Daily Walking with God

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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Devotions

God teaches me many life lessons in every day situations. When He puts something on my heart, I’ll create a devotion about it. Enjoy.

This thing is powerful!  It changes things.  Anyone can do it.  You often do it when you’re thankful, heavily burdened, worried, grateful, and even when you don’t know how to feel.  Some do this in a crowd or completely alone.  Your eyes can be open or closed. You can be standing, sitting, or lying down.  What is this that needs to be such a dominant part of your life?  PRAYER!

Today is National Day of Prayer.

I couldn’t help but wake up this morning singing Jaci Velasquez’s song; “On My Knees”.  (Click to see the official video.  The lyrics are at the bottom.)

Before my feet hit the floor, I had a chat with God.  (That’s prayer.)  When I came into my family room, I did just what the song was about and got on my knees and continued praying.

My heart was full of thankfulness and an overabundance of requests to be made before God.

When I went to read Ephesians 6:18 on prayer, in my normal four translations (NIV, ERV, NLT, and MSG), I loved how The Message translation simply said it in verses 13-18:

  • “Be prepared. You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it’s all over but the shouting you’ll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You’ll need them throughout your life. God’s Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.

I pray for you that you will cry out to Jesus throughout your day.  Tell Him your joys and sorrows, your needs and desires.  But don’t just chat it up with Him, LISTEN. Be still and wait for God to speak to you.  He just may be speaking through you as well if you will allow Him to work in and through your life.

Proverbs 2:6-10 says, The Lord is the source of wisdom; knowledge and understanding come from His mouth. He gives good advice to honest people and shields those who do what is right.He makes sure that people are treated fairly. He watches over his loyal followers. If you listen to Him, you will understand what is just and fair and how to do what is right. 10 You will gain wisdom, and knowledge will bring you joy.”

Don’t just pray…LISTEN dear brothers and sisters.  Listen.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Here are some quotes about prayer:

  • “Prayer is a shield to the soul, a sacrifice to God, and a scourge for Satan. John Bunyan
  • “The fewer the words the better prayer. Martin Luther
  • “Our prayer and God’s mercy are like two buckets in a well; while one ascends, the other descends.” Arthur Hopkins
  • “Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue. Gods voice in response to mine is its most essential part.” Andrew Murray
  • “Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees” Corrie Ten Boom

 

There are days when I feel the best of me is ready to begin
Then they’re days when I feel I’m letting go and soaring on the wind
Cause I’ve learned in laughter or in pain how to survive

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don’t know how but there’s power when I’m on my knees

I can be in a crowd or by myself or almost anywhere
When I feel there’s a need to talk with God, he is Emmanuel
When I close my eyes, no darkness there
There’s only light

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don’t know how but there’s power in the blue skies, in the midnight
When I’m on my knees

I get on my knees, I get on my knees
There I am before the love that changes me
See I don’t know how but there’s power when I’m on my
Oh, When I’m on my
When I’m on my knees

Run, run, run.

Sometimes running seems to be all we are doing in life.  Just don’t run yourself ragged.  But…we do sometimes.  Don’t we? 

Who do you run to?

Why do you run?

They run to do something evil.” (verse 16)  Proverbs 1:8-19  In these verses in Proverbs, it is an “Exhortations to Embrace Wisdom” and a “Warning Against the Invitation of Sinful Men”.  There are many of folks out there in the world that thrive on doing wrong.  They will try to entice you to run right along with them in the wrong direction.  “Do what is good and run from evil so that you may live!” Amos 5:14-15 Run! Flee!  Run to Jesus!

“I’ll run the course you lay out for me” (verse 32) Psalm 119:25-32. The author of Psalm 119 knows all too well the trials we go through in life.  But he also knows Who we need to turn to when those troubles and trials come our way.God’s got a plan for your life and mine.  He has laid out the perfect path for us to follow, and has even provided an instruction book (the bible) to guide us.    

Stop running yourself ragged and open The Instruction Book, pray, read, and listen. 

“Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’” Matthew 11:28.  All that running, and often aimlessly, can and will get tiring and intense. Run to Jesus, and run with a purpose. 1 Corinthians 9:26

“And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”.Hebrews 12:1-2  So how are we supposed to run?  Not with evil, not aimlessly, but with great endurance and focused on The Champion, God our Heavenly Father.

So go ahead and run, run, run…just run to Jesus!

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Snap*Crackle*Pop!  That was NOT my breakfast this morning.  It was my body. 

Last week, I was looking forward to finishing my five-week Alpha, T-25 workout and recording my last devotional about working out the body and spirit.  When I woke up last Friday morning, my head and sinuses kept me in bed and made me rest a while longer. So…Week 5 Day 5 was put on hold.

Fast forward to last night…I went to bed ready to arise at 5:30 in the morning so I could finish what I had started.  The alarm went off, my morning get-ready-routine-for-my-workout began, and then that’s when it happened.  No, I didn’t break any bones or injure any part of my body, but something else was broken…it was the DVD player.  As I sit here and type, I can still see the words being displayed, “CD/DVD, reading…”

Well, being one that enjoys making lemonade out of lemons, I said, “Well, God, my prayer list is long and my body needs stretching, so no worries.”  As I turned, twisted, and extended myself for the normal twenty-five minutes of working out, I prayed the entire time.

When the time was up, my prayers were still going. 

My body felt release and healthier, and my mind was fixed on what it should be on…God and others.

So tomorrow is a new day for finishing the exercise routine.  I have faith that my man can fix the DVD.  But in the meantime, today has started out stronger than expected.  I have faith that The Man will answer my prayers.

Starting your day in prayer and meditating on God is the BEST way you can start your day.   I pray that you will seek the face of God before you seek the face of man.  Psalm 27:8 says, My heart says of you, ‘Seek His face!’  Your face, Lord, I will seek.” (Oh, go ahead and read all of Psalm 27.  You won’t regret it!)

1 Thessalonians 5:17,Pray without ceasing.” (Don’t stop praying!)

Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Pray, meditate, and put a smile of not only God’s face but your own.)

Mark 1:35,Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (We are supposed to want to do and be more like Christ, so just do it!  He got up and prayed early each day, so should we.)

Colossians 1:9-12, For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience,12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.” (I just loved this when I was reading the scripture this morning.  This is my prayer today for you!)

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

“Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

God sometimes makes us still so that we can breathe, reflect, and observe His majesty.

The weekend was extended a day and a great day was being celebrated.  Good Friday and Easter were here!  A few days before this great occasion, I was ready to get much done and up for anything. 

Well, things changed.  I’ve been quiet and still for the past few days.  Yep, the cold/allergy/crud/achy season spent some time in our home. So instead of hustling around with all the plans that “I” had in my mind for the long weekend, I was taking it easy. 

The reflection time all started last Thursday when I had to take my youngest to the ER.  He had informed me the day before that his heart had been feeling tight for about a week.  I never knew!  He was playing around like normal, so when he told me I was concerned but not going crazy.  On Thursday he mentioned it again so I called the doctor and they told me to take him to the ER right away.  Well, that time in the hospital made me stop and reflect.

I reflected on the heart.  Not just the physical heart, but the spiritual heart.

  • Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7~Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”  During our ER visit, I prayed, thanked God, felt His peace, and knew He was protecting our hearts.
  • Psalm 51:10, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. ~Renew a loyal spirit within me.”  Our hearts can get tainted.  We must keep our focus on God, be loyal to His word, and ask Him daily to purify our hearts and minds.

While being “still” I loved observing how my children interacted with others.  I was a proud momma when I saw my children giving godly advice to others (My cup runneth over!), enjoying a simple game of “hide-n-seek” at even a “big-kid” age, and simply staying out of drama.

  • Proverbs 1:8, “Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” Sometimes I (we, parents) often wonder, “Are our children really ‘getting it’?”  Oh, how they are.  Little (and big) eyes are always watching how we act and react to various situations.  When you see them reiterating the same advice you’ve given to them to their friends, ahhh how refreshing it is.

Finally, over the past few days of not feeling well, I am quickly reminded that what I have “is just a cold”.  My heart is heavy with much prayer for family and friends.  Cancer, stroke, severe diabetes, failing organs, etc. These are a few of the symptoms/diseases that my dear loved ones are dealing with right now to the extreme.  It’s not “just a cold” for them.  So my cold was quickly put in perspective and my actions were turned to being on my knees in unceasing prayer.  I was praying not only for the sick, but for their family and loved ones who are caring for them.

God is The Great Physician. My God can heal diseases (Psalm 103:3), restore you to good health (Jeremiah 30:17), and has great compassion (Matthew 14:14).  Yes, He can heal.   May His will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

So, my wimpy illness may have slowed me down, but God helped me to see things and others in a pleasant light, and has brought me to my knees in thanksgiving, humility, and urgency for others.

Be still, and know that I am God;” Psalms 46:10

Please join me in prayer for:

  • Aunt Joyce (My mom’s only living sibling…had a mini-stroke plus other health issues.)
  • Doug (A lifelong friend, and the one who got me and my husband together back in 1985…on breathing tubes and dialysis.)
  • My cousin Brenda (needing a new kidney and liver)
  • My sister-in-law’s mom, Jean (brain cancer)
  • Another dear lifelong friend’s brother, Keith. (severe burns to his body, escaped his home that was burned down)

Be still and pray!

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

 

Good thing I got a pedicure last night. :)

Something I heard last night has been ringing in my head still this morning.  “This will be the best 25 minutes of your day.” This is what the exercise instructor said at the beginning of the workout.  I immediately thought, “Yea, it could be, but there is so much more to make it ‘the best’.” 

Having all my family together in one room…the best!

Snuggling with my man…the best!

Actually cooking a creative meal with family while listening to music…the best! (Oh, how I wish I had more of these moments.)

Watching the sunrise or sunset over the horizon…the best!

Teaching children in school and at church and seeing them have an “Ah-ha” moment…the best!

This list could continue.  But what is really at the top of my list is my prayer time and getting into God’s word seeking His desire for my life…the best!

Now, if you want to combine all those “bests” together and have me sharing God’s love with others at sunset, on the beach, with a great meal we prepared together, and then end it with a snuggle time from my man…then that’s just fine with me.

God led me to Romans 10:17 this morning.  I love how when I read one verse, and then another translation expands one verse to others so you catch the meaning of the verse intended a little better.   That’s what happened when I was reading verse 17, and then The Message translation extended it from verse 14 to verse 17. 

It reads like this in The New Living Translation:

  • Romans 10:14-17, “But how can they call on Him to save them unless they believe in Him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about Him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”16 But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?”17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.”

Here I was seeking a verse that focused on spending time with God, and I was surrounded by so much more. 

Hearing God speak is what I enjoy while spending time with Him.  But, when we hear the Good News about Christ, we need to make sure that we just don’t soak it into our marrow and let it just resonate within us, but let it overflow from us and share that Good News with others. 

We are to be the “beautiful feet” and share God’s love and goodness with others.

This week would be a perfect time for you to do that.  This coming Sunday is (in my opinion) the greatest holiday for Christians.  This Sunday we will celebrate our risen Savior.  He’s alive!  Why not invite someone to church this Sunday?  They just may be waiting on one simple invite.  That invitation can come from you.

Go be the beautiful feet.

I pray that you will spend at least 25 minutes of your God-given twenty-four hour day with our Creator.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

I’m glad we are not like my thumb-drive…“a lost cause”.

A few weeks back one of my students walked by my classroom computer and accidentally bumped into my thumb-drive while going back to his seat.  When he did, it bent the chip inside.  (He has no clue he did it.  I never told him.)

I took it to my tech people at school, and they recommended that I take it to a computer store because they didn’t want to damage it more.  I finally went today!  I walked into one store and the gentleman tried to read it, but no luck.  So I went to another computer store, and they too were unable to save my year’s worth of lesson plans, some devotionals, and some old photos from my other computer. 

I said to the two owners, “So, you’re telling me it’s a lost cause?”  Their reply, “Yes, so sorry.”

Remember in Luke 15:3-7  the story of the lost sheep?

  • “So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”

Did you read that last verse?  There is much joy and a celebration when the lost one is found. Glory!

Many folks think that they’ve done so many wrong things that God won’t want them.  Or they have it in their head that they’ve got to “do better” before they turn their life over to Christ.  Are you kidding me?  We cannot do this on our own.  A changed life is a God thing.  He wants all of us to be with Him in paradise.

Luke 19:10  says, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”  Yes He did! 

So I’m here to inform you that you are NOT a lost cause!  No “so sorry” here.  Just much rejoicing when you’re found.

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

No foolin’…we’re NOT God.

Lately I’ve been praying about a situation, an endeavor, and I felt that God was leading me in a specific direction.  After doing a little research, I had a conflict with a lifestyle that someone had.  God is against this lifestyle, so I thought for sure the door had been shut on the venture.

Then, yesterday, as I was still praying and thinking about it, I verbalized to God that “I” don’t think that “I” could go forward in this idea.  The word of God would be spread, but “I” wasn’t comfortable with the conflict at hand.

As soon as I said those words to God, it was as if He was whispering in my little mind, “You may not be able to handle it, Stephanie, but I can.”

Yowzer!  Yep, You are right, God! 

Who am I to underestimate what can be done?  I’m just a tool in The Master’s hand.

Ephesians 3:20 reads, “Now all glory to God, who is able, through His mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”

God, use me how You will.

I pray that you will, as myself, remember that “we” may not be able to do it all (ummmm, not at all!), but God can do anything through us.  To God be the all the glory!

I pray God’s abundant love and blessings for y’all.

Perspective.  That word seems to be reoccurring in my thoughts and speech for the past week.  I’ve come to the conclusion (before I even journal any of my thoughts) that God is reminding me to put my “God Goggles” on and try to see things the way He does.

Follow me as I look back over the past week:

Last Wednesday I had a “come to Jesus” meeting with one of my class periods.  I displayed their class average along with the district and my other classes.  They discovered that they were the only class who scored below district on a specific assessment.  The majority of the year I’ve tried to rack my brain around what to do with this class.  I know their potential and have confidence in them.  We brainstormed reasons why their scores are usually lower than the other class periods.  All reasons were valid. Our perspective changed on how we need to focus in the classroom.  We now (or at least trying) are entering the classroom, late in the day, with an attitude of “Let’s finish strong!” (Some of you educators may disagree with what we did, but I must say…one week later and I can tell a difference in their attitude and focus. Yipee!)

Last Friday, two of my dear friends took me to lunch and shopping for my birthday at this place called The Barn.  This is the same place that my late mother-in-law and her group of friends used to go quite often to celebrate birthdays as well.  I could have walked around thinking, with a somber expression, “Ah, Jany would have loved to have been here.” But instead God put His “God Goggles” on and allowed me to think, with a smile on my face, “Ah, Jany loved being here.”

This past Saturday I typed, “The tapping of one’s foot, bobbing of the head to the music, singing along with us, applause, and smiles on many of the elderly faces was priceless.”  when I was describing the elderly at the nursing and assisted living homes when we visited. (see “Live a Life of Love”)  I could have easily mentioned the smell of the places, the drool running down some of their faces, or the lady who kept saying profanity and screaming. (Hey, she’s 108 years old, what do you expect?) But, God allowed me to see the joy in their eyes and hearts.  He, again, put His “God Goggles” on me.

On Sunday, I had a great conversation with a teenage girl.  She mentioned to me how she has been praying for about two years about the opportunity of having a boyfriend.  From her perspective, she really wants a companion of the opposite sex.  She sees positive examples of others in their relationships and desires to have the same.  I believe God put His “God Goggles” on me again and prompted me to say a few encouraging words to her and then say, “Maybe God wants you to desire for Him to be your man.  When you focus on God first in your life, He will supply you with the desires of your heart.”

Then, over the past two days, it seems that the conversation my coworkers and I have often leave us feeling drained.  Drained of the testing, data, doing what the nation/state/district are telling us to do, and time constraints.  I am surrounded by exemplary educators who just want to teach. We all know that no matter what may be handed down to us, we need to “put on our ‘God Goggles’” and try to keep the focus on doing what is best for the students the main thing.

Perspective.  Life throws us plenty of curve balls.  We have the choice to swing, sometimes miss, and complain about a situation, or we can swing, sometimes miss, and say, “Wow! That was an interesting pitch” and move on. That “interesting pitch” could drive us to slump or to make us stronger and more determined.

How would God want us to see what is in front of us? We need to strive to not let anyone steal our joy and just put on our “God Goggles”.

I hope you knock that next curve ball out of the park.

Blessings and God’s abundant love to y’all.

I often, daily actually, think of Jany.  But today, four months and a dozen days later, I finally had a dream (that I can remember) about her.

The phone rang, I answered, and Jany cheerfully said, “Good morning.”  She was calling me from heaven!  Jany’s voice sounded her same cheerful and encouraging voice she always had.

I asked her what it was like up there.  You could hear the smile on her face when she passionately said, “I’m busy, Stephanie.”

“Busy doing what?”

“Busy, just busy.  Preparing for y’all.”

I probed a bit further and asked if there were any sunsets.  Again, with a sweetness and satisfaction in her tone she replied, “No, it is light her all the time.”

Knowing how I adore my sunrises and sunsets, this confirmed a thought I’d had.  I feel that God is having me enjoy soaking up each sunset I can now, because if I think these are beautiful, peaceful, and an glimpse at God’s majestic artwork and scenery, can you just imagine how much grandeur  heaven will be.  It is as if God is saying, “You think this is awesome, just wait!”

I remember asking if I can call her, and she informed me, “No, I can only call you.”

My dream made me miss her even more, as I cried after we hung up the phone.  But I am eager to receive my next phone call from heaven.

God’s timing is always perfect.  Friday morning I typed a journal entry titled “Give Me Five” . Instead of choosing one of my normal pictures, God put the idea in my head to write the five points on my hand, in permanent marker, and to take a picture of to use. Little did I know that I would use the writings on my hand to share with my students throughout the entire day.  God allowed me to share His gospel, in the public school system, in a “non-scriptural, yet totally biblical” way.

Every Friday morning a club that I’m involved in at school, Tigers for Christ, meet prior to the bell ringing to start our school day.  Evidently there were others who should have been in that club meeting as well.  Why?  Because an incident happened on the patio (a place where all the sixth grade students meet prior to school) that caused a great commotion. It appears that there were a number of students who should have been in the Tigers for Christ meeting to get some Jesus in them.

I had not seen my fellow co-workers, who were monitoring the patio that morning, so upset over a bullying situation. Yes, bullying!

It wasn’t just a one-on-one type of incident; there were a number of students who chimed in and began laughing and making fun of a little boy.

The event on our campus took place the same week that a twelve year old girl committed suicide because of being bullied.  The girl lived in the county adjacent to us.  Many students had seen or heard about the girl via the news. (News story from a Fox news writer)

One of my teacher friends who was out on the patio wanted me, along with a couple of other teachers, to speak to each of our class periods about bullying, the effects of it, and how it is just plain ole wrong and that we won’t tolerate it.

Count me in!

So with the latest news story to tie in for effect, and the writings on my hand, I was ready to tackle this topic with my students.

For sixth periods, I was able to have the students’ undivided attention while we discussed bullying.  My talking points were:

  • We are all unique individuals.  We were all made differently.  I told the kids that if everyone was like me, we would drive each other crazy.  (They laughed.) People may dress, walk, talk, look, or act differently from us.  We are all here for a purpose in life, and it is up to us to make a positive difference.
  • Many students come to school each day with baggage from home.  We don’t know if someone is like a former student I had years ago who lived with his mother, the mom worked at a bar until four in the morning and was often asleep when the boy woke for school. This boy was on medication for ADD, had an older brother who bullied him physically and mentally, and a two year old sibling who my student had to care for all hours of the day and night. When this boy came to school, he was often tired, or forgot to take his medication.  Is any of this his fault?  No.
  • The baggage that students may bring with them to school is often “masked” by their actions.  Some try to fill the desire for power by picking on others.  Some may crave to be the center of attention because they either don’t get attention at home, or that’s just what they are always used to being, so they are loud, or do silly things to draw attention to them.  Others may retreat into a book, grateful for a slice of quietness amidst a group of people, because they hear screaming all the time at home.  The point is…we do not know why people act the way they do or why they may look a certain way. (See The Green Bean Theory)
  • Someone may smell because their parents are going through a difficult time and they don’t have soap to bathe with or clothes detergent to wash their clothes with.  They may wear the same clothes day after day because they can’t afford other clothes, or are too proud to use or just don’t know of a charitable service to assist them. Is that a reason for us to make fun of them?  No!
  • I brought up the latest news story about the twelve year old her took her life.  The effects that it will now have on her family and the lasting affect it will have on those individuals who were the perpetrators. One of my students asked, “How are those kids going to deal with what they’ve done?”  I wanted to give a sermon, but my hands were tied.  So as I pondered on what to say, without (sadly) bringing God into my conversation, I mentioned, “What I want to say to you right now, I’m not allowed, so let me think.  Maybe some of you could help answer. (I knew I had a few Christian kids in the class) They caught on to what I was wanting to say and quickly raised they hands and students were saying things like, “They need to get their lives right.”  Another student mentioned counseling.  Amen to that.
  • Then, life application from 1 Corinthians 16:13-14was brought into the conversation.  I mentioned how we need to:
    • Be careful” with the words we say, the actions we do, and even the expressions on our faces.  (That last one is one I definitely have to work on daily.  My face often tells all.)
    • Stand firm” in our beliefs and for what is right.  All agreed that we don’t want to be bullied.  So just don’t do it.  We need to treat others the way we want to be treated. Little did the kids know that we were talking about Luke 6:31, they just knew it as the Golden Rule.
    • Be courageous” and be like David to Goliath.  Go help a brother out when you see someone picking on them, or tell an adult.  I’ll never forget one time when a shorter boy went up to a much taller fellow student, looked up at him, pointed his finger, and said, “Leave that kid alone.  Go pick on someone your on size.”  The tall boy, who was bullying another student, did exactly that.  He left hat boy along all because of the bravery of another student.  It only takes one.
    • Be strong” when others around you are making fun of, or talking about someone else.  Whether it is gossiping or the action of bullying someone, you don’t have to join in with the rest of the crowd.  Stand strong.  Tell your friend that they are wrong.  I’ve been on both sides of the coin.  I have laughed when someone was making fun of someone, and I have been the one who was being made fun of, and my “friend” was standing next to the one making fun of me laughing right along with them.  Guilt occurred in the first scenario, and a “stab in the back” happened with the other scene. Both feelings were sad.
    • Love!!”  We need to love all. Yes, even our enemies. I told the students that I may not like everything one of my children are doing, or even like them at that moment, but I will always love them with all my heart. (The kids got a kick out of that.)  The old saying applied, “Hate the sin, but love the sinner.”
  • We even talked about what we should do when we do offend someone…we need to say the two hardest words for us all to say…”I’m sorry”.

The students were all attentive throughout our talk.  I was grateful to have such a captive audience for such an important topic.

After our discussion the students took a math quiz.  During the quiz in first period, my heart enlarged when I had a student come up to me with tears in her eyes.  She said, “I need to talk to you.”  I thought she didn’t understand her math and asked her what was wrong.  She said, “Mrs. Shuff, what you said really affected me.  Your words touch me and I feel bad.  I said something about someone the other day and I feel horrible.”  We briefly chatted about those two hardest words to say and she quickly said, “I want to say that.”  The girl said that the student she had talked about was in our class.  I told her that she could go outside with them to talk if she needed to.  I guess that wasn’t soon enough.  She walked over to the other student, whispered in their ear, and asked for forgiveness.  You could see the weight being lifted off of her.  My eyes filled with tears.

It just takes one!

Conversations occurred throughout the day, and knew that life lessons were being taught and understood.  (Thank you, Jesus.)

I have a feeling that “Give me five” will have a meaning of a different kind in my class from now on.  I am grateful that God has given me the opportunity and the ability to be a teacher, and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Parents, teachers, administrators, and kids, please keep the lines of communication open, especially when it comes to bullying.  Let’s make a positive difference in the lives of others and ourselves.

It just takes one.

Blessings to y’all!