OUR GOD DESERVES THANKS!

November 21, 2016

Most parents teach their children to say “Thank you” almost as soon as they start to talk. Even as adults, unfortunately, we still need to be reminded to say “Thank you.”

Psalm 136 is that perfect reminder. It starts with “Oh, give thanks to the Lord”, and continues with the fundamental reason: “for He is good! For His mercy (steadfast love) endures forever.” Then the Psalmist gives us a list of reasons to thank Him: He is the God of gods, supreme, powerful, wise, the Creator; He is perfect, the source of light; He has power over death and nature, He is our deliverer and He is victorious. God guides and protects us, and He is sovereign, the owner of everything. God is faithful to keep His word. He cares for us, is concerned about us and is our compassionate provider and Savior.

The one phrase that is repeated over and over is the core of it all: “For His mercy endures forever.”

Like Children, we need to be reminded to say “Thank you”. Take time to meditate of Psalm 136 and to make your personal list of all the kindness He shows you. Whatever your situation is, thank Him… “for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.”

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OUR GOD IS NOT IN A HURRY

November 14, 2016

Who hasn’t felt the frustration of waiting for someone? A slowpoke on the highway, a child who’s dragging their feet; a coworker who has to finish their part of a project before we can start ours…we fidget and fume; we allow our wait to turn nightmarish.

Maybe you’re waiting for God to resolve a situation or answer a prayer. It seems that He’s not budging and your frustration mounts. God is not in a hurry.

What if you would let God turn your wait into a positive experience?

In His Word we are assured that “The Lord is good to those who wait for Him.” (Lamentations 3:25) Look for His goodness.

We also read that God “acts for the one who waits for Him.” (Isaiah 64:4) Believe that He’s working behind the scenes.

And just when you think you can’t wait much longer, our God promises renewed strength during the wait. (Isaiah 40:31) Trust Him for His strength.

Our God is not in a hurry. So if you’re waiting for Him now – or the next time you wait – ask Him to turn your wait into a positive experience. Then relax and let Him do what He promised to do. It will be well worth the wait!


OUR GOD GIVES LIFE

October 31, 2016

In many parts of the world, “The Day of the Dead” begins on October 31. It’s a time to remember departed loved ones and to celebrate their lives.  Elaborate meals and exquisite treats are prepared to feed the souls of the dead, who supposedly return to join the celebration. Originating as a form of ancestor worship, this festivity is especially common in Latin American culture and is followed by “All Saints’ Day” and “All Souls’ Day”. In honor of the deceased, cemeteries come alive with colorful activity; superstition reigns.

Turning from the superstition of “The Day of the Dead” to the truth declared in the living Word of God, we find that we all are “dead in trespasses and sins” and that the “wages of sin is death.” (Ephesians 2:1 and Romans 6:23)

But …there is something amazing we can celebrate!

Our God offers life, and “this life is in His Son,” (1 John 5:11) We all deserve eternal death because of our sin, but Jesus took our punishment when He died on the cross. Acknowledging to God that we are, indeed, dead in sin, and believing that Jesus died and rose again to give us life, we receive God’s free gift of eternal life!  (Romans 6:23)

If you have eternal life already, celebrate it! If you haven’t received God’s gift, seriously and prayerfully consider it. Make today – and every day – a celebration of LIFE!

Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more of my quest to know God better.


OUR GOD SURROUNDS US WITH FAVOR

October 24, 2016

What are we all surrounded by? Air. We can’t avoid it, run away from it or live without it; air sustains our lives. According to www.sciencealert.com, “The rule of 3 minutes without air is a good guideline. Hold your breath for longer, and you run the risk of brain damage.” We all agree that every human being depends on air.

If you are God’s child, you are not only surrounded by air; you are also surrounded by His favor. In Psalm 5:12 we read, “For You, O Lord, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.” That was also Job’s testimony, even while experiencing indescribable suffering. In a discourse marked by agony and complaints, Job acknowledged God’s favor: “You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit.” (Job 10:12)

Whatever our circumstance today, (which probably isn’t comparable to Job’s suffering) let’s do what Job did. Let’s acknowledge God’s favor. He’s surrounding us with it today; and for that, He deserves our sincere thanks!

Please join me each Monday of 2016 as I share more of my quest to know God better.


OUR GOD INVENTED FREEBIES

August 8, 2016

Who doesn’t love a freebie? Dozens of freebie websites – legit or not-so-legit – prove that there’s a trend towards “if it’s free, I’m all in.”

Getting something for nothing isn’t new; God invented the concept. Everything we have is a freebie from God. If you are breathing, that is proof! In his famous speech on the Areopagus, The Apostle Paul stated that God “gives to all life, breath and all things.” (Acts 17:25). Thank God, He never sends us an invoice for “life, breath and all things.” They are free!

But there’s more. In Romans 8:32, Paul wrote that “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” That includes free peace, free forgiveness, free wisdom, free grace, free love and countless other freebies.

And there’s still more. God doesn’t limit free gifts to our time on earth. The most important free gift He offers is “eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

Next time you see the word “FREE” in an advertisement, on a website or TV ad, remember that “FREE” isn’t a new concept. Our God invented freebies; let’s thank now Him for that! We certainly will thank Him forever as we enjoy His greatest free gift: eternal life!

(Join me every Monday of 2016 as I share more discoveries on my quest to know God better)


AN ATTAINABLE GOAL

January 1, 2016

An Attainable Goal 1-1-16As I was leaving the Community Recreation Center the afternoon of December 31, I overheard an elderly gentleman make this comment: “My goal this year is to do some laps in the pool here. I know the instructor who teaches the adult classes.”

The first thought that popped into my mind was, “And…?” On the way home I mused.

My goal this year is to end up with a nice, fat savings account. I know the banker. “And…?”

My goal this year is to lose 15 pounds. I know the lady who runs our local weight-loss meetings. “And…?”

My goal this year is to become a heavyweight champ. I know a good trainer. “And…?”

Obviously, we’ll never attain any goal just by knowing someone; several other factors come in to play. We need planning, time, perseverance, determination and a very strong desire to reach our goal.

This year my goal – which I know is totally attainable – is to know God better to be able to honor Him more. To do that, I’ve already made a list of a lot of God’s characteristics and who He proves Himself to be. Throughout the year, I’ll be expanding my knowledge of Him and I’ll share them with you every Monday morning.

Who wants to join me press towards this attainable goal?

 


THE GIFT? OR THE ACCESSORIES?

December 29, 2015

A few days before Christmas, my 4 cup coffee maker broke. At my husband Jorge’s prompting, I bought a single-serve coffee maker as his Christmas gift to me.

If he would have given me a box of 18 k-cups and not the single-serve coffee maker, I would have thought him to be…well…out of touch with reality. Or what if he would have brought me a k-cup storage drawer or tower, saying, “Here, I know you love coffee and your coffee maker broke, so I brought you this. It’s my gift to you. I hope you like it.”

Ridiculous, right? Why would I want the accessories without having the single-serve coffee-maker?

Then I thought about our gift to God. We know that there is no gift we can give God to “earn” or “buy” our salvation. That is His gift to us. But when we’ve accepted His gift of salvation in Jesus, we want to give Him something out of the overflow of thanksgiving and appreciation we have.

So what can I give God? My money? No. The Bible teaches that God, the Creator of the world and universe, owns everything. He won’t lack anything if I don’t give Him money.

Should I give God some good works? No. We read in His Word that even the best we can give Him isn’t good enough; all of our good works are like filthy rags.

How about worship? No. In the Bible we read that He has ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands around His throne worshiping Him day and night. What can I contribute to that?

All of those are accessories that God doesn’t want or appreciate unless we first give Him the gift. What gift? In Proverbs 23.26 we read that what God really wants is our heart. He says, “My son, give me your heart.”

After we give God our heart (which includes our will, our plans, our desires, our attitudes, our emotions, everything we are and that we have) THEN our financial offerings, our service, good works and worship will be acceptable to Him.

If we haven’t given God our heart yet, let’s do that. It’s the gift He would be most delighted with!


The Elf on the Shelf, the Mensch on the Bench or the Light in the Night

December 15, 2014

For a long, long time, Santa had to patrol the world alone to find the “naughty or nice” kids. Then he hired an Elf on the Shelf. Now Santa’s helper, the Elf on the Shelf, fulfills that mission, according to the “About us” page of  www.elfontheshelf.com.

The Mensch on the Bench brings Holiday fun to Jewish children. Who is the Mensch on the Bench? His creator, Neal Hoffman, states in The Jerusalem Post that he is “A Jewish version of the wildly popular Elf on the Shelf toy; the doll and book set retells the Hanukkah story and explains what it means to be a “mensch”, a Yiddish word meaning person of honor” (www.jpost.com)

While the Elf on the Shelf and the Mensch on the Bench are light-hearted fun, they shouldn’t steal the show. The most important figure of the Holiday Season is the Light in the Night. Hundreds of years prior to Christ’s birth, the prophet Isaiah wrote about Him, saying, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined.” (Isaiah 9:2) Dispelling any doubt about who Isaiah was referring to, Jesus Himself declared in John 8:12: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.”

In January, the Elf on the Shelf will be packed away in the attic, and the Mensch on the Bench will be carefully wrapped and stored with all the Holiday decorations. Without the Light in the Night, those who live in darkness will still be in darkness; the fearful and the lonely will not have changed. Those who suffer bondage and despair will not see a way out. But there is a way out! There is life and hope in Jesus, the Light in the Night.

We can live without the Elf on the Shelf, and we can lead a normal life never having a Mensch on the Bench; but we cannot live without the Light in the Night – Jesus! And that is the reason why He is the central figure of the Holiday Season!


TRUE BEAUTY

August 31, 2014

It’s interesting to note that in the well-known description of “The Virtuous Wife” in Proverbs 31:10-29, no mention is made of the wife’s physical beauty. She is praised for her admirable character traits. Reading them, we are only left to guess what she looked like. Maybe she was borderline homely or she could have been normal. But then, she might have been a good candidate for “Miss Universe”. We don’t know.

The summary of her real beauty is given in Proverbs 31:30: “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” Her true beauty was on the inside.

If we have any outer beauty, it’s passing. We see wrinkles and sags staring back at us in the mirror. Our hair thins and our waistline doesn’t. Don’t count on outward beauty! On the other hand, like The Virtuous Wife of Proverbs 31, we may or may not be beautiful on the outside. Fortunately, like her, we can cultivate inner beauty. Let’s be diligent to work on our inner beauty: on Loving God and others, and obeying His word. That’s the true beauty that will never, ever pass away!

Prayer: Lord, Even though our world puts undue emphasis on outer beauty, help us cultivate that true beauty that comes from loving You and loving others. Amen!


THE SHIELD – TRUST CONNECTION

August 30, 2014

Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.” Proverbs 30:5

The word “shield” in the Bible refers to god’s protection. Besides Agur, the author of Proverbs 30, other Biblical authors related the words “shield” and “trust.” Let’s look at only two examples.

Psalm 18:30: “The word of the Lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” – King David

Psalm 115:11: “You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.” – Anonymous Psalmist

Centuries later, the Apostle Paul reminded us of the importance of using our shield of faith to conquer our enemy, Satan. Let’s hold tightly to God’s word and trust in it, thanking Him that His shield protects us!

Prayer: Lord, We are so thankful because You are our protecting shield. Help us to trust Your word and know the safety of Your protection. Amen!


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