Thursday, June 30, 2016

Look ahead . . . Plan wisely!

Beware lest anyone cheat you throug philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.(Colossians 2:8)
This is a very simple reminder this morning to my summer school students as they complete the first session of their summer studies. It is also what was shared at my church bible study last evening as our mission team of teens was "sent" by the church. I believe is appropriate for each of us on one way or another as we approach a clouded future. Here is my question:
Who or what will lead you from here on out?
Will the world guide you? Will politics lead you? Will friends pull you? Will culture be your magnet? OR? . . . . .
Will God's Word be your survival guide in this dark and dreary world full of tricks and deceit?
We all have some decisions to make . . .

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The Source of it all . . .

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to everyone who knocks, it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7)
There are so many needs in this world. Each of us stands in need of something. If not now, then soon . . . But where do we go for help? It is not the government's job to supply our every need. While I agree, there are some who are actually helpless and cannot make ends meet alone, we as a Body must realize our part in helping others. God may just be calling us to serve yet we are too busy seeking to be served! (Matthew 20:28) Our very needs may be met by first seeking to help others in a more dire situation.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)
We all want to please God. However, to please Him we must know Him. We must seek Him with all our heart, all our soul and all of our strength! What does that look like? It means total surrender to the will of God. The only way to know the will of God is to know His character. The only way to get to know His character, or the character of anyone for that matter, is to spend quality time with Him. Day after day, week after week, year after year, our time with God will conform us to His likeness and character. We will slowly begin to desire what He desires for each of us.
If any of you lacks wisdom,let him ask of God, who all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But last him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave in the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. (James 1:5-6)
It begins with a question: "What do you want of me God?" Ask . . . Seek . . .Knock . . . and BELIEVE! You will begin to receive the answers to your questions.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It really is NOT about "ME"!

So when Jesus heard these things (from the "rich young ruler"), He said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was VERY rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!"(Luke 18:22-24)
One thing we try to impart upon the youth we serve is how important it is to learn to serve God and others before one gains wealth and possessions. If we can get a young person to understand that loving God and people is more important than gaining wealth while they are yet young, that when they do begin to earn money and have the opportunity to invest, they invest in the Kingdom of God and not in this world. The love or desire for wealth and money is indeed the root of evil. It drives us to pride, selfishness, entitlement, and more. It gives us a false sense of ownership. It puts the focus on self rather than the needs of others. In worse case scenarios, it leads to violence and crime of various magnitudes.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and ALL THESE THINGS shall be added to you. (Matthew 6:33)
Teach and model selflessness. As my friend and mentor will often say, "Love God with all you got and love people 'til you drop!" Words to live by . . . .

Monday, June 27, 2016

Preparing to GO . .

Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliest of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
Preparing for a mission trip, whether for a week, a month, or even longer, is never easy and never the same. For one, we are different each time! As we grow and mature in our faith, God begins to mold us and shape us more into the person He desires. As we give ourselves over to His will, our will is lessened and many times forgotten! As my bride and I prepare this final week to take a group of teenagers to serve in New Orleans, please pray along with us that we have a mind and heart on Christ first and then on the needs of the people we go to serve. Even more so, as we return, I pray we all have been tranformed to serve in a greater capacity here at home!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Reality of Satan and Spiritual Warfare

Who likes action movies? Well, whether you know it or not . . . We are living one!
Likewise, you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, ALL of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "God resist the proud but gives grace to the humble." (Proverbs 3:35, 1 Peter 5:5) . . . Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour . . . (1 Peter 5:5-8)
We do not hear this as often as we should. Young and not so young people; SATAN IS REAL AND HE HATES CHRIST FOLLOWERS! He will do all he can to keep people, especially our young people from knowing Jesus. He would like nothing more than to cause those of who do follow Christ to slip up and not only embarrass ourselves, but publically shame God! He has an arsenal of weapons, many of which will never be aware. Many times in the bible, from Genesis through Revelation, we read of Satan and his demonic army waging war. It is most clear in Daniel 9-10 as he describes his conversation with the angel Gabriel concerning the end the end times and current battles going on with Michael in Persia and Greece. Elisha too prayed and caught a vision of an army of angels with chariots of Fire surrounding him. (2 Kings 6:16-18) You can be sure, Today, that Satan is still attacking. However, we still have the Lord of Hosts, the Lord of the heavenly armies on the side of those who believe . . .
DO YOU?

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

One day . . .

O God, You are my God; Early I will seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for you in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. (Psalm 63:1-3)
For many, life here on earth is so good that they don't even think of an after life or any notion of eternity. While I do enjoy new things now and then, a great meal at a fine restaurant, and a relaxing getaway on the beach or at the mountains, like Paul, I am learning to be content wherever God might have me. I guess what I am saying is that if life gets so good and we have so much, what is there to yearn for? David writes of his desire to seek after God. He is in the wilderness of Judah. He is out of his comfort zone, if you will. One thing he does know however, God is there! So even in a dry and barren land, he seeks after the Lord. When things are challenging, he knows of Whom to turn. God's simple kindness . . . His peace . . . His grace . . . is better than life itself! Paul would offer that to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21) While we enjoy the finer things that God allows in our lives, life with Him is better than anything. If we could only get a glimpse of His glory how much value would we then place on the worldly things? When folks tell of their "things" they have gathered in life and of the places they have been or the people they have met, I ponder walking upon streets of gold, strolling next to that river flowing like crystal, and being in the presence of THE King of Glory. To be honest, it is what many times keeps me going!!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Warm and Inviting Fire . . . A Simple Fish Fry?

Then, as soon as they had come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid on it, and bread. Jesus said to them, "Being some of the fish which you have just caught." . . . . So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Pete, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" (John 21:9-19,15)
It must have been a sight for sore eyes, as a few of the disciples had followed after Peter on a fishing expedition. They had a long night of catching nothing, that is until the man on the shore called out to them to, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat". Immediately their nets were full of fish! As John suggested to Peter that the man was indeed Christ, Peter hurried to shore on his own as the others followed by boat. They found a simple fish fry awaiting at the shore, especially prepared by Jesus just for his disciples.
However, this was more than a simple fish fry . . .
The hot coals could have been there to drag Peter across them to teach him a lesson for denying Christ. Yet Peter must have felt something drawing him to the shore. He, after all, got out of the boat and rushed to shore! I would like to believe it was rather a warm and inviting flame calling Peter to forgiveness, offering the grace and mercy he so needed. Imagine, "Come and sit with me Peter, we need to talk!" As we read on in these passages, Jesus did indeed that. He restored Peter into fellowship and service. Peter would indeed follow Jesus until his own brutal death, hanging upon his own cross, only upside down! Have you been drawn to the Lord by His warming flame? As God drew Moses on the mountain via a burning bush (Exodus 3), He too draws us through His warm love and purifying flame. Do not resist! Run to Him as Peter did. Rest in Him and be assured He offers more grace than we could ever imagine! As with Peter, we may be ashamed, believing the lie that we are way too bad . . . done too much . . . gone too far . . . for God to ever want us again. So NOT TRUE!!!!
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
As I have been told before , "All means ALL!" I like that . . .

Monday, June 20, 2016

A Father's Look Back

Counsel is Mine, and sound wisdom; I am understanding, I have strength . . .i love those who love Me, and those who seek me diligently will find Me. (Proverbs 8:14,17)
After a wonderful Father's Day weekend, I am resigned to the fact that all I am, all I have, and all I ever could attain is because of God. As I look back over my life, as well as look into the future, it has been God all along! Even when I simply gave Him lip service in my youth, not really knowing Him, but thinking I did, He still was there protecting me and guiding me to where I am today! I thank Him for the day I finally allowed Him into my life. What a change! Nearly twenty-four years ago I asked the Lord to wash me of sin by His blood sacrifice and He is still cleansing me to this day! I am so foul in His sight yet He saw fit to save me. He thought I was worth it. He has not only changed me, but the entire direction of my life and my family's direction. I thought I knew "me" and my plans, yet God knew better. I don't look at the past as wasted years, but rather years of preparation and pruning, so I could see what He saw in me. Even today, the pruning continues and the vision is still being refocused day by day. While some may not like it or even despise it, I can only say "Thank You Lord for saving me; for picking me out of the 'muck' and placing me into Your plan!" Literally, I know I would be dead had He not challenged me back then. I am convinced there is only one way to know God and to possibly please Him. There is only one way to be with Him for eternity. It is only through the sacrifice of Jesus upon the cross and His resurrection power over sin and death! Do YOU know Him? Even more so, does He know YOU? It only comes by faith and that faith is in a person, namely Jesus Christ!
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6)

Friday, June 17, 2016

Someone Needs You

Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man's heart, nevertheless the Lord's counsel. . . that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20-21)
One thing that is severely lacking in our CHRISTian circles today is discipleship! We all know who the apostles were in Jesus' day. Yet we really do not know how many disciples there were. Disciples are defined as followers, learners, or students of someone or some thing. Hoever, one cannot follow, learn, or stduty without a lesson plan, an outline, or guide. One would not venture into a jungle of unchartered lands without a map. When we travel to new areas we take along a GPS device. So why are we expecting our young Christ followers to walk this challenging and unchartered road alone? We not only needs better instruction, but committed mentors and coaches!
The effective mentor strives to help a man or woman discover what they can be in Christ and then holds them accountable to become that person. - Howard Hendricks
I sincerely believe in leading young and old alike to Christ. However, a five year old is not going to pursue God like an adult who realizes his or her need for a Savior. After all, what serious offense has a five year old committed? Yet we must commit to holding that little ones hand, keeping that teen on our text list, and staying in touch with the Lord ourselves as to our walk and our "disciples'" lives as well. A good mentor has his own disciples today just as John, Paul, and others had their disciples in their day. Are we seeking folks to mentor? Are we investing in their lives. Do we simply "witness" to them and leave them at the cross to find their own way? Perhaps this is why so many "fall away" between the teenage years and adulthood. The scary thing is . . . they may have NEVER known Christ to from the start. Why???? Well, it's simple: no one took the time to walk through the journey with them! We never stop learning and we should never stop teaching. What we know we teach and what we need to know we seek to learn. We all need a few mentors and we all need a few disciples. Where do we go from here?
A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel. . . (Proverbs 1:5)

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It's on You!

And he arose and came to his father. But when he was still a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion, and ran and fell on his neck and kissed him. And the son said to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son." (Luke 15:20-21)
We have all heard the Prodigal Son story . . . God indeed offers second and third chances and more. Yet we must play a role in the next chance to do right! We must admit our guilt . . admit our fault . . . come to the realization that WE are to blame and not others or God! God remains faithful to forgive, yet we must be willing to change.
. . . for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost. (Luke 19:10)
Here, Luke tells us of Zacchaeus, the tax collector, who wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus. He climbed a tree, because he was a short little guy, but Jesus spotted him and called him down. Jesus even made time to dine with him at his home. Zacchaeus made the most of the situation and changed his ways an committed to follow after Christ. How many chances do we need before we decide to commit? Don't allow chance after chance to pass you by. Whether it's a chance in life, or even more importantly, a chance to know Jesus and spend eternity with Him!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

STRONG and BOLD or WEAK and FOLD?

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16:13)
Great warning and encouragement for today's world, don't you think? If we ever needed to be strong, it is now! We are faced with political opposition, terror attacks world wide, even the ridicule of friends and families. Let's face it, if we are to truly live for the Lord today than we are "enemies of the world". (James 4:4) Young people have to choose between the popularity of friends or the committment to God and His principles. Parents must decide whether to dedicate their families to the Lord or give in to the pressures of the world. At our jobs, we face the politically correct demands of the workforce . . . do not mention Jesus, do not attempt to share your faith, no bibles, no Christian music, no signs or emails about Christianity, etc. Who even has time to think we may one day be kidnapped, tortured, or even killed for our faith? Every day life is challenging in itself! If the non-Christian is not challenging enough, we also have churches, Christian schools and organizations, and fellow "believers" caving in to compromise, hidden agendas and false doctrines. So where do you and I stand? Will we STAND? We we be BRAVE? Will we be STRONG? Will we be able to do it all with the LOVE of Christ which Paul instructs us?
As for me and my house . . . What about you?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Be Prepared!

Then He said to them, "But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and like wise a knapsack, and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. For I say to you that which is written must still be accomplished in Me: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors.' For the things concerning Me have an end." So they said, "Lord, look, here are two swords." And He said to them, "It is enough." (Luke 22:36-38)
Jesus is now informing the disciples of a new era. As He would leave, they would not find everyone friendly. All those they would meet would not offer food, clothing, or lodging. They indeed would need supplies. They would also need physical protection. Jesus may not have needed the sword that Peter used in (John 18:10), yet they would need it for their protection from not only robbers, thieves and perhaps wild animals, but also from those who would hunt them down! Some say Jesus referred to the sword as the Word. Well, if He did, the "two" mentioned in the referenced passage would mean they had two bibles, manuscripts, or scrolls with them . . . probably not! Notice Jesus did not say get an arsenal of weapons! He simply instructed the disciples to be prepared for all things to come . . . even personal persecution and threats. There is nothing wrong with protecting yourself and your loved ones, in my humble opinion and understanding.
What do you say?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Is He STILL God?

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His ways, and the unrighteousness man is thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways", says the Lord.(Isaiah 55:6-9)
As we are raising funds for our mission trip with the teens, we all are reminded that God can do the miraculous. He does it however, in the "everyday", not simply in the special plans or special needs. As we walk with Him, we come to expect God to work, and we trust Him more and more in the daily process of life. God is a keeper for sure!
What are you trusting God for today?
Live in the unexpected . . . but live expectantly!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

PIE

Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, that I may make manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. Let your speech ALWAYS be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer EACH one. (Colossians 4:2-6)
Paul here is in prison in Rome yet still is seeking opportunities to share the Gospel, not wanting to miss out on the chance to share but also not wanting anyone to miss the opportunity to "hear". Many times we look for the "perfect" opportunity and miss out on the everyday chance to share. I can think of many times that I blew it. Even the bible speaks of times when people did not "get it". The Rich Young Ruler went away sad . . . . Ten lepers were healed by Christ yet only one was thankful . . . Thousands were miraculously fed yet we do not hear of many following afterwards, in fact many walked away, wanting "signs" and miracles over Jesus. When the disciples were frustrated because they could not heal the epileptic boy, (Matthew 17)Jesus reminded them that PRAYER and FASTING is so very important when doing the work of God! In sports, missed opportunities are often mentioned in the post game analysis: -Runners Left on Base -Dropped Passes or -Missed Free Throws. As we analyze a close to another school year, what missed opportunities can we recall and how could we have done better? Was it dealing with a student frustrated over a grade; an athlete downcast because of a poor performance; perhaps a student had a bad morning at home and brought the attitude to school . . . What did we do well? How could we do better? How could we "love more like Christ"? Paul reminds us to be graceful and "seasoned with salt" in our speech and actions. Though salt can at times sting a bit, it adds flavor and preserves. Remember, the love of Christ is not always easily accepted but needed! May I suggest a food reference to help us. . . since we all like to eat! Perhaps we can even put a picture of a nice tasteful pie on our computer of phone . . . P.I.E.????? -Be PRAYERFUL and ask the Lord to make us aware of opportunities to share His love. -BE INTENTIONAL in our planning and observations to "be" Christ to others. It won't always be easy! -Be EXPECTANT that God will supply the opportunity. In closing, I want to thank you all for a great year and for all I have learned from many of you . . . in conversation but also in observation. We have a unique bond here at RBS. Let's cherish that and seize the opportunities that God is providing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A Failed Plan

But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed, I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith, that I may know Him and power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means I may attain the resurrection from the dead. . . I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Vhrost Jesus. (Philippians 3:7-11,12)
Dr. Charles Stanley puts it this way in one of his messages: "Success requires choosing steps that are specific, reasonable, and measurable. For example, if you want to know Christ more intimately, you might commit to spending thirty minutes each day praying and reading His Word. After developing your plan and the steps to accomplish it, put your desire into action. If you don't take the necessary steps, it will simply remain a wish. No one develops intimacy with Christ through good intentions; it takes commitment, diligence, and perseverance." Paul would convey it often: nothing was worth doing if he was not doing it for the Lord! His culture, his family history, his education, his job titles, any of his accomplishments, none of it was worth anything when compared to knowing Jesus intimately. Like any other relationship that is worth anything, our relationship with Jesus requires sacrifice, deliberate planning, and hard choices. No matter our successes, even failures for that matter, if God was not at the center of it all, it is rubbish! As we look back, where was God in our plans? Why were we successful? How was it that we failed? Did we honor God in it all? Where did we fail? What can we do to bring God to the forefront in ALL we do? Failing to plan is planning to fail . . . Planning without having God at the helm is sure failure! Let's be reminded to always ask of God before planning anything! (James 1:5) In every way we must as knowledge Him and allow Him to direct us! (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Monday, June 6, 2016

Renewed Hopes and Plans

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called . . . There is ONE Body and ONE Spirit, just as you were called in ONE hope of your calling, ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism, ONE God and Father of all . . . and be renewed in the Spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. (Ephesians 4:1-6,23-24)
As I ponder another school year and it's ups and downs, I realize that this is not a time to rest, wonder "what if", or even boast over successes. It is a time to seek God's face and new opportunities to serve Him and others. His mercies, His opportunities to join in His work, are indeed new everyday (Lamentations 3:22-23). It is only by His grace and mercy that were not consumed by all the stress, all the mountains we had to climb, and all the valleys we had to endure. Yes, we have new opportunities this day, in the coming weeks, to do some new and different things for the Lord! Consider this day a new beginning. Consider it a fresh start to serve God with hands that are available and a heart that is excited. Let's pray that God grants us a renewed purpose and guidance. Today, yes today, is a wonderful chance to serve God, not simply rest and do nothing! Even a day or week of rest for the Lord can be a day or a week of accomplishment. So as we look back, it is not a time to be idle. As I learned in athletics, never get too high or too low. Stay focused upon the goal. Every day we either get better, or we slip backwards. We must seize EVERY day as an opportunity to join God at work and to perhaps change someone's life in the process. Tomorrow may just be too late! www.tsninthebeginning.blogspot.com

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Together . . .

....pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you. And pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil people, for not everyone has faith. But the Lord is faithful.... (2 Thessalonians 3:1-3)
I have been both encouraged and discouraged by news and actions I have witnessed over the past few weeks. Young men and women whom I have discipled in the past have visited and shared their successes. Current students have graduated from various levels of education. Various news articles and social media posts too have cased a mixed bag of comments. While I have been encouraged by returning young adults who have thanked me and families who have expressed sincere appreciation for what the Lord has allowed me to pass on to their children, I cannot help but be grieved by the number of folks both in and out of the Body of Christ who continue to deny the very facts of Scripture and Christ. Many have fallen through the cracks of culture and bought into the politically correct gospel of this nation and world. Sadly, our nation and our churches are disintegrating right before our eyes and the enemy has blinded many . . . It's not about a culture, a race, a color, a political party, a specific church, my pastor, your pastor: it's about the One who came to set all mankind free . . . real freedom to be free from sin's grip! Free to believe the Truth and to be able to live it without worry about who accepts it or not. Jesus prayed that we all would be one as He and the Father are one (John 17) . . .in spirit, not in organizations, parties, associations, or denominations. So as I begin another summer and plan a mission trip and retreat with another handful of teens, I ask for your prayers that I do not waiver and that the Truth will set at least one more free . . . www.tsninthebeginning.blogspot.com

Friday, June 3, 2016

Ups and Downs of the CHRISTian Walk

Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God.? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain, "The Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously"? But He gives more grace. Therefore He says, "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."(James 4:4-6)
This is a discussion I am sure I will have more than a few hundred times with my teen son and other teens over the next few months and years! Man, I would not want to be young today! So many choices, but even more life-changing choices for the teens who are trying and striving to please the Lord and to understand the difference between the world and the Lord. While I cannot bear to see them fail, they must make their own choices as they grow. Life is about choices and learning from them. We cannot keep our kids in a CHRISTian bubble and expect them to mature and grow. They never will. We must shoot them out as arrows from our quiver.(Psalm 127) We must send them out prepared and allow God to chisel away at them. We must always be there to coach'em up if needed as well. They will not be perfect even as we are not. They will not always succeed. This is the true test of a mature believer, I believe; how well do we bounce back from failure and how well do we handle successes? www.tsninthebeginning.blogspot.com

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thanks for the memories!

I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, because I hear about you love for all His holy people and your faith in the Lord Jesus. I pray that your partnership with us in the faith may be effective in deepening your understanding of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord's people. (Philemon 1:4-7)
Ending a school year is always a bit bittersweet. Both kids and some teachers move on. We have a mixed bag of memories; successes and failures. Yet we can always be thankful for the experience God has allowed and the people we have been able to meet. Parents, students, families, and co-workers have all impacted us in one way or another. Good or bad, all the year's activities have become a part of another year's experience. So to my students, their families, their friends whom I have met by way of conversation or in person, and my fellow educators . . . thank you for the rich memories and the experience I have gained. I hope too that I have been able to be a positive part of your year. I look forward to a summer of rest, relaxation, and re-energizing for yet another year of serving if the Lord allows. I pray He grants you the same. Have great summer! God bless! www.tsninthebeginning.blogspot.com

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Not Every Servant was an Early Success

The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord. All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits. Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established. (Proverbs 16:1-3)
As another school year comes to a close and we celebrate promotions, graduations, and other achievements, be wary! We all see success according to our own criteria. God, however, has a much different criteria than we do! His ways are NOT our ways nor are His thoughts our thoughts and plans. We have to be careful, especially in today's world, not to be caught up in what the world calls "success"! While Dean's List, 4.0 G.P.A., Honor Roll, and "Top of the Class" are all great achievements, we must also recognize the work God is doing in the hearts of our children and in us as well. God works in and through every student and teacher as long as we give Him access. Despite our level of "success", He just might be working out a future pastor, missionary, doctor, even a teacher! We can never sell God short, nor His work within any of His children! Give all the lessons, all the studies, all the planning, all the awards and even all the short-comings to God: allow Him to have the final say! (Romans 8:28) www.tsninthebeginning.blogspot.com

Just so You Know

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear  a Son, and shall call His name  Immanuel. (Is...