Bible Reading: Luke 2:25-52
It is important that we teach our children from an early age what it means to live for God. Everyone else in the world seems to be telling them how to live. You are the most important person in the development of their character. Make sure that they have the right model and foundation to build on. Make sure that they know about the character of God and how to live in such a way that their lives are a reflection of Him.
Thoughts about God for My Grandkids:
Years ago, when we lived in northwest Georgia, just below Chattanooga, Tennessee, the school that your Mom and Dad attended had a special day when parents could pick their children up during the lunch hour and take them somewhere for an outing. Grandma and I decided that this would be a time for me to do the honors. So, I picked Courtney and Jeremy up at their school and we set out for a picnic. I had chosen a special place. We’d never been there before. Chattanooga is located on the Tennessee River and on the north side of the downtown area is an old railroad bridge that crosses the River. At that place the River is almost a mile wide and the bridge is high above it. The bridge was no longer used by trains, so the city of Chattanooga had paved the entire bridge and made it into a walking path with beautiful plants and bench seats along both sides. It was a scenic place to go for a picnic. The view down to the river far below was like looking at a postcard.
We arrived and I found a parking spot on the road very close to the bridge. We only had a short time for our outing so finding a spot so near really helped. We grabbed our brown paper bags and can drinks and headed out to the middle of the bridge where the view was best. After a while, we picked up our leftovers and went back to the car. Just as we got there, I saw a Police Woman standing next to my car and writing out a parking ticket. The kids looked at me with that, “What have you done this time, Dad?” look. Then they started giggling. “Stop it. This is serious.” “Excuse me, Mam, is there a problem?” “A problem. You bet there’s a problem. You’re parked next to a yellow curb. There’s no parking allowed next to yellow curbs.” I looked at the curb…and it wasn’t yellow. I promise it wasn’t. “Mam, I don’t see a yellow curb.” She looked at me like I had lost my brain. She pointed at the curb next to the car and said, “Sir, that is a yellow curb, right there.” I looked again. It still wasn’t yellow. I thought, “What’s going on here?” Then a terrible thought hit me. I slowly lifted my new sunglasses. Guess what I saw…yellow curb. Bright yellow curb. My car parked next to a bright yellow curb. “Mam, you may not believe this…but I just bought these sunglasses yesterday. And if you’ll just take a peek through them I think you’ll understand.” You see…my brand new sunglasses had a yellow tint to them. And without my knowing it, they completely blocked out the yellow in the color spectrum. That curb looked as gray as gray can be. The Police Woman took my sunglasses…looked at them like she was making sure that they weren’t going to bite her, or something…slowly placed them in front of her eyes…looked at the curb…when she did her head jerked forward like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing…slowly lifted them up…lowered them down again for a second look…took them off…checked them out very carefully…then handed them back to me. She took the ticket and tore it in half then looked at me and said, “Mister, if I was you, I’d get me another pair of sunglasses.” Then she turned around and walked away. Courtney and Jeremy were about to bust out laughing. “Shhh,” I said, “it’s not funny!” Then I broke out laughing myself…because really, it was funny.
Strange isn’t it? Sometimes there can be something right in front of us…and yet, we can’t see it. But with a little help…we can see it perfectly.
When Jesus was about 1 month old, Joseph and Mary took Him to the Temple in Jerusalem for something like a child dedication service. It was a celebration of the Jewish faith. There, they met a man named Simeon. Luke tells us that Simeon was a “righteous and devout” man. That means that he loved God and lived in a way that honored Him. Luke also tells us that Simeon was looking for “the consolation of Israel”. The word “consolation” means “to be comforted, encouraged”. The Jewish Rabbis (teachers) spoke of the coming Messiah as the “comforter”. So, that tells us that Simeon was anxiously waiting for the Messiah to come because He would bring comfort and peace to Israel. The moment that Simeon saw Jesus…he knew that He was the Messiah…even though at the time He was just a newborn baby. God had promised him that he would not die before the Messiah came…and now, here He was. Simeon said, “Now I can die in peace because I have seen the Messiah.” How did Simeon know that Jesus was the Messiah? Luke tells us, “it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit is God. So, Luke is telling us that God had told Simeon that he would meet the Messiah. I want you to notice something…it wasn’t just anybody that God told that they would meet the Messiah. No. It was somebody who was a “righteous and devout” man. A man who loved God with all of his heart. That’s how he knew Who Jesus was when he saw Him. He was so close to God…that God showed Him what He wanted him to see. There were other people all around that day. But they didn’t know Who Jesus was. Why? Well, for one thing, they were not “righteous and devout”. And for another, God had not chosen to reveal it to them. What I want you to understand is that when God chose a man…He chose one who was “righteous and devout”. And honestly, that’s the way God works most of the time. He chooses to reveal things to those that love Him…that He doesn’t reveal to other people.
God has so much that He wants to reveal to you. So much that He wants to teach you. So much that He wants you to learn. So much that He wants you to understand. But I have found it to be a general principle that God does not reveal such wonderful truths and lessons to those who do not love Him. He keeps His special truths, His special blessings, for those who love Him…those who are “righteous and devout”.
I want to encourage you to live a life that is pleasing to God. A life that is in keeping with His character…holy, pure, loving, kind, giving (just to name a few of His qualities). If you will do that…God will real His truths to you. The Holy Spirit will make it possible for you to understand things that others don’t. The Holy Spirit will help you to see things that others miss. When you live a righteous and devout life…it’s sort of like putting on my sunglasses. It changes the way that you see things. Except that instead of blocking things out…they are revealed to you. Live your life each and every day…so that you are “righteous and devout”.
Love you more than bunches and bunches,