Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ready Or Not, Here They Come

I have just started my 18th year of teaching in public education.  I am just as excited and nervous today as I was the very first year.  In three days, those kids are going to come rushing into this school eager to learn, willing to absorb, and itching to please their teachers...or not.  One thing is for sure though: ready or not, here they come.  The beginning of a new year is not only exciting, but it is also extremely important because it sets routines that will be followed all year.  Some teachers say the first 5 minutes of a new year is the most critical time.  Although I don't think it is the most critical time, I do agree it is very imporatant.  Most kids try to put what happend last year behind them and try to make better grades and have better discipline.  Teachers also self-evaluate and correct errors from last year.  No matter how bad last year may have been, it's over now, and we must move on to hopefully better things.  Isn't that the same with our Lord?

Why don't we treat this school year like a new beginning, even if we are not a student or teacher.  Why don't we just turn everything over from our past to God and make a fresh start. That is the way He works.  We may not have had good credit finacially last year and may have a hard time obtaining a loan this year.  But our credit with God is always perfect once we ask for forgiveness and accept His Son as our Savior.  He does not hold anything against us.  He is like that teacher that tells His students, "Welcome to my class.  I am so glad you are here.  Let's see what all we can learn this year."  Are you ready to start a new school year with Jesus?  Set your alarm clock for 6 and don't miss the bus!  We got to go to school.

2 Corinthians 5:17 says, "Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person.  The past is forgotten, and everything is new."

Father, thank-you for giving us a new beginning full of hope.  Help us to transform our lives into what you would have us to be.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Over and Over and Over...

I have learned something very valuable from a young man I am talking to about Jesus.  He has a certain sin that he continues to commit over and over and over.  After we talk and he asks God for forgiveness, he seems to feel much better and stronger.  But within a day or two, he "relapses" and commits the same sin over again.  This has been going on for the entire summer.  It seems like every time I check my Email, I am going to have one from him saying, "I did it again.  What should I do now?"  I am not a counselor and have suggested that he may want to seek a professional.  But he insists on continuing to ask me for help.  What should I tell him?  All I know to do is to keep encouraging him to pray and ask God to forgive him and to give him strength to continue his personal battle.  To be honest, I am getting a little tired of trying to help him because it just doesn't seem to be working.  Then it hit me!

God might be using me to help my friend, but I now realize that he is definitely using my friend to help me.  You see, I also have an habitual sin; perhaps we all do. What should we do about it?  The same thing I suggested that he do about it:  don't ever give-up asking for God's help.  When we continue to pray for help, we demonstrate that we still have faith in God to actually help us.  But if we give-up and stop asking God for help, what does that say about our faith?  There is no guarantee that our family, best friend, or even pastor will never give-up on us when we continue to commit the same sin over and over.  They may get tired of trying to help us, but God won't!  God loves us so much that no matter how many times we sin, even if it is the same sin, He will never give-up on us.  We should always trust in the Lord.  And what better advice is there to give to others?

Romans 8:38-39 says, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." 

Father, thank-you for reminding me that you are still in charge and for never giving up on us.  Teach us to also never give-up on others.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Why Me?

I sometimes ask myself why I write devotions.  Is it to help me or is it to help others?  Who says I am even qualified to write devotions about God?  I sin.  I ask for forgiveness.  I sin even more.  Why would anybody want to read my devotions, especially the people who know me and know how broken I am?  I can't tell you how many times someone will respond to me after I do something stupid with, "and you write Christian devotions?"  How can I even gaze upon this computer screen and hope the words come to my typing fingers?  You know what?  It helps me to combat these obstacle questions with a clear and simple, "why not me?"

If we broken sinners didn't write about Jesus, then who will?  Who amoung us is qualified?  When I read through the characters in the Bible, I realize, although different in many ways, there is one thing that most have in common:  They were broken sinners.  I can honestly say that I write devotions to help me stay focused on Jesus.  If what I write is also helping somebody else, that is great!  But it is totally God's business and for me not to worry about.  I can't worry about how it is affecting others, nor can I let others derail me from writing simply because I may feel that it is not effective.  My only true enemy is me; my only true friend is Jesus.  So, broken or not, I will continue to write about God.  Have you thought about maybe writing some kind of devotions for God?  You may come-up with a thousand excuses not to, but never feel like you are not qualified or that you sin "too much"  Don't we all sin too much?  Let's stand-up convincingly for Jesus, not because we are perfect, but because we are broken sinners.

Romans 3:23 says, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God"  

Father, please forgive me of my sins.  Help us to remember that you can use us to help others no matter how broken we may be.  In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

As a teacher, I have to be very careful that I don't use questions on a test that can be considered as "bad". A "bad" question is a question that can have more than one correct answer or be interpreted in more than one way. For example, answer these 3 simple questions:

1. Who discovered America? 2. What was the President's name in 1982? 3. How many months have 28 days?

Typical answers are Columbus, Reagan, and February. Those are considered correct answers. However, depending on how you look at the questions, the answer to the first one could be Native Americans since they were here long before Columbus. For the second question, another correct answer is Obama, since that has been his name all his life, including in 1982. And the third question, yep, you guessed it, all the months have 28 days. What would be your answer to this simple yes/no question? Did Christ's death on the Cross give us Eternal Life?

It is true that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did die on the Cross for our sins and to give us Eternal Life. But we are not automatically saved because of His death and Resurrection. What Christ did was only an offer for forgiveness and Eternal Life. When people say that Christ died on the Cross to save us, we must remember that we are not truly saved until we receive His offer. We MUST accept Him as our Personal Savior in order to be forgiven for our sins and to receive Eternal Life. So, did Christ's death on the Cross give us Eternal Life? Only if we accept it and choose to believe in Him. Have you received Christ into your heart? If so, you are promised Eternal Life from a God who never lies! But if you have not accepted Christ as your Personal Savior, the Bible explains that you are not saved. What Christ did on the Cross was an amazing gift and offer of true love for each one of us. But we must believe in order to receive.

Romans 10:9 says, "If you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord', and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." 

Father, thank you for sending Your precious Son Jesus to die for me. Also, thank you for stirring my heart at age 13, and helping me to accept Him. I pray for all those who have not accepted Christ. Stir their hearts, too, Lord. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Desires of our Hearts

I love Psalm 37, in particular, verse 4.  It says, "Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart"  I guess what I like about it is that it gives me a feeling of hope, especially when things are not going my way.  We all want the desires of our hearts.  But will God really give us those things that we desire?  What if I desire a million dollars?  Will God give this to me?  No, I don't really think He will do that, so what does His promise really mean? 

When I was in my 30's, I loved to play church-league softball.  I mean, I really, really loved to play; I could hardly wait for Tuesday and Thursday nights to arrive.  But I also worked 2 nights a week and had a baby to take care of.  My wife would really fuss and make me feel guilty, like I was being a bad Daddy or something because I was gone 4 nights a week.  Granted, the job was needed, but did I really have to play softball?  I finally "agreed" with her one day that I would not play anymore, but after seeing me mope around for a couple weeks like a little kid, she gave-in.  I knew I had too much on my plate, but my desire to play softball was almost over-whelming.  So I began to pray and ask God to take away my desire to play.  I don't really remember how long it was after that, but I do remember how all of a sudden, I didn't desire to play anymore. 

When we decide to delight in God and really put Him first in our lives, the desires of our hearts become more aligned with His.  Instead of us wanting things for ourselves, we begin to want things for God.  Our hearts undergo an amazing transformation! It is at this point when He keeps His promise and gives us the new desires of our hearts.  All we have to do is put Him first in our lives and completely trust in His will.  All we have to do is completely immerse ourselves in Him.  Are we truly delighting ourselves in the Lord? A quick search of our hearts' desires will help us to answer that question. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


As we approach another graduation at Dothan High School, I can't help but to feel blessed that I get to be a part of kid's lives.  It's such an amazing feeling to see these kids grow-up and mature right before my eyes between the 9th-grade and the 12th-grade. Once they walk across the stage and are awarded their diplomas, their world completely changes as they know it.  Some are scared but most are excited.  With the world at their feet, they literally can do whatever they want to do; the choices are endless.

Over the past couple years, it has really begun sinking-in how quickly timing is flying by. I have to admit that this aging process is for the birds.  Oh, what I would give to be walking across that stage again today with my entire future ahead of me. be young again. But you know what?  When I think deeper on this subject, I realize that with each passing year, I am one step closer to graduating from this world and stepping into my eternal world. When we are called to heaven by Jesus, it will be like walking across the stage of life and receiving something much greater than a diploma.  As good as God has been to us, it's nothing like how good He is going to be when we get to heaven. With Him, our possibilities will be endless.  So will our lives.  No more growing old.  No more sickness.  No more death.  No more sorrow.  What a promotion that will be!!  Christians, our "graduation" is almost at hand. 

Philippians 3:14 says, "I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus"

Father, thank-you for being so good to us.  We long to be with you at this very hour.  Please guide our seniors as they continue their life's journey.  In Jesus name, Amen.    

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quiz Time

Ok, here's a little quiz. Which of the following statements is/are true?

1. TV's Mr. Ed was a horse.

2. Kentucky Fried Chicken changed its name to KFC to eliminate "fried" from its title.

3. Tapping the side of a soda can will prevent it from spewing when opened.

4. Swimming less than 30 minutes after eating will cause cramps.

5. Poinsettia plants are poisonous to humans.

6. The plane in which Buddy Holly died was named American Pie.

7. Elephants are afraid of mice.

8. The Great Wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from the moon.

9. German chocolate cake comes from Germany.

10. Eating turkey will make one sleepy.

So which statements are true? Actually, NONE of them are true; Each one is just an urban legend (Mr. Ed was in fact a zebra). These myths are spread around so much that after a while, we all start believing them. There is no telling how many "facts" we have heard over the years that we believe to be true, but actually are just myths. The only way to know if something is true or not is to investigate or research it ourselves. I used to believe some things from the Bible, not because I had read it, but because I had always heard it. But since I have started studying God's Word, I have realized that some things I have always believed were in the Bible are actually not there. To find out what is actually in the Bible, we need to spend time reading it. A friend of mine likes to say that Bible stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. God's Word is our instruction manual while we are here. In order to follow what His Word says, we must read what it says. Have you read your Bible lately? It will sure help guide your steps. And that, my friend, is no myth!

Romans 10 :17 says, "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."

Father, thank-you for Your Holy Word. Help us to discern what is really in it. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


I love the 70's sitcom All In The Family. I recently bought a few DVD's of the 2nd and 3rd seasons. Archie and Edith Bunker crack me up! They play their parts so well, they almost seem married in real-life. Archie, the always-mad-at-the-world bigot, and Edith, the always-happy "Dingbat" make the show all by themselves. I was watching an episode last night in which Edith got an idea and shared it with Archie. As usual, the idea was a little lame, so Archie popped off at her. He said, "Edith, the next time a thought comes your way, DUCK!"
That could be good advice for all of us. I pray and ask God to lead my steps and thoughts everyday. But how can one tell when a coming-thought is from God or from some place else? We all get thoughts that we think came from God, but then later, we realize it was only our thought, and it was a bad one. I guess it takes lots of practice and lots of praying to get it right all the time. But until then, we really need to size-up our thoughts and decide if they are truly from God or not. Until we learn the difference, maybe we should take Archie's advice. Maybe we should "DUCK" from some of our thoughts.
James 1:5 says, "If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and He will give it to you."

Father, please help us discern those thoughts You give us from other thoughts that come from somewhere else. The Bible teaches us that You will give wisdom to all whom ask. Lord, please give me the wisdom to do Your will. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Summer Vacation

Oh, the excitement, the thrill, the laughter, the anticipation! They are running up and down the halls, hugging everyone in sight! They are about to bubble-over with happiness! And that is just the teachers...imagine how excited the students are! Summer vacation is just 6 days away. Do you remember the excitement you used to feel when you were in school? This is my 18th year as a teacher, and I am just as excited about summer vacation right now as I was when I was a student. Knowing that vacation is close-by gives everyone a boost of adrenaline. We are friendlier to each other. We smile more. It is an awesome feeling!

Why can't we all feel this excited everyday, knowing that Heaven is in our future? Why can't we run around hugging everyone and bragging about what all our Jesus has done for us? He has truly blessed every single one of us, and He is preparing a perfect place for us to spend Eternity. The Bible tells us that there are no words available to describe how wonderful heaven will be. There could only be a few more days left here before He calls us to our perfect home. I am so ready to leave this world behind and be with my Jesus! That will be the best "Summer Vacation" ever!

Jesus said in revelation 22:7, "Look, I am coming soon!"

Father, we long to be with You in heaven. Help us to spread the Good News about Your coming. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Funny How...

Funny how we set our clocks for 6am to rise for work or school but can't seem to get up by 10am Sunday morning for church.

Funny how we call God our father and Jesus our Brother but find it hard to introduce them to our family.

Funny how small "our" sins seem and how big "their" sins are.

Funny how we demand justice for others but Mercy for ourselves.

Funny how we can't think of anything to say when we pray but how easily we can spread the latest gossip.

Funny how we are so quick to take directions from a total stranger but hesitate to take God's directions for our lives.

Funny how churchgoers sing Standing On The Promises but all they do is sit on the premises.

Funny how we want God to answer our prayers, but we refuse to listen to His counsel.

Funny how it is alright to blame God for evil and suffering in the world but it is not necessary to thank Him for what is good and pleasant.

Funny how we believe what the newspaper says but question what the Bible says.

Funny how lewd, crude, and obscene pass so freely through Cyberspace but God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Funny how we can send a thousand jokes through Email but think twice about sending good things about Jesus.

(Author unknown)