New School Year!

New School Year!

The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight; for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair; for giving prudence to those who are simple, knowledge and discretion to the young–let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:1-7 NIV

Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. Do not forsake wisdom and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding. Cherish her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you. 4:5-8 NIV

Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I instruct you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. 4:10-16 NIV

Though there are those in the WH administration who do not think an education is important, those of us who know The Lord, know wisdom and knowledge go hand-in-hand and we should never take access to a quality education for granted.

So, on this first day of a new school year–I’m praying for the students who are entering schools all over the place. I know that some schools (not in Michigan) started weeks ago, but this is the first day for many of our public schools and having access to education through public schools is important.

Of course, Betsy DeVos will never understand that and neither will trump supporters since they think getting an education makes a person “an elitist,” and therefore they are happy to stay ignorant and trump is also happy for them to say ignorant; he can continue to dupe them into believing anything he says. I guess they don’t realize he has a Bachelor’s degree, but then again, the way he talks and writes, no one would believe that anyway.

I’m straying from what I need to say: to the students who are crossing that threshold of your school building–have a wonderful first day and a great exploration throughout the school year. Stay respectful and inclined to learning.

This is a particular emotional day for me since my grandson is beginning his last year of high school–at 15 years-old and will soon be driving (in a few days) on his own. Time flies and next year, he’ll begin his first day of college.

I pray that every student, in every school, will clear their minds of old lazy habits and prepare to receive wisdom and instruction from every teacher in every classroom; by the end of the school year, all will be more knowledgeable about every subject taken than when they were on the first day.

For those 17 years-old and older–pay attention in your history and government classes so you will vote wisely and consider country over political party agendas.

Have a safe and wonderful day!


When We Learn!

When We Learn!

But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin. Hear this, you leaders of Jacob, you rulers of Israel, who despise justice and distort all that is right; who build Zion with bloodshed, and Jerusalem with wickedness. Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets tell fortunes for money. Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.” Micah 3:8-11 NIV

In the last days the mountain of the LORD’s temple will be established as the highest of the mountains; it will be exalted above the hills, and peoples will stream to it. Many nations will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the temple of the God of Jacob. He will teach us his ways, so that we may walk in his paths.” The law will go out from Zion, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. He will judge between many peoples and will settle disputes for strong nations far and wide. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore. All the nations may walk in the name of their gods, but we will walk in the name of the LORD our God for ever and ever.Micah 4:1-3, 5 NIV

How quickly we seem to forget The Word of The Lord through the Prophets of Old

How soon we remember when brought to our knees by the evil that lurks

Reigning, abounding in the hearts of those who will not learn from history.

There is nothing new under the sun, nothing unknown to God, nothing He cannot see

Before we think–anything–He knows it; whatever we mutter He hears

For He knows our thoughts from  afar, He knows what’s in our hearts

And from the abundance of whatever lies within, the mouth speaks for all to hear.

If we think we can fool God, we do not know God; nor can we fool man for long

For whatever is hidden shall be exposed–for all the world to see,

By those with a heart and desire to serve The One True God–His messengers.

Waffling like a wave on the sea, roiling back and forth, revealing instability,

Promoting fear and hate and bigotry, trying to make nothing be something,

And ignoring what is–the reality of truth versus the delusion of lies,

Fed from within and believed by those who can see through the smokescreen,

The emperor has no clothes and the dictator no power, just gruff and anger.

But all hope is not destroyed, though there be many who try to kill it,

When we learn to trust in The Lord and live His Word, Hope remains

Love turns the tide for all who were in despair for fear and hate cannot abide,

In the nooks and crannies where love will thrive and joy survives.

No matter what things look like–God is yet in the business of taking care

Of His children, everywhere–no matter their skin tone or beliefs, their gender

Or economic status–He is One God–Who Created All, without Him, Nothing would exist.

Though there are some who will persist–hate rules the day and evil in others,

Projection–allowing things from within to color what we see in others,

And Delusion makes us believe our own lies to the point where we cannot see truth,

But truth and love will save the day, when we learn to do things God’s way.

Changing Our Society by Receiving God’s Love!

“My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” (Proverbs 3:1,2 NIV)

From a father to son and daughter,

Keeping us from Satan’s slaughter,

Teaching us to remember and obey,

Walking in God’s favor, night and day.

When we learn to adhere to the sound teaching of parents and God, we have a promise we can rely upon for long life, peace, and prosperity. If we look around at our society today, it would appear that not many have remembered anything worthwhile and obedience to sound teaching is not evident–anywhere.

But notice where we have to start--remembering what we were taught and keeping those sound teachings and instructions in our heart. If our heart is receptive to instruction and guidance, we will do what love does–obey. If our heart is hardened and we reject sound teachings, then hatred takes the place of love and all the forces of hell, break loose upon a society that refuses to hear and obey.

With the recent passing of the oldest woman in American, at 116 years-old, I wonder if she credited her long life with remembering the things she was taught by her parents and obeying. Her long life appears to be a testament of obedience–but I don’t know that for a fact. What I do know is God is not slack to keep His promises to all who obey and He is not a man that He should lie.

If we want to see a change in our society, we must see a change in what people are keeping in their hearts and what they are teaching their children. Parents must learn to give their children righteous, sound instruction. Children must learn to obey and not rebel. We must all learn to receive God’s love and allow it to overflow in our hearts.

For where love is, hatred doesn’t stand a chance. Where love is–people are respected and given consideration. Where love is–we all seek to assist all who are in need. Where love is–we honor God and keep all His commands–to love Him and love others. Where love is--there is peace and no confusion.

I would love to see and experience for the rest of my days–love being the guiding force in our society so I can live the rest of my days in peace. I would love to see children obeying their parents and parents loving and teaching their children to do what is right. I would love to see all saved and walking in God’s favor. I would love to see people living in the reverential fear of God and negating all of Satan’s influence. I would love to see it, but unless something drastic happens in the minds and hearts of people, my desire may not be obtained, but it won’t stop me from seeking God’s Wisdom in all things.

We can stop all the madness in our society and the lack of respect and value for life. All we have to do is receive God’s love to overflowing and allow it flow onto others, remembering all He has taught and keeping His commands.

Practicing What’s Learned!

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:9 NIV)

“Whatever” you have learned–practice–and the God of peace will be with you. If there is always an opposing perspective that is equally true, then whatever people have learned from watching others, and put into practice that is in opposition to God, there will be no peace with them.

If others see a married couple with children, struggle through the trials of life and yet remain faithful and committed to the relationship, they will learn to do the same and practice what they have learned.

If others see married couples move in and out of marriages as quickly as they change their clothes, they will learn to do the same and practice what they have learned.

If others see people doing good–always doing the right thing–no matter what their circumstances–they will learn to do the same and practice what they have learned.

If others see people taking advantage of others, misusing and abusing others, they will learned to do the same and practice what they have learned.

If others see people living their lives according to The Word, they will learn to do the same and know peace in their lives and practice what they have learned.

If others see people living their lives any way they want to live, they will learn to do the same and never know peace in their lives and practice what they have learned.

This list could go on and on, but the bottom line is that whatever people see and hear us do, when we are the influence in their lives, that is what they will learn and practice.

Perhaps, this is why there is no peace in the land. Not many people have seen others practice what they preach (in many cases) and so they practice what they see and God is never in the midst of foolishness or evil, so chaos reigns.

So, if we really want to see change in our homes, in our communities, in the nations, we must do all according to The Word, so that all will see and hear what we do, practice what we do and then the peace of God will reside with us and there will be no more confusion in our midst.

I encourage every Believer to watch what they do and say because others are watching and what they see us do and hear what we say, they will put into practice. It’s up to us to influence living according to The Word.

Teach The Children!

“All your children will be taught by the LORD, and great will be their peace.” (Isaiah 54:13 NIV)

Have we dropped the ball? Are we know longer demonstrating what The Lord has taught in our own behavior? Are we the reason the children are the way they are?

We have all been “children” at sometime or another and unfortunately, some fully physically grown adults are still children. They were not taught the basics of socialization--common courtesy, sharing, consideration, respect, self-control, and self-respect. If we didn’t learn these as children, chances are we never will.

I remember when I first started working at one of the high schools and I was trying to squeeze past a young lady blocking my path. I said, “Excuse me.” Her response was, “Excuse you?” and then she sat there staring at me like I’d grown horns. She had no idea what I meant.

Too many of the children in schools, at home and in the general public take their “anger and frustration” with them, everywhere they go.Why are they angry? Their home life is less than desirable. We have kids going hungry, being abused, sleeping on mattresses without linen, sleeping in their clothes because they’ve never had pajamas, and then they have mamas who have different live-in boyfriends every other week, there’s never enough food or money, some in the dark without heat or light and then mama’s boyfriends are abusing the children and daring them to tell it.

It is not their fault that their parents never learned to parent, but someone has to teach them right from wrong and how to get along with others in this society because we do not live alone in isolation.

This happens because the parents were not taught when they were children and so they cannot teach their children anything worthwhile, but those of us who know, can and should teach them whenever we find a need to do so, wherever we are; it is our responsibility to teach the children in the ways of the Lord, by example not just by what we say!

So, let’s make a pledge–a commitment–to correct lovingly (if we can) and show those children who were never taught the things that they ought to know and do, so our communities and school and homes, too will know peace and harmony will reside in the midst of it all–Let’s Teach The Children!

My name is Mary M. Hall-Rayford. As an educator, parent, grandparent and child of the Most High, I approve this message!

Increasing Learning!

“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:” (Proverbs 1:5)

A wise man will hear

And hold to him dear

All those things that God speaks,

Providing everything that he seeks.

A wise man increases his learning,

Using what he learns to increase discerning.

One who understands seeks wise counsel

From those who know more, avoiding the hassles

Of life that come with lack of understanding,

Not knowing how living life and how demanding

It will be when we think we know that which we do not!

Every day should bring with it an opportunity to learn something new. Wise people enthusiastically greet each new day, with wonderment, waiting to see what new thing will be exposed to them.

The unwise are not so–they resist learning and are proud within themselves, thinking they know more than they know and refuse to hear wise counsel of others. They are rebellious and haughty, not understanding that their attitude towards learning only impedes their ability to succeed and then when they are not able to rise above the ditch they dug with excuses, they blame everyone else around them, refusing to accept accountability for their own actions.

But The Lord knows those who seek Him for wisdom, and not just things because the wise do not treat Him like He is merely a provider of their desires, but a provider of wisdom and knowledge that prepares and sustains one for life, guiding them in how to obtain the things and knowing the things will not obtain them.

The wise person understands the principle thing–that all must learn–is to hold The Lord in such reverence that they would not want to disappoint Him, but rather please Him and when the person has made this decision, The Lord honors their every request for He has said, “Delight in Him and He will give us the desires of our hearts.”

Now, the question is–from whom shall we seek wisdom? Shall we consider our own limited knowledge as wisdom or shall we seek Him who gives us wisdom abundantly, without prejudice or condemnation?

If we really want to increase our learning, we must be wise and seek Him early, while He may yet be found and then do what He says.

Patterns Matter!

“Hold on to the pattern of wholesome teaching you learned from me—a pattern shaped by the faith and love that you have in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:13 NLT).

I remember when I was sewing most of my clothes–primarily because of a home economics class in which I had to learn to read a pattern–how difficult it was for me to understand the pattern. The one thing I noticed, though is when I had “repeated”using the pattern often enough, I had no problem getting the results I wanted in the clothing I wanted to wear. This was in high school–when we didn’t have much money and fabric was considerably cheap. I was able to use patterns from a neighbor and learned to modify the pattern to suit my own tastes. I made jackets, pantsuits (before they were popular) skirts, dresses, belts–whatever I wanted to wear. I even learned to modify clothing by adding “lace or trimming” to lengthen a gown for someone else.

When my daughter first began school, I made her school clothes and then somewhere along the way, I stopped sewing and lost sight of how to read the patterns.

When we don’t practice doing a thing–we lose sight on how to do it. Like learning a foreign language–we must practice or we lose our ability to remember it. Typing requires continual practice to maintain accuracy and speed.  The same principle applies to–well, just about anything–we must practice and hold onto patterns in learning that make learning worthwhile.

If this works for learning, it will also work for teaching–anything. When we develop wholesome patterns–that work every time–we create situations in which we can be assured of the results. And this is the admonition Paul was giving to Timothy (and us)–make sure the pattern is shaped by faith and love we have in Christ Jesus.

If what we teach is not based upon the same pattern–foundation in The Word–the results will be unpredictable and this is how division in the body of Christ is created–people have forgotten to hold onto the pattern of faith and love.

Establishing patterns in life–make differences–especially when we want to achieve specific results–time after time–that glorify God!

Hold onto the patterns of wholesome teaching based upon The Word and be assured of the results that have a foundation in The Word, shaped by faith and love!

Can We Do It?

shared creation“Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (I John 4:11).

I love this passage of scripture. In fact, it is the verse of scripture we use to close every podcast on blogtalkradio every Thursday evening. It is a reminder to us–that since God loves us–in spite of us–that we should love one another–in spite of us. That’s love–unconditionally.

Now, why should we love others–unconditionally? When we truly love like God loves because He is Love, we don’t have time to think about: hating, criticizing, judging, being vengeful, plotting to kill, steal, destroy, manipulate or lie. When we see things in others that we “do not like” we pray for them, while still loving them.

I can imagine that there are many people who have stories to tell about wayward children–those who just would not listen. In fact, I was one of them. Things turned upside down for me when my mother chose to move to Michigan from a small community in West Virginia in my senior year of high school–I lost it. I rebelled and created all sorts of havoc (for myself) including not finishing high school on time. I hated the high school I was attending and finally quit–needing just two classes to graduate.

Where does a rebellious child go with no high school diploma? Anywhere they want to go–they just don’t succeed at much of anything. At any rate, I took the two classes during summer school, and went on to start a college career, but was still in a rebellious mode. Consequently, it took me twenty-five years to obtain a Bachelor’s degree, but once I went at it, I refused to stop. Hence, the completion of doctoral coursework at over 60 years old. Did I learn anything? Absolutely! My mother loved me in spite of me, God loved me in spite of me, my children love me in spite of me and I learned to love myself–in spite of me.

Can we do it? Can we receive the love of God for ourselves and yet not love others? Can we learn to love self (a prerequisite for loving others)? Can we learn to love others–unconditionally?  When we learn to love, we’ll change the world-one person at at time because love, like prayer, changes things.

Father, in the name of Jesus, speak our hearts and help us to love like You love. Show us the way to change ourselves as we work to change the world by creating an atmosphere of love.

What I Have Learned!

“He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you” (John 16:14 NIV).

When Jesus was speaking to His disciples, just before He returned to His Father, He was reminding them of the role of the Holy Spirit (His Spirit) who would remain in the earth realm to guide, reveal, remind, and instruct.

The Holy Spirit will guide us through tumultuous times–economic downturns, chaos and confusion across the land, and in the midst of a disturbance of our peace, He reminds us that God’s peace surpasses all understanding. I’ve learned that if I rest in His peace, what is happening all around me, won’t disturb me, but gives me purpose in prayer.

By His spirit, we will receive insight to things to come and when we are totally submitted and committed, He will create in us the spirit of “a watchman”, warning the people.  If we warn them and they do not heed the warning, their blood is on their own hands.  If we do not warn them of impending danger, their blood when disaster strikes will be on our hands.  I’ve learned some people will never listen because they think they know everything.

Perhaps, more importantly, the role of the Holy Spirit is to remind us of The Word when we need it in a moment, and to instruct us in our behavior towards others–exercising discernment and wisdom. I’ve learned that no matter what I do or say, I’ll never please everyone, so I concentrate on pleasing God.  If I please Him and others are pleased as a by-product–amen.  If they are not pleased as I please Him–oh well!

I’ve learned how to live holy, maintaining my relationship with God, seeking always to please Him and expecting to see fulfillment of His promises towards me. Some may think I’m being arrogant in my faith in God’s promises, but I am simply being confident in Him, who cannot lie and will bring to pass every promise, and complete everything He ignites in us to do. I’ve learned to love–even those who appear to not care at all, but I love any way.  Again, their disdain gives my prayer purpose.  In fact, everything that I know I cannot control, gives my prayer purpose.

And when I pray, my communication with God is a two-way conversation.  While I talk, He listens and when He speaks, I listen. I pray with confidence, knowing He will respond. I always thank God for the desired result and because I pray in alignment with His Word, He will respond favorably.

Looking back over my life, I realize I have learned a great deal and still have much more to learn. What have you learned?

Father, in the name of Jesus, I thank You for keeping my heart and spirit tuned-in to You so I may know how to proceed on a daily basis and for loving me enough to keep teaching me! Amen!