Friday, December 23, 2016

Oh Come Let Us Adore Him

Recently, I have been meditating on Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem found in Matthew 21. The part I have been thinking about is the crowd. How easy it is jump on ship with God and His plan when times are easy or look good! The crowd, in the excitement of the moment, worshipped and praised Jesus as he entered Jerusalem on a small donkey, fulfilling prophecy. Yet that same crowd would turn on Jesus not that long later and tell Pilate to free Barabbas and crucify Jesus. What happened from chapter 21 to chapter 27? The crowd seemed to be missing the big picture of God’s plan, as they were trying to force Him to fit their own plan.

Most of that crowd praised Jesus because of what He could potentially do for them: free them from Rome, heal their sick, or put the corrupt Pharisees in their place. Most of them were not praising Jesus for who He was or for His power to connect them to God the Father. If they had truly understood why Jesus deserved their praise, they most likely would not have turned on Jesus when He didn’t fulfill their personal expectations.

Christmas time feels a lot like that triumphal entry to me. So many people talk about baby Jesus during the Christmas season, and they seem to praise Him for His earthly life and ministry. Yet that same crowd spends most of the year expecting God to meet their needs rather than surrendering their lives over to whatever He has planned for them.

Today, the day before Christmas Eve, my mom and I headed to the mall. The crowd was so crazy! There were people everywhere, swarming in and out of every store, restaurant, and booths. As I was watching the crowd, it made me feel part of that crowd in Jerusalem. The Christmas season is not just about what God can give or has given us, but I would love to see it become a season of rededicating (or re-gifting) our lives to give back over to His control.

I am so thankful for God’s direction and strength that He provides! Jesus’ plan while riding that donkey was so much bigger than to rescue the crowd from their earthly problems. His heart was to obey and follow God out of love for us as sinners. He offers us the best gift as our Savior: eternal life. We in return should offer Him all we have: our earthly lives.

Isaiah 53:3-6

He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his wounds we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Wrapping up for Christmas

It is so hard to believe that Christmas break is coming up so fast! Just one more week before break begins, and I get to see my family again. I’m so excited to go home, yet I consistently find myself getting emotional about leaving my students. This small break makes me look towards the end of the year. I’ve never been that good at saying goodbye no matter where I’m leaving, and I’m already preparing myself.

I have my class filling out a “shopping list” for me to get over break. One of the things I have on the list is high heels. I’ve pretty successfully been able to wear flats up till a few weeks ago and still be taller than my students, but I’m starting to notice about half of them are going to be taller than me very shortly! I get so excited to see them growing: physically, emotionally, spiritually, academically.

Here are some quotes from my students. I asked them a few days ago what they felt has been the most valuable thing that they have learned since the beginning of this school year.

“I learned that the Bible has been proven many times. I also have learned to study every day of the week.”

“I have learned that by using God’s Word and Bible we can learn to witness to other people.”

“1. I learned how to witness to people. 2. I learned to work together so we can finish faster. 3. I learned how to have a better relationship with God. 4. I have learned nothing is impossible with God.”

“I have improved in my work and learned many things. I have been able to improve in my relationship with God.”

“I learned how to have a better relationship with God for my whole life.”

“The most important thing that I have learned was to have a better relationship with God.”

“I learned the hidden messages in Jesus’ crucifixion.”

“I learned that I need good education so that I can get a good job and life. I also need a strong relationship with God.”

I'm so thankful for this opportunity to connect with this class and to be there to watch them grow! They are the best gift.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pretend Plans

When you make a really obvious mistake, the teaching tip here is to turn it into a learning experience. For instance, if someone happens to buy the wrong length of Christmas lights to decorate the board, and all the students can obviously see that the lights don’t fit or look right, one can simply turn it into a math problem. “If a strand of 100 lights is only 1.5 meters long, how many strands should you plan to buy for a board that is 3 meters long?” If you’re lucky, your students will make a mistake and get the wrong answer, so then you can empathize together that making mistakes is an easy thing to do. J