True Strength and Our Best Faith Arrives When We Seek Jesus as a Child

 

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Guest Post by Austin Ring

Our Own Strength is Limited and Fickle

Have you ever tried to rely on your own strength to get through the day? The week? The month or beyond? Some days we can do it. Other’s we cannot. Why is it that we don’t have the strength alone? Why is it that we need to ask for help from God? I think that these questions and more can be answered when we shift the perspective of what it is we are seeking.

If we are seeking strength and productivity through our own means, it can be dredging and difficult to bull through procrastination, slothfulness, and waking up on time–things we all know well and through. But what if we asked for strength, in humility and sacrifice, as a child would ask for something from his/her parents? What if we sought and talked to the Lord the same way children do when they ask their parents for a snack or a treat? Would God tell us to grow up and abandon our childlike thinking and demeanor? Would God tell us to talk to Him using big words and sophisticated language?

Let’s take a look at this scripture for some answers:

“Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 19:13-14, KJV)

The disciples had sought to stop the children from coming to Jesus to be prayed over, but Jesus rebuked His disciples and told them to endure them and their childish ways, “for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” I just love that. What patience Jesus had with the children. What love.

Does the Lord Require that We Come to Him as Children?

Of course not. The God Most High will always meet us where we are. That’s what so special about Him. It’s one of my favourite qualities about His nature. That being said, I still think that it would be wise to approach Him as a child. Why not? It’s just easier, not to mention more fun! Take a look at this scripture with me as we seek clarity on this subject.

“And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?”
(Mathew 21:15-16, KJV)

First, to put this scripture into context. Jesus had just entered Jerusalem and had gone into the temple of God. Jesus responded to the scribes and priests’ question by saying that out of the mouths of the young comes praise and worship. Jesus even goes so far as to say that younglings have perfected praise!

Why is it that God uses the young to praise Him and be an example to others? Why doesn’t God use adults to bring Him honour in the same way that younglings do? There is something special that He sees that maybe we don’t. Let’s lean into more scripture for further clarity.

“At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.” (Luke 10:21, NIV)

Again, with the context first. Jesus was speaking about the power of the Holy Spirit that we all have access to, and then was filled with the Holy Spirit to reveal a truth about how God operates. Jesus said that the Father is pleased to reveal “hidden things” to the young, and to hide them from the wise and learned. What are these hidden things that Jesus is speaking about, you might ask?

I could take a guess and say wisdom, knowledge, or other interesting secrets. But I would think that it would be better for you to ask God yourself what these hidden things are for yourself. Besides, His Word demonstrates this process of revealing secrets all throughout the Old and New Testament. I would encourage you to get into the Word and find out some secrets for yourself! 🙂

How Should We as God’s Children Approach Him in Prayer and Character?

So back to the question about how we should approach God in prayer, “Do we need to be articulate and speak in sophisticated language when we pray?”

Think back to the words of Jesus in the previous passage. He says that the children that rushed over to Him to be prayed over were the kind of people that inherit the kingdom of Heaven. Notice how Jesus didn’t say, “Only the rich, powerful, and eloquent in speech may come to Me to be prayed over, for such is the kingdom of Heaven.” No. Jesus said that children are those who are welcome in the kingdom of Heaven.

You see, something happens when we all grow up. We tend to bend to the world’s mold of what an adult should be. We think that being mature means that we need to be strong for ourselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Personally speaking, when I tend to ignore asking God for things, both little and big, I try to rely on my own strength. Or when I pray, I will only ask certain things of Him and not bring up more pressing issues that I think that I have a hold on. This is when I need to ask myself, “what am I trying to accomplish alone? Where is my childlike faith? Why don’t I just be honest with myself and God and include Him in the conversation?”

This is when I need to check myself and my own heart and really seek the Lord with a heart that is more childlike–more humble, honest, and earnest in nature. By flipping this switch, I have noticed that I am more confident, more humble, and more me. I like to think that God is the perfect shepherd and perfect solicitor of Grace and Mercy, because He is. When I really think on His character and promises, I am reminded that I need to be more childlike. Not to mention that it’s just so much more fun to let Him rule my life completely and just be a giddy and giggling child along for the ride! This is an important character trait that I think Jesus wants us to make central to ourselves, both in personality and in demeanor.

What Does Being More Childlike Look Like Practically?

It looks like obedience. It looks like genuineness. It looks like humility. It looks like fun! We don’t have to rely on our own planning skills, wisdom and intellect, or strength of body and mind. The Lord above offers these things to us FREELY as long as we ask for them.

For example’s sake, let’s say that when you were younger, for Christmas you asked for a new barbie doll or a cool toy truck. And let’s say that you received it. How stoked would you be by getting exactly what it is that you asked for? Wouldn’t it make you adore and trust your parents more? I know that it certainly would for me. Now think about this example when approaching God. It may seem like something scary and intimidating, but in reality it’s actually easier.

You see, God is a good God. He loves to give us good gifts. He delights in hearing from us and providing for our needs. It says so in His Word! “ If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Mathew 7:11, KJV)

In the example that I’ve provided, it presupposed a sinful nature in our parents, those that provided us good gifts, and that fundamentally distorts the quality and idea of the gift that was given. But God, our perfect Father, doesn’t have that same nature. He knows EXACTLY what it is that we want and need, and He is willing to provide those things to us IF ONLY WE ASK. See Mark 11:24.

So all this to say, be more childlike and watch as the Lord provides for and sustains you. This isn’t something that we as believers should just shrug off and think about later, this is important to God, and therefore, it should be important to us as well. It all starts with submitting yourself to His will and trusting in His provision. Just ask Him today, “God, what is it that I need to do to be more childlike. What is it that I can do to be more like those that you use to be an example to others in childlike faith?”

I think that you might be surprised in His answers. Haha. God bless you all reading, peace and blessings be upon you, in the name of Jesus! 🙂

 

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Austin Ring, Blogger at GodMeandFantasy.com

“Exploring imagination in the vast realm of Fantasy, sharing my experiences in Truth and Transparency, and unashamedly proclaiming the Love and Truth of Christ Jesus, our Lord”

Read more from Austin Ring on his BLOG.

This insightful guest post was written by Austin Ring. His message about coming to God like a child is so true and important in this day and age where we so often come to God like business men or critics, only trying to get something out of Him or questioning everything He does. Be His child today and simply trust in the good Father, boldly asking Him for things and confidently letting Him serve and love you. I hope you enjoyed this post and have a blessed day! ❤

 

The Quiet Heart of A Child

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“My heart is not proud, Lord,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the Lord
both now and forevermore.” – Psalm 131:1-3

Calm yourselves, overthinkers. Rest, those who are weary. Quiet yourselves, those who feel condemned. There is NO condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). You have absolutely no reason to be condemned, or to be exhausted, or to try to fix all your problems. Do NOT concern yourself with things out of your control!

Humble yourself and relax in the Father’s arms. He is really with you, holding you. Stop striving and struggling to get out of His embrace. His perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

You are a royal child of the King of Kings—and this is NO exaggeration! Through the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood, you are saved from eternal condemnation. You have rest in the Father’s love. And you have the quiet assurance that God is in control of your whole life, working everything out for your good, because you love Him.

Do not belittle yourself with the uncertainty of if you love God. You know that He is worth loving. Worth serving. Worth worshipping and praising for all eternity. You know that deep in your heart. This isn’t about feeling love for Him, this is about showing up and trusting. Trust and receive His goodness and mercy. Ask for a changed heart, a quiet heart, a childlike heart. A heart that knows Him and loves Him. That’s all you need.

Put your hope in the Lord, children of God. He is a tender Father, merciful, patient, and forgiving, if we only turn from our sins and come running into His arms. Through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection, we have fullness of life.

Relax. Completely relax as if you were a weaned child in her mother’s arms. Take a deep breath. Be certain that your Father will never let you go. You are securely attached to Him. Whatever has been on your mind bears no important in light of eternity. Your life is but a passing vapor, a mist that appears for only a second, and then disappears. He has everything under control. He is taking perfect care of you. 

Your life is meant to be lived in the presence of the Holy One.

So — Live in His presence! Abide. Dwell. Rest. Soak in the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of the Lord (Romans 11:33). Through Jesus Christ, you have everything you need, everything your redeemed Spirit-filled heart desires. Just stop paying attention to all those things that fill you with pride, and turn your undivided attention to the One who created your soul. You won’t be left empty! He has the things that have eternal weight and value. Only abiding in the Father’s love, following the good Shepherd, and living by the Spirit will have any lasting importance.

To have intimacy with Christ, is to be completely absorbed in Him. To not want anything besides Him. For Him to truly be your All in All. If you can’t say that about yourself, have no fear. As the man desiring healing for his demon-possessed son exclaimed: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

The Lord will help you if you only ask for help. Trust Him. Seek Him wholeheartedly. Step into the identity He has given you with full assurance that the Holy Spirit will do the rest. Step out in faith, trusting that God knows what He is doing, and He can shine His glory and power through your utter weakness. Dig into the Word; pray your heart out; listen to the voice of God. He is speaking. He answers. He cares.

“Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” – Psalm 116:2

Don’t give up! If there seems to be a void left unfilled, a question unanswered, that is only the testing, the trying. He doesn’t always speak in the ways we expect, but He always speaks.

Have perseverance, be faithful to the One who will always be faithful to you (2 Timothy 2:13). Take heart; He has overcome the world (John 16:33). The only thing left for you to do is to overcome your unbelief. And all that requires is a simple, childlike request for more faith.

Confidence in The Father’s Love: Part 2

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In my last post, I related my personal revelation of the Father’s perfect love for His imperfect children. In this post I will go into further detail about being in Christ as well as the ways God-confidence affects our lives practically.

Our deepest need is to be loved and valued. This need for acceptance will either manifest itself as insecurity if we do nothing about it, or manifest itself as security, if we let God fulfill that need. 

Although God perfectly loves all people, His perfect love cannot fulfill our need for acceptance unless we allow it to reach deep down inside of us and transform us from the inside out. We are not made perfect in His love if we choose to sin and to refuse His great act of love of Jesus dying for us. His love is finally made perfect in us when we turn from sin, put down our guard and accept Christ in our life.

Jesus was, is, and will always be, but right here and right now is when you need to let Him into your life. You need Him. And wow, I need Him, too–as desperately as ever! Inviting Him into every corner of my life is a continual process for me.

When we believe that He loves and values us just as perfectly as He loves and values Jesus, we have nothing to fear! With this total confidence in the Father’s love for you, you have a solid rock of courage from where you can bring glory to Him—to love others well and proclaim His truth both gently and boldly. With Him, anything is possible. You are a new person in Christ capable of doing wonders for His kingdom if you rely on His strength and power rather than your own.

So, what does it mean to be a new person in Christ? How is that possible when we are so sinful and prone to wander?

Well, when you put your trust in Christ, you are made righteous in God’s sight. You are given a new identity. Your sin filthily covers Christ, and His righteousness graciously covers you.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21

We must identify ourselves with Jesus now; as little Christs. When we do wrong, that is not a part of our true identity, and this must be thrown off from our lives so that nothing can hinder us in our victorious walk with Christ.

God is slow to anger, and patient to forgive you. Never be afraid to come to Him brokenly and honestly to let Him heal and restore you! It is NEVER too late to confess your sins and let Him forgive you. It is NEVER too late for you to be made new. He gives everything to anyone BECAUSE HE IS GOD, and not because of yourself. He loves you so much!

In your time of need, remember that this is a particularly crucial time to have confidence in your Father’s love. Jesus has paved the way for you to approach your Heavenly Father, so have the confidence to come to Him for help!

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” – Hebrews 4:16

Because of this new identity and this full acceptance you have in God’s throne room through Jesus, you have all the confidence you need to obey His commands no matter where they might take you out of your “comfort zone.” His ways for you will bring healing to your soul, while your former ways have only led to self-destruction. Jesus Himself says that following His commands is for the sake of your joy to be made complete!

“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” – John 15:9-11

Praise God for the confidence we can have in Him to follow His ways! He filled me with confidence that night when I received and trusted in the perfect love of my Heavenly Father. Remaining in Him is the greatest joy!

If you struggle with low self-esteem, remember who you are—a beloved son or daughter of a good and merciful Father! 

The next morning after God revealed His perfect love to me, I woke up, and my first reaction as always was to panic: Yet another day. Yet another day to have wavering beliefs and a mundane life lack of courage.

But wait a minute! Why does my reaction to living a new day have to  be negative when I have a God of infinite love and power on my side? When I remembered the love God showed me the night before, my heart was filled with so much joy once again. The truth set me free!

And so each day after that I am making the aim to press onward, each morning renewed by the Lord’s mercy. Life has full meaning and purpose with Jesus on your side. The gospel is for us each day, not just that day long ago when we came to first believe in Him. Jesus Christ sustains us now and forever!

When you feel like you will never measure up, be confident that God is still ready and able to work powerfully in your life. He will NEVER leave you nor forsake you!

“[Be] confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

And, finally, Beloved, when you are tempted to throw away your confidence in Jesus Christ, stand firm and do not waver. He is coming soon. There is unspeakably marvelous things awaiting those who stand firm till the end. Trust in the Lord — by the grace of God, you will remain confident in Him till the end of the ages. You are not the one who is going to shrink back and be destroyed!

“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” – Hebrews 10:35

Remember who God is and who you are, Beloved. Let Him take all your burdens on yourself. Have a beautiful day! (Also, this song is amazing!)

P.S. I didn’t have time to go more into this, but I highly recommend you check out this short blog post from Joseph Prince Ministries about John 17:22 (I mentioned this verse in my last post). Basically Jesus has given us the same glory the Father gave Him, which means the glory of God shines through us and makes in impact on others. We have weightiness as children of God, and the essence of our beings is influencing people for the Kingdom of God, even when we don’t realize it. All the more reason to be confident in the Lord! Here’s the post: https://www.josephprince.org/blog/daily-grace-inspirations/gods-glory-has-been-restored-to-you

Like A Child

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I remember one of the first days I experienced the joy of the Honduran children of Las Flores. Wild, sweet, overflowing joy that radiated from their faces when you so much as smiled at them.

I couldn’t engage in conversation with them very well because of my lack of Spanish, but I soon learned that they didn’t care. They hugged, laughed, and played. They ran around, creating chaos.

Beautiful chaos.

Usually I take a step backwards from a high-energy crowd, but this was different. They needed me. They needed my love.

I didn’t know enough Spanish, so I couldn’t give it in words. And what are words to children anyway? All I could do in that moment was forsake all and plunge into the chaos. And what a relief that was, breaking the language barrier with the unspoken message loud and clear: “Yo te ama,” or “I love you.”

I didn’t know them, but God gave me unrelenting love for those kids. I couldn’t stop smiling. I couldn’t stop trying to make them smile. I chased them around, tickled them, played games, and proved to myself that I must be a kid person after all. It makes sense, I guess. God loves children, and His Spirit is inside me.

Not only did God give me love for the kids, but I learned to be a child myself that day. I learned joy. I learned childlike faith. That’s what God wants for us. When we are like children, we can rejoice in God’s love for us without a single doubt of our Father’s goodness.

Sometimes I don’t understand how God could truly love us. But even if we can’t completely understand it, like a simple child, we can understand that it makes us feel alive.

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” — Luke 18:15-17

SA: Story Analysis of Frozen

Image result for frozen

For my creative writing class, we were assigned to write a story analysis. I chose the story/movie Frozen! So before I let it go… enjoy! 😉

Title: Frozen
Directed and written by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck
Genre: Fantasy
Audience: Children

 

Characters

Elsa: The stunning blonde young princess-soon-to-be-queen of Arendelle. She has dangerous ice powers she doesn’t know how to control. She’s a very reserved and refined character who does everything she can to do the right thing, if she knows what the right thing is. She tries to hide her powers so she doesn’t hurt anyone, especially her younger sister, Anna.

Anna: The charming red-headed young princess of Arendelle who is very bubbly and excited about life. She doesn’t understand why she can’t see her older sister, Elsa, anymore. She is innocent of the world and falls in love easily. She loves Elsa very much, and tries to understand her and give her second chances.

Hans: The well-built, handsome young Prince Hans of the Southern Isles. He is a charmer who tricks people into thinking he is good, when he is plotting evil schemes behind their backs. His pleasant manner deceives Princess Ana herself, yet when he finally admits he doesn’t truly love her, the dark side of him comes out.

Kristoff: The down-to-earth iceman who sells ice for a living with the aid of his reindeer, Sven. He has an assertive, independent manner, yet also a very gentle and funny side. He plays the lute and loves Sven very much, but due to his isolation from other humans, he needs a little work overall, according to his friends the trolls.

Sven: Kristoff’s reindeer who doesn’t talk. He serves as a best friend to Kristoff and helps pull his sleigh. He (literally) nudges Kristoff to do the right things.

Olaf: A talking snowman, created when Elsa’s ice powers are unleashed. He has a silly, bouncy sense of humor that amuses everyone. He wants to see what summer is like, but he doesn’t know that snow melts when it’s hot.

Minor characters: Anna and Elsa’s parents, the Duke of Weselton, and Oaken

 

Point of View

The story is mostly told from Anna’s perspective, but it’s also told from Elsa, Hans, and Kristoff’s perspectives.

 

Setting

Summertime in Arendelle (probably in Scandinavia).

 

Plot Outline

At a young age, Elsa the ice princess freezes her younger sister, Anna’s heart. After trolls heal Anna, Elsa and Anna’s parents lock Elsa in a room to protect Anna and the rest of the world from their daughters’ seemingly uncontrollable powers. By the time the princesses’ parents die at sea and Elsa’ coronation takes place, Anna is so overjoyed to meet new people that she easily and quickly falls in love with the charming Hans. When she pleads to Elsa to let her marry Hans, Elsa accidently releases her ice powers, and then flees Arendelle, leaving the kingdom completely frozen. Anna proceeds to find her sister, with the help of the iceman Kristoff, his reindeer Sven, and the snowman Olaf. After she finds her sister, as Anna discovers that Elsa doesn’t know how to melt the ice, Elsa freezes her sister’s heart. Kristoff takes Anna to his friends the trolls, who eventually tell them that only true love can melt her heart. At this, they set off to find Hans, but will Anna’s fiancé prove to truly love her? And will Elsa ever discover the secret to controlling her powers?

 

Conflict

Woman vs. Woman – Elsa doesn’t think she can control her ice powers, but Anna is sure that there must be some way for her sister to melt the ice in Arendelle.
Woman vs. Woman – Elsa wants to protect Anna from her ice powers, so she hides away, but Anna wants to play with her sister.
Man vs. woman – Hans wants to take over Elsa’s throne.
People vs. environment – The people of Arendelle are taken by surprise that winter comes upon them in the dead of summer
Woman vs. herself – Elsa struggles with controlling her ice powers.
People vs. monster – The monster, Marshmallow, who guards Elsa’s ice tower, scares Anna, Kristoff, Sven, and Olaf away.

 

Theme(s)

True love melts away fear.
Don’t trust people just because they are nice to you.

 

Literary Devices

Metaphor: Elsa releasing ice powers = Elsa releasing her fear
Metaphor: Elsa melting the ice = Elsa’s love triumphing over her fear
Irony (dramatic): Olaf sings about when he’ll finally get to experience summer, while Anna and Kristoff along with the audience knows that snowmen melt in the summer.
Foil: Elsa and Anna are foils of one another. Elsa is quiet and withdrawn from the world, while Anna is outgoing and excited to see the world. Elsa is pessimistic throughout most of the movie, while Anna is optimistic.

 

Feedback

Frozen is one of my favorite movies. No matter how many people get tired of it, I continue to adore it—the characters, the music, the plot. Everything about it. I think it’s a pretty remarkable story that manages to trick you into loving Hans, to make you laugh at Olaf’s never-ending jokes, and to make you cry when Anna tries to save Elsa’s life at the expense of the ice freezing herself. I remember my heart aching as Anna sang, “Do you wanna build a snowman?” when Elsa refused to come out of her room for the sake of protecting Anna’s life. The variety of emotions this story gives me is so entertaining. I love how Elsa learns that true love conquers over fear, which is something I’ve learned in my own life. Frozen is one of my favorite movies, because it makes me feel deeply, it makes me burst into laughter, and the music fills my heart and imagination.

Approaching God (And People… and Life) Like a Child

Let me just say this: the reason God gave you the gift of His Son Jesus was so instead of being separate from Him (in hell) you could be in a relationship with Him (in heaven), now and for all eternity. Wow. That’s something I’ve come to realize, and it’s the greatest blessing if we choose to receive it. So how do we do have a relationship with Him? How do we approach the living God who is incredibly huge and beyond our minds?

After all, James 4:8 (NIV) says, “Come near to God and He will come near to you.”

Imagine that–the living God of all the universe coming near to us!

So how do we come near to Him? Continue reading