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I teach fourth grade CCD. One of the things I am trying to teach the children is to show their love for Jesus and to do things to 'help' Jesus. This article fits perfectly because I stress with the kids that they don't have to do big things to change the world, they can help Jesus by doing little things. Be nice to each other. Help someone else, and it can be as simple as picking up a pencil they dropped. Be good and do good things. etc.
I plan on sharing this article if that is okay with you.
Five ways to make a difference for God at school
Kelly Carlson 19 NOVEMBER 2021
No matter whether your school year is just beginning - or you're right in the middle of it - it's always a great time to use your life, words and actions to show the love of Jesus to those around you. Here are five ways you can make your school years count:
1. Learn people’s names
Our names are the word we long to hear most. It indicates intimacy, friendship, and being known. Learn people’s names and use them as often as possible. Seek out hidden people like maintenance workers. Welcome outcasts, new students, and quiet peers with personal greetings. Use their name in the hallways no less than you would your closest friends. This is a small step to take to show people you care about them, and will help you build relationships for Jesus' sake.
2. Thank your teachers and pray for them
Occasionally ask your teachers how their lives are going, and keep track of when they share aspects of their struggles with you. If they are open to it, keep a list of their requests and tell them you're going to pray for them. Follow up in the future to ask about the topic or situation happening in their life. Let’s not forget teachers are real people. They go through struggles, sickness and hurt just like we do, and prayer is powerful!
3. Defend against cruelty with encouragement
Fighting cruelty with cruelty is never a good idea. God just won’t have it. Seek out those who are bullied and intentionally build them up. Tell them you care about them – and so does God. Speak the truth loudly and regularly to help counter the negative voices in their lives. Pray for bullies and invite the hurting to join you at lunch, in social activities, or at youth group.
4. Invest fully in whatever you do
How do basketball or art club matter? Alone, they don’t. But your participation, treatment of teammates or use of your gifts - these matter a lot! Jim Elliot, a famous missionary murdered by those he went to reach, writes “Wherever you are, be all there.” Don’t spread yourself so thin you cannot be fully present. Giving your all in whatever you do lets people know you are an authentic person who cares about others.
5. Enjoy school, but keep it in perspective
Athletic team try-outs, grades, and goals can leave us clothed with competition instead of compassion. Dances, dates, and smiles in the hall can leave us seeking wordly acclaim rather than making our Saviour known in this world. Be a light in your school. Yes, enjoy the dances, work hard, and reach goals. But just make sure the things of this world don't become more important to you than the maker of the world.
What if I fail my exams?
Kristin Young 14 NOVEMBER 2021
Do you get nervous waiting for your exam results? Maybe you can’t eat because your stomach is churning so much. You keep wondering about a whole bunch of questions:
What will the results be?
Will they be enough to get into my university course?
What if... what if I don’t get to do what I really, really wanted to do?
When your dream is shattered
I remember the shock of 'bad' exam results. One minute I had my world all planned out, and the next ... well, the next moment everything crashed down around me. Here are some questions I had to deal with:
How much am I thinking 'Good marks = good person?'
How much of my self-esteem depends on my academic results?
Am I trusting in God, or am I really trying to control him by planning out my own future?
Have I been expecting God to automatically approve my ideas, rather than letting Him be in charge?
In Proverbs, we are reminded:
If you’re dealing with the same grief I had to deal with, don’t panic. It can feel like you’re facing a really uncertain future, but you’re not alone, and you’re not lost. Here are some things that helped me:
1. God loves you
You might not be feeling very loved right now, but God loves you more than you know. He loves you so much that Jesus came to give up his life for you. No matter what happens, God doesn’t love you any less. His love is not dependent on any exam mark.
2. God knows you better than you know yourself
If God knows all this about you, then he also knows your gifts. He knows what you’re best at, even if you’re still struggling to work that out.
3. God knows the future, and he’s in control of everything
When everything seems out of control, God’s still in control. In my case, I can look back now and thank God he didn’t let me head in the direction I wanted to - it would have been a disaster! But at the time, I just had to trust Him that he knew what he was doing. When life seemed most out of control, God was fully in charge.
4. God’s plans are different to our plans
God isn’t us. He doesn’t just nod and approve of whatever we think we should do. Sometimes God purposely gives us a wake-up call like this to remind us that we’re not gods. It’s like he stops us in our tracks and says, “I love you, but are you going to let me be in charge now?”
5. God is more concerned with who we are than with what we do
God works everything for our good, but “our good” is not necessarily our wealth or success or career glory.
God’s ultimate purpose for your life is that you will be more like Jesus (“conformed to the image of his Son”). I couldn’t be like Jesus when I was resting on academics for my self esteem. So God thankfully took that away from me (I can say that now). It’s a life-long journey, and there are still times when God lovingly gives me that sort of tap on the shoulder. But I’m grateful, because Jesus is so much more awesome than anything else.
6. There is nothing too big for God to deal with, so pray, and pray, and... pray
At the moment you might not be able to see your future, but God can. So ask him to look after it. Here’s the sort of prayer I ended up praying:
Instead of asking God what he wanted me to do, I’d been shoving my proud ideas in his face, and expecting God to just give automatic approval to my plans. It took a massive reality check for me to realise I wasn’t in control of my world. I needed to repent of my pride, and depend on the God who is in control of everything.
There was this old hymn that kept on turning around in my mind as I dealt with this issue:
What’s the big deal with casual sex?
10 NOVEMBER 2021
Edited from a Q&A written by christianity.net.au
You're out on a date, and kissing is starting to turn into something more. You know what the Bible says about sex before marriage but you're excited, feeling good and after all, everyone else is doing it. Surely God won't mind! Once you do get married you're sure you'll be able to commit to that one special person, but for now, what's the problem with having some fun and exploring sex?
For most of the world, sex is no big deal. It’s for fun and pleasure, but it doesn’t have to be confined to a committed marriage. In fact, a lot of the world would say, "sleep with as many people as you can", or "have as much sex as you can!" This is the message we receive in magazines, online and on TV.
So, when we are young and exploring life, why does God continue to insist we wait until marriage for sex?
Why is sex so special?
Sex is a special gift from God designed to unite a couple in marriage. When sex is practiced as it should it is a wonderful gift of intimacy that builds and cements the marriage relationship.
Sex is part of the means by which a couple become “one flesh” when married. The picture of marriage in Genesis is one where there is such intimacy and trust that “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Gen 2:25). Sex creates, enhances and expresses this intimacy. It's not something we do to 'get something' from someone, it's the ultimate physical expression of love and commitment.
Saving sex for your spouse
In any other context but a commited marriage, sex can have deeply painful consequences. Unfortunately, sin distorts even this most precious gift so that sex can be used to exploit, abuse and defile.
Sex's uniting power is strong, so it is virtually impossible to have sex that does not involve giving of the whole self. Therefore without the corresponding commitment to love, cherish and stand by another person for the rest of your life, this uniting power is corrupted and damaged.
What generally happens is that the more you try and turn the intimacy off and have a fling, the less likely you are to be able to turn it back on when it counts. The result is that sex starts to lose its ability to cement and build the marriage relationship.
If you engage in casual sex and later get married, the consequences of your past actions will reveal themselves, even if you've repented. Going against God's good design is never a good idea, and though God does forgive and promise to wipe your slate clean before him, you and your spouse will still have to work through pain and grief.
Explore sex when you're married
God has designed sex to work best in the context of a committed life long relationship. There is nothing to be gained by “exploring”.
In fact, “exploring” the sexual dimension of a relationship is part of the building the intimacy in it. There is great joy in discovering sexual intimacy for the first time with someone who is committed to you. There is no fear and no shame because that person has promised not to leave you. Sex within marriage is actually the most freeing expression of sexuality, contrary to popular belief!
Sex before marriage may look and be appealing but there is much more to be gained by keeping yourself until you are married, as hard as this may be in our “enlightened” society. So next time you're tempted to go too far with someone, remember that God has designed sex for marriage, and the designer always knows how his creation works best.
I don't write these articles. They come to me via an RSS feed from other sites. And I choose the ones that I think might be of interest to the Christians on this forum. I don't always agree with everything that is written in these articles, but that's fine.