Not just serve, but how to serve

serving We are no looking at:

Romans 12:11-13 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

When we serve we need to check our attitudes and motives in check. We start a new service assignment with excitement, like all new things. At the beginning we are learning the ropes, then we go through the phase of knowing our roles and probably improving our service. But like everything in life, not every moment is a happy and stable one. We will run into moments of discontent, burn out and stress.

Those difficult moments can’t be avoided, but how we address those is what could make the difference. We can choose to run away from our commitment due to offense or burn out. In those moments we need to make the decision. Who are we serving? Are we serving God or the people who make our lives easy? Are we followers of Christ? If we are, we need to remember that some of those who followed him throughout his ministry were chanting “Crucify him!” right outside Pontius Pilate’s doors. That didn’t change Jesus’s mind to complete his mission.

We need to serve with joy, hope and in prayer. Only keeping our connection with God will give us the strength and serving2peace to get the job done. Remember, he never sends out to the field the equipped, but equips the chosen ones.

Finally remember that every act of service has to be with the same final purpose, to spread the Word of God, to show his love to others. It’s not for us to look pious in front of others. We are just ambassadors of the true message.

Until then, be blessed.

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WF: Open Up The Heavens

This is an amazing worship song. I need this song to be my alarm because it will not only get me out of bed energized but filled of the spirit. After a long hard week of work we need to be refreshed and renewed and what better way than praising God.

How awesome is recognizing that God is almighty, all powerful, all amazing? We are all in need of a showers from heaven of peace, love and just his sweet presence. Enjoy this song and have a great weekend.

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WF: There will be a day

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to enjoy a Worship Friday (WF) I hope that I can get back in the groove and worship together with all my readers. I chose Friday because there’s no better way to enjoy the end of a laborious week than to praising God for all he’s gotten us through, for all those accomplishments and because we potentially get the opportunity to rest.

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I think this song encompasses that feeling in a larger scale. There’s going to be a day where we will be in front of Jesus. When that day comes, there will be no pain, no suffering, no diseases. Until that day of complete freedom comes we can definitely rest in the arm of The Lord just by being in his presence.

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

 

The Patience of Job

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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.

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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

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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!

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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