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by John Lynch, Bruce McNicol, and Bill Thrall
Walking down the road of life, you arrive at a fork in the road. The sign says that to the left is the way of pleasing God. To the right, the way of trusting God. Can’t I have both? you think.
What if God isn’t who you think He is…and neither are you?
Is the formula for godliness, “More right behavior + Less wrong behavior = Godliness?”
Is your sin a massive pile that stands in between you and God? Do you feel that you must first clean up your life before you can have a relationship with God? Could it be possible that Jesus doesn’t wait on the other side of the sin pile? but instead comes around to your side and says, “Let’s work on this together”?
As I read this book I discovered truths that change the way I view God. When we embrace the above template for godliness we disregard the righteousness that God already placed in us. The reality is, “We can never resolve sin in our life by working on it.”
It was time for sleep.
Alas one cricket had other ideas. His time clock for sleeping was not synchronized with mine. No, not at all.
I waved my light around peering for him. No sign.
I tried headphones. Drowning him out more or less for a half hour. Surely he will quit. No such thing.
Oh blessed silence made for deep slumber, where hast thou gone?
Lights on. No more little phone flashlight. All seriousness now. Looking all around. Listening. Sound bounces off the walls. Ahh. I was sure I had discovered his location. I marched outside with a light and a broom, hoping to spot him on my wall.
Back inside. Add Raid. Sweet smelling victory spray, ya know.
Listening. Surely he was in the corner here. Pulled aside the bed. There he was. You are doomed fella. With a flip flop in one hand and the can of Raid in the other I made my approach.
It’s hard to swing accurately with the left hand while lying in bed at a small target in a corner with little room to swing.
But I think I managed to wound him. He shut up at least.
However, better go for complete eradication. Move the bed more. Couple suitcases. Bingo. Raid.
Chuckle to myself as be flops on his back his legs kicking in the air. One accurate left-handed shot with the flip flop ends his song for good.
The sweet smell of victory in the air as I drift off to sleep…
Michael. Five years old. Welcome guy.
He lives far enough away that during the week he stays at school.
A story about Michael. As you read, think about the things we were able to communicate and remember that this was his second week of school.
I had to punish Michael the other day.
It was right after devotions. Kevin told me that Michael had flipped him off. I told Michael to come. [remember this is only his second week at school] He knew I wanted him to come. So he nicely kept his distance. I didnt want to chase him, but…
He walked right into Wesley. Got him. We went to my room. Think he was already screaming at this point. I told him that flipping people off was illegal. A no no. I decided for his punishment I would hit his hand twice with a stick I had. When he saw the stick he yelled and yelled. I made him stand in one little square in my room. He wanted to move around. He cried. Yelled.
Refused to give his hand. Clasped it tightly behind him. I made the signs numerous times that flipping people off, illegal, a no no. Asked for his hand. Told him two whacks. Nothing doing.
I gave him a whack on the behind. Telling him to give me his hand. He yelled. Cried. But refused. He knew what I wanted. He kept trying to back up against the wall. I pulled him back to his square. He was trying to see what he could get away with.
He even tried saying he was sorry. That bout got me. But he really wasnt sorry cause he refused to let me whack his hand.
Several more, giving him the option of giving me his hand. Not happening. Whacks on the behind. More yelling. Refusal. Repeat. Repeat. He yelled and yelled. He was furious.
I decided I had spanked him enough. Now I would wait. Waited. Made sure he stayed in his square. We are talking like a half hour or so by now. I needed to go meet Flavio in town, but decided it was more important to finish this and explain to Flavio that I had to take care of some things before coming.
Michael was getting tired. He was still yelling and crying. I kept asking for his hand. He tried to sit down. Tried to go lie down on his bed. I held him for a bit. He wanted to leave. I put him in his square. He flopped to the floor. I was about at the end. What do you do? Then, he quit. He held out his hand. Was pretty amazing. He let me whack it twice.
He told me sorry. I gave him a hug and went with him to tell Kevin sorry.
Then left to meet Flavio.
You would think the kid would hate me after that. So mean. Me spanking him. Forcing him to come to the decision to let me whack his hand. But no, when I got back, he liked me more than ever. Felt like the structure and discipline given him was what he needed. Like he respected me cause I didnt allow him to control me.
Fast forward another day. So Michael comes into my room and sees the stick I used to punish him. He looks at it. Picks it up. Whacks his hand with it. Looks at me and says, dont flip people off.
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It’s been almost a month now since a new student has been coming to our school. I think it’s high time for an introduction.
Enter Eduardo. Twelve years old. Never been to school.
Eduardo is a calm guy. Always a ready smile. He is the artistic type. Learning to write, to shape the numbers and letters. Very neatly. Learning sign language at a rapid pace.
It’s been a good challenge having him in my classroom. Takes a bit of planning to keep all the students busy and learning. But seeing them understand. The light in their eyes. It’s rewarding.