Are you a Christian school teacher who feels frustrated because you can’t legally share your faith with your students? This idea is for you.
Let’s assume for the purpose of this discussion that you are an American history teacher in a public high school somewhere in the USA. Since I’m not, I can only guess that you are constrained to present a sanitized story that is completely devoid of all religious influences.
If so, that’s a shame, because, as you know, that clever apothegm “All history is His story” is absolutely true. To ignore the influence of Jesus Christ in both American and world history is a flagrant misrepresentation of the facts. But you’re not permitted say so.
So, what’s a believing teacher to do? How about writing a text book that presents the true story? Although I’m not much of an historian, I suspect that many preachers, evangelists, and missionaries have had a profound effect on the shaping of this country; perhaps as much as many of our presidents and other legislators. Their story should be heard!
Perhaps this is a project that is too ambitious for one person. If so, create a Yahoo group for all interested teachers, each of whom could contribute from his/her personal expertise or interest.
Then, make the finished product free of charge on the internet. (Hey, I didn’t say you’d get rich too.)
Consider this. There are countless school districts that are strapped for cash. They are desperately looking for ways to save money. Free text books from the web would be a welcome relief for both school boards and taxpayers.
Of course, minority interest groups might eventually challenge their use in court. But meanwhile, what an godly influence your work would have!
All of us want to experience that certainty of our Heavenly destination. But so many of us also experience those nagging little doubts.
Well, I found an explanation for assurance and misgivings that comes straight from the bible. Consider these two passages:
Romans 8: 35-39 – Among other assurances, these verses list 10 obstacles, though daunting, cannot deny us entry to Heaven. Since the last entry is “nothing else”, then clearly nothing can block the born-again believer from Heaven. If you are suffering from insecurity, read these verses. If you don’t feel better yet, read them again. Repeat this process until you’re shouting “Hallelujah”!
1 John 2:3 – There we read “If we obey God’s commands, then we are sure that we know Him.” This is an “if/then” statement; if this condition exists, then this result will occur. As computer programmers know, a true “if/then” statement, when reversed, is also true. Therefore, “If we do not obey His commands, then we are not sure that we know Him.”
So, how do we interpret these two statements from His written Word? Well, Romans 8: 35-39 certainly implies that once saved, always saved. “Saved” can be stated loosely. It’s not a frivolous experience. It’s the most sobering recognition that my sins have alienated me from God, that God, and only God, has made a way to Heaven only through the freely offered gift and sacrifice of His only Son, Jesus, and that the unavoidable result of receiving this gift is an unquenchable, though imperfect, desire to please Him in all that I henceforth do and say.
So then, our sin cannot deny us our reward. However, 1 John 2:3 says that I won’t “feel saved” if I’m living in disobedience, although Romans 8 plainly states that I really am.
If I were a superstar professional athlete, yet also a Christian, here is what I would do to deal with those people who are constantly interrupting my life by thrusting a pen and paper (or ball, or program, or some other signable object) in my face for my autograph:
Go to my computer.
Set up a business card using a graphics program.
On one side would be a summary of my personal testimony, my picture, and the way to God. (This might spill over to the other side.)
On the other side would be a copy of my autograph. I would want this signature to look hand signed, rather than copied. Is there a machine that uses an actual ball point pen to mechanically sign one card after another, each with a slight variation, to make each card look like a real autograph? If so, I’d use it.
Somewhere on the card I would include these words: “Because I have distributed so many copies of this card, it’s monetary value is very small. But if you heed its message, this card will have an infinite value to your eternal soul.”
I would carry as many of these as I could and hand them out generously. The advantages of this method over the conventional method of signing my name are as follows:
I’m spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I deliver more signatures (and gospel messages) in less time.
I experience less writer’s cramp.
I discourage those who would make profit of my signature.
Let me tell you about someone I met this summer (2002). Actually, I didn’t really meet him, because he lived in the nineteenth century. He died 83 years before I was born.
His full name is Samuel Jones Levick, and he was a true friend of both mankind and beast. He was an ardent abolitionist of slavery. He was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which he diligently served. Also, he was a vocal Quaker and a very active member of the Society of Friends, both locally in Philadelphia and around the country. A prominent street in Philadelphia was named for him; it connects to the Tacony-Palmyra Bridge.
How do I know all this. My mother gave me a book several months ago. This book is entitled “The Life of Samuel J. Levick”, written by a friend and relative whose name was Hugh Foulke, and published in 1896 by the William H. Pile’s Sons Printers of 422 Walnut Street in Philadelphia.
And there is another side to Samuel J. Levick that you should know: he was an uncompromising preacher of the gospel. He was both an evangelistic, fundamental preacher of the gospel of Jesus Christ, as well as faithful proponent of Quakerism.
And there is just one more thing about this man that I want you to know. He was my great, great grandfather.
I know that we cannot be saved by the faith of our ancestors. But the faith of our ancestors can do much to encourage ours. Click here to learn more from the web page that I made for my web page class. (To return, click Lvwg in the upper right corner.)
When we took our rebellious, 13-year-old daughter to the school psychologist, we discussed many topics, but eventually the conversation turned to discipline. And then we broached the topic of spanking.
“You must not spank your daughter, especially at her age”, he explained.
Well, I had had enough of this liberal advice, which I heard everywhere, even from my pastor.
“Doctor, let’s go back to when you were 13 years old. Suppose that you had just confronted your father and called him a “disgusting creep, a jerk, and an idiot”. How would your father have responded?”
“I would have been dead”, the doctor replied candidly, implying that physical pain would have been his dad’s punishment of choice.
After thanking him for his honesty, I wish that I had followed that question with these: “Now such an incident or one similar to this may or may not have happened to you way back then, but just knowing that your father would have responded in such a decisive manner, how would this have affected the development of your character and emotional psyche? Would this have helped to build self-control and respect into your life? Or, would that have contributed to a life of anger, depression, and rebellion.”
I suspect that the clear majority of responsible, productive, mature citizens would claim that such a punishment would have the positive result. So far, the results of my informal survey seems to support this. My survey consists of the two previous questions and a third one, as follows:
What would your dad have done…?
How did this affect your life?
Did your dad love you? Specifically, was your dad concerned with all aspects of your well-being? Did he show consistent concern for the development of your character?
You’ll understand the importance of the third question as this discussion continues.
So far, my survey is teaching me that the clear majority of responsible, productive, mature citizens look back with pride at those “behind-the-woodshed” incidents. Even among more liberal participants, they would admit, sometimes grudgingly, that they derived a significant measure of security from a dad who loved them enough to spank.
But I also need to acknowledge that for many others, their father’s brutality has greatly harmed their lives.
Someone who knows more about child psychology than I do once compared a parent’s relationship with their child to a bank account. Parents make deposits through words and actions that convey sincere appreciation, quantity and quality time, etc. Withdrawals consist of correction, discipline, and punishment. As long as the deposits exceed the withdrawals, that bank account remains solvent.
I think that all of us, whether we agree or disagree with spanking, will agree with this statement: Spanking is a major withdrawal. Unfortunately, there are many parents who have not made sufficient deposits to cover a withdrawal of this magnitude. However, there are many parents who have put enough into their account to actually correct with the rod.
So here is the pattern:
My survey shows that most dads would spank within the circumstances of the first question. Of those who responded otherwise, most had no dad in their lives.
Most participants claim that spanking in such a circumstance would have had a positive affect. (Most can cite an actual incident to confirm this.) But a significant number claim a negative affect would have resulted. Many of these participants can also use their own lives as confirmation.
Of those who claimed a positive affect in question 2, all claimed to have a dad who loved them. Conversely, those affected negatively had dads that didn’t care, and as a result, they used violence to express their disapproval of their children’s behavior.
Now I’m ready to put all this into a biblical framework.
Many contemporary child psychologists are rather critical of the bible’s teaching in the area of discipline. King Solomon, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, wrote in Proverbs 23: 13, 14: “Withhold not correction from the child; for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” Such words hit hard in today’s more liberal environment.
Unfortunately, I think that many uncaring, self-centered dads have used this verse and others as an excuse for brutality. However, such dads are unaware of other teachings in the scriptures.
Don’t overdo it. Colossians 3: 21 states “Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, lest they become discouraged”.
But even more significant is the mind-set of the day in which Solomon gave us such seemingly draconian counsel. The bible commands husbands to love their wives, and wives to submit to their husbands, and children to obey their parents. But if there doesn’t seem to be any scriptural command for parents to love their children, it’s because Solomon knew that a parent’s love is an assumed, instinctive, understood condition within every parent’s heart. “Can a mother forget her own baby and not love the child she bore? Even if a mother should forget her child, I will never forget you?” are the words of God to His children through Isaiah (49:15). The implied answer to this academic question is no! Also, God used Solomon’s own father, David, to write in Psalms 103:13: “As a father loves his children, so the Lord loves those who honor Him”.
Therefore, the Bible allows for a withdrawal as large as a whipping, but only to those parents whose highest objective is to honor God by depositing enough love in their children’s lives to do so.
Maybe you know that you’ve been a dad who just hasn’t bothered to be man that your children have needed. As a result, your children may have become rebellious, defiant, confused, and angry. But maybe the Holy Scripture is nudging you to return to your children. If so, please do not reach for the rod first. You have some substantial deposits that you must faithfully render over perhaps an extended period of time before your children will trust your motives.
During the past five months of unemployment, I have occasionally participated in a Thursday afternoon peer discussion group that is sponsored by my local Professional Services Group. Sometimes called the “coulda, woulda, shoulda” group, it’s a forum that offers me the opportunity to discuss thoughts and feelings about my condition with my peers.
Although it hasn’t yet happened while I was attending, in the past the discussion has moved to what we do to help us deal with the worry and uncertainty of the future; for some, the near future. Worthy suggestions like regular exercise, attention to personal relationships, and mental activity have all been entered. I’m making this entry to be prepared for when this happens in my presence.
“The suggestions that we have heard thus far are all excellent. But I need to make one more, and that is divine faith.
“I happen to be one of those born-again, bible believing Christians that you may have heard about.
“I fight uncertainty by studying the bible, confessing and repenting of my failures, rejoicing in Christ’s ownership of my soul, as well as His promises and forgiveness, and prayer. As an example of one of those promises, the bible says that ‘these present difficulties are not worthy to be compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us one day’. I am just as emotionally fragile as anyone else in this room. But I’ve learned that sincere trust in a statement like that can really help stabilize the human spirit.
“I realize that because this is a religiously diverse group, I take the risk of offending those of a different religious persuasion. I don’t mean to evangelize, but I do need to tell you that there is nothing that I do that does more to help me combat that demon of worry than to exercise my Christian faith.
”Someone said it this way: ‘If you don’t know what the future holds, be sure you know Who holds the future’.”
Some experiences are better related using the style from the old television series "Dragnet", although I don't know the times of day.
Wednesday AM, 1/8/03 - The little red Geo had been showing signs of hesitation. Today the indications cannot be ignored. I call Maple Shade Auto for an appointment. Neil says, come in tomorrow morning.
Wednesday PM, 1/8/03 - The black Lumina van won't start. When I turn the key, not a sound is heard; not a click from the solenoid, nor the faintest attempt from the starter. Because the van is parked slightly uphill facing some bushed, I put the gears into neutral, allowing the van to roll a few feet backward for access to the engine compartment. Before I get out, I try the key again. It starts, and I drive home.
Thursday AM, 1/9/03 - Because we are planning to visit Tabitha this weekend in Virginia, I first take the van to the shop, rather than the Geo. Due to my unemployment status, Mike assures me that they'll look for whatever ways they can keep the cost down. They inspect the ignition system, and tighten all connections. Good to go.
Thursday PM, 1/9/03 - When I pick up the van, I drop off the Geo, which needs new plug wires, distributor, and a new tire. $200. The wires and distributor come as a one-piece set. Neil tears up the bill for the van. Thanx, fellas
Friday PM, 1/10/03 - Off to Virginia in the van. We arrive at Cumberland Hospital at about 8PM without automotive incident, although we noticed a soft, metallic tinkling sound coming from every vehicle that we passed on I-95. We couldn't hear it at higher speeds, but it was more noticeable during the slowdown between Washington DC, and Fredricksburg, Va. When I park at the family lodge at 10PM, I didn't notice that the front of the van is slightly uphill.
Saturday AM, 1/11/03 - The van won't start. Remembering my experience the previous Wednesday, I put the van in neutral and roll to a level spot. The van starts. I am careful to park the van downhill, or at least level for the rest of the weekend.
Sunday PM, 1/12/03 - We travel 300 miles home without incident.
Monday AM, 1/13/03 - I call Maple Shade Auto for an appointment for the van. Mike says, come in tomorrow. Later I notice that the Geo still seems to have an irregular ride, but I'm too busy to call.
Tuesday AM, 1/14/03 - When I drop off the van, I park it in the uphill position, and sure enough, it won't start. II tell them about the unusual symptoms. Maybe the solenoid is getting weak and needs a little gravitational help. I tell them about the Geo's continued problems. They'll check that when I pick up the van. Understaffed today; might not be ready until tomorrow.
Tuesday PM, 1/14/03 - When I'm on 295, the Geo rattles badly as it approaches 50 mph. Mike leaves a message to call him. When I call, he says it's the starter ($225), and did I notice a tinkling sound also? You need brake work ($150).
Wednesday PM, 1/15/03 - I pick up the van, and drop off the Geo.
Thursday AM, 1/16/03 - The Geo needs another tire ($50). While doing errands, the van dumps a load of coolant in the parking lot.
Thursday PM, 1/16/03 - I pick up the Geo, and drop off the van.
Friday AM, 1/17/03 - I pick up the van. It needed a new radiator gasket ($50).
My total automotive repair bill was $700 in less than one week. Although larger expenses are certainly possible, it seems so remarkable that so many seemingly non-related incidents should happen so close together.
So where does God fit in here, and why is this entered under "Little Visits with God"? Simply because He took us 600 miles on a failing starter, brakes, and cooling system. Thank you, Lord!