Sunday, we celebrate Veterans Day throughout the United States.
This year we celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the signing of the Armistice, the reason for which we celebrate Veterans Day!
Veterans Day is a day we remember and honor all U. S. military veterans who have served the United States of American.
This holiday was first created to remember the signing of the Armistice (an agreement between various sides to stop fighting with each other) with Germany to signal the end of the first World War - the "Great War" The War to End all Wars. The Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918 during the 11th hour. The holiday was celebrated first in 1919. It was called Armistice Day then and for the next 36 years; at which point President Eisenhower had the name changed to Veterans Day to honor all our Veterans.
This day doesn't just honor the men and women who have seen active duty, or those who are stateside, or just men, or just the women. It doesn't just honor those who have been injured in combat or just those who have made it home safely. It doesn't honor only those who didn't make it home or just those still alive. It honors ALL our veterans and all our veterans equally.
An interesting fact about the name is that the U.S. Government lists this day as "Veterans Day", without the apostrophe because it is not a day that 'belongs' to the veterans, but rather it is a day for honoring all our veterans.
We too, as Christians, have an Armistice Day of sorts. Ours was a day when a battle was fought and won - ours was a day when there was only One fighting - ours was a day when the agreement that was signed was not signed with a pen, paper, and ink between countries but rather with the blood of one innocent person. Our day continued for three long days. This day was Good Friday. It was the day our LORD Jesus died in our place so there could be peace between our Father in Heaven and the human race He had so lovingly created - those who had been born into sin due to the sin of Adam and Eve. This was the day that our LORD on the cross cried out to His Father, to our Father in Heaven, "It is finished" (John 19:30). Ours was the day the curtain in the Temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51) This day was the silent Saturday as Jesus lay in the tomb and His disciples did not know what was happening. This day continued to the glorious day on Sunday when our LORD's body was not in the tomb and the angel was able to announce those coming to the tomb, "He is not here, he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay" (Matthew 28:8).
Because of our Armistice Day, we are forever in an agreement with the Father in Heaven. There is no more fighting between the two sides - Christ won the battle for us - the agreement is signed and cannot be broken! This was the WAR THAT ENDED ALL WARS!
This year we don't take the day off from school because Veterans Day falls on a Sunday. The Federal Holiday is Monday, but we will be in school. Thank the LORD for the Veterans in our lives - Thank the LORD for the saving Grace of Salvation -
Just thank the LORD....
....you have been signed, sealed, and delivered to the Father!
As we go through our years of training to become educators we learn there are various "Learning Styles". Among the styles of learning are those people who learn visually, those who learn, though listening, who learn through music, who learn when everything around them is silent. Some people learn best when snacking or having something to drink near-by. Many people are a combination of the different learning styles.
These learning styles apply to what we teach in the classrooms. What about what the children need in their day-to-day lives? What they do need in their spiritual lives? What really matters is how will they live their lives?
Children really learn best by examples. Children do not learn correctly by the "Do as I say, not as I do method". Child learn best by correct examples.
One of the earliest rules for teaching comes from Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
As we teach, direct, and train, our children, they learn by our examples. When they are very little they learn speech from us. We spend countless hours repeating the words we want them to first say, "Da-da" Ma-ma". We crawl for them as we teach them crawling. They watch us walk as they begin to walk. So much of their early learning is imitation. When we laugh at something they do, they do it again. If it's funny to us, it must be funny, even if it's wrong. I can remember at age 14 laughing at something a young cousin did that was funny but unacceptable. I was quickly reprimanded and told if I laugh at him, he would never learn. I had to set the example for him.
As children get older, we teach them the ways of the LORD, the Ten Commandments. We teach them these are the right ways to live their lives. We show them that Jesus lived his life by these same Commandments. He was the only perfect one! He made the right choices. As we instruct our children in the way of the LORD, are we teaching them the right way?
But we cannot just tell them what the Bible says, we must show them by our examples. Jesus taught by example. When he said, "Let the children come to me" (Matthew 19:14) it was after the parents had been bringing the children to him for Him to bless them. Jesus lead by example when he spent time in prayer away from His disciples (Luke 6:12)
Just as Christ led by example, we too must lead by example. We must teach by example. We must teach that our children need to make the RIGHT choice, which is not always the best choice. The best choice for a 5th grade student might not always be the right one.
I'm glad Christ made the RIGHT choice for me when he stayed on the cross through all the pain and suffering. It might not have been the best choice for those watching Him suffer, but for all of us who will one day spend eternity with Him - I thank Him that He chose me!
This week after chapel Mr. Markworth mentioned the acronym I often use: J.O.Y. which stands for J - Jesus O - Others Y - Yourself. As he spoke to the children about this I began to think about how these words relate to the Ten Commandments.
The Ten Commandments can be separated into two groups:
1. Those that tell us how to follow with God - #1-3
2. Those that tell us how to live with others - #4 - 10
The Ten Commandments don't give us instructions as to how to deal with ourselves. I find this interesting that we are told in the Ten Commandments to put God First and then others. Nowhere in the Ten Commandments are we given instructions on how to treat ourselves.
We are only given three Commandments on how to live with God, (granted they are three very important Commandments) and seven Commandments on how to live with others.
I find it even more interesting when we look closely at the Commandments that God has provided for us in them. He has given us a third part of JOY in these Commandments. Of course, the obvious is there, if we live in harmony with God (Jesus) and others we will have a much better life for ourselves. But let's look closely at two of the Commandments, one that deals with our relationship with God and one that deals with our relationship with others.
In the Third Commandment, we are told to "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it Holy". This is not just about worshiping God. It is also about resting and finding rest in God. Genesis 2:3 tells us that God blessed the seventh day and made it holy and tells He rested. He set the example. By giving this Commandment for us to follow, He is showing us how to take care of ourselves (the YOU part of JOY). Jesus also says in Matthew 11:28, "Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
In the Fourth Commandment, we are told to "Honor your Father and Mother that you may live long on the earth." This is the first Commandment with a promise (Ephesians 6:1-3). Again, our LORD is looking out for us, taking care of us. I like that! Some of us have parents that are easy to honor. I know I do! I've been blessed with exceptional parents. I know others who haven't, yet these friends continue to honor their parents, in various ways. While the life of these friends isn't always peaceful, these friends have had peace when their parents passed away. They have peace in the examples they set for their children. They didn't have the "guilt" feelings many others did. They knew they were not only honoring their parents, but more importantly, they were honoring their LORD. This Commandment also has to do with honoring those in authority, sometimes a much harder action for us. Remember, our outward behavior often reflects our inner heart.
I find it amazing, that as we focus first on our LORD and then on others we are then taken care of. That brings true JOY in our lives.
The LORD truly is our Good Shepherd. He gives us all we need. We just need to look to His rules for the guidance we need. We can find the JOY we need by putting Jesus first Others second and.....last.
During this past week in the classroom we have been discussing how we are expected to live our lives as followers of Christ.
Growing up I was known in our community by my last name as well as my mother's maiden name. These names carried a special meaning. My mother's father was well known and well respected as were my parents. To be known as their child or grandchild carried great weight and responsibility. In our church being know as "Dorothy's daughter" also carried great responsibility. There was a lot to live up to and it was (as is) with joy that I followed the examples set by those who went before me. One of the joys of my life growing up was whenever someone said "you're just like your mother or just like your father."
When I married, I took on my husband's name with great joy, although my maiden name was very special. My husband's name of Helmling carried great respect as well. My husband set a great example for his children of giving to others. His faith in our LORD was amazing and often he strengthened mine. It was with joy and pride I took this name in 1991.
Both of the last names that I have carried throughout my life have inspired me to be the best person I can be. They have reminded me of those who have gone before me and I often think, "what would______ do?" when deciding.
But neither of these names carry the weight of the greatest name I as given on my Baptism. I was given the name CHRISTIAN just six short weeks after my birth, when my parents took me to the Baptismal Font at Nazareth Lutheran Church in Buffalo, NY and Rev. Paul Barth Baptized me in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He asked my parents & godparents those important questions about raising me in the faith of our LORD. They not only answered they would raise me as a CHRISTIAN, but they raised me this way; not just in their words but in their deeds. My parents set the examples by their actions. They raised their three daughters with the "Do what I say because this is what I do" not the "do what I say not what I do" way of life.
One of the greatest differences with my earthly names and my heavenly name of CHRISTIAN is that while I have the earthly examples to follow, these are flawed individuals and people will attempt to tear them and me down when I use them as my only examples. However, when I fix my eyes upon Jesus I will be able to endure that which comes my way and not lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-3). While I may not always be accepted for following the path our LORD has laid out for me, I know that my name of CHRISTIAN will lead me to my heavenly home. The home the LORD has prepared for me (John 14:3-4).
This is what we have been discussing in the classroom. Our names in Christ are what makes us who we are. If we base our reputation on what Christ has told us and shown us to live, we will only have to answer to HIM.
As it says in Romans 8:31-32 If God is for us, who can be against us?
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us,who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?
Where do you call home?
I've lived in many different places since graduating from Concordia forty years ago, most of them apartments. Most of the places I've lived, I've always considered temporary and never really considered home. With the exception of one place, I have always rented and the places I have lived have not belonged to me.
In 1978 my husband purchased the house in Oak Park that would later become my home for 21 years. When he purchased the home, we did not know one another & would not meet for another six years.
I spent seven years before we married as a visitor to this house. There were many good memories of times spent there. Times spent as a friend, "girlfriend" and later as fiance. But none of these held the security I was given in 1991. This changed the day we were married. This is the day that house in Oak Park became my home.
This is the day it became my security. I did nothing to earn this home with my husband. It became my home purely out of his love for me. I signed my name - I paid nothing for this home.
He did not realize when he first purchased the home but he was slowly building a life for the two of us through the plans the LORD was putting into place. This home would become my own as I grew to know the man who would one day become my husband.
The home we built together was one where we both felt secure. This was a sanctuary. It was more than the building that we lived in. It was filled with memories and love. When my husband of 21 years passed away, it was still a home. This home ceased to be three months later when a fire destroyed it. The memories were not destroyed. The love that we shared were not destroyed. This had been my earthly home and while I have a place I now have lived in for the past five and a half years, it has never become my home.
I now rent - I have place where I live but it is not the home I shared with Gerry. It has memories from our home, but not the memories from our time together.
Our life in Christ is so much better. Here on earth we are "renters". We are not owners of the home the place the LORD has prepared for us. He has been preparing this place in heaven for us since before we were born, since before we knew Him.
Before Jesus left this earth, He told his disciples that in His Father's house there were many rooms and that He was going to prepare a place for us. He would come back and take us there. (John 14:2-4). He said this was the truth. This is our home, this is where we belong. Our place in Heaven is where we belong. Jesus bought and paid for our place by His death on the cross and His resurrection. Jesus knew what he was doing when He chose to give up his life for us so that we could live eternally with Him in Heaven.
The home we have in Heaven can't be destroyed!
While I have been separated from my husband and I do have the hope of seeing him in Heaven, I have the assurance that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:31-39)
We pay nothing for our home in heaven! It has been bought and paid for by Jesus. We don't even have to sign our name. - Ephesians 2:8-9 & John 3:16
This is a busy time of the school year; so many new things happening.
How do we fit it all in the hours that the LORD has given us?
He has given us a 24-hour day - a seven-day week.
He has even given us the months of the year, as well as the seasons of the year.
It is the LORD that commanded the length of our day. He designed the length of our week during the Creation. He created the seasons after the Flood. He did all this for us.
After the Creation, He even gave us a day to rest during the week. This wasn't just a suggestion, it was both an example and a command. He first gave it as an example in Genesis 2:3 -Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. It was after the fall that He had to give it as a command. In Exodus 20:8-11, the LORD commands that after working six days we should rest on the seventh day, and He then goes on to cite the example of Himself resting on the seventh day.
It seems that we are always asking for more time.
We are asking for more time to do more. Not more time to rest or spend time with family, loved ones, or friends. I don't hear people asking for more time to spend in church, Bible study, or just reading God's word.
I do hear "I wish I had more time to..." which is then filled in with some chore.
What would we do if our day had 30 hours? Would we be happy or would we want a 36-hour day?
How often do we wish for a vacation from our vacation?
We need to take time with family, friends, and worship.
Our Savior made this a regular part of His life.
It was not unusual for Jesus to go off alone to pray & communicate with His Father.
We are given a number of days by our LORD. Let us use them to His glory and not waste the time He has given us by spending the time He has given us with those who are important to us.
Let us not miss the time we need to spend with the LORD. He is here for us. Let us remember to look to Him. Remember Christ has told us in Matthew 11:28 - Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
The last couple of days I have spent trying to get the diplomas just perfect. I couldn't seem to get the watermark to line up perfectly with the certificate border on the paper I was using. This was very frustrating!
Perfection! We spend a lot of time looking for perfection in our daily lives. We expect so much from the others in our lives, we often expect them to be perfect.
I read an article once, about expectant parents. The author stated that parents spent the time waiting for their newborn asking that their child be "normal/average". Once the baby is born, they then spend their time expecting their child to be better in everything to the point of being perfect, leaving little room for mistakes. The child has to walk sooner than others, talk sooner than others, read sooner than others, be at the top of his/her class all through school. The author went on to say that rather than look to the gifts and talents the LORD gave the child, parents often expect perfection, often because these are the expectations we place on ourselves.
What does our LORD have to say about perfection?
He expects it from us! Surprised at the answer? Our God does expect us to be perfect. But it's not in the things we do. It's not a perfectly lined up diploma, a perfectly baked chocolate chip cookie, or the perfect grade our child brings home in every subject in school.
What our Father expects us to be perfect in, is our daily life, our daily sinless life. One of the differences in His expectation of our perfection and our expectation of perfection, is that He knows WE CANNOT BE PERFECT! We think we can be perfect!
It is only in Christ that we can be made perfect. We cannot enter eternal life without being made perfect in Christ. We are told this in Matthew 5:48, Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. And in Hebrews 10:14, For by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
So, as we end the school year and begin the summer months, let us remember that while we can do all things in Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). It is only through Him that we can be made perfect in our faith.
Let us remember that while we strive for the best with our children, it is only through the LORD that we all will be made perfect.
I can tell that we are at the end of the school year. Just over a month left to go. The eighth-grade students will graduate in less than a month.
How can I tell we are at the end of the year? Lately, I seem to be saying the word NO a lot. It seems as if most everything my students have been taught is quickly being unlearned. We have rules and procedures for how our classroom is to run. These are put into place for the benefit of everyone, not just one or two students but for all who dwell within the walls of the classroom as well as those who dwell within the walls of our school building.
I go home many nights wondering if I should just suspend ALL RULES and let the children run the room. Yes, I said it. No, I would not do it. The sinful part of me wants to "give-in" and "give-up" enforcing the rules that are good for the children. Would it make my life easier? Maybe. No! Chaos would rule the room. Chaos would rule the school.
When our LORD created the earth and planted the garden, He had one simple rule, "Do not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil". But no, it wasn't followed. As a result, God had to make more and more rules to keep his children safe.
What if our God hadn't put in any rules after The Fall? What if He had just washed His hands of His creation? Just think of the chaos there would have been!
As time went on man tried to hide from the rules that were written on his heart but our God gave those rules to Moses in the form of the Ten Commandments. A list of "eight thou shall nots" and "two thou shalls". Have you ever noticed that the LORD gave us eight things we should not do in the Ten Commandments? Rules that were commands of what NOT to do. The other two were Commands of what to do.
The Third Commandment tells us, "Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy".
The Fourth Commandment tells us to "Honor our father & mother". This Commandment also comes with a promise, that we will live long on the earth.
It's like that in our lives as we deal with the children. We are warning them about the dangers that they may face by telling them what not to do, but along the line we are also telling them how to live.
As our LORD tells us in the Ten Commandments not to have any other gods before Him and not to use His Name the wrong way, He is telling us this for our protection. This is just the same as when we tell the children rules for their protection.
The Ten Commandments are for our benefit and for our protection. The rules we make for our children are for their benefit and protection.
Yes, the school year is almost over, but their learning and growing isn't and neither is ours. We continually grow and learn as well. The LORD has a plan for all of us. His Ten Commandments are just that, commands. They are not suggestions to help us get through life. They are the rules that guide us to live in Grace and Knowledge.
When I leave for school in the morning, I have to cross a set of train tracks. If I leave at the right time, I only have to wait for one commuter train, however, if I vary my time by just five minutes I can end up waiting for three commuter trains. Evenings, can be even more of a struggle. If I leave at just the wrong time then I end up getting stuck by a freight train and end up sitting there for upwards of twenty minutes or more.
Timing seems to be "everything". If I have my lesson plans too involved for a sub then the students feel overwhelmed and if they aren't involved enough, then the sub, feels overwhelmed.
In our society of today, we seem to be on a very tight schedule. Our children need to be so many places and at just the right times. They come to school tired and worn out. They seem so rushed. They mirror the lives of their parents. Their parents are rushed.
Our timing never seems to stay on schedule.
Where has the Third Commandment gone? "Remember the Sabbath Day" Our Father gave us this command so that we could rest! We have this so that we could rest and reflect on the Lord and His word. His timing is perfect. In Old Testament times, He put this at the end of the week. He tells us in Exodus 20:9-11 that we have six days to work, but that on the seventh day, we are to rest.
God's timing is perfect!
When Adam & Eve caused the Fall, God promised that He would send a Redeemer! He promised that He would send someone to take our place. Eve thought that as soon as she had her first son, that God had fulfilled His promise, but this was not to be. This was not His timing. It would take thousands of years before all the pieces of God's magnificent puzzle would be in place. It would not be until His fullness of time took place.
In Galatians 4:4-7 Paul tells us that," But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, "Abba, Father." So you are no longer a slave, but God's child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir."
As we approach Holy Week, we remember all that our LORD, Jesus Christ went through as He approached the Cross. He gave His all so that we might be with Him in eternity.
Let us rejoice and be glad that we can celebrate in the Resurrection of our LORD, and in the perfect timing of the Father.
Shoes & Rules
Keep your shoes on, take your shoes off, don't take your shoes off. A few rules that I experienced over the last week.
I have been traveling this last week. I was blessed to be able to attend the LEA Administrators' Conference in Orlando. I had clearance to go through prescreened security at Midway and wasn't supposed to have to take off my shoes, however, my boots had metal and set off the alarms, so I had to take off my boots.
One of the sessions I attended was the Disney Experience. It was a behind the scenes learning experience at WDW. As we traveled to Disney one of the rules we were told was "Don't take your shoes off when behind the scenes." This rule struck everyone as a strange rule. We all thought, "Why would we (adults all) even think to take off our shoes?"
These "shoe" rules started me thinking about how we look at rules, especially the rules that God gave us.
When Adam & Eve approached the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, did they think why would God make this rule?
What about the 10 Commandments? When God Gave Moses these rules, did he think "Why?"
God's rules are given for so many reasons, but first and foremost they are given for our benefit. Just as the rules for plane travel have now been put into place for our protection and the rules for keeping our shoes on behind the scenes at Disney are for our safety (who knows what might be on the ground). God wants us to be safe here in the world He created for us.
He gave Adam & Eve the one basic rule at the beginning of time. This rule was given to Adam even before Eve was created. The rule was to not eat of the Tree of Knowledge, Genesis 2:15-17. This was all the rules needed to survive in the Garden.
Once God and man were separated by the Fall, our Father had to give man more rules to live by to keep us safe. He first gave the Ten Commandments and then He gave the Israelites rules to live by to keep them safe and healthy.
The first of the Ten Commandments is to "Have no other gods". This so important that God put it at the top of the list.
When Jesus was approached and asked what the most important commandment was, His response was, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This the first and greatest commandment." But interestingly, Jesus didn't stop here. He continued before another question could be asked of Him, "Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:36-4).
What is even more interesting is what Jesus said in John14:23 (ESV), "If any loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him." This is following right along with the First Commandment.
Here in our world we follow the rules because we have to, because we will receive a punishment, not be allowed on the plane, lose our place on the plane, not be allowed to participate in the event. But with Christ, we follow the rules because we love Him. The reason we love, is very simple. We love because He first loved us (1 John 4:19)