The ROCK Is Between The Hard Place And You

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How would you describe your teaching career thus far?  Here’s mine in a nutshell…

Year:

  1.   Difficult

  2.   Good with a few rough spots

  3.   Good with a few rough spots

  4.   Wonderful

  5.   Difficult

  6.   Terrible

  7.   Terrible

  8.   Worst Ever

  9.   Wonderful

  10.   Wonderful

  11.   Wonderful

  12.   Wonderful

  13.   So far so good…

As you can see, the scales are favoring the good years over the bad years at this point. Praise the Lord!  Years 5, 6, 7, and 8 nearly finished me off as a teacher though.

Especially year 8.  At the end of that year, I had purposed in my heart to the Lord I was done.  I was out of there.  Clearly, teaching was not what He wanted me to do.  I had heard wrong.  Four back to back years of awfulness was all I could take, and after all, perhaps it was a sign from Him that it wasn’t His will for me to teach… or so I thought.

Talk about being stuck between a rock and a hard place! I can’t even come up with enough adjectives to describe the abyss I was in.  I wanted so desperately to teach and be a good teacher.  Having cried out to the Lord COUNTLESS times during those 4 years, NOTHING was happening…it was over…BUT THEN…!!!

Due to some faculty changes, I was the beneficiary of my current position.  It was a complete 180 degree turn at jet engine speed no less!

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You see, even though I had prayed and prayed and things had only gotten worse, God knew when I was at the end of my pitiful rope, things had to change RIGHT THEN.  He knew I couldn’t take anymore.  He knew my heart. He knows your heart too.  If you are in between a rock and a hard place, believe me when I say, the ROCK is between the hard place and you!

Ever been between a rock and a hard place?

Take a look at this picture!  Of all things, there is a sheep standing on a rock between a hard place.  Ha!  Remember, over and over again in God’s word, we are referred to as sheep, and the Lord is our Shepherd, our Rock, and Fortress.  The sheep is safe as long as it stays where it is. On The Rock.

Stand on the Rock, dear teachers!

If you’re experiencing some turbulent times as a teacher, trust God. Cry out to Him.  He is listening. Your prayers are not falling on deaf ears.  He is between you and that difficult circumstance.  He will come through. Every. Time.

One final thought.  In the big scheme of things, I firmly believe the enemy wants to take Christian teachers out of the classrooms of all our nations’ schools.  Amen?  What a victory for him that would be.  He about took me out!  Please don’t let him do that to you.

Therefore, remember we are in our classrooms everyday Representing Our Coming King! He is sufficient to help us press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14  He will see our calling through to completion if we stand on Him and His word. Philippians 1:6  And we can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens us!  Philippians 4:13

I admonish you today and everyday to stand on the ROCK, my fellow Christian teachers, and ROCK on!  

God bless you and stay devoted.

#TheRocksBetweenTheHardPlaceAndYou  #JesusIsTheRock

Where There Is No Vision, The People Perish – Proverb 29:18

(We will resume Fruit Frenzy at a later date.)

Since teachers are people(!), this verse could easily be restated as follows:

Where there is no vision, the teachers perish.  

Is that where you find yourself, dear Christian teacher?  Have you lost your vision?  Are you stumbling around in a thick fog, discovering you’ve lost your way?  Then I’m asking you to believe God again.

How would I know the root of the problem is unbelief when you’ve lost your vision? Well, my friend, because of what the second half of the verse says!… Because he that keepeth the law, happy is he. A study of the words keepeth and law reveals the rendering of this part of the verse could actually be translated because he that guards the teaching, happy is he.  Now. That’s. A. Big. Deal!

What’s the big deal?  The big deal is that what Jesus spent a good bit of time teaching us is to BELIEVE! So if you’ve lost your vision, it could be you forgot to guard the teaching, you forgot to keep believing, and therefore you need to ask God to help you see again! Ask Him to help you believe again. Ask Him to stamp the vision on your mind and on your heart. Write it down so you can see it everyday.  Put it in front of you as a reminder like in the picture below.  (It will be a good conversation starter too!) 😉

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A teacher without vision is not going to accomplish much for the kingdom of heaven. Therefore,  I pray and declare that you and I will…

  • Believe He wants us to do a great work for Him in our classroom (Phil 1:6)

  • Believe He wants to direct our paths  (Proverbs 3:5)

  • Believe He cares for us and loves us always  (Romans 8:38-39)

  • Believe He will give us strength to hang in there and not quit  (Galatians 6:9)

  • Believe our work for Him is not in vain  (1st Cor. 15:58)

  • Believe He hears our prayers  (1st John 5:14)

Please don’t lose your vision teachers!  Eternity is weighing in the balance.  Take your place, and be counted… counted for the kingdom!  Put on your spirit eyes and renew your vision.  Do it, NOW!  Remember, happiness comes in believing.  God bless you!

#Don’tPerish

#Vision

#BELIEVE

Fruit Frenzy Part 5 – The Power of Patience

THAT’S RIDICULOUS!!!  Did I hear right?  I did!  A student blurted those words out in a fit of anger after I told him he would have to complete the work he hadn’t turned in for weeks during the free time allotted for students who had finished their assignments.

Needless to say, I felt like a lion about to pounce on a gazelle.  His tone didn’t sit well with me.  At all.


Have you ever felt that way too, dear teachers?  I’m sure you have!  Wisdom whispers in our ears loseth not thy temper, but sometimes our temper doesn’t listen.  Amen?  Which, consequentially, could turn out to look something like this…

Fortunately, I gathered my wits about me and, in a loving but stern tone, stated back to him how nice it was to be given the opportunity to turn this work in and not receive a zero!  He complied. Thank God.  One more outburst like that and I might have actually pounced!

Patient, as defined in scripture and online dictionaries, effectively means the following:

able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.
“be patient, your time will come”
synonyms: forbearing, uncomplaining, tolerant, resigned, stoical; calm, composed, even-tempered, imperturbable, unexcitable, accommodating, understanding, indulgent; informalunflappable, cool
“I must ask you to be patient”
persevering, persistent, tenacious, indefatigable, dogged, determined, resolved, resolute, single-minded;
“a good deal of patient work”

What then does it take to be patient?  Love of course!  The love of God enables us to do all these things and more.

 

And when we are patient because of love, it gives us power…

Powerful promises brought by persistent patience.

Love →→→Patience→→→Promises→→→Power (Repeat)

To be patient is to be powerful.  To be powerful is to be patient.  And love is the key.

Let’s learn to be as patient with our students as God has been with us.  He is patient because He loves.

God bless you with patience in your classrooms this week dear Christian teachers, and may we keep partaking of all the fruit available to us through our Lord Jesus.

#Love  #Patience  #Promises  #Power

 

 

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 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!