A Time to Mourn and a Time to Dance.

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“A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As a child, I spent countless hours at our family’s country house, ‘La Morita’. We would travel there every weekend with relatives and friends. The adults would play cards, dominoes or bingo in the evenings after a tasty home-made meal. All of the children would laugh often when sharing stories at the hammocks zone, play Marco Polo at the pool, ride horses in town or hike the mountains at sunrise.

I certainly miss ‘La Morita’. Those memorable times were filled with joy. I don’t remember experiencing any sadness then. Our families were united, loved one another, and were energized by fellowship, outdoor activities and mesmerized by the beauty of nature.

As I grew older, I soon realized life was not ‘picture perfect’. There are moments filled with contentment and other times filled with great distress, anger, emotional pain, grief and/or sorrow.

God promised to be right there with us thru it all – the fun, the boring, the best, the ugly and the worst times.

The Lord is our Refuge. He will never leave us nor forsake us. That is His promise.

When dad passed away, mom relocated back to our home country in South America. Since then, I have only seen her once. We don’t get to walk at the local park nor shop at ‘Sawgrass Mills’ Shopping Center anymore. It has been over two years since I last had a meal with mom at the table. I miss her voice, enthusiasm and most importantly her presence. I wish I could sit with you right now and share the details of my next trip to Florida. The truth is I may never be able to visit mom again and this is a reality I have recently come to terms with. I am in a season of loss, grief and sorrow indeed. It is time to weep, mourn and embrace the loss of mom’s current living situation, geographical distance and deteriorating health conditions.

Are you grieving at this moment, my friend? Are you reminiscing on ‘how’ your past circumstances are quite different than todays? Perhaps, you are facing an ‘unexpected’ loss and you are quite overwhelmed with the intensity and impact of the sudden challenge.

Do not be dismayed or broken-hearted, my friend.

We are in a season of grief but His mercies are new every morning. Today is filled with opportunities for us to briefly reminisce about the past then spend the rest of the time counting our blessings. We have been blessed for all the countless memories and unforgettable moments with our loved ones. They have left their ‘forever’ fingerprints on our minds, hearts and souls. My heart rejoices every time I think of mom.

Let us not dwell on the emotional distress or pain of our recent past. Let us acknowledge our loss, lament and journal our painful thoughts until we are comforted by His promises. Our Lord listens to our melancholic cries and painful thoughts and He comforts our shattered hearts over time.

We will dance once again as soon as our hearts are healed and restored.

Lord, there are so many seasons in our lives and some are difficult to process and get thru. I know we may be in the midst of a tough season. As we lament our losses, we know you are comforting us with your faithfulness, morning mercies and compassion … You hear all of our cries and wipe our tears away. You heal our brokenness and bind our deep wounds. You are our only Hope and Refuge. Turn the gaze of our hearts towards the beauty of all of your promises and fill our hearts with never-ending Hope.

Lord, I’m willing to embrace the new season in life. Spring is here! Flowers are blooming. I want to rejoice once again. Jesus, hold my hand and come with me and waltz together at the dance floor.

In Jesus’ name we boldly pray, Amen.

“You, LORD, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry,” Psalm‬ ‭10:17‬ ‭NIV

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm‬ ‭147:3‬ ‭NIV

“The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” Psalm‬ ‭9:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple.” Psalm‬ ‭27:4‬ ‭NIV

Photo courtesy: Jared Weiss @ Splasher

Intimacy with the Lord

Closeness with our Lord = Quiet Time + His Word + Self-Examination + fervent Prayer.

Let us explore the daily process for the Bible Reading Journal today.
It typically takes me approximately 30 minutes to read a chapter a day and journal. It may seem a long time but our time with the Lord is priceless and memorable!

Once we read the chapter, we highlight and inscribe a selected verse or two in different translations. When I inscribe His Word, I am able to memorize it a lot easier. I then journal ‘how’ I am going to step out in obedience in practical ways.

Later I examine my heart daily so I may repent and forgive, count my blessings and maintain a prayerful lifestyle.

Cross-References allow me to dig deeper into God’s Word and Commentaries enrich my “journaling” experience.

“…but God was working in every detail. He was providing, humbling, sanctifying, forgiving, and drawing their hearts to His in the most necessary and beautiful ways.“ 
Whitney from Love God Greatly Ministries.

“When I read my journals, I see God’s fingerprints all over. Journals are my stones of remembrance (Joshua 4:23-24)“  Adriana Morales-Spokane.

Join our FB Community for women at “The Bible Reading Journal Series”

Next Video Clip: The Bible Reading Journal Series: Verse Color Coding.

Examine the Heart!

Let us Examine our Hearts.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:31‬ ‭NLT

“But now you also put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:8, 19‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“that, in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:22‬ ‭NASB‬‬

“Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,” 1 Peter ‭2:1‬ ‭NASB‬‬

Memorial Stones

Memorial Stones

“Let this be a sign among you, so that when your children ask later, saying, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Because the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off.’ So these stones shall become a memorial to the sons of Israel forever.”

For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:6-7, 23-24 NASB

Journaling is a way to reflect on God’s Faithfulness.

All of my journals are priceless keepsakes and much more like memorial stones that last forever.

I get to look back to where I was and see how God has transformed my life over the course of time.

He is good all the time.

His Word renews my mind every day, strengthens my heart in moments of distress and has transformed my life over the past decade alone!

God is Our Stronghold

God is Our Stronghold.

Living in another country far away from loved ones is unsettling at times. But God is our Refuge. “I will rejoice and be glad in Your steadfast love because You have seen my affliction; You have taken note of my life’s distresses” Psalms 31:7 AMP.

Have you ever been in a situation you were not able to participate as much as you would have liked? 

Mom was rushed to the hospital last Friday; her sugar level was in the 400s, high blood pressure was at a stroke level and she was severely dehydrated by the time she arrived at the hospital. She was stabilized over the weekend.

Praising Jesus for mom’s recovery and for His strength to get me thru the weekend.

I am singing a new song this morning for His saving power and grace were on display and palpable (Psalm 98:1). “But as for me, I shall sing of Your strength. Yes, I shall joyfully sing of Your lovingkindness in the morning. For you have been my stronghold and a refuge in the day of my distress.” Psalm 59:16 NASB.

I typically feel powerless and heart-broken when I am unable to be at mom’s side during her medical emergencies. She is frail and her health is deteriorating every day. In these unfortunate circumstances, no one has any control but God does. He is our Great Physician and Stronghold who orchestrates every detail of life’s unforeseeable moment.

Just remember one of His promises, friend, “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT.

If you are worried about a loved one today, just know the Lord is watching over his or her care at this instant. He protects us, loves us unconditionally and has the best future for all of us.

God is able to do what he promises (Romans 4:21) and so much more. He certainly surprises me quite often.

Psalm 21:13 “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength; He will sing and praise Your power.”

Psalm 5:3 “In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.”

Psalm 88:13 “But I, O Lord, have cried out to You for help, and in the morning my prayer comes before You.”

Psalm 59:9 “Because of His strength I will watch for You, for God is my stronghold.”

Photo Courtesy: Olivia Hutcherson @ UnSplasher

Crossing-Over

Crossing-Over: Journaling God’s Faithfulness.

“Then Joshua said to the people, “Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do wonders among you.” Joshua 3:5‬ ‭NASB‬‬
There are miracles taking place in our ordinary lives every day.

We just need to stop, breathe, reflect and journal. The Lord will do the rest! 

He is Able.

Today’s video clip is here:

Carving Time for the Lord


Do you find yourself too busy for God’s Word? You are not the only one. Life gets ‘crazy busy’ and we are juggling too many expectations, demands and/or unfortunate circumstances.

It happened to me in the past; I was inconsistent in reading and journaling His Word.

I have learned to be intentional over the course of my life. I now have a favorite time and place where I read God’s Word. I truly delight in reflecting and inscribing His Word at Sunrise every day.

At times, when life happens and gets too hectic, I schedule it!

Tips:

Step One: Review your calendar the night before and schedule time to read and journal God’s Word,

Step Two: If you do not have time the next day, then prioritize your daily activities and carve time for God’s Word. Make it a priority.

Step Three: Rise Up and Journal,

Join the FB accountability group today, search for “The Bible Reading Journal Series”, answer all three questions and enjoy the journey.

A group member shared her experience recently,

For a conversation in the living room, click below:
https://youtu.be/KOJUu2xcvjQ

The Story behind the Bible Reading Journal Series

The Lord illuminates our journeys one day at a time. He is our Refuge, Counselor and our Peace in the midst of hardships.

“Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we receive mercy, we do not lose heart,We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed;perplexed, but not despairing,persecuted, but not forsaken,struck down, but not destroyed…”
  2 Corinthians 4: 1, 8-9 

This 13 minutes video clip is the story behind the Bible Reading Journal Series. “Journaling God’s Word saved my life!”

Join the FB community at “The Bible Reading Journal Series.”
Rise Up & Journal today!

The Author of The Bible Reading Journal Series

“God has looked down from heaven upon the children of men To see if there is anyone who understands, Who seeks after God [who requires Him, who longs for Him as essential to life].”

‭‭PSALMS‬ ‭53:2‬ ‭AMP

Meet the author of the Bible Reading Journal Series!

Join the Bible Reading Journal Series email list today. You do not want to miss upcoming mini training sessions.

Email: TheBibleReadingJournalSeries@gmail.com

The Verse Color Coding system will be released soon.

Art Design by: Celeta Carr

Walking Trail

Photo courtesy: Jonathan Borba @ Splasher.

Every other afternoon, my walking partner and I exercise outdoors and delight in fellowship. We laugh, share our life happenings (the good and the ugly), and most importantly we do life together while we complete a 3-mile trail.

Last week, I shared how evident God’s faithfulness was on display in my life. I was certainly blessed when I read an unexpected, thank-you note and public acknowledgement at work in the morning and was invited to a 9-month journaling program in the afternoon. God had reassured me I was on track both at work and in my ministry. 

My friend and I rejoiced in the Lord.

When God traces a new journey for His beloved children, His timing and perfect plans are to be trusted. A couple of days later, I heard from another friend who had changed her mind and backed-out of a special project. Even though I was in shock at first, I immediately heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my soul, “I’ve got another plan for you, Beloved. Just trust me.” 

God speaks to us in joyful moments, failures, successful outcomes, disappointments and even in a three-mile walking trail. We just need to listen courageously and intentionally receive His mercy and grace. We also need to track the changes in plan, adjust our attitude and actions, and commit all of our works to the Lord. (Proverbs 16:3) 

Don’t you just love how God speaks to us thru our circumstances? I certainly do. Let us run to Him in our distress, pour out our hearts and trust in His divine plans. He is the one who will grant us peace as we walk a three-mile trail and embrace the loss from a disappointing message and change in plans.

“Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:8 AMP

“Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures or disappointments] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].” Hebrews 4:16 AMP

“And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace at all times and in every way [that peace and spiritual well-being that comes to those who walk with Him, regardless of life’s circumstances]. The Lord be with you all.

In Jesus’ name we boldly pray,

Amen.

 

Pray First!

Photo courtesy: Taiisia Stupak

“What? It is only 3:15 a.m.”

I could not believe it was happening it all over again. Waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about work issues are definitely not one of my preferred activities.

“I rather sleep and rest all night long!”

I kept on thinking about all possible scenarios for a couple of hours and could not fall back asleep again. The core issue was I failed to pray. I wanted to be in control and change the outcomes right there and then.

I neglected to rely on God’s sovereignty and let go of the issue at hand.

Have you ever thought of all types of outcomes when exploring a situation? It sure happened to me this past week. I lost some sleep and was distressed for close to twenty-four hours when I failed to trust God.

God wants us to trust Him in all of our circumstances.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” JOHN 16:33 NASB

God wants us to be courageous and in Peace.

“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” JOHN 20:19

God guards our hearts when we pray and surrender all of our troubling and challenging situations.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” PHILIPPIANS 4:7 NASB

God wants for us to be grateful.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” COLOSSIANS 3:15 NASB

God wants for us to believe He is fighting on our behalf.

“”Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” JOHN 14:1 NASB

Lord, help me to believe, trust in You alone so I may surrender all of my intrusive and troubling thoughts in prayer. I want a heart like Cornelius who feared You and prayed continually (Acts 10:2).

In Jesus’ name I boldly pray, Amen.