Posts Tagged ‘daily devotionals’

Are you a teacher here for the $50 Gift Card Give Away?  To register to win the gift card, please leave a comment on today’s post.  Just scroll down and  click on the word comment found in fine print at the bottom of today’s post (right next to the tags).  This will bring up the comment form.  You can leave a comment as a Guest, but don’t worry, your email address will not be visible.  In your comment please tell us the grade you teach and/or your school’s name.  You can register once per day and this Friday at midnight a comment will be randomly chosen to win this week’s gift card.  Full rules and part one of this teacher’s story found at this link:  Given the Time.

What was the best advice you have ever received as a teacher?

“They may forget what you said, But they will never forget how you made them feel.”

When I first interviewed for my position as a teacher, I was told I had to teach a lesson to a live classroom while a panel of 4 teachers/principals observed me. I worked hard on providing the best lesson. I spent hours perfecting it. The night before I had to present my lesson to the classroom, I received a phone call from my mentor from the college I was attending at the time. She was very excited for me and wanted to review my lesson over the phone. I explained in detail what I was going to do, read her my objectives and listed all the curriculum standards I was going to cover with this lesson. She listened, gave suggestion and then said something so incredibly powerful. “Rosheen, remember this one thing. You are teaching students, not curriculum. Don’t focus so much on WHAT you’re teaching as much as on WHO you’re teaching.” That comment hit me hard.  My focus was so much on what I was going to do rather than on how it was going to be received by a group of 8 year olds.

I hold very strongly to that motto now, 15 years later. My focus is always, first and foremost to KNOW MY STUDENTS so that I can better reach them. I spend a lot of time talking with them during class meetings and small groups. I learn about their lives and about who they are. This helps me to relate to them much better. Psychologist Abraham Maslow believed strongly that if a child’s emotional needs are not met, learning cannot successfully take place. I struggled to learn as a child. My emotional needs had not been met at home and I was deprived. I struggled through elementary and high school. It wasn’t until I met Jesus that my needs began to be fulfilled. I excelled in College and remained on the Dean’s List for the entire 5 ½ years, even while carrying a full load and working 40 + hours a week. I think Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs clearly defines what my role of teacher should be. Get to know my kids, work hard on helping to meet their needs, then teach…and they will learn.

What is your favorite aspect of teaching?

I’ve never been much of an evangelist. I’m outgoing, but have not been blessed with the ability to easily share my faith on spot. Relationship building is what I do best. I love to become friends with people and build relationships with them. Through these relationships I am able to live out my faith. The same goes for me in teaching. I work hard at building relationships with students and parents. When the trust is there, I am able to tackle the tough issues and work hard at helping the children. The best part for me is when I know I’ve made a difference.

Say what you want about Facebook, but for me it was affirmation that God has me where he wants me. About a year ago I decided to look for the students that made up my very first class as a teacher. After finding a few, I was able to seek out their friend lists and find the remaining. I have friended nearly every student. That was exciting enough, but the best part was the comments they wrote on my wall. Nearly each child posted a memory from that year. In each post they thanked me for making a difference in their lives. One young man reminded me about his parents who were divorcing that year. He told me that because of me, he was able to get through that year without falling apart.  Others posted about their favorite memory and what they liked best about school that year.….but the best is when they tell me “You were my favorite teacher, ever.”  I thank God daily for using me in the lives of these kids. This is my very favorite part of teaching:  knowing that some way, somehow, I touched the life of a child…in a very positive way.

“Let us not become weary in doing good…”  Galatians 6:9

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“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny?  Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of the Father.  And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Matthew10:29-31

This week two women share their experiences of growing up within the African American tradition, specifically as it relates to church.  Today and tomorrow, one lady will share her story God’s hand in both diverse and single-ethnicity church environments and how God shaped her spiritual life through these events.

 I grew up in a big city where churches, cathedrals, temples and chapels adorned the landscape. As a child, my neighborhood consisted of many different ethnic groups. The love of Jesus Christ is what each group had in common.  Although, we worshiped in separate edifices our elders instilled the importance of how a spiritual upbringing would enrich our lives and set us on the path toward eternal salvation.

The diversity of my neighbors and our respect for each other’s different spiritual doctrines and cultures enabled me to learn early on the value and worth of each human being as a child of God.

Early on, I knew my neighborhood was special because of the lessons I learned in church.  “God created us all in his image.”  In Genesis, God charged us as humans with the responsibility of stewardship for the each other, for the animals, and for our home, the planet Earth.  “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world….”  Recall this standard children’s song that most of us sang.  The central theme is all about diversity.  It highlights that God intends His gospel to be spread throughout our world to everyone. His gospel is inclusive not exclusive.

 My neighborhood represented what I learned in church.  For various reasons which I didn’t know or didn’t understand, my world changed. By the time I was a teenager my community began to change from the diverse neighborhood I had known and enjoyed as a child.  I was accustomed to my multi-ethnic friends and their families.  I began to slowly only see other African-Americans in my neighborhood, which wasn’t a bad thing.  For one, I was now exposed to many more African-American churches and to legendary African-American Pastors who were skilled orators. I discovered the services were longer, the order of service was structured differently and the hymns were totally opposite of what we sang in my church. The tempo was upbeat and joyous. Had it not been for the cultural change in the makeup of my neighborhood, I would not have firsthand knowledge of African-American church customs and culture. However, I still reasoned God didn’t want me to live exclusive of other people.  At least that was the message I learned from my Pastor, who I believe spoke with authority from my heavenly father, God!

Her story continues tomorrow…

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Did you ever re-gift a gift? I have and there have been times when I felt a little guilt for doing so.  But God’s gift of mercy is to be re-gifted without guilt.  We have been shown mercy so we can be merciful to others.  Taking God’s gift of mercy into our homes, or offices, our schools can look differently for each of us. take some time to brainstorm ways you can share God’s gift of mercy, new every morning, with those around you.

This week we have looked at God’s gift of mercy so freely and abundantly given.  Accepting God’s forgiveness of the past means getting a new start at creating the best me I can be today and passing the Good News along to others. 

“Praise be to the…Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3,4

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According to Webster’s dictionary, to mend means to “free from faults or defects, to improve in manners or morals, to set right, to put into good shape, patch up, repair, to improve or strengthen (as a relationship) by negotiation or conciliation.”  

How do we “set right” or put in good shape a heart?  We have a powerful example of One who heals, restores, sets right and strengthens our hearts even when we don’t deserve it.  Isaiah 57:18 reminds us that even though He sees what we do, He will heal us [mend and restore] us anyway.  Extending grace and healing words to another’s heart is only doing what has been done for each of us.  When I think of mending, I picture repairing a piece of clothing, but the Lord speaks of mending as restoration.  Gal 6:1 urges us to restore another gently.  Restoration means to make strong, firm, steadfast.  Restoration of this type means a willingness to take time to listen to the heart of another, to respond with encouragement and to guide and comfort.  It doesn’t mean enabling or condoning; occasionally, I have a difficult keeping that balance.  Sometimes to mend a heart means to promote improvement of conduct and attitudes by our own example, our words and our prayers. 

Oh, Heavenly Father, I know you have restored my heart and given me this opportunity to partner with You in restoring the heart of another.  Show me how, Lord.  Keep my ear in tune with you so that I offer grace when needed and yet provide the balance of promoting improvements that will bring restoration.  Help me to fill myself with Your Word, so my heart offers healing balm for those who need comfort, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me as I seek to love others with Your love.

(Additional Study: Psalms 6:3, Psalms 51:12, Psalms 80:3, 7, 19; Psalms 85: 4) 

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When I think of strengthening someone’s heart, I think of those times when my heart hurts because of the pain of watching another who is grappling with a death, severe illness or because they are watching a loved one go astray.  In those times, I know to strengthen my own heart, I have to turn to the Word of God to be encouraged; to be renewed and restored to keep on keeping on. 

I Corinthians 16:13 reminds us to “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.”  And Isaiah 41:10 assures us in those moments “don’t be afraid” for God is with us, “do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you.  I will help you.  I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.”

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.  II Chron 16:9.  Strengthening the heart for another means first, praying for them, second, encouraging them through our words and actions, and finally, to extend the grace and mercy we would want from them in similar circumstances.  Sometimes, that means being patient, being forgiving, being generous with a smile.  Be assured, when a heart needs strength, God will guide you to offer the strength that is just right.  You don’t have the strength on your own, none of us do.  So, allow the Lord God to hold your heart and He will give you the strength to hold your husband’s heart, child’s heart or any other heart that He connects you with. 

 Oh, Lord, help me today to see the opportunities to offer strength and encouragement for the heart of another.  Show me how to extend Your Love, grace and mercy in a new and fresh way today.  Amen

(Additional study:  Isaiah 35:3)

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Shortly before his death on the cross, Jesus gave his followers a beautiful promise that would happen after his resurrection:

“When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” John 15:26

Though they didn’t fully understand at the time what that would mean, the disciples certainly remembered that promise after his death and resurrection.  On the day of Pentecost, days after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Jesus’ disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to preach the Gospel in miraculous and incredible ways (Acts 2).  The disciples encouraged their listeners to place their trust in Jesus Christ and they too would then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit dwelling inside them (Acts 2:38).

What are the benefits of the Holy Spirit living inside me?  Here are just a few:

“Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son in to our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, ‘Abba, Father.'” Galatians 4:4-6

“Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance …” Ephesians 1:13,14

“…you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

“He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.” Titus 3:5

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22

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