Fruit Frenzy Part 4 – Peace, One Prayer At A Time

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Do you have an abundance of peace?  Without peace we starve ourselves of all the other fruit in our bowl.  Think about it.

Without peace…

…We love less

Our joy is not as jolly

And our patience turns to folly

Kindness takes a back seat

And goodness can’t compete

Gentleness isn’t so gentle, because, after all, now we’re mostly mental

Which makes our faithfulness fairly accidental – it’s hit or miss

And the self-control we kicked in the ditch

Calls to us shouting, Pray! Peace be still!  

Because peace, my child, peace is God’s will. 

So how do we maintain our peace, dear teachers?  Because we all know how quickly we can lose it, amen?  I was asking myself this same question last week while thinking ahead about peace, and God gave me a nugget I would like to pass on to you.

My husband, Keith, sings in a gospel group called Zion.  We were at a benefit singing a few days ago, and I heard another group sing a song by Kyla Rowland called One Prayer At A Time.  That song stuck in my mind like hot glue does to the posters on our classroom walls.

Verse 1:  I prayed for salvation that’s how I first met Him
I’ve seen wonders and great victories
There’ve been oceans of hard times but I’ve come through just fine
I’ve been crossing each one on my knees
Chorus:  Not one time when I pray has He turned me away
What love what compassion I find
At the edge of the river as I step into forever
I’ll cry, I’ve made it one prayer at a time
Verse 2:  Prayer made for healing, prayer for my children (*and students!)
Often praying all through the night
I’ll lay down all these burdens at the edge of the Jordan
And I’ll make it one prayer at a time
Tag:  I can rest there forever in a land beyond the river
And I’ll make it one prayer at a time

*My words

One.  Prayer.  At.  A.  Time.  And another.  And another.  One moment at a time.  One day at time.  Until Jesus comes again!  That’s how we maintain our peace and stay calm in the midst of the storm, whether it’s a crazy classroom full of kids at school or the chaos of trials and tribulations in our personal lives.

We will make it one prayer at a time, so never stop praying dear friend. 

Additionally, have you ever heard the phrase peace though strength?  In the world in which we live today, peace through strength refers to security measures a nation takes by beefing up its military apparatus.  Strength and power are synonymous.

We can do the same!  When we gain strength for battles through prayer, then we will have peace. Therefore, let’s beef up our prayer life, because the enemy is always lurking, and we will keep him at bay when we are on our knees.

Let’s sum it up as a math teacher would!…

Peace = Prayer + Strength 

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A fruit frenzy of peace is found through prayer, dear teachers.  We must partake in order for it to abound in us and our classrooms.  Lord knows, we all need more strength and more power to stay the course, amen?  So pray teachers pray!

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May God bless you in your classrooms this week with abundant peace.  Next week, we will talk about the fruit frenzy of patience.  Until then, stay devoted!

 

#Peace  #OnePrayerAtATime

 

 

 

 

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 before 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! Food of Teachers, Food for Teachers

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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 ours is in and to make sure it is delightful, delicious, and tempting to others, especially our students, and in a good way of course! 🙂

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!

#Fruit  #FoodForTeachers

 

 

 

How To Make 2018 The Best Year Ever! Part 4/4

It’s been an exciting 4 weeks sharing this series on the blog!  Although we are arriving at the end, we still have 11 months ahead to put it into action!  Praise the Lord and amen! We teachers have a big assignment (although ALL Christians do) and God gives us the directions (like we do for our students) to make an A.  So before we get started, let’s do a quick review of the first three steps of How To Make 2018 The Best Year Ever.

 I believe the Lord smiles when He sees us… 

1  – Loving Him  –

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2 – Loving Others –

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and 3 – Sharing Jesus !

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Number 4 is one of the pillars of the Church, and that is (drum roll please)…

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Jesus’ last command before He ascended to heaven was for us to do just this.

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The question then becomes:  Are we doing what He told us to do?  Perhaps we also need a reminder about just what a disciple is.  Dictionary.com defines the word disciple the following way(s):

1. Religion.
  1. one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
  2. one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
  3. any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
2.  any follower of Christ.
3.  a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another;  follower

This is kind of tricky in public schools this day and time with all the Christian persecution taking place, but don’t distress, dear teachers!  We can remedy this situation by…

  • Building strong relationships with our students.  This takes time and energy, but it is the #1 way to get this accomplished.  Jesus’ relationships with His disciples are proof that if we want to disciple someone, we have to dedicate the time. After all, he spent 3 1/2 years building those relationships.

  • Putting steps 1-3 of this series into action with our students.  We are well on our way to making disciples when we complete these steps on a daily basis.

  • Sponsoring a Christian club.  Do you sponsor one? If not, why not?

  • Utilizing social media. I know some teachers don’t like to accept friend requests on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but for the greater good, which is to make disciples, I always accept their requests.  Can students (or anyone for that matter) tell we are a Christian by what we post on social media?

  • Remembering to follow our Lord’s example.  Jesus served others and lived a holy life.  Are we serving our students?  Are we living a holy life? Are we imitating Him? (Ephesians 5:1)

Making disciples is worth every bit of the effort we put into it, and is one of the most rewarding experiences of being a Christian for sure.  We should be all about it, teachers!

Well, there you have it! Four ways to make 2018 the best year ever –  Love God, Love Others, Share Jesus, and Make Disciples!  Now how bout’ let’s git’ er’ done!!!!!!!!!

God bless, and I’m praying 2018 will be the best year ever for you in your classroom, dear Christian teachers!  I will see you next week here at Devotions for Teachers. 

 

How To Make 2018 the Best Year Ever! Part 3

We now arrive at part 3 on our journey towards making 2018 the best year ever.  Before introducing it, let’s take a look back at steps 1 and 2…

  •  Step 1 – Love God

  •  Step 2 – Love Others

What do you believe He could be more passionate about than love?  My personal opinion is that the heartbeat of God is for us to (unveil step #3) SHARE JESUS.  After all, if we love Him and love others, then it’s only logical that we will share Jesus with the world, right?!

Our world is our classrooms dear teachers, and Jesus uses an imperative sentence when he speaks here. Amen?

The question then becomes a most important one, because after all, we are teachers in (I hate to say it) the Godless institution of public, government run schools.  So here’s the question:  Just how do you share Jesus in the classroom?  Matthew 5 is God’s answer to this pickle of a question!

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It would be remiss of me to only quote this one verse as the whole chapter itself addresses just how we can share Him not only in the classroom, but life in general.  In order to keep the blog post a reasonable length though, I am going to focus on Matthew 5:1-16.  I want to encourage you to read the whole chapter as it helps us all to step it up a notch when it comes to sharing Jesus.

Matthew 5 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sermon on the Mount

1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b]they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The beatitudes show us how to be in our attitudes.  Does our general outlook on life reflect Christ?  Does our behavior, permeating from our attitude, reflect the behavior of Christ?  People can tell.  Our students can tell!

Therefore, perhaps we should perform a quick exercise examining ourselves and our attitudes. On a scale from 1-10, let’s rate ourselves on each of Jesus’ admonitions from verses 3-10 one at a time…

  • Am I poor in spirit?

  • Do I mourn?

  • Am I meek?

  • Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness?

  • Am I merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker?  

  • Am I persecuted for righteousness sake, just like Jesus was and still is to this day?

Our attitude and behavior is the light that shines in verse 16.  Thus, we are sharing Jesus when we put our feet to Matthew 5, and, I might add, sharing it brightly before our students!  Gotta love it!  Praise the Lord!

I have one other quick suggestion before closing the blog post for today.  When we are scurrying about in our day to day lives, one way to share Jesus whenever we see someone in need, whatever it may be, is just by asking them a simple question like this:  “Pardon me, I noticed you are having a hard time (or you look like you need a little help – whatever the situation calls for) and I’m a Christian, is there something I can help you with?”  This question/statement gives us an open door to witness for Christ whether they say yes or no.  If they say yes, then usually a short conversation ensues, and they are therefore open to what we have to say.  If they say no, we can just encourage them with the simple statement “Ok, God loves you!” or “Ok, God bless you!”

Next week we will take a look at the final step in making 2018 the best year ever. Until then, love God, love others, and share Jesus!  God bless you and stay devoted to Him. You will be a more excellent teacher for it.

How to Make 2018 the Best Year Ever! Part 2

 

Last week, step #1 on our quest in making 2018 the best year ever was presented.  It’s not a magic formula per say, but I like to think of it as God’s formula for success.  As a review, step #1 is to love God.

Question:  Who can go wrong loving Him?  Answer:  Nobody!

I now present to you step #2:  Love Others.  

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I have to say, I love it when Jesus Himself speaks on a subject, and that’s exactly what He does in Matthew 22: 37-39.  So the logical question now arises:  Who is our neighbor? Jesus, again, answers this very same question Himself in Luke 10: 29-37…

Luke 10:29-37 English Standard Version (ESV)

29 But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side.32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him.35 And the next day he took out two denarii[a] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Basically, our neighbor is anyone who needs our help to whom we can show mercy. Wow! We, as teachers, have plenty of neighbors in our classrooms everyday, don’t we?! 🙂 Goodness, we have more opportunities each and every day to love others than most folks in other professions.  Don’t ever lose sight of that fact, dear Christian teachers. Teaching is a special assignment from God. Amen!

I came across this poster recently that I would like to pass on to you.  It gives practical ways to love others.  Let’s put these into practice in both our professional and personal lives and make 2018 the best year ever.

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Let’s love as Jesus loves – on purpose each and every day, dear teachers. Our students will love us for it in return!

Next week, we will take a look at step #3.  Until then, love God, love others, and stay devoted.

God bless you.

#2018  #BestYearInTheClassroom  #LoveGod  #LoveOthers  #MakeItCount