Music Mondays- Fearless by Jasmine Murray

But I wasn’t given the spirit of fear
I was given the power of love
Everything I’ve been fighting against
I’m gonna lift it up

I love these lyrics in the song Fearless by Jasmine Murray. When we face difficulties, we can lift them up to Jesus. God has not given us a spirit of fear to be slaves to it. As Romans 8 says:

“The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 

God wants us to come to him with everything. Every problem, every challenge, every obstacle, God wants us to lift up them to him.He has given us the power of his love. As 1 John 4 says:

“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”.

God loves us. so we can come to him in prayer with anything we face being confident in his love and ability.

As 1 Peter 5 says:

“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

Dear reader whatever you are facing today, God loves you and wants you to give it to him in prayer.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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Music Mondays- Your Love Is Mine by I Am They

“I walked alone, trying to find my way
On winding roads and paths that I had made
Wandering so far from grace I’d given up on things that I believe
My hopes and dreams were buried in the sea
But you were there, calling out to me

We all we walk alone at times. There can be times we feel we are trying to find our way and the path winds all over the place. I love the lyrics in the song Your Love Is Mine by I Am They.

When we feel uncertain, when we feel fearful about life, what is the remedy? Many might jump quickly to answer faith.

But- the bible in 1 John 1 says”

“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”.

When we feel lost in life, hopeless, fearful, or down, the answer is to experience the love of God. His love drives out fear.

Think of a child when they are scared, tired, hurt, or upset. Who do they seek out? They seek out mom or dad. Provided of course they are good parents.

When we come to faith in Jesus, God adopts us as his children. He doesn’t do so for us to live in fear, feeling hopeless, or lost in life. Romans 8 says:

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”

God does not want us to be a slave to fear. He wants us to live in relationship with him. We become heirs along with Jesus. The fact that Paul first wrote generic ‘those’ who are led by the Spirit are children of God shows men and women are both included. However, in the same passage he refers to the same people receiving adoption to sonship. He isn’t saying women become sons. He is referring to INHERITANCE in Christ. In those days it was the oldest son who inherited most of the inheritance from the father. Anyone who comes to Jesus becomes a heir. That is his point.

The love of God, forgiveness, eternity in heaven, and all of the blessings are for all who follow Jesus.

So basically God is saying give me your garbage and baggage and I will give you blessings because I love you.

Thank you for reading, God Bless.

My Wonderful Sunday Post Fibro Flare Up

Sunday was wonderful. I was able to spend time with friends from five different countries. It was one of those days that helps me realize there is still a purpose for me in this life. I may be dealing with chronic illness, but God is able. 🙂

It started with conversation group at my church with friends from Mexico and Vietnam. I taught them about words in English that can be a noun or a verb depending on how they are used and also the difference in pronunciation.

After church I had lunch with a friend from Vietnam at Pho Factory. Pho is a rice noodle soup that you can choose which meats are added. As you can see from the picture, I love Pho 🙂

After lunch I returned to church for a new study group. It was our first meeting. I will be meeting with Spanish speaking friends We will be doing an entrecambio-exchange. I will be helping them with English and they will help me with Spanish. I had students from El Salvador and Venezuela.

My day finished with going to a birthday party for a 7 year old boy from Brazil. I teach his mom on Saturdays. It was great to see some of my Brazilian friends. I also made a fun video about brigadeiro which is a chocolate they make in their homes. In the video I show how brigadeiro is good with strawberries and watermelon and end by saying it is good with everything. Thought I should explain that because in the video I am speaking Portuguese. 🙂

The rain held off until we were just about done with the party. After the party, I came home.

For me there is nothing better than a Sunday of going to worship service, meeting with friends from various countries, and sharing Jesus’s love with them. I am so grateful that my fibromyalgia flare up subsided in time for me to enjoy my Sunday with the world 🙂

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

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.

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.

God’s Love/Spotlight on a New Blogger

A simple yet profound truth that John shared in his first letter is found in 1 John 4:

“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

Those three words- God is love- express so much. God’s love is unconditional. God’s love is nurturing, sustaining, providing, self sacrificing. It runs counter to our selfish ME generation.

There are times I read posts that remind me of God’s unconditional love. Of course as human beings we are not capable to fully expressing God’s love and struggle, however, a post recently by a new blogger caused me to reflect on God’s sacrificial love for us. She is a mother with an autistic child.

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Her blog is my9.home.blog. Her first post is Notes from a Sycamore Tree. It is a beautiful post that shares her struggle and Jesus helping her as she loves her autistic son.

Loving others with God’s love is not easy. At times it will drive us to prayer to ask for strength. We are fallen imperfect people living with other fallen imperfect people.

God has called each of us to love others. Often it isn’t easy, but it is what he wants from us. But we can’t do it in our own power. Fortunately for us, he will give us the ability as we seek him.

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Feeling Reflective

As I was driving to have lunch with friends yesterday to celebrate my birthday, I drove past an apartment complex that holds some memories for me. I used to tutor children from Korea in their homes there in the afternoons after school.

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But the memory that really stays with me is of my friend In Keun who lived in an apartment there with his wife and three children. He was diagnosed with stage 4 stomach cancer in February 2006. I visited him often to pray with him and his wife. I was with them when he died in their apartment under hospice care in June 2006.

The day he died, I spent the whole day with them. He was fading fast. Other Korean friends came to show support, pray, and wait. We sang worship songs in his bedroom. He went in and out of consciousness. The last time he smiled was when I whispered in his ear that I would help his wife and children.

When my birthday comes, I get reflective. The Lord has blessed me to know friends from so many different countries.cultures. Twenty years of memories that come to me at times when I get reflective.

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I will see my friend again in heaven. His faith in Jesus was obvious especially as he was battling cancer. We do not live in the past, but past memories can motivate us in a good way. My desire is for everyone I meet to know the love of Jesus just as my friend In Keun did on earth and does in heaven.

My desire is for this coming year to befriend more immigrants and refugees, teach them, help them, and share the love of Jesus with them

Thank you for reading. God Bless.

Conversations with Myself?

Yesterday I met with a friend from Mexico to help her with English with a focus on preparing to teach yoga classes here. We have been watching yoga videos and pausing them when she needs me to explain words which isn’t very often.

The yoga instructor in the video talks about love yourself and say good things to yourself while looking in the mirror. I joked with my friend that I don’t look at the mirror very long because my reaction is something like- What in the world happened to me? 🙂

I understand that some people benefit from doing affirmations in the morning, but that has never really been for me. However, there is something I do. I talk to myself sometimes in the morning.

Examples;

I wake up fatigued and with pain, so I tell myself- “Man Up and get going. The Lord has things for you to do today.”

I feel like I want to stay home and relax- “Opportunities from Jesus await you, Get going”

Once a pastor suggested I read the first chapter of Ephesians and replace us with me as I read to remind myself of the blessings Jesus has given us/.me. I think that can be effective for many people, but for me it was like-Yeah I got it.

Each of us is wired differently, so thankfully the bible is full of messages. That means each of us can find what helps us get going and helps us overcome. For me it is what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.”

Having experienced Christ’s love and forgiveness, I want everyone to experience it. That is my motivation on mornings I wake up with fatigue and pain. At this point in my life, I want to be able to say I have run the race, I have finished the course the Lord set for me.

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We all have conversations with ourselves throughout the day. We need to be careful which voice we listen to as we do so. Do we believe the lies whispered? or Do we listen to the voice of our Savior?

That is why I tell myself things like- “Man Up. The Lord has things for you to do today.” It keeps my focus on him not on me.

What do you remind yourself of?

Thank you for reading. God Bless.