Story Time- Wishing I Could Move

Yesterday in my afternoon class, I asked the students if they prefer winter or summer. When they asked me, my reply was that in late July and August I prefer winter because I am tired of the heat and in late January and February I prefer summer because I am tired of the cold.

Where I live, we can have extreme winters and extreme summers. It is not every year, but they do happen. In the summer we can have heat waves with over three weeks of 100 f/38c every day.

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In the summer of 2010, it was one of those summers that every day from June through August was miserable. We had not only the heat but also high humidity. So when I got off the plane in San Diego California on my way to Ensenada Mexico for a ministry trip, and felt the perfect 72f/22c weather with no humidity, you can understand why I wondered if they needed teachers there. San Diego has beautiful weather all year.

When I returned to my city, I Googled apartment rentals in San Diego and quickly realized I could not afford to live there on a teacher’s salary. Too bad, so sad lol.

Regardless of where we live, we long for a place that does not have the problems of daily living. We will never find such a place in this life, but there is such a place to look forward to. Hebrews 11:16 says:

“Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.”

God has a heavenly city prepared for us. In heaven there are no problems, no heat waves, no artic cold fronts. no crime, no pollution, no corruption. The glory of God permeates heaven.

I still wish I could afford San Diego in this life though. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Each Day A New Day with God

As I was scraping the frost from my windshield yesterday, I thought about how the first few times I have frost on my windshield in the fall, it is a joyful occasion because it means the end of fall allergies. But by November, having frost on the windshield has gotten tedious and means just one more thing to do before work.

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The first hot day of summer has the same feeling for me. I enjoy the heat on my arthritic body, but by July the summer heat is something I look forward to not having.

Anytime I buy something electronic, the newness of it brings me happiness. But after a few weeks, it has become old hat and not a source of excitement.

Fortunately the goodness, mercy, and compassion of Jesus are fresh every morning. They never cease to amaze me.Lamentations 3:22-24 says:

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
    for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
    therefore I will wait for him.”

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The love of God, his compassion/mercy, are new every morning. God is eternal and creative. He has new ways to get our attention that are custom made to get our attention. May you experience that today.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Who You Say I Am by Hillsong

No matter what is in our background, no matter what mistakes we have made, no matter what turmoil we have been in, our identity for those who know Jesus is-Child of God.

That means we are set free to live as children of God. We are who Jesus says we are. What others say we are does not matter in Jesus’s eyes.

When God looks at us, he sees his child. When Jesus looks at us, he sees someone he loves so much that he died for us. That is our identity and nothing can change it. Nothing, no one, can take our identity in Jesus away from us.

I love this song-Who You Say I Am. When I listen to it, what comes to mind is God saying-“Remember whose child you are.”

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy 90th Birthday in Heaven to My Earthly Father

January 6th is my earthly father’s birthday. He passed away fourteen years ago, so he is celebrating it in heaven. The fact that I can say he is celebrating it in heaven is a testimony to the grace and love of Jesus. I shared in my post Forgiveness From Me Led To My Father Receiving Forgiveness From God about how my earthly father came to know Jesus in his final months of this life.

After he came to know Jesus while in a hospital bed, each time I would visit he would point to my bible indicating he wanted me to read to him from the bible and then he would put his hand up for me to hold his hand while we prayed. Basically I was his pastor during his final months in this life. I was with him while he was dying reading the bible to him.

His funeral was a Christian funeral with my pastor doing the ceremony. That was a minor miracle in and of itself. I never thought that would happen until the final months of his earthly life. When my earthly father came to know Jesus, the old labels of associated with him being an alcoholic were changed to child of God.

My earthly father’s story is a great example of it is never too late and not giving up hope for those we are praying for.

Happy 90th Birthday in heaven to Gary Kohrell.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Voices- Which One Will We Pay Attention to?

I watched a movie over the weekend, which was Violet starring Olivia Munn. In the movie she plays the part of a woman dealing with negative voices in her mind always tearing her down as a result of growing up with a verbally abusive mother. As someone who grew up in a family with two abusive parents, I could so relate to the character she played.

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There are voices competing for our attention, our own inner voices, voices of others, and even the voice of the deceiver Satan. Darkness loves to jump on people to drag them further down.

Jesus talked about his voice and those who follow him. In John 10:3-65we read:

“The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.”

It is so important to learn to listen to his voice. His voice guides us and gives us life. In John 10:10 Jesus said:

:The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

There are voices that seek to destroy us like a death of a thousand cuts slowly and repeatedly over time. By contrast, Jesus’s motivation is to give us life to the full. He brings healing to our lives. He gives our lives new meaning and purpose.

We can learn to listen to Jesus’s voice by spending time reading the bible, listening to worship music, spending time in prayer, and having friends we trust who will speak truth into our lives. It can also help to meet with a therapist or a pastor to sort things out.

Choosing which voice to pay attention to is a continual battle, but well worth it if we choose the voice of our Savior Jesus who loves us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- I Will Not Fear by Adrienne Acosta

Isaiah 41:10-So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

God does not say do not fear. He says do not fear for I am your God. Gods lets us know that he has our back. He is by our side. Jesus promised he will always be with us. There is no situation that we face alone.

I have been thinking about these truths recently. We never know what a new year will bring. My Ukrainian friends did not know last year at this time that they would come to my city as refugees. In January 2020, no one had an idea that we would go through two years of a pandemic causing chaos. Whatever we face, we do not face it alone. Jesus is always with us.

I will try to remember that this Thursday when I have a follow up with my cardiologist. Send me to another country and I am happy. Send me to a new group of people from a culture no one knows and I am happy. Send me to a doctor and I would rather crawl across glass sometimes. Figure of speech of course.

May this sweet simple song help us remember that God is with us.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy New Year

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I would like to wish all of my readers a Happy New Year. My prayer is that you experience Jesus and his love in a whole new way this year. None of us knows what will happen in our own lives, the lives of loved ones, the lives of people we know, or people far and near. But we can know Jesus and have a personal relationship with him through trusting in Jesus. Jesus knows the future because he is already there and with us in the here and now at the same time.

Living life with Jesus is a sacred journey. We still have our ups and downs in this life, but Jesus is always with us. I love this song, Sacred Journey, from the 1990s by a group called First Call. I hope it blesses you today.

Happy New Year

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Only Insight About Starting A New Year

As I reflect back on this past year, one thing that stands out to me is the fact that I really have no idea what will transpire in a new year, the people I will meet, the opportunities for ministry I will, the challenges I will face, and more. That is why I love the quote from Bilbo Baggins in Lord of the Rings so much.

“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”

Last year at this time, I had no idea that I would meet refugees from Ukraine and help them with their new lives in America. I had no inkling that because of generous people I would be able to get a nice vehicle after my 16 year old van died. I had no clue that I would end up seeing yet another kind of medical specialist.

But I do not need to have an idea about what the future will bring. I only need to know the person who knows the future and has all power-Jesus.

Jesus created everything. In John 1:1-3 we read:

 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 

The Word, one of the titles for Jesus, created all things. One of those things was time. In Genesis 1:3-5 we read:

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.  God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

Jesus created time for us to live within, but he is not bound by time. He is eternal. So that means that he is with us now and in the future at the same time. That is most comforting for me to embrace. Jesus our Savior who loves us also knows our future.

So my only insight about a new year is look to Jesus. He loves us, has all power, and knows what will happen.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

When We Struggle in Life-Doubt

Terri of diaryofaquadraplegic.com 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, “Go 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.

Music Mondays- Simple by Leanna Crawford

“There’s no such thing as too far gone with God”

I love this lyric and all the lyrics of Simple by Leanna Crawford. There is no such thing as too far gone with God. With God, there are new beginnings, fresh starts.

Jesus can help us dust off the mess and get going again. He already knows our mistakes and invites us to come to him. There is no reason to stay away from Jesus. His mercy is fresh and new every day.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.