Jesus Understand Family Problems- John Chapter 7

Sibling rivalry can cause problems in family relationships. Jealousy can set in if one sibling gets more attention or has more talent in an area. Now imagine having Jesus as your older half brother. Jesus had half brothers and sisters who were born after he was. Can you imagine being compared to Jesus?

To understand the first part of John 7 we need to look at Mark 3. In Mark 3:20-21 we read:

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

His own family, his mother-Mary, and his half brothers went to take charge of Jesus thinking he was crazy. They did not believe Jesus to be Messiah. Even Mary who had been visited by the angel Gabriel was in on the attempt to “take charge” of Jesus.

Then we read in Mark 3:31-34:

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him. A crowd was sitting around him, and they told him, “Your mother and brothers are outside looking for you.”

 “Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

 Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus did not respond to his mother or half brothers. He corrected the thinking of the people by saying those who do the will of God are his family. I imagine that stung a little for his family.

We don’t have much of a record of Jesus’ half brothers or sisters as far as whether they came to faith other than James. We know Mary did because she was in the upper room with the disciples at Pentecost.

So in John 7:3-4 when his brothers said:

Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave Galilee and go to Judea, so that your disciples there may see the works you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”

It was entirely disingenuous because we also read in verse 5:

 For even his own brothers did not believe in him.

Jesus ended up going after his half brothers did without telling them.

This is an encouraging passage for those of us with family problems. Jesus understands dealing with family problems. His own half brothers did not believe in him, mocked him in this passage, tried to take control of him in Mark chapter 3.

Jesus understands and provides relationships and friendships with fellow believers. They can become our chosen family. I shared about chosen family a few months ago- Chosen Family.

If you have family problems, Jesus understands.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. On Wednesdays this month I am sharing blogs by women living with or dealing with various health issues. The bloggers in today’s post deal with depression, mental health, breast cancer, and caregiving for a loved one with Autism.

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Mrs. Mariposa of alwaysajesusgirl.wordpress.com. She shares her faith and how God helps her with depression.

Eleanor of beurownlight.com. She shares about mental health issues and her faith.

Kel of seekellivewell.com. She shares about mental health and health and wellness.

Abigail of nohalfmeasures.blog. She shares her life with Metstatic Breast Cancer.

Patty of hesaidwhatks..blog. She shares her experiences of life with her Autistic adult son.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- It Is Okay to Ask For Help

Trigger warning. This post deals with suicidal thoughts. If that makes you uncomfortable, please click away.

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As an American I have never understood why the UK keeps a monarchy nor the fascination with the Royal Family.. As someone who is busy with ministry and teaching, I have never been a big fan of talk shows like Oprah. I have always felt I have better things to do with my time. But when I saw a promo clip of the interview with Harry and Meghan, I decided to watch it. My motivation was simply to listen to someone give voice to what so many people struggle with- Depression and what some people struggle with- Suicidal Thoughts.

In the interview she shared that she confided in her husband Harry about her suicidal thoughts and that she needed help. Sharing that so publicly will hopefully help others to share with and confide in loved ones or people they trust.

She also shared that though she asked for help other than from her husband, she was not given help. That is very concerning.

Living with four chronic illnesses all of which have depression and anxiety as possible symptoms, I understand depression. I talked with my doctor and he prescribed medication for me to treat depression and Fibromyalgia. When I confided in one of my pastors, and he said, “Matt it is medical. You do not need to resign your ministry.” it was a moment I will never forget.

My experience has reinforced for me that God does indeed care. Jesus cares and works through other people. God wants us to ask for help.

There is hope for depression and struggling with suicidal thoughts. It is not only okay but wonderful to seek help. If family is not a safe place to confide in, there are school counselors, pastors, mental health facilities. There are hotline numbers.

In the USA-800-273-8255

In the UK- Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90 (UK – local rate)
Hotline: +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 (UK minicom)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 90 (ROI – local rate)
Hotline: 1850 60 90 91 (ROI minicom)

In Canada- 1.833.456.4566

There is always hope and we can ask for help. If we have depression, we can seek help. Talk with a doctor, a pastor, a trusted teacher, talk with someone. If medication is needed, it is not only okay but important to do so. If suicidal thoughts, PLEASE SEEK HELP.

I love the message in these videos. Stay Another Day and Your Story Isn’t Over Yet.

Wellness Wednesday- Women’s History Month- Part 4

Living with chronic illness has given me an appreciation for those who share their stories of life with chronic illness. During the month of March, I will share blogs by women who live with chronic illness for my Wellness Wednesday posts.

A purple butterfly is a symbol for some chronic illnesses such as Lupus, Fibromyalgia etc.

Wendi of simplychronicallyill.com. Wendi shares about her multiple chronic illnesses and her life.

Vivi of godswhispersoftruth.wordpress.com She shares her faith and about living with the effects of TBI.

Lily of retrospectivelily.com. . She shares her faith. about llving with Friedreich’s Ataxia, books and more.

Tracey of tracyesworld..com. She shares about living with Lupus and other chronic illnesses.

If you check out their blogs, you will find women with the courage to keep going as best they can while living with chronic illness.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Being A Safe Place for Others

Yesterday I was talking with one of my colleagues at the school where I teach in the mornings. She is a young woman and does wonderful work with the children who have difficult lives. Her grandfather is elderly and in hospice care now. It is only a matter of days until he passes away.

As she was sharing with me, her eyes teared up. She apologized for it. I asked her to not apologize or feel she needs to hide her feelings. I shared with her that I understand what she is going through and if she ever needs a listening ear, just let me know.

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We all need a safe space, safe friends, a safe place especially now during this pandemic. Everything is heightened now for our emotions, stress, etc. We need safe places to land.

Jesus is definitely a safe person for us to come to and confide in about what we are going through. He invites us to do so in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

My hope is to continue to be a safe place, a safe person, for others as we continue to go through this pandemic. We all need connection with others. I love this song A Safe Place to Land. Please listen to it and think about if you can be a safe place.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

COFFEE SHOP TIME!!!

It has been literally MONTHS since I hung out at a coffee shop. With my city doing so much better with COVID, I decided that for my mental health to hang out a little at one of my favorite coffee shops.

The tables are spaced 6 feet apart and not many people here. Yes I am wearing a mask. This is my favorite mask to wear. I think you can see why in the picture below.

But due to already drinking three cups of coffee this morning, I am now drinking hot chocolate. More snow came this morning but not much and it is already melting.

I have my laptop with me and also printed out pages of the book I am working on to do some editing.

It feels so good to get out and see people. I told a few jokes to the barrista. Now it is time to get to work.

How is your Sunday?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday-Depression/Anxiety-Jesus Cares

Last week I had a conversation with a colleague I mentor. My colleague is a young person who grew up in a Christian home. My friend struggles with depression/anxiety but is hesitant about seeking help because of the stigma such issues can have in some churches such as the one my friend grew up in.

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It saddens me to think that some churches place a stigma on mental health issues like depression and anxiety. If someone has diabetes, we would encourage them to take insulin and be careful about what they eat. The brain is part of our physical bodies. It is a physical organ just as the heart, lungs, and pancreas are.

That is why I share about how God helped me with depression and anxiety. I live with four chronic illnesses and each of them can cause depression/anxiety on their own. Put all four together, and no wonder depression and anxiety were issues for me. My hope is to lessen the stigma in churches.

My hope is to also share Jesus with others who struggle with depression/anxiety. When I think about things Jesus said such as in Matthew 11:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

and what is written about how Jesus felt when he saw the large crowd of people in Matthew 9:

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Such verse help me realize that Jesus has great compassion for us. Such verses also help us to understand how approachable Jesus is when we struggle. His desire is to help us, restore us, and heal us. Yes, he does these things through others such as doctors and counselors too.

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Dear reader if you struggle with depression or anxiety, Jesus understands you, His arms are open saying, “Come to me and find rest” just as he said in Matthew 11. We can cast all of our concerns on him because he cares for us.

It is okay to ask for help.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- I Am Going Bananas

We have an old phrase in America go bananas- meaning go crazy about something or get crazy about something. Well today I am going bananas in the literal sense too. 🙂

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Yesterday I found out that my city went from orange to yellow on the COVID risk dial for the first time since last summer. So to celebrate, you guessed it, I am buying bananas to share with my students and fellow teachers/staff at the school where I teach in the mornings. 🙂

This is my third time to buy fruit to celebrate the risk dial getting lower. Little things like that can mean a lot at this time. It has been a long 11 months for all of us.

It helps to have mini mental health breaks from all of the COVID stuff. Hopefully you find little ways to help you take a mini COVID break.

My main way is to spend time with Jesus in the mornings over coffee before I get ready for my day. Another thing that has blessed me a lot is listening to worship music. It is the only thing I listen to in my car as I drive.

This morning, it is all about going bananas. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

P.S.- to hopefully help you smile, here is a Muppet Banana song 🙂

Wellness Wednesdays- Grateful for the Color Orange?

My city was in the red for severe on the COVID dial for ten weeks in a row. It was a long ten weeks of wondering when things might improve. The vaccine is being given to people but I am not in one of the groups yet. Hopefully next round. I want to have the vaccine, so I can return to a part of my ministry and work that means so much to me- visiting refugees and immigrants in their homes.

Yesterday we moved from red for severe risk to orange for high risk. Suddenly orange is a color I appreciate.

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So in honor of moving to orange on the dial, I will eat orange foods today to celebrate. I will eat an orange for breakfast and carrots as part of my lunch. I will buy a bag of oranges on my way to teach my morning class and give each student an orange and tell them why. I also plan to leave oranges in the teacher’s lounge for the teachers.

Sound silly?

Little things like that can help reduce stress. Stress is not a healthy thing to live under for prolonged periods of time. The past ten months have been stressful and where I live especially the past ten weeks.

I am not sure what to do when we eventually move down to yellow on the dial. Lemons come to mind haha.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Wellness Wednesday- Chosen Family

Today I am starting a new series Wellness Wednesday. My hope is to share about various issues regarding wellness whether physical health or mental health. The posts will be more along the lines of encouragement rather than advice. My first topic is Chosen Family.

Family issues are something I have experienced myself having grown up in a family with an alcoholic father and a mother who had mental health issues she never sought help for. What do we do when our biological family has severe problems or even just some problems? What do we do if the situation is toxic? I would always encourage someone to seek counseling of course.

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How do we balance what the bible says about honor your father and your mother with a situation like what I grew up in?

Jesus shed light on this when his own earthly family tried to interfere with his ministry in Mark chapter 3.

Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Imagine the scenario. Jesus our creator who came to earth to be our Savior experienced his mother and his half brothers coming to “take charge of him” thinking he was crazy.

When someone told him his mother and half brothers were outside, Jesus’ response was:

Who are my mother and my brothers?” he asked.

Then he looked at those seated in a circle around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does God’s will is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus shared that those who do God’s will are his family. This sheds light on something for me that has been helpful. Look to those who are part of God’s family when biological family is a problem.

What do I mean by that? How does this look in my life?

When my biological parents were alive, I did try to share with them, prayed for them, and remembered things like their birthdays. But I did not look to them for guidance, encouragement, or reinforcement.

Important Note- if you have been a victim of any kind of abuse please seek counseling and guidance. If being around those who abused you is harmful, please seek counseling.

When I was younger, I sought out people older than me in church who I respected for those important aspects of life. Now I am older, but I still think of my close friends at church as my chosen family.

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Chosen family are those people who we know truly have our best interest in mind, who we can healthy relationships with, and who can encourage us in our lives and faith. Friends can come and go in our lives, but there are some who I have stayed friends with for almost 30 years.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.