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

 

 

Favor Finders

download (2)

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  #Inspired2Educate

 

Persecution is a Privilege

Persecution is par for the course.  It means we are doing something right for the Lord!

download

Persecution is inevitable too, particularly in our education systems both here in the United States and abroad.  We read and hear about it daily on our news feed and wonder why it is choosing good over evil would bother people so much.  After all, why would anyone not want to choose what’s good instead of what’s evil?  Satan’s goal is to keep people hogtied and in the dark, blinded from truth – especially our students.

Fear not, my fellow Christian teachers!  Stand up and be bold anyway!  Remember, we are on the winning side even though sometimes it looks as if our defeat is imminent.

Therefore, today I want to remind you of the heroes of the faith who came before us. Because of word count, rarely do I post a whole chapter from the Bible, but serious subject matter calls for an exception. Hebrews chapter 11, fondly referred to as the Heroes of the Faith Hall of Fame, is, in my opinion, the go-to chapter for inspiration in all of God’s word.  Instead of scanning through it, may I humbly suggest drinking in it as parched souls longing to quench our thirst? Even if our cup is overflowing, I find it soaks in even more that way. Words in red are to remind us of persecution.

Hebrews 11 English Standard Version (ESV)

By Faith

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation.By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

4 By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith.

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith Sarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered him faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born descendants as many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith Isaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith Jacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, bowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward. 27 By faith he left Egypt, not being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured as seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two,[a] they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated—38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.

There are parts of the world where the depravity of persecution spoken of here in Hebrews is still taking place and is as evil now as it was then.  Therefore, it should be an encouragement to us when we are persecuted, whether by the government, our administration, teachers, parents, or students, it could be much worse, amen?! Furthermore, it’s a reminder that if our forefathers and fore-sisters in the faith were persecuted to the extent Hebrew’s states and came out of the battle victorious, then we can too!

Keep this verse within eyesight in your classroom.

Keep this verse within eyesight in your classroom.

My oh my, that’s something to shout about!  Hallelujah!  May our faith journeys be marks of boldness blessing our Lord, the world (classroom) around us, and our forefathers and sisters in the faith. Persecution may come, but it will be a privilege and we will be blessed.

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

#PersecutionIsPrivilege  #PersecutionIsBlessing  #Hebrews11  #HeroesOfTheFaith

 

Fight Fire With FIRE!

download (17)

For teachers who enjoy ordinary, run of the mill disciplinary issues (like me) reading the blog today, life in our classrooms is good.  Amen?!  But for teachers who deal with extraordinary disciplinary cases day in and day out, life in the classroom is not only tough, but can be down right dangerous.

While unwinding from a typical day in my classroom last week, I turned on the news to see what was going on in this chaotic world we live in. (Ironic I know!)  To my dismay, on the broadcast was a story about teachers being physically assaulted by their students. Cell phone video coverage displaying fight after fight of out of control students attacking their teachers, hurt me to my core as I watched.  What’s occurring in some of our nation’s classrooms is frightening. Truly, we are witnessing a battle against demonic forces, forces battling for the souls of our students. No doubt about it my fellow teachers. No. Doubt.

download (18)

So the question is this…  If you are in this situation, what do you do? Perhaps one solution could be to fight fire with FIRE! 

I don’t pretend to know all the answers (or any for that matter) for teachers in the middle of what seems to be hell if that is you, but I do want to encourage you not to waller in the mud of filth the enemy is slinging around, using, of all things, your students. Remember the veil is completely, but not irretrievably, drawn over their eyes presently, and that is why they are acting like rabid dogs.

Notice I said presently, because with the Word of God, the fires of hell are extinguished! Ephesians 5:26 calls it the washing of the Word of God…

just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.…

I believe when we stay in the word, we are cleansed, and when we are cleansed the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11) burn in us, making a straight line to our students thereby robbing the enemy’s fire of its oxygen, extinguishing the blaze. Recall how firefighters set fires to fight fires?  That’s the idea here!  Yes, the firefighter is blameless too, because he was preventing destruction of lives and property.  See the picture?

Since we are fighting fire with fire, I pray that the following acronym will encourage and strengthen you as you face the fire in your classroom.  Remember, Jesus’ fire and the world’s fire are extraordinarily different…

F – Forgive!  Luke 23:34  Forgive them for they know not what they do.   Each day as you enter your classroom, you must unequivocally choose to forgive students whom you know are out to harm (or have harmed) you, but you must do it in word and deed! Remember Proverbs 25: 21-22  21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; 22 For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the LORD will reward you.  Talk about fighting fire with fire, well there you go!

I – Instruction is key! Psalms 32:8I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.  This applies to your lesson plans (which should be well planned and well thought out as well as relevant) and instruction on how students should behave properly and be at peace with you and their fellow students. Perhaps if you are in an exceptionally frightful environment, spending at least 5 minutes per class each day to instill life lessons would be beneficial.

R – Resolve Conflicts Quickly!  Proverbs 18:15-16  15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses.  Redirect students respectfully and if they don’t follow through, then talk to them privately immediately after class. If the situation warrants, send them out auspiciously on an errand so that you may meet them in the hall to talk with privately upon their return. Also, review as many classroom management articles as you possibly can!

E – Emotions Must Be Kept Under Control!  Proverbs 29:11 A fool vents all his feelings, but a wise man holds them back.  So count to 10, hold your breath, and repeat that verse in your mind before you do something that will add fuel to the fire!

Remember, it’s a spiritual battle!  So above all, put on your armor before the first student walks through your classroom door, dear teachers.

download (20)

 

Imagine looking in the spiritual mirror and beholding this person! Well, that’s how you and I look when we are armed and ready for battle, and that’s the person who will STAND!  Remember when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were tossed into the fiery furnace?  The fourth man, JESUS, came on the scene and stood in the fire with them! Praise God! He will do the same for you and me too!

God bless you in this fight dear teachers.  I have no doubt in my mind that God is with you, and He will reward you for your work on His behalf.  I am praying for you and I invite all my fellow teachers to pray on your behalf as well.  Keep the faith, fight fire with fire, and stay devoted!

#FIRE


It all started last Thursday…

edu61

…and I can tell you how it began.

Longer Days + Warmer Temperatures + Buds Blooming  = Spring Fever + Students Like Worms In Hot Ashes!

Last Thursday, I kept noticing an uptick in the energy level of my classes – more than than the usual that takes place during a normal day, that is.  I kept asking myself, Is there something wrong with me? and, Is there more to it than just me?  By the end of an exhausting day of students bouncing off the wall, I had not only diagnosed the fever, but realized it had spread like an epidemic within the day leaving all in its wake, including me, needing bed rest ASAP!

Lord knows, if it’s happening to me then it’s probably happening to you too, dear Christian teacher, or at least you’ve detected it.  Oh the joy!  Oh the fun!  (Insert sarcasm if that’s allowed on a Christian blog! lol)  The question now becomes, How do we survive it?  Because as you well know, it will last until the end of the school year. Yikes!

Now’s the time to amp up our prayer life, asking God to help us through each day and for patience and wisdom along the way, praying at the beginning of each of our classes. If you don’t change classes because of the age of your students, then pray at least once every hour.  Here are some verses we can pray and recite aloud replacing the word you with me, us, or even our name in some cases:

  • Prayers of peace for us and our students – 2 Thessalonians 3:16 – Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.

  • Prayers when certain classes or students are truly exasperating (and sometimes they can get that way, amen?!) -Psalm 50:15 – and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

  •  Prayers for patience – Proverbs 4:29 – Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly. Ephesians 4:2  Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

  • Prayers for wisdom – James 1:5  – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.  James 3:17 – But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

Sometimes a good nap will leave us temporarily rested and refreshed, but God’s word, through prayer and meditation, gives us so much more. It is the perfect medication for all that ails us, even teachers dealing with an outbreak of spring fever. After all, He is the Great Physician!

God bless you, stay devoted, and hangeth thou in there!  This too shall pass… summer is right around the corner. 🙂

be-anxious-for-nothing

Reaping Encouragement


images (13)

Some days we may doubt it, must most of the time we know that we know teaching is truly what God has called us to do.  On the days when doubt about our calling scorches us like the desert sun, then perhaps we should drench our students with a flood of encouragement because we reap what we sow!

I have a student whom I have been pouring a flood of love and encouragement into since he enrolled in our school this year.  Let me tell you, this student is a gem, but he didn’t start out that way! He was quiet, unsure of himself, never had what he needed for class, and just looked disheveled most of the time.  Bless him.  I could tell he needed extra attention, love, and encouragement.  I know you have had the same experience many times like me over the years, right?

images (11)

I knew he probably didn’t experience a proper home life growing up, and probably had it rough.  I was right.  I won’t go into the details, but it would make you cry if you knew. He’s a trooper though.  As I have rained down the love and encouragement, he has done a complete 180.  Praise the Lord!  God is awesome and faithful to His word.

Never underestimate God’s word and the power of encouragement.  Not only does it make a world of difference to our students, but witnessing the transformation it can make in their lives can encourage even the most discouraged among us, my fellow teachers.  My student’s circumstances haven’t changed, but he has.  It makes me want to keep pressing on!

Bottom line – If we need encouragement then we need to sow encouragement lavishly. Our joy will be full and the result?  We won’t lose heart and we will keep pressing toward the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

May God bless you this week, and I want to encourage you in all your classroom endeavors. YOU. Are. Awesome!  And YOU are making a difference in this world! Stay devoted dear Christian teacher.

 

Prayer & a Candle in the Window

Candle in the window (1)My fellow Christian teachers, would you please join me in giving birth to a new movement called A Candle in the Window?
I’m an 80’s girl.  I graduated high school in 1983 (go ERHS Pioneers!) and college in 1987 (go UTC Mocs!).  I also fell in love in the 80’s and married my foxy (If you don’t know what that word means, just substitute the word “hot” instead!) husband, Keith, in ’87 as well. 🙂 So needless to say, I LOVE 80’s music.  Besides Christian music, 80’s music is the only music I will crank up in my Suburban as I mosey on down the road.
So, that got me to thinking.  (Sorry for my not so creative grammar to all you LA teachers out there.) As I tossed and turned in bed last night, the 80’s band REO Speedwagon was singing the song “I Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” in my oh, so tired brain.  Yes, they were singing to me, lol!  Then, all of a sudden, the phrase candle in the window jumped off the pages of my mind and lit up like the fourth of July!  Sounds a little strange, I know, but I’m thinking you also encounter those restless nights when thoughts are racing around in your head a hundred+ miles per hour.
What in the world does a candle in the window mean, and what does it have to do with encouraging Christian teachers in the classroom, you may ask?  It has a lot to do with it, and it’s the topic of the video blog today. Tune in to find out!
Additionally, I am asking you to put a candle in your window at school.  I have 3 windows in my classroom – one by the door as you enter and two that are on the outside wall of our school. I have placed mine on the windowsill by the door (see above), and even though the Fire Marshall forbids lighting candles at school, it still represents a praying teacher!  There is a three-fold purpose in doing so…
  • As a reminder to pray for my students
  • As a reminder to pray for my administrators
  • As a reminder to pray for my fellow teachers in my school and around the world
 and there is a three-fold outcome…
  • By doing this together, we will make a huge impact on our school and all over the world!
  • By identifying ourselves in this manner, we will know and encourage one another in a clear and concise way.
  • And finally, by placing our candle in the window, we are telling the world we are there to make a difference for Christ!
Will you join me in spreading the word? Let’s do this together, dear Christian teachers! Pray, put a candle in your window,  and let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16

#CandleInTheWindow