Favorite Foods: Lentils
Have you ever been really, really hungry? Maybe after a really tough ball practice or when sitting in school waiting for lunch or when you wake in the morning with you stomach growling? Perhaps, you had to miss a meal because you had a medical test or dental work? Maybe, you are going through a growth spurt and you feel hungry all the time!
When you are hungry, you feed your stomach. You might ask your parent to fix your favorite food or to go thru the drive thru and order a super-size meal. You might go see what is in the cupboard or refrigerator. You are hungry but you won’t stay that way long.
Now imagine you are super hungry and you ask your parent for food and you are told there is no food. You go to the cupboard or refrigerator and find it empty. Suddenly you feel afraid because you are hungry and there is no food.
During the COVID-19 crisis in India, many of our students at the Good Samaritan School faced a food crisis. Hundreds of parents lost their job during lockdown. Most parents are daily wage earners. This means they work each day and are paid at the end of the day. They take the money they just earned and buy food for their family for that day. They usually do not have savings or very much food in their cupboard. Suddenly, families were faced with hunger and unsure where they could get money or food.
The teachers at the Good Samaritan School took quick action. They collected money and bought food for families in need. Soon, friends in the United States heard about the need for food and they began donating funds so families could have daily food. Rice, lentils, flour, and even soap and face masks were purchased, divided up, and distributed to families. Grateful parents accept weekly food packages and no longer need to worry that their children will go hungry. It is another way the Good Samaritan School is sharing the love of God.
In the Bible we read in the book of Proverbs:
“The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9
God wants us to share with those in need and he blesses us when we do. Sharing with the poor honors God and shows compassion and care to those in need. Perhaps you would like to help provide food for children at the Good Samaritan School. You and your family can donate at https://fotgs.givingfuel.com/covid-meal-kit and help kids in India grow strong and stay healthy!
Thank you that my family always has food to eat. I pray for those that are hungry around our world, especially the children. I cannot imagine not having food when I am hungry.
Help me to be generous and share with those in need both in the United States and around the world. I pray that all the children at the Good Samaritan School will have food to eat so they can grow strong and stay healthy.
The Passover Story
““I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:7-8a”
When my oldest daughter was about 6, we started celebrating Passover as a family. I’ve always been drawn to the Passover story and the idea that we could connect to a ritual and celebration that has been practiced century after century spoke so strongly to my heart.
The seder meal is beautiful. There is food, candles, wine, questions, and a meal that lingers for hours. There is a story to recall and for Christians, a beautiful celebration of just not history but prophetic hints at the beauty of the redemption coming through Jesus. It is by far, one of the most spiritual seasons of the year for me and one place I feel confident in having shared my faith with my children well.
Despite my deep love of this celebration and the freedom the story in Exodus offers, I have struggled with the plagues. I’ve struggled to reconcile my sincerest belief in a loving and compassionate God with one who sends suffering and pain to the Egyptians. Each year as I study the story, asking God for fresh eyes and to open my heart for His truth to settle in more deeply, I hit the same snag. Benevolent God sends disaster after disaster to create pain and suffering? I try to embrace the mystery of faith. I had finally settled in a space that I could explain this by pointing to God’s love for the Hebrew slaves and how relentless He pursues freedom for us all. His love so powerful and such a force to be reckoned with that He would use His that power and might to bring freedom to His children.
That was going well.
But I was skimming over a part of this story in my tunnel vision to see good. Over the last few months, the word oppression has rattled in my brain and as I seek to listen and learn from those suffering at the hand of racism and injustice, their oppression is something I can not look away from. Systemic racism does exactly that. It oppresses the ability of those it targets to live in freedom and justice. And the more crushing thought, the one that brings me to my knees in grief, is that when I do not use my privilege to address that system and heal the wounds it has created, I become the oppressor.
Unable to stomach the idea of God bringing down punishment for the sins of the Egyptians against the Hebrew slaves before, I see HIs hatred for oppression and for the suffering of those at the hands of the privileged Egyptians. I see grace in his slow trickle of devastation as he sends the message from Heaven to “Let His People Go.” I see his patience in giving warning after warning to the Egyptian King, locust to frogs to cattle to the loss of the firstborn sons when surely He should not have had to explain why they were in the wrong.
Surely He does not have to explain how we have been wrong?
The Exodus story gives us the incredible opportunity to teach our children how much God desires freedom for all of His children. As we share the story we ask them, “Why would God be so mad about the Hebrews being held in slavery? Why did God want them to be able to make a good life for themselves? Why did God want them to be free from violence and suffering?”
These conversations give us the chance to draw modern-day correlations and consider ways we might leave the side of oppressors and join those fighting for freedom.
The School That Love Built
Written by Leslie Littrell
Last week we learned how Mummy-ji needed more space to teach all the children who came from the slum to her apartment asking her to teach them. When she visited the slum and asked for a place to teach, she was given a space in a room in the dirty, stinky toilet complex! So many children came to learn, they had morning and afternoon school. One day while teaching, a man from Kentucky visited the Toilet School. He could not believe how eager the students were to learn! He was shocked they had school in a public toilet complex. When he went home, he told everyone he knew about the Toilet School. Most importantly, he told children at a school in Kentucky and they began to pray that God would give them a good school.
While the children in Kentucky were praying, Mummy-ji and the children in India were praying. On Saturdays the children went with Mummy-ji to the land where she wanted to build a school. The children knelt down on the ground and asked God to give them a new school. The children in Kentucky also prayed and collected coins in their milk cartons to help build a school.
Have you ever read the story in Exodus where God sent Moses to free the Isrealites out of slavery? They had suffered greatly as slaves. They cried out to God to deliver them and this is how God answered their prayers. God told Moses:
“I have certainly seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their cries of distress because of their harsh slave drivers. Yes, I am aware of their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and lead them out of Egypt into their own fertile and spacious land. It is a land flowing with milk and honey. Exodus 3:7-8a
Just like the Isrealites cried out in prayer to God to free them from slavery, Mummy-ji, students at the Toilet School, and school children in Kentucky cried out to God for a school building. God heard their prayers and after 14 years of teaching without a school building, God gave Mummy-ji and the children a big, beautiful school building called, The Good Samaritan School! Today more than 2000 children from the slums are getting a good education and their future looks bright! God hears, God cares, and God makes a way!
Thank you for hearing us when we cry out to you in prayer. We thank you for giving the children at the Toilet School a big beautiful school where they can learn and grow. Thank you that many children get good jobs when they graduate or get to go to college and learn more. May you bless all the children at the Good Samaritan School and bless Mummy-ji too! Amen
Written by: Amanda Evans Lang
Mathew 25:37 says “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
I’ve always loved fairy tales. In the first Sadie- The Paper Crown Princess book you see elements of fractured fairytales. There is a scene with a beautiful shoe and one with a pile of mattresses fit for a princess. There are fairy godmothers and a prince at the end of the story. But the common element in fairytales that I love most is when a character appears in a different form and tests the hero or heroine.
I can’t help but think of that genre of literature when I read of this scripture. His disciples know Jesus as Lord. They have given up much to follow Him and share all that they have. But He says that to serve Him, they must not just do those things for Jesus Himself but for those with the least amount to give and the least amount of privilege to leverage.
Late last year I had the privilege of spending some time in the asylum camps on the US-Mexico border. Most of the families camped there were fleeing violence and unimaginable horror. They packed what they could carry quickly to throw themselves at the mercy fo the US government for asylum and protection. Going in, I knew that the Bible was full of stories of refugees, those seeking a new life in a new land. I needed to be there though before I really felt like I could speak out about policy and change.
On our last morning, I hung back from our team asking God to write the story on my heart that He wanted me to share. Candy is a universal love language for children in every culture. I couldn’t explain much to the children living in the camp with the language barrier, but candy says a lot. I had a few packages of skittles left in my camera bag and handed them to a small group of boys.
I know that what happened next was not truly the audible voice of God speaking to me but it could have been for how clearly and concisely I understood. The King replied to the questions of my heart, “Whatever you did for that toddler in the asylum camp in his footie pajamas eating skittles, you did for me.”
This little baby, far from home and not welcomed anywhere was the epitome of the least. Without a voice, without resources, without the ability to make any choices for himself, he truly was the least. At in that moment, I knew that my calling was to use my own privilege and gifts to speak for him.
When we look at the current racial climate in our country and communities, I believe God’s heart for us is to use what we have as leverage for the good of those who have not. When we speak out against injustice and racism, we use the power of our voice as a privileged person and we are heard by those who would never listen to a person of color. When we sign petitions, write our government officials, and march to make a small dent in ending systemic racism, we give a platform to those who do not have one. When we donate money to causes that don’t affect our own lives, we invest in those who are not actually afforded the same rights as ourselves.
As parents, we can raise a generation of kids who instinctively offer what they have for someone who has not. My heart is for my kids to without hesitation, give away what is needed simply because someone else has not. I want their immediate thought to be how can I use my resources and gifts to ease this person’s suffering. That process begins by exposing them to the need and suffering of others.
This week you’ll find discussion opportunities and books in the resource section that shine light on those who have not. When our kids understand that life is not the same for everyone, it is then that you can begin to teach how we respond to those injustices.
Written by Leslie Littrell
Last week, we learned about a little boy named Sunny who knocked on Mummy-ji’s door asking for food. Mummy-ji agreed to feed him, but first she taught him to read and write so he would have a better life when he grew up.
Mummy-ji was happy to teach Sunny each day in her home. After the lesson, she always gave him something to eat before she sent him on his way. Sunny loved to learn. The day he learned to write his name, he danced around Mummy-ji’s living room and she danced with him!
One day Mummy-ji heard Sunny’s knock on her door and when she opened it, she could not believe what she saw. There stood Sunny with a whole crowd of children who wanted to learn too! Hesitantly, Mummy-ji invited them in and began to teach all the children. She turned her garage into a school room but soon it was overflowing with children and Mummy-ji knew she had to do something!
Mummy-ji decided to visit the slum and see if she could teach the children right where they lived. She found the man in charge of the slum and asked if there was anywhere she could teach school. He told her he had just the place. In the middle of the slum was a room where people without homes slept at night. It was between the only bathroom for the entire neighborhood of 25,000 people! It was dirty and smelled terrible but Mummy-ji knew the children needed to learn so she said “yes.” Word of the school spread quickly and soon 300 children came for school in the morning and went home so 300 more children could learn in the afternoon. The children named their school, “The Toilet School” and they loved to learn.
Jesus tells a story in the Bible about when he returns (Matthew 25: 31-46). He tells how he will separate people according to what they did with their life on earth. He tells us that whenever we take care of someone who has a need, it is like we did it for Jesus. If someone is hungry or needs clothing and we share with them, Jesus is pleased. I think Jesus is very pleased with Mummy-ji. She saw children who needed food and she fed them. She saw children who needed to learn and she taught them. She saw children who needed love and she extended love to them.
Donate food to a local food bank
Ask your parents for a job to earn money or take money from your piggy bank and give to children in India so they will have healthy food to eat during COVID-19 lockdown. https://fotgs.givingfuel.com/covid-meal-kit
Donate books and school supplies to a school in your community that needs resources.
Written by: Amanda Evans Lang
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been asking God to reveal His heart to me for a response to the news stories I can’t tear myself away from. All of it seems unreal and I know that just serves as evidence of how insulated I am from the effects of the systemic racism and discrimination that dominate most of my conversations on social media and are keeping me awake at night.
I come to Him again, sometimes with all the words I can muster and sometimes with a desperate speechlessness. I suspect that He won’t give me a new word because He has made His position known. The words of the prophet Micah echo in my head.
“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
It’s been said by many Bible scholars that this verse sums up the entirety of the law in the Old Testament. But as Christians, living under the covenant of the new testament does this still hold true? What has He, Jesus, shown me? I can’t find a single place where Jesus sets the example or commands me to anything contrary to this. His love serves as the perfect example of what it means to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.
I often refer to motherhood as a spiritual discipline because it is the act that brings me to my knees and shines a light on the darkest parts of my heart most often. There is something about the exhaustion, the selflessness required, the incessant questions, the comparison, and the constant opportunity for worry that keep me from being fooled by my attempts to have it all together. And motherhood and my desire to pass this teaching on to my children, once again causes me to search the condition of my heart.
He requires this of me. Requires. It is not something I am opting in to on social media and get to leave behind when I log-off to real life. It covers the gamut of my life- my money, my time, my relationships, my work.
He tells me to act justly. I read 51 translations of this verse and all but two use the words do or act. It is not a passive position to take. I am not to admire justice or hope for it. I am required to do it.
And love mercy? Mathew Schmalz says that mercy is “love that responds to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way.” Does that mean I decide of someone deserves to be treated in a loving way? Do I decide if they need that? Do I decide if they are valuable enough to be shown that? No. I’m to have a heart filled with the desire to respond to human need in an unexpected or unmerited way.
We often think of pride as the opposite of humility and while that is true, the requirement to “walk humbly with your God” goes beyond laying down my pride. This picture of walking humbly asks us to set aside our thoughts and rationalizations, our logic and justifications, and rely solely on God’s love for others as our consideration for how we treat our world. It is the only filter we get to run our actions through. The humbling of myself comes only when I give up my ability or right to decide anything about who deserves mercy and justice.
As I think of this verse and how it moves me in the realm of racial reconciliation and the fight to end discrimination, I have to ask myself what prejudices and unrecognized behaviors have kept me from acting justly and loving mercy to BIPOC communities. I have to ask myself what determiners I have used other than God’s heart for his people to dole out justice and love mercy.
Talking to Kids about Justice
Teaching our kids to think critically is one of the greatest contributions we can make to their spiritual development. Our children can memorize chapters of scripture but if they don’t recognize the way to live it out, it’s just another nursery rhyme. Learning to identify injustice is the first step in order to do justice. Your family is making decisions about how much exposure your children have to the current news. Some families are completely locked down and others, like mine, have allowed their kids to participate in local marches. As you discuss current events, take a minute to ask questions like: “I wonder what you think is unfair about _________.” “I wonder what would be the hardest part of ____________ if that happened to our family.”
Learn to embrace the “it’s not fair” whine. As you are calling out major injustice as a family, start sitting with minor unfairness. As your child complains about a sibling, losing recess time because of a classmate, or feelings of jealousy, talk about it. Don’t solve it for them and instead help them notice how it feels to be on the receiving end of unfairness. Developing that empathy muscle begins when children can recall a time when they felt similarly. When you take it a step further and discuss how it could be reconciled, they learn that there are actions that can be taken even when something starts out unfair.
Watch your kids’ hearts unfold. Sometimes my kids can be the most generous and loving people on earth to each other and sometimes they fight about who got the bigger scoop of ice cream. When there is an opportunity for them to address someone getting the short end of the stick, ask them: “I wonder how they feel?” “I wonder how we could make this right or better for________________?” When you make this a habitual reaction to someone expresses their feeling of being treated unjustly, we learn to listen instead of immediately defending ourselves. Its there we can look for ways we can do justice and change the situation.
Practice generosity along with compassion. One of the most beautiful parts of our ministry is the long-term relationship kids get to build with their sponsored child at the Good Samaritan School. We’ve spent a lot of time in our house helping them understand that education is not a right and IT IS NOT FAIR. Education and the opportunity it brings is not a privilege many children living in extreme poverty have. Guess what? If we give up a Domino’s order or two every month, Pooja goes to school through child sponsorship. We have the opportunity to be fairness and act justly.
Written by Leslie Littrell
Our lives change when we pray. Mummy-ji, was a college professor, mother of three and a Christian. With so few believers in India, she began to pray that God would give her His work to do. She kept praying and praying, waiting for God’s answer.
One day as Mummy-ji was cleaning up the breakfast dishes, she heard a knock at her door. When she answered, she found a little boy dressed in ragged clothing. His name was Sunny. That was a good name for him because he had a big smile. When she asked what he needed, Sunny told her that he was hungry. Mummy-Ji happily fed him her left-over breakfast food and sent him on his way. Day after day Sunny returned asking for food. One day when Mummy-Ji answered the door, she told Sunny that she did not want him to grow up to be a beggar. Angrily, she told Sunny to go away and not come back! Mummy-Ji closed the door in Sunny’s face!
As Mummy-Ji walked back into her apartment, she knew in her heart that she had made a mistake. She should not have sent Sunny away. Immediately, Mummy-Ji fell to her knees in prayer asking God to forgive her. Wanting to apologize to Sunny, Mummy-Ji listened each day for his knock. When Sunny did not return, Mummy-Ji prayed and asked God to bring Sunny back.
Finally, one morning Mummy-Ji heard a timid little knock. She raced to the door and rejoiced that it was Sunny! Immediately she apologized and asked Sunny to forgive her and he did! They were both so happy! Mummy-Ji then asked Sunny a question that he did not expect to hear. Mummy-Ji asked Sunny if she could teach him to read and write. She told him after he finished his daily lesson, she would give him food to eat. Excitedly, he agreed. Mummy-JI and Sunny began the journey that morning that led to the creation of the Good Samaritan School.
Listen to the story, Sadie and the School that Love Built, on the free Sadie Shares App
Invite someone to play with you who is not the same race as you or from a different social class.
Pray for unity between people of different races and social classes.
Have you heard of King David in the Bible? I bet you remember him most because of his courage and bravery. He fought the giant, Goliath. David, a shepherd boy with only a slingshot and a few rocks, fought Goliath who was huge and wore protective armor. David trusted God and didn’t let Goliath’s size frighten him. A miracle happened. David fought the battle and won! David knew it was God who gave him the victory.
As David grew, he became an enemy of King Saul. He was often pursued by a vast army of soldiers but he trusted God and God kept David safe. God knew David would make a great leader and so God chose David to be king over the land of Israel!
During King David’s reign, a very special event took place. The ark of the covenant, a gold covered wooden chest that held the 10 commandments, was brought back to Jerusalem to go in the tabernacle where it belonged. As the Ark was brought into Jerusalem, trumpets sounded and people celebrated but King David did something very unusual, especially for a king. He danced in the streets as the Ark was carried into the city. Scripture tells us that David danced before the Lord with all his might!
After the celebration was over, King David was made fun of by Michal, former King Saul’s daughter. She told David that he embarrassed himself by dancing in view of everyone, even young slave girls. We read King David’s response in 2 Samuel 6:21-22.
David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel – I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
We all worship in different ways. Some choose to be quiet and reverent, others lift their hands when they sing, some fall to their knees in worship and some, like King David, choose to dance. Whatever way you choose to worship, be like King David. Don’t be concerned with how others see you, worship in the way that honors God. Keep your eyes and heart focused on Him and worship the Lord with all your heart.
I come before you and praise you. You are a mighty God, the creator of heaven and earth. I worship you, the one true God. Thank you for giving us the example of David who worshipped you with all his might. Help me to worship you in a way that honors you and help me not to be timid or embarrassed when I worship.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen
Badminton, unlike many sports, is most often played with 2 people. It is sometimes called a “casual sport.” Generally, a person does not train or practice badminton but rather it is a pickup game with a friend or family in the backyard.
Yet, in India, badminton is a very popular sport. If you visited the Good Samaritan School in New Delhi, India, you would most likely see students playing badminton during P.E. class. It is not surprising because badminton originated in India. The game was first called Poona because the city of Pune is where it first originated in the 1860’s.
When a person plays a team sport like soccer, baseball or football, the whole team either wins or loses. If you win, you celebrate together. If you lose, you encourage each other to play better next time. Unlike team sports, badminton has one winner and one loser.
Whether you win or lose, God wants you to respond in a way that represents him well. If you win, remember to be humble. In the Bible we read, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way” Psalm 25:9. To be humble is to not think of yourself as better than other people. Sure, you may have won the game but how you handle yourself after winning is important. Remember the other person with kind, encouraging words. If you lose, focus on the fun you had at the game, congratulate the other player, and focus on your friendship more than winning or losing.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving me friends to play with and have fun together. Help me remember when I am playing any type of game, that friendship is more important than winning or losing. Help me to be kind with my words, humble when I win, and a good loser when I lose. Teach me how to always be a good friend.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Children at the Good Samaritan School love to play what we call soccer and what they call football. In fact, most people around the world refer to soccer as football. It is a game you kick with your foot, right? So, football seems the best choice but we will still call it soccer so we don’t become confused.
Soccer is a team sport. All players work together as they dribble and pass the ball down the field in hopes of goal. Defenders, midfielders, forward strikers, wing players, and the goalie are all necessary if you are to play as a team. When one player does not play their part or tries to play another person’s position, the teamwork falls apart and scoring a goal is unlikely. Each player has their own part to play and when the team works together, goals are scored and players celebrate together.
Have you ever read the scripture that refers to the body of Christ? Let’s read a little portion. Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. He is encouraging them by telling them to think of church members as a body. There are many parts each with a role to play but together the parts make up one body.
“Suppose the foot says, “I am not a hand so I don’t belong to the body.” By saying this, it cannot stop being part of the body. And suppose the ear says, “I am not an eye so I don’t belong to the body. If the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? If the whole body were an ear, how could it smell? God has placed each part in the body just as he wanted it to be. If all the parts were the same, how could there be a body? As it is, there are many parts. But there is only one body.
I Corinthians 12:15-20
Isn’t it funny to think about the whole body being an eye or an ear? We need all the parts of our body to function well. We need each other and we need to do our part. If God gave you the gift of being a leader, then lead well. Maybe you are someone who loves to serve others, then serve with compassion. Are you a person who encourages others? Speak words of encouragement often. Perhaps, you are generous and give your time and money to help others in needs. Give with joy.
Can you see it? God gave us all different gifts, various talents, and varying personalities. When everyone works as a team and uses what God has given them, then life just works the way God intended.
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving each of us different gifts and talents. Help me to know what gifts you gave me and help me to work together with other believers so that together we can be a team for you. Amen.
If you asked someone in India what their favorite sport is, most likely that person would answer, cricket! Similar to baseball, cricket is a bat and ball game played between two teams. Teams score by hitting the ball and running to a wooden post called a wicket and then running back to the starting point.
With cricket and baseball, batters stand and face a pitcher (called a bowler in cricket) and an entire team of players in the field. The goal of the opposing team is to get the player out before scoring. The batter can easily feel like everyone is against him as he stands all alone ready to bat.
Have you ever had a time when you felt all alone and everyone seemed against you? Maybe when you are at school or church and you got left out of a conversation, sat alone at lunch or at church or when everyone laughed at you for something you said or did. Maybe that has not happened to you, but I bet you have seen it happen to someone.
Jesus often found himself feeling alone with many against him. The religious leaders were always questioning Jesus and trying to discount what he said. Once Jesus had to escape for his life as people were throwing stones at him attempting to kill him. Before his death, Peter, one of his disciples, denied that he even knew Jesus. On the cross, Jesus hung alone, dying.
But God never wants you to feel alone. He gave Moses some powerful words to tell his people before they entered the Promise Land. Moses told them, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6.
When you face something hard, when you feel alone or afraid, remember the verse in Deuteronomy. God goes with you and He will never leave or forsake you.
Thank you for sending Jesus to live on this earth. He understands what it feels like to be alone. He knows what it feels like to not be included. Thank you for your promise that you will go with me wherever I go and you will never leave or forsake me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Monkeys are interesting creatures. When I go to the zoo, I spend a lot of time watching monkeys. They swing, jump, play, and entertain us all. When I visit India, I look for monkeys as I walk to the Good Samaritan School. Usually I can see a few high up in the trees. It is so fun to spot a monkey!
Yet, I also know that monkeys can be mischievous. In India, you might see a monkey snatch food from a shopper’s bag. When our President traveled to India recently, he visited the famous Taj Mahal. Extra police officers, carrying slingshots, escorted the President. They were ready to use their slingshots at any monkey who tried to jump on our President or first lady!
But monkeys have a good side too. Monkeys take care of each other. They travel together in groups and look out for each other. Monkeys like to huddle up close together and are affectionate. Monkeys even preen one another. That means monkeys inspect each other and pick out small bugs from their friend’s fur that causes them to itch and be uncomfortable. Now that is a true friend! Monkeys need each other.
We need each other too. God made us to look out for one another and take care of each other. The Bible tells us “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4. We need to care for one another.
Maybe you have a friend who is having a hard time. Your friend might need a kind word or a listening ear. Perhaps, you notice someone at church or school who seems to always get left out and doesn’t seem to have friends. Be a friend to that person. Perhaps, you notice that your Mom or Dad is tired or not feeling well. Lend a helping hand at home. When you care for one another, it pleases God and it will make you feel good inside, too.
Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us to care for each other. I know that when others are kind to me, it makes me feel good inside. Help me to notice when others need help and show me how I can be caring and kind. Amen.
The peacock, a very unique creature, is the national bird of India. Unlike most birds, peacocks are large measuring up to 7 feet in length! Peacocks can fly only short distances but they are fast runners. Peacocks can run 10mph!
Most birds sing sweetly and beautifully. Not so with the peacock. The sounds they make are loud and screeching. They make you want to cover your ears!
Most birds build their nests high in the trees, lay eggs and sit on them until hatched. Peacocks build their nests on the ground under a tree and perch up in the trees to watch the nest from above.
The most unique feature of a peacock is the tail feathers known as plumage. With up to 200 feathers, the peacock can fan them out in a beautiful display of color and pattern.
Like the peacock with many unique features, God made you unique. No two people are alike. We may have similarities but each person was created to be like no one else. Listen to what the Bible says:
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous – how well I know it. Psalm 139:13-15
The God of the universe created you in a unique way unlike anyone else! Thank him for the color of your hair, your eyes and your size. Be grateful for the talents he placed in you. Some children are smart; others are good in sports or art or music. Some children are friendly while others are shy. Some children are helpers while others need our help. Thank God now for the unique way He made you.
Prayer: Father, I thank you that you make each person unique. We all look different. We all have different talents. We are different sizes. I may be similar to other children but I am grateful that you made me unique in these ways_______________________________________. Amen
Have you ever seen the tiny eggs on a leaf laid by a butterfly? If you don’t look closely you might miss them! Once the eggs hatch, a tiny caterpillar emerges. At once, the caterpillar starts to eat. I mean, he chows. Munch, munch, munch. He eats leaf after leaf and grows and grows and grows. Finally, the little caterpillar is not so little anymore. He has become a nice, fat caterpillar!
The caterpillar eats until he can’t eat anymore and then something very special happens. At the time, it may not seem that way but the special event is coming. The caterpillar spins himself into a silk sleeping bag called a cocoon. It almost seems as if the caterpillar has died.
In the cocoon, the caterpillar starts to change. He starts to grow wings and finally he emerges from the cocoon and is a stunning butterfly. His colors are spectacular and he takes flight. Soaring through the air, the butterfly is now exactly what God intended him to be.
When Jesus came to this earth, God had a special plan for him. His life on earth was not easy. He was born in a stable. Some people followed him but others rejected him. Even the religious leaders did not accept him. When Jesus went to the cross, it seemed that everything he lived for was about to be destroyed but the best was yet to come.
The crucifixion and death of Jesus caused all of his followers to be very sad. They could not understand how anything good could come from his death. But Easter morning, everything changed. Jesus, came out of his graveclothes and rose from the dead!
When you see a cocoon, it is hard to imagine that something wonderful is about to happen. It does not seem possible that a beautiful butterfly will emerge. When Jesus died, it did not seem that anything good would happen. But because Jesus died and rose from the dead, we can celebrate. The gift of his death, gives us the gift of eternal life! Praise God! Jesus is alive and we can live forever!
Jesus is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Matthew 28:6
Jesus, thank you for coming to this earth to live and die for us. It seemed like nothing good could come from your death but the very best happened. You rose from the dead and you give us the gift of life forever with you. Thank you, Jesus! You are alive! Amen