Friday, February 26, 2016

Approved Continuing Education

It had been hours and I was still sitting at the computer in a zombie mode with bubbles from the screensaver floating on my desktop.  

This was the third day I tried to get some major writing done, but hadn’t been able to conquer the task.  There was a perfectly valid reason though; my cat needed some lap time and I was prepared to indulge him. 

Actually, it was a good opportunity to get a much needed“catnap” myself.  With kitty draped over my shoulder I tilted back in position to rest my head on the back of the chair.  It didn’t take long before we were both out like a light! 

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Continuing Education 

I'm not kidding ... this was me!
Minus the cat on my shoulder.
Several times my husband made his way back and forth into the room to see if I was awake. He stared at me as my head lay back in a full tilt with mouth wide open like a seal waiting to receive fish.
Easily he could have dropped treats down my throat but the dear heart refrained; unlike me who in some way probably would have taken full advantage of the situation! 

I finally woke from his giggling and my snoring (which was more like a snort) when he began the nightly inquisition over our evening menu. 

“What do you want for dinner?” my husband asked calling out from the kitchen. 

Barely holding my head up, without hesitation I said: “A nap.”  

Chuckling he asked, “How do you want it cooked?” 

“Very slowly!” I quipped. 

I reciprocated the question: “What do you want for dinner?  

“I don’t know.” 

Building off his comedy I asked: “How do you want that cooked?”  

“Usually well done.” 

You can tell that not much brain work went on in this conversation.  The fact was, we were both too tired to say or do much of anything except laugh.  We never tire of that. 

All week long I’ve been having difficulty staying awake. If you remember at the beginning of the year I shared how I would be taking on new things by faith.  Well, for the past month I’ve been doing exactly that in the way of research.  

It’s back to school for this gal with educational classes … again! 

Remembering Gregg 

Attending high school was merely a place to socialize and to say that much education occurred on my part would be a stretch. My grades were okay, but not great following the A,B,C rule – any one of those were acceptable as long as there were more of the top two!  Funny how that rule changed once I had to pay for college! 

I never wanted to miss my classes. It’s rather ironic when you think about it now that I am an instructor, but nonetheless, I am. 

Getting through classes at times was difficult being dyslexic, but knowing how to take dictation by shorthand really pulled me out of some tight spots especially in Biology class.  On the other hand, it also got me into trouble when in college. 
Sample Gregg Shorthand Letter

Why I took shorthand still baffles me since I never wanted to become a secretary or work in the business field.  (No, I'm not that old, and yes they still taught it up to the late 80's in some states!  It was required for court reporting, business school and being a Notary Public, which I was.)
Less than 25% of schools in America had computers in 1986 and still used typewriters. It wasn’t until the mid 90’s that teacher’s (like me) had access to one in their classroom.
I grew up with parents in business and saw how hard they worked with little time to spare.  When I tried my hand at it I wasn’t that convincing of a salesman. My gift was in the socializing end of marketing.  Can you tell?  Hubby calls me the social butterfly! 

Conversely, Gregg Shorthand was about the only thing my mother and I had in common then; I suppose it somehow played a role in taking the class for two years.  I can’t recall ever bringing schoolwork home except for that class, which did result in better grades. 

Mom was a wiz at dictation and we would compare notes.  The bad thing was that it really messed up my spelling … you know … leaving out most of the letters to write in code using a bunch of squiggly lines! 

That brings me back to how shorthand got me in trouble during my first years in college. 

Secrets in Psychology 

Stationed in the front row is where I like to sit when in class.  I had heard that professors never called on the people directly under their noses, because they are usually standing in front of them when lecturing.  Through the years I’ve found this to be mostly true in my own teaching.  However, it backfired on me in my first psychology class. 

Due to my shorthand skills I took loads of notes, practically everything the professors said I wrote down. You might say I took too many notes, which made it hard to study correctly.  It wasn’t until I taught Journalism that I really learned the art of note taking that cured me of that habit. 

With notebook opened and pen in hand I was busy writing down everything my professor Dr. Visce was teaching.  The way he taught intrigued the entire class, but there were two secrets few people knew and I was privy to them. 

My beloved prof favored the ladies. No, he didn’t do anything out of line, but he had daughters and it was almost natural to prefer the lassies over the laddies.  Check one off in my favor! 

Second it was rumored that whatever you received as a mark on your first test was the grade you got for the course.  Score! It was mid-term and I had received an A on my first exam, so I presumed I was in good standing for the semester.  

An Open Book 

One day as the professor was speaking he made his way to the front of my seat.  My head was buried in taking notes (of course) and I wasn’t watching him. 

As he was talking, rather than walk back to his desk the Professor leaned over and picked up my textbook hoping to point out specific details in our reading assignments.  While instructing the class to turn to a particular passage we all heard this sound - “crack”.  It was the binding of the book … my brand new book! 

The class was in a roar laughing and I could tell my teacher was trying to compose himself.  Looking up at him literally peering over me Dr. V. said in an intimidating voice, “You haven’t even opened the book have you?  How have you done so well in this class without even reading one chapter?”  

If I could have slithered down my chair and out the door I would have.  How embarrassing, yet totally correct!

I didn’t know how to respond but announced in a reluctant sort of way, 
“… I take good notes?!” 
Practically dropping my book in my lap he said, “We’ll see.”  My study habits became an open book to my classmates, the professor and myself. 

Yes, my shorthand helped but it also hindered me from getting into the book to study like I should have.  After that I started reading the required textbook and was certain my instructor became aware of it.   

My study habits changed, because I wanted to show myself approved before my instructor and not be ashamed in front of my classmates.  Graciously, I was favored with an A for the course despite my lack of wisdom in the beginning sessions of the class. 

Jesus 101 – Discipleship Classes 

As an instructor you can be sure that one of the first things I check is if my students have cracked the binding on their books.  I want them to make full use of the materials provided as they study for their lifelong journey.  

This subject is something the Lord brought to my attention as I researched the Master Teacher. 

Did you know that Jesus taught on over 570 subjects or topics?   

If you take into consideration that the disciples only spent three and a half years on their “physical” journey with Jesus, that’s a whole lot of teaching!  Somehow I don’t picture the boys taking notes or asking Jesus, “Could you repeat that Teacher, I didn’t get it all down on my parchment?” 

It’s not until after Jesus was resurrected that we learn of the Disciples and first followers of the church in the “act of studying” the Word of God.  As modern day disciples we too are to practice the act of studying the scriptures. (See Acts 6) 

That means folks we have to crack the bindings on our Bibles to find out what the Master was saying to the first disciples in His 101 courses.  There’s no shorthand script or shortcut to learning when it comes to being well versed in the Word of God.   

How can we follow or share what is contained in God’s Word if we don’t know what Christ taught?  It is not possible to walk with Jesus if we aren’t aware of His teachings.  This is why taking discipleship classes online or in a classroom with a teacher/professor is still needed no matter how long we’ve been born again. 

Why Study the Bible? 

When I ask the question “Do you study the Bible?” I get all sorts of answers, but this is the one most given.  People say they only stick to the King James Version, but fail to study because they don’t understand it. 
If that’s the excuse you’re using it is easily remedied – use the KJV if you wish as your base but incorporate other translations, concordances, study guides or books to assist you on your journey through the scriptures. 

The main reason why I admonish people to study the Word of God is because He told us to do it.  With obedience also comes God’s favor on our lives; certainly that would be a good enough reason for anyone.  Take a look at a few verses that indicate how studying the Word of God changes your journey to success. 

“Study this Book of Instruction continually.  Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.” (Joshua 1:8 NLT) 

Apparently obeying the Word of God determines prosperity and success.   

“Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to (minister at) Berea.  When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the Word (teachings of Jesus) with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:10-11 NKJV) 

Searching scriptures daily helps us recognize true and false teachings.  Here are a few more reasons to meditate on and study the Bible. 

-        To proclaim God’s work and deeds. Psalm 77:12

-        To contemplate God’s ways of how He does things. Psalm 119:15

-        To understand God’s ways.  Psalm 119:27

-        To help settle decisions in the heart to give right answers. Luke 21:14

-        To keep from listening to things that would squash faith. Philippians 4:8

-        To measure progress on our journey with Jesus for “Whoever finds Me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.” Proverbs 8:35 and 1 Timothy 4:15 

Perhaps this is the main reason we should study the Bible … to keep us from sinning. 

“I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.” (Psalm 119:11 NLT) 

Tired but not Weary  

Learning anything new takes research, study and time.  Those things combined can cause a body to get tired, but not necessarily weary.  These past weeks I have been in targeted study for improving areas that the Lord has directed me into for this leg of my journey.   

Something I’ve taught my classes for over twenty years is that you cannot teach what you don’t know (especially to kids).  People can tell if you know what you are talking about in all sincerity or if you’re blowing smoke. 

Every follower (disciple) of Christ is responsible for having correct answers when people ask us questions about our faith.  We need to be in the Word of God adding to or “increasing” what we know on a regular basis in order to achieve this.   

I want the words that I speak or write to be full of wisdom, as well-driven nails that hold faith together in the hearts of all I come in contact with on this journey with Jesus. 

Until I see Jesus face-to-face, I’ll crack a few more bindings and continue studying His Word, so that I may show myself approved before God and man.  If that means falling asleep at the computer at times, open mouth snores and cuddling kitties … I’m all for it.  How about you? 

“The Preacher (King Solomon) sought to find acceptable words; and what was written was upright – words of truth.  The words of the wise are like goads, and the words of scholars are like well-driven nails, given by one Shepherd. And further, my son, be admonished by these.  Of making many books there is no end, and much study is wearisome to the flesh.” (Ecclesiastes 12:10-12 NKJV)

This Week’s Challenge: Approval Study 

What was true for the patriarchs, priests, prophets and disciples still holds so for us … the most basic fundamental way to learn about God is through His Word. 

When I first studied 2 Timothy 2:15, the focus was on “not wanting to be ashamed” of doing anything that went against God.  With more studying I learned that this was a loaded verse! 

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”

The last part of the verse is what stood out in my biblical classes: “rightly dividing.”  Wow, if God’s Word can be divided rightly then it can also be divided wrongly!  Studying is the only way to know the difference and that takes us to our challenge. 

Paul the Apostle and disciple of Christ shed light on five parts in the act of studying God’s Word, so that we can be effective faith walkers along our journey here on earth. 

1 – We are to be diligent as we prepare to see Jesus. 

2 – Our goal is to be approved as knowledgeable in the Word.  

3 – We are to be fruitful workers as Ambassadors for Christ. 

4 – Our desire is to be presented worthy of the call and not be ashamed of slacking off when on duty. 

5 – We are to know what God deems as Truth and separate it from what is false. 

I urge you to get involved by continuing your education through some type of biblical study this week. It can be through books, listening to messages on topical teachings, or watching programs that take you beyond what you know on a subject.  

With your Bible as your main source, gain understanding and insight by using other resources that will increase favor for your faith walk. 

“Good understanding gains favor …" (Proverbs 13:15a NKKV) 

You may want to study with others or research a topic on your own. Select something that you need to learn rather than repeating things you’ve already studied.  Those things are good for refreshing and reinforcement, but this challenge is about stepping out in topics you really haven’t studied in the past. 

“It’s time to put the fun back in fundamentalism!” Pastor Joe Nelms 

Whatever way you choose to go about your “Approval Study” keep in mind the five points of Paul from 2 Timothy.  Jesus wants this time in His Word to be a good one laced with faith, favor, fulfillment and fun! 

If this article has encouraged or helped you please consider sharing it by using the social media icons provided at the end of this post. 

Thy Word - Maranatha Singers - with Lyrics


Thy Word – Amy Grant 

Until next time, favor studying God’s Word! 

“Obedience warrants My favor .”
Jesus Christ

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives. 

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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by Billy Graham

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Content and Image Copyright from Favored1. Do not copy. 
Scripture reference was taken from the New King James Bible Version provided by Gateway Bible.
Image credit: Google Images or Dreamstime Creative Common License if not specified.
Image:  Bubbles Clock Screensaver  Lady Sleeping at Computer  Gregg Shorthand Sample  College Classroom  Jesus 101 Classes   Why Study the Word of God?  2 Peter 1:5
Disclaimer Notes: Results may vary due to lack of belief. 
Dyslexic  Gregg Shorthand  College Professors  Biology Psychology  Online Bible Studies