controversial, God’s character, God’s Word, knowledge, teacher, teaching, Oh Lord Help Us, Christian, women, mentor, ministry

Teacher: Being Taught by Someone Who is Trustworthy

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be legitimately helpful when it comes to being knowledgable, but how do we know what’s right? David said, “I will not let anything worthless guide me” (Ps. 101:3a, CSB). Who or what should be our teacher?



Interpretation

Last week a mom asked me for advice. Her teenager has been voicing opinions in favor of gender/sexual orientation. She asked how she could talk about it beyond just saying “Because it’s in the Bible.” I said, “When someone wants to use the Bible for personal approval, there are a bunch of Biblical passages that can be taken out of context.”

For instance, I was recently approached by a woman who asked me if I wanted to learn more about God, the mother… ??? There is an entire handbook of denominations that believe different things about the Bible.

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be helpful in knowledge gaining, but how do we know what's right? Who or what should be our teacher? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #controversial #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #knowledge #teacher #teaching

The Issues Change

The weight of hot button issues fluctuates throughout each generation, varying in the attention they receive.

A little over one hundred years ago women weren’t allowed to wear pants or vote. Drinking alcoholic beverages was seriously frowned upon in Southern Baptist churches until the last few decades. However, now it has become somewhat of an acceptable trend…which isn’t necessarily a great victory.

Zeroing In

When it comes to any search for truth, the most important thing is to know the Lord. The Spirit of God disciples the hearts of those who seek Him.

I’m not saying we should never discuss specific topics or read books other than the Bible. But the highest counsel comes from God and His Word. The best way to trust the Lord is to understand His character and trust His teaching.

The counsel of the Lord stands forever, the plans of His heart from generation to generation.

Psalm 33:11, CSB

Finding His Character

I understand how frustrating it can be when someone tells you to “get to know the Lord.” Like, wow. I’ve never heard that one before. Great idea! (Sarcasm? Is that you?) HOW? was the battle cry of my heart for so long. If I wasn’t reading it on my own, the Bible was read to me since I was in the womb. Yet for so long I felt I was missing something staring me in the face.

One of my favorite pictures of God’s character is His interaction with Simon Peter. Peter was a zealous, devoted, and fierce disciple—and he was fearfully disloyal when it mattered most. The third time Peter denied being associated with Jesus, Luke records, “Then the Lord turned and looked at Peter” (Luke 22:61a). I love how Brennan Manning wrote of this account.

In that look the reality of recognition was disclosed…The Man whom he had confessed as the Christ, the Son of the living God, looked into his eyes, saw the transparent terror there, watched him act out the dreadful drama of his security addiction, and loved him.

Brennan Manning, The Gentle Revolutionaries

Making a Teacher

Jesus saw and knew Peter was afraid. He understood the depths of Peter’s heart and though he had walked with the Christ for three years, he chose self-preservation over allegiance to his Teacher.

What’s more, soon after Jesus’s resurrection He had a conversation with Peter (see John 21:15-19). Jesus asked Peter repeatedly if he loved Him and instructed Peter to shepherd His sheep. Only God, who intimately knows the hearts of humankind, could offer such an assignment to someone who had recently denied knowing Him. Jesus looked at Peter and saw him. Then Jesus gave him another opportunity to be a bold teacher for the sake of the gospel of salvation.

Every time Jesus says, “Do you love Me,” and Peter says, “Yes I do,” Jesus doesn’t say, “Well gosh, if you did, what happened six weeks ago, Bub?” He’s not asking that question. What does He say? He gives him work to do. “Do you love Me? I have work for you to do. I need you to feed my sheep, I need you to tend my lambs. I have work for you to do. I have new, good, beautiful things for you to make, and I want you to start paying attention to Me more than you are paying attention to your shame.”

Author Curt Thompson, MD, shared in an interview with ACT29

A Good Teacher

I am currently taking some seminary classes, so I read a lot of books. Most of them are great teachers. But I cannot tell you how much richer the content is now that I have a better understanding of who God is! God’s character is faithfulness. It is love and justice. His very nature is righteousness, and He teaches those qualities to His children!

But the one who boasts should boast in this: that he understands and knows Me—that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord’s declaration.

Jeremiah 9:24, CSB
God's character is faithfulness. It is love and justice. His very nature is righteousness, and He teaches those qualities to His children! Click To Tweet

Enduring Pursuit

Regardless of the issues you are facing or will face, there is help. There is counsel in the Word of God. So much advice is flung at us. From books to social media and more. How do we know what is right? By knowing the Teacher, the Creator of heaven and earth.

It’s not an overnight realization either. It will take our entire lifetime. But when you think about it, isn’t it wonderful? What an adventure—we can always learn more about our Maker and be taught by the One who knows all things.

Our help is in the name of the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Psalm 124:8, CSB

Books on controversial subjects are plentiful. Some may be helpful in knowledge gaining, but how do we know what's right? Who or what should be our teacher? Women of Faith | Spiritual Growth | Scripture Study | Christian Mentoring | Daily Devotional #devotional #scripture #controversial #GodsCharacter #GodsWord #knowledge #teacher #teaching

unsplash-logoAnnie Spratt
legacy, love, teach, Oh Lord Help Us, ministry, women, encouragement

Legacy: Teaching God’s Love by Living the Example

Who has begun the legacy of love in your life, teaching you of God’s love? How will you continue this legacy of influencing others?



The warm sun came streaming in the window like a loving hug surrounding me as I stretched awake. The sound of waves crashing over the shore was so soothing and exciting at the same time. My little legs quickly kicked the covers off. I started demanding breakfast, my swimsuit, and when could we go out. Not the best way to wake up the adult you are sleeping with. I probably would fuss at my kids. My grandfather, though, joined in with as much childlike enthusiasm as his 6’2″ frame could contain. Genuine love beaming through every pore. My grandmother was already up, fixing a big farm style breakfast in the little camper that served as home for the week we stayed at Arrowhead Campground in Myrtle Beach, SC every summer of my childhood.

She turned and smiled with love and patience. It made me feel every wonderful and loving feeling all at one time. “Slow down, pumpkin. Let’s eat a bite, take our time getting dressed, and then we will hit the waves.” My grandma wrapped me in a hug that emoted so much love I can still close my eyes and feel how much heart was in the simple gesture. I can even smell the warm sweetness and the clean fresh natural smell that wafted from her.

My grandfather would say grace – a little long winded for my young wiggly body – as I waited for my turn to say “AMEN” with loud enthusiasm. As we ate, I was not just allowed to talk about whatever subject was rushing in and out of my little girl mind, but encouraged in my flights of fancy.

As we packed up our cooler and put on bathing suits and sunscreen my grandmother would sing. My favorite was “I’ve Got the Joy, Joy, Joy Down in My Heart.” And I did. Great Joy. Joy for the beach, joy for my family, and joy for the God they were teaching me to love.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

Psalms 36:7, ESV

Legacy: Living by Example

Love is a natural human emotion, but we are taught how to express it. My parents did a great job of teaching me what love was. They took me to church, encouraged me to find my true purpose and listen to God’s call. They came to everything I was a part of. I learned so many wonderful lessons from them, but my grandmother taught me the most about God’s love.

Love is a natural human emotion, but we are taught how to express it. Click To Tweet

She shared her love for our Savior with open abandon. You knew within the first thirty seconds of meeting her that she was a Christian in the marrow of her bones. No one ever left her presence not knowing that she loved them because Jesus loved them more.

I remember one time a lady came to her house to pick up a skirt my grandmother had made for her. My grandmother was a seamstress by trade and ran a small business out of her house. The lady who came was obviously poor and spoke very little english. My grandmother smiled that same warm smile that shined through her eyes, that she showed me. She asked the lady about her family and patiently listened as the lady told her about the hardships that their family was going through. My grandmother invited her to church, offered to come visit sometime soon, and told her she would put her family on her prayer list. The lady smiled with equal warmth. You could almost feel her burden lift a little. She paid my grandmother with a few dollars and a pie.

That night when we got to the part of our devotional where we lifted people up in prayer, my grandmother prayed for the lady and her family. Living life in service of others wasn’t lip service to her, it was a biblical imperative. She prayed daily. Read her bible and devotional nightly; even when she was too sick to get up out of bed. God’s love came through her until her last breath was taken.

For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.

2 Corinthians 9:13, ESV

Legacy: Teaching Others

When my grandmother was at a hospice house the last few months of her life, she was still ministering to others. We would go visit and the nurses, other patients, and their families would tell us how much she meant to them. How they loved her. She loved them all right back. Every night she and my grandfather would read their devotional and pray. She would list them all by name. She would tell others everyday how much she loved them and how much God loved them.

One of the last times I came to visit she was sitting in the common room and there were three other families in there too.  A nurse came in with a therapeutic golden retriever who nudged its head under my grandmother’s hand. She gave me the same smile, talked a few minutes and then asked me to read Revelations 21 outloud for everyone.

…The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city wea pure gold, like transparent glass.

And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, and its gates will never be shut by day – and there will be no night there. They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Revelations 21:18-27, ESV

When I was done she looked at me and said, “That is what is waiting for me.” Then she took the hand of the nurse who had walked in and smiled at her. “That is what is waiting for all of us. God is so good, honey.” I broke down, put my head in her lap and cried. She lifted my chin and said, “Pumpkin, I love you, God loves you, we will always be with you.”

Legacy: Teaching Others to Teach

A few weeks later, right before she passed away, we all went to see her one more time. They were pumping her so full of pain medication she barely knew who we were. I spent three minutes with her right before I left. The fog seemed to lift for those three minutes. She smiled at me with all her love, she hugged me tight and that feeling of warm love enveloped me.

She patted my hair. “Why are you so sad, pumpkin?”

“I’m going to miss you so much. I love you, grandma.”

“I love you too, baby. We have made so many memories. I will live in your heart forever.”

I promised I would share her love and lessons with my children and that I would try to live the life that she wanted for me.

Your turn…

Who is the person who brings God’s love closer to you? How do they inspire you to draw closer to God?

Dear God,

Thank you for blessing my childhood and early adulthood with Virginia Vernon. You could not have given me a better earthly example of loving You than her. Help me to live the life You have planned for me. Help me to love others in the way You desire for us to love others, fully and without reservation.

Love,

me

Who has begun the legacy of love in your life, teaching you of God's love? How will you continue this legacy of influencing others?

Who has begun the legacy of love in your life, teaching you of God's love? How will you continue this legacy of influencing others?

Annie Spratt

You Are Loved, Fiercely

Numerous times I have been speaking to my boys and I “feel” a tap on my shoulder. I know what I said to them was actually the Lord speaking to me. He is the perfect parent, so it makes sense that He would use our parenting to instruct us as well.

 

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Examples

 

“You are expecting it to do something it was not made to do.”

To my children: Several years ago I said this to my oldest child when he was getting frustrated with a toy.

To me: The Lord was telling me that I had been expecting more out of my child than he was able to do at that time. I still hear this. Now it is in the context that I am expecting my children to be someone other than who they were created to be.

“You can trust what I say. Because I love you, I will keep my word.”

To my children: This was just this past week. My 4 year old was throwing a fit (again) and I told him there would be a consequence if he didn’t stop. He stopped for a while, but then decided to test me. So I had to follow through. Which resulted in lots of crying and then lots of hugs.

To me: Whether or not it is what I want to hear, I know I can trust the Lord. Because He loves me, He will keep His Word.

“Doing your best is all that matters.”

To my children: Both of my boys get frustrated with themselves when they make mistakes and want to give up when learning something new.

To me: Often my own best doesn’t feel good enough. I think I need to be more and do more. Thankfully this is not truth.

“There is nothing you can do or not do that will make me love you more or love you less. I love you fiercely.”

To my children: My oldest was upset he didn’t pass the swim test, and was scared to try again. He actually asked me what I would do to him if he didn’t pass. Gasp. My heart broke.

To me: I struggle with trying to impress others to gain approval. Thankfully there is nothing I can do to change how much the Lord loves me. This is a beautiful thing.

“I am not disappointed in you, I am disappointed for you.”

To my children: This was also after he didn’t pass the swim test. I was still trying to confirm that it was alright. He absolutely had the skill and ability to pass the test, but it had become a mental battle for him. I wanted him to experience the confidence and satisfaction that comes from accomplishing something he had been working so hard to achieve.

To me: When I mess up (said something rude, lost my temper, been critical, etc.) I feel so ashamed and want to beat myself up for it. The Lord was gently whispering in my ear that I am not a disappointment. But I have done some disappointing things.

“Don’t make it a bigger deal than it needs to be. That’s called being dramatic.”

To my children and me: Umm, yeah. Pretty much my entire life right here.

“Don’t get frustrated. Just try again.”

To my children: My four year old gets frustrated so easily. He tries to draw the letter “A” and starts crying because the lines are crooked. It takes a lot of encouraging from the whole family to get him through it.

To me: I do this too. I love starting things, but get discouraged when it doesn’t come easily to me. So I usually end up starting and then stopping. And then starting and then stopping. And then… Thankfully I am also surrounded by encouraging people that help me through these times.


Final Thought

As you are in the day to day grind be aware of the moments the Lord is using your own voice to teach you.

There is one more I want to share with you. This was not from me, but what a friend said to her daughter. It was a punch in my gut, and something I desperately needed to hear.

“You are beautiful just the way you are.”

Oh dear mommas, please hear this, “You are beautiful just the way you are!”

 

xoxo