Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Monthly Archives: August 2017

I love this photo of me and my man walking the streets/alleyways of Sweden.

I love this photo of me and my man walking the streets/alleyways of Sweden.

Come, let us bow down and worship Him! Let us kneel before the Lord who made us.  He is our God, and we are the people He cares for, His sheep that walk by His side. Listen to His voice today. Psalm 95:6-7 ERV

There is so much solid information in these two verses, yet I want to focus on one preposition…beside.

When I read the word, beside, I thought about how a parent walks beside a child or a husband and wife walking next to one another. To me, this indicates a relationship.

Think about it, if someone is walking in front of or behind you, and you are trying to carry on a conversation, you may find yourself saying, “What did you say?”. Our hearing (at least mine, the older I get) isn’t as keen compared to being beside someone.

There is a poem (the author is supposedly Albert Camus, but that is up for debate according to my source) that goes like this:

Don’t walk behind me, I may not lead.

Don’t walk in front of me, I may not follow.

Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Ladies and Gentlemen, guess what? JESUS IS your FRIEND.

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. John 15:15

Sure, He is in front of…leading and guiding, behind of and above…protecting, but for today, rest in the fact that He is BESIDE you, holding your hand and being your friend. He is the BEST friend you could ever have! Your relationship with Jesus is the most important and valuable bond you could be affiliated with.

Just as the last few words of verse say, Listen to His voice today, grab His hand and walk beside Him and LISTEN to His voice.

Have a beautiful day.

Blessings to you and yours, Stephanie

#jesusismyfriend #walkbesideme #realtionship

give me your heartOver the past several days I have found myself fixated on watching the news report which were keeping America updated with the sights and stories from Hurricane Harvey.

My heart ached for those in Harvey’s path, and still does for all. Yet, I’m also encouraged by what I have been observing too. (Read to the end.)

This led me to ask two questions:

“What breaks your heart?”

“What makes your heart smile?”

The heart is a vital organ in our bodies. When someone has a broken heart, they can have similar symptoms to a true physical heart attack. Seriously! Read Broken Heart Syndrome from The American Heart Association. How we feel, whether our heart aches or smiles, is dynamic to our psyche and bodies too.

In Matthew 6:21 “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” The responses to my questions above were overwhelmingly unanimous in the matters of the heart. It was not things, such as a lovely home, car, or boat that made the list of joys or sorrows. It wasn’t someone’s status in life that made the roster of responses. No sir or ma’am. The treasures mentioned were more valuable than “things”.

Here are examples of what breaks folks heart:

  • Seeing a loved one suffer, or die, from a disease
  • Seeing homeless children
  • Seeing a spouse or your children hurt and not being able to help
  • Watching someone ruin their life due to an addiction
  • Seeing family go through tough times
  • When people reject Jesus, and not accept Him as their personal Savior
  • America turning from God
  • Child and the elderly abuse and neglect
  • Abuse of any kind
  • Human exploitation
  • Discord in families
  • After a spouse’s death, not being able to say, “I love you” to them daily
  • People not putting God first in their lives
  • Bullying
  • Being deprived of love
  • When people value material things over relationships
  • Time going by so fast
  • The judging and criticizing of others
  • Rejection, loneliness, infidelity, lack of being independent
  • Hate and discord
  • Lies
  • Being in a Christian/non-Christian love relationship
  • Loss of a child
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Lack of parent involvement
  • Divorce
  • Not living up to others’ expectations

Whew! Just reading that list makes my heart feel sad.

I often find myself saying to God, “Break my heart for what breaks yours.”

In Matthew West song, “My Own Little World” (video) , a verse says:

I’m going to break my heart for what breaks Yours Give me open hands and open doors Put Your light in my eyes and let me see That my own little world is not about me

The group Hillsong United sings the words “Break my heart for what breaks yours” as well in their song, “Hosanna” (video).

What about you? Does your heart ache for selfish gain or for what breaks God’s heart? According to the responses above, it appears that these folks have a heart for God.

Now, let’s get giddy. Read some responses on what makes folks’ heart smile:

  • When a child, grandchild, any loved one says, “I love you”
  • Holding and seeing great and grandchildren
  • Seeing our children succeed, happy, and enjoying life
  • True altruism, human kindness just for the sake of loving others
  • When someone accepts the Lord as their personal Savior
  • Going to church and spending time with family and friends
  • God allowing me to wake up each day and start fresh
  • My children
  • The Shuffs (this made me laugh and happy), spouse, and a two-foot birdie putt
  • Hearing parents laugh
  • Playing with grandchildren
  • Giving back
  • Hearing children and/or the elderly laugh and play
  • Adopting animals
  • Seeing a spouse peacefully sleep
  • Hugs
  • Puppies
  • Sunsets
  • Peace, love, and happiness
  • Nature
  • Children’s funniness
  • Kindness in others
  • Holding an elderly parent’s hand
  • Old hymns

Sweet Jesus! All those make me smile, well…I don’t have grandbabies yet, but one day not too soon, I can’t wait, but I can wait. You get it.

Again, the answers to the question had nothing to do with material “things”.

TEXANS, I want to commend you! THANK YOU for being an example to our nation proving that coming together, no matter the race, political party or religious affiliation, social or financial status, can be done. Well done! Keep it up. You give us hope and encouragement. I pray that we can do the same for y’all.

Yes, these will be tremendously difficult days, months, and years ahead. But if we can all do our part, much like those we’ve observed volunteering the victims of Harvey, and set aside all differences (!!!), there will be much growth and glory through it all and in the end.

Yes, there will be glory at the end of this season of life, whatever season you may be in the midst of right now, when you hold on to hope and fix your eyes on Jesus.

“My son, give Me your heart and let your eyes delight in My ways,” Proverbs 23:26

Whether you have heartache or a heart full of joy, give it to God and allow His ways to consume you. No, His ways are not our ways, and we don’t often understand why events in life happen when they do, but…one thing I do know is that…His ways are best. Keep your eyes on Jesus.

“through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:2-5

I pray that you will have a heart like God’s. I pray for our country to turn to Jesus. May we strive to do what is best for others, and agree that we don’t agree on many levels, yet desire what is best according to God’s plan. I pray for all those who are being affected by Hurricane Harvey…the victims, volunteers, rescuers, etc..

Blessings to you and yours.

With a heart full of love, Stephanie

#hurricaneharvey #whatbreaksyourheart #whatmakesyourheartsmile #struggles #texaslove #heart

 

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“Pray in the Spirit at all times. Pray with all kinds of prayers, and ask for everything you need. To do this you must always be ready. Never give up. Always pray for all of God’s people.”  Ephesians 6:18

“First of all, I ask that you pray for all people. Ask God to bless them and give them what they need. And give thanks.”  1 Timothy 2:1

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for praying for ALL those in the path of Harvey.

#prayingfortexas

Sit.  Pray.  Be still.  Or simply go about your day...just PRAY.  Chat it up with God.

Sit. Pray. Be still. Or simply go about your day…just PRAY. Chat it up with God.

Prayer is a HUGE part of my life.

This past week I’ve been lacking on journaling, but busy about praying. While “busying” myself with chores or going about my daily life, God and I chat.

Pulling weeds. Driving down the road. Washing dishes. Singing. Being observant with others. Being STILL…God and I chat.

Thanking Him. Praising God. Crying out to Him for specific needs. Lifting others up to the Lord. You name it, God and I chat.

This morning, I sat in my comfy chair, picked up my bible, and I already had it opened to James 5. I specifically read James 5:13-18. While reading those verses, the names on my prayer wall came to mind.

Many names are people whom, when I asked the question “What are you struggling with?” on Facebook, back in April, they responded. Overwhelmingly responded! I have prayed for and thought of these folks often. They’re on my wall! When I recently message each one to let them know I still am praying for them and just checking up on how their struggles are going, or hopefully ceasing, it was refreshing to hear that some have been resolved, some are now on meds, some are still in the process yet great relief comes each day, and for one the struggle has gotten stronger and more debilitating. (Friend, I’m going to believe that when that occurs, and you are fervently seeking God daily, He has big plans for you. Remind Satan, “Not today.”, and keep your eyes on Jesus. He’s got you!)

Lately the prayers for my children have become more specific in certain areas too. I can’t wait to witness God’s power move in their hearts and lives.

I want you to know that when your name pops into my mind, God and I chat.

If you ask me to pray, God and I chat, and right then so I won’t forget.

When you tell me your heartache and/or your successes, God and I chat.

Now, let’s glance at those verses from James 5:13-18:

Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.

16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.

Here are some things I circled and underlined in my bible:

  • Suffering hardships…pray
  • Happy…praise
  • Sick…pray (even if God’s healing is not on this earth, yet complete healing with Him)
  • Committed any sins…confess…pray…forgiven
  • “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has a great power and produces wonderful results.”
  • Pray earnestly
  • Pray again

Notice that in these verse, you don’t have to go it alone. Share your heartache and joys with others. Include them in your prayer and praise time.

I guess my point is for today…pray! Chat it up with God.

My prayer is for you to be chatting it up with God throughout your day. See God work. Be earnest in your prayer life. Pray is a powerful and will produce wonderful results.

Oh yea, how can I pray for you today? God and I can chat about you.

Blessings to you and yours.

Love, Stephanie

 

 

 

boat 2I heard a thundering boom. When I leaped from the truck and overheard a friend say, “Where’s Tim?”, my heart leaped out of my chest. As I ran to the edge of the dock, getting ready to jump in and search for my man, Tim came out of the water, from about ten feet from the back of the boat, and must have heard and seen the panic in me. He calmly said, “Here I am. I’m okay.”

You see, the tide was extremely low when we returned from boating with friends. Everyone grabbed their belongings and helped clean the boat. Four friends went ahead and departed for the house, I sat in the backseat of the truck because we were to the normal part of simply raising the boat on the lift and leaving, and three remaining friends were standing by the dock waiting for Tim. Since the tide was tremendously low, Tim decided to pull it up as far as it could go into our slip, and raise it a little until he would return in a couple of hours once the tide began to rise. Tim was in the back of the boat removing the plug, when the back weight of the boat gave way and almost capsized backwards. The motor was submerged for about ten minutes, while the three men pushed/pulled/untangled the boatlift.

My hands were trembling for a while, heart pounding, breaths were deep, and tears followed once alone. I was so proud of my man’s reaction. That could have been a moment of tempers flying and word choices not so pleasing, yet Tim remained calm and focused. Yea, he was frustrated, but his reaction was stellar. He was grateful no one was hurt.

Those three men displayed great teamwork and encouraging camaraderie under pressure. Two neighbors and two of our friends who had already left returned to help. Supportive friends are much appreciated.

Reflecting on the boating incident, one of my favorite scriptures come to mind:

“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” Romans 5:3-5

Okay, when comparing strife in life, in our minds, there is just really no comparing. Yet, no matter the degree of difficulty one encounters, God cares. He also desires the same outcome…development of endurance, character, and confident hope.

I pray that you will choose to react in a way that sets you apart from others. Set apart in a way that is pleasing to God. Be a testimony for Him.

Blessings to you and yours.  Love, Stephanie

boat 1

Total Overcast Eclipse

Total Overcast Eclipse

The newscasters were giving a plethora of information to all regarding how to prepare for viewing and reminding us to NOT look at the sun.

Social media was buzzing with articles, videos, and excitement.

Schools were either closing, not opening, or excusing students from this day.

Individuals, groups of friends, and families were traveling far distances to catch a glimpse.

What was all the anticipation about? The 2017 Total Solar Eclipse.

I wasn’t on the ball to purchase special viewing glasses, so the day of this event three cereal boxes were vacated to create the homemade viewing box.

Once school was out, Tim and Cole came home to partake in this historical event for The United States.

After Cole snickered at my homemade viewing box, we would listen to the NASA television station and observe any shading changes surrounding us. For approximately fifty minutes we would peer into the Eclipse Cereal Box Viewing Apparatus and TRY to see any variations in the sun and moon.

Well, wouldn’t you know that the exact time that our location was to have 80+% partial eclipse, Florida rain clouds decided to give us more of an eclipse than we were awaiting. It was more like total overcast.

For our household, it was an uneventful historical event. According to many family and friends’ photos on social media, their eclipse experience was fabulous! Some witnessed the total eclipse, and others captured the moment by taking pictures of leaves which displayed little crescent sun reflections everywhere. So cool!

Throughout the days leading up to the eclipse, I found myself wondering…“Isn’t it interesting how everyone is excited and preparing for this event. I wish we were this enthusiastic and anticipatory for The Second Coming.”

Could you imagine?

The broadcasters (fake and all) giving a plethora of information as to how to prepare for The Day, and encouraging us to ALWAYS look to The Son.

Social media buzzing with excitement for The Second Coming.

Schools closing due to many faculty, staff, and students who won’t be in attendance because they will be promoted to the wisest place ever.

Individuals, groups of friends, and families eager to catch a glimpse of Jesus’ return, and join Him in the sky.

Oh, what a GLORIOUS day!

The thing is…we don’t know when this day will occur. It could be today, next week, five more years, or even before you finish reading this journal entry.

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. Matthew 24:44

He is coming again. Do you realize that every promise and prophesy from God in the bible has been, or is being fulfilled? It was foretold that a king is coming to save the world, and He did. It was also said that that same king, Jesus, would die for the sins of the world and will rise again. He did that too. We are promised that Christ will come again to bring salvation to all. Get ready!

“so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” Hebrew 9:28

Are you eagerly waiting? Maybe you think you must get your life right before you can give your life to God. Nope. Only He can make your life right. Give it to Him now. He is waiting for you. Maybe you have received salvation from the Lord, but you aren’t living for Him with your whole heart because you think “the world” is too much fun. Remember, God doesn’t like us to be lukewarm. Live for God with all your heart. Love Him with all your being. When you do this, you will notice a difference in your life. A wonderful transformation. Maybe you are eagerly waiting because you know the hope we have of a perfect life with Christ. Praise Jesus! Now, don’t just wait, but share His love with others through words, deeds, and/or actions.

“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:1-3

When This Day comes, you won’t have to purchase any special glasses or make any homemade viewing device. You can look up to the heavens with joy.

“Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven.  And everyone will see Him, even those who pierced Him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for Him. Yes! Amen!” Revelation 1:7

Friend, this Total Solar Eclipse event that took place today was exciting to see on television. And, yes, I even got goosies while some television guests were enthusiastically experiencing and explaining the totality of it all. Yet, the true day of darkening will be beyond exciting. Oh what a glorious day!

“The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” Matthew 24:29 (This is Jesus telling about His Return.)

Whether your Total Eclipse Day was eventful or not, prepare yourself for the amazing darkening day which will bring forth a Great Light. And on that day, PLEASE LOOK AT THE SON!

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie

Here, at one of the Five Lakes in Jasper, Alberta, I was one-of-those who enjoyed soaking up some of God's glorious creation.

Here, at one of the Five Lakes in Jasper, Alberta, I was one-of-those who enjoyed soaking up some of God’s glorious creation.

This summer I had a conversation with an intelligent and wonderful woman. She is a retiring from the professional world, and about to enter the life of retirement. During our conversation, she mentioned to me about a letter I should have received in the mail. I stated that I never saw an envelope for me, and if it was from my husband’s company (which it was), I usually leave those envelopes for Tim to open. He’s the financial advisor and I’d rather him open an envelope regarding things of that matter.

She defensively/offendedly/however said, “You’re not one-of-those are you?”

At first, I wasn’t sure how to react, but I truly didn’t let it bother me. Yet…it did get me thinking:

Am I one-of-those who:

  • Shares a bank account with my spouse? Yes. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with those married folks who have separate accounts. From what I hear, some of my friends prefer their own account.
  • Has a man who takes on the role of paying the bills for the family? You bet. I could, and I used to when we were first married, but Tim enjoys (well…not enjoys…who enjoys paying bills) his position of the bill-payer.
  • Has the family meal prepared each night when all arrive home? No way! LOL! I’m grateful that my man enjoys cooking. We cook a lot together. Some nights are like tonight…Pizza Night.
  • Like my late mother-in-law was taught in school…looks fresh, makeup on, and hair presentable for my man when he walks in the door from work? You’ve got to be kidding me! This is my first year in a while not working. I took a leave this year. When working, we would often arrive home at the same time or I was just shy of beating him home. Now, with moving a kid to an apartment in college, running around like a taxi driver for our youngest (for about 5 more months…WooHoo!!!), pulling weeds, refurbishing furniture, all household chores, etc., he’s lucky if I wiped my face and put on deodorant. (Okay, I do at least do that.)

Now these are “feminine” related, as I understood her question to be. And we could go on and on with this list. Although, I’d like to focus on another list…

Am I one-of-those who:

  • Spends time with Jesus each day? Absolutely! Before I seek the face I man, I seek the face of The Man. Not only do Jesus and I spend time in the morning together, but throughout the day. I need him! “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matthew 6:33
  • Prays for my children and family each day? Sometimes I think it’s with every other breath. Raising children, no matter the age or the stage, has challenges. Prayer works and calms me. God’s got them! “Never stop praying.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17
  • Hurts when others are hurting, and celebrates others’ successes? Amen. We all need to learn to be empathetic. Wishing ill on someone, or being envious of someone else’s success is often in our human nature. Friend, take it from me, you will be so much happier and at peace when you are just kind to/happy for/empathetic with others. “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” Romans 12:15
  • Is OVER our country bickering, belittling, and being down right mean to each other, all because someone doesn’t agree with our opinion? OMGoodness yes! Talk about hurting for others…my heart aches for our country. Listen, we will not all agree with one another. We are all different (Praise the Lord). R-E-S-P-E-C-T one another. Like the old saying goes, “Hate the sin, love the sinner.” We are all sinners. Praise God I’m saved by His grace. This world needs Jesus. (Can you agree with me on that?) We all need to pray, stand strong for our Christian values and principles, without hurting (or killing) one another. “Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14

Again, this list could go on and on.

I guess my point is, it doesn’t matter to me if people think I’m-on-of-those according to worldly standards. Yes, I am a strong, independent, and an intelligent woman, but I am also weak and need my Jesus’ strength each day, dependent on His daily word, and am still learning more about my Savior and His desires for me each day.

Are you one-of-those…a child of God? I hope so. Having Christ in me/you makes the world of difference.

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie.

 

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This morning I knew exactly what I wanted to write about today. Then, God confirmed it as the preacher (Pastor Brian Stowe) practically took the words right out of my mouth. I guess it was God’s way of confirming the thought.

When we were recently vacationing in Canada we decided to waive the chaotic crowds of touring the glaciers (which I hear were amazing!), and decided to take a more private tour via helicopter. The decision was the right one for us. Private, amazing view of God’s creation, landed on a little island in a river, ate by the riverside, drank from the cool water streaming down from the small waterfall, and partook in a small hike. Are you ready to go? Put it on your bucket list.

My camera was clicking away around every turn (bumpiness and all). Within a fifteen-minute time span, I had taken over 150 photos from the sky.DSCN5133

While flying, and being amazed at the views close to you, you can get so enthralled with what is directly in front of you. The pilot said, “Don’t forget to look up and enjoy the scenery off in the distance too. Most people forget about looking up and only see what is in front of them.”

My eyes glanced in the distance. The scenery took my breath away. A smile came across my face in in my heart as I was captivated by not only the landscape, yet the words from the pilot.

How often do we do the same in our everyday lives? We usually get caught up in the busyness of the day or task at hand or problem or ________ and overlook the fact that we need to change our perspective and simply breathe in and look up to God for awe inspiringness. (I think I created a new word here).

I lift up my eyes to the mountains; where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I lift my eyes to you, O God, enthroned in heaven. Psalm 123:1

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.  Philippians 3:14

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Look up. Get a godly perspective. Don’t miss out on the glory He has for you.

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie.

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Hahaha.  Here is me and one of my dearest friends dressed in cheer uniforms for a pep rally.  The teachers performed. (THAT was hilarious!)  Kerri is no only a dear and longtime friend, but a wonderful teacher whom the students love.  I just thought y'all would get a kick out of us teachers "cheering you on".

Hahaha. Here is me and one of my dearest friends dressed in cheer uniforms for a pep rally. The teachers performed. (THAT was hilarious!) Kerri is no only a dear and longtime friend, but a wonderful teacher whom the students love. I just thought y’all would get a kick out of us teachers “cheering you on”.

It’s that time of year…FOOTBALL!! Okay, well, really…school.

School is not as exhilarating for some as sports, but it is an important process in life.

Being a teacher, even though I’m on leave this year (BIG SMILE and clapping here), I always take time to reflect on the previous year, unit, day, lesson, etc. as well as prepare my mind for the days ahead.

The past couple of days, during my quiet time, when I would read the scripture, those verses appeared very applicable to “this time of year”.

Work with me here:

I enjoy following your rules as much as others enjoy great riches.  I will study your instructions. I will give thought to your way of life.  I enjoy your laws.  I will not forget your word. Psalm 119:14-16

Following the rules. Study. Instruction. Thought. Not forget. All words or phrases that can and should easily roll off one’s tongue the first few days of school. Yet, do those lovely, eager-eyed students always remember their willingness to please and do well throughout the year? (Some teachers too, for that matter.) Hmmmm…for many…doubtful.

Following the rules: Now, my classes weren’t always perfect, but some came pretty close. Those other classes (few and far between)…I think I’d win the Academy Award for dramatics. One thing my students knew that was a requirement for our classroom was respect. When I’d show respect, even to those who I would have to take a deep breath before doing so, the students would often follow suit. Respect for self, others, property, and their work would make for a more organized and enjoyable classroom. Students, follow the rules. They are there to guide you and make you a better student, and in turn a respectful person. Teachers, don’t slack on those rules. Be firm, loving, and hold students (and yourself) accountable. You should lead by example too. So, don’t set unrealistic rules and guidelines for your students. You were in their shoes once.

Study: Ugh… “Do I have to?” Yes!!! Each year I share with my students, and own children, a story/advice which my step-dad mentioned. Long story short: He would share about a friend he had when he was in school. This friend was involved in clubs and athletics, had an after-school job, and made excellent grades. When asked how he maintained his high GPA, the friend would state how even when he didn’t have homework in a certain subject, he would take at least 15 minutes each night to look ahead and study for what is to come. This helped the friend stay disciplined, prepared, and earn the grades that he desired. Point is…Students, STUDY even when you have “no homework”. Always challenge yourself to do your best and know all you need to know. When you struggle, ask for help. Teachers, peers, tutors are willing. Heck, You Tube it nowadays. I even do as a teacher. There’s often more than one way to get an answer, so do what is best for you. Think smarter, not harder. Stay ahead of the game. You never have “no homework”…create it and study.

Instruction: Teachers, especially those who teach the same subject upteen times a day, or those who teach the same grade/skill/lesson year after year, remember that even though the lesson isn’t new to you, it is to the group of students you are presenting to. Keep it fresh. I often say teachers are under-paid actors. Act like it is the best lesson ever and keep it interesting for your audience. Also, remember that we all learn differently. Accommodate when needed. Yes, it is tiring, but these students deserve your best. They are our future, as scary or encouraging they appear. Be the greatest encourager for them through your instruction. Students, LISTEN. Listen, take notes, ASK QUESTIONS, practice, and apply the instruction you are given. I’m sure some may say, “My teacher doesn’t really teach us, and I have to learn on my own.” Well, first of all, shame on that teacher. Secondly, do what you must do to become the most educated you can.

Thought. Not forget: Ponder each day on what you learned. Take the time to reflect, even on the mundane things. Those mundane things will become foundations for something great. Students, if you do this it will make for easier studying. When you cram in the knowledge just for a test, you will most likely forget later what you learned. So, allow me to encourage you as a teacher and a forever student of life, ponder…soak in your knowledge…don’t wait until the last minute…remember what your teacher/You Tuber/tutor/peers teach you. Read James 1:22-25 below:

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. Hearing God’s teaching and doing nothing is like looking at your face in the mirror and doing nothing about what you saw. You go away and immediately forget how bad you looked.  But when you look into God’s perfect law that sets people free, pay attention to it. If you do what it says, you will have God’s blessing. Never just listen to his teaching and forget what you heard.

So, please don’t forget. Do it. Pay attention. Apply.

Now, to ALL of us (students of life), God’s word is clear. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Be equipped. Do good. Read the bible (Life’s Instruction Book) and allow it to teach, rebuke (ouch, yes), correct, and train you in the right way to live.

I pray for a successful school year, and a thirst for a life of learning.

Enjoy soaking up The Son wherever you are.

Love, Stephanie

 

Hmmm...is this Canada of Plant City, Florida? LOL

Hmmm…is this Canada of Plant City, Florida? LOL

While vacationing in Canada the air was refreshing. It wasn’t so obvious until we arrived back home in Florida.

When we gathered our luggage, and exited the airport, we had to inhale deeply. The humidity dangling in the Tampa atmosphere and the excessive heat (even at 11:30 at night), was causing the air to feel weighted and making it difficult to catch our breath.

Holly commented, “The air is sooo heavy! How do non-Floridians come down here and enjoy breathing?”

That got me thinking; I compared the analogy of Holly’s comment to “When people are burdened in life, how do they make it without Jesus?”

Burdens are heavy loads that we have the choice to hang on to and allow its solidity to weigh us down, and eventually tormenting us, or we can lay it at the feet of Jesus and rely on Him to lighten our load.

Yes, people do choose to conceal their problems with alcohol, drugs, becoming a bully or the opposite and being totally submissive to someone or something that isn’t beneficial for them or even become withdrawn. Their solution to denying or delaying or (in their mind) conquering life’s quandaries will not bring glory to God or complete peace in the end.

There’s only One who can bring complete peace and comfort in the midst of trials, and His name is Jesus.

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

Burdens are bound to occur in life. When they do, Jesus desires for us to go to Him and He will give us rest.

Notice in the verses above that our difficult situation may not dissipate completely, but when we call upon the name of The Lord, He will lessen our season in life as we learn from Him in and through the process.

Give your burdens to the Lord, and He will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall. Psalm 55:22

When you do choose to cry out The Savior, give Him your problems.   He’s got the problem and you. You may feel wobbly and weak, but He will not let you fall.

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

He warned us, but He didn’t leave us empty-handed. God has given us so many instructions in His word as to how to handle life’s problems. Turn those pages in the bible, or click away on your bible app, and find peace and comfort in His word. Remember…He has already defeated this world, so be an overcomer with Him.

So…when you breathe a deep breath, inhale God’s radiance and peace. Feel the heaviness of the world dispelling from you.

Blessings to you and yours. Love, Stephanie

Addendum:

Before I hit the “publish” button on my computer, my handy-man came in to say good-bye. We sat down, as I was writing him a check, and he proceeded to tell me about his girlfriend of twelve years and what happened to her. He said, “I guess you heard about my girlfriend.” I shook my head and told him that I hadn’t. He informed me that she hung herself last Thursday.

My heart sank. Talk about choosing to solve your problems on your own.

I was able to give testimony about a suicide that occurred in my family and how we totally leaned on Christ through it all, and still do today. It is not a conversation that we discuss often with others, yet God does give us opportunities to be a witness for Him through our struggles.

Jackson allowed me to hold his hand and say a prayer for him.

Wow! The timing of our conversation, as I’m writing about the heaviness in life.

Will you please pray for my friend, Jackson, and the days, months, and years to come for him. Pray for all who suffer with thoughts of suicide and the family members and friends who are affected by it.  I have tears streaming down my face now, as I am typing this.  Ugh…the heaviness.  Lord, I need you!

Thank you.