Need for light in the dark night

I think we all agree that these times of pandemic have changed all of our plans and our routines. The physical distancing has made it difficult for us to do some tasks, to be able to share quality time with those we love and we see how the churches have also been affected.

Meditating on the Lord about these times, it came to my mind the times when the apostle Paul was locked up, in jail, and isolated from the plans he had about his missionary trips. But did Paul put his ministry on pause because he was isolated? Definitely not.

From prison, he influenced people, continued to cultivate his relationship with God, and wrote letters that are part of the Bible as we know it today. The power of God and his work does not stop at four walls. It only took a man called by God, who in complete humility and disposition placed himself in the hands of God.

We read verses like the ones I shared in the beginning and we often raise praise to God telling him to use us, to do his will, but do I make myself available? I am willing? When they call for volunteers for an assignment, do I volunteer?

The world is full of people who go with the flow. The world needs people who remember that they are the church of God and that the church is not made up of a building or a meeting place. Can those who see me say that they understand what the church is? Do you see the character of God in us? How have the lives around me been impacted on a daily basis?

These times call for creative, special measures. All we can accomplish is by the grace of God. What prevents me from serving? What prevents me from saying “here I am”?
Our ministries don’t stop. If I have stopped my ministry and am not doing anything, I must present myself in complete humility and transparency before God and ask him to help me and direct me to act according to his will. What we lack is probably direction, because training is always from God. All the good we can do comes from Him.

In times of greater darkness, the stronger the church must shine, reflecting the light of Christ. It is at night that the moon shines the brightest. The moon has no light of its own, it reflects sunlight. Although we can see it during the day, in the presence of the sun it doesn’t make much difference. It is in difficult times that the church must consecrate itself and be a reflection of God and not the world. If my drawback from serving is my job, my entertainment, my economic situation, that I hope others will do it or that I do not feel qualified, the root of everything is the status of my relationship with God.

Let us pray to the Lord to help us to be the church that the world needs and not people who get confused with the current of this world. May we make ourselves available before waiting for others to come and we can understand the privilege of being used by the Lord to carry his message. May we recognize that there is nothing in us that enables us to produce spiritual fruit except the Holy Spirit who indwells us and convicts and directs us according to God’s Word and his will. May we finally surrender to the Lord and say: “Here I am.”

Looking upright

I have an infection in my left ear that urgently needed a doctor. Yesterday I finally got an appointment and the doctor prescribed treatment in ear drops and antibiotic pills.

For the drops, he instructed me to put 7 drops in the affected ear, and for several minutes to be with my head inclined so that the drops would stay there. After three minutes or so, I had to turn my head to the other side to remove the excess fluid from the ear.

For that purpose, I lay down on the sofa in the living room to be comfortable. While I was waiting lying on my side, I began to observe the house. Everything looked different from that perspective. I was staring at the ceiling, which I didn’t normally see while walking.

I was thinking about how when we are young children, we see everything from another perspective and everything changes as we grow up. Likewise, when we are spiritual children, recently converted to the gospel, we see everything differently.

I remember that time when I did look up a lot because I longed to follow God’s will in everything. I wanted to have that communion every day, to pray frequently, to read the Bible with that thirst for knowledge. But as we walk, we lower our gaze to what is in front of us. Circumstances, problems, changes in life occupy all our attention and we stop looking “upwards” where we can find in God all the answers we need, the forces that will support our weaknesses and the peace to be able to bear the trials.

Many times we are overwhelmed and we only have to look to God, who sees us as his children and wants to guide us. We must set our sights on enjoying the presence of God in our lives and giving glory to God in the midst of all circumstances.

Let us pray to the Lord presenting every situation that overwhelms our minds. Let us humbly acknowledge that we depend on Him and cannot carry everything ourselves. May his Holy Spirit guide us and we seek to cultivate that communion with Him.

Knowing true justice

My husband and I were talking last night about a young man who passed away at an early age and how his mother would feel, who was praying for a miracle.

He used to tell me that many things in life look unfair and for that reason people get upset with God.

Seeing that the designs or will of God seem unjust is a thought that frequently circles in the minds of many and that inevitably collides with the truth in Scripture.

I told my husband last night that we have been indoctrinated from a very young age by the beliefs and postulates of this world and the apparently “democratic” laws of our governments.

We have been taught that justice is that the good win and the bad suffer the consequences. However, we have given rights to criminals over victims.

We are told that equality and equity is that everyone has the same and is treated the same or we enter into discrimination. However, those who proclaim the love of God and the salvation of God free by faith to all who believe, call it a day crime against those who do not believe.

We were taught about a constitution based on faith with a straight playing field and strongly believed by all citizens. However, it was written in a time of slavery and those same governments discriminate against certain types of citizens.

Those of us who have believed the gospel and want to live by it, find ourselves in the dilemma of which of those to renew our minds as recommended by the apostle Paul in Romans 12. It is only guided by the Holy Spirit that we can discern things spiritually.

We evaluate things backwards. We want to filter the Bible through the sieve of what we have learned in the society we live in, when we must filter everything we believe and think through the Scriptures in order to live pleasing God and enjoy the peace and joy that has been given to us .

God’s justice is greater than our justice. The justice of man is of appearances and statutes that in the long run corrupt the very ones that created them. God’s justice is perfect and does not conform to anything. In his justice, the wicked pay. We are all bad, there is not just one good. God fulfilled his justice by sending Jesus Christ to pay the price of our punishment on the cross. The good, the just, pay the price for sinners. His justice is infused with love, mercy, and grace.

I prefer his justice. I prefer his law. I want him to show me my misconceptions that don’t pass the scriptural filter. May I give his commandments as justice and they are rooted in my heart so that my life is governed by them.

Everything I have learned in this world is corrupted by sin and man’s selfishness. That it is not my truth, and it remains not my creed.

Let us pray to the Lord presenting ourselves with transparency and humility so that we can receive his truth and we can live by it. May we meditate on his law day and night so that we may be like the tree planted by the waters that bears its fruit in its season and its leaf does not fall.

Someone else finished what I began

I like to put decoration details around the house according to the different seasons of the year. At the moment I have decorated my dining table in a beach theme because of the summer. They are simple details but they encourage us to see different things, even if I reuse them next year.

I have many ideas, so most of the time, I buy the materials and prepare decorations myself. I bought those snails and thought they would look great in that cloth packaging. I have good ideas but sometimes in the execution, I am not so patient. So I placed the snails and as much as I accommodated them they did not look up and the packaging looked a little empty. Well! ” I don’t think it looks bad, ”I thought.

But my husband, who is a detail-oriented and perfectionist, saw that something was missing in the decoration of the snails and by the time I saw it, he had already placed a foam (polyethylene) filling so that it would not look empty and now the snails look better than when I put them on.

And so God made us. He gave each of us different gifts to be able to compliment others. We work differently and give different ideas but we serve the same Lord, we are all under his direction.

As the body of Christ, we are his instruments to carry his gospel message to the world. We will meet different types of people, different situations, different languages, different needs, so it requires different gifts and abilities to be able to minister to all people.

For example, maybe you are good at talking to people, but someone else is good at listening. Perhaps you reflect great peace and bring calm to someone, while another is the one who encourages the decayed. Perhaps you are good at serving, and another is good at administering.

Teamwork leads us to reach more lives and we are in times where the need is great and the limitations of the pandemic lead us to be creative. And you already know the saying that “two minds think more than one”. For it is the same spirit, the same love, the same burden, taking the form that can reach each person who needs it.

Your gifts and talents are necessary to be a blessing to others. It is a privilege to be used by God because we are not even worthy to be his servants and carry a message that remains so great. It is his grace that leads us by the hand when we surrender our lives to him.

Do not think that you are not necessary, or that there are already people working in the church. God created you for good works, so that his name may be exalted and glorified. It all starts when we surrender to Him so that His will be done and not ours.

Let us pray to the Lord to present ourselves willing and available for his work. May it help us to be an active part of the body, putting our gifts and talents at the service of others. It is time to carry the message with urgency and fear of the Lord. May he direct us to be a blessing to those who need it, always remembering that all the glory and the work is his.

In just 3 steps

I remember when I got married and didn’t know how to cook. I started buying cookbooks and watching all the cooking shows on television.

Later, I had a computer and switched to buying programs that brought cooking recipes with videos.

Now, on the internet, I have access to millions of recipes, but the most popular are the ones that tell you that “you can cook in 3 steps”.

It is not only cooking recipes that are advertised as such. We are used to seeing articles that lead you to believe that you can be an entrepreneur with just 3 steps. You can make a craft, create an office, decorate your patio, and endless other things, in just 3 steps.

We add all this to the “Fast food” generation that we live and we want to simplify everything in our life in the same way.

We want to achieve great things in very few steps. The problem is that we take this concept to the Christian life and we think that we are going to have an abundant and fruitful life, with just a few steps and in a very simple way.

We have lost perspective of what really matters. It is not about reading the Bible for a few minutes or going to a service on Sunday and praying before falling asleep.

It is about dedicating our life to Christ, knowing that it no longer belongs to us, because it was bought with blood on the cross. It is about giving up on me every day so that Christ lives in me and can minister to others. It is, as he says in Psalm 1, of every day, meditating on his Word day and night. There are no shortcuts or 3 steps here.

It is about every day waking up and putting my life in surrender before God so that He directs my steps and shows me his will. It is a journey by faith where I have no control over the future but I know that I am in good hands.

It is a growth that adjusts to the measure of each one and I cannot focus on others, but on God.

We have lost the best part along the way, which is enjoying, having delight in the presence of God and for that reason I long for it all day. That the time I dedicate to the Lord is not to conform but because I enjoy his company, I live gratefully and I want to please him. He takes care of everything else. He takes care of my concerns.

Pray to the Lord asking for forgiveness because we have left the road many times to want to take shortcuts and comply in the shortest possible way. May he reveal to us the delight that we can find in his presence so that we long for him every day and rest in him.

It is not the same to know him by reference

Yesterday we were celebrating our wedding anniversary, although a little differently because of COVID times. But since last year, we remember for that same day the death of my uncle Rafa, who was a father to me and died on our anniversary last year.

Although bittersweet, I thank God that we had him 94 years with us and in good health and with his clear and happy mind, as he always was. My children were able to share with him and get to know him well during all these years.

However, my mother died when my girl was one and a half years old and my baby did not know her because I was five months pregnant at the time of her death. I have always told them about her, but I know that having met and shared with her is not the same as hearing from her and knowing her by reference.

That happens to us with our relationship with God. We may believe that we know God by what others tell us. We can speak of the power of God through the testimony we hear from someone at church. We may think that we know how God speaks from the many preaching we have heard.

But do I know God personally? Do I know that God speaks because I listen to him? Can I speak of its power because I have seen it work in my life? Do I know that he is a healing God because he has healed me? May I speak that God is a provider because I have seen his provision in my house? Can I say that his will is perfect because I obey him and guide my steps?

Job was a just man, and he knew God’s law because he fulfilled it, but he knew God from afar. We can be very religious and have the rites very well but be far from a communion with the Lord.

The wonderful thing about this is that God is complete in himself, he doesn’t need us, but he still longs for us. She loves us and wants to spend time with us. He wants to guide us by his perfect will and give us abundant life. He tells us to cast all our anxiety on Him and bear His yoke, which is easy and light His burden. But for that I cannot settle for knowing him because of what I heard from another.

Every relationship requires time and attention. The relationship with Him fills us, brings us joy and peace. It is alive and it is real. You can experience all its attributes in your life. You can meet him personally.

It is an undeserved privilege to be able to arrive in the presence of a holy God. He already completed the most difficult part by opening access to us through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. He has already opened the way, you just have to cross it and take His hand.

Let us pray to the Lord to help us long for him, to fall in love with his presence in our lives. May we understand how great a privilege it is to be able to have a communion relationship with the God of glory, being Holy and us sinners. That we long to meet him face to face and not by the references of others. That helps us not settle and miss the best part.

Special times require special measures

Since last night in Puerto Rico, we have been under the impact of Isaías storm. One more added concern for people who have experienced so far this year, earthquakes, pandemic, and bad government. As our electrical energy system has declined in structure and efficiency over the years due to lack of maintenance, today there are many towns on the island without service. Among those customers without electricity we found ourselves.

It does not matter if there is energy or not, we cannot miss coffee. My husband had given me a coffee press, precisely for those days like today, where just by heating water, we can have a good coffee without the need for our electric coffee machines.

The coffee press is a utensil that is listed as one of the best for tasting good coffee. However, we use our coffee machines on a daily basis because they are more practical because of their speed. So we have left the press for special times.

It reminded me of the verses I shared at the beginning. As God’s children and His servants bought with blood, the blood of His Son shed on the cross, we must always be ready to take the Word of the Cross to others.

As soldiers and messengers of such a great and undeserved gospel, we must daily maintain fellowship with God through prayer and scripture study. Since we have “this treasure in earthen vessels,” the only way to glorify God and bless other lives is to be in submission and allow His Holy Spirit to empower us every day.

Our relationship with God and our obedience will determine what kind of instrument we can be. I want to be one of those special vessels. We are living times really out of the ordinary. There is great emotional, physical, and spiritual need around us. We could say that these are special times. You and I can be of great use today.

But the comfort and routines of this world lead us to fall into disuse, due to lack of maintenance, and it happens to us as to the electrical system of our country, which in the least emergency is disabled and those who depend on it are left without it.

God never stops working. God does not lose power or stop talking to us. Unfortunately, we may be carrying that erroneous message to those who do not know him by our way of life.

Special times require special measures. What type of vessel do you want to be? Which one are you preparing for?

Let us pray to the Lord presenting ourselves in humility and recognizing that we need more and more of Him and of His direction. May we long for his presence and follow his lead to be prepared to minister to others in these special times we are living. May we carry his message to others in various ways guided by his will.

The attribute that confronts me

My husband has many good virtues. I could mention some of them, but normally I do not mention one of them because it is the one that collides with me. It is that he is a maniac for cleaning. He pays attention to details and cleaning routines (and I know many women crave that). I am not structured in that regard, and children already emerging from adolescence to adulthood are not very diligent in that regard also, unless they are told in detail what to do. For bringing some disagreement, it is not the trait that is most flattering in him.

Yesterday I meditated on devotional time at church about the holiness of God as one of his attributes. God has many attributes, and among them, we can mention that he is love, he is omnipotent, omnipresent, just, good or kind, almighty. Another of its attributes is that it is Holy.

We often see this attribute of God’s holiness superficially, as we sing a song or when we recite it from memory. The truth is that this attribute of God’s holiness collides with our carnal, sinful nature. God’s holiness portrays our sin.

The more we meditate on God’s holiness, the easier it is to see where we are failing, how we are sinning, and what customs or habits are not accepted before his holiness.

When we meditate on the holiness of God there is only room for humiliation and rendition before his presence. All the merits we believe we have are nothing. All the good we think we’ve done is not enough. Everything we can perform for the kingdom makes no difference. But at the same time, all this leads us to recognize that before a Holy God, only his grace (unmerited favor) can bring us closer to Him. It leads us to surrender in humiliation and to be grateful because if it were not for his sacrifice on the cross, we could never approach Him and receive salvation for our souls.

If today I can enjoy his peace, his love, his promises, his direction, and his guidance, has nothing to do with what I can achieve, but for what He has already done.

The holiness of God is an attribute that confronts us. May we go to his feet to be renewed and cleansed from the sin that can already be cleansed by his bloodshed on the cross.

Let us pray to the Lord recognizing his holiness. May he help us to meditate on this attribute of his and that we may be confronted to continue growing spiritually while being humble. May we see our brethren in faith in the same condition as us, where neither is greater than the other, and we have been redeemed only by his grace.

I can’t continue without the book

I am taking an online class and I still haven’t received the handbooks. I was informed that training books would arrive by mail, but meanwhile, the first two chapters would be provided in electronic format so that I could start the class.

Like an anxiously awaiting girl before the first day of school, I started the course and got to the third chapter. Because it is a subject that I thought I actually mastered, I guessed that I could study it and take the exams that are required for each chapter.

But … the “but” came. The third chapter is based on indications provided by the printed book. I realized that it was better to wait for the book to play it safe and not to take the exam in a hurry and then not pass it. That would only delay me in the process.

I reflected on our lives and how is similar to this course. Even as Christians, we think that if we have spent years in the gospel, that we already know the Bible, we believe that we already know what is necessary to lead our lives, but moments come that lead us to stop and think that continuing like this is a risk. We need the book. We need the Bible.

No matter how many times we have read the scriptures, we will never have read it enough, we will never know enough. The same verses speak to us differently and personally each time. The Word of God is alive and effective. We will not be able to know the correct direction for our life if we do not read it, and we repeat it, and we study it.

We need to love his Word. We need to tell others about it. We must see it as the source of all indications and advice to enjoy an abundant life.

The Bible contains the entire plan of salvation and all of God’s promises for our lives. In his love, he indicates his commandments for us to take the path of blessing.

Pray to the Lord to thank him for his Word and the accessibility we have of it. May he help us to love it, to study it frequently, and may his Holy Spirit help us to understand it and apply it to our lives.

Myrnaly, please be still.

To live a happy life, we are required to be in peace. As they say, you can have a bed valued at a million dollars, in a room with the perfect atmosphere and temperature and if you do not have peace, you could not sleep.

It is popular these days to have stress and so many worries that often don’t allow us to have our minds at peace.

We do not want to be alone, or in silence, because our thoughts and anxieties overwhelm us. If you think about it, there are always so many things we can worry about!

If you have a choleric temperament like mine, you always have in mind what you are doing right now and what you plan to do in the days to come, in the future. And when we are like that, we want to solve everything, thinking that this will help us to have control over all things.

But life shows us over and over again that we have no control over anything. You may have a lifetime planned about how many years you are going to work, how much you want to earn and when you want to retire to enjoy the profits, and a simple virus arrives and changes your reality.

Do you know how many businesses have been affected by this pandemic even with the aid that governments have provided? How many people have had to live without a hug because of the physical distance they have imposed on us? How many are living in anxiety and have not been able to let off steam with anyone?

But I share with you one of my favorite verses from the Bible. “Be still”.

God spoke to me through this verse last year when I lost my long-standing job. Amidst the anxiety that I may have felt, God gave me peace. God reminded me that He is the one in control of all things and He was saying to me “stay still.”

It doesn’t mean that I didn’t do anything, but that I should have calmed down, that I shouldn’t worry. In the process, I had to pray to strengthen my fellowship with Him, ask for direction, and lead my soul to trust in His will.

In the process, I had to continue reading the Scriptures in order to feed myself spiritually, to listen to the voice of God, and to strengthen my life’s foundations, also to remember his promises for me.

In the process, I applied to jobs and on the advice of my husband the idea of creating a consulting business came up. And while I was looking for information we presented everything in prayer so that it would be God who would direct my steps.

We were able to develop the business and now I have time to serve Him while working relaxed hours.

But the difficult time came when in January there was an earthquake in Puerto Rico and the economy was paralyzed in many sectors. Now my business was not going to have any activity. What was I going to do? “Be still”.

A company hired me for a temporary job in a position that I never applied for. That was my livelihood for these past months, even in the pandemic because I could do the work from home, remotely.

God has taken care of me. He glorifies himself when we leave everything in his hands. It is not just being still, the remaining part is also important: “and know that I am God.” So when I saw the mug I bought it, just to remember every morning when I drink my coffee, everything will be fine.

The message applies to you too. If you know that He is your God, you can be still.

Let us pray to our God recognizing that he is the one who has control of all things and we decide to trust in his will and that he helps us to be still in the midst of the difficult circumstances that we may be experiencing. He is greater than everything and we are under his care.