The Cross Stands


“In the middle of the ashes, the cross still stands. A powerful reminder as we move toward Good Friday. No matter the devastation we face, no matter what is burned up, the cross is victorious and Sunday is on its way!”
Sheila Walsh




Photo courtesy: Sheila Walsh @ Facebook – social media post


#notredamecathedral #prayingforparis #HolyWeek #beautyfromashes #poweroftheCross

Practice Strengthens our Muscles.

When I was an adolescent, I practiced the piano at 4 a.m. every day. After a few years of consistent practice, I built finger dexterity, muscle memory for over hundreds of manuscripts and the tolerance to play piano for several hours non-stop. With practice and repetition, I was able to memorize strings of musical notes and play effortlessly. In competitions, I played well despite expected fears. If I would skip or forget a note, I would still finish strong in the competition and earn superior ratings. It was all the result of daily training, focus, and intentional planning. This daily routine led to a discipline in which I built character and maturity over time as a piano player and competitor.

Wouldn’t be nice to build our spiritual muscles for our next life interruption or tragedy or unexpected loss?

I want to stand firm in my Faith!

Even though we are not in a piano competition, we do need inner strength, direction, wisdom and most importantly a relationship with our Lord who is near the broken-hearted and comforts us in the midst of our sorrows, abrupt losses and life tragedies.

It is key to memorize and hide His Truth in our hearts so we may rest on His Word at the time of need. “…and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” ‭‭(John‬ ‭8:32‬ ‭NASB) For us to grow deeper in our Faith, we need to be intentional in our daily practice of Bible Reading, Repentance, Forgiveness, Thanksgiving and Prayer. Once we are able to establish the routine, it will then become a discipline and we will engage in these practices effortlessly and consistently. As a result, we will strengthen our spiritual muscles over time, build our Faith walk, character and maturity.

“This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” JOSHUA‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭NASB

Building our Faith walk requires intentional scheduling.

If I don’t plan ahead and schedule time for Bible reading, journaling, and prayer, then I will be too busy with other commitments and neglect God’s Word. I have seen it happen too many times in my life.

Have you added your Bible Reading and Journaling to your daily schedule? If not, spend fifteen minutes in rearranging your daily calendar and schedule a time for His Truth and reflections today.

He is Able!

Because I no longer play daily, I am not able to compete or play as much. It is unfortunate I am no longer an advanced piano player. As a matter of fact, I am about to lose the abilities to play the piano if I do not go back this month with the new coach I recently hired.

Building spiritual muscles is much like building finger dexterity when playing the piano. We have to schedule it, establish the routine by daily practice and commit to it. Otherwise, we will lose the intimacy with our Lord and drift away.

Our Lord is waiting patiently for us to commit and worship Him all the time. He is a compassionate and forgiving God who is eagerly waiting for us to get closer to Him one day at a time.

Photo courtesy: Cristina Gottardi @ Splasher

In Pursuit of Wisdom

I truly delight in journaling.

Every time I sit down to journal, I pray for the Lord to open my eyes so I may see His commands, and promises He has for me (Psalm 119:18).

Moments of reflection provide clarity, direction, wisdom and most importantly these thoughtful moments will establish and maintain an intimate relationship with the Lord.

When I engage in Bible journaling, I keep the process simple and consistent.

Do you have a preferred time to sit at the feet of Jesus without distractions? Do you take time to write down your thoughts or observations when reading God’s Word?

My favorite time to read Bible passages is at Sunrise although I focus on His Word during work breaks, after work and at bedtime. If I am driving to the office or an appointment, I take the opportunity to worship with music, and establish communication with the Lord by prayer.

The opportunity to sit in my couch comfortably and read God’s Truth quietly is priceless.

I typically have a set of gel pens and highlighters available to me at all times so I may inscribe a verse or two, read the selected verses in different versions, and highlight key precepts or promises. Once I write down the key observations of the selected verse(s), I then pray over them so I may apply His Truth today!

Life gets in the way and it can get quite hectic. How do I typically handle distractions? When I read the Bible, I maintain a small pad next to the journal in case I’ve got distracting thoughts; things to do, appointments to be made or people to call in the week. I write these down immediately so it would not interfere with my time with the Lord. It alleviates some of the distress when I am focusing on God’s Word and calms my anxious heart as I proceed with today’s Bible readings.

There are many available methods in the market to show us ‘how to’ mark our Bible passages. But, I choose the one that is going to help me remember and hide His Truth in my heart forever.

After a couple of weeks of journaling, I reflect and re-read all of the lessons learned, blessings and answers to prayers. The most exhilarating moment for me is when I reflect back and witness how God has been faithful, forgiven, compassionate and has shown up in the midst of confusion, chaos, turmoil or grief.

My daily journal is definitely a keepsake!

Let me highlight some of the most recent reflections from the daily journal.

Lord,

Our Faith is growing abundantly (2 Thess 1:3) one day at a time. How comforting is to know the Lord is with us at all times (Zephaniah 3:17) and our Faith grows when we acknowledge His presence in the midst of our life happenings. He is our wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:1-7). He is God, our everlasting ROCK (Isaiah 26:3-4). The Lord has begun ‘good work’ in our lives (Philippians 1:6); when we ask for direction, He will direct our steps. He chose us and loves us (1 Thess 4). His love endures (1 Chronicles 16:34). We are His beloved daughters indeed.
Seek His face (1 Chronicles 16:11). The Lord wants for us to press ON and move forward (Phil 3 13-14), stand firm (2 Thess 2:15), rejoice in the Lord and be grateful
(Phil 4:4-5). Let us be thankful in all of our circumstances (1 Thess 5:16-18). God protects us from evil (2 Thess 3:3). Let us please God, not men (1 Thess 2:4) when taking actions or making life-altering decisions. Rejoice in our labor whether it is at work, community, Church or at home (Eccl 5:19). Maintain integrity (Psalm 119:1).

Help us be a Light, His Love (Luke 8:16) so others may see Jesus in us always. Share the Great News to all in this dark world.

In Jesus’ name, we boldly pray. Amen.


Photo Courtesy: Hannah Olinger at Splasher