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.

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.

The one who did it first

I was reading an article about the first black woman to fly a plane for the Navy.

Our history is full of logs that record who was the first to perform this or that accomplishment. So from childhood, we are taught that the good thing is to win and to arrive first.

This way of thinking puts us in a position of competition with all those around us, including our family, our brothers, and cousins.

We want to be the first and the best. So we live watching very closely to what others do. We spend lots of time judging and measuring what they do before the reference standards that society has set for us, and before ourselves.

We are programmed to judge others. The problem is that we are not the ones to judge.

Jesus Christ confronted those who judged the woman, making them pass judgment on the first and each one realized that they did not give the degree, that they were sinners. When our standard of comparison is the holiness of God and the way of Jesus on earth, we can only be confronted with our sin and understand that only God is perfect.

Then we can only exalt him, recognize him as our God and Lord and lead a life of gratitude because he conquered on the cross what I could never achieve. He came first.

Surely I am not the first to know the message of salvation. Many already knew him before me. I am not the first to share it with others. Many have already shared it.

But I can be the first to get the message across to someone who needs to hear it. But I can be the first to show God’s love to someone who needs it.

I can serve the Lord and even if I am not the first to do a task, what we do is for eternity. I am unique, with special gifts that can be wonderful in the hands of God when we make ourselves available to Him in humility and wanting to be guided by Him.

Let us pray to the Lord giving thanks for his sacrifice on the cross. We surrender our lives at his feet to enjoy ourselves being instruments for his glory.

He loves me even after knowing everything about me

If anything surprises me about God, it is that He knows everything, absolutely everything about me, and yet He loves me and continues by my side.

This world has taught us zero tolerance towards others since we are children if we want to survive in a society that is driven by sin and walks towards selfishness.

Even with the people we love, we often put conditions, we want them to act in a certain way, to treat us in a certain way, and if they do not meet our expectations, we then ration the love that we are going to give them because they have taught us that we must earn it.

Even when we deal with our brothers and sisters in the faith, we carry our conditions to negotiate them. With the “difficult to love” siblings, we use a very different meter and we feel we have the right to criticize, reject, and even get spiritual while judging that they are not up to us.

But God knows everything about us and still loves us. It has nothing to do with the fact that God disciplines, guides us along the way, and instructs us.

If something always breaks all my barriers, all my defenses, and arguments, it is knowing that God does not give up on me. His patience and mercy towards me have not been exhausted. It is not exhausted even in times of trouble and difficulty that tend to bring out the worst in us. It is not exhausted even when I have failed it. He is not exhausted when I really do not deserve anything from him and he follows me with his grace, love, and mercy.

He also knows everything about you. He hasn’t given up on you either. His love has no conditions because we could never earn it.

We must treat others as He treats us. We must see our neighbor as He sees them. It is not our function to be that accusing finger or who makes them fall. We must be the ones who help others to get up because God raises us every day because without his help we could not stand.

Instead of criticizing the one who sins different from us, we are going to bring them the hope of salvation and restoration in Christ. Let us be instruments of the Holy Spirit to bring unity and healing in these times of so much uncertainty and affliction.

Let us be humble and bear witness that all the good that is there only comes from God.

Pray to the Lord and ask for forgiveness for the times we have not seen or treated others as He expects of us. May his Holy Spirit help us not to condition our love for others and help them to rise up and follow the example and direction of the Lord.

At the shadows running away from the sun

Summer has arrived! Here in Puerto Rico, we have experienced extremely hot days. Around the island, the heat indexes have spiked over 100 degrees.

In the midst of that heat, and the protocols of the COVID pandemic, my husband and I went out to get some boxes for some Father’s Day gifts. Due to the social distancing that now governs all the places where people can gather, we had to queue outside the building where we planned to buy the boxes.

But the waiting line at the side of the building was well shaded. It was a refuge to run away from the hot sun that was being felt, brought relief and we could even wait in line calmly without the rush to get out of there. At least throughout the afternoon, that shading would be refreshing everyone who lined up there.

I like the verse I shared in the first photo because the Bible tells us about the protection we have under the shadow of God. That shadow that brought me relief would last an afternoon there, but God’s favor and protection last forever.

Life brings us to all situations that can overwhelm and exhaust us, as does the heat of the sun. But the blessing of being God’s children gives us relief, keeps us so we can enjoy God’s undeserved faithfulness to us. It is always a reason for devotion to contemplate the love of God and that He remains faithful even when we are not.

This sin-corrupted world brings anxiety into our lives, showing us how fragile we are, and how little control we have of external circumstances.

This year has been difficult in Puerto Rico due to the tremors and earthquakes, the pandemic, and the corruption situations of our government. But, in all these things we are more than conquerors and today we are witnesses of the power and the provision of God, even in difficult times, where the logic of what is expected does not agree with the fulfilled promises of God.

Enjoy under the shadow of the Highest the abundant life that Jesus Christ won for you on the cross. The Lord is always around, we are the ones who turn away from Him.

Feed your spirit with the water that jumps for eternal life and the Bread of Life so you can enjoy the good things of summer in your life.

Let us pray to the Lord giving glory to his name for his faithfulness. May we remember each morning his blessings and may the Holy Spirit help us to cover ourselves under his grace and care at all times in our lives.

Healing in times of pandemic

Plastic face shields are in popularity as a protective measure against the Covid-19 virus. Because of my medical technology profession, I had used them before.

The idea is that it protects your eyes, nose, and mouth, which are places with mucosa, vulnerable to the entry of the virus, and an easy contagion. The face protection acts as a shield and although we are in the presence of the virus, we do not give it access to our interior.

Emotional wounds make us vulnerable to any situation. When we have not healed from past experiences, any comments, attacks, and offenses come to touch our wounded heart. Wounds that have not been worked and healed, carry negative things inside us that lead us to isolate ourselves or get depressed. We change to be toxic people.

We know that in this world, sin has brought evil and selfishness to the human being. We have all received a rejection, suffering, betrayal, criticism, and emotional damage from many people, but above all, we care about those that come from those we love.

God wants to free us from those wounds so that we live with joy and peace. He knows you, He sees you, He listens to you and wants to heal you. When you are emotionally healthy, the attacks will keep coming, but you’ll have a shield that stops them without breaking you.

The more we know the holiness of God and that his salvation and everything he has given us is totally undeserved and only by his grace and mercy, the more we can understand that we must leave everything in his hands and that in this world, everything will fail us at some point, as we fail others in the same way that we fail God.

His Word guides us to abundant life and prayer reveals where we need to heal, and helps us deliver all that burden to transform it into life and joy.

You can be healthy in the middle of a pandemic.

Let us pray to the Lord giving thanks for his goodness for our lives and that he shows us where we need to heal, and that he takes us by the hand in the process to live to please him in everything.

My finances in pandemic times

We have been living at different times.

This year has been one that stands out above all that we have lived to date.

Here in Puerto Rico, we started on January 7 with an earthquake. We are still experiencing the aftershocks as the sequel of the main event.

When we said goodbye to 2019, we thought this 2020 would be a year of productivity, for the complete transformation of Puerto Rico after the consequences of Hurricane Maria, category 5, where the funds were finally received and put into work, transforming the roads and another recovery necessary a little over two years after their attack.

But everything was stopped. This time, a microscopic virus paralyzed all life, not only in Puerto Rico but throughout the world.

We didn’t see it coming. We were not prepared. We thought we already had everything under control. However, once again, we were able to come face to face with our human frailty. The Bible verse that says we are like a flower on a field that lays there today and withers tomorrow, makes sense. All this should have led us to put our priorities in order. It should have led us to seek the things that transcend this life, the eternal things.

We live in times of uncertainty and need. We don’t know what will happen next month. But all you see is the desperation to go into the stores. The large lines, in full heat, risking a deadly contagion, and then leaving with large LEDs TVs, swimming pools, and alcoholic beverages.

First, it was the toilet paper. Today, fruits and vegetables are discarded and farmers are having losses due to consumerism. Great expenses in electronics and luxury products are spent because we must take advantage of the money received as an aid through this difficult time.

This is all “normal”. But giving money for God’s work is unnecessary and totally criticized. It’s okay to give money to the campaign of a politician who is going to steal your money when he comes to power and is going to create legislation that will limit your freedom in a modern way. It’s okay to give money to artists who will later donate the money on their behalf and may have exemptions on their taxes report to the government. It’s okay to spend it all on things that perish, break, and can be stolen.

But they do not see money invested in missions that bring the Word of God to people who have no future hope as a good thing. It is a bad thing that money is invested in a church that provides food supplies to those who seek help in need. It seems like a bad thing, money which is donated to entities like Samaritan’s Purse that has gone to establish hospitals in Italy and NY to give medical services in places of high pandemic cases. It seems wrong to spend on Bibles or Christian books to give to others because you can clash with the rights of those who do not believe. It looks bad because a called pastor created a church without God’s backing to get rich, and so they think all churches are the same. But it is more logical to think that the new politician is not going to steal like the others, or that the political party left its customs for this year.

I can only tell you about my experience. It is a blessing to give for blessing others. It is a blessing to know that you have supported a missionary even if you do not know him. It is a blessing to save for difficult times and to be able to help someone in need. God’s counsels in the Bible are full of wisdom even if they go against what society says.

Did you honor God with my goods and not just with my mouth? Do I believe in the faithfulness of God? Does my social status depend on what I own? Do my assets detail my identity?

Let us pray to the Lord that it is his Word, his advice and his guide that will move our lives and help us to act in wisdom for the good of the kingdom of God and our family.