Isabella and Jesus

By Van Walton

“The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: ‘Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in.’ Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.” Mark 10:13-16 (MSG).

My friend Kathy is a grandmother of three. You would never know it if you saw her. A former dancer, she is tall, athletic, and beautifully young. I am so impressed with my friend who returned to school in her fifties, earned a nursing degree and is now working full-time. During her spare time she enjoys her grandchildren.

Every once in a while her granddaughter, Isabella, visits her Nana for a sleepover. Kathy uses these times to tell Isabella about Jesus. However, the first time Kathy tried to introduce her granddaughter to Jesus, Isabella flatly said, “But I can't see Him.”

The next time Isabella spent the night, Kathy decided to get creative. She got out her stethoscope and showed Isabella where her heart is inside her chest. Then she had Isabella ball up her fist and she explained that it was the same size as her heart. Kathy then asked, “Can you see your heart?”

Isabella said “no,” so her Nana held the stethoscope to her chest and let her hear her heartbeat. "Is your heart in there?”

“Yes.” Isabella responded.

“How do you know?” her grandmother asked.

“I can hear it!” She said.

“Well, one day you will begin to hear Jesus even though you can't see Him.”

Isabella doesn’t know how blessed she is to have a grandmother who is not put off by a child’s uninterested answers. Kathy’s perseverance reminded me that whether I am talking with my own children, my little neighbors, or my nieces and nephews, I can have an impact on their spiritual lives by finding creative ways to teach them about Jesus.

Dear Father in Heaven, I know it is no accident that children are all around me. I ask your special blessings on my neighbors, the children of my dear friends, my nieces and nephews and my own precious children. You have equipped me with everything I need to share the gospel with them. Please give me wisdom and discernment as I interact with the children in my life. I want to introduce them to You. I anticipate the day of celebration when one of these children would come to You because of something I said that opened their eyes and heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
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From the Pound to the Palace, by Van Walton

Do You Know Jesus?

For the Least of These, P31 Love-in-Action blog

Sponsor a Child through Compassion International

Visit Van’s blog

Application Steps:
In the midst of any given day an adult who interacts with children has the opportunity to invite God into ordinary conversations. Begin your day by asking Him to show you the life lessons He wants you to teach. Ask Him to give you an opportunity to touch a child’s heart. Begin praying for one particular child in your realm of influence.

Develop their trust in God by explaining we can depend upon God to give us daytime and nighttime, every 24 hours.

Point to nature and say, “If what He makes is this beautiful, can you imagine what we will see when we see God face-to-face?”

Read Bible stories and apply them to everyday life: Read a story about Jesus and those He healed. Ask a child to ride along with you to deliver a meal to a sick person. Remind a child that Jesus cares for children.

Together sponsor a child through Compassion International.

Do I take time to direct children’s attention toward God?

Do the media I offer my children - books, DVDs, television programs - contain Biblical lessons?

Have I modeled a prayer life for my children?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 31:28, “Her children stand and bless her…” (NLT)

Acts 2:38-39, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children…” (NIV)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am disappointed that Van Walton chose The Message version for today's scripture. Since it is a contemporary paraphrase not a translation, the word "irate" gives a wrong impression of the scene and Christ's response. The Greek word is translated "much grief" which carries with it a different tone and image of the scene.

Blogger Joyce said...

I know that sometimes it is a child that brings his or her's parents and family to God. From teaching Sunday School, I learned that a child is a spong for learning.

Blogger Van said...

Thank you for pointing out how one version, or paraphrase, of the Bible can change the tone and images of a scene. I certainly appreciate the importance of words and their translations. One incorrectly chosen word can make a big difference. The New American Standard and Holman Christian Standard versions, as well as The Complete Jewish Bible, all use the word “indignant” in that verse which I believe carries some connotation of agitation to it and not simply sadness. Meanwhile, the King James version reads “much displeased” which is a little more vague in whether or not there was any frustration in Jesus’ response. Clearly, these different translations – not just The Message – offer different shades of meaning depending on their word choices. I do not look up the Greek for every word in every verse that I quote, but kudos to you for investigating that.

I chose The Message because the contemporary dialog is clear and easy to read. "Don't push these children away. Don't get between them and me." These words convict me because our society forgets children and does not esteem them. How often are my actions a stumbling block for a child? I also saw a clear picture of Jesus in the description, "...gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them." Gathering the children up in his arms - oh that all children could be gathered up in the arms of someone who would love them!.

Blogger Tom Emmons said...

Compassion is sending a group of leading Christian bloggers to Uganda to see their work in that country. You can follow along on their trip through their blog posts at

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am part of a group starting a new family ministry. We are planning an Pentecost mission for families. When I woke up this morning I was thinking of giving up on the ideas we had. I just could not see how it could work.
But reading in the devotion that 'God gives us the ability to reach out to the children in our lives' made me remember how wonderful and perfectly God has graced me with words to teach children in the past. Thank you for your encouragement. YOur devotions always make my faith stronger. Thank you for better here and especially for the applicaitons steps.
May God continue on blessing you and the other women reading your devotions.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

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