Fruit Frenzy Part 3 – Lord, Give Me Joy!

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If you are like me, then you are probably feeling the burn… the burn of the day in, day out, day in, day out of the school year.   It’s tiring isn’t it?!  Geesh, I’m exhausted!

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The question is this:  where can we go to receive a profusion of energy?  Why, to the Lord of course! He will deliver it to us in abundance, and abundance is what I’m standing in need of about now.  How ’bout you?

God states in His word that the joy of the Lord is our strength. When we are strong, we have more energy.  When we have more energy, we are more productive.  When we are more productive, we are ministering more effectively to our students. When we are ministering more effectively to our students, we therefore are getting the job done for the Lord!  As you can see, JOY IS ESSENTIAL IN OUR LINE OF WORK, my fellow teachers.  So, it’s important to know what joy is…

Joy

Joy is a state of mind and an orientation of the heart. It is a settled state of contentment, confidence and hope. It is something or someone that provides a source of happiness. It appears 88 times in the Old Testament in 22 books; 57 times in the New Testament in 18 books.^[1]^

Webster’s dictionary definition: 1) to experience great pleasure or delight : REJOICE, 2) the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: DELIGHT. Hebrew dictionary definition: 8057. simchah, sim-khaw’; from H8056 blithesomeness or glee, (religious or festival):– X exceeding (-ly), gladness, joy (-fulness), mirth, pleasure, rejoice (-ing).

Greek dictionary definition: 5479. chara, khar-ah’; from G5463; cheerfulness, i.e., calm delight:–gladness, X greatly, (X be exceeding) joy (-ful, -fully, -fulness, -ous).

Now, I’m certain we can agree joy is extremely important in the classroom given it’s definition. To add to that, joy is contagious for sure.  What could be better than knowing we are spreading joy to our students when they come into our classrooms?

BUT, in order to become contagions of joy, exactly what is the expectation to obtain joy when we ask the Lord for it?  Well, Jesus answers this question for us in the Gospel of John…

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Since joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, we need to repent of sin, keep His commandments, and abide in His love.

It’s like this:  If you are married, remember the early days (and hopefully present days too!) when you just couldn’t get enough of each other?  You lived on love…you were abiding in love.  It’s the same concept, in that we always should be at the point where we can never get enough of Jesus.  It’s at that point where our joy is full.  We are loving Him, we are abiding in Him, we are obeying Him, and therefore we are full of joy! Amen!

I can tell a big difference in my life, and certainly in my teaching, when I’m not operating at full capacity because of a lack of joy.  Can you?  It stinks doesn’t it?  I have less energy, and because I have less energy I am simply NOT an effective witness for the Lord. A day without joy is akin to a day wasted in the classroom, and time is too precious to waste my friends. Every minute counts!

My challenge for all of us each and everyday is to repent of sin, abide in His love, keep his commandments, and receive the joy we need to fulfill the call He has placed on our lives as teachers.  Will you accept the challenge, my fellow Christian teachers?

God bless you this week as you minister with joy to your students, and stay devoted! When we are devoted, we are more excellent teachers for the Lord.  After all, devotion and abiding are similar aren’t they? 🙂

#JoyIsEnergy  #Obey  #Abide  #Love  #Nehemiah8:10  #John15:9-11

Love’s Fruit Frenzy – Part 2

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It’s effortless to love lovable people.  Easy to get along with… they are fun, kind, good-natured, and likable.  On the other hand, it takes effort to love unlovable people.  They are just the opposite… mean-spirited, unhappy, and unkind.

Let’s face it.  Our classrooms contain both types. While most of our students are lovable, it’s the OTHER ones that test our love walk on a daily basis.  Amen?  I have a couple of kids right now who are doing just that.  How about you?

However, we are not administering a fruit test to our students.  Instead, we are self-inspecting our own.  Are WE lovable, easy to get along with, fun, kind, good-natured, and likable?  That is the question.  If we are, then there is a good chance our fruit of love is nearly ripe and ready to fill the souls of our students.  But not quite yet…

Dictionary.com defines love in the following way:

1. an intense feeling of deep affection.

“babies fill parents with intense feelings of love”

synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment;

2.  a person or thing that one loves.

“she was the love of his life”

synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one’s life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, angel, honey; More

Let’s hoe a little deeper. It’s also translated agape, which is the highest form of the love of God for man, and man for the love of God – a love that is unconditional.  We must continually receive God’s love so that we may give it away.  It’s vital.

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Here is a good place for us to ask ourselves:  Are we spending time with God asking Him to shed his love abroad in our hearts, then lavishly loving our students unconditionally, resulting in our students feeling a deep affection and love for us?  There are always going to be a few students who won’t love us, but if we are genuine in our love walk, unconditionally exhibiting a deep affection for them day in and day out, then love will abound in our classrooms.  Now our fruit will be ripe, delicious, and ready to be eaten and digested by our pupils.  It will be a full-fledged fruit frenzy!

How do we exhibit that love though?  Here’s how God says to do it…

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That’s plenty to ponder and practice isn’t it?  Maybe if we break it down focusing on 1 step each day for 16 days, then practice will make perfect.  Or group a few together and practice, practice, practice. Whatever works best for you.  Remember, fruit takes time to grow.

Here is an acronym to consider too…     LOVE…

Long suffering

Overflowing

Vital

Eternal in perspective

Let’s love and be lovable. Let’s make the effort to love all our students even the “unlovable” ones. Our fruit frenzy begins with love and no less during the week of Valentine’s Day!  🙂  Next week, we will talk about joy.  God bless you and stay devoted, dear teachers.  You will be a more excellent teacher for it!

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Fruit Frenzy

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Adjectives describing fruit…

Juicy. Delicious. Colorful. Healthy. Replenishing. Fresh. Ripe. Bountiful. Organic. Luscious. Mixed. Sweet. Vitamin-rich. Immune-boosting. Harvested. 

The question is… do these words describe our fruit?  If not, it’s time for a full-fledged fruit frenzy revival, bountiful and overflowing, like the one pictured above.

Have you ever bitten into an apple with a big brown bruise on it?  You meant to miss that spot, but your misguided aim landed you a yucky mouthful of rotten fruit.  And how about this?  Have you ever bitten into a somewhat green banana?  Of course, you were hoping that it didn’t taste as green as it looked, but, nevertheless, it did.

Both cases present to us what may happen when the quality of our fruit is not quite right, leaving a bad taste in both our mouths as well as our students’.  Not good!  Sour. Rotten. & Smelly.

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In the next few weeks, we are going to conduct a full-fledged fruit inspection, in order to double check what condition its in and to make sure it is delightful, delectable, and yummy!

We will begin with LOVE next week.  Until then, dear teachers, stay devoted, and let’s experience a fruit frenzy revival in our classrooms together.  God bless you!

 

 

 

 

Stand Where You Land!

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The rain has been pouring down here in Georgia for the past few days.  I’ve even discovered there is a leak in our roof right above the kitchen as a result of all that water crashing down on the shingles like the falls of Niagara.  Nevertheless, it’s the trees surrounding my house that have me rightly concerned.  We sure enough will have quite a bit more than a leak if one of those towering timbers tumble down upon us. Yikes!

That, of course, got me to thinking.  When a tree falls, that’s it.  It’s history. Dead. It’s not gonna decide Hey! I think I’ll just get back up and keep on doing what God put me here to do – providing shade during the hot summer months, beautiful scenery in the fall, food for animals (because I could be a pecan or fruit tree, you pick), and a home for nesting baby blue birds.  No, that’s not gonna happen.

On the other hand, when we fall, we are given time… after time… after time… after time… after time, to get up, dust ourselves off, and start again.  To stand where we land.  We just have to make up our minds to do it.  Hard days and difficult circumstances are universal to every human on the planet.  Amen?

I remember stressing after a particular rambunctious group of 7th graders left my class the other day and thinking, I may be getting too old for this!  How much longer can I hold on?!  I remember in my younger years of teaching, that situation may have really gotten me down about our profession or made me a bit testy with my students. Thankfully, even though as I’ve told you before, I almost quit teaching a few years back, I prayed it through, stood back up (yet again) and stuck with it.

We must stand and finish what God calls us to, because He’s gracious enough to let His children do just that.  

Whether you make a stupid mistake, fear fetters near, or doubts appear, WHEREVER we land, we must choose to STAND.  For our sake.  For our students’ sake.  For the sake of the gospel. We will regret it later if we don’t.

God bless you in your class this week as you stay devoted and stand dear teachers!

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#StandWhereYouLand

When Surveyed, Here’s What My Students Think About Their Teachers

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I decided to do a quick survey the other day as I was wondering just what do my students think about their teachers?  How important have their teachers been in their lives, and what impact have teachers had on them?  I then asked them to explain their answers. Here are the results:

  • 38% responded teachers have been very important in their lives.

  • 62% responded teachers have been important in their lives.

  • None responded teachers have been somewhat important in their lives.

  • None responded teachers have not been important in their lives.

For their written explanations, the following are some of the responses I received:

Nice & friendly, I could tell her anything.

They help me learn so I can have a good future.

My teachers have taught me how to become independent, be myself, and how to be strong.  Teachers in my life are great.

Teachers become friends with me and other students. 

They’re teaching me what I need in order to become a successful human being in society.

They’ve always been there for me, and accepted me no matter what, and always made an effort to understand.  I’m thankful for that.  

Teachers have been very important in my life, because they have greatly influenced me. Teachers have helped me develop into the person I am today.  

Teachers have impacted my life by instilling good behavior, life lessons, and important information. 

They show me I am smart and can get into a good college.

Throughout my life, the teachers I’ve had, for the most part, are very thoughtful and good at what they do.  My teachers are always willing to help me if needed, and I know I can always ask them anything.  

My teachers make me feel confident in my work and continue to encourage me to do better.

Thanks to their help, I’m smart.

Teachers are the people I can confide in if I need help with something.  I can always expect a nice attitude if something is going on at home. 

There are some teachers I see as second parents.

WOW.  How ’bout that?   I could just smile and cry at the same time.

That’s what my students say.  Now, here is what God says…

One Body with Many Parts

1st Corinthians 12:

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles,* some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.*

14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?

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                                                 Ephesians 4:16 puts it this way…

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Bottom line:  Our part as teachers is important.  How important?  Paul’s analogy of the human body makes it perfectly clear.  Every part of our body is essential for our overall well being.  So to is our role in the well being of our students and the building of God’s kingdom.  If we as teachers don’t do our part, our students suffer, and the kingdom suffers too.

I wanted to share this with you in order to encourage and reassure you that our students believe us to be an important part of their lives.  Furthermore, God tells us we play a key role, and the great significance of His big picture will help us to stand firm knowing our labor is not in vain.

Be faithful.

Keep giving 100%.

You. Are. Important!

Blessings to you as you stay devoted this week.

#TeachersAreBlessed

The Living Dead…

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…or The Walking Dead, better known as zombies these days, trickle into our classrooms everyday.  Usually it’s just a few, so sometimes they may go unnoticed. That blank stare, those sad eyes, the unwillingness to participate, and that I don’t care attitude are all indicators that although they are living, their souls may be lifeless.

As I write my blog posts each week, my goal is to encourage teachers.  However, sometimes encouragement isn’t achieved until we put our hands to the plow by looking into the eyes of our students, assessing if all is well, and if it’s not, reminding them of their purpose and destiny.  It’s at that point we are blessed and encouraged.

This not only applies to students in our classrooms, but to anybody we encounter who has that dead look in their eyes.  Amen?  I know of someone in my life right now who, because of some bad choices and circumstances, needs a steady dose of reminding that God has a purpose and destiny for him.

My challenge for you and me this week is to memorize Jeremiah 29:11 and recite it to our students as often as necessary. Tweak it if you have to because of public school policy, but tell them over and over and over again how much they matter, and that they have a purpose to fulfill and a destiny to attain!

Calling in our students’ gifts and talents will also help in this endeavor.  When we observe certain unique qualities in our students, we should make it a point to speak it out loud, pointing it out in front of others.  I’ve seen this do wonders for a student’s morale. Performing this one act may put them back on course in life, waking them up from the dead and breathing life back into their damaged spirits.

Remember the Valley of Dry Bones in Ezekiel 37?

4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD!
5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.
6 I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone.
8 I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.
9Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ”
10 So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.

Therefore, I’ll say it again!  We teachers can breathe life back into the dry bones of our students by our words just like Ezekiel. The word prophesy means to speak or preach. We serve Jesus, whose death, burial, and resurrection gave us new life, new purpose, and a new destiny.  Let’s share that with our students by declaring it aloud dear Christian teachers.  God has a plan for our students too.  Let’s speak it over them!

God bless you in your classrooms this week.  Until next week, stay devoted!

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#Future  #Purpose  #Hope  #TellYourStudents

JuMp StArTiNg 2017 – Part 2

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There’s gold in them thar hills students!  

Before we continue Jump Starting 2017, let’s remember last week’s first tip, and that is to renew our minds daily in the word of God…

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Or, if you’re like me, showering your mind in God’s word works even better…

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Our last tip for jump starting 2017 is to remember the treasure we all possess as teachers. Treasure, as dictionary.com defines it, means:

treas·ure
ˈtreZHər/
verb
gerund or present participle: treasuring
  1. keep carefully (a valuable or valued item).
    synonyms: cherish, hold dear, prize, value greatly

    • value highly.
      “the island is treasured by walkers and conservationists”

But what treasure? you may ask.  We possess a good bit as a matter of fact!  Here’s just a short list right off the top of my head.  See if you can find the common denominator…

Mentoring children, shaping futures, making a difference in the community, city, state, and world in which we live, building relationships lasting a lifetime, enjoying today’s youth, having the privilege of watching youngsters grow up and mature, laughing it up in the classroom, observing the lights go on in a young mind, living and loving life together, taking care of each other in both good and bad times 

Did you figure it out?  Our treasure is our students!  It’s a privilege to serve and minister to them, isn’t it?  The question then becomes are we taking the time to treasure what God has given us?   Moments become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days, days become weeks, weeks become months, and before you know it, months become years, and instead of having time before us, our time will be behind us.  Therefore, each minute we are with our students is precious!  We have limited time, so we must remember to treasure each moment.

Remember what Mary did?
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I know it’s easy to neglect this point with all the hurry and worry our day demands, but don’t be a worm in hot ashes and forget. Enjoy your time in the classroom. Take it in. Stop. Ponder. Treasure!  One more time teachers! (You may want to exclaim it out loud!) Stop. Ponder. Treasure! 

Implementing these two tips – renewing our minds in the word and remembering our treasure – will not only jump start 2017 but will catapult us into the blessings God has in store for us in the years to come as well.  And, when we receive these blessings, let’s share them with our students.  God bless you, stay devoted, and jump in 2017!

#2017  #Treasure  #Renew  #Jump