that is already there. Let us look past the wall of our religion and see the greatness of God outside the box.

“A Prayer?… Where? “

Prayer! What a funny thing prayer is. I mean I guess I was always taught that it was a really simple thing… Just find a place where you can get on your knees and talk to God. Just talk to God and tell him what you need and tell him “thank you” for what you have, if you have a problem you should go to Him and talk to him. He is always listening…

Why then “praying” sometimes so “un-simple”? I mean I don’t buy all of that stuff I have been told through out the years. I don’t feel like we have the whole “prayer” thing all thought out. I go to my church and see them “praying“. A lot of people might say that we have some “world class” prayer people. I mean sometimes they just shout to God telling Him what their friend’s needs are and ask Him (extremely formally) to grant their wish. I also see those guys who pray all the time, I mean they like verbally talk to God all the time and go to special rooms to do so. I am not saying all these things are bad but I just have been struggling with it recently, just thinking that there is some more to this whole picture of “prayer”.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend about a drawing I have been working on. A drawing that is made up of about a hundred portraits emphasizing all the poverty we have in the world. I was explaining to my friend that I wanted to confront Those who saw the drawing with the need for help. I was doing this by drawing portrait after portrait of people who were suffering. Weather it was a portrait of someone who doesn’t have a home or a person who was visually starving to death I wanted it to hit the audience. I commented to my friend on how hard it was for me sometimes, to draw all these people who were suffering. I told my friend that I could really feel for them and could only work on the drawing for a certain amount of time before I started feeling depressed. Well my friend told me that maybe I should pray for the guys while I draw them.

I don’t know if I had a hard time with what he said or not but I did think about that comment for a long while after he said it. To tell you the truth, being told to pray is a pretty typical answer to one‘s problem. I get into a jam and have some problems and most of my friends think the best thing to do is pray. Now I don’t quite disagree with my friends all the time when they tell me to pray but I do think my friends don’t understand something. Most all my friends and I have grown up thinking that the way you pray is verbally and a picture (as good as it might be) is most certainly not a prayer.

However I realized that I was in fact praying. When I drew those portraits I was praying to God. I didn’t start that drawing project so I could be looked at as a “Great Artist”. I for sure did not do it for the money. I wanted to show these suffering people to others, including God. I was praying for each one of the people I drew by drawing them alone. I knew I could not do anything about the problem with just me but I knew the gift my Father gave -my art was my own special prayer.

Just as a typical prayer is spoken out loud so others can hear what the person has said, my drawing was available so others could see what I was praying. I knew even when I started the drawing that it took God to do something about it. This has given me a great lesson not easily forgotten. Prayer can be more then words. Heck you don’t even need to talk. Think outside the box Prayer is communication with God. It comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes- visually, verbally even musically. As soon as it becomes repetitious words without meaning its value is diminished. The value behind the words and the art is what counts. How great is our God to whom gives us so many different ways to fellowship with Him?!