Starting A New Year- Who Knows?

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Those were the words of advice from Bilbo Baggins to Frodo in Lord of the Rings. I love it for a New Years Day quote.

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If the past two New Years Days have shown us anything, it is that we have absolutely no idea what will happen in a coming year. The illusion that any of us can anticipate what will happen in a new year is gone.

Case in point New Years Day January 2020 I had no clue that everything would shutdown including my school and we would switch to online to finish the school year. I had no clue of all the things that would happen because of the pandemic. I had no clue that cities in the USA would be destroyed by rioters.

Another case in point New Years Day 2021 I had no clue that my colleague I had worked with for 7 years would retire last May and how intense the past semester would be because of it. I also had no idea that I would finally get diagnosed with what I had suspected for years.

On a more positive note I had no inkling that I would meet new people who would become my friends or colleagues at work. I had no idea that the Lord would bless me in the midst of the pandemic with a good year.

None of us has a clue what will happen in the coming year. The difference is the veil of illusion about that is gone, which in my mind is a good thing. Why?

Jesus is eternal. He does not have the boundaries of time, so he is with us now and in the future at the same time. He knows what will happen in the coming year including our own individual lives. Even better, he loves us deeply.

So my dear readers, the only advice I have about this coming year, no matter what it brings, is to look to Jesus.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

You Know I Had To Do It

You know I had to do it one last time for this year. Yes, this afternoon I went to the coffee shop. The mug they gave me this time has an old house. I am not sure if it is more like the house for George Bailey in It’s A Wonderful Life or more like the house for The Munsters. 🙂

Yes I was able to bless people with a few jokes. I wanted them to end the year on a good note. 🙂

We are expecting a snowstorm later tonight. It is supposed to hit my area after midnight, but supposed to when it comes to weather where I live means little. lol. Either way, it is looking more and more likely that I will ring in the New Year by watching Lord of the Rings. Love that play on words -Ring in the New Year with Lord of the Rings. 🙂

Tomorrow will be cold and snowy, so a perfect day to sit at home, drink coffee, spend time with Jesus, listen to worship music, and relax. There might be a nap involved too.

After I finish the series from John in the New Testament, I am thinking about doing a series on Acts. But the last three chapters of John have so much in them, it may take three more months to finish. The books I have for studying through Acts have been sitting ready to use for a few months. They sit on top of my small file cabinet reminding me each day to crack them open. I may take a peek tomorrow. The series on Acts is another project for 2022. 🙂

Have a safe and blessed New Years however you celebrate.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Goodbye 2021-My Wish List Project for 2022

Time to say goodbye to 2021 or perhaps you want to say good riddance. For me it is a mixed bag. The Lord blessed me in the midst of another COVID year for which I am so grateful. But that does not mean it has been easy. I do not have a New Years Resolution mostly because I know how those go. So instead, I have a few ideas I hope to try. But if the past few years have shown us anything, it is to BE FLEXIBLE.

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One is a mini project for my apartment. I want to get the old furniture out of my living room and turn it into a blogging/online teaching/other projects center. My plan is to buy some of those light weight folding tables and a decent office chair. If I can afford it sometime in the coming year, a decent video camera.

Another idea is to perhaps do a weekly podcast and see how it goes. The thing to figure out is should I do humor, bible study, or devotional. The comic in me wants to do humor.

Why a video camera? Good question because I have a face for radio. 🙂

It is similar to the podcast idea. Maybe start vlogging and see what happens.

I will be super busy the first quarter of the year because dummy me agreed to fill in for two evening courses. I will be teaching Monday to Thursday evenings. But the extra money will be put to my projects.

Do you any resolutions, plans, or hopes for the coming year?

Oh yes, and by the way, Happy New Year to all of my readers even though I feel cynical about it. 🙂 lol

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish my followers a Merry Christmas. May you experience the joy of the presence of Jesus in your lives. When I think of Christmas, I think of the wonderful truth Jesus spoke in the famous verse John 3:16:

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. 

It is my privilege to share the love of God in Jesus with the world such as refugees and immigrants from all over the world living in my city. It has been my privilege to share that love with people in Brazil, France, Mexico, and Romana in person. It is a blessing for me to know that people from many countries read my blog posts.

Merry Christmas. May you experience the love of God today and every day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Christmas Eve- What Are You Worth- O Holy Night

Do you ever doubt your worth? Feel less than others? Struggle with memories of past failures, mistakes, or trauma?

I love the lyrics of O Holy Night

It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear’d and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices

Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.

You are worth so much to God, he values you so much, that Jesus left heaven to come to earth as a human baby to grow to become our Savior. God loves, values, you so much that you are worth it all to him. He spared no expense to rescue us.

That is what we celebrate on Christmas Eve remembering the night our Savior Jesus was born.

So I share this version of my favorite Christmas Song, O Holy Night, with you in hopes of encouraging you that God loves you.

Thank you for reading. God Bless. Merry Christmas.

For Unto Us- Mighty God

A few weeks ago we looked at the prophecy of Isaiah about a virgin being with child who will be called Immanuel in For Unto Us- The Birth of Jesus Foretold 700 Years Before. Last week we looked at how he would be called Wonderful Counselor in For Unto Us-And He Will Be Called-Wonderful Counselor. Isaiah 96 reads:

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

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Jesus being God the Son is the Mighty God, but set aside his glory in heaven to come to earth born as an infant for a purpose. He came to die for our sins to become the Savior of all humanity. He laid down his life and took it back through his resurrection just as he said in John 10:17:

The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again.

Jesus took what we fear the most, death, and defeated it thus giving us the promise that we too can be resurrected if we come to place our faith in him. While in his earthly life, Jesus displayed his power through many miracles but his resurrection topped them all.

Everything was created through him. Step outside at night at gaze at the stars. He created them all. Fly over the oceans on earth, or climb the highest mountains, he created it all.

Jesus is our Creator, Savior, and wants us to be with him forever. That is why he came 2,000 years ago. The is also why he till return one day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Depression During the Holidays

The songs of Christmas can cause most people to feel joy and look forward to the holidays. Songs like I’ll Be Home for Christmas or The Happiest Time of the Year. The problem with those songs is that they put the focus on the holiday as if there is something magical about the holiday.

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Toss on those overly romanticized movies where Christmas miracles happen such as finding true love and the whole thing is magnified.

The holidays can cause some short term sadness for some. But what about people who struggle with depression? When everyone around you is happy to celebrate holidays, it can make a person feel even more depressed.

As someone who has depression due to living with Chronic Illness, what has helped me the most is to focus on the person Christmas is about not about the holiday that is overly commercialized.

Christmas is a time to remember the birth of Jesus our Savior. That is what it is really all about. It is not some magical time of year where all problems are solved. The person Jesus said things like in John 16:

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

That is so realistic. This world, this life, is full of problems. Jesus did not say he will wipe the problems away. Yes, he can do that, but what he said is to take heart because he has overcome the world.

Jesus also said in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest’

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He invites anyone who has struggles in life to come to him promising rest for weary souls. That would include those are feeling alone during a holiday, those who struggle with depression, and anyone who just plain is struggling in life.

So my only advice is to focus on the person Christmas is supposed to be about, Jesus, and not the holiday which has no power to do anything.

One more thing I would say is that if you are struggling, it is not only okay but important to ask for help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Are You Ready?

Are you ready? That simple three word question that at times can be annoying such as being asked are you ready repeatedly about evening plans. That simple question can cause anxiety such as when I ask students if they are ready for a test.

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The same question may elicit various responses when someone asks- Are you ready for Christmas? It is only 26 days away from Christmas. Christmas the holiday that tends to bring out the best or the worst in some people. Christmas the holiday that some people go crazy shopping for.

For me it is easy. I simply go online and order things for people. I don’t decorate since I live alone. I am usually invited to a friend’s home for dinner and no one ever wants me to cook which is hard to understand since I have mastered the popcorn setting on my microwave, 🙂

Christmas is the time we celebrate the 1st coming of Jesus when he was born as a human baby to become our Savior. That brings up another question which is about his 2nd coming.

One day, a day no one knows when it will be, Jesus will return to earth. That day will be a most wonderful day for those who believe in Jesus. For those who don’t it will not be a wonderful day. So my simple question is- Are you ready for Jesus’s 2nd coming?

The way things are going it seems to be getting closer each day. For me, it is a day I look forward to. It is a day that will mean the end of war, disease, and so many other problems in this world.

Are we ready? We can become ready by placing our trust in Jesus as our Savior, by believing he is God the Son who died for us and defeated death for us. The good news is that he wants ALL people to come to him voluntarily and receive eternal life just as that famous bible verse John 3:16 says:

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.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thanksgiving-The Day After

Thanksgiving Day I spent time with a family who are friends of mine from church. It was a blessed time of friendship, food, and fellowship. After we ate, they introduced me to a Christian Comedian I had not hear of before Tim Hawkins as we watched videos after dinner. I am sharing his parody song about coffee for my fellow coffee lovers.

They sent me home with leftovers, so my day is one of blogging. eating leftovers, and watching college football. My only dilemma is whether to go out to the small nearby grocery store to buy some ice cream to go with the pie I took home with me.

My friends know I con only eat gluten free, so the whole meal was gluten free. It is a blessing to have friends who accommodate dietary restrictions. Before I left, we spent a little time in prayer. Jesus has blessed me with good friends.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Little Black Friday Poem

T’was the day after Thanksgiving and all through my place not a creature was stirring, no not even me. While others were crazily shopping in stores and in malls, my attitude is let it not be me. So insane shoppers and store ads, forget it, I’m out, so please just let me be. 🙂

I really don’t care if things are on sale, my bed and sofa are more comfy, so on shopping I’ll just bail. Yes Christmas is coming of which I am well aware, but go to a mall I simply don’t dare. After all Christmas is really about Jesus and his coming to earth and celebrating our Savior’s birth.

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My short little poem expresses my sentiments about shopping on what is called Black Friday. Today I will stay home, relax, read some, and watch some college football. I see no reason to be out and about on a day of insanity. 🙂

Tomorrow I will start a short series For Unto Us which will have posts based in Isaiah 9:6.

If you are in the States, how was your Thanksgiving Day? If you are in other parts of the world. how was your week?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.