MY FAVORITE TEACHER

By Cecil Murphey

Teach me to follow you, and I will obey your truth. Always keep me faithful. –PSALMS 86:11, CEV

“Watch out if you get Miss Linder,” said a boy in fifth grade. “She’s the meanest teacher in the school.” I was in third grade then and didn’t worry about Miss Irma Linder. But when I entered fifth grade, I was assigned to her class.

She was tough. Mean. Demanding. She had eyes that saw everything we did, even with her back to us. But despite it all, Miss Linder was my favorite teacher in grade school. I learned more from her than any of the others. She had a way of making me want to learn. When I did less than my best, I had the feeling that I had let her down as much as I had let myself down.

Since then, I’ve had other teachers I’ve loved or admired. But there’s no question about my all-time, lifelong favorite teacher. His name is Jesus. Even his enemies called him “teacher” (rabbi) and recognized his great skill of communicating truth to his hearers.

When I talk to my Favorite Teacher, I hear myself begin sentence after sentence with, “Teach me….” Those are sincere words and express my heart’s desire. I want to learn and I believe my Favorite Teacher wants me to learn.

One problem is that I want all the knowledge and the understanding right now. However, it just doesn’t work that way in education. Like any top-quality teacher, Jesus instructs us slowly, methodically, and carefully.

My attitude reminds me of the time I learned the keyboard. I took typing in tenth grade, in the days before computers came into the classroom. The first class period, our teacher taught us typewriter basics, and before the session ended, we had our first chance to hit the keys. She made us use the small finger on either hand-our weakest fingers-and type half a page of nothing but a; a; a; a;. After mistakes and laughter at not being able to give the fingers enough pressure, we learned two more letters. Using the ring finger on both hands, we soon typed a half-page of a;sl as;sl a;sl a;sl.

By the end of the class, typing the same four letters bored me. Worse, they weren’t even words. I wanted to type real words and sentences. The wise teacher, anticipating our attitude, urged us to resist. “Learn the keyboard right and you’ll become fast and accurate typists,” she told us.

I didn’t like it, but I did it her way. For weeks, we struggled through the entire keyboard. To make it worse, in our classes, we didn’t have the letters on the keys, so it was truly typing by feeling the keys.

I’ve now been typing so many years that my fingers dance across the keys automatically. I don’t think about hitting an a or an f, I just type. It’s automatic because I learned to do it the right way.

The parallels are probably obvious. We start small, and we learn step by step. We develop proficiency as we grasp and assimilate the lessons Jesus has for us. Then we move on to more complex lessons.

Occasionally, I have to remind myself that I’m the pupil and Jesus is the teacher. I forget and instruct him about how to run the universe, how to take care of my family and my friends, or at least how to structure my life.

Most days, however, I sincerely feel I’m an apt pupil. I’ve been sensitive to my Favorite Teacher’s instructions and obeyed implicitly. On my bad days, it’s not so much that I don’t want to learn, but I just don’t seem to get the lesson.

Even when I don’t get what I’m supposed to learn, I can come to the Teacher for help. I want to learn, but I don’t want to keep typing a;sl I want to rush into the big stuff and have him explain everything to me.

That’s often where my spiritual learning curve takes a downward spiral. I can’t understand the divine rationale for what’s going on. I ask questions, and sometimes I get an answer, but more often, there’s no response.

I’ve begun to figure out the matter of silence. For instance, when I pray for my Favorite Teacher to teach me how to live a godly life more perfectly, what I really mean is, “Teacher, make it easy for me.”

What I don’t mean is, “Teacher, make me figure it out for myself. Stay at my elbow, but make me do the work.” The reality is that God wants the latter for me. Some of my biggest learning spurts have come when I’m totally confused. I can’t figure out what to do next. Sometimes I feel angry or irritated because my Favorite Teacher isn’t feeding me answers. I don’t like doing all the work myself.

I think of Peter from time to time. He got instructions from Jesus along with a few promises. Jesus promised that Peter would strengthen the other apostles, that he would be a rock, and even told him how he would die. But he never laid out all the teachings for him in six easy lessons. And Peter didn’t have a perfect learning record either.

Despite the man’s up and downs, the Teacher didn’t give up on him. He kept working with him, pushing him when he wasn’t ready and nudging him when he needed it.

Most of us are like Peter. Some of the lessons our Favorite Teacher wants us to grasp we pick up on immediately. But other insights don’t come in a day or even over a period of months. Some are lessons we learn only after years of following Jesus. We never graduate from the School of Godliness.

Even though we don’t understand all the reasons for our mess-ups on many of the lessons, Jesus is the Favorite Teacher. He loves us and wants us to learn, enough that he won’t give up on us. His word to us is, “Come to me…learn from me.”

When we respond and pray, “Teach me what I need to know,” Jesus hears us. Those two words alone, “Teach me,” please the Teacher because he likes eager pupils.

Teach me, O LORD, to follow your decrees, then I will keep them to the end. –Psalms 119:33, NIV

My Favorite Teacher,
make me an eager pupil,
encourage me to learn,
and thanks for not giving up on me. Amen.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

I WILL STRENGTHEN THEE

By L. B. Cowman

They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn and grow as the vine (Hosea 14:7).

The day closed with heavy showers. The plants in my garden were beaten down before the pelting storm, and I saw one flower that I had admired for its beauty and loved for its fragrance exposed to the pitiless storm. The flower fell, shut up its petals, dropped its head; and I saw that all its glory was gone. “I must wait till next year,” I said, “before I see that beautiful thing again.”

That night passed, and morning came; the sun shone again, and the morning brought strength to the flower. The light looked at it, and the flower looked at the light. There was contact and communion, and power passed into the flower. It held up its head, opened its petals, regained its glory, and seemed fairer than before. I wonder how it took place–this feeble thing coming into contact with the strong thing, and gaining strength!

I cannot tell how it is that I should be able to receive into my being a power to do and to bear by communion with God, but I know it is a fact. Are you in peril through some crushing, heavy trial? Seek this communion with Christ, and you will receive strength and be able to conquer. “I will strengthen thee.”

YESTERDAY’S GRIEF

The rain that fell a-yesterday is ruby on the roses,
Silver on the poplar leaf, and gold on willow stem;
The grief that chanced a-yesterday is silence that incloses
Holy loves when time and change shall never trouble them.

The rain that fell a-yesterday makes all the hillsides glisten,
Coral on the laurel and beryl on the grass;
The grief that chanced a-yesterday has taught the soul to listen
For whispers of eternity in all the winds that pass.

O faint-of-heart, storm-beaten, this rain will gleam tomorrow,
Flame within the columbine and jewels on the thorn,
Heaven in the forget-me-not; though sorrow now be sorrow,
Yet sorrow shall be, beauty in the magic of the morn.

–Katherine Lee Bates

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

CHARTING OUR COURSE BY HIS WORD

By Adrian Rogers

But whoso keepeth His word, in Him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in Him.  – 1 John 2:5

The word “keepeth” in 1 John is a derivative of a word that sailors used years ago to refer to their practice of steering their course by “keeping” the stars.

This did not mean, of course, that a sailor would not be blown off course or that he might not over-steer. It didn’t mean that he might not nod at the wheel or somehow be distracted, or fail to keep a perfect chart. But the goal, the aim, the desire, and the controlling principle in his life were those stars. He knew that in them he could find direction to his destination.

In the same way, John says God’s commandments are to be the standard by which you and I chart our courses in life.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

GOD HATES ARROGANCE

By Max Lucado

Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18

Proverbs 16:18 reminds us as humility goes before honor, “pride goes before a fall.”

Ever wonder why churches are powerful in one generation but empty the next? The Bible says, the Lord will tear down the house of the proud. God hates arrogance. He hates it because we haven’t done anything to be arrogant about. Is there a Pulitzer for ink? Can you imagine a scalpel growing smug after a successful heart transplant?  Of course not. They are only tools. So are we. We may be the canvas, the paper, or the scalpel, but we are not the one who deserve the applause.

David declares who does in Psalm 23, “He makes me, He leads me, He restores my soul… for His name’s sake.” For His name’s sake!No other name. This is all done for God’s glory. He takes the credit, not because He needs it, but because He knows we cannot handle it!

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

PERSEVERANCE IN PRAYER

Dr. Charles Stanley,

Not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. – Romans 12:11-13

As a pastor, I speak with many people about their spiritual journey. From these interactions, I know that most individuals are not satisfied with their prayer life. They lack anticipation and faith, and time with God feels empty. Most likely, this is why many Christians pray so little and so passionlessly.

Yesterday, we began looking at obstacles to a healthy prayer life. Let’s explore one more hindrance that blocks vibrant communication between God and us: impatience.

Most of us have at some point brought our supplication to Jesus vigorously but did not see the desired results. Unfortunately, humans are, by nature, fainthearted. We get weary of asking and listening when all we perceive is silence. Remember, though, that God is not some “cosmic bellhop”; He does not act on our cue. In fact, if we could see the big picture as He can, we would gladly wait for His way and time.

Actually, I believe that we benefit by not receiving all that we request. Understanding this concept is a sign of spiritual maturity. When we are thoroughly satisfied with the Lord’s presence, our relationship with Him will flourish, even when we don’t get all we ask. When that is the case, we grasp what prayer is—not a long want list, but a relationship.

Barriers can develop if we persistently cry out to God but nothing changes. Continue to pray. Beyond this “wall,” you’ll sense God’s presence, where you will find peace, joy, and awesome glimpses of His glory. This will be completely satisfying, even if He never gives you exactly what you requested.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

PENCILS IN THE PEW

By Wendy Pope

“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.” – Colossians 3:17 (NAS)

His name is Mr. P …

Before I introduce him, let me tell you about him.

Every Sunday was the same. My husband and I ushered our children to their respective classes then went to our class. After Sunday School we gathered the children and headed to the main sanctuary for the worship service.

We would take our seats in the same pew in the balcony. And each week they would be there, sharpened, with a perfect point ready to use. The yellow pencils.

I never thought much about the perfectly sharpened yellow pencils until I happened to be at the church office on a Tuesday morning. A dapper older gentleman brushed by with a box of pencils in one hand and a sharpener in the other. My mind flashed back to the pencils in the pews and with a bent brow I asked someone, “Is he the one who sharpens the pew pencils each week?” It was confirmed.

Each week, this man quietly breezed in and out with few taking notice. And the beauty in it all? He didn’t want anyone to notice. He didn’t want recognition, a pat on the back or even a thank-you. Sharpening the pencils each week was his way of serving the Lord.

In doing so, he also served the members of our congregation. Week after week, he faithfully sharpened all the pencils in the name of the Lord, living out today’s key verse:“Whatever you do in word and deed, do for all in the name of the Lord, giving thanks through Him to God the Father” (Colossians 3:17).

The beginning of this verse sounds really good until nobody notices your word and deed. Serving without being recognized isn’t easy. But when we make choices to serve in secret, we find God gives us the greatest fulfillment.

The woman who serves unnoticed and un-thanked is a woman who loves God more than she desires the praise of others. She is confident that all her unnoticed deeds on earth are noticed in Heaven. She is satisfied knowing she has pleased her Lord.

Does anyone see you fold the church bulletins? Does it seem your laundry service goes unnoticed day after day? Is it overlooked each time you replace the flowers in the church sanctuary or take out the trash at work?

Oh dear one, don’t grow weary in doing good! Whether it’s sharpening pencils or taking a recording of Sunday’s sermon to an elderly shut-in, you can be confident that your Heavenly Father notices everything you do for the glory of His name.

Oh, and Mr. P? His name is the Pencil Sharpener.

Dear Lord, I am so grateful for all those who “sharpen pencils.” Lord, bless those who take care of the details I so often take for granted and overlook. Show me ways to serve for the glory of Your name and help me be a woman who loves You more than the desire to hear the praise of others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines

THE NEED OF PERFECT SOLITUDE

By L. B. Cowman

He went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone (Matthew 14:23).

The man Christ Jesus felt the need of perfect solitude–Himself alone, entirely by Himself, alone with Himself. We know how much intercourse with men draws us away from ourselves and exhausts our powers. The man Christ Jesus knew this, too, and felt the need of being by Himself again, of gathering all His powers, of realizing fully His high destiny, His human weakness, His entire dependence on the Father.

How much more does the child of God need this–himself alone with spiritual realities, himself alone with God the Father. If ever there were one who could dispense with special seasons for solitude and fellowship, it was our Lord. But He could not do His work or maintain His fellowship in full power, without His quiet time. Would God that every servant of His understood and practiced this blessed art, and that the Church knew how to train its children into some sense of this high and holy privilege, that every believer may and must have his time when he is indeed himself alone with God.

Oh, the thought to have God all alone to myself, and to know that God has me all alone to Himself! –Andrew Murray

Lamertine speaks in one of his books of a secluded walk in his garden where his mother always spent a certain hour of the day, upon which nobody ever dreamed for a moment of intruding. It was the holy garden of the Lord to her.

Poor souls that have no such Beulah land! Seek thy private chamber, Jesus says. It is in the solitude that we catch the mystic notes that issue from the soul of things.

A MEDITATION

My soul, practice being alone with Christ! It is written that when they were alone He expounded all things to His disciples. Do not wonder at the saying; it is true to thine experience. If thou wouldst understand thyself send the multitude away. Let them go out one by one till thou art left alone with Jesus… Has thou ever pictured thyself the one remaining creature in the earth, the one remaining creature in all the starry worlds?

In such a universe thine every thought would be “God and I! God and I!” And yet He is as near to thee as that – as near as if in the boundless spaces there throbbed no heart but His and thine.

Practice that solitude, O my soul! Practice the expulsion of the crowd! Practice the stillness of thine own heart! Practice the solemn refrain “God and I! God and I!” Let none interpose between thee and thy wrestling angel! Thou shalt be both condemned and pardoned when thou shalt meet Jesus alone! –George Matheson

Devotional forwarded to you by:

Rev. Emmanuel Bart Michael B. Kimwell

Beulah Land IEMELIF Center
Greenfields 1 Subdivision
Marytown Circle, Novaliches
Quezon City, Philippines