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Timișoara, România

Timișoara, România

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Freedom: Is It Just a Piece of Paper?

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Some view the US Constitution as just a piece of paper. Others know it to be more than that. While many have acted out the rights given to them (for good or bad), others still have not tasted its freedom. The same (and more so) is true with God’s Word. While some view it as just paper, those who have trusted in Christ know it to be so much more than just paper. No other pieces of paper have the power to save a man’s soul as the Word of God does. Image

Why do we view the US Constitution to be more than paper? Men have died to protect it and to share it with other countries. We should view God’s Word more than the Constitution for the very One Who sent His only Son to die for our sins -and lives-empowers His Word with life and freedom from our chains of sin.

One of the most beautiful correlations in our country between God and the USA is this: they both accept immigrants from the enemy. USA accepts the immigration of those from enemy countries providing freedom to them from the very oppression that the USA is against. God, through His Son, accepts “immigrants” from the greatest enemy of all- our sin nature. In fact, He takes it a step further and adopts us as His own!

Freedom to make one’s own choices is an honor to any new immigrant to the USA and to any Imageseasoned American. There are many freedoms to choose from to exercise. While some are beneficial to the individual and others beneficial to society as a whole, there are some “freedoms” that are not freedom at all.

Satan wants mankind to believe that freedom is making as many decisions as they want based on their own preferences and emotions. He tells mankind that the one decision that does give them freedom is the wrong decision. Neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama have the answers for America. While to the voter there is a clear choice to make as to which one is better, both are respecter of persons. There is only One who accepts all that come to Him. Jesus said that He, ” came not into he world to condemn to world, but to seek and to save that which was lost.”. Lost from what? Lost from the fellowship of God the Creator. The thief on the Cross, the Roman Centurion, and the woman at the well all came from different ethic and cultural backgrounds and each were granted freedom in Christ by Jesus Christ Himself. 

True freedom cannot be found in governments, kings, land, or wealth. True freedom cannot be given by mankind. Mankind can only receive true freedom from the Lord Jesus Christ. Found on the very pieces of paper that make up the Bible are Words that Grant freedom and eternal life. While the US Constitution is a strong and powerful document, it’s pieces of paper that can be changed at will by mankind. Unlike the US Constitution, the pieces of paper that make up the Bible will never be changed.
 
When it comes to a piece or pieces of paper, freedom is loose-leafed when mankind is in charge. Those immigrants to the USA from unstable countries where freedom is only pieces of paper cannot fathom why Americans have died defending the US Constitution. To us it is our very being and thread that has woven our American lives. However, the paper that makes up the US Constitution cannot be compared to those that act as a bed and vehicle for the very Words of God. God does not need paper for His Words to preserve the freedom that He grants to all who trust in Jesus Christ. For the Words that rest on mere pieces of paper flow into mankind’s heart granting him eternal freedom that cannot be changed or taken away by wars or by the will of man.
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The Broken Pieces (Dedicated to the Neglected Children of Romania)

The Broken Pieces (Dedicated to the Neglected Children of Romania)
By Jennifer Harper 8/12/2012

A dark cry of despair fills the room.
An empty thought paints a shadow of gloom.
Never to know a mother’s smile, never to know her love,
Leaves a child wondering to doom.

Locked away in body and in mind like a useless tool no one to come find.
Until one day a bright light appears to wipe away the sadness and the tears.
A heart once broken in pieces from neglect through the years,
Hears a voice that calms his fears:

“Come, young one, I will heal your broken pieces,
I will mend your broken heart.
I died for you so that we will never have to part.”
This is the voice of  One who sends His servants to the most despaired at heart.

The child looks up to see a face who’s eyes are filled with such forgiveness and such grace.
Actions speak louder than words, and the actions towards this child spoke its master’s heart,:
To care for the fatherless, to love them with all of their hearts.
With pure Christ-like love a child shall never want.

With God’s pure love, all small windows for this child are closed,
All large doors are open for this child to prosper as no one would ever suppose.
Like broken pieces of shells on the sand,
God takes a neglected child in His hand and molds him with love as only He can.

Proverbs 31:8-9

Best Friends Do Exist: A Birthday Tribute

A very lonely young girl once prayed, “Lord, please give me a best friend on this earth that will help me to serve you, that will cheer me on a cloudy day, that I will be able to depend on in the roughest of times, and that will love me despite my faults.”.

Little did this eleven year old girl know how long it would be before she truly had a best friend. Years went by mingled with joy and grief. Tears fell, trials passed, and yet this young girl remained true to her Savior despite the odds.

As the young girl grew she eventually went to a major university. Sure she made good friendships that still are lasting to today’s present time, but those friendships weren’t exactly what she was seeking to fulfill her idea of a best friend.

Some time passed with joy and enthusiasm. Some friends came and gone and some stayed; and little did the girl know that the green-sweater fellow who sat next to her in Chapel was to be her best friend created by God just for her. The two were parted for a short while to let growing and other such maturing take place, and then one Fall night at a soccer game her prayer was finally answered.

Yes, of course this girl is me, and I CANNOT imagine my life without the love of my life and my best friend, Jonathan. God answered my prayer with so much more that I could ever imagine. Who knew that the silly kid with the cheap sunglasses was so special, amazingly patient, unfailingly kind, and incredibly handsome. Even though I did not truly understand what I prayed for as a child, God knew how to fulfill what I was asking for.

I love you, crazy Jonathan Harper! Happy Birthday!

Things Found in the Backyard

Spring is here, and so are all of the beautiful flowers that come with it! Each day of Spring is a new adventure. What new form of life will be found today? The best part of Spring is the new life that comes out of the old plants.  Through Fall and Winter, many plants look listless and dried up, but when Spring comes life enters their veins once again.  It’s as if they are new once again.

This newness of life can also be found in Christ, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (II Cor. 5:17). Like the plants of Fall and Winter, we are lifeless without Christ. Once He enters our lives new life is given. The leaves of Fall blow away, the harshness of Winter is melted, and we are transformed into beautiful, new creatures.

It’s amazing how it’s so hard to recognize something that was so dead and is now so alive. Nothing is similar. This is how it should be in the Christian’s life. After Salvation has taken place, nothing should be as it was before. A tree holds it’s shape through all seasons, but when the new life from Spring comes into it,  it looks nothing like the tree that it was before. It still looks like a tree, but nothing of its life as a “dead” tree remains. This is how a Christian should be. Nothing of our “dead” life should remain in us. We should be showing the new life that we have received through Christ.

As a freshly bloomed flower shows the beauty and awesomeness of God, so should we as Christians. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” (Romans 6:3-5).

(Pictures included in this article are original, and the copying of them is strictly prohibited.)

Understanding Your Insurance Policy

Does trying to understand your insurance policy frustrate you? Are you confused about what each insurance term means? Do you understand why you get a bill from a provider after you paid in the office?

Let me help you with your frustrations. Stop pulling your hair out, and sit back and relax while I go over some simple definitions and scenarios with you.

First, let’s start with understanding basic insurance policy terms and definitions:

1. Co-Insurance: Your co-insurance is the part that you pay after your insurance has paid its portion. For instance, if your policy pays 80% of the charges for a doctor’s visit, then you will owe 20% of those charges.

2. Deductible: If your policy comes with a deductible, you must meet your deductible before your insurance company will start to pay a percentage of your charges. Your deductible is the amount that you pay out of your wallet before you see your insurance pay anything.

3. Out-of-Pocket: Some Policies come with an out-of-pocket. After your deductible is met, your insurance pays at 80% and you pay 20%. That 20% goes to the out-of-pocket. Some policies have out-of-pockets of $2,000. Once you have paid up to $2,000 in co-insurance, your policy will typically pay at 100% of the allowed medical charges. So, your out-of-pocket is really the limit that you have to pay up to until your insurance will pay your charges at 100% .

5. Copay: Not all policies come with a copay, but if yours does this is the amount that is promised to your provider through a contract from your insurance company. The copay comes from you as a part of the insurance’s upfront payment to the provider. Providers love to get money upfront, and insurances love to have the patient pay out money instead of them paying money. Typically, an insurance pays your charges at 100% if you have a copay, so the deal really works out nicely for all parties involved.

5. Allowed Amounts: An allowed amount comes from a contract between the provider and the insurance company. A provider may submit a charge of $260 to your insurance company. Because there is a contract between the provider and the insurance company, the insurance company may say that they are only going to allow $175 of the $260 charge and of that $175 they are only going to pay at 70%. This part is very tricky for patients to understand, because insurances companies can change their allowed amounts at any time. The allowed amount affects the patient’s co-insurance that is owed.

Your insurance company could tell the provider’s font office staff that they only allow $175 for a certain charge and that you have a copay of $25.  So, in order for the office staff to collect your co-insurance and copay, they figure an amount of $52.50 of coins due on the charge plus a $25 copay. The total amount that they would have you pay is $77.50.

This amount can change if the insurance company changes their mind after they give out the information. When the insurance finally responds to the charges, they can say that they allow the full $260. This means that the patient is going to owe more money. 70% of $260 is $182. The $182 is what the insurance will pay. This is more than they quoted to the provider office staff. Now, here comes the part that patients often have a hard time understanding: because the insurance allowed the full charge of $260 the co-insurance amount of $52.50 went up to $78.00. The patient may have paid 52.50 co-insurance and a $25 copay, but they now have $25.50 remaining due to the rise of the allowed amount. Please be aware that a quote of benefits is never a guarantee of payment. This means that the insurance’s decision is not final until they respond to the provider. IT IS NOT THE FAULT OF THE PROVIDER’S OFFICE IF THE INSURANCE COMPANY DECIDES THAT YOU OWE MORE MONEY THAN WHAT YOU WERE ORIGINALLY TOLD.

6. Provider Insurance Adjustments: When an insurance company decides an allowed amount on a charge, there is an adjustment made on the part of the provider’s office. The provider can charge your insurance company $300, but only allow $250. Because of the provider’s contract with the insurance company to accept their allowed amounts, they are responsible to adjust off the $50 that the insurance did not allow. This adjustment is “eaten” by the provider. This is one reason that you want a provider to be contracted with your insurance company. This is a benefit to the you as the patient.

7. Explanation of Benefits (EOB): An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is how the insurance company tells the provider and the patient what exactly they did to the charges. It explains what they allowed for each charge, what the patient owes, and what they paid to the provider. It can also relay a denial or need for more information.

8. Medical Necessity: This term refers to the insurance’s decision on whether or not they believe that they need to pay for the patient’s charges. If a patient continuously goes to a physical therapist, an insurance company may question the validity and medical need of these visits. They can begin to deny your claims and request medical records from the provider. Once this process begins it is a very long and hard road to receive paid claims from your insurance company.

9. Denial: This term is easy to explain. A denial is anything that your insurance will not pay. What is difficult about this term is that once a claim is denied, it can be a long process to get it paid. A provider may “stick” a patient with the bill until things are worked out with the insurance company.

10. Pre-certification/ Authorization: Some policies require that you notify them to receive medical attention. This term is the name of the process in which a provider will contact an insurance company to receive approval for you to attend their services.

11. In-Network: This is the term that is used to describe a provider who is contracted with your insurance company.

12. Out-of-Network: This term is to describe a provider who is not contracted with your insurance company. Typically, an insurance company will not pay for your claims if you receive services from an out-of-network provider.

It is very import to know the terms of your own policy. If a provider is quoted incorrect benefits from your insurance company and if the insurance company does not pay, it is the patient’s responsibility.  Appeals can be written, but it is never a guarantee that they will be won. Always know your benefits for each doctor and specialist that you see. It never hurts for both you and the office staff to contact your insurance company to verify your benefits.

A Book That Changes Lives Forever

There are many books in this world. Some books make you laugh, and some books make you cry. Some books bring you reason, and some books bring you desire. Of all the books in the world, what makes one book different from another? Is it the content? Is it the new concepts presented? Is it the author?

I have read many books throughout my life. Once I finish a book, I really have no desire to read to read it again unless there is something that I just did not understand. However, there is a book that never grows old, never runs dry, and never runs out of words that speak to my heart.

Each time I open this book, I get excited. I get so excited sometimes that I just stare at the pages. It overwhelms me to know that this book was made for me and others likes me. This book has truly changed my life.

What is this book, you ask? This book has the answer to ALL of life’s problems. This book is not like other books with authors who will perish, but this book was written by Someone who lives forever. This book has words that move your heart in ways that you could never imagine. This book is called The Holy Bible, God’s Word.

Yes, that’s right. God wrote a book for you and for me. He gives this wonderful book to us as freely as He gave His Son to die on the Cross for our sins! “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

The most wonderful part about The Bible is that you can know your Creator. God makes Himself known to you through His Word. If you ever question what he is like, read in the Book of Psalms or any other parts of the Bible. How can we not be thankful for this wonderful gift from God? God’s Word is so precious.

Are you having problems in your life? Do you need answers? Here is a link to receive a FREE Bible: http://www.spirit1.us/dir_06/. If there is something that you do not understand, do not hesitate to contact me. 

Teaching English in China: My Experience

In the Summer of 2005 I took a trip with other students from Bob Jones University to Shanghai, China to teach English for 6 weeks at Shanghai Medical University. Never in my life did I imagine that God would allow me to journey to such a wonderful place with such wonderful people. I learned a lot while I was there, and I made many new friends.

The things that I learned the most were patience, culture, and the spiritual needs of the Chines people.

I learned patience from my students. At times it was very frustrating to make the students understand what I was teaching them in English, but in the end God worked it out for the better.

I learned the culture through the time I spent with each of my students. They kindly invited me into their homes, showed me their favorite parts of the city, and took me shopping. (NO, I did not buy the head-dress you see in the picture. I just tried it on.)

Most important of all I learned that the people of China do not know who Jesus Christ is. In the U.S. we hear His name used many times in one day–improperly and properly. A Chinese person can tell you that they have never even heard His name. They do not know who He is, and they do not have a relationship with Him? What about you? Do you know Jesus?

China will always have a special place in my heart. What I have learned and the memories that I hold will always be with me.

Tell me about the places that you have been to and what you have learned from them.