How To Make 2018 The Best Year Ever! Part 4/4

It’s been an exciting 4 weeks sharing this series on the blog!  Although we are arriving at the end, we still have 11 months ahead to put it into action!  Praise the Lord and amen! We teachers have a big assignment (although ALL Christians do) and God gives us the directions (like we do for our students) to make an A.  So before we get started, let’s do a quick review of the first three steps of How To Make 2016 The Best Year Ever.

 I believe the Lord smiles when He sees us… 

1  – Loving Him  –

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2 – Loving Others –

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and 3 – Sharing Jesus !

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Number 4 is one of the pillars of the Church, and that is (drum roll please)…

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Jesus’ last command before He ascended to heaven was for us to do just this.

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The question then becomes:  Are we doing what He told us to do?  Perhaps we also need a reminder about just what a disciple is.  Dictionary.com defines the word disciple the following way(s):

1. Religion.
  1. one of the 12 personal followers of Christ.
  2. one of the 70 followers sent forth by Christ. Luke 10:1.
  3. any other professed follower of Christ in His lifetime.
2.  any follower of Christ.
3.  a person who is a pupil or an adherent of the doctrines of another;  follower

This is kind of tricky in public schools this day and time with all the Christian persecution taking place, but don’t distress, dear teachers!  We can remedy this situation by…

  • Building strong relationships with our students.  This takes time and energy, but it is the #1 way to get this accomplished.  Jesus’ relationships with His disciples are proof that if we want to disciple someone, we have to dedicate the time. After all, he spent 3 1/2 years building those relationships.

  • Putting steps 1-3 of this series into action with our students.  We are well on our way to making disciples when we complete these steps on a daily basis.

  • Sponsoring a Christian club.  Do you sponsor one? If not, why not?

  • Utilizing social media. I know some teachers don’t like to accept friend requests on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., but for the greater good, which is to make disciples, I always accept their requests.  Can students (or anyone for that matter) tell we are a Christian by what we post on social media?

  • Remembering to follow our Lord’s example.  Jesus served others and lived a holy life.  Are we serving our students?  Are we living a holy life? Are we imitating Him? (Ephesians 5:1)

Making disciples is worth every bit of the effort we put into it, and is one of the most rewarding experiences of being a Christian for sure.  We should be all about it, teachers!

Well, there you have it! Four ways to make 2018 the best year ever –  Love God, Love Others, Share Jesus, and Make Disciples!  Now how bout’ let’s git’ er’ done!!!!!!!!!

God bless, and I’m praying 2018 will be the best year ever for you in your classroom, dear Christian teachers!  I will see you next week here at Devotions for Teachers. 

 

How To Make 2018 the Best Year Ever! Part 3

We now arrive at part 3 on our journey towards making 2018 the best year ever.  Before introducing it, let’s take a look back at steps 1 and 2…

  •  Step 1 – Love God

  •  Step 2 – Love Others

What do you believe He could be more passionate about than love?  My personal opinion is that the heartbeat of God is for us to (unveil step #3) SHARE JESUS.  After all, if we love Him and love others, then it’s only logical that we will share Jesus with the world, right?!

Our world is our classrooms dear teachers, and Jesus uses an imperative sentence when he speaks here. Amen?

The question then becomes a most important one, because after all, we are teachers in (I hate to say it) the Godless institution of public, government run schools.  So here’s the question:  Just how do you share Jesus in the classroom?  Matthew 5 is God’s answer to this pickle of a question!

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It would be remiss of me to only quote this one verse as the whole chapter itself addresses just how we can share Him not only in the classroom, but life in general.  In order to keep the blog post a reasonable length though, I am going to focus on Matthew 5:1-16.  I want to encourage you to read the whole chapter as it helps us all to step it up a notch when it comes to sharing Jesus.

Matthew 5 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Sermon on the Mount

1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[b]they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

The beatitudes show us how to be in our attitudes.  Does our general outlook on life reflect Christ?  Does our behavior, permeating from our attitude, reflect the behavior of Christ?  People can tell.  Our students can tell!

Therefore, perhaps we should perform a quick exercise examining ourselves and our attitudes. On a scale from 1-10, let’s rate ourselves on each of Jesus’ admonitions from verses 3-10 one at a time…

  • Am I poor in spirit?

  • Do I mourn?

  • Am I meek?

  • Do I hunger and thirst for righteousness?

  • Am I merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker?  

  • Am I persecuted for righteousness sake, just like Jesus was and still is to this day?

Our attitude and behavior is the light that shines in verse 16.  Thus, we are sharing Jesus when we put our feet to Matthew 5, and, I might add, sharing it brightly before our students!  Gotta love it!  Praise the Lord!

I have one other quick suggestion before closing the blog post for today.  When we are scurrying about in our day to day lives, one way to share Jesus whenever we see someone in need, whatever it may be, is just by asking them a simple question like this:  “Pardon me, I noticed you are having a hard time (or you look like you need a little help – whatever the situation calls for) and I’m a Christian, is there something I can help you with?”  This question/statement gives us an open door to witness for Christ whether they say yes or no.  If they say yes, then usually a short conversation ensues, and they are therefore open to what we have to say.  If they say no, we can just encourage them with the simple statement “Ok, God loves you!” or “Ok, God bless you!”

Next week we will take a look at the final step in making 2018 the best year ever. Until then, love God, love others, and share Jesus!  God bless you and stay devoted to Him. You will be a more excellent teacher for it.

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! Finale

Are you fanning the flame of your gifting, dear Christian teacher?  Stir up your gift!  The hotter the better. Amen?

Today, as we wrap up our short series, Fan the Flame, we are taking a look at our senses of touch and smell.

T O U C H 

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When we see the word touch in God’s word, especially in the New Testament, most of the time it refers to healing.

In Mark 10:13-16 Jesus wanted to bless the children by the laying on of his hands, but his disciples did not want Him to!  Wow.  Were the children unimportant?…Or were the disciples too busy?…Was it just too time consuming to actually physically lay hands on them?…

Why?  I don’t know the reason, but I do know we need to be diligent not to overlook any of our students for whatever reason. Always take time for students – if not that moment, then a little later. We can also be a blessing and pray blessings over our students.  A smile, a hug, and a nice pat on the back never hurts either. 🙂

Not only do our prayers touch our students, but also the nose of God(!), which leads to our last sense – the sense of smell.

S M E L L

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There’s nothing like the smell of a juicy steak cooking on the grill!  It’s definitely what I would call a fragrant aroma! 🙂  In the spiritual realm, our prayers, likewise, are a sweet smelling aroma to our Father God, which leads me to infer if we aren’t praying, maybe we kinda stink(?)!  I’m sure we don’t smell as good as we could right?  

A praying teacher is what our students need, and I might add, what our world needs this day and age.

Did you know there is a key verse concerning smell that coincidentally sums up our whole series, Fan the Flame?…                                         

                                                           II Corinthians 2:15

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Are we a fragrant aroma of Christ in our classrooms?  Our students can tell by our smell!

Dear Christian teachers, when we fan into flame the gift of God by remembering our physical senses as well as their spiritual counterparts, our students who are lost will have a better chance of being found by the heat of the fire that’s blazing in our spirit!  AMEN!

So…

 FAN THE FLAME!!!!!!!

Until next time, stay devoted…you will be a more excellent teacher for it.  God bless you!

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