Tag Archives: Bible

Contain Humility

 

 

 

Humility

 

This week our saints are focusing on humility. At CCA we illustrate it with placing dirt into Little Pot.

humility

http://www.amazon.com/Little-Pot-Dawn-Stephens/dp/193398211X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410796644&sr=1-1&keywords=Little+Pot

 

 

Our word humility comes from the Latin word humus. Humus means good soil. We tell our saints that Little Pot wasn’t excited about being filled with dirt. However, dirt is what is needed to grow fruit. Just like humility is necessary for us to grow the fruit of the Spirit.

 

In chapel last week we read several verses about how God feels about humility.

I will bless those who have HUMBLE and contrite hearts, who tremble at my word -Isaiah 66:2

 

Do nothing out or rivalry or conceit

In HUMILITY consider others as more important than yourselves

Everyone should look not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others -Philippians 2:3-4

 

We learned that humility IS NOT

Downplaying or thinking less of yourself

Feeling sorry for yourself

 

And, that humility IS

Knowing the truth about yourself and where you stand with God.

Knowing you can’t do things without God and that you need Him.

Know that God knows you better than you know yourself.

It is saying, “God, I need your help!”

 

It is hard for children to pray for themselves. Often their prayer requests are for others. We ended our chapel by asking each child to put a scoop of soil into Little Pot and pray “Lord, I need your help ___________.” It was precious to hear the requests each of them made for a need of their own.

 

 

And as God always does for me, I can never teach a lesson that isn’t hitting home with me too. While giving this lesson, the teachers and I have been reading a book by Nicole Unice called “She’s Got Issues”.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Shes-Got-Issues-Seriously-Stressed-Out-ebook/dp/B007TWKY8K/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1410796037&sr=1-1&keywords=she%27s+got+issues

 

This week it dealt with control. It is no secret to anyone what a control freak I can be. This book, however, put my need for control in the context of my own humility or lack of.  Pray with us as we all work on gaining a deeper understanding of how to be humble.

making the little BIG

I have been getting the same message from God in several different venues this past week. I suppose it’s something He wants me to take notice of. It’s a pretty simple concept and one that we shouldn’t need reminding of. But, obviously I’ve needed to hear it, so maybe others do too.

His message is “The little things matter to me! – It’s my job to make them BIG!”

 

 

downloadI first heard it while I was doing a devotional on Ruth. My youngest daughter and I are doing the Kelly Minter, “Living Room Bible Study” on Ruth together. Doing it with my daughter has given me such a great perspective on this woman and the book in the Bible that contains her story. This week’s lesson focused on the kindness of Boaz and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many people.

 

 

 

download (1)The second time was when I watched a video by Pete Briscoe called The Bema. It is a dramatization of a man who goes to heaven and stands before the throne of Christ where his life is celebrated. I can’t do justice by explaining how powerful the video is, so I recommend you watch it for yourself. The message that amazed me was how the little things that had no effect on him had an eternal impact on others. Heaven celebrated the littlest action when it was done in the name of Christ, and it struck me how simple little acts of kindness made such an eternal impact on so many lives.

 

 

The third time was watching our friend day video for this week. It was by a family at our school that I invited to church on Friend Day. That took such little effort for me to do and I was basically just doing my job without thinking how it could impact lives. Listening to them tell how being invited by me impacted their lives and knowing now how many lives they are impacting by being at Central absolutely amazes me.

 

 

1377139_10153349199655431_1285784542_nThe fourth venue was on facebook when I came across pictures of 600 children in Leogane, Haiti with coloring books that I had illustrated a few years ago. The opportunity to illustrate that coloring book seemed a simple little task. Now, seeing how many lives are touched by it puts me in awe of a God who can take a simple thing and multiply it into something so wonderful.

 

A little boy had five loafs and two fishes (something very small within his own hands). 1383082_10153349189500431_849884290_nBut, given to Jesus it became a means to reach thousands. I’ve been thinking about the little things that take up my time throughout the day. The principal’s desk at CCA has been covered in papers and a list of things that need to get done. Throughout the day those little tasks get interrupted by children coming in to take plastic fruit for the little ways they show kindness and occasionally by a child who is causing a problem that needs an administrative/parental solution.

 

 

Some days I leave feeling I haven’t accomplished anything of value. Then, I realize every little thing I did wasn’t about bringing value to me. It was to bring value to Christ; and He asks for very little effort. He loves to take the little and make it BIG!

 

 

God’s Choice

 

As I was working with our Bible Study this past week, I thought about our students.

In 1 Samuel 16:1-13, I read about the prophet Samuel anointing David.

Several things stuck out to me as I read these verses.David_anointed-1

    1. The first was that the anointing seemed to be more for Samuel’s sake then David’s. In verse one, God tells Samuel to stop mourning over Saul and go anoint a new king. God always had the plan and was never worried over what was taking place with Saul. Samuel was the one who was distraught about the current leadership situation.

     

    2. The second was the time table that God was working with. God gave Samuel a plan to go anoint a new king, and when he arrives at the home of Jesse, both he and Jesse assume it is going to be one of the sons who are older and ready to take over the kingdom immediately. But they were not thinking on God’s time table. God’s choice is the boy, David. David will be anointed in this chapter and will not actually be king for another 22 years.

     

    3. The third was that David was selected based on his heart.

     

    These points made me consider our Central Christian Academy students and how God already knows what their lives will be twenty-two years from today. He is at work choosing them for the tasks and needs we have today. The choices He makes are based on their hearts. I thought about what we can do to help keep their hearts pure and ready to serve God.

     

    This week’s lesson is going to look at the characteristics of David’s heart that made it one that God would consider worthy of His choice. I’ve been preparing the lesson and considering not just my own heart, but those of the CCA students. We have a responsibility as teachers and parents to prepare our students for the calling God has on their life.

     

     Tomorrow afternoon and Wednesday evening, we’ll look at five of those characteristics.

    Back from Summer Vacation

    don_t_panic_button-758852I returned to school today after a week of vacation. I had a great time with family. We visited theme parks and beaches in Florida. But vacation was over and it was time to return back to work. As I went through my mail and looked over my “To-Do List”, I felt a sense of panic. I have only seven working days before the teachers will be back and twelve working days before the school has to be ready for students. Suddenly every item on my list seemed bigger and felt as if it would require more time than I had. I wasn’t sure which item to tackle first and each time I began one, I was needed to answer questions regarding something I missed while on vacation. Was taking time off really worth all this? I should have been rested and relaxed, but found I needed “God-Time” more than ever. So I took a few moments and set aside everything and reached for my Bible. There on top of my Bible was another book I’d been reading that goes along with the new Courageous movie. The book is called The Resolution for Woman and I had been reading the first part of the book about being satisfied and content with yourself. I’ve read slowly through this book intentionally. I know this is an area I have struggled with throughout my own life. It is a part of what drives me to greater success, but it also causes me to not be as effective in the specific area God has placed me in while I’m there. The page that was open was titled “The Balancing Point”. I thought, “That’s it! I need balance!” I read several pages and still felt panic at the things I needed to get done. “This wasn’t helping!” I put the book aside and finally picked up and the Bible. I then prayed, Lord, slow my thoughts down guide me through these next couple of weeks. Of course God came through with verse after verse. His peace settled in and the panic subsided. Again, He reminded me. He had all this.
    I still have more to do than what I can possibly accomplish in two weeks. However, I do not have to accomplish it. God does. All I have to do is remain willing to be used by God and not panic. He’s is able! What an awesome God to serve.

    Little Pot’s Growth Chart

    Little Pot grows fruit and we know that the fruit it grows comes from the Holy Spirit. So how does it happen? What are the steps? Recently I worked with an awesome team of educators at Liberty University to develop a leadership model.  We agreed that leadership comes when we can transform what we know into the lives of others (which is also fruit bearing).  Together we came up with five steps.

    First we must remember we are created by God and are simply vessels made for His use.  Envision yourself as clay pot.  You are an empty vessel and waiting for the potter’s filling so you can grow into a great leader. 

    Step 1- Humility

                To grow a leader, the potter fills you with humus or soil. Humus is “a dark brown or black colloidal mass of partially decomposed organic matter in the soil.  It improves the fertility and water retention of the soil and is therefore important for plant growth” (“humus,” n.d., para. 2).   The word “humility” is derived from the Latin form of humus. In the Bible Christ explains a parable about a seed (the Word of God) and three types of soil. (Luke 8, New King James Version [NKJV]).  In verse fifteen, He says “the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15, NKJV). God’s word may be planted within you but without humility it cannot take root and grow. 

    Step 2- Integrity

                The seed of God’s word planted in humility will stem integrity.  Integrity is necessary for leaders. It isn’t the prettiest part of a plant or the part that others first notice.  However, it is what holds the plant together.  It is the part of the plant that brings nutrients up from the roots.  Our integrity is what we can have to stand on.  “A person with integrity does not have divided loyalties (that’s duplicity), nor is he or she merely pretending (that’s hypocrisy)” (Maxwell, 1993, p. XI).  Any damage to the stem of a plant can jeopardize the life of a plant.  In the same way, anything we do to damage our integrity will jeopardize our leadership. 

    Step 3- Relationships

                Integrity that stems from God’s Word rooted in humility will begin to form relationships.  Consider your relationships to be leaves that reach out as you grow.  By fostering relationships we are able to become a more effective leader.  In every relationship we form we act as either a leader or a follower.  Each has specific roles and relate differently to this model of leadership. 

    Step 4- Knowledge

                Once relationships form and integrity has stemmed, knowledge will bloom.  In the growth model, think of knowledge as a flower.  Others are drawn to the flower part of a plant, just as they are drawn to your knowledge.  Knowledge is not the final quality, however.  It is not the potter’s plan for us to simply draw others toward us and admire us.  The flowering part of our leadership plant has a much greater purpose hidden within.  We obtain knowledge so that we can bear fruit and reproduce it into another person’s life.

    Step 5- Transform

                The final quality and stage of growth for a leader is being able to transform God’s Word into someone else.  Growth is a cycle and must reproduce itself.  Think of your little pot that you filled with humility so God’s Word could be planted and take root.  You stemmed integrity, formed relationships, and bloomed knowledge, all so you could bear fruit. It is important to know that within each piece of fruit a seed exists.  That seed is still the Word of God and is ready to be planted into another vessel or person who is full of humble soil.

    How Can I Be Sure?

    faith

    That’s been the question I’ve been asking God the past few days.  This morning, God shed some “light” (pun intended) on it for me. I began reading the book of Luke this morning.  I right away began to identify with Zechariah and what happened with him in the temple. Here’s a few points that I could identify with –

    1. vs. 6 –He was upright in the sight of the Lord. His wife was too.

    (Meaning, he observed the Lord’s commandments )- Even so, his wife Elizabeth was barren.

    I’ve been “upright” in God’s sight. (and my family too) – meaning I try very hard to observe all that God tells me to do and I meet with Him every day, attend church like Zechariah did and follow God’s commandments.

    and even so, I have struggles. Not the same as Elizabeth in being barren, but with other things that our world still sees as a “disgrace” (vs.25).

    2. vs. 9 –He was chosen – (and here’s the thing ). . . by chance.

    I may be “chosen” to do a new job and begin a new career.  And it feels a lot like “chance”.  Being in the right place at the right time – or since we are asking about being “sure” – maybe I should type, ” the wrong place at the wrong time.”

    3. vs. 13 –His prayer was heard . . . and . . . about to be answered.

    I tend to think this wasn’t a prayer he had that day. His wife was barren their whole life and now they were old. I think it was a prayer that he struggled with for years and wondered why God had not answered it. He had probably given up praying for Elizabeth to get pregnant and gone to asking God, why He hadn’t answered it all those years.

    I’ve wondered that too. There are things that I have prayed for with little response from God for years and  then my prayer  shifts to the why.

    But on this day, the day he was chosen by chance, God shows up with the answer!

    4. vs. 17  Zechariah gets the answer Which has a purpose beyond what Zechariah wants, it was “To make ready a people prepared for the Lord”.

    For me this new job/career could be an answer to a long time prayer, but I know God’s purpose is so much more in this job. It is to reach people for the cause of Christ.

    5. vs 19 Zechariah immediately says “How can I be sure?”

    Last night, I asked God the very same question about my own future.

    Interestingly, God doesn’t come back with any sympathy. but instead causes Zechariah to be unable to speak. (vs.20) I love the line, “You will be silent.” I like it because I’ve heard those words from God myself. And of all the things God could have caused for Zechariah, loosing his speech was one that would keep him from voicing his doubt about God’s plan.

    So here’s what God is wanting from me today – To just, Shut Up!

    I think He’s pretty tired of me asking the question, “How can I be sure?” and He wants me to keep saying “Yes” to Him, Let Him lead and direct my life. I don’t need to be sure of the events that God is bringing into my life. Only confident in Him that he will make happen. Just as he does for Zechariah. (vs.24)

    And, by the way, once it is all fulfilled, Zechariah is able to speak again. However, I bet he is slower to speak when it comes to his doubts about God’s wonderful plan for his life.

    Week 4 and 5 of Breaking Free, My Journey & My Story

    (My reflections after doing weeks 4 and 5 of the Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore)
    breaking free
    breaking free
    We have now finished the 4th and 5th week of our study.  The following is what I gained and how I’ve grown. I’m posting my thoughts here, simply to encourage you to do the same.

    Week 4 is about rebuilding the Ancient Ruins

    During this week Beth Moore led us into an depth look back at our ancestors and family. For me, it was a tough week. I realized how disconnected from my family I’ve become. On the first day where she asked us to describe our grandparents and parents – I didn’t have much to write. My mom died when I was only 19, so what I know and remember of her was pretty brief. My grandparents on both side of my parents were very old and I never really saw them too much. My dad is still living but our relationship has grown farther apart as the years have passed. I was able to see how the lack of relationship has affected my relationship with m heavenly father as well. The overall theme for the week really taught me to take the good and leave the bad. I was able to evaluate how certain traits my family has have caused me to struggle in m relationship with God – and I also saw how many traits have caused me to remain faithful to Him throughout life.

    Week 5 is about Bindinig up the Brokenhearted

    During this week, we covered different reasons that your heart could be broken. -From childhood, betrayal, and loss. Through the study this week I’ve been able to discover that the times my heart has been broken, I’ve had opportunities to know God more completely. A broken heart can lead to captivity because it is so easy to loose our faith when we are brokenhearted. We can become a slave to the disbelief that enters us. The very thing that breaks our hearts, however, can lead us to a deeper fellowship with God. Just as a friendship grows when two people experience tragedy together – I can honestly say that the tough stuff I’ve been through has made me closer to Christ and I am thankful to know Him more intimately through the pain I’ve experienced.

    You can join us on Little Pot’s Facebook Events too. -click here

    To read my thoughts on week three – click here

    To read my thoughts on week two – click here

    To read my thoughts on week one – click here

    The Story of Ferdinand – Being Yourself and Being Content

    Based on The Story of Ferdinand

    by Munro Leaf, drawings by Robert Lawson

    true story of the three little pigs in little pot

    I chose this story for our “Fruit Bearing Book” today because I recently saw the movie, Blindside.  If you’ve seen the movie, you’ll remember the reference. If not, you should. -It is a great movie!

    In the story, a bull named Ferdinand doesn’t really enjoy doing “bull things”. Instead, he likes smelling  flowers and laying in the shade. He just isn’t a typical bull. When men come searching for the meanest and toughest bull, Ferdinand is stung by a bee. He jumps, kicks, and bucks at the pain. The men assume he is the meanest and therefore carry him off to the stadium to be in a bull fight. But Ferdinand remains calm and gentle.

    I thin we can learn 2 main things from Ferdinand –

    1. To be content.

    I think we sometimes can become so discontented with our lives that we forget to appreciate all that God has done for us and given to us. We constantly ask God to do more in our lives and remain unsatisfied with all that He does do. John the Baptist warns people that they need to be contentwith what they have. (Luke 3:14) In Luke 15, we read the parable of the lost son. Ferdinand was not at all like either of the sons in this story. Both sons struggled with discontentment.

    2. To be who you everywhere you go.

    This quality in Ferdinand is what makes it easy for him to be content. Ferdinand knew what he liked and he was OK to be different. He didn’t let his circumstances change him. I think it could have been easy for a calm and gentle bull to turn into a raging, fighting bull given the circumstance that Ferdinand was put in.  As Christians we often use our circumstances as an excuse to be less than Christlike.

    God uses circumstances to put us into new situations. Ferdinand was able to show an entire stadium of people that bulls aren’t always mean and ferocious. Even though Ferdinand’s surroundings changed, he did not.

    So the questions we must ask ourselves  is #1 – are you content? – and if so, do you let circumstances affect your behavior and change who you are?

    ACTIVITY:

    -Have students write their own story by naming qualities about themselves. Then have them make up story where they are in a place or situation that those qualities would make it difficult for them to be there. Discuss with them how Ferdinand was brave to remain true to himself throughout the story.  Let your students see that it takes a brave person to remain true to who they are in all circumstances.

    -Ferdinand spent a lot of time alone smelling flowers and sitting under the tree. Invite students to have their own alone time too. We have to spend time alone to really know ourselves and to get to know God. Encourage students to enjoy being alone without video games or TV. Kids have a very difficult time doing that today.

    -Research bullfighting and help students discover how that type of entertainment was what people enjoyed before video games.

    -Have children act out the story. They’ll have fun pretending to be Ferdinand when he is stung by the bee. Just be careful they don’t kick each other.

    Disclosure: These ideas are that of this blog and teachers using this book, not the author or publisher of the book. To purchase this book through amazon you can click on this widget and help support more Bible Lessons in Children’s Literature


    For more Bible Lessons in Children’s Literature click on the links below:

    Town Mouse, Country Mouse, Content Mouse

    A Porcupine Named Fluffy – Living Up To “The Name”

    Corduroy – The Search For a Friend

    The True Story of The Three Little Pigs and Truth Discovery

    Lessons with Peter Rabbit

    Seven Blind Mice and the Cure for Our Blindness

    The Very Hungry Caterpillar – and a new life

    Learning the Bible from Pinocchio -by Debbie Boush

    Harry the Dirty Dog, Lost Dog and Lost Son

    Where the Wild Things Are

    <iframe src=”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=dawnstephensb-20&o=1&p=8&l=as1&asins=0142409529&fc1=000000&IS2=1&lt1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr” style=”width:120px;height:240px;” scrolling=”no” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″></iframe>

    Week 2 of Breaking Free -My Journey, My Story

    (My reflections after doing week 2 of the Breaking Free Bible Study by Beth Moore)
    breaking free
    We have now finished the 2nd week of our study.  The following is what I gained and how I’ve grown. I’m posting my thoughts here, simply to encourage you to do the same.

    Week 2 covers 5 Benefits that God plans for His children.


    Day 1 – To Know and Believe God – The thing God dealt with most on this day was our relationship. I’ve spent years trying to get to know God better. And I do know HIm more than I use to – but I still try and work a one-sided relationship with Him. Those of you that know me, already know this about me. I can talk about myself easily. I am not afraid for people to know me. I have to work at taking time to know others though. And I have that same issue with God. I am great at dreaming up stuff I want to do and see happen. but a relationship takes both members dreaming and sharing and I have to make sure I am listening to God’s ideas as much as sharing with Him my own.

    Day 2 – To Glorify God Does my reflect God’s Glory? yeah. That was the question I faced on Day 2. Captivity is the areas of life where God is not recognizable. So that made it pretty simple. I spent a long determining the areas of my life other people can’t recognize God in. And gave those to God, asking Him to better use me to glorify Him.

    Day 3 – To Find Satisfaction in God I could just camp here on this one day for a year or more! Oh how I constantly look for satisfaction in everything else but God. And were talking about the richest of chocolate cake satisfaction. To where you can’t eat another bite! Do I get that kind of satisfaction from God? Most currently it is in the process of getting my books published. On this day I had a meeting scheduled with a new publisher. I prayed so hard for a book deal. The meeting went well and I set out to prove myself worthy of everything the publisher asked. I worked day and night telling myself that I would remain satisfied in Jesus alone if the book deal didn’t some. I kept hoping and praying and yesterday. The day before this writing this blog, I got the rejected letter. Disappointment set in, and fast.  I knew I was relying  once again on that for satisfaction. Now I am back on my knees asking for this benefit again.

    Day 4 –  To experience God’s Peace This lesson showed me how I have peace over the big issues in life , because I have no choice but to give those over to God. The other issues that I struggle with. I do so because I haven’t totally given those issues to God. I still think there is something about them that I need to do or fix. And that robs me of the peace I could have them. I also love how God uses a river to illustrate peace. I’ve always though of a smooth lake or pond as peaceful. But to God. peace is like a river. It is moving and flowing from a source. The source is God himself. Our life can twist and turn move fast and slow and the whole time remain peaceful.

    Day 5 – To Enjoy God’s Presence God wanted me to know on this day that our relationship needs to be a lot more than just what He does for me and what I can be doing for Him. He just wants me to enjoy being with Him and knowing Him. the stuff can hinder God from being all He wants to be in my life. Just like stuff can hinder your relationship with your husband and children. God isn’t going to allow “stuff” to come between us. The real question is, What “stuff” am I allowing to come between the pure joy of a relationship with Him.

    If you are doing this Bible study or have done it, I encourage you to share your thoughts below. If you haven’t – I recommend you do.

    You can join us on Little Pot’s Facebook Events too. –click here

    To read my thoughts on week one – click here

    Week 1 of Breaking Free -My Journey, My Story

    breaking freeBreaking Free

    by Beth Moore

    I began this journey with several wonderful Godly woman at my church. Today we end the first week of the 10 week study. The following is what I gained and how I’ve grown. I’m posting my thoughts here, simply to encourage you to do the same.

    Week 1 is called Untying the Cords of the Yoke. Each day we studied a different King.

    Day 1 – was King Uzziah. – For me this day was God dealing with Pride. I saw how many of my problems are rooted in my own pride. Our pride interferes with who God is and stops Him form working in and through us. This was a very convicting day. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go on untying  – but I did . . .

    Day 2 was King Jotham. This day was a lot about having and loosing a hero in your life. I thought about my mom. She died when I was only 19 and she still remains my biggest hero. I also thought a lot about how my life has consisted of “hero-jobs” and not just “hero-people”.  I’ve had jobs and careers in my life where I’ve used them to become my own hero. More than once, God has removed them so that I will remember to put Him in that place. I was reminded of the many times God changed my focus back to Him.

    Day 3 was King Ahaz. This guy was bad news and I really hate to say I identify with him at all. I found it interesting that he was trapped by the very thing his father failed to remove. (“The high places”) It made me wonder if I was failing to remove anything from life that could one day cause my daughters to stumble in their faith.  As a leader of any kind our responsibility is so great!

    Day 4 was King Hezekiah. Here comes pride again. – King Hezekiah started out doing the right stuff. I love how Beth Moore said that “Sometimes faith is the absence of fear. Other times faith may be choosing to believe God even when your heart is melting with fear.” King Hezekiah thought he was going to die and God agreed to extend his life. Unfortunately, his pride returned.  The question for me today was am I more afraid of humility or of pride? No one wants to be humbled. However, after reading this lesson I realized pride is so much more costly.

    Day 5 was King Jesus. This is what it all comes down too. Our freedom is only available through Christ. On this day we are asked to evaluate what has kept us in bondage so that we are not free enough to live the abundant life God has for us. For me, I’ve had many – but the one that stood oust is my lack of patience and need to be in control. God has brought me through so many situations where I have had to remain patient and give control over to Him. It is an ongoing battle for me , but one that I am winning and continuing to break free from.

    If you are doing this Bible study or have done it, I encourage you to share your thoughts below. If you haven’t – I recommend you do.

    You can join us on facebook too.