A Doctor In Brazil

In June/July 2015, I had the privilege of teaching English for a private university in Rio du Sol in Santa Catarina Brazil. I love being in other countries and Brazil is one of my favorites. I love the people and their culture. I taught three classes in the evenings with one of them being an Advanced English class.

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While I love being in other countries, flying is a bit boring for me. Flying internationally presents a specific problem for me. Because I have asthma, being in an airplane for prolonged periods of time can cause me to have bronchitis. Such was the case for that trip.

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So there I was trying to teach and coughing because of bronchitis. One of the students in the Advanced English class came up to me after class and asked me the same questions my doctor in my city asks when I have bronchitis. She came back to class the next evening and handed me a small bag that had medications with instructions she wrote in English in it. She told me that she is a doctor. The medications included and antibiotic and prednisone both of which my doctor prescribes for me here when I have bronchitis.

After a few days, my cough was gone. and I was ready to go for the weeks I would be there teaching. God knew I would have the problem and placed someone who would have the solution in my class. It brings to mind what Jesus said about God knowing what we need before we ask in Matthew 6:8.

I hope to return to Brazil in the future, but wherever I go, my international trips have underscored for me the truth of Matthew 6:8.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

New Blogger- An Answer to Prayer Even Better than Clarity — Fully Known, Fully Loved

Recently I told a friend that I would give my whole bank account for clarity. He said, “No you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes I would.” He said, “No you wouldn’t.” I said, “Yes… I would.” He said, “You really want clarity, huh? Okay, I will pray for that for you.” The next morning—less than 12…

An Answer to Prayer Even Better than Clarity — Fully Known, Fully Loved

God Already Knows

As my home church announces that our Worship Director is leaving to move back home to Atlanta this morning, it brings to mind something I often share with people. God already knows. God is eternal and is not bound by time. He created time for us to live within, but the boundaries of time do not apply to God, so God already knows who the next Worship Director will be.

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Jesus shared about this wonderful truth when he shared about prayer in Matthew 6:

Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

God knows what we need before we ask. He knows our needs now and our needs for the future. God is not caught off guard nor surprised by anything.

I find it comforting to remember that God knows before I ask. So when I pray, I am asking him to show me and to guide me. Whatever we face, God already knows the need and the outcome.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

So Important to Pray for Families/In Jesus Name by Katy Nicole

I watched the following video by Katy Nicole yesterday. For me it is a powerful reminder of the importance of praying for families at this time. There is so much turmoil in our world what with the pandemic, wars, gun violence etc.

It is so important to cover families with prayer. Not just our own families, but also families of people we know. Whatever their lives are like, prayer is so important. I have seen the look of appreciation when I ask people how they are doing and let them know I have been praying for them.

One example is a young mother who teaches at the school where I taught in the mornings. She has myocarditis as a side effect of something due to a previously unknown genetic predisposition. After she confided in me, I would ask her a couple times a week how she was doing and let her know I am praying for her. We developed a friendship over the school year. She had a positive report from the Mayo Clinic a few weeks ago when she went up there with her husband. My continued prayer is for her to fully recover and be able to see her baby boy grow up and have children of his own. My friend is in her mid twenties, so I think it would be wonderful for her to live to be a 75 year old grandmother.

Let’s be praying for families. They need now more than ever.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Perfectly Timed Rain

Five of the students from my morning class have birthdays within 5 weeks of each other, so we decided to have a picnic before one of them leaves for a visit with family in Mexico. We chose yesterday and had planned on the picnic to start 11am. but rain came through from 10am to 11:30 am, so we changed the time to 12:30.

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Because of the rain, the people who reserved the best shelter in the park did not show up. That meant we could use it for our picnic. The rain was perfectly timed. We enjoyed the best spot in the park because of the rain. The rain left in time for us to have a picnic and a nice sunny afternoon.

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We had A LOT of food, fortunately none cooked by me, a lot of good conversation, and the children played in the playground. It was a perfect early June Saturday afternoon.

Funny thing was that I prayed it would not rain, so it would not interfere with the picnic. But God already had it planned out. By having the rain come and leave at the times it did, it allowed for us to have a wonderful time.

Oh and by the way, I was sent home with leftovers. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Be Jesus’s Representatives

Twenty years ago a young woman from Vietnam asked me a question that I shared more fully in- I Hear You Help People, Will You Help Me? She asked other students about me because I greeted her in her language. She wanted help to prepare to go to college which was monumental in her mind because no one in her family had ever gone to college.

That encounter is a constant reminder for me that people know us either by how we treat them or how others talk about us with them. My desire is that any refugee or immigrant in my city would feel they could approach me to ask for help.

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That encounter also serves as a reminder that we are the hands of Jesus in this life. We are his representatives in this life. Our reputation reflects not only on us but also on Jesus in the eyes of those around us.

That thought alone makes me want to seek Jesus in prayer because there is no way I can be a positive representative of Jesus on my own. It is a simple prayer, but one I pray almost daily, of-“please help me to be a blessing to….” During the school year I pray for help to be a blessing to my students and colleagues. During summer break it is my prayer as I meet with people.

2 Corinthians 5:20 says:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

In these troubled times we live in, so many people need us to live like Christ’s ambassadors. They need a safe landing place of friendship. They need those who follow Jesus to be a blessing because we have been blessed.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Biblical Affirmations vs The Secret

It has been on my mind recently to write about the difference between Biblical Affirmations and things such as ‘manifesting’ and things like The Secret. Yesterday I read a wonderful post by my little sister in Jesus Alicia of forhispurpose.blog, In her post yesterday she shared-22 Biblical Affirmations. She also shared about her journey of seeking healing in her life. The affirmations she shared are wonderful for all of us.

So how do Biblical Affirmations differ from The Secret or things like it? It all has to do with what they are based upon in the first place.

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Biblical Affirmations are based on the Word of God. They are based on what God has already told us such as if we believe in Jesus, we can say we are a child of God. Isaiah 55:11 says:

so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

When we remind ourselves of what God has said by using Biblical Affirmations, we are basing them on God not ourselves. Therefore, they are eternally solid.

People who use The Secret or things similar are basing it on themselves putting something out into the universe to basically summon the universe into action on their behalf. It puts themselves at the center not God. I am not saying it won’t work at times. but we must be careful about who is behind it. We need to remember that Satan and his demons work through deception and want nothing more than to distract us from Jesus or to misdirect those who believe in Jesus. It causes the image in my mind of rubbing the bottle for the genie to grant wishes/

When we remind ourselves of Biblical Affirmation, we are basing them on God and what he has already revealed. When we pray in faith, we are basing that on God as well, but trusting him for the results. When we pray, we also remember what Jesus said in Matthew 6:

 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.  Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

When we pray, we do so knowing that God already knows what we need, what our problems, are etc. We pray to our Father in heaven who loves us passionately, not to some impersonal universe. God is deeply relational and personally involved in our lives.

I would encourage every one to read Alicia’s post and remind themselves of the wonderful Biblical Affirmations she shared.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The End of Another COVID School Year

My morning and afternoon classes are winding down this week. Tomorrow will be our last class for the school year. Both programs experienced transitions and it was on me to guide them through the transitions in personnel. This has also been the third school year affected by COVID.

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Tomorrow both classes will have an end of year celebration. For my morning class, we will have a potluck with the moms bringing food. I have been assigned to bring juice. The moms don’t trust me to cook and they are wise regarding that. For my afternoon class, we will go to a nearby park and have some treats.

As for me, I am so ready for summer break. It has been a challenging school year. I am looking forward to a summer of spending time at the coffee shop blogging and writing. It is also quite possible I will spend time with Ukrainian refugees new to my city.

This morning I will break the news to my morning class that there is a possibility I will be at a different school next year. There is a possibility that I will be needed at a different school that is experiencing transition.

I am so thankful that Jesus has been with me during this school year. My morning prayer times have been so vital.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Conversation with a Ukrainian Pastor in My City

Yesterday I had a poignant conversation with a man named Oleg. He is the Youth Pastor for a Ukrainian church in my city. I met with him to find out how my church might be able to support their efforts. When he told me what his church is doing in Poland and Ukraine at this time, it was truly inspirational.

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They currently have three teams in Poland. They are providing food, shelter and copies of the Gospel of John in Ukrainian. One team had gone into Ukraine to give food to refugees and help them on their journey to Poland. One of the team members was killed while doing so leaving behind a widow and six children.

The other teams are working with a temporary shelter that has 300 cots. They feed the refugees, gives them supplies, and help them to travel to the next place on their journey.

As I looked at the pictures, I saw a former student of mine. I also saw pictures of two of the children of a former student who are young adults now.

They are sharing the love of Jesus not only in word but in deed and risking their lives to do so. Please pray for these three teams and all of those who are showing and sharing the love of Jesus with the Ukrainian refugees.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.