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Monthly Archives: August 2016

August 25, 2016

The Storm

Written by Petra Rodriguez

A storm is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere, which brings strong winds, rain, thunder, snow and lightning, such as an uproar or controversy.  At times, we are stressed and we feel like we are living in a cyclone so we give up and begin to drift away.

There is an account in Acts 27 which tells of Apostle Paul and other prisoners being taken away on a ship in the middle of the Mediterranean. They had not seen sunlight in fourteen days. They were in total darkness and they didn’t see any stars. Not knowing where they were, they just kept drifting with the storm.

When we stay in the storm instead of the eye of the storm where it is calm, we begin to drift, and all we see is total darkness and hopelessness. We give up traveling toward any destination.  We begin to throw our cargo over board thinking it will help us from sinking, yet we throw away the things we need because the storm seems too tough.

This is a common reaction to difficulty. When the heat is on and the pressure is unbearable, we start to throw away the things we need to survive in the storm.  We may throw away faith in God, hope, courage, peace, dreams, goals, or purpose. We may even sacrifice the values and relationships that we would not normally guard.

We say things like, I’m throwing in the towel, I’m giving up on this marriage. I’m abandoning this relationship, etc. Are you facing a storm in life? Do you feel battered, like you are going to break down, or fall apart by the banging of the waves?

Don’t give up and become anxious and afraid. Don’t give up on your dreams and goals. Don’t throw away what you need to make it through the storm- God, always being your main focus.  God is the eye of the storm. He has complete control and His love surrounds calms and our souls. Let’s not drift with the storm, throw away  our focus and trust in God, abandon ship, or lose hope. We can weather anything as long as we stay calm in the eye of the storm. It will soon pass.

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August 18, 2016

Patience Isn’t A Bad Word

Written by Lawanda Martinez

I have heard people say, don’t pray for patience as if patience is a bad word. The idea is that if we pray for patience then our patience will be tested constantly. The bible says patience is a fruit of the Spirit. How can anything the Spirit produces be bad? Fruit takes time to grow and the time needed for growing is considered waiting. Are you waiting patiently? Anytime I think of waiting, I not only think about fruit growing, I imagine waiting in a doctor’s office for an appointment. Are you in a waiting room right now? Are you being told to wait?  

I am no stranger to being told to wait. I’ve had my variety of struggles and hard times. Recently, I was homeless and displaced. I wanted to look for a place to live or settle for just any place to rent for me and my kids. I also wanted what God would have for me. When I inquired of the Lord for His direction He asked me to trust Him and to wait. I actually wanted proof in writing that He wanted me to wait. He was faithful and confirmed His word when I read a something I wrote from a message at church. The note stated “a patient waits in the waiting room.” As I began to think about my situation, I rewrote the note to state “patience waits, in the waiting room”.

I began to ponder the idea of a patient waiting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office, waiting to be called. Once the patient is called, the patient is directed to a room where more waiting occurs as the patient waits to be seen by the doctor. Once seen, the patient may be referred to have tests done or obtain a prescription. Both involve more waiting.

My waiting room experience happened over the course of three months. I was living my everyday life- going to work, church, the gym, the grocery store and simultaneously I was in a waiting room, waiting. During this time the fruit of patience was developing. Through seasons of suffering the roots of patience were growing deep. As my trials continued, the fruit of patience was finally maturing. The greatest part of waiting for the fruit of patience was when I was able to taste God’s faithfulness and His blessings.   

I was in need of a place to live. I had looked for rentals and homes for sale and it only frustrated me to see homes that were not in my budget, the wrong size, or in the wrong area. There were pressing issues at work and with my sons that needed my focus, and looking for a place to live was an additional burden. A burden that God did not want me to carry. I prayed for direction and I pleaded with God for an answer. God had already answered me. He said wait.  And the revelation from the note said “patience waits, in the waiting room.” If love is patient, then love waits. If God is love, then God waits too.

During this time I had shared with my son that the Lord told me to “wait.” Later, I said, “should I be looking for a place?” and he replied to me “looking is not waiting, wait means wait.”  Again, I thought to myself what does it mean to “wait”?

I was reminded how all throughout the Bible we are told to wait on the Lord. At the doctor’s office you know at some point you will be called. Sometimes we approach the receptionist to make sure we haven’t been forgotten because we’ve been waiting for so long. Yet we really have no alternative if we want to see the doctor, except to wait. While waiting at the doctor’s office, I usually bring things to occupy my time while my main focus is listening for when my name is called. I am waiting but I am not bored. There are other things I can get done while I am sitting down, this waiting time is the perfect opportunity to rest.

I could have disobeyed God and continued looking and getting bitter; instead I obeyed. I had peace about God’s instructions to me. I stopped looking and I waited. Since the burden was lifted, I began to enjoy my situation, discovering the good and the opportunities available to me. By not having household chores or expenses to deal with, I had more time to visit family and time for myself. I made a budget, I paid off necessary debt, my credit score increased and then one day out of the blue I received an email asking me if I was still in need of a home. It was a 4-bedroom home that I now own. When escrow closed I already had equity in my home.

What I learned through this waiting room experience was that it was impossible to wait well, until I had total confidence in the Lord’s faithfulness. I knew He had the ability to bring about a good resolution because I had a promise from God. Jeremiah 29:11 He has a plan and it is for good, to give me a future and a hope. My job was to believe God meant what He said. I had to stay in the position of waiting so that I was ready when He called my name.

God said He knows the plans He has for me and they are good. My outward situation seemed devastating, however inwardly I knew my foundation was my relationship with the Lord. I had been through hard times before and God had always seen me though. In similar past  experiences I had always waited in fear. This time there was no fear. I had grown with God to know that He was not oblivious to what was happening in my life. I knew He had the answers and I needed to trust Him. God said wait and so I said ok.  

Even though I may not know the appointed time, I know that to wait means carving out time, believing God will answer me within a specified time, and that He will help me, even after hours if necessary. God doesn’t always share how long we are required to wait. That is where faith comes in. Remember faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). Having the confidence in God’s ability to bring about a good plan within His appropriate time is our responsibility. Then we will taste the sweetness of His faithfulness because we took the time to wait and we allowed patience have its perfect work in us.   

Do you find yourself in a waiting room experience? This is your chance to allow more faith to develop, as you trust in Him every minute of the waiting. Remember to put your total confidence in God’s faithfulness. Know that God has a good plan for your future (Jer 29:11). He is trustworthy. He loves you, put your hope in Him again. Even in waiting- believe God and believe His word. Jeremiah 29:11 is for you.

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August 4, 2016

More Than Enough

Written by Judy Smith

Every month as I sit to do my bills I find my faith tested. Not that I haven’t planned. I have actually become quite good at pinching pennies. Yet, there always seems to be something that comes up to throw off my carefully calculated budget. Expenses continue to go up, but my income has not. These unexpected bills make me want to throw out my careful calculations and say “forget it”! Instead, I do the math, think, and pray. At times, the situation feels impossible. How in the world are we going to pay for everything that we need to pay for? I must lay it all down and ask Jesus for help.

In Mark we see Jesus split a small quantity of fish and loaves to feed a large crowd. Mark 6:41 (NIV) says: “Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to his disciples to distribute to the people. He also divided the two fish among them all.” Jesus has a different kind of math. Where we see little, He sees much. Things don’t add up the way we think they should, but Jesus answers prayers and He is working all things to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Take the feeding of the five thousand. When I add up five loaves and two fish, it equals a meal for a small family. When Jesus adds up five loaves and two fish it equals a meal for a hillside of people with twelve baskets left over. How do you start out with a sack lunch and end up with a fish fry for five thousand? I don’t know, but Jesus does. Psalms 46:1 He is our refuge and strength and a very present help in times of trouble.

This is why we should trust Him with our daily lives. We should trust Him with our worries, concerns, bills, grocery lists, and doctor visits. He has ‘divine math’. When He works in our lives, miracles become everyday occurrences. Thank Jesus for what He has already done in your life, and invite His divine math into any problems you are facing today. He is Jehovah Jirah, our provider! I see it every month. You will too, as you continue to obey His word and trust Him. 

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