Children of God

“Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.  Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18: 16-17.  By heeding Jesus Christ’s admonition, we can clearly see that children are featured prominently in God’s plan of redemption.  The key for raising children should be on having them have a spiritual upbringing.  Their parents teach them rules at home that are good and necessary in the community.  Kids are taught in simple ways that are easily understood.  Most children of average intelligence have no problems knowing the dos and don’ts that are taught.  An Italian author Pieto Aretino (1492–1556), who wielded much influence on contemporary arts and politics wrote, “I love you, and because I love you, I would sooner have you hate me for telling you the truth than adore me for telling you lies.”  This saying not only goes for the parents love, but for the relationships with their children.

As our children grow older more goals are set.  In kindergarten, elementary, middle, and high school, they are learning about growing up, important steps for cultivating well-rounded personalities.  Parents and teachers enhance their development not only through reading, writing, and arithmetic, but by attending church.  Teachers spend time to explain the merits and demerits of these activities.  They explain why physical exercise is necessary, and how it helps pupils’ emotional health.  In such programs children develop skills for playing, working, and understanding why participation is essential for building community spirit.

Babe Ruth (1895–1948), a baseball player said, “The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together the club won’t be worth a dime.”  Ruth like parents realized that although individual performance is desirable, it’s for the kids to understand that success lies with the team.

 Nutrition & Tests

While growing up as children they are often told, “Drink your milk.  It’s perfect food with proteins and vitamins.”  They hear, “To be strong, you’ve to eat your vegetables.”  In other advice it’s said, “Don’t eat so much candy.  It isn’t good for you.  Watch fruit juices, soda, and be careful about additives.”  Children are warned these ingredients could harm them.  Parents tell them, “You have to get enough sleep and exercise.” These are essential attributes beneficial for their growth and development.  But throughout the children’s lives there will be tests.  Testing at school makes kids anxious concerning if they will pass or fail a class.  In team sports they wonder if they will be good enough players.  And in visiting their doctor parents are concerned if they are healthy.

 Yet, parents and teachers will be amiss if they raise children not knowing about God.  There are many Christian denominations from which a family might choose a faith tradition.  As they attend church with their children they are teaching them some essential lessons about life.  Thomas Paine (1737–1809), an English-American political activist and revolutionary said, “Those who want to recap the benefits of this great nation must bear the fatigue of supporting it.”  In living in a Christian nation citizens must carry our weight as they live.  They ought to work in the interest of all people including the poor, sick, and destitute.

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Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

—Lk. 12:15

Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.

—Prov. 14:31

Not being selfish is necessary for forgiveness.  People have to be humble, loving, and kind to each other.  Napolean Hill (1883–1970), a self-help author said, “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”  Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–1968), a Baptist minister and civil rights activist wrote, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”

But Kristin Armstrong (b. 1973), a professional road bicycle racer said, “I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing.  I write about generosity because I battle selfishness.  I write about joy because I know sorrow.  I write about faith because I have almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption.  I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it.”  Often people learn from others about how to make headway in life.  This is so because there are so many impediments that they have to contend with.  A Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu (6th-5th BC–531 BC) wrote, “Manifest plainness, embrace simplicity, reduce selfishness, have few desires.”

Alveda King (b. 1951), an activist and former state representative from Georgia wrote, “Abortion and racism are both symptoms of a fundamental human error.  The error is thinking that when someone stands in the way of our wants, we can justify getting that person out of our lives.  Abortion and racism stem from the same poisonous root, selfishness.”  And Pope Francis (b. 1936), head of the Catholic Church said, “We have observed that, in society and the world in which we live, selfishness has increased more than love for others, and that men of good will must work, each with his own strengths and expertise, to ensure that love for others increases until it is equal and possibly exceeds love for oneself.”

People could therefore conclude that forgiveness begins with understanding.  This has to be one of the more important goals of our lives.  As Saint Catherine of Siena (1347–1380), a Dominican Scholastic philosopher and theologian wrote, “The poison of selfishness destroys the world.”

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God in Nature

What causes lightning to strike?

What brings thunderstorms?

Lightning flashes when positively

And negatively charged particles interact

Grow large enough to form a giant spark

But thunderstorms form from an unstable air mass

When warm and usually cold air collide


Yet some sacred texts show this is how God speaks

God might explodes, brings judgment, and condemn

But how did the ancients believe these were acts of God?

Scientists, prophets, theologians tend to agree

That there must be “cause and effect”

So they determine God possesses this power

Because the Eternal Spirit exists in nature


Other phenomena are just as revealing –

Tsunamis are sudden movement of the ocean because of earthquakes,

Volcanoes are formed from the buoyancy of the magma,

And pressure from absolved gases,

Hurricanes are due to intense low pressure areas

That forms in the summer or fall over warm waters

“God, help us to be cognizant of nature’s phenomena.  Why these manifestations often cause devastations are based on mysteries of your omniscience.  Protect us from the storms of life.”


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True Liberty

It is freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

—Gal. 5:1

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

—Rom. 6:22

An English philosopher and physician John Locke (1632–1704) said, “All mankind… being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty or possessions.”  Locke’s views were echoed by Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), a founding father and president of the United States who wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”  This is the essence of freedom.

Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906), a social reformer and women’s rights activist said, “It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union.  And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people – women as well as men.”  Anthony’s beliefs were supported by W. E. B. Du Bois (1868–1963), a sociologist and civil rights activist who wrote, “I believe in Liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls, the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, uncursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.”  Anthony’s concern was with having equal rights of women, while Du Bois’ focus was on African Americans.

Freedom & Equality

B. R. Ambedkar (1891–1956), an Indian jurist and politician said, “My social philosophy may be said to be enshrined in three words: liberty, equality and fraternity. Let no one, however, say that I have borrowed my philosophy from the French Revolution. I have not.  My philosophy has roots in religion and not in political science.  I have derived them from the teachings of my Master, the Buddha.”  Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790), a founding father of the United States elaborated on this dimension of freedom when he wrote, “Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom – and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.”  But John F. Kennedy (1917–1963), president of the United States uttered a warning about the survival of freedom when he said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”   That was the will of Kennedy for Americans.

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God of Possibilities

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

—Mt. 19:26

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

—Jn. 3:16

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”

—Mt. 16:18

Gloria Steinem (b. 1934), a social political activist said, “Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities.  Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.”  People have to see themselves as reaching out for something better in order to obtain God’s promises.  One way of doing so is through divine inspiration.  Bernie Siegel (b. 1932), a retired pediatric surgeon wrote, “Inspiration is the greatest gift because it opens your life to many new possibilities.  Each day becomes more meaningful, and your life is enhanced when your actions are guided by what inspires you.”

It’s therefore for us to build on our notion of knowing and loving God.  This calls for the ability of Christians to pursue these goals by studying the Scriptures, the word of God.  Jean Piaget (1896–1980), a Swiss psychologist said, “The goal of education is not to increase the amount of knowledge but to create the possibilities for a child to invent and discover, to create men who are capable of doing great things.”  But this approach calls for determined effort.  Ralph Marston (1907–1967), a professional football player wrote, “You’ve done it before and you can do it now.  See the positive possibilities.  Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.”

Create Possibilities

Mario Testino (b. 1954), a Peruvian photographer said, “My favourite words are possibilities, opportunities and curiosity.  I think if you are curious, you create opportunities, and then if you open the doors, you create possibilities.”  That’s why perseverance is essential for walking in the footsteps of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. People have to do so by preparing themselves.  Zig Ziglar (1926–2012), an author and motivational speaker said, “The person who dumps garbage into your mind will do you considerable harm that the person who dumps garbage on the floor, because each load of mind garbage negatively impacts your possibilities and lower your expectations.”  It’s therefore up to us to prepare ourselves properly for the possibilities of God.  Things could go in a million directions, so it’s wise to think about the good possibilities.  Turn to God, relieve your stress, and rest assure he’ll guide you in the best way of knowing, and walking with him.

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