Classroom Culture: Thanksgiving Pumpkin, Day One

What my fifth-graders were thankful for this week. ❤️

Supplies needed:

2 minutes

Largest pumpkin teacher can carry

Sharpie

The question: “What are you thankful for today?”

Directions: repeat daily until December 1.

Result: Smiles and redirected hearts after the Halloween craziness.

Saturday Song: It Is Well

How was your week? Was it long? Busy? How about just plain rough? One of those weeks that seems like its only purpose is to remind a person how many things could go awry.

Sin. Temptations. Bad attitudes.

Sickness. Car trouble. Plumbing trouble. 

Hurt. Relational drama. Forgiveness withheld. Bitterness.

Stress. Expectations. Fear. Anxiety.

In the middle of one of those weeks, I had one word given to me: perspective. That’s what all rough weeks need. Perspective.

That word drove me to Psalms. There I saw that my perspective is all too often on the things going wrong below. I spend so much time looking to the left and right of me, that I forget to look up.

But David did. (And he was having more than a rough week.)

The unfolding of your words gives light: it imparts understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant, because I long for your commandments. Turn to me and be gracious to me, as is your way with those who love your name. Keep steady my steps according to your promise, and let no iniquity get dominion over me. Redeem me from man’s oppression, that I may keep your precepts. Make your face to shine upon your servant, and teach me your statutes. Psalm 119: 130-135

Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true. Trouble and anguish have found me out, but your commandments are my delight. Your testimonies are righteous forever; give me understanding that I may live. Psalm 119: 142-144

In the middle of all trouble, big or small, there is…

  • Help from the Maker of Heaven and Earth (Psalm 121)
  • Steadfast love (Psalm 136)
  • Forgiveness and Full Redemption (Psalm 130)

In the middle of great sorrow, the Holy Spirit poured out remembrance of these truths to Horatio G. Spafford, who penned the words to “It is Well”. (Read the story and lyrics here.)

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll:
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.

And Lord haste the day, when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Other lesser known verses:

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

By God’s grace, arranged and played by Katie

 

 

 

Choose Kind: the perfectly grammatically incorrect imperative

Tonight I started thinking about the phrase “choose kind”. More specifically, the linguistics of the phrase. It’s not grammatically correct. The grammatically correct imperative would be “choose kindness”.

Part of the power, to me at least, is in its ungrammaticality. Using an adjective instead of a noun shakes us gently from grammatical complacency to ask the question, “Kind what?”

Kind words.

Kind smile.

Kind eyes.

Kind actions.

Kind thoughts.

Choose kind.

Bitter Jealousy

3 A stone is heavy, and sand is weighty,
    but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.
Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming,
    but who can stand before jealousy? Proverbs 27:3-4

 Jealousy: It is “the green-eyed monster that doth mock” (Othello, Shakespeare). It craves after what it does not have. It strives to keep what it has at any cost.

The obvious answer to the wise man’s rhetorical question: No one. No one can stand before jealousy.

This forces me to ask myself questions that require a long look and thoughtful answer.

  • Where is jealousy hiding in my heart?
  • How is discontentment feeding jealousy in my heart?
  • In what areas have I become embittered because of jealousy?
  • How are contentment and thankfulness routing out and defeating jealousy in my heart?
  • When was the last time I prayed for help to identify and fight jealousy in my heart?

Saturday Song: He Will Hold Me Fast

When I fear my faith will fail
Christ will hold me fast
When the tempter would prevail
He will hold me fast
I could never keep my hold
Through life’s fearful path
For my love is often cold
He must hold me fast

Those He saves are His delight
Christ will hold me fast
Precious in His holy sight
He will hold me fast
He’ll not let my soul be lost
His promises shall last
Bought by Him at such a cost
He will hold me fast

For my life He bled and died
Christ will hold me fast
Justice has been satisfied
He will hold me fast
Raised with Him to endless life
He will hold me fast
Till our faith is turned to sight
When he comes at last

Chorus:
He will hold me fast
He will hold me fast
For my Savior loves me so
He will hold me fast

Singing this song while meditating on God’s promises in Scripture encourages me to push through feelings and renew my thinking.

Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) Hebrews 10:23
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
But the Lord is faithful. He will establish you and guard you against the evil one. And we have confidence in the Lord about you, that you are doing and will do the things that we command. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:3-5
Through many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
… But God, who called me here below, shall be forever mine. – Isaac Newton

He Will Hold Me Fast/Amazing Grace

By God’s grace, arranged and played by Katie

 

He Will Hold Me Fast: ORIGINAL WORDS VV 1-2 BY ADA HABERSHONNEW WORDS AND MUSIC BY MATT MERKER©2013 GETTY MUSIC PUBLISHING (BMI) / MATT MERKER MUSIC (BMI) (ADMIN BY MUSICSERVICES.ORG)