God illuminates our Darkness!

 


And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” Now when evening came, His disciples went down to the sea,and after getting into a boat, they started to cross the sea to Capernaum. It had already become dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing.Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” Mark 4: 37-41 (NASB)

In the midst of a storm or should I say a tsunami, do not forget to look up to Jesus first.

God challenged and refined me for almost four years although he did not give me more than I could handle at the time.

Have you ever been choked or paralyzed by a life storm? Have you ever experienced unbelief? I sure did yet cried out boldly and loudly, ‘help me with my unbelief, Lord’ periodically. Some of you may be going thru some challenges today… If you are going thru a storm, how would you label your storm? 

I labeled mine, “The Pit of Darkness.” The Lord was ahead of me working out every detail of my dire circumstances. 

“Lord, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28 HCSB) Let us never forget He is our Light in our journey.

A few months after my dad had passed away, I was promoted to a regional leadership platform. Today, I oversee the quality of clinical services for close to 1,300 children and adolescents. During this time of grief and sorrow, I was asked to make daily Clinical decisions on behalf of these needy children. While I successfully provided adequate coverage, I was also intertwined with family affairs and daily decision-making processes on behalf of my dad’s Estate.

My “pit of darkness” was steep and intense. I will explain next.

I was out of breath at times and my health was compromised on several occasions. My life circumstances definitely got grotesque before the circumstances got any better. I know our Lord will train us for today’s battlefield. His Truth reminds me, “He trains my hands for war; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Psalm 18:32 HCSB) The Lord will fight on our behalf, we just need to be still, be quiet, listen and follow His lead (Exodus 14:14).

“Every time my eyes were not on Jesus, I was horrified even paralyzed when facing these stressors,” I thank the Lord for having a supportive husband who challenged me to take the next step in the midst of confusion, chaos, loss, and persecution from those who resisted change. Most importantly, I have a great God who clothed me with inner strength and filled my heart with hope (Psalm 18:39). He makes my way perfect (Psalm 18:32).

“The Lord is My Banner” (Exodus 17:15).

I was overwhelmed and frazzled at the beginning of my leadership role, I experienced a panic attack on one of my business trips. At the end of the first year, I literally experienced heart-attack symptoms such as discomfort in my arm, pain in my chest and shortness of breath. In my second year, I experienced severe vertigo signs. In one occasion, the medical doctor ruled out a brain tumor with an MRI!

I thank God for ‘good health’ today!

The season of grief and sorrow, a fast-paced demanding work environment and family distress contributed to the pit of darkness. Slowly but surely, I began to read His Word daily and started to journal as I dealt with these life stressors.

I knew I had to handle these life stressors God’s way! It is the only way, my friend.

Once I was convicted, I prayed for His strength, mercies, and inner peace. I begged the Lord to show me ‘how’ and to give me the strength to persevere thru it all.

Three years later, I changed the cultural climate at work, implemented new systems and mobilized community resources for the least restrictive placements, and held strategic, monthly conference calls with the former Commissioner.

At this time, my eyes are on Jesus and no longer on my circumstances. In Christ, there is victory without a doubt!

Out of the pit of darkness, the Bible Reading Journal Series was birthed.

There will be seven volumes addressing the core spiritual disciplines that involve life application, confession, repentance, forgiveness, thanksgiving, and prayer. In the midst of the storm, let us not forget to look up to Jesus, not our circumstances my friend.

In my darkest moments, I felt hatred, unforgiveness, resentment, loneliness, isolation, and depression. These negative emotions took root in my heart temporarily. When I was convicted of the darkness in my life, I knew I had to look up to Jesus immediately for His help, guidance, inner peace and most importantly a new heart! 

He was forgiving, compassionate and faithful.

As soon as I would inscribe His Word, apply the lesson learned that morning, and submit my prayer requests, I was able to focus on the next task, experience less distress and endure the hardships at work.

His grace and faithfulness carried me one day at a time.

And, when I submit all of my prayer requests at sunrise, my heart and mind are in peace and I am much better prepared for today’s battlefield and the unexpected events.

Today, I not only inscribe those Scriptures that speak to me when I’m reading the Bible, but I read these verses in different translations, apply them to my life, and step out in obedience.

As I go thru any of my journals, I have an opportunity to confess to God any sin(s) whether it is unbelief, anger or unforgiveness. I also ask the Lord to help me forgive those who have hurt me throughout the day.

Counting my blessings fills my heart with gratitude.

When I surrender and write out my prayers and praying for others, our Lord comforts me every morning.

I am boldly praising Jesus today! “Sing to the Lord, for He is highly exalted; He has thrown the horse and its rider into the sea.” (Exodus 15: 21)

In Christ, there is victory so look up in the midst of a life storm. Do not fix your eyes on the circumstances, my friend.               

Join the FB Bible Reading Journal Community today!

Bible Reading Journal: Growing Closer to God One Day at a Time.

Bible Reading Journal Series 2019

Volume 1 & 2 & 3 (Available Now on Amazon)

The Bible Reading Journal: Growing Closer to God One Day at a Time.

Bible Reading Journal: Growing Closer to God One Day at a Time.: “Your Word i… https://www.amazon.com/dp/1793923728/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_BmWwCbJH8J0HQ via @amazon

The Bible Reading Journal: Rest and Be Refreshed.

Bible Reading Journal: Rest and Be Refreshed.: “Your Word is a lamp to my fee… https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794685421/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_gnWwCbA0V0NCK via @amazon

The Bible Reading Journal: Praise and Be Content.

Bible Reading Journal: Praise and Be Content: “Your Word is a lamp to my feet… https://www.amazon.com/dp/1795055677/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_OnWwCbVRW0168 via @amazon

Volume 1 (Spanish Version, Spring 2019)

El Diario de Lectura de la Biblia: Cada vez más cerca de Dios, un día a la vez

Volume 4 & 5 (Summer 2019)

The Bible Reading Journal: Trust and Be Courageous.

The Bible Reading Journal: Mourn and Be Comforted.

Volume 6 & 7 (Fall 2019)

The Bible Reading Journal: Forgive and Be Restored.

The Bible Reading Journal: Love and Be His Light.

The Bible Reading Journal 2019 is now available on Amazon.com

Be Well-Rested!

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV

Lord,

I am lifting up all of my burdens and hardships to You at this moment.

Help me find rest for my soul so I may be ready for tomorrow’s battlefield.

At times, I am quite overwhelmed with simple tasks, intricate relationships at work or at home with my loved ones.

It is an ongoing struggle, Lord!

In You alone, I find my rest. I want to be mindful of regular breaks throughout the day so I may rest in Your Word always.

The most important event of my day is to focus on You, Lord. I want to focus on You day and night.

Yes, Lord, I will always need your wisdom and inner strength even when I am feeling brave or confident about troubling circumstances.

Help me not to be weary or burdened.

One of my biggest challenges is to forgive those who have hurt me in the past… You want me to forgive immediately (Colossians 3:13 NIV) just the way You have forgiven me. Not once or twice, but seventy times seven! Lord, this is a true challenge when I am still hurting. Help me forgive everyone and help me be discerning as I move forward in relationships.

Help me be hopeful always, and restore all distant relationships.

Our Lord is the Prince of Peace and does not want for my heart to be troubled (John 14:27 NIV). He is always with me wherever I go (Psalm 118:6 NIV).

Praising Jesus for His Faithfulness, peace, forgiveness and compassion.

Lord, give me wisdom and discernment to do good so I may not only forgive but bless others at all times.

Strengthen my heart. Renew my mind. Refresh my soul.

I need to fight “the good fight” and do all the work you have prepared me to do.

I want to be well-rested so I may be courageous and Brave in all I do in Christ.

In Jesus’ name I boldly praise and pray,

Your beloved daughter,

Amen.

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If you would like to journal as you rest on God’s Word, check out the selected Scriptures in the “Bible Reading Journal: Rest and Be Refreshed.”

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794685421/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_api_i_H9LuCbD7CVR03 #Amazon

Photo: Tami Parker Theobald

His Grace

“For it was only through this wonderful grace that we believed in him. Nothing we did could ever earn this salvation, for it was the gracious gift from God that brought us to Christ!” Ephesians 2:8 TPT

I enjoy exchanging gifts at parties. I delight in seasonal wrapping papers and colorful gift bags along with a hand-written note honoring my special guest.

I cherish time spent with family and friends.

Beautifully wrapped presents are memorable, but hand-written notes are treasures inscribed in one’s heart!

All perfect gifts are from above (James 1:17).

There is only one gift that brought me to Christ.

His Grace.

7F488BA7-4160-4582-808A-D2C81A9A026CPhoto credit: Ben White @ Splasher

Lord,

When I accepted your grace, my heart and mind were eternally transformed.  Your compassion and unmerited favor are the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrew 13:8).

Thank goodness, I didn’t have to earn Salvation! It was freely given.

Please forgive me if I was stubborn at first, but I was a lost soul. Because of my sinful nature, I disrespected you in so many ways. I was headed to self-destruction. (Proverbs 1:19)

My heart was choked with unforgiveness, anger, resentment, and pride. I was blindfolded by these emotions! The heart is deceitful and cannot be fully trusted (Jeremiah 17:9).

I had accomplished so much in life yet never acknowledged you along the way! I was self-reliant and possibly obsessed with pursuing the ‘American dream’.

Thanks for not giving up on me all of these years.

I now realize how broken I was but you redeemed me and made me whole.

How did I do it?

One winter morning, I repented of my sins, invited you into my heart, surrendered my life at the foot of the Cross, accepted you as my Lord and Savior, and most importantly I walked away from a self-destructive lifestyle and never looked back again!

You delivered me from hell and saved my soul (Psalm 103: 4). I’m a new person in Christ, refreshed and renewed (2 Corinthians 5:17).

I value every reward from above.

How about you my friend? Have you accepted His Grace today?

In Jesus’ name, I praise.

Amen.

“I’m Greatly Disappointed, You are Forgiven”

Lester and I immediately connected when we first met at Wood Grove.

The Holy Spirit brought us together on a sunny day!

image

Lester has a leadership role at an H.R. department and executes life-altering decisions daily.

We shared about our recent struggles in leadership.

“How do you handle disappointment?” I solicited.

His candid response was “I am greatly disappointed but I immediately forgive”.

The core of my soul was forever touched. A fresh perspective was unexpectedly heard as I strolled down the streets of the neighborhood with my hubby.

God had answered a prayer in His perfect time.

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How many times family or friends disagree with our views? How many times do co-workers ignore our suggestions? How many times do others reject our participation in a decision?

Way too often!

We may feel betrayed or disheartened along the way.

What matters the most is how we process these emotions? Do we hold onto them for a prolonged period of time? Do we let them go?

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”  Prov 4:23 N.I.V

Our tender hearts need to be protected from negative emotions. The Lord wants us to forgive immediately. Not once or twice but ‘every’ time someone disappoints us.

Forgiveness nourishes the heart, saves our souls and it is the ultimate antidote for bitterness. Taking every negative emotion ‘captive’ to Christ, confessing, repenting and praying over our sinful hearts are key ingredients to healing and spiritual growth.

“Lord, help me release any angry thoughts I may have right now, cleanse my heart from ‘un’forgiveness, protect my heart from resentments and alert me of bitterness. Remind me of taking every thought captive when feeling angry so I may surrender upsetting thoughts and related emotions right there and then. Help me forgive those who are offensive and are evil in their ways.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen”

The Accidental Feminist

The Accidental Feminist

 “The great hope is that no amount of sin, personal ambition, feminism or even good desires will change God’s good design for women,” Courtney Reissig.

I’ve never considered myself a feminist, but I am now convinced I’ve been an ‘accidental’ feminist all along!

Challenging God’s authority is indeed a manifestation of feminism.

Wow!

That’s a profound statement.

 I spent at least twenty years orchestrating my life exactly the way I wanted. Did I ever consider biblical truths? Did I ever align past decisions with His truths?

Probably not!

 At the end of the day, I was mentally and emotionally drained. I was quite unfulfilled I must admit. Accomplishments, possessions, status, promotions were never enough. Things, people or events will never fulfill the longing of our hearts.

I can sit here in front of the computer screen and dwell on all types of regrets while I type my next sentence. Instead, I choose joy for God has transformed my life in the past decade.

Praise God for His beautiful design for women.

I’m not only content but my lifestyle has aligned with His heart and most importantly His truth is revealed one day at a time!

Get your copy at Amazon.com today. I hope you will enjoy the read as much as I did.

Forgive them Lord!

Mom’s greatest gift is hospitality and her talent is manifested in the kitchen! Every time mom had a guest, she cooked Venezuelan dishes in just a matter of minutes. Mom’s servant heart always welcomed strangers with open arms. She believed ‘the best’ in people.

Mom now has Alzheimer’s disease and her health is declining steadily. Her servant’s heart remains intact so does her legacy.

Over the years, I’ve trusted people over and over again just like mom always did.

Gift of Hospitality

Unfortunately, there are mean-spirited people in the world and may even exist in our circle of influence today. We will never have control over their intentional, wicked acts; but we have some control over our initial shock and how we respond to the ultimate challenge.

We live in a broken world indeed.

When faced with malevolent masterminds, we may want to focus only on what is admirable, noble and of excellence. Pray for a forgiving heart and even help these  lost people if the opportunity arises.

Jesus Christ was flawless yet he was judged, framed and crucified!

One of His humble, admirable reaction other than crying out in pain was ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭23:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬