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.”

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.

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.