Drop The Magnifying Glass

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

‭Philippians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lord,

At sunrise, I bring all of my petitions to You and reflect on my blessings with a grateful heart. When I am reclined in my favorite living room chair, the thinking process is smooth, friendly and convenient. I even have the time to ask you to search my heart and allow extra time for you to speak, “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm‬ ‭139:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬.

My time with you at sunrise is a delight!

Philippians 4:6 reminds me of how important is to breathe, take a break, arrest all of my disturbing thought(s), surrender these troubling thoughts to Christ and pray with You in thanksgiving. Most importantly, you do not want me to be anxious about anything. You are already taking care of all the details and fighting the best battle on my behalf.

At times, it is an ongoing struggle to react well in the midst of adversity or when faced with the unexpected or a life-altering moment.

Do you ever struggle my friend? I hope your struggles are not as debilitating as mine. The ”what if’s” in life will bring high levels of anxiety and distress without a doubt.

I immediately anticipate the worst scenario when I intentionally answer all potential ‘what if’ questions. It is like holding a magnifying glass closely, searching for both irrelevant and relevant clues and creating my own, ‘Pelicula de Accion’, action movie with a dramatic plot and ending. Every time I am creative with an imaginary action movie, I imprisoned myself at a maximum-security prison.

Confined. Shackled. Helpless. No Freedom.

Lord, help me put my trust in you alone (‭Psalm‬ ‭56:3‬ ‭NIV)‬‬. Help me establish a steadfast, prayerful life. I want for prayer to be my immediate response to shocking news, unexpected circumstances, troublesome, threatening or disheartening information. I need your help. I cannot do this on my own.

Please forgive me, Lord,  for all of the times I have overreacted.

I lose perspective when I think about the worst scenario and even catastrophize at times. When I catastrophize or visualize a tragedy, I experience a full-blown anxiety attack. Shortness of breath, restlessness, heart palpitations and debilitating fear are some of the symptoms I typically experience.  If I cannot breathe well, I may not think clearly much less pray right there and then. At that point, I am no longer able to reflect on or apply truth to my personal circumstances.

I have to stop the “what if” line of questioning, my sweet friend! It is where it all starts before the decision-making process goes downhill.

Your truth reminds me that our emotions are fickle and the heart is deceitful (Jerimiah 17:9).

The Lord wants for us to think of whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable—“if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Recently, I freaked out over an email that I was expecting for quite some time. My emotions were hijacked when I held a ‘magnifying glass’ closer to the printed information on a web-article. The more information I read, the more “what if” questions I answered without any evidence.

Once my overwhelming emotions blurred my vision, I then anticipated the worst scenario when I read over the leader’s profile at work. Her track record in past performance was outstanding. She was a Judge in our local criminal court. She is highly respected and her flawless reputation was palpable. I was quite excited for this young woman to be selected for a three-year term. I kept reading the web-article for relevant details. When I read the word PROSECUTOR, it jumped out of the page and I completely lost it as soon as I visualized being cross-examined in our future, casual conversations at work.

“How irrational was that? Lord. I already had a movie plot with a dramatic ending ready to be published!

An irrational thought led to irrational emotion and before I knew it I was gasping for my next breath. By the time I finished reading the article, I was paralyzed by the high level of anxiety. Once my emotions were hijacked by the visualization of day-to-day cross-examinations, I felt threatened and fearful of the upcoming change at work. I literally thought the new leader in command would cross-examine employees outside of a courtroom. How irrational was that?  Friend, there is no need to answer. I bet Satan enjoyed every minute of my agony and emotional distress as I failed to pray and created my own short-lived, dramatic action movie after I had answered all of the potential “what if’s.”

I am not honoring Satan’s deceitful plans by answering any “what if,” the question. The enemy’s scheme is to plant the seed of doubt, confusion, and/or anticipation. I will probably stop, take a deep breath and change my focus next time I ever think of another “what if”. I plan on quitting this vicious cycle right there and then.

If you are an attorney, my friend, I have great respect for what you do. As a matter of fact, I have great working relationships with local attorneys and even served as an expert witness twice in the past. It was quite uncomfortable to be on the stand at first and I even disliked the motives behind cross-examinations. It is definitely outside of my comfort zone.

But God…

Your eternal perspective is my refuge. I stand on Your solid ground when I stand on your Truth.

Lord, may all of my meditations be pleasing in your sight! (Psalm 19:14).

You always hear my cries, petitions and it comforts me in the most debilitating circumstances (Psalm‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭NIV).‬‬

I am ready to ditch the magnifying glass so I may experience victory in Christ! You are the author of my Faith and the Prince of Peace.

In Jesus’ name, I boldly pray, Amen.

Photo: Marten Newhall @ Splasher

Let us sit next to Jesus:

Inscribe and Meditate

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the highest will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings, you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, “The LORD is my refuge,” and you make the Highest your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent. “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With a long life, I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:1-16‬ ‭NIV

Memory Verse

“Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” ‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Weekly Challenge

Every hour take a few minutes for breathing and stretching exercises.

When in distress, stop, take a break and breathe immediately. Then, pray to our Lord. He is our Refuge and Prince of Peace.

Melodies of His Heart

Our surroundings are way too loud for me right now” a friend gently adjusted her hearing aid when we both walked into a local restaurant for a Holiday celebration.

Has it ever happened to you that you are overwhelmed by the level of noise?  ‘Information or sound overload’ happens often, whether we are wearing a hearing aid or not. Our Lord’s voice will gradually fade out and not be heard in the midst of our hectic lifestyles or loud surroundings!

D0B6A5C6-5285-4177-8946-A7E97BBFC3F6Photo courtesy: Luca Volpe @ Unsplash

Lord, I want to hear your subtle whispers! Help me tune into the rhythms of your voice and the melodies of your heart, Lord. “You are gracious, righteous and full of compassion.” (Psalm 116:5)

We are also bombarded with tragic news on the radio, disheartening family updates, conflicting information at our work sites, countless projects at home, unwanted medical diagnosis, unresolved parenting issues or endless social media feeds.

If our days get too noisy, turn the volume down a notch so we may hear the whispers of the Holy Spirit and nourish our relationship with our only Savior, Jesus Christ and honor our Abba Father.

Yes, Lord, I want to hear the melodies of your heart!

By the end of the day, I am physically and mentally fatigued from what life demands out of me. My soul is drenched and thirsty for His living water. If I am feeling annoyed or frustrated then I know I need to stop, breath, take a short break and call on the name of Jesus.

“Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the LORD our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice,” Psalm‬ ‭95:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let us slow down a bit so we may be in tune with the nudges of the Holy Spirit.

Lord, help me slow down and not be so distracted by technology…Your heavenly presence is my forever refuge.

35F978BF-3E4F-4E2D-B7CD-032CBE211486Photo Courtesy: Rawpixel @ Unsplash

I was surprised when I noticed my friend had deactivated from Facebook. “Did anything happen?! I was intrigued. Personally, I would miss my virtual friends so much just like I had missed seeing her smile in all of her FB posts!” I thought to myself. I truly enjoy scrolling down social media and interacting with everyone yet I do neglect my loved ones at home at times.

I missed seeing my friend’s updates on FB so I invited her to lunch one afternoon. She shared how ‘simple’ and ‘less complicated’ her life had been without social media. “What?! How could you live without FB?” I bluntly asked.

Even though I have no plan on quitting social media, I did appreciate my friend’s intent to simplify her life.  She introduced me to the ‘screen time’ application for the iPhone as an option. It keeps track of the amount of time I spend on my phone applications each day. Once the selected time is over, the selected application(s) are locked for the rest of the day unless you request an additional fifteen minutes of use or even override it for the rest of the day. I figured three hours a day for social media would be enough time for me to check in with all of my virtual friends and still have time to work a full-time job, spend quality time with family and friends on weekends and most importantly quality time with my Savior every day. Not only did I set up the ‘screen time’ for the phone applications but I also established ‘downtime’ away from technology. It even reminds me when I have five minutes left of screen time before the scheduled downtime! How cool is that?

Lord, I am ready to turn on the celestial volume of your melodies and loving tunes!

E19CFB44-6D85-4E1B-B5BF-473E40D4D298.pngCourtesy Photo: William Iven @ Unsplash

Lord, If I am not inscribing and meditating on Scriptures, writing out my praises and petitions, and worshiping Jesus throughout the day, then I know I will eventually drift away and be distant from You. Oh no! I can’t afford to drift away from you, Lord.

You have guided me thru unfamiliar territories and led the way, have smoothed out the circumstances along the way so I could endure hardships, have never forsaken me and you have turned darkness into light in my presence! (Isaiah 42:16)

Lord, I am praying over Psalm 27:8 at this moment, “help me seek your face and
help me not take my eyes off from you!”

Let us, “Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness; tremble before him, all the earth.” Psalm‬ ‭96:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Let us Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭100:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

in Jesus’ name, I bravely pray.

Amen.

Let us sit at our Lord’s feet –

Inscribe and Meditate:

“The LORD is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid? 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. Hear my voice when I call, LORD; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. Teach me your way, LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Psalm‬ ‭27:1, 4, 7-8, 11, 13-14‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Memory Verse:  “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

Weekly Challenge: Try out the ‘screen time’ on your phone and establish ‘downtime’ away from technology.  Do not be surprised if you establish the habit once you have done this challenge for several weeks consecutively.

 

Empowered by Jesus: Let Go of Control.

“See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.” Deuteronomy‬ ‭30:15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Lord,

Please, forgive me for thinking I could control today’s events by manipulating environmental conditions. I desperately wanted to expedite the timing and possibly the outcome(s) of all my circumstances. Help me trust in your character instead, and in your faithfulness, promises and most importantly in your eternal masterplan.

You are the One who has control over our lives!

You orchestrate the details of all life happenings then map out how new beginnings unfold.

You created the heavens and the earth, and every living creature in today’s world. God even breathed ‘the breath of life’ into the man’s  nostrils at the very beginning of biblical times! (Genesis 2:7).

Without you, I would not be alive today. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm‬ ‭139:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬- I praise you for the miracles and blessings in my life today. You are in control, not I.

Control is an illusion!

If I think I am in full control over my life, then I am living a lie. It is a subtle, recurrent strategy from the father of lies, our enemy, who wants for us to disregard God’s will. He is crafty in drafting an illusion; he is a con artist. He wants for us to remain in bondage to our sinful nature and be apart from you, Lord. The enemy is jealous of our intimate fellowship and wants to steal our joy, destroy our present and future and enslave us once again!

But, Christ has defeated the enemy on our behalf.

We have the gift to make a choice, thank goodness Lord! We have free will.

Our ability to make a decision is a heavenly treasure. God wants us to be intentional and prayerful when making choices. The Holy Spirit, our eternal companion and coach, will guides us in decision-making if we pray first.

Thank you, Lord, for being a reliable and trustworthy Helper.

It is our decision whether we surrender to God’s will or not, whether we are obedient to His commands or not, whether we partner up with Him in our day to day activities or not, whether we choose to engage in earthly distractions or fruitless habits like ‘retail therapy’ or not.

Ultimately, God wants us to partner with Him in today’s journey and in all of our decision-making opportunities.

God encourages us to choose wisely so we may not be enslaved to idols ever again. Idolatry is anything that pulls away from our intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Everytime I spend time in frivolous spending or complaining or even perfectionism, the Holy Spirit convicts me of what truly matters.

I need to repent, surrender my desires, and follow Him!

His desire is for me to be always free and alive; “Let me be clear, the Anointed One has set us free—not partially, but completely and wonderfully free! We must always cherish this truth and stubbornly refuse to go back into the bondage of our past.” Galatians‬ ‭5:1‬ ‭TPT‬‬

Jesús is the light to our path; “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

We do not have control in Life.

When tragedy occurs, God is already there on our behalf!

Several years ago…

My sister and I had it ‘all’ planned out prior to her international trip. We had mapped out the ‘perfect’ plan, the projected timeframe and all of the details for the action plan. We had explored all available options together in the best interest of our elderly parents.

We thought “we were ready to go.” We were wrong!

I was consulting 90 minutes away from home and was about to take a lunch break when I received a phone call from my sister. I was intrigued yet surprised by her unexpected call and even had a fleeting thought, “she must have forgotten to say something else about her trip…” I was calm and relaxed.

When I answered the phone, I heard her trembling and high-pitched tone of voice, “Dad just had a heart attack and died…” She was still in shock and I was too!

Our lives were drastically altered by the unexpected and overwhelming sense of grief and loss. She was in Venezuela and I was in the United States, many thousand of miles apart.

I felt helpless when I realized my passport had expired, and there was no available international flights at the time! I was unable to attend dad’s funeral. I was heart-broken, grief stricken and alone. Many even judged me for not being at dad’s funeral and only a couple of people reached out throughout the painful journey of loss and loneliness.

In my walk thru the valleys of emotional distress and sorrow, God was my only source of refuge, comfort and hope. The Lord is near the broken-hearted and to those whose spirits are crushed (Psalm 34:18).

Praising Jesus! He truly understands.

He will never leave us nor forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6).

He even weeps with us  (Luke 22:62).

God does not waste our emotional pain ever!

The only control we have is in our decision-making process when we make choices today. We can believe in His promises rather than feeling hopeless, choose Hope over despair, be with Jesus instead of being lonely, and choose meditation rather than fruitless habits such as retail therapy.

“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

After dad’s funeral, the intensity from family estate planning and challenging, work demands led to anger, fear and despair. My needless shopping spinned out of control for another season.

I did not handle my grief well at the onset of this major loss until I brought this hardship to the Lord’s attention one afternoon. I knelt down in front of the Cross, surrendered my heart and trusted Him with the healing process.

Out of angst and helplessness, I chose to dig into the book of Psalms one day at a time. I inscribed His verses at Sunrise and Sunset, recited selected verse throughout the day, journaled my mixed emotions and believed in His eternal promises one moment at a time. When I entrusted my emotional distress and grief to the Lord, my soul was refreshed. Only then, I was able to get a grip of my needless spending habit.

“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.” Psalm‬ ‭61:2-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Praising Jesus for His healing!

How did I let go of control?! When I realized I did not have control over  my circumstances and allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me thru chaos, confusion and hatred one event at a time.

I was flexible and receptive to the soft whispers of the Holy Spirit and did not hold too tight my daily schedule, routine or agenda for the day.

When we choose to follow His ways, He sets us free.

I am choosing Life and Prosperity today, Lord. I want to be free for the rest of my life and not be enslaved ever again.

‘God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… the courage to change the things I can… and the wisdom to know the difference’ (Reinhold Niebuhr)

in Jesus’ name I bravely pray and boldly praise you,

Amen.

Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and meditate on 2 Peter 1:1-12

Memory Verse: 2 Peter 1:3-4 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”
‭‭

Weekly Challenge: Consider a budget for Holiday shopping this year and add it to your household budget. Review budget goals weekly. Track your daily expenses.

Tip for the week: Do not spend more money than you earn. Pray over your finances daily.

Photo courtesy: Iong Sitaula @Splasher

E1EA7335-3F83-4794-8E28-E35C961D4D9B

A ‘Heart2Heart’ Note to a Faithful Father ~ Bible Journaling 2017 ~

My heart is filled with gratitude and hope after prolonged exposure to ‘spiritual warfare’ originated from a sinful world.

We live in a broken world. People’s mind are perverted, hearts are hardened and actions are undoubtedly conniving and evil.

Spiritual warfare is real. We can easily be sucked into it. It’s an on-going struggle.

Hearing the latest news on TV, navigating thru unexpected circumstances, facing adversity or adopting world’s views will either consume all of our energy or exhaust our emotional, intellectual and/or physical resources. If our resources are depleted, we will drift away from our close fellowship with Abba Father.

Be alert, a thief comes to steal, and destroy one’s relationship with the Lord!

I often pray, ‘Lord, guard my mind, heart and soul’. 

Because the Lord is faithful and merciful, I just wrote Him a “Heart2Heart” note today.

Dear beloved Father, you have been my refuge since I invited you to come into my heart. You acknowledge all struggles and distress, and counsel me when facing dilemmas. You are a shining light to a disturbed and chaotic world.

You know me by name and even pronounce it correctly with a Latin flavor.

Help me capture the essence of your promises so I may remember them in the midst of intense, unexpected  spiritual warfare. My deepest desire is to always be courageous, brave and stand firm in my Faith.

Spiritual warfare is real and is here to stay!

But, there is victory in the name of Jesus.

If I seek you, I will find you. You are my strength in my weakness. Your faithfulness is my shield in any given challenge, Lord.

Your love never runs out and I appreciate when you extend grace when teaching the hardest, life lessons. Yes, I heard you ‘loud and clear’ this afternoon when you highlighted the importance of being still and relentlessly prayerful right before entering the battlefield.

Shape my thoughts, mold my character and set my paths straight. I always want to act justly and walk humbly.

Direct my steps, and cleanse my heart from unforgiveness, bitterness and hatred.  I surrender my plan(s). Your plans are better than mine indeed!

I do believe so help me with  my unbelief. I’ve wrestled with you way too many times. I know you understand my struggles, dilemmas, and uncertainties. I repent for hidden sins in my heart.

I will trust you with all of my heart, mind and soul regardless of current circumstances.

Let your will be done always, in Jesus’ name I give praise and pray, Amen.


Bible Journaling refreshes our minds, hearts and souls creatively. The experiential activity will redirect our attention to what’s true, trustworthy, lovely, admirable and noble. When our minds are renewed, we can endure the next challenge, rejection and/or opposition. When fully engaged  in creative bible journaling, I love using a confetti-colored, royal blue pair of scissors to cut out the elements, strategically place them on a bible page, highlight a verse or two, reflect on His message and engrave it permanently in my heart. It’s a fun way to unwind at the end of a hectic day,  diffuse the intensity of toxic stress and preserve the fellowship with the Lord.

In 2017, I created at least 43 different page layouts and prayed over these Scriptures. God speaks to us thru His Word.

D0745453-1972-42C7-9CB5-9BED1DAA974E“Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return to you at the appointed time next year, and Sarah will have a son.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭18:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬D9E69226-71F6-44AC-BD03-5E3207DA1562“I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,”
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭22:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬592A4AB0-6E10-4C8C-BE10-F6EAD77235A2“And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭33:17‬ ‭NIV‬‬ED4D2CDD-337D-49D1-A5AB-6AEA4CB73774“Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your God. I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am the LORD your God.’ ””
‭‭Numbers‬ ‭15:40-41‬ ‭NIV‬‬90F241B9-FAA8-4E0F-8845-CC672F351343“But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.”
Deuteronomy‬ ‭4:29, 31‬ ‭NIV‬‬DD57E277-3228-463D-831C-459A618D8ECEAnd now, Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,”
‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭10:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
DEF0A2A7-1D5A-4736-A3E5-8A91C23F987D“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
‭‭Ruth‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭NIV‬‬CAF24EE1-1061-4E50-A134-002DA3416EA2“So he sent for him and had him brought in. He was glowing with health and had a fine appearance and handsome features. Then the LORD said, “Rise and anoint him; this is the one.” So Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the presence of his brothers, and from that day on the Spirit of the LORD came powerfully upon David. Samuel then went to Ramah.”
‭‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16:12-13 NIV4D83828F-C281-44A3-AAE3-3231B10A81F4“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever.”
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭16:34‬ ‭NIV‬‬FCA94ED7-5E55-404C-B9E1-40757A76CE16“Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all. Now, our God, we give you thanks, and praise your glorious name.”
‭‭1 Chronicles‬ ‭29:12-13‬ ‭NIV‬‬1FC00CBF-C94D-4D10-954A-DBD58750C0F6“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬611F6404-F4DC-49F8-A8BA-5304FA858CEFFor if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”
‭‭Esther‬ ‭4:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬B8EA74C5-73BC-4AED-85C4-BEAE2B2B5B22“Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭4:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬671602E3-C0CB-4D97-B152-F8B30ADA4215“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭19:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬
BA83B8EE-3546-402F-9355-E0D4423A35D5“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭23:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬010CE9AB-46F6-491E-9830-6EE0D70E23F3“Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭25:4-5‬ ‭NIV030C5F26-66A4-4A41-9CC2-A5C352B3167D“He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.””
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭46:10‬ ‭NIV‬‬
01314719-C794-4183-8D3D-4F59B60424CD“I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭50:11-12‬ ‭NIV‬1A4ADB5B-EDFF-4A30-894D-A5B020EC3489“In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭71:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬7664399C-2BF5-47F4-A11F-4DBF9D288F6A“He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭91:4, 7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
5417558F-EE0E-425A-9483-0920E8CE9A8A“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭100:4‬ ‭NIV‬‬
DAB524DF-01F7-46EE-A2AE-111FBB38114A“Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he pronounced,”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭105:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬2B72F5EC-79E8-419A-866E-F2CAD2C67D15“Blessed are all who fear the LORD, who walk in obedience to him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭128:1‬ ‭NIV‬‬
6A07FC51-10F7-485B-A363-95B6FE85BB05“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭3:5-6‬ ‭NIV‬‬C2B8E7DF-812F-4FE7-8D96-D193ABC1783B“a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,”
‭‭Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
C6BF5B2A-FD71-435E-B5A8-BEE361798A71“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭7:14‬ ‭NIV‬‬EC71DD35-7B9C-4A08-A72D-9409DF697FA7“Awake, awake, arm of the LORD, clothe yourself with strength! Awake, as in days gone by, as in generations of old. Was it not you who cut Rahab to pieces, who pierced that monster through?”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭51:9‬ ‭NIV‬‬E04ED18B-94C8-4C72-9A89-271F0139C24A“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭64:8‬ ‭NIV‬880F71AE-FA09-4ADD-8616-16AA252C206A“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
‭‭Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬B9A1E89A-73A7-410D-9447-5B0CFBED7671“Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.””
‭‭Hosea‬ ‭6:3‬ ‭NIV‬‬
596B33DA-2733-43D1-842F-6176296766D2“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”
‭‭Micah‬ ‭6:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬930DB0B1-17BF-4A8E-BBA7-BC668D41C968“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.””
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭2:1-2‬ ‭NIV‬‬
8F944160-E25C-4FD1-91B0-76D33072AF97“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭22:42‬ ‭NIV‬‬
9AC090B7-96B3-4085-911D-6DA7A770D352“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭NIV‬‬
17DA4EB9-DE3B-4053-ACE4-456D7AE87ECF“For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:6-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
D896ED53-1647-4B9A-BD13-95C0772D126ALove is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭13:4-7‬ ‭NIV‬‬
D437FA1F-2CCE-49EF-AF1C-72D7E43746B2“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭16:13‬ ‭NIV‬‬
722C42A9-7EFE-4AEA-AABE-28F19A16BFEF“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭NIV
9FC03FE8-E62A-42AE-A411-9803A20BF7DD“Speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭5:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
D27707B3-564C-4E25-A791-EF4098E56136“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭1:15-20 NIV
71094258-A666-4C1A-BC5E-0C43641A1816“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.”
‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:11‬ ‭NIV‬‬
4B4E1D5C-6902-49DF-9070-8B6C6AD29CBA“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain,”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭6:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬
9CD2F9EA-9164-4CD1-842C-51CF3AF207AD“He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
‭‭Revelation‬ ‭21:5‬ ‭NIV‬‬
—————————————–  Bible layouts can be purchased from Etsy store titled “Lot95Designs”. There is also a FB community available for encouragement, teachings and ideas led by Lynn Shokoples. You may request membership at the following link: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1592533074392323

 

 

Overnight Delivery –

“I haven’t received the certified mail as of yet, Tita”   Niece had sent a text message Friday afternoon.

In disbelief, I wanted to reassure niece the package was going to be delivered soon or I was going to scan and email her a copy.

Mom had traveled to Florida on Thursday.

After 38 years of residence in Miami, mom had finally applied for U.S. Citizenship for the first time. She was ready  to complete her fingerprints.

We were all excited for  Mom was on her way to be a U.S. citizen.

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By Monday afternoon, I was quite flustered, discouraged and had ran out of possible solutions.

Time was running out!

Mom’s appointment was scheduled for the next day at 3 p.m.She had not received her appointment card as of yet.

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge”, Psalm 62:8 NIV

The Holy Spirit nudged me to contact the local UPS store at 5:05 p.m. on Monday afternoon and so I did.

“The UPS truck picks up at 5:30 p.m. today and your delivery is guaranteed by tomorrow morning” I heard the well-mannered, staff from UPS store say on the phone.

I  rushed to the store, contacted sister for temporary mailing address, and delivered the appointment card by 5:25 p.m.

“Whew! How come I did not think of it sooner?”

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When I heard sister say, “the package arrived 15 minutes early than expected and we will be on our way soon”

I realized I had focused on the challenging circumstances ‘way too long’ and had not prayed at all …

Praising God for His faithfulness in the midst of uncertainties.

Mom is relaxing today in South America while she waits for the formal interview to be scheduled.

“Lord, I believe. I’ve got to pray more often”

Shut the door and never look back!

 God delivers us from tenebrous wilderness.

He never leaves us nor forsakes us when chained to self-defeating patterns or

strolling down the broad path of today’s world!

He is FAITHFUL!

“He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim liberty to the captives,

and the opening of the prison

to those who are bound…” Isaiah 61:1

The Lord heals the brokenhearted, frees us from captivity and guides us towards an abundant life filled with Hope and eternal promises!

“It is a relief to be in His presence each moment!”

A path only a few may find.

will-you-follow-me

He is FAITHFUL!

Periodically, the Lord opens up another ancient door from a prison cell so we may shut it permanently and never glanced back at it ever again.

 “Idolatry”

Excessive internet shopping and social media updates, busyness, seeking approval from others are few barriers we may encounter when building our relationship with the Lord.

“No more bondage!”

“Let me walk out of this prison cell and shut the door at once!!” She whispered to herself in disgust one late afternoon.

She surrendered her desires for ‘more stuff’, approval, and social media involvement,

“Lord, help us stay focused. You are our only Hope to overcome strongholds in life. In Christ, anything is possible so give us the inner strength, focus, and determination we need for just today. In Jesus’ name, we pray.  Amen.”

Joy in Music

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“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭100:2‬ ‭NIV‬‬

 

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Jesus Understands

The phone rang as soon I sat down in the living room’s cozy, leather couch. I glanced at my watch and had a random thought, “perfect timing! We can catch up…”

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Her voice trembled as she called out my name in despair and fear.

I knew then, there was a family emergency.

My heart skipped a beat or two when I demanded the ‘bad news’ without much delay.

“He attempted suicide”, she declared.

After I gathered all relevant details and suggested a course of action, I was still in state of shock.

I prayed on behalf of the family and was reminded of His faithfulness. God would never leaves us nor forsake us. The Lord gives us the strength, comfort and peace in the midst of chaos and state of disbelief.

I silently prayed.

‘God, give him a glimpse of hope for the future. He has lost his way and is quite desperate in life; he does not even know you or any of your promises. Please, capture his tender heart now, embrace him with your loving arms, whisper in his ear ‘how much’ you love him, forgive him and lead him to salvation. You are a God of ‘many’ chances and your patience never runs out so rescue him from darkness this evening and show him a new way of life. In Jesus name I pray, Amen’

Jesus hears our prayers. He certainly understands our state of mind and heart.

How many of us have the strength to manage unexpected, disheartening news, tragedies or even sudden death of a loved one?

Personally, I am run-down at times.

There is no life apart from Jesus.

He is my living water, refuge and comforter in the storms of life.

Jesus is LIFE indeed.

“which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭1:23‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Jesus understands all of our unfortunate circumstances and He is the One who can helps us get thru it one day at a time.

Apart from Jesus, there is no life!

There is time for Everything

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In the book of Ecclesiastes, the truth reminds us of…

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance…”

It’s time to mourn indeed.

God hears our Prayers

As I hustled towards the double doors of Corporate building in despair, I prayed “Lord, I don’t want for GQ to suffer any longer…let him rest… Take him now if its your will”.

“Answer me when I call to you, My righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer” Psalm 4:1 NIV

The veterinarian had left me a voicemail by the time I unlocked my office door.

By then, I knew the Lord had seen my distress and had heard a piercing cry for His mercies.

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Our last morning together. He was relaxed while I drank morning coffee and ate breakfast.

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