Music Mondays- Thy Will Be Done by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family

I’m so confused 
I know I heard you loud and clear
So, I followed through
Somehow I ended up here 
I don’t wanna think 
I may never understand
That my broken heart is a part of your plan
When I try to pray 
All I’ve got is hurt and these four words

Following Jesus does not guarantee us a life free of trouble, difficult times, downfalls in life, or illness. There are times that we feel the words in the lyrics.

I know I have had times that I was confused because I had heard him so clearly and a major downfall hit. A huge example is when I left a promising career to go to school to study for ministry. I could not finished my education there because of my first serious bout with chronic illness.

When I came back to my home city, I experienced ridicule. I went through the experience of almost dying alone except two faithful friends. Over time, step by step, Jesus led me to the ministry I have now, but the ordeal was not easy and nothing I would wish on anyone.

Even now at this time in my life, when there are times chronic illness interferes with ministry, it is hard to accept. Staying home with no energy and in pain only being able to watch videos is not something I enjoy.

We face times that we have our own Garden of Gethsemane moments of surrender to God not knowing how it will all work out or if it even will.

On the night before Jesus was crucified, he was in the Garden of Gethsemane. His pray was so intense that he sweat blood. He knew what was ahead of him. He prayed to the Father in Matthew 26:

“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”

Following Jesus means a life of moments of coming to understand- Thy Will Be Done.

This video Thy Will Be Done by Hillary Scott and the Scott Family expresses so beautifully how such moments feel.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Following Jesus

A few Sundays ago a special friend from Brazil bought me lunch for my birthday. She calls me papa bear and I call her filha-daughter. To give you an example of our friendship, she drove me home from the hospital after a minor surgery in November 2017. We took a picture together which she posted on Facebook with the title- Rescuing Papa Bear from the hospital.

During lunch she talked with me about dating apps as in she tried to encourage me to use one. I told here if I did my dating profile would have to be:

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Overweight older man, broke home missionary, have gotten uglier as I got older, living with chronic illness so might have to cancel dates at last minute etc.

We laughed and she told me I wouldn’t get any dates with that profile. On such apps some people might emphasize the positive or even outright lie to attract others.

In this day and age of ‘Christian leaders’ writing books with titles like Your Best Life Now, which are a mix of some Christianity and self empowerment thinking, honesty about what Christ offers seems to be lacking.

Imagine a profile on an app to attract more Christians reading something like:

Eternal life guaranteed. Forgiveness 100%. Relationship with God.

BUT

You might suffer. You might lose everything. You might lose your job. You might lose friends. Your life on earth might get worse but cheer up I am with you.

I am inspired by Paul’s life. He had it made in the eyes of religious leaders and community leaders. He was at the top. But one encounter with Jesus and he became the church planting apostle who was thrown in jail, shipwrecked. beaten, and much more suffering.

It causes me to think about what Jesus said if anyone wants to follow him in Luke 9:

“Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me”

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Paul did and he expressed his feelings about it in Philippians 3″

” But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ”

That was written by Paul to a church in Philippi that started by Paul being beaten and thrown in jail after delivering a slave girl of being possessed. Read the story in Acts 16.

Just as our focus should be on our relationship with the giver, Jesus, and not the gifts he gives in our own lives, so should our emphasis be on Jesus and his love as we share him with others and the offer he holds out in his hands of forgiveness and eternal life not on false promises. Yes Jesus does still perform miracles and do wonderful things for us, but what if God’s allows us to suffer for his purposes?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Awesome Blogger Award

I want to thank my friend Euyadeen of Quiet Moments with God for nominating me for this. She shares about her faith and about God in her blog. The link for her blog is- quietmomentswithgod.wordpress.com.

Rules:

– Thank the blogger who nominated you.

– Tag your post with #awesomebloggeraward.

– Answer the questions given to you.

– Nominate and inform at least 5 bloggers.

– Give them 10 new questions to answer.

Questions

  1. Why did you start a blog?

I started writing my blog to share bible lessons for friends in other countries and then it grew to be about my relationship with Jesus, experiences with refugees and immigrants here, living with chronic illness and mental health.

2. Do you have a favorite verse?

Living with chronic illness a verse that means a lot to me is Philippians 4:13- “I can do all this through him who gives me strength”.

3. Favorite singer?

I love music by Kristene DiMarco, Jenn Johnson, Brooke Ligertwood, Nicole Mullens and Tasha Cobbs.

4. Favorite time of the year?

My favorite time of the year is the fall. I enjoy the cooler weather, One of my favorite holidays is Thanksgiving. Also in the fall I enjoy college football.

5. What blessing can you share?

The Lord has sustained me through so many difficult times.

6. Do you have a pet?

I wish I could have a dog where I live, but I can’t. My family had a golden retriever when I was a child. She followed me everywhere in the house, slept in my room, and was my constant companion. 🙂

7. Favorite TV program?

I like to watch The Amazing Race because I can see places from around the world.

8. Do you prefer to write a letter, text, phone call or spend a day with someone?

It depends who the person is. I use facebook messenger a lot with people, but for good friends I like to spend a day with them.

9. If you came face to face with Jesus, what would you ask him?

Can I come home to heaven now?

10. If you had one only one more day to live, what would you do?

Pray and share Jesus with people.

My questions for my nominees:

1- What is your blog about?

2- What inspired you to start writing a blog?

3. If I were blessed to visit you in your city, what would we do?

4- What is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?

5- What are your favorite songs?

6- What is a book you have enjoyed?

7- What is your favorite snack food?

8- What is your favorite color?

9- What is your favorite movie?

10- Who would you want to have dinner with and why?

My nominees are:

Dawn of growingclosertochrist.com

Sherita of plantingseedsingodsgrowinggarden.wordpress.com

Alim of forhispurpose.blog

Christina of Chasing Clarity at theontimeone.wordpress.com

Deandra of Imago Dei at deandrahurst.com

Amy of A New Life at anewlife256599767.wordpress.com

Fay Ann of The Inspirational Room at fayannswearing.wordpress.com

Ryan of Ryan Callahan’s Blog at authorryanc.com

Exquisite Life at sk8sandhu.wordpress.com

Rachael of Finding Joy in the Journey at rachaeljoyadventures.wordpress.com

Show Love

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. Mother Teresa

I love this Mother Teresa quote. It is a way of thinking that is so needed in our times. We have mega churches with services on TV, books galore to buy, and much more. A person could think they are insignificant compared to what they see on TV. When reading through the bible, we see amazing things God did through ordinary people such a miracles and healings.

We can tend to forget what Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:  

“But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away”. 

The things we are impressed with are the things that will fade away. but there is something that will not fade away that Paul also wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:

” Love never fails”

and

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

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Love is what will remain forever. Without love, any gifting we serve in is meaningless. God rewards the love we show him by helping his people as Hebrew 6 says:

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them “

Showing God’s love has opened so many doors for me to be able to share with people from all over the world.

Yesterday after I finished my lesson with my friend from Mexico, we went to to Produce with a Purpose. They sell produce and part of the proceeds are donated to an organization/ministry that fights human sex trafficking- Love Justice.

The people selling the produce stand outside in the summer heat all day. They will be doing so all summer every day. They are not on TV and are not writing books to sell. They are doing small things with great love.

They have been doing so for years. They may not get any attention in the media, but I am certain God sees them and what they are doing.

If you live in my city of Lincoln, stop by their truck at 70th and Van Dorn for some produce and know that part of the money you spend will be used to rescue children and young women from human sex trafficking.

If you want to know more about the work Love Justice is doing, click on- Love Justice.

Remember God sees and will reward everything. No one is overlooked or insignificant in God’s kingdom.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

World Refugee Day/Jesus Was A Refugee

There are so many aspects of Jesus’s life and ministry when he was on earth. One that I think gets overlooked is the fact that Jesus began his earthly life as a refugee. We read in Matthew 2:

“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”

Joseph took Mary and Jesus and fled to Egypt to escape King Herod’s soldiers. The soldiers did come and killed all of the male children 2 years of age and under.

Fleeing to escape the threat of danger, oppression, and death is what a refugee does. Jesus began his earthly life as a refugee. So let me ask you, Do you think Jesus has a place in his heart for refugees? Also what should our attitude and response as Christians be to refugees living in our cities?

I feel blessed that Jesus called me to teach, help, and show his love to refugees living in my city. They have come here from literally all over the world.

I have met thousands of refugees over the years. Some faces and stories stay with me such as the 90 year old grandmother I met at her grandson’s wedding. They are refugees from Burma and part of The Karen People. .

When I join in cultural celebrations, I often think about the reality for my refugee friends in the countries they fled from such as joining my Yazidi friends to celebrate their New Year in April. They fled genocide to come here. They lived under oppression for centuries. Now they live here in freedom.

.I have come to appreciate what Mother Teresa meant when she said of the poorest of the poor she helped in India:

“Each one of them is Jesus in disguise”

My hope is to be the hand of a hopeful stranger reaching out a hand to refugees in my city as one of my favorite songs, A Safe Place to Land.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Fibro Day 2- We Get Back Up Because of Jesus

Another Fibro day yesterday, but a little better. I met with one of my private students at the library. We had a good study session. I am praying for opportunities to share with her and her husband.

I managed to go to the store to buy some things. One is Aloe Vera Juice. I mix it with grape juice in the mornings. Aloe Vera Juice is refreshing, good for digestion and other things.

What triggered my Fibro days this week is that I had to stop a medication because it caused me to become even more sensitive to light. The last month of my evening classes, I had to turn off some lights in the classroom because it was so bad and have me headaches.

I am thankful for natural homeopathic such as herbs, teas and one I started to use at night that helps me sleep.

It may take a few weeks to adjust to life without that medication. I was on it for several months. It provided relief for some issues but caused others. In my mind, it interfered with my teaching my classes, so it had to go. Yes, my doctor knows about the side effects causing me problems.

I am looking forward to the weekend especially Sunday. Sunday afternoon I will start a study group for some Spanish speaking friends, 1 from El Salvador, 1 from Venezuela, and four from Mexico. We will meet Sunday afternoons at my church. Then I will go to a birthday party for the soon to be 7 year old son of friends from Brazil.

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The comments I received yesterday really touched me. Thank you so much 🙂

As Christians we are forward future looking. Jesus helps us to rise above. That has been my attitude since my first serious bout with autoimmune in the early and mid 1990s. The Lord impressed upon me that he was calling me to something. The Lord was with me when I went through that time alone except for him. So this week will not define anything. It will only be a bump in the road. My ministry continues, but I am thankful my classes are on break for four more weeks. 🙂

My theme verses for this week are from Proverbs 24:

“Do not lurk like a thief near the house of the righteous,
    do not plunder their dwelling place;
 for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again,
    but the wicked stumble when calamity strikes”
.

The theme being that though a righteous person is attacked and falls, the righteous person gets back up. We get back up. The Lord empowers us to get back up.

I want to share this song again that I share last year- I Will Not Lay Down by Margaret Becker. Thank you for reading. God Bless 🙂

Yesterday was ugh- a Fibro Day, but God….

Sunday was wonderful with going to church and then having lunch with a friend. We met at a Vietnamese restaurant to eat one of my favorite foods- Pho, Pho is a rice noodle soup that I love to eat.

The week was off to a great start on Sunday, so it was full steam ahead, right?

Wrong!!! I woke up Monday realizing that fatigue had reared its ugly head again. I woke up tired. I went back to sleep. All I could do yesterday was binge watch some shows. When I am fatigued like that, I can’t focus to read.

That is the reality of living with chronic illness. I never know when a bad day will come. The only thing I accomplished yesterday was posting in my blog..Flare ups can include:

Fibro is one of the chronic illnesses I live with but it is the one that kicks my butt the most. I have been living with chronic illness for over 25 years. I have not shared much in the past because I do not want to let it slow me down. Now I am at an age most people slow down a bit anyway, but I still do not want to slow down. I have had ministry trips to other countries and hope to go on more.

However, I did feel the presence of Jesus with me all day. I had a song in my spirit all day. 🙂 It helped me to focus on the wonderful guaranteed eternal future with Jesus 🙂

I have felt I should share about my life with chronic illness because my hope is to encourage others living with chronic illness. I think of 2 Corinthian 1:

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”

God has helped me, been with me, through so many issues in this life. My desire is to be used by God to encourage those who experience the same or similar struggles.

So if by sharing that I had what I call a Fibro day yesterday meaning a Fibromyalgia flare, I can help encourage others, than that makes it worth it to me because in heaven I won’t have chronic illness anymore. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Music Mondays- Speak the Name- Dove Awards Performance by Koryn Hawthorne and Natalie Grant

Strongholds are broken
I’ve been made free
I am forgiven
Fear has to leave
Strongholds are broken
I’ve been made free
I am forgiven
Fear has to leave
Your Name is healing
Your Name is power
Your Name is holy
My strong, strong tower
Wonderful Name
Glorious Name
Powerful Name of Jesus

Jesus

The lyrics of speak the name are so powerfully true. Jesus has the name above all other names. He has all authority and power. But he extends the invitation to come to him for healing. mercy, help, forgiveness. The list is endless of what he offers to those who call upon his name.

Even a faint whisper of calling out to him in our lowest moments, in our darkest hours, when we feel hope is lost, will get his attention. Jesus invited us to do so in Matthew 11:

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

So many times in my life I have called out to him and have seen him work. Sometimes in big ways and sometimes in a series of small things, but it is him working. He often works through others.

One year ago I was at one of my lowest points. I had been dealing with pain and fatigue due to chronic illness. I couldn’t work a simple job for summer income during the break from teaching. All I could do was say Jesus. I could only say his name. I couldn’t say anything else as I tried to pray. I could only say his name with a feeling of please help.

He moved. He worked in small ways and big ways. It started when a special friend brought me food that took care of me for a week. It made me feel human again. So many ways that Jesus worked through others last summer.

If you are in a low point, just speak his name. He already knows your situation and what you need. If you don’t know what to say or can barely say anything, just say his name as a prayer. Just say- Jesus.

I want to share this performance of speak the name at the Dove Awards with you today. Koryn Hawthorne and Natalie Grant sing is so beautifully and powerfully.

Just speak the name.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.