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Don’t Get Stuck in the Mud 26 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Proverbs 26.11 (KJV):

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

It is a sickening comparison, but it certainly makes a point. The foolish person repeats his or her mistakes or sins. Peter quotes this proverb in 2 Peter 2.22 and quotes an additional one: “A sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire” (NASB). Peter is describing false prophets (fake Christians) who really have not been born again — they have not been changed spiritually by the indwelling Spirit of Christ. He compares them to pigs which are cleaned up only to wallow in the mud again.

There has to be a change in our nature. In Matthew 7.16, Jesus said, “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?” One cannot plant corn and expect tomatoes instead. Kernels of corn are planted to produce corn. A good tree, Jesus said, produces good fruit (Matthew 7.17). So before our actions produce different results, there has to be a change in us. A spiritual change is required to turn our hearts of sin and disobedience to hearts of love and faithfulness. Until we are remade (“born again”) we will continue to be rebellious toward God’s commands and we will continue to get dirty in the mud.

Further, once we have been born again, we must be participate in this transforming process. We must cooperate with the Holy Spirit by making better choices — by changing our words, our actions, and our attitudes. The power to carry-through with this changing of our nature is His Power. (If we could do it ourselves, then we wouldn’t need Him.) The pig can’t change himself; neither can that do who keeps returning to his vomit, but we can change with His help.

Don’t get stuck in the mud. If you don’t like repeating the same mistakes, make a change. Allow Christ to transform your sinful nature and then make better choices. As you study the Bible, God’s Word will guide you and inform your decisions. You will sense Him leading you, convicting you, directing you. He will change you if you are ready and willing to get out of the mud.


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How to Get Things 25 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Luke 11.9 (KJV):

And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.

There is a way to get things in my family: asking. When Sarah and David want something, a statement of want or need is not enough. “I am thirsty” will not get David a drink; he must ask for something to drink. Sarah and David must ask, and they must ask politely. Often, Mommy and Daddy know about the need or the want, and we are usually eager to give it to them. We are just waiting for a child to ask! Asking is the means of obtaining in our family.

Sometimes, even though we want to give something to our children and intend to do so, we don’t have the item in our possession. Either we can’t afford it yet, or we haven’t had an opportunity to shop for it. In those cases, we tell Sarah and David they will have the item they have requested, but they must wait. Waiting is hard for Sarah and David. They’re 5 and 3 years old, respectively, and like all pre-schoolers, they want instant gratification of their wants. “I want it and I want it NOW!” Still, they are learning to wait, knowing that if Mommy or Daddy promises something to them, they will eventually get it. Asking is the means of obtaining in our family, but sometimes asking also involves waiting for the answer.

There are also times when Sarah and David want things which they cannot have even when they ask politely for those things. Some things off limits to them, because they are children. Some things are forbidden because they can hurt Sarah or David. Some things are just not good for them. Asking is the means of obtaining in our family, but sometimes the thing desired cannot be given.

I have made it a general principle in my home that when something is acceptable to me, and I can afford it or have it in my possession, and my children ask politely for it, then I give it to them. It’s a Biblical principle; it is exactly how the Heavenly Father operates with us. “Ask,” the Bible says, “and it shall be given you” (Luke 11.9). Clearly, when we ask, we must want or need those things which are acceptable to the Father. They must be pleasing to Him. (The Bible teaches us what the Father delights to give us.) Clearly, when we ask we must be prepared to wait, just as my children must sometimes wait on me to provide for them. And, just as clearly, we must not be presumptuous; we must ask, and we must ask politely, or fearfully, remembering that we are speaking to God. When we do this, we discover that asking is the means of obtaining. “Asking is how we get things in this family,” I say to Sarah and David.

Ask. Make sure you are obeying God’s will completely and asking for things which He delights to give. Ask. Make certain that you have spoken humbly, in worship, adoration, and fear. Ask, and then wait. Have faith in God, just as a child has faith in his or her parents and expects the answer. Ask, and then wait. Asking is how we get things in this family.


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Getting Closer 24 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Announcements, Reading.
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I apologize for not posting some puzzles today, but I will post some later this week. The puzzles have become a popular feature, so I intend to continue creating them and sharing them with students, parents, and teachers. I have some different puzzles to post in addtion to cryptograms, word mines, and sudokus, so look for them this weekend.

Have you read a great book lately? Visit the Book Reviews page to browse the few reviews that are already there and to submit your own. One of the best parts of reading is sharing books with others. Mrs. Bowman, her mother, and her sister frequently pass along books to each other, sometimes borrowing the others’ library books — this occasionally leads to overdue books! I enjoy listening to them share their reading with each other. Find out what your friends and family are reading; ask your librarian for suggestions. Or — perish the thought — ask your teacher. Then share your reading with others (send me a review on the Book Reviews page)! One of my biggest goals this year is to increase not only the quantity of your reading, but also your enjoyment of it.

Are you ready? The first day is getting closer. We rode our bikes to football practice last night and watched the Eagles — great practice, guys. David and I are ready for football season, but more than that, I think we are all eager for school to start. I know Sarah is excited. In less than four weeks (less than three for me) … It’s getting closer. Lesson plans, lesson plans, lesson plans. Before students even show up for orientation, I must be ready with lesson plans and a decorated room. What happened to “summer vacation” — it’s the middle of July, I’m at home with two great children (who keep my busy), and I feel like I am already behind. But I wouldn’t have it any other way — I love school, I love teaching, and I even love the anticipation, the slowly building tension (i.e. stress), and the thrill of the first day. At practice last night, I saw a handful of Senior girls hugging; they had missed each other and were glad to meet up at practice. There is just something about being back together — I am definitely looking forward to the first day. It’s just so exciting.

Several readers (mostly teachers) have given positive feedback on my two website(s). Thanks, thanks, thanks. This website was created as — and still is — a companion to the classroom. The target audience is my students, other high school students, parents, and teachers. It’s wonderful that so many teachers are visiting the site. I am delighted that you have visited this site and I truly hope you find what you are seeking here (if not, send me an email). Please, keep commenting and keep emailing. Keep asking those questions. Use whatever you find here to help you with English and Bible.

Greetings to PCCS students and special kudos to the Class of 2007. What are you doing this Summer? I am always glad to get email from students. A couple of you have written me already and I cherish our friendships. You will probably never understand how special students are to their teachers — it’s one of our secret joys. I miss you. We keep you in our prayers, and even though the Bowman family has moved to another town and another school, you will see us sometime this Fall; we’re still Crusader fans!

Lesson plans, lesson plans, lesson plans. It’s getting closer.

Better Than a Tea Party! 24 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Book Reviews, Reading, Teacher Book Reviews.
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Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes, is an outstanding historical novel. The main character is fictional, of course, but Forbes sets him in Boston at the start of the Revolutionary War. So the reader meets Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock and is swept into the excitement of the Boston Tea Party and the first shots at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Tremain is a captivating protagonist and young readers will connect with his struggles in the book.  The chapters are short; readers will have no difficulty reading this book in short spurts — always a great plus for classroom settings and for students with busy afternoons.

I enjoyed this book so much, I read it over the weekend.  I am sincerely looking forward to sharing this book with my 8th grade English classes this coming semester!

Reading Level: 6-8 | Rating: 4 stars

Loving Your Neighbor 24 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Mark 12.31 (KJV):

And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Two of the three Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) record Jesus’ answer to the “first” or “greatest” commandment (Matthew 22.35-40 and Mark 12.28-31). In Luke 10, Jesus asks “a certain lawyer” to answer the same basic question and he responds with the same commands from Deuteronomy 6.4-5 and Leviticus 19.18: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself” (Luke 10.27). To this Jesus replies, “Thou has answered right” (Luke 10.28). The greatest commandment is to love God supremely and the second greatest commandment is to love one’s neighbor as oneself.

To love one’s neighbor is easy when he or she is loveable! But that’s not unconditional love, is it? Unconditional love means loving others despite their attitudes, actions, and words — despite their character flaws and frailties. To love unconditionally means to take the good with the bad. That’s not easy. We ourselves prefer the acceptance that undconditional loves provides but we resist accepting and loving others. We are quick to notice the things which make others unacceptable to us — race, gender, religion, background, education, hometown, favorite music or sports team. To love one’s neighbor means overlooking those things which are unacceptable to us and genuinely accepting others for who they are at this very moment.

What criteria do you use to evaluate others? Do you measure others against yourself? Accept others even as you wish to be accepted — just as you are. Let Go of your need to fashion the world after your own image and Let God fashion you and others after His own image! For Christ Jesus accepts you just as you are and will not turn you away.


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Trust and Obey, Again 23 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Proverbs 3.5 (KJV):

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Do not despise what you cannot understand. You will find little to like! Obedience is often difficult when we do not know what comes next. We want an agenda, a calendar or a timetable. So we do not commit our whole selves to obeying the present instructions God has given us. We are like little children in this respect. Before the Heavenly Father can give us the next instruction, He waits until we complete the current ones. We linger to complete the instruction and wonder why things are not moving forward!

Do you trust God? Then obey. Do not seek to know the whole agenda, to figure out the plan before you follow it. Just trust and obey. It is sufficient that that Father has a plan, that nothing can deter His will, and that He will direct our paths according to His plan. Trust. Obey. Wait for the next instruction. Then trust God.


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Bow Down Before Him! 22 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Revelation 1.17 (KJV):

And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last

The holiness of God demands that nothing unholy may live in His presence. In Isaiah 6.5, Isaiah cries in fear before the throne of God and says, “Woe is me.” Simon Peter cried, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord,” (Luke 5.8) when he perceived the holiness of Jesus Christ. Here, in this verse, John views the supreme majesty of Christ and faints in fear. He falls down in worship, afraid that he may die.

But Jesus does not strike John dead. Instead, Jesus bids him worship and commissions John for a mission. The words of Christ are an affirmation of His identify and His authority. They are an identification with God. Just as the Father had said, “I am” to Moses, so, too, Jesus is saying, “I am.” “I am,” He says, “the first and the last.” Jesus is the beginning and the end; He is eternal and He is God.

The holiness of God demands that nothing unholy may live in His presence. Yet, God does not desire our death but our salvation. He invites us to worship Him and to fellowship with Him. Jesus is everything; He is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega. “Bow down before Him. Love and adore Him. His Name is Wonderful, Jesus, my Lord.”


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In His Steps (Summer Reading) – Chapter 3 21 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Charles Sheldon, Literature, Reading, Study Guide.
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In addition to the reading and the written assignment, students in my classes should expect a quiz the first full week of school on Charles Sheldon’s In His Steps. I am also reading the book and I will make a study guide available for it in a couple of weeks. The quiz questions will come from the study guide. Here are the questions for chapter 3, and students are not expected to submit their answers for credit:

Recall

27. What was the decision which faced Edward Norman, the editor of the Daily News, after he accepted Maxwell’s challenge?
28. Who opposed Norman’s decision?
29. What was the response of the reporters to the decision?
30. How did the newsboys respond?
31. What happened in the delivery room?

Interpret

32. What reasons did the managing editor give for not running the paper as Norman intended?
33. Why was Edward Norman hesitant to take more actions?
Why did he buy the unsold copies of the paper?

Analyze

34. What are some examples of foreshadowing in this chapter?
35. What type of character is the managing editor?

Connect

36. What kinds of events or stories should Christian newspapers refrain from printing?

Other Chapters: Chapter 1 | Chapter 2

Get a Fresh Mind! 21 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Romans 12.2 (KJV):

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

If you are living according to flesh or according to the world’s standards, then you will be out of touch with the will of God — you will not know it, you will not be able to discern it, and you will not have the spiritual unction to follow it. So Paul urges believers not to “conform to this present world” (NET), in attitudes or in behaviors, but to continually renew their minds in a heavenly direction. By renewing our minds, we are able to discern the leadership of the Holy Spirit in prayer, Bible reading, and study.

How fresh is your mind? Get a fresh mind! Clear you mind and read the Scriptures. Read slowly and carefully — read prayerfully. Start in any book and read through it a small portion (perhaps a chapter) at a time. A great practice is to read a chapter from the book of Proverbs every day; there are thirty-one chapters and by reading the chapter which corresponds to the number of the day, one can read Proverbs in an month and twelve times in a year! Read one of the gospels. Start anywhere and get a fresh mind by reading the Word of God. Then you will know the Will of God.


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Vocabulary Crossword Puzzle 18 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Announcements, Puzzles, Word Puzzles.
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I have uploaded a crossword puzzle for the first unit of the 11th grade vocabulary book, Sadlier-Oxford’s Vocabulary Workshop, Level F. It is listed on the resources page for English classes.

A Plan Based on Perfect Knowledge 18 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Christianity, Daily Bible Verse, Devotional.
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Today’s Daily Bible Verse is Romans 11.33 (KJV):

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

Do not think that you can outwit God.  His thoughts are beyond our thoughts.  “His ways [are] past finding out!”  He sees and understands what we are incapable of seeing and understanding.  His knowledge is complete and lacks nothing; His knowledge is perfect.  (This is the meaning of omniscient, a term we use to describe the completeness of God’s knowledge.)

Follow God’s plan.  It is based on perfect knowledge.  Only He knows the terrain and the troubles that lie ahead in the territory you can not see now.  Only He knows the challenges you will face beyond the curves in the path ahead.  If you try to outwit God and take any shortcuts, thinking you will avoid some troubles, you will discover that His way was in reality easier and you fell in a pit anyway!  Follow the path that brings the most peace — follow God’s plan.


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Tuesday’s Children 17 July 2007

Posted by Jason Bowman in Cryptograms, Puzzles, SuDoKu, Word Puzzles.
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I have been posting puzzles on Tuesday’s for several weeks — why should I stop now? Here are the latest of Tuesday’s children:

Visit the Puzzles page for more of these great SuDoKu, Cryptograms, and Word Mine puzzles. Other types of puzzles will be available soon!

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