Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Loved and Forgiven

                        by Thomas Blackshear II

                              If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, 
               Lord, who could stand?
               But with you there is forgiveness:
               therefore you are feared. Psalm 130:3-4

For a long time I wanted to do a painting that would minister to God’s people, and after much prayer and fasting, God gave me this image. Remember, no matter what sins may have been made in your life, God has made the way for forgiveness through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus.”   - Thomas Blackshear II

This picture (by T. Blackshear and his reason for painting it) hangs on a wall opposite the back door to my house. It’s visible to anyone entering my house. On one occasion, my granddaughter noticed and questioned her mother about it. As my two grandchildren looked up at their mother waiting for an answer, she told them about the love of Jesus. I walked in and witnessed a very precious moment. Thus the story below.......

“Jhejus,” my two-year-old grandson said to me while pointing to the framed picture of Jesus and a sinner. My heart soared because I knew his innocent mind recognized our Savior. 

Earlier I walked into a “teachable moment” as my granddaughter asked her mother about the picture. “Who is that and why is he holding him?” she said. My daughter-in-law pointed to Jesus saying, “Jesus is telling the sad man that He loves him.” Their little inquisitive faces gazed up at their mom then back to the picture. Intently they listened when she told them Jesus loved everybody and wanted to help people. They smiled, satisfied with her answer. 

Is that what Jesus means when He tells us to have faith? He desires for us to believe in Him and simply trust Him with our lives, confident that His answers are the truth to our questions. My grandchildren lived out their simple childlike faith by completely accepting their mom’s answer about Jesus and the sinner. Believe it or not, they exemplify true faith and Jesus says so......

People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. 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. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them. Mark 10:13-16 (NIV)
In Mark’s account of Jesus, news spread across the Judean region of a teacher who healed and blessed people. Crowds followed Him. Some questioned Jesus while others desired miracles. Parents wanted their children to be blessed by Him—what a beautiful image!

When Jesus walked the earth with His disciples, He urged them to have faith in God (Mark 11:22). He desired His followers to embrace a simple child-like faith which He Himself exemplified everyday. It’s the kind of faith described in Hebrews—Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. (11:1-2 NIV)
Faith in God through Jesus Christ needs to be rooted deeply within our hearts and lived out in our daily lives. Children will notice and hopefully mature in the knowledge of the One who loves them more than we can imagine. 
The book of Deuteronomy includes Moses’ instructions to the Israelites about loving the Lord and impressing upon children His love. I believe Jesus intends for parents to follow these instructions—witnessing my daughter-in-law and her children warmed my heart. Hear the words of our Lord through His servant Moses:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (NIV)
Let’s live out faith by following God’s directives, first believing for ourselves then teaching our children. God’s blessings will flow. Can’t you already feel the warmth of Jesus’ hand upon your back? 
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4 (NIV)

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