Music Mondays- Gratitude by Brandon Lake

We sang this song during worship yesterday in my church. I loved the song and wanted to share it with you. The message is simple and yet profound. Jesus does not need anything from us. There is nothing we can give him that he cannot create for himself. All we can do is give him our gratitude through our praise.

Through our praise we can express our gratitude and love for Jesus who did so much for us. He left heaven to become a human baby. He lived in this earthly life and allowed himself to be killed so he could die for our sins. Then he defeated death for us. Now he is in heaven preparing places for those who believe in him.

He is worthy of all our praise.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Our Attitude in Serving Jesus and Others

I have been reflecting on the unprofitable servant Jesus spoke of in Luke 17 as it relates to other truths Jesus revealed. I find it interesting Jesus would speak of unprofitable servants when in John 15 he says I no longer call you servants but call you friends. So how do these reconcile with each other?

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In Luke 17, Jesus is not calling us servants. He is teaching about our attitude. The disciples had just asked him to increase their faith. In response Jesus taught about the faith of a mustard seed and doing great things. That is when he pivots to speaking of unprofitable servants.

Jesus is getting at our attitude by speaking of unprofitable servants in a parable. There have been countless people in the history of the church who Jesus has called to do wonderful things. What should our attitude be when Jesus calls us to do wonderful things?

No matter what we do in serving Jesus and others, we are only able to do so because Jesus empowers us through the Holy Spirit. The attitude Jesus is teaching through this parable is humility.

Our identity in Jesus is that of friend, child of God, royal priesthood and more. Out identity in Jesus is a gift from God not something we have earned just as our salvation is a gift from God not something we have earned which is why Ephesians 2:8-9 says:

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Serving Jesus, following Jesus, is not anything we can boast or brag about. We should give glory and credit to Jesus out of humility and gratitude that he involves us in his work.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Jesus Means Everything to Me

Waking up in the morning means breathing the air that Jesus created for us to breathe. Drinking coffee in the morning means using water that Jesus created for us to make the coffee. Waking up in pain means another day to share the love of Jesus in this life even though eternity in heaven sounds much better with the whole no more pain thing. Having the ability to teach means connecting with people from all over the world and opportunities to share Jesus.

Even the laptop I use to write my blog posts I have because of Jesus. A Christian man I know in my city receives laptops donated by people, refreshes them, spiffs them up, and gives them to ministries. The laptops are usually about two years old when donated.

Everything I have, abilities, opportunities, employment, the very air I breathe, I have because of Jesus.

With all of the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I do not want to lose sight of this wonderful truth that everything I have is because of Jesus. My afternoon and evening classes finished for the semester yesterday, so I will have something called free time for a few weeks. My desire is to spend that time wisely and finish my book while being grateful for what Jesus has given me and done for me.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy Thanksgiving Day

It had been several days since I last went to the coffee shop due to having bronchitis. With my lungs clearing up and feeling somewhat recovered from cardioversion this week, it was time to go.

With it being the day before Thanksgiving yesterday, as expected, they were not very busy. But still just getting out and about felt good. The coffee mug was appropriate for the occasion with a picture of a cello etched into it. The sound of coffee brewing is the music of my people. 🙂

So many things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving, my classes that I teach, my students, my Ukrainian friends. my Sunday morning Hispanic friends, a good car, opportunities even in the hospital to share Jesus, and much more. God has been good to me.

I would like to wish my blogging friends a Happy Thanksgiving Day. May it be filled with blessings.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful for A Car with Heat

The past four winters my old van had a problem. The heat did not work. Not a big deal, it was more a nuisance. This morning I turned the heat on in my new vehicle and was grateful it works. It is interesting how a small thing like that can change a person’s mood.

I was already looking forward to seeing my Ukrainian friends this morning, but as the heat warmed me up, the realization hit me that for the first time in years winter will not be an issue. Driving around in temps below zero at times in the winter can be a fun adventure.

I realize that having heat in the car is a first world problem and does not compare to the hardships people experience in many countries, but as 1st Thessalonians 5:16 to 18 says:

Rejoice always,  pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

So I rejoice my car has heat now.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Grateful Jesus Continues to Give Me Opportunities

Precious in the sight of the Lord
    is the death of his faithful servants. Psalm 116:15

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! Philippians 1:20-21

On Sunday after my morning class at my church, I visited the Ukrainian church for their special service and lunch. During their worship service, Psalm 116 was on the screen for a scripture reading. It sparked a thought for me.

I am at the age that maybe I have five years, ten years, or up to twenty years left in this life before Jesus takes me home to heaven. Being in heaven is definitely something to look forward to but the whole death thing not so much. I would prefer to be taken up in the Rapture. 🙂

The thought that sparked in me was gratitude that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to share his love with people from diverse cultures like my new friend Alexey and his family from Ukraine.

It has been a blessing for me to help new refugees from Ukraine and also my Hispanic friends in my Sunday morning group at my church. In my morning class at the school, it has been a blessing to help new refugees from Afghanistan. In my afternoon class at a high school, it has been a blessing to help my Yazidi students and Ukrainian students. In my evening classes at the college, it has been a blessing to help students from diverse countries.

So in my later years, I am grateful that Jesus continues to bless me with opportunities to show and share his love with the nations right here in my city.

What is something you are grateful for?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Only Because of Jesus

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—  not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:8-10

How wonderfully humbling these verses are for us. There is no room for boasting, bragging, about anything as a Christian. Our salvation is a free gift that we cannot earn. It has already been paid for by Jesus.

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When I think about that, I also realize that when I walk into church this morning, that even that act is a gift of grace. I only belong in the church because Jesus died for me and I have trusted in him. There is no room for ego for any of us as we walk into our churches today. We enter because of Jesus and his work for us. We belong only because of Jesus.

It is only because of Jesus that we can serve in the church. I never discovered my ability to teach, my ability for languages, and my ability to connect with people from other cultures/countries until Jesus led me to go on my first ministry trips to Romania in 1997 and 1998.

We enter into an eternal relationship with God because of Jesus and only because of Jesus. We enter into fellowship with other Christians only because of Jesus. We enter heaven only because of Jesus. So let’s enter with gratitude for our Savior.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Thanks to Generous People- I Have A Car

I feel so blessed to be able to say that I have a new to me vehicle. Jesus worked through his people in a wonderful way. People I have never met before in person, but who know Jesus were so generous to donate for me to be able to buy this vehicle. I really don’t know how to say THANK YOU!!!

I looked online at the various dealerships in Lincoln and what they had in used vehicles and kept coming back to the one I bought. I asked some friends about the type of vehicle I was looking at and they told me they were good vehicles. So I prayed and asked Jesus to keep the Hyundai Tuscon there for me. I spotted it last week online.

When I went into the dealership, they took good care of me. They saw my teacher ID for the school system here. More than one person told me they had a teacher in the family. They asked me about teaching during COVID. They gave me a good deal and when I went to finalize the papers, the guy I spoke with told me I had a 3 year warranty which I did not anticipate.

One of the first things I did was to call Pastor Oleg at the Ukrainian church to let him know I had a car now, so there would definitely be no problem for me to teach the refugees at his church. I also called a few Hispanic friends to let them know if they need a ride on Sunday mornings, to let me know.

Then I enjoyed the fact that my Hyundai Tuscon is easy to get in and out of. That is HUGE for someone living with psoriatic arthritis.

For everyone who donated, in God’s eyes, you have partnered with me in my ministry. Every time I drive to teach, visit, help, refugees and immigrants sharing the love of Jesus, you have partnered with me. THANK YOU!!!

It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Philippians chapter 4:

They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

By donating, by praying, you have greatly blessed me. I pray God blesses you as well.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

1 Grateful Person Tag

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How often do you lift up your arms to heaven just to say to God- Thank you? This has been on my mind for a while. I have been thinking about if I show enough gratitude to God. This week I have been thanking him for the meaning and purpose he has given my life.

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Jesus expressed his dismay over the lack of gratitude by 9 lepers he healed in Luke 17:

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

“When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.”

“One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan”

“Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.”

Of the ten, 1 was a Samaritan. We can assume the others were Jews from the response of Jesus when he said-“except this foreigner?”

Perhaps the other felt entitled to being healed. Perhaps they were excited to get back to their families. We don’t know why they failed to come back and at least say thank you.

Samaritans were outcasts even when healthy. That might explain why the Samaritan felt overwhelmed with gratitude to throw himself at the feet of Jesus to thank him.

Imagine being healed of a disease that meant being totally ostracized from family and society. One would think that gratitude and a thank you would not be difficult to express, but only one person returned to thank Jesus.

When I think about what Jesus did for me, it is overwhelming. First of all, he died for me. No way did I deserve that. He has completely changed me and my life. He has blessed me with a ministry of showing his love to refugee and immigrants from all over the world.

He gives me strength to teach and spend time in ministry even though I live with chronic illness. On my bad days, I can feel his presence.

So today I would like to introduce the 1 Grateful Person Tag. Here are the rules:

The 1 Grateful Person Tag is based on Luke 19 and the account of Jesus with the 1 out ten lepers he healed who came back thank him. Let us aspire to be like the 1 who thanked Jesus and not the 9 who did not.

1- Share what you are grateful to Jesus for.

2-Share a passage from the bible about gratitude that means something to you.

3- Tag whoever you wish to.

4- Please share a link to my original post. 1 Grateful Person

5- Use any picture in your post that expresses gratitude.

6. Share the intro

I am tagging:

Dawn of

Jenny of

Beverley of

Herry of

Amanda of

Gail of

Yonnie of

Elisha of

Joy of

Happy Thanksgiving Day Tomorrow in Canada/Gratitude

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Tomorrow will be Thanksgiving Day in Canada. I have followers in Canada, so I would like to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving Day.

In Honor of Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I would like to share a gratitude list.

1- I am grateful first and foremost for my Savior Jesus. I would be nothing without him. He is my reason to keep going.

2- I am grateful for the classes I teach and for my students. It is a joy to watch them learn and advance in life.

3- I am thankful for all of you who read, like and especially comment on my blog.

4- I am thankful for the ministry the Lord has given me to share his love with people from all over the world.

5- I am grateful that I can encourage others who suffer with chronic illness and depression through my blog.

6- I am thankful for recent opportunities to practice Spanish.

7- I am thankful for my microwave because I would be lost in the kitchen without it. 🙂

What are you thankful for? Especially my followers in Canada 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.