Story Time- Why I Gave My Student A High Five

As a teacher I believe in recognizing students when they do well and encouraging them when they struggle. I have been know to give out stickers, chocolates, and give a thumbs up. Yesterday evening my evening class began and we had a get to know each time. I actually gave one of my students a High Five.

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You might be wondering why I gave her a High Five. What did she do to deserve special recognition in front of the whole class? Did she answer a difficult question? Did she understand new vocabulary?

Well for all Tolkien fans, you will appreciate her brilliant taste. One of the questions I asked to get to know my students was, “What is your favorite movie?” She answered, “Lord of the Rings.” A student after my own heart. Lord of the Rings is my all time favorite movie-all three. I was so excited that I walked over and gave her a High Five. I can already tell that she will be an excellent student. 🙂

One time Jesus recognized Peter on the spot when Peter answered the question-“Who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus recognized Peter right away saying, “Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.”

It is a work of the Holy Spirit to help us realize who Jesus is and to seek Jesus. The Holy Spirit is always at work wooing people to Jesus.

I am looking forward to a fun quarter with this class. One student said she likes The Lion King and another said she likes the Minions movie. It should be in interesting class.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Rushing In by Anna Golden featuring Tasha Cobbs

Anna Golden is a new to me Christian singer who has a powerful voice. In Rushing In she sings with one of my all time favs Tasha Cobbs. The combination of two powerful voices is wonderful. The message of the song is powerful.

There are times that the presence of Jesus, the presence of the Holy Spirit comes rushing in. Moments that leave no doubt God has come swooping into our lives to bring about a change.

God is always with us. Jesus promised us that He is always with us. But there are those moments we experience it so deeply that the impact is lasting.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Seeing Clearly Past The Fog Of Life

One afternoon when I was in Lyon France in June 2004, one of the men in my evening group looked eastward and said, “I can see the mountain. It will rain tomorrow.” He was referring to Mont Blanc the highest mountain in Europe. Mont Blanc is 145 miles/231km from Lyon. Most of the time it is not visible in Lyon due to cloud cover, so when the sky is clear enough to see the mountain, the people expect to have rain the next day. By the way, it rained the next day.

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There can be a variety of things that cloud our sight spiritually and in regards to seeing the next step or which step to take. Confusion can set in making it feel like we are in a fog. Issues like money problems, relationship problems, sin, mistakes, worry, anxiety can make things seem fuzzy.

The good news is that Jesus is eternal. He exists beyond time. He created time for us to live in but he is not bound by time. He is with us in the here and now while at the same time, he is in our future. Even better news, he has already told us that he loves us.

So how can we clear our minds of the fog and receive guidance from Jesus?

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We can come to him and confess to him whatever the issue is. He already knows, so it won’t be a news flash to him. If we have messed up, we can confess to Jesus. If we are confused, we can give it to him. If we are worried, we can give it to him.

Sometimes there can be different options and we want guidance. I have experienced that myself recently in regards to how to publish my books I have been working on. I prayed about it, and Jesus brought someone across my path that would get my attention. I have other questions. so I set up a coffee appointment with my friend Robb who understands business matters better than I do.

We do not live independent of others as we journey on the Christian walk. We have Jesus. We have the Holy Spirit. We also have fellow Christians. Jesus has blessed us with being part of Christian communities and access to wise counsel.

We can see clearly past the fog.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- In This Place by Taya

Wherever we are, whatever situation we are in, we can say about God- surely you are in this place as In This Place by Taya proclaims.

I found have that to be true in so many different ways in my life such as my trips to other countries, the time when I was sick and almost died in the 1990s, during COVID, in downtimes and good times. I know God has been with me in every place I have been and every situation.

May this song help you experience his presence in the situation you find yourself in.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Renewing Our Minds- It’s Not Too Late

We can have a tendency as we get older to think we are too old to learn new things, are set in our ways, and believe the saying- ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

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I have been reading a book that has taught me a lot in just the first three chapters. It is a book I tend to read one chapter per week just to process it. It is called-The Soul Of Shame- by Curt Thompson MD. He is a Christian and a board certified Psychiatrist. In the book, he explains the science behind the brain.

One of the things he talks about is the neuroplasticity of the brain and how our brains can continue to rewire-my wording not his. 🙂

As I was reading, the verse in Romans 12:2 came to my mind:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Lo and behold as I read on, he quoted that exact verse. This is what he said:

“It is fair to say that although Paul was not a neuroscientist, he refers here to what we now see through the lens of neuroplasiticity. Renewal of the mind, therefore, is not just an abstraction, It means real change in real bodies”

We can renew our minds even if we are in our 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s etc. Unless a form of dementia has set in, our brains can rewire. We can learn new things about ourselves in relation to God. I wish to again share my little sister in Jesus Alicia’s post about biblical affirmations in her blog- forhispurpose.blog. The post is 22 God Is For Me Affirmations.

Biblical affirmations can be a great start to renewing our minds. Reading our bibles, listening to good bible teaching, reading books, listening to worship music, counseling and quality friendships are other great ways to renew our minds.

I love what Paul wrote in Colossians 3:16:

Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 

If we let God’s word richly dwell in us, in our relationships, we can begin to enjoy the abundant life Jesus spoke about.

Because God has given us the Holy Spirit, we have the power from God to change, to renew our minds. We are never too old.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Ephesians 1- Because of Jesus, We Have The Holy Spirit

From the very first moment we believe, trust in Jesus as our Savior, we have the Holy Spirit as our comforter, helper, teacher, guide and so much more. In Ephesians 1 we read:

When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,  who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

As wonderful as it is to have the Holy Spirit with us, in this life having the Holy Spirit is a guarantee of the inheritance we will fully realize in heaven.

I love how Jesus described the Holy Spirit in John 14- our advocate:

And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. 

Paul taught that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray in Romans 8: The Holy Spirit is our translator when we pray. 🙂

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

There are so many aspects of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in our lives. The one that is my favorite is also in Romans 8:

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”  The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

The Holy Spirit helps us to not live in fear but live knowing we are children of God.

I am sharing this song most of you perhaps know, but encourage you to listen to it to be reminded.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Breast Cancer Awareness and Sharing My Story — For His Purpose

I wasn’t sure if any of this was ever going to make it to the blog but when the Holy Spirit prompts I’m understanding it’s probably a wise choice to follow suit… The beginning of September I felt a lump in my armpit area and wasted zero time having it checked out. The nurse practitioner […]

Breast Cancer Awareness and Sharing My Story — For His Purpose

When We Face Difficulties, We Need to Remember The Promises- John Chapter 16

John 16 is a continuation of what Jesus letting the disciples know what is coming. It is a combination of a heads up warning and a promise of a blessing.

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Jesus lets them know why he is giving them a heads up warning in John 16:1

All this I have told you so that you will not fall away.

If we only make promises of a wonderful life because of trusting Jesus, when hard times come people might lose heart. While it is true there will be a wonderful life, it may not happen until we enter eternity in heaven. Jesus wanted the disciples and us to know that people will oppose and persecute us because of him, so when it happens, we will not be weakened in our faith.

They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me.

The disciples were put out of synagogues and most of them were martyred for sharing the news about Jesus. Throughout history, Christians have been put in jail and killed for their faith. It still happens today in our ‘modern’ world. In some countries Christians are killed by those who think they are doing God’s will. In some places Christians are killed or put in jail by people who think it is the right thing to do. In the western world, governments are increasingly infringing on our religious freedom.

Why didn’t Jesus tell them about it when they first signed on to follow him?

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you

Because he was with them.

Now for the blessing part of Jesus’s discourse. The promise of the Holy Spirit.

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

The Holy Spirit is our advocate as is Jesus. The plan all along was for Jesus to die for us, defeat death through his resurrection, and ascend to heaven. Then he would send the Holy Spirit. Think about how all of that unfolded in real time. It all happened in a little over 40 days.

For all who believe in Jesus, the Holy Spirit is given when we believe in Jesus. The Holy Spirit is a guarantee of our future eternal blessing.

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.

The Holy Spirit teaches us as Jesus said.

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 

The Holy Spirit will always work to glorify Jesus.

He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 

So how this balances out is in this life we may have problems. We might be persecuted in various ways. BUT we have the Holy Spirit to counsel us, teach us, guide us, and is our guarantee of our future eternal blessing.

The question for us is whether we view all of what God has in store for us as being worth far more than the temporary difficulties in this life.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Cost of Following Jesus-John Chapter 15

You know those people on television who promise things like your best life now? The books written about how God wants us to have it all? They run counter to things Jesus said.

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In John 15, after telling the disciples he calls them friend and after talking about love for one another, Jesus gives a reality check.

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.

That is quite the contrast to what Jesus was talking about right before regarding love one another. Now the word hate is being used. If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. That sounds ominous.

If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. 

If I had been there, I would have thought-wait a minute Jesus you were just talking about love one another and how we are your friends and now this?

Being identified with Jesus does involve risk. In some places in the world, it can mean death or imprisonment. In the Western World it could mean loss of friendships and opportunities.

When Jesus talked about pick up our cross in Luke 14:27-

And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.

He was talking about how we may lose out on things or people in this life because of him.

In John 15 Jesus again brings up the Holy Spirit but note why

When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me. And you also must testify, for you have been with me from the beginning.

The Holy Spirit empowers us to be witnesses for Jesus, to go out and share the gospel and show the love of Jesus. We do so even though we will face rejection and at times opposition. We do so out of love for others knowing they are in eternal peril if they do not have Jesus.

This dear reader the reality check from Jesus. The good news is that he is with us no matter what happens.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.