Tag Archives: teaching

Joshua 1-4; Psalm 37; Mark 4

I read a devotional not long ago that talked about God teaching us then giving us a lesson to put into practice what he taught us. When I was growing up, I took dance lessons. Ballet, tap, jazz—I loved it all! The teacher would choreograph a dance and then teach us the steps. She would tell us what to do, we would practice, and then she would put on the music. We would practice until we got it right. She would teach, we would practice. The more I practiced, the stronger I became and more assured that I could do it right. The process was teaching/lesson. As I read through the verses for today, they reminded me of that time.

In Joshua, the Israelites begin a new chapter of their journey. New chapters can be scary to some of us! (I tend to like my old and familiar). They have been wandering for 40 years. God has provided everything for them. He has shown them continuously they can trust him and depend on him. That was the teaching. Have they learned the lesson? God is going to give them an opportunity to find out.

Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go.” (Josh 1:9) NCV

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go.  That is what God taught them.

The first assignment is sending spies to scope out the land. They tried that once before and it didn’t work out very well. Only two returned (Joshua and Caleb) and reported they could overtake the land while they others caused a nation to shrink in fear. This time, however, the spies come back and assure Joshua the victory will be theirs. Lesson learned?

23 Then the two men started back. They left the hills and crossed the river and came to Joshua son of Nun and told him everything that had happened to them. 24 They said, “The Lord surely has given us all of the land. All the people in that land are terribly afraid of us.”

I love that God had another purpose for this mission as well: the spies encounter Rahab. Rahab was brave and courageous and risked her own life to save the spies. She is rewarded for her actions and is listed in the lineage of Jesus. (Math 1:5) She had faith and believed God. (Heb 11:31)

34 Wait for the Lord’s help
and follow him.
He will honor you and give you the land,
and you will see the wicked sent away. (Psalm 37:34)

Jesus teaches us as well. In Mark 4, Jesus tells the disciples:

 31 The kingdom of God is like a mustard seed, the smallest seed you plant in the ground. 32 But when planted, this seed grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants. It produces large branches, and the wild birds can make nests in its shade.”

It reminded me of Luke 17:6 (If your faith were the size of a mustard seed . . .)  What a word picture that is of what a growing faith in God would look like. That very evening Jesus and the disciples headed across the lake. A storm came up and the boat began to fill with water. An opportunity for a lesson?

38 Jesus was at the back of the boat, sleeping with his head on a cushion. His followers woke him and said, “Teacher, don’t you care that we are drowning!”

39 Jesus stood up and commanded the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind stopped, and it became completely calm.

40 Jesus said to his followers, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

Be brave, courageous (trust) that I am with you everywhere you go (the teaching). Yes, again those words come to mind. I ask myself questions for something going on in my own life (the lesson). How much do I believe you, God? Do I believe you are working in my life or do I believe only what I see? As you have taught me, I cannot see what is going on when a mustard seed is planted in the ground. Before it can be seen, much has happened in the darkness of the ground. So many times I choose to believe the storm that is raging around me over what I know is Truth. That storm is much louder than your voice. “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” I hear those words spoken in a loving tone–not a reprimand. You look at me with eyes of love. You have taught me I can say “Quiet! Be still!” as I wait for your help. I have nothing to fear!

As my thoughts ponder the teaching I’ve been given and the ample lessons to put the teaching to practice, I realize how often I’ve not passed the test! Quickly, before I can feel shame, God takes my eyes to the title over Mark 4:21-41 “USE WHAT YOU HAVE”. What do I have, Lord? What have you given me? Lovingly he speaks to my heart, “My WORD!”

Lord, you teach me in so many ways that I am to depend on you, to trust you. You will supply every need. There is nothing physical, emotional, or spiritual I could ever require that you will not provide. When I live believing that, no matter the circumstance, my life has peace. When I forget and trust myself instead, THAT is when I get into trouble. Thank you for being with me everywhere I go. Too often I forget that and feel I’m battling life alone. Whenever I head down that road, You are always quick to remind me how much you love me. I am eternally grateful. In Jesus precious name, Amen

Cindy (gardnlady)

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Lamentations; Psalm 137; 1 Peter 4

Spiritual Gifts are one of the most mis-understood and least implemented parts of the Christian life. I was with a group of Christians not too long ago. About 25 people and asked them how many of them knew what their gifts were. Only two or three raised their hands. That is a pretty typical response I would say. Yet here we see Peter challenging his readers to steward the gifts they have been given by the Holy Spirit and use them well.

We find the spiritual gifts discussed in the 4’s and 12’s (Ephesians 4; 1 Peter 4; 1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12). Who said the Bible was hard to read or figure you!

So spiritual gifts are given to us at our point of conversion to Christianity. They are given to us to edify the Body of Christ. There are between 19 & 22 depending on your theology (not the place here to discuss that) and each one of have at least one gift.

In this morning’s reading we find the following:

  • Hospitality, v. 9
  • Speaking (most likely teaching), v. 11
  • Serving, v. 11

9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen (1 Peter 4:9-11 [ESV]).

Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? Are you using them to serve the Body of Christ? If not read through the 4’s and the 12’s and begin this week.

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Deuteronomy 6-9; Luke 7

This morning’s reading is ripe with implications for our families in the 21st century. And being a Christian Educator at heart these words below from Deuteronomy 6 resonate strongly with me.

1″Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, 2that you may fear the Lord your God, you and your son and your son’s son, by keeping all his statutes and his commandments, which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be long. 3Hear therefore, O Israel, and be careful to do them, that it may go well with you, and that you may multiply greatly, as the Lord, the God of your fathers, has promised you, in a land flowing with milk and honey.
4″Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You 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. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:1-9 [ESV]).

If Moses were writing this to us today he’d say something like the following. When you are with your children put your cell phones and tablets away and tell them about God. When you go on trips sing songs and share Bible stories about Jesus. Have reminders in your home that trigger conversations about Jesus. Read God’s Word at the dinner table which means you all need to eat together.

We are reading a short Lenten devotional every evening at our dinner table. It needs to be concise enough that our daughter with Down syndrome doesn’t lose interest and yet deep enough that she gets something out of it — and her parents do too.

What are you doing to engage your children or grand children on a regular basis in the things of the Lord. Why not start following the teaching of Moses!

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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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