Seeing beauty in the midst of the storm

Day 3 of still no power but I am doing great. My spirit is actually bouncing all over the place with joy, hope and bliss. It’s the last thing I would have expected being in such a situation but the joy is pretty intense and I can’t deny it. I have found a place to stay where I can be warm, I can sleep well and I can pray so my daily habits are not interrupted. I believe this is key. No matter what we go through we should maintain our daily spiritual habits and stay clothed with the garment of praise. I am praising God in the middle of the storm and I am enjoying myself, staying in the moment and relishing every second of every day. Like I said a few days ago, God is still on my side, power or no power, heat or no heat. He is providing all of these things in a beautiful way. Don’t let life get you down, friend. I know it’s a tall order but it is an encouragement that will bear great fruit if you follow it.

My cousin said something very profound that resonated with me the other day. She said that one of her friends described the beauty she could see in the middle of the storm while driving. Despite the chaos and the turmoil, she was able to see the good that was still happening. What a deep revelation and what powerful introspection she has! In the midst of the storm she could see that there was something spectacular as she was contemplating the amazing white scenery of winter at its peak. How many of us can say the same thing in the midst of the storms of life?

There are lessons to be learned in life every single day. We can identify some of them easily but it’s the lessons we are taught during the hard times that are not always clear. Am I learning anything from being displaced and not accessing the comfort I am so used to? Absolutely. I am getting lessons in humility and compassion and most of all, lessons about trusting God in the storm. A couple of years ago I received a message during meditative prayer that said “It’s easy to have faith when everything is going well.” Simple truth that is charged with a punch. God never intended for us to only develop faith when everything is nice and dandy. It’s during trials that we see what we are made of and we learn to make adjustments to our faith level. Leveling up with God is the ultimate goal. Attainable? I doubt we could ever be at His level of faith but we can always grow in faith and reach new altitudes with His help.

I am excited about growing and learning more about faith during this time. Knowing that we can have joy and peace in the middle of the storm is beyond amazing. Staying in the moment is definitely the theme for the week for me and I understand it should be the theme for life. What is God telling us now? What is God showing us now? These are two questions we can always focus on when things are pretty difficult. Then like my cousin’s friend we will have our (spiritual) eyes open to the beauty that is surrounding us physically and spiritually. Enjoy the things of the Lord today. There is an abundance of goodness being poured into your life. Be receptive. Be open. Don’t let your mind get in the way and you will be on the way to greater blessings.

Suggested reading: Psalm 81:10; Matthew 6:33; Romans 8:32


God will get you to the other side of the mountain

Since there is still no power where I live, I decided to drive around yesterday. I drove down the main road and looked at downed trees and major piles of snow that obstruct the view when you want to make a turn. I tried to make a right turn but the heap of snow was in the way. I had to pull up farther in order to see if I could make a turn. Before I moved, my vision was blocked by this little mountain of snow. I believe this happens often in life. We want to move forward but there is a mountain in the way that keeps us from seeing if we can move on and go our way. Is there a mountain right now that is blocking your vision? Is there a mountain that is keeping you from seeing how you will make it, a mountain that is blocking God’s vision for your life? If you move up higher and go past the mountain you can actually see clearly and keep going. The problem is figuring out how to go past the mountain. The Lord is bigger than any mountain. Big mountains or small ones, He has conquered them all. Now it is up to us to see eye to eye with Him and believe that the mountain will not be an obstruction to our progress.

A mountain of snow on the side of the road could look like nothing to some and it could look like a giant to others. It’s a question of perspective. Isn’t it the way it always is with our problems? The more we see them like mountains, the more stressed they make us feel. If we look at our problems and see them as small humps on the road, the level of stress will be less. The solution is to see them as hurdles that are very easily removable by the Lord. We can stand in front of them but we don’t have to let them intimidate us. When I see a problem that erects itself as a huge mountain, I remind myself of how much bigger Jesus is. He towers over the Kilimanjaro of problems. He is a strong tower that is way higher than the Tokyo Skytree of trials and tribulations. Use Him as the measuring stick against the size of your problems. Nothing can measure up to Him. If you don’t have that locked down in your spirit yet, spend time building up your faith in the biggest mountain climber that exists. Jesus will get you over the mountain and He will lead the way for you to move forward.

Speak up against the mountains using your authority in the Lord. The more you use that authority, the smaller the mountain will be. Your words of faith can melt any snow mountain in time. Keep up with the positive verbiage. Keep up with the declarations of confidence in the Lord and the confessions of victory. The mountain doesn’t matter. It’s your attitude facing the mountain that makes a difference. Use faith against all mountains and watch God’s hand flatten up the tallest towers around. When your faith gets God’s hand going, nothing can stop it. Persistence is crucial. Perseverance is primordial. Don’t give in to the fear of the mountains of life. Trouble will pile up at times but the Lord has already taken care of trouble. With the Lord on your side, trouble is in trouble. Remember that. God will get you to the other side of your mountains. Keep the faith. There is a path for you and God will put on that right path. No mountain is too high for our God!

Suggested reading: Mark 11:23-24; Matthew 17:20; 1 John 5:14

Be someone’s light today

There was a major storm yesterday that dumped over a foot of snow where I live. Trees came down and there were power outages all over the state. I lost power at around 5 pm. Losing power means no heat and no running water. When it’s winter and it’s very cold, losing power can be a terrible situation. I relied on candles to see and water bottles to wash my face and brush my teeth. As I was getting ready for bed, I started to think about people who have no running water and no power all year long. When you live in the comfort of the western world you don’t spend much time thinking about how what is normal to you doesn’t even exist in the lives of others. The electricity that is part of your daily life and that you take for granted is considered luxury by others. I needed to lose power. I needed to lose the privilege so my heart could be hit by a storm of compassion that God dumped in my heart like a foot of snow. Today I want to reiterate the message of compassion. I want to emphasize the importance of recognizing the needs of others and doing something about it.

Losing power came after I had written a message about staying in the moment. That message was exactly what I had needed. When the transformer blew up on my street, the first thought that came to mind was “Stay in the moment and embrace what you have.” You know sometimes the little that we have means the world to others. Even though I had no water, no heat and no light, I still had a lot to offer and my first reaction was to offer prayers for all those who had lost power and those who never have it. How many people with less than the bare necessities have people praying for them or doing something for them? I lost power but I gained a new perspective. When you have less than usual, enjoy what you have and give the little that you have to those who need it. Time is a gift that we can share at all times. I was led to give time last night to those who have less. Since it was dark and very silent, I devoted my time to talking to the Lord about others.

Just to think that people live in the dark every night is saddening. I have visited Africa a few times and I have seen first hand how some people live in the dark and use a gas lamp and candles every night. I have also seen how some people don’t let their situations dictate their emotions and they are able to stay joyful no matter what. I admire them. I admire those who still sing a song of praise to God despite the dark moments and the pain. I admire a heart that beats for Jesus no matter how heavy and burdened it gets. I admire those who give generously even though they have very little to offer. They would give their last shirt if they had to and keep a smile on their face. I admire compassion. I admire love. I admire genuine acts of kindness. I learn from people who indulge in them.

As I am writing this message, I still don’t have power but like I said earlier I gained a lot from this experience. The biggest takeaway from this is the need to keep a heart full of compassion and express it. This is motivating me to find ways to engage in more acts of compassion and to look at others as people I should help. We all lack something. We all need spiritual light because we all travel through times of darkness. We all lose spiritual power and we all need to find the generators that will bring the power back. Friend, be that generator for someone else. Know that what you have can make someone else’s day. Give generously. Be someone’s light today!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 15:10; Proverbs 21:26; Matthew 6:3-4

Why it is important to stay in the moment

I am a big dreamer because my dreams are fueled by the enthusiasm of the Holy Spirit. He has no limits and His dreams and visions are out of this world. I often find myself envisioning things that are extraordinary and that require a lot of faith. “Dream big” is a command my spirit receives on a regular basis. However, I have become more and more aware of the need to stay in the moment and embrace the present. Living in the future all the time can actually slow down our spiritual progress. “Dream big” doesn’t mean stay asleep until your dreams come true. It implies having great dreams but it also doesn’t ignore living in the present like it is a dream. What I mean by that is that we have to enjoy the present and see it as a wonderful time that is out of this world. When we stay in the present and we are thrilled by the present we display faith. Staying in the present denies worrying about the future. Our present is so good that we shouldn’t worry about what’s to come. Today I want to encourage you to savor the moment and delight in what the Lord is doing right now. Display your faith by loving “the now” and leaving tomorrow for tomorrow so to speak. The Lord is with you right now. His hand is as much on you now as it will be tomorrow.

Waiting for tomorrow is a trap

I used to look at the clock a lot thinking about what I was going to do next. I used to get more excited about what was going to happen later on. That attitude showed my impatience and it made me miss out on the present. It also reflected the idea that to me the future was better than the present. God never said that we should only be excited about what’s to come. He said that we should rejoice in all things giving thanksgiving at all times. Our thanksgiving should be taking place now about now and not just now about what’s to come. God’s blessings, His love and His mercy are not reserved for tomorrow. Jesus died on the Cross so we would have an abundant life today. Our salvation is here and now. I misunderstood the timeline of salvation. I misunderstood the timeline of grace and blessings. “I will get excited and I will be happy when tomorrow is here” is what I told myself too often. I had the wrong approach. When you think about it, today is yesterday’s tomorrow. It is well worth of our time of praise and rejoicing. The enemy keeps us in a mental trap every time he forces us to wait for tomorrow in order to enjoy this beautiful life that the Lord gives us.

God is…

The Lord gives us what we need and what our heart desires all the time. What He is giving us now is the best we are getting for that moment. It takes practice to be able to see that. It requires some effort on our part and a great deal of patience. What we need to do is slow down and embrace what is taking place right now. You might say that nothing good is happening today. I beg to differ. You might be experiencing a lot of turmoil and trials. I recognize that but the other thing you are experiencing right now is being a child of the living God. Focus on who God is today. Focus on Him not ever changing. See God in the present tense. Don’t conjugate His actions in the future tense only. God is the God of the now as well. Describe God to yourself in the present tense. God is Almighty. God is good. God is love. God is full of mercy. God is blessing you. God is giving you joy and peace. God is eternal. God never changes. God is miraculous. God gets you through every trial and tribulation. Keep the “God is” mentality and refrain from only having the “God will” mentality.

Let’s not be anxious about tomorrow. God is already there. He has seen what tomorrow will be like and He is telling us that He has already taken care of it so we might as well enjoy today. Let’s define God the way He is now because He never changes. Let’s show Him how grateful we are that He is always God and He is always good. Let’s stare at the present and see the good in it and not be fixated on the future and miss out on today. Let’s stay in the moment because the Lord is in every moment. Let’s stay in the moment because it is a great exercise for our faith. Embrace today each and every day! God is here right now!

Suggested reading: Matthew 6:31-34; Hebrews 13:5; Romans 12:2

Your strength is in the Lord

If you don’t have the strength to go on or if you don’t know if you can make it through the day, let me remind you that your strength is in the Lord. It is not in your ability alone. God’s strength is your strength. He will pick up where your energy leaves off. There is a remarkable amount of support in the Lord that we don’t tap into because we are so used to doing it all on our own. When we get up in the morning the strength we need is with us whether we feel it or not. It doesn’t depend on our feelings. God’s strength should not be measured by the amount of energy we feel or don’t feel. His provision is up for grabs and we grab it by faith. Today is a regular day for the Lord. A regular day for Him means that He is ready to bless you, to support you and to protect you. A regular day for Him means that He is Almighty, able, willing and still invincible.

How my strength is in the Lord

I went back to work yesterday after having surgery last Thursday. I still felt a bit shaky and nauseous at times. I usually teach 5 classes but yesterday for the first time ever in 15 years I was supposed to teach 7 classes. One of the teachers in my department had been out and we haven’t been able to find someone who could do both French and Spanish so I stepped in. Sunday night thoughts of defeat and concern were taunting me. I had heard about one class I was going to cover and the kids had been described as rambunctious, chatty and disrespectful. However, the Holy Spirit didn’t let me dive into the pit of negative thoughts. As a matter of fact, I had heard “Stay calm” in my spirit all week even before the surgery. Why was the Lord telling me to stay calm? He knows that He is my strength and that through Him I can always make it. That’s the attitude I adopted. I confessed that greater is the Lord that is in me than the 7 classes. It didn’t matter if I still felt weak and sick, my strength was in Him and not in my own ability. The day went so well I still can’t get over it. The class I was dreading turned out to be the best class of the day. These 6th graders were even more engaged than my own 8th graders. Even the sub who sat in the back of the class said she had not been able to get them to behave so well over a whole week like they did in this one class. To God all the glory! It’s His provision and His strength that made it possible.

Tap into the Lord’s strength

How do you tap into the Lord’s strength for the day or for every day? It comes with a certain level of intimacy and familiarity. We can’t rely on ourselves all the time and then one day cry out for help and expect deliverance. His mercy is amazing but the Lord wants communion. Not just on every first Sunday of the month. Communion is a daily thing. I actually do take communion on a regular basis in remembrance of what the Lord did for me. It might sound mystical but it is also biblical and beautiful. Why not celebrate Jesus every day? I do it. The name of the Lord is a strong tower so we should call on His name all the time and celebrate Him. That is when power is available and His strength becomes ours. We also ought to identify with the Lord. He is not a foreign entity. He is deity become family. We are His children and as we live our lives in that role, we can identify with Him and His strength truly becomes ours.

Stay connected to the Lord the best you can. When you feel weak He is still strong. Remember that His joy is your strength so cultivate a joyful spirit and stay in His love. Surround yourself with His joy and lean against it all the time. You might be weak today but what matters is that He doesn’t change. Your weakness is not the end of the story. God’s strength will end the chapter for you. Keep the faith!

Suggested reading: Nehemiah 8:10; Proverbs 18:10; Philippians 4:13

You are God’s property

I get visions and messages during prayer time just like a few other people I know. As soon as I get into meditative prayer I get a glimpse into the spirit realm if I am alert and focusing on the Lord. The other night it all happened very fast out of nowhere. As I started praying I saw the Lord, the way I envision Him, putting a fence around me. The fence looked like barbed wire and there was a sign that said “Do not touch. This is my property.” The interesting thing was that I was a field. I was a field with dirt. In some parts it looked like a garden with buds and flowers and weeds on the other side. I saw myself cultivating the field and working with someone by my side. It was so clear and yet so intriguing. I understand that I am like a field that needs work. I am a work in progress. We are all a work in progress and the good news is that we are God’s property. He has put a sign on us that stipulates that we are His. You belong to the Lord. You are His beautiful property no matter how much work you need.

A work in progress

We are a work in progress and it is just fine by the Lord. This life is all about getting closer to God and getting to know Him. We are infants that need to grow up and learn how to walk and run and become adults in Christ. We are all at different stages of this growth and it is no competition. The race we are running is our own race. We are not to compare with others. God has a purpose and a plan that is custom-made and we should embrace it instead of trying to fit into someone’s destiny. Our destiny is unique. While we are advancing in our spiritual walk we ought to just keep working and accepting that we are a work in progress and it’s ok. We are like a field that needs to be cultivated, watered with the Holy Spirit and nourished with the Word of God. We might have beautiful flowers blooming in a corner of our lives and weeds in other corners. The goal is to find the strength to remove the weeds and walk hand in hand with God to achieve that.

You are fenced in by the Lord

God loves you and He adores you. You don’t have to be perfect or to have it all together to please God. He knows that you are a work in progress and that the field of your life is being developed. He sees your shortcomings and your weaknesses but they don’t stop Him from helping you grow. The Holy Spirit is working by your side encouraging you and motivating you. Stay secure that God is there with you. He has put a fence around you to show the enemy that you are His. The enemy obviously doesn’t like it and will try all he can to steal you away from God but his lies don’t stand a chance if you keep the faith and hold on to the Lord. Remember that you are His property. Don’t worry about what the opposition is putting in your mind. It doesn’t change the fact that you belong to Jesus and that He calls you His.

This week keep in mind that you are God’s property. He has put a fence around you. Keep your head up. You belong to the King of kings and He is watching over you. His Spirit is giving you a hand all the time so take His hand and accept His assistance. You are not alone and you are not without a barrier of protection. When the enemy comes against you tell him you are fenced in by the love of the King! Have a great week!

Suggested reading: Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Ten nuggets of wisdom for your Sunday (Part 5)

Be the spokesperson for faith. Don’t give fear a voice.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You are connected to the tree of Life. If you ever fall, you will get picked up again. The Lord is the tree that will never let you fall too far.

God is a giver. He is very generous. His hand keeps giving us gifts. It’s up to us to open our hand and open our eyes and see what His gifts are like. They don’t always look the way we expect them to look.

Your mind can be a prison or a cage of freedom. Choose to filter all the accusations, all the penalties and sentences of the enemy and your mind will become a cage of freedom ready to receive positivity.

There is a light that looks like the light but it is not the right light. Pray for discernment so you can see the light and live in the light of the Lord.

God has poured love, peace, joy, faith and other blessings into your heart. Keep your heart strong and solid. From your heart come all sorts of blessings that you can hand out to this desperate world. Stay close to your heart!

Prayer is more effective than any methods or words that are outside of God. Make prayer your daily bread. Eat it all the time and you will grow strong in the Lord as He feeds you the bread of life.

Bad news come to all of us. The truth is that bad news do not change the good news of the Gospel. A change of perspective can make a huge difference.

Where does God fit in your life? Is He in a box or is He living outside the box? God can’t be limited unless we place Him in a box that we are not willing to crack open with His truth and love.

The power of the Cross lives on. Thank the Lord for the Cross every day. He hasn’t changed and His life-changing sacrifice on the Cross is still relevant today no matter what you are facing. There is still power in the Cross!

Suggested reading: Job 28:28; Psalm 107:43; Psalm 111:10