What I Learned Teaching Sunday School
Encouraging messages, favorite Bible passages, and thoughts from great Christian writers. Save us to your favorites, and come back often for daily inspiration.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Thoughts from reading 1 Corinthians
Thought from 1st Corinthians
Christians must not first consider their rights, but how best shall they act in situations to glorify God and reveal Christ’s life in them.
Our all-absorbing preoccupation is to be holy in all matters of life and to come to a mature understanding of God’s will for us and our place in church life.
From 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
We should look at ourselves to see if we truly reproduce Christ’s love in inward emotions, mental attitudes and outward actions. Am I: patient for a long time? Kind? Not jealous? Not boastful? Not arrogant? Not rude? Not insisting on my own way? Not irritable? Not resentful? Not happy over another’s fall or over wrong? Do I rejoice over another’s good? Or over right?
Love in view of eternity! God wants us to love!
Monday, February 26, 2007
My husband and I have been helping out with the church youth lately and one of their Sunday School teachers emailed me several passages they were reading this week. I read them and Psalm 8 (which I of course had read before) sounded exceptionally beautiful to me today!
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and infants,you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Sunday, February 25, 2007
Jesus loves us "inspite of"
The tremendous thing about Jesus is that beneath all our failures He sees the real man. Jesus understands. He loves us in spite of what we do, because He loves us, not for the things we are, but for the things we have in us to be. The forgiving love of Jesus is so great that He sees our real personality, not in our faithlessness, but in our loyalty, not in our defeat by sin, but in our reaching after goodness, even when we are defeated.
Live your life in the beautiful peace that nothing can separate you from Christ. Romans 8:39
Saturday, February 24, 2007
Fit 4 Jesus
Grab something that boldly states your faith! This design was inspired by the storeowner’s 12-year-old son who suggested she make a design that states how he feels, "Jesus Rocks My Universe"
I think it’s way cool!
I love this next one for kids too:
Fit 4 Jesus
Friday, February 23, 2007
More thoughts on The Secret
The more I think about Oprah's show on The Secret the more it reminds me of the book I read and the Sunday School lesson I taught on the Top 10 List for Christians by James W.Moore. I blogged about it last week: http://teachingsundayschool.blogspot.com/2007/02/10-priorities-for-christians.html
Like The Secret his list is meant for us to have joy and love. To live celebratory and with purpose. He even mentions we need to be grateful and suggests we list what we are grateful for everyday.
His suggestion that we put love first and constantly ask ourselves, "What is the loving thing to do?" fits with The Secret telling us to celebrate the successes of people we know as if they are our own. And to serve.
To not live in the past or future, but right now.
And how Christianity makes us better people right now - not some time in the future.
They are amazingly similar. No secret!
Thursday, February 22, 2007
I had taped the Oprah show that was about the book and DVD The Secret and finally watched them today. Part of me smiled when I heard the message thinking, “That’s all in the Bible – it’s nothing new.” And part of me was a little sad that God wasn’t getting the credit.
Oprah said, “People are looking for guidance and meaning like never before.” I do think this is true, but why are people so quick to believe in their own power, but not in God’s? Or believe New Age over Truth?
One of the big messages in The Secret is we become what we are interested in. Well, again, the Bible said that first. We are warned to keep our thoughts on what is good and pure and holy because our actions follow our thoughts.
I’m not saying that a lot of the advice they gave wasn’t good and couldn’t give you a more abundant and even joyful life. I just don’t see how they can’t see God in the equation. It’s so clear to me.
One of the audience members did ask the panelists if God fits into the message. They said yes, but then went on to say we are living our heaven or hell out now, inside of us, on earth, they apparently didn’t believe in a heaven or hell after life.
I could tell from the lady’s face in the audience she wasn’t buying it.
Neither am I.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Thoughts from In the Grip of Grace
I just finished reading Max Lucado’s book In the Grip of Grace. His chapter on Sufficient Grace really spoke to me. He starts by telling us that God’s gift of grace is sufficient, but often we don’t want to accept it or we want it different or we want more.
But, then he hits home. When we pray for something we don’t get. He says we are just doing what the Bible tells us to: “ask God for everything you need” (Phil.4:6)
And we ask and ask and wait and wait.
Max then asks the reader a question. “What if God says no?”
Basically – will we still love God? Will we still praise God? Is God any less in our eyes if He says no?
If God’s only gift to us is our salvation – is it enough? Max says from heaven’s perspective; grace is enough. He goes on to remind us how Paul prayed three times to have a thorn removed from his side. Various things have been suggested over time as to what that thorn might have been, but we don’t know. Whatever it was it bothered Paul intensely.
Max wrote that if God had made Paul’s life easy, Paul might not have focused on God so much. He may not have been strong enough to stand up to all the legalists. He may have felt he was self-sufficient and didn’t need God. He may have become conceited.
Then the focus shifts to the reader as he asks, “You wonder why God doesn’t remove the enemies in your life? Perhaps because he wants you to love like he loves. Anyone can love a friend, but only a few can love an enemy.” “You wonder why God doesn’t heal you? He has! If you are in Christ, you have a perfect soul and your body will be perfect in heaven.”
I love where he says, “God would prefer we have an occasional limp than a perpetual strut.”
Monday, February 19, 2007
Put off: futile thinking, hard heart, insensitivity, impurity, deceitful desires, falsehood, sinful anger, stealing, unwholesome talk, bitterness, rage, anger, brawling, slander, malice, greed, obscenity, foolish talk, coarse joking, foolishness, drunkenness.
Put on: wisdom, making the most of every opportunity, understanding God’s will, being filled with the Spirit, joyful worship of God, submission to one another, humility, gentleness, patience, bearing with one another, striving for peace, righteousness, holiness, hard work, sharing with needy, kindness, compassion, forgiveness, love, thanksgiving, goodness and truth.
First commit yourself without reservation to live as one who has been made alive in Christ and saved by Grace. Then pick one at a time and ask God to help you change.
Sunday, February 18, 2007
Some thoughts about being God’s evidence!
The book of Romans tells us that God will crush Satan under our feet – every time we embrace good and shun evil. When we live by the truth and do what is right and good regardless of resultant consequences, God is glorified and Satan shown a failure.
What you are, Is God’s gift to you. What you make of yourself is your gift to God.
Mother Teresa once said,
“To offer a home to the homeless Christ, start by making your own home a place where peace, happiness and love abound, through your love for each member of your family and for your neighbors. Give someone a smile, visit someone for a short time, make a fire for someone who is cold, read to someone.”
Paraphrased from Matthew 6:22-23“Your eyes are windows into your body. If you open your eyes wide in wonder and belief, your body fills up with light. If you live squinty-eyed in greed and distrust, your body is a dank cellar.”
Saturday, February 17, 2007
From a Bible Study on Hebrews
Friday, February 16, 2007
10 Priorities for Christians
I just taught a lesson from the book, The Top Ten List for Christians (Priorities for faithful living) by James W. Moore.
It was a really enjoyable book to read, which also gave you a lot to reflect on and question yourself about. The author says this top 10 list is meant to help us get our priorities straight and encourage us to move into the future with faith, hope, love, joy trust and commitment so we can live purposefully and celebratively.
As Christians our priorities should:
1. Put love first. Always ask what is the loving thing to do? Always be grateful. Always be gracious (give people the benefit of the doubt – we never know what pain they may have.) Always be generous in our relationships.
2. Remember that hope is alive – Christ is with us. He has the power to heal our hurts. He shares His resurrection with us. We need to walk with Him daily.
3. Faith is up to us personally. We aren’t Christians just because our parents are or we go to church. We need to make a personal decision.
4. Live in the day and be grateful for it. Don’t live in the past. Don’t live in the future. Take every day, every step, one at a time.
5. Don’t deny your faith. This can be not speaking up for Jesus when you have the chance. Or acting in un-Christian ways.
6. It matters what you believe – so believe the truth! Cults and false religions lead many down the wrong path.
7. God is smarter then we are – trust Him! He sees the big picture. He knows what is best for us.
8. There are some roads we don’t want to go up – that includes dangerous spiritual roads. Selfishness, pride and ingratitude are all dangerous roads.
9. You do better when you try – work with what you are given. Don’t spend time thinking someone else was given more then you were. It will only make you bitter. Whatever God given gifts you have are enough to do something!
10. Christianity is a life we lead – not just a creed we profess. Living a Christian life makes us better right now! People should be able to see we are Christians by our actions.
I recommend you read the book to see this all explained and fleshed out. It is worth your time.
Thursday, February 15, 2007
G Go to God in prayer daily (John 15:7)
R Read God’s Word daily (Acts 17:11)
O Obey God, moment by moment (John 14:21)
W Witness for Christ by your life and your words (Matthew 4:19)
T Trust God for every detail of your life (1 Peter 5:7)
H Holy Spirit. Allow God to control and empower your daily life (Galatians 5:16-17; Acts 1:8)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
I don’t remember where I read this, but have always like it:
This is the beginning of a new day,
God has given me this day to use as I will.
I can waste it
Or grow in its light and be of service to others.
But, what I do with this day is important because I have exchanged
A day of my life for it.
When tomorrow comes,
Today will be gone forever.
I hope I will not regret the price I paid for it.
Know therefore this day, and lay it to your heart, that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth beneath; there is no other. Deuteronomy 4:39
Tuesday, February 13, 2007
Jesus Cross Clothing and Gifts
Monday, February 12, 2007
If you need a great prayer, just turn to Colossians 1:9-14
“Lord fill me with the knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, to lead a life worthy of You, fully pleasing to You, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in knowledge of You. Strengthen me with all power, according to Your glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to You, who has qualified me to share in the inheritance of the saints.”
Sunday, February 11, 2007
In Mathew 5:48 Jesus instructs us, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
To do this we must be transformed. To be transformed Paul says we must “renew our minds, so that we may desire the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.” For our minds to be renewed we must read, study and meditate on the Word of God in the Bible.
Paul also tells us in Philippians 2; that this inner transformation of our nature will make us more like Jesus – humble obedience to God’s will rather then sin’s rebellion. We are no longer self-centered. We live with the mind of a humble servant of God to be about what is good and helpful to people around us.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
Thoughts from Returning to Holiness
The following is from the book: “Returning to Holiness” by Dr. Gregory R. Frizzell
James 4:3 says, “You ask, and receive not, because you ask amiss, that you may consume it upon your lusts.”
Improper motive! Very likely it is the cause of many unanswered prayers. Do we just give God our wish list? Or do we seek Him out of our genuine love for Him? Our thoughts should be seeking His glory, not selfish desires. We should seek His approval, not other people’s. We should pray for God’s will even knowing it may not fit into our plans.
Ask God to grant you a deep purity of purpose for His Kingdom. And unconditional love and service to Himself.
Willful, habitual sin is equal to “trampling underfoot the precious blood of Jesus” Hebrews 10:29
Never receive the Lord’s Supper thoughtlessly. It is a moment of supreme holiness and personal examination. Confession, repentance and remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice.
The pursuit of holiness is a spiritual mindset.
Ephesians 4:2 says, “With all lowliness and kindness, with long suffering, forbearing one another in love.”
A spirit-filled believer has a kind, loving spirit. We should not be loud, pushy, critical or angry. We should be gentle and quiet.
Matthew 5:44 says, “But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you.”
We should have a forgiving attitude. Not let relationship barriers build up in our homes. We shouldn’t brood over how people have disappointed us. Or withhold kindness because someone doesn’t “deserve” it. Love unconditionally.
In times of disappointment it is our greatest opportunity to let Jesus live through us. In such times, we will experience our greatest growth or worst failure.
1 Corinthians 10:10 says, “Let us not murmur and complain.”
It is impossible to be a complainer and walk in the power of God’s Spirit. We shouldn’t gripe and complain, but give thanks at all times. Don’t look for the bad in things. If we praise God, He will give us supernatural joy despite our difficult circumstances.
Ephesians 4:31 “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.”
Don’t be cranky, irritable, raise your voice, quick to fight or impatient. Don’t gossip or speak unkindly. Walk in the principle of love. Be a peacemaker. Positive attitude!
Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But, if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”
Many a prayer gets no higher than the ceiling because you hold an inner resentment and bitterness against another person. We are to forgive from the heart. Make a definite decision to harbor no bitterness against anyone. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling. Yet if you choose to forgive, God will change your feelings.
If you honestly confess your feelings God will give you the powerful grace to change. God will bless even small steps toward fulfilling your spiritual responsibilities.
Spirit filled believers give cheerfully, generously and sacrificially.
Are you prepared to stand for God’s truth no matter the cost? Do you rationalize and make excuses for rejecting biblical standards? Tithing? If you’re involved in something about which you have a nagging lack of peace, you are in sin. If you ignore God’s still small voice, you cannot walk in the fullness of His Spirit. When you resist God’s spirit, you enthrone your flesh, and begin to operate in your own human strength, rather than Christ’s supernatural power. Embrace the cross and die to yourself. When you do, you will discover a freedom and a victory you never dreamed possible.
The word of God is not just something to be considered, but to be immediately obeyed. Don’t put off obedience.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Thursday, February 08, 2007
God promises to forgive
1. Jeremiah 31:34
“No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord” because they will know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” Declares the Lord. For I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more.”
2. Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
3. Psalms 103:12
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”
4. Ephesians 1:7
“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Confessing Our Sins
John 13:10 Jesus’ dying for us already gave us a bath, but we need to have our feet cleansed daily – by daily confession and repentance of the sins we still commit.
If you are honest and thorough in confessing your sins, then you are ready for God’s full cleansing power. Sins that are admitted and forsaken are fully cleansed. It is important to trust in God’s promise of forgiveness, not your feelings. (1 John 1:9) Some sins will require a process of frequent confession and claiming Christ’s fullness – don’t be discourage and never give up. Don’t ever say you can’t change when God says you can! (Phil.4:19)
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Every Christian teacher needs a servant’s heart
The Lord wants my heart, mouth, ears, eyes, hands, feet and everything I am to be given to Him, so He can weep, touch, feel, pray, fast and show compassion through me.
God given ability to transform my life with His assistance the minute I ask Him, involves living my faith to the max and exercising the true meaning of love in my life, which means sacrificing my desires for the sake of others. It means dedicating myself – no matter how I feel – to helping alleviate the suffering of others.
We should ask God daily who we can share Him with, who we can comfort and who we can encourage.
Monday, February 05, 2007
More from God's Little Instruction Book for Women
“A man’s wisdom gives him patience: it is to his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11
The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.
“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2
No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it for anyone else.
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.” 1 Timothy 6:67
The secret of contentment is the realization that life is a gift not a right.
“For the tree is known and recognized and judged by its fruit.” Matthew 12:33
People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.
“Let us not love (merely) in theory or in speech but in deed and in truth – in practice and in sincerity.” 1 John 3:18
The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention!
“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Ps. 118:24
Life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be enjoyed.
“As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men.” Galatians 6:10
If you can’t feed a hundred people then just feed one.
Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes He lets the storm rage and calms His child.
“I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “I, here am I; send me.” Isaiah 6:8
God never asks about our ability or our inability – just our availability.
“A just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again.” Proverbs 24:16
Failure isn’t falling down. It’s staying down.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
From God’s Little Instruction Book for Women
I picked out some of my favorites to share with you. Half today, half tomorrow, so you can take time to really meditate on them.
“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou Lord has not forsaken them that seek thee.” (Psalm9:10)
My job is to take care of the possible and trust God with the impossible.
When Mother Teresa received her Nobel Prize, she was asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” She replied, “Go home and love your family.”
“Let love and faithfulness never leave you: bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.” Proverbs 3:3
“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” James 4:10
Give your troubles to God: He’ll be up all night anyway!
“He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” Ps.121:3
“Casting the whole of your care – all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all – on Him: for He cares for you affectionately, and cares for you watchfully.” 1 Peter 5:7
Worry is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.
“She opens her mouth with skillful and godly wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness – giving counsel and instruction.” Proverbs 31:26
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.
“A man finds joy in giving an apt reply – and how good is a timely word!” Proverbs 15:23
Ninety percent of the friction of daily life is caused by the wrong tone of voice.
Saturday, February 03, 2007
90 Minutes in Heaven
We have been so blessed in our town to have many wonderful Christian speakers and musicians come to speak, perform and worship. John and I try to go to these kinds of events as often as we can.
Tonight we heard Don Piper, author of “90 Minutes in Heaven” speak about the experience, which causes him to write his book.
In January 1989, at the age of 39 he was leaving a Baptist convention in Texas in a very small car and was run over by a very large truck. He died instantly. His talk was about the accident, what was going on on the road in the 90 minutes after he died and what was going on in Heaven during that same period of time.
There are many things to take away from his talk. Not only his description of Heaven, which gives everyone hope, but: how small decisions can make a huge difference, for instance going one way home instead of the other, putting his seat belt on or not.
He also talks about the power of prayer: the Pastor who climbed in to the car with him and prayed even though Don was dead, the immediate prayer chain that went out from his church, which only had gotten a call that he was in a serious accident.
He also talked about the message for people who do have love ones die. That if they are Christian and so are you – the separation is only temporary.
He talked about in the face of a trial like his recovery he needed to get past the “why?” and decided to make something divine out of it. To help other people who are hurting. (In the Bible Paul tells us that’s one of the reasons we have trials. To comfort others going through something we already have.)
But, most importantly, he stresses the Way to get to Heaven. Jesus said I am the Way. You get to the Father through Me.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Thoughts from a few of my favorite authors
I’ve always loved what author Jan Karon says over and over in her books ‘The Mitford Series’
“Pray the prayer that never fails, trusting the one to whom you pray. Thy will be done.”
And this is from Dr. Tony Evan’s book, “The Best is Yet to Come.”
In the Christian race, we are not competing with others – we are running against the opportunities God gives us, not what He gives other Christians. Our rulebook is the word of God. If our Christian service conforms to God’s rules for sincerity, quality, motivation and discipline, we qualify for the prize.
Here’s something I heard Chip Ingram say on Christian radio:
What can I control? My attitude.
What can I do? Endure! Hang on!
What can I expect? That God will use it for good.
What’s the worst that can happen? That I’ll die and go to heaven!
Cry out to the Lord!
How we endure hardships shows our faith to the world.
Our problems can be vehicles for God’s glory – to show His work.
Do not become bitter – become better!
Become more compassionate. More like Christ.
Reconsider your priorities. Ask God what He wants to change in your life. How can you use your trials to show the world God’s work in your life?
By faith we can trust God and rejoice!
Thursday, February 01, 2007
God is Great
From our church bulletin:
You are a great God.
Your character is holy.
Your truth is absolute.
Your strength is unending.
Your discipline is fair.
You are a great God.
The mountain of your knowledge has no peak.
The ocean of your love has no shore.
The fabric of you fidelity has no tear.
The rock of your word has no crack.
You are a great God.
Your patience surprises us.
Your beauty stuns us.
Your love stirs us.
You are a great God.
Your provisions are abundant for our needs.
Your light is adequate for our path.
Your grace is sufficient for our sins.
You are a great God.
We even declare with reluctant words, your plan is perfect.
You are never early, never late.
Never tardy, never quick
You sent your Son in the fullness of time and will return at the consummation of time.
Your plan is perfect. Bewildering. Puzzling. Troubling.
You are a great God.