Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Remembering The View

Hello friends! I am so very sorry that it’s been months since I’ve blogged here. This year has been full of surprises…some really difficult and challenging, and others amazingly wonderful! It’s been quite a journey. I’m hoping I can start blogging regularly again, and I thank you for your patience and prayers.  

After traveling thousands of miles this year, I’m currently in FL. Even though I’m at “home,” most days I still feel like I’m not exactly sure where I am or where I’m going. I know my heavenly Father knows both of those things, and He is faithful. So I’m trying to live one day at a time and trust Him for each next step. I keep asking Him for a clear vision for the future – some picture or view of where it is He’s leading me. 

Today I was looking back through pictures of my time in Europe. Oh how I miss those views! The mountains are breathtaking in many places I visited. I’m thankful I have the photos to look at and to remind me of the incredible experience of seeing those places with my own eyes. There’s something special about standing in the midst of such beauty and soaking in the view.

On the border of Austria and Slovenia

So much of our lives it seems our view is only of what is right in front of us – traffic, laundry, grocery store aisles, office cubicle…. Our daily view may seem uninspiring, discouraging, painful, or overwhelming. It helps me to look back at photos of majestic mountains. But even that doesn’t solve my difficulties today.  

While thinking about this, I read this passage in Romans:

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” –Romans 5:1-2a (NIV)

Because of Jesus we have so much! We have peace with God. We have been justified – declared righteous, holy, and pure! And we now stand in God’s grace. We stand in the presence of God, in the courts of heaven, surrounded by beauty far beyond what we can imagine! That is our place. And that is our view. 

We now stand before our awesome, perfect, loving God as – beloved, perfect, alive, free, beautiful! Oh how I want to see myself this way. And how I want to see my life from this view. 

When my daily view begins to take too much of my attention, I know God wants me to remember this heavenly view. God has given us His Word to teach and remind us who He is, who He says we are, where we stand, and where we are going. This view is what helps us live out each day here on earth. 

Whether I’m in Austria or FL, the truth is that I am standing in God’s grace – His divine favor. I am loved, I am blessed, I am complete – in Jesus my Savior.  

Time for me to go soak in that view…. 


*Do you have a photo of yourself in a beautiful place with an amazing view? Try placing the photo where you’ll see it everyday, and let it remind you of standing in your place of grace with that heavenly view. =) 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

The Journey

Hello friends! I hope that 2019 has been going well for you. It's been a bit of a roller-coaster for me, so I apologize that I haven't kept up with blogging. Here's today's post, about this journey of life...enjoy! 


I've traveled a lot in the last six months... 

I've flown east to west, south to north, and back again. 

I've driven down old familiar roads that brought back memories, both happy and sad.

I've braved new roads and seen new views that filled me with wonder.

I've missed turns, had to reroute, and gotten lost...a lot. 

I've explored new places and experienced both delights and challenges. 

I've reconnected with old friends and had great times! 

I've made many new friends and been so blessed by them.

I've made plans, and changed them, and changed them again. 

I've woken up a few times not knowing which house, city, or state I was in. 

I've cried sad tears and happy tears in the same day.

I've complained to God about various things on this unusual path. 

And I've watched God do miracles for me again and again.

One day I was driving in a familiar place, but down a new road. Instead of the highway, I was on a little back road. As I wound through hills and valleys, I was captivated by the beauty around me, with the sun shining on me through the peaks. I wanted to stop and drink in the moment. It felt like I'd discovered a treasure...one that really wasn't far away, hidden just a step beyond the ordinary pathway. 

But I had a schedule to keep. No time to stop. I knew I probably wouldn't get to drive that little road again. So I tried to fix the moment and the beauty in my mind. As I did, the Lord began to speak to my heart. 

This life is a journey...
Sometimes we walk the same familiar roads, either happily or wearily. 
Sometimes God puts us on a new path, and we have to learn new things and trust Him to lead us each step.
Sometimes we get lost, and have to turn around, and reroute, and remember that God's grace covers us every moment. 
Sometimes our plans get changed, again, and again...until we don't know what to do next.
Sometimes we lose sight of the view around us and can only see the ground in front of us. 
Sometimes God leads us to hidden treasures that renew our perspective and refresh our souls. 
Sometimes we appreciate more fully the beauty of where we are now because of the barrenness of where we have been. 

As I drove that little back road, I thought about this journey of life...that's so hard, and amazing, and painful, and bewildering, and beautiful. 

And I wondered, "How do we do it well?"

Then I heard God say, "Don't be afraid." 

Don't be afraid? Is it that simple? Yes. And no. It is simple and profound truth. It's not easy to do. 

"Don't be afraid." 

Don't fear the unknowns. Don't fear the challenges. Don't fear the pain. Don't fear the changes. Don't fear the failures. Don't fear the losses. Don't fear the gains. 

Yes, there will be all those things...especially the gains. Because our God is with us on the journey. He is giving to us every step. He is using every detail to form the bigger picture. He is sovereign over all. He is good. He is faithful. He is keeping and will keep His promises, as He works out His eternal plans and purposes for each of us. 

This life is a journey. But it's not about getting from "here" to "there." If we seek an easy journey, we'll miss out on what really matters. 

The journey is about the process, and the people, and the beauty, and the miracles, and the transformation...and the glory of God. 

Each new day we have the opportunity - in the power of the Holy Spirit - to reject the fears and to embrace the journey with Jesus. 

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” –Isaiah 41:10


Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Immanuel

"Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 'Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,' which translated means, 'God with us.'" -Matthew 1:22-23

Immanuel - God with us.

So simple...yet so profound.

Today we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It's an astounding mystery that God became a man - and not just a man, but a baby. Jesus embraced the full experience of humanity - from birth to death, so that He could truly be with us in everything. There's nothing we go through that He doesn't understand.

Jesus left heaven and God's glorious presence, so that He could bring us a taste of that heavenly glory. In all we go through, we are not alone. More than that, we have the Light of heaven present and shining in our lives - making sense of things that otherwise don't make sense, giving meaning to things that seem meaningless, and bringing hope when things seem hopeless.

All because of Immanuel - God with us.

I hope we are filled with wonder anew at this incredible gift! God is with us. Always.

Thank you Jesus! Happy Birthday to you!

Merry Christmas dear friends!



Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guest Post: Pondering A Miracle (Publicación de invitada: Reflexionando acerca de un milagro)

Today I’m delighted to share this guest post from my mom. Enjoy!

Pondering A Miracle - by Jan Harris

In John 2:1-11, Jesus turned water into wine. Nothing dramatic. Just a “small,” private miracle for His family and friends of His family. Not at all in the same class as feeding 5,000 men with a boy’s lunch or calming a wild gale or raising Lazarus from the dead.

But it was Jesus’ first recorded miracle.

I think I’ve never properly appreciated that fact. I’ve often puzzled over the details…like how He spoke to Mary…how His tone didn’t deter her from instructing the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it” (John 2:4b).

I’ve heard sermons on how this miracle was Jesus’ stamp of approval on marriage—and I’m sure it was. But the last time I read John 2, or maybe the time before that, I started thinking. This was Jesus’ first public miracle. There must be more to it.

In His sovereign wisdom, I’m absolutely sure that Jesus chose this miracle carefully. It wasn’t just the result of an emergency lack of wine or His mother’s plea for help. Before He went to the party, He knew they would run out of wine. He knew that He would provide more wine from water in the stone jars.

Why?

Was it about purification? Jesus made use of the jars that usually held water for Jewish purification rituals. Was this miracle symbolic of the purification Jesus came to bring for sinners?

Was it to demonstrate His authority over the material world? Until that day, I’m guessing the disciples had no idea He had such power. Even more, He showed power over time. It takes time to grow grapes, to crush them and age the juice until it ferments. The best wine, they say, is wine that has fermented the longest. And, according to the master of the feast, this was the “best” wine. Jesus compressed all that time into a minute—or maybe two.

Fill the jars with water. Draw out the wine. Amazing! Unbelievable! Spectacular! A mind-boggling miracle just for a small wedding party in a small town…just for His family and friends of His family. A miracle that demonstrated that while Jesus lived in our time, He wasn’t bound by our time. He created time, and—just like the wind and the waves—He had power over it.

But there’s more.

A wedding party was a time of great joy. A time of joy for the bride and groom. They’d been waiting a year or more to begin their lives together. A time of joy for their families…and for their friends. Can we say that Jesus didn’t just put His stamp of approval on marriage that day? He put His stamp of approval on JOY.

“These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.” –John 15:11 (NASB)

By providing more wine for the feast, Jesus provided for the celebration—the joy—to continue. We tend to think of Jesus as a “man of sorrows.” And He was. But He was also a man of joy… joking with His disciples, laughing with the children, sharing in the joy of the ones He healed. I believe Jesus was showing us—He approves of joy.

And then there's the wedding feast itself. At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus attended a wedding feast. He participated in it. He provided for it. He enjoyed it. And somewhere near the ending of time as we know it, there is another wedding feast, a feast that Jesus has already planned, already provided for. A feast that will be a time of overwhelming—never-ending—joy!


Publicación de invitada: Reflexionando acerca de un milagro

Hoy estoy encantada de compartir esta publicación de mi mamá. ¡Disfrútenla!

Reflexionando acerca de un milagro – por Jan Harris

En Juan 2:1-11, Jesús convirtió el agua en vino. Nada dramático. Solamente un “pequeño” milagro privado para Su familia y los amigos de Su familia. De ninguna manera de la clase de alimentar cinco mil hombres con el almuerzo de un muchacho o calmar una horrible tormenta o resucitar a Lázaro de la muerte.

Pero fue el primer milagro registrado.

Creo que nunca he apreciado ese hecho adecuadamente.  Con frecuencia he estado desconcertada acerca de los detalles… como cómo le habló Él a María… como Su tono no la desalentó para decirle a los que servían: “Haced todo lo que os dijere” (Jn. 2:5).

He escuchado sermones sobre cómo este milagro fue la estampilla de Jesús de aprobación del matrimonio- y estoy segura de que sí lo fue. Pero la última vez que leí Juan 2, o tal vez la ocasión anterior a ésa, comencé a pensar. Este fue el primer milagro público. Tiene que haber más al respecto.

En Su soberana sabiduría, estoy absolutamente segura de que Jesús escogió este milagro cuidadosamente. No fue simplemente el resultado de una emergencia por la falta de vino o la súplica de Su madre por ayuda. Antes de ir a la boda, Él sabía que se les acabaría el vino. Sabía que Él proveería más vino del agua en las tinajas.

¿Por qué?

¿Fue acerca de la purificación? Jesús usó las tinajas que usualmente contenían agua para los rituales de purificación de los judíos. ¿Fue este milagro un simbolismo de la purificación que Jesús vino a brindar a los pecadores?

¿Fue para demostrar Su autoridad sobre el mundo material? Hasta ese día, adivino que los discípulos no tenían ni idea que Él tenía ese poder. Aún más, Él mostró poder sobre el tiempo. Toma tiempo cultivar uvas, aplastarlas y madurar el jugo hasta que se fermente. El mejor vino, dicen, es el que se haya fermentado por más tiempo. Y, según el maestresala de la fiesta, este era el “mejor” vino. Jesús comprimió todo ese tiempo en un minuto – o quizás dos.

Llenar las tinajas con agua. Sacar el vino. ¡Asombroso! ¡Increíble! ¡Espectacular! Un alucinante milagro solamente para un pequeño banquete de boda en un pequeño pueblo… solamente para Su familia y amigos de Su familia. Un milagro que demostraba que si Jesús viviera en nuestro tiempo, no estaría atado por nuestro tiempo. Él creó el tiempo y – justo como con el viento y las olas – tenía el poder sobre él.

Pero hay más.

Un banquete de bodas era de gran alegría. Un tiempo de gozo para la novia y el novio. Habían esperado un año o más para comenzar su vida juntos. Un tiempo de gozo para sus familias… y para sus amigos. ¿Podemos decir que Jesús no solamente puso su sello de aprobación para el matrimonio en ese día? Puso su estampa de aprobación en el GOZO.

“Estas cosas os he hablado, para que mi gozo esté en vosotros, y vuestro gozo sea cumplido.” –Juan 15:11

Proveyendo más vino para el banquete, Jesús proveyó para la celebración- el gozo- para continuar. Tendemos a pensar en Jesús como un “hombre de penas.” Y lo fue. Pero también fue un hombre de gozo… bromeando con Sus discípulos, riendo con los niños, compartiendo el gozo con los que curó. Creo que Jesús estaba mostrándonos que aprueba el gozo.

Y entonces hay el banquete mismo de bodas. Al comienzo de su ministerio público Jesús asistió a un banquete de bodas. Participó en ése. Proveyó para ése. Lo disfrutó. En algún momento cerca del final del tiempo como sabemos, hay otro banquete de bodas, un banquete que Jesús ya ha planeado, para el que ya ha provisto. ¡Un banquete que será de maravilloso gozo – de nunca acabar!
  

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thank You Jesus (Gracias Jesús)

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had an encouraging day remembering all you have to be thankful for. =)

I'm thankful that I was able to spend today with a group of people I'd never met before last week, and I had a sweet time of fellowship with them.

I'm thankful that wherever I go, I have brothers and sisters in Christ who are a beautiful expression of God's love and grace.

I'm thankful that even with challenges and unknowns in life, I still always have much to be thankful for.

Since I was a child, my mom taught me the importance of thankfulness. Sometimes I've practiced it well, other times not so much. Lately God has been showing me a new aspect of being thankful. I'm learning to not just say what I'm thankful for, but to tell Jesus "Thank you" for specific things.

I'm learning to thank Jesus for what He's already done, as well as for what I believe He is doing and will do. And so thankfulness has become an expression of faith. It's also building my relationship with Jesus in a new way. The more I tell Him "Thank you" for things, the more humbled I feel, the more I want to worship Him, and the more I remember His love and care for me.

Here are some things I've been thanking Him for lately:

Thank you Jesus that you love me.
Thank you Jesus that you are always right here with me.
Thank you Jesus that you know my heart.
Thank you Jesus that you are healing me.
Thank you Jesus that you are leading me.
Thank you Jesus that you have good plans for me.
Thank you Jesus that in you I have all I need.

We are indeed blessed...but most of all because we know Jesus. May He draw you closer to Himself and fill your heart to overflowing with thanks to Him.

God bless you, my friends.


Gracias Jesús

¡Feliz Día de Gracias! Confío en que hayan tenido un alentador día recordando todo aquello por lo que deben estar agradecidos. =)

Estoy agradecida porque pude pasarlo con un grupo de personas con las que nunca había estado antes de la semana pasada y tuve un dulce tiempo de compañerismo con ellos.

Estoy agradecida que a donde quiera que voy tengo hermanos y hermanas en Cristo que son una hermosa expresión del amor y la gracia de Dios.

Estoy agradecida que aun con lo desconocido y los desafíos en la vida, siempre tengo mucho porqué estar agradecida.

Desde que era niña mi mamá me enseñó la importancia del agradecimiento. A veces lo he practicado bien, otras vece no tanto. Últimamente Dios me ha estado mostrando un nuevo aspecto de ser agradecida. Estoy aprendiendo a no simplemente decir porqué estoy agradecida, sino decirle a Jesús “Gracias” por cosas específicas.

Estoy aprendiendo a agradecer a Jesús por cosas que Él ya ha hecho, como también por cosas que creo que hará. Y así el agradecimiento se ha vuelto una expresión de fe. Esto también está incrementando mi relación con Jesús en una nueva manera. Mientras más le digo “Gracias” por cosas más humilde me siento, más quiero alabarle y más recuerdo Su amor y cuidado por mí.

He aquí algunas cosas por las que le he estado agradeciendo últimamente:

Gracias Jesús porque me amas.
Gracias porque siempre estás justo aquí conmigo.
Gracias porque conoces mi corazón.
Gracias porque me estás curando.
Gracias porque me estás guiando.
Gracias porque tienes buenos planes para mí.
Gracias que en ti tengo todo lo que necesito.

Por supuesto somos bendecidos… pero especialmente porque conocemos a Jesús. Que Él les atraiga más cercanos a Él y llene sus corazones de agradecimiento hacia Él.

Dios les bendiga mis amigos. 

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Some Favorite Songs (Algunas Canciones Favoritas)


God continues to use music to encourage, comfort, uplift and inspire me. Here are some favorite songs that I wanted to share today. I hope they'll be a blessing to you as well. (*One song is in Spanish, and one song has Spanish subtitles.)



Dios continua usando la música para animarme, consolarme, edificarme e inspirarme. He aquí algunas de mis canciones favoritas que quería compartir hoy. Espero que sea de bendición para ustedes también.


"Great Are You Lord" by All Sons and Daughters
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQLMnPYoR9k


*"Manantial De Caricias" by Jaci Velasquez
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zR3YjSb-QIc


*"My Everything" by Kari Jobe
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qVsHJcqr35M


"It Is Finished" by Gateway Worship
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-psR15zq98


"He Will Hold Me Fast" by Keith & Kristyn Getty
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=936BapRFHaQ


"Remembrance (Communion Song)" by Matt Redman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH5cQcLS-Nc


"Hallelujah, You Are Good" by Steven Curtis Chapman
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_umdhHWs1Q


Let's keep singing to our amazing and beautiful Savior!

¡Sigamos cantando a nuestro maravilloso e incomparable Salvador!