Blog Archives

The Patience of Job

the_patience_of_job

You have probably heard this phrase frequently. When someone seems to be able to tolerate what seems to be intolerable they are often told, “You have the patience of Job” Although I don’t consider myself a very patient person, I have been told that I have the patience of Job. Here’s the thing. I think we miss some of the elements of the patience of Job. We have the tendency to idealize that he never complained, never got angry. If that was the case, not even Job had the patience of Job.

Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The key wordsimages for me in this statement, without getting angry or upset and the fact that there are no screams, lamps flying or inappropriate language doesn’t mean a person is not angry or upset.

I’ve read the book of Job a little over three times. There are passages where I pushed my bible to the side fearing that just the fact that I read some of his remarks towards God was going to make a thunder come down from the skies.  Here are some examples but you have to read the book, there are a lot more:

  •  Job 3:11 “Why didn’t I die at birth, my first breath out of the womb my last?”
  • Job 6: 8-9 “All I want is an answer to one prayer, a last request to be honored:
    Let God step on me—squash me like a bug, and be done with me for good”
  • Job 7: 11-16 ““And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table;
        my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest. Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
        the way you quiet the sea and still the storm? If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better.
        A little nap will lift my spirits,’ you come and so scare me with nightmares
        and frighten me with ghosts that I’d rather strangle in the bedclothes
        than face this kind of life any longer. I hate this life! Who needs any more of this?
        Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing but smoke.”
  • Job 9:21-24“Believe me, I’m blameless. I don’t understand what’s going on.
        I hate my life! Since either way it ends up the same, I can only conclude
        that God destroys the good right along with the bad. When calamity hits and brings sudden     death, he folds his arms, aloof from the despair of the innocent. He lets the wicked take over running the world; he installs judges who can’t tell.”
  • Job 10:1 “I can’t stand my life—I hate it! I’m putting it all out on the table, all the bitterness of my life—I’m holding back nothing.”
  • Job 16:8-10 “God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family! You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune, showing the world that you’re against me. My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror, a mute witness to your treatment of me. Your anger tears at me, your teeth rip me to shreds, your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!”
  • Job 17:6 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—people spit in my face”
  • Job 21:4 “It’s not you I’m complaining to—it’s God. Is it any wonder I’m getting fed up with his silence?”
  • Job 23:1“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair!”
  • Job 30:20-23 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer! I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare! You’ve turned into my tormenter—you slap me around, knock me about. You raised me up so I was riding high and then dropped me, and I crashed. I know you’re determined to kill me, to put me six feet under.”

So once again, if your image of the patience of Job is this quiet guy who took everything in longsuffering not getting ever upset, go read the book again, that was not in the one I read. I don’t know about you but I read a lot of griping and complaining. If someone is saying constantly that he hates his life that is someone who is upset.

I’m not saying this to down Job. He was patient and truly waited on God. He endured everything that happened to him, but he vented and complained quite often. Don’t ever feel that when you bring your sorrows to the Lord it means that you are not trusting God.  When you feel the need to vent to God, don’t think that you can’t.  If God is our everything, it means HE will also be THE ONE to whom we should go with our heartaches, anxieties and pain.

One of the things I admire about Job is that he always knew that his life depended on God. He knew he was feeble and that God was sovereign. He never cursed at God, he kept his faith through losing it all and he lost it all. He lost his wife, his sons, all his earthly possessions, his friends and even his health. When I say he lost it all, he lost it ALL; but his faith.

So at least in my case, I may have some of the patience of Job. I whine and whine and complaint knowing that God is there. I give it all to him, but I still say “God is not fair” and God says it’s true, I never said life was fair, but I am fair.

I don’t only want to have the patience of Job. I also want to have his faith and endurance to be able to Praise the Lord no matter what comes my way.

Food for thought.

imagesCA1UVDQ3

Ending 2013

In the years prior I measured my success by the blogs I was able to write, the books I was able to publish and the personal goals I was able to meet. 2013 was a year rich in life lessons that could not be accounted in numbers.

This year I was a lazy blogger. I was being pulled in so many directions in my life that I couldn’t concentrate enough to write myABV blogs. I participated in a few marketing campaigns for my books but nothing major. I was able to publish one book out of pure perseverance and I know I have not done anywhere near anything to market it, so I’m not disappointed with the results because I can’t have any expectations for the work I have not done.

I have not even been consistent working out, so I have some ground to recover once the year comes back. So what are the highlights of this year?

Well, although my goal was to read twelve books, I read eight. Yes, the goal was not met but it was six books more than I read the year before.

I started working with a new ministry at my church in Spanish. Aside from writing, I’ve found another place where I know God has called me to be.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, something I had not done in over five years and I’m pretty proud of myself.

But to be honest the highlight of this year was a card that someone I had not talked to in a while gave me. The card said how much I

image

had inspired her. I’m not boasting on that fact, I’m just happy that in spite of all my shortcomings and inabilities the Lord still used me to inspire someone. The Glory is for HIM, I’m just glad my imperfect self is still usable for him and that makes up for 365 rough days of 2013.

I’m looking forward to 2014. 2014 is a New Year with new possibilities, new opportunities, new mercies but the same awesome God.

Happy New Year 2014!

Happy-new-year-2014-latest-wallpaper

True Love

We are all pursuing true love. God created us as social beings, yes even those of us who don’t enjoy being around people. The reality is that those who don’t enjoy being around people,  are just protecting themselves from being hurt, if you look deep down. As loving creatures we crave love, just as much or more than we crave food or water.

But as we pursue love, are we willing to give love, real love? At the end of the day, what is love? The word of God tells us in  1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, and endures all things. Love never ends.”

So having that as a base, are we patient with the ones we love?

I know that this is a hard one. We all have expectations for ourselves and for those around us. Sometimes we know the potential of our loved ones, but they may not be ready, don’t realize it or  simply don’t want to. Are we patient enough  to support them through their journey?

Do we always want to get our way?

Ask yourself this, do you rather be at peace or right all the time? Sometimes we have to compromise in all kinds of relationships. Yes, we obviously think that our way and our thoughts are the best ideas, but when we love someone we need to take a step back and give grace and allow others to go at their own pace, their way and support them and love them through the process.

Do we really believe in them?

In spite of the faults and weaknesses that we see in the ones we love, do we truly believe in the best for them? If we love someone we can’t show our love being critical of them. Instead we should encourage their dreams, their desires and their hopes.

 Do we hope for all things?

When things are at their darkest point we need to place our trust in God and not necessarily on the other person. At the same time, do we allow the Lord to work the situation or do we just give up at the first sign of being uncomfortable?  Let’s not forget that “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who has been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

So we know everything will be alright even on the darkest of nights. Remember, when Jesus came to earth, the worst that could happen to the apostles was to lose him and he died…but then he was resurrected. In every dead area of our lives we need to hold on to the hope that he will either will be resurrected or make it brand new.

Can we endure all things?

Life and relationships are not easy. Even identical twins are different human beings. We need to learn to accept people for who they are. When we are committed to love somebody, we need to be prepared for trouble to come, not because we want to, but because it’s life. Sometimes issues happen because a situation happens or because there’s a disagreement. When we truly love, regardless of the type of relationship, we need to be prepared to work through our issues instead of disregard the relationship. If we decide to love like Jesus did, let’s do the right thing and express true love.

Until next time… Be blessed.

Hurry, I Have a Plank in My Eye

The other day I was talking to a friend whom I appreciate but who complaints a lot about other people. Some days she tells me all about how good this person is with her. A few days later she tells me how terrible this same person is towards her. Now if we allow ourselves to be honest with ourselves we all have those same moments with people in our relationships. Everyone has its good days and their bad days. The reality is that we don’t feel the same way about people all the time.

I remember long time ago I was working with this lady who had been married for a long time. I asked her what her secret was. She told me that in love, in any kind of love, you have to love someone everyday and that doesn’t mean you like them every day. I’ve thought about that statement and it’s very true. We are called to love one another, not to like one another. We may not approve of someone else’s behavior, but we are still called to love them. That is exactly what God does with us, that’s the expression of unconditional love, to love people in spite of how they think, act or behave.

But this is not a post about unconditional love. It’s about searching our souls for what it is that annoys us about the other people around us. I’ve learned through my journey to become closer to Christ is to become the 4yr old and ask why, why, why? I don’t do that to annoy my Heavenly Father. I do that to learn a lot about myself.

As someone who works in the behavioral health field, I understand that some of our thoughts and behaviors are not always conscious and mostly are a result of our heritage and life experiences. So when something happens, before jumping to a decision on how to deal with the situation, I want to know, why it bothers me so much? Most of the times I’ve had to discover that there’s a part of me that acts exactly the way of whatever it is that annoys me.

How is it possible that something that really bothers me in others, is also a behavior that I display? I have come to the conclusion that God presents us with those situations, so that we can see ourselves in the mirror and know how annoying we can be to others. I know that I complain about that same person that I was talking about at the beginning of this post. I complain about the way some days she’s very negative and complaints about others. But some days I talk about how much of an instrumental key she’s in my life. You see… I do the same thing that she does and that annoys me.

The bottom line is that I can’t change anyone, but I can change me. I appreciate every opportunity the Lord gives me to show me who I am to perfect me into a closer image of Jesus Christ.

Until then, be blessed

WF: Your Love Never Fails

The thing we should never forget about being a Christian is that our walk doesn’t come without pain and sorrows. Actually Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:34 that he didn’t come to abolish the pain. So what’s the difference between living a life for Christ and not, HIS LOVE…

Those of us who have chosen to believe in the Lord of Glory have discovered the peace that reaches all understanding. We know that even in the darkest of nights, we are not alone. There’s always a light inside of us that will show us the way out. Each of our tears will be held and comforted. We know, because he has said so, that even when we walk in the shadow of the valley of death HE will be with us.

On our loneliest day, we are not alone; we are always comforted by the Holy Spirit. The world can’t understand why we can smile in the middle of tragedy. They can’t understand how we can forgive the most awful of transgressions. How it is possible that we can let go of shame, humiliation and fear? Because Jesus took that all to the cross and that burden is not for us to carry anymore.

My friends, I don’t know where you are today. I don’t know what you’re feeling, but I do know that the God of Glory will lift those ashes and bring you through and every promise will be fulfilled. When you are so weary that you can’t even stand, kneel.

Lamentations 3:22-23

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.

 Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.

Romans 8:28

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.

First Encounter with Faith

I grew up in church. I heard about God all my life, but the God that was portrayed to me was not a loving God. To me he was this big eye in the sky waiting for me to make a mistake and pulverize me at any minute. I was quite involved in church growing up, but it was out of the sense that I needed to keep that God happy to avoid the pits of hell.

I had gone to a retreat and I was pulled to the side and asked if I would take Jesus as my Lord and Savior. In my mind I remember saying: Lady what kind of question is that, are you trying to get me killed?  So obviously I said yes, but nothing changed in my life. A few years later I felt the calling from God and I did give my life to Christ, but I was attending a church that didn’t explain about the journey of a born again Christian or the love of God; it was all about his wrath.

So as a human I sinned and I thought that I was already condemned for life, so instead of running to the arms of Christ, I ran to the arms of the world. I found more sorrow and pain than before. Eight years later (you can’t deny that God is patient) I came back home. I came just like the Prodigal Son, telling my father that I didn’t deserve to be back and that I knew I needed to sit in the back, that I was not worthy of serving him, but if he would only have mercy I would appreciate it.

He sent a young lady in my life to tell me that all those thoughts were claims from the enemy. She told me that God and the angels were rejoicing to have me home. From that point on I felt like I had met God for the first time. I was finally truly born again. God has never left me and has loved me more than I could ever imagine.

“I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there.’ And it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. ” Matt 17:20

Share with us, What was your first encounter with faith? I’m glad to hear it.

If you are looking for a good read, The Road Home is for you. Find out what was Desiree’s first encounter with faith and see if you can identify with her.

Until next time, be blessed.

The Road Home 

TheRoadHomeFinal-2.jpg

 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

 “With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

 

WF: I Will Follow

Just by looking at the title of this song you can tell that it is a praise in which we tell our Lord that we will follow him forever and under any circumstances. Those are beautiful words of praise, but the ones that have the deeper meaning for me are the following lines. They tell the truth of a life lived for Christ.

Who you love, I’ll love

John 3:16- For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

So He loved the world to the point of giving his son. Do we love those around us? Do we serve as an example of a holy life so that they can be open to the Good News?

How you serve, I’ll serve

Philippians 2:6-8 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;  rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Is our life a life of servitude or do we always expect to be served?

If this life I lose, I will follow you

Luke 17:33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.

Are we truly willing to die for the cause of Christ?

It’s a lot to think about. Pay attention and be conscious while you praise with me today. Happy Friday!

 Growth Lessons
clip_image002.png

In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

WF: East to West

I think one of the things Christians, especially new Christians struggle the most is condemnation. We live in the world of “forgive and not forget” and we have the tendency to look at God in the same light.

I have said many times that understanding God’s mercy was hard for me. How could he forgive the things I had done when his Word said that those things were against his will? Then I discovered Grace. That favor that God gives us that covers all our sins. That which brings to life the sacrifice of the cross.

Even after salvation we are not perfect, and there are times when we life in this fear of when will be the day when he will say enough, you’ve crossed the line of unforgiveness. But lucky for us that day will not arrive. As long as we repent we will be covered once again by the blood of the lamb, because Jesus died for ALL our sins. The ones we did and the ones to be done.

 1 Peter 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.  He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

Let’s Praise God for that!

The Unknown

In a conversation the other day someone said that they got irritated when they didn’t know something. It reminded me of who I was before I actually surrendered my life to Christ and how I can be when I forget who master’s my life. I have a theory, that the unknown affects us due to our need for control. We want to know everything that’s going on around us just to make sure that we will know how to handle it. In that we forget a few things.

· Luke 12:25-26 “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

· Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (Matthew 6:34)

· Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

The other part of the unknown is lack of trust. It’s that feeling that tells you that you need to know exactly everything around you, because if you lack information you will be caught with your pants down and end up in trouble. But actually my life experiences have taught me that sometimes ignorance is bliss and I do not need to know everything. There is a reason why God doesn’t reveal everything to us in our time but in his time.

Think about it, as parents, do you tell your kids everything or do you shelter them from certain information until you know that they are prepared to handle it? Our heavenly father does the same with us. But as the bratty children that we can be, we too think we know better than God about what we can or cannot handle.

I’m not a parent, but my 9-5 requires me to manage people. As a manager there are details of the operations that my staff doesn’t need to know. There’s no point in burdening them with certain situations that are for me to deal with, situations that are out of their control and that I will resolve before it affects them. That’s imperfect, knuckleheaded me. Don’t you think that our God, first of all, doesn’t need our help and then that there are things that we don’t need to worry about because it is something that HE will work out. The question is do we really trust Him to come through? With our mouths we usually say yes, but do our actions reflect that level of trust? Just food for thought.

My challenge today is that we really surrender. That we allow God to decide what information we should be privy off and for him to tell us how to handle it. I challenge us to release our need of control, because at the end of the day we truly have none.

Until next time, be blessed.

clip_image002

In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

WF: Lord I need you

If there’s something that we can’t say enough is how much we need God in our lives. We wouldn’t even have a life without him. We wouldn’t have a future if it wasn’t for his Grace and Mercy.

Let’s rest in his bosom, just like a newborn child; in total abandonment and filled with peace. Only in the presence of the Lord we can find happiness .

Be blessed.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,562 other followers