WONDER Teachers, Introduction

Two weeks into a new school year…  Are you feeling the burn, dear teachers?  I know I am.  Planning began July 31 for our district.  Psychologically, that’s a hard date to swallow 😮 as August 1 sounds more palatable to this teacher.  Nonetheless, we are more than conquerors according to God’s word!

Speaking of conquerors, I had the opportunity to see the new Wonder Woman movie this summer with my cousin Deb.  I couldn’t help but witness the parallels the movie presented between the character of Wonder Woman and today’s Christian teacher.  It actually shouted a volume of correlations into my ears.  Here’s a quick synopsis from Google…

Before she was Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained to be an unconquerable warrior. Raised on a sheltered island paradise, Diana meets an American pilot (Chris Pine) who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in the outside world. Convinced that she can stop the threat, Diana leaves her home for the first time. Fighting alongside men in a war to end all wars, she finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.

Here’s my take on this summary:

Before becoming a Wonder Teacher, insert your name here, child of the King, trained to be an unconquerable warrior.  Raised in ___________,  __________ meets the Pilot of her soul who tells her about the massive conflict that’s raging in school classrooms across the globe.  Convinced that she can stop the threat, _____________ leaves her home for the first time.  Fighting alongside fellow Christian teachers in a war to end all wars, __________  finally discovers her full powers and true destiny.  

How about that?  Powerful, isn’t it?  This is not hyperbole in the spiritual realm whatsoever.  The hearts and minds of our students today are influenced by a myriad of evil forces.  We counteract these forces day in and day out in our classrooms whether we realize it or not.  Think of Minecraft VR. That’s us.  Spiritual warfare, however, is not a virtual reality.  It is reality.  Amen and amen.

For this reason, character studies intrigue me, whether fictional or not.  A lot can be gleaned from biblical characters specifically.  I think a good bit of the time, as we read about them, we don’t take the time to process exactly what God would have us take away from these narratives.  It would behoove us to learn from them, inspiring us onward or cautioning us from failure, destruction, or anything in between.

Over the next six weeks, I am examining six Bible characters that coincide with the acronym WONDER as a mnemonic device to facilitate remembrance of this study. Biblestudytools.com defines wonder as the following:

The verb “wonder” occurs only a few times in the Old Testament; “wonder” as noun is much more frequent, and is chiefly the translation of the word mopheth, a splendid or conspicuous work, a “miracle” (Exodus 4:21; 11:9, etc.), often conjoined with ‘othoth, “signs” (Exodus 7:3; Deuteronomy 6:22; 13:1,2; 34:11; Nehemiah 9:10, etc.). Other frequent words are pala’, pele’, a “marvel,” “miracle” (Exodus 3:20; 15:11; Joshua 3:5; Isaiah 9:6, margin “wonderful counselor,” etc.). In the New Testament the ordinary verb is thaumazo, and the most frequent noun is teras, a “marvel,” “portent,” answering in its meaning to Hebrew pala’. As in the Old Testament the “wonder” is chiefly a miraculous work, so in the Gospels the feeling of wonder is chiefly drawn out by the marvelous displays of Christ’s power and wisdom (Matthew 15:31; Mark 6:51; Luke 4:22, etc.).

God’s word is full of wonder and wonders!  Isn’t it exciting then to be reminded of John 14:12?…

As we begin our six week study, please pray about how God can and will make you a WONDER Teacher, not to glorify yourself, but so students may be the beneficiaries of your exploits on behalf of the kingdom.  We will begin with the letter W and the Woman at the Well.  I hope you will join me next week, dear teachers.  I am looking forward to it! God bless you in your classrooms this week, stay devoted, and let’s become WONDER Teachers together!!

#WONDERTeachers  #Conquerors  #BeOne

 

 

Jesus: Serving Savior & Serving Teacher

Jesus is a serving savior!

And…

Jesus is a serving teacher!

Fellow teachers, if we want to follow in His footsteps throughout the school year, let’s examine ourselves inwardly, before we gather our chicks around us in our classrooms, by asking ourselves two questions that will produce fruit for the kingdom outwardly.

1- Are we a serving teacher?  

2- Are we serving our students the way Jesus would?  

Now that we’ve completed our first week of school for the year in my district (four pre-planning days + one day with students), this thought has been on my mind especially after completing our first day with the kiddos yesterday.  I know I briefly touched on the subject of serving last week, but I want to add a little more icing on top of the cake if I may (or more chocolate on the donut, syrup on the waffle, or more whip cream on the milkshake…God’s word is that good!).

Last Sunday, our pastor preached a sermon with this same title as we were honoring military members and first responders.  It’s good to hear other perspectives on serving. What really resonated with me, though, was the fact that what he was saying about them could also be said of teachers, too.

Therefore, I’m tweaking it for my fellow teachers out there who are reading this blog post.  Let me say, if you are as exhausted as I am already, it will give you fresh energy and insight as to what’s important in the long run in our classrooms, because when we serve our students, we serve our Savior.

In order to accomplish the mission of service, our spiritual antennas must be sensitive to receive signals from our Father and our students, in order not to miss any opportunities He sends our way. I know sometimes I may sound dramatic, but nothing, I mean NOTHING, is more important then when eternity is at stake.  And eternity is definitely what is in the balance here.  Make no mistake about it!  Selah.

So here it is in a condensed version tweaked for teachers…

  • Serve others because Jesus served others – rephrase – serve students because Jesus served students.  I can think of at least 12 students Jesus had close by most of the time!

  • Jesus served people in crisis – rephrase – We have students (too many sometimes) who are in a crisis. Let’s serve them in their crisis’ situations.  The woman who was caught in adultery, the officer whose daughter was sick – too many to count, just like us!

  • Jesus served people who didn’t care about him – rephrase – sometimes all the work we do serving our students and their parents will go unnoticed or unappreciated, because they simply don’t care. Some students and parents can even be down right mean.  Let’s serve them anyway.  He died for them for goodness sake!

Serving others opens the door to a person’s heart.  Thus, serving students opens the door to our students’ hearts.  It’s both a natural (and a supernatural!) thing.  We want those doors open fellow teachers!  Why?….

While we certainly can’t be our students’ savior, by serving them we can introduce them to Him!  I find that to be the most gratifying act of service there is.  Bar none.  Now that’s something that will keep us energized as we press on toward the high calling. Amen?!

God bless you dear teachers.  Until next week, serve, serve, and serve some more!

#JesusServes  #SoShouldWe

From Him, For Him

Welcome back to another school year, dear teachers!  

As sure as the sun comes up, school begins again.  Amen?  As you know, I wasn’t quite sure I would continue the blog as the sun went down on the 2016-17 school year.  But alas, for my sanity, I must continue to write as it’s therapy for my thirsty soul.  I appreciate the responses you shared with me about Devotions for Teachers.  They truly blessed my heart.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

As we start anew, let’s forget about what lies behind.  A new year is a fresh beginning, not only for us, but for our students too.  Whether our 2016-17 was a home run or a strike out, we teachers have the opportunity to make that good year last year an even better year this year, or that bad year last year one we can reflect upon, learn from, and improve.  If this is you, please remember we all have them from time to time.  Get up, dust yourself off, and resolve to press on!

Let me begin by asking a question for us to mediate upon.  If God were to grade our teaching, what grade would we earn?  An A, a B, a C, or an F?

 

The first portion of today’s title simply states the words From Him, meaning God has given us a gift and we are to use it to serve others well.  I would venture to believe serving well translates to earning an A in God’s gradebook, wouldn’t you?  His is the highest of standards, is it not? Therefore, throughout the year, let’s keep asking ourselves, am I serving my students, administrators, fellow teachers, and parents well?   It’s His plan for us to do so and to the best of our ability.  We can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

The second portion proclaims: For Him.  Yes, we are serving others, not for ourselves or to be seen (lest we think we are something), and it is for them – whomever “them” may be (see list below). Ultimately though, it’s all for Him, in order that He shines through us whereby others may come to know and love Him too.  Simply put, we are God’s hands and feet with our gifts. Christian teachers in any school classroom can make a difference for the kingdom. Amen!

Therefore, I beseech you, both sistren and brothren teachers, to stamp it on the notepads of your minds this year that all that we do is From Him and For Him. It’s all about Him when we…

 pray for our students

 greet our students at the door

 model Christ-like values

 plan our lessons

 teach our lessons

 love our students

 discipline our students

 serve our students

 collaborate with fellow teachers

 meet with parents

 convene with administrators

 encounter criticism

 love our job

 question our calling (It happens!)

…and all with a smile on our face. 🙂  God can do the impossible!

Let’s drive it out of the park for God this year, dear teachers!  I’m praying God rains down His blessings on you until the riverbanks of your soul spill out onto the floodplain of your students and they, in turn, will bless the Lord.  Stay devoted, and I’ll see you back here next week at Devotions for Teachers.

#FromHim  #ForHim  #HomeRunsForJesus

 

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