< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: October 2006

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Peace Clothing and Gift Line

I wanted to share with you this peace cross design my husband came up with for a church service. He gave it to me and I put it on some of the products in my online store: Christian Gifts

They are in my Christian section and make great gifts for those you love and who love the Lord.

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Monday, October 30, 2006

How Can I Encourage Others?

A way we hurt people is to be too busy. Too busy to drop that note of comfort or encouragement or assurance of love. Too busy when someone needs to talk. Too busy to simply care.

A true servant of God is someone who helps another succeed. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.” (1 Thess. 5:11) You can never speak a fine word too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.

Rather than give personal advice, how much better would it be for Christians to share God’s loving promises.

We should learn all we can from our personal problems, so that we can fulfill a ministry of comfort, just as Jesus did. We are surrounded by hurting people. We should be approachable and available.

“But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called today.” Hebrews 3:13

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Be an Encourager

Paul was one of the great encouragers. In fact in 1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 he says, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying, but test everything; hold fast what is good, abstain from every form of evil.”

My daughter and I each went on a special church retreat called The Walk to Emmaus, where family and friends wrote the participants letters which they were surprised with on the last day. Our letters said great things about us. Things we wished were true! Even partly true! But, they were encouraging because they made us want to grow in that direction.

I think Paul’s letters would have the same effect when he wrote to the Thessalonians that he saw the love they had for each other increasing; don’t you think there were people in that church who hung their head and thought about how they had just ignored someone, or talked about someone else behind their back? But, that because of the way Paul said it they squared their shoulders and determined to be that way!

We should encourage each other at every opportunity. Isn’t it interesting how often we read in parenting magazines that that’s a key to raising great kids? And in business magazines that that’s how to be a good leader!

So, encourage your children, your friends, ministers, believers and non-believers. It will help them become better people. And it will make you a better person, too.

Witness in word and deed.

Lord, may my praise to You this day not be in words alone; but in a loving touch for one needing encouragement; in acts of kindness that help ease another’s load; in time spent listening.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

How to Have A Clear Conscience

One way to have a clear conscience is to live a blameless life. My application Bible says that the theme of Psalm 15 is "guidelines for a blameless life.” It tells us to speak truth from the heart, to not slander, to do our neighbors no wrong, to cast no slur on our fellowmen, to despise vile men, to honor those who fear the Lord, to keep our promises, to lend money without usury and to not take bribes.

The Bible is full of advice about how to live life in such a way that gives us a clear conscience. Micah 6:8 tells us to do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with God. Isaiah 56:1 tells us to keep justice and do righteousness. Isaiah 33:15 says to walk righteously and speak uprightly, to despise gain of oppressions, not accept bribes or look at evil.

Why are we to live this way? 1 Peter 3:16 tells us to keep our conscience clear “so that when we are abused, those who revile our good behavior in Christ may be put to shame.“ Romans 13:5 tells us it honors God to have a clear conscience. Also, doing so will give us peace. Isaiah 26:3 says, “Thou dost keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusts in thee.” Job, in all his trials, was able to say in Job 27:6, “I hold fast my righteousness, and will not let go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days.” But, Psalm 101, even though it goes into detail about how to live a blameless life and how we should chose as our models and friends those who are godly and truthful, also admits that we can’t be blameless without God. “I will be careful to lead a blameless life – when will you come to me?”

Only God’s forgiveness and the desire and determination to live rightly before God can bring a clear conscience. Psalm 32:1-5 tells us we are blessed whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. But, it also says we must confess those sins. “I said I will confess my transgressions to the Lord – and You forgave the guilt of my sin.” God gives us a way to have a clear conscience. We should strive to live a blameless life, but when we try and still mess up He can wipe the slate clean through our confession and His forgiveness.

As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he. Proverbs 23:7

There is one thing alone that stands the brunt of life throughout its length; a quiet conscience before God.” 1 John 3:21

The way to make yourself count is to serve others with kindness and love.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

You Already Know

In 1 John 2:20 John tells his readers, “But, you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all know.”

We possess knowledge. We know the gospel. What John and Peter and Paul were all trying to do in their letters was not so much tell the reader something new, but to bring into active and decisive use the knowledge they already possessed. It’s not knowing that’s the problem – it’s the doing!

Earlier in John’s letter he said the greatest defense against temptation is simply to remember what we know.

To know our sins are forgiven.

To know Him who is from the beginning.

To know we have the strength which can face and overcome the evil one.

Our lives would be immediately different if we put into practice what we already know. That doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot more to learn, but even as we are, this very minute, we have enough light to walk by, if we use the light we have.

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna.” Deut.8:3

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Thursday, October 26, 2006

Focus on God and Jesus

Be true in the small things – it is on those who faithfully and ungrudgingly accept the simple duties of life that the world is built.

It is never to be forgotten that in the everyday duties of life we make or mar a destiny and we win or lose a crown.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Random thoughts and favorite verses

Everyday – first thing – pray, “God, whether I get anything else done today, I want to make sure I love You and other people.”

Heroic spiritual lives are built by stacking days of obedience one on top of the other. Each small act is like a brick that will build a strong wall of strong character.

Do not grow weary of doing good – God will reward you in the end.

If a task is once begun, never leave it till it’s done. Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might.” Ecclesiastes 9:10

All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them. “Be strong and courageous, and act: do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.” 1 Chronicles 28:20

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

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Monday, October 23, 2006

Thank God I'm saved, but now what?

We’ve received God’s word. Now we must nurture it and make it grow, by living the right way. Knowledge isn’t enough; now is the time to “walk the talk.”

We feel wonderful knowing God and knowing we are saved, but true fulfillment only comes through doing what God has planned for us. We are called to do good works and to glorify God. Glorifying God is reflecting Him in the world so others will see through you what He is.

To start with we can turn to James 1:19-20. James says we should be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.

We listen to God in many ways. Sometimes He speaks through other Christians. We need to be quiet and give them a chance to talk, don’t we? Who knows how many messages we’ve missed from God by interrupting! He also speaks to us through His word, the Bible, which we have to spend time in with open hearts and minds.

Sometimes listening to God is just noticing creation – the sun rising and setting everyday. It shows us how consistent God is. Sometimes just the wink or smile from a friend is the still small voice of God reminding us that He never planned for us to be alone. He’s given us friends and family to support us throughout life.

The Holy Spirit, who is in all believers, can be likened to our conscious; nudging us to do something right or stop doing something wrong. God tells us in countless ways, everyday that He has plans for us and will never forsake us – if we will just stop, look and listen to Him.

Quick to hear, slow to speak. There’s a saying that we have two ears and one mouth so we should listen twice as much as we speak. We need to really know God’s word ourselves before we rush out to share it. We should meditate on it, compare scripture to other scripture and let it work in our hearts.

We need to establish routine habits of worship, prayer, study, fellowship and righteous behavior. We need to get away from temptations and examine our hearts regularly and confess all known sin. Sin interferes with our relationship with God. Personal purity and moral integrity is the standard for Bible believing Christians.

We need to develop a support system. Cultivate deep spiritual friendships. Life is short! We should live life for God today. Then no matter when our lives end, we will have fulfilled God’s plan for ourselves.

And remember – you can’t go with God and stay in the same place!

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The One and Only Way to Heaven

It concerns me when I hear people say, “So and so isn’t a Christian, but he is such a good person I’m sure God will take care of him somehow after he dies.” (!)

Last December my daughter was finishing up her first semester in college and we were discussing what grades she might expect. I said, “Well, Freshman Leadership should be an easy A, right?”

She said, “I think so, but the professor told us we had to go to 15 clubs and events around campus and write about them and it’s really stupid so I’ve only done 11.”

I said, “Britt! He’s the professor! Long before you ever stepped foot in his class he decided what it would take to get an A! And he told you and he probably wrote it down! If you don’t do it that’s stupid!”

We have a God who long before we ever set foot on the earth, long before there was an earth, decided what it would take for us to spend eternity with Him. And He told us and He wrote it down.

Brittany ended up getting a B+ in that class, which is ok for school, but when we’re talking about Heaven and hell, there won’t be any B’s or C’s or D’s. It’s going to be A or F/Pass or Fail.

If you know of anyone who is on the path to failure, it is your job as a Christian to tell him or her what you know. Ask God for the opportunity and the courage to share with everyone you can. And thank Him that He did prepare a way for us to go to Heaven. And that it isn’t even that hard: we don’t have to go to school, write papers or take tests. We just have to believe that His Son is who He said He is and He did for us what we know He did.

Knowing God is the meaning of life…and it is the completion of all the changes He is making in your life.

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Sunday, October 22, 2006

What I Learned Teaching Sunday School

My whole world changed when I began teaching Sunday School. Not just because I learned so much in my preparations, but I was always listening for more things to share: reading things with an idea of what I could pass on to others.

It also sets me up to be vulnerable. You can’t teach about God, Jesus or the Bible without sharing something of yourself. Every time you do you put yourself out there. You risk embarrassment and maybe even ridicule. You also risk the attacks from Satan for any kind of spiritual high.

But, it’s something I have to do. I could no more not share all I’m learning then I could stop breathing. So this blog is going to be about things I learned teaching Sunday school. It will have my thoughts from lessons and also special verses, sayings and quotes I want to share and excerpts from other things I read.

I hope you enjoy sharing my journey.

“Your message burns my heart and bones and I cannot keep silent.” - Jeremiah 20:9
There are people to be loved, a message to be shared!

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