Illustration results for Raising Children
A. Todd Coget
[Parable of Christ’s Sacrifice, Citation: Brad Walden, senior minister with the Tates Creek Christian Church, Lexington, KY; true story told by Mark’s grandfather at Westwood Cheviot Church of Christ, Cincinnati, OH]
The mother of a nine-year-old boy named Mark received a phone call in the middle of the afternoon.
It was the teacher from her son’s school.
"Mrs. Smith, something unusual happened today in your son’s third grade class. Your son did something that surprised me so much that I thought you should know about immediately."
The mother began to grow worried.
The teacher continued, "Nothing like this has happened in all my years of teaching. This morning I was teaching a lesson on creative writing. And as I always do, I tell the story of the ant and the grasshopper:
"The ant works hard all summer and stores up plenty of food. But the grasshopper plays all summer and does no work.
"Then winter comes. The grasshopper begins to starve because he has no food. So he begins to beg, ’Please Mr. Ant, you have much food. Please let me eat, too.’" Then I said, "Boys and girls, your job is to write the ending to the story."
"Your son, Mark, raised his hand. ’Teacher, may I draw a picture?’
"’Well, yes, Mark, if you like, you may draw a picture. But first you must write the ending to the story.’
"As in all the years past, most of the students said the ant shared his food through the winter, and both the ant and the grasshopper lived.
A few children wrote, ’No, Mr. Grasshopper. You should have worked in the summer. Now, I have just enough food for myself.’ So the ant lived and the grasshopper died.
"But your son ended the story in a way different from any other child, ever. He wrote, ’So the ant gave all of his food to the grasshopper; the grasshopper lived through the winter. But the ant died.’
"And the picture? At the bottom of the page, Mark had drawn three crosses."
1 John 4:11, Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
HE KEPT CALLING
In 1975, my aunt Marsha McCarthy divorced Ralph McCarthy. Marsha left Southern California and followed her parents to Joplin, Missouri.
She was employed as the Secretary at College Heights Christian Church and raised three children on her own. The stress was overwhelming at times. Marsha was in and out of the hospital regularly for stress related problems. But Ralph kept calling. Marsha wasn’t interested.
Well, he continued to call…for twenty-nine years. In the summer of 1999, Ralph flew out to see Marsha…face to face to close the deal. Would you believe, that when Ralph proposed to Marsha, she said yes.
October 9, 1999 Ralph and Marsha Lynn McCarthy were remarried. Ralph just kept calling.
Ralph just retired from his law practice in Carmel, CA. He built a retirement home in Palm Springs with a guest house and pool. The guest house is larger that Marsha’s home on North Jackson in Joplin. Ralph just kept calling.
Jesus said, “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
Can you hear him calling?
Source: Scott Mathews, Adventure Christian Church, Rocklin, CA.
(A man named John came home from work one day and rushing through the door tells his wife of a man who lied to him at work. He said, there was a guy at work who stole my tools and I saw him from a distance. When I confronted him he down and out lied to me. He lied straight through his teeth even after I told him I saw him. I can’t believe it, he lied to me he did.
Later in life John dies and standing before God he gives excuses saying, I never knew anything. I never knew right and wrong, I never even knew the Ten Commandments. God tells an angel play the tape, as if it were, and there replayed on the screen before him he sees himself running through the door shouting and telling his wife about the man who “lied” to him at work.
You see, every person knows "Basic" Right and Wrong.
Just as a child here in America, for the very first time, can experience his conscious telling him it is wrong to steal, so can another child experience the very same thing who lives on the other side of the earth.
It’s not culture. It’s not religious background. It’s not how you were raised. It’s in your conscience.
So God has given us the "Light of Creation" and the "Light of Conscience".
AWL FOR THE GOOD
In 1809, Simon Renee Braille and his wife Monique welcomed their fourth child into the world-- a lively boy named Louis. They lived in a small stone house near Paris where Braille was the local harness maker. Leather working tools are dangerous, so the toddler had been instructed not to go into his father's shop alone.
But when Louis was still small, he slipped into the shop, and with curiosity started to handle all the fascinating tools. As Louis was inspecting an awl, the sharp tool used to punch holes in leather, he slipped and punctured a part of his eye with the tool. The injured eye became infected. The little boy could not keep his hands from rubbing and scratching the wound, and soon the infection spread to his other eye as well. When Louis was only 4, he became completely blind.
Louis was fortunate enough to study at the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris. He excelled as an organist, and at twelve years old began asking the question “How can the blind read?” Over his summer break at home, Louis was determined to find the answer. As He moved and groped around his father’s shop in search of the right tool for his task, the awl presented itself as perfect for the job. The awl would make the raised dots he had seen in the French military system of “night writing.”
And with the very instrument that had blinded him, Louis worked and worked until he had created a syste...
Sooner or later, it seems that at least once in their life with God, every Christian gets infected with the virus of "false maturity." It's a weird virus in that it's symptoms are often easily seen and felt by others, but invisible and unfelt by the infected one!
Once infected, the poor soul suddenly experiences a profound shift in the perception of reality in which he/she believes that full maturity is automatically attained by said individual simply being a Christian "x" years, going to church or listening to messages of various preachers "x" times a week, proven accomplishment in their career, an ability to find a Scripture reference in under 30 seconds, exceeding a certain number of marks & highlights in their personal Bible, and/or simply by obviously not being as immature or sinful as that person next to them.
As I mentioned before, I was saved my sophomore year in college. Somewhere, sometime in the few months after I graduated I picked up this virus. At first, I thought it was a special gift from God. Eventually, I learned it was a curse from my old nature. By the time I had been a truly-saved Christian less than two years, I had become a leader in campus ministry, led other students to the Lord, taught Bible Studies, was used as a special speaker, invited to debates, co-hosted a Christian radio program with a loyal following of saved & unsaved, etc.
When God first called me to vocational ministry, I had to be dragged into it as I felt I was too young in the faith. But then I went to a specialized training for youth ministry and found myself being praised for being bolder, understanding theology, giving good counsel much more so than most others -- most of whom had been Christians since children and raised in Bible churches. Then I took my first position as an Associate Pastor -- Youth.
My first week I got baptized & became a church member for the first time anywhere. It was a small, troubled church in a very small, very dysfunctional and very rural community in MN. The Sr. Pastor was clinically depressed and about as energetic & inspiring as Eeyore. He was also a good & godly man, but few ever realized it. Within six months I was told that I should be the Sr. Pastor. Within 14 mos. I got 'infected' & started to believe it might be so -- blind to my own faults & sin.
Before my two-year Anniversary, the Holy Spirit cured me & showed me that I really was still just a juvenile who had MUCH to learn. The next day I resigned. Many of the deacons & congregates tried to get me to stay. But God had already made it clear I had much I needed to learn from Him & others before I could further fulfill my call.
What is your story? Who are you allowing to be your spiritual teachers?
A. Todd Coget
[How God’s Children Change, Citation: Craig Barnes, author and pastor of National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C.; from sermon "The Blessed Trinity" (5-30-99)]
When I was a child, my minister father brought home a 12-year-old boy named Roger, whose parents had died from a drug overdose.
There was no one to care for Roger, so my folks decided they’d just raise him as if he were one of their own sons.
At first it was quite difficult for Roger to adjust to his new home—an environment free of heroine-addicted adults!
Every day, several times a day, I heard my parents saying to Roger:
"No, no. That’s not how we behave in this family."
"No, no. You don’t have to scream or fight or hurt other people to get what you want."
"No, no, Roger, we expect you to show respect in this family."
And in time Roger began to change.
Now, did Roger have to make all those changes in order to become a part of the family?
No. He was made a part of the family simply by the grace of my father.
But did he then have to do a lot of hard work because he was in the family?
You bet he did.
It was tough for him to change, and he had to work at it.
But he was motivated by gratitude for the incredible love he had received.
Do you have a lot of hard work to do now that the Spirit has adopted you into God’s family?
Certainly. But not in order to become a son or a daughter of the heavenly Father.
No, you make those changes because you are a son or daughter.
And every time you start to revert back to the old addictions to sin, the Holy Spirit will say to you, "No, no. That’s not how we act in this family."
At Ohio State University, Ravi Zaccharias did an open forum on a radio talk show. The host was an atheist. From the start, the callers were antagonistic. "I could feel the tension as soon as the lines lit up. One angry woman caller said, “All you people have is an agenda you’re trying to promote.” Referring to abortion, she said, “You want to take away our rights and invade our private lives.”
Abortion had not even been brought up.
“Just a minute,” I replied, “we didn’t even raise the subject.”
“Ok,” she said, “what is your position on abortion then?”
I said, “Can I ask you a question? On every university campus I visit, somebody stands up and says that God is an evil God to allow all this evil into our world. This person typically says, ‘A plane crashes: 30 people die, and 20 people live. What kind of God would arbitrarily choose some to live and some to die?’”
I continued, “But when we play God and determine whether a child within a mother’s womb should live, we argue for that as a moral right. So when human beings are given the privilege of playing God, it’s called a moral right. When God plays God, we call it an immoral act. Can you justify this for me?”
That was the end of the conversation.
THE GRADUATION GIFT
A young man was getting ready to graduate from college. For many months he had admired a beautiful sports car in a dealers showroom, and knowing that his father could well afford it, he told him that was all he wanted. As Graduation Day approached, the young man awaited signs that his father had purchased the car. Finally, on the morning of his graduation, his father called him into his private study.
His father told him how proud he was to have such a fine son, and told him how much he loved him. He handed his son a beautiful wrapped gift box. Curious, but somewhat disappointed, the young man opened the box and found a lovely, leather bound Bible, with the young man’s name embossed in gold.
Angrily, he raised his voice to his father and said, "With all your money you give me a BIble?" and stormed out of the house, leaving the Bible.
Many years passed and the young man was very successful in business. He had a beautiful home and wonderful family, but realized his father was very old and thought perhaps he should go to him. He had not seen him since that graduation day. But before he could make arrangements, he received a telegram telling him his father had passed away, and willed all of his possessions to his son. He needed to come home immediately and take care of things.
When he arrived at his father’s house, sudden sadness and regret filled his heart.
He began to search through his father’s important papers and saw the still new Bible, just as he had left it years ago. With tears, he opened the Bible and began to turn the pages.
His father has carefully underlined a verse, Matthew 7:11, "And if ye, being evil, know how t...
A SCHOOL TEACHER asked her first graders to draw a picture of something they were thankful for. She thought of how little these children from poor neighborhoods actually had to be thankful for. She reasoned that most of them would no doubt draw pictures of turkeys on tables with lots of other food.
She was surprised with the picture that Douglas handed in. It was the picture of a human hand, poorly drawn. But whose hand? The other children tried to guess. One said it was the hand of God because He brings the food to us. Another said it was the hand of a farmer because he raises and grows the food. Finally, when the others were back at their work, the teacher bent over Douglas’ desk and asked whose hand it was. "Why, its your hand, teacher," he mumbled. Then she recalled that frequently at recess she had taken Douglas, a scrubby, forlorn child, by the hand. She did it with many of the children and never thought much about it. But Douglas did. You see, she refreshed his spirit and he never forgot it.
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 kindhearted pastor, who had befriended their daughter, to handle the final arrangements. As her 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 of dollars. When told that the church could not pay so much, he offered it for 57 cents.
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.
That caring Pastor was named Russell H. Conwell. He became the founder of what is now known as Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The little girl was named Hattie May Wiatt who died in 1886.
In a sermon on December 1, 1912, which honored Hattie Dr Conwell reminded his congregation of the impact of that 57 cents –“ think of this large church,” he wrote, “think of the membership added to it – over 5600 – since that time. Think of the institutions this church founded. Think of the Samaritan Hospital and the thousands of sick people that have been cured there, and the thousands of poor that are ministered to every year. Think of how in that Wiatt house (by which 54 cents of that 57 cents was used in the first payment) were begun the very first classes of the Temple College.”
If God can do that with 57 cents think what He can do with $5.70, $57.00, $570.00, and even $5700.00. When we use the tool of treasure, of money, that God has provided us, and give, we don’t give it to programs or buildings we give it to a cause – the cause of God.