Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Lesson Plan Life

Hi friends,
As many of you know, I am in school right now studying to become a teacher.  I have college classes three days a week and I student teach in an elementary school 2.5 days a week.  We write many, many lesson plans.  Our plans actually have to be scripted which means that we think through our entire lesson and write out everything we plan to say.  As I teach the plans I write, I find that I'm always changing something in my plans when I actually teach the lesson.  You just cannot completely prepare for everything that will happen during the lesson.  Sometimes students may not have the prior knowledge they need, sometimes they need extra practice in one area, sometimes we run out of time, occasionally we have extra time, things just don't always go as planned.  No matter how great my lesson plan is, I'm not being a good teacher unless I can adjust to all the variations created during our lesson. 
This reminded me of our lives as Christians.  We often think we can plan everything out.  We need to plan, don't get me wrong.  Planning and organization is a great quality to exhibit! However, life is a constant change.  We have good times and bad times, things we understand and things we do not understand.  Life throws us for unexpected changes sometimes.  We have to lean on God and learn to adjust.  I have a plan all scripted up for my lessons that I teach.  God has His plan for our lives all written as well.  Sometimes our plans may not match up completely.  God's plan will always win, and let me remind you His plan is always best.  It may not be what we are expecting or hoping to experience; however, it is best.  As I watch my lesson plans change throughout the course of the 70 minute lesson I'm teaching, I'm reminded to be open to the things God is doing in my life.  When I do redirect my lesson or make changes while teaching, I do it to benefit my students and our time together.  When God makes changes in our life, He does it for our good.  We cannot always have everything planned to perfection.  We must remember to live flexibly while God is in the Pilot's seat of our life.  We can relax and know that with Him guiding us, we will be perfectly safe and secure although it may not feel safe and secure at the time.  He is always with us.  Always directing us in the best direction.  So friends, keep living the lesson plan life.  You can plan, but you must realize that God is the ultimate Author of your life. 

 Proverbs 19:21 - "There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand."

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose."

Jeremiah 29:11 - "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Are You In the Water?

Hi friends,
Hope you are all having a great start to 2015!
 I was studying for my Sunday School lesson last week (I teach Kindergarteners). We were learning about Jesus walking on water and Peter getting out of the boat to walk on the water.  I know the story very well, but always like to refresh myself and reread it before teaching.  It's awesome though because God always shows me something new even when I read a well known story.  As I was reading Matthew 14, I thought about the faith that Peter had when he got right out of the boat and started walking to Jesus on the water.  When Jesus told Peter to come to Him, the Bible doesn't say Peter hesitated.  He may have, but when he got out and started walking to Jesus, his faith was strong enough to keep him from drowning.  I personally think he was pretty confident in Jesus's strength upon entering the roaring waters.  Peter began to sink only when he took his eyes off of Jesus.  He began to look around at everything that was against him: the waves, the storm, and the wind.  Jesus still took care of Peter even when he started doubting, but what an awesome miracle he was participating in while walking on water.  When Jesus reached out and grabbed Peter, He asked him why he began to doubt.  God's power is so magnificent and we all too often forget that.  We step out in faith like Peter, but then begin to doubt.  I think we too, make faith based decisions and then look around and forget the God that we serve.  He can do miraculous things!  I often deep down know that God has everything under control, but I still want to take matters into my own hands and worry.  It's hard to trust and keep trusting after time, especially if God has you in a waiting period.  I do know that no matter what, God will never let you down.  When you begin to doubt God, start praising His name.  I have found so much comfort in praising God with statements such as, "You will not fail me. You are holding me by my right hand. You are good.  You will never leave me or forsake me."  Those things are all true, and God's peace fills me when I pray those words! You can walk on water too if you keep your eyes on the One who made the waters with His words! It's okay to step out of the boat, and often I think we do.  We seem to fail just like Peter after traveling the path just a little ways when we think of all the things that could go wrong.  Just keep walking.  Keep trusting.  Keep waiting. Keep praising.

Matthew 14:28-31- " And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?"

Deuteronomy 31:8- "And the Lord, He it is that doth go before thee; He will be with thee, He will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed."

Isaiah 41:13- "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Roll With the Flow: Lessons From a Busy Life

Hello friends,
My semester in college came to a close last week and it has been great to have a break from classes.  This has been a semester that I look back on and I literally have no idea how everything got accomplished.  I do know that God brought me through all the work and all the stress.  This has by far been the most stressful and most crazy semester I've experienced.  I think I completed over 20 projects, a couple of them being 50 pages plus.  My fellow education majors and I hear that it doesn't get better the further we go into the program so it looks like I just have a stressful year and a half ahead! I feel like I haven't been my normal self.  I usually am the type of person to have everything planned way in advance; however, lately, I've been having to think quick at the last minute to get things accomplished.  I am so grateful for this break from school over the next few weeks; it is a much needed refresher.  I hope you are all enjoying this Christmas season. I want to encourage you and share with you 10 things I've learned from my crazy, busy semester in no particular order.  

1. Never stop having your quiet time because you are too busy.  That is the one thing that will give you peace and the strength you need to make it through without going crazy.  Take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to talk to God and read His word each day.  
2. Jesus is your one, true Rest. He will give you rest. You will find rest when you bring your true feelings to His throne. There are days when I just have to tell Him exactly how I feel.  He already knows, so just talk with Him about it.  Tell Him how tired you are and how much you need His strength. 
3. Surrender- Give it all to God where it all belongs.  
4. Don't try to tackle today with your own resources, you will never make it. We must realize that we can't in our own strength get everything done.  We must have God's help! 
5. Pray about what your doing.  He'll help you. Don't allow Satan to trick you into thinking God doesn't care about the little things in life.  I can tell you story after story of things I've prayed about that were tiny that God answered.
6. Acknowledge that God is always in control.
7. Remember that in the long run, your eternal Heaven life is not affected by the stressors of today!
8. Don't I trust God enough to help me get everything accomplished?
9. Sometimes no matter how much work you need to accomplish, you just need to take a break.  Sometimes you just have to push your work aside and relax and worry about the work the next day. 
10. Time management is everything! Sometimes your plan may not work though.  Roll with the flow!

No matter where you are in life, these truths apply.  I think at times, we all have those overwhelming days where it just seems like there's not enough of us to go around for everything that needs to be done. And guess what, there's not.  We can never be enough in our own strength.  I think we can all admit to the days of feeling the overwhelming pressure of life.  Take it one day at a time.  When you don't accomplish everything because a lot of days you won't; keep your priorities in order with devotions at the top of the list. Also remember that God is in control.  He knows what must be done and He has everything under control.  Roll with the flow!

Proverbs 19:21 - There are many devices in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand.

Matthew 19:26 - But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

Matthew 6:34 - Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.