Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all my fellow teachers! May God richly bless you in all you do for Him!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your days off!  Devotions for Teachers will resume next week! God bless you!

Super Psalms & Promising Proverbs

David and Solomon.  Solomon and David.  What a combination!  Between David and his Psalms, and Solomon and his Proverbs, I just have to shake my head and say WOW!  Both were wise, both could write like nobody’s business, and both were kings no less.  Both, however, were human, and therefore experienced failure along the way.

Successes and failures are universal to most people, including teachers. Amen?

I love this quote by Winston Churchill…

Many of us will experience a combination of success and failure.  Therefore, we should know how to handle each.  We don’t want success to go to our head and failure to go to our heart.  Neither is a good idea. Ever.  Unfortunately, they’re fairly automatic responses for foolish folk.

I myself, have tweaked, tweaked, and tweaked some more(!) new content I’ve been assigned this year.  It’s been frustrating trying to figure out what works best for my students.  At the same time, I’m kind of like an electrical load exceeding its available electrical power as I have begun teaching a GED class at the local college three nights a week.

All of this at the same time kind of makes me want to throw a pity party as success doesn’t seem like it is around the corner. However, I know that I know from experience it could be worse, so I’m refusing to allow what looks to be failure make its path to my heart!  Likewise, when I figure it all out, I won’t let it go to my head.  I will be thankful God helped me succeed instead. 🙂

So now let’s address the question at hand:  how do we navigate our way though failure and success?  Yep, you guessed it, in Psalms and Proverbs. David and Solomon. Two men God used to guide us through the ups and downs of life.  Here is a chapter from each book.  Please take, no make, the time to read each one even if it’s not at the same sitting.  Failure and success are addressed in both!

Psalm 118 New King James Version (NKJV)

Praise to God for His Everlasting Mercy

118 Oh, (teachers) give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let Israel (teachers) now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron (school teachers) now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those (teachers) who fear the Lord now say,
“His mercy endures forever.”

I called on the Lord in distress;
The Lord answered me and set me in a broad place.
The Lord is on my side;
I will not fear.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I shall see my desire on those who hate me.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in man.
It is better to trust in the Lord
Than to put confidence in princes.

10 All nations surrounded me,
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
11 They surrounded me,
Yes, they surrounded me;
But in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
12 They surrounded me like bees;
They were quenched like a fire of thorns;
For in the name of the Lord I will destroy them.
13 You pushed me violently, that I might fall,
But the Lord helped me.
14 The Lord is my strength and song,
And He has become my salvation.

15 The voice of rejoicing and salvation
Is in the tents of the righteous (teachers);
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
16 The right hand of the Lord is exalted;
The right hand of the Lord does valiantly.
17 I shall not die, but live,
And declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord has chastened me severely,
But He has not given me over to death.

19 Open to me the gates of righteousness;
I will go through them,
And I will praise the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord,
Through which the righteous shall enter.

21 I will praise You,
For You have answered me,
And have become my salvation.

22 The stone which the builders rejected
Has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This was the Lord’s doing;
It is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it.

25 Save now, I pray, O Lord;
Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.
26 Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
We have blessed you from the house of the Lord.
27 God is the Lord,
And He has given us light;
Bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will praise You;
You are my God, I will exalt You.

29 Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Proverbs 3

My son (teacher), do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you.
3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you;
Bind them around your neck,
Write them on the tablet of your heart,
And so find favor and high esteem
In the sight of God and man.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.
Honor the Lord with your possessions,
And with the firstfruits of all your increase;
10 So your barns will be filled with plenty,
And your vats will overflow with new wine.
11 My son (teacher), do not despise the chastening of the Lord,
Nor detest His correction;
12 For whom the Lord loves He corrects,
Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
13 Happy is the man (teacher) who finds wisdom,
And the man (teacher) who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
By understanding He established the heavens;
20 By His knowledge the depths were broken up,
And clouds drop down the dew.
21 My son (teacher), let them not depart from your eyes—
Keep sound wisdom and discretion;
22 So they will be life to your soul
And grace to your neck.
23 Then you will walk safely in your way,
And your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
Yes, you will lie down and your sleep will be sweet.
25 Do not be afraid of sudden terror,
Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes;
26 For the Lord will be your confidence,
And will keep your foot from being caught.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
When it is in the power of your hand to do so.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Go, and come back,
And tomorrow I will give it,
When you have it with you.
29 Do not devise evil against your neighbor,
For he dwells by you for safety’s sake.
30 Do not strive with a man without cause,
If he has done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the oppressor,
And choose none of his ways;
32 For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord,
But His secret counsel is with the upright.
33 The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,
But He blesses the home of the just.
34 Surely He scorns the scornful,
But gives grace to the humble.
35 The wise shall inherit glory,
But shame shall be the legacy of fools.

Wise teachers overcome failure, and wise teachers acknowledge that all success belongs to Him because He is directing our path.  Amen and amen. Thank you, Lord!

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

#PsalmsProverbs  #Wisdom  #MakeOurPathStraight  #Success  #Failure

 

 

Had I Not Known Jesus…

Today’s assignment?  Parent/Teacher conferences. 😮

I know most teachers don’t mind them too much, but I am forever marked by a couple of memorable conferences that stamped dread for these days into my psyche probably until the day I retire.  It’s been more than a few years now, but oh! I will never forget.

Let me share about one of these with you. Hang on to your seat tightly, it’s a true story!

Had I not known Jesus, I more than likely would be in another profession as I speak right now, because I would have been fired that day.  We had, for lack of a better word and to keep the narrative honest, an aberrant mom who scheduled an appointment to see all the academic teachers who taught her twins.  I wish someone had told me she was a few sandwiches short of a picnic! Some did know, but had failed to fill me in, that there were restraining orders put out on her in the past by a teacher or two.

Say what?  Yes, you read that right!

I walked into the room, sat down, introduced myself, and stated the standard teacher graces. Then… she let ‘er rip!!! Oh. My. Goodness!  I immediately tried to address her concerns, but she wasn’t having it.  As she got increasingly agitated (she turned red as her voice topped out in a yell), I literally thought she was going to come over the desk she was seated in and duke it out with me.  Believe me when I tell you, I prepared myself for the fight which I just knew was about to take place.  If she hit me, then buddy, I was going to defend myself!

In the mean time, a couple of teachers walked by and heard the commotion.  They then called for back up by the administration.  One administrator came hurriedly down the hall, turned around, and stood outside the door after seeing who was in the room with me!  Then came the counselor, and I’ll be dad gum, she did the same thing!  It was bizarre!  They had experienced her wrath before and were justifiably scared.

Fortunately, my fellow teacher friend from across the hall took the bull by the horns, so to speak (or literally to speak!), coming to my rescue calming her down.  Thank God for friends. I still don’t understand how she did it, but then again, she’s amazing and just has a calmness about her.

I tell you my story in order to share this:  Had I not known Jesus, I would surely have said something I shouldn’t have or who knows what else?  It’s funny, but still scary, as I revisit it now.  We really never know what’s just around the corner or what’s going to happen at school from day to day or, even more so, from class to class.  Therefore, it’s good we know Jesus isn’t it dear teachers?

Knowing Him makes all the difference in any situation.  Just think about this:  What if we didn’t know Him?  How frightening would that be?  

All of us have our Had I Not Known Jesus stories.  Think back to the past, or even recently, to an event where knowing Him changed the outcome of your story, especially those from the classroom. Remember, it would have been worse had both you and I not known Him. That, my friend, is the goodness of the Lord.  Praise His name!

Knowing Him (and 1st John 4:4!) even makes Parent/Teacher Conference Day go a whole lot better. 🙂

God bless you, dear teachers, and be thankful you know Him.  Stay devoted, and I’ll see you right here next week.

#HadINotKnownHim  #GodIsGood  #WeAreHis  #Thankful  #GodIsGreater

 

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…

Image result for attitude adjustment bible verses

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!

Image result for attitude adjustment bible verses

#YourAttitudeMatters  #AttitudeAdjuster  #SmellWell

 

The ROCK Is Between The Hard Place And You

Welcome back W O N D E R teachers!  

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Here we are!  Today we are closing out our series, Wonder Teachers, with the letter R. Goodness, it has gone by fast. Amen?!

From to R and all the characters in between, I’ve enjoyed sharing about the WONDERful men and women in God’s word from whom we can glean knowledge on how to walk out life daily in the classroom.  Indeed, I’ll bet they never thought teachers might gain wisdom from their walk with the Lord many hundreds of years later!

I actually wrote this post a while back, tweaking it just a wee bit for this series.  The title is from a southern gospel song with the same name.  It’s probably my favorite of all the posts I’ve written.  It’s also the post receiving the most visits.  Why? Well, that’s an easy question to answer!… It’s about THE ROCK.  Read on, dear teachers, and God bless you. Thank you for visiting today.

The ROCK Is Between The Hard Place And You

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.   Wonderful

  14.   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 here.  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 I was at the end of my pitiful rope and things needed 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  #WonderTeachers

WONDER Teachers & The Letter E

Welcome back W O N D R Teachers!

Goodness!  I must confess the letter E in our series, Wonder Teachers, has me stumped like an elephant in a kiddie pool.  This letter corresponds with too many wonderful, godly people in the Bible, and I simply can’t decide whom to pick.

These are just a few I’ve considered…

  • Eve?  The mother of all living, created from Adam’s rib, perfectly formed by God

  • Elijah?  450 prophets of Baal slain, fire rained down on the alter, stopped the rain for 3 years

  • Elisha?  Received a double portion of Elijah’s anointing!

  • Elizabeth?  Mother of John the Baptist who was “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6–7)

  • Esther?   Risked her life to save the Israelites

So what to do? Since I couldn’t figure out about which one to write, I thought we could discuss concepts in the Bible about energy (joy) or encouragement or both (as evidenced by the wings of eagles verse above – I even thought I might talk about eagles!).

Oh dear! 😮

Therefore, I am throwing this back your way.  I want to encourage you to look at least one of these up and study them for yourself.  Look for ways these characters or concepts could help you in your daily Christian walk and definitely in your classroom.  Based on my personal study, these characters are my kind of people – people who inspire me to press on to do my best for God.  They have that WOW factor.

Were they perfect?  No! But just like David from last week, God worked everything out for their good and His glory. Amen?  I have this quote frame on the windowsill of my classroom door – it is what students see first thing as they enter in…

That’s what these Bible characters did, and it’s what we need to be in the business of doing as well! Isn’t it awesome to know about the great achievements of our forefathers and fore-mothers in the faith? They set the standard of what can be done for the Lord when we put Him first.  Which one do you want to be like, dear teacher?  That’s the question you need to find an answer to and live accordingly.

Next week, we will be bringing the series to a close.  I promise you this:  I saved the best for last! 🙂 Can’t wait till then!  God bless you in your classrooms this week and continue to be a WONDER teacher!