Thursday, October 29, 2009

Frisbees, Book Covers, Golf Balls & Fractions

Every morning before we begin our day at school we say the pledges and have a devotional thought. We all take turns reading a verse and sharing a little something about it, pray and then we are ready to begin class. It is an excellent way for kids to become comfortable reading the Bible and praying in front of others and I thoroughly enjoy hearing their insights. I especially get a kick out of some of the verses they choose.

Jackson is in my class this year and lately he has been reading out of Revelation for his devotional day. He loves the villains in all his sci-fi books and movies. General Greivous in Star Wars is his favorite and I have to say, he has the villainous laugh down pat. Not to mention the evil glare that goes with it. His insight after reading is that we need to tell the world about Jesus so they don't have to experience what will happen in the Tribulation. (So much for being the villain!)

Today was my turn and I always let the students bring in items, any item they want, to place in a box. I reach in, pull something out and then share the gospel of Jesus with whatever it is. I want them to truly grasp on to the fact that everything in this world can be used to share Jesus. You simply have to know Him and His word. He will not allow a moment to slip by without sharing an insight if you're heart's desire is to make Him known. As Beth Moore says, "When His glory is at stake, you can count on Him to come through!"

In all my years of doing this for students I have yet to be stumped and this class of students is determined. This morning one girl immediately began working with construction paper and tape to form...we are not sure what. But, when it was pulled out of the box God gave an insight and the gospel was shared. The box contained a book cover...easy, the blood of Jesus covers you; a fold up frisbee...John 10:10 is one of my favorites - Jesus came to give us life more abundantly; a golf ball which proved to be more challenging but as I talked about the goal of golf being a hole in one the gospel fell into place (My heart is the hole and Jesus is a golf ball!); and a bag of fraction manipulatives...sin breaks us into pieces, but the forgiveness of Jesus through His shed blood makes us whole.

The best part of the devotional time this morning is that my students began participating!! They wanted to come grab something out of the box! I absolutely loved hearing them use the items, everyday ordinary items, to share the love of Jesus. I just know that with practice, lessons in using their voices, they will be able to boldly, confidently share the love of Jesus with the world. And, I am a part of it.

Thank you, Lord for the ways you use me to build Your kingdom. May I never fail You!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Timidity vs. Meekness

One of my favorite things about being a mom, teacher and youth pastor's wife is learning from the kids. I am inspired when the Holy Spirit teaches me while I am trying to teach little ones and impressed when teenagers take their knowledge and share it with the world. I am blessed to be a part of God's work in the lives of young Christians.

My husband and I have experienced a rough six years and though we were praying for the end of this season, the past six months have proved that our rain is still pouring. I pray that through it all God receives the glory from our actions, inactions and hearts. I find myself before His throne confessing and pleading as David did, that he would search me, know me and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. God faithfully answers this prayer, as His word promises, and I have sought forgiveness from those I have hurt and God has blessed me with sound sleep as I lay my head down each night, right in His eyes.

And yet, I still feel daggers of attack, most recently through harsh, critical words. My initial reaction is to use my words and defend myself. I want to answer each attack with my side of the story and gather witnesses to prove my points. And, yet, through Godly wisdom of my family, prayer partner and accountability partner, I remain silent. God is telling me to be quiet. To be still. To know that He is God.

Amazingly enough, I'm okay with this. I say amazing because God is used to me wanting my own way. He is used to me trying to rationalize why my way is the better way. I bet He even expects me to cry through my arguing with Him, all the while knowing that my bark is always bigger than my bite! He has known me so long!

Tonight as I strolled through facebook, I find one of our teenagers status that is one of my Wam Bam Walla (Thanks, Tammy Whitehurst! :) ) verses. 2 Timothy 1:7 which says that "God did not give us the spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, love and self-discipline."

A comment was made about the contradiction of spirit of timidity verse and the meek shall inherit the earth. So, as a good teacher, I went to the dictionary and discovered that timidity means lacking in self-assurance, courage, or bravery; easily alarmed; timorous; shy...fearful. While being meek means humbly patient or docile, as under provocation from others.

Light bulb!! The humility of meekness through biting words and comments of others is only possible because the Holy Spirit did not give us the spirit of timidity.

Gotta love it when it all comes together! The Bible never contradicts confirms itself!

My friend went on to say in a comment, "When we became Christians, Jesus gave us the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; Titus 3:3-7). The Spirit lives in us, making our bodies a Temple (1 Cor. 6:19-20) and blessing us in many ways (Romans 8). We can be courageous people even in the face of attack, criticism, and ridicule because of the Spirit's presence. The fruit that the Spirit produces (Gal. 5:22-23) and the love that the Spirit pours into our heart (Rom. 5:5) do not make us weak. Instead, the Spirit's presence is a powerful force to help us overcome sin (Rom. 8:13) and live self-disciplined lives."

So, even though I want to shout from the rooftops, I am contentedly silent. I choose to allow the "Spirit's presence to be a powerful force to help a self-disciplined life" in "the face of attack, criticism and ridicule" because the Holy Spirit is alive and well inside of me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

NIV stands for...

This morning, Cameron and I were talking about all the Bible verses he is to memorize for church and school. James 1:19 is his church verse and we always add one or two for him because his memory is so amazing and the Bible so powerful and effective. He suggested verse 20 and I commented about how much I love verse 17 and quoted it for him. Remember, I am a just-turned 40 year old, steeped in the good 'ol King James Version.

"Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning."

Cameron looked at me a little funny and said, "No, Mom. That's not right. It says, "Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." I laughed and reminded him that when I was his age we always used the King James Version. He looked at the edge of his Bible and said, "Oh. I have the New Improved Version!"

I laughed and laughed! He turned a little pink as I corrected him, but what a truth he has placed in my heart today. I do not need a new and improved God. Hebrews 13:8 says, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." He doesn't need to improve. He is all I need right now and in the future. His words do not need to improve. They hold life for me...they are life for me.

In the age of upgrades, be content in the knowledge that Jesus Is. You can't get any better than Him...just as He is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lessons from Chris

"Columbus sailed the ocean blue in 1492." This little ditty is learned by school children all across the United States. It is an important date in American history. What was the purpose of Christopher's exploration? Well, besides business, he wanted to prove that the earth was round. Although he didn't actually circumnavigate the globe, he did challenge the world's thinking. He went against the flow. He stood up to the majority. As the Harris twins say, he did the hard thing.

Being one of the crowd is an easy thing to do. Agreeing with the majority is comfortable and secures a place for us. We are welcomed and included when we think like everyone around us. However, does this benefit us? Does it benefit the Kingdom? No. Not at all.

How can we stand up and challenge the world's thinking? What platform do we have to stand up and say, "Jesus is the only way to heaven." Do we take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us? Pastors from California call it a Kingdom Assignment. Some call it divine appointments. Call it what you will, but when God wants you to do something, be sure to obey. Be intentionally opportunistic!

Ephesians 5:8-17 (the message)
"You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You're out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true - these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. Don't waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness.

Expose these things for the sham they are.

It's a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ. Wake up from your sleep, climb out of your coffins; Christ will show you the light!

So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times! Don't live careless, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants."

Use what the world dishes out and point it for Christ. Yesterday was "National Coming Out" Day. I challenged the youth at my church to Come Out for Christ! According to the little children's Sunday School song..."Hide it under a bushel...NO! I'm going to let it shine!"

Stand up and be counted! Challenge the world's thinking and lead them to Christ!