Doctors vs Barbers

Just me at yet another doctor’s appointment. This one was at a dermatologist last Friday due to a rash that was spreading. Had to make sure it wasn’t a psoriasis flare. Next week will be an injection at the Orthopedic Surgeon’s office. Life with chronic illness is a never ending series of doctors.

You may have noticed a change from my post My Realization. In that post I looked like this

I finally paid a visit to a barber and now I look like this

I think I prefer the scruffy look. What do you think?

Visiting the barber is much more relaxing than visiting any doctor. Barbers deal with the part of my body that doesn’t hurt-My Hair. Barbers are better at small talk. Barbers cost less. Maybe I should see a barber for all of my health concerns. lol

Joking aside, I am grateful for the good doctors Jesus has led me to. The Rheumatologist at UNMC is excellent. The Dermatologist office has two good ones. The Orthopedic Surgeon is great. It is just the barber doesn’t stick me with needles, draw blood, or move my body to see if something hurts. I always wonder about that. For example, tell a doctor a knee hurts and the doctor wants to bend the knee. I mean really can’t they just take my word for it. lol

I will continue to go to both doctors and barbers, but I do prefer one to the other.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Preparing Others for His Death- John Chapter 16

When we through John 16, we need to keep in mind that the things Jesus spoke to the disciples about all happened within a little over 40 days from the night he spoke with them that we read about in John 16. John chapters 14 to 16 are about Jesus preparing the disciples for his impending crucifixion, resurrection, and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Try to envision the real life drama that took place in real time for the disciples.

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In John 16:16 Jesus tells them:

 Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

The disciples were confused and distraught by this and asked themselves questions.

What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.

Jesus was speaking of his impending death and resurrection. There is also application for us as we wait for Jesus to return. For Jesus his return is in a little while. Jesus is eternal and some 2,000 years is nothing to him. For us, it causes us to wonder where he is and when he will return.

Jesus then goes on to say.

Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 

While the religious leaders were rejoicing over their temporary victory and others gloated, the disciples mourned the loss of Jesus because of his resurrection. Imagine their joy to see him after his resurrection.

Jesus compared it to a woman giving birth.

 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.

I don’t think any woman rejoices over the pain of childbirth, but they rejoice holding their newborn baby. For the disciples the arrest, torture and crucifixion of Jesus was a time of sorrow, but to see him again after his resurrection caused great joy.

Jesus shared a great truth about prayer with them.

In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

We need to be careful and not think of this like a genie granting wishes, any wish, a person makes. The key is in Jesus’s name. If we ask in his name, it implies we are seeking his will as we seek to live for him and serve others.

Then Jesus refers to his ascension.

In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.  I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father

The Father loves us. Why? Because we believe in Jesus. The Father sent Jesus and Jesus returned to the Father in heaven.

What wonderful news that the Father loves us. We can rejoice that our Savior Jesus is with the Father in heaven.One day Jesus will return to earth. Until that time, we have work to do here and can pray to ask God to help us along the way.

We can look to Jesus so that our times of grief and sorrow might turn to joy in due time. If we have doubts, we can remember how the disciples must have felt when Jesus was crucified and then when he was resurrected. The resurrection of Jesus gives us the victory.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Sad Monday Story

Just saying it is Monday should be enough said, but today was truly a sad Monday in the morning. But the story begins with a Sunday failure.

Yesterday I went to the store braving the the place called store. I remembered to buy the food needed, but failed to remember the buy the main thing I needed-COFFEE. The result of my epic failure was I did not have a cup of coffee to start my day.

I went to the school and the first thing I did was to go visit my good friend and faithful companion in the school. Here is a picture of my friend.

Perhaps you will think I am sneaky, but realizing my colleagues only want fufu drinks like pumpkin spice, I have a box of dark roast French roast. As a coffee purist, I drink it black.

I made a cup of coffee and then went to my room to prepare for the day. It was rough at first, but as that magic elixir warmed my body, it turned my morning around.

By the time my students had arrived, I had already had my second cup. We ended up having a good morning.

What do you think of my sad Monday story?

Thank you for reading.

Music Mondays- Wherever You Lead by Kristene DiMarco

I’m done trusting in what’s sinking
These boats weren’t built for me
I’m done drifting on the water
Of insecurity
In the noise and the distractions
In the storms of arguing
I hear Your voice calling

I love the lyrics of Kristene DiMarco’s new song Wherever You Lead. There are many voices in life that swirl around us, voices of doubt, fear, confusion.

There is one voice that calls to us that is a voice of hope. It is the voice of Jesus. He calls us to look to him and not our circumstances. His voice reassures, encourages, and guides us. He is the one who holds the future in his hands. He is the one who loves us so much that he gave his life for us. We can look to him when other voices swirl around us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Lesson from a Marathon Today

There is a half marathon this morning in my city, so some streets are closed. All of the closed streets make my normal route to church impossible, so I have a few choices:

1-Get up early enough to be able to drive to the area of my church and have breakfast and wait an hour to go to church. Problem? Get up early should be enough said.

2- Stay home and watch online. Problem- I teach a class first hour and go to worship second hour.

3- Drive out of my way to go around the marathon. This is what I will do even though it is inconvenient.

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The building manager for my church and I were running through possibilities (pun intended) for future marathons for alternate routes such as close the interstate. We do things like this sometimes where I share ridiculous possibilities by him and he tells me-“Not going to happen.” It makes for fun banter.

Self is something that comes naturally to us all. We are all concerned with our self interests. That is appropriate at times such as working to provide for ourselves. But when it comes to our friendships in the church, Paul wrote in Philippians 2:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

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Taking care of ourselves is okay and important. But seeking our own gain and wanting to have our own way in the church or in any friendship is not healthy. Looking to the interests of others does not come naturally to us, which is why we need the Holy Spirit working in us.

So even though I begrudgingly will drive out of my way this morning, the important thing is that I am in church to serve others. 🙂 lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

People Remember How We Treat Them

When a commercial falls under the category of obnoxious for me, what sticks in my mind is that no way will I buy the product being advertised. A few examples are a car insurance company that uses an emu in its commercials and a burger place that has a creepy fake king head.

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How I come across to people can affect whether they want to listen to me as I seek to share the love of Jesus. I am not talking so much about methods because with methods what appeals to some people will turn others off. I try to be aware of the person I am sharing with understanding of where they are coming from before being concerned about method. Though I must admit I have never been a big fan of gimmicky approaches.

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What I am talking about is how I treat people. People remember how we make them feel. People remember how we treat them. I want people to know that I am genuinely interested in them as a person, their lives, and how I can help even if being a friend is all I can do.

I am genuinely interested in the lives of my immigrant and refugee friends. It excites me when they achieve things in life. I love to celebrate with them. I want to be there for them in tough times. My friendship is there for them whether they want to listen to me about Jesus or not.

So today as I prepare to meet with my friend from Venezuela, I prayed for her and our time together. I am helping her prepare for the TOEFL test which is an English proficiency test for admittance into a university. While we study, there is laughter, and she knows she can ask questions. She was a dentist in Venezuela and wants to be one here. She will need to take the Dental Boards and complete two years of Dental College here. I want her to succeed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless..

Story Time- Batman Doesn’t Let Anyone See The Batcave

Yesterday I wrote about an unexpected snow in October 1997 that shut down my city for days. I thought I would be stuck at home, but some friends told me they would pick me up to spend the day at their house.

We had fun playing games, eating lunch and dinner, and talking. In the evening, the whole family got into the SUV to take me back home. I could not drive my small car on the streets due to the roads being so bad.

Now mind you that though I am not a messy person in the sense of dirty or grimy, but I must admit to clutter as in books everywhere and papers here and there. Organization in the home seems like an alternate universe to me.

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So when we pulled up to my place and the two little girls said to their mom and dad, “Can we see Matt’s place?” quick thinking was in order. My friend’s home is very organized and I thought the children should not see my place. The best I could come up with on very short notice was:

“Batman does not let anyone see the batcave.”

The little girls asked their parents if I was really Batman. I got out of the SUV to my friends laughing a bit.

Whenever I visited them after that, the little girls would ask me each time, “Are you really Batman?” I would tell them it is a secret.

Children are fun and their imaginations are fun. I enjoy talking with children. I don’t usually tell stories such as the Batman claim, but I love being around children. Children are precious to Jesus and we need to treat them as such.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- An Unexpected October Snow

It was a Saturday night in late October 1997, I was driving home from a friend’s house where we had watched a football game. It was raining with some big wet snow flakes mixed in. I didn’t think anything of it because that is a normal sight in late October and normally the snow doesn’t amount to anything.

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The next morning I awoke to what sounded like explosions outside. I wondered what could be going on outside, so I hesitantly looked outside and saw a big tree branch break off falling to the ground. The explosion sounds I was hearing were tree branches breaking off due to the heavy wet snow that was stuck on the trees. The snow had come before the leaves had fallen off.

My next realization was that I had no electricity. I took what food I had in the refrigerator, put it in a rubber maid box and placed it in the snow to keep it cool.

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I had an old rotary dial phone, so I unplugged my then modern one and plugged in that old rotary dial phone. I was able to make a call. I called one of the assistant pastors. His first response was to ask how I was able to call since my area of the city had no electricity. His area was newer and all of the power and phone lines were underground. I told him I had an old rotary phone. I had called to ask about church services. They were canceled. He ask me to help him call the people in the church directory. I spent an hour calling people to let them know church services were canceled.

My electricity came back on later that day but some areas in my city had to wait five or six days until they had electricity. It took a week for life to get back to normal in my city. They said it was a once in one hundred years snow.

In this life, unexpected things happen at any given time. The encouraging thing for me when the unexpected happens is that nothing surprises Jesus. He knows about it before it happens.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a fun story from that day called Batman doesn’t let anyone see the Batcave.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.