Prayer: God, help us know and stay in the boundaries that you, the federal government and school districts have made.
Scripture: Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. Romans 13:1 NIV
In our classrooms at the beginning of every school year, we make the establishment of boundaries a top priority. We share the purposes for boundaries, create these boundaries and then share the positive and negative consequences for staying within or going beyond them. When God called me to create a large home garden, one of the first things I did was create boundaries. Using treated lumber, a saw, spiral deck nails and several large hammers, a friend and I built raised beds in which to contain the great soil I needed to make a great garden.
In order to build a great education garden for God, we need to know the pre-established boundaries created by Him, the legal system in our nation and by the school districts in which we work. One of God’s boundaries is Romans 13:1, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” We need to know the pre-established boundaries for the religious expression of students and staff in the public schools which have been created by the federal government and school districts in which we teach. In His garden in education, God wants us to stay in bounds.
The federal government has published guidelines from the Secretary of the Department of Education regarding religious expression in public schools. https://www2.ed.gov/policy/gen/guid/religionandschools/prayer_guidance.html
This information was sent to public school districts with letters of encouragement to share these guidelines with parents, students and staff. Rarely has this been done. As in the classroom, if there are no boundaries established, the boundary becomes fear, fear of crossing an unknown boundary and getting hurt. Many educators are fearful about bringing a Bible into their classroom and keeping it on their desk. If students ask about God, many educators are afraid to answer. When invited to be a part of an educator share, care, and prayer group that meets during off-duty hours at school, educators are afraid to participate. When a student is given an assignment to present a report to the class about his/her hero and he/she picks a Bible character, teachers are afraid to let the student share it with the class. When public school athletic team members want to pray before games, coaches are fearful of allowing it. Proverbs 29:25 tells us, “The fear of man is a snare but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Don’t live in fear! Know the boundaries! Stay within them! Trust the Lord!
Research your district policy handbook and go to www.ceai.org. Click on the “Resource Center” link and then on the “Legal” link. Explore.
Reflection: Do I know the boundaries of religious expression in public schools? Am I afraid of these boundaries?
Getting Real: Follow the links provided in this devotional. Learn the boundaries of religious expression in public schools.
MIRACLE GROW IN EDUCATION: PLANTING GOD’S SEEDS © Donald Clark 2018. To connect with the author, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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