(My Parents and me at my High School Graduation
because of Dear Mrs. Holt)
Do you remember a special teacher whom you admired greatly, who made such a positive influence in your life that it made you, to a large extent, the person you are today? I have had many teachers like that, but my first teacher was a very caring and gifted one. She got the ball rolling in my never-ending quest for knowledge. Way back in the 1960s, the schools in Massachusetts were just starting to think about integrating physically disabled children into “regular” school classrooms. Through the relentless advocacy of my mom, the school system provided a home tutor to teach me at home. The “powers that be” said it was too “dangerous” for me to attend school “in case of a fire.” So, that’s how I met dear Mrs. Holt. I remember her walking in the door to my classroom/living room and saying, “Hello Lydia. I can see that we’re going to have a lot of fun learning new things.” Then, she said to my mom, “I see that Lydia is a very bright little girl.” So began my “public” education. From first grade to sixth grade, Mrs. Holt came to teach me all I needed to learn, in order to attend “regular” junior high school (I was only one year behind my age group). I remember some “higher-ups” questioning whether providing a tutor for me was worth the tax dollars. This angered Mrs. Holt, but She kept her composure and replied, “I would put Lydia in a contest with any child attending school and she would win hands down.” My mom and Mrs. Holt believed in me and knew that I was an extremely intelligent person, and that made all the difference in the world. I thank the Lord for teachers like Mrs. Holt.
Jesus was that kind of teacher and more when He walked the earth, and still is to His 21st Century followers. Jesus was not like any of the religious teachers of the day. With His teaching, Jesus can change people’s lives because He sees all that we can be with God‘s power and mercy and grace. People who heard Jesus teach “were amazed at His teaching, because His message had authority” (Luke 4:32). This made the “higher-ups” both fear and hate Jesus. They did not want their power and prestige taken away from them. Shortly after Jesus returned from His forty days of fasting and prayer and being tempted by the devil, He “went to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day He went into the synagogue, as was His custom. And He stood up to read. The scroll of the Prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. Unrolling it, He found the place where it is written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is on Me,
because He has anointed Me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to proclaim
freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to release the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’
Then He rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on Him, and He began by saying to them, ‘Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’” What would it have been like to be there to experience that electrifying moment? It must have been possible to hear a pin drop. Sometimes, when I read God’s Word I do almost feel like I’m there at Jesus’ feet, listening to His every word and learning from the greatest Teacher of them all.
PRAY AND READ:
During the forty days of Lent, my Scripture reading is focused on the cross of Christ. Before reading the Scriptures, I pray something like this: “Dear Father, please bless my time in Your Word. I pray, Holy Spirit, that you will give me ears to listen to what You want to teach me. Give me eyes to see what You want me to see, so that I may be more like You Jesus. Reveal any sin I must confess, that would hinder my understanding of Your Word and help me to do what You will show me to do. I pray these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen.
During the forty days, I first spend time reading all four Gospels, reading one at a time and I stopping just before Jesus’ “Triumphal Entry.” into Jerusalem (which is in all four Gospels). Second, I read some of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies: Psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 34, 45, 68, 69, 110; Isaiah 50, 53, 60, 61. Third, I read about the last week of Jesus life on earth in all for Gospels, from His “Triumphal Entry” into Jerusalem through “Good Friday”. I have divided Holy Week into days. I read the Scriptures regarding what happened on Sunday, what happened on Monday, what happened on Tuesday, what happened on Wednesday, what happened on “Maundy” Thursday (Last Supper), and what happened on “Good Friday.” Saturday is a Day of Prayer. On Resurrection Sunday, I read all four Gospel accounts of Jesus rising from the dead and CELEBRATE with my brothers and sisters in Christ at church. HALLELUJAH! What a GLORIOUS DAY! Christians all over the world not only celebrate Christ’s Resurrection, but also His Coming Again! I have been doing this reading program for years. Each year, I feel like I’m almost there with Jesus, especially during Holy Week. It is a very rich, reward, and growing time for me. I pray that it is the same for you.
God has something unique and personal for each one of us to learn and do, as a result of what He has been teaching us during this Holy Season of Lent. God may want some to spend more time with Him in prayer and the reading of His Word. He may want some to give more time to serve others or spend more time with family. He may want some to be more encouraging and less critical of others. He may be calling others to give more money to the church or missions or actually go into the mission field or just go to church on Sunday. He may want some to be more forgiving of others. He may want some to simply trust Jesus and accept His forgiveness. Whatever it is, DO IT and “NEVER STOP IMPROVING!” Jesus will help.
“May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The One Who calls you is faithful and HE WILL DO IT” (I Thessalonians 5:23-24).
THE END! (Or is it the beginning? Stay tuned.)