Tag Archives: teaching

Exodus 27; John 6; Proverbs 3; Galatians 2

He already knew what He was going to do.

Jesus soon saw a huge crowd of people coming to look for him. Turning to Philip, he asked, “Where can we buy bread to feed all these people?” He was testing Philip, for he already knew what he was going to do. John 6:5-6, NLT

Philip looks around at what they have–a boy’s lunch of loaves and fish, and a crowd of thousands.

I glance at my calendar, empty grids awaiting my pencil to fill in the tasks–a lot of unknown, and it all feels too big. I know these days will move fast and powerful, and in my own strength, my limited sight and wisdom, I look around at what I have and at what needs to be done. I am thankful and clinging to peace: He already knows what He is going to do.

The people wanted proof and proof, even after their bellies were filled. Miracles are marvelous morsels, but they don’t sustain–only Jesus can.

26 Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you understood the miraculous signs. 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

30 They answered, “Show us a miraculous sign if you want us to believe in you. What can you do? 31 After all, our ancestors ate manna while they journeyed through the wilderness! The Scriptures say, ‘Moses gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” John 6:26-31, NLT

I don’t need the miracles in order to follow Jesus. I know that by following Him, the miracles will come.

Spending time at His feet today, I find peace and rest. He calls me His child, and I am quieted. When urgency and unknown press against me, I fix my gaze upon Him. I listen and there is deep joy. These were the first words I read this morning, in Proverbs 3, Trusting the Lord.

My child, never forget the things I have taught you.
    Store my commands in your heart.
If you do this, you will live many years,
    and your life will be satisfying.
Never let loyalty and kindness leave you!
    Tie them around your neck as a reminder.
    Write them deep within your heart.
Then you will find favor with both God and people,
    and you will earn a good reputation.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
    do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
    and he will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.
    Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.
Then you will have healing for your body
    and strength for your bones.

Honor the Lord with your wealth
    and with the best part of everything you produce.
10 Then he will fill your barns with grain,
    and your vats will overflow with good wine.

11 My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
    and don’t be upset when he corrects you.
12 For the Lord corrects those he loves,
    just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights.

13 Joyful is the person who finds wisdom,
    the one who gains understanding.
14 For wisdom is more profitable than silver,
    and her wages are better than gold.
15 Wisdom is more precious than rubies;
    nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 She offers you long life in her right hand,
    and riches and honor in her left.
17 She will guide you down delightful paths;
    all her ways are satisfying.
18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
    happy are those who hold her tightly.

19 By wisdom the Lord founded the earth;
    by understanding he created the heavens.
20 By his knowledge the deep fountains of the earth burst forth,
    and the dew settles beneath the night sky.

21 My child, don’t lose sight of common sense and discernment.
    Hang on to them,
22 for they will refresh your soul.
    They are like jewels on a necklace.
23 They keep you safe on your way,
    and your feet will not stumble.
24 You can go to bed without fear;
    you will lie down and sleep soundly.
25 You need not be afraid of sudden disaster
    or the destruction that comes upon the wicked,
26 for the Lord is your security.
    He will keep your foot from being caught in a trap. Proverbs 3:1-26, NLT

Thank you, Jesus.

Courtney (66books365)

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1 Kings 13-14, 2 Chronicles 12, Psalm 47, Titus 2

Just as every passage in the bible relates to our current day and time, so does this particular scripture here in Titus. In fact, this exact passage has been on my heart for some time now. Recently, a thread on Facebook in a ladies group from church showed just how important, relevant and needed this scripture is right now in our homes, communities and churches. A friend’s posted request seemed innocent and humble; “I need a mentor. Is anyone interested?” That post stirred up 147 responses and lead to an almost immediate response and call to action for ladies of all ages from college girls to new mamas all the way up to the churches most seasoned gals. Teaching, training and mentoring in this day and age is lost but the Holy Spirit is stirring hearts like never before and calling people to action.

As I read Paul’s words in Titus it’s as if he is speaking directly to us. Our culture and society is so turned around that even in our Christian communities it’s easy to get confused and off track. It is easy to stray from sound doctrine because it’s harder and harder to find, understand and discern. As I break down this passage, I look at who he’s speaking to, what  and where, why and how it will be accomplished.

The Who

The call is for everyone- “older” men and women. We are all older than someone! At all ages and stages of our lives we should be mentored and mentoring.

The What

Paul is calling on mentors to live godly, self-controlled lives as an example to others, teach sound doctrine and teach the younger generations to do the same.

When and Where

IN THIS PRESENT AGE! That meant in Titus’ time and in ours.

The Why

Don’t miss this: “That the word of God may not be reviled” “So that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.”

The How

How will we accomplish this? By the grace of God!

“11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.”

 

Father, help us to “declare this things, exhort and rebuke with all authority those things in our culture that are not true. Help us with our actions, attitude and behavior that in everything, your word is not reviled. Give us teachers and mentors that will speak into our lives and hearts training us in your truth and help us to seek out the younger generation to come alongside and train, encourage and love. Let no one disregard you! Amen.

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Proverbs 19-20; 2 Corinthians 3

I started the new school year’s teaching gig yesterday: a class of 9th and 10th graders, medieval history and literature. One of the first things I did was administer a test on what they remembered from Chapter One’s reading assignment, but on the flip side of the paper was a get-to-know-you questionnaire. I’ve asked these questions in other classes too: using one word, how would you describe yourself, how would your friends describe you, how would your mom describe you, how would you like to be known?

I’m not sure that people really give this tremendous thought, but we’ll all be known for something.

Are we beginning to praise ourselves again? Are we like others, who need to bring you letters of recommendation, or who ask you to write such letters on their behalf? Surely not! The only letter of recommendation we need is you yourselves. Your lives are a letter written in our hearts; everyone can read it and recognize our good work among you. Clearly, you are a letter from Christ showing the result of our ministry among you. This “letter” is written not with pen and ink, but with the Spirit of the living God. It is carved not on tablets of stone, but on human hearts. 2 Corinthians 3:1-3, NLT.

What kind of mark does my life leave upon another’s heart?

I don’t ask myself this question to number my shortcomings, but to number my days.

Even children are known by the way they act, whether their conduct is pure, and whether it is right. Proverbs 20:11, NLT.

Numbering my days to live intentionally, wholeheartedly.

Ears to hear and eyes to see, both are gifts from the Lord. Proverbs 20:12, NLT.

Today’s reading is filled with insight on mockers, chattering gossips, the lazy, the fools, a quarrelsome wife and her dripping nagging … as well as wisdom, self-control, and friendship.

Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable? Proverbs 20:6, NLT.

Chapter One’s history reading was a gripping account of the battle at Milvian Bridge, and Constantine left an impression with readers, all of us using words to describe him–because we’ll all be remembered in some way … whether in a history book or in a heart.

16 But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18, NLT.

Lord, may I always keep my eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 5, 6, 7; Mark 12:1-27

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:4-9

I am in the midst of the season of mothering. God entrusted me with two clever preschoolers who absorb everything, both the good and the bad (as exhibited by my oldest daughter’s usage of a choice word that I recently uttered in a moment of frustration – oops). Like most parents, I want to raise my children so that they will be happy and healthy, so that they will function well in the world and be productive adults, and most importantly, so that they have a strong spiritual and moral foundation.

Often in my studies of godly parenting, I am led to the above verses in Deuteronomy, that charge me with the responsibility of keeping the greatest commandment on my own heart at all times, and also instilling it in the hearts of my children.

The word “diligently” popped out to me today. The word diligently means to ‘quietly and steadily continuing a task despite any difficulties’ and is ‘characterized by care and perseverance in carrying out tasks’. I have been given the responsibility to be a disciplined parent, to be intentional, deliberate, and fully-conscious in raising my girls. My assignment is to develop my children’s behavior and their character through instruction and repetition. My task is to point them toward God all throughout the day, every day.

But, it is not just enough to teach them the words, the deeds, the customs. It is not enough to teach them to memorize the Bible by rote. It’s not enough to simply lead them in a sinner’s prayer. Of course, memorization, prayer, and study have value, but if connection is not personally experienced, then it becomes a habitual routine, where, more often than not, there is no love and no passion. When God’s love isn’t truly known or reciprocated those rituals lead to the legalist thinking and behavior that made the chief priests, the scribes, the elders and others want to trap, arrest, and eventually kill Jesus (Mark 12:1-27).

It is essential that my children have daily opportunities to meet God so that they come to understand who He was, is, and is to come. Over and over, they need to hear testimonies of His faithfulness; they need to taste and see that He is good. They must grasp relationship with Christ and desire a bond with Him. His love needs to cut through to their cores.

My goal is to teach my children not only to love the Lord their God with all their heart, soul, and might, but to teach them to hear his voice, follow his will, and recognize his face. I can do that by talking to them, by maintaining a good rapport with my children, and by allowing them to see my relationship with Christ up close.

Yesappa, Thank You for choosing me, for choosing my children, and their children. Thank You for loving us, blessing us, and multiplying us. Help me follow Your commands, staying straight on Your path and not going to the right or the left. Help me show my children who You are. Reveal Your steadfast love to us. Help us love You with all our hearts, our souls, and our minds always. In Jesus’ name. Amen (Deuteronomy 5:32; Deuteronomy 7:9-12).

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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1Chron.17; James 4; Jonah 1; Luke 6

Who teaches the Teacher??

Ask any parent… what is their primary goal as a father/mother? If you were to ask my Dad, he would have responded “to have you live on your own!” I can almost hear the laughs starting, but, there is wisdom in those words. Yes… I will admit… by the time I reached the age of 15, my Dad and I didn’t always see eye-to-eye… but did it mean that I was a problem child? Actually no… I had reached the age that I didn’t need to be ‘taught’ any longer… or so I thought. Regardless of what I wanted or thought I needed, my Dad was committed to preparing me to survive in the world after I left. Through his words and his actions, he was teaching me… preparing me to understand how to live… how to conduct myself in various situations. Like it or not, as parents, we’re tasked with the responsibility preparing our children to leave us! We impart our knowledge, our passions, our experiences on our children so that they can survive and know how to live. Quite a task… but as teachers… who teaches the teacher?? Who do we turn to as our model to aspire to? Is the right way to seek others as the guide? If we choose to focus on using others as models, we run the risk of comparing ourselves to others… not a healthy place to be. As Andy Stanley put it in his recent sermon message “The Comparison Trap”, there’s no win in comparison! Comparison spawns an insatiable desire to be better than someone else… perhaps a safer, more meaning option would be to look towards the Teacher of all teachers… Jesus!

The Bible is filled with examples of how Jesus assumed the role of teacher… and we can see this in Luke 6, where insightful points are made that underscore what it means to be a Christian as Jesus saves those who follow Him… He teaches us with the goal of us becoming more like Him.

Jesus uses a parable “A blind man cannot guide a blind man, can he? Will they not both fall into a pit?” “A pupil is not above his teacher, but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.”

If any of you have seen my daughter’s photographic work, I know you would agree that she has an incredible gift. Recently, my daughter gave me a compilation photo that has a photo of me in different roles… the one photo that meant the most to her was that of ‘Role Model’ which touched me deeply. I always wanted to be diligent enough to positively affect my girls’ lives, but as parents we don’t often see the fruit of our efforts for many years. Often, we grow impatient and want/(need) to see results NOW… but as any teacher will attest to… often times the lesson isn’t learned on our time. But there is no denying that I have rubbed off on my daughters and have created a model they are using to gauge young men who express interest in them. Clearly, teaching, through modeling, to our children has tremendous consequences… good OR bad!!

God’s word tells us: train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6). Whatever direction we tend to be trained into, we have a tendency to keep going in that direction. However, the Teacher of teachers, Jesus, seeks to teach us an even deeper truth… that we only need follow Him and His instruction, as Teacher, and we can become more like the Teacher who instructs us. Why? Because God loves to communicate with His children… He enjoyed spending time with Adam and Eve in the garden, and He loves when His children call on Him or respond when He calls on them (Jonah 1).

I love the warning Jesus offers us in Luke 6:47-49… Everyone who comes to Me, and hears My words, and acts upon them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation upon the rock; and when the flood rose, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who has heard, and has not acted accordingly, is like a man who built a house upon ground without any foundation; and the torrent burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.”

Heavenly Father… just as David modeled reaching out to You in 1 Chronicles 17, help to soften our hearts so that we seek You in all things… always… that when nothing seems possible, that we pray so we can experience the possibility and power of Your grace. As Your children, we are called to live out of grace and not our achievements. When we seek ourselves, our achievements, instead of You as our teacher and guide, whatever we do will never feel like enough. However, in prayer and turning towards You, we hope to discover the infinite possibilities of living out of grace… Amen!

Greg Stefanelli (gstefanelli)

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, James, Jonah, Luke, New Testament

1Chronicles 15; James 2; Amos 9; Luke 4

I was on the phone with a friend yesterday when the question I’ve been struggling with arose:

How can I have a higher expectation of my children over similar issues I fail to overcome in my own life?

My friend and I had a similar issue of a strained relationship. It’s too soon to say how things are going for her with how she’s decided to handle it, but my results are more like banging my head against a wall: frustration, pain, getting nowhere, questioning why I’m still (doing this).

13 Because you Levites did not carry the Ark the first time, the anger of the Lord our God burst out against us. We failed to ask God how to move it properly.” 1 Chronicles 15:13 NLT.

I have asked God for signs to continue with the relationship, and each time he has told me to do so. Soon after, another issue arises and I find myself wondering if I heard him right. These doors are closed tight. Why do I set myself up for failure again? Perhaps I have failed to ask God how to.

Then Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan River. He was led by the Spirit in the wilderness … Luke 4:1 NLT

Spirit, lead me.

When Jesus was hungry and tempted in the wilderness, he quoted scripture.

But Jesus told him, “No! The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone.’” Luke 4:4 NLT

Next week, we’ll be breaking bread–a room of generations. Perhaps the lesson isn’t about the success in overcoming relational difficulties. The lesson could be about a lot of things–perseverance, surrender, seeking the Lord, obedience, faith in action, loving God, blessing an enemy. Maybe the result isn’t so much about getting what I want, but in teaching my kids (and learning for myself) how to live life with a heart for God in a broken world with broken relationships.

And maybe through the learning and doing of the other things, I might also get what I want too–healing.

But he replied, “I must preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God in other towns, too, because that is why I was sent.” Luke 4:43 NLT

Lord, you are my how-to and my hope. Please, lead me.

Courtney (66books365)

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Deuteronomy 32; Psalm 119:121-144; Isaiah 59; Matthew 7

“Take to heart all the words of warning I have given you today. Pass them on as a command to your children so they will obey every word of these instructions. 47 These instructions are not empty words—they are your life!” Deuteronomy 32:46-47a NLT.

I am your servant; deal with me in unfailing love,
    and teach me your decrees.
125 Give discernment to me, your servant;
    then I will understand your laws. Psalm 119:124-125 NLT

24 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24 NLT

It’s been a muggy, humid, summer week. A soffit reaches over the window flower boxes, preventing my petunias from getting rain. So I go out with a hose and put the nozzle on the mist setting to water the plants. My youngest likes to follow me around–she eagerly watches all the things I do–and stands nearby as I water the flowers. The mist spray blows in the breeze and showers her too with tiny ice-like shards of cold water. She loves it, and laughs and dances under the spray, reaching out for more. Now that I think of it, she’s around me like a little satellite–my company in the garden, a kitchen companion while I’m baking (and she gets to lick the spoon!), my shadow as I reach into the freezer to break off a cold piece of chocolate (and she gets a piece too). She learns a lot following me around–the good, and the not-s0-good.

When Moses speaks to the people and says to pass these words on to their children, what follows is arresting:

These instructions are not empty words—they are your life!

When I read of God’s teaching falling like rain, a gentle shower–it reads like summer and his teaching refreshes and quenches me in the heat, so I can grow. It underscores to me how important it is to keep his word a steady part of my life–to be connected to him daily to learn. I want this for myself (certainly!), and I want it for my kids. I want them to see faith worked out in real life–from taking hold of the log in my eye, to the asking-seeking-knocking of the Lord, and so much more.

Father God, I pray to you:

133 Guide my steps by your word,
    so I will not be overcome by evil.

135 Look upon me with love;
    teach me your decrees. Psalm 119:133, 135

Courtney (66books365)

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