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

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

Action Needed!

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What are you doing in your classroom to mirror Jesus?

From Google:

mir·ror

ˈmirər/
noun
noun: mirror; plural noun: mirrors
  1. 1.
    a reflective surface, now typically of glass coated with a metal amalgam, that reflects a clear image.
    synonyms: reflecting surface; More

 

something regarded as accurately representing something else.
“the stage is supposed to be the mirror of life”
synonyms: reflection, twin, replica, copy, match, parallel

“his life was a mirror of her own”

To answer this question, perhaps we need to examine the verbs that are apart of our everyday behavior as we go about our school day teaching and interacting with our students.  Therefore, I want us to carefully consider the following statement:

Verbs describing what Jesus did should be verbs describing what we are doing everyday as teachers in the classroom.

After all, Jesus was the greatest of all teachers. Amen?!

As I list these verbs, ask yourself if this is an accurate reflection of you.  If you affirm that indeed, YES!, I am actively and effectively mirroring Jesus as stated, then wonderful! Good for you!  On the other hand, if your answer is woe is me, NO, I’m not doing so hot on this one, then get down to business, ok?!

Here we go…

Jesus LOVES the world.  John 3:16

Jesus GAVE His life.  John 3:16

Jesus SHARES the gospel.  John 14:6

Jesus FORGIVES (and forgives and forgives and forgives…)  Matthew 6:14-15

Jesus SHOWS COMPASSION on the multitudes.  Matthew 6:34

Jesus TEACHES with authority and in parables.  Matthew 7:29

Jesus WEEPS.  John 11:35

Jesus SPENDS TIME with God alone.  Mark 1:35-37

Jesus BELIEVES.  Matthew 6:30

Jesus SEARCHES for the lost.  Matthew 18:12

Jesus FEEDS the hungry.  Matthew 13:14-21

Jesus SPEAKS to those others won’t speak to and… John 4

Jesus SPEAKS truth!  John 8:32

Jesus DEFENDS the defenseless.  Matthew 18:14

Jesus HEALS the brokenhearted and the physically sick.  John 14:27, All 4 Gospels

Jesus PRAYS for others.  John 17:20-23

Jesus HATES sin.  Matthew 27:46-47

Jesus REBUKES the devil.  Luke 9:42

Jesus FORBIDS NOT that children should come to Him.  Matthew 19:14

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These verses are not all inclusive as they are just a small sample of the actions of Jesus. He was always going about doing good, and still is.  His life is an example of continual action.  Is yours?  Is mine?  Let’s mirror Jesus teachers!  Whip out those verbs and get to work!

Until next week, God bless you and stay devoted.

#BeAnActionVerb  #ActionNeeded

 

 

 

Where You Are

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Welcome back to another grand and glorious school year serving God and serving students dear Christian teachers!

As we embark on this adventure together, I want to remind and encourage you to remember where you are

According to the scripture above, we are where we are because God has put us specifically there!  Think about that for just a minute or two and fill in the blanks…

  • God has me, ________ _________, teaching at ________ _______ School for the 2016-17 school year.

  • God has me teaching _____ grade and the following subjects: _______, _______.

  • This means that I will be teaching (# of) students each day.

  • Therefore, I have the opportunity to not only minister to _____ students, but perhaps to ( # of ) parents as well this year.

  • I also work with (approximately how many) teachers whom I can minister to as a bonus. 🙂

Now, reread the scripture verses above!  We must not blindly begin teaching this year forgetting that God has placed us where we are to reach students and families on His behalf.  That’s our goal for our corner of the world.  It’s an all hands on deck mission for our neck of the woods.

This is our time. This is our place. This is our mission.

Seek God where you are.  Serve God where you are.

That is God’s will for you and for me.

God bless you this year my fellow teachers!  I look forward to serving you here each week at Devotions for Teachers.  May we love and encourage one another together and be used by God to reach a generation for Christ is my prayer.

Until next week, stay devoted!

#WhereYouAreIsImportant  #SeekGod  #ServeGod  #Acts17:26-27

What Time Is It?!

IT’S SPRING BREAK TIME!  

 Happy-Spring-Break-Inspirational-Life-Quotes

Devotions for Teachers will continue next week.  God bless you and stay devoted!

Reaping Encouragement


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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?

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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.

 

Seizing Cynicism

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Changes are a comin’ – changes which I’m not happy about.  Last week we were told that my all time favorite principal is transferring to another post next year.

I didn’t see that one coming. 😞

Since learning this news, I’ve fought a week long bout with cynicism… Cynicism about how everything will inevitably change next year, and even cynicism about my future in teaching.

It’s even depressing writing about it now.

I know there are thousands, if not more, cynical teachers just like me. Lord knows we teachers have more than our fair share to be cynical about, amen?

So what do we do when we are faced with cynicism my fellow teachers?   Well, I don’t have all the answers, but here is what God has taught me this past week.  I believe it can be applied to even the utmost cynical of situations.  Are you ready?…

Seize cynicism or it will seize you!

The meaning of seize is defined as:

seize
sēz/
verb
1.
take hold of suddenly and forcibly.
“she jumped up and seized his arm”
synonyms: grab, grasp, snatch, take hold of, get one’s hands on.

Obviously, we don’t want to be forcibly taken!

Nevertheless, cynicism seized me for 7 days before the Lord helped me to turn that thing around and seize it back.  It scares me to think about all the teachers who have been seized for whatever reason and for much longer periods of time. If that’s you, I’m praying God uses today’s post to help you.

So how do we seize cynicism?

  • Pray about it – Philippians 4:6-7 states:  6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.  (A how to prayer guide if there ever was one!)

  • Cast your care on Him – Psalm 55:22 states:  Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. (Casting =  Sustainment + Unshakeableness)

  • Trust God, do good, and be faithful – Psalm 37:3 states: Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.  (We do while going through.)

  • Guard your tongue – Philippians 2:14 states: Do all things without murmurings and questionings. (Murmuring will cancel out all the others.)

  • Remember God is in control and causes everything to work together for good – Daniel 4:34 states:  All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand Or say to Him, ‘What have You done?…and Romans 8:28 states: And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (That’s why we can trust Him.)

  • Don’t lose sight of the big picture!  This is perhaps the most important one, because the devil would love to get us sidetracked, wouldn’t he?

Remember:

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Now, and in the coming months, we must actively decide not to be cynical. It’s tough but doable.  In order to be victorious, you and I must apply God’s word and get control of the situation before it gets control of us. Circumstances are not always going to be perfect, and that’s why we must pray, cast our care, trust God, do good, and be faithful all while guarding our tongues.  Furthermore, we will be the victors over cynicism when we remember He is sovereign and causes everything to work together for good, no matter the matter at hand.

Lord, please don’t let us forget our mission in the middle of it all!

#SeizeCynicism dear teachers!  Until next time, God bless you and your students and stay devoted!