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Like A Child 012512
What do you remember of your childhood that makes Jesus exalt all to become like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven? Many of us may recall the idyllic and beautiful picture and image of Jesus seated, with children on his lap and young lambs resting around his feet.
Luckily, I remember childhood as a time of pastoral, rural peace and happiness. I seem to remember walking and playing in the woods and fields and sitting on the back porch steps watching the clouds, and knowing that there was God in the clouds, watching me.
I had yet to learn of darkness and of the choice between light and dark that each of us makes, back when we didn’t know there was a choice. Our knowledge of God came as a result of innocence, unblemished wisdom and love. It didn’t come from theology, or from books or from any human institution. It was there (it is here) for all to see and understand.
Pray for peace
1Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.
2Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you; save your servant who trusts in you. You are my God;
3be gracious to me, O Lord, for to you do I cry all day long.
4Gladden the soul of your servant, for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving, abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer; listen to my cry of supplication.
7In the day of my trouble I call on you, for you will answer me.
8There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
9All the nations you have made shall come and bow down before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name.
10For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
11Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name.
12I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.
13For great is your steadfast love toward me; you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
14O God, the insolent rise up against me; a band of ruffians seeks my life, and they do not set you before them.
15But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.
16Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant; save the child of your serving girl.
17Show me a sign of your favor, so that those who hate me may see it and be put to shame, because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.
16Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, bore him no children. She had an Egyptian slave-girl whose name was Hagar, 2and Sarai said to Abram, “You see that the Lord has prevented me from bearing children; go in to my slave-girl; it may be that I shall obtain children by her.” And Abram listened to the voice of Sarai. 3So, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan, Sarai, Abram’s wife, took Hagar the Egyptian, her slave-girl, and gave her to her husband Abram as a wife.
4He went in to Hagar, and she conceived; and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. 5Then Sarai said to Abram, “May the wrong done to me be on you! I gave my slave-girl to your embrace, and when she saw that she had conceived, she looked on me with contempt. May the Lord judge between you and me!” 6But Abram said to Sarai, “Your slave-girl is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she ran away from her.
7The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. 8And he said, “Hagar, slave-girl of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am running away from my mistress Sarai.” 9The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her.”
10The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will so greatly multiply your offspring that they cannot be counted for multitude.” 11And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Now you have conceived and shall bear a son; you shall call him Ishmael, for the Lord has given heed to your affliction. 12He shall be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyone’s hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin.” 13So she named the Lord who spoke to her, “You are El-roi”; for she said, “Have I really seen God and remained alive after seeing him?” 14Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi; it lies between Kadesh and Bered.
15People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. 16But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. 17Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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