Still Wearing Masks

We are 13 months into this pandemic and the whole mask wearing thing. This week has been a good example of why wearing a mask is a mixed bag for me. Tree pollen is my main allergy and normally by now I would be taking two allergy meds each day. By wearing a mask when I walk around outside, my allergies have not been so severe.

However, yesterday while sitting in a celebration of life, the flip side of wearing a mask occurred. Breathing my own recycled air through a mask can set off my asthma and sure enough in the middle of the service my asthma cough kicked in.

Teaching a language while wearing a mask has certainly had its drawbacks. I cannot model pronunciation for my students. It makes it more difficult to hear my students while they wear masks.

But overall, the main benefit to wearing a mask that outweighs everything is not what the CDC says. I am not convinced they stop the spread of anything. The biggest benefit in my mind is others feel comfortable around me. I realize people are living in fear and if I want to be able to share the love of Jesus with them, they need to feel comfortable being around me.

So I will continue to wear one until such time as it is deemed no longer necessary more for the comfort of others than anything else. By doing so I can show kindness to others.

What are your thoughts?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When Christians Die

This morning a celebration of life will be observed for a woman who was part of my Life Group from church. She passed away and entered the presence of Jesus on Good Friday shortly before midnight. My first thought was what an Easter celebration she had. 🙂

Her final days in hospice care provided some poignant moments. One that I will never forget was bringing some grape juice and gluten free crackers to observe communion with her, her family, and a few Life Group members. I sat near her and read scripture to her, played some worships songs, and prayed as we shared communion.

When a Christian friend passes away, I am always mindful of what Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 about grieving:

brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope

Even in death we have hope because of Jesus. He defeated death for us through his resurrection. The plan is already set for our resurrection which Paul wrote about in 1 Thessalonians 4:

 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.  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.

When a Christian dies, our spirit/soul enters into heaven enjoying eternal glory but we also wait for that day our bodies will be resurrected. Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:8:

We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

and home it is.

So as we celebrate my friend’s earthly life, I will be mindful of the truth that she lives on in heaven and is much better off than I am at the moment. I will also remember that for Christians death is not goodbye. It is see you again.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Q and A with Me- My Answers

I would like to thank the 12 bloggers who participated by asking questions in my latest Q and A with Me. It was fun to do. Today I am sharing their questions, links to their blogs, and of course my answers. Please check out the blogs of those who participated. 🙂

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Beverley of asked- Do you have any plans to travel? I wish I had plans. I love to travel and experience other cultures but with COVID and some medical appointments early summer, this year does not look like a travel year for me. I want to visit Winnipeg Canada to see some Brazilian friends living there. I also want to return to Brazil.

Carly of asked-  Which person in the Bible can relate to the most on a personal level and why?

I relate to different ones at different times, but perhaps Paul is the one I identify with most because of his ministry among diverse cultures.

Sandy of asked- If you could ask one disciple a question what would it be, and who would be the disciple?

I have so many questions. I think I would ask John what it was like when he was caught up into heaven and given Revelation.

Chuck of asked- Are you originally from Nebraska? If not, how did you end up there?

I was born in another state but moved to Lincoln when I was 3 months old. I joke with my students that my parents told me they were moving here and asked if I wanted to come with and I agreed.

Barb of asked- How has your teaching style changed since the covid-19 restrictions began?

My style has not changed but the method has changed to allow for combining online learners and in person learners in the same class.

David of asked- What place in the world do you most want to visit (or revisit)?

I would love to go back to Brazil and spend a summer traveling to various cities visiting friends.

Hannah of asked- Have you ever gone a whole day without coffee?

That sounds like a horror movie plot to me lol I don’t even want to try to think about it lol

Herry of asked- How have you been faring?
And what was your favorite childhood memory?

I am getting better since my surgery. My favorite childhood memory is my dog 🙂

Cynthia of asked- What Bible do you use for your study?

When I write my blog posts, I use New International Version for my readers. When I study, I use NIV also as well as New American Standard, Greek New Testament. I also like to read in Spanish and Portuguese sometimes.

Pooja of asked- How do you stay positive when you start to feel negative emotions taking over?

I try to remember that Jesus has a plan for me and when things do not go the way I wish, I try to give it to him. I also talk to myself to help me keep things in perspective.

Dawn of drawingclosertochrist,com asked- Do you have many family members in Nebraska?

I have some but we are not close in our relationships. I try to focus more on my church family 🙂

Lukundo of asked- what advice would you give to a new Christian blogger?

I try to write for an audience of 1 hoping it blesses others. What I mean by that is I try to write for Jesus and trust him him to bless others. Also be flexible as you grow in blogging. Let Jesus guide you.

Also interact with other bloggers through comments-genuine comments.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesdays- Surgery Update

I had outpatient surgery last Friday to remove four lumps, two in my left arm and two in my left chest. The surgery took longer than anticipated, but went well. I appreciated comments from fellow bloggers about prayers for me. Jesus has definitely answered prayers.

I was back in the classroom Monday morning. Fortunately my schedule permits me time at home in the afternoons, so naps were in order Monday and Tuesday with another planned for today. :).

On Monday the surgeon’s nurse left me a voice mail message, At first I thought it was romantic with her saying- Be Mine. But then I realized she was saying benign. 🙂

So onward we go with life. Next medical thing is an appointment with a rheumatologist in June.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Responses and Reactions to Jesus- John 7

Last week we saw the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders begin to grow in John 7. John 7 is full of differing reactions/responses. Some wondered if Jesus could be the Messiah or perhaps the prophet to come. The religious leaders increasingly viewed Jesus as a threat to their ‘authority’.

Some of the people were aware the religious leaders were trying to kill Jesus:

At that point some of the people of Jerusalem began to ask, “Isn’t this the man they are trying to kill? 

The reason they had not arrested or killed Jesus yet or at that time is because:

 At this they tried to seize him, but no one laid a hand on him, because his hour had not yet come.

His hour, his time had not yet come. Jesus was aware of the hour that was coming, but it was not at this incident. Jesus knew he was here for a purpose. In his writing, John mentions hour/time not yet come repeatedly.

Many people wondered if Jesus was the Messiah:

“When the Messiah comes, will he perform more signs than this man?”

Others wondered if he was the prophet Moses spoke of:

On hearing his words, some of the people said, “Surely this man is the Prophet.”

The religious leaders sent guards to arrest Jesus, but: they didn’t because they were amazed by Jesus.

“No one ever spoke the way this man does,” the guards replied.

Nicodemus tried to speak up:

Nicodemus, who had gone to Jesus earlier and who was one of their own number, asked,  “Does our law condemn a man without first hearing him to find out what he has been doing?”

Then the religious leaders showed they were actually the ignorant ones who did not know the word of God by saying:

They replied, “Are you from Galilee, too? Look into it, and you will find that a prophet does not come out of Galilee.”

How can I say that? You know the popular verses from Isaiah 9 at Christmas time about Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, Almighty God, etc?

Well Isaiah chapter 9 begins with:

but in the future he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan

Galilee is mentioned as being honored right before the verses about Wonderful Counselor….

They claimed to be the educated and wise ones but they missed a simple verse at the beginning of the chapter about the Messiah.

So who do we think Jesus is?

What is our response/reaction to Jesus?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- The Broken Beautiful by Ellie Holcomb

That Your love will never change
That there’s healing in your name
That You can take broken things
And make them beautiful
You took my shame
And You walked out of the grave
So Your love can take broken things
And make them beautiful

I love these lyrics in The Beautiful Broken by Ellie Holcomb. Jesus takes our broken lives and makes something beautiful in our lives. He brings healing and forgiveness to us. He defeated death for us and through the power of his resurrection we can have new lives.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Taking Time to Rest

Yesterday I accomplished nothing. I did participate in Blogger Chat, but other than that all I did was rest and watch movies. But I was following doctor’s orders, for once, for post operation care. He told me, “just rest over the weekend and you’ll be okay.”

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There are times our physical bodies need rest. There are also times we need rest spiritually, We need time with God, with Jesus, away from the business of life. Jesus needed that when he was on earth. In Luke chapter 5 sandwiched between accounts of miracles by Jesus is the short verse 16:

 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

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Jesus took time away from the crowds, away from the demands of life, and prayed in places where he could be alone.

If Jesus needed time alone with God the Father, how much more do we need time alone with God?

So today will be another day of physical rest for me and also spiritual rest. I will watch worship service online, take time to be with Jesus, and then relax the rest of the day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Conflict Between Jesus and Religious Leaders-John 7

Last Tuesday we began our study of John 7 by looking at Jesus’ half brothers prodding him to go to Judea for the Feast of Tabernacles but their motives were true That post was Jesus Understands Family Problems

Part of Jesus’ response to his brothers is a repeated theme in John:

My time is not yet here

Jesus knew all along that he was here to die for our sins. It was the plan. He also knew his time had not yet come at that point.

Jesus did end up going without telling his half brothers. When he arrived, he began to teach in the Temple Courts. The Jews were amazed at his teaching saying:

“How did this man get such learning without having been taught?”.

Consider the irony of that question. They were wondering how Jesus could have such great understanding without having been taught. Jesus is the creator. The whole of the Old Testament points to Jesus. When the Jews would teach things such as the promise of the Messiah, they were teaching about Jesus.

Jesus tells them his teaching comes from the Father. He makes a point about motives in teaching:

Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.

Then Jesus lets them know he knows they are seeking to kill him:

Has not Moses given you the law? Yet not one of you keeps the law. Why are you trying to kill me?”

They responded with their version of-Are you crazy?

You are demon-possessed,” the crowd answered. “Who is trying to kill you?”

Jesus responds by pointing out their hypocrisy of being upset that Jesus healed someone on the Sabbath.

Now if a boy can be circumcised on the Sabbath so that the law of Moses may not be broken, why are you angry with me for healing a man’s whole body on the Sabbath?

It is in John 7 that we really see the conflict build between Jesus and the religious leaders. They viewed Jesus as a threat to their ‘authority and power’ and Jesus did not placate them.

We will look more at that conflict next Tuesday.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.