Back To School Or Still In School

It is the season that school is starting up again all over the country. Within the next couple of weeks most children will be back in school. Along with the children many adults are starting up in college again or for the first time.

Some of those starting up with school are excited about it. Children, and adults, look forward to seeing their friends at school again. They miss the fun times they had with other friends in school. Children look forward to playing on the playground, or just hanging out with their best friends. Adults in college look forward to hanging out with each other and the parties that they have.

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With school starting, there are also many sports starting up again. Many will play in the sports, while many others will go to watch and support their favorite teams. The excitement is high for many.

Along with the public school or college students going back to school, there are many that are homeschooled. Some of those homeschooled never fully stopped during the summer, while others took the break. The fear of the subject matter is often right there with the homeschooled child.

As much as the excitement is high for many, there are also many who are afraid of school. The reasons are many. Some it is the fear of the teachers, or fear of the bullies, or the subjects, or the crowds, or being away from home.

Love Hate School

Very few people in America get away without having to do some type of education. Outside of America, there are nations where getting a public education is a very high privilege that many do not receive.

Many people feel that education is only for the child or the person getting a college degree. They do not feel as though they need to keep learning. Despite whether one gets a public, private or homeschooled education or is not in a formal school program of any sort, every person gets an education every day, year round. This earth is a very large classroom. The process of living on this earth is a process of lessons and tests. There will be a final exam.

Learning begins when a person is born and does not stop, or should not stop, until he dies.

A child is born and begins to learn how to do things. Going through schooling children learn to read, write, do math, and other subjects. In college people learn a skill to work. After college, people learn how to work at a new job.

If a person does not go to college, there is learning going on all the time. Learning a new job skill, learning to be married, learning to pay bills, learning to be a parent, and the list goes on. Education never stops.

World Education

As a believer, this is even more true. Once a person becomes a believer, the education of what it means to follow Jesus and what it means to be like Jesus has begun.

James 1:3 New International Version (NIV)

because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.

God is going to test your faith in Him. He wants to know what you learned about Him. In order for that to happen, you must have been taught something. Think about how it would be if you were in a classroom and the teacher chose to give you a test on something you have never even heard of. How would you do on it? Most likely you would fail. God will not test you in something you have never been taught in.

The training of a believer happens in various different ways and methods. Each time you go to a church service, you will receive some training in some area of life as a believer. Each time you open the Bible and read a portion of it, you will get some more training. You will learn who God is, what He expects, and how to be like Jesus.

As you learn things about God, you are expected to apply them to your life. This is where the testing comes in. You may read or hear about how God provides all of your needs. Suddenly you find yourself in a position of needing something and do not see a way to get it. Faith in God must step in and trust that God sees your need and will meet it in His way and time. Doing all of this is a test to see how much you trust God.

Outside of the testing that God will put you through, there is just learning about God and what it means to live for Him. It is probably easy to tell a person everything you know about God. The hard question is what do you not know about God? You can probably list a few things that you do not know about God, but there are probably many things that you do not even realize that  you do not know that you do not know about Him.

Think about it, if you were asked what do you know about algebra, what would you answer? You could probably say a few things, depending upon your experience with it. However, if you are like most people, that list of what you know is probably very short. You do not even know the question to ask, because you have never dealt with it. You do not know the extreme high levels of algebra, because you have never even seen it or heard of it.

God is greater than anyone or anything that you can imagine. There is more to Him to be learned than you could possibly learn in a life of one hundred and ten years on this earth. This life is the classroom to learn about Him.

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As you are going through life today, whether you are in a formal school or not, allow your learning to continue. Get into the Bible, read and study it. Learn who God is. Learn what God wants. Learn what God expects. Learn how to apply all of that to your life.

Be ready to take the test God has in store for you and pass it with a perfect score.

Genesis 28:15New International Version (NIV)

15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

God is with you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New International Version (NIV)

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Do not be afraid.

When you pass the test in the end and you graduate, you will hear God say:

Matthew 25:21 New International Version (NIV)

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

Get out into your classroom today and see what you can learn. Be excited, there is more to learn!

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Isaiah 48:18 Never Ending Peace

If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. Isaiah 48:18

God was getting ready to free the Israelites from the bondage in Babylon. During the time of the bondage, they did not have any peace in their lives. God reminds them that the reason they had no peace was because they had chosen to disregard His commands. If they would have obeyed His commands their peace would have been like a river.

Rivers are a beautiful thing to watch and be near. Some rivers have fast flowing water, while others are slow-moving. In either case, the water is still moving and changing all the time. As it flows, the water moves the bad stuff out, while bring in fresh clean water.

Looking closely at a river, one will usually see a lot of life in it and around it. Fish will be swimming in the water. Animals will be near it to drink of its refreshing water. Trees and other plants will surround the edges.

All of these things show peace and harmony on the river. People go to rivers for this peace.

Many are looking for peace in this world. There are even believers who sometimes wonder where the peace of God is in their own lives.

Knowing and obeying God’s commands will bring about that same peace and harmony. Not following God’s commands is sinning against Him. When there is sin in your life, there is a separation between you and God. When there is separation, you will not have the peace that He is wanting to provide you.

Think about times when you know you are doing God’s will, when you feel you are in the presence of God. What do you feel? You feel His peace and love all around you, regardless of what is going on around you.

If you do not feel that peace of God, examine your life. Are you obeying His commands? Or are you doing your own thing?

Your past is already done, but you can change what your future looks like. Follow God and obey Him to bring His peace to your future on this earth. His peace is never ending like the water flowing in a river, and is always cleansing and bringing life to those it touches.

I pray today that you will know God’s commands for your life; that you will obey all God tells you; that you will know God’s peace in your life; and that God’s peace will bring you the life you need.

The Paintbrush

This is an article written by my son, Kyle.

When the painting is being painted by a paint brush, the paintbrush never sees the full picture during the painting. It only sees a few colors and shapes and can make up what it will of that. To a paint brush that is on another table in God’s paint room they can see a better picture of what is being painted. Though the paintbrush may be doubtful and cautious at times. It heeds the warnings of the other paint brushes and the master artist.

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But when the painting is finished being painted the paint brush is set down. Then the paintbrush can see the entirety of the painting.
How every detail, every doubt, every question, every cautious move, every patient move, every hurtful action, And every loving action. Is somehow painted together to make an Indescribable display.

I am not sure that the paintbrush will ever understand the complexity of the painting that God paints of Our Lives. But I am convinced from the little I have seen of others lives and that I see of my own life.

That God is concerned with the details, he gives us confidence, he is the answer, he is our leader, he is our strength, And truly is the ultimate definition of LOVE. God is undoubtedly a good good father.

Isaiah 35:1-2 Blooming With Joy

The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, the splendor of Carmel  and Sharon; they will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Isaiah 35:1-2

Deserts are amazing places. When there is no rain, all a person can see is sand as far as the eye can see. At the times of the rains, however, the landscape changes. Grass and flowers shoot up and blossom everywhere, almost overnight. The desert flowers shine brightly with many colors. Life arises very quickly in the desert with the rains.

Isaiah paints this picture as he describes the time of God’s splendor being revealed on the earth. That splendor is the salvation that Jesus provides. Jesus, like the rains, brings new life where everything was dead.

People living in this world, live in a desert. There is no real life, even though they feel as though they are living life to the fullest. Life is full of fear, worries, pain, suffering, meaningless, hatred, jealousy, and death. There seems to be no meaning to what is going on in the world.

Once a person accepts the forgiveness Jesus provides, there is a new life. Jesus makes a person a new creation, with new, abundant life.

It is at this point that the person bursts with shouts of joy. They have new life. Their outlook on life has changed. In what was a desert place, there is now life, blooming with great joy.

Your life may be or may have been a desert place, when you did not know Jesus. Going through life may be mundane and boring, with no excitement or joy.

Following Jesus will allow you to bloom with God’s glory and splendor. You are God’s prized possession, because of what Jesus has done for you and in you. You can know the joy of the salvation given to you. You can know abundant life that Jesus provides.

As you go through this life, allow yourself to be filled with abundant joy and life. Bloom with the characteristics of God in this desert place of a world.

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will allow God to make you into a new creation; that you will bloom with the joy of God in this world; and that you will bring life to those around you.

Isaiah 33:21 Broad Rivers And Streams

There the LORD will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. Isaiah 33:21

Isaiah is describing Jerusalem in the future, in which the city will be rebuilt and there will be peace. God will be the King of the city and all the enemies will be removed. He states that the place will be like a place of broad rivers and streams.

Broad rivers are a place of peace and life. All along the banks of a river, one will see trees and plants. Many animals will come to its banks to drink of the water. The water will be flowing a smooth, but steady pace. The waters are not raging and roaring, but calm and peaceful.

Narrow rivers tend to be very rapid, fast flowing rivers. This is especially true during times of heavy rains. Rivers that are great for white-water rafting are usually narrow. There is very little peace and calm about them. They are all about excitement and fast movement.

The world wants everyone to be in a fast-paced movement, constantly doing something. The reason for this is that God wants a believer to be still and know that He is God and the world does not want the believer to know God. Moving a fast pace causes anxiety and fear. There is very little peace in moving quickly.

Take a look at your life and see what the pace is. If you are like the average person, it is probably moving rapidly. There are many things to do, places to go, and people to see. It is difficult for you to slow down and listen to God.

Invite God into your life. Slow down enough to meet with Him. God is never in a hurry, because He is in control and knows everything that is happening and will happen right now. Find the peace and life that God can bring in your life.

Wherever God is, will be like a broad river. There will be life all around Him and there will be peace at the center.

Which river are you next to today?

The narrow, fast paced river?

Or God’s broad, slow-moving, peaceful, life-giving river?

I pray today that you will know God in your life; that you will allow Him to be the king and ruler of your life; that you will know His peace and life that He can give you; and that you will not fear this world.

Isaiah 25:7-8 Death Will Be Destroyed

On this mountain he will destroy the shroud that enfolds all peoples, the sheet that covers all nations; he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken. Isaiah 25:7-8

At the time that Isaiah was speaking this, Israel as a whole nation did not exist. It had already been split into two smaller nations and both were now being destroyed and overcome by other nations. The destruction and captivity of the people was in the process.

Yet, as this destruction is occurring, Isaiah prophecies about the world being blessed on the very site God was in the process of destroying. Nearly a thousand years later, Jesus would walk on that very mountain and bring a blessing to the world.

One thing that is a shroud that covers every nation and every person that walks on this earth is death. Death is stronger than taxes or any government in the world. While many things and people are extremely powerful in this world, nothing has more power on mankind than death.

Everyone will die. Some scientists devote their lives to studying ways to defeat death. Death does not care if you are rich or poor, famous or unknown, or if you have done great things or not. It will get you.

Yet, when Jesus came to the earth, He came with the purpose to destroy death. Death was brought onto this earth through sin. Without sin, death has no power at all.

Along with removing the shroud of death over all people, God will remove the disgrace of the people. The disgrace is the sin each person has done. God has treated every person on this earth with perfect love, yet, each person has chosen to sin against Him, to their own shame and disgrace.

Jesus, in His great love, has paid the price for that disgrace and is willing to remove it. He removed it on the hill of Mount Calvary.

Look to Jesus for your life. The things of this world will pass away and physical death will come, but your spirit can live for eternity. Jesus is willing to remove your shame of sin and clothe you in righteousness.

Are you trusting Him today?

I pray today that you will know Jesus as your savior; that you will allow Jesus to remove all sin from your life; that you will accept the abundant, eternal life God has for you; and that you will not fear death.

Isaiah 17:10-11 Forgetting God

You have forgotten God your Savior; you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress. Therefore, though you set out the finest plants and plant imported vines, though on the day you set them out, you make them grow, and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud, yet the harvest will be as nothing in the day of disease and incurable pain. Isaiah 17:10-11

The city of Damascus was a very powerful city of Ephraim, one of the tribes of Israel. The city was very well fortified and productive in its time. A time came when the people of the city chose to forget about God. The chose to do everything in their own way and in their own power.

Since this had occurred, God chose to break them down. God told them that no matter how well they planted the vineyards, they would reap nothing in the end. They would start off with planting the best of plants and the plants would start to grow and show buds. By the time of harvest season, however, nothing would be left of the plants. Disease would overtake the plants and destroy them.

Forgetting God is something that many people do. They feel as though they can put God on a shelf and that everything will be acceptable and well for them. Wealth and health will appear to still be good when God is forgotten.

Yet, God is watching. When a person claims to be a follower of Jesus, yet, does not do what God wants him to do, or ignores the calls of God, God will take His hand of favor off the person. The work the person does will come to no avail. The produce of his garden in this life will be worthless and destroyed.

God is a gracious God who wants to pour out His gifts and favor on each person. However, that person must be looking to Him and following Him for that to happen.

You cannot be doing your own thing, while claiming to be a believer in God.  Do not put God on the shelf and forget Him. Do not just remember God on Sunday morning or when crisis arises. God has to have central control of your life.

May the plantings in your life bare great fruit.

I pray today that God will be the center of your life; that you will not forget God in anything you do; that you will know God’s favor and blessings in your life; and that your works will be done to glorify God.