Wednesday, July 30, 2014

An ounce of compassion

Today let's look at a word called 'compassion'.

Teaching is a profession I love, and I admire those who do a fantastic task. Certain individuals excel in that area, and I marvel those who do it with passion. Some teach at universities, while others at regular schools and even Sunday schools. Something I have come to realize lately is that Sunday school, is that one institution which can propel a child towards the presence of our Lord, though most adults take it lightly. In my opinion, when our little children look up to those Sunday school teachers, they should appear as 'God's Ambassadors'. Those teaching about God should have that spark in their soul, and 'twinkle in their eye'. In a nutshell, little children should be able to see the image of God in their teachers.

 Here is a story I came across about one teacher who made a difference in the life of someone.

Her name was Mrs. Thompson. As she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard.

Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn't play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X's and then putting a big "F" at the top. At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child's past records and she put Teddy's off until last.

However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy's first grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners...he is a joy to be around. "His second grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle. "His third grade teacher wrote, "His mother's death had been hard on him. He tries to do his best, but his father doesn't show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren't taken.

"Teddy's fourth grade teacher wrote, "Teddy is withdrawn and doesn't show much interest in school. He doesn't have many friends and he sometimes sleeps in class".

By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy's. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing, and a bottle that was one-quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children's laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, "Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to." After the children left, she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded.

By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her "teacher's pets." A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he'd stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and most favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor's degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and most favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer -- the letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD.

The story doesn't end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he'd met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs.Thompson's ear, "Thank you Mrs. Thompson for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference." Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back.

She said, "Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn't know how to teach until I met you."

Jesus is a wonderful example of compassion. Let's look at one such occasion when Jesus Christ expressed his compassion towards fellow humans. Remember the shortest verse in the Bible, "Jesus wept." This is in the context of Lazarus being buried and his family grieving over his death. Jesus became so sad after seeing them. He expressed his emotion due to compassion and he too cried.
John 11: 34-38 "Where have you laid him?" he asked. "Come and see, Lord," they replied. Jesus wept. Then the Jews said, "See how he loved him!" But some of them said, "Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?" Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance.
Learning from the Great Teacher, those who claim to practice Christianity should show some compassion towards others - an ounce a day, at least.

This story reminded me that I should call up some of my teachers and professors and talk to them. I recently called up my Sunday school teachers and shared my appreciation for them.

Looking back, I feel I should have taught Sunday school with more fervor and made lot more difference in the lives of youngsters. Being fully aware of my abilities, I would not even call myself a 'teacher'.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

God's Love

Some prayers are answered soon, while others can take a long time. He hears all of them, processes them according to what He deems urgent and necessary. Not that He is lazy, instead He is righteous. He loves us and is jealous for our love. His love is unconditional, unlimited and complete. 

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate,
And the Master so gently said, "Child, you must wait."
"Wait? You say, wait?!" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers. I need to know why!
Is Your hand shortened? Or have You not heard?
By faith I have asked and I'm claiming Your Word.
My future and all to which I can relate
Hang in the balance, and You tell me to WAIT?
I'm needing a 'yes', a go-ahead sign,
Or even a 'no' to which I can resign.
Oh, Lord, I've been asking and this is my cry;
I'm weary of asking. I need a reply!"
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate
As my Master replied once again, "You must wait."
So I slumped in my chair defeated and taut
And grumbled to God, "So I'm waiting...for what?"
He seemed then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine,
And He tenderly said, 'I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun;
I could raise the dead and causes mountains to run.
All you seek, I could give, and pleased you will be;
You would have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You would not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You would not know the power that I give to the faint.
You would not learn to see through the clouds of despair.
You would not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You would not know the joy of resting in Me
When darkness and silence are all you can see.
You'd never experience that fullness of love
As the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove.
Sure, you'd known that I give and I save...(for a start),
But you would not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight,
The depth that's beyond getting just what you asked
Of an infinite God Who makes what you have last...
You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that 'My grace is sufficient for thee."
Yes, your dreams for yourself overnight would come true,
But, oh, the loss, if I lost what I'm doing in you!
So, be silent, My child, and in time you will see
That the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me.
And though often My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious reply is still, "Child, you must wait!"

Author unknown

Monday, July 28, 2014

Prayers answered

When we pray to God, He listens to all our prayers. If we petition to Him, and ask Him something, we will get it. However, neither all prayers are answered in the timeframe we hope for, nor in the manner we expect them to be.
John 15:7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

If we are not getting what we asked Him, there is a valid reason for it:
James 4:3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
Majority of those things we ask in prayer are given to us within no time. Here is a poem titled, 'Prayer', by an unknown author that is thought provoking.

The man whispered, "God, speak to me,"
And a meadowlark sang.
But the man did not hear.

So the man yelled "God, speak to me,"
And the thunder and lightning rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.

The man looked around and said, "God, let me see you."
And a star shined brightly.
But the man did not see.

And, the man shouted, "God, show me a miracle"
And a life was born.
But the man did not notice.

So, the man cried out in despair, "Touch me, God, and let me know you are here"
Whereupon, God reached down and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away and walked on.

God is always revealing Himself
in the little and simple things that we take for granted.
God grant us eyes to see and ears to hear.