Thankful Prayer Is Not Like Internet Connection

Yesterday one of the main internet providers in my city had a major outage that lasted several hours. So what started as a humorous intent for a blog post of what to do about coffee shops, ended up being fortuitous. I had added unlimited data for my cell phone for mobile hotspot thinking of my coffee shop unaware that it would be needed to be able to host my Zoom class last night.

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Technology is great when it works, but when it doesn’t, it can really mess up plans. I am thankful for technology in the classroom such as the computer cart that connects to the projector, My handwriting is terrible, so I use the computer/projector to type for students to see.

Zoom allowed classes to continue during the shutdown in 2020, but for some students it was a bit tricky. Internet connection is so important in our daily lives now, it could make one wonder how people survived before the internet. 🙂

Thankfully our connection with God in prayer does not depend on the internet. Jesus opened the way for us to pray and nothing can stop our prayers. There is no buffering, slow connection, or any such thing when it comes to praying.

The only interference in our prayer lives is ourselves. At times I can feel lazy, or let things that happened hinder me from praying. Satan can try to hinder me from praying but that only works if I allow it. The interference is never on God’s part. He always wants to hear from his children.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

May Is Mental health Awareness Month- Book Update

May is Mental health Awareness Month, so some of my posts this month will be about Mental Health. I had hoped to publish my book Jesus Understands Trauma last Friday, but my friend who will help me was sick. Hopefully we will get it done this Friday, which seems fitting to publish it during Mental Health Awareness Month.

Experiencing trauma can leave scars that stay with a person for life. I find comfort in knowing that Jesus our Sympathetic Savior not only sympathizes with us, he willingly endured trauma on our behalf. So when I read Hebrews 4:15-16:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

I am encouraged knowing Jesus understands. I feel encouraged to come to Jesus in prayer. I feel encouraged that he understands and empathizes. It frees me up to be open and honest about my life with Jesus in prayer.

I must confess that in the morning, a cup of coffee while spending time with Jesus helps me too. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- A Childproof Latch

Easter Sunday after church, I was invited to have lunch with some Brazilian friends. My friends have a sixteen month old baby boy who likes to climb and has already figured out how to open doors, so they have a childproof safety latch up high on the doors in the apartment including one on the balcony door.

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Their little boy had warmed up to me and looked at me wanting to go out on the balcony with me. I was glad to spend a little time with him on the balcony, so I proceeded to open the door. One problem. The childproof latch needed to be opened. It had a part that needs to be slid out to release it.

When I tried to slide out the part, it would not cooperate with me. Perhaps my finger lacked the manual dexterity to accomplish the task. Perhaps my mechanical aptitude was not up to the task. It was a humbling moment as I, the oldest person there, was not able to open the childproof safety latch.

In my defense, I am not a mechanical engineer or rocket scientist. I am a simple English Second Language teacher. 🙂

Eventually I prevailed and opened the door and was able to spend some quality time on the balcony with their little boy all five minutes of it. Typical for a child that age he quickly decided to go explore elsewhere.

Fortunately for us, entering into the presence of God has no childproof latch. Jesus has already opened the way for us to enter God’s presence. Hebrews 10::19-22 says:

Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,  and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water

Because of Jesus’s sacrifice on our behalf, the way has been opened for us to enter the holiest place of God’s presence. It does not depend on our performance. It does not depend on us performing rituals, being perfect, or any work. We can enter solely because of what Jesus did for us. We enter based on what Jesus did for us.

Next time I visit my friends, I will know how to open that childproof latch too 🙂

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.

When We Struggle in Life-Doubt

Terri of shared a post yesterday-God with Us. In her post she shared about her recent health struggles. We commented back and forth a little about doubt, which prompted my post today.

When we are weakened by a health struggle or a severe trial, we can tend to get down on ourselves for having doubt. It does not help when we hear things like doubt is the opposite of faith. As someone who has lived with chronic illness for thirty years and has had my own shares of struggles, I want to share a few reflections that I find encouraging.

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When John the Baptist was in jail and knew he faced execution by King Herod for calling King Herod out on his sin, he sent word to Jesus. John wanted reassurance. He sent word to Jesus in Matthew 11:2-3:

And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?”

John was in a dire situation. He has was jail and knew he would soon die. He had doubt and wanted to be reassured. He had spent quite a bit of time calling people to repent to be ready for the kingdom. John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God and as the one whose sandals he was not fit to tie. John is the one who because of his testimony, some of his own disciples went to follow Jesus and yet in his dire situation John want reassurance.

How did Jesus respond? Did he rebuke John for doubt? Did he give a an empty cliche?

Jesus responded by giving John the proof that would strengthen John in his faith in Matthew 11:

Jesus answered and said to them, â€śGo and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.”

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When we struggle because of illness, a terrible trial, it is what we do with our doubt that matters not whether we have doubt. If we look to Jesus within our doubt, within our suffering, he responds as our Sympathetic High Priest just as he did for John the Baptist. Jesus knew the situation John was in and gave John what he needed. We do well to remember the words of Hebrews 4:14-16:

 Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.  Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

When we struggle, when we doubt, when we are overwhelmed, let us come to Jesus to receive grace and mercy in our time of need.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

God’s Timing

It was time this past March to finally let go of it that old winter coat. I had bought it several years before and was using duct tape on the tears in it. It had duct tape on more than one spot. The zipper did not work so well anymore either. So last March, I finally threw it out with the garbage.

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Yesterday it was finally time to get a new winter coat, but what is a person to do when it is Christmas shopping time and the stores are busy. I did what any sensible shopping adverse person would do. I went on Amazon and ordered a winter coat. It will arrive on Friday just in time for the cold weather to come. So far I have been just fine with my hooded sweatshirt, but the temps that are supposed to be coming a coat will be needed.

Finally time makes me think of the phrase in the bible-in the fullness of time. in Galatian 4:4-5:

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

Jesus was born into his earthly life in the fullness of time. He was born at just the right time. God’s timing is not the same as our timing. If I had to choose a time to come, it would have been the modern world with all of its conveniences not 2,000 years ago when life was rough. But in God’s timing, 2,000 years ago was perfect timing for Jesus to be born into this life.

It can be encouraging to remember God has his perfect timing when we pray. Sometimes what we pray for is delayed, but then we need to trust that God sees the whole picture, so he knows what is best.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Give Me Ears to Hear by Iveth Luna

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

How wonderful it is when we hear our Savior through inner promptings, through our fellow Christians, and many other ways Jesus communicates with us.

But we are still living in this fallen world that is full of confusion, difficulties, and uncertainty. At times we let all of that cloud us from hearing our Savior, however, he can still break through.

I love this new song by Iveth Luna-Give Me Ears to Hear. We can always pray and ask Jesus to help us hear him and help us to see his guidance for us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Tired Teacher

Fall break is here for all of my classes. After a morning teacher’s meeting today, I am off until next Wednesday. Last night I realized how much I need it. It is safe to say I was TIRED. One of the issues that bothers me the most, besides constant pain, about living with chronic illness is fatigue.

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While other teachers were talking about short trips to visit family or projects to get done around home, my thoughts were of doing things like sleeping and taking naps. 🙂

But I have a feeling that next Monday and Tuesday will also involve time at the coffee shop to do more writing. I might even see other teachers there who are summer regulars at the coffee shop, but too busy to hang out there during the school year.

The top of my list for next Monday and Tuesday is along the lines of Luke 5:16 and following the example of Jesus.

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

It is from times of prayer that refreshment comes and this teacher needs that.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

World Mental Health Day-Jesus Understands

Yesterday was World Mental Health Day to raise awareness about mental health. In honor of that, I would like to share a thought with you. Did you ever think about the fact that Jesus understands anguish?

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The night before Jesus was crucified he went to the garden to pray. In Matthew 26::38 he said to his disciples:

“My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

Luke 22:44 gives a little more insight to what Jesus was experiencing at the moment.

And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

Jesus knew he was about to be tortured and crucified, so he was filled with anguish.

When we come to Jesus in prayer, we are praying to someone who understands anguish, someone who understands emotional pain.

If we struggle with depression or anxiety, we can come to Jesus in prayer knowing he has experienced sorrow and anguish.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Please Pray for Her- Alisa Turner

My favorite song is My Prayer For You by Alisa Turner. She has suffered terribly from Lyme Disease for years. While she was doing better, she recorded her album Miracle or Not that my favorite song is on. It is the only CD I play in my car. There have been times that I repeatedly play My Prayer for You on days that are rougher for me living with chronic illness.

I first heard My Prayer for You after I was diagnosed with Celiacs and had to deal with all that included. No offense intended to anyone with Celiacs, but for me it has paled in comparison to Psoriatic Arthritis. When asked by a doctor about my pain levels, I always answer something like- a 5 to 6 on a good day. Then if asked how many good days I have, my answer is about half the time. That means at least half of my life is spent with days that pain ranges anywhere from a 7 to 9. I also have those days that it is a full blown ten.

That is why My Prayer For You is playing so much in my car, The lyrics, written by someone who suffers from a chronic illness, speak to me. Lyrics like:

For anyone who’s prayed a thousand prayers
And still can’t find the answer anywhere
Fighting off the lie that no one cares
For anyone who’s out there losing hope
Feeling you’re forsaken and alone
Clinging to the last strands of your rope

May God give you eyes to see, He’s still greater
Courage to rise and believe He’s able
May God be your peace in the fire you’re walking through
This is my prayer now
This is my prayer for you

So when I saw her post about her need for medical treatments and her current struggles, it hit home for me. Please pray for her. After watching her video about needing medical treatments, watch My Prayer For You. You will be glad you did.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.