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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Our friend Doris High took the photo of these colorful pansies.
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"The Ability To Teach Others"

"And He has given both him and Oholiab son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan, the ability to teach others" (Exodus 35:34).

Mr. Simmons was my wood shop teacher at Truman High School in Independence, Missouri. I enjoyed wood shop and still have a bookcase that I made from his class. I can still see Mr. Simmons moving from machine to machine as he taught the students how to properly operate them adding a special emphasis on safety. He had an ability to teach others.  I also remember Mr. Simmons because he was a Christian and allowed a group of students to use his room to gather for prayer before school started.

All through my life I have been blessed by those who are knowledgeable and have a wide variety of skills with the ability to teach others. However the noun "teacher" in my view does not necessarily convey having the ability to teach. I have had many untrained teachers who have taught me very well and frankly I have had several certified "teachers" who did not!

Today's verse is set during the construction of the tabernacle under Moses' leadership.  God had gifted many skilled workers who participated in this project.  However our verse describes a special gift held by two of them.  A bit of explanation of pronouns is needed here due to the limited context I have used.   "He" refers to our God,  the One who ultimately gives this ability.  The reference to "him" is a fellow by the name of Bezalel, who was the principal designer and general contractor in the project.  These men were imparted with a wonderful and much needed gift: "the ability to teach others."

Now the specific skills they had to teach were technical and likely they managed as well, but what a fine job they did.  At the conclusion of the project we find this word of acclamation: "The Israelites had done all the work just as the LORD had commanded Moses.  Moses inspected the work and saw that they had done it just as the LORD had commanded. So Moses blessed them" (Exodus 39:42, 43).  I especially note the phrase "just as" indicating full obedience.  Consider the role that the obedience of Bezalel and Oholiab had in this outcome.  Their teaching was a vital link in the chain of the project's success and also in transmitting information that can be duplicated or honed in a different setting for a different project. 

For many of you I ask that you consider your calling to teach. I know that a good number of you who receive this devotional teach God's Word in some capacity.  For many it is the students in your Sunday School class.  It may be to a group of prisoners, like Rick Masciantonio,  who has done this weekly for nearly fifteen years.  I think of Darrel Martin, a dedicated young man, who carefully prepares lesson materials each Sunday morning for the young teens of our church.  I consider a dear couple who for many years has conducted services in several nursing homes in North Carolina.   For still others it's that small, faithful remnant you have Bible study with at work.  And for so many others you have opportunity to influence people for Jesus  as you diligently apply your gift for teaching in a secular setting! 

Paul urged Timothy, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others" (2 Timothy 2:2).  You and I are included in this verse.  We are many generations removed from the original statement, but we are indebted to the countless spiritual Bezalels and Oholiabs who have faithfully taught us and those before us, using the ability and "heart to teach" given by God. 

Keep passing God's truth on today, my brothers and sisters, in whatever capacity God has called you.  One day we will also hear a word of acclamation from our Lord Himself as He speaks forth these familiar words, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Father, help us to be teachable even as we teach others; whether it is Your holy truths, life's skills, or a particular occupation.  Grant patience, clarity, and purpose in the way we conduct ourselves and in the way we are perceived by those we instruct. May the spirit in which we teach honor You and contribute to a wholesome learning environment.  In the name of Jesus we pray, amen.  

I continue to be blessed by solid teaching from a variety of sources including friends in the Lord. Yesterday a brother shared this nugget of wisdom and insight in regard to the message we shared Monday.  He is referring to himself and his wife in the following note:

"We find ourselves in, what is to us, an unusual position of being the elder representatives of our faith. Increasingly we are trying to teach young people (and by young I mean married couples in their 30's) the power and enduring value of trust in and submission to the Lord. This lesson is so central to the Christian walk but it flies in the face of the values of the world. The enemy has done a perilously effective job of convincing people to rely on and trust in anything but the Lord (themselves, money, power, education, influence - the list just goes on). The lesson is so simple and yet people are so tragically blind to it. As I see young people so concerned about the things that they need I try to help them understand that "Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."  The whole key is the "seek first" part. For many years I struggled to put my life in order so that I might better serve the Lord - yet the Lord finally taught me to first serve Him and trust that He will take care of the rest."

Throughout life we accumulate a rich storehouse of friends and we received the following news yesterday:

Our Amish friends, Jesse and Anna, had their fourth child, a little girl they named Naomi Grace.

I also received a call from a long-time friend in the Midwest who shared that her father is in a critical state due to heart failure and we are praying and awaiting additional information. This couple, Warren and Juanita, were actually friends of my folks going back to the 1940's when my parents met them as a young married couple in a church in Oak Grove, Missouri.  We still stay in contact although both my folks have passed on.  They have a rich faith in the Lord and have kept in touch through our Daily Encouragement ministry.
  During one of our visits to their home in northwest Arkansas I noticed a thought-provoking plaque in the kitchen which simply states, "God is never in a panic."  That statement has stayed with me over the years and I pray that it will give the family assurance even during this difficult hour.

Today's Suggested Music  and Supplemental Resources

"Thank You"  Video  Ray Boltz classic. This song should be a powerful motivator for all of us who serve the Lord.  In regard to today's message I recalled the line, "you used to teach my Sunday School when I was only eight..."

"What A Day It Will Be"  Audio  This song came to mind today.  It really helps me to have a perspective of how glorious the other side will be!

"I Can Only Imagine"  Video

I enjoy the solid teaching of Randy Alcorn in regard to maintaining an eternal perspective. He has a lot of great resources on his ministry's website.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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