Excuses

As a former high school language arts teacher, I heard a plethora of excuses from students over the years:  “Teacher, I did my paper, but then our electricity went out, and I couldn’t print it.  May I e-mail it to you tonight?”  “M’am, we had to take my little sister to the emergency room yesterday, so I’ll have that paper in tomorrow.”  “Doc, my mom took me to the library, but I couldn’t find any books on my approved research paper topic.”  Dealing with students wisely was a daily challenge.  I asked God to give me discernment, but I must admit that I was a terrible failure on many days.  You see, if the same student came in with a new excuse every week, it really got hard to respond graciously.

Lately, the Master Teacher has been dealing with me, His negligent pupil, on the subject of excuses.  I have been such a procrastinator — this post has been spinning around in my head for weeks, but I kept making excuses as to why I didn’t have time to write it.  I realize that I am always giving God excuses.  “Lord, I am too tired to read my Bible this morning.”  “Father, I would give to that missionary, but I just don’t have enough money in my budget.”  “God, I don’t have any time to help that person this week.”   Why is God so patient with me when I am such a sluggard?

A few weeks back, I came across a story in Luke 14 during my devotions.  Later that week, I read a devotional on the same passage.  Don’t you love it when God repeats Himself to get your attention?  I realize that just like the men in the story, God invites me to participate in what He is doing.  One man said He had to inspect a field (v.18) — Am I selfishly letting my possessions and greediness keep me away from doing what God has for me?  The second excuse maker, a farmer, had a field to plow with some new oxen (v.19) — Am I letting my work and other responsibilities take over my life so that I am missing out on God’s plan for me?  The last gentleman indicated he couldn’t accept the invitation because of his wife — What personal relationships are holding me back from God?

Proverbs 13:4 (NIV) states:  “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Verse 19 in the same chapter reads:  “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.”  What am I waiting for?

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A Safe Dwelling

 

A Safe Dwelling | 3dlessons4life.comPhoto Credit

 

Sometimes, I struggle with irrational fears – What if my husband gets in a car accident on the way home today? Is my stomachache a tumor? Was that creaky noise in the living room a serial rapist?

The enemy of my soul loves to agitate my mind. His delight is creating disruption and desolation. I know my Creator, God, is not the author of fear, so why do I give in to anxiety when my Father longs to fill me with His peace?

I was reminded of this when I read an online news article about the aftermath in Haiti. Apparently, engineers have inspected several Haitian homes and declared them safe dwellings, but the earthquake victims choose to continue living on the street in tents.

They have resigned themselves to living their lives in a perpetual state of unrest. What a picture of me when I walk in fear instead of faith! God has offered me His shelter, a firm foundation against any attack. By accepting the invitation to abide in His care, I am safe.

He walls me in His fortress and fights my battles for me. But, I must choose to dwell in His presence rather than becoming paralyzed by dread.

Memory Verse:
“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in Him I will trust.”
-Psalm 91:1-2 (NKJV)

Prayer Prompt:
“Father, help me to rest secure in You trusting that You surround me and my family with Your presence, power, and protection. Thank You for the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit who comforts, guides, and surrounds me so that I need not fear when…”


God is a Safe Dwelling | 3dlessons4life.com


Let’s Talk:  Do you struggle with irrational fear sometimes?  How do you push past the fear? 

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“A Safe Dwelling” originally appeared at Granola Bar Devotional.

 


 

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Brain Fart

The older I get, the less I remember.  Yesterday, I received an e-mail from an old college friend on Facebook.  She asked if I recalled who she was.  Thankfully, this time I did.  However, more and more, I find myself struggling to remember.  I have been teaching for over 20 years, so there are a lot of names and faces in my memory.  The class of 98 was having its reunion this past  year, and the reunion organizer asked if I knew where Danny Diaz was.  I had to laugh.  I have taught soooo many kids named Danny Diaz.  It’s sort of comical, really.  Will the real Danny Diaz stand up please….

Thankfully, my Abba Father does not have a bad memory.  He chooses to forget and forgive my sin because Jesus went to the cross for me, but He knows my name — the details of my life are not fuzzy in His mind’s eye.  He counts my tears in a bottle.  The very hairs on my head are numbered. He has hemmed me in behind and before and has laid His hand upon me.

Yet, there are days when I get weary and forget His faithfulness — nothing seems to be happening.  My prayer list is getting longer, and I am dealing with the same set of unchanged circumstances after knocking on heaven’s door diligently.  Has God forgotten?  Maybe He is too busy with that Haiti thing to worry about my stuff?

This past weekend, my pastor pointed us to Nehemiah.  He was busy trying to build something for God, but the enemy kept coming against him.  Nehemiah had to build with one hand and fight with the other.   This one verse in Chapter 4 stuck out to me:  “Do not be afraid of them.  Remember the Lord, great and awesome, and fight for your brethren, your sons, your daughters, your wives and your houses.”

I am going to try to get my brain in gear so that I don’t forget His power, His faithfulness, His purpose.  I am working on putting this passage from Hebrews 6 to memory:

God is not unjust.  He will not forget your work

and the love you have shown Him

as you have helped His people and continue to help them.

We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end,

in order to make your hope sure.

We do not want you to become lazy,

but to imitate those who through faith and patience

inherit what has been promised.

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Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

I am no longer teaching at the high school level, but when I did, one of the requirements was generating weekly lesson plans.  Kristen, a former student who is now in a teacher ed program, was lamenting having to do this on her Facebook status this afternoon, and I was reminded about how much I loathed the process myself.

Invariably, something would happen that would make my very well-laid plans go awry — a fire drill, an unexpected assembly, boisterous teenagers disrupting the flow of things.   I learned quickly that planning was basically a “looking ahead,” but that I needed to hold my plans loosely.  No lesson plan could predict that I would have a student in the third row whose mom would pass away that week.  No amount of planning would prepare me to deal with that.  There are no effective teaching strategies that will help a child in crisis digest that a gerund is a verb used as a noun ending in -ing.  Seriously, who cares?  On days like that, your plans get tossed.

Sometimes, life just happens despite our carefully crafted lesson plans.

Since late December, my hubby and I have been traveling back and forth from the East coast to visit his ailing mom.  She is slowly inching her way toward heaven.  We have no idea how long we will be on this journey, and making plans has really become impossible.  I recently found myself telling a close friend that I would do my best to be at her bridal shower, but I wasn’t sure what tomorrow would bring.  My husband has basically been living out of a suitcase.

How do you plan to lose your mom?  Work, church responsibilities, social events on the calendar all seem rather unimportant when you are walking on this road.  Life is sometimes a messy teacher.  There are no parallel outlines that uniformly highlight the salient concepts.  Sometimes, you just learn by wading through the messy content yourself.

Yesterday, I was reading Mark 14, and this one phrase about the woman with the alabaster box stood out to me — “She did what she could….”  Sometimes, the richest lessons are lived out when we throw aside our pre-conceived notions and plans and just act in selfless love.  My husband is living an alabaster life daily as he sits at his mama’s side.   I don’t want to be the disciple who misses the eternal perfume of the sacrifice because I am obsessing over the temporal cost.

I’m joining Shelly and likeminded sisters today for Recommendation Saturday.


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