God Knows How To Encourage Us

Encouragement is something that God knows exactly how to give us in ways unique to us. He knows how we are wired and what will get our attention. Case in point is a message I received last night.

Photo by Greta Hoffman on Pexels.com

The background is from over ten years ago. I had a group of young people from Vietnam that I met with on the weekends at my church to help them with English and college preparation. The group went on to become pharmacists, nurses, a doctor, an architect, an MBA accountant, engineers, and IT people.

Back to last night. I received a message from one of them a now young woman. She is successful in her life. It was a simple message that meant a lot of to me. The message was:

“Congrats on the book Mr. Matt. I grabbed one for myself.”

She also shared in her social media-“My former teacher published a book” with a picture of my book Jesus Understands Trauma.

Knowing that one of my former students bought my book was such a boost. It was exactly the thing that God knows would get my attention.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

June Adventures- My First Trip to Brazil

In past Junes, June has been a month of adventures in ministry for me with trips to other countries. The trips were blessings in many ways, and this month some of my posts will be about those trips. Normally a person would start with the first trip, but I will start with my first trip to Brazil.

Photo by Lara Jameson on Pexels.com

I flew alone to Curitiba Brazil to meet up with a group that had traveled to Rio Do Sul Santa Catarina Brazil a few days before. I landed in Brazil on my birthday June 8th. I met up with the Brazilian pastor at the Curitiba airport and we drove three hours to Rio Do Sul. When we arrived to Rio Do Sul, we stopped by the church for him to get a few things, but what I found was birthday cake waiting for me. It was a great start to a wonderful time in Brazil.

During my time in Rio Do Sul, I met with many teachers, met with the President of a private university, and loved experiencing Brazilian culture. I stayed with a young Brazilian couple in their home and learned about their culture through them. We prayed together each morning after we ate breakfast.

The best times for me were worshiping in the church and sharing in English classes at the university. My involvement with the university there led to many opportunities in the future here in Lincoln. It was because of that trip that I studied Portuguese for one year at the university in Lincoln,

The best part of all was sharing about Jesus in Brazil. Sharing about Jesus with people from other cultures blesses me so much and gives me a deeper appreciation for what Jesus said in John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Adoption Is A Great Blessing

A teenager in my city is a gifted athlete in various sports, Malachi Coleman. He has signed with the University of Nebraska to play football, American football, this fall. He and his sister were adopted by a Christian married couple. He was on the Kelly Clarkson show with his adoptive parents the other day and at the end of the interview shared that he believes that because he was adopted, he is still alive today. He has started a foundation to help foster children. It was a heart-warming and amazing real life story.

After watching the segment on YouTube, I thought about another adoption. Romans 8:14-17 says:

 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

When we trust in Jesus, God adopts us as his own, as his daughters and sons. We have the spirit of adoption not of fear. What an amazing blessing to be a child of God because of God’s grace and love in Jesus. John 1:12-13 says:

Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

God adopts us and works in our lives to help us to change for the better to become more like Jesus.. We become part of the royal family of God.

I am sharing the interview segment from the show. It is an eleven minute clip and one that will be a blessing to watch.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Book Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations is available on Amazon

My book Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations is available on Amazon now. It is my life story of how Jesus took me from what could have been a wasted life to being a home missionary reaching the refugees and immigrants in my city and travels to other countries to share the love of Jesus.

It connects with my other book Jesus Understands Trauma in that it gives the background understanding. Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations is a quicker read with only 56 pages, but I believe is impactful, I say that because when I stop to think about how the love and power of Jesus transformed me and my life, it still has an impact on me in that I am in awe of Jesus.

It is available in paperback $7.95, e-book $3;95, and Kindle Unlimited. The link is- Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations.

My prayer for both books is for Jesus to draw people to him. For both books I am donating $1 for each copy of the paperback and e-book sold to a ministry or non-profit that helps people experiencing some form of trauma in life. For the month of June the ministry I have felt led to donate to is Royal Family Kids Camp. It is a ministry that gives children who have suffered severe abuse a week of summer camp where they are shown the love of Jesus. They also have ongoing weekly meetings.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- The Story I’ll Tell by Nightbirde

The hour is dark
And it’s hard to see
What You are doin’ here in the ruins
And where this will lead
Oh, but I know
That down through the years
I’ll look on this moment and see Your hand on it
And know You were here

And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won
How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right)
And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed
The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked

Nightbirde certainly faced dark hours and battles in life. She battled cancer and also experienced her husband leaving her after she was diagnosed with cancer. However, she looked to Jesus and sang about him. The story she chose to tell through song was of Jesus in her life.

Whatever hardship we face in life, we can look to Jesus. He has promised to always be with us. He has overcome the world and has a wonderful eternal future waiting for those who trust in him. The question is what story do we want to tell. I chose to tell the same story as in this song.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Philippians- A Church Born from Suffering

Have you ever experienced disaster, disappointment, set backs only to see God show up and do something amazing? I know I have. Sometimes what seems like a set back leads to a divine appointment. But for any setback I have had, it would pale in comparison to how the church in Philippi got started.

Photo by Liza Summer on Pexels.com

To understand Philippians, we should first look at Acts Chapter 16 for the backstory.

Paul and Silas were in town. They were looking for a place to pray when they encountered some women. One of them, Lydia trusted Christ. She invited them to visit sometime. Another day Paul and Silas went to pray again, but were followed by a slave girl. In Acts 16:17 we read:

She followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” 

After doing so for many days, Paul got annoyed and commanded the spirit that possessed her to depart from her. The spirit left her. Her owners instead of being happy for her to be freed, were angry they lost their source of income. Not exactly nice guys. So they dragged Paul and Silas to the town magistrates who ordered Paul and Silas to be beaten with rods and thrown in jail.

The jailer’s orders? Acts 16:23- the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.

Paul and Silas had a response one would not expect from two guys who were beaten and thrown in jail. Acts 16:25:

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 

What happened next would get anyone’s attention. Acts 16:26:

Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 

God moved big time. The doors were open. The jailer having thought he failed in his duty was about to fall on his sword, but Paul stepped up. Acts 16:28:h

But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer responded in Acts 16:30

He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

After hearing the gospel from Paul, the jailer came to faith. He took Paul and Silas home with him and all of his household came to faith in Jesus. The jailer tended to the wounds of Paul and Silas and fed them.

That is how what we consider the Epistle of Joy was birthed. Not exactly a modern day church planting strategy, but the results were amazing. For two thousand years, Christians have been blessed by the Epistle of Philippians.

So dear reader, when we find ourselves in adverse circumstances, let’s try to remember what God can do through them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Book Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations

There used to be a radio program by a man named Paul Harvey. He would start by saying, “You know what the news is. Now you will hear the rest of the story.: He would then share the story, the background, behind someone famous. Well, I am not famous, but there is the rest of the story behind my book Jesus Understands Trauma.

It is a testimony to the saving power of Jesus who can transform lives. It is about how Jesus reached down and lifted me out of the pit in life, worked to change me and my life, and called me to share his love with people from and in many nations,

When I started writing the two books, I crowd sourced on my blog for input on whether to make them one book or two. Most people responded by saying I should make them into the two books-Jesus Understands Trauma and Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations. I appreciated that input and followed that path.

It will be ready for purchase next week. I will do the same thing with this book of donating $1 for each copy sold to a ministry or non-profit that helps people who experience trauma. This month I will be donating to the local chapter in my city of Royal Family Kids Camp which is a ministry that provides a one week summer camp and an ongoing weekly meeting for children who have suffered severe abuse.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Our Heavenly Home Will Come To Earth

Revelation 21:2-4 “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

At times it is good to pause in our hectic lives and meditate on the future that is wonderful beyond words. A day is coming when Revelations 21:2-4 will be realized.

The imagery of God will wipe every tear from our eyes. Think of a good parent who does that for their little child. Think of a husband doing so for his wife or a wife doing so for her husband. Wiping the tears from someone’s eyes is a deeply loving act.

Think about no more death, no more pain. As someone living with chronic illness and chronic pain for over thirty years, it is hard to comprehend no more pain, but I would certainly welcome it.

This is the eternal destiny for all who have trusted in Jesus. It is that eternal destiny of being with Jesus forever that keeps me going because I know it will not always be what life is now for me.

This is my thought for today. There is a glorious future waiting for me that I do not deserve and did not earn. It is a free gift to all who trust in Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Touching Lives Around The Globe-Nightbirde

I am still processing a video I watched because it is connected to one that really struck me a few years ago. A young woman with the stage name Nightbirde auditioned on America’s Got Talent. She was battling cancer and performed her original song It’s Okay.

Two things she said stayed with me and meant a lot to me. I don’t have cancer, but do have autoimmune chronic illnesses and have lived with chronic pain for thirty years. One thing she said that expresses how I feel was, “It’s important that people know that I am so much more than the bad things that happen to me.” The other thing was, “You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore to be happy.”

Nightbirde was a Christian. In her music video Fly it shows her being baptized. Her song and story spoke to me. It also spoke to people in many places. She passed away from cancer and entered into her heavenly home but not before touching many lives.

The Mzansi Youth Choir is from South Africa. They were inspired by Nightbirde and her story. Her song It’s Okay has been a source of strength for them. They auditioned on AGT performing her song It’s Okay. She had actually communicated with them and encouraged them to record her song.

I am not a singer. But I can only hope my blog or my books touch someone out there the way Nightbirde’s song touched a Youth Choir in South Africa. I am sharing both videos, Nightbirde’s audition and The Mzansi Youth Choir’s audition. If you have a few minutes, sit back, watch and be blessed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Book Info- Ministry Donating To

As I shared in my book and previously here in my blog, my plan is to donate $1 for each e book and each paperback book of Jesus Understands Trauma to a ministry or non-profit that helps people who experience trauma.

In May I had a very soft launch of Jesus Understands Trauma and it was only ten days ago. My other book will be out soon, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations, and I plan to do the same with that book. Once both are out, there will be more marketing.

So due to all of that, I have decided to donate all of May’s royalties to Royal Family Kids Camp. I also plan to donate $1 for each book sold in June to Royal Family Kids Camp.

Royal Family Kids Camp is a ministry for children who have suffered severe abuse. They get to go to a one week summer camp and be shown the love of Jesus and treated as children of God. The ministry continues throughout the year with a Saturday group. It is a wonderful ministry. I will be donating to the one in my city that a woman from my church works with. I do not have the final amount yet due to any sales processed today will show up on my repot tomorrow. As of now the total is $55.

The link for the national ministry is Royal Family Kids Camp.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.