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

 

 

 

How To Make 2018 The Best Year Ever! Part 1

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Question of the day:  Is there a secret formula for success in our classrooms – or in any career as far as that’s concerned?  

Our loving heavenly Father graciously shouts the answer to this question in a collective amount of ways, but primarily though His word, and it’s a resounding YES!  However, we have to remember that our version of success and His version of success may differ somewhat.  I tell my students that a successful life is not one where we end up a millionaire (although that could happen and it would be nice!), but a successful life – a happy, satisfying, and exuberant one – is the result of purpose driven living, fulfilling our dreams by working hard and doing the right thing.  

Our pastor preached this timeless message a couple of years ago.  I’ve also added some tidbits of my own here and there.  It’s one that applies not only to 2018, but every single year we live our lives on Earth.  I’m paying it forward to my teacher friends hoping we will all make 2018 even better than 2017 in our classrooms. 

Without further ado, let’s begin!…

The first step to a successful 2018 is to… LOVE GOD.  

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Now that we know the first step to success is to love God, how exactly do we do that? Well, I believe the answer is found in fixing our eyes on the Author and Finisher of our faith, which is none other than Jesus Himself (Hebrews 12:2).

In my Sunday School class, we’ve been completing a study of Ron Dunn’s wonderful book called Faith Crisis.  If our eyes are not focused on the object of our faith (Jesus) we will simply not succeed in our Christian walk.  Period.  Our pastor also reminds us to GAZE at Jesus, and GLANCE at our problems.  We get this turned around most of the time by gazing at our problems and glancing at our Jesus.  Sad but true, isn’t it?

Just think back for a moment when you fell in love with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend.  We didn’t just glance at them did we?  We gazed, and gazed, and gazed some more.  Not only did we fix our eyes their way – we smiled, we admired, we celebrated, we loved, and we wanted to be with them all the time!  It’s the same way with our kids.  I fix my eyes on my children and just think WOW! (most of the time, lol) 

My challenge then this week is for you and I to FIX OUR EYES ON JESUS.  GAZE AT HIM, don’t just give him a glance.  Yes, we will have problems in our classrooms, and they deserve a glance, but Jesus deserves our gaze, indeed, our whole heart as our scripture states today.  He said it, because He knows we will have the victory – and success – if we love Him and put Him first.  AMEN!

God bless you in your classrooms this week, dear Christian teachers!  Be sure to complete the challenge.  You and I will be more excellent teachers when we do, no doubt. 🙂  I will share step 2 next week. Until then, keep pressing forward!

#Teach2018  #LoveGod

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my fellow teachers! May God richly bless you in all you do for Him!


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!

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

 

 

Had I Not Known Jesus…

Today’s assignment?  Parent/Teacher conferences. 😮

I know most teachers don’t mind them too much, but I am forever marked by a couple of memorable conferences that stamped dread for these days into my psyche probably until the day I retire.  It’s been more than a few years now, but oh! I will never forget.

Let me share about one of these with you. Hang on to your seat tightly, it’s a true story!

Had I not known Jesus, I more than likely would be in another profession as I speak right now, because I would have been fired that day.  We had, for lack of a better word and to keep the narrative honest, an aberrant mom who scheduled an appointment to see all the academic teachers who taught her twins.  I wish someone had told me she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic! Some did know, but had failed to fill me in, that there were restraining orders put out on her in the past by a teacher or two.

Say what?  Yes, you read that right!

I walked into the room, sat down, introduced myself, and stated the standard teacher graces. Then… she let ‘er rip!!! Oh. My. Goodness!  I immediately tried to address her concerns, but she wasn’t having it.  As she got increasingly agitated (she turned red as her voice topped out in a yell), I literally thought she was going to come over the desk she was seated in and duke it out with me.  Believe me when I tell you, I prepared myself for the fight which I just knew was about to take place.  If she hit me, then buddy, I was going to defend myself!

In the mean time, a couple of teachers walked by and heard the commotion.  They then called for back up by the administration.  One administrator came hurriedly down the hall, turned around, and stood outside the door after seeing who was in the room with me!  Then came the counselor, and I’ll be dad gum, she did the same thing!  It was bizarre!  They had experienced her wrath before and were justifiably scared.

Fortunately, my fellow teacher friend from across the hall took the bull by the horns, so to speak (or literally to speak!), coming to my rescue calming her down.  Thank God for friends. I still don’t understand how she did it, but then again, she’s amazing and just has a calmness about her.

I tell you my story in order to share this:  Had I not known Jesus, I would surely have said something I shouldn’t have or who knows what else?  It’s funny, but still scary, as I revisit it now.  We really never know what’s just around the corner or what’s going to happen at school from day to day or, even more so, from class to class.  Therefore, it’s good we know Jesus isn’t it dear teachers?

Knowing Him makes all the difference in any situation.  Just think about this:  What if we didn’t know Him?  How frightening would that be?  

All of us have our Had I Not Known Jesus stories.  Think back to the past, or even recently, to an event where knowing Him changed the outcome of your story, especially those from the classroom. Remember, it would have been worse had both you and I not known Him. That, my friend, is the goodness of the Lord.  Praise His name!

Knowing Him (and 1st John 4:4!) even makes Parent/Teacher Conference Day go a whole lot better. 🙂

God bless you, dear teachers, and be thankful you know Him.  Stay devoted, and I’ll see you right here next week.

#HadINotKnownHim  #GodIsGood  #WeAreHis  #Thankful  #GodIsGreater