Thursday, May 12, 2016

Why Easy, Free Convenient Sacrifices are a Lie

Showing love to others can feel like you are not showing love to yourself sometimes. How can you pour yourself out in the love of others when you do not know how to go on? When you are tired. When you can go no more. When do you stop and take "me time?"
"If love is who I am
Then this is where I'll stand
Recklessly abandoned
Never holding back
I want to live like that
I want to live like that
Am I proof
That You are who you say You are?
That grace can really change our heart
Do I live like Your love is true?"
(Live Like That by Sidewalk Prophets)

Easy Free and Convenient Don't Make a Sacrifice

King David had messed up. (2 Samuel 24:14-25) So, God was punishing Israel. God sent him to a man named Araunah. David was supposed to buy Araunah's threshing floor and sacrifice to God there.

Oh, how convenient! David arrives. Araunah offered to give the threshing floor to David. He even offered to give him the oxen to sacrifice. Oh, and look the threshing sledges and ox yokes would make great wood. Everything was there. How convenient.

Now, when we're in our "God closes a door, he opens a window" mentality (a somewhat flawed concept, I believe) we might say,
 "Oh, how convenient. God set this up."
Oh No, my friend on the mend. David said:
"No, I insist on buying it from your for a price, for I will not offer to the LORD my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing." (2 Samuel 24:24)

The Sacrifices We Want to Make

Many of us are okay with sacrifice --

as long as we're rested.

as long as we have time.

as long as we have money.

Come on. If you have the time, energy and money is it really a sacrifice? It doesn't cost you anything if you have enough to spare.

A Sacrifice of Convenience.

And that seems to be what many want to do today. They want to serve others as long as they are not tired. They want to give money as long as they have enough. They want to show up if they have time on their schedule. 

Convenient sacrifice ISN'T SACRIFICE. It might be nice. But nice ISN'T SACRIFICE.

STOP!

Real sacrificial love costs! I am not talking a lack of self- care. I'm not talking namby-pamby martyrdom.

I am speaking of a conscious decision. When a healthy-minded brave adult decides to give, show up, and do for others. When all you want to do is lay on the couch and curl up under a blanket and hibernate for days - you get up and go because you are called to a work.

Sacrifice that Costs Somethin'

Tom Elliff is an amazing man. My pastor Michael Catt brings him in to teach us at church. But Tom has had a rough time lately. His precious wife Jeannie "graduated to glory" (his words not mine) after a long struggle with cancer. On top of that, Tom is recovering from knee surgery.

I'm sure his friends could tell him -- be quiet and rest. You've had enough. Don't write. Rest. Get well. Heal up. Just pray a little and be quiet.

But instead, Tom is writing these incredible blog posts. From the depth of his soul, God is pouring forth some of the best most soul-ministering stuff online. And I have needed it. Desperately.

He doesn't know that during some of the darkest days of my life, his words have been a life preserver to a stranger who lives across the country. He is probably sick and tired of trouble, but he sacrificed and is writing and pouring his wisdom into words.


I was looking over the list of my mentors and discovered that each had his times of affliction. Painful loss, terminal disease, inexplicable and undeserved rejection, personal failure and accompanying discipline, consuming sorrow…each could testify to the reality of what the psalmist calls “affliction.” But in every instance that “affliction” became the wheel upon which a greater faith was forged. Thus each man had something in his life that I desperately wanted in my life as well.

The Woman Jesus Praised

Jesus was in the temple. He watched the rich people drop their offerings into the temple treasury. From what I've read, the things they dropped their coins in were designed to make a lot of noise. Think-- change machine in the grocery store. So, these rich people were throwing in their coins, and it was making a racket. It was obvious who was chunkin their change in the coin machine. Everyone knew who was giving what.

Then, a poor widow comes by and quietly, head down, puts in two tiny coins. I doubt it even made a clink.

Jesus says:
"I tell you the truth," He said. "this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For all these people have put in gifts out of their surplus, be she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on." (Luke 21:1-4)
This verse tells me that Jesus notices sacrifice.
  • When you're tired and, you show up to watch children at church anyway.
  • When your money is tight, and you give your tithe and offering anyway.
  • When you don't have time but quickly drop by to encourage or call a friend.
Sacrifice isn't nice. Sacrifice is hard. Christ is sacrifice. But he notices yours too.

Jesus didn't say
"pamper yourself, give yourself a little break and I'll see you Sunday."
No. Jesus says,
"If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me." (Matthew 16:24)
Why is Mother's Day one of the most celebrated days of the year?
Because Moms are often the ones who give what they don't have to people who don't say thank you when it isn't convenient or easy. Mom's (and hopefully many Dads) are the crunch committee. They are there for children when the kids don't deserve it. They love and show it.

The Crunch Committee

That is what I want you to be... the crunch committee.

Can we be the people God calls on in a crunch? That no matter how tired and exhausted we are. When disaster strikes, He knows if He calls us that we'll show up. The Ananias. The Aaron and Hur holding up Moses' hands. The Ruth for Naomi.

Walk and Not Grow Weary

For if we are called, we are equipped. But if we are called, we cannot wait until it is convenient and when we feel like it to show up. We also cannot brag to everyone we know about the things we do like some loud clattering offering pot.

Oh friends:
"Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
Yahweh is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the whole earth.
He never grows faint or weary;
there is no limit to His understanding.
He gives strength to the weary
and strengthens the powerless.
Youths may faint and grow weary,
and young men stumble and fall,
but those who trust in the LORD
will renew their strength
;
they will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
the will walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:28-31)
Don't quit, please. Hit your knees.

Live your calling, my friends. Be recklessly abandoned to show love to others. Be encouraged that your actions of love Matter.


Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Do you plan good?

Proverbs 14:22-23 If you plot evil, you will be lost; but if you plan good, you will be granted unfailing love and faithfulness. Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty.

There are those who plot evil, but most people will say it is not them. Of course, gossiping is really an evil plot because the purpose is to criticize and condemn another person.
But let me ask you - how many of us plan good? We literally sit down and work with others to plan good?

For teacher appreciation week, I have see some kind parents this week at our school who have planned good for us teachers. Wow, it means so much. But think about planning good.

The other one I like is that works does bring profit. But there are those who just “talk a good game” as Grandaddy used to say. They always have the next “big deal” up their sleeve when the truth is their deal is to take your money.

They do have a deal and you’re it.

Beware of those who promise “quick money” or a “sure thing” - these things don’t happy. Too many people have lost their hard earned money by giving it to people and things that never pay back.

Meanwhile, think about this — what about giving that money to those who plan good? Doesn’t that make you part of the good planning? There are so many good uses of good money but there are also many who plot evil who would love to relieve you of your money to spend it on their evil plots. Just be wise. I think there’s a reason these two verses were plopped down next to each other in Proverbs.

So, questions for today: do you plan good? Do you work? Do you avoid those who have mere talk?


( NLT-OneYear_Tyndale) ( One Year NLT Bible - May 4)

Sunday, May 01, 2016

How to Mark the Roman Road in Your Bible (Plan of Salvation in Romans)

Your Bible is a legacy to those left behind you. The plan of salvation has a place in every Bible.  Each Bible is already enough without me. But I think every Bible can be marked with a path to Jesus in it.

Someone taught me how to do this as a teenager so I would have it handy when I may want to share with someone. As I get older, I think about what my children will find when they open the Bible. I want them to see Jesus first. He's everything to me.

Today, I'm teaching how to do this in my precious Sunday School class, the Abigail class at Sherwood. So, I decided to come back to blogging and write down how I did it so they'd have a copy of what to do if they wanted to go home and do it.

I marked my Warren Wiersbe New Living Translation of the Bible for this blog post.

Step 1: Write in the front of your Bible

A. Look up the page number for Romans 3:23.
B. Write
Go to page _____ (insert page number for Romans 3:23).
C. Write a note to the reader. I've written.
Why being a good person is not enough. (Romans 3:23)
(My prayer for my children and descendants is they read and take this to heart.)
I added my name and date I prayed over this. 

Step 2: Flip to Romans 3:23

A. Underline Romans 3:23
B. Write :
All have sinned.
C. Look up the page number for Romans 6:23.
D. Write:
go to page ___ (insert the page number for Romans 6:23)

Step 3: Flip to Romans 6:23

A. Underline Romans 6:23.
B. Write at the top of the page something like this. 
Sin deserves death. God gave you a way of escape with His gift of life through Jesus. (And many more good things.)
Note to reader: I added that paragraph because faith in Jesus Christ isn't just out of fear. Faith in Him literally helps you live a better life in every way. More peace.  More joy. More purpose. At this point, though that is likely too much to comprehend or write. I could literally write four or five books the size of War & Peace with all the incredible things God has done for me! They just don't fit in the margins. In the end, while I'm so afraid to not have God and Jesus Christ in my life, it is the joy that fills my heart and makes me sing. But the old "keep it simple" fits here. I trust God to use His Word as only He can to stir the heart and mind of the person who is reading my Bible.

C. Look up the page number for Romans 5:8
D. Write:
Go to page ____ (insert page number for Romans 5:8). 

Step 4: Flip to Romans 5:8

A. Underline Romans 5:8
B. Write at top
Jesus died for you.
C. Look up Romans 10:9-10
D. Write
Go to page ____ (page number for Romans 10:9-10).

Step 5: Flip to Romans 10:9-10

A. Mark Romans 10:9-10
Note to Reader: You might choose to go ahead and mark the other verses that are close to this one so you can plan ahead. I almost ended up with a mess on my page. The upcoming verses are Romans 10:13 and Romans 10:17. Just plan your space.

B. Write 
How can I be saved? Romans 10:9-10
Note to Reader: I added the beginning of the verse in pen here because it started at the bottom of the page and I wanted the reader not to miss it.

C. Draw an arrow or note pointing to the next verse Romans 10:13.


Step 6: Romans 10:13

A. Underline Romans 10:13
B. Write
Did God hear me when I asked for forgiveness and believed in Jesus?
Note to Reader: Pray over what to write here. God sees the heart. We also know that we should tell people and connect with other believers. But bottom line, God hears our prayers when we pray to him all along. Just keeping it simple here with God's word to light the way. This is why you should pray over your marking of this Bible. God knows the words you should use and who will read this Bible one day. Whether in a library or in the hands of a rebel, He knows who will read this.


Step 7: Romans 10:17
A. Underline Romans 10:17
B. Write
Now What (and point to Romans 10:17)
 C. Add an encouragement here.
Read God's word. Pray. Get baptized. Tell people!
Note to Reader: You want to point the reader to read God's word. Some people encourage people to start with Mark. But if we pray to God to let His Holy Spirit guide the person who reads these words, we can trust Him to use His word as He sees fit. This isn't easy. The Bible is considered highly offensive to so many and it is highly personal to you. But at some point, you will be separated from this Bible of yours. What will it say? Will you leave behind a personal witness to those who come behind?  



Friday, September 25, 2015

Is Prayer Always Prayer?

As I woke up this morning, Friday, September 25, I heard the question in my mind, “Is prayer prayer?”

So, is it? Is every time you pray, actually a prayer that God hears. We have a place to pray. But when you get on your knees, does God always hear you? Is “prayer” always “prayer”? In this Christian life, prayer and reading God’s word, changes things. It changes my attitude. It changes my heart. Things start to happen. Things that can’t be explained.

People say Disney is a “magical” place. They cry when the princesses bustle into the room or when Winnie the Pooh holds their child’s hand. The look my child’s eye as he gazed at Piglet - it was as if that pink fuzzy animal was an angel.

And yet, we can join the greatest One who ever lived. Any time. Any place. No closet needed.

So, I ask, according to the Bible, “Is prayer, prayer?”

Well, we know that Jesus said (Luke 18:10-14)

10 “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer:‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! 12 I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income. ’
13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner. ’ 14 I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted
(Luke 18:10-14 NLTse)

So, which prayer was really a prayer? 

Jesus said that the humble man, the one who couldn’t even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, the sorrowful man who begged God’s forgiveness. That was the one who was justified before God. Jesus should know, he hears millions of prayers a day, I would suspect.

So, humble prayers are the kind of prayers that are heard.

The definition of prayer according to the Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary is
“dialog between God and people, especially His covenant partners.”

And I’m curious, if you’re praying, but God isn’t listening, is it really just talking to yourself?

5 “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward
(Matthew 6:5 ESV)

Have you ever prayed and realized you were just thinking about what you want to say next? Or thought to yourself - “wow, that sounded good.” If you care how your prayer “sounds”, then you have the wrong audience.

Ron Dunn in his book, “Don’t Just Stand There, Pray Something” says,

“There was a recognizable rhythm to the life of Jesus: He would withdraw to meditate, then go out to minister. Again and again this patter repeated itself. The public life of Jesus was supported by His private Life with His Father.”

Think of it. You have a rhythm for how you treat your car. You have to. You gas it up every so often. You wash the window shield. You change the oil at certain times. How could our minds be any different? How could we expect to be kind and forgive our enemies and love people who are nasty to us sometimes without connecting with God? How can we be willing to fit with His will without asking for His help and knowing His will?

He promises in James 1 that He’ll give us wisdom if we ask.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double- minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-8 ESV)

I love the words used in verse 6 - it is actually a word for sea foam. If you ask and don’t believe, you’re like the flotsam and jetsam on the sea. If you watch sea foam, it is there for one moment and not there for another.

Like the football field or golf course prayers uttered. Many sinners become saints when they have a long putt to make.

Billy Graham said,
“The only prayers of mine that weren’t answered were on the golf course.”

If I do pray at the football or rugby field (what Mom with a boy out there doesn’t) — I mix in prayers for my friends who do not know Christ. We Christians call those who do not know Him, “the lost” because

“Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
(John 14:6-7 ESV)

These words bring agony to your soul when you think of others. Complete agony. So there are times, when prayer is more than prayer. When it is the anguish of your soul. Mark 14:32-42 where Jesus cried out,

“Abba, Father, Everything is possible for you. Please take this cup of suffering form me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.” (Mark 14:36)

The darkest nights of my soul are when we beg God for what we want but ultimately know that it should be in accordance with His will.

14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us
(1 John 5:14 ESV).

Billy Graham said,
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.’”

As I have my own private place of prayer that I will not share and brag upon, for the bible is clear,

6 But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you
(Matthew 6:6 ESV)

Pray in secret.

And even if you do create a prayer wall or a prayer journal with all of the verses that you write down. Be careful even about that.

7 “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words
(Matthew 6:7 ESV)

We can’t have vain repetitions “as the heathen do”. There are times when I’m reading the verses I’ve written to pray, when I feel my mind zoning out. That is when I stop and take a knee break and just talk to God.

I read about an interview that done with Billy Graham as the interviewer was writing Billy’s memoirs and they talked about prayer and how often he prayed. As they talked Billy Graham said something like, “even now, I’m praying right now that I’ll answer you well.”

That is a life of prayer. Where we just pray all the time.

Praying all times

18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication
(Ephesians 6:18 ESV)

Dear friends, don’t think I’m holy or perfect because I pray. I pray because I’m not. I pray because I struggle. I pray because I have a dark night of the soul several times a week. As the Mom of three children, I’m often in anguish. We bear children, we don’t have them. We live their burdens. We feel their pain.

I look forward to the phone calls where my children tell me about what is happening. How they are faring. The things they are praying for and need. I’m here wanting to help them and meet their needs.

How much more so does our Father look to us, his children. First of all, ask yourself - am I His child?

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved
(Acts 2:21 ESV)

Second of all, if you are, consider the time spent reading your Bible and praying.

Ron Dunn says something in His book that has ripped my heart in two,

“There are things that God chooses to do because we pray, that He does not do because we do not.”
Certainly it says in the Bible,

You do not have, because you do not ask
(James 4:2 ESV)

Dunn also says,

“The book of Acts is filled with prayer meetings; ever forward thrust of the first church made was immersed in prayer…They prayed ten days and preached three minutes and three thousand people were saved. Today we pray ten minutes and preach ten days and are ecstatic if anyone is saved.”

Christians are to be different. Not because of our hate. But because of our love. We are to pray for our enemies. As we pray, we have to forgive that jerk on the spot.

25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” (Mark 11:25 ESV)

Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. (Romans 12:12-13 ESV)

8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double- minded. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you (James 4:8-10 ESV)

So, my friends. I do strongly suggest you go see War Room. Not because it has a method or a system of prayer - prayer is a relationship. But because it points to something that is foolish to our dear friends and family who don’t know Christ.

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV)

Prayer is not something that we can explain but it is something we can do.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Anyway

"The path of loving trust means:

...an absolute, unconditional, and unwavering confidence in God our loving Father, even when everything seems to be a total failure.

...to look to Him alone as our help and protector.

...to stop doubting and being discouraged, casting all our worries and cares on The Lord, and to walk in total freedom.

...to be daring and absolutely fearless of any obstacle, knowing that nothing is impossible with God.

...total reliance on our Heavently Father with the spontaneous abandonment of little children, totally convinced of our utter nothingness but trusting to the point of rashness with couragous confidence in his fatherly goodness."

Mother Teresa, No Greater Love

What 5 people would be on your dream team?

As I'm reading biographies to assemble my "dream team" of five people who I most want to emulate (you become like those who most want to emulate, so choose well) - of course, Jesus is one on the list, I'm reading a book by Mother Teresa and am completely blown away.

I've got a lot to learn.. in particular, these words just cut me to the quick..

"If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are. If you are blamed, you won't be discouraged; if anyone calls you a saint, you won't put yourself on a pedestal. If you are a saint, thank God; if you are a sinner, don't remain one. Christ tells us to aim very high, not to be like Abraham or David or any of the saints, but to be like our Heavenly Father." loc 439 No Greater Love

I wish nothing could touch me

This blog has not been seeing posts because I was obviously not humble. I let the displeasure of a man who I have since come to know as evil, keep me from blogging. I was told I had no business blogging about Christian things because #1, I'm a woman and #2 Blogging is bad. Now, obviously, I didn't take all of that to heart, because my Cool Cat Teacher blog has done great all of these years, but this blog has laid quiet.

Why? Because I'm a pleaser. I want to please people - even if I know they are wrong, I have a problem with this. Don't I know I can't please God and man? Don't I know that this was totally wrong? I'm so mad at myself because I couldn't get over it!

Sure, I did, but because I was in the midst of quite a tough situation in my church at the time, I didn't want to say anything that would get me in trouble with God. I was very upset and very torn about things, but still, even though the person concerned had publicly made it very clear that I was persona non grata, perhaps I thought that by NOT blogging it would make him happy. Well, I'm sure it made him happy. I'm sure it did. Did it make him happy when I was out of my Sunday School teaching job, my singing in church... sure... it probably did. But the fact that I even would let it touch me shows my own pride.

"If you are humble, nothing will touch you."

Wow.

It is most important if I'm following God. If I'm seeking Him and putting His mission and work for me first. This pleasing thing will please no one.

I was talking on Twitter with Ellyn Shaffner (above) about quotes from Mother Teresa and she mentioned the following poem...

What has been wrong with me? Why have I been afraid to write on this blog? It is here, I already have quite a bit written and yet, for some reason, I am admitting that I have let my fear or my desire to please man keep me from it.

I reject the hold that this evil man has had on my life for far too long. Not all men of God are men of God (or women for that matter.) This world is full of false prophets and liars...

men

    "Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)" Phillipians 4:13

This has been a secret struggle, a private angst, a nagging fear. But in this life if we love our mother or father or pastor or anyone above God, we have it all wrong. We have to leave it all and cleave to the Savior who loves us. We must seek to please Him not him who seeks to pass judgment and tell us what to do.

I'm thankful for God leading my husband and I and our family to an incredible church family. It is still very hard and I've been in mourning over some things past, however, I am moving on.

God's been trying to help me have a thick skin but I think the point is that I just need to be ok in my skin.

Pastor Michael Catt talked about a football player this past week that has a twitter handle - zero glory and how we should all be living our lives to be that way.

It is not a bad thing to blog - in fact my current pastor embraces social media as a way to share. I'm going to have to quite simply get over the haters. A while back, Pastor Catt asked us to raise our hands if we were breathing - everyone raised hands. He said, OK, if you're alive, someone doesn't like it -- get over it. Someone can't stand the fact that you're breathing. It is a fact... GET OVER IT.

GET OVER IT!!! SOME PEOPLE DON'T LIKE YOU... or me... or anyone... or even themselves, if the truth be known.

The problem is I haven't gotten over it. I have this past situation and one other one when I first got into edtech with someone who just thinks I'm an arrogant awful person --- I was wrong and apologized but it doesn't matter how much I do... this person will ALWAYS hate me and talk bad about me. THERE IS NOTHING I COULD DO AND NOTHING I CAN DO and I have to LET IT GO. Oh, I wish I could.

You nor I are here to fulfill a popularity contest. Honestly, no one really cares as much about us as we care about ourselves. We are really the center of our own universe, but have to choose not to be. Give up the center of your Universe to the One who made the Universe.

When God leads, I'll write here.

An Audience of One

There are a thousand tiny things that God is doing to help me learn that HE IS MY AUDIENCE. I serve HIM and must please Him and only Him. Oh, that I was humble enough to be that person who is so focused on God that only His glory shines forth. I'm not, but want to be.

Thankful that God is not done with me (or you)

Meanwhile, I'm thankful for a God who doesn't give up on us. I'm thankful that when I beg for healing that He hears. I'm thankful that when you think your purpose and plan is done that God has other plans. Breath in your nostrils is proof that God is not done. (another Pastor Catt quote.)

I admit hurt and complete and utter devastation over some things in my past, but I will serve and work in the new church where God has called me. I will open up and let some new friends in. I will be humble and willing to embark on a new journey of service to Him wherever He chooses for it to be. Toilet, tabletops, or mountaintops...here I am... send me.

God can use my greatest hurts for His greatest glory and I will humbly accept His guidance.

So, whoever might be left still subscribing to this blog or reading it... thanks for hanging around. Some pain is hard to verbalize and sometimes one can be so wounded in terms of a matter that it is actually best to be quiet. But I believe that God is doing a new work in me and wants to do a new work in you, too. Have you taken time to talk to Him today? Are you going to let the wounds of the past keep you from a bright future in His service?

Whatever it be, wherever I go... any way He sends me - I pray and hope that He'll use me anyway He chooses.

May these words be used to encourage the weary, revive the faint, and replenish the beleagered.

Our God reigns!

 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Daily Education and Technology News for Schools 08/16/2012

  • Are we putting too many non-content related grades in our marking systems that are causing disorganized children to think they aren't college material and to cause entitlement among those who do homework and turn things in thinking that just because they work hard that they deserve a good grade? This family circle article coupled with some of the entitlement research has me thinking. Read: Making the Grade: When Do Kids Deserve A's It is also an argument for standards based assessment. Take a read. 

    tags: education news research

  • There are some fascinating things you can do with Kinect in the classroom. You can download these files and hook up a Kinect to your computer to allow motion capture (against a greenscreen), painting with gestures, and all kinds of things. There are people using kinect in powerful ways with special needs children as well. Here's the official webpage for Kinect in Education.

    tags: education news kinect microsoft tumblr evernote

  • Here's a listing of our current projects. Follow the link to apply. Flat Classroom Project - Deadline September 1, 2012  APPLY NOW! Digiteen Project - Deadline September 15, 2012  APPLY NOW! 'A Week in the Life...'  - Deadline September 1, 2012  APPLY NOW! NetGenEd  - Project based on the Horizon Report published in January each year - Deadline February 1, 2013 - APPLY NOW! K-2 'Building Bridges to Tomorrow' Project - Deadline September 15, 2012 - APPLY NOW! Eracism - Information and Applications available August 15, 2012

    tags: education news flatclass

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

What this Easter means to me

KLATEN, CENTRAL JAVA, INDONESIA - APRIL 06:  I...
KLATEN, CENTRAL JAVA, INDONESIA - APRIL 06: (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
There are times that transparency is enough to kill you or harm the things you love. There are times that God has to be the judge and we have to withhold the injustices done to us or our families from the public eye. It would be nice for those who should know that parts of the body of Christ are hurting to remember

"those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering." (Hebrews 13:3)

False teaching in the "church" is increasing and will continue to increase

The fact is that in the end times

 "many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Matthew 24:10-13)

We know false prophets will increase and deceive many...

"For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." Matthew 24:24 Mark 13:22 (NIV)

Not everyone who stands in a pulpit or dresses like a priest or says he/she is speaking from God is telling the truth...

"This is what the LORD Almighty says, ' Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD." (Jeremiah 23:16)

Many of these people who are false will be highly regarded by many...

"Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets." Luke 6:26 

They will clandestinely introduce destructive views:


"...there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them..." (2 Peter 2:1)

It is very important when you hear a sermon, any sermon, that you open up your Bible and confirm what the person is saying is true. Rarely will their heresy be blatant - a little word here, a sentence there. Your eyes will prick up and you'll look to see if anyone else picked up on it. It doesn't matter if they heard it - you did. Don't just hope it will go away. It won't.

The chosen few aren't in the pew?

Beware of those who say that they are the only ones who are capable of interpreting scripture or "always know God's will" such people smack of cult and false teaching.

"Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world." 1 John 4:1

Cults in Christianity?

In her Bible study, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things, Beth Moore talks about a dear friend who was lured into a cult that professed to practice like the church in Acts, however it turned out that the only thing they did in truth was pool finances along with

"man-induced legalism and bondage because the leaders interpreted Scripture for them. They were not encouraged to study the Bible for themselves." (p 90)

She goes on to say

"Keep in mind that any kind of mind manipulation that draws a believer away from his or her wholehearted, sincere, and pure devotion to Christ qualifies as a demonic seduction according to 2 Corinthians 11:2-3." (p 90)

Rules Don't Make you Right

Legalism was killing the church in Jesus' day and is still causes those who come to church to head running for the hills.

  • These people love having important jobs in church (Luke 11:43) and 
  • being greeted with respect around town (Luke 11:43), 
  • they make all these rules they pretend to follow to look good for everyone with trash on their DVD and web browser history (Matthew 23:27), 
  • they pretend that they are giving out of love for God but really are motivated by greed and the tax write off (Matthew 23:25), 
  • they're always in church but don't have time to visit their aging Mom in the nursing home or to treat their tenants fairly (Matthew 23:23), 
  • they go put flowers on graves of those who have died but kill people with their words in a deacon's meeting or with their emails (Matthew 23:29) -
  •  there is nothing new here. Arrogance, pride, greed have always been the hidden sins that erode a church's effectiveness from within the hearts of those in the pews.


It was power, greed, and arrogance that caused the Chief Priest of the temple in Jerusalem to say
"You do not realize that it is better for you that one many die for the people than the whole nation perish." (John 11:50)

They thought killing Jesus would save their church. It did, just not like they thought it would.

Good Friday, Really?

Yesterday was "Good Friday." But in my own heart, it didn't feel good at all. All I could feel is that Jesus was betrayed by his friends, by the people he made. Just think, he looked at the high priest and Pilate and could perhaps remember the days when He "created their inmost being and knit them together in their mother's womb." (Psalm 139:13)

I felt people clapping as their evil chants to "Crucify him" were granted. They were so happy that they got what they wanted! They thought they could save the church by killing someone and removing Him permanently from their synogogue. I felt the burning eyes of hatred burrowing into a good man who hadn't done anything wrong except speak the truth.

The church has always killed prophets and good men. Jesus said,
"Woe to you because you build tombs for the prophets, and it was your ancestors who killed them." (Luke 11:47.)

The church still does. It is important to realize that when a church strays, as often happens when money and power coagulate, that your faith is in Christ not Christians. It must be a relationship with a Savior not a church.

The problem is that many sense that a church has gone off task and mission but just choose to stop going to church.

"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 - and all the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25

Abandoning church isn't the answer. 

It would be nice to just join one church and know that you're set for your entire life. I wish it were so, trust me, with all my heart, I wish it was so! However, there are times that in order to follow God, we have to move away from our comfort zone. Abraham was led out, so was Moses, Paul, and even Jesus said "truly I tell you, no prophet is accepted in his hometown." (Luke 4:24) For Jesus to be Jesus, he had to leave home.

I do not profess to be a prophet. I do profess Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and the greatest person I've ever known. He's there with me each morning and each afternoon. My relationship with Him transcends and exceeds all others.

A little over five years a go, I was told that blogging was evil. I should have known that was just the beginning of many other untrue things that I'd hear from the person who said this. Any medium on this planet can be used for good or for evil - to bless or to curse. Such church-lady-ish condemnation of something just because it is new caused book burning and now this. God needs all kinds of people, with many different talents:

"Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will serve before kings; he will not serve before obscure men." (Proverbs 22:29)
Anything I have, the credit goes to God. Tomorrow is Easter, it is a new day and a new beginning in many ways for me and my family.

We follow Christ - He doesn't follow us. 

It isn't His job to rubber stamp everything we do with our lives and clean up the mess like the child who asked for an AK-47 for his birthday. There are times He doesn't give us what we ask for because He can see more deeply than we can imagine.

"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

You see, Good Friday was the one day that God told Jesus, "No."

"Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, 'My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as  I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39

Because there is Easter, God told Jesus "No" for the greater good of mankind. And if Christ had to go through this, be told no, and did it for us, the much smaller, much less impactful "no's" of our lives must be respected as boundaries of love.

It is hard to imagine why that day is called "good." It is just awful what happened to Christ. His betrayal. His solitude. His pain. His separation. Unspeakable. Unfathomable. Every awful evil thing you've ever heard of - He took the blame for it. He's the reason that everyone from a serial killer to a nun can be forgiven of their sins. There are those who point to this as being unjust that serial killers shouldn't be put in the same category as a nun and that they shouldn't be forgiveable.

"All have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23)

The injustice of it...an innocent man being blamed for child abuse, murder, gossip, overeating, pornography, drunkenness, adultery, everything on one man. What is good about that?
"He who knew no sin because sin for us, that we may be made the righteousness of God through Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21
 It was good because of what it did for us. Because now

"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13

I don't understand it. I claim it. I believe it. I realize that it makes me look foolish to many of my friends who are very smart in book knowledge.

"but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling bock to Jews and foollishness to Gentiles." 1 Corinthians 1:23
"for the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, an the weakness of God is stronger than human strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25

I don't know why I took the time today to write this. There are million other things to do right now. For me, perhaps moving past the pain of betrayal, hurt, agony, tears will take the path of my Savior. I will die to myself and everything that I want or ever wanted for my life to be reborn in a way that I never planned or comprehended would be in His path for me.

Sometimes in order to move ahead we have to move on as we follow Christ where he leads and not expect it to be the other way around.

Happy Easter! He is Risen!

Enhanced by Zemanta