Monday, September 18, 2006

Hurrah For Grandparents

HURRAH FOR GRANDPARENTS By Dr. James F. Hubbard, Associate Professor of Psychology (Ret) UNC Pembroke, North Carolina
Over a period of twelve years in my Introductory Psychology classes we conducted surveys about the meaningful relationships of children as they grow and develop. High on the list were grandparents. I want to share these findings with grandparents of today. It should give them positive feelings about their role in children's lives.When they were small they have fond memories of their grandparents as playmates. They played outdoor games with them. They also played exciting parlor games with them which were much preferred to TV programs.. They remember grandmother's art materials. They remember making cookies and decorating them. These little ones had a special memory of visiting their grandparents when there was a new baby in their home. They felt on the edge of things at home but at the very center at their grandparents. They remembered some special trips to the zoo and theme parks. So many of them were introduced to fishing and hiking even with campouts and cookouts. Most of all they remembered how their grandparents treated them. They were not bossed or pushed. They really didn't make them do things. They used persuasion and talked them into behaving properly. Contrary to what parents believe, these children did not believe that they could do anything they wanted to do. They always asked. Misbehavior was very rare because most of these children felt that they were guests and visitors in somebody else's home. So many said that they had no desire to do ugly things at their grandparents. When they did make mistakes like tracking in mud on their feet. Grandmother usually did not fuss, but persuaded them to clean up their own messes.When they were school age some of these play relationships continued at a higher level. They were given help at sports or encouraged in music. At this age many grandparents discover hidden talents like singing and dancing and provided for lessons when they returned home. One student who is now playing in a music group got his beginning from a guitar given him by his grandfather. Another student now on the golf team gives the credit to his grandfather who discovered his steady hand and gave him some beginning lessons. A large number of these college students described how their grandparents had kept them at the books in their school years. They would call them up at report card time with both verbal and monetary encouragement. These students noted a different pattern during the school years. Brothers and sisters were invited at separate times. Cousins of the same age and sex were the rule. Their grandparents knew about sibling fighting and understand the need for separation. At this age they felt that they had more freedom from the regular routine. They could stay up a little later and sleep a little longer in the morning. They remember being corrected for misbehavior but it was accomplished gently with the use of explanations and persuasion. It is probably at this stage that parents felt that their kids were being spoiled rotten.In the teen years grandchildren were at more of a distance. Grandparents continued the relationship by telephone. Some of them were close enough to watch their team sports. They enjoyed telling their grandparents about their high school experiences both social and academic. Surprisingly many of them had serious discussions with their grandparents about issues arriving at this age. They felt that they could talk to their grandparents about drugs, alcohol, and sex. They respected their wisdom. They remembered how their grandparents had helped them out financially when the need was great. The grandparents of these college students had an influencing role. They were still fond of them and cherished the memories over the years. From my study of this relationship over a period of twelve years there was indeed a major finding of how important this relationship was.
Grandparents of today no doubt provide these same experiences.

The Lord Is My Shepherd

The author is walking through the dark valley. The shadow of death has fallen upon his life. He is in "the presence of enemies" which attack his faith and bring him sadness. His mind will not rest as he is reminded of his lost loved one. Tears flow. He is "walking through the valley of the shadow of death."He sees the Shepherd going before the sheep as they descend into a valley between two pastures. The trees are tall, the underbrush thick, briars prick, and vines entangle.It is a fearful experience, but "thy rod and thy staff comfort me." He sees the club on the shepherd's shoulder ready to drive off attacking animals. He sees him take the crooked staff and lift up a wounded lamb. He carries the lamb in his arms until they come to a clearing at the edge of the new grazing ground. The shepherd takes a sheepskin from his pouch and rubs oil on the lamb's wounds and rubs his head gently. "Thou anointest my head with oil." The author can feel the soothing and healing touch as he prays."He maketh me to lie down in green pastures." As the sheep move from the shadows on the hillside, the sun shines brighter and the grass is greener and thicker. The author recalls his green pastures the shepherd has provided for him. He remembers his marriage ceremony, the birth of his first child, and all of the family experiences that meant so much to him. He remembers his friends with joy and appreciation. He rejoices that his loved one has had such a good life. His life has had many wonderful experiences. "My cup runneth over."The shepherd has brought so many green pastures and walked with him through the dark valleys. The shepherd provides more green pastures than dark valleys. There are more joys than sorrows. His faith triumphs: "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The Great Shepherd led His Only Son into the deepest and darkest of all valleys and brought him through victorious in glory. He points the way to all of his children. The good shepherd who lay down his life has brought eternal salvation.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Positive Living 12

Positive Living - Apologizing
No matter how great the effort it is not possible for people to be perfect in their efforts to promote positives. There will be times when thoughtless words will come forth. Criticism is difficult to restrain when a person makes the same mistakes over and over again. There are often very difficult encounters with stubborn workmates who do not seem to listen to suggestions. Changing a teen’s mind is a trying task. They seem to want to degrade their parents. Children also can become very difficult. Many times the offended person of all ages attacks with very hurtful words. In these situations negative comments break forth even with serious efforts to restrain them. So many times there is a two way battle. When a person talks back, this makes it certain that the self-esteem has been hit. Sometimes there is silence but the person’s expression indicates the damage done. If an apology is not made, the emotions of the offended person will be upset for days. Every time the person sees the offender the old experience is triggered. An apology puts an end to this repetition of negative emotions and restores the relationship. The person who did the offending tends to have repeated pangs of conscience wishing that the unkind words had not been said. These conscience pangs keep disturbing the emotions. An “I’m sorry I was so thoughtless to make such an ugly comment” relieves the conscience and puts an end to these feelings. An apology tries also to include comments about the well liked traits of the offended person. Children’s feelings are hurt when their parents lose their cool and make comments which lower their self-esteem. The wound may last for days affecting the child’s appetite and sleep. A parental “I’m sorry” will go a long way in soothing the hurt experienced by the child. Apologizing is sometimes very difficult but it is an important part of positive living. Knowing how much it means and how much it does for both persons should it reduces emotional hurt leads us to make the effort.
Apologizing keeps wounded feelings from festering,restoring a strained relationship.

Positive Living 11

Positive Living - Forgiving
Most people will experience abusive words directed at them. Often they come with an angry tone and seem to be meant to hurt. Positive living principles urge us to accept the words in an understanding way and forgiving way. When people explode, their emotions have reached the breaking point. Ugly words come from an unhappy person. Emotions are difficult to control. They have unloaded their feelings on an innocent scapegoat. This release gives them temporary relief. Stressful experiences in the lives of all ages bring them to the exploding point. Aggression comes from unhappiness. Nervous tensions have been released. We know that there is an underlying problem in the person’s life. We know that the person does not need more negatives to contend with. They need friendship and not attack. Abusive words alert a caring spirit to find a time for a very personal talk. Problems need to be discussed even if they cannot be solved. Telling some one about the difficulty and the stress they are undergoing provides a positive way to release the emotions that have built up. Knowing that some one else understands gives them an inner feeling of strength to contend with their problem. Caring parents understand that verbal and physical fighting in their children suggest that they are suffering stress in school or with their peers. A talk is needed. An effort is made to find out what is happening to the child. So many problems are a process of growth: A forgiving spirit keeps the relationship strong and leads to personal growth. Forgiveness is the “take” part of the relationship. It is extremely important in positive living. Keeping relationships intact means accepting abusive words of others with understanding. Outbursts indicate inner hurt. Positive living asks a person to understand the feelings and disregard the meaning of the words.Do not accept them in a personal way and make a special effort not to retaliate. This principle will be needed many times. One Psychologist says the lifetime average is 500.
Foregiveness understands that abusive words come from some unhappy person.

Positive Living 10

Positive Living - Gentle Correcting
In the course of everyday relationships both workmates and members of our immediate family will need to be reminded of their shortcomings. They keep doing things that are both disgusting and slow the progress of the required work. Some mistakes are so costly it takes hours to recover. Sometimes it is due to carelessness which can be overcome. At other times it is a matter of teaching new skills. Whatever the problem it is a difficult task because it targets one’s self-esteem. It is easy to make a person nervous and make matters worse. Improvement is the goal which requires a gentle and understanding approach. The tone is friendly and the words are slow, filled with positive emotion and two way exchanges. The discussion points out other commendable behaviors and shows appreciation for all work well done. The person is given an opportunity to explain, for there are often good reasons for mistakes. Directions may have not been given properly. Forgetting is very real. Listen attentively even to excuses and defenses without criticism or retaliation. Most people are already aware of their shortcomings and already have inner feelings of guilt. Caring gives them a chance to release these feelings. Confession makes a person feel better and more relaxed. Understanding comments and encouragement to do better will likely bring improvement. Correcting sessions are kept short, for bearing negatives is a difficult experience. Caring parents correct their children as gently as possible emphasizing growth. Making them feel inadequate is a blow to the self-esteem. When correcting the children parents are always careful in pointing out their good behavior and show appreciation for it. This makes it possible for the negative to be received without emotional damage. Parents are patient knowing that mistakes will continue. When any measure of accomplishment takes place praise and commendation is quick and sincere. Relationship conscious people use positive approaches when correcting people for their mistakes and unacceptable behavior.
Correcting people gently prevents self-esteem damage and promotes improvement.

Positive Living 9

Positive Living - Appreciate Individual Differences
Positive living appreciates the variety of individual differences. An effort is made to live with and adapt to characteristics in people which are difficult to accept. There are those who work very slowly and carefully. There are others who work faster and accomplish more in a given period of time. Some learn very rapidly while others need a number of repetitions before they catch on. Some people are very stubborn while others respond to suggestion without a hassle. There are those who like to talk while others are people of very few words. Expecting people to be different and recognize that changing a basic trait is not only difficult but often undesirable. Relating to the special characteristics of a particular person in an understanding way prevents negative feelings from developing. Refraining from making comparisons also makes the acceptance of personal traits more positive. You can be sure that people do compare themselves with others. By words and actions let everyone know that they are valued just as they are. Certain physical characteristics such as: largeness, tallness, and unattractiveness do not give people good feelings about themselves A special effort to be friendly to these people is important because positives are few. Even when we are handicapped by the behavior of other people, we try to accept it in a good natured way. The old saying “variety is the spice of life” is very true in everyday relationships. Without human differences life would become very boring. Caring parents appreciate the fact that their children are different in many ways. They let them know that they are not expected to be alike. They want them to be different. They learn early that the stubborn child will be stubborn from now on. They learn ways to try to deal with this trait in a way that avoids head on collisions. Adults are children in a bigger box as far as traits are concerned. Individual differences can be both challenging and interesting. The variety can be enjoyable. Remember that others will have to deal with our traits.
Variety is the spice of life. Appreciate and enjoy individual differences.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Positive Living 8

Positive Living - Tongue Control
In daily relationships there are situations when there is a feeling to tell people off. Sometimes there is a temptation to use even stronger words to tell them where to go. Frustration from other people’s actions or lack of actions trigger these feelings. It is thought that a few strong words will wake them up and get them to do better. Negative comments, however, do not usually result in permanent improvement in behavior. Degrading labels are very hurtful to a person. Loaded adjectives like: stupid, foolish, lazy, thoughtless, careless, mean, ugly, selfish target a person’s self-esteem. They create enduring feelings which are not easily dismissed. People store these comments in their memory and think about them often. Negative emotions continue to build up.This is especially true of children and teens, but most adults are sensitive to degrading comments from others.Judgments that are made may well be accurate and fully deserved, but for the sake of good relationships they better go unsaid. They make people nervous and emotional, interfering with effective work. They may lead to costly mistakes and affect a person’s disposition to the degree of unpleasantness. Negative comments are used often as a wake up call to try to get the person to improve. This approach fails more often than it succeeds. Caring parents are very aware that negative comments may lower their children’s self-esteem with long lasting effects, extending even to success in school work and increasing misbehavior and fighting. Negative feelings may well result in health problems like blood pressure increase, tension headaches, digestive disorders, elimination problems, and even sleeping difficulty. Controlling negative comments prevents emotional tensions from building up, preventing these health aggravations. A very important positive living principle is tongue control. Knowing how negative words affect people increases the effort to withhold words that hurt.
Use Tongue Control when temptations come to use ugly words.

Positive Living 7

Positive Living - Promoting Peace
Positive living requires every effort to resolve issues. Differences in viewpoint are expected and disagreements are normal in every type of relationship. They cannot be avoided. Striving for peace seeks to diminish the negative feelings that arise from this area. Arguments can develop into real fights, bringing on long lasting hurt feelings. Bitter words are hurled with vehemence. Arising disagreements alert one to respond wisely. An effort is made to prevent a confrontation with a slow, measured reaction. Offense brings on defense. Snap judgments and quick attacks inflame the discussion. A mild response leaves the door open for further consideration. Recognizing the pending difficulty guides the exchange into a "friendly exchange." We must talk about this and think about it for a while. There are pros and cons to be discussed.” People value their ideas and want them to be considered. A private, personal get together is planned in a way that it is more like friend to friend than superior to inferior. There is a real effort to give the opposing idea a fair hearing. Questions are asked to gain understanding. There is more listening than talking. Even if the idea is not acceptable, the person has a good feeling about the discussion. Delaying the expressing of viewpoints until a full listening to the other person’s point of view keeps the discussion at a less warlike level. Pointing out the pros and the areas of agreement tends to reduce the intensity of the difference. Making a special effort to show some merit in the idea even if it cannot be fully accepted avoids harsh words. Caring seeks a compromise where each person must give in to some degree. If this is not possible, they agree to disagree using warm, friendly tones. Whenever the emotional level rises to the level of war, continuing the discussion is set for another day or another time. Relationships with children and teens need this same technique. Listening to these youngsters is so important to reduce the superior-inferior distance.
Striving for peace prevents long lasting wounds which do not easily heal.

Positive Living 6

Positive Living - Remembering Special Days
Positive feelings can be multiplied by being attentive to people when they are celebrating a special day in their lives. It is relatively easy to learn people’s birthdays, anniversaries, and other special events in their lives. Keeping written records helps to remind us. Special days in everyone’s life are times to generate many positives. Warm words, telephone conversations, cards, and even thoughtful gifts increase the joy of the celebration and the flow of positive emotions. Brief ceremonies involving a group of people are very beneficial, but private, personal words have even a deeper impact. With all relationships the positive feelings that come from the celebration of special days are a source of happiness which should not be missed. The sad feelings that accompany unhappy experiences can be reduced when a friend is aware of what they are going through. When people are ill or have loved ones in the hospital, warm words bring real healing. People experiencing marital problems reveal their unhappiness by the expression on their faces. Friendly words help even though there is not much that outsiders can contribute. When people lose loved ones, the hurt continues for months. Words from friends which simply say: “I know what you are going through” bring positives to offset the negatives. People miss their loved ones so much around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special family occasions. It is easy to know how they feel on these occasions. The anniversary of the loss rekindles all of the initial feelings. Empathy nourishes positive bonds.Personal words have the greatest value because there can be smiles, hugs, and expressed feelings. Phone calls have a similar impact but carefully selected cards carry a meaningful message. In this day of the Internet e-mails can cover great distances.
Positive Living makes an effort to remember both glad and sad days.

Positive Living 5

Positive Living - Humility
In this world of titles people are placed in superior and inferior relationships: parent - child, teacher - pupil, professor - student, manager - employee, officer - secretary. Any word or comment that suggests that I am “smarter than” or “better than” brings negative feelings. Even when words are not said people feel inferior because they know the position they represent. In the workplace a person is given the position of supervisor or manager which suggests a position of superiority. The distance and the feelings in these relationships can be reduced by using soft tones and friendly words. Requests and suggestions replace the manner of giving orders or making demands. In teaching or training an employee in their tasks and responsibilities the learner is always in an inferior position. The good teacher realizes that it is not pleasant to be in an inferior position and will make an effort to overcome this, knowing that people respond better in fulfilling their responsibilities when they are treated like equals. They work more effectively in this kind of relationship. Parents because of their age, size, and experiences are put in a superior position to children. Getting children to perform their responsibilities or behave properly involves the authority position. Bossing brings negative feelings and may well engender resistance. When a parent becomes a playmate to a child this is a position of equality and reduces the feeling of superiority. Talking with them when they do most of the talking also reduces the feeling of inferiority. Children control their misbehavior and perform their chores better in a non-boss approach. When something important needs to be said, the parent would do well to bend down to the height of the child which makes their relationship more equal. In dealing with teens the authority method is resented. Influencing their decisions must come from a friendly discussion. There needs to be a two way exchange characteristic of friends. Parents would do well to be more “ears” than mouth. Efforts to promote equality in relationships avoids friction and engenders positive feelings.
Treating others as equals brings surprising results.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Positive Living 4

Positive Living - Be A Good Listener
When conversing with other people in the workplace or in family relationships, positive living asks us to try to be good listeners. Efforts are made to make every interaction as two way as possible. Friendly questions are asked to open the door for others to talk. This permits them to relive their happy experiences and successes which adds to their positive feelings. The expression is kept friendly and attentive by looking eye to eye. Occasional comments are made to show interest and understanding. It is very important to be very attentive to people who are somewhat quiet and do not talk frequently on their own. Senior citizens need an opportunity to talk about their past experiences because the present is not always pleasant. Even grumpy people need a sympathetic ear as they unload their unpleasant feelings. Releasing inner nervous tensions in conversation is important to restoring positive feelings. People who have experienced sadness feel much better after they have talked to some one about how they feel. Caring Parents set aside regular “talk times” with their children so they can relate their positive experiences at school. Listening to children’s unhappiness is very important to their mental health. Some problems must be faced but knowing that some one cares makes it easier. Everyone needs to express their joy to a friendly ear. For children and adults as well conversations are made private and personal to prevent interference and increase the value in a one to one situation. Talk can be terminated with a friendly remark. It can even be continued at a later time. Break time lends itself to friendly social interaction. Both the talker and the listener receive benefits. The roles are often reversed as the listener becomes the talker. These positive feelings keep a person in a good mood and help overcome unhappy experiences. It gives a positive atmosphere at work and home. Listening is an art worth cultivating for building good friendships.
Providing an ear and a heart to others promotes positive emotions.

Positive Living 3

Positive Living - Praise and Appreciation
Everyday people around us do things for us and communicate with us in a friendly way. When a clerk in a store is efficient and friendly, this should be noticed with a smile and words of praise. Using the person’s name adds to the warm feelings. When anyone performs given tasks well, words of appreciation add to good feelings. When positives are dispensed to workmates and family every day relationships are strengthened In time we will be on the lookout for words or actions deserving of comment. Parents would do well to take notice of their children’s good behaviors and accomplishments. Words of praise can come together with affectionate hugs or squeezes. Praise is more effective when dispensed frequently with a few words rather than a long conversation. When used too often, some of its effectiveness is reduced. When a person gives useful ideas or makes humorous comments, we would do well to let them know what this meant to us. Rewarding good work, useful ideas, humorous comments, and other contributions with praise and appreciation keeps a positive atmosphere. Compliments and “thank you’s” kindle a flame of warmth in the home and in the workplace. Good practice provides many short comments spread at intervals over a long period of time rather than lengthy conversations less often. These positive comments provide self-worth feelings, making people feel good about themselves. Workmates do better in the tasks they must perform. There is more motivation to engage in routine, boring tasks. All are happier and more efficient in their tasks. Energy is forthcoming and fatigue does not come as rapidly. In the long run more work is accomplished and fewer mistakes are made. Children are better behaved and cooperate more readily with parental requests. They engage in difficult tasks with more interest and more positive energy.
Take notice of everyone’s effective work, good ideas, and friendly conversation.

Positive Living 2

Positive Living - Emotional Fitness
We want very much to spread positive feelings, but this becomes difficult if we do not reduce our nervous tensions Our own stressful experiences put us in a fighting mood, and curb warm, friendly feelings. We lose our cool much too quickly and say things we did not intend. No matter how much we want to control our words our stress build-up makes it extremely difficult. When emotional outbursts become too frequent, a person knows that nervous tensions have multiplied. Stress prepares the bloodstream to be filled with chemicals which make us ready for “fight or flight”. Blood sugar is elevated and two hormones from the adrenal gland speed up the operation of the nervous system. Our nervous tensions grow in quantity and intensity. One beneficial stress reducer is regular exercise. A thirty to forty minute walk is sufficient for normal stress. When we have had an extremely bad day, a longer walk is needed. When the muscles are used in a constructive way, the excess blood sugar is burned for energy and the chemicals make a more rapid exit. A second procedure involves diet. We need to reduce our sugar intake because blood sugar is already high. We need to increase consumption of Vitamin B complex and vitamin C. The B vitamins help control the blood sugar level and reduce the build up of choleserol. Stressful experiences use much of our vitamin C to make the adrenal hormones. It must be replenished to remove toxins from the blood. These are the blood cleaners which help to restore our internal environment to normal. B vitamins are found in whole grain cereals, sunflower seed, wheat germ. Vitamin C is abundant in fruit juices. Stress vitamins can be purchased and used as a supplement. Practicing the stress control principles of diet and exercise make us a more agreeable person to express ourselves in a warm, friendly way. Negative feelings are reduced and we can have better control over our outbursts and words.
The pressures of life and work make it difficult at times to emit positive feelings.Keeping emotional fit will make us much more effective.

Positive Living 1

Positive Living - Its Benefits
The basic principle of Positive Living is to promote positive feelings in relationships and to keep negative feelings at a minimum. When there is a serious effort to promote positive feelings, it has a beneficial effect on both the giver and the receiver. Being positive calls upon a special section of the nervous system. In experiments people have been wired to instruments which measure heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and other measures of body functioning. The person is given such tasks as talking about enjoyable experiences, petting a dog, or hugging a child. In these situations. The operation of all the bodily processes is smooth and regular. This is a health benefit for everyone. In a positive atmosphere children will behave better and cooperate more. Parents who try to practice positive living will find that their parenting tasks will be easier and the end result more enjoyable In the workplace relationships will greatly improve. Efforts to accomplish difficult tasks will increase. Mistakes will be reduced. Work will be more orderly and efficient. More tasks will be accomplished. Social interchanges will be warm and friendly. Enjoyment of the day’s activities will increase. Fatigue will actually be reduced. Life in general will be more pleasant. When people suffer negative emotions heart rate increases and the beat is more erratic. Blood pressure elevates. Other bodily functions like elimination, digestion, relaxing, and sleeping suffer. When positive feelings are promoted, the stress in daily life is reduced. Health benefits add up and health aggravations will decrease. Positive emotions promote emotional stability. There should be fewer outbursts, less irritability and fewer verbal fights. The workplace and the home should become more friendly and warm. Conflict will be more easily resolved. Many already have discovered the benefits. Practicing the principles of positive living takes time and effort, but the rewards are great. It is well worth the effort. As in any undertaking success in using these principles is a step by step process. All of us will fail many times but will be aware of the mistake that was made. We can back up and get a fresh start. Over a period of years it becomes a habit.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Childrens Wisdom 12

Children’s Wisdom - Mr. Mischief From A Worn Out Mother
Jimmy could not be considered a bad child, but it seemed that he liked to do things to see me upset. When he discovered that tracking mud and trash into the house got me upset, it seemed to increase in frequency. Even though I made him clean it up, it still continued. One day I got so mad, I bared his bottom and blistered it with my hand. He jumped and cried: “ Mama,that’s not nice.” He was turning my own words back on me. He turned over a glass of milk at the table. I was really upset. This I feel increased in frequency just to tee me off. One day I needed my scissors. I couldn’t find them anywhere. I asked Jimmy: “ He gave such an overconvincing no, I knew he was guilty. A little pyrex pot I used to heat water in the microwave disappeared. I finally found this, but it was cleverly hidden. I only have three bras. When I wanted a clean one, they all were gone. One morning my husband pulled them out of his coat pocket. I tried the Time Out method by making him stay in the bathroom for five minutes. He worried me so by asking every minute if five minutes was up. I increased his time to ten minutes. He was so quiet, I thought I needed to investigate. When I opened the door he had water in the bathtub, enjoying playing with his little boats. One December I put X’s by BAD and GOOD on a piece of paper for Santa to see the record of Jimmy’s behavior. This did improve his behavior some. After he had gone to bed on Xmas eve, I went in to take the paper down. He had made many more Good X’s. After this I decided he was too smart for me. I simply I gave up and quit trying to monitor his behavior. I ignored his efforts to get me upset. What a surprise I received.! His behavior was so much better. He played more with his toys. I consented to let him play with his boats in the bathtub. He didn’t get the floor all wet like he used to. I thanked him for the dry floor. I suddenly caught on. When I didn’t get upset it was no longer any more fun for him. Also when I praised him for his good behaviors, he made a real effort to get nice word attention. I was so grateful I picked him up with a great big hug. Mothers, give this a try.

Childrens Wisdom - 11

Children’s Wisdom - His Majesty The King From A Mother Who Used Wits
I am sure many mothers have had to deal with a stubborn child. It was so often a battle of wills, and mother won because she was stronger. The first word my son learned to say was “no”. To try to get him to do anything would bring on an immediate “no” The bossing approach had to be given up. I learned to phrase my questions so they couldn’t be answered with a “no”. For example, “Do you want your potatoes here or here as I would point on his plate?” When it was time to dress I would put out two outfits, do you want this one or that one? Since he got to choose, it usually worked. When it was cold outside: “Do you want to wear the sweater or the jacket.” as I pointed to them. I learned never to say: “Do you want to go to bed?” It was “tell me when you want to go to bed. so we can read.” He loved to hear stories. I occupied myself in the kitchen but it never took very long. We went upstairs together usually in my arms. You did not dare pick him up without his permission. I took advantage of this opportunity because it was so rare. You can imagine the problem in the Super Market. He would rather push the cart than ride. This worked most of the time because I praised him for being a good driver. The next stage was “Do It Self” When it was time for the potatoes, he wanted to “do it self.” I solved this with a bigger spoon. Dressing: “do it self.” I had to watch him struggle to button his shirt, but I solved this with an outfit he could handle.. One night at reading time, he took the book out of my hand: “Do it self”. He began to “read” the Three Little Pigs which he knew by heart. He huffed and puffed and all, turning the pages at the right time with the pictures. The next book lasted three sessions. One major plus was toilet training. I introduced him to the Potty and showed him how it worked. I used his favorite word: “You can do it self.” I’m sure he set the record in how quick he learned. He has become a real pleasure. He asks for vegetables. He asks me to hold him in my arms. He holds my hand when we walk together. I still avoid telling him what to do. I wait for him to take the lead. Recently I got busy in the kitchen and forgot about bedtime. He came and got me. I feel greatly honored by our little king. Mothers, using wits is better than battling wills.

Childrens Wisdom 10

Children’s Wisdom - Rivals By A Mother Who Learned
Betty was four and Mike was two when we learned that children were competitors. For us this was the most serious period of jealousy and fighting. Mike, beginning to talk, was very cute and was picked up often into my arms. Betty was very jealous and sought to win my attention and affection by giving me pictures she had colored. Betty was quick to tell me when he wet his pants The children had their own play areas in the Living Room with a little desk and toys. Both of them had crayons, paper, color books and their own set of blocks different in color. Betty had “girl toys” dolls, clothes, and furniture. Mike’s trucks and cars ran into some of Betty’s things. Fusses developed as well as brief fights. Mummy repeated the words: “Play nice Play nice” many times. Betty designed situations to get Mummy to reprimand him. One day she had put together a carefully erected tower of blocks. Mike came over and knocked it down with feet and hands. Betty dissolved in tears: “Do I have to love him?” Ed and I decided to give the children one to ones with us. He would take Mike and I Betty with frequent changeovers. They loved this. I decided to give Betty a truck on her next birthday. This delighted her. They played together better with an occasional bumping. Another effort: I praised them when they were “playing nice” I told them also I believed they could settle their disputes. Some of the fights were loud but Mummy resisted doing anything. Then I praised them when the fight stopped. These techniques reduced the furors but did not eliminate them. They learned that peace was better than war and one battle was better than three. When Betty was sixteen, it was her turn to visit her Grandparents in Florida. I thought she was too old for this now, but she was quick to answer: “If I don’t go Mike will get to go.” As you see, no matter what age, they are always rivals.

Childrens Wisdom 9

Children’s Wisdom - Learning To Pray Early In Life From A Puzzled Mother
I taught my children to pray when they were very little. I showed them how to fold their hands in the praying hands position under their chin. We prayed regularly before going to bed and at mealtime, but one of my three children prayed more often than this. I would see Roddy in the praying hands position when he was playing. He really surprised me when he prayed as I was punishing him. I used a switch to sting their little legs when they misbehaved. I found that all I needed to do to get them to behave: “Do you want a switching?” Most of the time they reacted quickly and did what I asked them to do. This did not always work with Roddy. When he was deeply involved in something, he moved very slowly. I had to use the switch more often to get him to do things I wanted. When I got ready to use the switch on him, he would go into the praying hands position. As I switched his little legs, he began to cry as he prayed: “Jesus, Jesus.” When it was over, he would pray in great relief : ”Thank you, Jesus.” At first I thought he was playing a game with me to try to get me to stop. He would not struggle or yell as the other children did. He would just stand there praying while he was being switched. This was so unusual it set me to thinking. I decided that he was really praying and knowing how the Master loved little children, his prayer was being answered. Jesus did help him take his punishment I think Jesus was also trying to tell me something. My conscience hurt, and I also began some new methods of dealing with his misbehavior. I talked to Roddy more and tried to use persuasion. Often I had to get down on my knees eye to eye to get him to listen. It took longer than the switch technique, but I really learned the meaning of patience I waited so his little mind would operate. I was able to get him to dinner, to the bath and to bed. I had to try prayer on him when I was trying to get him to go to the doctor. I got down in front of him in the prayer position and prayed “Jesus, help Roddy be brave and go to the doctor.” I walked away and it was not long before I heard : “ Mama, I’ m ready.” In some other difficult situations I let him do the praying. I would give him the words and he would use them.

Childrens Wisdom 8

Children’s Wisdom - My Little Scientist From An Astonished Mother
To this mother Donna is an unusual little girl. She is a real observer of everything around her. She is full of questions which Mama has to try to answer. The retired couple living next door Donna calls Brown and Papa. She talks to Mrs. Brown quite a lot Brown has white hair and Donna wanted to know why. Donna picks her out at church by her hair. Papa is bald and she wants to know why. I try to explain as clearly as I can. Her questions are very serious. Papa has a very deep Santa Claus like laugh. It’s amusing to see her imitate him. My mother who also has white hair visited us last week. Donna told Brown very excitedly: “Grandma can take out her teeth.” I wonder how Brown explained this. As you see my little scientist doesn’t miss a thing. Most children get restless in church but not Donna. She watches everything. I saw her imitating one of the choir members who sings solos. He sang “The King Is Exalted” Her song was “The King Is Exhausted.” She performs at intervals with her hands like the Choir Director. Her Daddy is the preacher. She imitates him by waving her hands and shaking her head. Once a week he goes to Pittsburgh for a course at the Seminary there. I heard Donna tell Brown: “Daddy has gone to the Sermonary.” We took the children to see the Falls near our town. They didn’t say much at the time, but Donna told Brown: “We saw a great big water hanging down.” She ran into a spider web that stuck to her face. She calls the webs Dusties. I taught her how to get the webs with a folded paper. I’ve got the best little house cleaner. When we took a vacation to Florida, she called the Spanish Moss Dusties and kept her distance. When we read a story or look at a picture book, the questions seem to have no end. When she asked “Where did I come from?” She had to have the whole story one step at a time. I tried to explain to her about Lightening being like the electric lights. “Where are the wires?” she asked. When she was taking a bath I swished my hand through the water as it came back with a sound. That’s what the lightening does to the clouds. They come back together with a clap as I clapped my hands. I saw her explaining this to Brown. My little scientist does not miss a thing.

Childrens Wisdom 7

Children’s Wisdom - A Cool Coverup From A Grandpa
We took our grandchildren, eight and ten years old, to Disney World when they came to visit us. In the beginning Grandma took the ten year old girl and I took the boy. Naturally he wanted to do Space Mountain, the roller coaster in the dark. It was very scary and not recommended for people over 50. Billy was very tough-minded and boastful in his persuasion: “Grandpa, don’t be chicken. It’s a lot of fun.” I explained to him about old people and their hearts. I got an older boy to go with him. When they came back after the ride, there was a very obvious circular wet place on the front of his pants. His big Buddy was quick to make fun of him: “It scared the PEE out of him”. In order to bring a smile back on his face Grandpa said quickly: “He had a great time. He just got too excited.” Billy simply could not live with this embarrassment. He went over to the water fountain and sprayed water on his shirt and pants. As we walked I tried to tell Billy not to feel bad about himself that this was so normal When we reached his sister: “How did you get so wet? " Billy was quick to answer “Grandpa, threw water on me.” It brought a big laugh from Grandpa. This was the end, but Grandpa worried if he had done the right thing. Would it be better that the truth were faced? Billy had engineered a cover-up and lied on his Grandaddy. I forgot about it, but I got my answer eight years later. Billy was a teen now and loved to fish in our Florida lakes. While we were fishing together, it came out: "Grandpa, I thank you for helping me out of a tough situation.” He had remembered the Disney World experience in detail. It had put an unforgettable mark on his mind. He especially appreciated my not telling on him.He told me how much it had hurt to wet his pants. This was last year. It’s too late to do me any good, but I want to pass this lesson on. When people brag and boast, when they bring up excuses and alibis, listen in an understanding way. They are hurting. Like Billy their emotional load is heavy. Let the inner mental processes work. They will learn in their own way. It worked well with Billy.

Childrens Wisdom 6

Children’s Wisdom - The Newcomer By A Grateful Mother
When our new baby came, three year old Sandra watched every move that Mummy and the baby made. One day when he was lying on the bed for a diaper change, Sandra saw his sexual organ. Her only comment: “That wouldn’t look very good on his face.” I taught her how to kiss baby’s stomach which she loved to do. When he began to smile and I would do all the motherly things to bring it out, she was amused. She got him to smile for her. I noticed, however, some changes in her behavior. She did not play very much even though I gave her some new things. She developed a little stutter in her speech and was beginning to have toilet accidents, even though she had been fully trained for six months. She had been sleeping well, but now she was waking up and crying. All of these behaviors did not register with Mummy until one day when the baby lay on the bed for a diaper change, Sandra bit his little foot. When baby jumped and began to cry, Sandra began to cry too: “Hurt baby, hurt baby.” While still crying she went over and put her head on his stomach. The teeth marks were clear and deep. This was no playful bite. I told my husband about all this. We decided that Sandra was suffering and needed more attention and affection. Jack went into action. He got a beach ball that they could play together. He chased her like a bear and caught her to chew on her arm. She was easy to catch. He rode her way up high on his shoulders, carried her on his back and jumped her up and down. He took her to the playground where there were some swings and a sliding board. He even took her to the golf course one Saturday morning. She told me how Daddy played in the Sandbox and how his ball went way up and dropped into the water. It took several weeks, but would you believe it? The stutter was gone, her toilet problems were over, her sleeping was good. The newcomer had taken away a lot of her positive feelings. She lost interest in her little brother and did not watch much any more. Sandra was a completely different little girl. I was so proud of Jack that my love-making interest soared. He got an unexpected reward, but I’m sure he never knew the reason why.

Childrens Wisdom 5

Children’s Wisdom - A Super Talker A Grandmother’s Memories
One of the advantages of Seniorhood is the vivid memories of the past. My Super Talker was alive before my very eyes. I had some preparation for this in my Child Development Course in College. Our professor told us that girls were mouth and boys were muscle. Judy was proof of this. She was extremely interested in learning to talk. We had a picture book which we looked at together. She would try the words for animals, birds, and flowers. She called horses “hoies”. One day when we were riding she saw a horse in the field and with great delight . "Hoiy, hoiy” A year later she was talking a blue streak. She would ask questions and get answers. When I read to her, she did most of the talking about the story. I always asked her questions about the story. She would always tell me much more than I asked for, but I enjoyed listening to her. There were few quiet moments at our house. One day at dinner time Dad and Mom and her two year old brother were eating our meal. For some reason there was a deathly silence. Judy spoke out : ”Sounds like we’re not here.” I remember that moment with smiles. Noise, indeed, was her motto. Her Dad was not a very good listener. She would go and knock on his newspaper which hid his eyes. He always answered her knock, something he wouldn’t do for me. At children’s time at church naturally she was one of the talkers. She spoke out at least once during each session. In Kindergarten she had to sit and say nothing for five minutes. There were quite a number of times of this, but when she got home she made up for lost time. These ‘sit times’ did not change her. She was the top talker in every grade in school. Judy is married now and has a three year old daughter just like her. When they visit us, there is no shortage of conversation. I asked Judy’s husband how on earth could he ever make love to her. There is a way he said as he put his hand over her mouth and moved close to her lips quickly. He added “I have to do a lot of kissing to protect my eardrums.” I have noticed in the Senior world we still have some Super Talkers. I appreciate them. They are the life of the party as Judy was through the years.

Childrens Wisdom 4

Children’s Wisdom - "I’m Gonna Get That Hurt" From A Senior Citizen
When I was little in the twenties, it was customary in the South to have servants. My mother had a person to do the cooking and cleaning. There was another person to do the laundry. (no Washing Machines then) There was a third person to look after the three year old boy. Sadie was not a Baby-sitter. She did everything, gave me a bath, dressed me, and played with me. I have vivid memories of her getting down on her hands and knees chasing me. When I rode on her shoulders, it was no walking around. She bucked and jumped. The thing I remember most was what she did when I hurt myself. She ran over where I was crying reached out with her hand rubbing the bruised spot: “I’m gonna get that hurt.” She would close her hand: “I’ve got it.” Then she would throw the “hurt” away. She would pick me up or give me a hug. Of course, with a three year old child this happens several times a day. One day I was playing with a dog. He bit me on the leg with teeth marks and blood. Sadie ran over to get that hurt, but this time she was crying with me. She rushed into the house to tell my mother. Of course, we had to go to the doctor to dress the wound and get a shot. Shots were given in the rump. As I yelled with pain Sadie reached over, squeezed my rump: “ I’m gonna get that hurt.” I don’t know what the doctor thought about all of this, especially when I stopped crying. I learned in College that Sadie had given me a “conditioned response”. She had done it so much that the pain nerves temporarily quit firing. When I had surgery, I was given a pain killer, but I tried my conditioned response in my memory. I was surprised that it worked. Of course it had to be repeated. When I was a teenager, we were living in Virginia. My father died suddenly, and we had to take his body back to Alabama by train. I saw Sadie when we got off the train. It was a moving scene. She hugged me and really got a big hurt. I want to suggest to modern parents that they deal with their children’s pain in the same way every time.When you hug and hold the child, say something like “pain, pain go away.” This will be helpful when the child needs it

Childrens Wisdom 3

Children’s Wisdom - Our Little Recording Machine From A Smart Dad
We were out walking in the neighborhood with our daughter, Melissa, and her little brother Pete being pushed in a stroller. We met two couples without their children and proceeded to walk with them. Soon the wives were walking behind with Melissa, and the husbands went on ahead. It was not long before Melissa came running to walk with us. She said to Daddy: “They’re talking she-crets.” I knew exactly why my wife had sent Melissa to us because she listens to everything like a recording machine. "What’s a shecret?" she asked. I explained what a secret was. “Is jackass a shecret?” This was no doubt one she had just picked up from the wives conversation. I had not heard it before. All the men chuckled as I answered yes. She picks up on good words too, especially if she hasn’t heard them. She learned “Honey” long ago and uses it with everyone. She uses it the right way. She never uses it with her little brother Pete. She understands that it is a nice word. She picked up darling as well as stupid fool. Even though she does not understand the full meaning, she knows the difference between and nice word and an ugly word. She has already learned the emotion attached to them. She wanted to know about my “homework”, used by my wife for our most intimate get-togethers. One evening I thought I heard Melissa use the F word. I had used it only in my teen years, but in a fit of anger it had slipped out a few days ago. I explained to Melissa that this was an ugly word which people say when they get mad. A few days later when I was keeping the children, little Pete was crawling around and getting into Melissa's things. She pushed him away with her hand using the F word real loud. I was so alarmed that I got down on my knees pleading with her to try not to use ugly words. In sharing this with my wife, we agreed to try to clean up our language. It seems that Melissa makes a real effort to listen in on our conversations. She can usually tell if its a he-cret or a she-cret. She likes listening to both Mama’s words and Daddy’s. Melissa has really helped us to see ourselves. It’s really difficult, but we are trying to use better words. Adult language is taboo when you have a recording machine around.

Childrens Wisdom 2

Children’s Wisdom - Love From The HeartFrom A Bridge Playing Dad
Here is bit of wisdom from my four year old daughter. Once a month the Woman’s Club held their meeting. On this evening the Dads got together for a Bridge Game. This time it was at my house. I had already put the baby to bed, but Mary Ann was still up. This was her privilege as a “big girl”. She had her toys to play with and sat at a little desk where she did her coloring. She would wander around some to see what was going on. She got a peep at my hand and spoke out in an excited voice: “Daddy, you’ve got a lot of “Valentines.” This brought a smile from the players, especially from my opponent who had bid four hearts. Even though he knew where the hearts were, there was no way he could make his bid. Mary Ann went back to her desk and was occupied for a long time. After a while she got up with some papers in her hand and came back to the Bridge Table. She had drawn and colored some hearts. They were surprisingly different for a little girl’s art. Each of the players got one, but mine had several hearts like she had seen in my Bridge Hand. She gave each player a heart and a hug went with it. Mary Ann was fascinated with hearts, “valentines” she called them. They were used any time of year and given to other children and especially our adult neighbors. The hug always went with them. I learned also that she was not race-bound. We had a servant to clean the house once a week. Stella very proudly showed me her heart from Mary Ann. I let her play with a pack of Bridge Cards. She really enjoyed picking out the heart cards. She had learned to count to five by using her fingers. I had to explain the face cards.Even though this happened many years ago, my daughter had a permanent influence on my life and its relationships. I have tried through the years to be warm and friendly to all the people I meet in my work, in the Super Market and even in the parking lot. “Thank you’s” and words of appreciation were much more frequent because of Mary Ann’s example. There were not many hearts and hugs but lots of handshakes.

Childrens Wisdom 1

Children’s Wisdom - Difficult Situations From The Author’s Wife
It is an educational experience to watch little children and listen to their words. They are so natural before they are molded by the adult world. This little booklet will feature children’s sayings and actions which the author has collected over the years from parents and grandparents. As parents you may remember some of your children’s sayings which both amused you and impressed you with their wisdom and clarity. When our son Fred was about three years old, he had a winter virus infection. It was very difficult to get him to take his baby aspirin to reduce his fever. In exasperation his mother asked him: “ Are you going to take your medicine or will I have to take you to the docter and get a shot? Just tell me Yes or No.” He hesitated while thinking and came out with the answer: “YO” This brought both a smile and a bit of admiration from his parents as he had coined a new word. He chewed the hated aspirin while we watched. There are many “YO situations” in life. You can’t really give an enthusiastic Yes and for some good reasons you dare not say no. With a required effort you grit your teeth and do what is necessary. How many of these did you have in your life? How many did you experience this past year? You probably can face those in the coming year with a little inner smile and a firm Yo. You go ahead and do what you have to do in a less distasteful way. You know also that facing the tough decisions makes it a little easier when a new one arrives. You can also remember that in the total list that there are many yes experiences which bring real joy and add to our happiness. For most of us the yes experiences outnumber the “Yo experiences”. The rose garden is not without thorns, the wheat is not without weeds, the joys are not without the sorrows, the green pastures have their dark valleys. The most difficult situation for our son was the visit to the doctor because it always meant a shot. You would really have to take him up in arms as he kicked and yelled. He didn’t cooperate in the doctor’s office. He was his “bullheaded self.” In desperation one time I offered him a bargain: “If you are brave and are nice in the Doctor’s office. I will buy you a toy when it’s over”. This worked beautifully. Sometimes “YO” situations need a little special yes.

Friday, September 01, 2006

The Servant Messiah 28

Into All The World Acts 1:8 Acts 9:1-6 I Corinthians 13
Messiah gave the disciples a very special command: "You are witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth." Jerusalm was the danger spot but the mission must begin here. Messiah had laid the groundwork with his healing and teaching.Those who heard his voice and felt his compassion would be ready believers. Many of the Pharisees would now beliieve. There of course would be opposition. One of the believers named Stephen would be stoned to death. One of the Twelve, James would be martyred.. They would not back down, they would establish the new Kingdom in Jerusalem and Judea.
They must go into Samaria. Messiah knew the prejudices for the people in this little pocket of land in Galilee. These people were rejected because they had intermarried with the oppressor. There were a few believers already there: a woman at the well. They would not hesitate to go into Samaria. Because they were Jews they may not be fully welcomed. They did not forget Samaria. They would not forget other similar "Samarias" in later years.
A special envoy was called for the mission to the Gentiles. He was a Pharisee, a Rabbi, a persecuter of the early believers. He was present at the stoning of Stephen. He was on his way to Damacus for more persecution when he met the Christ in a spectacular vision. He heard the Master’s voice: "Why persecute me?" His eyes were blinded. Even after his sight was restored his eyes were never the same. He had to have different ones of his helpers write his letters to the churches.
The Apostle Paul received and understood the compassion of the Messiah. He made a special effort to help the Judaizers see the truth When they became believers, they could not give up the Ten Commandments. They wanted the early Christians to obey them. The law was not the Master’s way. The law had brought his crucifixion.. The law must go and love must replace it. In all of his letters to the churches he stressed the spirit of love. The former Pharisee understood. Compassion must prevail.

The Servant Messiah 27

He Lives! He Lives! Luke 24: 1-31 John 20:26-29
The political governors did not know it, but this was not the end but the beginning. Messiah would release into the world a new set of spiritual forces to begin a new Kingdom within the empire. The world would never again be the same. Compassion, good will, and peace would reign in the hearts of many subjects. Relationships would be stronger and more meaningful. The impetus of good would beckon humankind ever onward and upward. The religious leaders were not aware that the sacrificial practices were being superceded and replaced. Mercy and forgiveness would be paramount. The forgiven would learn to forgive. There would be compassion for the sinner with a full surge of energy to seek and to save the lost. The saddened and crushed followers would be brought to life again as the first subjects of the new Kingdom. The grave would lose its victory. Death would lose its sting. A major offensive as well had already been launched against the destructive forces having sway over humankind.
Mary Magdalene's tears turned to joy and jubilation when the Master spoke to her in the garden. The despondent disciples were overjoyed when he met them by the Sea of Galilee where most of them were initially called. The disbelieving Thomas overwhelmingly believed when he touched the nail prints in Messiah’s hands.The group of devasted followers on the road to Emmaeus had their eyes opened with rejoicing. He explained to them the meaning of the cross as the fulfillment of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 as well as the Suffering Servant Sacrifice in Isaiah 53.
Messiah sent them forth into all the world to spread the good news to every living creature. God had fulfilled his promise. A new day had dawned, filled with grace and truth. The bells of heaven rang long and resoundingly. The angelic choruses sang praise and honor and glory to the Messianic Lamb. What a glorious victory! From sadness, to rejoicing, from despair to faith, from doubt to belief, from evil to good, from darkness to light, from death to life, from silence to singing, the spiritual significance overwhelming. God was indeed in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will among men.

The Servant Messiah 26

The Depths of Despair
The death of the Servant Messiah had brought relief in many quarters. No violence had erupted. No mobs had developed. No bloodshed had occurred. The soldiers, the governor, the keepers of peace and order had a sense of gratification.
The religious leaders had a sense of victory. A dangerous teacher had been put to silence. His blasphemous acts would be no more. His unorthodox teachings would soon be forgotten. His influence would be buried with his body.
Many wept in sadness. They had suffered great loss. They had felt the healing hand. They knew the depth of his compassion. They had been impressed by the unusual message of his teachings. The stamp on their lives was indeed a permanent spiritual reality. He indeed had many friends who felt a sense of tragedy.
Others pondered in disbelief. Those who saw him walk n water, those who saw the blind see, the leper cleansed, the lame walk had expected a different ending. The power was evident in him, but it had not manifested itself in a dramatic Messianic event. So much could have been done, massive changes could have been made in the ways of men. New directions could have been charted. A new order could have been launched. How disappointing! Messiah had not come as they had thought and hoped.
The disciples themselves were hiding in fear. Their disbelief was firm now. He was gone. This was just another false Messiah who failed. They would go back to their homes and begin all over.
A non-disciple friend by the name of Joseph along with the trusted Nicodemus asked for the body of the Servant Messiah. They admired him and responded to his compassion. They were on the verge of being believers.. They provided a tomb for his body. It had been laborously carved out of rock as a resting place for the wealthy. It was surrounded by a beautiful garden. The Servant Messiah was taken down from the cross and placed in this resting place. The tomb was sealed forever with a huge rock. The end had come.

The Servant Messiah 25

The Lamb of God - Luke 23: 26-46
Messiah was rushed to the Roman Governor to secure the death penalty. Pilate could find no problem with this humble teacher. He sent him to King Herod the governor of his home country, Galilee.
Since Messiah would not turn the stick into a serpent to entertain the monarch, he was sent back to Pilate.
An ugly crowd had been gathere to bring pressure on the Roman Governor. He was wise to their purpose. First, he offered to release a prisoner for the feast season. He brought one of the most notorius prisoners. He placed him in contrast to the Servant Messiah. When they selected Barabbas to be released, he had Messiah scourged and brought his bleeding body for the crowd to witness. This did not satisfy the crowd: ‘Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate washed his hands publically that the guilt would be on the mob.
Messiah had borne the pain and ridicule in a magnanimous way. The Father had supplied him with the strength and the vision of the meaning of this climatic event. He was led away with two criminals. Because Messiah was physically exhausted a large muscular by-stander from Cyrene carried the cross for him. The pain of the nails was mild compared to the taunting and scoffing that came from the peoplehe loved "If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross and save yourself. He saved others, himself he cannot save."
The pain mounted as Messiah watched the drunken soldiers divide his clothing among them. They played a gambling game for the cloak that could not be divided. Messiah mustered a prayer:"Forgive them Father for they know not what they do". One of the dying criminals was impressed by these kind words and indeed believed. "Today you will be with me in paradise." Messiah tugged at the nails to come down from the cross to comfort his agonizing mother. He asked John to care for her.
Messiah felt the life leaving him as his blood, drop by drop, coated the rocks below. "I thirst." After refusing the spear with vinigar:"It is finished" The sacrifice to put an end to all sacrifices was completed. The Lamb of God had been slain.

The Servant Messiah 24

Thy Will Be Done Luke 22:39-62
After the Last Supper Jesus took the disciples and went into the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives for prayer. He left the eleven waiting near the edge mostly for guarding purposes. He went deeper into the garden to engage in agonizing prayer. His human side of his being felt weak. He felt that he would break down under the load of the suffering. He felt that his compassion would not hold under these extreme circumstances. He would be without friends and among tormentors. "Father remove this cup from me"Messiah prayed long and when he returned to check on the eleven, he found them asleep. Messiah’s prayer was answered. He received spiritual support and divine confirmation. It was his greatest desire that the Father’s plan would be fully accomplished:"Not my will but they will be done".
He was fully fortified when he heard voices and the sound of metal. At a time when he might panic he was fully ready: "Judas, betrayest thou me with a kiss?" Even now he was not angry. He felt for his errant disciple. Judas, felt guilty also. Later on he threw the thirty pieces of silver at the priest’s feet. The other disciples were alarmed. One of them, naturally Peter, drew a sword from one of the soldeirs and cut off the High Priest’s ear. He was rebuked: "He that lives by the sword dies by the sword.." Messiah replaces the ear.
The disciples fled, but Peter followed at a distance. In order to forestall disorder and bloodshed, a master plan had been devised to arrest Messiah at night while the populace slept. A hasty trial was in order with the Sanhedron already assembled Witnesses differed in their testimony, but Messiah had to condemn himself when he was asked the crucial question: "Art thou the Son of God?" The angered priest envisioning Messiah’s desecration of the temple rent his garments: "Blasphemy! He deserves to die."
There was commotion on the porch: "Here is one of his followers." In the background a cock crowed as Peter exhonorated himself with a quick denial. Messiah turned his head with a compassionate and forgiving look at his frightened disciple. Peter went away weeping bitterly.

The Servant Messiah 23

Entrapment Fails - Luke 20: 9-26
The Temple leaders had already decided that a dangerous person was in their midst. He had some avid followers who might engage the Romans in violence. His outrageous act in the Temple square was deserving of sever punishment, but how were they to accomplish this. There were many of his friends nearby all the time. His healing hand had brought many devout belierers to follow him into Jerusalem. A representative group from the multitudes who were impressed by the unusual teachings were around to hear his voice again. A large number who had witnesses the public proclamation believed him to be the Promised One.
The large gatherings in the streets alarmed the Roman Governor. This was feast season. There may well be disorder and unpleasant street scenes. Soldiers were everywhere to put down any little fire that might becomes a full blaze. They were scattered throughout the Holy City performing their vigilant patrols.
Messiah drew a crowd wherever he went: soldiers, religious leaders, and many expectant people. In this arena of spectators Messiah was asked a loaded question: " Should we pay tribute to Caesar.?" Messiah was very pensive. He looked at the faces of the populace burdened with excessive taxation. They yearned for relief. He looked at the soldiers at the edge of the crowd, alert to any type of disorder. If he answered no, he would trigger a popular demonstration and subject himself to immediate arrest. If he answered yes, mob anger may well be upon him. Messiah would not fall into this planned trap; "Bring me a coin." He held it up "Whose image is upon it?" There was no doubt as to the image. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s"
When this ploy failed, a master plan was set into motion to destroy this Galilean teacher who claimed to be the Messiah. He must be removed from the public eye. His radical teachings must be silenced. A long conversation with one of his followers determined his basic habit. He must be captured at night in order to avoid ugly scenes. He must be tried tried quickly before any reaction could develop. A monetary arrangement with Judas secured the plan.

The Servant Messiah 22

The New Covenant Announced Luke 22: 7-30
The Twelve needed to be prepared for the most significant revelation of God’s mercy and grace. They needed to see the events that were about transpire not as tragedy but as the crowning event of God’s Messianic plan. This was indeed the establishment of the New Covenant described the prophecy of Jeremiah 31: 31-34.
The Twelve were gathered for the sacred meal together. It was held in the Upper Room of one of Messiah’s followers. In order to emphasize the significance of servantness in the New Kingdom, Meaaiah took a towel and basin to wash the disciples feet. Thie host usually invited a servant to do this for him. This time the host wants to perform it himself.. He went around one by one to wash their feet. One of them resisted but was finally persuaded ".Even as the Father has sent me so I send you" Theirs was to be a servant role. In a spiritual sense they must wash each other’s feet.
After this solemn ritual they enjoyed a friendship supper to strengthen their bond as a group. After the meal a serious moment came."One of you shall betray me." One of the Twelve had indeed given up on the Master as the promised Messiah. He had bargained to identify at night to the religous leaders. After he left there was another prediction. "They will strike the shepherd and the sheep will flee." They were being prepared for the most critical event. Even the strongest would fail: "Before the cock crows twice you shall deny me thrice." The disciples were confused. Their puzzled faces betrayed their inner feeling. Messiah was to be taken? Messiah was to be struck. They did not understand.
In order to aid their understanding Messiah, took pieces of broken bread: " Take eat this is my body broken for you." They would see that abused and broken body, but there will be a great and noble purpose in this sad event. He then took the cup and passed it to each of them: "This the New Covenant in my blood, drink ye all of it." When you see Messiah suffer and die, when you see the blood flow, the New Convenant of compassion is being written into the hearts of humankind. "Greater love hath no man than this, that he giveth his life for his friends."

The Servant Messiah 21

Sacrifice Will Be Eliminated Luke 19:45 - 20:8
It was feast time in Jerusalm. The Passover was being celebrated. The Temple was very much in the forfront. The Pascal Lamb would be slain in a public ceremony to provide for the sins of the nation. Many worshipers would have sacrifices made for them bringing money to the temple Treasury. The city was crowded with pilgrims for this purpose.
Messiah was carefully watched every hour. Many people expected great things: a dramatic upheaval, a revolution, an overthrow of the Roman yoke. His many miracles had demonstrated his power to do this. The atmosphere was tense and attentive.
Messiah must signal the populace what the final revelation of compassion was all about. He was to become the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. Sacrifice would no longer be needed. The temple practices would be gone forever. As Messiah approached the Temple there was a sign "No Foreigners Beyond This Point." His universal mission was disturbed by this exclusion. He noticed the money changers at their tables to turn Roman coins into Hebrew money.. No foreign money could buy the sacred sacrificial animals. He noticed the sheep, the goats, and the calves in their enclosures. He observed the doves (pigeons) in their cages for the poor people to use. Never again would they be sacrificed. In one swift move he overturned the moneychangers tables as the coins rolled onto the payment: "My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people. You have made it a den of robbers." He picked up the whip to set the animals free. The traffickers ran in fright.
Messiah had dramatized the message:"In three days I shall destroy this temple and rebuild it again. Messiah would make the sacrifice to end all sacrifice. The Old was indeed passing away and the New was at the door. The Cross would replace the temple. Love, mercy, and grace must flourish. The New Covenant was near: " I will write my law not upon tablets of stone but in their inward parts. I will write it in their hearts. And they shall all know me form the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more." (Jeremiah 31:31-34)

The Servant Messiah 20

The Public Proclamation Luke 19: 28-44 Matthew 21:2
The time had come for the Servant Messiah to make public his mission. Characteristically he chose to fulfil the prophecy of Zechariah. He would not ride into Jerusalem on a white charger but on a lowly beast of burden, the property of many common folk. Messiah selected a mother donkey with her colt beside her. There would be
no expensive draperies for his mount. His followers would bedeck the animal with colorful cloaks. There would be no flags to wave but long majestic palm leaves would be a worthy substitute. There would be no roses or fine flowers but the regal beauty of green olive branches were thrown along the way. There was no red carpet for the King of love, but they devotedly laid their cloaks along the road. There were no marching bands to provide the rhythmic moving music but shouts and songs rang out along the way: "Hosanna, Hosanna to the King!.". There was no broad boulevard for the entry of triumph into the city, but a narrow, crooked, gravel road climbing uphill to Jerusalem. The procession gathered momentum, the tumult became great as the Servant Messiah approached the Holy City. Fitting for this King, a children’s choir from the temple met him at the brow of the hill. Silence all thes voices? By no means. The very stones would break forth into song at this climatic moment of God’s revelation. Messiah reflected pensively as He gazed upon Jerusalem.A few tears fell from his eyes. He had made every effort to be understood and to be received by leaders of the nation. So great a moment, the completion of his mission was near at hand but they did not understand. "How often would I have garthered you as a hen gathers her chicks, but ye would not."
This triumphal march would alert the Roman government, for this may be another effort to start a rebellion. Words were spreading and orders were given. It would also stir the Jewish leaders for they feared another false attempt to overthrow the oppressor. The disciples and excited followers were thinking of Divine intervention. For Messiah himself the message was clear. His compassion had been demonstrated, the humble proclamation was just what it was designed to be. He was meek and lowly seeking to reign in hearts and minds, seeking to gather subjects who understood. This was the royal atmosphere surrounding the champion of compassion.

The Servant Messiah 19

Becoming As A Little Child - Luke 19: 1-10 18:9-17
On the way to Jericho Messiah notices that a man has climbed up into a tree to be able to observe the Master’s arrival. He was well known in the area. He had a high position in that day. He was the District Director of Tax Collection. He had achieved this position with hard work and a good business sense. He was a wealthy man with many servants, a spacious house, and attractive chariots. Although he was the picture of worldly success, he was a prime example of spiritual decay. His occupation had made him tough-minded, hard hearted, and rigid. He had few friends and did not know the meaning of warm feelings. He wanted to see the friend of publicans but it would be difficult for him. He was short in stature and he could not submit himself to the crush of the crowd. They would take this opportunity to squeeze and push. The only way he could see the Master was to climb up into a tree. For a man of his position this was indeed a humbling event. He literally had fullfilled Messiah’s teaching: "In order to enter the kingdom of heaven you must become as a little child. " The district Tax Collector in climbing a tree was the picture of a little child.
Messiah was impressed and invited himself to dinner at his house. Of course, there were murmurs from the crowd, but Messiah’s compassion reached out to this spiritually deplete, friendless man. At the table the Tax Collector was so moved that he repented and opened his life to a new direction. Salvation indeed came to this house through the one who came to seek and to save the lost.
Another parable makes the point clear.. Two people were praying in the temple. One was thanking God that he was not as others are: "I thank Thee that Thou hast made me righteous and good." The other prayed: "God be merciful to me a sinner." Messiah points out the contrast: "Everyone that exalts himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted."
The parable became real when little children wanted to touch Messiah. As the disciples interferred Messiah could not hold back the words: "Let the children come unto me and forbid them not. Of such is the kingdom of God.

The Servant Messiah 18

A Friend of Publicans and Sinners Luke 15
In answer to the criticism of the Scribes and Pharisees Messiah tells a moving parable about finding the lost. He has come to seek and to save the lost. Messiah’s mission is to win man’s heart, change his direction in life and lead him to a saving relationship both in this life and the life to come.
A shepherd has genuine compassion for a sheep that has strayed from the flock. He even leaves the ninty nine sheep unshepherded for a period of time while he searches for the lost one. Finding the lost sheep is a time of triumph and rejoicing. A celebration is in order. God feels the same way about a sinner who repents.
A housewife puts forth real effort to find a coin that is lost. She lights lamp and takes a broom in hand. What a joy she has when she finds the lost coin. A real celebration with invited neighbors is in order. The heavnely beings have similar feelings and celebrations as they rejoice with God over one sinner who repents.
A father has two sons. The younger one gets money from him to begin his own life, but he is a youthful adventurer. He wastes his money on wine, women, and song. When he must take a job feeding swine, the lowest kind of labor, he comes to himself. He will go back home and tell his father the whole story. He will take a job on his farm and repay him for the wasted inheritance. He did not expect the reception he received. The grateful father’s compassion cannot be restrained. He meets the returning son with an embrace. A celebration feast is in order with the fatted calf on the table. Messiah points out that the heavenly father rejoices and celebrates when a sinner comes to himself and journeys home.
The older brother did not want to join in the rejoicing, for he feels slighted. He has been faithful and has not wandered. He has never been so honored and does not feel loved. The father loves both sons equally as much and explains this to try to relieve his disgruntled feelings: "You are always with me and all I have is yours. It is right for us to make merry, for your brother was lost but now he is found." The Pharisees and Scribes cannot understand the friend of sinners.

The Servant Messiah 17

Who Is My Neighbor? - Luke 10:25-37
A Scribe asks Messiah a question:"What shall I do to inherit eternal life." Messiah returned the question: "What do you read in the book?" The Scribe had studied the law and it was his responsibilty to tell the people what was legal. He knows the book and recites the answer: " thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all they mind, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength. And thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The Scribe want further definition:"But who is my neighbor.?"
Messiah did not give up on trying to change the Scribes and Pharisees. Someday they may understand and become ardent followers. One of them did see the light. A Pharisee of the Pharisees by the name of Paul. Messiah brings forth one of his most stirring parables to open the Scribe’s heart and understanding.
A certain man was journeying from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves who robbed, beat him, and stripped him of his raiment leaving him half dead. The Scribe can identify with this man who is the victim of those who ignore the law. The priest and the Levite represent the religion of the day. They look at the deplorable situation but have no feeling of responsibility to do anything to help. The Scribe respects these leaders of the faith. They are honored and esteemed but neither of them appears to love his neighbor. It is hoped that the Scribe will see this deficiency in his religion.

The parable continues: "A certain Samaritan came that way." There were strong negative feelings between the Jews and Samaritans. The Samaritans had intermaried with their oppressors in years past and their descendants were gradually rejected to the point that they banded together in their own section of the country. The Samaritan was moved by the plight of the beaten Jew in the ditch. He went into action treating his wounds and refreshing him with food and drink. Even further he put him on his own beast, taking him to an Inn to be cared for. Since the robbed victim had no money, the Samaritan promised to pay his bill. Did the Scribe feel this situation? Which of these loved his neighbor? Messiah’s compassion for the Scribe hoped that this parablle would touch him.

The Servant Messiah 16

Announcing The Cross - Luke 9:1-17

The time was approaching for Messiah to announce the second stage of the good news, but he knew that it would not be well received. Messiah wants the Twelve to have some first hand experiences of their own. They need to feel that they are divinely chosen and divinely empowered. He sends them out on a mission to heal and preach that the kingdom of God is at hand. Their work was so effective that Herod heard about it. The crowds themselves were so expectant that they gathered in large groups searching for the Messiah. They followed him far from their homes. Messiah’s compassion flowed continually. He welcomed them, he healed many, and he preached about the nearness of the Kingdom of God. They stayed so long and were so far away from places to buy food. Messiah’s compassion reached a high level. He multiplied the loaves and fishes to provide food for 5,000. This was the climax of power, this was the fullness of compassion. The twelve were ready for the greater and higher revelation.
Messiah took them off by themselves. There was personal prayer and discussion. How did the multitudes feel about him? They felt that he was one of the greatest prophets. How did the Twelve feel about him? They had had experiences which the multitudes had not had. They had seen events which the multitudes had not seen. They had heard the Master Teacher. They had felt the spiritual power of his presence with them in a close relationship. They had witnessed compassion and power at its fullest. They should by now believe that Messiah was in their midst. This was ascertained when Peter spoke forth: "You are the Christ, the Promised One." He would introduce the second part of the revelation. "Messiah must suffer, die, and be raised again."
Messiah saw their expression of disheartenment. Messiah witnessed their doubts and disbelief openly expressed by Peter. These were not the words they had hoped to hear. Messiah sought to convince them with well chosen words: "If any man would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whosoever would save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall save it." They did not understand.

The Servant Messiah 15

Confirming The Cross Luke 9:28-43
Messiah was disturbed about the way the disciples received the message about the suffering. He recognized that it would be difficult for them to understand. There was a real danger that they might give up their belief and hope. They may indeed not follow him to Jerusalem. The fullness of the revelation must be seen and experienced. They were the chosen ones to receive the treasure from heaven. A critical stage had developed and Messiah needed assistance from the Father.
Messiah took with him three of the leaders in the disciple group Peter, James, and John. They climbed up the ridges of a hig mountain together. The spiritual environment would enhance the prayer experience. The inspiring view of the Sea of Galilee on the one side and the Mediterraniean Sea on the other stirred positive emotions. The villages and towns below gave them the feeling they were on the top of the world. They climbed high up even into the clouds surrounding the peak. The sunshine glistened on the white surfaces enshrouding them both in mystery and beauty.
Messiah went forward to pray. The disciples could not belive their eyes as they saw Messiah lifted up with two other figures with him: Moses and Elijah. The vision alone should be enough to convince them: Moses the receiver of the first covenant, Elijah who saved it, and Messiah who fulfilled it. Then the Father’s voice: "This is my beloved Son, hear ye him." You may be puzzled, you may not understand but believe in him and listen to him.
The transfiguration experience should fortify the faith of the three leaders. If they go stedfastly to Jerusalem, the others will surely follow. Messiah was very relieved. Messiah was grateful to the Father for his decisive help.
When they returned from the mountain top, Messiah was disturbed again by the disciples who remained below. They had lost their faith in their healing power and had failed to heal the epileptic boy. Messiah healed him and gave him back to his father. Messiah reemphasized his message of the cross.

The Servant Messiah 14

The Four Soils - Luke 8:1-21
Messiah needs to begin messages that would be long remembered. The time was approaching when more and more time would be devoted to the Twelve. A group of women had become a special part of the group. They were not only observers and listneners. They supported the mission with their means: Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Suzanna. Messiah’s message, Messiah’s salvation, Messiah’s compassion must surely flow through women believers.
Messiah has in mind now the many people who have heard his message and seen his work. He has in mind preparing the disciples when they go forth as messengers. He has in mind how the inner group will be puzzled and confused by some of the events and teachings which would soon come their way.
The parable of the Sower was directed to this purpose. Well meant and well directed words often fall like seed on the beaten path at the edge of the field. The concepts will not be received at all. There would be no penetration or understanding. Hardened habits and conditioned lives like the Pharisees make change difficult.
The message is sometimes received with ready enthusiasm but like seeds sown on rocky soil they fail to grow. When they act upon these concepts, they lose interest and become quickly discouraged. Their faith fades in the summer when drought sets in because their root is not deep. This picture of the wilted field will be long remembered.
Some others will receive the teachings with enthusiasm and understanding. When they try to live by them, weeds will sap their strength. Other things take precedence. Cares, riches, pleasures, and other materialistic interssts choke the spiritual growth. The field choked by weeds will not make a very big harvest.
The message will always find residence in some who do not let their minds harden like the beaten path, who do not allow discouragement to cause them to faint, who carefully pull the weeds out as they hamper the growth of the spiritual. There will be abundant harvest.

The Servant Mesiah 13

Forgiveness and Self-Righteousness At The Same Table
Luke 7: 36-50
Messiah’s compassion must certainly be extended to the Pharisees again and again. If their eyes could be opened and their hearts could be warmed, they would be effective messenger for the new kingdom. They were indeed not far from the Kingdom of God.
Messiah accepted an invitation to dine with Simon and some of his friends. It was an appropriate occasion to interact in a close personal setting. The delightful food and the beauty of the surroundings would add to the warmth of the friendship. Suddenly there was an interruption. The atmosphere of the occasion is broken by an intruder. Unannounced a somewhat unattractive women charges into the room. Her clothes are soiled and drab, her hair uncared for, her face drawn. She falls at the feet of the Messiah. Tears fall on his feet and when she notices this very much embarrashed, she dries them with her hair. The situation is tense. The look on the face of the host appears irritated by this blatant interruption of so pleasureable a moment. Messiah is calm and understanding before this unusual burst of emotion. He does not resist her, he does not retreat, he offers no word of condemnation. The host graciously excuses the guest: "If you only knew what kind of woman this was, you would not allow her to do this thing. Simon was expressing the current viewpoint toward sinners in the community. This woman took no interest in the Synagogue, she had no respectable vocation. Her kind of life was held in contempt byt the decent people of the city. Very few befriended her or indicated any interest in her. For Messiah this was the essential problem: if she did not feel the compassion of God how would she ever change. So many of God’s righteous people were putting a wall around the flow of compassion. Messiah must make a strong effort to change this feeling.
Messiah uses the indirect approach in a situation Simon could understand. A creditor forgave a small debt owed him and also one with a large debt. Simon knew which one of these would be more grateful. Messiah applies the situation to the woman’s expression of gratitude and appreciation. Messiah forgives her sins and sends her on her way with a real peace inside.

The Servant Messiah 12

Power and Compassion To All - Luke 7:1-17
Messiah’s mission would not have limits. It was for everyone. A Roman military officer over a hundred occupation soldiers had a servant on the death bed. He represents the hated oppressor, but he himself has shown compassion on the Jews in Capernaum by helping them erect their Synagogue. The twelve stand by as messengers from the Roman arrrive. The Centurean wants to save the Jew from the embarraashment of entering a Roman’s home: "Just say the word and my servant will be healed." Messiah’s compassion cannot be restrained when human suffering makes direct contact with him. Moreover, the twelve need to know that God’s compassion is for foreigners as well.
On the following day the town of Nain in foreign territory not far from Messiah’s birthplace was disturbed by a tragedy that struck in their midst. A widow had lost her only son, a young man on whom she depended so much after her husband’s death. The community is moved with compassion for her and Messiah cannot restrain his love. His power restores the son to the mother and to the community.
This unusual miracle made a stir throughout the region and kindled Messianic hopes into flame. The news even reached John the Baptist in prison. The prophet sends messengers: "Are you the Promised One?" Messiah points them to the events that have transpired: the blind see, the deaf hear, the poor hear the good news describing the the Servant’s mission in Isaiah. Furthermore, the leper is cleansed and recently the dead are raised. These are signs of power and compassion. After John’s disciples have left Messiah speaks to the Twelve and the gathered people :John is indeed the forerunner, the voice of one crying in the wilderness."
If Messianic feeling had wavered. It now burst into flame. The recent restoration of the widow’s son with Messiah’s answer to John left no doubt. Messiah knew their expectations and hopes. They wanted a dramatic reversal of the present political situation. Their focus was on power. They were not expecting something far more valuable and permanent, the spiritual power of love and compassion.. The record was clear. The Servant Messiah was compassion.

The Servant Messiah 11

The Twelve - Luke 6:12-19
Messiah found it necessary to commune with the Father by retreating to a quiet desert place. The ardor of the expectant multitudes was increasing on the one hand and the opposition of the religious leaders was mounting on the other. Neither group was understanding the full impact of the servant Messiah mission of compassion. Messiah needed a small group of followers who could be taught and trained: a group to be molded to receive the revelation and transmit it to the world. With a small group there could be deeper and closer interactions. There could be give and take, discussions, and meeting of minds. With a small group the spiritual interaction would be at its highest. With a small group the difficult transition from the current Messianic concepts could be more easily accomplished. The message was so vital that it must be firmly implanted. He must put the heavenly treasure in earthen vessels.
Messiah had already selected five followers: four fishermen and a tax collector. He needed others but the number must be limited. God had given the first covenant at Sinai to the twelve tribes and their twelve leaders. The new covenant must be intrusted to twelve followers. The significance of the number would be understood by the selected ones themselves, the larger group of followers, and the multitudes as well. This would be an additional confirmation of Messianic intent. The spiritual impact would be profound and moving for all of them. This was the beginning.
Messiah would build a close relationship with the selected twelve. To the first five he added Phillip and Barthalomew, Thomas the twin, another James, another Simon, and two by the name of Judas. The group was very enthusiastic, feeling highly privileged. They were very expectant followers with much yet to learn. They were loyal and ready. Footssteps were now rapid and steady, the cadence of a march. Like those around them they envisioned a military upheaval. Aware of their position, filled with appreciation for this opportunity, expectant of more dramatic events tounfold, they would be attentive listeners, alert observers, and energetic participants in the Messianic activities. The compassion of the Servant Messiah would give them the real meaning of Kingship and Kingdom.

The Servant Messiah 10

The Law and The Spirit - Luke 5:33 - 6:11
Messiah and his disciples were out of harmony with some of the religious practices of the day. On Mondays and Thursdays many of God’s people whited their faces to indicate that they were fasting. They paraded around the streets displaying their devotion to God. The question was asked: "Why do your disciples not fast?"
Religious life had been systematized into numerous individual practices signifying one’s righteousness. There were special times when prayers were to be said. The most sacred day, the Sabbath was kept by numerous and meticulous rules. The locus of religion was in keeping these regulations. Messiah was disheartened not so much that these observations were wrong, but they became and end in themselves. It made the center of religious life in the individual himself and made him proud and self-righteous in his achievements.Most disheartening of all it blocked the flow of compassion and forgiveness, producing in its place the spirit of contempt and critical rejection of one’s fellow man.
Messiah must somehow change this direction, touching the spiritual arteries that a new way might flow and flourish. Messiah sought to appeal to their understanding. When a new piece of material which is unshrunk is used as a patch on an old garment two reults occur. It stands out and doesn’t look right. Worse than this - the first time the material is washed the new cloth shrinks and tears the garment. This vivid parable may penetrate the Pharisaic understanding. The new way would stand out as quite different and its unique spirit would actually tear away the old structure of the old legalistic life. New wine cannot be put in old wineskins, for the fermentation process will burst the skins.
The last test case came on the Sabbath. The old religion set a trap by bringing a man with a withered hand. Would Messiah break the law and heal on the Sabbath? Messiah knew their intent and made an appeal to them: "Is compassion closed on the Sabbath? Is it right to do good? Is it right to save?" Regulations that block the flow of mercy should go. Religious practices that block love need a change.