Friday, May 29, 2015

a mixed bag... good byes

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See I am doing a new thing!" Isaiah 43:18-19

The End of most things come with mixed emotions.
Right now, year-end parties are sprouting up.  As i watch and listen, one thing is very clear.  Good byes stir up many feelings:  joy, sadness -- laughter, tears -- relief, anxiety.  It can be sour or sweet. 

Or, maybe not.

Could it be, in the end, all good byes are eventually sweet?  What appeared wrong, sad or painful actually is making way for a better path.  The door that closed made way for a window to open... providing a breath of fresh air with new, exciting opportunities.  

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...
He has made everything beautiful in its time. 

Father, help me see good byes from Your eyes.  They are not the end but the beginning of something beautiful.  Good byes are really Good.  Thank You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Thursday, May 28, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ prepared

"No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." 1  Corinthians 2: 9

It's the end of the year, and as a teacher you wonder about the impact you've made on your students. What will they take with them next year?  What did they see? What did they hear? What did they understand?

It may not show today, but you have made a difference. You prepared them well for their next chapter. You loved, you gave, you cared, you sacrificed... and they grew.  

Smile -- you prepared them well.

And isn't it comforting to know God is preparing great wonders for our next chapter too.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

it's not time to go... yet

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

We are in the last week of school, and many are ready to be done. It's tempting to toss remaining lesson plans out the door and just let the fun, games and movies begin. But, what if...

What if Jesus had stopped praying or teaching or healing a week before His crucifixion? Do you think it would have made a difference? 

Jesus gave His all until the very end.  He never stopped, even on the cross.  He didn't miss an opportunity to teach and share the Truth on salvation and eternal life. If He saved just one more in His final hours, He found it worthy of His effort.

Father, as the final days surround us, lift us up and fill us with Your Spirit so we may continue teaching with a heart filled with compassion and love.  There might be just one more student who would greatly benefit from a lesson.  Keep us alert to teachable moments to the last bell.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ sacrifice

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works... We are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works..." Ephesians 2:8-10

It's a word we are all familiar with in one way or another... Sacrifice.

Yesterday, we remembered and honored our Armed Service soldiers, many who sacrificed their life for the safety and freedom of our country.

And then there is our Jesus. He made the ultimate sacrifice, paying for our sins with His life, so we may have eternal life.  An unmerited gift, yet freely given and extended to all.  I want to remember this every day.

Father, i need to sacrifice selfish ways and wants. Help me live in a way to create the desire and hunger in others to know You and Your wondrous Love.  

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Friday, May 22, 2015

losing our focus

Jesus said...
"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Mathew 11:29-30

It's cRuNcH time. 

The school year is rapidly wrapping up, and it's hard to maintain focus. This is true for teachers, as well as, students.  Students are antsy ready to toss books out and celebrate; teachers are dazed drying up their Sharpies with endless testing and paperwork.  A lens adjustment is needed to clear up these last fuzzy, hectic days.

Father, bring my mind and heart back in line to what matters most... keeping my focus on You. Year end expectations are high, demands are rolling, the energy level is surging and the time is ticking loudly. Only looking to You can peace be clearly and completely restored.  

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Thursday, May 21, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ HOPE

"Show me Your ways, Lord, teach me Your paths.  Guide me in Your truth and teach me, for You are God my Savior, and my hope is in You all day long." Psalm 25:4-5

The student continuously tested the limits of his teacher. But watching his hand, i was reminded, as a child of God (regardless of age), no matter how much we stray during the day, we can always come home to our Father.

When we allow Christ to guide our ways and days, He will help us find peace.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

listen... He's got us

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Romans 8:28

News about changes in life can be alarming and cause discomfort.  Whether it's a change in personnel, policy, plans or place, disruptions for most of us are difficult.  Change can instigate a raging ocean of emotions... hurt, fear, grief, guilt, uncertainty, anger, panic, shock, confusion.

So how do we properly channel change?  Through God.

In everything, including changes, God is still in control.  He is aware and will take care of all things in His perfect way.  How He plans to work through and with the changes in our life calls for our complete trust in Him.  The God that holds this world together, holds each of us individually too.
He's got us.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ humble

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His way." Psalm 25:9

Big heart, small head

Father, help me keep my heart and head in the right proportions.  I want to humbly serve you.  

friend, we are love and chosen by God,

Monday, May 18, 2015

not your ordinary hook

"'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways', declares the LORD. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" Isaiah 55:8-9

"What do you see the teacher asked?"
To me, it was a simple, easy answer.  It was just a capital "G", or possibly a fancy hook, but that was all.

But to a student who applied a dose of creative thinking, they saw something much more. In their astute mind a fabulous, elaborate fish danced on the page.  Their vision was far bigger and better than anything i could dream of on my own.
God, when i'm facing trials, challenges and difficulties, draw this memory back in my mind.  It clearly demonstrates the shortsightedness i possess as a human.  Many times i have a tendency to see things just as they are in that minute, instead of the beauty of what they can be/will be... with You. I want to trust You with greatness in all things.

I see today's hook now, in a different "Light"... God calls us to be Fishermen of people.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Friday, May 15, 2015

dig deep

But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lordwhose confidence is in Him.  They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought 
and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

 Keeping our roots in His Living Waters builds and strengthens our faith, especially during turbulent times.  We will not perish, but produce. And when we bear the Fruit of the Spirit, others taste and see how good God is.  You are a blooming beauty feeding all in your path.

Father, how grateful i am that no matter what's going on, You are with me.  I'm digging my toes deep in Your unshakeable, unconditional foundation of Love and Grace.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Thursday, May 14, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ FROG

"The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in Him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to Him in song." Psalm 28:7

Fully Rely On God, and you will sing for joy.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

the wave

"Be kind and compassionate to one another..." Ephesians 4:32

How could it be?  Elaine had only lived in the neighborhood for a few weeks, yet she appeared to know many.  When walking, her response was always the same. She waved to every car passing by. 

But how did she know everyone?  She even waved to every car approaching from behind.  How did she recognize them? Was she familiar with the sound of their car... the purr, the clunk, the sputter, the roar?
Then it finally clicked.

Elaine waved the same to everyone -- whether she knew them or not.  A random act of kindness extended to all.  No favoritism, no expectations, no questions... just pure kindness.

A handy lesson to remember and practice.  Thank You, Father.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ priority

"I can do everything through Him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13

Left at my desk by a friend, the following note....

I could only laugh. How well she knows me!  All that needed to change was the order.

Father, may You be first in my day, my mind, my heart and my soul.

"But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Monday, May 11, 2015

P.S. and another thing...

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly at you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God." Colossians 3:16

Teachers, your special week is over, but i'm still celebrating you every day!

You were born to make a difference.... and a difference you are making.  Thank you for loving, inspiring, encouraging, and driving our students to be the best they can.  You are shining up the most valuable gems on earth... our children.

The 7 minute video below by Rita Pierson reminds us of the importance of relationships.  I hope you find a few minutes to watch it today.  It will put a smile on your face, and that's a great way to start a Monday morning.  :)
(Copy and paste the link below into your web browser)

Thank you for blessing so many... 

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Friday, May 8, 2015

Happy Mother's Day to all!

 "Her children arise and call her blessed... charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." Proverbs 31:28,30

When asked to draw a picture of their mom, the students' artwork revealed a variety of looks.  But quickly, i noticed a common thread in all the pictures...

all the mothers wore a smile.

Parenting is rewarding, but also very challenging.  I, for one, question and doubt my actions constantly. We might not do it perfectly, but i've come to an important realization. In the eyes of our children, the most important part of our relationship is knowing they are loved unconditionally and that they bring a smile to our face.

Celebrating you and  the sweet impression you make on children.  Whether you are a mother by blood or by the heart, you are putting a notable shine on our most valuable gems.  

Happy Mother's Day to you all!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Thursday, May 7, 2015

stay here, because...

"do good, be rich in good deeds and be generous and willing to share." 1 Timothy 6:18

We are where we are for a reason.

When we bloom where we are planted, God's glory and beauty explodes. I am blessed to witness such a rich field of godly servants around me. Thank you for giving to others.  I appreciate you.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

do you see green?

"And I pray that you, (your name), being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge -- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God." Ephesians 3:17-19

Well, he had done it this time. Why did he trim the plant back so much? His happy-go-lucky ax chopping killed my plant.
With Spring around the corner, i prepared to yank the ugly brown branches out of the ground. But as i got closer, something caused my eyebrows to curve into a high arch.

Green!  New green growth!  What appeared dead and disgusting was actually alive!  The root system was still strong and getting the nutrients and water needed for survival. 

And in the next few weeks, fresh greens leaves were aplenty.  Now i'm eagerly awaiting for what i am certain will come... spectacular blooms.

Isn't it amazing how things can be brought back to life when given time?

Father, sometimes we feel as dead, ugly and useless as my plant. But thankfully, like the plant, we are still connected to the Root of Life. You, God, are the foundation and sustainer of our life and faith. With a love for us that is wider, deeper, longer and higher than we can conceive, You have the Power to restore, revive and reconnect us.  When depleted of the ability to go and grow, may we come, drink and rest in Your Living Waters. In time, we will bloom and be restored to new, productive life in You. Thank You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

a Mighty Word ~ seeds

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." Galatians 6:9

 As a gardener in God's mission field, you are making a beautiful difference.

whoever sows generously will also reap generously

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Monday, May 4, 2015

oh my! what big feet you have!

 “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

The weekend was filled with exciting festivals, races, blue skies and horses.  Seeing the Clydesdale horses in person, was a special treat.  They are magnificent creatures, tremendous in size from head to feet. As they approached, my eyes were quickly drawn to their feet.  They were dazzling... big, powerful and truly gorgeous.

As beautiful as i found their feet, God's finds the feet of His children sharing His love in actions and words even more beautiful. 
So, let's see your wonderful feet.  God will certainly be smiling with delight as you dazzle others in your path with His goodness and love.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,

Friday, May 1, 2015

salt or pepper?

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess...  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another..." Hebrews 10:23-25

"Are you prejudice?"

As one of my friends, she knew better.  "What makes you ask that?!"

"Well, why do you call the devotion group you mail out to The Salt Shakers?"

"You know it's Biblical.  In the Bible salt continuously symbolizes God's presence in our life.  As with food, it penetrates, preserves and aids in healing. As salt preserves food and enhances its flavor, so do we in serving God. We penetrate, preserve and flavor the world with God as we allow His love to flow from us.
But, if you want, i'll rename the group The Pepper Shakers.  Because i like and appreciate all the spices in life."

She laughed because she knew.  It's not the color we see on each other, but the love for God in us -- spurring us in love to serve and know Him better -- that matters.

Giving thanks for all my sisters/brothers in Christ... the Peppers, the Salts, the minced Garlics, the Onion Powders, the Parsleys, the Italian Seasonings.  Life is richer and more fulfilling with an assortment of seasonings.

I am grateful and in need of them all. How about you?

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,