When You Need God’s Protection: A Reflection on Psalm 3

sword-1492885_960_720Last year I saw the movie “Risen.” In one point of the movie every man had shields in front of their bodies—then they moved them to above their heads, and it was like an overhead wall covering the entire army. Amazingly, the army in the back, used those shields to run up to the front line. Yes! They ran on top of the shields that were on top of the men’s heads. It was very cool seeing the many ways the shield is used.

Now, with that visual, reflect on this: God is our shield in emotional and spiritual battles. Verse three says, “He lifts my head.” When we are disappointed, discouraged, or sad, we can picture God lifting our heads. Imagine Him smiling as He does this.  He loves us so dearly. He is so compassionate and full of mercy. His smile says He accepts us as we are.

There is great hope when we cry to God. He hears our every whimper and sees every tear. Jeremiah 33:3 tells us, Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know. Why don’t we do this more often? Why do we run to other people first? Why do we choose to privately grieve for days without going to God?

Today we can be assured that God is our protection, He hears us when we cry, and He answers. Today, we can make David’s prayer our prayer. Surrender the sin of independence, and humbly run to God. God says He will “lift our heads.”

David’s prayer starts out in conflict, then goes into confidence, then celebration. This is a great model for us because we all experience conflict at some time or another. In confidence take your conflicts to God. He will help you and restore you. Now that is cause for celebration!

  • What or who is coming against you?
  • In what ways do you need God to put His shield around you?
  • Is your head bowed low? Tell God about your sadness and ask Him to lift your head.
  • Read and reflect on Psalm 3

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

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Your Strong Roots~A Reflection of Psalm 1

tree roots near water

The difference is real. The woman who walks with God is the recipient of His blessings. She is like a tree whose roots are firmly established and stretch to the river to receive their nourishment. She entwines her roots around the Word of God and ponders His precious words, for she knows they are her life. And she delights in them! His Word is a powerful source of spiritual energy and she draws her strength from these Living Waters. Although her roots are hidden, they are her most important part.

When the storms of life come she will not be whisked away, for her strong root system holds fast. When the drought season descends upon her, she will not wither. Pruning her limbs may cause discomfort but this process enables her to produce sweet-smelling, beautiful fruit in season (Galatians 5:22-23). She is able to achieve that which is worthwhile.

STRONG roots treeJeremiah 17:7-8 tells us, Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord and whose trust is the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but it’s leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.

 

tree rootsThe ungodly woman is also like a tree. But her roots do not go deep or stretch to the river for nourishment. When the winds rage she is blown away and devastated. She withers in the heat, unable to bear fruit. She flounders. She is unstable in her ways and lives aimlessly without direction.

  • Do you need spiritual refreshment today? Go to God and tell Him all about it.
  • Are you running with the ungodly? Turn around and get a new start.
  • Get connected with a godly woman and let her help you plant strong roots.

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

 

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A Strong Math Foundation: Ages 3-5

IMG_2868Summer is here! Maybe your preschooler is on his/her way to kindergarten in August. Or perhaps your have a rising first grader who could use a review. Here’s something you can do with your kiddos to help them be prepared for the math they will do.

Before children can do basic addition and subtraction, they need to conceptually understand what makes a group. This basic mathematical skill is called sorting. But it’s often overlooked as we eagerly jump right into counting… and then adding and subtracting. Not fully understanding a concept can create problems when mathematical concepts become more complicated. You may have experienced this yourself- you learned facts and were able to memorize them, so you did well in math…until middle school.

So while you are waiting for your child to go to pre-school, kindergarten, or even first grade, here is a fun activity you can do at home. There are no workbooks or flashcards involved. YAY! Just fun and tasty…and nearly free. That’s always good.

IMG_2856You will need some things to sort. You can use: fruit loops, gummy bears, jelly beans. ANYTHING.IMG_2854

COLOR is good for beginning sorters.

I spray painted medal baby food jar lids to sort.

IMG_2859You may want to have a container to sort your colors into like muffin tins. Say to your child, “Put these fruit loops into groups that are the same.” After they have sorted them by color, say, “You made five different groups.”

Sorting by Color With Gummy Bears

You can even show this by making circles around the groups. Once children are able to easily sort by color, you can sort by something a little more difficult: shape-circles, squares, and triangles.IMG_2853

The whole time you are sorting you emphasize GROUP.

ADDITION is putting groups together. This group plus this group makes this group.

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IMG_2863SUBTRACTION is separating groups. “I have 5 gummy bears. I share 1 with you. Now I have 4.” 

Keep skills real…concrete…something they can touch. Worksheets and flashcards require visualization which students at this age are usually not ready for. (The transition from concrete/real objects to abstract/no objects occurs some where between 5-7 so some children will be ready to add/subtract in “their head.”)

International Delight Coffee Cans Painted Black. Numbers Written with White-Out

Counting will be a natural outcome when your child makes a group. “One, two, three, four, five. There are FIVE in this group.” The next gradual step is to match the group with the symbol on the can. I made this activity for FREE. I spray painted my INTERNATIONAL DELIGHT coffee cans with black spray paint. Then I painted the symbol/number with WHITE OUT. Sorting, counting, matching the symbol to the group is the natural process.

  Have fun this summer!

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Debbie taught math foundations and early literacy for children ages birth-eight for the past thirty-five years. 

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

 

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Letting Go-Living Life Together:Inspiration #6

20170607_152855Letting go of the past isn’t always easy. For most though, the decision to “let go” catapults us into a new beginning, either physically or emotionally.

Today I symbolically let go of a 35 year teaching career by handing over my teaching materials to some of my favorite teachers. I had the best career and I loved teaching—first, elementary school, and then later becoming a college instructor, training students to become the best teachers. I loved being influential in helping my students succeed… all of them—from kindergarten to college. But that part of my life is over now. I look forward to the new ways that I can be impactful and be used by God.

Do you need to let go? Maybe it’s a painful memory that holds you at bay, keeping you from becoming all that God has prepared for you. Perhaps it’s shame or guilt that make you feel “less than.” Maybe you think God can’t use you or worse, doesn’t want to use you. It’s just not true. Or maybe you’re just like me—your past was wonderful but the time has come to move on and serve in another capacity.

God tells us, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)

Then there’s more good news in Philippians 3:13-14, Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Summer Writing Project your PreK-8 Children Will Love!

IMG_2531

Schools out for summer and the kids are home. I can attest to the validity of studies suggesting that students can digress academically over the summer. It can take up to six weeks of review just to put them back at the level they were prior to summer break. What would help them stay at and even exceed their current level in reading and writing?

Not a workbook or worksheets.

Not flashcards.

These can be boring, not on the appropriate interest level for the child, and meaningless. Bring some EXCITEMENT into a reading & writing project that is inexpensive, fun to do and a keepsake too!

While having fun and creating a memory, your children will practice:

  • Spelling
  • Complete sentence structureIMG_2532
  • Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Phonics
  • Context clues
  • Handwriting

In addition, he/she will become confident in his/her abilities and self-esteem will be strengthened. Confidence in oneself is motivation for learning in all areas.

IMG_2524

 

1. Purchase a spiral notebook, three-prong folder with loose leaf paper or plain typing paper, or a journal from the a dollar store.

2. You will need a camera. (Digital or single use camera)

3. Using markers, title the journal or notebook, My Summer Time Fun (or something else

you like)

4. Each day your child writes about something he/she did or experienced. Someone can take a picture of them doing it or they can illustrate a picture themselves.It can be very simple:

IMG_2528

“Today I climbed a tree.”

“I went to Home Depot with Dad to buy paint.”

“We had a picnic at the lake.”

Dictation- For a Non-Reader/Writer

Pre-k children can tell you about their picture and you can write down what he/she

says (dictation).

K-1 children shouldn’t worry about perfect spelling. “Sounding out words” is still

using phonics, which is necessary. But with so many silent letters or letters that “break the rules,” children could become frustrated. The point is to ENJOY the process of writing and to write meaningful content. The more reading and writing your child does,

Summer After Third Grade

they will see the correct spellings. Older children can be expected to write more.

5. Take the journal on vacation. Take pictures, cut them out and glue them down and write about what’s happening. You can use the pictures from postcards and paper menus too.

6. Provide your children with lots of experiences so they have something to write about. Again, these are as simple as “We planted flowers.” or “I helped mommy make a cake.”

8. You can also write your own cards                                                                                                   and letters for Grandparents.

9. Children are eager to read back to you what they’ve written.

A Sixth Grader's Journal Entry

10. Finally, what a wonderful keepsake for everybody! Worksheets usually get thrown away but a journal like this while be saved for the next generation to read about what “their Grandpa did when he was six.”

Enjoy this summer and write on!

Debbie was a former K-3 teacher for 9 years and a college instructor for 21 years where she taught future teachers successful reading and writing strategies.

Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

 

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Are you Waiting? Living Life Together: Inspiration # 5

hand-1819357_1920 - CopyThe storm passed, taking with it sheets of rain and fierce winds, resulting in a cloudless, perfect sky. It was during this storm that I waited for my daughter to meet up with us. After a three hour drive she safely arrived to join us at the beach. But the three hours I waited felt like THREE-HUNDRED.

Are you waiting? Are you waiting for God to show up and do a miracle? Are you waiting for the answers to the questions you have been asking? Are you waiting for specific direction before you make a move?  How would you complete this:

I am waiting for_________________________________.

Waiting for God’s answer can feel like an eternity

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (ESV)

If you’re weary, tell God about it. If you feel like giving up, tell God about it. He will renew your strength. SHINE ON!

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

 

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What’s that Smell?

african-bush-squirrel-1580058_1920The sense of smell can be a beautiful thing. With it we experience the pleasure of tasty food.

The smell of lavender envelopes me with peace, and honeysuckle floods my heart with joy. What are your favorite smells? How does a “favorite aroma” make you feel? What are some of the ways you make your living environment pleasant to the senses?

Can you imagine our lives without the sense of smell? Or maybe you don’t imagine; perhaps it is your reality.

Some smells create a memory. My husband said that honeysuckle “transports him back to his youth when school was out and summer was just beginning.”

But some smells can be a bad thing. Perfume, for example, is a pleasing scent for many, but for my friend, Jan, she becomes “massively sick” to the fragrance of perfume, soap, candles, and other synthetic smells, including household cleaners.

The stench of something rotten in a garbage can also be nauseating.

What smells make you want to run the other way?

Whether we use our sense of smell or not, we all emit an odor.

2 Cor. 2:14 tells us, “Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.”

We are a fragrance—a pleasing aroma to God. The more we become like Christ, we become the fragrance of new life.

The gospel message is like incense diffused everywhere. Those who live for Christ share the gospel and radiate His love. This lovely fragrance rises up to God. Those who reject Christ, reject the fragrance and the result is death. But these who receive the gospel become the fragrance of life.

What needs to “die” in our life so that we will “live” a life-giving aroma to those around us?

When people get a whiff, is the “scent” we exude nauseating or uplifting?

Today, let’s ask God to help us be a sweet smelling aroma to others.

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Debbie is a published author, national speaker and workshop presenter, and a partner with the Polished Conference Ministries L.L.C. She facilitates an online Bible study page on Facebook, teaches Bible study in her church, and blogs at Shining Together! Debbie has written Shine! Radiating the Love of God, a Bible study designed exclusively for young women ages 13-18. Additionally, she has articles in the Divine Moments series, and is a monthly contributor to Refined Magazine. All books are available at grace-publishing.com. She would love to speak at your next women’s event, teen event, or at the college where she brings an inspirational message to teachers in training called, “A Christian Perspective for an Inspirational Classroom.” Debbie is married and has three adult children. She travels from Asheville, NC. Visit her website at www.debbiepresnell.com, email her at: debpres@yahoo.com, or visit her page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ShineEveryDayNC.

**Photo:pixabay

 

 

 

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