Tuesday, March 30, 2010

67 ) Teach Children Lessons Using Stories - Through Eyes of compassion

"Change your thoughts and you change your world." Norman Vincent Peale

A man entered the cab of a Pakistani taxi driver in the USA, posing as a passenger. In moments he pointed a gun at the taxi driver and in a snarl demanded all the money he had. Turning his eyes away from the road, the taxi driver looked at the man and in a compassionate voice replied: "Here, take all my money. You must need it more than I do. I have a cab and can make money. But you can't. So, take it". The man grabbed the money. Then, looking bewildered, he hit his head three times with the gun and incoherently muttered: "You wake me up, man. You wake me up". For a while he sat thinking, as the taxi driver continued to drive. Repeatedly nodding his head, he shoved the gun into his pocket, threw the money on the seat and got out of the cab at the next red traffic signal. He took nothing.

What lessons should our children learn from this story?
1) That some angry and violent people wilt in the warmth of compassion. Perhaps the man with the gun succeeded in relieving other taxi drivers of their money, through angry threats and violence. But here was one who was unafraid of a gun because he was armed with compassion. He saw the plight of a desperate man who used violent ways to pluck money out of timid hands. He chose to respond differently. His readiness to give all he had, and the way he rationalized his action confused and troubled the gunman. Never before had this man come face to face with Compassion. He was felled by a feather. He could not take money from one who did not resist; one who yielded willingly; one who put the other man's need above his own.
2) That such heroic acts stir even hardened criminals. Such acts help change the way these criminals think. "You wake me up", were the words of a man who once had good thoughts. Now those good thoughts slumbered. The taxi driver's good deed roused those drowsy good thoughts and he responded in a changed way. Our children should know that no one is lost. That no one should be put out of reach of their compassion. That a turn around could be just a corner away.

"I say to you, love your enemies." Matt.5:44.

Monday, March 22, 2010

66) Do our children pray with faith?

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path." Proverbs 3:5-6.

Helen Roseveare, a doctor from England, working in Zaire among the poor and destitute reports:

"One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labor ward; but, in spite of all we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a crying two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator. (We had no electricity to run an incubator.) We also had no special feeding facilities. Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly, in distress, to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates. "And it is our last hot water bottle!" she exclaimed. As in the West it is no good crying over spilled milk, so in Central Africa it might be considered no good crying over burst water bottles. They do not grow on trees, and there are no drugstores down forest pathways. "All right," I said, "put the baby as near the fire as you safely can, and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. "Your job is to keep the baby warm." The following noon, as I did most days, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave the youngsters various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby.

I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died. During the prayer time, one ten year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. "Please, God," she prayed, "send us a water bottle. It'll be no good tomorrow,God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon." While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added by way of a corollary, "And while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she'll know You really love her?" As often with the prayers of children,I was put on the spot. Could I honestly say, "Amen?" I just did not believe that God could do this. Oh, yes, I know that He can do everything. The Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland.

I had been in Africa for almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator! Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car had gone, but there, at the front door was a large twenty-two pound parcel. I felt tears pricking my eyes. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together we pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some thirty or forty pairs of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box. From the top, I lifted out brightly colored, knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. Then there were the knitted bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and sultanas - that would make a nice batch of buns for the weekend. Then,as I put my hand in again, I felt the.....could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out - yes, a brand-new, rubber hot water bottle! I cried. I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, "If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!" Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted. Looking up at me, she asked: "Can I go over with you, Mummy, and give this dolly to that little girl, so she'll know that Jesus really loves her?" That parcel had been on the way for five whole months. Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in a dolly for an African child - five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it "that afternoon."

"Before they call, I will answer!" Isaiah 65:24" Our God really IS..AN AWESOME GOD.

Julia Cameron got it right when she wrote: "Leap and the net will appear".

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

65) Do our children make such sacrifices?

" Almost everything we do is insignificant. But it is very important that we do it."
Mahatma Gandhi.

"57 Cents That Made History"

A sobbing little girl stood near a small Church from which she had been turned away because it 'was too crowded'. "I can't go to Sunday School," she sobbed to the pastor as he walked by. Seeing her shabby, unkempt appearance, the pastor guessed the reason and, taking her by the hand, took her inside and found a place for her in the Sunday School class. The child was so touched that she went to bed that night thinking of the children who have no place to worship Jesus. Some two years later, this child lay dead in one of the poor tenement buildings and the parents called for the kind pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her poor little body was being moved, a worn and crumpled purse was found which seemed to have been rummaged from some trash dump. Inside was found 57 cents and a note scribbled in childish handwriting which read, "This is to help build the little Church bigger so more children can go to Sunday school." For two years she had saved for this offering of love. When the pastor tearfully read that note, he knew instantly what he would do. Carrying this note and the cracked, red pocketbook to the pulpit, he told the story of her unselfish love and devotion. He challenged his deacons to get busy and raise enough money for the larger building.

But the story does not end there! A newspaper learned of the story and published it. It was read by a Realtor who offered them a parcel of land worth many thousands. When told that the Church could not pay so much, he offered it for a 57 cent payment. Church members made large subscriptions. Checks came from far and wide. Within five years the little girl's gift had increased to $250,000.00 a huge sum for that time (near the turn of the century).

Her unselfish love had paid large dividends. When you are in the city of Philadelphia , look up Temple Baptist Church , with a seating capacity of 3,300, and Temple University , where hundreds of students are trained. Have a look, too, at the Good Samaritan Hospital and at a Sunday School building which houses hundreds of Sunday scholars, so that no child in the area will ever need to be left outside at Sunday school time. In one of the rooms of this building may be seen the picture of the sweet face of the little girl whose 57 cents, so sacrificially saved, made such remarkable history. Alongside of it is a portrait of her kind pastor.