Be Intentional!

Lord,

Every year I choose a different action word to be mindful of and prayerful throughout the entire year.

Believe, trust, surrender and persevere were my last four choices.

These words have made an impact on my life and recurrent themes play out in today’s life happenings.

‘Intentional’ is the new choice for the upcoming year.

Help me be more intentional, Lord!

Since I was a young adult, I have always been intentional, passionate and committed to all sort of personal and professional goals.

Graduate school – check. Marriage – check. Relocation – check. Build a new home – check, check, check. Leadership- check. The endless list continues to be checked off today.

I praise God for all of His blessings and provisions over the past five decades.

I was never intentional with friendships though!  I struggled to slow down on any given day and visit a friend.

Jesus Christ was intentional in all of his relationships and created community everywhere he went. He enjoyed sitting around a table with his twelve disciples, took time to help others, healed many, fed thousands, shared valuable lessons in all of His parables and teachings, interacted with people from all walks of life, and walked alongside sinners in his short-lived ministry.

Jesus shared his life with the twelve disciples and got to know them well.

Jesus took time, was never in a hurry or busy for His beloved family, friends, and others. When His timing appeared to be delayed, Jesus’ had a divine purpose and glorified our Abba Father along the way.

“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,”
‭‭Acts‬ ‭2:46‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I have friends in different States and in various countries. Geographical distance is not an excuse in today’s economy; social media, facetime, and other available phone applications make our lives so much easier today to stay connected. Travel opportunities are even affordable nowadays.

I still struggle today in connecting with friends who appreciate a two-way conversation at a kitchen table. I would rather be checking off tasks from my ‘to do’ list than sharing a meal with a friend at her house. Both personal aspirations and work consume my time. Busyness was my ‘numero uno’ (number one) excuse for decades! I was way too busy. Community was not a priority then.

Because I never took time to nourish past relationships, I am now embracing the pain of loneliness in my everyday life.

I live far away from immediate family and relatives; dad passed away several years ago, mom has Alzheimer’s Disease and the few friends I do have, I have failed to connect and do life with them over the course of time.

It is never to late to recognize the value of community though.

I am now ready to change my ways, Lord, show me how!

Local community offers a sense of belongingness and brings joy, fulfillment, and comfort to our hearts and souls. Unforgettable memories are created over the course of time! Friends make a difference in one’s life. Doing life together is priceless.

I will always treasure the memories I created with my folks and childhood friends.

Being intentional in relationships may be defined as ‘sharing one’s life’ with a friend or two in truth and action at a kitchen table. Since I do not know how to cook, I hardly ever invite others for a meal at my place.

Lord,  I want to be intentional with heart connections! My heart’s desire is to be more like Jesus, one connection at a time.

A text message was the starting point for me…

It was mid-afternoon when I received a text message from one of my local friends, “We would love to have you and your husband for dinner this afternoon.”

I was thrilled and immediately accepted it.

My husband and I would like to socialize with local friends more often. There is only one problem…we have not made friends in our local community as of yet. We have co-workers at our job site, professional colleagues in our network, acquaintances in Church, long-distance friendships and relatives, a ton of virtual friends yet no one to share life in our local community.

“Isn’t that strange?” Not really. When you are so caught up with professional goals, challenging family circumstances or just everyday life happenings, it is not unusual to neglect community.

When we arrived at our friends’ home, we were warmly welcomed. We exchanged ideas at the dining table, learned more about each other and wrapped up the evening with corporate prayer. The highlight of the evening was when my girlfriend admitted she did not know ‘how to’ cook yet she had been watching videos on youtube.com! I was pleasantly surprised by her honesty. I soon realized I could learn to cook by watching chefs as well. When we both admitted to our struggles in the kitchen area, I was no longer alone and in distress. Perhaps I too could learn simple recipes at age fifty-one and start having friends over my place real soon.

It is never too late to learn a new skill or establish a new habit or have a new dream in life. I choose to be intentional in the kitchen next year, and most importantly nourish the relationship of selected friends whom I want to do life with.

Have you considered connecting with a local friend today? Slow down and be intentional with a friend or two this week.

Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? I’m already searching for easy recipes. This is definitely a foreign topic for me.

“ Progress not Perfection” is my new motto.

Let us schedule a visit with a friend and don’t excuse yourself!

In Jesus’ name, I bravely pray.

Amen.

Let us sit at our Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and Meditate: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had a need. Every day they continued to meet together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved (Acts 2:42-47 NIV).

Memory Verse: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).

Weekly Challenge: Are you ready to be intentional today? If so, what would be your first step?

Photo courtesy: Priscilla Du Preez, Blubel & Toa Heftiba @ Splasher

 

Empowered by Jesus: Original by Design.

Lord,

Thank you for creating me in your image. I am ‘original’ by design. Even though I am a sinner, I am your beloved daughter. I deeply treasure the royal kinship with the King of kings. I am loved and forever cherished by our Heavenly Father and His only Son.

”How amazing is that?!” I am a child of God (John 1:12).

His truth reminds me of how wonderfully I was created even though I tend to be self-critical at times. Let me never forget ‘whose I am’ ever again. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm‬ ‭139:1-4, 14, 24‬ ‭NIV‬‬

I am … Chosen. Forgiven. Redeemed. Loved. Treasured. Set Apart to God.

“How special is that?!” I am unique and one of a kind.

No one can snatch me out of my Father’s hand either (John 10). I feel protected and secured right about now, Lord.

You always hold me close to your heart.

I praise you boldly and will sing a song of Thanksgiving always!

I am alive and well in Jesus Christ.

Let me be mindful of our enemy though, the father of lies, who wants to destroy or distort our  well-being and your divine master plan. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” John 10:10 NIV. The enemy planted the seeds of doubt and insecurity and convinced me I was ‘not good enough’!
Back in high school…
My girlfriends and I were gathered outdoors in the patio for a short recess and held an informal conversation about college. Everyone was inspired about future possibilities and asked relevant questions to the School Counselor. When our morning break ended, everyone rushed to their scheduled classes except me. I was unassured of the aptitudes needed to succeed in college so I asked for the counselor’s opinion.
After a brief silence, she answered gently “I don’t see you in college.”
“Ugh? Did I hear correctly?” I silently asked myself, was downhearted then walked away in disbelief.
Was I not good enough for college?” this sentence repeatedly echoed in my mind for the rest of my high school years. Discouragement settled in my heart soon thereafter. I never inquired again about college admission, SAT prep courses or career choices.
The self-deprecating message ‘not good enough’ replayed in my mind intermittently for almost three decades. It was a lie the enemy had planted in my mind and it played out throughout college and career life. I never thought I was good enough.
Academic life was ferocious
But God…
He granted me the confidence to overcome insecurities, fear, and doubt. By breaking down challenging tasks into manageable action steps, developing effective study habits, and learning from past mistakes, I overcame hurdles in both my personal life and career development. In Christ, my spirit was renewed every day, a steadfast character was built, and spiritual maturity evolved over the years.
The unexpected materialized twenty years after high school graduation!
I poured some Colombian coffee in a mug, grabbed the wireless headphones out of the leather tote then rushed to the home office at sunrise, “Lord help me be alert, organized and articulate in today’s conference call”  I whispered to myself. As I dialed the conference number, I meditated on His promise, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” Ephesians 3:20 (NIV).
I was astonished about the progress all team members had made so far in previous conference calls.
I was invigorated when the State Commissioner’s genuine appreciation for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) was initially displayed.  ABA is a treatment modality for children and adolescents who are diagnosed with intellectual disability and pervasive developmental disorder.
Never in my wildest dreams, did I expect to be in a regional leadership role much less conversing with a State Commissioner at 8 a.m. on a monthly basis! God’s vision is bountiful. I’m not letting the enemy plant another seed of doubt in my mind ever again.
No more lies, Satan, not today or ever again!

Lord, you have orchestrated favorable circumstances in my life. When these circumstances are unexpected, overwhelming or tragic, you give me the strength to persevere thru it all.

I am shifting my attention and focus to your heavenly ways and I will embrace your never-ending grace when I fail or experience setbacks. I know you love me even though I’ve got plenty of character defects (John 16).

“I am a work in progress.”

You are a forgiving, loyal and merciful God. You love me for who I am even at my worst. I am devoting the rest of my life to serve and worship you, “Serve and worship the awe-inspiring God. Recognize his greatness and bow before him, trembling with reverence in his presence.” Psalms‬ ‭2:11‬ ‭TPT‬‬

My heart is filled with gratitude, Lord.

Some say I have a type A personality. Others may not even notice the difference! I am much more interested in what you have to say, my Lord. Help me not be bothered by others’ critical opinions.

Man’s critical opinion is irrelevant. Your eternal view matters to me the most.

“How can I maintain eternal focus today, Lord?” I have asked myself repeatedly over the years. There are so many distractions, temptations, and earthly influences.

The more I know your truth, the more I witness how your truth has set me free.

I am engraving all of your precepts in my heart so I may never forget them or sin against you (Psalm 119:11). I enjoy meditating and discovering heavenly treasures in your Word every day! I take captive every thought on fruitless habits and ask for your strength to overcome temptations.

Apart from you, I cannot do anything, Lord (Psalm 16:2, John 15:5).

Yes, Lord! Help me overcome today’s temptations.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” (John‬ ‭15:5, 7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬)

When I am drifting away or get distracted Lord, gently nudge me back to you so I may abide in you and bear much fruit. Your spirit of truth guides me and shows me how to persevere thru turmoil, confusion, chaos, and uncertainties (John 16:13). In the midst of life happenings, I would like to grow spiritually and be much more steadfast in my walk with Jesus.

The Holy Spirit gifts us with a range of blessings. Thank you, Jesus, for the power and blessings of our forever companion, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit filled life is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness. goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

I need help with self-control, Lord.

I believe but help me with my unbelief when it comes to frivolous spending. I have thought of  being ‘not good enough’ to build a retirement plan. I know this is a lie!  Help me stop and walk away from the next shopping extravaganza. Some days I do well and other days I just want to shop non-stop. One of my current concerns is to manage the finances well and display self-control when faced with temptations over the Holidays. I want to be content with all I have today. I’ve got enough! Help me stay within the boundaries of my established budget. I am worthy of maintaining a solid retirement account. Yes, Lord! I know you want me to be a good steward of your resources.

I know if I rely on the power of the Holy Spirit, I will have the strength to walk away from needless spending. I need wisdom every time I make financial decisions and your strength to walk away from temptations of all types.

In Jesus’ name,

I bravely pray.

Amen.

Let us sit at the Lord’s feet:

Inscribe and Meditate: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:1-3‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Memory Verse: “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one. We have confidence in the Lord that you are doing and will continue to do the things we command. May the Lord direct your hearts into God’s love and Christ’s perseverance.” 2 Thessalonians‬ ‭3:3-5‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Weekly Challenge:

Identify a lie that has played out in your life over the years. Pray for God to replace it with His Truth.

Weekly Tip:

His Truth will set you free (John 8:32).

 

Photo Courtesy: Javier Reyes @ Splasher89CF692D-36A3-4CA8-BA9A-4BAE7064998C

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

 

 

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.

Continue reading

Balancing Work and Rest!

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!”

His plans will always prevail!

It’s Saturday morning already!

 My husband is preparing a tasty omelet in the kitchen,

My sister is on her way back to Venezuela,

My second oldest boy is trying to settle down in his morning routine,

and,

I’ve got urgency to get ready for a brunch in less than an hour!

Living in the moment is strenuous when faced with life extinguishers, doubt and fear.

 It starts with a benign question, ‘what if…?’

By the end of the thought, I have colorful, vivid images of a catastrophe.

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It’s truly exhausting!

Strongholds can be debilitating without a doubt.

As I wrestled with life altering decisions,  I finally grasped a reality.

There are no warranties in life.

In my most recent decision, I just wanted someone to reassure me about the future.

I wanted everyone to say, ‘it’s going to be alright…You won’t fail’

I even wished for a descriptive manual with clear instructions in ‘how to’ succeed at the task.

Guess what?!

No one can foretell the future much less can tell you if the decision you are about to make is the most favorable one.

When I kneel before Him in humility and most importantly with a surrendered heart, He always leads the way.

As soon as I surrendered this morning, He reminded me of one of his truths.

Just know, the Lord’s plans will always prevail.

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”
‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭19:21‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How peaceful does that sound?

It was comforting and reassuring!

Now, I’m ready for brunch.

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Joy in the Lord is her strength

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I was sitting next to a vibrant, young-looking 65 years old woman when I heard the nail technician ask a routine question, “would you like your eyebrows trimmed today?”.

Her gentle response was, “I no longer have eyebrows since I’m a cancer patient… I’m blessed though”

“The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭28:7‬ ‭NIV‬‬

She was soft-spoken, gracious and well-mannered.

All I heard was, “Cancer… Blessed!”

Agh?

“How many of us feel blessed after six years battling  with a rare form of cancer named ‘Leiomysarcoma’ on two different occasions? ” The cancer is now located in her lungs, kidneys and lymph-nodes .

I’m not convinced as of yet if I can ever bear 27 radiation treatments and still be blissful and undisturbed by a life altering event.

Her joy and strength were unshakable, her gratitude and optimism were palpable and her hope was in the Creator, the Alpha and the Omega. She had no doubts about His protection, unfailing compassion and never ending love.

She enjoys reading her Bible. She relies on His promises indeed.

Even though the white blood cell count is low and an infection may occur at any given time, she was grateful when she took the last chemo medication dosage.

She was even exhilarated by the trendy color of today’s manicure and genuinely smiled during our brief conversation.

She noted, “I’m truly content and in peace”. She gave me a  firm hug on her way out.

Today’s perspective on ‘challenging work circumstances’ instantly changed!

I grasped the importance of the here and now, the value of good health and most importantly the ability to live every moment as if it would be our last!

Our days are numbered indeed so I hope and pray I never lose sight of what’s relevant in life.

Not Alone!

“Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭66:20‬ ‭NIV‬

How many times have we stood at a crossroad and did not know which route to take?!

Mapquest directions were not clear or GPS was malfunctioning or its signal was lost or there was an unexpected detour along the way.

Challenges in life are to be expected.

We may experience mixed emotions when standing at a crossroad but we can definitely take a minute to breathe, sit back, relax and pray for wisdom.

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Over the years, I’ve made numerous life-altering decisions. As much as I like to consult with family and friends, I’m the one who is ultimately responsible for the outcome.

It can indeed be a lonely experience!

 As I’m facing another crossroad in life today, it is nerve wracking not to have a clear sense of direction.

Calm my anxious heart Lord!, I often pray.

Praise God for His faithfulness, comfort and peace.

God is currently orchestrating the most favorable circumstances and is taking care of details on my behalf. Even though I still don’t have a sense of direction, I know He has heard my prayer.

I just need to trust Him as I am waiting for an answer at the crossroad!