Wednesday, October 11, 2017

In The Details


"It's only 19 cents."

That's what I could have told myself. That's what I did tell myself, at first.

Then I had to speak up and let the clerk know she had given me the wrong change. She didn't seem too happy about it, but she went looking for some coins. She came back and gave me a handful of change, then walked away. I counted out one dime and seven pennies.

Still not 19 cents.

Now I was arguing with myself for a second time.

"It's only two pennies."

Or is it?

Before I left, I approached her one more time. "You actually only gave me 17 cents," I said. "But I'm going to give you the two pennies."

I said it nicely and without an attitude. But it's possible she still thought I was a jerk or a greedy person. The reality is that I'm a detail person...at least I am in some things. I'm not a detail person when it comes to car engines or which plants go in what kind of soil. If I needed to know those details, I'd find someone who cared enough to know such things.

And that's the point, isn't it? Do we care?

On the job, do we care if we get information correct?
In our relationships, do we care about what matters to others?
In our words, do we care if what we say is accurate?
In this world we live in, do we care about the truth?

Because ultimately, two cents isn't really important. But not giving someone the correct amount they're due ultimately reflects a lack of honesty, which shows a lack of valuing the truth.

We are human, and we will make mistakes. And some of us are more detail-oriented in certain areas than others, I understand that. But what's in our hearts? At the core of who we are, do we value truth as God does?

Because if we do, then I believe it will show in the way we live. It will be evident in what we say and don't say. It will be visible in how we do our jobs and how we treat other people. It will motivate us to pay attention to the important details.

God knows every detail. He cares about every detail. And He lives in us through Jesus.

How often do we remember that Jesus Himself is the Truth? When we love Jesus, we will love Truth.

For me this matter is very convicting and very important. I want to love the Truth. I want to live my life in the Truth, even in the little details.

As I drove away that day, I prayed for the young clerk. Maybe no one ever taught her that truth is important. Maybe she needs to see it lived out in someone's life. Most of all, she probably needs to meet Jesus, the one who is the Truth.

Only Jesus can teach us what is true.
Only He can change us from the inside out.
Only He can empower us to live a life of truth.


Thank you, Jesus, that you are the Truth! Thank you that you know every detail about us. Please give us hearts that love the truth, hearts that care--even about the little things, and hearts that can reflect your life and love to a hurting world. Amen.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Strong Hearts

A message for the brokenhearted today. You're story is not over. God still turns broken into beautiful.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. -Psalm 147:3

video


Broken To Beautiful

Broken, shattered,
Pieces scattered.
Is this my life?
Dreams have crumbled,
Idols tumbled.
Nothing left.

Nail-scarred hands,
Heart that understands,
You hold my life.
Healer of the broken,
Truth you’ve spoken,
You are all I need.

My pieces repairing,
While broken, preparing,
A new life for me.
The best plan you weave,
Help me receive,
Your will for me.

Transformed through the pain,
No longer the same,
You are my life.
Your grace shining through,
You change broken to
Beautiful.

(by Joanna K. Harris)

He has made everything beautiful in its time. -Ecclesiastes 3:11a

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Keep Singing

Music has always been significant in my life. No matter what I'm going through, there's almost always a song I'm singing...a song of praise, of gratitude, of need, of crying out for more grace, of standing firm in faith, etc.

The Bible says a lot about the importance of singing. One verse says this: 
“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” -Colossians‬ ‭3:16‬

I don't know about you, but for me, I must keep singing. And in His goodness, God has a way of sending me just the song I need in the moment I need it. As I sing, it feels like something changes...sometimes in my circumstances, or most often inside me. 

The songs God provides become a soundtrack of how God is working in my life. It's beautiful. Because our God is beautiful. 

So here are some of the songs that have blessed me so far this year, part of my soundtrack for 2017. I hope some of them bless you too. 

No matter what you face, may you always keep singing. 

Blessings,
-Joanna


My Redeemer Is Faithful And True
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=frw2eKj7fTc


Let It Be Jesus 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9dpsIyLZZo4


The Lord Is My Salvation
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=NjOGX5zT8KU

What A Beautiful Name
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=nzGX6-PuZxk


What Faith Can Do 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=u1JBSQMkQEo




Do It Again 
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zbiXg_1lXQk


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

All His Promises (Todas Sus Promesas)


For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God. -2 Corinthians ‭1:20‬

I love that Paul began this verse with "no matter how many"...which implies there are a whole lot of promises God has given. No matter if He's given you 9 promises or 29 promises, or 109 promises....

But do we really think that way? Do we recognize the multitude of promises God has given us?

Clearly Paul thought God had given abundant promises, because his point in this verse was that ALL of them are "Yes!" in Jesus!

Not a single promise God has given will fail, just as Joshua testified to the Israelites.

Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. 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

God loves to give promises to His people. And I think He loves it when we receive those promises, believe those promises, and in Christ declare, "Amen! Let it be as you have promised!"

Why?

For His glory! What better evidence of God's existence, love, power, faithfulness and grace is there than when He gives us promises, we declare our belief in Him, and then the world sees Him fulfill His word?

Only Almighty God can do that! Self-help gurus can't, millionaires can't, other religions can't.

So what promises has God given you? No matter how many He's given, they are all "Yes!" in Jesus! Are you declaring "Amen" for each one?

Let's keep speaking "Amen!" by faith, and may God receive all the glory - for promises given and promises fulfilled!


Todas Sus Promesas

Todas las promesas que ha hecho Dios son «sí» en Cristo. Así que por medio de Cristo respondemos «amén» para la gloria de Dios. -2 Co. 1:20

Me encanta que Pablo comienza este versículo con “todas las promesas”… lo que implica que hay muchas promesas que Dios nos ha dado. No importa si te ha dado nueve promesas o veintinueve o ciento nueve….

Pero ¿en realidad pensamos de esa manera? ¿Reconocemos la multitud de promesas que Dios nos ha dado?

Claramente Pablo pensaba que Dios ha dado abundantes promesas, porque su punto en este versículo es que TODAS ellas son “¡Sí!” ¡en Jesús!

Ni una sola promesa de las que Dios ha dado fallará, tal como testificó Josué a los israelitas.

Por mi parte, yo estoy a punto de ir por el camino que todo mortal transita. 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

A Dios le encanta dar promesas a Su pueblo. Y creo que le encanta cuando recibimos esas promesas, las creemos y, en Cristo declaramos: “¡Amén! ¡Sea como has prometido!”

¿Para qué?

¡Para Su gloria! ¿Qué mejor evidencia hay de la existencia, amor, poder, fidelidad y gracia de Dios que cuando nos da promesas, declaramos que creemos en Él y luego el mundo lo ve cumpliendo Su palabra?

¡Solamente el Todopoderoso Dios puede hacer eso! Los gurús de auto-ayuda no pueden, tampoco los millonarios ni otras religiones.

Entonces, ¿Cuáles promesas te ha dado Dios? ¡Sin importar cuántas ha dado, todas son Sí!” ¡en Jesús! ¿Estás declarando “Amén” por cada una?

Sigamos diciendo “¡Amén!” por fe y que Dios reciba toda la gloria - ¡por las promesas dadas y por las cumplidas!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

A Song (Una Canción)

For those who feel like God has called you to a difficult path, who are weary and discouraged, who are tempted to walk or run away...may you hear your Shepherd's tender voice today. May you listen to His loving words. May you receive from Him more grace, grace to stay. To stay the course, to stay in faith, to stay in hope, to stay surrendered. To stay, and one day see the victory and the harvest.

God bless you.

"I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me...My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me." -John 10:14, 27


Don’t Run Away

Lord, you’ve called me by name, told me who I am,
Promised me that you have good plans,
You’ve given me blessings true,
Amazed me, as I’ve seen more of you!
Yet at times the path you choose for me
Is so different than what I hoped it’d be.
It’s so hard, so filled with sweat and tears,
With every challenge, I lift up continual prayers.
By faith I move forward, one tiny step by step,
Til the moment when I feel I can’t take another breath,
When my strength is gone, and my eyes can’t see,
When weary and overwhelmed, I fall to my knees,
When I look to other paths, where life seems easy,
And cry out, questioning why you chose this one for me.

Chorus:
How many times have I been here,
At the crossroad of faith and fear?

How many times have I heard you say,
“My child, don’t run away.”
Gently, you take my hand, you draw my gaze,
Til I listen to your thoughts, your ways.
“Child, you don’t see now where this painful path leads,
But trust my heart, let your tears be the seeds.
There is purpose in the process, growth through the pain,
What looks easy has little value, lacking eternal gain.
Keep believing my promises, know I want your best,
Stay on your path, and you will reap the harvest.”

Lord, it’s only your grace that has carried me this far,
It’s only your love that has comforted my heart
Each time I’ve cried out in despair or agony,
You’ve never failed or forsaken me.
Still at times I’m so weak,
I need more of your power, your strength.
You’ve called me to an impossible task,
Help me remember my willingness is all you ask.
You alone can raise the dead,
Or move my feet one more step ahead.
Where does this path lead? Only you know.
No matter how hard, or when I want to go,
Don’t let me turn aside, or ever say, “I’m through,”
Because you know deep inside, I want to follow you.

Bridge:
When I hear you speak,
“Beloved, don’t run away,”
Please pour more grace over me,
Help me listen, help me stay.

by Joanna K. Harris ©2017


Una Canción

Para los que sienten que Dios los ha llamado a un camino difícil, que se sienten débiles y desanimados, que están tentados a escapar… Escuchen la tierna voz de su Pastor hoy. Escuchen Sus amorosas palabras. Reciban de Él más gracia, gracia que permanezca. Para permanecer en curso, en fe, en esperanza; para permanecer rendidos. Para permanecer y ver un día la victoria y la cosecha.

Dios te bendiga.

"Yo soy el buen pastor; conozco a mis ovejas, y ellas me conocen a mí...Mis ovejas oyen mi voz; yo las conozco y ellas me siguen." -Jn. 10:14, 27


No Huyas

Señor, me has llamado por mi nombre, me dijiste quién soy,
Me prometiste que tienes buenos planes,
Me has dado promesas verdaderas,
¡Me has maravillado, porque he visto más de ti!
Sin embargo a veces el camino que escoges para mí
Es tan diferente de lo que yo esperaba que fuera.
Es tan difícil, tan lleno de sudor y lágrimas,
Con cada desafío, elevo continuas oraciones.
Por fe voy adelante, pasito a pasito,
Hasta el momento en que siento que no puedo aspirar otra bocanada,
Cuando mi fuerza se ha ido y mis ojos no pueden ver,
Cuando débil y sobrecogida, caigo de rodillas,
Cuando veo el camino de otros, donde la vida parece fácil,
Y ruego, preguntando porqué escogiste éste para mí.

Coro:
¿Cuántas veces he estado aquí,
en la encrucijada de fe y temor?
Cuántas veces te he escuchado decir,
“Hijo mío, no huyas.”
Suavemente, tomas mi mano, llamas mi atención,
Hasta que escucho tus pensamientos, tus maneras.
“Hija, ahora no ves a donde lleva este penoso camino,
Pero confía en mi corazón, deja que tus lágrimas sean las semillas.
Hay un propósito en el proceso, crece a través del dolor,
Lo que parece fácil tiene poco valor, sin ganancia eterna.
Sigue creyendo mis promesas, sabe que quiero lo mejor para ti,
Sostente en tu camino, y recogerás la cosecha.”

Señor, es sólo tu gracia que me ha traído hasta aquí,
Es sólo tu amor que ha consolado mi corazón
Cada vez que he clamado en desesperación o agonía,
Nunca me has fallado o abandonado.
Aun así a veces soy muy débil,
Necesito más de tu poder, tu fortaleza.
Me has llamado para una tarea imposible,
Ayúdame a recordar que mi disposición es todo lo que pides.
Sólo tú puedes levantar a los muertos,
O mover mis pies un paso adelante.
¿A dónde lleva este paso? Sólo tú sabes.
No importa lo difícil o cuándo quiero ir,
No dejes que me quede a un lado o diga nunca, “Ya he terminado,”
Porque sabes que muy dentro de mí quiero seguirte.

Puente:
Cuando te escucho hablar,
“Amado, no huyas,”
Por favor derrama más gracia sobre mí,
Ayúdame a escuchar, ayúdame a quedarme.

por Joanna K. Harris ©2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Play Your Song (Toca Tu Canción)

I love good music. I enjoy listening for the various instruments in an orchestra, trying to identify each one adding its unique voice to the unified whole. There’s something inspiring about all the different instruments working together in harmony to create a beautiful sound. It delights my soul.

It also makes me wonder if God feels the same about us. Does He look at His children and delight to hear each of us playing our special part in His symphony? I think He does.

Ephesians 4:16 says it this way:
"From him (Jesus) the whole body (the church), joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."

In this metaphor of the church as a body, it's clear that each of us has a special role to play. As we live that out in love, the whole body grows and is blessed.

Here on earth we understand about physical bodies. We live in them, are limited by them, and experience good and bad with them. From our earthly view, the body is a good metaphor for us to consider.

From a heavenly perspective, where there aren't physical limitations like here on earth, perhaps a better metaphor for us is an orchestra. As the heavenly host is observing our lives, what do they see? What do they hear?

Do they see us working together in harmony? Do they hear each of us playing the special melody God has written...just for you, just for me?

Do you know what your song is?

Are you learning how to play it?

Is anything holding you back from sounding those beautiful notes with your life?

For me, I think I spent a lot of years quietly chiming in with a random note here or there. When it seemed like there was other music playing loudly and it felt safe to contribute without anyone noticing, I'd play a few notes. I didn't fully understand or embrace my role in the orchestra.

Lately it seems like God isn't letting me stay quiet as much. It's like I see the Conductor pointing His baton at me and calling me to sound out my notes loud and clear.

It's not that my song is better or worse than anyone else's. It's just my song. And God wants to hear it. He wrote it just for me. He doesn't want me to leave it on the music sheet. He wants it to be heard.

Because the orchestra needs my song, just like it needs yours.

God has a special song He's written just for you. He created you uniquely. He blessed you with gifts and talents. He allowed you to go through the hardship and pain that He has used to sharpen your ability to play the song that only you have been given.

Where are you? Are you hiding behind the music stand? Or are your eyes on the Conductor, ready to play your song with all your heart?

Heaven is watching.
The world is waiting.
The orchestra is playing.

So play your song, dear friend. 

Play your song.


Toca Tu Canción

Me encanta la buena música. Disfruto escuchando los diferentes instrumentos en una orquesta, tratando de identificar cada uno agregando su voz única con el todo unificado. Hay algo inspirador en el hecho de que  todos los instrumentos trabajen juntos en armonía para crear un hermoso sonido. Eso deleita mi alma.

También me hace preguntarme si Dios siente lo mismo acerca de nosotros. ¿Mira Él a Sus hijos y se deleita escuchándonos a cada uno tocando nuestra parte especial de Su sinfonía? Creo que sí.

Efesios 4:16 lo dice de  esta manera:
En esta metáfora de la iglesia como cuerpo, es claro que cada uno de nosotros tiene un papel especial que jugar. Al vivirlo en amor, todo el cuerpo crece y es bendecido.

Aquí en la tierra entendemos de cuerpos físicos. Vivimos en ellos, estamos limitados por ellos y experimentamos lo bueno y lo malo con ellos. Desde nuestra visión terrenal, el cuerpo es una buena metáfora a considerar.

Desde una perspectiva celestial, donde no hay limitaciones como aquí en la tierra, quizá una metáfora mejor para nosotros sea una orquesta. A medida que el ejército celestial está observando nuestras vidas, ¿qué ven? ¿Qué oyen?

¿Nos ven trabajando juntos en armonía? ¿Nos oyen a cada uno tocando la melodía especial que Dios ha escrito… justo para ti y para mí?

¿Sabes cuál es tu canción?

¿Estás aprendiendo cómo tocarla?

¿Hay algo que te impide reproducir esas hermosas notas con tu vida?

De mi parte, creo que pasé muchos años en silencio tocando notas al azar aquí o allá. Cuando parecía que había otra música sonando más duro y parecía seguro contribuir sin que nadie notara, tocaba unas pocas notas. No entendía totalmente ni tomaba mi papel en la orquesta.

Últimamente parece que Dios no me está permitiendo estar tan silenciosa. Es como si viera al director señalándome con su batuta y llamándome a tocar mis notas fuerte y claro.

No es que mi canción sea mejor o peor que la de otras personas. Es sencillamente mi canción. Y Dios quiere escucharla. La escribió sólo para mí. No quiere que la deje en la partitura. Quiere que se escuche.

Porque la orquesta necesita mi canción, igual que necesita la tuya.

Dios tiene una canción especial que escribió sólo para ti. Te creó único. Te bendijo con dones y talentos. Te permite atravesar las dificultades y el dolor que Él usa para agudizar tu habilidad de tocar la canción que sólo a ti se te ha dado.

¿Dónde estás? ¿Te estás escondiendo detrás del atril? O ¿están tus ojos en el director, listo para tocar tu canción con todo tu corazón?

El cielo está mirando.
El mundo está esperando.
La orquesta está tocando.

Así que toca tu canción, querido amigo.

Toca tu canción.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Unseen Reality (Realidad Invisible)

I enjoyed a wonderful visit in Scotland this summer! In that part of the world, the weather is very different from Florida in the summer. It's cooler there and rains a lot, and it's more often cloudy than sunny. We did have some nice sunny days, but other days it was so cloudy we didn't see the sun at all.

While I was there, God also worked it out for me to go to Northern Ireland for a week, which was a sweet blessing! I took a short flight from Scotland to Northern Ireland. As the plane climbed into the sky, we flew through a thick cloud bank. Suddenly we came out on top of the clouds, and the sun was blazing brilliantly in the sky!

It was like I suddenly remembered that the sun did still exist, even though I hadn't seen it in a while. There it was shining brightly over the top of that cloud bank. The sun had never left or wavered or faltered. I just hadn't been able to see it through the clouds.

The fact is that the sun doesn't move or change. The earth moves, and clouds can come and block our view, but the sun is always shining its light.

I think we often forget this truth because we say things like, "I wish the sun would come out" or "The sun disappeared behind a cloud." In reality, the sun didn't hide or move. But we often speak words based on the perception of what we see or feel, not on the greater unseen reality.

We can do the same with God, can't we? He is always there, unchanging. Jesus is always present, shining His light in our lives. But sometimes we can't see Him because of stormy circumstances or a dark night of the soul. We may say things like, "Where is God now?" or "I wish God would show up in my life." But the unseen reality is that He is ever-present, always glorious.

Maybe sometimes we just need a little flight of faith to lift us above the cloud banks, where we can see His light blazing so brightly that we pause in awe. Where we remember that He is present. He is beautiful. And He is active in our lives.

Maybe we need to speak words that reflect the unseen reality of who Jesus is, instead of how we feel in the moment.

He has never left us.
His love for us endures through every storm.
His faithfulness never fails.
His mercies are new every morning. 
He is eternally good.

I'm thankful God has given us His Word, our source of truth and the fuel of our faith. And I'm thankful God speaks to us through His creation, reminding us of eternal realities that are sure and steady, even though unseen. 

"Though you have not seen Him (Jesus), you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls." -1 Peter 1:8-9


Realidad Invisible

¡Disfruté una maravillosa visita en Escocia este verano! En esa parte del mundo el clima es muy diferente al de Florida en el verano. Es más fresco allá y llueve mucho, y es nublado con más frecuencia que soleado.

Mientras estaba allí, Dios obró para que fuera también a Irlanda del norte por una semana, ¡lo que fue una dulce bendición! Tomé un corto vuelo de Escocia a Irlanda del norte. A medida que el avión subía al cielo, volamos a través de un banco espeso de nubes. Repentinamente salimos sobre las nubes ¡y el sol estaba brillando ardientemente en el cielo!

Fue como si repentinamente recordara que el sol sí existe, aunque no lo había visto por un rato. Estaba allí brillando sobre ese banco de nubes. El sol nunca se fue, vaciló o flaqueó. Sencillamente yo no podía verlo a través de las nubes.

El hecho es que el sol no se mueve o cambia. La tierra se mueve y las nubes pueden venir y bloquear nuestra vista, pero el sol siempre está mostrando su luz.

Creo que con frecuencia olvidamos esta verdad porque decimos cosas como: “Desearía que el sol saliera” o “El sol desapareció detrás de una nube.” En realidad, el sol no se escondió ni se movió. Pero con frecuencia decimos palabras basados en la percepción de lo que vemos o sentimos, no en la realidad invisible más grande.

Podemos hacer lo mismo con Dios, ¿no es cierto? Él siempre está ahí, invariable. Jesús siempre está presente, alumbrando nuestras vidas con Su luz. Pero a veces no lo podemos ver debido a circunstancias tempestuosas o una negra noche del alma. Podemos decir cosas como: “¿dónde está Dios ahora?” o “me gustaría que Dios se apareciera en mi vida.” Pero la realidad invisible es que Él siempre está presente, siempre glorioso.

Tal vez a veces sencillamente necesitamos un pequeño vuelo de fe para levantarnos sobre los bancos de nubes, donde podemos ver Su luz tan resplandeciente que nos detenemos maravillados, donde recordamos que Él está presente. Es hermoso. Y está activo en nuestras vidas.

Quizá necesitamos decir palabras que reflejen la realidad invisible de quién es Jesús, en lugar de cómo nos sentimos en el momento.

Él nunca nos ha dejado.
Su amor por nosotros perdura en cada tormenta.
Su fidelidad nunca falla.
Sus misericordias son nuevas cada mañana.
Él es eternamente bueno.

Estoy agradecida que Dios nos ha dado Su Palabra, nuestra fuente de verdad y el combustible de nuestra fe. Y estoy agradecida que Dios nos habla a través de Su creación, recordándonos realidades eternas que son seguras y firmes, aunque invisibles.

“a quien amáis sin haberle visto (Jesús), en quien creyendo, aunque ahora no lo veáis, os alegráis con gozo inefable y glorioso; obteniendo el fin de vuestra fe, que es la salvación de vuestras almas.” -1P. 1:8-9

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Qualified - Guest Post ( Competentes – Publicación de invitado)


Today I'm delighted to share a guest post from one of my dear friends and a faithful prayer warrior. I know you'll be blessed by his encouraging words.


Qualified - by Jason Arias

I believe that everyone who is following Christ has been called to things that are bigger than what they are capable of. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." (NKJV) This can easily become a cliché statement for believers. We have probably all heard it so many times, but have you ever considered what this means for you personally? God has placed dreams and purposes in each of our hearts, things that we know are impossible to do on our own. Some of them are smaller, such as speaking a kind word to someone who is having a bad day, offering to help someone who needs a hand, or joining a prayer team. But some of them are much larger, perhaps serving in a leadership role at your church, or even starting a whole new ministry.

We need to be aware that no matter where we are serving, there is an enemy that wants us to believe that we are disqualified. It happens everywhere - from the person walking down the street telling people that God loves them, to the church nursery worker, Sunday school teachers, prayer warriors, ministry team leaders, and even pastors and evangelists. There is no exception to this. Satan, our enemy, does not want us to spread God's love, and he certainly doesn't want us to share the gospel. He will do anything in his (limited) power to stop us. One of his favorite tactics is to remind us of our own limitations, bringing up those times that we have failed and disappointed God, running through the list of our shortcomings. He will try to tell us, "You can't do this!" The list of reasons that he brings to disqualify us is seemingly endless.

But there is a weapon that is more powerful than all of those lies. We can use the Word of God to combat the enemy. Satan's lies are no match for God's Word. It's not as if there is a power struggle, where two super heroes are pushing each other back and forth, with a winner finally emerging. Satan's lies are instantly broken by the power of God's Word - no contest! The Bible has labeled him as "the accuser of the brethren." Revelation 12:10 tells us that Satan is constantly accusing us in front of God day and night. However in that same verse it also tells of his defeat! Speak the Word of God to silence the lies of the enemy.

Thank you God for the blood of Jesus! It has washed away all of my sins and made me righteous in God's sight! It is not because of anything that I have done. It is a free gift! My qualifications are based on His power and His strength. I don't have to be good enough, because I never can be. I only need to trust in Jesus and rely on Him.

See what God's word says:
Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens, "It has come at last--salvation and power and the Kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters has been thrown down to earth--the one who accuses them before our God day and night." -Revelation 12:10 NLT

Qualifying verses:

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit--fruit that will last--and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. -John 15:16 NIV

"If you can?" said Jesus. "Everything is possible for one who believes." -Mark 9:23 NIV

He has saved us and called us to a holy life--not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time" -2 Timothy 1:9 NIV

Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God's glory. -Romans 5:2 NLT

We can rest in the fact that the power to do God's work doesn't come from us, it comes from Him. On our own, we wouldn't be able to do anything. But because His Spirit is alive in us, we are able to do greater things than we ever imagined possible. We can follow the dreams that He has given us, not because of our talents or intellect, but because we know that He will equip us at the right time. As we prepare to do God's work, the most important preparation is in our heart. When we stand in humility, and recognize that we really are not able to do this on our own, we are in the perfect place to be used by God to impact the world.

So whether God is leading you to start a small group, teach a class, help a stranger, or start a new ministry, take that next step in faith. It is because of the blood of Jesus that we are qualified.


Competentes – Publicación de invitado

Hoy me gozo en compartir una publicación de invitado de uno de mis queridos amigos y un fiel guerrero de oración. Sé que serán bendecidos por estas alentadoras palabras.

Competente –por Jason Arias

Creo que todo aquel que está siguiendo a Cristo ha sido llamado a cosas que son más grandes que lo que es capaz de hacer. Ef. 2:10 dice: “Porque somos hechura suya, creados en Cristo Jesús para buenas obras, las cuales Dios preparó de antemano para que anduviésemos en ellas.” Ésta puede convertirse fácilmente en una declaración cliché para los creyentes. Probablemente todos la hemos escuchado muchas veces pero, ¿alguna vez has considerado lo que significa para ti personalmente? Dios ha puesto sueños y propósitos en cada uno de nuestros corazones, cosas que sabemos que nos es imposible hacerlas por nosotros mismos. Algunas son pequeñas, como decir una palabra amable a alguien que tiene un mal día, ofrecer ayuda a alguien que necesita una mano o unirse a un grupo de oración. Pero algunas son mucho más grandes, quizá servir en  un papel de liderazgo en tu iglesia o aun comenzar un nuevo ministerio.

Necesitamos ser conscientes que no importa donde estemos sirviendo, hay un enemigo que quiere que creamos que somos incompetentes. Sucede en todas partes – desde la persona que camina por la calle diciéndole a la gente que Dios los ama, hasta el trabajador de la salacuna en la iglesia, los profesores de la escuela dominical, guerreros de oración, líderes del equipo de ministerio e incluso los pastores y evangelistas. No hay excepción para esto. Satanás, nuestro enemigo, no quiere que propaguemos el amor de Dios y ciertamente no quiere que compartamos el evangelio. Él hará cualquier cosa en su (limitado) poder para detenernos. Una de sus tácticas favoritas es recordarnos nuestras propias limitaciones, sacando a relucir aquellas veces en que le hemos  fallado a Dios y lo hemos decepcionado, revisando la lista de nuestras deficiencias. Tratará de decirnos: “¡No puedes hacerlo!” La lista de razones que trae para descalificarnos es casi interminable.

Pero hay un arma que es más poderosa que todas esas mentiras. Podemos usar la Palabra de Dios para combatir al enemigo. Las mentiras de Satanás no son rivales para la Palabra de Dios. No es como si hubiese una lucha por el poder, donde dos súper héroes se empujan mutuamente, hasta que finalmente emerge un ganador. Las mentiras de Satanás son rotas instantáneamente por el poder de la Palabra de Dios - ¡no hay competencia! La Biblia lo ha rotulado como “el acusador de los hermanos.” Apocalipsis 12:10 nos dice que Satanás está constantemente acusándonos frente a Dios día y noche. Sin embargo, ¡en ese mismo versículo también nos habla de su derrota! Habla la Palabra de Dios para silenciar las mentiras del enemigo.

¡Gracias Dios por la sangre de Jesús! ¡Ha lavado todos mis pecados y me ha hecho justo a la vista de Dios! No es por nada que yo haya hecho. ¡Es un regalo! Mis calificaciones están basadas en Su poder y Su fortaleza. No tengo que ser suficientemente buena porque nunca podré serlo. Solamente necesito confiar en Jesús y descansar en Él.

Mira lo que dice la Palabra de Dios:
“Entonces oí una gran voz en el cielo, que decía: Ahora ha venido la salvación, el poder, y el reino de nuestro Dios, y la autoridad de su Cristo; porque ha sido lanzado fuera el acusador de nuestros hermanos,(J) el que los acusaba delante de nuestro Dios día y noche.” –Apocalipsis 12:10

Versículos capacitadores:

“No me escogieron ustedes a mí,  sino que yo los escogí a ustedes y los comisioné para que vayan y den fruto,  un fruto que perdure.  Así el Padre les dará todo lo que le pidan en mi nombre. .” –Jn. 15:16 NVI

“Jesús le dijo: Si puedes creer, al que cree todo le es posible.” –Mr. 9:23

“quien nos salvó y llamó con llamamiento santo, no conforme a nuestras obras, sino según el propósito suyo y la gracia que nos fue dada en Cristo Jesús antes de los tiempos de los siglos,” –2 Ti. 1:9

“por quien también tenemos entrada por la fe a esta gracia en la cual estamos firmes, y nos gloriamos en la esperanza de la gloria de Dios.” -Ro. 5:2

Podemos descansar en el hecho de que el poder para hacer la obra de Dios no viene de nosotros sino de Él. Por nosotros mismos no podemos hacer nada. Pero porque Su Espíritu está vivo en nosotros, podemos hacer cosas más grandes de las que nunca hemos imaginado posible, Podemos seguir los sueños que Él nos ha dado, no por nuestros talentos o nuestro intelecto, sino porque sabemos que Él nos capacitará en el momento oportuno. Mientras nos preparamos para hacer la obra de Dios, la preparación más importante es en nuestro corazón. Cuando estamos en humildad y reconocemos que realmente no podemos hacerlo por nosotros mismos, estamos en el lugar perfecto para ser usados por Dios para impactar al mundo.

Así que sea que Dios te está guiando a comenzar un grupo pequeño, enseñar una clase, ayudar a un extranjero o comenzar un ministerio nuevo, da el próximo paso en fe. Es por la sangre de Jesús que somos competentes.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

A Strange Gift

I hope you’re doing well and enjoying the summer! I’m having a wonderful visit in Scotland and this week in Northern Ireland! I’m so thankful for God’s many gifts to me in this new season. =)

However, I still remember what it was like living in the season of suffering. This week I want to share something I wrote almost ten years ago. While I am so very thankful to no longer be in a season of suffering, I am also thankful for God’s wisdom in taking me through that season. He gives us gifts in every season of our lives. It’s just that some of them seem more strange than others.

Jesus is the greatest gift of all! And whatever brings us closer to Him can be considered one of His gifts to us.

I hope this post will encourage you today.


The Gift Of Suffering

Have you seen the movie The Ultimate Gift? It’s about a wealthy man who dies and leaves his grandson a series of strange gifts. The grandson just wants to know how much money he inherits, but he can’t find out until he receives all the unusual gifts - such as work, problems, giving, etc. Too often I’m like the grandson, waiting for God to give me the “good stuff” while being frustrated with His “strange” gifts. Philippians 1:29 says, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for Him.” It’s taken a long time, but I’m finally learning to see suffering as one of God’s gifts.

God’s Word says a lot about suffering. Once I started paying attention, I found it in almost every book of the Bible. Suffering isn’t just part of living on earth; it’s also part of God’s plan. He uses it for our good.

I know it doesn’t feel that way. Suffering feels painful, depressing, hopeless, devastating…. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like to live with broken health, waiting for years for answers and healing. I’ve felt the agony of losing people I love. I’ve been misunderstood and mistreated by others. I’ve experienced all these things and more. Suffering hurts. Yet, Jesus promised His followers they would suffer. He knew that ultimately it would be for our good, and He filled His Word with encouragement for those who are suffering.

Suffering produces character, maturity, and hope (James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-4).
Those who suffer for what is right are blessed (1 Peter 3:14a).
Suffering allows us to receive God’s comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).
God uses hardship and suffering to train us for holiness (Hebrews 12:7-11).

Even with these verses, sometimes it’s still hard to accept suffering as a gift. There are three specific benefits of suffering I’ve experienced that have enabled me to receive this strange gift with gratitude.

1) Suffering has given me a desperate dependence on God’s Word.

When my life was mostly problem free, it was easy to think I was pretty spiritual and had all the answers. Once suffering hit, nothing made sense, and I realized how desperately I needed truth. Psalm 119:92 says, “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.” Only God’s Word can give me the understanding about God and life that I need to endure trials and hardship.

There were days when, desperate for answers, I opened my Bible and read, and read, and read…until finally I found the answers or encouragement I needed. The Psalmist wrote, “My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life” (Psalm 119:50). God’s Word holds precious promises that bring great comfort. Through suffering I’ve discovered the riches of God’s Word, sufficient for every day and every need.

2) Suffering has produced deeper fellowship with Jesus.

In Philippians 3:10, Paul said, “I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in His sufferings….” Through suffering I’ve learned more about who Jesus is, what He’s like, and how He works. I’ve wrestled with questions, doubts, and fears. Before I went through painful trials, I believed God was good, loving, faithful, sovereign, etc. Now, I know He is.  I’ve experienced God’s grace in every situation and found that He is enough. Beyond that, when every source of happiness this world offers was stripped away, I discovered the “inexpressible and glorious joy” (1 Peter 1:8) that comes from simply knowing my Lord. I’ve learned that sometimes it’s only through pain that Jesus can open our eyes to the pleasure He alone offers.

3) Suffering has taught me to keep an eternal perspective.

It’s easy to be comfortable and at home in this world, until we experience suffering. Then everything changes. For me suffering has been a needed reality check. It’s made me ask questions like: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What am I living for? I understand now that God created me and put me on this earth for Himself and His glory, not for my comfort or happiness. 1 Peter 4:1-2 says that the one who has suffered doesn’t live for himself or herself anymore, “but rather for the will of God.”

I only get one life. I’m thankful for the gift of suffering that changes my perspective and keeps me from wasting my life on selfish pursuits, when eternity is what really matters. Paul said, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18). Life now contains suffering and sacrifice; eternity contains rewards and glory. Understanding this has changed the way I think, what I desire, and how I live. Suffering helps keep my eyes on heaven, my true home.

I don’t like it, I often complain about it, but I don’t doubt that suffering is a gift from our loving heavenly Father.

In the end of the movie, The Ultimate Gift, we see the purpose of all the gifts that were so hard for the grandson to accept. They prepared him to receive his inheritance. God has a purpose too. He knows what we need. Sometimes suffering is the most precious gift we could receive. In the end, we too will understand how God used it to prepare us for our inheritance.

“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all” (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Friday, June 9, 2017

Unexpected Ways - Guest Post (Maneras inesperadas – Mensaje de invitado)

I apologize that this post is a little late. I've been traveling and lost track of what day it was. =)

Anyway, this week I have a special treat for you - a guest post from my mom! Enjoy! =)


Unexpected Ways - by Jan Harris

In 1971 my husband Jim and I bought our first house in Kansas. It had real hardwood floors, a huge, fenced back yard, and we could walk to church. We enjoyed our small church. We made good friends there. The Bible teaching was solid and helpful.

Yet I felt there was something missing in our lives.

Every Sunday we would be inspired by the sermon and walk home determined to live better Christian lives that week. But by Tuesday, or sometimes Monday, or sometimes even Sunday night, we had broken all our resolutions and found ourselves back in the clutches of selfishness or pride or….

Finally, I cried out to God in desperation, “Lord, increase our faith!”

God is faithful.

In a direct answer to that prayer, when Jim’s contract came up for renewal, the committee turned him down. We had two small children, house payments, and no job. I wanted to panic.

As God had planned, that very week our church was involved in a Billy Graham crusade. One of the leaders spent the weekend with us, and we unloaded our doubts and fears on him.

“What’s God trying to do?” we asked. “Jim really liked this job. Why did God give it to him last year, if He was just going to take it away this year?”

What a kind, patient man he was. He took us into God’s Word:
to Matthew 6:34a, “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself…” (NASB)
to Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God…” (NASB)
and to many more promises.

It wasn’t that we’d never heard these verses. It was just that in our worry, we had forgotten to claim them.

“Don’t you think God has a plan?” he asked us.
Well, when you put it like that….

At last we stopped pacing the floor (Jim), and cleaning everything in the house (me), and prayed to God for wisdom, for guidance, and for faith to trust Him.

A couple of days later Jim said, “Maybe this is a good time to move back to Missouri, so the kids can be closer to their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins. What do you think about that?”

So it came about that God opened a job for Jim in Missouri, where we lived just thirty minutes from our parents. Where we reconnected with friends. Where we met some veteran missionaries with New Tribes Mission. Where God got our attention and showed us that we could be missionaries, too.

But that’s another story. The point of this story is that sometimes God answers our prayers in most unexpected ways.

Don’t be afraid of that. Trust His love. Trust His wisdom. Trust His faithfulness.

Praise the LORD, all nations! Extol him, all peoples! For great is his steadfast love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the Lord! -Psalm 117 (ESV)


Maneras inesperadas – Mensaje de invitado

Esta semana tengo un regalo especial para ustedes - ¡un mensaje de invitado de mi mamá! ¡Disfrútenlo! =)


Maneras inesperadas – por Jan Harris

En 1971 mi esposo y yo compramos nuestra primera casa en Kansas. Tenía pisos de verdadera madera, un enorme patio cercado y podíamos caminar a la iglesia. Disfrutamos nuestra pequeña iglesia. Hicimos buenos amigos allá. La enseñanza bíblica era sólida y de ayuda.

Sin embargo, sentía que algo faltaba en nuestras vidas.

Cada domingo éramos inspirados por el sermón y volvíamos a casa decididos a vivir mejores vidas cristianas esa semana. Pero, para el martes o a veces el lunes u otras veces incluso el domingo en la noche, habíamos roto todas nuestras resoluciones y nos habíamos vuelto a encontrar en las garras del egoísmo, el orgullo o…

Finalmente, exclamé a Dios con desesperación: “¡Señor, aumenta nuestra fe!”

Dios el fiel.

En respuesta directa a esa oración, cuando llegó el momento de la renovación del contrato de Jim, el comité lo rechazó. Teníamos dos hijos pequeños, pagos de la casa y ningún trabajo. Quería entrar en pánico.

Como Dios había planeado, esa misma semana nuestra iglesia estuvo envuelta en una cruzada de Billy Graham. Uno de los líderes pasó el fin de semana con nosotros y descargamos nuestras dudas y temores sobre él.

“¿Qué está tratando de hacer Dios?” preguntamos. “A Jim realmente le gustaba este trabajo. ¿Por qué Dios se lo dio el año pasado, si sencillamente se lo iba a quitar este año?

Qué hombre tan amable, paciente era. Nos llevó a la Palabra de Dios:
a Mateo 6:34a: “Por tanto, no os preocupéis por el día de mañana; porque el día de mañana se cuidará de sí mismo… ” (LBLA)

a Romanos 8:28: “Y sabemos que para los que aman a Dios, todas las cosas cooperan para bien, …” (LBLA)

y a muchas otras promesas.

No era que nunca hubiéramos escuchado estos versículos. Era solamente que en nuestra preocupación habíamos olvidado apropiárnoslos.

“¿No crees que Dios tiene un plan?” Él nos preguntó. Bueno, ya que lo pones así…

Finalmente dejamos de dar vueltas por la habitación (Jim) y de limpiar todo en la casa (yo) y oramos a Dios por sabiduría, por guía y por fe para confiar en Él.

Un par de días después Jim dijo: “Quizá éste sea un buen tiempo para irnos de regreso a Missouri, así los niños pueden estar más cerca de sus abuelos, tíos y primos. ¿Qué piensas de eso?”

Así que sucedió que Dios proveyó un trabajo para Jim en Missouri, donde vivimos a solo treinta minutos de nuestros padres. Donde nos reconectamos con amigos. Donde nos encontramos con algunos misioneros veteranos. Donde Dios llamó nuestra atención y nos mostró que nosotros también podíamos ser misioneros.

Pero esa es otra historia. El punto de esta historia es que a veces Dios responde nuestras oraciones de las maneras más inesperadas.

No te asustes por eso. Confía en Su amor, en Su sabiduría, en Su fidelidad.

“Alabad al SEÑOR, naciones todas; alabadle, pueblos todos. Porque grande es su misericordia para con nosotros, y la fidelidad del SEÑOR es eterna. ¡Aleluya!” Salmo 117 (LBLA)

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

He Hears (Él Escucha)


Lately life has been busy and good and hard and amazing and surprising and challenging.... 

I'm watching God do some incredible things in my life! 
I'm constantly seeking wisdom, direction and answers for so many questions. 
I'm believing God for great miracles! 
I'm completely dependent on Him for every little thing. 
I'm back and forth between faith and frustration. 

I think the hardest thing lately is feeling like I haven't been able to hear God's voice clearly. He's given me specific direction so many times. Not hearing Him clearly has been hard. 

Then this week I read Psalm 34. And a recurring theme in this Psalm stood out to me. 

“This poor man called, and the LORD heard him; he saved him out of all his troubles.”
-Psalm 34:6 

“The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;”
-Psalm 34:15 

“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”
-Psalm 34:17

It was so encouraging to read these verses reminding me that even when I may not hear God clearly, He always hears me! 

He hears when I call, when I cry out, when I need help. And He answers me. 

I know who my God is. Even when I don't hear Him as clearly as I'd like, I know He is good. He loves me. He is faithful. He never fails. He will take care of me and keep His promise to work all things for my good. 

So by His grace I'll keep seeking answers, I'll keep listening and waiting to hear from Him. But I also will remember the truths that never change. 


My God is with me. He hears me. Today I can rest in that. 


Él Escucha

Últimamente la vida ha sido muy ocupada, buena, difícil, maravillosa, sorprendente, desafiante…

¡Estoy viendo a Dios hacer algunas cosas increíbles en mi vida!
Constantemente estoy buscando sabiduría, dirección y respuestas para muchas preguntas.
¡Creo en Dios para grandes milagros!
Dependo completamente de Él para cada pequeña cosa.
Voy de la fe a la frustración.

Creo que lo más difícil últimamente es sentir que no he podido escuchar claramente la voz de Dios. Muchas veces me ha dado una dirección específica. No escucharlo claramente ha sido difícil.

Luego, esta semana leí el salmo 34. Y se destacó un tema recurrente en este salmo.

“Este pobre clamó, y le oyó Jehová, Y lo libró de todas sus angustias.”
- Sal. 34:6

“Los ojos de Jehová están sobre los justos, Y atentos sus oídos al clamor de ellos.”
- Sal. 34:15

“Claman los justos, y Jehová oye, Y los libra de todas sus angustias.”
- Sal. 34:17

Fue de mucho ánimo leer esos versículos que me recordaron que aunque no pueda escuchar a Dios claramente, ¡Él siempre me escucha!

Me escucha cuando llamo, cuando clamo, cuando necesito ayuda. Y me responde.

Sé quien es mi Dios. Aun cuando no lo escucho claramente como quisiera, sé que Él es bueno. Me ama. Es fiel. Nunca falla. Cuidará de mí y guardará Su promesa de que todas las cosas nos ayudan a bien.

Así que por Su gracia seguiré buscando respuestas, seguiré escuchando y esperando escucharlo. Pero también recordaré las verdades que nunca cambian.

Mi Dios está conmigo. Me escucha. Hoy puedo descansar en eso.
 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hold Unswervingly (Mantengámonos Firmes)

"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful." -Hebrews 10:23

Has God given you a promise?
Have you waited a long time to see it fulfilled?
Do you sometimes feel like giving up?
Are you tempted to wander off course?
Is it hard to hold on to faith?

If you answered yes to these questions, know that you're not alone.

We all have promises from God.
We all go through the waiting season.
We all feel weary at times and wonder if it's worth holding on to God's Word.

This verse from Hebrews continues to speak to me in my own challenges. The author encourages us to "hold unswervingly" to our hope.

Unswervingly means we don't go veering off to the right or the left. We don't release our grip of faith. We may sit down and cry at times, but we don't stay there. We get back up and take another step of faith.

Why?

Because the One who promised is faithful!

God has given a multitude of promises to His people throughout the generations. And not one has failed. They have ALL been fulfilled in God's perfect way and time.

We know God's promises are sure. Yet in our humanity, sometimes it seems so hard to press on in hope. Perhaps that's why the writer of Hebrews said, "Let us...." We need each other on this journey.

I need you to remind me that God is faithful. You need me to encourage you that God keeps His promises.

Whether God's promise will be fulfilled or not isn't the question. We know every promise will come to pass. God cannot fail.

The question is, will we "hold unswervingly" to our hope as we wait?

Even in this, we aren't on our own... "for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose" (Phil. 2:13).

The same God who gave us the promise, will give us the grace and strength to keep believing the promise. Jesus enables us to hold unswervingly to Him, as He faithfully holds on to us. Praise His name!

So be of good cheer! Keep your eyes on the one who is Faithful. And you will see your promise fulfilled.


Mantengámonos Firmes

“Mantengamos firme la esperanza que profesamos, porque fiel es el que hizo la promesa.”
He. 10:23

¿Te ha dado Dios una promesa?
¿Has esperado largo tiempo para verla cumplida?
¿A veces sientes que quieres darte por vencido?
¿Te sientes tentado a salirte de curso?
¿Es difícil  aferrarte a la fe?

Si respondiste sí a estas preguntas, sabe que no estás solo.

Todos tenemos promesas de Dios.
Todos pasamos por la etapa de espera.
Todos nos sentimos cansados a veces y nos preguntamos si vale la pena aferrarse a la Palabra de Dios.

Este versículo de Hebreos sigue hablándome en mis propios desafíos. El autor nos anima a “mantenernos firmes” en nuestra esperanza.

Firmes significa que no nos desviemos ni a la derecha ni a la izquierda. No soltamos nuestro agarre de la fe. Podemos sentarnos y llorar a veces, pero no nos quedamos ahí. Nos levantamos y damos otro paso de fe.

¿Por qué?

¡Porque quien prometió es fiel!

Dios ha dado una multitud de promesas a Su pueblo a lo largo de las generaciones. Y no ha fallado ni en una. TODAS se han cumplido a la manera  perfecta y en el tiempo perfecto de Dios.

Sabemos que las promesas de Dios son seguras. Sin embargo, en nuestra humanidad, a veces parece muy difícil seguir adelante con esperanza. Quizá sea por eso que el escritor de Hebreos dijo: “Mantengamos…” Nos necesitamos unos a otros en este viaje.

Te necesito para que me recuerdes que Dios es fiel. Tú me necesitas para que te refuerce que Dios guarda Sus promesas.

Si se cumplirá o no la promesa de Dios no es la pregunta. Sabemos que toda promesa va a suceder. Dios no puede fallar.

La pregunta es, ¿nos “mantendremos firmes” en nuestra esperanza mientras esperamos?

Incluso en esto no estamos solos… “pues Dios es quien produce en ustedes tanto el querer como el hacer para que se cumpla su buena voluntad” (Fi. 2:13).

El mismo Dios que nos dio la promesa nos dará la gracia y la fortaleza para seguir creyéndola. Jesús nos capacita para mantenernos firmes en Él, al tiempo que nos sostiene fielmente. ¡Alabado sea Su nombre!

Así que ¡ten ánimo! Mantén tus ojos en el que es Fiel. Y verás tu promesa cumplida.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Peace And Joy - Guest Post (Paz y Gozo – Mensaje de invitado)

I apologize that today’s post is a day late. I’ve been very busy lately, but I’m enjoying the opportunities God has been giving me!

I’ve been helping with planning a conference called Fight For Your Soul, May 2-3rd, in Dallas, TX. I’m so excited about all God will do through this conference!

We would so appreciate your prayers – for our team as we finish up all the final details, for God to bring the people He wants to be there, for Jesus to be exalted and glorified through it all, and for lives to be changed. God is able to do more than we ask or think! 

For more details please visit the conference website – www.ffysconference.com

And please feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested in coming!

As a special treat, the main speaker at the conference, Edward John, gave me permission to share this excerpt from his book, JESUS How Full of Grace You Are. I hope it’ll bless you! =) 


JOY AND PEACE—THE ULTIMATE STRENGTH

When you and I experience the joy and peace of God, we will feel alive on the inside. We will have a strength we didn’t have before.

When we have joy, the hills in front of us will no longer seem like insurmountable obstacles. Joy makes life easier even in the trials. This is why the joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

As you behold Jesus and His joy, your joy will grow, just like being around happy people increases your happiness. The joy that Jesus gives is more than happiness; it is an overcoming joy. The Lord overcomes everything, and in Him we will too. 

The Apostle James encouraged Christians to rejoice when facing trials of many kinds (James 1:2). Why? James knew that the end result is overcoming. The joy and peace we have in Jesus makes us strong, because we know that no matter what the circumstances we will overcome! 

With His peace and joy, no valley will be too deep to cross. No mountain will be impossible to climb. With God helping you every step, it will be a joy for you to overcome every obstacle. Even climbing the toughest of mountains will be a joy, as you trust Jesus. The key is having joy and peace in Jesus Christ—which gives you true strength. 

This is a marvelous gift from our Father. Even when facing the most difficult circumstances, we can be at rest. We can have joy and peace that are worth far more than riches and fame.

There have been wealthy, famous people, who seemed to have everything, who committed suicide. Why? They had all the material blessings the world can provide. Yet they lacked the most crucial aspect of life—peace and joy, which are found only in Jesus.

Wealthy celebrities may seem to have everything, but if the name of the Lord Jesus is not written on their hearts, they have nothing. Life is an empty void without the true joy and peace that only Jesus brings. Why? He alone is life. Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was set before Him. What joy? The same joy we have in Jesus—the true joy of the Father.  

 …and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1b–2 

The joy of the Father gave Jesus the strength to endure all the pain and all the shame of the cross. How? He had faith in His Father. And so must we. 

This is what Jesus does: He brings joy and peace. I’m totally amazed when people say, “I’m just not ready for Jesus yet.” What? Who can live without peace and joy? 

This joy and this peace—Jesus—will make every mountain and hill break forth in shouts of joy before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.

For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. —Isaiah 55:12 

(From JESUS How Full of Grace You Are by Edward John ©2017) 



Paz y Gozo – Mensaje de invitado

Me disculpo porque la publicación de esta semana está retrasada un día. He estado muy ocupada últimamente, ¡pero estoy disfrutando las oportunidades que Dios me ha estado dando!


He estado ayudando a planear una conferencia llamada Pelea Por Tu Alma, Mayo 2–3, en Dallas, Texas. ¡Me anima mucho todo lo que Dios hará a través de esta conferencia!


Apreciaríamos mucho sus oraciones – por nuestro equipo mientras completamos los últimos detalles, para que Dios traiga la gente que Él quiere que esté allí, para que Jesús sea exaltado y glorificado a través de todo esto y por vidas cambiadas. ¡Dios puede hacer más de lo que pedimos o pensamos!


Para más detalles por favor visita la página de la conferencia - www.ffysconference.com


Como un regalo especial, el orador principal de la conferencia, Edward John, me dio permiso para compartir este extracto de su libro, "Jesús, Cuán Lleno de Gracia Eres." ¡Confío en que te bendecirá! =)
 


GOZO Y PAZ—LA EXTREMA FUERZA


Cuando tú y yo experimentemos el gozo y la paz de Dios, nos sentiremos vivos en nuestro interior. Tendremos una fuerza que no hemos tenido antes.


Cuando tenemos gozo, los montes en frente de nosotros ya no parecerán obstáculos insuperables. El gozo hace la vida más fácil, incluso en las pruebas. Es por eso que el gozo del Señor es nuestra fuerza (Ne. 8:10).


Al contemplar a Jesús y Su gozo, tu gozo crecerá, así como el estar alrededor de gente feliz aumenta tu felicidad. El gozo que da Jesús es más que felicidad; es un gozo que sobrepasa. El Señor sobrepasa todo y, en Él, nosotros también lo haremos.


El apóstol Santiago anima a los cristianos a regocijarse cuando enfrentan pruebas de varias clases (Stg. 1:2). ¿Por qué? Santiago sabía que el resultado final es la superación. El gozo y la paz que tenemos en Jesús nos hacen fuertes, porque sabemos que sin importar las circunstancias ¡las superaremos!

Con su paz y gozo, ningún valle será muy profundo para cruzarlo. Ninguna montaña imposible de escalar. Con Dios ayudándote a cada paso, será un gozo para ti superar todos los obstáculos. Incluso escalar las montañas más difíciles será un gozo, mientras confías en Jesús. La clave es tener gozo y paz en Jesucristo – lo que te da verdadera fuerza.


Este es un regalo maravilloso de nuestro Padre. Aun cuando estemos enfrentando las circunstancias más difíciles, podemos estar tranquilos. Podemos tener gozo y paz que valen la pena mucho más que las riquezas y la fama.


Ha habido gente adinerada, famosa, que parece tenerlo todo, que comete suicidio. ¿Por qué? Tienen todas las bendiciones materiales que el mundo puede proveer. Sin embargo, les falta el aspecto más crucial de la vida – paz y gozo, que se encuentran solamente en Jesús.


Celebridades adineradas parecen tenerlo todo, pero si el nombre del Señor Jesús no está escrito en sus corazones, no tienen nada. La vida es un vacío sin el verdadero gozo y paz que sólo Jesús trae. ¿Por qué? Él solo es vida. Soportó la cruz por el gozo puesto delante de Él. ¿Cuál gozo? El mismo que nosotros tenemos en Él – el verdadero gozo del Padre.


“…y corramos con paciencia la carrera que tenemos por delante, puestos los ojos en Jesús, el autor y consumador de la fe, el cual por el gozo puesto delante de él sufrió la cruz, menospreciando el oprobio, y se sentó a la diestra del trono de Dios.” -He. 12:1b-2


El gozo del Padre le dio a Jesús la fortaleza para soportar todo el dolor y toda la vergüenza de la cruz. ¿Cómo? Él tenía fe en Su Padre. Y nosotros también debemos tenerla.


Esto es lo que Jesús hace: Trae gozo y paz. Me sorprende totalmente cuando la gente dice: “Sencillamente todavía no estoy listo para Jesús.” ¿Qué? ¿Quién puede vivir sin paz y gozo?


Este gozo y esta paz – Jesús – hará que todas las montañas y las colinas prorrumpan en gritos de júbilo delante de ti y, todos los árboles del bosque aplaudirán.

“Ustedes saldrán con alegría y serán guiados en paz. A su paso, las montañas y las colinas prorrumpirán en gritos de júbilo y aplaudirán todos los árboles del bosque.” –Is. 55:12

(De: “JESÚS Cuán Lleno de Gracia Eres,” de Edward John ©2017)


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

God Speaks (Dios Habla)

I'm enjoying life in Texas these days! I'm busier than I've been in a while, but I feel so blessed and grateful for God's work in my life! =)

Today I wanted to share a chapter from my book, Seeing God Through The Storm. I know that listening to God isn't only a challenge when we're suffering, it's also hard when we're busy. =) So I hope this will be an encouraging reminder for each of us, wherever we are today.


God Speaks

Sometimes in the midst of the storm, it seems like God is silent. We call out to Him, yell at Him, or beg Him to act, yet there’s no reply. If you’ve experienced something like this, you can imagine how Job felt.

Perhaps God’s apparent silence was even more difficult for Job than his physical agony. For several chapters Job cried out to God, grieving over his situation, pleading for answers. Job’s friends condemned him. God remained silent. So Job made his final defense for his innocence, then he had nothing more to say. God hadn’t answered his questions or brought him relief. What else could he do?

Job had complained, questioned, begged, and wept until he was empty. His three friends finally stopped arguing with him. Then someone else spoke up.

So these three men stopped answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. But Elihu…became very angry with Job for justifying himself rather than God. He was also angry with the three friends, because they had found no way to refute Job, and yet had condemned him. Now Elihu had waited before speaking to Job because they were older than he. But when he saw that the three men had nothing more to say, his anger was aroused. -Job 32:1-5

Elihu was no kinder to Job than the other three men had been. He said, Oh, that Job might be tested to the utmost for answering like a wicked man! To his sin he adds rebellion; scornfully he claps his hands among us and multiplies his words against God" (Job 34:36-37).

However, in the midst of Elihu’s tirade, we once again find a gem of truth.

Why do you complain to Him that He answers none of man's words? For God does speak—now one way, now another—though man may not perceive it. -Job 33:13-14

God does speak.

We may not always be perceiving, but God is always speaking.

God speaks to us through His creation (Rom. 1:19-20). Take a minute to consider the tree outside the window, the clouds drifting overhead, or the flower blooming among the weeds. God’s creation daily demonstrates who He is—His character and His ways (Ps. 19:1-3).

God is also speaking through the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16). We have pages and pages of God’s Word that He has spoken to His people over thousands of years. No matter what we’re going through, there is something in God’s Word that will speak to our need.

John 1:1 says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. As the Living Word, Jesus is continually speaking.

We may feel like God is silent, ignoring us, or has forgotten us, but that is not true. God could never forget us (Is. 49:15). His love never ignores us. And it is God’s very nature to speak. Our role is to keep learning how to listen.

For many people, listening is a lost art. It’s easier to talk. Listening to God requires even greater effort than listening to people because we can’t audibly hear God’s voice. Being still and listening with our spirits goes against our natural tendencies to keep busy or to surround ourselves with noise. Most often God speaks in a quiet voice, which we won’t hear unless we cultivate a listening heart.

In my illness I’ve had a lot of time to practice listening to God. As I lay on the couch day after day, too weak to speak, God was the only one I could talk to. I directed almost all my thoughts toward Him. Little by little, He has taught me how to listen to His side of the conversation.

In the last few years, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the Bible. Being familiar with God’s Word helps me discern when God is speaking to my heart or when I’m hearing some other voice. God will never speak anything to us that contradicts what the Bible teaches. God’s voice is the voice of truth. Jesus said the Holy Spirit would speak to us and make the truth known to us (John 16:12-15). We learn to hear God’s voice by knowing His Word and by relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.

Another thing that helps me listen to God is the habit of asking Him questions—and then expecting to hear from Him.

*I begin each day by asking God what He wants me to do that day, then waiting on Him to guide my thoughts.

*When people say upsetting things to me, I pray, “Lord, is what they’re saying true? What do you want me to learn from this?”

*If I have a decision to make, I ask God what His will is and wait for His guidance.

We can know we’ve heard God’s voice when His peace reigns in our hearts. As long as there is confusion, frustration, or conflict within us, we probably haven’t heard clearly from God. Yet He doesn’t always speak in the way we expect or give us the answers we want. At times I’ve asked God to explain a situation in my life, and instead He convicted me of a sin in my heart. He knew I needed a pure heart more than an explanation. But He did speak to me.

Listening to God doesn’t fit a formula. Primarily God speaks to us through the Bible. But as we learn to recognize His voice, He can also speak to us in unexpected ways. Sometimes God has spoken to me through a song, a painting, a person’s comments, even a dream. With the Holy Spirit living inside us, we always have the ability to hear God’s voice. However, there will always be competing voices, so it’s important to ask God to make us better listeners.

Perhaps at times we don’t want to listen to God because we’re afraid of what He’ll say. I feel that way sometimes. But even when I don’t like what God speaks to me, I’ve discovered it’s always worthwhile to listen to Him. About three and a half years into my health trial, God spoke to me through this verse: Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer (Rev. 2:10a). I clearly heard the Lord speak those words to me personally. At first I was encouraged—I didn’t need to be afraid! Then the second part of His message sunk in—my trial wasn’t over yet. I still had more suffering to endure. That was not something I wanted to hear, but God knew I needed to hear it. I needed to prepare my mind for more suffering. God knew what anguish I would experience in the following months and years. He graciously gave me this warning, along with the encouragement not to be afraid.

I believe God is always speaking in one way or another. Learning to perceive His voice is an ongoing process. Thankfully, He is a patient teacher. When He seems silent, don’t despair. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you listen, to open your ears to the ways God is speaking to you—perhaps through the love of other people, through a gentle breeze, or through a child’s laughter. Keep reading God’s Word, keep asking Him questions, and keep expecting to hear His voice. For God does speak—now one way, now another… (Job 33:14).

As we learn to listen and hear the LORD speaking, we will be transformed. We will grow in intimacy with the Almighty. We will find what we need in our suffering.
 
I am the good shepherd…My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
-John 10:14a, 27


Dios Habla

¡Estoy disfrutando la vida en Texas en estos días! Estoy más ocupada de lo que lo he estado en largo tiempo, pero me siento ¡muy bendecida y agradecida por la obra de Dios en mi vida! =)

Hoy quería compartir un capítulo de mi libro “Mirando a Dios a Través de la Tormenta”. Sé que escuchar a Dios no es solamente un desafío cuando estamos sufriendo, también es difícil cuando estamos ocupados. =) Así que espero que éste será un recordatorio de ánimo para cada uno de nosotros, donde sea que estemos hoy.


Dios Habla

A veces en medio de la tormenta, parece que Dios está en silencio. Clamamos a Él, le gritamos o le rogamos que actúe, pero no hay respuesta. Si has experimentado algo como esto, puedes imaginarte cómo se sintió Job.

Quizás el aparente silencio de Dios fue aún más difícil para Job que su agonía física. Durante varios capítulos Job clamaba a Dios, afligido por su situación, suplicando respuestas. Sus amigos lo condenaron. Dios permaneció en silencio. Entonces Job hizo la defensa final de su inocencia, luego no tuvo nada más que decir. Dios no había respondido sus preguntas ni le había dado alivio. ¿Qué más podía hacer?

Job se había quejado, había preguntado, rogado y llorado hasta que estuvo vacío. Sus tres amigos finalmente dejaron de argumentar con él. Luego alguien más habló.

“Cesaron estos tres varones de responder a Job,  por cuanto él era justo a sus propios ojos. Entonces Eliú hijo de Baraquel buzita,  de la familia de Ram,  se encendió en ira contra Job;  se encendió en ira,  por cuanto se justificaba a sí mismo más que a Dios. Asimismo se encendió en ira contra sus tres amigos,  porque no hallaban qué responder,  aunque habían condenado a Job. Y Eliú había esperado a Job en la disputa,  porque los otros eran más viejos que él. Pero viendo Eliú que no había respuesta en la boca de aquellos tres varones,  se encendió en ira.” Job 32; 1-5

Eliú no fue más amable con Job de lo que habían sido los otros tres hombres. El dijo: “Deseo yo que Job sea probado ampliamente, A causa de sus respuestas semejantes a las de los hombres inicuos. Porque a su pecado añadió rebeldía; Bate palmas contra nosotros, Y contra Dios multiplica sus palabras.” Job 34: 36-37)

Sin embargo, en medio de la diatriba de Eliú, de nuevo encontramos una gema de verdad.

"¿Por qué contiendes contra él? Porque él no da cuenta de ninguna de sus razones. Sin embargo,  en una o en dos maneras habla Dios; Pero el hombre no entiende." –Job 33: 13-14.

Dios sí habla.

Puede que nosotros no siempre lo percibamos, pero Dios siempre está hablando.

Dios nos habla a través de Su creación (Ro. 1: 19-20). Toma un minuto para considerar el árbol afuera de la ventana, las nubes flotando arriba o la flor abriéndose entre la maleza. La creación de Dios demuestra diariamente quien Él es – Su carácter y Sus maneras (Sal. 19: 1-3).

Dios también está hablando a través de la Biblia (2 Ti. 3:16). Tenemos muchas páginas de  la Palabra de Dios que Él ha hablado a Su gente durante miles de años. Sin importar por qué estemos pasando, hay algo en la Palabra de Dios que hablará a nuestra necesidad.

Juan 1: 1 dice: "En el principio era el Verbo,  y el Verbo era con Dios,  y el Verbo era Dios." Como la Palabra Viva, Jesús está hablando continuamente.

Podemos sentir que Dios está en silencio, ignorándonos, o que nos ha olvidado, pero eso no es cierto. Dios nunca podría olvidarnos (Is. 49:15). Su amor nunca nos ignora. Y es la naturaleza misma de Dios que habla. Nuestro papel es mantenernos aprendiendo cómo escuchar.

Para muchas personas, escuchar es un arte perdido. Es más fácil hablar. Escuchar a Dios requiere aún mayor esfuerzo que escuchar a la gente porque no podemos escuchar Su voz audiblemente. Estar en quietud y escuchar con nuestro espíritu va contra nuestras tendencias naturales para mantenernos ocupados o rodearnos con ruido. Con mucha frecuencia Dios habla en voz baja, que no escuchamos a menos que cultivemos un corazón que escucha.

En mi enfermedad he tenido mucho tiempo para practicar escuchar a Dios. Mientras estaba acostada en el sofá día tras día, demasiado débil para hablar, Dios era el único a quien podía hablarle. Dirigía casi todos mis pensamientos hacia Él. Poco a poco, Él me ha enseñado a escuchar Su lado de la conversación.

Los últimos años he pasado mucho tiempo leyendo la Biblia. Familiarizarme con la Palabra de Dios me ayuda a discernir cuando Dios está hablando a mi corazón o cuando estoy escuchando alguna otra voz. Dios nunca nos dirá algo que contradiga lo que la Biblia enseña. La voz de Dios es la voz de la verdad. Jesús dijo que el Espíritu Santo nos hablaría y nos haría conocer la verdad (Jn. 16:12-15). Aprendemos a escuchar la voz de Dios conociendo Su Palabra y dependiendo del poder del Espíritu Santo.

Otra cosa que me ayuda a escuchar a Dios es el hábito de hacerle preguntas – y luego esperar escucharlo.

* Comienzo cada día preguntándole a Dios que quiere Él que yo haga ese día, luego espero que Él guíe mis pensamientos.

* Cuando la gente me dice cosas molestas, oro: “Señor, ¿lo que están diciendo es verdad? ¿Qué quieres que aprenda de esto?”

* Si debo hacer una decisión, le pregunto a Dios cuál es Su voluntad y espero por Su guía.

Podemos saber que hemos escuchado la voz de Dios cuando Su paz reina en nuestro corazón. Mientras haya confusión, frustración o conflicto en nuestro interior, probablemente no hemos escuchado claramente a Dios. Sin embargo, no siempre habla en la manera que esperamos ni nos da las respuestas que queremos. A veces le he pedido que me explique una situación en mi vida y en lugar de eso, Él me ha convencido de un pecado en mi corazón. Él sabía que yo necesitaba un corazón puro más que una explicación. Pero sí me habló.

No hay una fórmula para escuchar a Dios. Él nos habla principalmente a través de la Biblia. Pero a medida que aprendemos a reconocer Su voz, también nos puede hablar en maneras inesperadas. A veces me ha hablado a través de una canción, una pintura, comentarios de una persona, incluso un sueño. Con el Espíritu Santo viviendo dentro de nosotros, siempre tenemos la habilidad de escuchar la voz de Dios. Sin embargo, siempre habrá voces compitiendo, así que es importante pedirle que nos haga mejores oidores.

Quizás a veces no queremos escuchar a Dios porque tememos lo que Él nos dirá. A veces me siento así. Pero incluso cuando no me gusta lo que me habla, he descubierto que siempre vale la pena escucharlo. Más o menos tres años y medio en mi prueba de salud me habló a través de este versículo: “No temas en nada lo que vas a padecer” (Apocalipsis 2:10a). Claramente escuché al Señor decirme esas palabras a mí personalmente. Al comienzo me sentí animada - ¡no necesitaba estar temerosa! Luego la segunda parte de Su mensaje penetró – mi prueba aún no había terminado. Todavía tenía más sufrimiento que soportar. Dios sabía cuánta angustia experimentaría en los siguientes meses y años. Con gracia me dio esta advertencia, junto con el ánimo para no estar temerosa.

Creo que Dios siempre está hablando en una forma u otra. Aprender a percibir Su voz es un proceso continuo. Gracias a Dios, Él es un profesor paciente. Cuando esté en silencio, no te desesperes. Pídele al Espíritu Santo que te ayude a escuchar, a abrir tus oídos a las maneras como Dios está hablándote – quizá a través del amor de otras personas, de una brisa suave o a través de la risa  de un niño. Sigue leyendo Su Palabra, sigue haciéndole preguntas y sigue esperando escuchar Su voz. “…en una o en dos maneras habla Dios…” (Job 33:14).

Mientras aprendemos a escuchar atentamente al SEÑOR hablando seremos transformados. Desarrollaremos intimidad con el Todopoderoso. Encontraremos lo que necesitamos en nuestro sufrimiento.

“Yo soy el buen pastor… Mis ovejas oyen mi voz,  y yo las conozco,  y me siguen.” –Jn. 10:14a, 27