Ripping up Bad Report Cards: a Freeing Experience

Fearful spies brought God’s people a bad report of the Promised Land (see Numbers 14:32).

Most people got discouraged when they heard it.

“Oh, how we wish we’d died,” they cried,

“In the land of Egypt (where they had been gypped).”

 

To enter a land of milk and honey

With an outlook bright and sunny

seemed like an impossible task to them.

 

That’s how I used to feel: like I could never reach that promised land. Then one day recently I was looking through some bad report cards former teachers had written about me.

These were bad reports, I realized,

Telling me I was the wrong size

To tackle all those giants in the Promised Land.

 

Rip, shred, tear!

One bad report card hit the trash, then another.

With great joy I threw them all away.

 

My teachers’ wrong assessments went sailing into the can. Along with those false assessments went the insecurity that stems from trying to please other people rather than pleasing God.

Because teachers have expectations

Based on whatever evaluations

Someone else expects them to complete

In order to prove they’ve done their job

And done it well.

 

If a teacher is mostly negative, however,

It can affect a child’s self esteem

(And make it hard for them to reach their dream).

 

Rip, shred, tear!

 

For many years those bad report cards

Stared me in the face.

One of them especially lacked very little grace:

 

Tons of minuses from a teacher who must have hated me.

She couldn’t find one quality in which this shy child excelled.

 

NOT A SINGLE ONE.

 

Despite the fact that I never caused trouble in the classroom. I got zero points for being well-behaved.

 

ZERO POINTS WHATSOEVER: as in, one entire column showed straights N’s (N meaning Negative).

 

So, what do you think I did with that report card?

 

Rip, shred, tear!

Throw out the bad report card and free the child from discouraging expectations she could never meet.

For I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

True, like everyone else I have fallen short of God’s glory, but that DOES NOT make me inferior to other human beings. Because Jesus cared enough to die for me, which is what those failing teachers failed to see.

Do I hate them for it? No, but I do give the worst grader an F minus when it comes to understanding children. Yet, at the same time I do believe that she, too, can change. In fact, perhaps she has already changed for the better. If not, I pray she comes to know God’s love in a most amazing way.

Meanwhile, do I accept her bad report?

NO WAY!!!!!

Throw out the bad report card and free the inner child,

And in the end there shall be peace and harmony for all.

 

https://atomic-temporary-102676306.wpcomstaging.com/deliverance/when-youre-born-different-identity-crisis/

How John the Baptist Set the Stage for Grace

I. John the Baptist calls Some People Vipers

John the Baptist is an interesting Bible character, known for preaching a baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins. Yet the picture that probably sticks in some people’s minds is him calling Pharisees and Sadducees a brood of vipers. “Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Matthew 4:7)

It was a scary message for them, but was it his main message? Does John the Baptist seem to paint a picture of an angry God? Is his a condemning message or does it set the stage for grace?

Let’s start by asking this question: What sort of repentance did John the Baptist preach?

II. John Says Share (Show Grace to the Less Fortunate)

Try this on for size: “He that has two coats, let him impart to him that has none; and he that has meat, let him do likewise.” (Luke 3:11) In other words, show grace and share with those in need. This could be a Christmas message, Charles Dickens style: Let the self-centered Scrooge learn to love his neighbor as himself.

To the publicans (tax collectors) John said, “Exact no more than that which is appointed you.” In other words, do your job and don’t be greedy. In a world where people sometimes cheat for fear of not having enough, John the Baptist promotes self-control, a fruit of the Holy Spirit and gift of God’s grace which enables believers to keep God’s seventh command “Don’t steal.”

III. John Says Don’t Be Violent; Be Content

To soldiers, John the Baptist said, “Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.” Boy, does our world need that message! We see violence almost everywhere: especially on TV; also via the Internet and even on our phones. Violence is a form of murder, addressed by the sixth command “Don’t kill.” Showing grace and mercy is the opposite of murder.

As for false accusation, it has become the latest rage on social media. God calls it “bearing false witness against your neighbor” (lying or “fake news”). False accusation is mean. God doesn’t like it. Thank God for John the Baptist who struck a blow for telling the truth! Doing God’s will is not drudgery. It’s all about His grace.

Finally, being content with one’s wages is the opposite of coveting and touches on the very last commandment, which is about not envying other people’s stuff. To be content is a positive thing, made possible through Jesus through whom grace and mercy flow. “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John declares in John 1:29.

In so doing, he sets the stage for grace.

At the Cusp of a New Beginning

I. A New Beginning

 

I’m at the cusp of a new beginning.

What to take? What to let go?

For as I head toward a new place,

Old cursed ways will have to go.

 

I can’t pin down this new beginning though,

Nor forge the path alone,

But friendliness is my best bet

To set the proper tone.

 

Before arising like an eagle

To soar past mountains decked with snow,

I first desire to see your glory, Lord.

That’s all I want to know.

 

For to rest in your sweet presence

Is my one true destination.

So, to follow after you

Let me have zero hesitation.

 

Because to fly, I must be free from

Heavy weights that bring me down.

But as I rise, though, let me not seek honor

Or my own renown.

 

Rather, let me give you praise

And carry me upon your wings

While I surrender to your goodness

With a song of joy that sings.

 

II. God Makes it Possible

 

You help me zip past stumbling blocks

That seek to block my path,

Rocks of unreal expectations

Glued to jealousy and wrath.

 

So, as you bring this new beginning,

Shine your light and heal my soul,

That past hurts might not dictate.

Impart fresh vision, make me whole.

 

Show me your easy yoke that

Frees me up to do your will,

Releases me from worry,

Gives me strength to climb each hill.

 

It protects me from all danger,

Never focuses on my sin,

And in every bitter struggle

Causes peace to reign within.

 

Lord, I thank you, you are great

No matter what  I face.

I’ll conquer every obstacle

By leaning on your grace.

 

Not looking to past failures

Or consumed with hurt and pain,

Though willing to  endure suffering

For the sake of your great name.

 

Because godliness with contentment

Results in greatest gain,

And as I seek to do your will

There is no need to strain.

 

https://miracle-times.com/poetry/give-thanks-every-circumstance/

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/speed-of-sight-c-r-flamingbush/112879