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Friday, September 30, 2016

Clergy Appreciation Month 2016



“And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be ye at peace among yourselves.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:12-13 KJV)

October is nearly here; therefore, it is a good time to look towards appreciating our pastors and all they and their families do—the sacrifices they make to care for the people in their charge. October is Clergy Appreciation Month, with this in mind, I will be sharing (with some editing) what I posted last October.

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Clergy Appreciation Month was started in the early 1990s by a lay person, who saw a need.  He realized that there were months and days honoring people and groups but nothing for honoring pastors.  Pastors are human and need encouragement like everyone else—it can be something quite simple—such as a pat on the back, a word of praise, or simply being attentive during services.  At times pastors seem to take more than their fair share of criticism, so words of praise are even more important.  Pastors (and their families) need our prayer and support, not our criticism.    

Remember most pastors work incredibly hard, putting in extremely long hours to care for the flock they love. (And by the way, they work more than just on Sunday!)  This means they miss time with their families.  They also neglect their own needs at times.  Therefore, they need to be reminded they are loved and that they are making a difference in the lives of others.


Photo Credit: P. Whitlach

We see pastors being encouraged in the Bible, such as the support Aaron and Hur gave to Moses during the battle with the Amalekites (Exodus 17:10-13).

How is your pastor being encouraged by the members of his/her congregation?Who holds up your pastor’s arms?  What are you doing to encourage your pastor?   

Photo Credit: C. Meissner

Do not forget to encourage your pastor’s family; they are an important part of the ministry too! The pastor’s family is a vital part of his/her ministry.  They are expected to make many sacrifices that many in the congregation would be unwilling to make.

One great way to encourage your pastor and his/her family is through prayer! Let them know that you are praying for them. For some ideas to direct your prayers see: How to pray for your pastor.

Throughout the rest of this month and in the months ahead, think about ways to affirm the work of your pastor and his/her family.  Keep in mind that our pastors should be appreciated and affirmed twelve months a year, not just in October!

How are you honoring your pastor and his/her family?  How have you showed appreciation (as an individual or as a church) in the past?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for all those who were and are obedient to Your call on their lives and became pastors to shepherd Your flock. Prompt us to know how and when to encourage our pastors; may we use our words with care—building up rather than tearing down. Father, thank You for our pastors and their families; pour out Your blessings on them, may they experience the fullness of Your presence in their daily lives. In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen

From My Heart to Yours,


Kim

Sunday, September 25, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure 2016: Week 5


Welcome to Week 5, of this year's 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Below the readings for week 5, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the first four weeks?  For those of you who have read through the Bible multiple times, what new ideas has the Holy Spirit revealed to you? 



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Week 5:  September 25-October 1, 2016

September 25:  Proverbs 25, Deuteronomy 25, John 9
 September 26:   Proverbs 26, Deuteronomy 26, John 10
September 27:  Proverbs 27, Deuteronomy 27, John 11
September 28:  Proverbs 28, Deuteronomy 28, John 12
September 29:  Proverbs 29, Deuteronomy 29, John 13
September 30:  Proverbs 30, Deuteronomy 30, John 14
October 1:  Proverbs 31, Deuteronomy 31-32, John 15-16


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Week 4:  September 18-24, 2016

September 18:  Proverbs 18, Deuteronomy 18, John 2
September 19:  Proverbs 19, Deuteronomy 19, John 3
September 20:  Proverbs 20, Deuteronomy 20, John 4
September 21:  Proverbs 21, Deuteronomy 21, John 5
September 22:  Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 22, John 6
September 23:  Proverbs 23, Deuteronomy 23, John 7
September 24:  Proverbs 24, Deuteronomy 24, John 8


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

Friday, September 23, 2016

The Impact of Teachers



But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (John 14:26 KJV)


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As September nears its end, I would like to consider the impact teachers have on the lives of their students.  The impact can be positive or negative—coloring the whole of life.  A teacher’s impact or lack of impact can encourage a student to achieve great tings or fail to live to his or her fullest potential.

My brethren, be not many masters [teachers], knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.  (James 3:1 KJV)

It is an awesome responsibility to teach; something not to be taken lightly, especially when it comes to the Word of God.  In fact, as we read in the Scripture passage from James, those who teach will be held to a higher standard.  This should cause us to pause and deeply and soberly think about the responsibility in teaching the Word of God. 


Photo Credit: C. Meissner

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.  (John 14:26 KJV)

As Christians the greatest (and best) teacher we will ever have is the Holy Spirit.  Open your heart and mind to the Holy Spirit’s instruction and learn from Him.  The Holy Spirit is an amazing teacher, as long as we remain open and attentive to His gentle presence and soft voice. 

What have you learned recently from the Holy Spirit?


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For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off.  (Deuteronomy 30:11 KJV)

In planning, teachers develop learning objectives for their students.  Ideally, these learning objectives match the abilities of their students—challenging them enough but not too much.  The same could be said for those us who have the courage to teach Sunday school (any age level).  A plan is created for class with flexibility to address needs as they surface.
It seems to me that God, like a good teacher, challenges us to bring about our full potential.  Teachers hope their students will actually use and apply what they have learned in future classes and throughout life; God expects the same from us.
Be open to God’s teaching.  What is God trying to teach you?

Photo Credit: C. Whitlatch

What teacher had the greatest impact on your life?  I imagine you can recall at least one by name.
                
Please join with me in prayer:
Dear Lord, thank You for the men and women who have the courage to teach.  We pray Your blessing and anointing upon those who have accepted the awesome responsibility teaching requires.  As we open our hearts and minds to the instruction of the Holy Spirit; help us to be good, attentive students of Your Word.  Guide us as we live our lives in the ways You have instructed us.  Thank You for Your perfect instruction that fits our abilities.  We are thankful that Your desires for us are not beyond our reach.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Sunday, September 18, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure 2016: Week 4




Welcome to Week 4, of this year's 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Below the readings for week 4, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the first three weeks?  For those of you who have read through the Bible multiple times, what new ideas has the Holy Spirit revealed to you? 


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Week 4:  September 18-24, 2016

September 18:  Proverbs 18, Deuteronomy 18, John 2
September 19:  Proverbs 19, Deuteronomy 19, John 3
September 20:  Proverbs 20, Deuteronomy 20, John 4
September 21:  Proverbs 21, Deuteronomy 21, John 5
September 22:  Proverbs 22, Deuteronomy 22, John 6
September 23:  Proverbs 23, Deuteronomy 23, John 7
September 24:  Proverbs 24, Deuteronomy 24, John 8


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

Friday, September 16, 2016

The Danger in Not Studying


Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.  (Matthew 22:29 KJV)


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For the last few weeks, we have been considering learning and studying.  Today, we will consider the danger in not studying (a good follow up to last week’s post on how exhausting and wearying much studying is for us as students).

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  
(Hosea 4:6 KJV)

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Realistically, lack of study is every bit as bad as too much.  Moreover, applying what is learned is an important skill to develop.  The ability to apply information learned takes a person to the “next level”, so to speak—using information outside the “classroom”.  (An example of this would be essay exams where students apply, rather the regurgitate information.)   

Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.  (Matthew 22:29KJV)

In the words above, Jesus is confronting the Sadducees for their misunderstanding of the Word of God.  The very ones, who should have known the Word, missed what (and Who) right in front of them!  How often is that true of us?

Not learning, not studying, not reading leads us down less than ideal paths; we can err in significant ways.  Nearly any teacher can tell you about students who are highly capable but refuse to study.


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My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.  
(Hosea 4:6 KJV)

We, too, can be guilty of the same behavior, when it comes to reading, studying, and applying the Bible—God’s love letter to us.  The words in Hosea 4:6 frequently come to mind, especially when I am praying for my church, Sunday school classes, as well as fellow Brothers and Sisters in Christ.  We harm ourselves by not knowing God’s Word.  It is beautiful to hear God’s Word prayed back to Him.  My hunch is that God smiles when He hears His children praying His Word back to Him.  Praying God’s Word and will is powerful!

The believers in Berea (see Acts 17:10-14) devoted themselves to searching the Scriptures as Paul and Silas shared with them about Jesus and all that He did.  The people of Berea were open to hearing and learning from Paul and Silas; yet they went far beyond that to studying the Scriptures (they only had the Old Testament at this point) for themselves.  We should do the same; there are many false teachers/prophets in the world, luring godly people away from the truth.


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I would like to encourage my readers to spend time daily in God’s Word.  It is time well spent.  For those of you who are part of a church, I encourage you to check out Sunday school options—we grow better together!

*Be sure to check out my 50 Day Adventure readings (Weeks 1-3).  On Sunday, the Scripture readings for the week will be available.*  

What is your favorite book of the Bible?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, Your Word is amazing and provides direction for the whole of life; help us to be diligent about reading, studying, and applying it.  Guide us to know how to find a solid balance between too much study and not enough.  Fill us with a hunger for Your Word.  Direct us to where You desire us to read and study in Your Word.  We deeply desire to know Your Word and Your power.  In Jesus’ Name, we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Sunday, September 11, 2016

50 Spiritual Adventure 2016: Week 3



Welcome to Week 3, of this year's 50 Day Spiritual Adventure!  I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted!  

Below the readings for week 3, I have listed the readings for the previous weeks, in case you are interested or if you have gotten behind.  Please do not get discouraged if you fall behind.  Persevere and keep on reading, this time is not a competition; it is a time to dig into God's Word and learn more about our God who loves the humanity He created.  

What have you learned as you have read during the first two weeks? 


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Week 3:  September 11-17, 2016

September 11:  Proverbs 11, Deuteronomy 11, Mark 11
September 12:  Proverbs 12, Deuteronomy 12, Mark 12
September 13:  Proverbs 13, Deuteronomy 13, Mark 13
September 14:  Proverbs 14, Deuteronomy 14, Mark 14
September 15:  Proverbs 15, Deuteronomy 15, Mark 15
September 16:  Proverbs 16, Deuteronomy 16, Mark 16
September 17:  Proverbs 17, Deuteronomy 17, John 1


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10



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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Labor of Studying


And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  (Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV)

As a new school year gets underway, I am reminded of my time as a student—all the new experiences, meeting new people, and learning new ideas—the experiences that have played a role in who I am today.  At the beginning of a new year there seems to be a sense of possibility—dreaming new dreams, discovering new things about yourself and others.  There seems to be something special about new pencils and new notebooks that harkens to a fresh start full of possibility.  Some students may discover a teacher or other staff member that they seem to “connect” with and a mentoring relationship begins to develop.  While mentoring in the academic or professional sense is important, there is a mentoring that is even more important (and the topic of last week’s post) spiritual mentoring.   

And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.  
(Ecclesiastes 12:12 KJV)


How amazingly true are the words written by King Solomon!  Studying does indeed weary the body!  Any thesis or dissertation writer would agree that there is no end to making many "books" and no end to writing many “papers”!  Worldly endeavors encountered as we journey through our school years is most definitely toil—toil that should cause us to feel utterly weary.  However, we will discover that what we do for the Lord is not wearying in the same way.

How or when have you found studying to be wearing?

For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.  (Ecclesiastes 1:18 KJV)

Some students might even agree that with wisdom and knowledge there is sorrow and grief, particularly if God is left out of the equation.  Living in the world, pursuing worldly pleasures and worldly ideals is a sure formula for experiencing grief and sorrow.  Think about all the time and pressures incurred in pursuing a college education—graduation comes and reality sets in that the world is much different than the academe led students to believe.


Kim nearing college graduation, spring 1995

When or where did you discover sorrow and grief in gaining wisdom and knowledge?

The best study we can do is being a student of God’s Word.

As students and teachers start another year of learning and growing together, we too, can renew our commitment to studying the Word of God.  However, we need to do more than simply read and study; we need to apply what we are learning to our lives.  Reading and studying God’s Word really should not exhaust us (at least not in the way we were accustomed to as students elsewhere).

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For those of us who preach, teach, and write about the Word of God, we will be held to a higher standard by Him (see James 3:1); therefore, we would be wise to heed Paul’s admonition to his spiritual son, Timothy:

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV)

Do not become weary with too much reading, studying, doing that you neglect sitting quietly waiting on God and His still small voice.  It is here that we find rest for our weariness, a balm for our aching, hurting soul.  In this quiet, secret place as we commune with the Lord and He communes with us, we discover refreshment that our entire beings crave; yet rarely find in this noisy and busy world.  

If you are interested in getting into God’s Word, I encourage you to do so and check out this year’s 50 Day Spiritual Adventure.  (Readings for the week of September 11 will be posted early morning September 11, 2016.)

What portion of Scripture does God have you studying?

Please join with me in prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the most amazing gift of Your Holy Word.  It truly contains all we need to live the life You have given us.  Please give us an ever deepening hunger for Your Word; help us to study it diligently and not grow weary.  Guide us in our study and application of Your Word, so we do not wear ourselves out with much study of things not of You.  For those of us who preach, teach, and write about Your Word, help us to be diligent in our study and to rightly divide the Word of God.  In Jesus’ Name we pray.  Amen.

From My Heart to Yours,

Kim

Sunday, September 4, 2016

50 Day Spiritual Adventure Week 2


Welcome to Week 2,  the first full week, of this year's 50 Day Spiritual Adventure! I imagine you are discovering some new things and being reminded of things learned in the past, as you read in the Old and New Testaments. May we never take reading God's Word for granted.  

What have you learned as you have read the first three days? 


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Week 2:  September 4-10, 2016

September 4:  Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 4, Mark 4
September 5:  Proverbs 5, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 5
September 6:  Proverbs 6, Deuteronomy 6, Mark 6
September 7:  Proverbs 7, Deuteronomy 7, Mark 7
September 8:  Proverbs 8, Deuteronomy 8, Mark 8
September 9:  Proverbs 9, Deuteronomy 9, Mark 9
September 10:  Proverbs 10, Deuteronomy 10, Mark 10


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Week 1:  September 1-3, 2016

September 1:  Proverbs 1, Deuteronomy 1, Mark 1
September 2:  Proverbs 2, Deuteronomy 2, Mark 2
September 3:  Proverbs 3, Deuteronomy 3, Mark 3


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