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Who was the well-known church father that said something like: "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words" (St Francis Assisi)? I'm sure he didn't mean this to be absolute, because words are definitely needed. But I do know the power of what he inferred. A teacher effectively communicates a little by what is SAID, a little more by what is DONE, and mostly by who (s)he IS! So it is also true of Christians, and doubly so when the teacher is a Christian. I taught in an inner-city public school district for 3 decades and was not allowed to speak the Gospel. However, I strongly lived Truth every day in my interactions with students in encouraging them to respect and honor each other as I did them. In coming to my classroom, I wanted all students to experience the difference between dark and light--between an unsaved teacher and a saved teacher. For many students, my classroom was their sole time of security, comfort, and success. In my entire public school career, God only gave me a few glimpses into the spiritual world of whether or not I was an effective witness for Him. Here's one of them. A 4th grade student walked up to me in the hall one day and said, "Can I ask you a question?" "Sure!" I replied, "If I don't know the answer, I'll get it for you." He simply asked, "Do you love God?" After a moment of stuttering to regaining my composure, I said, "May I ask you a question? What ever made you ask me that question!?" And just as matter-of-factly, he replied as he turned to walk back to his classroom, "I CAN TELL!" I realized then the power of living the Gospel. I also realized there are two things in this world that you cannot fool--they both see straight through you--one is a dog and the other is a child! Moral of the story: "Your life is a sheet of clear glass--everything had better agree!"

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Thanks for the reminder Dave. I remember one day feeling discourage because I had used an unsavory word while talking with my mother and in the possible hearing of others. Latter I went to work only to have someone remark that I didn't swear. Talk about a surprising double. First I was bummed because I had blown it. Then I was reminded that I don't always blow it. It also served as a reminder that others are watching my walk. I seldom talk about the Lord in this environment however it is known that church is a large part of my life. I know that this person is watching how I handle things. I consider it both a compliment and a challenge.
Sometimes it scares me what my mirror reflects. I know there are times when the things it reflects are pretty scary. Fortunately there are other times when I manage to get it right.
Hi Lisa, You are so right about the good and bad sides of our Christian walk being reflected. As I was writing the initial discussion paragraph, I thought about the MANY times I blew it with students. But, as we battle against flesh with the Spirit every day, the Spirit always won out, and I'd apologize to the kid(s) in the same kind of setting in which the offense occurred. (I say kids because we became family to each other, not just teacher and students.) If I had blown it privately, I apologized privately, and if I had blown it publicly in a class setting, I apologized publicly. The act of apologizing then also became a powerful witness. It would convey to my kids how much love, honesty, and acceptance I had for them. I realized early on that kids are NOT looking for PERFECT parents or teachers--they know there are no such persons. They're only looking for HONEST ones. I purposefully put this discussion in "Connecting to God and Each Other" because of the "each other" part. There is a high correlation between our horizontal relationships with each other and our vertical relationship with God. In either direction, the defects of the one are the same defects of the other. The vertical cannot rise above the horizontal (and vice versa). God said the same thing this way, "How can you say you love God whom you have not seen if you do not love your brother whom you have seen?"
Dave K.
I am going to have to get that box of Kleenex right here beside me as I visit this site! I've never experienced such a menagerie (sp?) of emotions...but they're all good! That is a WONDERFUL story, Dave, and the fact that it is true makes it very ENLIGHTENING! Thank you all! I got an email recently that said God doesn't give you the people you want, He gives you the people you need. He gave me you wonderful people and I'm so grateful that he did. Thank you for sharing. You do my heart good!

God Bless
I like your closing "God Bless." Have you ever read Dr. Bruce Wilkerson's book on the "Prayer of Jabez"? I heartily accept your blessings and pray the Lord returns them to you 100 fold. The Lord told me many years ago at the beginning of my Christian life that 1 Chronicles 4:9-10 would be the center of my life. After wondering around in vagueness for 12 years and then making the world's slowest Christian growth and the Lord's most stiff-necked pupil (definitely sanctification-challenged!!!!!), I read the "Prayer of Jabez" and finally understood what the Lord meant by the center of my life. WOW, what an eye opener. I pray blessings on my family in every direction. Backwards on my relatives still living, sideways on my siblings and in-laws, and forwards onto my children and their children--even on my wife especially when I don't feel like it--and we've all been there, even when we don't feel like it concerning our own selves. (Don't let feelings deceive you--that's why the verse in Thessalonians says "give God thanks in everything, for this is the WILL of Christ concerning YOU [and ME]." To do so definitely changes one's negative feelings. So, have you ever wondered if you're IN God's Will? That verse couldn't define it any clearer!) I pray blessings on you--giving Thanks for you. There was one time my daughter called a few years ago and said, "Dad, I almost have to tell you to stop praying that prayer over us. We have so many blessings that we don't know what to do with them!"
Blessings, Dave
Hi Dave, I'll look for that book. I also want to find a study Bible as one of my new friends in here suggested. Perhaps I can find one on Amazon. I have my Book, I just want to make sure it's the one I should be reading. I had my Jehovah friend stop by today, but I have been sick so I told her it wasn't a good time. I wanted to have a conversation with her to explain to her that I have found what I need on here and I am going to go to my Church here in town. What are your thoughts on Jehovah's? She's a very nice lady...very kind. I never know how to handle people like that. I hate to hurt anyone's feelings....yet I don't want to be led down the wrong road as far as God is concerned. I have found that they ARE persistant! That's not a bad thing. :) Once again, thank you for being here for me. I am so pleased that I found you all!

God Bless!

Val PS....I like it when you refer to different verses in the Bible. I look them up and it's interesting to see what they mean. I'm really feeling good about this!!
Thanks Dave. I had to learn the same process. How on earth do we expect our "kids" to do what we say when they don't see us do it ourselves. Especially when we fail to admit our mistake or act like it is okay to behave that way. Even as an adult I have difficulty receiving from people when I have witnessed them blow it and then try to correct me for the same offense. You may not be the only stiff-necked pupil out there!

Dave Knauss said:
Hi Lisa, You are so right about the good and bad sides of our Christian walk being reflected. As I was writing the initial discussion paragraph, I thought about the MANY times I blew it with students. But, as we battle against flesh with the Spirit every day, the Spirit always won out, and I'd apologize to the kid(s) in the same kind of setting in which the offense occurred. (I say kids because we became family to each other, not just teacher and students.) If I had blown it privately, I apologized privately, and if I had blown it publicly in a class setting, I apologized publicly. The act of apologizing then also became a powerful witness. It would convey to my kids how much love, honesty, and acceptance I had for them. I realized early on that kids are NOT looking for PERFECT parents or teachers--they know there are no such persons. They're only looking for HONEST ones. I purposefully put this discussion in "Connecting to God and Each Other" because of the "each other" part. There is a high correlation between our horizontal relationships with each other and our vertical relationship with God. In either direction, the defects of the one are the same defects of the other. The vertical cannot rise above the horizontal (and vice versa). God said the same thing this way, "How can you say you love God whom you have not seen if you do not love your brother whom you have seen?"
Dave K.
Hey Lisa,
I figured out in the realm of psychology why it is we try to correct in others the same offense of which we are guilty. It means we are offended by others who happen to enact our same faults. We subconsciously hate the fault in ourselves, but sin doesn't always allow us to see it in ourselves--we clearly see it in others. So, I've learned to put a red flag on my life whenever I react this way. If it's something that causes me to feel offended, I guard myself against offending others the same way. God knows we're all alike and there are no temptations (faults) that are NOT common to every person.
To gain spiritual victory over these things, Jesus instructed us (1) to remove the beam from our own eyes before we try to remove the splinter from our neighbor's. Also He instructed us (2) to never respond defensively--we're to agree immediately with our "adversary or accuser," lest our defensive denial give satan spiritual credibility over us to put us into bondage and into torment. (We have plenty of mentally, emotionally, and spiritually tormented people.) (3) Whether we have really done what we're being accused of or not, matters very little, because if we offend in one point of the law (which we all have), we're automatically 100% guilty of of the whole law anyway. (4) When we take the humble route and bare the sin for the other person who is accusing us of it, we then become intercessors like Jesus who took all our sins and bore them on Himself while He was guilty of NONE of them. (5) We are to grow in the Lord to such closeness to Him as to become unoffendable. All of these 5 points are how we can live grace instead of law.
Now, I have to pray more fervently that I'll live my own words today instead of transgress them. You heard of the saying, "Lord, make my words soft and sweet today, for tomorrow I may have to eat them"?
Dave
Good morning Val,
You've mentioned a couple times in your replies about wanting to know how to tell Truth from error in what is cult or not. What is the one singular defining absolute by which we can divine Truth from error? How can we discern what is cult and what is Christian? When anyone comes to visit, simply ask them this, "What do you think of God's Son Jesus?" (Perhaps God will ask the same question on judgment day.) What answer will God accept to this all-defining question? It is an answer that even demons themselves will not speak. Check out 1John 4:1-3. Jesus is God in flesh, and that Jesus-God died for your sins. (How could the being from which all life emanates actually die? I do not know, but the Bible says Jesus submitted Himself to death.) No cult or anything demonic will admit this. So when they come to visit, engage them with this question. You don't have to say much, just listen. They'll either dig themselves into a hole in the ground or they'll tell you the Truth, which is, Jesus is God in flesh, that He actually died, and that He's the only way to the Father. Beware of being deceived by their crafty words if they're not Christian. Some of their philosophies are intriguing and may appear to say things that sound right, but their meanings are far from the Truth. I've run across this already, and at the end of their conversations, I've been known to say, "I understand what you're telling me. Do you expect me to believe you too? Because the Spirit of Truth within me raises up red flags." My advice is DON'T engage them in Biblical discussion unless you know your Bible exceedingly well. There are verses that infer that satan and his followers are skilled at wresting the Scriptures daily (2 Peter 3:15-17).
You asked about what Bible to use? I love the Thompson Chain Reference Bible. Dr. Thompson spent his entire life categorizing in the Bible thousands of subjects, strains of thought, life histories, travels, maps, messianic prophecies, historicity of each book, etc. etc. etc. He numbered each category, alphabetized, and indexed them in the back. You can follow each one in order from the beginning of the Bible through the end. Just like the verse that says, "Line upon line, and precept upon precept." It is amazing to follow a subject (God's ongoing revelation) unfold like a flower throughout the ages of Scripture. My younger daughter reminded just this morning that I'd bought a Thompson Chain Reference Bible for her when she was in middle school, and now that she's 29, she's of late been greatly enjoying studying from it.
God just reminded me of something I'd like to pass on to you. Do you like to study and learn about God? Want to learn more about having a relationship with Him? Read John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress and Christiana's Progress." The first two times I read it, numerous parts were so deep I couldn't understand them. The third time I read it, the Holy Spirit began opening my understanding. The times after that, I'd tear all the way through. John Bunyan wrote it in the 1500s while sitting in the Bedford Prison, England, for preaching the Gospel. He explains the Christian walk thoroughly and every deception that satan attempts to enact on people. You will love the second half concerning Christiana's Progress.
Blessings, Dave
Thank you Dave, for all of your help....once again!! I will look into that Bible and the John Bunyon's book as well. So much to take in...!!! I so appreciate all you tell me! And thank you for making it clear what I should be asking of the ones that come knocking on my door. I never really knew how to distinguish...I just know that as kids...whenever we would see them coming down the street, we would run and hide!! Isn't that awful?? I have kind of a funny story about that...my sister and I were babysitting this little 3 year old when we were around 10 and 13. The Jehovah's knocked on the door and I ...never wanting to hurt anyone's feelings...invited them in. As we're sitting there with them, my sister got up and said she had to go check on the baby who was napping. A few minutes later, the phone rang and it was my sister! She had snuck out the back door and ran over to my cousin's next door! I don't even recall how long I sat there after that....I was so shocked that she would do that! I never would have even THOUGHT of it!!

God Bless!
Pilgrims Progress is a good read. I read it once . It is a good book to take your time with. My copy was designed for students and has questions at the end of the chapters. It does help to focus my thoughts a bit. I have it sitting out to read again whenever I finish the other books that have been coming my way.
Dave thanks for the reminder regarding offenses. I have a mutual button pushing relationship with someone. I was mostly referring to how we so often expect others to do what we say but don't do it ourselves. When our words and our walks don't line up people, especially the unsaved, notice. Spoils our message a bit.
That's a great story Dave. I really appreciate its significance. This last Sunday morning, in our sermon series on Personal Evangelism, we talked about how Jesus acted toward the "woman at the well," breaking down so many social barriers by even speaking with her at all. His actions were certainly a pane of glass, reflecting the unconditional love of the Father. In being ambassadors for Christ and Fishers of Men, we do need reflect the love of our Creator. And certainly, the way to do that is to pray to be able to see others through the eyes of Christ, to love the unloveable and be able to make an impact on all of those around us.
Dave,

I think it is good that you figured out a way to be an effective witness for Christ in a public school, though I am skeptical of this. First of all, the purpose of compulsory secular public schools is to indoctrinate children to be atheists, whether a Christian teacher can preach the gospel in this enviornment is debatable. Secondly, I am troubled by Christians who try to defend a godless institution like the public school system. I have heard the argument that Christians want to be God's secret agents, and infiltrate the public school system-I find this argument to be quite shallow. We still have the option in America to keep the Gospel above ground.

Steve

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