Friday, January 31, 2014

Courage and Vision


Where there is no vision, the people perish. (Proverbs 29:18) KJV                                                             
Courage and Vision

            The Bible tells us that where there is no vision, no perspective from God’s point of view, we perish.  The Bible is a continual record of man personally interacting with God, sometimes through dreams and visions. Noah was given the vision of a future flood for which he was to prepare.  Joseph had visions as a youth that weren’t manifested until decades later.  Joshua and Caleb had a call and vision to go into the Promised Land but it took forty years before this vision was fulfilled. Daniel continually had visions, some of which possibly have yet to be fulfilled. Isaiah had visions of a future Messiah which weren’t revealed for centuries.  The apostle, John, while exiled on the island of Patmos, was given a stream of dreams and visions he recorded in the book of Revelation. Jesus continually spoke of future events in his own life as well as future signs of the end times. In the book of Joel it states that in the day of the Lord, “…your old men [women] will dream dreams, your young men [women] will see visions.” (Joel 2:28)  
            It takes courage to share a vision from God with others and even greater courage to act on these visions to help bring them to fulfillment. Many prophets were scorned and lost their lives for doing this and others were persecuted.  Joseph was sold into slavery.  I am sure Noah’s neighbors got a huge laugh regarding the boat their neighbor was building in his backyard. Joshua and Caleb were scoffed at when they told the Israelites they were to go in and possess the Promised Land. Sarah, Abraham’s wife, laughed when told she would become pregnant at an extremely old age.
            What personal vision, dreams, and directions has God given you?  Have they been fulfilled yet?  God wants you to receive this message from Him: “I haven’t forgotten what I told you long ago about your hope and future.  I revealed it only to you because it was a special gift just for you.  Unlike many others, I keep my promises.  Look in your heart and mind where you filed it long ago. Dare to dream again. Dig up the ground of your memory where you buried it in doubt.  Look on the beach by the ocean, where in anger, you once threw the vision I gave you because you were impatient and did not see it coming true.  You will find your old dream and vision washed up on the shore.  You lost it that day, but I found it and want to return it to you because I love you eternally.”
            About ten years ago Debbie Adamson was driving to attend a city-wide Christian Educators Association International Empower group meeting in Houston, Texas. As she was driving, one verse from the old gospel hymn, The Battle Hymn of the Republic, kept coming to her heart and mind: “I have seen him in the watch fires of a hundred circling camps…” She began and then kept singing this verse over and over, belting it out with all her strength.  Nothing else would come to her lips. She believed the Lord spoke to her heart that day saying, “When there are one hundred teacher prayer groups with at least three participants in each group meeting regularly, then I will break the spiritual bondage and strongholds over the schools in this city.”
            Through the local Christian Educators Association International organization Debbie began to encourage teachers to start prayer groups and develop a Biblical process for them to use. She knew she was to be a pilot light and fire carrier to help start these watch fires.  As native tribes moved from one camp to another, one person was assigned the job of carrying burning coals from one camp to another in order to keep a fire constantly burning, for fire was essential to their survival.  Carrying the fire of the Holy Spirit in our hearts into the classrooms and schools and joining together in prayer to fan these spiritual flames is also essential for the survival and life of the schools where we work. We all carry the life giving vision that God is greater than knowledge and the law and that there is a savior beyond “self”.  When we serve Him first by obeying the teaching of Jesus in His classrooms and schools, then we are bringing true life to others.
            Ten years after this vision and after many professional trials, Debbi still has no idea how God is going to fulfill the vision He gave her but she doesn’t doubt him. If He has truly spoken it then He will make a way.  He is the way, the truth and the life. He can do it in a day if the people He is calling to this task obey.  He has shown us through the Israelites, that if the people He is calling are not listening, wrapped up in anger, continually murmuring and complaining or are holding priorities higher than Him, then the vision could take 40 years or more. God is so patient with us. Take courage and dream again.  Share and follow the vision He has given you. Believe.
Prayer:  Lord, thank you for giving us visions and dreams.  Give us the courage to share and fulfill them.
Application and Sharing:  Write down your professional and personal dreams.  Share them and agree in prayer regarding these dreams with others who believe.

CLASSROOM LIGHTHOUSE SERIES: TEACHER! TAKE COURAGE!  (For inquiries contact ceaihouston@sbcglobal.net.) #10

                                                       
Prayerfully dependent,
K


PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement.
      Go to www.one16pray.com for more information
      Go to www.ceai.org for more information (which will point you to the above address!)
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 (we have 205!)
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray
      Look for the prayer prompts on the 1:16 PM website or Facebook page.

May God bless you with success His way this 2013-2014 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry byclicking here.


Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school.        

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Courage and Light


“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.  Instead they put it on its stand and it gives light to everyone in the house.”  (Matthew 5:14-15)                                                              
Courage and Light

            Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  Jesus says, “Let your light shine before men.”  The apostle John says, “But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  The apostle Paul states in a letter, “You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.”  It takes courage to be God’s light in a secular public school setting.
            There are many voices around us in school competing with these words from the Lord.  Our paraprofessional, Debbie Doubt, says, “I doubt that faith has any real application or role in your professional life.”  Our co-worker, Fearfilled Fanny says, “Keep your faith hidden. Any expressions of your faith are against the law because of the separation of church and state.”  Our supervisor, Sharon Shame, says, “Don’t embarrass yourself by mentioning God, asking co-workers to pray with you, or by letting them know Jesus is your first love.”  Our principal, Busyness Bob, says, “You don’t have time to get all of your work done now.  You don’t have time to do what Jesus is asking you.  Going to church is enough to please God.”
            After a career of more than thirty years, one of the most courageous brightest lights in the field of public education is Mable Robinson.  This is Mable’s story as told by her faith-filled friend and coworker of many years, Rhonda Livingston.
“My friend Mable has always been a floodlight of faith in the public schools. During the first ten years of my career, when my faith was safely locked in my classroom closet under a bowl, I noticed this short middle-aged woman.  She was a paraprofessional serving emotionally disturbed students in the classroom next to my second grade classroom.  I would often hear shouting, cursing, and banging on the opposite side of the wall we shared. (I told my inquiring students there was construction work going on next door.)  Students were often escorted by Mable and her supervising teacher to the principal’s office past my door. On one occasion I remembered seeing a child being escorted who had smeared excrement all over his face. Mable served the most severe emotionally disturbed students in the district who would sometimes hit, bite, kick, curse and spit at Mable.  I wondered how this lady could do her job day after day, especially for the salary she received.  I wondered why she took such abuse for so little pay.”
            “One day I noticed that at every break she would tuck a large well worn book under her arm and head out to her late model car in the parking lot to take a 15 minute respite from the evil in her classroom.  I figured she was going out for a needed cigarette smoking break for that was the routine of her co-worker to deal with the stress.  Upon closer scrutiny I realized it was a Bible under her arm and she was going out in her car to read the Bible and pray, to do some holy smoking!  Those times alone with Jesus, several times a day, gave her the strength and courage to deal with the constant trials and tribulation in her classroom.  I realized her true employer was not the state or the local district.  She was working for Jesus Christ!  I knew when I saw this that I wasn’t alone in desiring to serve Jesus first on the job.”
“When God called me to ask people at school to begin praying with me I knew she was going to be a safe bet and I would not be rejected or embarrassed.  I asked her to pray with me and she gladly and courageously accepted.  We committed to a day and time to meet and pray after school each week.”
“Mable later went on to get her bachelor’s degree and teach in another district and she is still my prayer partner after twenty years.  We will call and share prayer requests for both family and professional concerns. We have prayed one another through many domestic and professional crises.  She, above all others in my profession, understands that public schools are spiritual battlegrounds for the youth of this nation.  The Bible says that a three stranded cord is not easily broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:12)  My spiritual relationship with Mable and other believers with whom we prayed has continually kept us from breaking as the Lord uses all of us, one student at a time and one day at a time, to restore the light of faith and His presence in His public schools.

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for the prayer partners you have placed at all our schools. Help us find each other.
Application:  Search for the prayer partners assigned to your school. Become a three stranded praying cord.
Sharing:  How has praying with co-workers benefited you?  How do you think it could if you would start?

CLASSROOM LIGHTHOUSE SERIES: TEACHER! TAKE COURAGE!  (For inquiries contact ceaihouston@sbcglobal.net.) # 9



Saturday, January 18, 2014

Battling Discouragement?

Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord will be with you wherever you go.”                                                              (Joshua 1:9)

            Discouragement, Murmuring, Gossip, Condemnation and Judgment are the names of the family of demons which have inhabited and haunted the hearts and minds of educators in public schools for way too long. Praise God that Jesus is a ghost buster and that He dwells in us!
            The father and leader of all these destructive spirits is Discouragement. Several times in her educational career he has had Melissa Yates by the throat and just about snuffed out her professional life.  Has Discouragement ever had a hold of the wick of your professional candle?  Have you ever felt like you are being spiritually suffocated by the increased burden of responsibility, seemingly irrational decisions being made, or the general atmosphere of godlessness where you work? Have you ever served a severely troubled student or group of students who are determined to steal your joy and discourage you?  Many educators are in the midst of these battles right now.
            Melissa recently fought the biggest battle of her career against Discouragement. She had taught resource special education classes for more than twenty years. She was a master teacher.  Every year Melissa made remarkable progress with the most severely behaviorally and academically challenged students that came to her school.  Many reached grade level and were placed into regular classes as a result of her work.  Two years ago her school went to a full inclusion model with no input from faculty or parents.  All of the students she served were placed in regular classrooms and so was she! She was now placed in multiple teachers’ classes and asked, like an interpreter, to translate all of the objectives in ways that every special needs student could understand and make the required progress to grade level. 
            She felt like someone had stomped the brakes on the vehicle she had been driving at 70 miles an hour and then slammed the car in reverse and put the pedal to the metal.  She was now being expected to stay on the road while driving backwards at 70 miles an hour. While the political correctness air bag was hitting her in the face, Discouragement grabbed the wheel and his family jumped in the back seat hoping for a long ride.  Murmuring was encouraging Melissa to complain about the decision made and Gossip wanted her to tell everyone what was going on and what a mistake it was.  Condemnation and Judgment wanted her to hold continual negative thoughts in her mind about the politicians, educational gurus, and the district and campus leaders responsible for this decision.  While this was going on, Discouragement’s cousins, Resentment, Repressed Anger, and Grief jumped in the trunk. 
            Melissa was taken for a real demonic depression ride. She was professionally car jacked. All the personal changes for improvement she had been looking forward to implementing were run over and she abandoned them.  She went from being a master teacher to a mediocre inclusion teacher at best, due to all the junk in her trunk and seats. She was carrying too much weight and became stiff-necked from looking backwards.
            God knew what was going on.  He knew every gray hair hiding under the colored hair on her head. He was maturing Melissa, helping her grow up. (Romans 5:3) Her identity, strength, joy, and trust is to be fully found in obedience to God, not in what position she taught, what political or administrative decisions were made, what program she was using, or even her students’ successes and failures. During this trial the Lord reminded Meliss who she truly was - an OVERCOMER, the LIGHT of the classroom, the SALT of the school.  She learned the joy of the Lord is to be her strength, not all these other things she had come to rely on for identity, joy and strength where she worked.  God is such a great teacher but that was a difficult lesson! She wanted to drop out!  
            The second year after these big changes, Melissa took her professional “car”eer to the Holy Spirit auto spa.  She recognized and started confessing and cleaning out all the junk in her trunk and seats. In the name of Jesus she swept out Discouragement and his ugly family members.  Jesus is driving Melissa’s professional car again this year and she has invited Courage to sit beside her in the front seat. She is loading her trunk and backseat with the fruit of the Spirit (peace, patience, love, kindness, etc.).  Melissa finally embraced her new position.  Jesus wants her to be the best inclusion specialist she can be because her work is to always reflect His excellence. GO JESUS!   

.Prayer:  Lord, thank you for driving our car-eers.  Courage, thank you for sitting in the front seat with us.

Application: Confess and repent of any junk you are carrying in your professional trunk and seats right now.

Sharing:  What was the most discouraging thing you ever experienced in your career and how did God help you overcome this discouragement?


CLASSROOM LIGHTHOUSE SERIES: TEACHER! TAKE COURAGE!  (For inquiries contact ceaihouston@sbcglobal.net.)  #8

Prayerfully dependent,
K


PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement.
      Go to www.one16pray.com for more information
      Go to www.ceai.org for more information (which will point you to the above address!)
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 (we have 205!)
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray
      Look for the prayer prompts on the 1:16 PM website or Facebook page.

May God bless you with success His way this 2013-2014 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry byclicking here.


Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school.  

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Courage and Change - Classroom Lighthouse Series #7

Welcome back and Happy New Year. May the Lord bless you and your students in 2014.


Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. (James 1:17)
Courage and Change


            All living things are constantly changing.  Since the moment God knit the first cells of our bodies in our mother’s wombs we have been changing.  Every living thing is in constant change.  As our bodies are constantly changing, so are our professional lives. In Janice McBride’s first few years of teaching she was amazed at the constant change going on in her professional life – changing strategies, philosophies, materials, and personnel.  Janice has served as a first grade teacher in the public schools for thirty years and has never changed schools or teaching assignments yet she has worked under eight different superintendents, eight principals, and at least ten associate principals.  She witnessed six or seven major changes to the approach of teaching reading.  (All of them, of course, have been “researched based”.) She has seen hundreds of staff members come and go.  She has seen the special education students placed in all day self-contained classes because “research” indicated that this was the best methodology. In the last several years she has seen every special education child placed in her regular classroom because “research” indicates that is the best methodology.  She has seen no accountability testing systems at the campus, district or state levels changed into systems now where three to four weeks of instruction, almost an entire month of every school year, is dedicated to accountability assessment.
            Amidst this professional maelstrom only one thing has remained constant for Janice and that is her personal relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. (Heb. 13:8) His instructions for her to go into her classroom, shut the door, and privately pray for the staff, parents, and students she serves has never changed.  His call for her to return good for other’s evil has never changed.  His call for her to encourage and gather with other Christian teachers to agree in prayer has never changed.  His instructions to bear spiritual fruit (peace, patience, love, etc.) have never changed.  Her instructions to constantly thank and praise God for all things in her professional life have never changed.  Her instructions to acknowledge Him in her professional life so he would direct her paths have never changed.  Her instruction to let His light shine where she works has never changed.
            The first ten years Janice taught, before she fully committed her professional life to Jesus Christ, she thought she could follow Jesus by herself through the public education system. She found herself being wrenched in one professional direction and then another.  She felt like her feet were on constantly shifting sand.  She would put her trust in a principal, co-workers, or program, and the next minute they were all gone in another crashing wave of educational politics, financing, school zoning changes, or the slick marketeering of the newest educational guru. When she finally surrendered fully to Jesus and understood she needed to join with other Christian educators to complete her walk with Him, she finally felt grounded. She became like a tree planted by a river.  Secular change still comes, sometimes in the form of storms. Janice’s branches and leaves still sway in the wind and some are torn off, but her roots and her focus, her faith in the God who brought her into this profession, are constant and keep her grounded.
            Although Jesus doesn’t change in this profession, He asks us to change because our relationship is constantly growing. Each year we must ask Jesus in prayer, “What changes do you want this year?  How can I improve my service here to you and others?”  It is amazing what He sometimes tells us to do regarding room d├ęcor, materials, and strategies. These things are called “God changes.” Write these changes down and set out to implement them.  Some of them take much courage and humility to fulfill.
            While all the secular trade winds blow around us, sometimes at gale force, our focus must first be on what Jesus has given us to do and not the agendas of states, districts, principals and our selves.  We have one master, not four or five. He serves as our shelter from all the professional storms.  He is our Cornerstone upon which we are to stand together and build something eternal in public education.  It takes courage to first seek and obey Him in our secular lives but if we do He promises to add everything else we need.  God delivers on His promises.
.              
Prayer:  Lord, thank you for never changing. Thank you for asking us and giving us the courage to change. Thank you for the principles you have given us to follow which bring greater success in this profession.
Application and Sharing:  Write down three changes God wants this school year in your personal relationship with him. Write down three changes God wants in the secular aspect of your job. Share these with a Christian co-worker and ask them to hold you accountable. 

CLASSROOM LIGHTHOUSE SERIES: TEACHER! TAKE COURAGE!  (For inquiries contact ceaihouston@sbcglobal.net.)  #7

Prayerfully dependent,
K


PS. Don’t forget to spread the word about the 1:16PM Prayer Movement.
      Go to www.one16pray.com for more information
      Go to www.ceai.org for more information (which will point you to the above address!)
      Visit,  "like", and add comments the 1:16PM Facebook page.
      Sign up for text message prayer prompts from Remind 101 (we have 205!)
      Follow us on Twitter for the prayer prompts @one16pray
      Look for the prayer prompts on the 1:16 PM website or Facebook page.

May God bless you with success His way this 2013-2014 school year.

Note: To more fully understand the 16-9 Movement, please read the first blog entry byclicking here.

Christian Educators Association International is the only professional association in the United States specifically for Christian educators in public schools.  CEAI protects our members first in prayer, next with excellent professional liability insurance and other benefits while helping them live out their high calling as a Christian in the public school.