Developing a Thankful Heart

The importance of being thankful is something almost everyone agrees on. Scripture commands us to give thanks in everything (I Thess. 5: 18). We acknowledge that we should be thankful, but the lack of gratitude around us is disheartening, to say the least. Being thankful doesn’t come naturally; it is an attitude that must be developed. Having reminders placed where they can be seen regularly is a good way to develop any habit, even thankfulness. In my classroom I have reminders of the importance of kindness, encouraging students to “Be Someone’s Reason to Smile” or to “Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.” As we focus during this season on being thankful, I hope the following reminders about gratitude are an encouragement to you.

“No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.” – James Allen

“The heart that gives thanks is a happy one, for we cannot feel thankful and unhappy at the same time.” – Douglas Wood

“In ordinary life, we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, it is the parent of all others.” Cicero

“Gratitude and attitude are not challenges; they are choices.” – Robert


“Gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we see life and the world.” John Milton

“Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.” Margaret Cousins

I am so thankful to teach at GBA. I am honored every day to work with people who love the Lord, each other, and their students. It is a blessing to see students who love the Lord, each other and their teachers. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your child’s life.

Written by Mrs. Cheryl Coné

Be a Sunshine in Someone’s Cloud

In our 3rd & 4th grade class this year, I decided to implement a constructive way to teach our 3rd and 4th grade students how to develop quality character traits.

Each character trait is introduced and prominently displayed on a bulletin board in two places in our classroom with a, “Quote of the Week.” We read it together throughout the week along with a principle taught from the bible and discuss how it coincides with our class rules. I encourage our students to pray for the Lord to show them how they can practice the character trait during the week.

A week ago, we focused on the quote, “Be a Sunshine in Someone’s Cloud.” The corresponding verses were:

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:1-2

I wanted our students to remember we all sin, and no one is perfect. That is why we need God’s help to show us how we as Christians should treat one other. As Pastor Leversee preached in last Sunday’s sermon, we ought not judge or criticize each other. We need to show restoration to those caught in sin with gentleness and humility and help carry one another’s burdens.

One of my students was led by the Lord to draw a nice picture with a simple note of encouragement to another student that was caught in sin.

The student that choose to humbly exhibit godly character is acknowledged on our “Star Student” bulletin board for a week. They are also given a gem that signifies a treasure they have learned that week.

It has been such a heartwarming experience to witness how a student each week has humbly demonstrated godly character. It has also caused me to examine myself and question my actions and attitude. Has my behavior towards my students, my coworkers, my family members, and my church family been pleasing to the Lord?

It does not take much to encourage a brother or sister in Christ with a card, a phone call, a text, or a fist bump, but it means the world to the person receiving it!

Have you been a “Sunshine in Someone’s Cloud” lately?

Written by Mrs. Nanette Eleccion, 3rd-4th Grade Teacher

Preparation Time Is Not Wasted Time

“It’s interesting how those sayings and quotes we heard in college Didn’t mean much to us then , but now nearly 20 years later are making much more sense:)  I remember a Country  preacher From Alabama sharing some simple sayings and truths that had helped him in Pastoring the same Small  country church For thirty years .. one quote that stands out is “PREPARATION TIME IS NOT WASTED TIME”

Does the Lord have you in a place of waiting or preparation right now? Have you found yourself at times seemingly spinning your wheels or wondering whether your part in the ministry is really accomplishing much for eternity ? Well, whether you’re a college student like I was , wondering what God was doing as I studied Greek and several other challenging classes , cranking out research papers , wondering if I’d ever graduate .. or maybe you’re a Sunday school teacher wondering if the students are truly gleaning a bit here or there . Remember to resolve to stay faithful ! It’s been said that “success in ministry is not measured in years but in decades “. Dr John Goetsch said “Response of our service is on God , but the resolve and obedience is on us” Remember God may be preparing you for something greater . Perhaps a great moving of God or harvest of souls is right around the corner 🙂 Stay with it!

On a personal note, with COVID forcing all of us indoors for five months or so, we decided to immerse our four year old son into the  Abeka  K4 video program. We thought “let’s at least be productive with all this extra time we have on our hands thanks to covid.” Has our son retained every concept from every video? Absolutely not and far from it , but the exposure to a classroom setting , submission to a new authority (video instructor) and just engaging his mind for the first three hours of his day have been well worth it.  Jeremiah 29:11 has meant a lot to us during this preparation time and waiting for the restrictions to be lifted and things to return to normal “For I know the thoughts I think toward you Saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”

God has a plan for our life that’s far greater than anything our minds can conceive … just be faithful where you are . Remember, preparation time is not wasted time .”  – Mr. Ryan Mitchell, 5th-6th Grade Teacher

19 Years and Counting

God has been so gracious to allow us the privilege of beginning the 19th year of Gateway Baptist Academy! Students and parents strolled onto the campus, eagerly anticipating what the school year may bring forth. Teachers were excited to finally see the culmination of their work from the past few weeks.

Our purpose remains the same: develop in each student the mind of Christ.

Our annual theme will help with this purpose as we go to Psalm 40:8: I delight to do Thy will.

In a culture that seeks self-gratification, we desire for our faculty, students, and parents to set aside what we want and choose what God wants- and to choose it happily! Students will perform better academically and socially if they choose to do God’s will. Parents will experience a better school year if they desire to follow God’s way. And as faculty members, we will enjoy the ministry of teaching far greater if we determine to live according to God’s Word.

We’re blessed to start our 19th year. As I sit on the platform of our church every Sunday and look out into our auditorium, I am pleased to see how God has blessed the effort of (both past and present) GBA teachers and parents. My heart still aches for those who have fallen by the wayside but there are far more that decided to follow Jesus.

Nineteen years and counting, not just the years we’ve been in existence, but also counting the blessings of being a part of Gateway Baptist Academy. Just like the songwriter said, “Count you blessings, name them one by one…” We’ve got tons to be thankful for at GBA today!

Is it Worth It?

There are times in a Principal’s life when you wonder when this uphill battle will ever pay off. Even though God has proved time and time again that our labor is not in vain, our flesh rears its ugly head and causes us to doubt. Next time, I should simply go to God and ask Him myself because last Thursday, He gave me a great response!

Our student-athletes had planned a fundraiser at the Chandler Chick-Fil-A. The proceeds were to help pay for their athletic uniforms. However, somewhere between the time we established the date and the actual event, an earthquake devastated the country of Haiti. Unbeknown to me, our students were desiring to help but were not quite sure how to go about it. Then it was decided in a meeting with all the student athletes. Why don’t we give a portion of the proceeds to the earthquake victims of Haiti?

Let’s be honest- not every teenager thinks this way. They think about their social status, their cell phone, their hair, and so many other things- but not usually others. This was when God said to me, “Yes, it’s worth it! It’s working!” Friend, remember that “soon this life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.”

It’s All About Timing!

“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Because of our busyness today, we have coined terms such as “time management” and “time-saving” which causes us to want a “timeout!” The truth of the matter is we can neither manage time or save it. Managing time is like managing weather- you know it’s there but there is nothing you can do to change it. Time can cannot be saved either. You cannot go down to the bank and deposit some time only to withdraw it later. You cannot say, “I’ll save an hour here so I have an hour later!” We say it, but the words do not match our definition. Just because we saved an hour today does not mean we will have twenty-five hours tomorrow.

There is only one thing you can do with time and that is to spend it. You cannot bottle it up and save it for later. You cannot stop it (though many of us would like to try). It is one of the aspects of life that you cannot correct and everything is tied to it. Think about this: how you spend your time is more important than how you spend your money; financial mistakes can be corrected, but time is gone forever.

The Psalmist prayed teach us to number our day, that we may apply our heart unto wisdom. Here are a few life-changing lessons about spending our time. But before you start, you will need a piece of paper, a blank calendar (daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly- all of which can be downloaded from the internet), a pencil, and all the other calendars you have in your house (church, school, volunteer, family, etc.)

1. Prioritize. Determine who or what is the most important to you. Actually, as a Christian, that has already been determined. Colossians 1:18 states, “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he (Christ) might have the preeminence.” (emphasis mine). All other work is assigned through His Word and by His will (i.e. our family, our service, our jobs, our possessions, etc.). Remember, the Lord wants our precious time, not our spare time.

2. Plan Your Priorities. Don’t be a slave to time by allowing it to dictate what you can and cannot accomplish. Dr. Curtis Huston used to say, “We always have time to do the things we really believe are important.” Paul said in Ephesians 5:15-17, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” Have a course of action for your day, your week, your month, and your life. Be specific and detailed- treat them like appointment because they are. (i.e. 6 a.m.- Bible reading and prayer, 6:45 a.m- review my daily and weekly schedule, 6:50 a.m.- make lunches for the kids, 7:10 a.m.- breakfast with family, etc.). Always be aware of what’s coming up, at least a week at a time. Include all personal, professional, and spiritual items on your schedule. Give more time to difficult or detailed tasks. Only use one calendar! Using multiple calendars is like reading multiple books- at the same time. Place all your tasks and events on one calendar. Make copies for the family if you need to. Color code each priority is you can (i.e. red for church, blue for family, yellow for school, pink for doctors’ appointments, etc.)

3. Progress Your Plan. It does you no good to plan something and not follow through. Lost time is never found! It has been said that what you put off today, you’ll probably put off tomorrow. Procrastination is a thief of time. The cry of “I’m just too busy” is sometimes a sign that priorities have not been planned therefore there is no progress. Isn’t it amazing that as Americans, we have more time-saving devices and less time than any other people in the world? Plan your work and work your plan!

4. Perfect Your Progress. Success is not a stationary goal but a moving target. The matter of time constantly changes and the need to reassess and reevaluate is necessary. There were plans last week that you may have to modify this week. There’s nothing wrong with that. But be honest with yourself when you ask these questions: why didn’t it work? did I commit enough effort and resources to it? did I do my best? how much time did I spend correcting the problems? did I pray over the problem? was that my plan or God’s? We already know that time is here and it’s gone. Think about this, if you don’t have time to do it right, how will you find time to do it over? Always be willing to improve and implement methods that have been proven effective. Read books on “time management” and study highly efficient people. We can always learn more!

These are just a few ways you can improve the use of your time. Why is this so important? Time is what life is made of and the quality of your life depends upon how you spend your time. Remember the words of James, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.”

Never Quit!

Three words described the second ever soccer match played by the GBA Lions- David versus Goliath! As the opposing team warmed up across the filed, it was evident that we were facing a giant. Read more