Thursday, October 31, 2013

You are precious - bought with a price

As I had devotions this morning, God's love for each one of us overwhelmed me. It started with the sentence (from Jesus Calling): Ask Him to think through you, live through you, love through you.

One of the scripture reading is I Co. 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you; whom have from God, and that you are not your own?

I am not my own -- I am His for His work. Wow! What a great sermon topic!

And with that thought, I went to the web and typed into the search engine, "you are not your own" -- and the match came up with an addition, "you are not your own but bought with a price." 

Bought with a price.... another wow for me. Charles Spurgeon wrote: You were redeemed then, redeemed from the punishment that was due to you, redeemed from the wrath of God, redeemed unto Christ to be his for ever... the very expression, "Ye were bought," implies a price, but the words"with a price" are added, as if to show that it was not for nothing that ye were purchased. There was a something inestimably precious paid for you; and ye need scarcely that I remind you that "ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold;" "but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (

You are precious to the Lord. You are precious. (Period). May you know today that you are loved – for who you are – for who God has made – for being you. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sunday Psalm

Psalm 63:3-5
Your constant love is better than life itself, and so I will praise you. 
I will give you thanks as long as I live; I will raise my hands to you in prayer.
My soul will feast and be satisfied, and I will sing glad songs of praise to you.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teaching and Learning

This past year I have been part of a work group attempting to develop learning options for our college. The state of Iowa no longer requires certification, so each college / university is expected to have teaching improvement as part of their offerings to keep the faculty effective with learning. Goal: continued learning in how best to teach students.

My background in education courses is zilch -- nada -- no credits whatsoever in education. My frustration at this teaching and learning committee has been high at times, because I do NOT understand the theory or recognize names to learning models.

So... after the last meeting, I had heard enough names of authors to order some books to help me better understand the talk around the table. It is that exploration of learning theory that I bring to my blog -- research shows that the best way to learn is through activity with information. Therefore, here starts my journey in teaching and learning theory.

My first resource is The Art and Science of Teaching by Marzano. All quotations and thoughts from this book are under copyright and must be recognized as such.

My summary of the Introduction pages 1-7.
The title of book comes from the understanding that teaching is an art -- a teacher must learn the students as individuals such that the theories can be applied scientifically. The science part comes from the understanding that the educational theories or practices applied have a probability of working -- not a guarantee.

Studies indicate findings of practices that work and those that do not. One study (Nye and colleagues (2004)) indicates that "effective teachers make a significant difference in student achievement." (p. 2) That thought alone stimulates me to find out what practices help a teacher to be more effective.

Marzano found that effective teaching has three general characteristics:
1) Use of effective instructional strategies
2) Use of effective classroom management strategies
3) Effective classroom curriculum design
(p. 5)

Note: These general characteristics were given the word "pedagogy." (p. 6)

Resources to check out:
* What Works in Schools (Marzano, 2003)
* Classroom Instruction That Works (Marzano, Pickering, & Pollock, 2001)
* Classroom Management That Works (Marzano, 2003)

Friday, January 4, 2013

"I trust you Jesus"

The devotion today starts with encouragement to "learn a new habit." This spoke to me right away that the patterns I had built over my lift, might not be what is best or serve Him to the utmost. The new "habit" is trusting in Jesus. "...think about who I am in all My Power and Glory; ponder also the depth and breadth of My Love for you."

God is bigger than any turmoil, stress, joy, etc. that I face.

The author refers to this trusting in Jesus as a "simple practice"  -- the implication that we COULD blow up this new habit to being cumbersome, but the goal is simplicity in our walk with the Lord. "This simple practice [of trusting in Jesus] will help you see Me in every situation, acknowledging My sovereign control over the universe."

Scriptures for today:
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary, beholding your power and glory. Psalm 63:2

See the Lord comes with might, and his arm rules for him; his reward is with him, and his recompense before him.  Isaiah 40:10-11

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flew from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall hold me fast. Psalm 139:7-10

Prayer: Lord be glorified. Today help me to see you throughout the day and help me to trust you no matter what I face. May the clamor of this world help me draw closer to you rather than pull me away. Amen.

Resource: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson Publisher @2004.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"Relax in My Healing Presence"

Today's devotion is entitled, "Relax in My Healing Presence." The author spoke directly to my heart with "your thoughts tend to jump ahead to today's plans and problems.... Do not skimp on our time together. Resist the clamor of tasks waiting to be done."

Oh so true. Thoughts of classes starting in 5 days and all the prep work that still needs completed for Acc 165 Online to be ready for week -- plus any weeks following that would possible before the start of the term. Videos for Acc 165 and Acc 191 Online helping direct students through the topic(s) of study or just through my expectations for the week. Acc 361 (or whatever it is) as face-2-face -- what items are covered that first week and what about....

The list could continue showing that clamor of tasks waiting to be done.

I sat back and thought of times that the clamor took over. The times that when an activity was finished, I wished I had spent more time with visiting with people rather than scurrying around in the kitchen, doing laundry, or planning meals....

One of the scriptures for today is Luke 10:39-42. I started with verse 38, Now as they were traveling along, He entered a certain village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. Ah yes... Martha... I think that is my real first name, but I go by Rebecca or Becky. Although I don't fuss like Martha did that Mary isn't helping... Well, I don't think I do. But I sure wish....

But Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only a few things are necessary, really only one, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her."

Psalm 105:4 Seek the Lord and His strength; Seek His face continually. The Psalm itself declares God's moving and working for His people. The first verse gives a clue of His hand moving and working. Oh give thanks to the Lord, call upon His name; Make known His deeds among the peoples.

Although making sure the family, church, students, etc., have what they need is a good virtue I think, sometimes chilling out with the Lord presence is far more important. "Resist the clamor..."

Prayer: For today, Lord God, help me to resist the clamor and look toward you. When that clamor takes over, help me to sit back -- be a Mary. Bless my time that I work such that time does not take over. Help me be focused as needed, but not overwhelmed by all that must be done. For as I am still, I know in my soul that You are God.

Resource: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson Publisher @2004.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year -- New Ways by transformation of mind in Christ

Thank you, best sister Barbara, for the devotion book - Jesus Calling by Sarah Young! May I be as focused on Him at the close of the year as you have inspired me to be by your own heart of love for Him.

In being renewed -- transformed -- one of the elements is to be teachable. Change cannot take place unless one is eager for change -- looking for those options, possibilities, and leading down a different path than the "normal" or "usual".

The changes appear to take place by renewing of mind. Thoughts focus on Him, rather than the me. And with that last statement, I realize how easily I have added that "me" at the end of many thoughts and prayers.

God has:

  • Infinite attention span.
  • Complete understanding of me as an individual
  • Embracing, everlasting Love
  • Promise of prosperity, not harm
  • Plans for hope and a future
My response is directed to be, "increasing attentiveness to My Presence." (p. 2)

Scripture reference of Romans 12:2 leads with verse 1, I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. Verse 2, "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect." 

From this scripture, may I let God be the focus rather than things of this world. The other day I got bent out of shape when our auto-payments were not set up as I thought -- panic was the word when finding the notice stating that if we didn't pay our bill, the utility service would be shut off. Looking back, I realize that if I had sat down and prayed, I probably would not have ended up in tears. Rather silly, now that I look back. Of course, my first reaction was that I fell apart from having a taste of chocolate milk (OK -- several sips). The guilty party was that chemical in chocolate that makes me feel rotten. Eventually I realized that I had let my earthly flesh be narrow minded such that I didn't see options. I focused only on the tragedy that I had made an error. This reading in Romans, does not state that we must be perfect -- "THOU SHALT NOT MAKE A MISTAKE." Instead, react not as the flesh would have -- PANIC -- but allow the mind to react differently. The issue for me was that I couldn't wait until after lunch to get the issue resolved, I had to take care of it RIGHT THEN. A more mature response would have been to recognize right after lunch I needed to call and see what I could do to get the situation rectified.

Scripture reference Jeremiah 29:11: 'For I know the plans that I have for you', declares the Lord,' plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope'. This scripture gives me assurance than when something here on earth is a bit out of kilter or seems hard to cope with, He can be that strength for me in the midst. At one point in my trying to pull myself back together, Marshall came and hugged me. I felt as if his strength helped release the burden inside. How much more can God do that for me if I turn to Him in the midst of whatever it is that causes calamity.

Jeremiah 29:12-14: 'Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. And I will be found by you,' declares the Lord...

Call upon Him. Pray to Him. He is there. I can find Him if I seek and search with all my heart. God is bigger than anything. Yes, period. God is greater than anything. God is God above all.

Lord God, I am eager and open to change. Help me to react in a mature manner when unexpecteds start to derail my ability to think clearly. May I see You as a mighty God -- in the midst of all pieces of my life -- such that I have calm in the midst of a storm. May I see you in the midst of any storm. May I see You as bigger than any storm. May I see You instead of any storm. Almighty One, I give myself fully to "this adventure of increasing attentiveness to [Your] presence."     Amen...

Resource: Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, Thomas Nelson Publisher @2004.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Prayer of Confession

This morning at worship, the prayer of confession spoke to my heart. Although this material is copyrighted and others ought not sell it, my blog is one place that I can save it for my own reflection.

We come to you, Holy God, confident in your goodness and mindful of our brokenness. You have shown us how to live and have set before us your gift of life, but too often we see following you as another way to  prove our worth. We fill our lives with possessions and accomplishments and still struggle to feel that we are enough in the eyes of our friends and families. What do you expect from us, good Teacher? Is it really as simple and as difficult as following you? Help us to trust that nothing is impossible for you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

[Call to Worship, Vol 45.1, @2011 Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)]