This is an article I wrote over a year ago, but never ‘published’. The family information is outdated, but the message remains the same. I’ve added a family update at the end.
The other night I caught myself thinking about my children….again. And I began to realize that my thoughts turn towards them multiple times a day – without me even realizing it.
Trae, my oldest, is married to Christi – which blesses me with another child to think about. They are teaching English in South Korea and are expecting our first grandson in a matter of weeks. I’ve already spent lots of time ‘thinking’ about him!
Tanika is just finishing her junior year of college, studying special education.
Tobi lives with us in Niger and is almost done with 7th grade. He attends an international mission school in the town we live in.
I appreciate that I’ve seen where each of them are living life right now. It helps me when I’m missing them to picture them where they are.
As I lay in bed thinking about my offspring, I realized that I wasn’t really thinking about them, I was praying for them. And I do that often. And then I heard the Lord whisper to me,
“You think your thoughts turn towards your kids a lot? You have NO idea. You – you’re my kid. And you’re always on my mind.”
Then Psalm 139: 17,18 popped into my sleepy head.
How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.
And here I am thinking that I think about my kids a lot!
God’s thoughts towards me cannot be numbered. I live in a desert, so I can tell you from first hand experience, grains of sand cannot be counted! NOT possible.
As I see Tanika in her dorm room or standing in line at the salad bar, and I picture Trae and Christi leaving their cute (tiny) apartment to get on the bus that takes them to their job and the classroom they’ll be teaching in, or I see Tobi playing soccer with his friends, Jesus sees me. Me! He knows exactly where I’m living my life. The creator of the universe spends time thinking about me!
And more than that, He’s praying for me. Romans 8:34 tells us that not only did Jesus die for us and return to life, but he is sitting at God’s right hand….interceding for us! As a Scottish friend of mine says, ‘Have a think on that’! Jesus himself, praying for me!
Why do I think about and pray for my kids? Because I love them. Why does Jesus think about and pray for me? Because He loves me. And I love him – because He first loved me! I hope you’re following my logic here.
The Bible says, if you love me, you will keep my commandments. So that got me thinking (guess I’ve been doing lots of that recently) about how I could show Jesus my love. The answer is pretty straightforward.
By keeping His commandments. There are multiple scriptures that talk about this. Here are a few:
- Jn 14:15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
- Jn 14:21 He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me
- 1 Jn 2:3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments
- 1 Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.
- 2 Jn 6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it.
But I particularly love I Jn 5:2 –…. His commandments are not burdensome. He wants us to succeed in obeying Him.
He’s not expecting something impossible from us. One of the main reasons He wants us to keep those commandments is so He can bless us.
Now let me go one last step with my thinking. What are His commandments? Well, as a missionary the first thing I think of is the Great Commission.
Probably the most well known version of the Great Commission is Matthew 28:18-20
The Great Commission
…18And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19″Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
The Bible is full of examples of both God’s heart for the lost and His instruction to us to reach them.
And His heart cry is clearly shown in the Gospels. In Matthew 23 Jesus is preaching to his disciples and to the crowds. He preached this message just a few days before he was crucified.
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God’s messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me.”
Isn’t that how we feel when our children face danger, discouragement or difficulty? Or when we see them walking a destructive path? We want to protect them. To gather them to us and shelter them. It grieves us when we have the answer to their problem and they reject it. It can cause us to shed tears.
Do we shed tears over the lost?
Jesus was weeping over the tragedy of the missed opportunity of salvation. Their answer was walking right there among them and instead of receiving him, they crucified him. This hurt his heart.
In Luke 19 He starts to weep as he approaches Jerusalem and says almost the same thing He said in Matthew 23.
Why was Jesus weeping? He was weeping because He is not willing that any should perish. The Bible clearly says this.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Pet 3:9
He was thinking of me. He was thinking of you. And He expects us to think of, no, to reach the lost. He’s given that responsibility to us. He wants us to finish what He began. Honoring and loving Jesus by obeying His call to reach the nations is something He has equipped us to do.
Are you thinking about the unreached? Are you weeping for the lost? Are you reaching them? Are you rejoicing when they find salvation?
If you love Jesus, you will obey his commandments.
Trae and Christi have our precious 1 year old Judah Neal Childs, and have just announced officially that #2 is on the way (major happy dance here). They are living in Baton Rouge, LA and are working for Pastor Larry Stockstill and Bethany Church.
We were hoping to take the little guy with us…
Tanika has graduated from Oral Roberts University with her degree in Special Ed/Elementary Ed and will be going to Nigeria to teach school in Benin City Nigeria in August.
Tobi is getting ready to start High School at Sahel Academy in Niamey, Niger – he’s an awesome kid. Here he is with his nephew.
Clearly, we are blessed.