Gave My Student A Cucumber

One thing I do in my class to make it a little fun is to throw chocolates to my students. They seem to enjoy that moment especially the chocolate. But one student recently told me she does not eat chocolate at this time because it doesn’t taste good to her now.

Why? She is almost three months pregnant and sweet things do not taste good to her. She is eating mostly cucumbers and bread. She eats other things like eggs and fruit, but she is craving cucumbers.

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Wednesday after class, I felt bad that she did not want chocolate after I threw chocolates to the other students, so I had an idea. Yesterday before my afternoon class, I stopped at a store and bought a cucumber. After all the students arrived, I gave her the cucumber telling her I felt bad she was the only one that did not receive chocolate. She smiled and laughed.

For her the cucumber was a good gift. It was a little thing, but the fact that the teacher would bring her one meant something to her. If I had given a cucumber to any other student, they would wonder why.

It caused me to reflect on what Jesus said in Luke 11:13:

If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

If we know how to give good gifts, how much more does God the Father. What is the gift Jesus was speaking of specifically? The Luke 11:13 finishes with:

how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

The Holy Spirit is our comforter, guide, teacher, and is the one who empowers us to live as Christians.

The Holy Spirit is our guarantee of our eternal destiny in Jesus. Ephesians 1:13-14 says:

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.

There are so many other wonderful gifts God the Father gives us. I am grateful for the Holy Spirit and for all The Father gives.

I think I will give my student more cucumbers. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- The Time I Was An Assistant Flight Attendant

Yesterday as I read David’s post about flying in his blog, it brought back memories of the time I was briefly an assistant flight attendant.

It was on an Austrian Airlines flight from from Bucharest Romania to Vienna Austria. I was in the lavatory when the snack carts started serving. I came out of the lavatory, yes I washed my hands, and found out I was between two carts. One had started and one was just starting behind me. So for about five minutes as I walked to my seat, I was between the two carts.

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Never one to pass up an opportunity to have fun, I was eager to help the flight attendants. I helped hand out cans of soda and snacks. My fellow passengers smiled and laughed as I made a comedy routine out of it. For the children I would act like I misunderstood and tried to give them orange juice instead of soda. If a married couple, I would look at the wife to make sure she approved of her husband’s choice.

It made for a few moments of spontaneous levity on an otherwise boring flight. All flights are boring for me now after having eleven international trips and numerous domestic ones.

Following the leading of the Holy Spirit is anything but boring. I love the spontaneous moments of sharing Jesus with people.

Following Jesus is also anything but boring. The adventure of following Jesus has been truly the adventure of a lifetime.

I hope to return to Europe someday but one flight that will be far better will be when Jesus returns for his church and we are raptured up into heaven. 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

Until that time comes, it is my privilege to share Jesus with others.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Will Guide About What to Share

Without realizing it, yesterday my post about my dog when I was a child fell on National Puppy Day. I did not know about National Puppy Day until I saw someone share about on FB. It was just a fun little coincidence, or was it?

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So many times in my journey with Jesus in this life, a thought has come to me while praying or while sharing about Jesus with someone and without knowing beforehand, what was on my mind to share would be spot on for the person.

Last weekend in my class in the Ukrainian Church was an example. The theme of hope was in my spirit, so I shared Romans 15:13 about the God of hope and shared a video of the song The Blessing in Ukrainian. We had a married couple, new arrivals, join us. It was after class while my friend Alexey was giving me a ride home that I found out the couple are not Christians. I also did not know they would be in class until class started.

In Luke 12:11-12 Jesus taught the disciples about sharing about him:

“When you are brought before synagogues, rulers and authorities, do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say,  for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what you should say.”

The Holy Spirit can guide us in how to share with people. It has been my personal conviction to not rely on a canned spiel for sharing Jesus, but rather to fill my mind with The Word of God, the Bible, and trust Jesus to guide me as to what to share with people.

By the way, in case you are wondering, today is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day. Doesn’t seem as heart warming as National Puppy Day. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- My Childhood Companion My Dog

As a child, the family dog was mostly my dog. She slept in my room, would follow me anywhere I would go in the house, and was my constant companion. When I would take her for a walk, I had no fear because she was protective for a golden retriever.

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One way that she helped me was during dinner time. I grew up in a family that would have meat, mashed potatoes with gravy, and a vegetable for dinner every night. The vegetable of the evening was my dilemma especially if it was something like asparagus. My dog solved the problem for me.

When my parents were not looking, I would quickly dip the vegetable in the gravy and feed it to my dog who was an ever present help. She would sit at my feet under the table and was a willing accomplice to my escape from eating the vegetable. Peas were a bit tricky, but she would lick my hand clean destroying any evidence. 🙂

Jesus sent a helper for us. He sent the Holy Spirit. In John 14:16-17 we read:

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. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.

The Holy Spirit is our constant companion, advocates for us, guides us, and empowers us.

However, the Holy Spirit would not be a willing accomplice to help children avoid eating vegetables. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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- 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.