Thursday, December 6, 2018

Guest Post: Pondering A Miracle

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!

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Thank You Jesus

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.

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!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

May I Ask You A Question? (¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?)

I tend to ask a lot of questions.

Perhaps it's from my personality. Or maybe it's from years of illness, when I spent hours a day just thinking. Maybe it's the writer in me, always asking: "Why, what, when, where, how?" Or perhaps it's from being trained as a life coach....

It's probably all of these factors - that leave me with more questions than answers, pretty much every day.

Do you ask a lot of questions? If so, you understand what I'm talking about. But if not, I know you do ask some questions. Think about the questions you often ask. Do you ask yourself questions? Do you ask God questions? Do you feel like your questions are answered more often than not? Or does it seem like they just go on being unanswered?

(I did warn you that I ask a lot of questions, lol.) =)

Questions actually play a vital role in our lives...

*They open the way for communication.
*They cause us to think, to consider, to evaluate, and to make decisions.
*Questions bring to life possibilities.
*Questions remind us that we aren't perfect, and we don't know it all.

What else do you think questions do in your life?

So why am I going on and on about questions? Good question. =)

Here's today's revelation for me: You can't have an answer, without first having a question.

I like answers. I like to know what's true, what's the right thing, what's the best path, etc. But I won't necessarily know those things until I ask some questions.

I think the challenge for us is learning to ask the best questions. How do we get beyond the surface questions? How do we move past the visible things to the real heart issues? Where do we get the courage we need to ask what it is we really want to know?

I think the easy answer is that learning to ask the best questions is a process. When I first started life coaching, I had a few good questions I knew to ask. Then I would talk with experienced life coaches, and I was amazed at some of the questions they asked. They had developed the skill of learning to ask the best questions. And they were able to help people experience the transformation they wanted in their lives.

Learning to ask questions - to ourselves, to others, and to God - is a process. Thankfully the Holy Spirit is our Counselor, and He helps us. It's a good thing too, because in the process of asking questions...

I usually learn some things I didn't necessarily want to know.
I may not get answers to certain things I ask.
I don't always like the answers I do get.
I often end up with even more questions than when I started.

...but if I don't ask, then I won't learn, and I won't get any answers, and I probably won't experience the change and transformation I really do want in my life.

Questions are a tool God has given us, to be used with humility, openness, curiosity, patience, and courage.

So in case you haven't noticed yet, this post is really more about asking you a question than giving you an answer. =)

What do you desire most?
Who do you want to be one year from now?
What holds you back from asking the questions that stir in your soul?

Are you ready to start asking questions?
or
Are you willing to keep waiting for answers you've sought?
or
Are you enjoying the process of asking, learning, waiting, and being transformed?

Wherever you are today, I hope this post causes you to think. I hope it leads you to ask questions, and keep asking, and keep seeking...and see God do more than you ever thought possible.

"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened."
-Jesus (Matthew 7:7-8)


¿Puedo hacerte una pregunta?
Tengo tendencia a hacer muchas preguntas.
Tal vez sea por mi personalidad. O quizás por mis años de enfermedad cuando pasé muchas horas al día solamente pensando. Tal vez la escritora que hay en mí, siempre preguntando: “¿Por qué, qué, cuándo, dónde, cómo?” O tal vez por estar entrenada como consejera de vida…
Es probable que sean todos estos factores que me dejan con más preguntas que respuestas casi todos los días.
¿Haces muchas preguntas? Si así es, entiendes de lo que estoy hablando. Pero si no, sé que haces algunas. Piensa sobre las preguntas que haces con frecuencia. ¿Te haces preguntas a ti mismo? ¿Le haces preguntas a Dios? ¿Sientes como que tus preguntas son respondidas con más frecuencia que no? O ¿parece como que sencillamente no son respondidas?
 (Te advertí que hago muchas preguntas, ¿cierto?) =)
Las preguntas en realidad juegan un papel vital en nuestras vidas…
*Abren la vía para la comunicación.
*Nos hacen pensar, considerar, evaluar, y tomar decisiones.
*Nos llevan a posibilidades de vida.
*Nos recuerdan que no somos perfectos y no lo sabemos todo.
¿Qué más piensas que las preguntas hacen en tu vida?
Entonces ¿Por qué sigo haciendo preguntas una y otra vez? Buena pregunta. =)
He aquí la revelación de hoy para mí: No puedes tener una respuesta, sin primero tener una pregunta.
Me gustan las respuestas. Me gusta saber qué es verdad, qué es lo correcto, cuál es el mejor camino, etc. Pero no necesariamente conozco esas cosas hasta que hago algunas preguntas.
Creo que el reto para nosotros es aprender a hacer las mejores preguntas. ¿Cómo llegamos más allá de las preguntas superficiales? ¿Cómo vamos más allá de las cosas visibles a los asuntos reales del corazón? ¿Dónde conseguimos el valor que necesitamos para preguntar lo que realmente queremos saber?
Creo que la respuesta fácil es que aprender a hacer las mejores preguntas es un proceso. Cuando empecé la consejería para la vida tenía unas pocas preguntas que sabía hacer. Después hablé conconsejeros experimentados y quedé admirada ante algunas de las preguntas que ellos hacían. Habían desarrollado la habilidad de aprender a hacer las mejores preguntas. Y podían ayudar a las personas a experimentar la transformación que querían en sus vidas.
Aprender a hacer preguntas – a nosotros mismos, a otros y a Dios – es un proceso. Gracias a Dios el Espíritu Santo es nuestro Consejero y nos ayuda. Eso también es bueno, porque en el proceso de hacer preguntas…
A menudo aprendo algunas cosas que no necesariamente quería saber.
Puede que no consiga respuestas a algunas cosas que pregunto.
No siempre me gustan las respuestas que consigo.
Frecuentemente termino con aun más preguntas que cuando empecé.
…pero si no pregunto, entonces no aprenderé, y no conseguiré respuestas y probablemente no experimentaré el cambio y la transformación que realmente quiero en mi vida.
Las preguntas son una herramienta que Dios nos ha dado para ser usada con humildad, abiertamente, con curiosidad, paciencia y valor.
Así que si todavía no lo has notado, esta publicación realmente es más acerca de hacerte una pregunta que darte una respuesta. =)
¿Qué es lo que más deseas?
¿Quién quieres ser dentro de un año?
¿Qué te detiene de hacer las preguntas que agitan tu alma?
¿Estás listo para comenzar a hacer preguntas?
O
¿Quieres seguir esperando respuestas que has buscado?
O
¿Estás disfrutando el proceso de preguntar, aprender, esperar y ser transformado?’
Donde sea que estés hoy espero que esta publicación te haga pensar. Espero que te lleve a hacer preguntas, a seguir preguntando y seguir buscando…y ver a Dios hacer más de lo que nunca creíste posible.
“Pedid, y se os dará; buscad, y hallaréis; llamad, y se os abrirá. Porque todo aquel que pide, recibe; y el que busca, halla; y al que llama, se le abrirá.” – Jesús (Mateo 7:7-8)

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The Good (Lo Bueno)

Some days words fail me.

Every day God's Word is alive and active and never fails.


So here are some of God's words for you today:


"You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you." -Psalm 86:5


"And the LORD said, 'I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence.'" -Exodus 33:19a


"Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him." -Psalm 34:8


"You are good, and what you do is good...." -Psalm 119:68


"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep." -John 10:11


"...You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed." -Joshua 23:14


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." -Romans 8:28


"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." -Genesis 50:20


"I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living." -Psalm 27:13


"How abundant are the good things that you have stored up for those who fear you, that you bestow in the sight of all, on those who take refuge in you." -Psalm 31:19


"Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever." -Psalm 23:6


Amen.



Lo Bueno

Algunos días me faltan las palabras.

Todos los días la Palabra de Dios está viva y activa y nunca falla.

Así que aquí están algunas de las palabras de Dios para ti hoy:

“Tú, Señor, eres bueno y perdonador; grande es tu amor por todos los que te invocan.” –Salmos 86:5

“Y el Señor le respondió: —Voy a darte pruebas de mi bondad, y te daré a conocer mi nombre.” –Éxodo 33:19a

“Prueben y vean que el Señor es bueno; dichosos los que en él se refugian.” –Salmos 34:8

“Tú eres bueno, y haces el bien….” –Salmos 119:68

“Yo soy el buen pastor. El buen pastor da su vida por las ovejas.” –Juan 10:11

“…Ustedes bien saben que ninguna de las buenas promesas del Señor su Dios ha dejado de cumplirse al pie de la letra. Todas se han hecho realidad, pues él no ha faltado a ninguna de ellas.” –Josué 23:14

“Ahora bien, sabemos que Dios dispone todas las cosas para el bien de quienes lo aman, los que han sido llamados de acuerdo con su propósito.” –Romanos 8:28

“Es verdad que ustedes pensaron hacerme mal, pero Dios transformó ese mal en bien para lograr lo que hoy estamos viendo: salvar la vida de mucha gente.” –Génesis 50:20

“Pero de una cosa estoy seguro: he de ver la bondad del Señor en esta tierra de los vivientes.” –Salmos 27:13

“Cuán grande es tu bondad, que atesoras para los que te temen, y que a la vista de la gente derramas sobre los que en ti se refugian.” –Salmos 31:19

“La bondad y el amor me seguirán todos los días de mi vida; y en la casa del Señor habitaré para siempre.” –Salmos 23:6

Amén.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

God's Position In Your Life (La posición de Dios en tu vida)

Today I want to share a post from a dear friend. With his love for Jesus, love for people, and godly wisdom, he is a great blessing to me and many others. I hope you'll be encouraged by what he has to share. =)


What is God’s position in your life? by Dave Lundquist

Several years ago, I attended a retreat called, "Faith Matters." Here’s a question: is this title an adjective and a noun – meaning "matters of faith"? Or is it a noun and a verb – meaning "faith is important"? It turns out that both are true.

The facilitator of the retreat asked us to find a quiet place and describe our spiritual journey using a method that was unfamiliar to us. If we were "word" people (as I obviously am), then we should use art materials, which she generously provided.

My pastel drawing of my journey showed the peaks and valleys – the ups and downs of my spiritual life. I then drew the hand of God over the entire path, knowing that God was always present with me in good times and bad.

I discovered this drawing again months later. I thought to myself that if I did it again, I would probably draw God’s hand under my path – for two reasons. First, He is beneath me to support me and catch me if I fall. Second, on deep reflection, I realized that I was closer to God at the low points of my journey.

One day I was having a conversation with a friend about where God is. The natural response seems to be, "God is above us." Or, "God is up there" (pointing heavenward). After a bit of conversation about that, we began thinking of other “locations” for God, like beneath, or around, or within.

Do you remember the game Mad Libs? It provided a story with blanks to be filled in by the players, and the blanks had to be a specific part of speech, like  NOUN ,  VERB , etc. Our God-conversation soon evolved into a Mad Libs exercise following this format:

"God is  PREPOSITION  us to  VERB  us."

For example, "God is above us to watch over us." We began to go back and forth using this approach. Here are some more examples:

·      God is beneath us to support us.
·      God is between us to keep us together.
·      God is before us to lead us.
·      God is around us to protect us.
·      God is within us to fill us.
·      God is beside us to attend us.

Try it yourself.

As I reflect on all of this, I’ve come to realize that these approaches are flawed. Though there is value and wisdom in them, they limit a limitless God!

I am reminded of a book I read many years ago called, "Your God is Too small" by J. B. Phillips, and another book, which I read more recently called, "The Knowledge of the Holy" by A. W. Tozer. Both books admonish us not to make God in our image, but rather to realize that God is everywhere, everything, and majestic beyond words – yet He still loves each of us immeasurably.


La posición de Dios en tu vida

Hoy quiero compartir una publicación de un querido amigo. Con su amor por Jesús, por la gente y su sabiduría piadosa, él es una gran bendición para mí y para muchos otros. Confío en que serás animado por lo que tiene para compartir. =)

¿Cuál es la posición de Dios en tu vida? Por Dave Lundquist

Hace varios años asistí a un retiro de nombre “La fe es importante.” He aquí una pregunta: ¿Este título es un sustantivo y un adjetivo – queriendo decir “asuntos de fe”? O es un sustantivo y un verbo - con el significado de “¿la fe es importante”? Resulta que las dos son verdad.

La facilitadora del retiro nos pidió que encontráramos un lugar silencioso y describiéramos nuestro viaje espiritual usando un método con el que no estábamos familiarizados. Si éramos personas de “palabra” (como yo obviamente soy), entonces debíamos usar materiales de arte, los cuales ella generosamente proveyó.

El dibujo de mi viaje en colores pastel mostró los picos y valles – las subidas y bajadas de mi vida espiritual. Luego dibujé la mano de Dios a lo largo de todo el camino, sabiendo que Dios siempre estuvo presente conmigo en buenos y malos tiempos.

Descubrí otra vez este dibujo meses después. Pensé que si lo hacía de nuevo, pintaría la mano de Dios debajo de mi camino – por dos razones. Primera, Él está debajo de mí para apoyarme y agarrarme si caigo. Segunda, en profunda reflexión, me di cuenta que estaba más cerca de Dios en los puntos bajos de mi camino.

Un día tenía una conversación con un amigo acerca de dónde está Dios. La respuesta natural parece ser “Dios está sobre nosotros.” O “Dios está allá arriba” (apuntando hacia el cielo). Después de unos minutos de conversación al respecto, comenzamos a pensar en otras “ubicaciones” de Dios como “debajo, alrededor o dentro”

“Recuerdas el juego Mad Libs? Ese provee una historia con espacios en blanco para ser llenados por los jugadores, y los espacios en blanco deben llenarse con una parte específica del discurso como SUSTANTIVO, VERBO, etc. Nuestra conversación acerca de Dios se convirtió pronto en un ejercicio de Mad Libs siguiendo este formato:

“Dios es PREPOSICIÓN  y VERBO para nosotros.”

Por ejemplo, “Dios está sobre nosotros para vigilarnos.” Comenzamos a avanzar y retroceder usando este enfoque. He aquí algunos otros ejemplos:

Dios está debajo de nosotros para apoyarnos.
Dios está entre nosotros para mantenernos unidos.
Dios está delante de nosotros para guiarnos.
Dios está alrededor nuestro para protegernos.
Dios está dentro de nosotros para llenarnos.
Dios está al lado nuestro para ayudarnos.

Inténtalo tú mismo.

Cuando reflexiono sobre todo esto, he llegado a darme cuenta que estos enfoques son defectuosos. Aunque hay valor y sabiduría en ellos, ¡limitan a un Dios ilimitable!

Me acuerdo de un libro, que leí hace muchos años, titulado “Tu Dios es Muy pequeño”, escrito por J. B. Phillips, y otro libro, que leí más recientemente, titulado El conocimiento del Santo” por A. W. Tozer. Ambos nos exhortan a no hacer a Dios a nuestra imagen, sino darnos cuenta de que Dios está en todas partes, es todo y majestuoso más allá de las palabras – sin embargo, nos sigue amando a cada uno inmensurablemente.