The Type of Kingdom That Lasts Forever

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Daniel 2:1-48 is a prophecy that assures us God’s Kingdom is coming, and that it is coming soon. But that is not all it teaches. It also shows us the character of the people who make up God’s kingdom.

When the wise men could not tell Nebuchadnezzar his dream, Nebuchadnezzar orders all the wise men to be killed, and that included Daniel. When they went for Daniel this was the first he had heard about it and asked for time to tell the king his dream. When God showed Daniel the same dream the king had, notice Daniel’s response.

Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.” Daniel 2:24 NLT

If I had been Daniel my first reaction would probably be to just get myself down to the king, tell him the dream and save my own neck! Not Daniel. His first reaction was to save the other wise men who were actually phony wise men. And so it is, that the wicked will never know how much they owe to the righteous for all the blessings they receive.

Remember when the disciples were with Jesus on that boat in the storm? They pleaded for Jesus to calm the storm and He did. When Jesus calmed the storm He did not just calm it for the disciples little boat. All the boats on the water in that storm enjoyed the peace and calm that the disciples requested.

It reminds me of a parable Jesus told about someone needing bread.

 “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” Luke 11:5-8 NLT

The lesson here is not about persistence only. Jesus is telling us that God blesses our prayers when we are seeking to be a blessing to others. The person in the story is not just asking for bread for themselves. They are asking for bread to share with their friend. The disciples’ request on the stormy sea secured safety for everyone. Not just themselves.  Likewise Daniel’s prayer not only saved his life. It saved all the lives of the wicked wise men too. Now I wonder to myself. I realize these are Babylonian wise men, and it was actually the Persian leaders who had Daniel thrown in the Lion’s den, but is it possible that some of those men could possibly be some of the same men Daniel saved in Daniel 2? If so, then it shows us how God cares for us, even when we make ourselves vulnerable in caring for others.

Either way Daniel was being selfless in his prayer life and attitude towards others. His first concern was the wise men and not just saving his own neck. A careful Bible study of the image in Daniel 2, teaches us several things about the kingdom of God. It teaches us that while other nations rise and fall, that the kingdom of God will never fall. It is the only thing that is sure to last for ever. Spain won the world cup in 2010 but this year has already been eliminated. Fame and fortune is fleeting in this world. Even though the men tried to kill Daniel he was the lone survivor. Likewise while people try to destroy God’s kingdom, it is the only kingdom which endures forever.

 Those who are righteous will be long remembered. Psalms 112:6 NLT

Their good deeds will be remembered forever. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will see this and be infuriated. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted. Psalms 112:9-10 NLT

Daniel 2 also teaches us that we are living in the days of the toes. The next event in this prophecy is the coming of God’s kingdom, and we can be sure, that just as accurately as every other kingdom in this prophecy has come and gone, that God’s kingdom is surely coming and will never end.

Just as importantly as the accuracy of the prediction about the nearness of the kingdom is the description of those who make up the kingdom. All who make up the kingdom of God will be like Daniel. People whose first thoughts, even in the face of death, is for the welfare of others and not just their own. People who have a prayer life that seeks to bless others and not just themselves. Those are the people who will last forever.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here.

Archived Sabbath School Lessons

I am writing today from somewhere in beautiful Florida.
I am writing today from somewhere in beautiful Florida. 

Being the history buff that I am, I found it very interesting that the Sabbath School Network website, (For which I write for as well as my own blog) has archived Sabbath School lessons going all the way back to 1863. To me it is very interesting to take a look back at these and see some of the things our forefathers and pioneers were studying back in the day. Also over the years there have been certain lessons that spoke to me more than others, during certain periods of my life, and its interesting to take a second look at them years later. Anyways here they are for you to enjoy.

 

Bible Lesson Archives

To order a paper copy of the current English Adult Bible Study Guide, you may go to the Adventist Book Center website and order online or find information on how to contact your nearest Adventist Book Center that sells the Bible Study Guides. To contact the staff responsible for the current and most recent lessons, please go to http://absg.adventist.org/ContactUs.htm

Web Archives in Reverse Chronological Order, Beginning 1996

Most of our archived Adult Bible Study Guides include Scripture references linked to EAQ113_FrontCoverBible Gateway so you can read the Word of God as you study the Sabbath School Bible lesson online wherever you may be. Currently we offer both Biblia.com and Bible Gateway versions. The default programming is currently the NKJV, but in previous years the default was the NIV Bible, but with one additional click, you can read the Bible verse in the language and version of your choice. Please remember that the internet is a medium of change, and some of the links in previous lessons may no longer work. Specifically, if you want to contact us, do so through the contact link on this page, not the link at the bottom of previous lessons.

Archives of Adult Bible Study Guides, 1863-2014 (new!)

What were the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers studying in Sabbath School in 1863… in 1888… in 1914? Our new archives now includes quarterly & weekly lesson titles, cover images and PDF download links for every lesson since the formal Sabbath School guide was established in 1888.
From 1863 to 1887 Sabbath School lessons appeared in the Review and Herald under the title of “Lessons for Bible Students”. This page is operational but currently under construction as we go through the old records.

Sabbath School Archives (detailed) -
2010-2019 | 2000-2009 | 1990-1999
1980-1989 | 1970-1979 | 1960-1969
1950-1959 | 1940-1949 | 1930-1939
1920-1929 | 1910-1919 | 1900-1909
1888-1899
1863-1887 the Review & Herald days

Source Acknowledgment

Are you a Prisoner of Circumstances or a Prisoner of the Lord?

I am writing today from the beautiful, yet slightly overcast, Tulsa Oklahoma area.
I am writing today from the beautiful, yet slightly overcast, Tulsa Oklahoma area.

Have you ever felt like you were a victim of circumstances? Due to lack of education or money you have missed opportunities? Maybe if you had not married right out of high school you could have explored the world instead of getting tied down. Now you are sacrificing your own dreams in order to create a better life for your family. Meanwhile someone else wishes they had married so they could be experiencing a family. Now those are examples of being a victim of your own choices and not necessarily circumstances beyond your own control. Other people feel like they were born victims.

Some blame the location of where they were born on how their lives turned out. Several years ago a friend came to visit me from South America. We were stopped at an intersection where a man was begging. My friend was amazed that their were poor people in the United States. She thought all Americans were wealthy. No matter where we come from or what our lot is in life, it is sometimes easy to see ourselves as victims of circumstances.

While I enjoy my freedom of being single, there are times I miss having a family. By the way, just because I am happy being single does not mean I have chosen to remain single. I am just happy being single until God brings me the right woman. I am not desperate. I am happily content. Anyway, I was talking to a friend the other day about one of the things I miss about not having my own family.  I miss having someone to share my story with. I don’t have a wife to share my school yearbook with and tell her my high school and college stories. I don’t have any children to tell my, “when I was a kid” stories to. Then again, I know married people who sadly, don’t have anyone in their family who wants to hear their story either.

My friend then made an amazing comparison. She told me while I have no family to share my stories with that I share them with my church family and extended family on my blog. She told me Paul was the same way. Maybe that is why he wrote so much and loved his church so much, because, having no immediate family, the church was his love and passion and he wrote sharing his story and testimony with them. Maybe that is why he wrote so much! Now I have no doubt Paul wrote because God told him to, and I write too (While I do not share Paul’s inspiration or authority) because God places things on my heart. But it got me to thinking about Paul’s circumstances and one thing I have always noticed.

While being persecuted and in prison Paul never thought of himself as a victim of circumstances. He never even though of himself as a victim of the Jews or Romans while in prison. Paul writes,

 For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles..Ephesians 3:1

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you… Ephesians 4:1

Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner:2 Timothy 1:8

Paul never refers to being a prisoner of the Romans or Jews. He does not talk about being a prisoner of circumstances. Even while in prison Paul saw himself as a prisoner of the Lord! He knew he was right exactly where God wanted him to be. Paul did most of his writing from prison. If he had been free to travel and talk to people in person, he would not have written so much, and we would not have had all of his writings preserved in the New Testament that we have today. Paul was well aware of how an angel freed Peter from prison. Paul was well aware of how Philip just disappeared from one place and appeared in another. Paul knew that the iron bars and soldiers were not really holding him there. He knew he was right where God needed him to be, so he calls himself a prisoner of the Lord instead of a prisoner of man or circumstances.

I have a friend who recently took a job that she was well over qualified for. Based on her education and degree she should be somewhere else making much more money. She may have even faced ridicule from her friends and family for “lowering” herself to take this job, but where she is living, and based on other “circumstances” this was the best she could do for now. However she never complains. Instead she tells me of the people she meets there who need Jesus, that she never would have been able to reach out to if she was not working with them. They never would have come to her church. She never would have met them working anyplace else. She is glad she is where she is because she is being used by God to reach people who need Him! And really isn’t that where we all should be?

No matter where we are born and raised and work, our real home is in heaven and we are just missionaries to this world, sent from God to share the good news with others. Some of us may be missionaries in places of poverty. Some of us may be missionaries in our families, or if we have no immediate family then in our church family and communities. Some of us may be missionaries in difficult work places, and some of us may be missionaries in literal prisons. Either way we are not prisoners of circumstances. If we love God and have chosen to serve Him, we are only prisoners of the Lord.

You can study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Better Promises Make A Better Covenant

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

The story goes of a man who got a job chopping down trees. The first day his foreman noticed he had chopped down only ten trees while the other men had cut down a hundred or so. “Oh well,” thought the foreman, “it was his first day,” But the next couple days went the same way, so the foreman decided to have a talk with the new worker. “I am sure you have noticed you are not chopping down nearly as many trees as the others are” the foreman began. “Yes I know sir, but I am having trouble with this saw you gave me,” said the new worker. The foreman took a look at the saw and pulled the cord to start the motor. The buzz of the motor on the saw scared the new worker, and he jumped back shouting, “What is that sound?”

The new worker did not realize he was not expected chop down a hundred trees in his own power. He did not realize what power was available to him. It’s the same way with us.

Many people shirk at keeping the law, thinking it is an impossibility, not realizing they were never expected to keep it in their own power, and like the power saw, there is plenty of power available. If the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no need for a second covenant to replace it.  But when God found fault with the people, he said:

“The day is coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant
with the people of Israel and Judah.
This covenant will not be like the one
I made with their ancestors
when I took them by the hand
and led them out of the land of Egypt.
They did not remain faithful to my covenant,
so I turned my back on them, says the Lord.
But this is the new covenant I will make
with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord:
I will put my laws in their minds,
and I will write them on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people. Hebrews 8:7-10

There are those who would have us believe that the Ten Commandments were done away with because God realized they were unreasonable and could not be obeyed. However that is not the case.

Psalms 19:7 KJV says,

 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.

A legend tells about a huge ship that spotted a light off in the distant fog and radioed the source of the light telling it to change its course 15 degrees to avoid a collision. The source of the light radioed back that the ship needed to change its course instead. The arrogant sea captain once again demanded the other vessel change its course instead, only to find out the source of the light was not coming from a vessel but from a lighthouse.

So it is in life. Many people want the law to be changed just like the ship wanted the lighthouse to change, but lighthouses don’t move out of the way and neither does the law. The law is perfect. The law does not need to change.

That the law which was spoken by God’s own voice is faulty, that some specification has been set aside, is the claim which Satan now puts forward. It is the last great deception that he will bring upon the world. He needs not to assail the whole law; if he can lead men to disregard one precept, his purpose is gained. For “whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” James 2:10. By consenting to break one precept, men are brought under Satan’s power. By substituting human law for God’s law, Satan will seek to control the world. This work is foretold in prophecy. Of the great apostate power which is the representative of Satan, it is declared, “He shall speak great words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand.” Daniel 7:25-Ellen White, Desire of Ages, page 763

No, the law is not faulty. Hebrews 8:8 NLT says the fault was not with the law but with the people. So why would God change the law when the law was not the problem?

The fault of the people was in trying to keep the law in their own power. God made a covenant with the people, and instead of them asking for God’s help they eagerly replied,

“We will do everything the Lord has commanded.” Exodus 19:8 NLT

God knew this was never going to work from the get-go.

He who is trying to reach heaven by his own works in keeping the law is attempting an impossibility. -Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 172

God never intended for man to keep the law on His own. This is why God says in the Old Testament book of Jeremiah 31:33 NLT,

“But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day,” says the Lord. “I will put my instructions deep within them, and I will write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.

You see, the old covenant was not called old because it was the first covenant. It was called old because it was a useless covenant that God never asked them to make. He never asked Abraham to have a son on his own. He never asked us to keep the commandments on our own. This is what Paul is talking about inHebrews 8:6 NLT when He says the new covenant is, “based on better promises.”

In the first covenant the people in Exodus 19:8 were the ones making promises God never asked them to make. I don’t need to tell you how worthless man’s promises are. The new covenant is based on better promises because they are God’s promises!

And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires. 2 Peter 1:4 NLT

The law was never the problem. The problem was the people and their worthless promises. Even in the Old Testament we find the new and better covenant when Abraham becomes the father of Isaac, based on God’s promise. We find the new and better covenant based on better promises in Jeremiah 31:33 when God is promising to write and establish the perfect law in the hearts of men, not by their own power and promises, but by His power and promises.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

The Law and the Gospel are Both God’s Character

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

One summer when I was ten years old, I spent a week with my grandmother in Western Arkansas. At the end of the week my mother came to pick me up. While we were still visiting, I forget what I said to my mother, but it must have not have been too nice, because I will never forget what my grandmother said to me. She said, “You don’t talk to your mother that way.” And I thought she was going to follow it up with something like, she is bigger than you or the boss of you or something like that be she didn’t. She finished by saying, “You don’t talk that way to someone who would die for you.” Wow.

That has always stayed with me, and even when performing wedding ceremonies, I will share that story, and encourage the new family to always remember, even in disagreements,  you are still disagreeing with someone who would die for you. So at least please make it a friendly disagreement.

The reason we put no other gods before us, is not because God is bigger than us or the boss of us, but because He loves us enough to die for us. In the same spirit we honor our parents and are faithful to our spouses. The spirit of the law is, others first. That is also the spirit of Jesus on the cross.

 Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with him. When they came to a place called The Skull, they nailed him to the cross. And the criminals were also crucified—one on his right and one on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice. The crowd watched and the leaders scoffed. “He saved others,” they said, “let him save himself if he is really God’s Messiah, the Chosen One.” Luke 23:32-35 NLT

While Jesus had every right to call ten thousand angels to His rescue, or could have just turned his persecutor’s to dust and escaped, one simple thing held Him back. Saving Himself and letting others perish, which would have been putting Himself first, simply was not in His character. His character is “others first.” The law is others first too. When Jesus refused to save Himself on the cross, He was fulfilling the law on the cross, not abolishing it! The law, which says, “others first” was established on the cross. The law is the gospel! The law puts others first. There are commandments about putting God first, putting your parents first, and putting your spouse and then community first, but there simply is no commandment telling us to put ourselves first. Putting yourself first is contrary to the law, and it is contrary to God’s character.

To abolish the law would be to abolish consideration for others! Jesus was not considering Himself, He was only considering others on the cross. Thus He established the law and the gospel on the cross. Many of our parents have that law written on their hearts and would not even have to think twice about dying for us if such a situation arose. Many of our service men and women have that law written on their hearts and have sealed it with their own blood in dying for our freedom. The police officer, who you just cursed, for writing you that speeding ticket, will take a bullet for you without even flinching.

But this is the new covenant I will make with the people of Israel on that day, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their minds, and I will write them on their hearts. Hebrews 8:10 NLT

Will you let God write His law on your heart? When He writes His law on your heart, He is also writing the gospel on your heart, for He is placing His very character inside your heart!

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

The True Spirit of Commandment Keeping

DTTFL
I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Someone came to Jesus with this question: “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” Matthew 19:16 NLT

Is this a profound question? Not really. It is a very shallow and selfish question. The person asking this question is only interested in their own prosperity. A profound question would be, “How can I express my love for you Jesus?” Or “How can I be a better member of my community?” But the man asking the question is not interested in any of that as we will soon see. He just wants to know, how do I make sure I get to live forever.

 “Why ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. But to answer your question—if you want to receive eternal life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17 NLT

Jesus’ answer surprises some people that, even here in the New Testament Jesus is referring to commandment keeping. In the New Testament. Where we have grace, Jesus is still talking about obedience. The New Testament never removed obedience to the commandments. Jesus told the man, if you want eternal life, keep the commandments. Later, Paul said,

In this way, God qualified him [Jesus] as a perfect High Priest, and he became the source of eternal salvation for all those who obey him. Hebrews 5:9 NLT

But actually, by telling the man to keep the commandments, Jesus meant more than just doing good deeds to get eternal life. By telling the man to keep the commandments, Jesus was wanting a relationship with Him. When the man asked which commands to keep, Jesus quoted a few, which all dealt directly with relationships.

You must not murder. [No murder sounds pretty important to a relationship to me!] You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. Honor your father and mother. Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 19:18-19 NLT

Yes, those are all pretty important to relationships. But as we read further, we see the man is clearly not interested in a relationship. He is only interested in himself and his own eternal prosperity.

 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matthew 19:21 NLT

Jesus told him to sell all he had, but He did not necessarily mean to give it all to the poor. Maybe Jesus just meant for him to downsize. You know, sell your Porsche and buy a Hyundai, and give what is left over for the poor. But one thing that is clear, is Jesus wanted the man to follow Him. He wanted a relationship with this person. But remember, the man was not interested in a relationship with Jesus. In His original question he clearly was only asking, “what good deed must I do to have eternal life.” People do good deeds for me all the time, who desire no relationship with me whatsoever. Why just today, a stranger helped start my car with some jumper cables and then ran off. They were happy to do a good deed but did not desire a relationship with me. The man in our story is not interested in following Jesus, but he is interested in doing good deeds if it means he can live forever. Sound familiar? Do we sometimes get so worked up performing good deeds that we forget to actually spend time with Jesus, and enjoy His company?

Fact is, you can’t truly keep the commandments without a relationship with Jesus. Keeping the commandments to get to heaven is not really keeping the commandments! Keeping the commandments in order to achieve an award is very self serving, and a self-serving spirit is totally contrary to the spirit of the law. Earlier the man claimed to be a commandment keeper.

 “I’ve obeyed all these commandments,” the young man replied.Matthew 19:20 NLT

But in reality he was no commandment keeper at all. The first four commandments tell us how to serve Jesus in our relationship with Him, and the last six commandments tell us how to serve others in our relationship with them. You can’t keep the commandments without serving God and others, and the man was quite direct in his questioning that his only purpose was to serve himself. Some may be able to keep the letter of the law and pretend to be serving others, but to keep the spirit of the law one must be all about relationships, serving God and others.

 he went away sad, for he had many possessions. Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is very hard for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I’ll say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God!” The disciples were astounded. “Then who in the world can be saved?” they asked. Jesus looked at them intently and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” Matthew 19:22-26 NLT

The man went away sad, because he found no joy in serving God and others. The man may have been happy to give a large one sum offering to help build a temple, but a continuous relationship of serving God and others day in and day out was just too much to ask of this man. Keeping the commandments every now and then, or on a whim whenever it just happens to work out to be self-beneficial is really not keeping the commandments at all.

Even the disciples were amazed that a rich man could not buy his way to heaven. This scared them, because if a rich man could not buy his way to heaven, then how could a poor man possibly afford it? Peter reminds Jesus of the price they had paid.

 “We’ve given up everything to follow you. What will we get?”Matthew 19:27 NLT

Now put yourself in Jesus’ shoes and tell me what would be your reaction to Peter’s question? I mean, what if your spouse told you on your golden anniversary, “I’ve sacrificed my own independence so I could live with your for 50 years now. What do I get for it?” Wanting a prize at the end of the 50 years kind of makes the 50 year relationship look meaningless doesn’t it? I mean did you get married for a prize and reward, or did you get married to spend the rest of your life with someone you love? By asking the question, Peter puts himself in the same situation as the rich man. Both are asking about a reward, not realizing a relationship with Jesus is its own reward! Peter got to walk with Jesus for 3 1/2 years. What more could he want? If the Queen of England came to Florida to visit me for a couple days, at the end of two days I sure would not be asking her, “What do I get for spending time with you?” If she graced me with her presence that would be reward enough-how much more so with God!

Sure you can read on in Matthew 19:28-30 NLT, where Jesus tells Peter He will be well taken care of temporally as well as spiritually, But Jesus does add in verse 30,

 But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.

Those who “seemed” least important are those who were keeping the commandments, not with a self-serving agenda of becoming great, but rather keeping them simply because they love Jesus and consider their relationship with Him to be their greatest treasure.

  He regards more the love and faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do. -Ellen White, Christ Object Lesson, Page 402

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Thank you Miss Peggy Fisher!

I am writing from beautiful Tampa Bay today, while my heart is back at Tulsa Adventist Academy.
I am writing from beautiful Tampa Bay today, while my heart is back at Tulsa Adventist Academy.

Okay for throw back Thursday we are going to throw it way, way,  back! Its 1975 at Tulsa Adventist Academy . Oklahoma City is not known for the Thunder but it has a nice zoo. John Erling is waking Tulsans up every morning on KRMG, telling them to ski the Tulsa mountains. We are having our classes in the Sabbath School rooms in the church across the parking lot, while new classrooms are being built along with a new gym.

On this particular morning, I am sitting with my third and fourth grade class, listening to a lecture given by our teachers, Mrs. Sharon Krueger, and Miss Peggy Fisher. I don’t really remember what we did wrong this time. I vaguely remember it may have had something to do with, where  did we all hide the score sheets, or chalk and erasers or Jimmy Hoffa. Actually there is only one thing that I remember vividly from the lecture, as if it was yesterday. While Miss Fisher was trying to set us all straight, she told us,

“If you only learn one thing from us this year, we want you to always remember that we love you.”

Funny. I remember that! Actually that is the only thing I do remember from that talk that day or even the whole day itself. In the fourth grade I was already clamoring for acceptance. I really knew nothing about football at that point, but all the other guys in my class were all talking football so I wanted to join in and sound cool. “I can’t wait for this Sunday” I said. “Why?” The other boys asked. “Because the Dallas Cowboys are playing the Oklahoma Sooners!” I answered, not thinking ahead on how quickly that lie would be found out. I just made it up to have something to add to the conversation. Of course the other boys made me feel like a fool when they quickly told me they are not even in the same league or level. A lie I thought would get me “in” just made me look stupid and ignorant.

Welcome Back Kotter, was a popular sitcom at the time, and at the end of each show, Kotter, played by Gabe Kaplan, would tell a joke to his wife. I decided I was a comedian, and announced to Miss Fisher that I would have a joke to tell each day at lunch. Problem is I didn’t know any jokes, and making them up as I went along did not amuse the kids or the teachers.

So you can imagine, what good news it was that I was loved. I didn’t have to make up lies anymore to be accepted. I didn’t have to make up witty jokes to be liked. I was loved. I was accepted just the way I was.

Miss Fisher taught me more than just that I was loved, but that is the one thing I remember. By being loved I did not have to spend all my time thinking of silly jokes and lies to tell, and I could now focus confidently on my school subjects. I hated diagramming and structuring sentences back then. How was I to know back in 1975 how important that would be, and that I would be writing sermons and blog posts and lessons and devotionals for a living? How was I suppose to know that I would be substitute teaching at another TAA, Tampa Adventist Academy 40 years later, and would meet a kid like me, who really did not want to spend their time structuring sentences, but I would assure them how important it is. How did I know back in the fourth grade that one day I would be teaching my regular weekly Bible class at Tampa Adventist Academy, and would meet students who’s greatest need was knowing that they are loved and accepted so they can behave and learn?

In Miss Fisher’s 40+ years of teaching and working in the education field, I am not the only young person she has mentored.  In addition to Tulsa Adventist Academy, places like Parkview in Oklahoma City, and Gentry, Arkansas, and Philadelphia, PA and Valley Grande Academy in Wesleco Texas benefited greatly from her teaching and mentoring. She has also served as educational superintended in New England and the Rocky Mountain SDA conferences, among other places. Later she returned to where her passion lies, in the classroom, at Gold Coast SDA school in Oregon.

Its teachers appreciation week, and I want to thank all of my teachers for mentoring and teaching me. I realize now, as a teacher-Bible Instructor, that teachers get paid regardless if the kids learn or not. The passion teachers pour into their jobs and into their kids is not for a paycheck. They could care less and still get a check. Teachers go the extra mile and often times make themselves unpopular in doing so because they care. They care so much, that their popularity and approval rating does not matter to them as much as making sure students succeed. If you have to occasionally make a student or even parent dislike you in order to make them successful then so be it!

In the fourth grade I had Miss Fisher pushing me and encouraging me to do my best, all the time assuring me, no matter how bad my test scores were, or corny my jokes were, or how little I knew about football, I was always loved and accepted. Today she is on my Facebook cheering me on, liking all my corny comments, and sending me notes on how proud she is of me.

Well today Miss Peggy Fisher, we want you to know, from Philadelphia, PA to the Gold Coast of Oregon just how proud we are of you! For over 40 years you have taught and prepared us for practical living by teaching us Reading, Writing and Arithmetic, as well as preparing us to thrive emotionally, by stressing while you were teaching, that you really did care. Today I know even more just how much you care. You don’t get paid to care about me anymore, but You still do in every conversation or email that we share.

Auto correct can fix misspelled words but it can’t make a kid feel special. Google can give you facts and information, but it can’t make you feel accepted, and give you a sense of belonging in the world. Thank God for teachers who do more than just teach. They care!

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Miss Fisher, I know you are retiring from the classroom, but your passion for learning and mentoring continues. Its not your job. Its you. Enjoy your retirement and THANK YOU A MILLION TIMES!

Miss Peggy Fisher
Miss Peggy Fisher
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