Say It Isn’t So- Emergency My Coffee Shop Is Closed

What is a fellow supposed to do? I stopped at my favorite coffee shop simply to buy some ground coffee to take home only to find out it is closed except for calling ahead to order. This seems a bit extreme to me. They have gone back to following 2020 COVID protocols without any mandate from the city.

This is an emergency situation of perhaps catastrophic proportions. The ripple effects of this will run through the city and perhaps the universe.

Can you imagine your friendly fellow blogger not being able to hang out at his favorite coffee shop? Say it isn’t so.

This messes up my whole personal universe. The coffee shop is next to the organic/natural foods store I like to go to for produce and to get nachos. It is also only a five minute drive from the school I teach in during the day.

Fortunately for us, God never closes up access to him for prayer. We can come to him anytime. 1 Thessalonians 5 says:

 Rejoice always,  pray continually,  give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

If we are told to pray continually, it means God is always listening. He never closes down the prayer line to him

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Details of Jesus’s Death and Burial Prophesied About Hundreds of Years Before- John Chapter 19

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.

Isaiah prophesied about the suffering of Jesus over 700 years before Jesus came. These verses are from Isaiah 53.

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Jesus was crucified. He was nailed to a cross and hung on the cross until he died. It was a brutal death that would normally take a few days. Jesus could have stopped it, but he allowed it to happen out of his love for us.

 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

Pilate, who had his doubts about crucifying Jesus, had a sign put on the cross as perhaps a jab at the Jewish leaders.

 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews.  Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 

The Jewish leaders wanted it changed. But Pilate would have none of that.

Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

Even a small detail about the death of Jesus was prophesied about hundreds of years before he came in Psalm 22.

All my bones are on display;
    people stare and gloat over me.
 They divide my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.

. The soldiers at the cross cast lots for his garment.

 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
    and cast lots for my garment.”

The soldiers came the break to legs of Jesus and the two criminals crucified beside him. They broke the legs of the two criminals, but when they came to Jesus, he had already died, so they pierced his side to let the blood flow out.

But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs.  Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 

This fulfilled Zechariah 12:10 also written hundreds of years before Jesus came.

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a firstborn son”

Even the burial of Jesus was prophesied about in Isaiah 53.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
    and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
    nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Jesus’s body would have been thrown into a common grave with the two criminals. but Joseph of Arimathea intervened and got a new tomb for Jesus.

Later, Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate for the body of Jesus. Now Joseph was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly because he feared the Jewish leaders. With Pilate’s permission, he came and took the body away.  He was accompanied by Nicodemus, the man who earlier had visited Jesus at night. Nicodemus brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds. Taking Jesus’ body, the two of them wrapped it, with the spices, in strips of linen. This was in accordance with Jewish burial customs. At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid. 

We see just from these verses that the death and burial of Jesus was in God’s plan all along. It was not some surprise and God had to quickly come up with Plan B through the resurrection. It was intentional on Jesus’s part to come and die for us.

Think about how much God loves you that he had this plan, The fact that details surrounding the death and burial of Jesus were prophesied about hundreds of years before he came is a faith builder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Break Every Chain- Tasha Cobbs at Passion City Church

There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. Whatever bogs us down in life there is power in the name of Jesus. We can come to Jesus in confidence to find grace and mercy in our time of need.

There is no power greater than Jesus. He is the name above all names, and he loves us. He invites us to come to him to find rest for our souls. Let’s look to Jesus and not our circumstances. He has all power.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Love Allows No Room for Racism

I like how my pastor always says that the bible is full of stories of real people dealing with real life issues. One real life issue the bible deals with is racism and prejudice. Paul wrote more than once about it in his epistles, letters. to churches. In Colossians 3 he wrote:

 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

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In the early church there tended to be divisions at times between Jew and Gentile. In the Jewish mind at that time, there were only two groups of people, Jews and Gentiles. Jews even the ones who had become Christians, tended to be prejudiced against the Gentiles.

Another division was between slave and free. Slavery was common among all the cultures back then. Slaves would be face being looked down on by the free people and treated as less than.

Paul addressed this issue and what he wrote was a revolutionary idea at the time that in the church there were no Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free. There is only one way to become a Christian and part of the church, which is to come to faith in Christ asking him for forgiveness of sins. We come to the cross realizing our great need to forgiveness. At the cross, we are all equally sinners. It is a humbling thing to realize.

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Paul wrote of how we should treat each other in the church addressing inner attitudes. He sums it up with love saying love binds all of the virtues together. It is a thought Martin Luther King some 2,000 years later emphasized when he said:

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”

Imagine the impact on the world if we who follow Jesus lived this out in the church and throughout our lives. We who follow Jesus should be to first to reject prejudice realizing prejudice and racism are sins against our fellow human beings and against God who created us. In our minds, there should only be two groups of people. those who know Jesus and those who out of love we want to see come to know Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- I Forgot My Gum Last Night

Last night I had the urge to stop at a restaurant I like in the downtown of my city to get some food to go. The restaurant is Ali Babas. I had a craving for a gyro plate which comes with steak fries, gyro meat, and is topped with onions, a sauce, tomatoes, and cheese crumbles. It was so satisfying.

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There was a slight problem. As you can imagine, the onions and sauce might have done a number on my breath. I didn’t think about or worry about that when I got the food. My college is also downtown only a few blocks from Ali Babas. When I got to the college, I went to the adjunct office and sat down to savor my delicious food still no concern at all about what the onions and sauce did.

It wasn’t until I reached into my laptop bag that I realized my dilemma. I forgot to bring my gum and had no time to go buy some. Why is that an issue? I am glad you asked.

We have to wear masks in the college, so as I taught for three hours, I was wearing my mask with yes, the onion and sauce still on my breath. I think that is enough said.

Did you know that fortunately for us there is actually something that God will not remember? Isaiah 43:25 says


“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

If we come to Jesus, God forgives us and will not remember our sins against us. What a wonderful gift from God.

By the way, I put a few packs of gum in my laptop bag.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Tortured, Rejected, and Sentenced- John Chapter 19

Isaiah 53:7&8- He was oppressed and afflicted,
    yet he did not open his mouth
;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
    and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
    Yet who of his generation protested?

Isaiah was written over 700 years before Jesus came. The Jews were looking for the promised Messiah, the king who would sit on David’s throne. Isaiah 53 speaks of the suffering servant. In these verses we see references to Jesus being tortured and eventually killed.

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Pilate’s wife sent him a message we see in Matthew 27

While Pilate was sitting on the judge’s seat, his wife sent him this message: “Don’t have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him.”

Perhaps this was on Pilate’s mind as he tried to deal with the situation. The Romans were superstitious people and yet viewed the Jews as being backward and difficult. In an attempt to diffuse the situation Pilate had Jesus flogged.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, “Hail, king of the Jews!” And they slapped him in the face.

They flogged, whipped, Jesus with a cat of nine tails which was a whip with nine leather straps with sharp pieces of rock etc at the end. The soldiers mocked him. The robe they put on him would have stuck on because of the blood from his back. The crown of thorns caused Jesus to bleed from his scalp.

Pilate had Jesus brought out and said:

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” 

But the reaction of the chief priests and their officials was:

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!”

Pilate replied

But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

The chief priests answer?

The Jewish leaders insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

This freaked Pilate out which is not surprising due to the Romans beliefs in many gods.

“Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer.  “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”

Jesus finally replied

Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”

Pilate tried to set Jesus free but the religious leaders persisted in a peculiar way.

 “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.

Interesting because the Jew despised the Romans and wanted them out of Israel. They had no love for Caesar or the Romans. Pilate presented Jesus to them saying here is your king. The religious leaders who despised Caesar and the Romans answered.

“We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered.

Pilate gave in and consented to have Jesus crucified.

Think about what Jesus endured. Think about how he suffered. Then think about the truth that he went through all of that, the farce of a trial, the torture, the rejection, because he loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays-Jireh by Elevation Worship

Jehovah Jireh was one of the names of God in the Old Testament. The names would start with either El the common name for God at the time or Jehovah, Yahweh, and then add an aspect of who God is to us. Jireh meaning provider.

How fitting a song at this time to remind us to look to God the Father, to look to Jesus. Jesus is close to us. He is alwasy with us. I love this lyric from the song.

Going through a storm but I won’t go down
I hear Your voice
Carried in the rhythm of the wind to call me out
You would cross an ocean so I wouldn’t drown
You’ve never been closer than You are right now

May this song be a blessing to you this week.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Mercy with Cheerfulness (A Poem) — Life Hub Inspirations

Fill my heart today, LordWith your mercies manifoldLet my heart dearly holdYour Word as treasure of gold.Let me see your mercy,In ease or in misery,With eyes of faith to see,Your will is good for me.Fill my spirit today, LordWith every mercy I could hold,I need you and your Word,Like a clay in its mold.Let me […]

Mercy with Cheerfulness (A Poem) — Life Hub Inspirations

Do I Ever Need Worship Time Today

Looking forward to worship at church this morning. It has only been three days back to teaching and I need worship time. After church, it will be coffee shop time. Yesterday was power nap day and today is refuel day.

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Don’t get me wrong. I love being with my students in the classroom. But each time I receive an email that there was a confirmed case of COVID in my school building, I ask myself if I am crazy for continuing. We had two such emails in three days. My morning prayer shifted last week from help me be a blessing to I don’t want to go but help me be a blessing anyway. Not a very spiritual prayer I know.

The tempting thought is to retire and spend time writing. I can easily see myself hanging out at a coffee shop and writing every day. That would combine two things I enjoy coffee and writing. Alas but there is no money in writing at least at the beginning and there are bills to pay.

So off to church I go to hopefully be refreshed and then off to the coffee shop.

What will you be doing on this Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Rooms

In thinking about rooms in my life and what rooms mean, I wonder what rooms come to mind for my readers. When I think of rooms, to be honest, some rooms evoke pleasant wonderful memories, but some rooms I would prefer to forget and leave millions of miles behind me even though they are etched in my mind.

There was a room that as a child was a place full of dread. It was the room I learned to feel I was less than human. It was the room where I was berated and the room where sleep could be cruelly interrupted by a drunken fist. It was a room that led to me never feeling I really belonged anywhere and would always be less than.

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There were many rooms after that but none that felt like home. Never a room that felt settled for me. Never a room where peace resided until one day, in a room, the light of the world welcomed me.

It was a room in a friend’s house. He had a visitor that day, a young woman. In that room, she told me that God loves me. God loves me? What? I am garbage waiting to be hauled way. God loves me? That room led me to a journey of discovery.

As time went on I learned about the Upper Room where Jesus told his followers one evening before he was crucified that he longed for that time to share the first Lord’s supper with them. That room had great meaning for people like me. Jesus longed for me to know him and to join him too just like his disciples.

I learned about how Jesus taught his disciples that in his father’s house there are many places and that if he goes, it is better for them because if he goes, he will prepare a room for them.

Jesus drew me into his presence in a special secret room for me. It was a prayer room in a church that was filled with his presence and where he taught me that I am not garbage. In that room, I learned how he felt about many things. It was so wonderful that I never wanted to leave that room, but he wanted me to leave that room so I could help others to know about the rooms in his father’s house.

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But some rooms after that were again rooms I dreaded where doctors told me things like my liver and heart were not working well until they found the cause that a pill each day would keep me healthy.

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All of these rooms led me to the room that is so special to me. It is a room that has connected me to the world, a room at my church. In that room people from numerous countries have come for help with English and many have heard about how Jesus wants all to have a room in his father’s house in heaven. Many have come to believe in Jesus in that room. Much laughter has occurred in that room and also some tears. Shared life among diverse cultures has happened in that room. It is this room that I am most fond of in all of my life. This room feels like my home away from home until I reach my final homeroom in The Father’s house thanks to Jesus.

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But those doctors’ rooms came back last year as I went from doctor to doctor to find out once again that I had another autoimmune problem. Such rooms made my blood pressure go up.

The question I try to ask each day is this- Is there room in my heart for Jesus?

What room is special to you? Or is there a room that Jesus can help you overcome as he did me?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.