May 6th in Cleveland Ohio we concluded the LIFT America calendar for the 2017-18 school year. What a blessing it has been to meet so many amazing Christian educators across the country. In thirteen cities strangers became friends.
We saw a wide diversity of cultures, denominations and ethnicities represented, but worship, and turning our eyes toward God brought unity.
This year we asked the question, “What is the heart of God toward children?” and Matthew 18 helped us find the answer. They are precious to Him. He uses our arms to embrace them and our voices to speak words of life to them (Matt. 18:5). Like a good shepherd He would leave the 99 to search for the 1 who has gone astray (Matt. 18:12-13) and He asks us to do the same. What is the heart of God toward children? That not even one would perish (Matt. 18:14)
This year we also reflected on the one thing that keeps a child from an eternity with God…unbelief. But by "manifesting the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him" in our own lives God can use us to encourage faith, even at school.
As a biology teacher I was asked every year, "Mr. Hicks, you're a science teacher and you believe in God? I thought most science teachers were atheist." I loved that question. It gave me an opportunity to be honest with my students by saying, "Of course I believe in God. My relationship with Him is the most important thing in my life and all my years studying biology have only strengthened my faith in Him. Thanks for asking."
Sometimes we forget that there is no law against love, or belief, and we are free to express them both. By simply letting our students know that God is real and important in our lives we are sharing a powerful testimony, one students will remember for years to come.
As you wind up the school year remember the nine fruits of the Spirit we so desperately need (love, joy, peace patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control) can not be mustered up by human will or determination. They come from the abiding presence of Jesus within us. So, when you are feeling overwhelmed and weighed down by all the demands that come with the end of the school year, find a few moments to be quiet with the Lord. Abiding in Him, sitting quietly in His presence in reflective, listening prayer and finding fellowship with others of like heart…these are the wells that offer fresh water to our thirsty souls.
You might hear a voice in your head telling you, “You can’t afford to take time for that” but the truth is, you can’t afford not to. The branch cannot bear fruit unless it abides in the vine. This is our personal battle ground...the very place our adversary will attack the most. If we can be disconnected from the Vine we can be rendered powerless.
God Himself is our strength.
You are His chosen ones, appointed to be light in in the lives of those He loves.
You are never alone...He is with you.
Thank you for all you do. You are amazing!