Journaling a Bible verse or two!
Colossians 3:9-10; Psalms 73: 25-26; Acts 3: 19-20; Matthew 7:7-8; Hebrew 7:25; Ecclesiastes 3:11;
“For God alone my soul waits in silence and quietly submits to Him, For my hope is from Him.”
Psalms 62:5 AMP
When life gets hectic, I have a choice whether to take the next step or honor a break. I can either slow down and pace myself or continue to hustle ‘non-stop’ all day long.
The Lord wants me to spend time with Him throughout the day, every day. I will bear fruit in everything I do when I rely on His wisdom and strength.
“I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NASB
When I don’t rely on the Lord for His rest and wisdom, I am typically frustrated, exhausted or even ill at the end of the day. Has your energy ever been depleted at the end of the week? I literally crashed this past weekend. I was emotionally and physically spent. I felt overwhelmed, overly anxious, empty and had a headache for a couple of days. When I neglect the Lord, I typically rush thru my morning readings and fail to take short breaks throughout the day. I do not take time to pray when facing adversity.
This is a typical response of my self-reliant tendencies or should I say pride? I may be in such a rush that I can barely whisper at Him and say, “I’ve got this, Lord, I don’t need your help right now. Take a break and allow me to take the lead.” Who am I kidding? This attitude will not help me get too far ahead. I will not bear much fruit.
Our bodies react to life stressors when working under these conditions for a prolonged period of time without much rest. Cumulative stress has an adverse impact on our lives without a doubt. It affects us emotionally, physically and spiritually over time.
Let us be mindful of our time with the Lord so we may bear much fruit at the end of the workday and be able to manage stressors in a healthy manner.
I cannot accomplish much without Him. Even if it is an on-going struggle, I can never overlook this issue ever again.
Help me, Lord, to be wise with my schedule at work. I want to maintain a reasonable life balance so I may care for my mental, physical and spiritual well-being throughout the day. I need rest and frequent breaks to stop and meditate on your precious Word. I want to relax at the end of each day, dig deep in your Word, maintain good nutrition and sleep hygiene so I may not be burned out by the end of the week.
In Jesus’ name, I boldly pray.
“LORD, you are the hope of Israel; all who forsake you will be put to shame. Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust because they have forsaken the LORD, the spring of living water.” Jeremiah 17:13 NIV
“The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come, and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” Revelation 22:17 NIV
“Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”John 4:10 NIV
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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.
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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.
Lester and I immediately connected when we first met at Wood Grove.
The Holy Spirit brought us together on a sunny day!
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.
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”
For over fifteen years, my folks lived across this Bay with a panoramic view of North Miami and Aventura.
Mom was vivacious for countless years.
Mom exercised regularly at a Gym and walked daily to a local park, cooked ‘arroz con leche’ often, traveled to Venezuela at least twice a year, played cards with girlfriends, was diligent in taking care of dad and was determined to overcome her Alzheimers.
“It’s a new day under the sun”,
I reminded myself as I drank coffee quietly near the pool and momentarily reflected how our lives have forever changed in less than sixteen months.
When dad captured his last breath of fresh air, and waltzed right into the presence of our Lord, family dynamics forever changed.
Mom’s health has deteriorated since then.
Mom gets easily fatigue today. She sleeps often throughout the day, is unable to recollect new information, gets confused at times, is reluctant to wear her dentures, needs supervision, is unable to drive a vehicle, isolates herself, suffers from bodily aches and pains, and disengages from the world often.
The bellyaching fact is mom will never remember how many days we recently embraced together.
As I hugged and kissed mom, I grasped how our lives will never be the same.
When I approached the counter of Delta airlines, my heart was filled with affliction and sorrow.
Because the Lord is near the broken-hearted, He comforted me as I headed towards the gate, D2.
The Lord reminded me of an inevitable reality,
“In old age, your body no longer serves you so well. Muscles slacken, grip weakens, joints stiffen. The shades are pulled down on the world. You can’t come and go at will. Things grind to a halt. The hum of the household fades away. You are wakened now by bird-song. Hikes to the mountains are a thing of the past. Even a stroll down the road has its terrors. Your hair turns apple-blossom white, Adorning a fragile and impotent matchstick body. Yes, you’re well on your way to eternal rest…”
Ecclesiastes 12:3-5 MSG
It’s a new day under the sun, indeed.
The Lord will never leave me nor forsake my beloved mom.
Our lives may have changed. Nevertheless, mom’s unconditional love will always prevail in my heart, and her fingerprints will forever dwell in my soul.
For: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Living with Alzheimer’s & Other Dementias: 101 Stories of Caregiving, Coping, and Compassion. Click the image below to purchase:
Life altering circumstances transpired and I soon realized I had drifted away from God’s wisdom and unfailing love.
Did I shut the door?!
I was inconsistent with church attendance and Bible reading for a season in my life. I desperately needed His truth daily yet I had unintentionally drifted away from Him.
Life disappointments, busyness and overwhelming grief led to despair, discouragement and emotional pain.
I was in a desert with no living water!
One Sunday morning, Lord reminded me of His tender truth.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
Joshua 1:8 NIV
Daily Bible reading renews the mind, nourishes the soul and prepares us for combat and adversity.
The truth reminds us to meditate on scriptures day and night.
‘How do I get fit, Lord?’
He answered, ‘one day at a time’
In the mornings, I complete a lesson from bible study, spend time in prayer and highlight the blessings of the day in a gratitude journal.
In a 15 minutes break, I use S.O.A.P method when I select a Scripture verse.
S: Write a Scripture,
O: Write an observation,
A: How can I apply it in my personal life?
P: Write a prayer asking God for His will, guidance, and most importantly ask for wisdom.
I take advantage of the two ’15 minutes’ breaks at work.
At lunchtime, I read a Psalm or a Proverb for the day. It only takes another 15-20 minutes to read, reflect and pray over today’s lesson.
A 3-ring “Journaling” binder helps track the day.
Spend 15 minutes in an activity of your preference 3-4 times each day and
stay ‘refreshed’ all week.
I will never drift away from His wisdom much less ‘shut’ the door ever again.
Ecclesiastes 4:8 NIV
“There was a man all alone;
he had neither son nor brother.
There was no end to his toil,
yet his eyes were not content with his wealth.
‘For whom am I toiling,’ he asked,
‘and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?’
This too is meaningless-
a miserable business!”