Naps, Coffee Shops and Jesus

We are having a cool cloudy day here which makes me think of one of my favorite activities-taking a nap. Taking a nap ranks close to hanging out at the coffee shop for me. But since my car STILL is not ready, I am at home, so it looks like taking a nap will win out today.

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It actually fits well in my new semi retirement schedule. I have kind of fallen into a routine of sleeping until 4am, waking up to write for a while, and then going back to sleep for three or four more hours. The difference for me between a few months ago and now is that a few months ago I would often wake up around three or four am and then not be able to sleep much more. It is part of living with chronic illness waking up to pain, but now I know I can sleep some more when that happens. The only thing that is different is I am teaching only in the afternoons and evenings, which suits this night owl just fine.

While I have no doubt that Jesus would hang out in the coffee shop I go to due to the fact that he hung out with ‘sinners’ when he was on earth, we do not have record of coffee shops in the bible. We do, however, have record of Jesus taking a nap.

In Matthew 8:23-26 we read:

 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

Jesus was sleeping in the boat in the middle of the storm. That alone amazes me. I have taken naps when there is a thunderstorm but I have been in my bed in my home, so no danger for me. Jesus was in the boat with his disciples out on the Sea of Galilee. The boat would have been rocking and perhaps taking on water.

What really amazes me is what Jesus did after they woke him up. He rebuked the storm and all was calm. Jesus has authority over nature. Imagine being there in the boat and seeing it happen.

So a nap today, but sadly no coffee shop that is unless they call me to tell me my car is ready.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Spring Is Here

Yesterday was the first day of spring here in the Northern Hemisphere. We had a beautiful first day of spring with sunshine and a fairly warm day where I live. Of course, being in Nebraska, that will change today. Spring here means thunderstorms, rain, sunny days, even chances of snow in April, so in other words, be ready for anything. So a person needs to have a coat, a jacket, an umbrella, readily available because the changes are like being on a roller coaster ride.

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Unfortunately for me, it is also means spring allergies when the trees start budding. Tree pollen is the worst allergy for me. In the spring be ready also means have plenty of allergy medicine on hand.

However, I still welcome spring and the opportunities it brings. In due time, there will be outdoor activities to enjoy with my friends,

Be ready as a Christian has various meanings.

As Titus 3:1 says:

to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good

and 1st Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

How we treat others can either open doors of opportunities to share Jesus or close them. By being ready to do good, it helps to open doors. By treating people with gentleness and respect, it can open doors of opportunities to share Jesus with them.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Just Like Jesus by Iveth Luna

Who says
“I’m with you there in the dark
It won’t always be this hard
I’m holding your broken heart”?
And who says
“I’m not scared of your fears
All your doubts, bring ’em here
I’m wiping all of your tears”?
He does, He does

Jesus is always with us. There is nothing that can separate us from Jesus. He will never leave us. Even in our troubles, he is with us. If we falter, he is faithful to stay with us.

Iveth Luna sings her songs in English and in Spanish, so I am sharing both this morning. Panda Mom will enjoy that. Ella es mi hermanita en Jesus. 🙂

Thank you for reading God Bless.

Sharing Hope in Jesus

Yesterday morning in my class at the Ukrainian Church, a married couple and their four year old daughter came for the first time. They had just arrived three days before. Less than a week in America and they were already in my class.

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In the morning during my prayer time, I felt led to share Romans 15:13 with the class.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I brought it up using Bible Gateway and shared it parallel English and Ukrainian, I asked a fourteen year old boy who comes with his parents to read out loud the verse in Ukrainian.

As we were studying, I felt led to share the song The Blessing in Ukrainian at the end of the class and then a simple message using Google Translate of:

Step by step Jesus will help you with your new life in America.

My friend Alexey gave me a ride to the coffee shop. He shared with me that the married couple are not Christians yet. So by following the leading of the Holy Spirit and not realizing what was happening, the message of hope in Jesu was shared with them.

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We often do not know what is going on in people’s lives, but Jesus does. He can guide us for what and how to share with people like yesterday the message of hope in Jesus for newly arrived refugees.

It has been awesome to be able to partner with the Ukrainian Church. By teaching the class, it attracts new refugees who may not otherwise come to the church. I look forward to continuing with the classes there.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Doing Homework Is Better Than Shopping?

I enjoy having fun with my students as we study together and using humor as I teach. My thinking is that it is stressful to learn English while trying to make a new life in a new country/culture as adults, so a little humor helps reduce stress. An example? Yesterday afternoon at the Ukrainian church one of the questions during conversation practice was:

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“Which is better walk ten miles in a thunderstorm to go shopping or stay home and do homework?”

100% of my students answered it is better to stay home and do homework. I pointed out that all of them would rather stay home and do homework, so I needed to give them homework. They all laughed shaking their heads no.

Another question- “When did you come to Lincoln?” My answer- I came to Lincoln when I was three months old twenty years ago. They smile seeing my white beard and silver hair.

Another question- “What is your favorite restaurant?” My answer- My favorite restaurant is any restaurant a friend pays for my lunch or dinner.

Just a glimpse into my class at the Ukrainian church and other classes. I was grateful to be with them yesterday afternoon. My friend Alex, also one of the students, gave me a ride, My Jesus car is still not finished yet. Alex will give me a ride again this morning and after class drop me off at the coffee shop to meet with my friend Todd.

Tomorrow my friend Luis from El Salvador will take me to church for our conversation class and join me to worship after class. Then it will be off to lunch, but it will be his favorite restaurant because I will pay for his lunch to thank him for the ride. We have friends from Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico and Venezuela join us in class.

I am so thankful Jesus has blessed me with friends from so many countries. It keeps life interesting and fun.

What are your weekend plans?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When God Brings Life To A Stop-Pay Attention

It is Spring Break week for my college and I had plans to hang out at the coffee shop and perhaps visit some friends in their homes. Yes I planned to write some more to finish my book, but to be honest, I can tend to get going so much that that goal might have taken a back seat.

I took my Jesus car to the dealer to get my catalytic converter replaced last Wednesday. They had said a few days. Well it has been over a week and maybe it will be ready today. So I have been at home all week. I have only gone outside to check mail and for delivery of groceries.

So with life coming to a stop, a complete stop of no teaching, no coffee shop. no visiting friends, what happened?

I had printed out a paper copy of the book draft to go over. I spent most of the day Tuesday going over that. I spent a lot of time Wednesday making the changes in the Google Doc. Yesterday I made some fine tuning type changes. It is just about ready. It seems that perhaps God wanted me to pay attention and get it done.

Hopefully my car will be ready today, so I can teach at the Ukrainian church later this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Also Saturday after the Ukrainian church, I will meet my friend Todd. Todd studied law and was a lawyer in the military before taking a civilian position. Todd will go over the info for self publishing on Amazon with me.

The whole scenario made me think of what Jesus said in John 10:10

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

The thief came and stole the catalytic converter from my car. Fortunately insurance will cover most of it with me only covering the deductible. But Jesus had other plans. Plans for me to finish my book.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Partners With Us-Update On My Upcoming Book

My spring break week has been a blessing. Yesterday most of the afternoon was spent on finalizing my upcoming book Jesus Understands Trauma. My hope is to self publish on Amazon shortly before Easter. I feel like what my book covers would fit well with an Easter launch. Prayers would be appreciated.

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One aspect that is so powerful for me to remember is that Jesus joins us on our journey of healing for our souls., spirits, and minds. An excerpt from my book puts it this way:

“Jesus invites us to partner with him and learn from him. He wants to come alongside as we journey on the path of healing. Since he is all knowing and has all power, he is a great person to have join us on the path of healing for our souls. He loves us more than anyone else ever could.”

Think about the journey you are on. Now think about how Jesus wants to walk beside you on that journey. He wants to partner with us. How awesome is that?

Back to writing for me. I was just sticking my head up to write this short blog post and eat a little gluten free pizza. A boy needs brain energy afterall.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

About That Time Change

Time change weekend always makes me a little curious to see how many people end up coming to second service at church that would normally come to first service. I wonder how many simply watched online Sunday. It is interesting to observe how changing clocks only one hour can affect lives. It is easy for me to talk about it because I am on break this week, so I can ease into the change.

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Side note-Loosing that hour of sleep caused me to not be able to do something with that hour but due to the loss of the hour of sleep, I was sleep deprived so I forgot what it was. 🙂

Okay so back to my post. People have differing views about changing time and which time change they prefer whether it is the extra hour of sleep in the fall or lose an hour of sleep in the spring. When we change time, I always think of the craziest experience I had.

It was in October 1999. I had a ministry trip to Romania. It was my shortest trip to Romania which included an eight hour time change to the time there. After the trip, we spent four days in a small city outside of London England which was a two time change. Then we flew back home which was a six hour time change arriving back a few days before the fall time change of one hour back. My internal clock was messed up for weeks.

A time that I think all of us Christian bloggers wish we could know is the time set for when Jesus returns for us. The disciples had that as a burning question after Jesus’s resurrection. They asked Jesus about when he was going to set up his kingdom. We read about it in Acts 1:6-8:

Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?”

He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

I do not fault the disciples for the question. The Romans occupied the land. They knew Jesus was the long awaited Messiah, promised one, and were witnesses to the fact that he defeated death. So natural assumption would be if he can defeat death, when will he restore the kingdom.

The answer? It is not for you to know. It is not for us to know when. It is for us to be his witnesses, to share him with others.

And what a way to get their attention. He ascended to heaven right before their eyes. Exclamation Point!!!

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

So it is not for me to know when. There are general signs to look for to be prepared, but it is not for me, for us to know when. Jesus has given us work to do and to focus on.

I still wish we would stop with the whole time change though and just settle on one or the other. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

No Retirement in Serving Jesus

Resting on one’s laurels sounds nice sometimes, but it is not something that God seems to care about. It could be tempting to just sit back and relax thinking I have done enough and it is time to simply enjoy life sitting at a beach.. However, God has done significant things in the later years of life of people.

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The Apostle John was an old man on the prison island of Patmos when Jesus took him up into heaven and showed him the things that are written in the Book of Revelation.

Sarah gave birth to Isaac when she was an old woman past child bearing years.

The list could go on. I could retire from teaching, but there is no retirement from ministry. There is only coming home to heaven. God continues to work through us throughout the entirety of our earthly lives.

Even in dealing with health issues, God has divine appointments for me. During a short hospital stay last November he had two of them with nurses for me. If stuck at home due to being sick, there is still the prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray.

Jesus has set up divine appointments for me in coffee shops on days that my inclination was to go chill out for an afternoon. He has set up ones at parks on warm days that I decided to go read a book in the park, Jesus is always at work in the lives of people and he chooses to work through us.

Even after mountain top experiences when we feel like relaxing, Jesus will often have the next opportunity awaiting us. That has happened for me at the end of ministry trips to other countries getting on the plane to fly home, ready to relax, only to meet a person Jesus wants me to share him with.

So no resting on my laurels. No sitting at the beach being inactive. No retirement from ministry. The adventure continues 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Thank God I Do by Lauren Daigle

I Don’t Know Who I’d Be If I Didn’t Know You

The lyrics express my sentiments so well. If I didn’t know Jesus, I have no idea who I would be. I would be so lost in life. Thankfully I know Jesus and have experienced his love and restoration power in my life.

That love and restoration power are available for anyone who will come to Jesus. It is free for the taking. Jesus paid the price when he died on the cross for our sins.

May this song by Lauren Daigle bless you as you begin your week.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.