Stand By You

Okay I will admit it. I like watching shows like America’s Got Talent, The Voice, and American Idol. In the finale for America’s Got Talent a group of nurses performed the song Stand By You a wonderful Rachel Platten song.

As I watched the performance I thought about wonderful nurses I have had when I had surgery or had to see a doctor. I also thought about someone else.

I am so grateful that Jesus has stood by me through so many difficulties. He has been with me through health problems, financial problems and more.

Jesus promised such when he said in Matthew 28- and lo I am always with you.

Jesus is the one person we can count on to always stand by us. He will never fail us.

I loved this performance of Stand By me so I am sharing it today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thankful for Over 2,000 Followers-What I Have Learned

I am thankful that this past week my blog went over 2,000 followers. I appreciate all of you who have followed my blog, read my posts, liked and especially the ones who have commented on my posts. I wish I could follow everyone back but realistically that would be impossible.

Photo by u0158aj Vaishnaw on Pexels.com

I thought I would share a few things I have learned in regards to blogging. I hope they are helpful for you in your blogging journey.

Be Patient

It takes time for a blog to grow. It took four years for my blog to go over 2,000 followers. It is extremely rare for a blogger to be an instant success. Give it time.

Be Consistent

If you blog once a week, do it on the same day. If you blog twice a week, do it on the same days. By being consistent, you help your followers know when to expect a post from you.

Be Communal

Interact with other bloggers through comments. Comments that connect to the content of their posts not just a quick spammy type comment like great post, Comments that connect to content and being consistent with them are a great way to get the attention of a blogger.

Be Open to experiment

Give yourself permission to try new ideas in your blog. When I first started sharing about chronic illness, I was hesitant but felt Jesus wanted me to do so. I started a series Wellness Wednesdays where I share about chronic illness and mental health. Some of those posts have been some of my highest viewed ones.

Be True to Yourself

If I tried to write lifestyle type posts, it would not go over well. I am a single guy who lives cheaply. I share what I know about or have truly experienced. That is my voice.

Be Kind

Yes some bloggers grow their blogs by being part of the debate society seeking to argue points. It can work. But for me, I would much rather be remembered as someone who encourages others and seeks to build up. There have been bloggers try to engage me in negativity and I simply delete their comment and block them.

Hope this helps. Please feel free to share tips in the comments.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Hallelujah Even Here by Lydia Laird

In the midst of life’s problems, we can still express our gratitude to God. I love the message of Lydia Laird’s song Hallelujah Even Here. It expresses the truth that no matter what happens in this life we can still be thankful.

We can be thankful because God is always with us. We can be thankful because we have Jesus. We can be thankful because we have eternal life in Jesus.

I share these sentiments as a person who has been through many battles in life. Since I stepped out to follow Jesus’s call on my life, I have had health struggles, downtimes financially etc. We can be thankful because God is with us in the struggles.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Has Already Brought One Change in July

Earlier this month I shared about how God brings changes in my life in July in my post-July Is Here What Will Happen?

Photo by Katerina Holmes on Pexels.com

For twenty-one years I have taught in the mornings and evenings with a patchwork of part-time gigs that gave me opportunities to be known among the refugee and immigrant community in my city. Being part-time supported home missionary and teaching part-time has been a wonderful experience, but the problem has been my schedule limiting what I can do with my evenings tied up.

Effective this school year, I will be teaching two Family Literacy classes, the one I have taught in the mornings and a new one in the afternoons at a different school nearby. After twenty-one years of having most of my evening tied up, after my current online classes end in September, I will have my evenings free from now on.

I will praying about what God wants me to do with my free evenings. I have some ideas, but want to make sure they are leadings from Jesus and not my own.

I will continue in my part-time ministry role with my church as well. When I say part-time, I mean financially supported part-time by my church. I spend more than part-time with it.

A nice added change with this is going to be much better benefits for me and my summers free. Summers free to hopefully travel. 🙂

Another nice little extra is by teaching for the public school system and no longer the community college, my breaks will be complete breaks. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Coffee Shop and Deep Conversation

Yesterday afternoon I went to my favorite coffee shop for a few hours. My nephew came for a quick visit from Wisconsin. Due to it being a HOT summer day, I had Moroccan Mint Iced Tea instead of coffee.

My nephew and I covered many topics. He teaches in Wisconsin so we compared notes on teaching during the COVID year. We also covered sports and international travel. He is the one family member who shares the travel bug with me. Once a person gets bit by the travel bug it never goes away.

There were also opportunities to bless the workers with my jokes. 🙂 Although my nephew expressed his condolences to them for enduring my jokes. lol

After my nephew left, a man from Iran who I chat with at the coffee shop stopped at my table. He asked about the classes I teach and then wanted to know how his accent is. When I told him most Americans would understand him, he smiled.

I have been teaching online the past few weeks, so it felt good to get out and about again. Stay tuned tomorrow for my news about the change that happened this July. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

July 4th- Thank Day in the UK

Hannah joins blogger chat with us most Saturday mornings, afternoons her time. She has a bright smile and beautiful heart for Jesus. Her blog is at hannahmvandi.com

She shared with us in blogger chat that July 4th in the UK this year is Thank You Day if you click on it you can read about it. It sounds like a wonderful celebration.

So I want to thank my followers in the UK and wish them a Happy Thank You Day. I enjoy your blog posts and appreciate you following and reading my blog. I hope this day is special and meaningful for you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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The Gratitude of A Sister Whose Brother Jesus Returned to Her- John 12

A few weeks ago we pondered Jesus bringing Lazarus back from the dead Jesus Showed His Power Over Death. Lazarus’s sister, Mary, was overwhelmed with grief when she told Jesus:

When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

She was standing there when Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead after Lazarus had been dead for four days. That caused quite the commotion resulting in the religious leaders wanting to kill Jesus, so Jesus left the area because it was not time yet.

Six days before the Passover weekend, the weekend Jesus was crucified, Jesus came to visit Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha. That moment causes wonderment in my mind to think about Lazarus who had been dead for four days was now eating dinner with Jesus and others.

Can you imagine the gratitude Martha and Mary must have felt? For four days their brother was dead and then Jesus called him back from the dead. They had their brother back with them.

Mary expressed her tremendous gratitude with an act of worship which is recorded in John 12 and will be remembered for all eternity.

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

When I think about Mary’s act of worship, two things stand out to me, she spared no cost and it was deeply personal.

She spared nothing. The jar of perfumed ointment cost a year’s wages.

It was deeply personal. She wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair.

Sadly there are those who will criticize acts of worship and devotion to Jesus. Judas did so by saying:

“Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages”

But we learn his true motives for saying that:

 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Jesus put Judas in his place by saying:

“Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. You will always have the poor among you,  but you will not always have me.”

Jesus was not saying we should not care about the poor. He was not saying we should ignore the poor. There are plenty of bible verses imploring us to care for the poor, the widows, the orphans. Jesus was keeping the moment in the perspective of his impending sacrifice for us and honoring Mary’s gratitude and devotion both of which Judas had none of.

When we worship, do we give of ourselves like Mary did?

Is our worship deeply personal like Mary’s was?

Do we concern ourselves with those who criticize our devotion to Jesus?

Thank you for reading. God Bless

Music Mondays- Memorial Day Edition- Thank You Jesus for the Blood by Charity Gayle

It is Memorial Day here in the USA. We remember those who gave their lives defending our freedom. I am thankful for those who have served our country. Our freedom is not free of cost. It cost hundreds of thousands people their lives from the Revolutionary War to now.

Jesus gave his all when he died on the cross for us. I am thankful Jesus made the way for us to be forgiven, have relationship with God, and have eternal life.

Empowering My Teaching Assistant

Tuesday morning during my morning Family Literacy Class, we had someone from the National Council for Family Literacy observe our class via Zoom. This happens a few times a year. The NCFL opened an office in my state and my class is funded by them.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I believe in giving my assistants experiences they can draw from in the future, so when I set up the breakout rooms, I looked at my assistant and said, “Hannah I am going to place Jessica, the NCFL person, in your breakout room for 15 minutes.” I might have neglected to let her know ahead of time I had been planning to do that.

My assistant did great just as I knew she would. Now she has that experience to draw from in the future when she is a teacher. I believe in empowering my assistants and volunteers and letting them rise.

My assistant will move to Texas later in the summer. She is applying for teaching jobs there. We have had a great year together. I have been trying to convince her to stay, but it is difficult to compete with the fact that her boyfriend soon to be fiance lives there. 🙂

My morning class ends in a few weeks, It has been a year unlike any year in my twenty plus years of teaching. Jesus blessed me with the perfect assistant for a year like this.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.