Teaching to Learn and Learning to Teach


Obedience to the Golden Rule is “So” Important
January 18, 2012, 8:26 am
Filed under: Christian Living, Cool Finds, Good Advice, Gospel, Lessons Learned from Reading

I really appreciated this post that explains that obedience to the golden rule is linked to remembering God’s goodness to us. It is worth reading the whole thing, but here is a little excerpt to whet your appetite.

We first must understand that God will always do good for us (v.11) — so therefore we can devote ourselves to doing good for others (v.12) … Jesus does not want us to obey the Golden Rule by gritting our teeth and ignoring our own needs so we can care for the needs of others. He wants us to obey by first trusting all our needs to our Father in earnest prayer — resting in the fact that He is rejoicing to do us good with all His heart and soul. Then — trusting that God is passionately pursuing us with good — we can devote ourselves to doing good for others.

 

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God Did This
January 17, 2012, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Christian Living, Counseling, Discipleship, Friends, Lessons Learned, Life

I saw a lot of guilt and bitterness  both in my own life and in the lives of others last semester, that stemmed from not believing God’s sovereignty. Many of us will say that God is sovereign, but then turn around and  say things like, “I know this is beyond my control, but I want there to be something I can do to change this so it doesn’t hurt so and so.” “I’m ruining everything.” “So and so doesn’t know what their sinning against me has cost me. I’m not ready to forgive him yet. He is going to have to earn my trust back.”

Let me clue you in on something. The sovereignty of God means that you or I can’t bring anything into each other’s lives that God does not orchestrate. Stop feeling guilt about not being good enough for that friend or spouse. Stop moping about how your difficulty has affected another when it was something beyond your control. Stop accusing others of harming you or bringing you more than you can bear. Those claims are actually accusing the Lord of not being good. It is accusing Him of being unkind to the person who you have affected or of his unkindness in allowing you to be hurt by another. Instead, we can be certain that nothing comes our way that is not loving and divinely orchestrated. That’s good news! That includes break-ups, financial struggles, limitations, sins, and the whole gammet.

Yes, that boy may have been insensitive. Yes, your illness may have come at some cost to your roommate. Yes, your moving away brings great sorrow to those who love you. Yes, that teacher is harder than the others and yes, his B may have cost you a scholarship… this trial was dealt to you by the hand of God. Take it as such and rejoice. Rejoice at seeing your heart. If you didn’t sin in response to this trial, rejoice at seeing the Spirit at work in you. If you are suffering and not sinning, rejoice at coming to know the Lord more fully. Rejoice at sharing in his suffering. Rejoice at your need for Christ. Rejoice at your opportunity to not only model Christ’s response but to help that other believer that wronged you look more like Christ too.

Let the sovereignty of God cure you of moping and bitterness and instead be replaced with rejoicing and loving service to God and others.

 



Small Resolutions to be Faithful In
January 1, 2012, 7:20 am
Filed under: Christian Living, Community, Good Advice, My life, work

Just read a post by Stephen Altrogge on New Year’s resolutions, which I found very helpful. And so, here are my Resolutions for 2012,

Personal:

  • Work on my handwriting each week as I write notes
  • Stick to the Bible Reading Plan I’ve selected
  • Hang out with friends outside of the dorm at least once every two weeks
  • Spend 30 minutes a week working on a foreign language
  • Work out once a week – I know it is small, but you have to start somewhere.
  • Read one book for leisure a month or see one movie
  • Memorize one verse a week

Ministry:

  • Write a note a week. This is something I’ve gotten out of the practice of. I used to write notes all the time in college, even though my roommate said that no one could read them because of my messy writing :), but now a days it seems like there is never time or I don’t have the brain power to do anything worthwhile. That has got to change.
  • Every Sunday spend time looking at the month ahead to prepare personally and better communicate to my staff
  • Pray regularly for eyes to see how the Spirit is at work in people’s lives to encourage them with what I see.
  • Dsomething spontaneous or silly with the girls at least once a month
  • And I don’t know how to turn this into a resolution that’s doable since it is more of a mind shift, but here is an excellent post on caring for the person God has placed before you in that moment instead of being preoccupied with that girl on the opposite side of the room who you are not talking to.


R&R at a B&B

Okay, so I’m not staying at a Bed and Breakfast this week, but I am staying at a friend’s home at Mount Hermon. They are gone, but I am here. The hikes, the sleep, the quiet, the reading, the pinning, the video-watching, the outdoors, the indoors, and opportunities to hear myself think have been lovely. I haven’t slept as well since I don’t know when but definitely not since moving into the dorm. On campus there is continual life and noise. Even with the students gone there are fire alarms, car alarms, tennis players, knocks on the door, grounds crew people outside making noise, a crow flying into my window over and over in the morning to wake me up…  I’m so thankful for the couple who see what God has given them as an opportunity to serve others and minister through hospitality. It makes me dream of someday being able to do the same. A retreat house up here would be nice because it’s only an hour away from the fam and because I am more of a mountain girl than a beach girl, but here they have the best of both worlds since the beach is only 30 minutes away :).



The Long Awaited Messiah
December 20, 2011, 8:37 am
Filed under: Christian Living, Family, Lessons Learned

Gifts not only represent the great gift received on that first Christmas – God incarnate, they can be a good example for kids of the expected Messiah, the long-awaited Messiah. On this end it can be hard to imagine the longing God-followers had before Christ, but waiting until Christmas eve, Christmas morning, or Christmas afternoon can be a small taste of that expectation for kids. Explain that as a part of giving gifts at Christmas.



Increase My Faith
November 16, 2011, 3:35 pm
Filed under: Christian Living, Good Advice, Gospel, Lessons Learned from Reading, Vocation, work

Recently my group of coworkers read a chapter from a book on words of life and words of death. It examined the counsel that Jesus gave to the people He encountered. It caused us to think about I Thessalonians 5:14. To be helpful we must choose our words wisely. They must not only be true but they must address that individual where they are at. The article reminded me of the fact that most people come into counseling with their interpretation of the problem and the solution. Martha did. She thought the situation was that she needed to put on a fine meal, the problem was her sister, and the solution was Jesus telling her sister to get her petuty into the kitchen to work. Jesus didn’t reply the way she wanted. To reply the way she wanted, would have been harmful to Martha. It wouldn’t have brought life to her soul it would have caused her to rely on herself, be preoccupied with making a meal, and to continue to judge God in thinking that He didn’t care for her, if He didn’t respond the way she wanted Him to, in order for her to control the situation. Instead he says, “Martha, Martha, You are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the better portion and for that she will be rewarded.”

I am a people pleaser and as such these words about counsel are hard to think about. I need my faith, wisdom, grace, and love for God and people to be increased by God so I can walk in the Spirit and minister rightly. If I walk in the flesh, my counsel, is going to lead people away from Christ not to Him.

In chapel, a speaker spoke on evangelism. He said the fields are ripe for harvest and yet we tend to look at them and say they are green… Who can live this way? God why did you choose me? I’m so awkward, I’m not a good representative. Why didn’t you choose the best, the brightest, and the suave to represent you?

If God wanted to bring a person to the saving knowledge of Himself or encourage, confront, and have them change He could snap and it would be done perfectly. Instead He chooses to graciously and patiently work through imperfect you and me and He gets the glory and He works for our good.

Recently there have been a number of things where I have been led to cry out in response to God’s commands or God’s call on my life, “Who is sufficient for these things?” “Why did you choose me? Why didn’t you choose someone who was wise or more gifted, someone who wasn’t broken and didn’t mess things up?” “Lord, increase my faith and increase my love!!!” I’ve been led to see my desperate need for Him and I’ve been reminded of the confidence I have in the Holy Spirit abiding within me. I see the work He has done and I know that He will be faithful to continue it. I have a confidence that He will grow my faith and He will foster more love in my heart because He is faithful and He will finish the work He has begun in His perfect way in the perfect time. One day I will be with Him and I will be like Him and I will see Him as He is but for now I will walk humbly and faithfully, confessing my failures and sins, and depending on Him for truth, growth, and life. And in the mean time, I join with the disciples at seeing the great call of Jesus to forgive others in Luke 17, in saying, “Increase my faith!”



Surely Goodness and Mercy…

On Sunday night, I had the opportunity to go to a Getty Concert in Orange County. It was at a church and there wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Master’s people spotted the auditorium. It was nice to chat with different people that I knew and that I had never met but who as fellow believers had a lot to talk with me about. The highlights for me were:

a. Talking with the pastor’s wife (I know two of her daughters, but had never talked with her.)

b. Hearing Keith Getty talk about writing hymns for every day life (They played one on money for us that was excellent.).

c. Hearing a song from their Christmas CD and buying it a few days before it was released (Yes, I have been listening to it. It’s okay to dwell on the incarnation every day of the year and not just from Thanksgiving to New Years :) ).

d. Being reminded of many theological truths to an Irish tune as well as putting words to many of my longings that I have not been able to put words to.

e. Pastor De Courcy’s 15-min-sermon entitled “Bright Hope for Tomorrow”

The concert was food for my soul. Here are the brief notes I took on my iphone from the sermonette. I wasn’t fast enough on my iphone to catch it all, but in 15 minutes he gave me a lot to think about and meditate on. I hope this encourages you the way it encouraged me.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

This verse reveals a man expectant about tomorrow. David is writing a memoir to God’s mercy. Psalm 23 is an autobiography of David’s life. He says, “What I have been to my fathers flock, God has been to me 100x more.” He spends the psalm reflecting on God as shepherd. Since the Lord is his shepherd, he shall not want for mercy. Verse 6 does not depart from the David’s theme of God as Shepherd. Gods sheepdogs are called goodness and mercy. They bark at his heals egging him on. They make sure we don’t go astray. They pursue after us. A modern analogy would be that they act like body guards.

This is a promise of God’s goodness and mercy. David is confident God’s love and mercy will pursue him breathlessly throughout life. Surely shows assurance. No ifs ands or buts. This confidence comes from recounting of God’s past faithfulness. David looks at mile markers of his life and says God has been with me and will be with me. Find mile markers of mercy to increase your faith. We see David doing this in I Sam 17:34. David puts Goliath’s armor in his tent. What a testimony, a reminder.

There is an objective element too which leads David to put his confidence in the mercy and goodness of God. That comes from knowing and thinking on the character of God. He starts the passage with “The Lord”- YHWH- the covenant name of God. God’s self-sufficiency, immortality,
and immutability are seen in this name. He is the Timeless One. He cannot change for better because He is perfect and He can’t change for worse because He is perfect. If He’s all He needs for Him to be, then how much more so for us. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

Notice the partnership of God’s goodness and mercy. He is both those things to us.  Goodness is his kind actions, gifts, and benevolence (Acts 14:17). He blesses our lives physically and spiritual. The best picture of goodness is His sending Christ. Mercy is God’s goodness coming after us despite our sin (Lame 3:22-23;Ps 103:10). You must meditate on mercy to appreciate His goodness. We can become so expectant of grace. At first we are awed, then surprised, then we start to demand it. Don’t be accustomed to grace!

God’s goodness and mercy pursue us. This verb denotes following, but it is more beautiful than that when you consider David’s life. Usually used of fowl intent. In Exodus it is used for the pursuit by Pharaoh’s army. It is a beautiful word and image for David who lived on the run. God’s mercy and goodness pursued me as I ran. They ran after me and met me in my need. Keep the image in mind of God’s goodness and mercy always sniffing us out and pursuing us like a sheep dog. Allow that to catch up to us. Be careful about running after things you are defining good under the sun. You can’t get to 23 without 22 prediction of the good shepherd laying down life for the sheep. True religion all about personal pronouns David knew that the Lord was His Shepherd and that God’s goodness and kindness pursued him and that gave him an expectant hope for the future.