The longer I am a teacher, the fewer of my go-to pop culture references connect with my students.
For example, only a few students “get” an applicable Leave it to Beaver reference without thinking I said “Bieber.” To my surprise, The Waltons no longer work either as I recently found out when no one knew who Jim Bob was.
What?!? What is going on here?
Oh, right, I am getting older.
However, the other day, to my relief, a few students knew of “Ernest T. Bass” from Andy Griffith. Thankfully, the hillbilly references still communicate.
Communication is key. It is how we get things across to others — all day long —in whatever we do and in all situations. It is the transference of ideas. It is imperative to interaction. It is vital to life.
As John Milton Gregory states in rule number four of The Seven Laws of Teaching: “The lesson to be mastered must be explicable in the terms of truth already known by the learner — the unknown must be explained by means of the known.”
Thankfully, God’s Word beautifully communicates. God’s Truth endures across the ages. His timeless truths resonate throughout the generations.
At Covenant, essential questions and enduring understandings guide everything we do. In the classroom and in every subject, our aim is to focus on Christ and His preeminence (Colossians 1:18). What does this look like? What do we truly want our students to remember? What are our ultimate aims? Knowing the answers to these questions helps one target what is most important. At times, I find myself saying things like: “If you don’t remember anything else that I say this year, remember this: ______!”
It is the essential things, the core truths, that we want to highlight with our students. Truths to stay with them. To anchor their souls. We want our students to walk away with enduring understandings that inform how they live the rest of their lives.
Below are examples of five timeless truths that inform our teaching as Christian believers:
God’s steadfast love endures forever. (Psalm 136:1)
Each year at some point, usually around Thanksgiving, I love to read Psalm 136 as a responsive reading with my class. Students read “His steadfast love endures forever” a total of 26 times. Did you catch that? A total of 26 times. Too repetitive? Too much? They say that once you’ve done something 21 times then you’ve got it. Well, throw in five more times to boot, and I say you’ve got it down in your gut.
When you hear the truth of God’s love enduring forever and hear the voices of your classmates reciting it in unison along with you, these truths stay with you. You can know that you know that you know that God’s steadfast love endures forever!
God’s Word endures forever. (Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8 and 1 Peter 1:25)
One of the first verses I remember memorizing as a child was about “hiding God’s Word in your heart.” Memorize a verse about memorizing a verse? Yes. Foundational and true.
When we memorize Scripture, it is health to our body and strength to our bones. It is soul nourishing and heart refreshing. To know the words of life way down in our marrow? To recall words of hope? To remember words that guide and guard and give comfort? All through our life? Yes, and amen!
Memorized scripture is a gift that you can return to again and again. Pursue it. Long for it. Run after it. “Run in the path of his commands because he has set your heart free” (Psalm 119:32).
These foundational truths provide nourishment and necessity for lifelong guidance. In faith, we memorize the words of God because they endure forever. When all else crumbles, His Word stands firm. While other fleeting things fade, it lasts forever. God’s Word gives us the faith to build upon so we can stand firm and grow strong and tall. Like righteous oaks of the Lord. Rooted and grounded in truth.
God’s Kingdom reigns forever, His throne endures to all generations. (Lamentations 5:19, Hebrews 1:8)
How long is forever? Have you ever let your mind try to feel forever? Like really feel it? To know NO end? It is overwhelmingly painful to process. And yet, we know that there is a kingdom that reigns forever. What hope! What joy! To know that life is not spent in vain? That instead, it has solid purposes that are moving toward a lasting inheritance — one that cannot perish or dissolve.
To know of a structure that has permanence and endurance, one that is from everlasting to everlasting, God’s eternal kingdom, our ultimate home, is to know of a kingdom that reigns forever. God’s kingdom.
His righteousness endures forever. (Psalm 112:3, 112:9)
Every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)
God cannot change. The unwavering righteousness of God is a banner of love waving high over His people. He is not capricious nor is He unjust. He is righteous. And this righteousness is everlasting.
Psalm 119 — all 176 verses — focuses on God’s righteous rules, laws, statues, testimonies, precepts, and commandments that endure forever. He, in His righteousness, instructs us to stay on the path and in the Word. It is the way, the truth, and the life. And it lasts forever. It is eternal.
God’s praise endures forever! The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all those who practice it have a good understanding. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:10)
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so! Let them stand and give witness to the goodness of the Lord!
“Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:1-2).
Give testimony to His Name.
Lift His Name on high and give Him praise.
Speak words of His holiness and majesty, His goodness and grace.
Sing praise to the One who saves and who delivers us from ourselves over and over again.
Fear the Lord and give Him glory.
Cultivate daily acts of worship.
Look upon His goodness in the land of the living and give Him praise.
Sing a hallelujah.
Listen to Handel’s Messiah. I tell students a traditional story — although it is not substantiated as fact – that King George II was so moved upon hearing the Hallelujah Chorus that he stood out of honor and reverence to the King. The tradition has continued to this day. Wonderfully so. When G. F. Handel is our composer of the month and the Hallelujah Chorus plays, I tell the students they can stand for the entire four minutes and 18 seconds, or stand a bit and then sit back down. Give praise where it is due. Whether the king literally stood or not, oh, for us to be quick to rise and give honor and glory to the King of Kings who reigns forever and ever. Yes! Hallelujah What a Savior! Give him praise! Magnify His Name unto all the world.
In conclusion, the beauty of these five foundational truths gives heart, mind, soul, and voice to us as believers. They stand as foundational pillars to strengthen the frame and structure of our lives. They communicate. They give hope. They give life.
God’s Truth stands forever. He will reign to all generations.
The beauty of these timeless truths lasts through the ages. Truth. Beauty. Wisdom. Eternity. Praise.
God’s truth endures forever — across the ages — no matter what your current age or generation.
Praise be to God. And as out-of-date as my pop culture references may become, God’s truth endures forever!
by Stephanie Boss, CCS 5th Grade Teacher