Had I Not Known Jesus…

Today’s assignment?¬† Parent/Teacher conferences. ūüėģ

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. ūüôā

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!  

453f2fc312ff6e3aa069d7a0a4dc02c73322

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

From¬†W¬†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!

download-26

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 E 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‚Äď7)

  • 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! ūüėģ

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 Рpeople 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! ūüôā Can’t wait till then! ¬†God bless you in your classrooms this week and continue to be a WONDER teacher!

 

WONDER Teachers After God’s Own Heart

 

Teachers…

Welcome back W O N D E R teachers!

Ever known someone who could slay bears, lions, and giants? Ever known someone who was after God’s own heart? ¬†David did. David was…. And we can be too.

The letter¬†D is front and center today as we continue our character study, WONDER Teachers.¬†If you’ve missed out on any of the posts in this series, just scroll down after reading today and catch right on up with us!

I have to say, David is one of my favorite Bible people. ¬†I’m telling you, the man could write! ¬†The Psalms, of which he wrote quite a few, literally get me through the toughest of days. ¬†When I get to heaven, I just want to shake his hand, and tell him thank you from the bottom of my heart. ¬†But that’s not all I love about David.

Although he did crazy great things for God, he also screwed up royally. ¬†But. He. Repented… dusted himself off, and got on with God’s will.

God knew David would screw up, but He also knew that David loved Him with all his heart. Likewise, God knows we are human, and being human, we are prone to making mistakes, even messes every now and then! ¬†The most experienced of teachers can mess up too. ¬†But WONDER teachers, pick themselves up, dust themselves off, repent, and get on with God’s will just like David did.

Listen, we teachers can and do slay lions, bears, and giants EVERY day in our classrooms, in the spiritual realm, that is, but ONLY if we are teachers after God’s own heart. Amen? That’s how David was able to do it. ¬†His love for God pressed him to persevere, even when sin got the best of him.

When we mess up in the classroom or in our personal lives, let’s be like David, dear teachers. Loving God with all our hearts makes all the difference between just being a teacher or a WONDER teacher. Which do we want to be?

God bless you in your classroom this week.  Next time, E is on deck!  Until then, stay devoted.

#WONDERteachers  #SpiritOfDavid  #Persevere

Psalm 51:10-13

 

W O N D E R Teachers, Omega, & The End Game

As we continue our character study of WONDER teachers, today we land on the letter O.

Omega,¬†the last letter in the Greek alphabet, symbolizes endings and literally means great O.¬†How fitting, because God is the end of all things and His name is greater than any other name named in heaven and on Earth. ¬†Since our goal is to put Omega into context for the classroom, I will present some essential questions (ever hear of those fellow teachers?!) for us to mull over…

What is God’s end-game, dear teachers? ¬†What is our end-game? ¬†Should not they be one in the same?

As I have purposely pondered God’s name Omega, I keep coming back to this same question, “What is God’s end-game?” ¬†Ultimately, God has a divine plan and purpose for mankind, but for today’s post let’s call it teacher-kind.

Everything we do in the classroom should be predicated with this question in mind, or, I submit to you, it will be a waste for kingdom purposes.

So let’s get down to the bottom line, shall we?

In teacher-kind, God’s end-game is for us to acquaint as many students as possible to Christ, whether directly or indirectly, knowing when we do our part, He will do His. ¬†You may be asking, but how? Please keep reading for a few suggestions.

First of all, I always ask God everyday to help me be His witness by bringing anything and everything that’s said or taught during the day back around to Him if at all possible. ¬†For example, anytime I hear a student discussing their church, youth group, or Christian club activities, I take full advantage of that conversation, whether individually or in front of the class depending on where and when it’s said!

Also, I will give examples of whatever I’m teaching with a Biblical reference if possible. Today, in one of my classes, I was teaching the word allusion. ¬†The example I gave was one of a character in a story being swallowed up in a dust storm like Jonah. ¬†Jonah was swallowed by a big fish, so there’s the allusion! ¬†Opportunities abound. ¬†We just have to be ready on purpose, dear Christian teacher!

What happens as we purposefully take advantage of these opportunities a lot of the time? ¬†Bingo! ¬†A discussion does! ūüôā

Still another great idea is to volunteer to sponsor a Christian club in your school. ¬†Talk about a golden opportunity!… It offers a legitimate avenue to blanket your school for Christ. ¬†We must use our imagination as well as pounce on these opportunities as they come our way. We are in this for the purpose of leading our students to Christ. Therefore, we must take advantage of each moment when it rears it’s beautiful head.

Yes, we need to be all about our non-verbal communication and underlying values in our day to day demeanor as we imitate Christ, BUT we must also be consciously watching, listening, and waiting as we remember the end-game – acquainting our students to Christ – includes much more!

Prayerfully, we can accomplish our goal in a way that doesn’t get us into trouble with our secular school systems. ¬†But, if it does, He will take care of us. ¬†That’s His job… a job He is very good at, I might add!

Honestly, I stand amazed that our God has, on purpose, placed us in the great mission field of the classroom. Aren’t you? ¬†What a privilege to know we are part of His end-game! ¬†It gives us a purpose and passion like none other. ¬†Amen?! ¬†He is the Alpha and OMEGA. ¬†Keep looking up, teacher-kind, our ending is going to be like none other!

The letter N is up next time.  Until then, be a WONDER teacher! God bless, and stay devoted.

#WONDERteachers  #TeacherKind  #Omega  #GodsEndGame

 

Wonder Teachers & The Woman (Teacher) At The Well

Are we W O N D E R  Teachers?

I admire a strong woman.  I admire a strong man. Equally, I admire a strong teacher. Passionate about what they do and eager to learn themselves, strong teachers get the job done for their students, but, more importantly, for the Lord.  

And yet, sometimes, strong teachers don’t even realize the strength they possess. In my opinion, the woman at the well, in John chapter four, was the owner of great strength that was yet to be released until she encountered Jesus.

Let’s put on our spirit eyes and think about it together, dear teachers, by taking an omniscient view of the story (which God so graciously allows us to do) from the time she met our Savior until after she met and spent time with Him. ¬†I hope you see where I’m going with this!

John 4 English Standard Version (ESV)  Jesus and the Woman of Samaria

4¬†Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and¬†baptizing more disciples than John¬†2¬†(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),¬†3¬†he left Judea and departed¬†again for Galilee.¬†4¬†And he had to pass through Samaria.¬†5¬†So he came to a town of Samaria called Sychar, near the field¬†that Jacob had given to his son Joseph.¬†6¬†Jacob’s well was there; so Jesus,¬†wearied as he was from his journey, was sitting beside the well. It was about the sixth hour.[a]
7¬†A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúGive me a drink.‚Ä̬†8¬†(For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.)9¬†The Samaritan woman said to him, ‚ÄúHow is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?‚ÄĚ (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.)¬†10¬†Jesus answered her,¬†‚ÄúIf you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‚ÄėGive me a drink,‚Äô you would have asked him, and he would have given you¬†living water.‚Ä̬†11¬†The woman said to him, ‚ÄúSir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water?¬†12¬†Are you greater than our father Jacob?¬†He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.‚Ä̬†13¬†Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúEveryone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again,¬†14¬†but¬†whoever drinks of the water that I will give him¬†will never be thirsty again.[b]¬†The water that I will give him will become¬†in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.‚Ä̬†15¬†The woman said to him, ‚ÄúSir,¬†give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.‚ÄĚ
16¬†Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúGo,¬†call your husband, and come here.‚Ä̬†17¬†The woman answered him, ‚ÄúI have no husband.‚ÄĚ Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúYou are right in saying, ‚ÄėI have no husband‚Äô;¬†18¬†for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.‚Ä̬†19¬†The woman said to him, ‚ÄúSir, I perceive that¬†you are¬†a prophet.20¬†Our fathers worshiped on¬†this mountain, but you say that¬†in Jerusalem is¬†the place where people ought to worship.‚Ä̬†21¬†Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúWoman, believe me,¬†the hour is coming when¬†neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.¬†22¬†You worship what you do not know;¬†we worship what we know, for¬†salvation is¬†from the Jews.23¬†But¬†the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father¬†in spirit and¬†truth, for the Father¬†is seeking such people to worship him.¬†24¬†God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.‚Ä̬†25¬†The woman said to him, ‚ÄúI know that¬†Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes,¬†he will tell us all things.‚Ä̬†26¬†Jesus said to her,¬†‚ÄúI who speak to you am he.‚ÄĚ
27¬†Just then¬†his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, ‚ÄúWhat do you seek?‚ÄĚ or, ‚ÄúWhy are you talking with her?‚Ä̬†28¬†So the woman left her water jar and went away into town and said to the people,¬†29¬†‚ÄúCome, see a man¬†who told me all that I ever did. Can this be the Christ?‚Ä̬†30¬†They went out of the town and were coming to him.
31¬†Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying,¬†‚ÄúRabbi, eat.‚Ä̬†32¬†But he said to them,¬†‚ÄúI have food to eat that you do not know about.‚Ä̬†33¬†So the disciples said to one another,¬†‚ÄúHas anyone brought him something to eat?‚Ä̬†34¬†Jesus said to them,¬†‚ÄúMy food is¬†to do the will of him who sent me and¬†to accomplish his work.¬†35¬†Do you not say, ‚ÄėThere are yet four months, then comes the harvest‚Äô? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that¬†the fields are white for harvest.¬†36¬†Already¬†the one who reaps is receiving wages and gathering fruit for eternal life, so that¬†sower and¬†reaper¬†may rejoice together.¬†37¬†For here the saying holds true,¬†‚ÄėOne sows and another reaps.‚Äô¬†38¬†I sent you to reap¬†that for which you did not labor. Others have labored,¬†and you have entered into their labor.‚ÄĚ
39¬†Many Samaritans¬†from that town believed in him¬†because of¬†the woman’s testimony, ‚ÄúHe told me all that I ever did.‚Ä̬†40¬†So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days.¬†41¬†And many more believed¬†because of his word.42¬†They said to the woman, ‚ÄúIt is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves,¬†and we know that this is indeed¬†the Savior¬†of the world.‚ÄĚ

Look at how the power – the electricity – generated from the living water which Jesus offered her changed that Samaritan town! Look at how many people’s lives were forever transformed that day – all because one woman (picture a teacher) took the vision and told others.

My take away from this character study of the woman at the well is this: we are like dried up wells when we don’t spend time with Jesus. ¬†

It reminds me of the steady, small spring feeding the lake on our farm in Alabama. Due to the last few years of drought in the South, the spring stopped flowing – just plain dried up down deep. Thankfully though, the Lord has replenished our region with an abundance of rain this year and the spring is slowly, but surely, coming back to life and refilling the lake once again.

Also, I think of the Hoover Dam holding back all that water from the Colorado River until those towering turbines release it downstream generating a massive amount of power in the region… that’s the type of power the living water of Jesus unleashed in the woman at the well. ¬†That’s what I picture when I think of her story. She got the job done after her encounter with the omnipotent Savior of the world. ¬†Our stories should be one in the same – as she got the job done for the Lord and her town, we get the job done for the Lord and our students.

By spending time at The Well, we know our sin is forgiven. We know He fills us with His word. We know He fills us with His Spirit too, which, in turn, feeds the power grid of our classroom with passion and love. As it changed those Samaritans, so too it will change our students. ¬†Let’s be like the woman at the well and GO TELL! Amen? AMEN!

Furthermore, when we abide at The Well everyday, dear teachers, it will make all the difference between just being a teacher and instead transform us into the WONDER teacher God wants us to be.

Next time, we will take a look at the letter O.¬† So, I’ll¬†¬†leave you wondering about whom we will be discussing until then! ūüėČ ¬†God bless you and stay devoted. ¬†See you next week here at Devotions for Teachers. Blessings to you and your students.

#RealizeYourStrengthInHim