Fruit Frenzy, The Finale!

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Here we are…

The school year is rapidly coming to a close, and we are concluding the series Fruit Frenzy as well.  Time flies!  Amen?  This will be the last blog post of the 2016-17 school year, so if you will take the time and allow me to present one item of business before we dive into today’s topic, I would be ever so grateful…

I am praying about whether or not to continue the blog next year as God may be leading me in another direction.  I would love your feedback as to whether Devotions For Teachers encourages you in your calling to teach.  I have added a contact form below. Please let me know what you think as your thoughts matter to me! The feedback you provide will remain private as these comments will not be posted on the blog for viewers to see.  Thanks so much in advance.

Now back to Fruit Frenzy, The Finale!

It’s both fitting and ironic, at least to me, the last two outcomes of the fruit of the spirit mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23 are gentleness and self-control, because although it’s actually when we come to the end of ourselves that we inherit the earth (Matthew 5:5) and the land (Psalm 37:11), it looks as if the world belongs to those who exert their will over others.  How can that be?

I submit to you, based upon God’s word, the world’s beliefs are a false reality.

Galatians 5:22-23

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Psalm 37:11 

11 But the meek will inherit the land
    and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Gentleness translated is meekness.  Meekness is power under control – our power, our will, under God’s control. It’s submitting to God’s will, knowing that He rules and reigns over the heavens and the earth and does according to His good pleasure.  He is sovereign!

Meekness is not weakness! When we submit to God’s will, we are strong, because He is strong. Hallelujah!

2nd Corinthians 12:10

In submitting to Him, we not only relinquish control of all things to God, but it gives us self-control as well, in the sense we realize and cry out to God – I can’t do this, but you can.  Help me!  We don’t have to resist, shake our fists, or run away.  We know He can handle it all.  We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His will.  We know He loves us.

In all circumstances, knowing these things, our role is to submit, trust, believe, rest.

 Submit.

Trust.

Believe.

Rest.

(Repeat)

How then, dear teachers, can we apply this in our classrooms and be encouraged?

I don’t know about you, but if you are like me, I continually cry out to God, I can’t do this, but You can.  Help me!  I’m not saying this to assert in any way, shape, or form that I am a bastion of meekness, ’cause Lord knows I have areas in my life where God is still, in His mercy and grace, working on me.

However, if you knew me like I know me, you would know without a doubt, when it comes to the classroom, I need all the help I can get!  Therefore, I am all about meekness and self-control when I stand up in front of my students to teach.  This fact doesn’t bother me in the least, because I believe our calling will only be accomplished when we depend completely upon Him.

Also, how often do we consciously say aloud the name of Jesus (in a reverent manner) during the course of our day?  There is power in Jesus’ name.  There is hope in Jesus’ name.  There is strength in Jesus’ name.

One day, every believing and unbelieving knee will bow and every believing and unbelieving tongue will confess the name of Jesus.  In the mean time, we teacher believers must confess His name to possess all we need to fulfill our calling as well as for every situation that arises in our classrooms, day in and day out.  Yes! Confess and possess….

JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!!! There is power in just reading it.  Imagine what speaking it out loud throughout our day will do!  Sometimes circumstances only allow a whisper, but at other times stating it with power and conviction not only gets our attention, it lets God know we are boldly approaching Him for help!

Meting out meekness in our schools, whether it’s in the hallway, classroom, gym, or cafeteria, will produce blessings we will not otherwise receive if we don’t bend our knees and our wills to God.  God is looking for meek teachers, dear friends.

Likewise, as meekness progresses to self-control, victory is just ahead. Remember the analogy in 1st Corinthians 9:25 comparing (us) saints to athletes?…

25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Athletes must live a disciplined life.  The virtue of self-control is of utter importance when training to win a race.  In like manner, we too, as teachers, must discipline ourselves to win the race in our classrooms.  It’s not for the weary. It’s not for the faint-hearted.  It’s for men and women who possess control – control of self.

We are in it to win it. We win by disciplining ourselves to be the best teachers in our schools’ classrooms.  Christian teachers ought to be the best all around teachers.  Our standards should exceed what is expected. Period. Amen.

Let’s inherit the land.  The land of the school house is vitally important!  

God bless you.  I pray you have a wonderful summer break.  Abide in the vine, and experience a fruit frenzy, dear teachers.

#MeeknessIsNotWeakness  #BeGentleTeacher  #SelfControlIsAMust  #ConfessPossess

Use It or Lose It! Fruit Frenzy, Continued

Today we continue with our series Fruit Frenzy, specifically the fruit of faithfulness. How faithful are we, dear Christian teachers?  How’s our attitude toward God and others? Are our actions toward God and our fellow man (students) high-yielding (fruitful)?  Our faithfulness will be a reflection of both.

Furthermore, if we are walking in the spirit, then we are living a life of reliability, faithfulness, obedience, and dependability in the classroom as to the call God has placed on our lives. On the flip side, if our fruit has lost its flavor, or is plumb rotten, then we are not walking in the spirit and therefore aren’t reliable, faithful, obedient, or dependable regarding our calling.  Oh me!

I am reposting Use It Or Lose It!, a blog post I wrote a while back addressing this topic. Let’s be faithful to not lose what God, in His great goodness and tender mercy, has called us to do.  How sad would that be? Walk in the spirit, dear teachers, and use the talent God’s given you to be a winner in your calling from Him.  It’s His will! 🙂


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 #FaithfulnessDemandsTenacity

Fruit Frenzy, Continued


                               

                                           Welcome back teachers!

Have you ever been around a student who just makes you feel badly?  Chances are you have, and unfortunately, chances are there have been times when both you and I have acted likewise to a student or two through the years.  It happens, amen?

This week, we are continuing the series Fruit Frenzy, specifically kindness and goodness, and are tackling the question, How can we combat this type of behavior in our students and in us?

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The answer to that question is really very simple…

We combat ugly behavior in our students, as well as ourselves, with the weapons of Christian kindness and Godly goodness.

Don’t misunderstand me – bad behavior in the classroom must be addressed. The sooner, the better.  Amen?  However, our tone afterwards, and in the days to come, must be one of love and reconciliation, followed up with acts of kindness reaffirming our love for the students under our tutelage (and that God has given us, I might add).

Also, being good to our students on a continual  basis is another recipe for a healthy classroom environment.  Remember, we reap what we sow.  Sow goodness, reap goodness!  Sow kindness, reap kindness!

The verses listed above are practical ways to demonstrate kindness and goodness, not only to our students, but to others we encounter.  Further, if we sponsor a club, a sports team, or are a grade level teacher, we can aid communities around our schools by engaging our students in these very same kindnesses about which Jesus spoke.

Remember, Jesus said we will inherit the kingdom when we do so! What are we sowing fellow teachers?  Food for thought.  Fruit for thought!

#FruitOfTheSpirit  #FruitFrenzy  #KillThemWithKindness  #GodlyGoodness

Easter Blessings

He will always be there for us, dear Christian teachers.  God bless you on this most holy of days and always.  Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!

#Easter  #HeLivesInTheClassroomToo

How Well Do You Smell?!

Your attitude is like the aroma of your heart. If your attitude stinks, it means your heart’s not right.  ~Facing The Giants~

My students are watching this wonderful, inspirational film today, and those words come from a scene in the movie called The Death Crawl.  In the scene, a football player is challenged by his coach to carry another football player on his back while crawling across the field.  Blindfolded.

Let’s face it.  Teaching can be just as tough, right?  We all have hard days that test our attitude.  Likewise, we are blindfolded to the big picture of WHY most of the time.

Why is my student acting that way?

Why did my administrator say no to my request?

Why do we have to do yet another task for which we don’t have time?

And the list goes on… and on… and on!

Of course, you and I don’t have all the answers.  I do try to understand to the best of my ability, and I’m sure you do as well.  However, when we don’t understand, sometimes it negatively impacts our attitude.  Can I get amen?! Have you ever tried to teach with a bad attitude?  It happens to all of us every now and then, but it’s a totally fruitless endeavor.  Don’t. Do. It!

Therefore, while we are blind, trying to find our way through the darkness, we have to trust God.  It’s easier said than done, but we know it’s true nonetheless. Trusting God improves our attitude

Also, we can ask God to help us adjust our attitude. When we ask, here’s what He will do…

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I know this verse primarily is in the context of receiving Christ as our Savior, but I also believe it can apply to our attitude in that when we ask for a better one, He will graciously turn our attitude of stone into an attitude of flesh.

Just like in the death crawl scene, I believe God sometimes screams in our ears to demand our attention, because His work can’t be accomplished with a stinky attitude.  A good attitude gets the job done.

Are we getting the job done, dear Christian teachers?  Does our attitude need adjusting? How well do we smell?  May it be a sweet aroma to our students, fellow teachers, and our administrators!

God bless you in your classrooms this week, dear teachers.  Stay devoted!

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#YourAttitudeMatters  #AttitudeAdjuster  #SmellWell

 

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

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