Walking Trail

Photo courtesy: Jonathan Borba @ Splasher.

Every other afternoon, my walking partner and I exercise outdoors and delight in fellowship. We laugh, share our life happenings (the good and the ugly), and most importantly we do life together while we complete a 3-mile trail.

Last week, I shared how evident God’s faithfulness was on display in my life. I was certainly blessed when I read an unexpected, thank-you note and public acknowledgement at work in the morning and was invited to a 9-month journaling program in the afternoon. God had reassured me I was on track both at work and in my ministry. 

My friend and I rejoiced in the Lord.

When God traces a new journey for His beloved children, His timing and perfect plans are to be trusted. A couple of days later, I heard from another friend who had changed her mind and backed-out of a special project. Even though I was in shock at first, I immediately heard the Holy Spirit whisper to my soul, “I’ve got another plan for you, Beloved. Just trust me.” 

God speaks to us in joyful moments, failures, successful outcomes, disappointments and even in a three-mile walking trail. We just need to listen courageously and intentionally receive His mercy and grace. We also need to track the changes in plan, adjust our attitude and actions, and commit all of our works to the Lord. (Proverbs 16:3) 

Don’t you just love how God speaks to us thru our circumstances? I certainly do. Let us run to Him in our distress, pour out our hearts and trust in His divine plans. He is the one who will grant us peace as we walk a three-mile trail and embrace the loss from a disappointing message and change in plans.

“Trust [confidently] in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him. God is a refuge for us.” Psalms 62:8 AMP

“Therefore let us [with privilege] approach the throne of grace [that is, the throne of God’s gracious favor] with confidence and without fear, so that we may receive mercy [for our failures or disappointments] and find [His amazing] grace to help in time of need [an appropriate blessing, coming just at the right moment].” Hebrews 4:16 AMP

“And God is able to make all grace [every favor and earthly blessing] come in abundance to you, so that you may always [under all circumstances, regardless of the need] have complete sufficiency in everything [being completely self-sufficient in Him], and have an abundance for every good work and act of charity.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 AMP

“Now may the Lord of peace Himself grant you His peace at all times and in every way [that peace and spiritual well-being that comes to those who walk with Him, regardless of life’s circumstances]. The Lord be with you all.

In Jesus’ name we boldly pray,

Amen.

 

Pray First!

Photo courtesy: Taiisia Stupak

“What? It is only 3:15 a.m.”

I could not believe it was happening it all over again. Waking up in the middle of the night and thinking about work issues are definitely not one of my preferred activities.

“I rather sleep and rest all night long!”

I kept on thinking about all possible scenarios for a couple of hours and could not fall back asleep again. The core issue was I failed to pray. I wanted to be in control and change the outcomes right there and then.

I neglected to rely on God’s sovereignty and let go of the issue at hand.

Have you ever thought of all types of outcomes when exploring a situation? It sure happened to me this past week. I lost some sleep and was distressed for close to twenty-four hours when I failed to trust God.

God wants us to trust Him in all of our circumstances.

“These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” JOHN 16:33 NASB

God wants us to be courageous and in Peace.

“So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” JOHN 20:19

God guards our hearts when we pray and surrender all of our troubling and challenging situations.

“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” PHILIPPIANS 4:7 NASB

God wants for us to be grateful.

“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.” COLOSSIANS 3:15 NASB

God wants for us to believe He is fighting on our behalf.

“”Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” JOHN 14:1 NASB

Lord, help me to believe, trust in You alone so I may surrender all of my intrusive and troubling thoughts in prayer. I want a heart like Cornelius who feared You and prayed continually (Acts 10:2).

In Jesus’ name I boldly pray, Amen.

Less Busyness, More of Jesus!

Photo Courtesy: Ben White at Splasher

Idolatry existed in Biblical times and it still is apparent in today’s world.

At a social gathering this past weekend, a middle-aged woman kept telling me how much rest she needed from her ‘crazy schedule’ at work and home. She appeared exhausted, preoccupied and anxious about her day-to-day business.  Because I am quite familiar with today’s fast-paced lifestyle and worldly views, I listened attentively and prayed silently for her to sit at the feet of Jesus more often.

The middle-aged woman who complained about her busy schedule at the social gathering was ‘me’!

As I reflect over the past three weeks of Micah’s bible study, I soon realized ‘busyness’ is a common distractor for most of us. Our schedules may be considered as an idol if these activities take priority over our relationship with Jesus. I tend to drift away from the Lord when life gets too busy and my schedule is overcrowded with appointments, work meetings, errands and other demands.

An overcrowded schedule will not allow us to hear the soft whispers of the Holy Spirit. Our flesh will be vulnerable and we may easily fall into temptation(s) or be deceived by the enemy’s lies. If we do not make time for God’s Word, then the Holy Spirit will not have the opportunity to encourage or counsel our hearts. Our lives will never be transformed.

Lord, help me clear out my daily schedule so I may dig deeper into your Word one day at a time.

Even though the Israelites sinned by worshipping false gods in Biblical times, our Lord loved on them and waited patiently for them to repent. He is still the ‘same’ patient, merciful, compassionate and forgiving God today.

Lord, please forgive me for ‘being too busy’ in life. Help me worship and glorify You in all I do. I want a heart just like King Hezekiah who genuinely loved You.

Lord, search my heart and forgive all of my unconfessed sins, help me follow your commandments and love on me today. You pursued me relentlessly until I surrendered my heart at the foot of the Cross.

Please demolish all of the idols in my life today.
Help me rest at the feet of Jesus more often.

“Praise the Lord, O my soul; all of my inmost beings, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits – who forgives all of your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems  your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires  with good things so that your youth is renewed like eagle’s.” Psalm 103:1-5 NIV

“For he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.” Psalm 107:9 NIV

“You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.” Psalm 145:16 NIV

He is the One who forgives, heals, redeems, loves and satisfies the core of our souls. Idolatry or worshipping false gods is just a temporary fix and will never satisfy us.

King Hezekiah praised and loved God with all of his heart, mind, and soul. Let us pray we have the heart to love God greatly. He is our only hope and security in the midst of confusion, turmoil, and darkness that exist in today’s world.

Let us pray for our daily schedules to allow us to read and reflect on His Word every day. In Jesus’ name, we boldly pray.

Amen.

Strength Renewed

Photo Courtesy: Steve Douglas @ Unsplash

“But those who wait for the LORD [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.” ISAIAH‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭AMP‬

Trust and Be Encouraged

Pigeons eat a variety of seeds including fresh grains, oats, popcorn and sunflower seeds. I truly delight in watching all sorts of birds in my backyard and hear them sing their melodic tunes every Spring.

Right after dad passed away, mom relocated back to South America permanently since she needed 24/7supervision.  For years, mom had fed a white pigeon with bread crumbs in her balcony every afternoon. Mom never purchased any special blend yet the pigeon would always visit her once or twice a day for bread crumbs.  One afternoon she quietly asked me, “who is going to feed the white pigeon in my absence?!” My heart sank. I was speechless. I pondered for quite a while ‘how’ was I going to answer mom until God sang His rhythmic tunes straight to the core of my soul and heart.

His truth reminded me not to worry or fret over life circumstances. I was not in control of the pigeon’s future. Mom needed to move back to our home country and God was going to take care of both mom and the white pigeon.

Luke 12:24-25 “Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds then; how much more valuable you are than the birds! And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span?”

In transitions, we may feel vulnerable and out of control. In these moments, we may be in distress or anxious about the outcome(s) of the future.  The Lord walks alongside and comforts us along the way.

These unforgettable memories are engraved in our hearts and reminds us of all those special moments God speaks to our hearts. It was so special to think about mom and her white pigeon from South Florida earlier today.

The Lord reminded me once again not to worry or fret over current circumstances. His divine plans are going to prevail and for us to rest in Him prayerfully and peacefully. He is able and forever faithful. He is our Provider, Refuge and Peace. He is in control of all life circumstances. When we trust in Him, we will be encouraged.

Ephesians 3:20

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.

Psalms 33:20

Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our Help and our Shield.

Psalms 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Hebrews 10:23

Let us hope fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.

Photo Courtesy: Sandy Millar @ UnSplasher and Holger Link.

 

The Bible Reading Journal Illustrated.

Newsflash!

The “Bible Reading Journal Illustrated” is available now on Amazon ✍🏼

It can be used in a group setting or independently. It is the perfect journal for anyone who is just beginning to engage in “Faith Journaling.”

The journal explains the value of ‘Faith journaling’ and an illustration demonstrates the daily process. This journal will provide you with journaling space to record your personal reflections as you read Bible passages every 20 days.

You will find written prompts that will guide you thru five key spiritual disciplines: Obedience, Confession, Forgiveness, Thanksgiving, and Prayer.

Scriptures cross-references are also available for you to dig deeper into God’s Word.

The journal will help you reflect and pray over Scriptures whether you are sitting in a kitchen table, taking a lunch break, waiting to pick-up your child from school or drinking coffee at a local cafe. The portable size of the journal is convenient to carry in your messenger bag, tote, purse or backpack. This portable journal is perfect for anyone who tends to be busy in life or travels often.

You will renew your mind with His Word, strengthen your heart with His promises and refresh your soul with His unconditional and unfailing love.

Are you ready to establish these disciplines in your life? If so, your life will be transformed over the course of time. #thebiblereadingjournalseries #inscribehisword #journalingclass #discipleship #womenretreats #faithjournaling

The Bible Reading Journal Illustrated: Journaling In Pursuit of His Direction, Wisdom and a Closer Relationship. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1092772421/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_NCTWCbDCWDGJ5

The Cross Stands


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




Photo courtesy: Sheila Walsh @ Facebook – social media post


#notredamecathedral #prayingforparis #HolyWeek #beautyfromashes #poweroftheCross

Practice Strengthens our Muscles.

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

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

I want to stand firm in my Faith!

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

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

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

Building our Faith walk requires intentional scheduling.

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

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

He is Able!

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

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

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

Photo courtesy: Cristina Gottardi @ Splasher

In Pursuit of Wisdom

I truly delight in journaling.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My daily journal is definitely a keepsake!

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

Lord,

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

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

In Jesus’ name, we boldly pray. Amen.


Photo Courtesy: Hannah Olinger at Splasher

A Faithful God.

Lord,

In the past few weeks, I have been reading and reflecting on the book of Hosea. There are areas in my life that I may still need to align with your Word.

Yes, I’m a sinner.

I am forever grateful for your faithfulness, morning mercies, and forgiveness.

You did not destroy me when I was distant, rebellious or disobedient (Psalm 78:38). As I am wrapping up the study of Hosea, I realize how compassionate and loving you have been all of these years. You loved me unconditionally and still love on me today and will continue to love me even though I struggle with a sinful nature daily. 

You always encourage me to press on once I confess and repent of my sins.

Yes, Lord, please forgive my sins and share your wisdom and direction. I want to discern how to proceed with today’s challenges and life happenings.

You are my only refuge, Lord and Savior.

Photo Courtesy: Faye Cornish @ Splasher

Our hearts are filled with gratitude for everything you have done for us. You are our only Hope. Remind us that we need to maintain an eternal perspective every time we do get caught up in this world’s culture, on-going distractions, daily ‘rush’ and/or cultural ‘busyness’.

“Come, let us return to the Lord. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. He will revive us after two days; He will raise us up on the third day, That we may live before Him. “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; and He will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain watering the earth.” Hosea 6:1-3 NASB.

“The Lord’s loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your Faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him” Lamentations 3: 22-24 NASB.

In Jesus’ name, we bravely and boldly pray, Amen.