Palms Sunday- What I Will Focus On

Today in churches children will enter worship services carrying palm leaves whether real or made of paper and shouting out Hosanna. It makes for a cute endearing moment as parents and grandparents watch. Today is Palms Sunday the Sunday we commemorate Jesus entering Jerusalem and people throwing palm leaves on the road shouting Hosanna.

Photo by Toni Cuenca on

The people were looking to Jesus to be the Messiah who would drive the Romans out and restore Israel. They were looking to Jesus to become King of Israel. They wanted Jesus to save them from the Roman occupation and tyranny. But Jesus knew before going into Jerusalem what was going to happen. He knew the crowd that would shout Hosanna while he entered would turn around and shout Give Us Barabbas five days later.

He told his disciples what was going to happen in Matthew 20:17-18:

Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!”

Jesus knew he would be tortured and crucified. He knew the suffering he would endure to become our Savior. He knew it all and he chose to enter Jerusalem anyway.

That is what I will remember during worship service at my church this morning. My focus will be on Jesus knowing all that was about to happen and choosing to enter, choosing to save us from sin and eternal separation from God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Matt Is Moving?

The summer of 2010 was a miserable one when it came to the weather. It was hot and humid every day end of May to mid September. It was a blessing for me to go to Ensenada Mexico with a group from my church for ministry in June that year. When I walked out of the airport in San Diego to temps of 72f/22c and no humidity, naturally I wondered if they needed English teachers there. When I returned home, I googled apartments in San Diego and realized I could not afford to live there as a teacher.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Oh by the way I am not moving. Just could not resist a little April Fools Day fun. 🙂

The ultimate moving experience in my mind is that of Abraham in Genesis 12:1. The Lord spoke to him.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

Basically telling Abraham to pack up and move to a place the Lord would show. No destination disclosed. Just get moving and I will show you on the way.

When Jesus calls us to something, he normally does not show us the whole picture. He wants us to trust him step by step along the way.

For a little fun, guess where I might wish to move to or suggest a place.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Gave My Student A Cucumber

One thing I do in my class to make it a little fun is to throw chocolates to my students. They seem to enjoy that moment especially the chocolate. But one student recently told me she does not eat chocolate at this time because it doesn’t taste good to her now.

Why? She is almost three months pregnant and sweet things do not taste good to her. She is eating mostly cucumbers and bread. She eats other things like eggs and fruit, but she is craving cucumbers.

Photo by Lo on

Wednesday after class, I felt bad that she did not want chocolate after I threw chocolates to the other students, so I had an idea. Yesterday before my afternoon class, I stopped at a store and bought a cucumber. After all the students arrived, I gave her the cucumber telling her I felt bad she was the only one that did not receive chocolate. She smiled and laughed.

For her the cucumber was a good gift. It was a little thing, but the fact that the teacher would bring her one meant something to her. If I had given a cucumber to any other student, they would wonder why.

It caused me to reflect on what Jesus said in Luke 11:13:

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

If we know how to give good gifts, how much more does God the Father. What is the gift Jesus was speaking of specifically? The Luke 11:13 finishes with:

how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

The Holy Spirit is our comforter, guide, teacher, and is the one who empowers us to live as Christians.

The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of our eternal destiny in Jesus. Ephesians 1:13-14 says:

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

There are so many other wonderful gifts God the Father gives us. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit and for all The Father gives.

I think I will give my student more cucumbers. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Mobile Again/Update On My Books

Finally after three weeks, I got my car back on Tuesday. Being mobile again means no more interruptions for ministry. It also means that along with being healthy, healthy for someone with autoimmune issues that is, that the coffee shop is back on my routine list.

Speaking of the coffee shop, I will meet my friend Todd on Saturday. I shared some information with him about self publishing. He studied law and was a lawyer in the Army, so he will be good to consult with to make sure I understand the business side of things.

My meeting with Todd means I am very close to publishing my two books, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations and Jesus Understands Trauma. Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations is about how God took me from the pit in life and called me to reach the refugees and immigrants in my city as well as have ministry trips to other countries. Jesus Understands Trauma is about the layers of trauma Jesus willingly went through on our behalves and how that means he is our Sympathetic High Priest.

So when I wake up for the second time, I will go to the coffee shop to do one more check on both books for editing. For the second time? I am glad you asked. I have fallen into this habit of waking up around 3 or 4 and writing, listening to worship music, and praying. Then I go back to sleep about 6am and sleep until about 10am. In the past, I would have to push through teaching in the morning and come home and take a nap.

What is on your agenda today?

Thank you for reading.. God Bless.

Story Time- The Time I Was An Assistant Flight Attendant

Yesterday as I read David’s post about flying in his blog, it brought back memories of the time I was briefly an assistant flight attendant.

It was on an Austrian Airlines flight from from Bucharest Romania to Vienna Austria. I was in the lavatory when the snack carts started serving. I came out of the lavatory, yes I washed my hands, and found out I was between two carts. One had started and one was just starting behind me. So for about five minutes as I walked to my seat, I was between the two carts.

Photo by Vinh Lu00e2m on

Never one to pass up an opportunity to have fun, I was eager to help the flight attendants. I helped hand out cans of soda and snacks. My fellow passengers smiled and laughed as I made a comedy routine out of it. For the children I would act like I misunderstood and tried to give them orange juice instead of soda. If a married couple, I would look at the wife to make sure she approved of her husband’s choice.

It made for a few moments of spontaneous levity on an otherwise boring flight. All flights are boring for me now after having eleven international trips and numerous domestic ones.

Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is anything but boring. I love the spontaneous moments of sharing Jesus with people.

Following Jesus is also anything but boring. The adventure of following Jesus has been truly the adventure of a lifetime.

I hope to return to Europe someday but one flight that will be far better will be when Jesus returns for his church and we are raptured up into heaven. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Until that time comes, it is my privilege to share Jesus with others.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Predicting The Future?

A conversation yesterday shows how crazy March is in my state. Sunday morning we woke up in my city to a bit of snow that was only on the grass. The streets and sidewalks had no snow accumulation because it had been too warm in the prior days and we did not have that much snow. I found out from a friend I was chatting with that they had 7 inches of snow. My friend lives only one hour from my city.

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March Madness is happening these weeks as it does every March. March Madness is a college basketball tournament in the USA comprised of 64 teams, after a few play in games, to decide the National Champion for the year. People fill in brackets trying to predict the outcome. This year the vast majority of brackets filled out have been busted because all four #1 seeds and all four #2 seeds have been eliminated.

Trying to accurately predict the weather in my state and trying to accurately predict the college basketball tournament are both somewhat futile efforts just as most things in life are.

Ever since Jesus ascended to heaven, people have been trying to guess when he will return even though Jesus himself said in Acts 1:7-

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.

No one knows when Jesus will return. We only know that he will return. Nothing can prevent Jesus from returning. The only question is whether we are ready for his return.

We also know that when Jesus returns, it will not be in secret or in doubt as to who he is. When Jesus returns, the whole world will know it is him because he will return as the victorious King to reign over the entire earth.

There is one more thing we know. Each day brings us one day closer to his return. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- This Is Our God by Phil Wickham

We have sung this song during worship the past few Sundays and I love how it reminds us of the love and power of Jesus. Jesus loves us so much that he died on the cross for us, but because he has all power, he defeated death for us.

Whatever we experience in this life, we can trust that Jesus is with us and has the power to help.

In a few weeks, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday. This Is Our God is an excellent song for Easter Sunday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Just When I Thought Things Couldn’t Get Weirder

My health journey has been quite strange the past several months with minor heart procedures, two bouts of bronchitis, pericarditis, and a bout of pneumonia. I thought all of that was in the rearview mirror and perhaps I would have smooth sailing for a while. Wrong.

Photo by Gustavo Fring on

Last Monday I saw my GP due to a sore throat as in one that would not go away. They did a rapid test for strep throat that was negative, so they thought I had something called thrush and prescribed some medicine. I thought that meant all done until a phone call late Friday afternoon.

It was a nurse from my doctor’s office calling to inform me that the lab culture back for a different form of strep the rapid test does not test for. So for the first time in my life, I have strep throat. I had thought I could not get it because I had my tonsils out when I was five years old. I was wrong.

So back on antibiotics for the third time in two months. Of all the things to be sidelined by for a few days, I would have never thought it would be strep throat. What makes this seem weirder is the fact that I never had a fever with it.

Also just for fun I woke up to see it is snowing this morning. It is one of those late March wet snows.

So no longer being contagious and not feeling all that bad I will go to worship service this morning. I have a break for my evening classes for a few weeks, so I am determined to do one more final editing polish up of my book Jesus Understands Trauma and hopefully self publish in time for Easter weekend.

How is your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Will Guide About What to Share

Without realizing it, yesterday my post about my dog when I was a child fell on National Puppy Day. I did not know about National Puppy Day until I saw someone share about on FB. It was just a fun little coincidence, or was it?

Photo by Chevanon Photography on

So many times in my journey with Jesus in this life, a thought has come to me while praying or while sharing about Jesus with someone and without knowing beforehand, what was on my mind to share would be spot on for the person.

Last weekend in my class in the Ukrainian Church was an example. The theme of hope was in my spirit, so I shared Romans 15:13 about the God of hope and shared a video of the song The Blessing in Ukrainian. We had a married couple, new arrivals, join us. It was after class while my friend Alexey was giving me a ride home that I found out the couple are not Christians. I also did not know they would be in class until class started.

In Luke 12:11-12 Jesus taught the disciples about sharing about him:

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

The Holy Spirit can guide us in how to share with people. It has been my personal conviction to not rely on a canned spiel for sharing Jesus, but rather to fill my mind with The Word of God, the Bible, and trust Jesus to guide me as to what to share with people.

By the way, in case you are wondering, today is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day. Doesn’t seem as heart warming as National Puppy Day. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- My Childhood Companion My Dog

As a child, the family dog was mostly my dog. She slept in my room, would follow me anywhere I would go in the house, and was my constant companion. When I would take her for a walk, I had no fear because she was protective for a golden retriever.

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One way that she helped me was during dinner time. I grew up in a family that would have meat, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a vegetable for dinner every night. The vegetable of the evening was my dilemma especially if it was something like asparagus. My dog solved the problem for me.

When my parents were not looking, I would quickly dip the vegetable in the gravy and feed it to my dog who was an ever present help. She would sit at my feet under the table and was a willing accomplice to my escape from eating the vegetable. Peas were a bit tricky, but she would lick my hand clean destroying any evidence. 🙂

Jesus sent a helper for us. He sent the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-17 we read:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit is our constant companion, advocates for us, guides us, and empowers us.

However, the Holy Spirit would not be a willing accomplice to help children avoid eating vegetables. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.