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 DEVOTIONS POSTED IN THE LAST FEW WEEKS

 ESTEEM YOUR COWORKERS ABOVE YOURSELF

Philippians 2:3-4  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

                  Setting up a classroom the first week of the year and closing down at the end of the year is a lot of work.  Inevitably some teachers will zip right through the task and finish before other staff members.  Each year one or two teachers struggled slowly through the myriad of required tasks while the rest of the teachers finished and were out the door. I observed this year after year over many years.  
                  So what, you ask?  I would like to suggest that offering to help the struggling teacher once you have completed your room might be a thoughtful and caring thing to do. Verse 4 above encourages us to not be selfish by watching out for just ourselves.  The scripture above encourages us to be a servant to those in need. Sure, we want to get out the door and onto our own business, but God would have us serve our team members when we have the time and ability to help.  
                  I worked with a wonderful group of teachers the last twenty years of my teaching career.  I saw them truly form a team that supported each other.  The goodwill and friendliness of the staff created a wonderful place to work.  
                  I encourage you to be sensitive to the needs of your coworkers.  When you have a chance, drop them a small note in their box letting them know that you appreciate their hard work.  Offer to help when you see someone on your team  struggling.  This pleases the Lord.  You may be blessed with lasting friendships from your team for years to come.

Dear God, Remind me to be sensitive to my team members.  Help me to avoid being in competition with them.  Show me how I can esteem them and  be an encourager.  I pray that you will blend our team together this year. Help us to learn to work well together.  Help me to remember that you ordered my steps and brought me to this job.  Help me to appreciate my team of teachers.  I want to please you in all I do. 

FOOLISHNESS IS BOUND UP IN THE HEART OF A CHILD

Proverbs 22:15 Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him.

       The tenth-grade boy raised his hand during study hall.  I quietly walked to his study center and asked if I could help him. “The light bulb isn’t working.  Can I go get another one from the janitor?” he asked.   
         I hesitated for a moment and then told him that there was enough light in the room without the lamp directly over his study center.  After I walked away, I saw him tighten the bulb and turn his light back on.  He was playing games and trying to get out of class for a while.  At first, this made me angry.  I knew he would have bragged about tricking me if I had let him leave the classroom.   
        How do we keep from getting angry when kids play tricks on us?  Well, the above Scripture helped me to get things into perspective.  Foolishness is a natural part of being a child—especially some children.  The reason we discipline them is to “drive it far from him.”  We should not allow ourselves to get angry over their foolishness; instead, we should see it as an opportunity to train and discipline it out of them.    
      This student’s statement to the teacher was a lie.  His game led him to sin.  Children need to understand that foolishness often leads to wrong behavior.  If they respect God’s Word and desire to do right, they will hear biblical instruction and change their ways.  This student earned a consequence for his deceit and lie. He was not disciplined for his foolishness.    
       By the way, a sense of humor helps to overcome your offense.  Don’t ever forget what it was like to be a kid.  Much of the time kids don’t think all the way through their foolishness.  However, for some students, this response could be a form of mockery rather than foolishness.  (Mockers seek to make the leader look foolish--Proverbs 9:8.)  The same consequence would be appropriate whether it was foolishness or mockery.  The teacher that controls anger or resentment during these times of irritation will be more effective in training up the child in the way he should go. 

Dear God, Help me to be level-headed rather than hot-tempered when it comes to kids’ foolishness.  Help me to see these situations from your perspective.  Their folly is an opportunity for training.  Give me the grace to discipline rather than to react in anger.


CONTENTMENT IS LEARNED
Philippians 4:11-13  I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

        Paul states that he has “learned to be content.”  He knew what it was like to be in the top echelon of society.  Apostle Paul was an educated, “high class” citizen of his time. He also experienced being arrested, beaten, imprisoned, and rejected because of his faith in Jesus Christ.  He knew the best of times and the worst of times. And, through it all, he gained contentment.  
        True contentment comes as we mature and realize there is a higher purpose for our lives than pleasure. Through life experiences, we often learn that the things we seek with our whole heart are still not enough to satisfy us.  The young person who seeks popularity, a great career, a family, a home, a new car and nice things usually finds that they are not as gratifying as expected.  This disappointment can lead to depression and hopelessness.  Or, it can lead to a search for a higher purpose in life.  
        Paul discarded all of the “clout” as an elite member of society to follow Christ.  It was in his commitment to Christ that he found contentment.    Proverbs 19:23 says -- The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.  
        It is not what you have or who you know that will bring real contentment to your life.  But, instead, it is getting your relationship with God in its right place.  Security begins with recognizing that Christ is your provider, your strength, your protection and your forgiveness.  Allowing God to lead your daily decisions and knowing that God is in the middle of all of your experience, good or bad, can bring rest and peace to your life. As you grow in your relationship with Christ and learn to lean only on Him, you will then become content no matter what your circumstances are for today.  
        When you acquire the spiritual contentment that comes from Christ, your students will be drawn to the “peace that passes understanding” seen in your daily walk.  If you see them following you, when possible, point them past you to Christ.  Help them to understand the difference Christ has made in your life.

Dear God, I am not always content.  Sometimes I don’t even understand what I am wanting.  Teach me to find my contentment in you.  Help me to realize that all good things come from you and you work all things together for my good.   


LET ME WALK IN UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
Ephesians 5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

         The unconditional love of Christ is the most significant gift a teacher can give.  Students will grow in confidence and security when we love them with the same unfailing love that Christ loves us. The gentleness of a teacher's soft answer and quiet tone creates a peaceful and caring atmosphere. Most students will respond well to love and kindness.
        In times of misbehavior and required discipline, the love of Christ is your most significant tool. You must have consequences for the infraction, and you must follow the established rules. However, you can administer the discipline “for the student,” not “against the student.”  To withhold consequences for misbehavior is to deny a student the security of the classroom boundaries. The student will test the limits; that's his job.  Your job is to assure him those boundaries exist. 
        The specific consequence is not as important as the emotions you display. When correcting students, teachers need to be neutral; you are a tool of the law.  The student is not coming against you, the person.  He is rebelling against the rules of the school. Anger is not neutral. Some students have a need to test the boundaries. They will test the boundaries (rules) until they are convinced they are firm. Boundaries and structure in a classroom offer students a sense of security. 
       Should you become angry with a child, it is best to separate the child from you until you cool off.  Don’t discipline a student when you are angry. It is best to postpone the discipline until you can get control of your emotions.  You may want to consider placing the student outside of the classroom or in a chair in the back of the room or some other safe place where you can continue with your work until your anger subsides. If you lose your composure or temper, the student will be considered the winner of the conflict.  The student must never win!  You are the adult.  You are the tool that God will use to train the child.  
        Learn to forgive students quickly.  Stay before God in prayer until you overcome any unforgiveness.  Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child--you are an adult.  Your behavior should be above his. Force yourself to learn unconditional acceptance of the child by looking beyond his current response to what he can become after he is fully trained.   

Dear God, Can you help me with my anger?  I  need help with the mocker that keeps tormenting me and disturbing my classroom.  I want to be more like you.  Teach me to be lovingly consistent like you.​​


TEACH ME TO BE A PATIENT LEADER
Proverbs 14:29 Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.  


               Unfortunately, many of us were not born with an easy-going temperament.  Instead, we must build self-control through trials and tests. In the midst of these learning experiences, we can count it all joy.  Why?  Because we can teach our students the secret of overcoming a temper as we conquer our own personal battles.  The teacher who overcomes has a life message of victory. They can offer specific direction and counsel to students who struggle with similar temper difficulties. A patient teacher is loving, yet decisive, in control, understanding and wise.  The godly character displayed in this teacher's life can help to equip students with skills needed to work with his/her fellowman. 
                  "Sounds great, but I'm on the other end of the spectrum--the quick-tempered teacher.  What do I do?" you ask.  Perhaps you need to meditate on the "fruit" or result of a quick-temper. A quick-temper will negate your authority, dull your Christian testimony, be seen as a weakness by your class, and make your day to day experiences miserable for you.  Once students learn to push your buttons, they will play "the game” over and over again.  The students secretly know that they win the battle when you lose your cool.  They may even joke and make your temper a matter of conversation with other students. As a professional leader, you cannot afford the luxury of showing your anger.
                  Here are some suggestions that may help.  Meet with your principal or a friend to discuss specific situations that stir up your anger.  Seek counsel to gain insights and solutions to the problem.  Identify the student(s) who push your buttons and determine a plan of action for the next attack.  For instance, you may decide that “Johnny—or Joni” will be placed out in the hallway anytime you feel anger building toward his/her behavior.   It’s better for the student to have “time out” than for you to lose your cool.  You may discover that your discipline has not been methodical and consistent within your classroom.  Correcting this may relieve the tension and regain the control needed.
                  Discipline is never you against students.  Rather it is the student against the rules or the student against your position (teacher). You are simply the policeman who writes out the ticket and gives the student what he has earned.  Your emotions should not be involved.  It is your responsibility to train your students. Teachers never "get back at a student."  That is a child's approach.  As an adult, you are to "train and reprove" and lead the student into more mature actions and thinking.  Keep short accounts--don't let anger build. Pray for students who irritate you. Practice a controlled response privately when there is no conflict--rehearse for the real thing until the response feels more natural.

Dear God, Make me like you--patient, loving and firm.  Give me the courage to discipline with purpose rather than anger. Teach me to act out of responsibility rather than react out of personal rights!


​TEACH ME TO CREATE THE BOND OF PEACE
Ephesians 4:2-3 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 
                  The atmosphere of your classroom will be determined by your attitude.  A principal can feel the difference in classrooms when walking through the hallways.  There are joyful, fun-loving teachers; strict, no-nonsense teachers; diligently detailed teachers; and quiet, gentle teachers.  All of these personalities can be successful in the classrooms.  But a teacher with a negative attitude, whether they are angry, unforgiving, uncaring, uninterested, or arrogant will have difficulties in discipline.  
                  Jesus told us that the greatest leaders among us would be great servants (Matthew 23:11).  A teacher is a servant.  We are called to serve, to teach, and to share the knowledge that God has so graciously allowed us to learn.  Teachers must never have a proud spirit. Our age, education, and experience have equipped us. We must approach our classroom with humility, but also with confidence knowing that God has supplied us with a message to teach.
                  As conflicts arise, we must do our best to ponder our own childish mistakes from our past.  This will help us find a balance in our discipline as we realize that many mistakes are due to immaturity, not rebellion.  If a student is rebellious, we are to give firm discipline and encourage them to change the defiant behavior.  If the student lacks understanding or forgets, we must re-teach as we discipline. Two students can display exactly the same behavior for two different reasons--rebellion or immaturity.  The only way we can determine which applies to the particular offense is to allow the student to explain.  Be patient and listen for what the student says "beneath" the explanation. 
                  Love the child as you discipline.  The Love of Christ can help you understand the student who challenges you repeatedly.  He/she is a child.  He/she is immature.  He/she does not see events through the same seasoned, mature, experienced eyes that you do. Gently, lovingly, and firmly deal with students "for" their good” and, "for" their future. Draw from the love of God within you, and get rid of any negative emotions you have before you discipline.  Teachers are the adults; students are the children.  Pride can block your ability to do this. You must lay pride down and replace it with a grateful heart, full of humility and service to God's Kingdom. 

Dear God, Discipline seems to be the hardest part of my job.  I choose to lay down my pride and pick up a servant's attitude.  Help me to learn your ways as I teach my students.

I Want to Learn Obedience

1  Peter 2:13-14 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

          Obedience is not always easy.  In fact, many times it takes great fortitude to put aside your personal opinions and preferences to obey the things required of you by leaders.  Have you ever felt that some rules were completely unrealistic or unnecessary? If you haven't, you are a rare specimen of the human race!
The key to obedience--willing obedience--obedience with a smile--inside as well as outside--is the phrase "for the Lord's sake."  We must learn to obey those in authority over us graciously in preparation for the future assignments God has for us.  If we cannot obey men's request, how can we obey God's difficult demands that may require even greater sacrifices?  
          See each trial as a proving ground to determine your willingness to obey.  Luke 16:10 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  
          Another key is to have "Obedience with grace."  We must each learn to be graciously obedient, serving our fellowman as unto the Lord. Our willingness to lay our life down for the brethren may be the key to someone's decision to follow graciously as well.  Your students will be watching to see how you do when the principal makes a request of you. Will you be an example for them or will you prove to them that you teach one thing and live another?  They are looking for genuine character.  Somehow they will always know when you do not measure up to your required assignments. God has his spotlight on you this year. You are on center stage.  Perform "for the Lord's sake"; you will like the harvest that grows from the seeds that you plant!
          One final thought, many have only obeyed when they are in agreement with the request.  I believe the test of true obedience begins when you do what you are asked to do even though you do not want to do it, or you do not see the importance of the request. Many have never truly obeyed; they have only cooperated when they wanted to do what they were being asked to do.  True obedience is a test of submission. 

Dear God, Teach me the importance of submitting.  I want to be a vessel of honor used for your service.  Not my will but thy will be done.  Teach me true obedience.                      


​​​​DON'T FORGET TO HAVE FUN!
​Proverbs 17:22 A merry heart doeth good like a medicine but a broken spirit drieth the bones. KJV

      Diet, nutrition, exercise, and sleep are important factors in your overall health.  Your attitude and outlook on life also affect your health. A cheerful outlook on life helps us to face life's "ups and downs".  We all have them, but how you deal with them makes a difference.  
       How long has it been since you met with a friend or a group of friends to have fun and no other reason?  Summer is a great time for backyard activities like volleyball, baseball, horseshoes, croquet, bocce balls, bean toss, washers, and other games. I have great memories of having family and friends over to make homemade ice cream with games of horseshoes and croquet in our backyard.  Other times it was hot dogs with watermelon or grilled steaks.  Or perhaps you prefer having guests over for dinner or a church social.  People enrich our lives.  Have you discovered the joy of fellowship?  
       As Christians, we are instructed to rejoice. "Rejoice in the Lord always ..." Phil 4:4. We need to learn to be content with what we have.  Discontentment will ruin our health.  I Timothy 6:6 reminds us that success is learning to be satisfied, living right, and pleasing God. Become determined to be joyful, loving, thankful, peaceful, forgiving, and grateful.  Do something unexpected for someone without expecting something in return. Decide to have fun this summer.  Schedule play times and times for relaxation. If you do, you will feel more rested and revived for the next school term.  
      The adage, "All work and no play makes ________ a dull (boy/girl).'  What about it?  Are you ready to do something fun?

Dear God, I need to relax more and enjoy this school year, especially the school breaks.  Give me the wisdom and determination to find that place of contentment, and enjoyment with my family and friends.  I ask you to give me a merry heart that enjoys being with others and can bless others.  Amen.   


​I
'M READY TO GROW UP

1  CORINTHIANS 13:11  When I was a child I talked like a child.  I thought like a child.  I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

Children, in their negative traits, are self-centered, stubborn, self-willed, rebellious (testing boundaries), unable or unwilling to reason with facts, easily angered, sneaky, gullible, destructive, undependable, fickle, rude, insensitive, and sometimes deceitful. On the other hand, their positive traits include being innocent, trusting, carefree, teachable, flexible, loyal, and forgiving. Scriptures give us two concepts regarding "putting away childish ways." The above verse clearly indicates that we are to move away from childish talking, thinking and reasoning. However, Jesus taught that unlessyou change and become like little children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven(Matthew 18:3).  Doesn’t this seem to be a paradox?  
            While Paul encourages us to throw away the negative traits of childishness as we grow into complete maturity, Jesus reminds us to cultivate and grow even more in the positive traits of a child.  The negative traits can be summed up in two words--self-centeredness and rebelliousness (the flesh).  Paul encourages believers to crucify the flesh daily.  We are to become willing to obey and follow God's commands and not our own desires.  On the other hand, the positive traits are summarized in one word--trust.  God is asking us to retain our child-like trust while we die to our selfish ways. 
            It is helpful to remind ourselves of the difference between children and adults. We cannot expect children to act likeadults without training and maturity, but we MUST require mature action and thinking ofourselves.  It makes sense that we, the adults, would have more tolerance and understanding of them than they would of us.  We must be prepared to quietly and consistently train, reprove and correct as the situation requires.  We must not condemn the child for being childish. We should accept him for where God has him--a child.  We should continually require adult maturity from ourselves.  God can help us when we are willing to ask Him for wisdom and understanding.

Dear God, I desire to be spiritually and emotionally mature. Remind me when I get angry or disheartened with my students. Help me to mature fully into the adult leader that pleases you.


THAT I MAY DWELL IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD
​Psalms 27:4 One thing I ask of the LORD, this only do I seek:  that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 

David’s devotion to God is reflected throughout the Psalms.  He panted for God.  His desire was to “dwell” with God every day in every situation.  The appeal of the Psalms comes from the deep love and commitment the Psalmist had for his LORD.  
Do you pant for God?  Do you say to yourself, “I was glad when they said, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!’”(Psalms 121:1)  Or do you feel it is a strain to get up on Sunday and get to church?  I’m meddling, now, but your relationship with God will affect your leadership with your students.  You must be renewed spiritually to have spirituallife to pour out to others.  An empty cup has nothing to spill out.  A life filled with joy and the excitement of God will “win” others to Christ.  Hebrews 10:22-25 says, Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 
Draw near to God today.  He’s as close to you as your breath.  Renew your commitment to prayer and Bible study.  He calls you to His Secret Place with Him.  Don’t be embarrassed if it’s been awhile.  He’s been waiting for you.  Take your burdens, your frustrations, and your trials to His feet and leave them there. He cares for you and wants to set you free from the cares of the world.  He invites you to come.


Dear God, Forgive me for neglecting the secret place.  It’s not that I don’t want to pray and study the Bible.  Life just gets so chaotic sometimes.  Often I realize life gets hectic because I am not coming in prayer to leave my burdens.  

SET A GUARD OVER MY TONGUE
Proverbs 25:2  It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.
Proverbs 10:12  Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

        Gossip is fun!  If it weren’t, it would not trap people.  Soap operas play on people’s desire to get the latest “scoop.”   We get hooked into watching the continuing stories. We don’t want to miss the latest trauma or victory.  We not only want to hear about new developments, but we also want to discuss it with our neighbors and give them our opinion of what’s happening.  It is a clever way to use a perpetual “story” to build patterns of gossip and judgment in our lives.
       During the school year, teachers, parents, students, and administrators work closely together. Our strengths and weaknesses become evident.   (We all have them!)  It pleases God for us to choose to conceal or protect our brother's weaknesses from exposure rather than to make that difficulty a point of conversation.  In Matthew 18, we are instructed to go to our brother and him alone to discuss such a matter.  The weakness does not have to be a sin issue; it could be an irritating habit or oddity. Damaging slurs toward parents, teachers, or students can infect the entire school climate.  A negative statement could be something as simple as "I don't like the way that teacher talks to the students on the playground."  Or, it could be in the form of a question, "Do you think he might not being telling all he knows?"
       Peace should always be our goal.  Remember, slander is a hindrance to your Christian walk.  Slander can be defined as “causing someone to think less of someone else.”  I think Thumper, the little rabbit in the Walt Disney movie, BAMBI, had the best idea--"If you can't say something nice, don't say nuttin' at all!"
       People leave jobs, schools, and churches as a result of gossip.  Even when a bad report is true, the report can create disappointment and disillusionment among the younger members and can harm the entire workplace. It is easy to recognize the damage that careless words bring after the fact, but avoiding the harm is our calling. It is usually beneficial and appropriate for the matter to be handled privately.  As a staff, your school can agree to refuse to repeat gossip in the teacher’s lounge, hallways, and lunchroom. Avoiding gossip takes effort; it takes a commitment.  Self-control will be easier if we can remember that God's love covers a multitude of errors.  "6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."                     (1 Corinthians 13:6-7).  
        This also applies to the classroom setting.  When a student is being disciplined, the issue should remain between the child and the teacher.  Discipline is always for the purpose of training the student.  We, as school leaders, must never bring harm to the student's social standing.  Restoration is our goal.  This is what pleases God.  Revealing details of an offense is the desire of man, but God's desire is to protect and restore.
 
Dear God, Make me sensitive as I discipline my students and as I observe the struggles of my coworkers.  May I never be anxious to reveal someone's weaknesses.   Should I desire to become involved in gossip, quickly reprimand me.  Tug on my heart and remind me to seek the glory of God rather than the glory of man.   


AS LONG AS THERE IS LIFE, THERE IS HOPE AND VALUE
Ecclesiastes 9:4  Anyone who is among the living has hope--even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!


    Do you ever feel that there is no hope for you or possibly no hope for one of your students?  This  Bible verse reminds us that where there is life, there is hope.  As the school year winds down, we realize that the productive school days are almost gone.  Our accomplishments seem small; we wish we could have done more.   The students we did not reach, and the students who never cared seem to haunt our memories.  Our victories seem insignificant. STOP!  LISTEN!  As long as there is life "It ain"t over."  
    God grants life for a "purpose."  He has a purpose for your existence.  Your place of employment and/or job assignment may change through the years, but you will always have a "purpose."  We need to discover God’s purpose in each day and pursue it with all our might. Too often we seek the "big picture"  before we begin  the puzzle.  But often God asks us to place each piece of our puzzle before Him daily, and He will bring the big picture into focus in His time.  
    Only God knows who the Lions will be.  His purposes are valued differently than man values things.  Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.  Turn from your self-centered thinking to God-centered thinking and leave the final results to God.  Set God's work and His love as your goal and press toward it with all your might.  Only in eternity will you know how valuable yesterday was in His Kingdom and what today's plans will accomplish.  Live today to its fullest.  The secret to success is purpose and perseverance.  God will lead you if you will follow.

Dear God, Help me to persevere.  I choose to not be weary in well doing.  I will run the race with patience.  Thank you for life and purpose.  Lead me down your good path planned for me (Psalms. 16:11; 27:11).


REST FOR THE WEARY

Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
     When the cares of the world press in on you, and you feel you do not have the strength to teach, stop a few minutes and talk to God.  There is no problem too great or too complex that God cannot bring a solution.  Rest comes when we become as a little child and trust God.  
    A master teacher has learned to put aside personal problems and take on the responsibility and concerns of the classroom.  With God's help and your understanding of Jesus' words in Matthew 11, you can enter your classroom peacefully and confidently even when your personal life is unsettled.  
    In reality, only God is big enough to solve your difficulties.  Not one minute of worry can change your situation.  Not one minute of fretting can protect someone you love.  Not one minute of regret can change what happened yesterday.  The answer to your struggles is in your ability to exchange "burdens" with Christ.  Leave your burden at the cross and pick up His burden (the work of the Kingdom).  Rest comes through trust.  There is no other way.  It begins with a decision--an act of your will, but it is completed by the power of an Almighty Creator who is touched by your feelings of pain. He is concerned, and in His time He can, and will, make all things beautiful.  You can rest through prayer, praise, and trust.

Dear God, Please help me to trust you more.    I lay all of my burdens at your feet today.  Take care of them as I set my thoughts and actions toward the task of teaching.  I choose to trust you.  I will not be afraid, or dismayed.


SERVANT LEADERS ARE SHEPHERDS


Matthew 20:26-28   Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.


    Too often teachers figuratively stand at the top of their educational pinnacle looking down on their students, saying “Climb up to my level—stretch, grab hold and climb the mountain.  Those who can make it, I will reward with good grades. And for those who can’t,  you will just have to try harder next time, or you will never make it.  It’s up to you.”

    Jesus said that the greatest teacher would be a servant.  A servant-teacher shepherds students.  The teacher encourages each one, allows those who can to climb independently, but assists those who are unable to do it alone.  A servant-teacher never allows any student to feel alone or unsupported in the climb.  A servant-teacher also realizes that some students will climb more naturally than others will.   In fact, the teacher may need to come down the mountain to meet the failing student where he/she is.  The teacher willingly gives extra time to review the basics of mountain climbing with the faltering student in hopes that he/she will learn the skills and begin the climb to the top.  A servant-teacher anticipates the growth and development of all of her students.   Not all students will reach the top at the same time, but the desire is to see every student become proficient in climbing and finish the climb.
     A servant-teacher gives to the students according to their personal needs.  Each student’s needs are considered individually the same way God deals with each of His children uniquely. Only God can give you the creativity and sensitivity to be a servant-leader that shepherds your students.  Ask Him for guidance and a willing heart to serve.

Dear God, I do care about all of my students.  Give me the sensitivity and creativity to usee the needs of my students and the courage and fortitude to minister to each individual in my classes.