Grieving Loss

I had planned to write about something else today, but as I was praying I felt led to write about grieving today. As I prayed this morning, I prayed for God to help me show his love when I visit friends from Iran this afternoon. A cousin of theirs died in Iran, so today they are gathering in a home to remember their cousin.

I will never forget a funeral I went to seven years ago for a teen girl from Vietnam who died. It was a Buddhist funeral. It struck me that for her family in their belief she is gone forever. They will never know her again. They believe she will reincarnated as someone or something else. They believe the daughter they knew is lost forever.

What a contrast for those of us who follow Jesus. Paul wrote in 1 Thessalonians 4:

“Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.”

Yes we feel sad over the separation but we are encouraged to remember that the separation is temporary because we will see and know our loved one again. Our guarantee of that is the fact that Jesus died and rose from the dead. So yes we grieve, but we grieve with hope, the certain hope of being reunited with our loved one because of Jesus.

Paul didn’t write so you do not grieve meaning we are not to grieve. He wrote we do not grieve like those who have no hope. So going through the grieving process is something we experience yet our experience is to be different in the sense that we have hope.

A blog I follow, the peaceful nest, is written by a mother whose son died. She shares her experience of how God comforted her and brought her through the valley of grieving. Here is a link for one of her posts. I think you will be encouraged by her posts.

Grieving is not something we should be in denial about. We should reach out to our friends who are grieving. If we are grieving, we don’t need to put on the ‘I am okay’ exterior all the time.

The difference for those who follow Jesus is that we understand death is a temporary separation. I understood that when my father died. He had prayed with me to receive Christ one year before he died. I was with him the morning he died. I had peace in knowing he was in heaven to the point that even though I was grieving, I taught my class that night.

With Jesus, there is hope in every situation.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.


You Matter to God

(This post deals with the issue of suicide. If that is a trigger for you, please do not read it. If you are struggling, please call 1-800-273-8255)

A friend of mine on facebook posted a picture of an adult lion looking back at his lion cub with a caption of, “I thought about quitting but then I noticed who was watching.”

I loved it because it reminded me of myself. Living with autoimmune problems and persevering through other trials in ministry, there are times I have felt tempted to quit, but then I thought about those the Lord has connected me with.

This past June I experienced a flare up and prayed about it. In my prayer, I shared with the Lord that I wanted him to take me home to heaven. I was tired of pain, tired of many things, but then he reminded me of those he has brought into my life to share his love with and the truth of what Paul wrote in Philippians 1 hit me:

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!  I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far;  but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body.”

I share this because I can understand the feeling of wanting to give up. I wasn’t suicidal myself, but understand the feeling of wanting to quit. I share this because September is suicide prevention month. People who contemplate suicide often feel there is no solution for them, no hope for them, and that they are a burden to others. Their emotional/psychological pain is so bad that they feel ending their lives is the only choice.

I will never forget September 2011. There was a group of about 25 young people from Vietnam that I helped between 2007 and 20014. All of them went on to higher education except one. One of them, a 19 year old girl, completed suicide in September 2011. I will never forget the pain her loved ones experienced. Her funeral was one of the saddest experiences I have ever had.  She is always on my mind. It is like what Jesus talked about regarding the lost sheep in Luke 15:

Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

The lost one is always on our mind. I would do anything if I could go back 7 years and go to her house to stop her.

Dear reader you are precious to God. God loves you so much that he sent Jesus to die for you because God wants to forgive you and come into your life as your heavenly father. There is always hope with Jesus.

You matter to God!!!

If you are struggling please talk with someone. Talk with a pastor, a priest, a teacher, a friend you can trust, a family member you can trust.

You can call the hotline at 1-800-273-8255 if you want to talk with someone anonymously.

I would like to share a video with you by a young woman who had thought about suicide and why we shouldn’t do it. Her name is Lizzie. She is a Catholic young woman, but for my fellow evangelical readers, please do not let that prevent you from watching. She has a beautiful story to share about why we should keep going.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.


God Reminded Me of His Power Through a Baby.

On Sunday morning I visited my friends at their Ukrainian church, House of Prayer,  to join them for worship. It was a special weekend for them, so I was glad to join them.


I needed to step out for a moment and when I walked to the door to leave the worship center, a baby was crawling to get out the door that was cracked open briefly when kids went out. The door was about to shut on the baby. His father put his hand on the door and I picked up the baby and handed him to his father. Possible disaster averted.

For the baby it would have been impossible to stop the door from closing on him and injuring him. The baby was in danger. For me it was no big thing to pick the baby up and out of harms way.

God kept reminding me of it yesterday, so I began to reflect what happened.

For us, much like the baby, there are obstacles, problems, and difficulties that seem hard if not impossible to overcome in our own power. For God nothing is too big, too difficult, too hopeless. God can easily pick us up out of harms way. It makes me think of the simple yet profound truth the Angel Gabriel shared with Mary when she asked how it could be possible for her to have the baby Jesus when she was a virgin. Part of Gabriel’s response was:

“For with God nothing will be impossible.”

Jesus defeated death through his resurrection- nothing is impossible for God.

All of creation was created by God- nothing is impossible for God.

Jesus fed thousands with a few loaves of bread and a few fish- nothing is impossible for God.

The list goes on endlessly because nothing is impossible for God.

Dear reader whatever circumstance we are in, nothing is impossible for God.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.




3 Day Quote Challenge Day 1- Music Mondays- I Can Only Imagine Sung by Aliyah Moulden on The Voice

Wow I woke up and found that while I was sleeping, I had already had my best day for views and visitors and ALSO that I have been nominated for the 3 Day Quote Challenge by Amy Blount in her blog A New Life.  You can click on her name in blue to visit her great blog where she shares about her life overcoming difficulties with her faith and being a mom. I enjoy reading her posts and think you will too. The 3 Day Quote Challenge is for a blogger to write a post 3 days in a row using a quote that means something to them.

So for my first quote in the 3 day quote challenge I would like to share one from Billy Graham one of my heroes of the Christian faith. “My home is in heaven. I’m just traveling through this world.” I try to have this perspective on life and after having been through 2 health crises in my life the reality that God has a far better home waiting for me gives me the desire to live for him in this life. This also leads me to one of my all time favorite songs for Music Monday I Can Only Imagine.

I Can Only Imagine was written by Bart Millard and originally recorded by Mercy Me. Aliyah Moulden sang it on the show The Voice in May 2017. Her father died when she was in infant, so it is no stretch to think that as she sang, she might of thought of her dad being in heaven. I love the song whether it is the Mercy Me recording or a cover by someone else because the song reminds me that this is much more beyond this life. As someone who has had one serious health crisis 20 years ago and another one not quite as serious more recently, the realization that there is so much more waiting for us in heaven is a blessing I cannot adequately describe in words.

 It is Monday which means one of my favorite TV shows will be on this evening. I love watching The Voice but perhaps for a different reason than most. Yes, I enjoy the singing and watching the performers, but the thing I love most about the show is seeing the coaches, musicians themselves, mentor the performers on the show.


I think I should mention that I am not a country music fan. It just simply hasn’t been a genre I have enjoyed, not that I have anything against it. So Blake Shelton is a singer whose music I have never listened to unless he performs on The Voice and I have never bought any of his CDs or downloaded his songs from iTunes. However, I am impressed with how he cares for singers on his team, mentors them, and is all in for them. The connection he has with each of them is obvious. As a result, I often find myself voting for people on his team.

So I hope you have a blessed Monday and that maybe this video helps you along on a Monday. God Bless and thanks for reading my blog 🙂

For the 3 Day Quote Challenge I would like to nominate Ana who has the blog Beauty Beyond Bones where she shares about how her faith helped overcome eating disorder and also about her life. I have learned a lot from her blog and think you would enjoy it too.

Surprise Reunion Reminded Me There Will Be Reunions in Heaven/Remembering My Father

Each year the 3rd Monday in April marks an anniversary that most of us would not want to have and each year at this time I tend to get a bit down and reflective. In fact, I haven’t been able to write the short story yet that I usually post on Tuesdays for my other blog,, because my creative side gets stymied when I get down. I think part of why I get bogged down with this is that it was mostly me with my father in his final days. Yes I helped him to be in contact with my siblings, but there are many parts of his final days I have never shared. I carry them with me in my memories and there they will stay. I want my siblings to be free of it. But a surprise blessing today reminded me that reunions do happen.

Last week I shared about seeing the movie I Can Only Imagine and the memories it evoked for me of my father and how God worked a miracle for me to be able to help him find peace with God in the final year of his life- Forgiveness from me led to my father receiving forgiveness from God.

It was the third Thursday of April 2009 that the decision was made for my father to be placed under hospice care. He deteriorated quickly and by the next day, Friday, it looked like it would be very soon for him to pass away. I was able to use my cell phone on speaker for him to hear and speak with my older brother and younger brother living in other states. On Saturday he rebounded, but on Sunday he started to decline again.

Throughout my life with Jesus, when there was something Jesus wanted to show me, many times a song would be in my spirit. There was a song in a musical at my home church on Palms Sunday that year and one of the songs was Life Goes On about the truth that for those who believe in Jesus life does go on for eternity.

On the Monday morning my father died, God woke me up with that song in my spirit and I knew what it meant. I got up and got ready then I drove to his nursing home. While I was driving there, they called me on my cell phone to tell to get there as soon as I could. When I arrived, he was comatose and not responsive. I sat down and read from 1 Corinthians 15 to him as he was dying. His last breathe was while I was reading the part about the seed that falls into the ground. Only a few days later did it dawn on me how fitting it was for him to die at that moment because he loved rose gardening. But his story does not end there. He is in heaven now.

This afternoon I had a surprise reunion with my friends Isis and Eduardo from Brazil. They came to the U.S. to take their daughter to Disney World and decided to come to Lincoln to see old friends. They contacted me and we met for coffee this afternoon. I met their almost 4 year old daughter Julia. It was a wonderful reunion with precious friends with hugs and shared memories. The kind of reunion that puts a smile on your face.

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When I came home, I sat down and it dawned on me what had happened. God blessed me with the surprise reunion and reminded me there will be wonderful reunions in heaven. One day I will see my father again and there won’t be labels like alcoholic. Only two souls enjoying heaven because of God’s grace in Jesus. There will be many other reunions in heaven.

This isn’t Music Monday, but I want to share the song with you that was in the musical at my church- Life Goes On.


Easter- Jesus Is Alive.

It is Easter Sunday, my favorite Sunday of the year. Why? Because the resurrection of Jesus means that his death for us did indeed accomplish what Jesus set out to do which is to die for all of our sins. Jesus took death and wadded it up like a piece of paper. Death had no power over Jesus. He is alive forevermore and he wants to share that with us!!!!

I am posting this on Sunday morning before I go to church. I am looking forward to celebrating Jesus’s victory over death for us. Because he conquered the worst that can happen to us, death, we have hope in every situation.

He wants to share the power of his resurrection with us for eternal life and also for situations in our lives now. I remember when my father was in Alcoholics Anonymous. There is a line in their ‘Big Book’ that says, ‘there is one who has all power, may you find him now.’ Jesus is the one who has all power and he wants to set us free from problems in this life like addictions, broken relationships, eating disorders, and other problems. He came to give us life. He came to give us his resurrection power so we can be free from sin in our lives, to be freed up to forgive, to live healthier lives emotionally, mentally, and psychologically.

I have experienced myself how Jesus can help free us. He freed me from addiction 30 years ago. He freed me from the tangled web of mind games in my family. He freed me from death when I was dying 25 years ago, so I could serve him longer in this life. There are so many other examples from my life of how Jesus shared the power of his resurrection to help me. As I write this, I pray for those who will read this to experience the power of the resurrection in their lives, to receive his love, grace and mercy.

I would like to share this music video by Kristene DiMarco with you. My hope is it blesses you.

God Bless and Happy Easter- HE IS RISEN!!!

Good Friday and Easter Approaching

It is hard to believe Easter weekend is almost here. One week from today we will be observing Good Friday to remember the suffering and death of Jesus on our behalf followed by Easter Sunday as we celebrate Jesus defeating death for us.

This year I have been thinking a lot about what the authentic first Good Friday and Easter experience would have been like for those who lived it. Even some people who usually do not get much notice from the first Good Friday/Easter get my attention like Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus or the Roman Centurion who said, “Truly this was the son of God.”

What thoughts would they have had? What feelings about the drama would they have had? Those are things that have been on my mind a lot this year.

So, next week my posts in this blog and also in my fictional short story blog will focus on the people who lived through and experienced that first Passion of our Lord.

My prayer is to grow closer to Jesus as we go through the week we remember the Passion of Jesus.

Jesus Laid in the Tomb- His Followers Despair and Lose Hope

Good Friday and Easter Sunday deservedly receive a lot of attention. They are the pivotal events in not only Christianity, but also in History. On Good Friday we remember His sacrificial death for us. On Easter Sunday we remember how He defeated death for us through His resurrection. But what about the day in between Good Friday and Easter Sunday? The day when Jesus’ body laid in the tomb. His followers were in despair. They had lost hope. They thought it was all over and done with and their beloved leader was gone forever.

I have been to the funerals of loved ones and friends. Looking into a casket is perhaps the most solemn experience we face in this life. That and watching a loved one die. I was with my father when he died. He died while I was reading from the bible to him. When my father died, I did not despair. That was because over a year before he died, I was with him while he made peace with God by trusting in Jesus. I had so much peace about where my father went to that I taught my class that evening, but I had the benefit of knowing the rest of the story which is that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.

There are other moments in life that might we feel all hope is lost. We look at our life obstacles and wonder if there is anyway that we can find that job, get out of debt, experience our loved ones finally getting their life turned around, recover from an illness or any other of life’s seemingly unending problems. We at times are like the followers of Jesus on that Saturday between the first Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is as if we are on the outside of the tomb lost in despair.

I often wonder how His followers felt that Saturday. What it must have been like for those who washed His body and prepared His body for burial. They had forgotten about how Jesus called Lazarus back from the dead only days before Jesus entered Jerusalem. They had forgotten how Jesus had told them that He would die and that He would be raised from dead. They had lost hope. We do the same thing. We lose hope even though we have the rest of the story. We know that Jesus defeated death. His resurrection proves that He has power even over our worst enemy. When we face life’s difficulties, it is too easy for us to lose hope and not keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.

On this Saturday between Good Friday and Easter, I would like to encourage you to think about your problems and then remember that He has all power. His resurrection is the proof that we too will one day enjoy the benefits of heaven, and also that He does have all power. He is more than able to help us to overcome our difficulties.

Greater Love Has No One Than This- to Lay Down Their Life for a Friend

On this day, Good Friday, I am taking time to reflect on the death of Jesus and its implications for me and for all of us. Two things always come to my mind as I reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus, my own sin which He died for and His love, His unfathomable love for me and for all. Jesus spoke of this kind of self-sacrificing love when He said, “Greater love has no one than this to lay down their life for a friend.”

There are inspiring stories of people giving their lives for others such as soldiers who throw themselves on a grenade to save their friends or of mothers in crisis while giving birth telling the doctor to save their baby even if it means the mother losing their own life. When I hear these stories, I am inspired by their examples of true love for another or others. There is much discussion about what love is these days in America. The kind of love Jesus is talking about encompasses not only family/brotherly love but something far greater. Jesus is talking about the kind of love God has for us. He uses the verb agape as He speaks about greater love. Agape is the Greek word for God’s unconditional love. Jesus showed us the unconditional love of God when He died for us. Jesus, God’s one and only son, died for us.

An awe inspiring thought for me is the fact that Jesus knew what was going to happen to Him before He was arrested, put through a joke of trial, and was crucified. He knew what was going to happen and went anyway. In John 18 we read, “Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?” He went out to meet those who were coming to arrest Him. There was a detachment of soldiers that had come to arrest Him which would have been at least 400 men armed with swords and spears. Lethal danger was approaching, Jesus knew it and went out to meet it. He has all power, so He could have stopped it, but He went out to meet it. He knew that He would be tortured and crucified on a cross. He knew that He would die a terrible death and He went out to the detachment of soldiers and allowed them to take Him away to what would lead to His death. Why?

Why? Because He loves you and me. His love is the love of God, self-sacrificing, unconditional, reaching out to those who suffer, reaching out to people like me who are unworthy of His love. This evening when I go to Good Friday Service at church, I will reflect upon and remember that Jesus loved us so much that He died for all of our sins because He wants us to be with Him for eternity in heaven. He died for us to pay our penalty for our sin. We do not deserve His sacrifice, but because of his love, He gave it for us. That is true love.

Visits by Jesus After His Resurrection- Ghosts Don’t Eat

While I do not believe in ghosts, I realize there are people who do. Some might be tempted to think that Jesus’ followers saw a ghost when He appeared to them after His resurrection. There were two occasions when Jesus appeared to His followers that He did something ghost cannot do. He ate food.

In Luke 24- “40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[f] 41 But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[g] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.” Jesus ate food in front of them to show them it was indeed Jesus and He was in His body. On another occasion in John 21 we see, “15 So when they had eaten breakfast” in reference to Jesus eating breakfast with his disciples. He not only ate with them, He even cooked the breakfast of fish and bread that He ate with them.

Jesus showed His followers the proofs of His scars from His wounds and ate with them to demonstrate that He was risen from the dead in His physical body. He displayed the fact that He had defeated death. He took on our worst problem, which is death, and defeated it through His resurrection.

It makes me think about the problems I may face in life from time to time and compare them to the worst thing we will all have to face someday which is death. It makes my problems seem not as monumental. It also helps me to realize there is hope in every situation because the one who conquered death, Jesus, has also made a promise. He said, “I am with you always….”