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

 

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

Lemons to Lemonade… and the Time in Between

Welcome back teachers!

Just how do we make lemonade out of lemons?  Well, today’s post is a repost from The Christian Life blog written by Trisha Carter, and I hope and pray it’s a blessing to you and will answer the question at hand. Blessings to you from Devotions for Teachers!

3 bible verses to hold onto when life gives you lemons

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Life has become a journey of ups and downs. A journey of good and bad, easy and difficult that we probably will never get used to. We become so familiar with everything going well, that when the bad time comes, our faith is shaken. We forget how God brought us out of our previous difficult time into our good. This is expected.

Many times, I ask myself, “Is everything really working for my good?” “Is God really working it out in the background?” Where is the well in my life? We sing the song, “It Is Well” but is it really? I know these are quite a number of questions, but it is the reality that we go through everyday when we are faced with trials and tribulations.

And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”

Luke 22:31-32 (NKJV)

My prayer is always that my faith would not fail. It’s so easy in the bad times, to have doubt and unbelief. It’s easy to think that God has probably forgotten about us or that what He promised, He is no longer going to fulfill. However, these thoughts must not overcome us. Every thought should be cast down and brought into captivity.

Where is my well? Where is your well? 

Our well is found in the One who says that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. Our well is in God. I remember the many times when I felt life was turning upside down.

I remember the many times that life threw lemons in my direction. However in those times, I reflected on the words spoken such as:

Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 (NKJV)

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

 Romans 8:18 (NKJV)

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.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)

When life threw lemons, I made lemonade. I turned my situation around by reminding myself of the promises of God. 

This is not to say that it would be easy and after saying these verses, everything is going to change instantly. God works in mysterious ways and He is using our present situation to form us into what He has called us to be and into the image of His Son. We’re in the pruning process.

It’s ok! I admit the pruning process is not easy but it is worth it. You may not see the light at the end of your tunnel right now, but be assured that it is there. Be assured that even though it does not seem well, it will be well because God is working on our behalf and He is for us.

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About the author of this guest post:

Trisha Carter is a young woman from the island of Barbados and is the founder of The Christian Life Blog. She is a lover of God and seeks to use her gift of writing to encourage, empower, and transform those who read for the glory of God.

God bless you while you make lots of lemonade in your classroom as well as your personal life this week, dear teachers!  Until next week, stay devoted.

#LemonsAreSour  #LemonadeIsSweet  #MakeLemonade

Happy Spring Break!

Taking the week off to enjoy some fun in the sun!  See you back here next week teachers. Blessings to you!

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…

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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!

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#YourAttitudeMatters  #AttitudeAdjuster  #SmellWell