Where Are Those Gloves?

Have you ever searched for something only to have it turn up later, perhaps after replacing it?

It happens every year at this time my annual quest to find my gloves from the previous year. It is getting close to that time of year that a person needs gloves in my neck of the woods, so I look in my car, my home office, my bedroom etc. It is not an exhaustive search like when I can’t find my keys, but it is a search. After giving up the search, I always end up buying a pair of gloves. After buying a new pair, the old ones mysteriously surface somewhere.

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Jesus talked about searching/seeking in stories he told to explain spiritual truths. In Luke Chapter 15 he shared three such stories; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the famous story of the Prodigal Son. The one about the lost coin reminds me of my annual search for my gloves.

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?  And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’  In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

One thing about a coin is that the coin does not know it is lost. Yet the woman searches for it and rejoices when she finds it. We do not know how lost we are, but Jesus does. He never stops trying to get our attention. He is relentless in his pursuit of us. When we come to know Jesus, there is a party in heaven.

So today I will go buy a pair of gloves and will remember the story of the lost coin as I do so. Maybe the pair from last year will turn up later. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When A Former Student Helps The Teacher

Yesterday morning I was having a little trouble with the Macbook Air Pro issued to me by the school. I couldn’t log into the system and kept getting an error message. Normally I seek out the librarian because she is our school’s teach wiz. I went into the library and saw a former student of mine. He is one of the Yazidi refugees I had the privilege of teaching in the evenings at the community college.

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He now works for computing services for the school district in my city. He came to my classroom and within two minutes he had the problem fixed though I am not sure how.

Each time I see him come to my school to work on something it is a blessing to know he has experienced success in life. After he finished, he spoke briefly to my two Yazidi students in their language. I am not sure what he said, but the moms were smiling at me.

Considering all my Yazidi friends experienced in their lives in Iraq, seeing them experience good things here makes what I do so worthwhile. Being a small part of them building their new lives here is a great blessing. It is moments like yesterday that cause me to be grateful God led me to this work and ministry.

What are you grateful for today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Teachers Need Support- Lost One This Week

Yesterday I heard some news that underscored the mental health aspects of this prolonged pandemic, shutdowns, and uncertainty. She was a woman I had never met nor heard of before yesterday. She was at a different school. In my city of almost 300,000 people, we only have one school district, so there are many teachers and staff I have never met.

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Yesterday I heard of the social worker at another school. She took her own life leaving three children and a husband wondering why. She completed suicide. Though I never met her and it is not a loss personally for me, it hit home a bit that a fellow educator would complete suicide at this time.

Teachers and staff in schools are on the front lines of this pandemic. We may not be treating patients like doctors and nurses in the hospitals, but we are at risk of exposure more so than most other professions. We are faced with trying to provide education with what amounts to having one arm tied behind our backs. It is so hard to get substitutes right now. Some teachers are choosing to retire a little early. In the USA, the vibe is Thanksgiving Break can’t come soon enough.

So please be kind to teachers. We have no say in decisions made by those above us. If you disagree with your school’s policy, please remember your child’s teacher did not make the policy. They are just trying to make the best of it.

Pray for the teachers you know and the ones you don’t know.

Small acts of kindness can help make a teacher’s day.

Please be kind to the teachers.

If you are struggling at this time, please remember there are people who want to help. God wants to help you. Jesus loves you and wants to walk beside you through the dark times and good times.

It is better to ask for help and stay another day. Remember your story isn’t over yet.

In the USA you can call- 800-273-8255

In the UK you can call- 0800 689 5652

In Canada you can call 1.833.456.4566

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Led Me to Study Spanish

In June 2010, I was in Ensenada Mexico with a group from my church. We were there for a missions trip One morning while I was praying during that trip, I felt Jesus show me that he wanted me to learn Spanish. My church paid for me to take Spanish classes for one year.

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Over the years it has been a blessing in ministry and teaching, but yesterday a whole new aspect was realized. I was in my classroom getting ready when the phone rang in my room. It was from the front desk. A woman from Mexico needed help and the liaison was not in the building. They asked me if I could help. I went down to see if I could help. She needed another copy of a paper for her doctor to fill out for vaccinations for her daughter. I translated for her with the school nurse. It was the first time I translated for the the school.

Having that experience yesterday motivates me to practice my Spanish even more. Having that experience and being able to use Spanish to help my beginning level students in my afternoon class fills me with gratitude that Jesus showed me he wanted me to learn Spanish eleven years ago.

What are you grateful for today?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

If I Were to Write A Self Help Book

One of the few stores I actually enjoy being in is a bookstore. One section that has always amazed me with its continuing popularity is the self help section. It seems there is no end to new ones being written. They have been around for many years. There have been a select few I have recommended to people over the years emphasis on select few.

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If I were to write a self help book, it would be the shortest read ever. It would be a two word self help book. The two words would be- Ask Jesus.

Ask Jesus? Wouldn’t I add anything more? No.

My thinking is that Jesus is the creator of the universe. He defeated death through his resurrection. He is omniscient. Why not go to the one who can always help, loves us and has already invited us to come to him. Matthew 11:

 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

If I ask Jesus in prayer, he might guide me to someone who can help. When I ask Jesus, ideas come to me that I haven’t thought of before. When I ask Jesus, he goes to work through his people.

So consider this post my free of charge self help book.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Prayed for Our Protection and Growth- John Chapter 17

Last week we began to look at Jesus Praying Before He Was Arrested. Jesus began his prayer, with his disciples around him, by stating the Hour Has Come. I wrote about the meaning of that in Jesus Knew His Mission All Along

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In the section we look at today from John 17, Jesus prays for the disciples, which we can learn from also. In his prayer, Jesus talks about one of the main reasons he came- to show us God the Father.

I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.

That is a theme thread throughout John that began in John chapter 1:18

No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.

Jesus came to show us who God is and what he is like, so we could be brought into relationship with God.In this prayer in John 17, Jesus is praying for his disciples not the world.

 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

The reasons Jesus prays for them are for protection and their growth.

Jesus knew he was about to depart this world. Yes, he defeated death through his resurrection, but he also ascended to heaven. Jesus knew they would be persecuted and that Satan hated them because of his hatred for Jesus.

I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.  My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 

For our growth as Christians he prayed:

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

For all who know Jesus, Jesus sees us as being in the world, but not of the world. He sees us as living in this life full of problems, struggles, sin, but not being of his life. Because of Jesus, like Jesus we are not of this world.

Once we come to know Jesus, he begins the process of helping us to grow in him. It is a lifelong adventure. Yes, part of that is to leave our sins behind and live differently. Other aspects include becoming more like Jesus in how we not only live our lives, but how we treat others.

I like the saying that Jesus loves us so much that he accepts us the way we are, but he loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

When I think about myself, it amazes me of how Jesus has changed me and my life. If you had told someone who knew when I was a teen or in my twenties that I would become a teacher and have a ministry for refugees and immigrants, they would have laughed in disbelief. Jesus can change lives to become reflections of him.

Reflect on the wonderful truth that Jesus came to show us God and what he is like. Reflect on how Jesus protects us and helps us to experience growth and change. His love for us is all encompassing.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- In Christ Alone- Lauren Daigle

I love this simple acoustic performance of In Christ Alone with Lauren Daigle. It reminds me that it is only in Jesus that we can stand before God. That when we have Jesus, we have everything. He is the solid foundation for our lives in this life and for eternity.

In these times of uncertainty, it is a great encouragement to know that Jesus wants to and is more than able to sustain us and carry us through.

May this song uplift you today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Sleepy Weekend

Friday was cold and cloudy and add to that I was in the middle of a pain flare up, Friday evening was spent mostly laying down watching movies. Well sort of watching movies. I slept about 14 hours Friday evening/Friday night. Saturday afternoon it was time for a power nap. Just woke up this Sunday morning after sleeping 9 hours. Now I am ready to go to church, have burgers with a friend and perhaps go to a coffee shop. Jesus blessed me with feeling well enough to go to church. 🙂

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Such is life with chronic illness one never knows when a flare up will hit. Fortunately, I did not have big plans for the weekend. I did manage to meet with one student Saturday morning, but other than that my bed was a good companion.

I probably would not have crashed and burned so much if I did not power through a few days in the midst of the flare up. Dummy me. I have sick pay but don’t use it to take a day off. lol

So let me live vicariously through you. What did you do this weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Longing for Normal?

My conversation with my Teaching Para yesterday. This is her first year with me.

Me- I just want one normal day in school.

My Para- What is a normal day like?

Me- We had them before COVID.

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During what feels like this never ending pandemic, it is normal to wish for things to get back to normal.

But then even in the best of times, there is still that feeling that something isn’t quite right. We feel that there should be more to life than what this world has to offer.

Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

What is unseen is heaven our future home. Inwardly we know that this life of troubles is not meant for us. There has to be something more.

Hebrews 11 puts it this way in regards to the people of faith

 Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

So while yes I do hope for an end to this pandemic and a return to the old normal, the old normal is not what I really long for in the long run. It is heaven with Jesus that I long for, but there are more people for me to share with in this life first.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.