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From my own emptiness I sit down to write this blog. I am not empty in all areas of my life. I am quite full with the wealth of my time with my three daughters as they are all home from school for Christmas break. Their richness of life experiences as each one is in exciting times in their season of life, fills me as they retell, ask questions, and wonder over what the past semester brought them. The biggest news by far is that my eldest got engaged in September. My middle daughter finished her first semester at college, and by the way, has her first boyfriend. My youngest completed her first semester of  concurrent classes at TCC as a junior at Broken Arrow High School, wrapped up her volleyball and soccer season, and began her second year on the girls varsity tennis team.

I am also not empty in my career. My full-time job as a senior English teacher at Broken Arrow High School fills me on several levels. The students, as seniors getting ready to graduate high school, are embarking on their new life as a first time adult resembling  a new born baby entering  his new world outside the womb. They are antsy with anticipation, but also embody much anxiety as most truly cannot see themselves outside the walls of the security of mom and dad, school, church, work, and well-known friends. My career also fulfills me in the sense that as much as I have tried to run-away from my God-given talent of teaching (The teacher in me really is from God, I would never have chosen a career that puts me in front of a class – especially at the 12th grade level. I feel most comfortable as a behind-the-scenes type person), I am greatly awed at how much I absolutely love my job! Not only do I get to teach the neatest students on the planet, I get to coach girls junior varsity tennis which is a year round sport. I get to be on the tennis court everyday of the school year with players who love the sport as much as I do! The last thing I am responsible for at my job is the club Students for Christ which is getting revamped as the FISH club with help from a local youth pastor and the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. The club is praying for miracles as God uses His people to do His work on the campus of Broken Arrow High School.

The Lord has given me a new place to serve at my local church, Arrow Heights Baptist Church. I am co-teaching the co-ed young singles class. We are working through the curriculum The Gospel Project. I believe the Lord is using this class to fill some empty places in me. It isn’t the class or class time that fills me; it is the studying time in preparation of the class time. The hours spent in God’s Word of reading and research take me to a place I am most intimate with my Heavenly Father, my Teacher, my Love, my Light, my Life. He alone satisfies me with the richness of His presence. His invitation is for anyone who too feels a need for more: “‘Come, all who are thirsty, come to the waters; and the  you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live'”(Isaiah 55:1-3a).

The part of my life I feel empty in is in the area of writing. Maybe it is because I do not write often enough. Maybe I have been avoiding it. Maybe I haven’t made it a priority. Maybe I put other things above this time.

This is exactly what I want to address in this post – emptiness that only the Lord Jesus can fill, fulfill, sustain, enlighten, engulf, satisfy, parch, or even indulge.

Isn’t this the real-life account of the mother of Jesus in John 2: 1-11?

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother  was there, and Jesus  and his disciples had also ben invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, “everyone brings out the choice wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”

What Jesus did her in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

What comes to me through this quiet, secret miracle is the faith of Jesus’ mother and the servants. The wine was gone, the jars were empty, then Jesus tells them to fill the jars with ordinary water, and yet, nothing ordinary happened – Jesus’ first miracle took place with only a handful knowing what happened (verse 9).

What sits to be filled in your life?

What has Jesus told you to do?

I am reminded of other biblical miracles. For starters, creation itself: “The earth was formless and empty…And God said, ‘Let their be light,’ and there was light (Genesis 1: 2,3).

Another time is when Abraham by faith went to a mountain God instructed him to sacrifice his son. “…As the two of them went on together, “Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, ‘Father? ‘ ‘Yes, my son?’ Abraham replied. ‘The fire and the wood are here,’ Isaac said, ‘but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham answered, ‘God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ And the two of them went on together” (Genesis 22: 6b-8).

A New Testament account is when a few of the disciples fished through the night with nothing to prove for it. John 21 reveals the miracle of nothing to indulgent. “‘I’m going out to fish,’ Simon Peter told them, and they said,’ We’ll go with you.’ So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing. Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. He called out to them, ‘Friends, haven’t you any fish?’ ‘No,’ they answered. He said, ‘Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.’ When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.”

One of my all-time favorite evidences of faith is in Mark 16. Jesus’ body had been laid in a tomb secured by a large tomb after His crucifixion. Three ladies who probably didn’t sleep a wink the night before, left early for the tomb in order to anoint His body. As they were walking to the tomb, the Bible records a portion of their conversation: “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?” they asked one another (Mark 16:3). Even though they knew beyond a shadow of doubt they could not, even all three of them, begin to roll that stone away in order to anoint Jesus’ body – they went anyway! They did not have the strength to supply the duty, but by faith they did what was ceremonially required of them to do. “But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away” (Mark 16:4).

What I believe God is calling you and I to do today is…to do something! Do something! Fill the pots with water, speak God’s Word, go where He has instructed, try again, or go in your little strength. What do you need, not want? What can you do to fill your emptiness with water as an act of faith? As God leads and guides you – do!

Even as I sat down this morning with really very little creativity or desire to write, I prayed as James directs us to do: I prayed for wisdom to the One who gives generously  (James 1:5).

“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt…” (James 1:6).

 

 

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My third year of teaching senior English at Broken Arrow High School is closing in on being completed. Such a unique job teaching school is in so many ways. This job struck  me with such striking impact as I took down the pictures off my classroom wall of which the students created and of which I used as decoration. Among the pictures were motivational posters the students made the first week of school, Macbeth heads symbolizing the themes of the Shakespearean tragedy, newspaper clippings of the students and their athletic and or academic achievements, and of course, the birthday wall exposing the birthday boys and girls of the month. What struck me as I removed the years accumulation of projects was how as teachers we literally start completely anew in the fall, then in the spring we completely put an end to grades, curriculum, schedules, students, phone lists, duties, and the list could go on and on. Beginning and ending the school year is the busiest and most exhausting time of the school year!! And, yet, so worth it with all that happens within the nine months of class time, sporting events, clubs, meetings, grading papers, parent teacher conferences, and specifically to me, getting to know some of the neatest people on the planet – seniors in high school!

I really will miss this group of seniors the Lord so graciously brought to my classroom. I pray specifically each year that the Lord will pick out the students to be placed on my rosters. With that perspective, I truly have a God-given love for each individual occupying a sit in my room. What a privilege to be a part of these young people’s lives at such an important time in their life as they make decisions regarding life after high school. I could go on and on about my job, but that is not the reason I sat down this afternoon to blog….

I am the club sponsor for Students for Christ (SFC) at the high school. We meet once a week in the commons of the D building where we get to worship through song and devotional. This group is responsible for two events: See You at the Pole (SYATP) & Baccalaureate. As the sole sponsor of this club, I am totally dependent upon the students to help coordinate not only our meeting times but SYATP and Baccalaureate. Knowing SYATP occurs within the first few weeks of school starting, I threw up a prayer one night asking God to show me who I should ask to be the president of SFC. I didn’t even have to ask! The next morning, a young man came into my classroom asking me what we are going to do about SYATP! I knew then God had called him to be the president of the club. This young man answered the call with a clear “yes” and led the club beautifully. He also did a fabulous job of coordinating Baccalaureate of which I am deeply thankful!

The call on his life to lead SFC got me thinking….

The world will tell you to go after your dreams. To follow your dreams. That dreams do come true. To dream big. To not let anyone or anything be an obstacle in fulfilling your dreams. Secular culture tells you you have arrived when you become a household name, when you have won the prized trophy, when you make it to the big leagues, when you are worth a million dollars, or when you have celebrity status.
Contrary to secular culture, the Word of God speaks truth. God’s Word reveals true purpose, breathes life into our bones, directs our life, and exposes our callings. As Christians we are not to be self-seeking but to answer the call. It is not your dreams we should go after, but instead to discover your God-given calling.

Romans 12:7 “If it is in serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

You will never be too old, too young, too out dated, not talented enough, not extraverted enough, not rich enough, not creative enough, not smart enough, not skinny enough, not pretty enough, not buff enough, or any other excuse you can come up with to not step into your calling. Your Creator, the One who designed you and put you on this planet for such a time as this has called you.

No need to sit around and wait for the dream person to discover you. No need to sit idly by hoping someone somewhere out there will notice you. No need to pretend you are going to be famous one day.

Because Child of God, the ONE and ONLY who calls you by name, purchased you with His own blood, and proclaimed you as His son or daughter of the King of kings has sealed the deal on your calling in which you will get to move mountains with your faith, see the lost found, bind up broken hearts, set the captives free, and proclaim freedom to the bound.

Revival is coming!

Jennifer Johnson

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"To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen." -Revelations 1:5b-6

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