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Monday, September 28, 2009
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009
During the summer months, I used to wake up early in the morning to walk—a choice I made based on the example of a good friend of mine. It gave me some alone time, some exercise and some uninterrupted time with God. Since starting school, I haven't been able to do that—I just can't wake up that early! But I have started walking to and from school to compensate. Me, my backpack and my iPod.
One of my favourite parts about my walks so far, have been coming home. On a few occasion, Opa has taken my kids out to walk and meet me. I can't even describe the feeling I get when I see those two miracles walking towards me. Now not to offend any parents of my students who are reading this—I love your children! But after a day of work (and sometimes a long day of work!), to walk towards two children who I can call my own, there is no greater joy to me! I love their looks of surprise to see me appear so close to them and their big smiles when they recognize me—and the way they run to me and hug me and want me to lift them up for some snuggles! They have so many stories to tell right away . . . and sometimes they just want to hold mommy's hand now.
I think of how God must feel each time we turn to Him. And I think of how often God is calling us to Him. In Matthew 4:18-19, Jesus sees his future disciples and says, "Come, follow me." And they do. In Matthew 11:28-30, He says, "Come to me, all who are weary and burdened. . ." God calls us in relationship with him in Isaiah 1:18-19: "Come now, let us reason together. . . if you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land." The Psalms also speak of our response to come to God. Psalm 95:1 says, "Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord" and verse 6 says, "Come, let us bow down in worship. Psalm 100 tells us to "come before him with joyful sounds" (verse 2b) and to "Enter his gates with thanksgiving" (verse 4).
I am thankful that God asks me to come to him. I am thankful that I can come to Him in a way similar to the way my children come to me. I am so glad I can come to him in whatever state I am because He loves me and cares for me. And I am thankful for his promise to me that He will come again. (Revelation 22:12 & 20)
Other verses to read: Revelation 22:7-21
Monday, September 21, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There has been a joke among our family (started by Opa and my son) that Daddy drives too fast. That he drives like he is in a race car. And like many jokes, there is some truth to it! Last weekend, while in the Jeep with the whole family, my son was being his usual loud self. (Yes, for all of you who know him, he is VERY loud around us!) He was being loud about how Daddy was driving like a race car and going to fast. I think the noise and everything was getting to Daddy and he, over the noise and jokes in the vehicle, told everyone to stop talking. And everyone did—probably more out of shock than because anyone was listening to him. After a moment, Daddy told my son that he was sorry for using his loud voice. Then he asked my son, "Do you know that I still love you?" My son said yes right away. Daddy asked, "How do you know?" My son answered, "Because you said so."
I had to smile at that. . .
Then Daddy asked, "Do you love me?" My son answered yes. And it was quiet for a while, until my son piped up again, "I love you because you said you loved me first, Daddy."
I had to smile even more at that!
I wonder how we would answer if someone posed the question to us: "How do you know you love someone or that someone loves you? Perhaps your husband? Your mom? Your kids? What about God?"
I suspect we might get tied up on the reasons, the love languages, and the ins and outs of our daily lives with the person we are talking about. But like the children's song says, "Jesus loves me, this I know, For the Bible tells me so." I am constantly humbled by the child-like faith of my son. It was that easy for him to say, "Daddy, I know you love me because you said so." He didn't need any long explanations or proof or examples and verses to back up every detail. He simply trusted. And when he wanted to give a reason for loving, I heard the words of 1 John 4:19 being echoed. "We love because He first loved us."
1 John 3 and 4 speak a bunch about God's love. A "note" in my Study Bible said that only those who are to some degree like him can truly know God. The Bible shows over and over again that God is love—through is words, actions, deeds—in his very essence. Creatures and humans are not capable of loving, except that God loved first and showed us how to love each other. I see the words of verse 16 come to life in the comments my son made, where it says, "And so we know and rely on the love God has for us."
This week, I think I am going to just reflect on the simple truth that God loves me—He told me He loved me. And I can rest in His love because He loved me first . . . and always. This week I will savour the simple words of the song my kids love to sing most at bedtime. "Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. Yes, Jesus loves me. The Bible tells me so."
Monday, September 14, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
Well, happy cooking. This week is the first teaching week for us teachers, and we have a pile of apples to make into applesauce. I think my time will fill up pretty quickly this week!
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009
It's just about the beginning of a new school year—the bulletin boards are up, the school supplies are labeled, and the lesson plans are being looked over. I'm just about ready to welcome all the new, eager children into my classroom. Just about ready. . .
I work with a man who was telling me once about his schedule. I noticed him at school early and asked him about it. He matter-of-factly told me he needed to come to school quite early in the morning to prepare for the day and also to pray. He went on to tell me that he split his class into five groups, and commits to sitting in each of their desks and praying for each one in the morning. Each week he prays specifically for each student that he will influence in the course of the year.
Now, this isn't a new idea by any means, but just not an idea I have specifically adopted—until now. Don't get me wrong—I pray for the students in my class!!! I feel called to do that being a teacher. But as this fresh year is upon me, I feel a deeper sense of privilege to be teaching them. And I feel a calling to pray for each of them specifically, especially after I read one small verse in the Bible. It ends a paragraph and a section, but spoke louder than the other verses surrounding it this time I read it.
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
I was reading up a little bit on this verse specifically, and some translations use the work "masterpiece" instead of "workmanship." I teach a little art and use some of the great artists of the past and study their "masterpieces." As a class, we look at their creations, ask questions and discuss what we love about them, and then try to copy it (or a part of it).This made me think about how God looks at us each and every minute of each and every day. He studies us with that same intrigue, with that same interest, with that same wonder, but He also does all that full of love and grace and compassion.
If that is how God sees me and my students, I want to do the same. I want to follow His example and see my students through His eyes—as the masterpiece He created in Christ Jesus, and to some degree enable each of them to do good works—God's works—to bring Him glory.
I am committing myself this year to spend time once a week thinking about and praying for each of the masterpieces God has put it my range of influence. I am encouraged by the words of Colossians 4:2 (Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.) and James 5:15-16 (Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.) I am excited to see what God will do through this time spent with Him for my students.
You can do the same, even if you are not a teacher. Choose people in your sphere of influence or people who may influence you (your kids, your group leaders or group members, your pastors, your child's teacher (please—I would love that!!!), your friends, your colleagues, whoever it may be) and commit to praying for them on a regular basis at a regular set time. See what God will do through this time spend with Him for others.
Other verses to reflect on:
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~Colossians 3:12
*Photo Credit: taken from http://giselledenis.com/childrens-series/