Getting Back to the Old Normal?

The shutdown lasted long enough for life as it was during the shutdown to become my new normal. I led my Life Group through a study in John via Zoom, taught in Zoom, got used to staying home most of the time, and watching church online.

We had a plan for Life Group to study through Acts in the bible, but then there was a sudden change of interest to study Revelation. When it occurred, my response was let me think about it. As I thought about it, I shared a group study guide for Revelation suggesting we go back to taking turns. Why?

The past few weeks, God has been showing me it is time to return to my old normal, My old normal was coming to Life Group about 50% of the time because of ministry opportunities such as cultural celebrations, invitations to visit people from other countries in their homes etc.

My weekend groups have started and now it is time to begin visiting people again. This afternoon I will meet a new friend from Brazil at a coffee shop.

I am grateful for the different opportunities during the shutdown, but it is time to return to the ministry God has called me to.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

No One Can Take Us From Jesus Because He Is God The Son- John 10

In this section of John 10 we see the continued conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders, but we also see some wonderful truths for those of us who have chosen to believe in and follow Jesus. This section culminates with Jesus making a clear claim to his Deity. This is the second passage in John that we see this. The first was in John 8 that I covered in Jesus Reveals A Huge Truth About Himself.

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Even after all of the miracles Jesus had performed, the religious leaders persisted in asking if he was the Messiah- Promised One.

“How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

They asked. But they were not ready for the answer.

Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, but you do not believe because you are not my sheep.”

Jesus was not concerned with winning friends and influencing people as seminars will extol. He was and is interested in one thing- the truth. The truth- the religious leaders did not belong to Jesus. They were not his sheep.

Jesus went on to share some wonderful truths for his sheep. His sheep are anyone who believes in Jesus as their Savior.

He knows us. We can have relationship with him.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

He gives us eternal life.

“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish”

No one can take us away from Jesus.

 “no one will snatch them out of my hand.”

Why cant anyone take us away from Jesus?

“My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

Jesus always referred to God as Father. His father. But Jesus did not leave it at that. He added something that is a clear indication of Jesus being God the Son.

“I and the Father are one.”

Here Jesus is claiming the truth that Jesus and the Father are one in perfect unity. Jesus is a co-equal member of the Holy Trinity. How do we know Jesus was making this claim? Look at the reaction of the religious leaders.

Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him

“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”

The question is whether we want to follow Jesus who gave his life for us when he died on the cross and defeated death for us, gives us eternal life, and relationship with God, OR do we want a religion.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Choosing The Path of God — Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

ALONG GODS PATH When I walk along this path,                    I shall keep my eyes on You,              For I take you for your Word,         Knowing that Your Word is True. As I walk along this path,You will help me understand;You will guide me with Your Word,When You take me by the hand. As I walk along this path,Thy […]

Choosing The Path of God — Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Coffee and Deep Conversation

Monday morning, late morning let’s not get carried away, I met my pastor for coffee. It was great to catch up in person for the first time since the shutdown. We have messaged each other often but it is not the same as in person.

We discussed many things including a few things pertaining to my home church. There will be some exciting changes coming. One pertains to a new member who is from Brazil.

Our new friend from Brazil wants to reach out to international students and my pastor wants to connect us. When my pastor brought it up, I jumped on the idea. I had been hoping to find a way to connect with international students since last summer.

Last summer, the college I had taught for abruptly canceled the ESL classes I had taught for 20 years. In those classes I would often have students who were preparing for the TOEFL test, here as post doctoral researchers, or spouses of graduate student. The shutdown also complicated things.

There are para church organizations that reach out to international students but I prefer to do so through my church and connect them with members of my church.

I left our coffee time excited about new possibilities. Life is opening up again here.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- John Chapter 9

The old saying- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished- comes to mind when I think of the conflict between Jesus and the religious leaders throughout John. Chapter 9 is a classic example. No only did the religious leaders have conflict with Jesus, they were also abusive to the man Jesus healed and the man’s parents. Imagine being healed of being blind at birth only to have authorities be abusive towards because you were healed.

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What did Jesus do to cause such a reaction by the religious leaders? He healed the blind man on the Sabbath. I know. It sounds ridiculous but such was the case. The man Jesus healed was brought before them.

Some of the Pharisees said, “This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.”

But others asked, “How can a sinner perform such signs?” So they were divided.

They had the man’s parents brought in to confirm the man was born blind, but when his parents were asked how the man could not see, they replied ask him he is an adult. The reason they answered this way was fear.

His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders, who already had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah would be put out of the synagogue.

The religious leaders asked the man again what happened. The poor fellow naively made the mistake of asking them the one question that would infuriate them.

He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples too?”

The religious leaders responded.

“You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.”

The poor fellow couldn’t leave well enough alone.

“Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will.  Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.”

His reward?

To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Jesus talked with the man revealing to the man who Jesus is. The man came to faith in Jesus which we saw last week in Jesus Healed A Man Who Did Not Know Jesus.

Jesus then said.

Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”

The reaction of the religious leaders was predictable.

Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?

Jesus pulled no punches.

Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.”

The contrast between the compassion Jesus showed the man who was born blind and the disdain he had for the hypocritical religious leaders was palpable in John and this passage is one example of that..

Think about the compassion of Jesus. Let it be a prevailing thought for the day. When we come to Jesus in humility seeking help from him, his compassion is overwhelming.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Meeting My Little Sister Blogger in Person :)

One of the wonderful things about blogging for me is meeting people. That is doubly true when it comes to my fellow Christian bloggers because there is an instant bond in Jesus. This morning I was so blessed to finally meet a fellow blogger in person-Alicia of forhispurpose.com.

We live in the same state about four hours from each other. Alicia came to my city with her friend Debra. We met for breakfast at Panera.

Debra and Alicia are members of the same church in their small town. It was wonderful how we could fellowship from the start. There is nothing like sharing a bond in Christ. We had just met in person and were already sharing about our journeys in life with Jesus.

Debra experienced a bit of my humor when she told me she had lived in a city in Kansas. She asked me if I knew where it is. I said, “in Kansas”

They joined us for Blogger Chat for a little while. I turned my laptop for our fellow Blogger Chat friends to see Alicia and Debra because they are more photogenic than I am. 🙂

Alicia and Debra thanks for getting my weekend off to a great start. I feel blessed.

How is your weekend?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Having Fun with My Hobby

I have been having fun being back in the building for my U.S. Citizenship classes. They are held at El Centro de las Americas which is the Hispanic Center in my city. It has been fun to practice my Spanish.

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In my evening class, all of my in person students speak Spanish. One of them is fluent in English and comes mostly to support her older friend. When I give the students something to work on in class, she finishes quickly and then checks her messages on her phone.

So I began sending her messages in Spanish like:

Yo pienso que tu estas triste porque nosotros no tenemos nieve.- I think you are sad because we do not have snow.

When I sit at my desk, I like to tell my colleague from Cuba:

You no tengo fuerza porque mucho tempo no puedo comer comida de Cuba. – I have no strength because I can’t eat Cuban food for a long time.

One of my summer goals is to improve my Spanish. My summer break is almost here. Ten more alarm clock days and then I have three months off from my morning class.

Summer time is a great time for teachers to enjoy their hobbies. Having a hobby is good for our mental health. What are your hobbies?

By the way, my favorite thing to say in Spanish is- Jesus Cristo te ama. Jesus loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Why I Share about Living with Chronic Illnesses

The minute you tell someone you are sick you suddenly become the disease not a person

This line is from the movie Midnight Sun which is about a teen girl with a rare illness. While it is true that for some people once they hear about someone being sick it is all they see, when I heard that line it caused me to think about why I share about living with chronic illnesses.

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There is a bit of a back story. After the Lord intervened and helped me recover in 1995, I began to share with people, “I should be dead but I am not.” I did so to get their attention so I could share my story and by doing so share Jesus with them.

As Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 12:9

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

By sharing about my experience, my hope is that others are drawn to Jesus.

Another huge reason is to encourage others who live with chronic illness. My thinking is along the lines of what Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians chapter 1:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

I am not concerned with receiving sympathy. I am not concerned with what others think of me at this stage of my life. My one overriding concern is that whatever I experience, it is for Jesus and to share him. This life is so short. I am nothing like Paul and can only wish to echo his words to Timothy:

 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Knew His Mission All Along- Theme in John

Cynthia of cynthiaswarroom.home.blog requested I expand more on a theme in John of my time/my hour has not yet come. First I want to say as a teacher I love it when people ask questions like this.

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To understand this theme of my hour/my time has not yet come, we need to remember how John begins in chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.

The Word we see referenced here is Jesus. Jesus is the creator. All things were made threw him. He existed for all eternity before entering time being born as a baby.

The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth

Jesus knew his mission for coming was to be our Savior. He stated this when talking with Nicodemus in John 3:

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.

Jesus knew he was here to die on the cross for our sins and to defeat death for us through his resurrection. He knew there was an appointed for his crucifixion. So when Mary asked him to intervene during the wedding feast in Cana in John 2, Jesus first replied:

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus was letting Mary know he had a mission and the time for that had not yet come.

John understood this as he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That is why we see the theme repeated such as in John 8:20

Yet no one seized him, because his hour had not yet come.

While Jesus was talking with his disciples in John 13, he let them know:

 “Now the Son of Man is glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once.

Before Jesus was arrested, he told the disciples in John 16:

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.”

Before Jesus was arrested, put through a farce of a trial, tortured, and crucified, he prayed in John 17:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”:

Jesus is our creator. He came to be our Savior and knew all along what the mission and plan was. It was for him to die on the cross for us, so we can be forgiven and receive relationship with God and eternal life. He came intentionally with that purpose always in mind.

When Jesus died for us, it was God’s plan all along. Jesus knew this, which is why he referred to his time/his hour and why John records it. It shows the intentionality of his sacrifice for us. His hour/his time was the appointed time for his death on the cross on our behalf.

Question- If Jesus would come knowing all along what would happen, is he someone you can trust?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.