Cause Effect

Yesterday evening we were practicing cause effect sentences in my class. Being the light hearted comedian I can tend to be while teaching, I wrote some sentences for them.

‘The teacher cooked food but the students did not eat because it was burned.’

‘The teacher cooked food but the students did not eat because they did not want to get sick.’

‘The teacher cooked but the students did not eat because they know the teach is a bad cook.’

My students laughed as I wrote the sentences. ūüôā

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So this morning cause effect is on my mind regarding the cause effect of Jesus coming the first time to become our Savior. John 3:16 uses for to show cause effect.

“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.”

God’s love for us why Jesus came.

I love the truth of Ephesians 2:10:

 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

What precedes it is that we are saved through faith in Jesus by God’s grace. Because of that, we become God’s handiwork. God equips us to live out our Christian faith and to serve him.

What cause effect verse comes to your mind from the bible?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Prayer That Altered My Life

It was a prayer that I had no idea would be so life altering. It was the prayer years ago I had no idea of how radically it would change my life. It was shortly after I rededicated my life to Jesus in 1989 that I prayed it.

Having experienced the love and forgiveness of Jesus and coming from a life that I describe as the pit in life in one of my upcoming books, Lifted Out Of The Pit/Called To The Nations, and having lived life trying to be uncaring mostly out of self protection, I prayed a simple prayer.

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What prompted me to pray it was experiencing the love of Jesus. As 1st John 4:19 says:

We love because he first loved us.

My desire was to have the compassion of Jesus, to feel what Jesus feels for others. Before that prayer, protecting myself at all costs was all I cared about. What was that prayer?

I asked Jesus to help me have his heart for others, for the lost and hurting in the world. I asked Jesus to help me see others the way he sees them. 2nd Corinthians 5:14-16:

For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.

The love of Jesus compelled me to pray that prayer and continues to compel me. What transpired after that was Jesus bringing many lost and downtrodden people across my path. Their stories pierced my heart as they would share their wounds in life with me. The first time it happened was only a few days after I prayed that prayer.

I was getting my hair cut and while cutting my hair the woman cutting my hair opened up and shared some wounds in life with me. After sharing with me, she told she did not understand why she felt she could share so much with me but for some reason she felt she could. That was a scenario that would happen again and again.

It was the best training for my ministry I have now of helping refugees and immigrants. My life transformed from being a sales person who only wanted to make money to being a home missionary/teacher who spends most of his time with those who have been deeply wounded in life. It all started with that prayer.

That prayer was tested with a few encounters and as I responded, more encounters followed until it led me to where I am today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy Valentine’s Day

So there is this holiday today called Valentine’s Day. This is one I sit out due to not being married and not having a girlfriend. However, I do wish all of my readers a Happy Valentine’s Day. A few fun interactions with friends from other countries coming your way in this post.

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My friends Diego and Camila from Brazil come to my Sunday morning group. Valentine’s Day in Brazil is June 12th. Sunday morning I asked Camila if she wanted to celebrate V-Day on Feb, 14th or June 12th. Camila answered- BOTH.

My friends Gregory and Bogdana from Ukraine are happy because Gregory got his first job in America. When they shared that with me Saturday morning, I encouraged Gregory with, “now that you are working, she can go shopping more.”

On a serious note, romantic love celebrated on Valentine’s Day is temporary. The love that is eternal is God’s love for us. God’s love for us is unconditional as Romans 5:8 says:

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

And as Romans 8:38-39 tells us:

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,  neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Nothing can take God’s love from us.

So whatever situation we are in, married, single, divorced, widowed, there is a love that is eternal that we can celebrate every day- God’s love.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Loved Me First by Philippa Hanna

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19

Jesus loved us first. He showed his great love for us when he died for us and defeated death for us even though we did not deserve it. He brings healing into our souls, spirits, and lives.

Our love for Jesus is finite and a response to his eternal unconditional love for us. Jesus calls us to love one another with the love of God- God’s unconditional love. We can only love with that kind of love through the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

What If The Church Stepped Up?

With the recent Supreme Court decision and possible ramifications of it, my post is not about the decision itself or debating it. My post is about things the church could have been doing all along that will be sorely needed now. When I say church, I mean it in the overall nationwide sense not regarding any specific individual church. I also mean the members of the church as in Christians.

I have worked in Title I schools for thirteen years. Though my work is specifically with refugees/immigrants, my work has made me very aware of the plight of those living in low income neighborhoods. I have often wondered why Pro Life has not included adding being the hands of Jesus for people struggling in life.

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Foster care is a huge problem. There are far too many children living in foster care. I will never forget a little boy in Kindergarten Jump Start, which is one week for the little ones to experience school before all the kids start. The first morning he told me he was nervous. As I listened, he told me he does not live with his mom or dad. His expressions and body language showed me he felt shame. What could happen if more Christians stepped up as foster parents?

A huge need for single moms and moms with partners in low income areas is childcare for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. What could happen if churches put more emphasis on something like supporting both financially and with staff free childcare centers in low income areas?

Adoption is perhaps going to be needed now more than ever. What could happen if more Christians stepped up to adopt babies who for whatever reason the birth mother cannot or in some cases it would be harmful for her to keep the baby? The video I am sharing is a powerful message about what can happen when a loving family adopts a baby.

These are just a few thoughts/questions that come to mind as I think about not only what could happen if the church steps up in such ways, but also what could have happened all along. If the church had been doing such things all along, how many of the 65 million babies aborted over the past 70 years could have been born?

Thank you for reading. God Bless,

Ephesians 1- Because of Jesus, We Can Be Forgiven

Becoming a Christian is a humbling thing because we have to acknowledge we have sinned and need our Savior Jesus. At the foot of the cross is the one place where we are all equal, equally guilty of sin and equally in need of Jesus. Jesus himself said in John 14:6:

Jesus answered,¬†‚ÄúI am¬†the way¬†and the truth¬†and the life.¬†No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Because of Jesus, we are not only forgiven when we trust in him, God lavishes his grace upon us. In Ephesians 1 we see:

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding

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It is not a matter of God saying, well you don’t deserve it, but have eternal life because of Jesus. That is not at all what God says and does. He LAVISHES his grace upon us. He LAVISHES his love upon us. We do not deserve it, but he LAVISHES upon us his grace, mercy, and love because of Jesus. He chooses to love us. That is worth more than all the gold in the world.

If we have come to know Jesus and trusted in him, we can say with all certainty, “God has lavished his grace upon me.”

Story Time- Matt’s Peanut Chili

It was a Super Bowl Sunday years ago and I had invited a few friends to watch it with me. I bought chips. sodas, popcorn, and told them I would make chili- a soup with ground beef and beans. My friends arrived and we were all set for some fun watching American football.

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It came time to eat the chili. One of my friends was the first to try it and he had a look of dismay in his eyes. He asked me, “are these peanuts?” I asked why. He told me they were hard and crunchy. So I tried some and found out what he was talking about. The bean were not soft.

Realizing the chili was a no go I called for delivery pizzas. My friends asked me if I soaked the beans in water. I told them I had not and asked if I was supposed to. The chili was called Matt’s peanut chili.

In my defense the beans did not tell me they needed to be soaked in water. How was I to know? ūüôā

It may surprise you to know that I am not known as a great cook. lol

People know us by what they see us do, how we treat them, and how we make them feel.

Jesus said in John 15:

‚ÄúA new command I give you:¬†Love¬†one¬†another. As I have¬†loved you, so you must¬†love¬†one¬†another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you¬†love¬†one¬†another.‚ÄĚ

How can people tell if we belong to Jesus? By the way we treat them and each other.

Thank you for reading. God Bless

Remembering Jesus’s Death on the Cross

Today we remember Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf. He died to take on our penalty for sin. He did so out of his great love for us. There is nothing we can do to earn God’s forgiveness. We can only trust in what Jesus has done for us and believe in him.

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Becoming a Christian means to humble ourselves before God at the cross of Jesus. It does not matter what our station in life is. Rich or poor, educated or uneducated, successful or unsuccessful, there is only one way to receive God’s forgiveness and eternal life. That is to humbly come to God realizing we needed Jesus to die for us. The cross of Jesus is truly the most equalizing place. No one is rich, poor, educated, uneducated. successful, or unsuccessful at the foot of the cross of Jesus.

Likewise we cannot earn God’s love. God loves us because he is God. He wants relationship with us. His love is a free gift for any who will receive Jesus. But it came at a great cost, Jesus dying on the cross for us.

Jesus loves us so much, so deeply, it is amazing to ponder.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.