Training For Service

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At its core, living our lives for Jesus is exciting. However, the everyday mundane can be boring! Chores, school, and work sometimes seem to be an endless grind. Thankfully, the everyday mundane is actually where we start using our gifts for God’s glory and where God trains us for the future ahead. God waits till we are grounded in Him before choosing us for larger responsibilities. To clarify, God never requires perfection; He requires someone who is willing to learn. We continue to grow in our relationship with God through our whole lives, yet being grounded in Christ is a prerequisite to God entrusting us with increased responsibility.
Here are seven simple things we can do to strengthen ourselves for God’s kingdom.

1)    Work hard wherever you are.

Exciting opportunities can emerge at any time, but first we must be diligent in the everyday mundane tasks. Just look at Gideon. He was hard at work, threshing wheat, when an angel appeared! Gideon proved himself as a hard worker before God called him to lead the Israelite army. When we are diligent and responsible in everything we do, we open ourselves to larger responsibilities. As Jim Elliot once said, “Wherever you are, be all there.”

2)    Learn leadership in everyday situations.

Moses spent forty years of his life living in the desert as a shepherd. The whole time, he was destined to be the deliverer of God’s people. First, he needed to learn leadership, and what better way than to oversee a bunch of sheep! Guarding the flock of sheep was a prerequisite to leading the Israelites through the wilderness. We must be willing to be faithful in the little things (like watching sheep) before we can be faithful in the bigger things. (Luke 16:10)

3)    Build on your victories.

David, like Moses, was another faithful shepherd. While he was stuck in the fields watching sheep, he wisely spent his time growing closer to God. When he found himself staring into the face of a giant, he was already strong and confident in God. During his time protecting the sheep, he had single handedly killed a lion and a bear; thus, he had already seen God at work in his life. Remembering victories from the past gives us the courage and the faith to depend on God for future victories. David was strong in his faith long before he killed his giant.

4)    Live a lifestyle of loyalty.

Practicing loyalty places you in the sweet spot for God to use you. For example, Ruth is in the lineage of Jesus despite the fact she was not even a Hebrew. Because of her faithfulness in serving her mother-in-law Naomi, she ended up in the right place to marry Boaz, thus grafting her into the bloodline of Jesus. When we are consistently loyal, opportunities will arise. God always rewards us for our loyalty, whether on earth or in Heaven

5)    Take a risk on God.

One day, two enemy spies showed up on Rahab’s doorstep. Instead of betraying them, she promptly hid them and helped them escape the city. Her only stipulation was that they would protect her and her family. Without a doubt, hiding enemy spies is extremely risky, but apparently Rahab knew something about the God of the Bible. She was willing to risk her all on God and on the integrity of these two Hebrew spies. Her risk, based on solid information, saved her and her family. Sometimes in our lives we are faced with a choice that seems crazy. However, if we base our decision on God’s truth, then we cannot go wrong. After all, if God is for us, who can be against us?

6)    Utilize your natural gifts.

Queen Esther saved the Jewish people through her direct influence on the Persian king. However, becoming his queen was no simple task! She was called to the palace along with all the other eligible virgins in the land. Despite the disadvantages, Esther shone out. Esther 2:7 describes her as being both, “lovely and beautiful”. Esther used her beauty for God’s glory, and because of her position, she prevented a mass genocide. We must learn to first acknowledge the natural gifts and abilities God has given us and then utilize them for His glory.

7)    Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.  

Nehemiah was a Jewish captive serving in Babylon as the king’s cupbearer. When he heard from a fellow Israelite that the walls of Jerusalem were in extreme disrepair, Nehemiah took decisive action. One of the very first things he did in his quest to rebuild the wall was asking the king (his boss) for supplies. Nehemiah’s boldness was rewarded and he was granted ample supplies. In our goals for God, we must not be afraid to ask others for help and assistance. Just like the king, often times people will be eager to assist, but we have to ask!

Your life is no different from the heroes of the Bible.

Just like everyone featured in the Bible, God has amazing plans for you and me. While we are in the everyday mundane, we must utilize our time effectively to train for use in God’s kingdom. We must learn to depend primarily on God, but also accept that other people will be a part of God’s plans for our lives. Continue to be faithful in your training, and gear up for the exciting life God has for you both now and in the future!

 

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The Epic Clash of Mindsets-Lesson 1 IEW Advanced U.S. History

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The adventure begins! Being the first lesson, the essay itself was fairly basic. The main focus was learning how to take notes and outline successfully. The who-which clause was also reviewed.

Audrey French

IEW Advanced US History

February 15, 2017

The Epic Clash of Mindsets

The history of the United States was fascinating and intriguing long before the first European stepped foot in the new world. Hundreds of years ago, nomads, originally from Asia, traveled to America. These people dispersed over this vast new land and then congregated together into small villages. North and South America could boast of having over two thousand different tribes by the late 1,400’s. These tribes were each classified by their own unique culture. However, all of the Indians in North America were united by their basic lifestyle, which was simply living in harmony with the land. The Native Americans were building an entirely different history for America that the Europeans would later rudely hijack.

The behavior of each tribe was largely dependent on what their homeland was like. The Indians who lived in the northern parts of North America would build their homes out of timber, which was readily available. The Indians living on the plains did not have timber available, so they built tepees out of animals hides. These tepees were easy to move around to different locations so that the Indians could follow the buffalo. Using clay, the daring Indians who lived in the southwest parts of the United States built multi-level homes on the sides of cliffs.   Despite their many differences in lifestyle, most Indian groups did have a few common characteristics which united them. Most Indians loved to hunt and fish. Some Indians who lived near the water cleverly built boats that helped them to span the distance between other tribes. All Indians shared a respect for nature – even to the point of considering it to be sacred – which meant they never abused the land for its resources. Despite their differences and likenesses, the people of each tribe skillfully lived in accordance with their homeland’s environment and resources.

When the Europeans came to North America, they drastically changed the future of the Native Americans. Their mindset immediately clashed with that of the Native Americans, which caused an enormous amount of conflict. While the Indians protected the land, the Europeans immediately saw the monetary value and stripped the land of its resources for profit. The Indians and the Europeans continually brawled and battled, which led to many casualties for both groups. However, the depredation laid on the Native Americans by the Europeans was calamitous. The Native Americans were involuntarily forced to leave their land by the newcomers. Even worse, they contracted horrible diseases from the Europeans, to which they had no immunity. European diseases like measles and chicken pox killed thousands of Native Americans. In fact, there were about four to eight million Native Americans in North America before the Europeans came, but by the year 1890, the USA only had a quarter of a million Native Americans left. The Native Americans, who once had bright hopes and peaceful lives on their very own continent, were now facing a much grimmer future due to the clash of their mindsets with that of the new settlers.

 

Milton Hershey-Hard Work, Failure, and Final Success

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Milton Hershey is a pleasant name to any chocolate lover. While most people enjoy the fruits of his labor, they are probably not aware of his rough childhood and the long road of failure he walked before his sweet success.

As a child, Milton’s unhealthy home situation forced him to grow up quickly. His father was lazy and eagerly followed the latest get rich quick schemes. Milton had to fill his father’s shoes by picking up the slack around the family farm.

When Milton was a young teen, his father made him an apprentice with a printer. Luckily for us chocolate lovers, he hated the printing business. Mrs. Hershey was sensitive to her son’s real talents.  She found him a new apprenticeship at a candy store.  Even though it was a challenging job, Milton thrived and soaked up all the tricks his boss could teach him.

The hard work ethic Milton possessed as a teenager propelled him into his career. He completed his candy training by age eighteen and promptly started his own business.

Despite his skill and relentless work ethic, Milton barely got started before his business crashed down around him.  Many sleepless nights of work seemed to be in vain. He started twice more, but his business utterly failed.

A discouraged Milton Hershey took a break from candy making. He traveled to Colorado and discovered a special technique for making caramel while out there.  When he went back to the east coast of the United States he finally struck success in the caramel industry with his special recipe.

Things were looking up, but this was just the beginning.

During this time Milton explored another business venture. Delicious milk chocolate was extremely rare in the 1800’s. It would usually turn out gritty. Milton’s relentless nature drove him to experiment with milk chocolate recipes in hopes of making a smooth, yummy milk chocolate.  Eventually he discovered a successful recipe and was able to sell his caramel business and fully pursue the milk chocolate business.

The rest is history. His business boomed.  He built a whole town around his chocolate factory for all his workers to live in.  He was truly the chocolate king! Thankfully, Milton Hershey remembered his own humble beginnings and provided opportunities for people who were financially disadvantaged. He had a special place in his heart for young boys, who, like him, did not have a stable father figure in their life. Thus, Milton created a home for young boys where they would receive vocational training, education, and loving house parents to teach Biblical values.

He was known for treating his employees with respect and care, striving to create a positive living and work environment. When Milton was constructing the town around his factory, he insisted that each home should have a different design. His orders were disregarded and the builders started to make all the houses the same. Milton forced them to tear down the homes and start over. He wanted his employees to have both a comfortable and unique place to call home. He used his influence and money to treat others well.

 

What can we learn from Milton Hershey’s life?

Many things, but the whole point of this story is not actually about Milton Hershey or chocolate.  It is about a principle that Milton applied early in his life.  Milton took his confectionery training as a teen very seriously.  If he had not started his training and career as a teenager and young adult, he may have never succeeded later in life. Furthermore, Milton needed years of trial and error before he found success. We will need trial and error time too, and the sooner we start the better.

We may or may not accomplish something monumental as a teen, but that is not the real issue.  The training we are receiving now will serve as stepping stones and even bridges for future opportunities.  Being a student is a unique and short lived period in our lives.  Milton Hershey probably never dreamed that his apprenticeship would turn into a whole town for his booming business.  As the Bible puts it, “and let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Galatians 6:9

Picture credit: The Famous People