Music Mondays- Gratitude by Brandon Lake

We sang this song during worship yesterday in my church. I loved the song and wanted to share it with you. The message is simple and yet profound. Jesus does not need anything from us. There is nothing we can give him that he cannot create for himself. All we can do is give him our gratitude through our praise.

Through our praise we can express our gratitude and love for Jesus who did so much for us. He left heaven to become a human baby. He lived in this earthly life and allowed himself to be killed so he could die for our sins. Then he defeated death for us. Now he is in heaven preparing places for those who believe in him.

He is worthy of all our praise.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Let The People Rejoice by Tasha Cobbs Leonard

No matter what happens in this life we have reason to rejoice because of Jesus. We can rejoice because Jesus has opened the way for us to come to God, have relationship with God, and have eternal life.

When I have a high pain day, I can still rejoice knowing it is temporary and a wonderful eternity awaits me in the future. When problems arise in life, we can still rejoice knowing Jesus is with us and will never leave us.

God has blessed those who follow Jesus, trust in Jesus, with every spiritual blessing. God has not held anything back from us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Our Attitude in Serving Jesus and Others

I have been reflecting on the unprofitable servant Jesus spoke of in Luke 17 as it relates to other truths Jesus revealed. I find it interesting Jesus would speak of unprofitable servants when in John 15 he says I no longer call you servants but call you friends. So how do these reconcile with each other?

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In Luke 17, Jesus is not calling us servants. He is teaching about our attitude. The disciples had just asked him to increase their faith. In response Jesus taught about the faith of a mustard seed and doing great things. That is when he pivots to speaking of unprofitable servants.

Jesus is getting at our attitude by speaking of unprofitable servants in a parable. There have been countless people in the history of the church who Jesus has called to do wonderful things. What should our attitude be when Jesus calls us to do wonderful things?

No matter what we do in serving Jesus and others, we are only able to do so because Jesus empowers us through the Holy Spirit. The attitude Jesus is teaching through this parable is humility.

Our identity in Jesus is that of friend, child of God, royal priesthood and more. Out identity in Jesus is a gift from God not something we have earned just as our salvation is a gift from God not something we have earned which is why Ephesians 2:8-9 says:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Serving Jesus, following Jesus, is not anything we can boast or brag about. We should give glory and credit to Jesus out of humility and gratitude that he involves us in his work.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Generosity of Others Opened Up Her Music

In October, I felt led to take a step of faith after hearing about my young musician friend from Ukraine having to leave her violin behind. I shared about it in The Look On Her Face-Priceless in October and arranging for my friend from the Lincoln Youth Symphony to loan her a violin. When he came to my classroom to bring her the violin, I could see the oppression leave her. Her countenance changed and has stayed that way.

Part of that step of faith was trusting God to provide the money to pay my friend for the violin. I am thrilled to share all the money needed came in thanks to generous brothers and sisters in Christ. I want to share with you a picture from the Youth Christmas Program at the Ukrainian Church. My young friend, Ester, had the lead role in it. She sang some solos and was the lead in the play. It was all in Ukrainian but I got the gist of it. She is the one in the white coat center stage.

Since that day that Ester received the violin, she has been playing both the violin and piano again and singing in her church. She has also helped children. The program Sunday evening was recorded and is being shared with Ukrainians all over.

The impact of the kindness and generosity of brother and sisters in Christ that she probably will not meet until we are all in heaven will be felt by many for years to come.

Thank you to all of my generous friends!!!

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Means Everything to Me

Waking up in the morning means breathing the air that Jesus created for us to breathe. Drinking coffee in the morning means using water that Jesus created for us to make the coffee. Waking up in pain means another day to share the love of Jesus in this life even though eternity in heaven sounds much better with the whole no more pain thing. Having the ability to teach means connecting with people from all over the world and opportunities to share Jesus.

Even the laptop I use to write my blog posts I have because of Jesus. A Christian man I know in my city receives laptops donated by people, refreshes them, spiffs them up, and gives them to ministries. The laptops are usually about two years old when donated.

Everything I have, abilities, opportunities, employment, the very air I breathe, I have because of Jesus.

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I do not want to lose sight of this wonderful truth that everything I have is because of Jesus. My afternoon and evening classes finished for the semester yesterday, so I will have something called free time for a few weeks. My desire is to spend that time wisely and finish my book while being grateful for what Jesus has given me and done for me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy Thanksgiving Day

It had been several days since I last went to the coffee shop due to having bronchitis. With my lungs clearing up and feeling somewhat recovered from cardioversion this week, it was time to go.

With it being the day before Thanksgiving yesterday, as expected, they were not very busy. But still just getting out and about felt good. The coffee mug was appropriate for the occasion with a picture of a cello etched into it. The sound of coffee brewing is the music of my people. 🙂

So many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, my classes that I teach, my students, my Ukrainian friends. my Sunday morning Hispanic friends, a good car, opportunities even in the hospital to share Jesus, and much more. God has been good to me.

I would like to wish my blogging friends a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with blessings.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Special Deliveries Yesterday

Sitting at home is boring. It is funny how when life is going normal for me, I am so busy that I wish to have a day at home. But now freshly out of a hospital stay and with Thanksgiving Break, staying home is the last thing I want to do. 🙂

I am thankful for two special deliveries yesterday. The first was a drop off by the director of the Family Literacy Program I teach in. The students in my morning class made me get well cards. One of the students also made a plate of food for me. The director stopped by to drop them off for me along with a gift card to my favorite burger place in town.

Yesterday evening my new friends from Ukraine, Alexey and Ruslana, dropped off some food for me. I only told them I was sick without going into details. It was great to see them even if only for a few minutes. They are new grandparents with their first grandson being born last week here in my city. I am not sure if I will let my Ukrainian friends know I was in the hospital to have my heart shocked back into rhythm.

Cards made by hand, food so I don’t need to cook, and friendly faces are nice. However, I think I am feeling good enough for a visit to the coffee shop today. I had my day at home. It is time to get out for a little while. 🙂

Tomorrow I am invited over to a friend’s home for Thanksgiving. I like the start time of 4pm I can sleep late. If you are in the USA, what are your Thanksgiving Day plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful for A Car with Heat

The past four winters my old van had a problem. The heat did not work. Not a big deal, it was more a nuisance. This morning I turned the heat on in my new vehicle and was grateful it works. It is interesting how a small thing like that can change a person’s mood.

I was already looking forward to seeing my Ukrainian friends this morning, but as the heat warmed me up, the realization hit me that for the first time in years winter will not be an issue. Driving around in temps below zero at times in the winter can be a fun adventure.

I realize that having heat in the car is a first world problem and does not compare to the hardships people experience in many countries, but as 1st Thessalonians 5:16 to 18 says:

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

So I rejoice my car has heat now.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Continues to Give Me Opportunities

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! Philippians 1:20-21

On Sunday after my morning class at my church, I visited the Ukrainian church for their special service and lunch. During their worship service, Psalm 116 was on the screen for a scripture reading. It sparked a thought for me.

I am at the age that maybe I have five years, ten years, or up to twenty years left in this life before Jesus takes me home to heaven. Being in heaven is definitely something to look forward to but the whole death thing not so much. I would prefer to be taken up in the Rapture. 🙂

The thought that sparked in me was gratitude that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to share his love with people from diverse cultures like my new friend Alexey and his family from Ukraine.

It has been a blessing for me to help new refugees from Ukraine and also my Hispanic friends in my Sunday morning group at my church. In my morning class at the school, it has been a blessing to help new refugees from Afghanistan. In my afternoon class at a high school, it has been a blessing to help my Yazidi students and Ukrainian students. In my evening classes at the college, it has been a blessing to help students from diverse countries.

So in my later years, I am grateful that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to show and share his love with the nations right here in my city.

What is something you are grateful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Only Because of Jesus

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

How wonderfully humbling these verses are for us. There is no room for boasting, bragging, about anything as a Christian. Our salvation is a free gift that we cannot earn. It has already been paid for by Jesus.

Photo by Tara Winstead on

When I think about that, I also realize that when I walk into church this morning, that even that act is a gift of grace. I only belong in the church because Jesus died for me and I have trusted in him. There is no room for ego for any of us as we walk into our churches today. We enter because of Jesus and his work for us. We belong only because of Jesus.

It is only because of Jesus that we can serve in the church. I never discovered my ability to teach, my ability for languages, and my ability to connect with people from other cultures/countries until Jesus led me to go on my first ministry trips to Romania in 1997 and 1998.

We enter into an eternal relationship with God because of Jesus and only because of Jesus. We enter into fellowship with other Christians only because of Jesus. We enter heaven only because of Jesus. So let’s enter with gratitude for our Savior.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.