Strength Source

This past weekend I took the boys up to the Wilds for a hike. After hiking to Shoals, 1st Falls & 2nd Falls, on the way back, Micah (4) paused in the middle of the trail and squatted down.

"Are you going to fall asleep?" I asked.

He shook his head no.

"Do you need to go to the restroom?"

Another negative head shake.

"What do you need, then?"

Again, w/o speaking, he dropped to his knees, folded his little hands, and about forty-five seconds later stood back up and smiled a weak smile at me.

"Do you have more strength now?"

He shook his head yes and made it the rest of the way back to camp (even deciphering which direction to go at each crossroads: follow the "W") without any complaints.

I was just so proud of him for going to the right Source.

Side note: What I didn't realize until later was that he had noticed that I had paused and bowed my head too while I waited for him. It means a lot to my kids to know that I pray for them. I don't think I always realize that. But when I commented on his pausing to pray, he said, "You prayed too, Mommy." It's encouraging to see God answer my kids' prayers and it's exciting to know they know He answers mine too.

preferred sense: hearing or seeing?

I've been impressed recently with Psalm 44 and its parallel to Job 42:5.

"O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:" (Psalm 44:1, esv).

The singers go on to say things such as "But now it seems you have forsaken us" and other such complaints. They longed for God to show His presence and power to them personally.

As I work in the sphere of Christian education, my burden is that so often we "hear" about God and all the things He's done...for other people...and yet we have not "seen" Him for ourselves and made Him a real part of our own life experiences.

Sometimes seeing God work takes more than we're willing to suffer. Look at all Job went through before he could finally say,

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;" (Job 42:5, esv).

Whatever it takes, Lord--whatever it takes--make me to see You and not just hear of You, and may students see You both through me and for themselves. Amen.

Nehemiah 7--planning

I recently had a fellow teacher tell me that when she needs to know how to help a student grasp a concept, she takes it to the Lord. "All my ideas that work are from Him," she said.

Nehemiah would've agreed, I think. 7:5, "Then my God put it into my heart..."

Beginning to end, the best plans are those God puts into our minds and hearts. Lord, help me to listen to Your still small voice and adjust "my plans" to Yours. Amen.

Nehemiah 4 & 6--distractability vs. the disciplined life

Chapter 4: Keep on working despite opposition.
Chapter 6: Stay on task; don't get distracted.

As a Christian school teacher, these lessons stood out.

Until the final triumph of Christ, there will always be opposition to His work. When we minister according to the Word of God, there will be people who don't like what we do or say. Working through these things is not always easy, but when your authority is the Word of God, then you can know by the Spirit of God that they are not upset with you. Their disagreement is with Someone much more significant.

Especially working with students with diagnosed disabilities like ADD/ADHD, you can imagine how many times a day I redirect students to the task at hand. Distractibility. I can take this lesson and preach it all day to my students, but unless I first preach it to myself and practice it myself the impact will not be as great. I have tasks to do in my classroom, in my home, in my own walk with the Lord. And if I allow myself to get distracted, I'm not the only one who suffers. If I do not work in a disciplined manner, my husband and kids suffer b/c I'm neglecting time they need me to be spending with them, my students suffer b/c my lessons are not as clear as they could be, and/or my relationship with the Lord suffers b/c I'm not spending time with Him.
As a freshman university student, I read the book The Disciplined Life. That is what I need, not for the sake of discipline, but for the cause of Christ. By God's grace, I am getting & will get better at these things. And my hope is that I can teach these things not just in word, but by example.

Help me, God. You know I need it.

Nehemiah 3:12--women in the work force

I've thought a lot about this topic recently, having begun working full-time myself to help advance the cause of Christ by helping my husband get through seminary and also seeing the political scene and the strength a woman has brought to the Republican party.

As I look through the Bible, I'm encouraged that though God has an obvious priority for women as managers of their homes, He has a place for them at times in His sovereign plan in working willingly to advance His purposes. Deborah and Jael come to mind. I find it humorous that the man's name to whom Deborah says, "The road on which you are going will not lead to your glory, for the LORD will sell Sisera [a terrorist, Judges 4:1] into the hand of a woman" (Judges 4:9), is "Barak."

In Nehemiah, we find an influential man working alongside his daughters. They were the children the LORD had given him, and he taught them to be strong and willing workers. Historically, they would have had some great examples of capable women. I'm thinking not just Deborah, but Ruth and the woman described in Proverbs 31 (who may have been Ruth).

Anyways, it is encouraging to me to see God using women and encourages me to do my work for His glory and in His strength. He knows I can't do it on my own.

Nehemiah--chapters 1 & 2

First it was a fellow teacher leading us through this book, then it was my two-year-old's Sunday school class. But the Lord seemed to be drawing me to it.

In chapter one as Nehemiah is confronted with discouraging news, he takes his burden/grief to the Lord. What began as simply a concerned question regarding his homeland turned into a committed season of prayer.

Nehemiah pours out his heart in praise and confession to the awesome God. He first focuses on Who God is and then on the sin of his people. He counts himself one of them and like them, a sinner. He pleads for God to remember His own Word.

And as he concludes his prayer, it seems the Lord inspires a plan; this idea of mercy being granted from the king whose cup he bears is put into his head: ask for favor from the king whom you serve.

And then as soon as he asks, he stands up from his prayers. A peace pauses his prayer as he get up and goes to serve the king, still with some trepidation and yet with an obvious confidence in the King of kings Who is for him.

"And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me" (2:8, esv).

Do I pour out my heart like this? Do I acknowledge my own sinfulness with that of the sins of my nation? Do I claim the promises God has spoken in His Word? Do I rise from prayer convinced God is for me? And do I see answers to prayer as "the good hand of my God...upon me"?