Fan the Flame! Part 2

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Have you ever pondered the thought that our five senses have spiritual counterparts? In order to keep the flame of our gifts burning brightly, discernment of these will not only be helpful but essential for our gifts to flourish in the classroom.

                                                                      S I G H T 

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It’s not enough for our eye sight to be 20/20 in our classrooms.  Instead, 20/20+ is a must! Here, the + is opening our eyes to the spiritual realm, that is, asking God to help us see things from His perspective – which is an eternal perspective.  Don’t be blind, fellow teachers.  Ask God to stamp eternity on your eyes.  

In 2 Kings 6:17-20 Elisha prayed,  “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” Not once, but twice…

Then Elisha prayed and said, “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. And when the Syrians came down against him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said, “Please strike this people with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness in accordance with the prayer of Elisha. And Elisha said to them, “This is not the way, and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.” And he led them to Samaria. As soon as they entered Samaria, Elisha said, “O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.” So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw, and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

Notice that the Lord answered his prayer and indeed they saw what they hadn’t before. My question to you is this:  Are you looking at things from a spiritual perspective?  If not, my admonition to you is to open wide your spiritual eyes and see what others may not see!

                                                                                   H E A R I N G                                    

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In John 10:27 Jesus says, “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” The word hear can be translated listen.  Are you listening to what God is saying?  Sometimes I hear my students speaking, but I’m not listening! Just being honest. 😦

When I listen, however, I’m making sure I understand what they are saying to me, and I don’t let distractions get in the way!  It’s the same way with God, don’t you think?  I believe He’s speaking to us all the time, and we hear Him, but are we listening for comprehension? When we do, we will follow what He says, and what He says may end up changing a student’s life. You. Never. Know!

T A S T E 

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I love, love, love Psalm 34:8!  Taste and see that the Lord is good, and blessed are all who trust upon Him.  What tastes good to you?  I delight in the first bite of a good blueberry cobbler. I delight being filled with a scrumptious blueberry cobbler!  My mouth waters just thinking a blueberry cobbler!  YUM!

Similarly, when we taste the spirit, we are filled.  My oh my, there simply is nothing to compare it to, right?! (Not even, you guessed it, a delicious blueberry cobbler!)  When we are infused with His spirit, we are in His presence, partaking of His goodness, His holiness, and His love… and, therefore, we are operating at maximum capacity.

Let’s ask the Lord to fill us to overflowing with His Spirit each day before our students walk in our classroom.  It is the key to a meaningful day, but most importantly, it is the key to being an effective witness for Christ.

Next week, we will take a look at our senses of smell and touch.  Until then, fan the flame and stay devoted my fellow Christian teachers.  It makes all the difference!  God bless you always.

#FanTheFlame    #ChristianTeachers

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your days off!  Devotions for Teachers will resume next week! God bless you!

Fan the Flame!

 

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It takes a lot of energy to keep a fire flaming, doesn’t it?…that is, the energy needed for the fire itself (oxygen, coal, wood, etc.) and the person who’s tending to it.

I liken keeping the flame blazing for the Christian teacher to a fire dance…

 

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…only our fervency (dancing) should be focused on the LORD.  He is the pillar of fire in the center energizing us. Amen?!

Sometimes we forget the work we must do to fan into flame the gift of God in our lives as teachers. For me personally, I fan my flame by listening to the Word every morning via my YouVersion Bible app while getting ready for work.  Prior to that, though, I make sure to pray before I sluggishly attempt to rise and shine each morning.

Also, I love to exercise on the elliptical in the extra bedroom while watching Beth Moore or TD Jakes on the big screen tv.  I have to say, TD Jakes energizes me to go just a little bit faster and exercise a little bit longer than I plan on most occasions. 🙂  I’m telling you, he can make a dead person come back to life, which is usually me in the morning!

The bottom line is this:  Your fire dance may be different than mine, but the point is TO DANCE everyday!!

Next week, I’m going to pull in how our five senses help in our endeavor to fan into flame the gift of God in us.  See you then, my fellow Christian teachers!  God bless you, and stay devoted!

#Blazing  #Flaming  #Christian  #Teachers

The Teacher’s Tongue

Students have a story to tell… about teachers.

Teachers have a story to tell… about students.

Which one matters most?

Since I have begun teaching GED classes at the local college, I’ve been actively building new relationships with my adult students.  It’s been quite an eye opening experience.  Such sad stories.  Maddening stories actually.  Stories about teachers who fumbled the ball in the red zone, and their students simply couldn’t recover.

Now, I’m no push over.  I know there are a plethora of reasons why students choose to drop out.  But, having said that, I never want to be the player on my student’s team who causes them to lose the game because I got in the stinking way!   I know none of us do.  After all, when we play well together, we both win. Amen?  Can you tell I’m watching football right now? 🙂

As I listen to students’ stories, the greatest common factor (shout out to math teachers) as to why they dropped out is the teacher’s tongue.  Their win or loss is in the power of our tongue. Gasp! That’s huge and kinda scary too.  Rash words can be like daggers, even sometimes when we don’t think they are…

                                               Perhaps the best advice then is to…I understand it sometimes can be like walking a tight rope.  After all, we have to correct poor student behavior.  There are more than just a few middle school rascals who have tested my patience over the years.  Can anybody identify with me?  When a student gets on our last nerve, steadfast prayer for the patience of Job and wisdom of Solomon can keep us from sustaining a sack like the proverbial quarterback.    

Remember Proverbs 12:16 when a student tenuously tests your wherewithal:

The bottom line is this:  a student’s story matters most!  Not ours.  The story they tell about us in adulthood will tell the tale of how they won or lost in our classroom, and therefore, maybe ultimately in life. That, dear teachers, could depend on how well we controlled our tongue.  So let’s be wise to tame our tongues, and push them on to victory!  AMEN!  

Insert STUDENT’S for man’s!

God bless you in your classrooms this week.  Be mindful!  You will be remembered on down the line.  Stay devoted(!), and students will look back and be thankful you taught them. 🙂  See you back here next week on the blog.

 

 

 

Super Psalms & Promising Proverbs

David and Solomon.  Solomon and David.  What a combination!  Between David and his Psalms, and Solomon and his Proverbs, I just have to shake my head and say WOW!  Both were wise, both could write like nobody’s business, and both were kings no less.  Both, however, were human, and therefore experienced failure along the way.

Successes and failures are universal to most people, including teachers. Amen?

I love this quote by Winston Churchill…

Many of us will experience a combination of success and failure.  Therefore, we should know how to handle each.  We don’t want success to go to our head and failure to go to our heart.  Neither is a good idea. Ever.  Unfortunately, they’re fairly automatic responses for foolish folk.

I myself, have tweaked, tweaked, and tweaked some more(!) new content I’ve been assigned this year.  It’s been frustrating trying to figure out what works best for my students.  At the same time, I’m kind of like an electrical load exceeding its available electrical power as I have begun teaching a GED class at the local college three nights a week.

All of this at the same time kind of makes me want to throw a pity party as success doesn’t seem like it is around the corner. However, I know that I know from experience it could be worse, so I’m refusing to allow what looks to be failure make its path to my heart!  Likewise, when I figure it all out, I won’t let it go to my head.  I will be thankful God helped me succeed instead. 🙂

So now let’s address the question at hand:  how do we navigate our way though failure and success?  Yep, you guessed it, in Psalms and Proverbs. David and Solomon. Two men God used to guide us through the ups and downs of life.  Here is a chapter from each book.  Please take, no make, the time to read each one even if it’s not at the same sitting.  Failure and success are addressed in both!

Psalm 118 New King James Version (NKJV)

Praise to God for His Everlasting Mercy

118 Oh, (teachers) give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel (teachers) now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron (school teachers) now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those (teachers) who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous (teachers);
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Proverbs 3

My son (teacher), do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son (teacher), do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man (teacher) who finds wisdom,
And the man (teacher) who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son (teacher), let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Wise teachers overcome failure, and wise teachers acknowledge that all success belongs to Him because He is directing our path.  Amen and amen. Thank you, Lord!

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

#PsalmsProverbs  #Wisdom  #MakeOurPathStraight  #Success  #Failure

 

 

5 Proverbs to Pass on to our Pupils

 

Welcome back to the blog, dear teachers!

The book of Proverbs.  Have you read it lately?  If you have, good for you.  If not, dive in and pass on what you learn to your students!  After all, we should…

Amen?!

The key is to pass it on.  After all, Solomon, king of Israel and the wisest man to ever live, passed these Proverbs on to us, so we, as teachers, must do likewise.  It’s our duty!  It will do both our students and us a service.

Therefore, without further ado, here are five proverbs for us to meditate upon and share with our students this week – one for each day:

Monday – Know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight…Proverbs 1:2

Tuesday – Receive instruction in wise dealing, righteousness, justice, and equity…verse 3

Wednesday – To give prudence to the simple, to the young man (student) knowledge and discretion verse 4

Thursday – A wise man (teacher, student) will hear and increase learning, and a man (teacher, student) will attain wise counsel…verse 5

Friday – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.  verse 7

Let us set out this week not only teaching the standards of our state’s DOE, but let’s teach God’s standards as well. Together, we can be mindful to rehearse, memorize, know the meaning of each verse, and share the wisdom we’ve gleaned with our students.  Squeeze it in that lesson or conversation somewhere teachers!  

We have our marching orders for the week.  Now, go get the job done fellow teachers!  Blessings to you now and always.  Stay devoted!

#Proverbs  #Wisdom  #PassItOn

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!

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