Time With Jesus

Thursday mornings in my Family Literacy Class we have speakers come to talk about issues that help families with translators in class. Yesterday the speaker talked about attachment for infants and children and what is healthy attachment. She told the students that if a baby cries because mom leaves the room it is developmentally appropriate attachment.

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I raised my hand and asked if my students cry when I leave the room if that would be appropriate attachment. All of my students laughed.

I left the room for a while to take care of some things. When I came back, I asked if anyone cried. They laughed and one of them said, “We know you are coming back.”

Attachment is so important for anyone who follows Jesus. Jesus said In John 15:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

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Did you catch the last part? Apart from Jesus we can do nothing. We are dependent on him for the air we breathe to stay alive. He created everything, so yes we need him to stay alive in this life. But he is talking about spiritual life. The life of living for him, serving him, and sharing his love. We can’t do it without Jesus.

We go through difficult times and might wonder where Jesus is or when he will work on our behalf. We can wait and pray which is healthy or we can feel sorry for ourselves and doubt which is not healthy. The antidote for our fear and doubt is not what some would think. Some would say we need more faith. The bible says we need God’s love. In 1 John 4 we see:

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love”

We need to spend time with Jesus and soak in his love for us.We need relationship with him, to be connected with him.

Hannah of gracetobeimperfect.com shared a wonderful post about how solitude helps with anxiety. She refers to time with Jesus. It is a wonderful post to read. The post is Silence and Solitude.

Living with depression./anxiety caused by chronic illness, I feel a connection when I read Hannah’s posts. My time with Jesus in the morning is so important for me. Jesus always wants time with us. The question is do we want time with him?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- I Tried to Cook Thanksgiving Dinner for My Students

One year close to Thanksgiving, I wanted to give my friends a bit of a taste of a Thanksgiving Dinner. I wanted to share it with my friends who came to my weekend groups.

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I bought two turkeys, some potatoes, some veggies, and some pumpkin pie and other pies. I put the turkeys in the oven, started the potatoes boiling for mashed potatoes, and stood back. I suddenly realized that I did not know how to know when the turkeys were done.

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Fortunately, I was at church. I went upstairs hoping to find a woman I know to ask how I could tell when a turkey was done. I found my friend Kris. I asked her and she asked me a question that seems to be commonplace in my life, “Why, what are you doing?” I told her. She proceeded to go downstairs to the kitchen and took over. She even explained that if I wanted to leave some of the peel on the potatoes it is okay but I have to wash them first. She told me that because there was dirt floating on the top of the pot.

She kicked me out of the kitchen, and took over. I offered for her to call her husband and two daughters for them to join us. They did. In the end the dinner was awesome. My students enjoyed an American Thanksgiving dinner. Everything turned out okay.

When we step out to serve Jesus, he will fill in the blanks. He only asks us to step out and try. Serving Jesus often means that we do not know how things will turn out. Jesus will take care of that. He only asks us to be faithful to serve. We are not responsible for the results.

Stepping out in faith can be stressful for us. But if we step out in faith, Jesus will guide, empower, and bless. He will take care of the rest.

Who wants me to cook Thanksgiving dinner for them? Let’s see. I think maybe Deborah of greatisgodsfaitfulness.blog , Alim of forhispurpose. or Jenny of ofprogressandpurpose.com. You can vote by leaving a comment for who 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

My Early Christmas Presents to Myself

I treated myself to some early Christmas presents last week. Well, at least that is what I am telling myself.

I love coffee. I drink it every day. So I ordered a Love Justice coffee mug. It was only $10 and proceeds go to help Love Justice fight human sex trafficking. In the mornings when I drink my coffee, I will have a reminder to pray for Love Justice.

I also ordered a One Girl Prayer bracelet. I don’t wear bracelets myself 🙂 lol

But by ordering it, I commit to pray for a girl Love Justice has rescued. I keep the prayer bracelet and the card that comes with it close to where I have my morning times with Jesus.

These two simple gifts have a lot of meaning for me because they represent the Gospel of Jesus being shared with victims of trafficking. That is what Christmas is really all about, sharing the love of Jesus and the gospel message.

There are so many simple ways to keep Jesus at the center of the holidays. What are some of yours?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Why I Unfollowed and Removed A Blogger- Plagiarism

I created a tag 1 Grateful Person a few weeks ago. Perhaps by coincidence, I noticed a post by a blogger I follow titled One Grateful Person, so I check it our to see what it was about. The person who tagged the blogger had been tagged by someone with my original post. The person then rewrote it a bit using the same idea and changed the title from 1 Grateful Peron to One Grateful Person.

As an educator, plagiarism is an issue that is of concern to me.

As a Christian blogger I take steps to avoid plagiarizing another blogger. If a blogger posts something related to a post I write, I include a link to their post and write how it connects to mine.

Integrity is important to me. I unfollowed and removed the blogger from following me. Integrity means more to me that numbers.

Barnabas Award

I would like to thank both Yonnie of yonnieinhiscare.wordpress.com and Joy of joycottage.blog for nominating me for the Barnabas Award.

Joy encourages others so much in her posts and her comments. Yonnie also encourages me a lot when she comments on my posts.

The way this works: Thank the person who nominated you, and share their blog. Think of five bloggers that encourage and inspire you and nominate them. List five things about yourself. Lastly, ask your nominees five questions. Why five? Because five is the number that signifies grace.

5 Things About Me

  1. Jesus has blessed me with traveling on ministry trips in other countries 11 times. The countries- Romania, France, Mexico, and Brazil
  2. I am grateful the Lord led me to my home church where I have been a member for 25 years.
  3. I spend more time with refugees and immigrants living in my city than I do other Americans.
  4. Lord of the Rings is the best movie series ever.
  5. My mind tells me I am younger than I am. That causes problems for me sometimes 🙂

5 Questions For Nominees:

  1. Who in your life is your biggest encourager? Jesus of course 🙂 For other people I would have to say pastors at my church.
  2. How do you see yourself as being an encouragement to others? for refugee and immigrants through empowering them for their new lives in America for fellow American Christians through praying with them.
  3. When was the last time someone gave you words of encouragement? Sunday morning at church and Sunday afternoon in my Life Group.
  4. When you are down, what encourages you to get back up and keep pressing on? I face this often because i live with chronic illness. It is my relationship with Jesus and knowing there is fruitful ministry that get me out of bed and going.
  5. Who was your greatest encourager when you first accepted Christ? A married couple, Joel and Marlys, greatly encouraged me when I rededicated my life to Jesus.

My 5 Nominees are bloggers who encourage me a lot with their comments

Herry of herrychiccounsels.com

Dawn of drawingclosertochrist.com

Deborah of greatishisfaithfulness.blog

Jenny of ofprogressandpurpose.com

Beverley of becomingtheoilandwine.com.

Music Mondays- You Cannot Be Stopped by Laura Story

The lyrics of You Cannot Be Stopped are so full of wonderful truth about Jesus and who he is to us and for us. The opening lyrics are awesome:

The dark tried to hide You
And steal You away
Death tried to keep You
Inside of the grave
The enemy fought You
He tried but he lost
You cannot be stopped

Jesus defeated death for us. Satan thought Jesus could be kept in the grave but NO WAY. Jesus cannot be stopped.

Jesus carried all of our failures, sins, burdens. fears all of it on the cross. He bore the weight of it all for us because of his love for us.

The weight of our burdens
You carried it all
Our fears and our failures
Hang dead on the cross
You cannot be stopped

The song so beautifully expresses that Jesus bore it all for us.

Nothing can stop Jesus. He has all power and he has invited all to come to him.

Whatever we face Jesus has all power and loves us. Nothing can stop Jesus. One day he will return to bring his kingdom to earth. Until then we can trust him and look to him to help in all of our problems.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

How Jesus Feels Those He Sends

Saturday afternoon an organization, South of Downtown, held its first Makers Market in my city. Their office is across from the school where I teach moms English in the mornings. Four of the moms in my class signed up to sell things they make.

I was so impressed by the creativity of my students who participated.

One mom made hats by hand. She also made Christmas ornaments by hand and the most delicious flan I have ever had.

One of the moms made Jello desserts with flower designs. At first I thought she had put real flowers in and asked if I can eat the flowers. I found out she designs the flowers in the Jello. I have no idea how she does it. 🙂

The other two moms made food to sell including tamales.

The greatest blessing for me was to see how the moms were received by the Americans who came. As their teacher, I value them more than they know. When people receive them, I feel the people are receiving me also. If anyone rejects my students, I take it as they are rejecting me as well. My students are the most important to me after Jesus.

Feeling this way about my students and international friends has given me a little insight into what Jesus meant when he said in Luke 10 to his disciples:

“Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Jesus was sending his disciples out to share about him. He had trained them, spent much time with them, and invested in them. It is out of that experience that he told them whoever listens to you listens to me and whoever rejects you rejects me. It is a spiritual truth but also in the moment Jesus shared that with his disciples, I feel I can understand just a little of what Jesus felt.

Jesus loves all of us. He loved his disciples and as Jesus was sending them out, he knew what they would encounter. Jesus cared about them not only because they were serving him. He cared about them as people. He knew about their life stories, their struggles, and their journeys in life.

The same is true for anyone who seeks to serve Jesus and live for him. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows our life stories, our struggles and our journeys in life. He cares deeply about us.

That is how I feel about the moms in my class. I am so grateful that Jesus has blessed me with teaching them. Part of that is understanding a little of what Jesus felt and meant as he sent out his disciples and sends us.

Growing in What God Has Called Us To

Thursday morning in my class, I told the moms I had gifts for them. I gave them their workbooks for homework and as I went from mom to mom I said, “Happy Early Birthday”. They laughed but they didn’t know as a teacher I actually view giving them learning opportunities as being a gift.

The workbooks I gave them were according the their level of English for the groups they are in for small group work. I know my students and what they are capable of. I also believe in pushing them a little to learn.

They have different abilities, but they all want to learn.

God knows how we are wired. He knows our talents and abilities because he gave them to us. He not only gives us talents and abilities, he empowers us to use them. However, there is cooperation needed from us to develop in those talents and abilities. We need to step out and try serving and develop what God has given us.

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For my students, I can teach them, encourage them, make the classroom environment friendly and positive, but it is up to them to do homework. come to class, and learn.

We need to pray and seek God for where to serve. We need to spend time in his word, the bible, to grow and learn. We need to step out and try new things to find where God has called us.

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I have been teaching ESL, reaching out to refugees and immigrants, and leading a bible study for them for about 20 years. But I am 61 years old. That means that it took a while for me to discover what God was calling me to do. But now I would say as they say in Brazil-“Esta é a minha praia” meaning this is my beach. That refers to- This is my comfort zone or the place I am most familiar with.

The same is true with blogging. I have tried different things. Some have gone well and some I realized were not really me or what God wanted my blog to be. I also learned from other bloggers to see what they do. As bloggers we need to give ourselves permission to explore and try things to find out voice.

If you are in a season of seeking God to discover what he has in store for you, or if you are a new blogger exploring what your voice is as a blogger. please give yourself grace in the process. I tell my students mistakes are okay because then I know what they need help with. God helps us even with our mistakes as we try to serve him and as we blog.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

All The Years of Our Lives

I have been thinking about how different verses in the bible have grabbed my attention through the various stages of life. Being at a point in life that I have more yesterdays than I will have tomorrows gives me the benefit of hindsight as I look back on my life.

When I was younger verses such as Jeremiah 29:11 were ones I prayed and embraced as I was seeking to build my life and resume. The future was always on my mind and I wanted God’s blessing for my future.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

After a serious health crisis, in which I almost died, while I was recovering a seeking God’s help to rebuild my life the verse in Philippians 4 stood out to me.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”

Now that I am older the verses that have taken on a whole new meaning are what Paul wrote. I want to be able to say I fulfilled what I was called to do. My desire is to be able to say what Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 4

“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 

As I live with chronic illness 2 Corinthians 1 has been one I pray for in my life to experience God’s comfort and strength and to show it to others.

“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 “

My point is that whatever stage of life we are in whether it is conception to birth, infancy to childhood, teen years, young adult, middle age or senior years, it is obvious to me in scripture that God cares about every phase of our lives and also about the ups and downs of our lives. God wants relationship with us in every part of our lives. He has given us his word, the bible, to guide us and strengthen us.

God’s desire is to be with us through all of the years and experiences of our lives and then when our earthly lives are over to welcome us home to heaven. That is the thought I want to leave you with today as we start our weekends. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- The Thanksgiving Dinner Had to Wait

My story time posts will be about Thanksgiving experiences the next few Thursdays. 🙂

Many years ago my favorite college football team always played on Thanksgiving Day. One year the game was called the Game of the Century because it was # 1 versus #2 teams in the country. The game was back and forth. I was twelve years old and watched the game with my grandfather, my father, and my older brother. We were on the edge of our seats.

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With about ten minutes left in the game, we were told Thanksgiving dinner was ready. That was back when there was one TV in the house and of course no cell phones or internet to watch on. Our response was- NOT YET. Thanksgiving Dinner had to wait. Our team won the game and went on to play for the National Championship destroying Alabama in the 1971 Orange Bowl with a score of 38 to 6. The game against Oklahoma was the real National Championship game.

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Our team won. We ate Thanksgiving dinner feeling doubly blessed even though grandmother had a disapproving look as we came upstairs.

I think the hardest answer to prayer to accept is- WAIT.

If the answer to a prayer is yes, it is so easy to accept. If it is no, we feel bad for a short while but get over it.

BUT if the answer is wait, we have thoughts like-for how long, or when.

There can be many reasons for the answer to be wait. Perhaps we are not ready yet. Or perhaps the other aspects are not ready yet. Maybe the other people involved are not ready yet.

The best thing to do when the answer is wait, is to keep on praying and spending time each day with the Lord. If we do that, we will be renewed while we wait just as it says in Isaiah 40:

“but those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”

The Lord will bring the answer in his perfect timing. We need to guard against frustration and not confuse what we think the perfect time should be with his perfect timing.

Speaking of wait, I am still waiting for more info about Deandra of deandrahurst.com boyfriend. You know like pictures and info. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.