It’s time for a new reality

I was born and raised, and live in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is a beautiful island where I knitted most of my memories. Although we have experienced difficult situations over the years due to natural disasters, the most common problem was the impact of tropical hurricanes on the island.

We did not have in our brain an update aimed at how to work with earthquakes. Recent seismic events have moved us the floor literally and emotionally.

It is heard in the media that “we must get used to this.” I was talking to my husband about how I really don’t like that phrase since I don’t see it possible to get used to events that are not “normal”. Rather, I tell him that we must “adapt to the new reality.” Already our reality or our “normality is not the same”. We can never live exactly the same as we used to live before. We already have an awareness of being alert and having emergency plans in case one of greater magnitude happens.

When we adapt to something, we are making modifications, such as “updates” to what we already had. We have a new reality, a new normal that we must accept.

When we come to Christ, our life changes. A major event changed what our “normality” was for a new life. In this case, it is a new life, but we continue in this imperfect body. Still, our reality is different.

In our spiritual life, our new way of life is dictated by the Scriptures and we are directed through prayer and the work of the Holy Spirit that now dwells in us. Our thought must also receive a new input to change more to resemble Christ, and less to the world. We have this truth in Romans 12: 2 “ Do not conform to this world, but transform yourself through the renewal of your understanding, so that you can see what the good will of God is, pleasant and perfect.” We must know that our lives will no longer be as before but they are on a new path of blessing and eternal life.

Let us not live as those who have not received the best gift in the world: the salvation of our souls. May our walk be a blessing to others and be ambassadors of the glory of God everywhere.

Pray to the Lord giving thanks for his unparalleled love and grace over our lives. May we be sensitive to the voice of his Holy Spirit so that we can walk in his will and enjoy the goodness of his love.

I can’t do it alone

When a new year begins, new resolutions, new goals, new dreams also begin. We see it as a new opportunity to reach what we want and we have not been able to achieve. They are so unique and personal that they can go from starting a new diet to lose weight, to travel the world or start that business we have dreamed of.

In the spiritual realm, we can set growth goals and serve more in some areas. This is our time to use the new energies and the days ahead! This is our year!

But many of these goals, desires, and dreams do not become a reality at the end of the year. Even more difficult is when, just at the beginning of the year, our energies are thrashed by unexpected and difficult events such as illness, job loss or earthquakes and other natural disasters that take us by surprise.

These unexpected turns can discourage us. But there is something we lose sight of. Life is fragile, we are human, imperfect and never, even when things seem to be going well, we have control of the events we live. We can study nature but we have no control over it. We can study the Word of God and still see it difficult to live by faith.

But God knows our weaknesses and our abilities. He created us! Even our hair is exactly counted by Him. Jesus promised to be with us every day until the end of the world. We are not alone. God does not expect us to face life situations alone. We forget that “apart from Him we can do nothing.”

We try to strive in all areas of our lives using our forces. This often leads us to wear out. But God offers us rest for those of us who are weary and burdened. When we recognize our weaknesses before Him, then His power is perfected in our weaknesses.

Life’s battles can be won when we battle side by side with the Almighty. We cannot know the future, except for the things that God has revealed to us: that He has already defeated the world, that we can live by faith (believing without seeing) knowing that He is faithful, His promises do not change and we are under his care.

If we seek his will for our lives through prayer and reading his Word, God will lead us to the lands of delicate pastures where he will make us rest by being the Good Shepherd.

Pray to the Lord presenting our desires before Him. We ask that He be leading us to achieve the dreams He has for us. Let us present before Him all anxiety, all physical, mental and emotional exhaustion to receive his peace and rest. May our faith increase to grab our hand in difficult times and his name may be exalted. Amen.

I can actually see the cracks

I watched a home renovation program on television. The hostess and decorator goes through different urban areas changing the exterior appearance of the homes, and on the inside she tries to make a modern update that includes the house appliances and furniture.

I watched two episodes where the houses ended up unrecognizable. For being short episodes, I watched a third. In this case, there were hidden moisture filtration problems, which had damaged the floor layers. This greatly delayed the renovation and affected the proposed budget for that project.

Here in Puerto Rico we have experienced in recent weeks seismic events that have disrupted the normality of our lives and routines. The mental health of our people has been greatly affected. Some call them PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), while others call them fear.

We try to rebuild our daily routine and feel “normal” but it has been very difficult for many, and I include myself in this case, although thanking God and my husband, our family is running likely normal.

Why do we find it difficult to build or update what we already have? Because these events of changes bring to light how our foundations are, our interior, that interior that nobody sees and that even we ourselves have forgotten and we are not aware of what there is. We have built the foundations of our lives with the bricks of the good and traumatic events that we have been collecting since we were born. Although we are not aware of this, those foundations will determine how we act today.

When God wants to use us for his work, God begins working to restore our foundations, which are our insecurities, our fears, our wounds, our grudges, because to achieve a good work of art, with fruit that remains, it must begin to solidify it from its foundations.

Difficult situations bring to the surface what we’ve keep from difficult situations rather than happy experiences. Only God can give us a foundation on firm rock, which is in Jesus Christ, our Lord. In order to move forward it is necessary to restore our foundations aided by faith and guided by his Word.

We can recover and be stronger and be better built than before. Let us take advantage of the time in which we can see where our cracks are and failures are to place them before the Master to renew us, heal us and lift us. Do not be discouraged to see your failures, we all have them, rather thank God because now they can be taken care of and once you are rebuilt you can help others to renew their lives. You will be the main witness that all this is possible.

Let us pray together to the Lord for our people. May God be healing and rebuilding our lives and in turn show us how we can help others to achieve it guided by faith and His will for our lives.

When my ground is moving

We Puerto Ricans who live on the island have been experiencing very difficult times, because of earthquakes felt before and after an earthquake of 6.4.

Emotionally, new scars have been forged, new uncertainties that had never been experienced through the hurricanes that have commonly affected our island throughout history and for which we are prepared from the primary grades in school.

We did not have a mentality to face these earthquakes, where there are no possible predictions, but many statistics and probabilities that do not provide emotional security to anyone.

Unfortunately, our lives changed, and more drastically for those who reside and have created their memories of life in places near the epicenters of these earthquakes. Some people have lost their homes and belongings, but even more have lost the sense of security and peace, evidenced that even having their properties intact they prefer to spend the night under a tent or inside a camping tent.

In the face of all tragedy and changes that shake us emotionally, a question always comes to the surface, where is God?

I have seen God in his protection towards the lives of Puerto Ricans, including my family, where one life was extinguished by the destruction of one structure when many other structures were destroyed in the middle of the night.

I have seen God in the midst of all those people who took refuge in others in their homes or joined in brotherhood with their neighbors to take care of themselves while they sleep in camps.

I have seen God in every help that our compatriots have collected and delivered to the most affected.

I have seen God in every circle of a prayer carried out in many communities throughout the island.

We have seen God in every rainbow that has adorned our sky these days.

I have seen God in each person who has shared messages of hope and His Word to encourage others.

I have seen God in the midst of food that has supplied me through the family.

I have seen God when we have had little rain in the south and days with beautiful skies.

As children of God, we are called to witness that God dwells in our lives and we must show it to others.

It is okay being afraid of uncertainty but remembers his promises and that we have an incorruptible, eternal hope in Christ Jesus for all who accept him.

Jesus Christ lived moments of pain on this earth and understands our suffering, and we can go in prayer, in all confidence to surrender our fears, our anxieties, and receive in return his love, and his peace.

Share with others what you have received from God by grace.

Pray for our island of Puerto Rico, to be a time where we approach God from the heart and not out of fear, and receive a spiritual awakening to heal our land with its power.

Taking about salt…

Are you aware that there are several types of salt? I am very fond of cooking and I am always learning about everything related to it.

We have the “sea salt” that is obtained by the evaporation of seawater. It is not refined and contains sodium as table salt, with other additional minerals.

The best known and used is the “table salt” which is extracted from salt mines, takes longer to dissolve and contains iodine as an additive in most cases.

For its part, the “salt flower” is one of the most expensive because it is worked by hand, and it is suggested for dishes already cooked as an additional touch.

The “salt of the Himalayas” comes from the mine of the same place and for its purity it is used for Spas and the elaboration of cosmetics.

“Kosher salt” is widely used by Jews in their preparations and is used already cooked dishes such as pretzels, among others.

Finally, the “black salt” from India, extracted from its salt mines, has a very strong flavor and is mostly used in dishes in that culture.

No matter the type of salt, unseasoned foods are not pleasant to the palate, and lets not forget that salt also preserves food.

Jesus said in Matthew 4:13 that “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt fades, what will it be salty with? It is useless for anything else, but to be thrown out and trampled by men. ”

We are called to be salt, to season the earth. Not with our taste, but with that of Christ. We give others what we have received. But, are we doing our part or is the world around us out of control? We know that the evil in the world will increase, but am I satisfied with my task of being salt from the earth? Or, am I filling myself with the Lord and am I still in the mine without being accessible to others? Could it be my reality that I am not cultivating my relationship with God and that is why I am not seasoning my surroundings?

Are we contaminated and why we can’t we be used for seasoning? The most exquisite salts are the most pure, and that is why they are used for the most delicate tasks.

It is not that complicated. We complicate it when we are not fit, when we see it difficult, when we are afraid, because we see that we do not have enough, because we are looking at the task from our carnality when it is the Holy Spirit in us who is going to do the work. We are simple instruments, without merit, except to have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ and to have received the power of his Holy Spirit by living in us.

Being salt of the earth are not simply vain words. Our actions in love towards our neighbor will speak more than a thousand words. We have been called to follow the work of Jesus here on earth helping the needy, raising the fallen, helping the widows who are alone and the orphan, and helping to heal the brokenhearted.

Let’s not lose our seasoning. Let’s start this new year remembering every day that we are as valuable and as useful as salt.

Let us pray to the Lord in an attitude of humility, recognizing that we cannot do his work for ourselves, but that we depend totally on Him, on his power and on his direction. May we be salt of the earth so that others may receive that blessing. Amen.

No patches to the old

Today is New Year’s Eve. It is a time when many people reflect on this year that is already culminating and set new goals which they are looking forward to reaching in this new year.

The new year is seen as a moment of new opportunities and new beginnings. Many see this as the end of a very difficult year and the reached goal of having survived, while others see the year ending as a good year, full of good memories and incredible moments.

It is always important to have a point of reference in our lives where we stop within our routines that go at full speed, and assess where we are and where we are going.

There is nothing better than evaluating our lives from the spiritual aspect. How much did I grow in the Lord during this year? Did I acquire spiritual goals and dreams that contribute to the expansion of the gospel and the kingdom of God? By the grace of God, could I humbly submit my earthly goals and follow God’s will? What is missing from my relationship with God, my spiritual life?

On the contrary, we do not take advantage of carrying towards the new year with the negative things we acquired. It does not help us to continue towards the goal, dragging feelings of guilt, lack of forgiveness, resentment and lack of diligence in spiritual matters to our new beginning. Let us meditate on the moments lived to give them a healthy closure, and let us retain the lessons learned through the tests and the difficulties to start this new time on a higher step. Not a step where we see our brothers in faith far below, but a new step where we can shake hands to help them climb.

Let’s not put patches on broken things when we have a God who makes all things new, heals the deepest wounds and makes rivers in the midst of dryness. We have a God who changes a heart of stone into one of flesh and one who forgives and cleanses all our sins through faith in his Son Jesus Christ and the blood shed for us on the cross.

If you had a very difficult year, as I had, it is time to glorify the one who has brought us here and has given us the victory and the strength to continue. We have seen the faithfulness of God even in the moments where we had no answers and so far he has given us his provision.

If you had a year of great glory and joy in the Lord, share your joy with others because the blessings are shared and we are called to bless others. Hold back what you learned and use those forces and energy to spread to others for this new year.

Every day is a new opportunity that God gives us. May the goals we propose for this new year follow the will of the Lord and not ours, that we leave our comfort zone to bless others and bring the good news to those who need them. Happy 2020 Year!

Pray to the Lord grateful for arriving on the eve of a new year. That we wait for the new opportunities that God gives us with joy and taking advantage of the times to carry his Word of salvation. Amen.

So, what can we do now?

I have seen on social networks several jokes or memes about what should we do between Christmas and New Year? There are about five days in between while we arrive on New Year’s Eve. We are on a holiday and celebration occasion and we look forward to another day of celebration and holiday, and the question remains: “What do we do while we wait?

Some people are enjoying vacations, others make their parties, and others are working. Perhaps a few are beginning preparations for the celebrations of that day.

These statements remind me of our life as Christians.

We have received Jesus Christ as our only savior, believing through the gift of faith that we are sinners, and that his sacrifice on the cross, as an act of love and grace, allows us to be cleansed from sin and redeemed by his blood, to Be called children of God.

Now we have a new life. Now we wait for the day when Jesus Christ will meet his church again and this earthly body will be transformed into a glorified body to live in eternity under the radiance of God’s glory.

But many times we act like those waiting for the New Year. What do we do at that time while we wait for the coming of Christ or our rest from this world?

Similarly, some appear to be on vacation, others have created their own entertainment, others are very busy working, and a few are in the preparations necessary for that moment.

As the apostle Paul says to the Romans, we have not only received grace but the apostolate, the call to bring the gospel to the nations. As a church, we must work to bring the good news of salvation to others. When the number of those who are to be saved is completed, then the day of our Lord Jesus Christ will come.

We were redeemed, and we have also received a call, a purpose. Each of us has a unique purpose that goes hand in hand with the unique gifts and talents the Lord has given us.

We must seize the times and believe in the greatness of the gospel that we have received from which we are not ashamed because it is the power of God. It is time to focus on His will for our lives and let’s begin a new year, thanks to his grace, love, and mercy, rejoicing in living according to our call and purpose.

Let’s not just serve in the temple, which is very necessary. Let’s be intentional wherever we go. Announce the good news of salvation.

Pray: Beloved God, through Jesus Christ we come to you asking for forgiveness for the time we lose and the excuses we present to you so as not to spread your gospel to others. Help us to do your will and be directed by you. Amen.