Happy 4th of July- Independence Day in USA

As I write this Friday night on the 3rd, I can hear fireworks being set off. I can look out the window and see the bright colors lighting up the sky. The 4th of July is here and in my city people start celebrating early. It is fun to celebrate with fireworks, barbecues, friends etc.

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But what it really is all about is Freedom. The famous line in the Declaration of Independence reminds of that:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their Creator, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

A bold proclamation to make that all men are created equal and that God gives us the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The King of England did not agree with that, so a war was fought and we know who won.

The problem was that the document while stating truth was written by imperfect men. It took much longer for the unalienable rights to be experienced by all men and women in the USA, and the struggle for that in practice in every day life continues.

The problem is that documents and laws of men can not change the human heart that is full of sin. The pet sins vary from person to person.

The good news is that true freedom, freedom from the curse of sin, can be found in Jesus. In John 8:36 Jesus said:

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

Jesus came to set us free from sin and the punishment for sin. Jesus can change the hearts of people and transform us. That is true freedom.

Story Time- Silly Boys on the 4th of July

When I was a child, my friends and I had a habit on the 4th of July. Actually it was on the morning of the 5th. We would walk around the neighborhood pulling our red wagons behind us. Why?

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We were collecting our ‘treasures’. What were our treasures? The burned out fireworks left in the streets that had not been cleaned up yet. The burned out cones from fountain fireworks were the best. We collected them to take to the driveway of one of our homes to talk about fireworks.

I am sure our parents and neighbors got a kick out of watching the small group of 7, 8, and 9 year old boys walking around picking up burned out fireworks like we had just found gold.

The fun would usually last for an hour or so until the mom of the house would come outside to tell us to throw them in the trash can all while trying not to laugh.

Reminds of the saying one man’s trash is another man’s treasure only in this case it was one man’s trash was a group of boys’ treasure. 🙂 We did not view them as disposable items. They had value to us.

Sometimes we can feel like trash in life. We have our struggles. We might feel like we are not worthy. But in God’s eyes, we are treasures. In all of creation, there is nothing more valuable to God then us human beings. He showed how much he values us when Jesus came to die for us and defeat death for us.

But God’s doesn’t pull a little red wagon around to pick up his treasures. He works through his children those who have trusted in his Son.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Father’s Day Thoughts

Today is Father’s Day in the USA and perhaps other countries as well. I love reading posts by bloggers who were blessed to have good fathers. It is also a blessing to watch good fathers at my church interact with their children.

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For some Father’s Day is a reminder of an absentee father, an abusive father, or a father who is emotionally distant. I grew up with an alcoholic father. I understand how having a father who is not present and encouraging can affect a person. I shared a post a few years ago about how God blessed me with the opportunity to share with my father when he came to faith in Jesus in a post Forgiveness from me Led to My Father Receiving Forgiveness.

For some though the wounds are deep and it really affects viewing God as Father even though Jesus repeatedly said phrases like Your Father in Heaven. But God understands and knows if we need healing for our souls. One post I had a few years ago was about how we can start with Jesus as big brother if we need to. The post was Having and Eternal Big Brother.

If you, like me, were not blessed with a good earthly father, God will gently bring healing into your life to help you to embrace him as father. It can be step by step.

If you were blessed with a good earthly father, celebrate him today and let him know how much you appreciate him. Embrace the day. 🙂

Happy Father’s Day to all of the good dads out there.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Happy Mothers Day

It is Mothers Day here in the USA. I would like to wish a Happy Mothers Day to all of the moms who follow and read my blog.

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Many of the people I interact with a lot here in my blog are wonderful moms with great blogs to follow. I hope today is a special day for you even though the times are quite different.

I would like to thank the mom bloggers I interact with and follow for your posts that inspire me, give me smiles, and brighten my days.

This Mothers Day I would like to share a song with you. The song is from a genre I don’t usually listen to but the woman who wrote it and sang it did so inspired by her grandmother. The song is- God Made A Woman.

I will share the version from American Idol so you can see the back story and also the full song.

Happy Mothers Day. God Bless 🙂

Reflections on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Every year when Martin Luther King Jr. Day draws near, I like to show my students the video of Dr. King’s famous I Have A Dream speech. I explain about the terrible segregation and discrimination that Dr. King and others worked to end. I explain that his speech happened while Congress was considering the Civil Rights Act and that they benefit from Dr. King’s work and the work of others because we have a law against discrimination.

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Each time I watch the speech, I get goosebumps. I was a child during the Civil Rights movement. I was only ten years old when Dr. King was killed. But even as a child, I admired him and what he stood for.

The church should be the place where equality is the norm and not the exception. The only way to become a Christian is through the cross of Jesus. We are all sinners who need forgiveness and we find it at the foot of the cross of Jesus. There are no elite people before the cross of Jesus.

Paul wrote something revolutionary 2,000 years ago. In Galatians 3 we read:

“There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”

There is to be no dividing line in the church. We are all one in Christ Jesus.

The Christian’s thought should only be does a person we meet know Jesus or not.

God has blessed me with the wonderful opportunity to share his love with people from all over the world. My childhood days of feeling inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., becoming best friends with the only African American boy in 7th grade, becoming good friends with two Native American brothers in 10th grade, set the tone early on for what would be my future calling from God to share his love with people from diverse cultures.

I am thankful for the impact Dr. King had on me as a child.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

A Snow Day-Just What This Spoonie Needed

I have shared about being what is called a spoonie before. A spoonie refers to someone living with chronic illness. A young woman Christine Miserandino shared with a friend trying to understand what having chronic illness felt like. She used the example of spoons and that people with chronic illness have limited spoons while other people do not have limited spoons. The spoons represent energy for the day. I am sharing a video of her explaining her spoon theory in this post.

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As someone living with chronic illness, I have to think about my energy level. If I have a long day of teaching, the next day I am exhausted. Fatigue is my constant companion that I don’t want to hang out with.

So when classes were canceled yesterday due to a snow and ice storm, I welcomed the day of rest I had not planned on. I saw the notification that school was canceled after waking up to my alarm, I went back to sleep. I slept until 10:45.

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After I got up, I spent time listening to worship music. Then I played some word games online and caught up on my blog. I had taught morning, afternoon, and evening the day before and had thought Friday would be a nap day. God blessed me with a whole day of rest. I even took a one hour nap.

My hope is to spend today writing more for the book I feel led to write.

I am thankful for little blessings like snow days. It also gives me so much hope to know that this life is temporary. One day I will wake up in heaven because of Jesus and will not have chronic illness anymore.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

The Holidays Are Over, So…

Winter blues?

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The Holidays are over. Christmas and New Years have come and gone. If I was living in a warm climate like some of my followers in places like South Africa, Australia, Jamaica, Antigua, Brazil or other warm places, I would perhaps go to the beach.

But for those of us in the U.S., Canada, and other northern countries, when the holidays are over, it means it is just boring winter time. We have more hours of dark than sunlight and it is cold.

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Sound depressing? For some it can be.

Soon I will be back to teaching classes, next week in fact. It helps to get back to real life after a break. But as someone who lives with depression.anxiety caused by chronic illness, what helps me the most?

Each day I realize there is opportunity for me to share the love of Jesus with refugees and immigrants. Each morning I begin my day in prayer and listening to worship music. It is my relationship with Jesus that helps me the most.

It also helps to get out and be with people. I enjoy going to coffee shops. The ones I go to regularly are places that I know the people who work there. I have also met some of the other regular customers.

Visiting my refugee and immigrants friends is great. We eat, drink tea afterwards and sit and talk. Thursday evening I did just that. I visited a family from Iraq. We ate dinner and then sat down for tea and conversation for a few hours.

Writing helps too. Although I tend to get absorbed in it and forget to do things like eat until I am really really hungry.

What do you do to beat the winter blues? Or for those in warmer climates the pot-holiday blues. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Story Time- Sparklers in the Apartment?

I was in Constanta Romania for Christmas and New Years December 2005/January 2006. I went there to help them with their Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services among other things.

I was invited to a New Years party at the home of a family from the church. They lived in a 3 bedroom apartment. It was a fun evening of games, food, and friendship. When midnight came, we said La Multi Ani, one more year, to each other and then they lit sparklers in the apartment. You know the sparklers used for the 4th of July?

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When they lit them, at first I was concerned about fire safety. An image of a burning inferno crossed my mind. In the U.S., we would hopefully never light sparklers inside. But then I remembered something. Most of the apartment buildings in Romania have cement floors, walls, etc. A fire could not spread from one room to another or one apartment to another. So I joined in with the festivities.

It has been my privilege to join in celebrations in many cultures. Celebrations are a time of joy whether for a holiday, a wedding, a birthday, or a graduation.

Did you know that the angels in heaven celebrate whenever someone comes to know Jesus? In Luke 15, yes the chapter with the story of the Prodigal Son, Jesus said:

“In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

When someone comes to know Jesus, the angels rejoice because it means a new member of the family similar to when a couple has a new baby and friends and family rejoice.

So next time we don’t feel worthy, or feel lost and overlooked, remember that if you have Jesus, heaven rejoices over you. 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

New Things Come

“This is what the Lord says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland”. Isaiah 43

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The start of a new year, a new decade, can mean different things. For some it can bring on dread wondering what next in a life full of struggles. For some it can be an exciting time of wondering what new possibilities await them.

God calls us to look to him however we are feeling and whatever we are experiencing. He call us to him because he is prepared to do new things in our lives.

God call us to not dwell on the struggles of the past but to look to him because he has all power and loves us.

For me one of the new things is to finish writing a book. My prayer for the book is for it to glorify Jesus, encourage people in their faith, spur people to support efforts to help victims, and reach people who have been victims.

The book is from a short story I wrote in my other blog encounterswiththeancients.com and the story is Jessica’s Encounter At The Harbor Coffee Shop.

Thank you for reading. God Bless and Happy New Year. 🙂

The Decade Tag

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With this being the end of not only a year, but also a decade, I thought I would look back at what the Lord has done in my life the past ten years. Also I would like to make this a tag- The Decade Tag.

To play along:

1- Please share a link to the creator of the tag- jesusluvsall.wordpress.com

2- Share some highlights for you over the past decade and if you want a few low points

3- Tag whoever you wish to.

4- Ask them some questions

5- Use any picture appropriate for such a tag.

Highlights for me are:

2 trips to Brazil one with a group from church and one to teach English at a univeristy

1 trip to Mexico with a group from church

Studied Spanish for one year

Studied Portuguese for one year

Began and continue to teach in a specialized program- Family Literacy

Had a mentoring/study group for young people from Vietnam

Low points for the Lord has helped me with

Found our I have Celiacs Disease

Found out I have Fibromyalgia

Waiting to find our about another autoimmune problem

My questions for those I am tagging

1- What was your favorite song or songs from this past decade?

2- What was your favorite movie or movies from this past decade?

3- What was your favorite book from this past decade?

If they wish to participate, I am tagging

Purple Rose

Sharon

Deborah Marie

Jenny

Garden Faith

Sarah

Joy Cottage

Nikita

Noah

Angelica