Favor Finders

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Sometimes it can be rather difficult finding favor in a select few of our students, amen? Just keeping it honest, dear teachers!  Nevertheless, we should actively be on the lookout to favor students despite their faults.  After all, if we wait until our students deserve it, it wouldn’t be favor, and, I might add, God doesn’t wait till we deserve it either!

Favor and grace in Genesis 6:8 are interchangeable.  In fact, those two words are interchangeable in many bible verses.  The following passage in Exodus 33: 12-19 is especially interesting as far as finding favor (grace) in our students is concerned:

12 Moses said to the Lord, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’13 Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

14 And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 And he said to him, “If your presence will not go with me, do not bring us up from here. 16 For how shall it be known that I have found favor in your sight, I and your people? Is it not in your going with us, so that we are distinct, I and your people, from every other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the Lord said to Moses, “This very thing that you have spoken I will do, for you have found favor in my sight, and I know you by name.”18 Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” 19 And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The Lord.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.

Notice Moses imperatively states the only way others would know he and the Israelites had found favor (grace) with the Lord is  –

  • He (Moses) knew the Lord’s ways. (Do our students know our ways? If we know the Lord’s ways, then they will mimic us and therefore the Lord.)

  • The Lord’s presence was with them.  (Are we watching over our students?)

  • The Lord gave them rest.  (Are our students at ease when they are in our classroom?)

  •  He and the Israelites were distinct.  (Do we and our students stand out?) 🙂

Just like favor made a life determining difference in Moses and the Israelites, teachers can make a big difference in students’ lives when we show them favor as well.  Granted, sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes we fail to do it, but we can repent as we remind ourselves it’s a complete game changer!

I love to read stories of how teachers inspire students thereby catapulting them toward a successful future.  If you have a few minutes after reading today’s post, there is a wonderful website, Inspired 2 Educate, containing stories of men and women who are in the field of education today because of a teacher whose passion ignited a fire in their souls and changed their lives, all because they were finding favor in their students!  They even have a monthly contest with a prize of $2,000 to an educator who shares their story with them.

My challenge for us all this week is to be extenders of grace – God’s unmerited favor – not only for the difficult students we teach, but for the quiet ones that want to fly under the radar as well.  Find favor, dear Christian teacher, and be a life changer.

God bless you in your classroom this week as you find much favor in your students and dole it out graciously and lavishly!  Until next week, stay devoted.

#BeAFavorFinder  #FavorChangesStudentLives  #Inspired2Educate

 

Persecution is a Privilege

Persecution is par for the course.  It means we are doing something right for the Lord!

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Persecution is inevitable too, particularly in our education systems both here in the United States and abroad.  We read and hear about it daily on our news feed and wonder why it is choosing good over evil would bother people so much.  After all, why would anyone not want to choose what’s good instead of what’s evil?  Satan’s goal is to keep people hogtied and in the dark, blinded from truth – especially our students.

Fear not, my fellow Christian teachers!  Stand up and be bold anyway!  Remember, we are on the winning side even though sometimes it looks as if our defeat is imminent.

Therefore, today I want to remind you of the heroes of the faith who came before us. Because of word count, rarely do I post a whole chapter from the Bible, but serious subject matter calls for an exception. Hebrews chapter 11, fondly referred to as the Heroes Hall of Fame, is, in my opinion, the go to chapter for inspiration in all of God’s word.  Instead of scanning through it, may I humbly suggest drinking in it as parched souls longing to quench our thirst? Even if our cup is overflowing, I find it soaks in even more that way. Words in red are to remind us of persecution.

Hebrews 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

By Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

There are parts of the world where the depravity of persecution spoken of here in Hebrews is still taking place and is as evil now as it was then.  Therefore, it should be an encouragement to us when we are persecuted, whether by the government, our administration, teachers, parents, or students, it could be much worse, amen?! Furthermore, it’s a reminder that if our forefathers and fore-sisters in the faith were persecuted to the extent Hebrew’s states and came out of the battle victorious, then we can too!

Keep this verse within eyesight in your classroom.

Keep this verse within eyesight in your classroom.

My oh my, that’s something to shout about!  Hallelujah!  May our faith journeys be marks of boldness blessing our Lord, the world (classroom) around us, and our forefathers and sisters in the faith. Persecution may come, but it will be a privilege and we will be blessed.

God bless you in your classrooms this week, dear Christian teachers.  Until next week, stay devoted.

#PersecutionIsPrivilege  #PersecutionIsBlessing  #Hebrews11  #HeroesOfTheFaith

 

 

Preach Teach!

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A parent sending an unwarranted e-mail, an administrator who’s a benefactor of burdens, a state department of education that overwhelms with nonsensical mandates – sometimes we must become the preacher to the teacher – preaching to ourselves, that is, in order to keep on keeping on my fellow teachers.

Kind of like this…

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Amen?!  Of course, the list is much more extensive, but you get the point I’m sure.  If we don’t learn to preach to ourselves, our teaching careers might not last too long!

I heard an excellent message the other day preached by Jentzen Franklin on this very subject and thought it would be an excellent one to pass on to my fellow Christian teachers. I practice what I post, so please know I have been preaching to myself, and it’s been a big help for sure. When you have time, please click on this link, and listen to the full sermon.  (You will be glad you did!)  Briefly, here are the main 3 points:

  • Preach to yourself, Jesus is with me! When we are overwhelmed, as was David when he was running from King Saul, remember Jesus is always with us.Hebrews13.5

  • Preach to yourself, God is at the bottom.  He’s not just on the mountaintop. When we are at the bottom, the rock bottom, the worst place we could be, He is there to help us and pick us up.download (3)

  • Preach to yourself, God has given me the measure of faith.  When you think you don’t have any faith left, the word states you do. Believe God!  download

Our thought life must not go unchecked.  When the enemy of our souls is whispering in our ear – throw in the towel, it’s too hard, you are crazy, you are an idiot – brother and sister teachers we must preach to ourselves!  Jesus is with me, God is at the bottom, and He has given me the measure of faith I need for this situation.  It’s your soul.  Guard it. Defend it.  Now that will preach!

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

#PreachToYourself  #PreachTeach

 

 

Use It or Lose It!

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God places us where we are to accomplish considerable exploits on His behalf.  He has great expectations for us.  It’s written in His word.  Therefore, as Christians, and Christian teachers, we instinctively understand we are to increase what He puts in our hands. Amen?

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Matthew 25:14-30 New Living Translation (NLT) 

14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants, Christian Teachers, and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[a] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.

16 “The servant (teacher) who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant (teacher) with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more. 18 But the servant (teacher) who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.

19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant (teacher) to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’

21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant (teacher). You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![b]

22 “The servant (teacher) who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’

23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant (teacher). You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’

24 “Then the servant (teacher) with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant (teacher)! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant (teacher), and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those (teachers) who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those (teachers) who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant (teacher) into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 

(Red words are mine for emphasis.)

You now understand the title to today’s post, Use It or Lose It!

I firmly believe we are to be actively seeking God as to how we can be better teachers for Him and His glory.  If not, something’s amiss.  God gives fresh ideas and innovative ways to get the job done each and every year we teach if we are seeking Him.  We do what we can do, and He then does what we can’t do.  He has blessed us with talents, and it’s up to us to go to work and increase what we have received and been entrusted with from God Almighty Himself!

I hope and pray each of us wants to do well in our classrooms and to hear these words…

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…or better yet, Well done, good and faithful teacher!  What could be better than celebrating with Jesus?🙂

God bless you in your classroom this week, dear Christian teachers! Until next week, stay devoted.

#UseWellWhatYouHaveBeenGiven  #UseItOrLoseIt  #ParableOfTheTalents

Action Needed!

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What are you doing in your classroom to mirror Jesus?

From Google:

mir·ror

ˈmirər/
noun
noun: mirror; plural noun: mirrors
  1. 1.
    a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image.
    synonyms: reflecting surface; More

 

something regarded as accurately representing something else.
“the stage is supposed to be the mirror of life”
synonyms: reflection, twin, replica, copy, match, parallel

“his life was a mirror of her own”

To answer this question, perhaps we need to examine the verbs that are apart of our everyday behavior as we go about our school day teaching and interacting with our students.  Therefore, I want us to carefully consider the following statement:

Verbs describing what Jesus did should be verbs describing what we are doing everyday as teachers in the classroom.

After all, Jesus was the greatest of all teachers. Amen?!

As I list these verbs, ask yourself if this is an accurate reflection of you.  If you affirm that indeed, YES!, I am actively and effectively mirroring Jesus as stated, then wonderful! Good for you!  On the other hand, if your answer is woe is me, NO, I’m not doing so hot on this one, then get down to business, ok?!

Here we go…

Jesus LOVES the world.  John 3:16

Jesus GAVE His life.  John 3:16

Jesus SHARES the gospel.  John 14:6

Jesus FORGIVES (and forgives and forgives and forgives…)  Matthew 6:14-15

Jesus SHOWS COMPASSION on the multitudes.  Matthew 6:34

Jesus TEACHES with authority and in parables.  Matthew 7:29

Jesus WEEPS.  John 11:35

Jesus SPENDS TIME with God alone.  Mark 1:35-37

Jesus BELIEVES.  Matthew 6:30

Jesus SEARCHES for the lost.  Matthew 18:12

Jesus FEEDS the hungry.  Matthew 13:14-21

Jesus SPEAKS to those others won’t speak to and… John 4

Jesus SPEAKS truth!  John 8:32

Jesus DEFENDS the defenseless.  Matthew 18:14

Jesus HEALS the brokenhearted and the physically sick.  John 14:27, All 4 Gospels

Jesus PRAYS for others.  John 17:20-23

Jesus HATES sin.  Matthew 27:46-47

Jesus REBUKES the devil.  Luke 9:42

Jesus FORBIDS NOT that children should come to Him.  Matthew 19:14

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These verses are not all inclusive as they are just a small sample of the actions of Jesus. He was always going about doing good, and still is.  His life is an example of continual action.  Is yours?  Is mine?  Let’s mirror Jesus teachers!  Whip out those verbs and get to work!

Until next week, God bless you and stay devoted.

#BeAnActionVerb  #ActionNeeded

 

 

 

Joy = Energy

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If you are like me, then you are probably feeling the burn right about now… the burn of getting back into the routine of the school day that is.   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

 

Where You Are

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Welcome back to another grand and glorious school year serving God and serving students dear Christian teachers!

As we embark on this adventure together, I want to remind and encourage you to remember where you are

According to the scripture above, we are where we are because God has put us specifically there!  Think about that for just a minute or two and fill in the blanks…

  • God has me, ________ _________, teaching at ________ _______ School for the 2016-17 school year.

  • God has me teaching _____ grade and the following subjects: _______, _______.

  • This means that I will be teaching (# of) students each day.

  • Therefore, I have the opportunity to not only minister to _____ students, but perhaps to ( # of ) parents as well this year.

  • I also work with (approximately how many) teachers whom I can minister to as a bonus.🙂

Now, reread the scripture verses above!  We must not blindly begin teaching this year forgetting that God has placed us where we are to reach students and families on His behalf.  That’s our goal for our corner of the world.  It’s an all hands on deck mission for our neck of the woods.

This is our time. This is our place. This is our mission.

Seek God where you are.  Serve God where you are.

That is God’s will for you and for me.

God bless you this year my fellow teachers!  I look forward to serving you here each week at Devotions for Teachers.  May we love and encourage one another together and be used by God to reach a generation for Christ is my prayer.

Until next week, stay devoted!

#WhereYouAreIsImportant  #SeekGod  #ServeGod  #Acts17:26-27