Sunday, May 22, 2011

Dealing with Bullies

Bullying is a big problem. When someone tries to hurt, scare, embarrass you or try to get you into trouble, they are bullying you. Here are some things you can do:
  1. Do not bully back.
  2. Tell an adult--a teacher and/or your parents.
  3. Avoid the bully. Take a different route to your locker or the lunch room or gym. If the bully is in your class, you need to tell the teacher.
  4. Stand tall and be confident.
  5. Do not allow name calling to get to you emotionally. That's what the bully wants.
  6. Use self-defense as a last resort--when you are trapped and alone with the bully. Make every effort not to let this happen.
  7. Realize bullies are usually insecure people and they use bullying to give themselves power. They may not come from loving homes and this might be their way to get attention. Jesus said in Matthew 5:43, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.'" As a Christian boy or girl, your attitude and prayers can make a difference.
Here are some links to more extensive articles on how to deal with bullying:

Lord Jesus, I pray for kids who are bullied, that You would protect them. Help them make right decisions to be confident and tell adults. I pray for the bullies, that you would send someone to love them and show them a better way. Amen.

Monday, May 16, 2011

God's Peace

It's Monday morning rush hour. Cars whiz by this way and that way. Moms and Dads are in a hurry to get to work. College students have to get to class before the professor begins his lecture.

Suddenly the world stops while a mother duck leads her ducklings across the busy street. Hearts soften, and faces crack open with smiles as a family of ducks announces God's presence in Anytown, USA. For a few quiet moments people roll down their windows, smell the orange blossom fragrance, and experience peace, a peace that passes understanding, God's peace.

Not so for the people several cars back. Drivers get frustrated because they don't know what's holding things up. A young man gets out of his car and walks down to investigate. His heart softens when he sees the ducks. God's creation penetrates his impatience and peace overcomes him.

Gracious and holy God, thank you for pleasant interruptions of your extravagant peace in a world that races by. Thank you for the ducks. Thank you for always being with us. Amen.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Jesus Loves Me

           “Hey! Christi, are you signing up for soccer?” asked Julia.
            “No,” replied Christi. “I thought about it but decided not to.”
            “Because some of the games are on Sunday mornings.”
            “Yeah, so?”
            “Well, I go to Sunday school.”
            “Can’t you miss a Sunday or two?”
            “I suppose I could,” said Christi. “But I don’t want to.”
            “What’s so special about Sunday school?”
            “You mean you’ve never gone?”
            “No, why should I?”
            “Well, I like going because I have fun and learn how much Jesus loves me.”
            “How do you know Jesus loves you?” asked Julia.
            “Because He died on the cross for me.”
            “What?” Julia asked.  “What do you mean He died on a cross for you?”
            “He was nailed to a cross for . . .”
“Christi, that’s disgusting!” shouted Julia. “That’s horrible. How could that prove anything to anyone?” Julia didn’t give Christi time to answer. She just stomped away.
Christi walked home from school by herself. She looked down at the ground and felt terrible. “Dear God, I’m sorry,” she cried. Tears streaming down her face, she opened the front door to her house and ran straight to her bedroom.
“Christi, what’s the matter?” Mom asked as she stepped into her room.
“Oh Mom,” she said. “Julia wanted me to sign up for soccer, but I told her I couldn’t because some of the games were on Sundays. I told her I liked Sunday school and learning how much Jesus loves me.”
“Christi, I am glad you made that decision,” Mom said.
“Mom, she asked me how I knew Jesus loved me and I told her because He was nailed to a cross for me.” Christi couldn’t talk. She cried and cried. “Mom, Julia said for Jesus to be nailed to a cross for me was disgusting. She cut me off and strutted down the street. Oh Mom, I feel awful.”
Mom held her close and Christi sobbed big sobs.
“Christi,” Mom said, “I know God was with you and I know He loves you very much. When you think about it, being nailed to a cross is pretty disgusting. It was painful and humiliating for Jesus. But He endured the cross because He loves us. You were right. People who don’t know Him don’t understand the cross. I bet you gave Julia something to think about.”
“Oh yes,” Mom said. “I know she is a good friend and she trusts you.”
“Do you think God will give me another chance to tell her how much Jesus loves her?”
“It’s possible,” Mom said. “Let’s be thankful for today. God was with you.”
Christi stopped her crying and smiled. Mom started singing and Christi joined in,
            “Jesus loves me, this I know,
            For the Bible tells me so.
            Little ones to Him belong.
            They are weak but He is strong.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            Yes, Jesus loves me.
            The Bible tells me so.”

Sunday, May 1, 2011

How Many Arms Can a Starfish Have?

What is your favorite fish in the acquarium? I like the starfish. Did you know that two thousand species of starfish or sea stars live in all the world's oceans? That includes the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Antarctic regions. The starfish live in a broad depth range from intertidal to abyssal depths which is 6000 meters.

We think of the typical five arm sea star, but depending on the species, they can have as many as fifty arms. Each species has different feeding and regeneration behaviors. Although most starfish are calm, the tropical Crown of Thorns starfish are voracious predators of coral throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

The starfish are examples of God's magnificent creation. Did you know you are more precious to Him than the most beautiful of sea creatures? It's true! He loves you so much He sent Jesus, His only Son to earth. Jesus held children in His arms and blessed them. He loves you and wants to be your Forever Friend. He will always be with you. Say His name (Jesus) and you will know He is near.