Sunday, May 8, 2016

Substitute Teachers

Just shortly after school got out in the month of March, I had the privilege of attending some teacher training by a man from Australia and his wife who is Karen. It was a wonderful two weeks of learning how to better meet the needs of my students and help them to learn more easily. Even before the training started, my dad had mentioned that I should probably expect to share the things that I learned during the training. I kept that in mind as I took notes and listened carefully. 

Our group at the teacher training in March.

Pretty soon those two weeks were over and another month and a half had gone by. It was time to get our teachers together and get ready for a new school year. Now my time had come. I had a whole week to share what I had learned. As I began going over my notes, I was so thankful for every thing that I had written down and the audio I had recorded, but over and over again I wished that Thara Nathan (the teacher from Australia) could be there to teach it in person. My goal was to share with them what he had taught me, yet I knew that I could never give them as much as he had given me. 

Thara Nathan was a part of everything I taught. I could see or hear him in my mind as I shared. I often referred to him as I talked about things or had the class do an activity. As much as possible, I did the training just like he did. A couple of times I mentioned how much I hope he will be able to come and teach them in person next year. The only reason that I was able to do the teacher training was because of the time that I had spent learning from him. I was just a substitute teacher. 

This experience reminds me of our work as Christians. When we learn of Christ, our Father tells us that we should prepare to teach others what we have learned. Often when we keep this in mind, it motivates us to study more carefully. As we prepare to share, we will often feel incapable of teaching as well as Christ did, but if we keep Him in our thoughts and encourage others to learn directly from Him, Jesus will be there. We don’t have to wait for Him to come back from another country. He is simply waiting for us to invite Him. 

So what if we spent more time learning directly from Him? 

What if we realized that the only way to success is to follow His example? 

What if the people we are trying to reach learned directly from Him instead of just from us? 

Remember, we’re only substitute teachers. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Dreams Given Back

She had a son. The most precious thing that she had ever possessed. He was a miracle--something others would never consider giving away. She had wept, her heart had been broken, she had done her best just to have this child. Yet she promised to give him away. She promised to give him back to the Giver.

And now, when her heart has grown to love him more than life, she brings him to the door of the temple, and leaves him there. But that isn't the end. For the gift that she gave back to the Giver was made even more precious. What a mother could only dream for her son was the reality that God made of his life.
(Based on 1 Samuel)

She had a son. I have dreams. Sometimes they seem too precious to even promise to give them to God, not to mention actually giving them to Him. But I'm learning--though so slowly--that there is simply nothing worth holding back. My dreams are dreams, but a dream in His hands will not only become reality, it will be far better than my human imagination could contrive.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

That's My Jesus

The sky, the hills, the trees all take on a blue tint as the first rays of daylight begin to pierce the darkness. The stillness is too beautiful to disturb with words. I walk in silence and ponder. . . .

It doesn't matter if I slept peacefully from sunset to sunrise, if I was awake most of the night wondering when it would be over, or if the clouds are thick and endless, the light of morning always comes with no haste and with no delay. In all of the years of my life, never has there been a day when the sun came up later than it should have. And it certainly never has failed to come up. Even though I have been through a great variety of nights, I've never doubted that the sun would come up.

Yet somehow I dare to doubt the Creator of the very thing that I don't doubt. I dare to think that He can't make my "to do" list happen; I dare to think that what I can't figure out He can't solve either; I dare to think that when I don't have any strength left, that there is nothing He can do to help me.

But one thought of the past, and I realize how senseless my ways are. There is simply no reason to think that my Jesus would fail me now anymore than He has in the past. Not one time that I have given Him my broken little pieces has He failed to turn them into beauty. He has never failed to answer when I have called, never failed to let me see His beautiful face when I opened my eyes to see it. Never have His ways ended in anything less than the best.

And my thoughts break into a smile because . . .

That's my Jesus

Photo Credit: Mom

Monday, June 22, 2015

Before Their Eyes

When I have loved myself more than others, treated His children partially, followed my emotions instead of trusting His Word, and left Wisdom for the foolishness of this world, I stop and wonder . . .

I wonder why a Father who knows my heart and all its selfishness and pride to a depth that I don't even comprehend would give me the responsibility of representing Perfection to a world that has seen enough counterfeits. Why consider me a useful instrument in His hands when I have so often done the opposite of His bidding? I'm humbled at His answer.

“And the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Ezekiel 36:23

Not because His character is already perfected in me will the heathen believe, but because they are seeing His character being perfected in me as the same hands that want to remake their lives are transforming mine.

Monday, May 25, 2015

I didn't do it.

I’m nearly speechless. My mind is still struggling to believe it. 

The walls that have scarcely begun to be attacked aren’t holding up very well any more. My hands haven’t even touch the edges of those walls either, but the power of One that is invisible is moving the immovable.

Light is dawning; a heart is opening. 

The soul that it seemed perhaps even the most experienced couldn't touch is being changed by the hands of an unseen God. 

I’ve never spent so much time on my knees before because I have never before longed to be in His presence more than anywhere else. There is simply nothing more wonderful that giving God’s promises back to Him and watching Him carry them out. 

“There is power in prayer. When men work, they work. but when men pray, God works.” -  Angus Buchan

Friday, May 8, 2015

Dream Land

There is a country that, to most of the world, seems like the land of all their dreams. There are beautiful houses, dozens of universities, breathtaking mountains, and plenty of other dazzling things to keep one constantly occupied. And though some of us who know the other side of that country may try to convince them that this country isn’t all dazzling, we often fail to make much of an impression of those who are caught up in a dream of a better land. 

A dear friend of mine who used to be my student and is like a sister to me was one of those who for various reasons wanted to immigrate to the U.S.A. Her brother had gone couple of years ahead of her, and she planned to live with him and go to college. 

Though I didn’t doubt that things weren’t all as wonderful as she had hoped, the first few phone calls that I had with her didn’t really reveal that. But as the time neared for us to visit her, she began to open up more. The prosperous lifestyle, the wonderful people, the outstanding education didn’t fall into her lap. Instead she was surrounded by people in much the same predicament as herself with little opportunity for a good job, not enough money to get a car, and just a very small understanding about how this culture works. Her coworkers and neighbors didn’t understand her lifestyle or treat her in very Christian ways at times. She was desperate to either go to a better place in the States or go back with us to Thailand. 

Even though she didn’t exactly say it, the land of her dreams wasn’t the same in reality as it was in her dreams. The land that she left behind now looked like a wonderful place in comparison to her current location. 

The good news is that God has a plan for her even in that “dream land.” He didn’t take over there for nothing, and I believe that she will gain many blessings as she allows Him to guide her. 

But I wonder . . . How often do we dream of living in a better place, of getting a better job, or a better group of friends not realizing that, more often than not, God has already given us the very best that we could have. Have we stopped to ask God what His dreams are for us? Have we stopped to enjoy what He has already given us?

Have we missed the beauty of our reality while seeking to live in our dreams?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Desires: when they're guaranteed to be granted.

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Psalms 37:4

I suppose you’ve read it before, too. Perhaps you’ve even claimed this promise. And I can guess that if you’ve claimed it, you’ve probably experienced disappointment, too. 

The truth is that every human heart has desires. It also wants to find a way to satisfy them. And there certainly are plenty of ways of “satisfying” the desires that humanity has. 

But there’s a problem. As Christians, we know that most of those ways are contrary to the ways of our Lord. And perhaps the desire itself is completely opposite of His ways. At the very least, whether we are Christians or not, we find that the more we try to satisfy our desires, the less satisfied we are. 

It’s an impossible situation — a heart being eaten away by desires that only grow in every attempt to satisfy them. Or is it? 

That’s what I love about this promise. For the most impossible situation that humanity faces — a heart that wars against every good thing — there is a most amazing solution. 

When we delight ourselves in the Lord — seek His pleasure in place of our own, do His work and speak His words, cheerfully give Him the time that belongs to Him, in short, when we seek to satisfy His desires first — a miracle happens. 

You see, were God to grant us everything that our selfish human hearts think will satisfy us, we would be worse than unsatisfied. We would be broken and drained of everything that we did have. We would destroy ourselves. That’s why God asks us choose His ways, choose to let Him into every little detail of our lives. But why? Why choose to do that when it isn't what we desire?

This amazing God that we have can take away those desires that we are powerless to change and put desires in our hearts that can be satisfied, more than satisfied. He isn't just capable of satisfying our desires. He is also capable of giving us desires that can actually be satisfied. 

But that's not all. He takes our broken, thirsty souls and does more than fill them. He makes them fountains that overflow with the same thing that satisfies their desires that others might be satisfied as well. 

Because the only way to be satisfied is to satisfy. 

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:13, 14