Masks, vaccines, governments…and God’s Glory!

If you don’t like wearing masks, I heartily agree with you. However, I do it. I have been a middle school teacher now for about a year. As a full-time sub, now with a full license. I hate masks! I hate making students wear masks. I hate having parents complain about me about penalties in participation for constantly needing to tell certain students to wear masks. It bothers me most when parents undermine the school, and my classroom, telling students masks don’t matter.

Honestly, I don’t care about politics in this regard. My wife reads all the medical stuff and debates through me with a pediatrician friend of mine about masks and vaccines. Truth be told, I am vaccinated. Not necessarily because I believe or don’t believe this or that… It was my get out of quarantine and masks free card. Now, in Illinois, it’s not! That sucks.

So? Why bother? Why enforce it? Why wear masks in Walmart and Kroger? Why force my students to wear their masks properly?

1. Many sick and unvaccinated people ignore the signs about masks. Exercise their right to be stupid and come to the store sick. My mom has fought cancer for two years. I don’t want to give something to her or my students.

2. My doctor friend, whom I trust, recommends it. He does it. I do it as a good example to my children and my students.

3. In my opinion, most importantly, the authorities over me, particularly my principal and the diocese my school is a part of have decided to honor the state’s authority and enforce masks. Why is that more important? Biblical authority tells me to honor, respect, and obey those authorities over me. Period.

If it’s not against God’s precepts, obey.

Do I agree? No. Do I like it? No.

Does it violate God’s law? No. So, do it.

Hopefully, over the next few years, politically people will elect new authorities. Hopefully, as soon as possible, the medical field will straight this out. If they don’t, my job is to glorify God and respect, honor, and obey the authorities over me to bring glory to God.

Do you disagree that’s fine? However, before you argue to vehemently, read these passages of scripture and decide. Am I obeying and glorifying God with all this arguing and bickering? Or, am I doing as God has told me in his Word?

The biblical view and precepts regarding the authorities over us. Whether government, employment, or some others…

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:1-7 NIV

 

Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.

1 Peter 2:13-17 NIV

Treating others with respect (what can you do, or do differently?)

To help middle school students understand how to treat others with love and respect, I pulled these excerpts from various places and adapted them.

I think we can all learn lessons from these suggestions from some wonderful authors.

The ‘golden rule’ says, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” One author calls the ‘platinum rule’, “Treat others how they want to be treated.”

I have always said two things. “Treat others better than you want to be treated.” and “Treat others with as much grace as you’ve already been shown by God.”

Adapted from “How to Win Friends and Influence People”
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener.
5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

Adapted from “The Five Love Languages” school appropriate ways of demonstrating love and respect, making people feel appreciated.

  • “words of affirmation.” Verbal compliments, words of appreciation, constant encouragement
  • “quality time.” This means doing something together
  • “receiving gifts.” Some people love surprises, honor this by giving gifts 
  • “acts of service.” Can range from doing little things to larger projects— tasks that require thought, planning, time, effort, and energy

Adapted from “21 Way You Can Earn The Respect of Others”
1. Be relentlessly proactive
2. Keep Your promises
3. Earnestly apologize and make amends (do it right)
4. Don’t waste other people’s time
5. Stop gossiping immediately
6. Stop being too nice (it’s fake), don’t let people use you either
7. Practice humility
8. Have a moral code
9. Be open-minded
10. Add real value
11. Always do your homework
12. Be inspiring
13. Learn to say, ‘No’
14. Respect yourself
15. Believe in your ideas
16. Speak up when you’re mistreated
17. Stand up for someone else
18. Speak your mind (in kindness)
19. Stop talking and listen 
20. Care about others
21. Control your emotions (Curb your instant reactions)

God is Not a Smorgasbord

God is Not a Smorgasbord by Dr. Tony Evans

Dear Friend,

Far too many Christians today want a smorgasbord God. The kind of God where you pick and choose when you want Him and when you don’t want Him. But that’s not the kind of God He is, and the kind of people He is looking to partner with in impacting the world are those who follow single-heartedly. He doesn’t want you to just align with Him in private. He is not seeking a silent majority. He wants you and me to go public. He calls each of us to declare our allegiance to Him above all else.

God has something to say on every subject and every issue that confronts us as a culture and in our personal lives, and He has made Himself clear in His Word. If we are going to make a difference by bringing healing, oneness, justice and righteousness into a broken world, we must first get our own lives together and commit to obedience. We may have made some mistakes in the past. We may have tried to pick and choose when it comes to obedience. But we can start right now to make a better tomorrow.

Let’s declare our intention to serve God in everything we say and do. Why would we want to settle for the cafeteria god when we can have the full meal deal?

By Dr. Tony Evans

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4 ways to love…at work too.

This was posted in a devotional that comes to my email box. It was titled, 4 ways to love at work, but I would say these are ways to love no matter what setting we are in. They come directly from 1 Corinthians 13.

Love Bears All Things.
The verb to bear has two related meanings, to hold up and to cover – something like a pillar holding up a roof. The pillar holds up the roof and enables it to withstand the wind. Jesus is the ultimate fulfillment of this word picture. He covers and protects us. In a lesser sense, we are also to be pillars for our colleagues.

Love Believes All Things.
The object of our belief is the Lord Jesus Christ. We trust that he is alive, seated at the right hand of the Father, and interceding for us. This is the transformative truth that allows us to see everything differently. If God is for us who can be against us?

Love Hopes All Things.
We live in an age of cynicism. Cynicism prevents us from having genuine hope in God’s unfolding plan. In our worry and doubt, we can fail to see the glorious things God is doing in our midst.

Love Endures All Things.
The workplace can be a test of patience. Frustrations and anger can lead to sustained bitterness. The Holy Spirit walks beside us and enables us to have peace (shalom) even in the face of trouble.

May you have a blessed day!

PJ

Rejoice Always

There are a lot of places in Scripture where it specifically says, ‘this is the will of God”, although it is certainly implied in most places. And, definitely is in the commandments…

Yet, here is one where it’s absolutely clear. It was our kids memory and handwriting verse at school Monday and Tuesday. Originally, until I said something, they looked at three verses and saw them as separate.

I had they take a closer look then zoom back out again. Guys, it’s all one sentence, one thought, one instruction.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16‭-‬18 ESV
https://bible.com/bible/59/1th.5.16-18.ESV

The Prayers of the Savior

This is part four in our series, Jesus, Who? In our first message, Jesus According to Jesus, Jesus told us his identity and purpose. We then listened as he taught The Sermon on the Mount. And, we walked with his closest friends during their Conversations in the Garden.

Today, we are going to be parked in John 17. The Prayers of the Savior. These are Jesus’s prayers for his Church (that’s us) and his apostles right before he is handed over to the Jewish leaders for trial.

They are our Lord’s final words of prayer before his death, burial, and resurrection. This is also the longest prayer of Jesus we have recorded. We have been flying through Jesus words and teaching at about 30,000 feet. Today, we are going to kneel in the Garden with Jesus and listen closely to his prayer. I believe it’s worth taking a close look.

Thanks again to my son, Robbie, for video editing…the camera worked right this week!

Audio is available here…