Pastor’s Thoughts

SCHOOL DAYS

     It is hard to believe that school is starting this month and by the time some of you read this school may already be in session. I know our grandchildren have already started in Indiana!
     Do you remember the little song about school? It goes like this:
          School Days, School Days
          Dear old golden rule days
          Reading and ‘riting and ‘rithmatic
          Taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick
          You were my queen in calico
          I was your bashful barefoot beau
          And you wrote on my slate, “I love you, Joe”
          When we were a couple o’ kids.
     This song has been around for over 110 years. It was written by a couple of guys and it is about a mature couple who were looking back at their sentimental journey during their school days.
     Now if you are like me it has been quite some time since I was in elementary school. In reality it was in the early to mid-60’s in which I was in elementary school. Much has changed since those early days of school.
     Perhaps we need to change some of the words in this song to reflect our culture today. Let’s give it a try:
          School Days, School days
          Oh, what are the rules these days
          PowerPoints and Smartboards and Ebook Time
          Daily updates of grades online
          You were the girl whose jeans would drag
          I was the boy whose trousers sagged
          I’d text on my cell, replies would lag
          When we were a couple of kids.
          (www.21centryedtech.wordpress.com
     I don’t know about you but that is typical of today and if you are like me…when I don’t understand something, I can usually ask my grandkids and they can help me through it!
     I thought about my time in elementary school and remember the “good ol’ days” when we would say the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag, the principal would recite a prayer over the PA system, we had Bible classes and grace was given before we ate our lunches. We didn’t have to worry about someone bringing a gun into school because they were upset about something. We would try and work through the problems and begin to do better!
     Please understand that there were plenty of problems in the school system when I attended elementary and high school. Just because I can think of better days doesn’t mean that every day was better…it was hard, and it was difficult. We were fighting the beginnings of the drug culture and the sexual culture. It was not very pretty but we continued to move forward, but as we moved forward, we left the one thing behind that we really needed and that was God.
     Yes, I know, those were the days in which prayer was removed from the schools and other things were taken out. The question I have is where does it end? How much do we remove before we realize that what we have removed made America great?
     I read this past week that some schools were placing Bible classes back in the curriculum and I applaud them for taking that step! Perhaps we need to become the America that is more dependent upon God instead of government! I don’t know but maybe we need to give it another try and see if life doesn’t get better relying upon God!
     I hope that you and I as parents, grandparents and great-grandparents will uphold our schools, teachers, janitors, cafeteria workers, administrative assistants, administrative and school boards up in prayer as they try to do their best to teach our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren right here in our own community!
     I pray that God will give continue to show us His mercy and grace through this school year!
THE POWER OF BLESSING

     I would like to share an observation and it is not about you but may speak of you indirectly. My wife and I, after we got married (31 years on May 28th), used to kid around and poke fun at each other. We would call each other silly names as we were laughing and joking around. It didn’t seem like a big thing except when our emotions would get the best of us. Then those “silly names” would come up and accusations of what was done in fun became hurting words.                      
     We realized that we were, even in jest, cursing each other. Now that may seem somewhat ludicrous but in reality, instead of lifting or blessing each other…we were cursing each other.
     So, what is blessing and what is cursing? Sometimes a way to define a word is to tell what it is not…so here goes. For example, white is the opposite of black, light is the opposite of darkness, yes is the opposite of no and blessing is the opposite of cursing!!
     Perhaps some of you reading this do not have any guilt about cursing because in many cases people will exclaim that “nice people don’t do it!”
     No place in this world, no matter how primitive or sophisticated it may be, is without its forms of cursing and blessing. Cursing seems to be easy to do for many people…it doesn’t take a lot of practice to figure it out! But blessing on the other hand…hmm, now that one is a little more difficult to do!
     Maurice Berquist, in his book, “The Miracle and Power of Blessing” shares this thought on learning to bless instead of cursing. “When you enroll in the school of blessing, you find out there are three grades. First, learn to bless God. Second, learn to bless yourself. Third, learn to bless other people and then learn to bless situations and things. The order is important. There seems to be no way to skip grades in God’s school of blessing.”
     It doesn’t matter if you have been attending church your whole life or are just a casual attender who attends church a couple of times a year. The key here is to start!! This is not easy to do but you can do it. In this school you can’t skip grades you must start from the beginning. Remember in the first grade you must learn how to bless God. Hmmm, bless God you might say…how is that even achievable? Think about it…this is God, the One who created all things…how is this even possible??
     If we were to look at Psalm 103:1, the Psalmist writes these words, “Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.” (KJV)
     This is how you bless God…it must come from your soul! When it comes from the deepest recesses of your soul you will just praise and bless God. We will bless Him for all that He has done for us…yes, even when things aren’t so good, we continue to bless and praise Him!
     This is not an easy task, but it is doable! It takes determination and time to take that step and bless God! I hope and pray you will learn to bless instead of curse!
     Remember I shared about my wife and I as we would make fun of each other? We began blessing God and then we decided we would start blessing each other (Second grade). 
     I will tell you from experience when you bless instead of curse your life will begin to get better and you will see people as God sees them. As you begin to bless God…He will in turn begin to bless you!