A New Creation in Jesus

Yesterday after my follow up appointment at the doctor, the logical thing to do was to have a cheeseburger for lunch. At least in my mind it was totally logical. So I went to a place in my city called Honest Abe’s. The location I went to is in a strip mall close to the neighborhood I grew up in here.

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After lunch, I noticed something. 100% of the stores that were a part of my childhood and teen years are gone. There is no resemblance to the neighborhood strip mall that I knew. Geiers Bakery is now the burger place. Blevins Pharmacy is now a skin care place, The old grocery store is now a hardware store. I am rarely in that part of the city and only went there because it was the closest burger place to my doctor’s office. Perhaps that is why it grabbed my attention that nothing is left of my childhood and teen days there.

Then the thought hit me that I also bear no resemblance to the person I was as a child or as a teen and not just physically. Gone is the angry teen who only cared about partying. Gone is the child who felt no hope. Gone is the young man who saw no purpose to life.

Jesus has literally transformed me and my life. All of those years ago, I would have never imagined I would have a ministry for refugees and immigrants and be teaching ESL.

Jesus can do wonderful things with a life given to him. He brings new things to our lives. He changes us and our desires in life. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says:

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

I know from where I came and how far Jesus has brought me in life. Every blog post I write, every class I teach, every refugee/immigrant I help, is a testimony to the power of Jesus working in my life over the years.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Everything Is Possible by Philippa Hanna

Whatever situation we find ourselves in, everything is possible with God. As we enter the Christmas season, the birth of Jesus itself speaks of the power of God to make the impossible possible. Mary was a virgin when she conceived Jesus by the Holy Spirit. No man was involved.

God is the God of the impossible. In Jesus lives are turned around, breakthroughs happen, people are transformed. When we pray, we are praying to the One who has ALL POWER.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God Is Always Watching Over Us

When I was first taken to my hospital room last Sunday, I shared with the nurse it all seemed so sudden and freaky. In an attempt to put me at ease, she pointed to the monitor I was connected to and let me know that they could see what the monitor was showing in their nurses station and also in another location in the hospital where they were monitoring all patients on the floor.

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My reaction was two fold. First I wanted to get out of there thinking if it is that bad I don’t want to have it. The second, and saner one, was the it did put me at ease knowing I was being watched over by more than one person.

Psalm 33:18 says:

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love

God is always watching over us. There is never a moment that we are not in his sight. There is comfort in knowing that God is always watching over his people.

Dear reader, wherever we go, whatever we are doing, whatever difficulty we are facing, God is watching over us. He has us in his hands.

Does that comfort you?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Life Lesson From World Cup Soccer

It is a phenomenon that most Americans do not understand. It happens every four years. I have observed it many times over my years of working with refugees and immigrants. What is it? It is the obsession with World Cup Soccer-or as the rest of world calls it- Futbol.

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It happened again yesterday. I met my friend Luis from El Salvador for lunch at a Hispanic restaurant. Sure enough the match between Holland and Ecuador was on the TV. During our whole lunch time, Luis was mesmerized by the match on TV. It consumed all of his attention. I am not sure if he will remember any of our conversation.

The only thing that might compare in the USA is college football as it pertains to the team one cheers for. I used to plan my weekends around the games my team played in. But if my team was not playing, my interest was not so strong.

I should mention that El Salvador does not have a team in the World Cup. Nevertheless, Luis was completely enraptured by the match on TV.

It made me wonder what would happen in my life if I was as enthralled by time with Jesus as Luis is with World Cup Soccer. What if I watched and prayed like he watches the soccer matches. What a difference it could make in my life.

I like to joke with soccer fans that soccer is in the bible and then show them Philippians 3:14:

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Press on toward the goal-as in soccer goal. Okay I hear that groan. 🙂

But the principle of having that kind of passion for Jesus is my point. He defeated death for us. He died for all of our sins. His love for us is eternal. God has called us to follow Jesus. There is no greater honor or calling.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Chronic Christmas

Thanksgiving has come and gone already. It feels like it zipped on past me quickly. It was nice to spend time with friends last night sharing friendship and delicious food. But it is over now. The rest of the world will be full speed ahead to Christmas, but I am not ready for it. I do not mean about shopping. That is a five minute thing for me on Amazon.

I wonder how many crazy people will wait outside in the cold to be the first ones in the stores for shopping. How many will be sane and do it all online like me. 🙂

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I feel like calling this year My Chronic Christmas as in chronic illness.. I have a follow up appointment with my GP next week to follow up on my recent hospital stay. I have a rheumatology appointment on Dec. 21st and a follow up appointment with the cardiologist on the 23rd. I also have a MRI sometime before the rheumatology appointment.

So that is four medical things before Christmas. UGH.

The one good thing about Christmas, the best thing, is that it is a reminder that Jesus left heaven to be born as a human baby, so he could be Immanuel-God With Us. I am grateful Jesus is with me at medical appointments.

Are you ready for the whole Christmas holiday thing?

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.

Found — My walk with Christ.

Pinterest. I have foundMy long lost desireMy knight inShining armorMy rescuerMy preciousMy bright lightMy Shining SunMy Everything. But allIsn’t well yet.He’s perfectBut am notThe castle is readyBut i didn’t knowThat i preferred the dump betterI sneak out lateTo hung with His enemiesMy tormentorsThey hold out glitterHow do I resistSometimes all i wantIs to hide from […]

Found — My walk with Christ.

Opportunities In The Midst Of A Hospital Stay

“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.” John 16:33.

This verse has a promise in it for those of us who have placed our faith in Jesus. But what exactly is the promise? Jesus is not saying we will be immune to problems. The promise is that no matter what happens in this life, we can rest in knowing Jesus has overcome this world and all of its problems. Jesus lived in this life, so he is our perfect Sympathetic High Priest we can come to in prayer any time.

I had such a time this week already, actually this past week. but Sunday and Monday were the culimnation.

Due to dealing with having bronchitis, I felt like doing absolutely NOTHING including no energy for blogging this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evening I had pain in my ribs from all of the coughing. So after consulting Dr. Google and finding what what the pain could mean, I decided to go to the ER thinking they might stick a needle in my side to draw out some fluid.

Once I was hooked up to the machines, the Physician’s Assistant said something about not liking where I heart rate was at- beats per minute. I didn’t realize how seriously it would be taken. Next thing I knew Cardiology was involved. The Cardiologist ended up telling me I was in a version of AFIB and that they wanted me to stay over night to have my heart shocked back into rhythm. I agreed to do so and ended up staying over night.

It was what transpired that transformed the situation into three divine appointments. It started with the young woman who was my nurse overnight. We had conversations every time she came into my room. I got to know her and her life story. At one point after realizing she is a baby Christian, I asked her to pray for me. She shared that she did not know how to pray, so I told her to just pray from her heart. She prayed for me.

In the morning, a student nurse was handling my case. She went with me for the cardioversion, shocking my heart back into rhythm. She was with me most of the time in the morning. I was her only patient. I got to know her and her life story. We talked about Jesus and the church she goes to. We laughed a lot. I was part of her education.

When she left around 11am, a nice young woman took over. She had a tattoo that simply said, Jeremiah 29:11. I quoted Jeremiah 29:11 to her which got her attention. I got to know her and her life story. She is a baby Christian as well. We shared a lot and at one point I asked her to pray for me. She told me she had stage fright about praying in front of people. I shared with her she could simply pray from her heart and not worry about how it sounded to others. After she prayed, I shared Romans 8 26-27 with her.

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.

I shared with her that no one knows how to pray but we do not need to worry about it because the Holy Spirit helps us as we pray translating between God and ourselves. When it was time for me to go home, she gave me a hug.

So three young women who are nurses, one big unexpected turn of events in the hospital, and me asking Jesus to get me through it, turned into three divine appointments to encourage and strengthen new believers.

I am feeling better and after coming home, took a four hour nap.

By the way all three of them brought me chocolate ice cream. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Mexico, Switzerland, Vietnam, and Ukraine in 1 Day

Yesterday was a normal kind of day for me that involved spending time with people from four different countries. It was just my kind of day. 🙂

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It started with teaching three moms from Mexico. The moms from Afghanistan could not be in class. Since only the moms from Mexico could be in class, I used Spanish to help them understand some things about English.

Then it was on to a coffee shop to meet with a student from Switzerland to help her practice conversational English. She shared pictures of her family with me. She is here doing an internship with a man who works with clocks and watches. He is originally from Switzerland, so we have a few young people come here each year to do an internship with him.

Next it was a friend from Vietnam who had been my student. We met at a different coffee shop. It was great catching up on what is happening with my friend’s family. My friend wanted to give me a box of books for studying English to share with Ukrainian students.

My day concluded with teaching Ukrainian refugees English at a Ukrainian church and having dinner at the home of one family. The father/husband of the family was a pastor in Ukraine. We used Google Translate to share. He shared with me how much he enjoys meeting people from other countries in other classes here. I shared with him that having students from many countries gives me an appreciation for what Jesus said in 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. 

The world has come to my city. If I walk through some of the supermarkets here it is like walking through an international airport. I am grateful Jesus has allowed me to share his love with the world.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Life Change?

Life changes. Just thinking about those words, what comes to your mind? What emotions are attached to those words?

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I am in the process of praying about a change that will be a slight adjustment that could lead to even more changes. I realize I am being vague, but more to share in a few weeks.

Sometimes a life change is gradual and planned. Sometimes life changes can hit abruptly. I am grateful that Jesus never changes and is eternally with us. As Hebrews 13:8 says:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

When Jesus leads me to make a change in life, I often think of Abraham when God called him to follow him. We read in Genesis 12:1.

 “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.”

God called Abraham to follow him to a place that God would show him. In other words, get moving and I will show you along the way.

To be honest, I am at the stage in life that it would be appealing to sit back and relax, to rest on my laurels. But in ministry there is no retirement. There is just the ending of earthly ministry by being called home to heaven.

Realizing I am being vague, I would appreciate prayers as I follow God’s call.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.