Monday, August 31, 2009

A Scene I Will Never Forget

They say that the youth of today are rude, loud, and completely without morals and values. Although that may be true about some of them, and some adults too for that matter, what I witnessed Friday night was far from it. After the referee collapsed on the sideline of the Dothan-Eufaula game, you could hear a pin drop as medics were frantically trying to revive him. I have included a picture of the scene from Friday night. It is a scene of some of our football players huddled up together praying for him. What you can't see in the picture is the other side of the field. On that side, the Eufaula players were also huddled up praying. It was at that very moment that football did not matter anymore to anyone. It was at that moment that we were all reminded just how precious life really is. As a teacher for the past 15 years, I can honestly say that today's teenagers are awesome! Please rest assured that they do still have morals and values. And as the two teams demonstrated Friday night, they also still have a belief in our awesome God!

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Sad Devotion

It was the most terrible thing I have ever witnessed in my life! While announcing our high school football game tonight, I along with hundreds of spectators witnessed God calling Home the head referee. He was about to signal a penalty early in the first quarter, but then collapsed on the field. Within seconds, medical teams were administering CPR. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The entire stadium was in shock. God bless his family and all his friends.

Tonight was a sad reminder just how quickly life can end. If you know someone who is not saved, I urge you to tell them about Jesus Christ. We never know when we will take our last breath; we never know when our time will be up. I learned that the referee was a devoted Christian and is in the loving arms of Jesus right now. Praise God! It is so sad to hear of someone dying, let alone actually watching it happen right before your eyes. But it would be far worse to learn that the person was not a Christian. I am still pretty shaken about what I witnessed tonight. But I do find peace in knowing the referee is in heaven. Friends, now is the time to share Christ with everyone you love.

Exodus 33:14 says, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."

Father, please be with his family and also be with all those hundreds of people who watched his life come to an end. In Jesus name, Amen.

A "Sign" Of The End Times

It was bound to happen sooner or later. There is a sign on the highways of Florida now, financed by some atheist group, that says, "Being a good person doesn't require God. Don't believe in God? You're not alone." I take great offence to this sign, although part of me gets very happy and excited! The Bible teaches us that in the End Times, people will turn away from God in droves. Maybe this sign is a "sign" of those times predicted thousands of years ago. I totally agree with the first part of the Florida sign. It is true that to be a good person, you may not need God. But to be a SAVED person, you absolutely do need His Son Jesus Christ!

Not only does this sign point to the End times, but it also shows just how much work we as Christians still have to do. The fact that Jesus has not come back yet demonstrates the incredible patience and mercy of God. There are still people who need to be saved and to come into the Christian family. God does not want anyone to perish. But one day, perhaps very soon, He will decide it has been enough time. He may be getting frustrated with those of us who are Christians who choose not to tell others about Him. Remember, we can't save them; That's God's job. But our job is to at least share with them the Good News that is Christ. The Florida sign suggests we may not be doing our jobs very well. But God will help us if we will just ask Him. It's not too late...yet.

2 Corinthians 4:3 says, "But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost."

Father, please help us to share the great news about your Son Jesus. Forgive those who still do not believe. Use us as you see fit to help them. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Good Am I

Some how my students and I got into a discussion yesterday about how we can Glorify God. I told them that God gives talents to everyone, and we are to use those talents for His glory. There is no greater feeling in the world than to be doing the very thing God called us to do. I know He called me to be a teacher. For me, it is more than a job and even more than a career. For me, teaching is a passion! I am using it to Glorify the Lord. But I got asked a question that I was not sure how to answer. One of my students asked me about her cousin. She is confined to a wheelchair, mentally retarded, can't speak, and can't even do the very basic things you and I take for granted. How can she glorify God in her condition? Wow! What would you answer? I prayed, searched the Bible, prayed some more, and well, here I am still contemplating it. I am still not sure I have a satisfactory answer.

I do know this. The Bible tells us that when Jesus comes back for us, we will all be transformed into brand-new, perfect bodies. No wheelchairs, crutches, canes, or any other human imperfection will exist any longer. So what will we be doing in heaven for eternity with perfect bodies? The Bible tells us that we will be in service to the Lord. Maybe all that we go through here on earth is in preparation for some special service we will perform in heaven. Maybe this is our training ground for what is to come. That concept is not foreign to us. We go to colleges or trade schools to be specially trained for certain jobs. That training is not always easy, and I can tell you getting a degree in Math was very hard at times. But it was all necessary for me to become a teacher, and so maybe all the trials we have to endure here is for the same reason when we get to heaven. I am sure one day it will all become very clear to us. In the meantime, let's just trust the Lord and remember that He does not make mistakes!

2 Samuel 22:31 says, "As for God, His way is perfect; the Word of the Lord is tried: He is a buckler to all them that trust in Him."

Father, we don't understand everything that You do. But help us to keep our trust in You and to always strive to glorify Your name. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


I have a little fact that is sure to make you feel old. Do you remember Macaulay Culkin? He was that little boy in the movie Home Alone. Guess what? He is 29 years old today. 29! Where has all the time gone? Every year, it seems to go by faster and faster. Poets and songwriters alike write about this thing we call time. One song says that it is "flowing like a river to the sea", another says that it keeps on "slippin' slippin' slippin' into the future." My favorite "time" line from a song is, "and all your money, won't another minute buy." Time is a strange thing. We sometimes have too much of it, yet other times, we never seem to have enough. We find ourselves wasting it at times, though oftentimes, we are searching for ways to save it. We have good times and bad times, fast times, and slow times. We get accused of living in past times, or maybe even living in future times. But no mater how we spend our time, God gives us all the same amount of time in each day.

It's not the amount of time that is important, it is how we spend that time that really matters. It is wise to learn from the past and to plan for the future, but we can only live in the now. Of course I am not telling you anything you haven't already heard. But I think I need to keep hearing it. I find myself wishing my life away. I catch myself saying things like, "I wish it was Saturday", or "I wish it was Christmas", or "I wish it was summer break". Time is moving much too fast for me to hurry it along any faster. God did tell us to work here for our future in heaven, but the key is to work for it now. The present is truly a present from God. I know for me, it is high-time I start using it for His Glory!

Proverbs 6:9 says, "But you, lazybones, how long will you sleep? When will you wake up?"

Father, thank you for giving us time. teach us not to waste it, and to use it for Your Glory. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

God's Email Address

Isn't Email wonderful? I don't mean all the junk mail that bombards our in-boxes. I mean the convenience of sending people Email anytime of the day or night. It is a very simple way to keep in touch with friends and family. Sometimes it is even better than a phone call because we don't have to worry if our Email is catching them at a bad time. They simply check it when they can and respond if necessary. I find myself sending more Email these days than I ever have before. After I write these devotions, they are forwarded to over 500 people! Perhaps you forward theses devotions to others too. If so, thank you very much. Email is also a simple way to keep my parents informed of their child's progress at the school. Technology is so cool!

Wouldn't it be nice if we had God's Email address? That would be awesome to be able to send Him an Email anytime, day or night. What would you ask Him? What would you tell Him? Can you imagine just how peaceful it would be to be able to communicate back and forth with God? What a great way to start and finish each day. If only we had His Email address...But wait! We do have His Email address. It is "Dear God". A simple prayer to God is actually much better than Email; It gets there a whole lot faster! And the best part: It is never returned as undeliverable. Do we communicate with God as much as we communicate with other people through Email? If not, maybe our priorities need some rearranging. Life is fragile. Handle with prayer.

Psalm 55:17 says, "Evening, morning, and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice."

Father, thank you for listening to us each time we pray. Please encourage us to do it more often. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, August 24, 2009

But We Won, Right?

This past Friday Night, Dothan High won their Jamboree game against Jeff Davis of Montgomery, 13-0. Being that we have only won a handful of games in the past 4 years, that's a really big deal, practice game or not. But coaches have a way of seeing things that the rest of us do not. Although we did win the game, and had moments of greatness, we also had moments where we looked totally awful! The coaches and players should not be satisfied with that win. Happy yes, but not satisfied. There were many things that the team must improve on before they tangle with powerhouse Eufaula this week. I can still remember a commercial on TV where a coach is screaming at his team in the locker room after a game. He is all but cussing them up one side and down the other. After his long outburst of yelling, a player finally asked, "But coach, didn't we win the game?"

Jesus died for us, and if we have accepted Him, then we are saved and heading to heaven; We have "won" the game. We certainly should be happy with that but not satisfied. If we take moral inventory of our lives, I am sure we will find many areas that need improving. We can never fix every area and live a perfect life. Nobody is able to do that. But we should not use that as an excuse not to try. Just as a team must strive to get better everyday, so do we. The only way we are able to get better is through the strength of Jesus. We probably will fail often. But God understands that human part of us. It is one thing to try and fail, it is something totally different to never even try at all. Will we stand before Him in heaven one day and plead, "But didn't we win?"

Revelation 21:7 says, "He that overcometh shall inherit all things."

Father, thank you for not requiring us to be perfect. But also, thank you for giving us strength to try. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Goodbye My Friend

My friend that I told you about in Friday's devotion has passed away. My heart goes out to her husband, kids, and family. Although I never spoke to her on Friday, I could tell from her Email that she was in turmoil and searching desperately for peace. Janie has finally found the ultimate peace; She is in Jesus' loving arms this very second. Please make sure you tell all your friends and family how much you love them today. If there is any unresolved matter, I encourage you to call or Email them and take care of it right now. Forgive them. Allow them to forgive you. We should all live as if this was our last day. For all we know, it just might be.

Psalm 34:18 says, "The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

Father, please take care of Janie and her family. Comfort them in the way that only You can. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blast From The Past

I received a some-what disturbing Email today. A friend of mine from the past sent me a very long Email detailing events from her life over the last 7 years. It was the first time I had heard from her since 2002. She hurt me very badly back then and was Emailing me an apology and asking if I would forgive her. Of course I forgave her a long time ago and told her that today in a responding Email. The disturbing part is how things in her life have transpired over the past several years. Since 2002, she has become disabled, has sought personal counseling, and has now learned she may have a terminal illness. She decided to bring her life to Christ and to turn it all over to Him. Apparently, she also hurt a lot of other people in her past, too. She felt led to ask each one for forgiveness. I am not disabled nor do I have a terminal illness, but I certainly know how painful the guilt feels from betraying the trust of a loved one. Although most have forgiven me, and more importantly God has forgiven me, I still feel sad when I think about whom all I have managed to hurt.

It is never too late to turn our life over to Jesus and to try to make amends with people from our past. There is no guarantee that everyone we hurt will forgive us, but we are assured that God always will! He is a very loving God, full of grace and compassion. It is a nice feeling to know that we can not out-sin His forgiveness. Asking those we hurt for forgiveness is a major step in the recovery process. But what should we do if somebody will not forgive us? Absolutely nothing. All we can do is sincerely ask them for it and then leave the rest up to God. If they choose not to pardon us, we should just pray and ask God to help them. As hard as it can be, their inability to forgive us should not hinder our own recovery. God has a way of dealing with each one of us in His Own time. My friend today taught me not only the value of asking for forgiveness, but also the value of forgiving.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:14, "If you forgive others when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you."

Lord, please forgive me of all my sins. Help me to always forgive those who sin against me. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

To Be Or Not To Be

I enjoy watching the Bio channel on TV. Some of my favorite movie stars and musicians are featured on there, and I enjoy learning more about their lives. What fascinates me is how I can watch a character they portray on TV for years, but then when I see them in an interview, they are a completely different person. I have to remember that on TV, they are only acting. Henry Winkler portrayed the lovable, but rough-around-the-edges Fonzie on Happy Days. But when I see him in interviews, he is so down to earth, humble, and soft-spoken. Then there are those who portray sweet, innocent characters on TV, but in interviews, they are far from that character. It is amazing how these actors can "get into character" so easily. It must take real talent!

But most of us act well too, even without any formal training. How many of us act one way around one group of people, but then completely different around a another group? Think about church for a minute. We all put on those smiling faces, walk around shaking hands, and seem to be super Christian while we are there. But come Monday morning at work, are we the same? We can sure put on a good act can't we? Throughout today, see if you can detect if you change in the way you act around certain people. Then ask yourself, "What would Jesus say if He saw me acting this way?" After all, He always sees how we act.

Matthew 13:43 says, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their father."

Lord, please forgive us for acting in ways that don't please You. Please help us to do a better job of "being ourselves". In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's Not Fair

Isn't "fair" a hard thing to define? We hear it all the time- probably even complain about it ourselves. On one hand we like to think we live in a world that is fair, but in reality, we know it is just not so. This week in 1969, one of the worst hurricanes in history, Camille, slammed into the Mississippi Gulf Coast with 200-mph winds, killing almost 250 people. Was that fair that some of those poor souls lost their lives while others were sparred? The Bible tells us that such tragedies occur because of sin in the world, but it is not a one-to-one correspondence. We all sin, and we all experience tragedy. But we have to admit that some tragedies are far worse than others. Does that mean that the people who sin the "most" experience the worst tragedy? Of course not!

In the 13th chapter of Luke, Jesus made reference to a falling tower in Siloam. Jesus asked His disciples if they supposed that the 18 who were killed were worst sinners than anybody else. He explained that their individual sins had nothing to do with it, and that they should all count themselves lucky that it did not happen to them. We see and hear about it all the time. Falling bridges, hurricanes, and a host of other tragedies occur every single day. Some would call it just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Is it fair to blame God for these events? Before we blame God, maybe we should consider His Amazing Grace instead. Was it fair that He called Jesus "sin" when Jesus was an innocent man? Was it fair that Jesus was made to suffer, be humiliated, and forced to die an agonizing death in our place?

James 5:11 says, "The Lord is full of compassion and mercy."

Father, thank you for loving us and protecting us. Help us to focus on the great things You do, and not on the bad things You allow. In Jesus name, Amen.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

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)

Friday, August 14, 2009

Get Closer To Me

Today, singer Dash Croft turned 71 years old. You might remember him as half of the duo Seals and Croft. They scored a few top-10 songs in the 70's including "Get Closer". The hook of the song is: "Darlin, if you want me to be closer to you, get closer to me." Not only was that good advice for a relationship with a spouse, but also great advice for our relationship with God.

Many times it seems that God is not listening to us when we cry out to Him. The Bible promises that He does hear us, and that he will never leave us to deal with stuff alone. I have found that when I make a deliberate attempt to pray and study His Word, I do feel Him getting closer to me. I am not talking about just saying a generic prayer and just reading a few lines from the Bible. I am talking about a genuine heart-felt conversation with Him. I am talking about really getting deep into His Word and searching for what he is truly trying to teach me. When I do those things, I honestly do feel Him closer than ever. What an awesome Lord we serve! He is a Lord who genuinely cares about us and wants to help us everyday. Do you want God to get closer to you? Then get closer to Him!

James 4:8 says, "Draw close to God, and He will draw close to you."

Father, thank you for loving us enough to want to help us everyday. Teach us to truly draw close to You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm So Scared

I lived in New Jersey in the 7th grade. Half-way through that school year, I moved to Alabama. Although I was born in Alabama, it was still a culture shock for me. The scariest thing is going to a new school during the year. It feels like you are all alone on an island, and nobody around knows you or seems to understand the trauma you are going through. I see it every new school year at Dothan High. Every year, we get a fresh crop of Freshman. They move about the halls of this huge school also feeling scared and all alone. As teachers, we try to comfort them and let them know that in only a few days, they will find their way all around the school and will be like an old pro! Sure enough, in only a few days, all their worries and fears are gone. They soon learn to love our school, and they wonder why they worried so much. If you have ever moved to a new school as a student, you know exactly how these precious students feel.

When we are dealing with stress and anxiety, we long for peace of mind and heart. Situations pop up and rob us of our joy. We call out to God for help. Like a young student lost in the shuffle of changing classes with 1400 other students, we long for somebody to get us through it. God hears us and He responds. Just as a teacher, I know it is only a few days before my students learn their way around, God also knows it is only a few days before we, too, find our way. We have to do exactly what those young students must do: Keep on going! We pray to the Lord, have faith in Him, but we still keep on keeping-on. He will get us there...If we just don't give up!

Lamentations 3:25 says, "The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him."

Father, please help us wade through our particular circumstances today. We trust you for everything! In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Buster's Ice Cream

A couple years ago while I was announcing a Northview High School football game, I really put my foot in my mouth. Early in the 4th quarter, I was reading an ad for an ice cream store here in Dothan. When I was done reading the ad, I felt the weight of many stares from people in the press box as well as in the stands. The official in the press box with me asked, "What was the name of that ice cream store?" My reply was, "Buster's." He then asked, "Don't you mean Brusters?" I quickly looked back at the copy and sure enough, he was right. I had misread Brusters as Busters. About that time, I received a text message from a friend of mine in the stands. The text read, "It's Brusters not Busters." I was about as red-faced as I had ever been in broadcasting. I had just turned 40-years old and I guess my eyesight decided to take a nose-dive. How in the world did I miss that "r" in Bruster's?

Just because our sight may start to slip, that's no reason our vision should too. As long as we keep Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, He will make sure our vision is sharper than ever. He leads our steps everyday. He healed many blind people in the Scriptures. He literally gave physical sight to those who could not see. But more importantly, He also gave them spiritual vision. As we grow older, our physical sight may start to fade. But that does not mean our vision has to as well. Put Jesus in charge of your vision. He will make it 20/20, even if your sight is way off.

Psalm 30:2 says, "O Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me."

Father, thank you for leading my steps. I know I have an important job trying to lead our young people. But I can't do it with out your help. Thank you for giving me my vision. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Touched By An Angel

I have always loved the TV show Touched By An Angel, starring Roma Downey. It still comes on the Hallmark channel, and I set my DVR to record it everyday so I can watch it at night. Most episodes touch my heart and actually bring me to tears. But I recently noticed something peculiar about it. I have never, ever seen an episode where they talk about Jesus. They always talk about God and the Father, but they never say anything about the Son, Jesus. Don't get me wrong, the show is awesome, and I will continue to watch it. But the fact that Jesus is not mentioned really bothers me. I guess the writers of the show are trying to be politically correct since not all people who believe in God actually believe in His Son, Jesus. Is that really such a big deal? Oh yes, it most certainly is!

According to the Bible, not accepting God's Son Jesus is just as bad as being an atheist. Wow! I know that is a very strong statement, and it is sure to ruffle a few feathers. But these are not my words. I get this straight from the Bible, I John to be exact. In verse 23 of the second chapter, it says, "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either, he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also." There are many religions around the world, and our own nation for that matter, that believe in God but not in the Son. Then according to the Bible, the people of those religions don't really have the Father like they think they do. Christ in the main theme throughout the entire Bible. I am not knocking or judging any body's beliefs. But according to Scripture, Jesus is the only way. He said boldly, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Nobody comes to the Father accept by me." Have you accepted Jesus today?

Father, thank you for Your Son and for loving us enough to send Him to us. I pray for all those who have yet to accept Him. Teach us how to lead them to Christ. In Jesus name, Amen.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Give Me A Little Credit

With each passing day, our economy gets worse and worse. People are having to borrow money just to make ends meet. Borrowing money certainly costs one more in the long-run, but sometimes it can not be avoided. Loan companies are making a killing off people, especially those with less-than-perfect credit. The worse a person's credit, the higher the interest rate. The loan companies make decisions about you based on your past credit history. Bad things happen to good people. But that does not matter to those companies. Any blemish on your credit record equates to higher payments and a much higher total payoff in the end. Why should my past experience dictate my future? Thank God He doesn't use this kind of "logic".

Our past has absolutely nothing to do with our future in the eyes of the Lord. We have a choice about our future. We can choose eternal life or eternal death. We have all sinned, but no sin is so great that God will not forgive us. Our "credit" with Him is perfect, no matter how many blemishes we have on it. All we have to do is ask Jesus for our "loan". He will instantly wipe our "credit" slates clean. We don't have to wait for the bad stuff to fall off the credit report years later, either. Jesus does it all instantly for us! That is what His amazing grace is all about. And best of all, His loans have NO interest rate, NO monthly payments, and NO "introductory rate". It is a lifetime, and Eternal Lifetime offer. Ask Jesus to give you some credit today.

Jeremiah 29:11 says, "I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Father, thank you for Your amazing Grace! I know as long as my trust is in You, I will prosper. In Jesus name, Amen.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet

In 1974, the Canadian band Bachman Turner Overdrive, also known as BTO, had a #1 smash hit with You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet. You may already be singing the song in your head, as the lyrics are somewhat strange. Well not so much the lyrics as the way the lyrics were sung on the radio: Ba-ba-ba-baby, you ain't seen na-na-na-nothing yet. What is the deal with the way they sang it? The story goes that one day the band was fooling around in the studio with their song. They never really intended for it to be a hit, so they were just goofing around singing it like various singers would do it. They sung it jokingly like Elvis, Tiny Tim, Bob Dylan, and such. Well that particular day, their drummer, who had a stuttering problem, was not present in the studio. So they began singing the song like he would sing it...stuttering all through it. The rest is Rock n Roll history!

The members of BTO were not poking fun at their drummer as much as they were celebrating what he brought to the band. In an indirect way, he was responsible for the group's only #1 hit record. We are all different. God created us in unique ways, complete with our own talents, smarts, and levels of creativity. We also have our own quirks and less-than-perfect ways. But through God's perfect ways, we all have something to contribute to others. Regardless what our particular hang-ups may be, we all have the power to overcome those hang-ups and to do some incredible things. The key, though, is to put Christ at the center of our lives. Since He created us, He also knows how to lead us to make a huge impact on the people around us. God is good, and even if we are not, He is able to still use in in good ways. Today, let's celebrate our differences. It is so easy to point a finger at others for their faults. But if we are truly honest with ourselves, we know we have just as many as they do, if not more. Yet God does not point a finger at us.

I John 4:7 says, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God."

Father, please teach us to love one another, regardless of what our faults may be. Remind us that we are not perfect, but You are. And it is only through You that we can make a real impact on others. In Jesus name, Amen.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Time For A Cool Change

I am starting my 15th year of teaching mathematics in Alabama's public school system. Teaching is my passion! It is a true Calling from God Himself. I always strive to make a difference in the lives of children. But I have a confession to make. Last year, I did the absolute worst job I have ever done as a teacher. Granted, the year was filled with personal tragedies, especially on the last Friday of November. I will never forget that horrible day. In fact, I am still haunted by it to this very second. Unfortunately, I allowed my personal life to interfere with my professional one. I did not mean for it to happen. But considering the severity of my tragedy, it was so incredibly difficult for me to prevent it from spilling over into all other areas of my life. Last night I had a powerful dream. In that dream, God reminded my why I began teaching in the first place: To make a difference in the lives of children!

We all know how hard it can be to move past difficult circumstances that arise in our lives. But with God's help, I have started to heal a little bit. Oh, I know I will never completely heal from what happened. But God has never stopped trying to help me move past it. This year, I am going to hit the ground running. Kids need good role models. I have asked the Lord to help me be the best role model that I have ever been. I have a very big heart for my students, even though it has not been beating as loudly lately as it has in the past. With God's help though, I am going to shift into high-gear and put every single one of my students at the top of my efforts. I truly love those kids, even when I want to pinch their heads off some days. But It is not fair to them to allow myself to be less than my best. God will help me! This school year will be the very best one yet! I know I still have tons of healing to do. But with His help, I am going to get back into my element: Making a difference in the lives of children! There is power in prayer. I ask that you stop for a moment and say a little prayer for me. And also pray for not only my students, but for every single student in our great country. They are indeed our future. And with God leading all of us, parents, teachers, and students, we can't miss!

3 John 1:4 says, "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

Father, please help me to be the best teacher I have ever been. I know I can do nothing without You. In Jesus name, Amen.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

What Are The Odds?

In the math course I am teaching at Wallace College, we are learning about probability and odds of various things happening. I was shocked to learn the following fact: A person's odds of living any given year is always greater than their chance of dying, until they reach 117 years old! In other words, until we reach the age of 117, we have a better chance of living than dying. At age 40, the probability of the average person dying that year is only .5%...meaning that there is about a 99.5% chance they will not die that year. Now compare this probability to that of winning the current Florida Lottery. The chance of you winning the Florida Lottery is 23,000 times less than your chance of dying at age 40! You and I are not going to win that lottery. Yes, someone will, but it will not be us.

I guess you can tell it is Shark Week on The Discovery Channel. I keep eluding to these creatures this week in my devotions. Although more people die every year from falling coconuts than from shark attacks, would that make you feel any better if you were in the water with a 16-foot, 4000 pound Great White? If you knew there was a chance, no matter how slight it may be, that there was a huge Great White along the beach, would you still go in? Although your chance of dying at age 40 is less than 1%, do you still carry life insurance? So then why do people not believe in God, although there is a chance He is real and could come back to earth this year? I do not know what the odds are that He will come back this year. I doubt there is any clear way to calculate that. But I am not taking any chances. We carry life insurance. So why don't we also carry Everlasting Life insurance? The odds could be 10 billion to one, but since "carrying" His everlasting Life insurance does not cost me anything, and everlasting is forever, why would I even think about taking a chance on it?

Jesus said in John 3:36, "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life."

Father, thank you for Jesus. Please help us to get the Good News about Him out to everybody, before it is too late. In Jesus name, Amen.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Philly Firsts

Philadelphia. It is an amazing city with an unparalleled history, richer than any other American city. Philly is a city of firsts. It served as our nation's first capital. It opened the first public school. It bought the first fire engine. It erected the first brick house, printed the first almanac, created the first botanical garden, opened the first zoo, started the first newspaper, opened the first hospital, and at least 100 other firsts. It was also the home of Charles Vansant, the first documented shark victim on American record. It happened along the Jersey Shore in the summer of 1916, and was the real-life inspiration for the 1975 movie Jaws by Steven Spielberg. In a span of less than two weeks, a rogue shark attacked 5 victims in New Jersey, four of which died from their injuries. What makes that year so unique is that only one person since then has died from a shark attack on the Jersey coast. Up until that summer, "experts" never even suspected that a shark could kill a man. Today, it seems nothing unusual to hear about a shark attack, although the chances of one dying from an attack is less than one's chance of being killed by a falling coconut! The summer of 1916 brought a strong heat wave to the N.E., and that also resulted in many more people venturing out into the water. Where is God at times like these?

That is a very hard question of which I feel nobody has an adequate answer. It is true that God performs miracles everyday. But most of the time, He chooses not to violate the very Laws of nature that He created. He put sharks in the water, and apparently, made them the kings of the water. They are perfect killing machines. Despite this fact, thousands and thousands of swimmers hit the beaches everyday, never to even be threatened by a shark. But we know it happens. And we know it can happen at any time man and shark mix in the shark's very habitat. Atheists use these incidences of shark attacks and other tragedies to argue that there is no God. How could a loving God allow such awful things to happen? I, just as you, have probably wondered that same thing many times. Why doesn't God help us in those times? My mentor explained to me that if God helped us all the time, so we could avoid danger, then we would expect Him to help us no matter what situation we got ourselves into. I have faith in God, but if I walk out in front of a car, I still expect to be seriously injured, if not even killed. We should have faith in God. But God also gave us a brain. Many tragedies could probably be avoided if people used the brain He gave them. Yes, it is very good to depend on Him completely for every single need that we have. But we should never expect Him to help us all the time, especially when we do foolish things that may increase our chances of being in a tragedy. We should use our faith. But we also must use our brains and the good sense God gave all of us.

Proverbs 15:33 says, "The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor."

Father, please help us to not only have faith in You, but also help us to make the right choices in life. In Jesus name, Amen.