Jesus Validated People Others Overlooked

During conversation time with my students in my Family Literacy classes, they are all moms, I incorporate the week’s vocabulary words into the questions we ask each other. Last week one of the words was remember because I was explaining to them about holidays like Martin Luther King Day. I explained it is a day we remember him and what he worked for because he was a very important person in the history of our country.

One of the questions was, “what do you remember about the first time you met the teacher?” I strive to have a class culture of it is okay to say how one feels. One of the students answered, “I wondered where is Kolade.” Kolade was their teacher. He is a kind gentle older man originally from Nigeria. He was my assistant for one year and my friend. He had a stroke and is not doing well now.

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When she shared that she wondered where he was, my response was, “I understand. He helped you a lot and is so nice. He is my friend. I am sad about it too.” By responding that way, it validated her feelings and her sense of personhood. If I had responded any other way, it could have left her feeling less than. It is my hope that the moms always feel they can be honest.

Jesus validated people he encountered. He saw people others overlooked. He treated people with a dignity others would not. One such case for me is one of the healings Jesus did in Mark chapter 10. A blind man called out. “Son of David have mercy on me. Others rebuked him telling him to be quiet. But Jesus told them to bring the man to him. Jesus took note of him and asked:

“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

Jesus healed the man others wanted to shun as not being important. Jesus took note of him. Jesus treated the man with dignity when others would not.

We seem to be in short supply of people validating others in our time. So my question for my readers is what is an encounter Jesus had with someone that is meaningful to you as an example of Jesus validating the person?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Surprise Blessing on an Artic Day

Yesterday we had an artic front come through. As a disclaimer, I realize it is nothing compared to what my Canadian friends have endured recently. 🙂 It was the kind of day that I did not want to go anywhere. As I was chilling out at home, get it?- chilling out at home on a cold day? I slay me sometimes lol.

So anyway as I was chilling out at home, I heard a familiar sound. Someone was calling me through Messenger. I looked and noticed it was one of my former students. She had been at the Hispanic Catholic Church and was on her way home with her husband and children. Her church has tamales sometimes. She had gotten some tamales and wanted to bring them to me. She was outside my building with them. I went outside to greet her, she handed me the tamales and said-mucho frio-very cold- and got in her car. I thanked her via Messenger. 🙂

As a teacher there is nothing like the blessing of a former student thinking of me and doing something like that. This morning as I was praying, I prayed for her and her family. I have many fond memories of her in my Family Literacy class.

Today is another artic cold day here, my Canadian readers can now laugh at me, and fortunately there were enough tamales for me to enjoy today as well. Nothing like warm Mexican food to warm the insides on a cold day.

I will post this on my Facebook because she is my friend on Facebook. Hilda muchas gracias mi hermanita en Jesus. Eres muy amable me recordar. Dios te bendiga y tu familia.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Q and A with Me- My Answers

I would like to thank the bloggers who participated in Q and A with Me. It was fun to do. Please check out their blogs 🙂

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Megan is a follower of mine who doesn’t write a blog. Her question is- How many hours will you spend at the coffee shop during the break from teaching?

One can never really spend too much time in a coffee shop can one? Is it more a qualitative issue than quantitative? lol

David of asked- What are your hobbies—besides drinking coffee and taking naps?😉

Is there more than drinking coffee and taking naps? I jest. I like to learn phrases in other languages. So far I have learned to greet people in 30 languages. Practicing Spanish is another hobby of mine.

Ryan of asked- How many countries have you visited?

I have visited in chronological order- Canada when I was 13, Romania seven times first one in June 1997, Holland June 1997, England 1999, France June 2004, Switzerland, and Germany same trip, Austria August 2004, Mexico June 2010, and brazil twice 2013 and 2015.

Georgetta of asked-

If you could start life over again:

At what age would you like to start life again?

Share with us something you would never ever do again?

When I think about this question, there are many possible answers. But if I were to change anything in my past, would I have the ministry I have now and have met the people from many countries I have shared Christ with. So I would not change anything out of concern of changing the timeline that led me to where I am.

Renee of asked a question of extreme importance though I do not think they are any theological implications.

Big Bro, I have a question that has puzzled me since I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Maybe you know the answer… I am including the link to the question. 😁 Her question is how many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie roll pop.

Renee the answer will vary person to person and I am not sure if anyone has ever been patient enough to count the licks. But rest assured whether one licks all the way to the center or bits to get there that dentists everywhere will worry about such a practice 🙂

Jeanne of asked- If you had a free ticket and it is safe to travel, where would you go?

Only one ticket? So hard. I’ve got it- a continuous ticket that will allow me to go to Brazil, Romania, and more. 🙂

Michelle of asked- Do you have a devotional you would recommend for 2022?

I like the classics such as They Walked With God. It has devotionals from Spurgeon, Moody and more.

Barb of asked- Other than Jesus, what Biblical character would you like spend an afternoon with?

It would be fun to meet with Paul In fact if we could do a mission trip together it would be awesome 🙂

Richard of asked-What is one of your most favorite stories from the Bible?

So many to choose from!!! I love Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene first after his resurrection. There are so many aspects about it that are so intriguing. I will be writing about in in the coming weeks.

Anthonia of asked- What do you like doing for fun?
What do you enjoy the most about teaching?

For fun spend time with people from other cultures, hang out at coffee shops, and best of all traveling.

What I like most about teaching is being in the classroom with my students.

Brenda of asked- What jobs have you held throughout your life?

That is a long and winding road at my age lol. The main ones were a sales rep for an office furniture dealership and teaching ESL. Other ones from my younger days were in a grocery store, steak cook, and phone interviews.

Beverley of asked- How do you plan to spend your New Year and have you made any resolutions?

I do not have plans yet. I might spend it with friends at a Hispanic Church. No resolutions for me. Call me cynical but I don’t get excited for New Years because the bills I have December 31 will still be there January 2. lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Q and A with Me

The end of the year is upon us. I have not done one of these for a while and wanted to do one more before the year is over. It is time for another Q and A with Me. Here is how it works.

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You ask me a question in my comments. It can be fun, funny, serious, anything as a long as it is appropriate. One Wednesday, I will do a post with my answers. I share your blog link, your question, and my answer.

Please join in the fun. Ask away.

Story Time- A Tale of Two Pizzas

Gluten free frozen pizzas have been a bit of an ongoing saga of frustration over the pizzas not being cooperative and ending up overcooked and at times burned such as I shared a few days ago in- Story Time- A Funny Thing Happened to My Lunch.

Today I gladly share a success story and a new method. The new method was inspired by a comment David of made on the post. “All you need to do is match the length of your TV program to the cooking time, Matt. 1 🍕 pizza = 30 minutes. Problem solved.”

Yesterday I placed a gluten free frozen pizza in the oven. Realizing the show I was watching on Hulu had segments on the bottom of the screen indicating when commercial breaks would occur, I used those as a way to keep track of time. The instructions for the pizza were ten minutes at 375 degrees. Ten minutes is how long the segments are between commercials. The results speak for themselves.

Thus a dilemma that has plagued perhaps the whole world, well at least mine, has been solved. My little sister in Jesus Alicia of might find this useful as well. She has been public about her propensity for the occasional burning of things.

So the new method that I freely share is to use the time indicator at the bottom of the screen while watching a show on a streaming service. The segments are about ten minutes each some a bit longer. No need to thank me. This was a collaborative project between David and myself.

This new method can be adjusted to listening to music such as two of three songs, depending on how long the songs are, can indicate ten minutes. If more time is needed, listen to more songs.

Perhaps this is what Proverbs 15:22 is talking about:

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

What should we call this new method? The steaming service method? David and Matt’s Collaboration? Any ideas?

Feel free to share this revolutionary new method 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When God Reaches Us Through Others

Friday I shared about it being the day I do my weekly injection of methotrexate in my post My Friday Morning Routine. It means that by the end of the teaching day, I am ready to go home and take a nap. This past Friday it was a four hour nap.

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After my injection Friday morning and right before I left for school to teach, I checked my email and saw this message:

I’m hoping you have recovered from your strenuous drive that you endured this last Sunday.  I’m sure the rain caused even more tension. 

Seriously, I just wanted to let you know I’ve been praying for you these past few days.  As one of the elders at First Free, we are praying for the individuals of our church family. Of the numerous prayers in scripture, I’m often reminded of Paul’s prayer in Eph 3:14-21 as a model prayer.  With this passage in mind,  I am praying that you would know the three dimensional depths of the love of Christ and that you would experience this love that surpasses knowledge.  As the passage states, HE IS ABLE to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

Certainly, if you have other specific prayer requests, I’d love to come alongside you and pray for you.  Let me know if there are some specific items you have on your heart to pray for. 

The reason for the strenuous drive comment was my joke with my pastor who ran a half marathon last Sunday. My comment was, “not to brag but while you are running the marathon, I will be driving six miles to church. Impressive I know.”

Receiving an email from someone I had not received one from before simply to let me know they were praying for me was certainly a boost for my day.

We can tend to think of the big things and overlook the small ways that God reaches us through his people. My friend from church sent the email Thursday evening, but I did not see it until Friday morning after my injection. Jesus prompted my friend to pray for me knowing I would not see the email until Friday morning. Even in the small things, God is at work in our lives.

I hope this post causes you to consider who God would want you to encourage this week.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Burgers and Deep Conversation

It had been a while since I got together with my friend from Bosnia for burgers. We met for burgers at a place I like called Piedmont Bistro. I like to have the Bison Burger. Bison meat is low in cholesterol, so having cheese on it and eating fries it all balances out, right? 🙂

My friend’s grandmother passed away in Bosnia, so he went there with his wife for a few weeks. I wanted to do something for him, so the burgers were my treat.

My friend’s name is Haris. His brother’s in law and sister-in-law are in town, so I sent a Facebook message to Haris and his wife saying Haris is sad because they did not go to the mall yet. The joke is always that helping Haris is what I do.

Now I am sitting in the coffee shop, catching up on blogging, and will start writing soon. It is a relaxing day. Hope all is well with you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Saturday In The……..

The music group Chicago had a famous song Saturday in the Park. As I think about today with it being the nicest day out of the coming days, a park sounds nice. A park this time of year can mean enjoying the fall colors on the trees. But in typical Nebraska fashion, we had two rounds of thunderstorms come through my city this past week and the winds blew the leaves off.

So what is a boy to do in this scenario? I guess it will be Saturday in the coffee shop. 🙂

So after meeting with my friend from Venezuela to study and then lunch-burgers- with my friend from Bosnia, off to the coffee shop I will go with laptop and a new book in hand.

Yes I will practice Spanish by reading a children’s book in Spanish. 🙂

I also have a few commentaries on Acts in the bible. I might do a series on that in my blog after the Study on John finishes. So time to crack those open too.

The oak trees are just starting to change colors, so maybe next Saturday will be Saturday in the park even though it will be a brisk 45f/7c degree day.

What will you do today?

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.