Posted by: rcottrill | May 24, 2017

There’s a Friend of Little Children

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Words: Albert Midlane (b. Jan. 23, 1825; d. Feb. 27, 1909)
Music: In Memorium, by John Stainer (b. June 6, 1840; d. Mar. 31, 1901)

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Albert Midlane)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org

Note: Albert Midlane has the distinction of being the only hymn writer who lived on the Isle of Wight, in the English Channel. He was a Christian businessman who also wrote many hymns, quite a few for children. Famed Baptist pastor Charles Spurgeon thought highly of Midlane’s hymns, and made regular use of them. One of them is Revive Thy Work, O Lord, found in many hymnals. The present hymn was written on February 27, 1859.

As of 2010, Canada had a population of around 34 million, with 16.5% of these being children under the age of fourteen. In the West that percentage is higher. Almost a fifth of the population of Saskatchewan is in that lower age range, which means there are about two hundred thousand children in the province.

And please bear with me sharing a few more statistics. I’ve done the best I can to get an accurate picture. If the numbers aren’t right on, they’re close.

An average of one in seven children in Canada has been bullied repeatedly or severely, and about one in ten experiences some form of sexual abuse. The media aren’t always friendly to children either. Stories aimed at children often portray solving problems with violence or deceit, and advertisers entice them to eat food that’s unhealthy. Sadly, we can trace the steady assault on our children back further. In 2010 there were 64,000 abortions in Canada, a violence against the unborn that continues to taint our society.

What can be done about all this? Children need friends, true and dependable friends. What does that mean? What will the friends of children do for them? Here are six things.

1) They will be those who seek to understand them and their needs.
2) They will have compassion and concern for them.
3) They will have their best interests at heart.
4) They will readily serve them as trustworthy confidants, advocates, and advisers.
5) They will actively support and protect them.
6) They will point them to the Saviour

Children need such friends everywhere–in the home, in the school and in the community. Yes, they have some now, but they need more. Individuals who’ll share the love of Christ with them, and take a stand for righteousness and against any who would do the children harm. The Bible urges us:

“Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die” (Prov. 31:8).

The “speechless” are those who cannot speak for themselves, or who are somehow disenfranchised and don’t have an adequate spokesmen in places of influence. This includes infants and children, the disabled, the poor, those enslaved by destructive habits, and so on. (It includes unborn infants too.) Will you be a friend to them?

There’s One who is a Friend of children, that is the Lord Jesus. His disciples tried to turn the young away, thinking perhaps that their Master had more important things to do.

“But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God. Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.’ And He took them up in His arms, put His hands on them, and blessed them” (Mk. 10:14-16).

The Lord also issued a sobering warning about the treatment of children.

“Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matt. 18:5-6).

The One who was on earth labeled “a friend of tax collectors and sinners!” (Lk. 7:34) loved and cared for children, and He does so still.

CH-1) There’s a Friend for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
A Friend who never changes,
Whose love will never die;
Our earthly friends may fail us,
And change with changing years,
This Friend is always worthy
Of that dear name He bears.

CH-3) There’s a home for little children
Above the bright blue sky,
Where Jesus reigns in glory,
A home of peace and joy
No home on earth is like it,
Nor can with it compare;
For everyone is happy
Nor could be happier there.

Questions:
1) What are you doing to help protect the children you know, or those in your community?

2) How could you encourage others to join you in doing this?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns (Albert Midlane)
The Cyber Hymnal
Hymnary.org


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