It’s in the “Little Things . . .”

 

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Have you ever stopped to consider that God can speak to us in the small things of life; the incidental encounters and seemingly unimportant happenings in any given day? This morning I read a devotional in The Upper Room by Tyrel Williams which reminded me that these “little things” are important to me and to God. Mr. Williams related a story about feeling the urge to go to the frozen food section of his grocery store and check out ice cream even though that item wasn’t on his shopping list. When he got to that aisle, he saw an elderly man who was having difficulty getting his favorite item off of a high freezer shelf. After helping him and returning to do some more shopping, he realized that the ice cream prompting came from a Heavenly Father who knew that senior citizen needed some help. What a loving God to care about ice cream!

Recently I received an answer of another sort when my first customer at the 2017 Appalachian Arts & Crafts Fair was a woman who had promised to return and buy our book last year, but forgot and left without it. I experience these disappointing situations at almost every sale, and had wondered why people tell me they are coming back and never show. But this year she came back and bought the book – now I had a concrete example of at least one person who was telling the truth. It encouraged me to realize that I don’t have to question others’ motives; sometimes things just happen. Deidre calls these situations a “kiss on the cheek” from God. He doesn’t have to do it, but does so that we can move forward in peace. Sometimes we actually get answers from Above!

Have you been kissed lately by God through a sweet little encouraging act of kindness from a friend, family member or even a stranger? If so, don’t take it lightly. Just revel in how amazing it is that the God of the universe and of all of creation takes time to see about us in the little things.

We like the way David said it in Psalm 8:3-4, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and stars you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him? How amazing God that you would even consider me. Indeed God does; so stay encouraged and know in every aspect of our lives, He cares.

 

 

 

Prayers For Texas

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Our hearts are broken for the people of Texas. So many families affected by hurricane Harvey; lives changed forever. In the midst of this tragedy we are also encouraged by the many people who are reaching out and helping others, regardless of age, race, gender, or ethnicity. That is the America we want to promote!

We lift up everyone affected by this storm in prayer, and trust that God will send help so they will be comforted and cared for in the days ahead. We hope our country continues “to show up” as Kenny Vaughan so eloquently describes in the video below:

God, please bring us together and bless our nation once again.

Sue and Deidre

BACK 2 BASICS

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As teachers, we strongly believe in the academic basics known to many as Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. These main tenets form the foundation of learning upon which every other subject can be built and learned. We also believe that citizenship is the unspoken part of the basics because if you don’t value yourself and others, you will have difficulty behaving and not value being taught.

Basics are also the starting point of any plan, project, or creation. Even the Word of God begins with, “In the beginning, GOD…  God is the foundation of everything and everyone. One of our main platforms is to encourage Christians to be “Salt & Light” in order to demonstrate God’s love and help influence the unsaved to desire a relationship with Jesus Christ. However, too many of us are losing focus and being caught up in the social media frenzy of wanting to be heard, and making our voice be known, seen, and respected to a point where our opinions are seemingly overpowering God’s will and purpose for our lives.

Just as there are academic basics we believe in as teachers, there are also key Biblical basics that we must consistently practice as Christians in order to avoid misrepresenting Christ in what we say and do. Misrepresentation of Christ can occur when Christians get caught up in their individual perspectives due to differences of race, experience, and ethnicity. We may have a different perspective on several issues and topics because of those differences. Sue and I, the Two Voices, relate to that reality since one of us is White and the other is Black, and we may still choose to “agree to disagree” (Chapter 7, ONE GOD, TWO VOICES). Sometimes our experiences and perspectives will naturally lead us to feel differently about the current topics of the day. However, we remind ourselves to just stick with “The Basics.”

Let us leave you with these Biblical basics – Love, Belief, and Forgiveness – to consider and stand on for strength.  Love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.  Believe and keep the faith that God has placed in each of us so we can exercise it for growth; for without faith, we cannot please God. When you believe in God and place your faith in Him, you will continue to obey His Word and not your own, regardless of how you feel or what you think.  Forgive in order to be forgiven. It takes practice to really forgive those who hurt and persecute us. It is the ultimate example Jesus gave us as He died for our sins.

Love, Believe, and Forgive are the basic tenets for Christians to follow and build our lives upon in order to be “Salt & Light.” Prayer is the unspoken principle that we must desire without fail, for we must pray in order that change may come. We must pray for direction, for strength, for our nation/world, and for our president, regardless of what we think or feel.

The Voices want to exhort you as well as ourselves to, “GET BACK TO THE BASICS, AND  STAND!”

The Voices – Sue and Deidre

 

 

This entry was posted on August 30, 2017. 2 Comments

Another School Year Approaches

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What happened to summer? How can it be time for another school year? Even though summer vacation has passed so quickly, it is indeed time for the 2017-2018 school year to begin. Teachers are preparing their classrooms, parents are buying school clothes, shoes, and supplies, and bus drivers are familiarizing themselves with new routes. It is a time of new beginnings.

As teachers, Deidre and I were drawn to the plaque pictured above. In Ch. I of our book, Deidre decribed me as a “teacher-teacher,” a nickname coined by a former student who saw me as someone who lived, breathed, and totally enjoyed teaching. He was right as I truly embraced the job and my “kids” – all 120+ of them every year. Some were  challenging in a positive way – pushing me to find more and better ways to present an ever-changing curriculum. Others challenged me in a negative way with behavioral and learning difficulties that caused me to need an Excedrin occasionally!

Teaching, regardless of the nature of the challenges, is a unique career in which you have the ability to change a person’s life, enhance their abilities, and perhaps their view of themselves. A little positive reinforcement and consistent expectations can do wonders for that student who has heard criticism most their life and never had anyone hold them accountable. Our Chapter II – “Why Teach?” – talks about all of these topics and more, bringing back many memories.

Nevertheless, Deidre and I wish your children a wonderful, fun-filled school year; one in which they learn a lot and are blessed with the kind of teacher described above. May God keep them safe, and may they be a true example of a student who befriends and encourages others.

The Voices also want to remind teachers to stay encouraged throughout this school year. Although, you may love to teach, there will be those times when you will have to encourage yourself just like David did ( I Samuel 30:6) as you hit those extremely difficult situations or when no one else recognizes the many sacrifices of extra time, money, and other resources you naturally want to give in order to make your daily “sphere of influence” (your classroom) the best it can possibly be for your students in a new demanding school year.

Ephesians 4:11-13, states how, “He (GOD) gave some to be apostles; and some prophets; and some pastors; and teachers…” The word some denotes that only a portion of us were graced with the gift of teaching. As Christian teachers, you have been placed in either a public, a private, or a Christian school to be both SALT & LIGHT (Matthew 5:13-16). We must not forget that God specifically chose only “some” of  us to prepare and preserve our future legacy. Those precious human commodities have also been called and chosen, and they must also be taught that they all have a God-given purpose. As students begin to grasp this concept, they will begin to enjoy and want to learn.  They must be inspired to understand how they will be the ones who will assume various leadership and/or other roles that will impact all other future generations. Remind your students how school is a huge part of their preparation in order to discover their purpose.

So, when the going gets tough, stand right where you are, and “man your ground” to the best of your abilities. God is always watching, and He is definitely with you because those of us who teach, really do touch the future. We can also share in the blessing of feeling proud as well as we state, ” We are:  the few, the proud, the chosen and most importantly, we are, the “Some.”

Sue and Deidre

 

 

 

This entry was posted on August 16, 2017. 1 Comment

Hatred Is Not A Christian Virtue

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Prior to posting another blog this Wednesday, Deidre and I wanted to respond to the horrific weekend happenings in Charlottesville, VA. We always encourage others to “let their light shine” in sharing God’s love to others. How different when that light comes from tiki torches to reflect hate instead. This Facebook poem by Terri Caldwell perfectly reflects our prayer for our country:

Brothers and sisters here we stand, united together hand in hand.

Let’s build our nation, not tear it apart; let love guide us from the heart.

Father, forgive us for the brokenness in our land.

Show us how to heal and lend a helping hand.

Give us eyes of mercy, eyes full of grace, to make this nation a better place.

May Your compassion fill our souls, because only God can make us whole.

We surrender our pain, our sadness and fear . . . God please be very near!

Comfort the broken-hearted and all who mourn, this world is divided and very torn.

Put us back together as only You can. Make us One Nation Under God,

As united we stand!

Amen.

Sue and Deidre

 

 

It’s Not Always Easy To Shine

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Voice II (Sue): One of the premises of our book is to encourage others to understand how important their influence can be; that everyone can make a difference in their little corner of the world. I have never been one to shy away from speaking out for “right” or against “wrong.” I base my opinions on what God says in His word, and feel it’s my place to witness for Him when I can.

Over the last few years I have gotten the distinct impression that those who differ with me are not happy that I take those opportunities to speak or write. Facebook is usually the forum for today’s communication. You probably know where I’m going with this . . . if someone disagrees with something you’ve posted or a comment you’ve made, you will most likely hear from them, and it’s not always a pleasant experience! However, I’m having a hard time understanding or reconciling other Christians coming against my words, sometimes in personal attack form. I should realize that Jesus warned us that the “world” would come against us – look what it did to Him! But other Christians? This is hurtful and disturbing. How can they go against God’s teachings in the Bible and accuse me of “judging” when I am simply doing what I previously mentioned: standing for “right?” I do my best to love the sinner while recognizing the sin. However, many . . . even in the church, caution me not to judge. My concern is that one day God will do exactly that – JUDGE. I don’t want to have those I love, knew, or had contact with to look at me, thinking “why didn’t you tell me?”

Here’s a few examples of what I’m talking about: Christians, why do I hear OMG coming out of your mouth frequently? We are told in Deuteronomy to honor our Heavenly Father and not take His name in vain. It’s a commandment not a suggestion. How does that make you any different from the world?                                                                                    Christians, why would you even consider voting for candidates who support abortion – the modern-day equivalent of child sacrifice? Shouldn’t we stand for the unborn rather than for “choice?”                                                                            And finally, Christians, why do you encourage and support rainbow issues – homosexuality, gay marriage, and the ever-expanding consonant rights including transgender confusion at elementary age levels? Doesn’t God tell us to love others without accepting, encouraging, or condoning what He calls sin? All of these issues are difficult, especially if you have family members involved, but none of them are hard to fathom. God says they are wrong! He loves us and wants the best for us. Why would his teachings be wrong? The father of lies, the devil, is working overtime today to “deceive even the elect (Christians)” – those who should know better.

I know I have crossed a lot of lines in this post, but I’m asking you to consider what I’ve said. God’s word is truth; why aren’t we following it?

In one of the chapters of our book, Ch. XI, entitled “Shame on You,” we use scripture to back up what we wrote about then and what I’m saying now about the times in which we are living:  “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke, and encourage . . . For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desire, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” 2 Tim. 4:24

“Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.”  Proverbs 21:2

We also provide the lyrics to a Winans’ song, “Bring Back the Days of Yay and Nay.” If you want an eye-opening experience, google that song on YouTube and listen to wisdom.

Voice I (Deidre): To everything Sue has written, I say a hearty “Amen!” Once again the time has come for us to take a stand, and we choose to stand on God’s word, trusting Him, and do our best not to compromise with the ways of the world. We choose to love as God is love. However, God’s love cannot be separated from who He is. While compromise wants us as Believers to settle for differences that outright teach or try to influence us to go against God’s word, we – the Voices – choose to stand as Salt and Light. What will you do?

 

“A Hiccup In The Road”

VOICE I (Deidre): Right now, I am going through some struggles in my personal life with my health, and the healing process is extremely difficult. Although I consider myself a woman of great faith, there are times when I still feel discouraged. My faith in God is HUGE because I have both witnessed and experienced God during miraculous things in our present day time just like he did during biblical days. Therefore, the faith within myself says, “I am already healed,” but my human mind continues to think and ask, “Why me, God, and when will you do it?”

The answer came from an unlikely source when my cousins from Virginia stopped by for a visit. They  prayed with me before they left, and I felt such a sense of relief. I remembered how my Cousin Brian prayed, “God this is just a hiccup in the road for her, but she shall overcome it all in victory because of who YOU are.

After they left, my mind began to wrap around that one phrase, “a hiccup in the road.” I meditated on it and related it to being like a detour in the road. When we hiccup, our respiratory muscles stop momentarily. Likewise, a detour in the road is a roundabout, temporary route that takes you a different way or maybe even a longer way to get to your set destination.

I realized that God sent an encouraging word to me through that prayer in order for me to stay strong and remember that  this is just a temporary situation and only like a “hiccup” in my life. I strongly believe that by placing my faith in God, I will definitely be healed and whole again.

With that said, the Two Voices want to encourage you. No matter how difficult your test may be right now, it will pass. The woman with the issue of blood waited 12 years for her healing (Luke 8:43). The Bible said that no physician could heal her, BUT GOD…

Likewise, Joseph was thrown into a pit, sold into slavery by his own brothers and also thrown in a prison for a crime he did not commit, BUT GOD…

After his trials, he went to pharaoh’s palace, BECAUSE OF GOD..

The voices want you to know that we both have experienced many painful physical, emotional, and mental trials, but God had delivered us out of everyone of them. Because God brought us through and out of each trial, we are able to continue to serve others and minister through our messages from the book that He enabled us to write. We truly believe that He will do the same thing for you. He will bring you through pain and hardships and use you to bless others through your testimony and good deeds.  So, no matter what difficult experience or trial you are in right now or may have to face in the future – stay encouraged! Just like a hiccup, this too will pass. More importantly, God’s word declares, “With man, it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

Before posting this latest blog, I (Sue – Voice II) would like to echo Deidre’s words, and ask those of you who believe in the power of prayer, to pray for her healing. She has many hats, ministers to so many people, and is ready to get back to her normal life. We appreciate your prayers.

God bless you,

The Voices