Category Archives for "Weekly Encouragement"

March 20, 2014

Marriage and Respect

This month marks 5 years of marriage for me and my Mr.  So when I was give then opportunity to write about marriage and having God in our marriage, my Spirit  just leaped.  I knew this was God sent.

What God impressed on me to share is on RESPECT I will now give a disclaimer before I go any further: I have NOT mastered this area, so allow me to be candid.  I will be honest about certain struggles. It is not an easy thing to open up.

I have to admit I am guilty of only sharing our positive, happy, smiley photos and stories on social media.  Not so much to paint a picture perfect marriage but I don’t like to do rant posts or share my dirty laundry. However I am going to step out in faith and be transparent for the purpose of offering hope to hurting wives and to help bring THE LIGHT to struggling marriages.
Now let me say that what I do share on my social media is the truth and as real as can be however there are certain times when it’s not all pretty, all the time. I am really hoping this is normal. Most times are all smiles with Mr. Aguila.  He is a truly amazing, God sent husband.  He is so patient, so loving and so thoughtful quite the opposite of me.

So moving along and on to RESPECT which means to esteem; the state of being admired; thoughtfulness. Ephesians 5:31-33 instructs us and is titled in the New Living Translation version, Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and Husbands As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.” This is a great mystery, but it is an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one. So again I say, each man must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

While doing my research I found the word deference as a synonym for respect. Deference means respect:  polite respect; especially putting ANOTHER person’s interest FIRST.

We must follow Philippians 2:309-woman-talking-when-man-isnt-listening-1

I like this version. Philippians 2:3 The Voice  Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility, and lift your heads to extend love to others.

And this one..Philippians 2:3 New King James Version (NKJV) 3Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
We are now one with our spouses.  We are not better than them or deserve more or entitled to more we actually should honor and respect each other ABOVE ourselves.
Romans 12:10 instructs us in the New International Version (NIV)  Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. These two scriptures are speaking against selfishness and showing us not to be self-seeking.  It is not all about us.  We did not get married to put the pressure on our spouses to make us and keep us happy.  We must always allow God to be our joy and happiness.  “The Joy of the Lord to be our strength.”  The bible does not say the joy that comes from my spouse.  God must take center stage in our marriages.

If we can love with that First Corinthians 13 kind of love than respect will begin to show up and show off but many of us wives know that it is not always easy, easy to be patient, or meek or kind or selfless.  I know for me it’s not and there are times when I am not patient and if I miss one then I miss them all because when I am not selfless I am not patient and I am not kind and I am not meek.  I get frustrated and start being disrespectful and yelling at my husband all because I didn’t get what I wanted.  Our bickering is over the smallest dumbest things but if Mrs. Aguila doesn’t get what she want, everyone will know.  Lately Mr. Aguila has been bringing my crazy outburst to my attention and lets not talk about all the rolling of the eyes, the sighs and the whatevers I throw in from time to time. That is all disrespectful.

We must see respect as a noun plus a verb.  Respect is not just something we know, it has to be something we show.  It requires action on our part.  A daily decision to put into action that First Corinthian Chapter Thirteen love which will pull out that respect we are instructed to have for our husbands.

Maybe you feel your husband doesn’t deserve your respect or that you don’t have to submit to him.  If you feel that way then try being obedient to the word of God, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ as Ephesians 5:21 tells us.  Most times I feel as if I don’t deserve my husband’s love to be honest.  This is one of my struggles and being open and transparent before God and being accountable is a great start for change.

Matthew 6:33 in the New Living Translation says, “Seek the kingdom of God above ALL else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.”  I do believe that this is not only material stuff but it includes wisdom and respect and above all else love.  These are all also things we need.

Written By Victoria Aguila.

For more from Victoria Aguila, please visit

March 13, 2014

They Are Listening

I would like to share a few words of encouragement with mothers who think that the words they share with their children, who may not be walking with the Lord yet, are falling by the wayside. I’ve been guilty of believing that the words I shared with my son were falling to the ground because I was looking at his actions. Until one day God showed me otherwise.

My daughter has had an illness for about six years. As a mother, you just want to fix everything. I prayed, gathered information about the illness, and waited for an answer. All the while I was very frustrated because I could not fix the problem. I would pray and leave it in the Lord’s hands, then go right back and pick it up again. The vacillating began tobeach take a toll on me, but I could not see it.

One day, my son invited me to lunch. As we sat down we began to talk. He asked me how my daughter, his sister, was. All of a sudden I began to cry. With tears running down my cheeks, those words “how is she” seemed to cut deeply in my heart. I felt like someone who had been defeated because the enemy was right there to say: where is your God? Then my son said something that only the Holy Spirit could put in his mouth because he did not know how I felt. He said, “Mom, why are you carrying the burden? Are you not supposed to give it to Jesus? You always tell me to cast my burdens on Him because He cares for me? Then that is what YOU need to do.” Right there in that restaurant, God lifted my burden and I was freed from that heavy weight.

Today, not a lot has changed with my daughter’s condition, but the healing manifestation is on the way. In the meantime I am rejoicing in the Lord because I know that when we speak the word of God, His word makes an impact, even when we cannot see it. They are listening.
Written By Sheila Duran. If you would like to contact Sheila, you can reach her here.

Renew Me

There is a song I’ve loved since the first time I heard it, called “Renew Me”, by Martha Munizzi. My favorite part of the song says,

Don’t cast me away from Your Presence. staring_out_window

Renew a right spirit within me.

For my heart is broken before You.

I bow down before You in worship.

These words are a variation that come from Psalm 51 and were written by David after he had committed adultery with Bathsheba. It is a Psalm of repentance in which David is asking the Lord for mercy. He is seeking God that he may be purified. He is acknowledging his sin, but also asking God to make him clean once again. In Psalm 51:10-11 (NKJV) David asks,

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,

And renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,

And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.

Throughout the song, Martha Munizzi sings the words, “let this be your prayer”. When I first heard those words in the song, I thought of them as just that: words. They were merely a convenient little ad-lib that helped the song flow smoothly. However, eventually this song became one of the one’s I would play during prayer. It was then that, “let this be your prayer” became more than just an ad-lib. It was an urging to really pray to God for renewal. It was a challenge to not just ask God for “blanket mercy” that covered all my sins, but to really acknowledge them. To stop pretending that there weren’t things that in my heart shouldn’t be there.

For me, praying about those things that darkened and hardened my heart was painful. So, I did the only logical thing in my mind there was to do and avoided it. I figured, God already knows, so there’s no need to state the obvious. It was one thing to know the sins in my heart, but another to actually talk to God and pray about them. It was as if not speaking it made them have less of an impact, made them seem smaller than what they really were.

I think at some point we all fell that way about one thing or another. We use the whole, “God knows my heart” as a crutch to sometimes not say what needs to be said. I know I sure did! It took me a long time to realize how bound I was allowing myself to be by the things I wouldn’t say. I was asking God to give me a clean heart and renew my spirit, but holding on to the very things I needed to let go. I was unintentionally keeping myself in bondage.

Part of James 5:16 (NKJV) says, “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” The New Living Translation says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Whatever translation you look at, the point in the same: it’s our earnest prayers, the prayers that come from deep within our hearts that are powerful. Those things we are hesitant to say need to be released. Don’t let the lies of the enemy convince you that you should be too ashamed to pray about certain things. Don’t let those lies keep you in bondage.

Yes, it is absolutely true that God already knows and sees all, but there is freedom in praying earnestly. There’s authority in praying earnestly. There’s an invitation for God to enter in and work when we pray earnestly.


Written by Amber Boggs. If you would like to reach Amber, you can contact her here.


February 27, 2014

Don’t Shoot the Messenger

I’ve heard the words, “but don’t shoot the messenger”, tacked on to unsolicited “information” or “advice” more times than I care to count. Nearly every time it’s been said to me I’ve walked away thinking, “Well, why can’t I shoot the messenger this one time, God? I don’t even need to shoot them, just let me shake a bit of sense into them!” Because let’s face it, the “messenger” tends to come only to kick up dust and ruffle feathers. Why else would they need to ask not to be shot? You never hear anyone say, “Sandy and I were talking about how much we love your new haircut, but don’t shoot the messenger!” or, “The bosses upstairs were saying you’re doing great in your new position, but don’t shoot the messenger!” No one thinks to say those words when they are paying you a compliment or sharing good news.

I can admit I’ve been the messenger a time or two (or three) and that phrase only left my mouth when I was saying something that didn’t need to be said. Psalm 52:2-4 (NIV) says, 2“You who practice deceit, your tongue plots destruction; it is like a sharpened razor. 3 You love evil rather than good, falsehood rather than speaking the truth. 4 You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue!” More often than not, deceit is present long before the words confidencehave left the messenger’s mouth. Deceit doesn’t begin with the words that are being spoken; it starts with telling yourself that you’re being the messenger because you mean well. Personally, every time I used that excuse, I knew it was just that, an excuse to say what I wanted to say without a second thought.

Here’s the thing about saying whatever we want to say, whenever we want to say it: we will be held accountable. Proverbs 18:21 (NLT) tells us, “21The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” Every thing we do, or in this case say, has consequences. The question we have to ask ourselves is what consequences are our tongues causing us to reap? Are we speaking any and every thought that comes to mind without concern of whom we could be affecting? Are we aware that our carelessly spoken words will not be forgotten on Judgment Day (Matthew 12:36-37 New Century Version)? That same scripture says, “some of your words will prove you guilty.” We have to ask ourselves, what will I be found guilty of? Did I walk around causing strife? Was my pleasure in speaking words that tore people down?

Even now, knowing what God’s Word says about gossip and idle talk, I still have to bite my tongue sometimes. I have to remind myself that it’s not my place to teach the messenger a lesson. I also have to remind myself of the many times I was the messenger and someone could have taught me a lesson! Psalm 39:1 (NIV) says, 1I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” David wrote this psalm as he remembered the covenants he made with God. He promised to be mindful of all he does and says, even when tempted by sin. Like David, we have to remember the promises we have made to God. Even though it is so easy to react and respond to wickedness, we can’t.

We can’t “fight fire with fire” by speaking death to those that speak death to us. Ephesians 4:29 (NIV) “29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” I believe these are some of the most basic instructions we could ask for. I put emphasis where I did to serve as a reminder to myself and others that our words are meant to edify one another. We’re meant to speak life and encouragement, to strengthen each other’s faith (1 Thessalonians 3:2-3). And in those moments when you find yourself slipping into the role of messenger, pray about it! Read these scriptures and the many others that give instructions as to how we should speak. Last but not least, pray for the messengers! Pray they are blessed and have peace. Pray they have healing and joy. Pray that whatever drives them to embrace being the bearer of bad news is broken and that they are free.


This week’s blog was written by Amber Boggs. If you’d like to contact Amber, you can email her here.


February 13, 2014

More Than I Can Handle

Over the past few weeks in speaking with friends that are going through difficult situations, I have heard this saying repeatedly: “God will never give you more than you can handle.” On one particular day while driving home from work, I was speaking to a dear friend of mine who has endured many hardships, trials and losses this past year. Finishing up our conversation, my friend was praising the Lord and giving him glory. Her last comment was “but its ok, the word says, ‘God will never give me more than I can handle.’” Hearing it this time was different; it did not settle in my spirit.

You know that feeling you get deep down in your gut that lingers? Well, that is the feeling I had. I asked myself, “Where did that phrase come from?” I could not recall reading that in the Bible. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. Now, “God allowing us to be tempted beyond what we can bear” is far different from “God will never give you more than you can handle.” I understand the intended purpose of this statement is to bring encouragement and comfort. However this statement also places the burden and weight on the individual and their ability to “handle it.”

The truth is: in this life, we are going to encounter many trials and tribulations that are more than we can handle. There are things that are far too great for us to bear relying on our natural strength. It is in these times that we need to come to a full dependency on God and cry out to him. In him, we are able to endure. The Apostle Paul confirms this in 2 Corinthians 1:9 Paul said, “For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead”. In John 16:33 the Lord tells us “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”fashionable-woman-thinkingHow does one handle the death and or near death experiences of loved ones, crisis with their children, extreme financial difficulties, separation or divorce in their own strength? How about when these tragedies are occurring simultaneously, and for extended periods of time? It’s impossible! The Lord brought to my remembrance the early years of my walk of faith when I was experiencing all of the trials I just mentioned, and it was a four year stretch! On my own, I made messes. I myself was a mess! I was stressed, depressed, and I was filled with fear, anxiety and despair.

I heard the Lord say to me that the enemy had released an arsenal on me. Immediately the Lord gave me Deuteronomy 20:1 “When you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the Lord your God is with you, who brought you up from the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 20:4 for the Lord your God is He who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. It was then that it became so real to me that I was not alone. I did not have to “handle it” on my own. God goes with me; He fights for me to save me!

It made me think of Peter in Luke 22:3 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” I took comfort in knowing that the Lord himself, is interceding for me that my faith in him would not fail. It is through faith that God gives us the power to affect circumstances. It is faith in knowing that with God all things are possible, that the greater one lives and dwells on the inside of us and that the Holy Spirit is our helper. It is faith in knowing that he is our strength and our shield, AND when our hearts trust in him we are helped. The word tells us that his strength is made perfect in our weakness. It is not by our might, nor by power, but by his spirit says the Lord God almighty that I can come to him when I am weary and burdened, and he will give me rest. I can cast my cares upon Him because He cares for me. And as crazy as this may sound: every trial and hardship endured is worth it, so that we may strengthen our brethren.


Written by Becky Huston. If you would like to contact Becky, you can reach her here.

February 6, 2014

What is Faith?

Last year I went through very difficult times with my family and with my daughter’s school. I did not know what to do aside from pray and fast. Then God spoke to me and said, “Faith”. After I heard him say that word, I said “that’s right”. I needed to surrender everything to Him and believe that He would take care of my family and the school crisis. I extended my faith in God and watched Him take care of both situations. Faith in God has brought me closer to Him. I am seeing circumstances change because I trust and believe that He is moving on my behalf. I had to keep trusting and believing God when the problems were not resolved right away. Faith grows when we trust God to get us through.

What is Faith? Hebrews 11:1 explains that faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. I have learned that faith is believing, hoping in, embracing and seizing the Truth.  Faith in God is incredible because God is reliable. Faith releases the blessings of God and brings Him onto the scene. Faith is believing the truth of God’s word and His promises. When I was first saved, my family would tell me to have faith and I would always reply “I have faith.” I was certain that woman_faith_arms_upbecause I believed in God, He was going to answer my prayers. Many years passed and nothing seemed to change, so I asked God why everything was the same. He answered, “You have little faith. You are like Peter”.  Matthew 14:28-31 “Lord, if it’s you” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” He said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. When Peter saw the wind, he was afraid. As he was beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

I started out in faith. I believed God. My focus on was on Him. Yet, like Peter, my focus shifted to the wind. I became focused on my problems, which caused fear and doubt because I was more aware of the problems than I was of God and His promises. Then I started to believe the lies of the enemy: “those promises are not for you, God does not care, your faith is not working, God is not going to help you”.

I have been through trials in my lifetime and my faith has kept me from sinking. There were times that I wanted to give up, however, I remembered that my faith was in God.  God often reminds me to trust Him and not doubt Him or His promises. We serve a Mighty God and I am so thankful for Him and what He has done in my life.

I believe that this year God is requiring us to walk into new things, and we will need faith to do this. Ladies, I encourage you to step out into new things with God. Receive His truth, believing, hoping, and embracing everything God has for you! EXTEND YOUR FAITH TODAY!

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:6


This post was written by Deborah Flores. If you would like to reach Deborah, please send us a message at


January 30, 2014

Welcome to 2014

It is 7:30 am on a Misty Saturday morning at the Brea Civic Center in meeting room A&B. This is where Life Builder Seminars has gathered for over ten years. Today is the first seminar of 2014 and despite the hour there is an electrified buzz of excitement in the air. Chairs are aligned, tables set, and the first sound check is already in progress. There is purpose birthed in this place every month and hearts and lives will never be the same because of the God-driven vision of Pastor Cathy.

Right around eight thirty or the first four or five women arrive. They are beaming with excitement; they know there are good things in store this morning. It doesn’t take long for the sound in the room to grow. The sound of prayer and the atmosphere being set can be heard out the door and to the elevator. Pretty soon the echo of joyous greetings, laughter and good mornings fills the room. By 9:00 AM, the room is almost filled to capacity…200.
Every available chair is brought in to make sure that every woman has a seat. It’s a beautiful day the sun is beaming through the windows overlooking the courtyard to the Brea Civic Center, but the beauty of this day are the women filling the seats in meeting room A&B. They are the reason for this seminar. Suddenly, the voice that has opened every meeting for these ten plus years captures the attention of the women, “Good Morning everyone!” It’s Pastor Cathy, the founder of Life Builder Seminars. Last second cups of coffee are poured and the woman scramble to their seats, no one wants to miss a second of the life-rich keys they will be receiving this morning. The meeting has begun and it promises to be a great one!


Written by: Tina Cobian. If you would like to reach Tina, please send her an email at


January 23, 2014

Dive In

While planning my vacation I decided to do something I had never done before. I chose snorkeling. When my vacation finally arrived it was a spectacular day for a new adventure. I set sail along the Na Pali Coast for a day of sailing and snorkeling. Such beauty – wonderful, majestic mountains along this gloriously carved coastline that God created simply by speaking them into existence. The sun was shining bright; the water was the prettiest blue green. The dolphins were in abundance, jumping and playful. I even saw turtles and flying fish. It was the beginning of an awesome day.

About half way through the trip we dropped anchor to enjoy the water. The moment of truth arrives. It is time to go snorkeling. Now some of you may be thinking “No big deal. Just grab your gear, jump in the water, and enjoy.” This women-diving-into-the-poolis where it gets a bit sticky. You see, I do not like to get my face wet and do not really know how to swim, I could only doggy paddle. I got my courage up and admitted to the crew member my apprehension about not being able to swim well and he graciously responded, “No worries we can give you a boogie board.” I put my gear on and paddled out using the board to hold me afloat. There is no stopping me now. I got this.

I found a great spot to soak up the sun. Just as I was getting ready to dive in and explore the underwater treasures, fear and anxiety gripped me. I did not want to put my face in the water. My heart was racing. I was breathing faster and all I wanted to do was get back on the sail boat. Panic was setting in. I prayed and with the help of scripture I was able to calm down and I thought “it’s no big deal; I don’t really have to snorkel to see the beauty under the sea. The water is so clear I can see everything from here. I am floating on top of the water looking in.” I started to convince myself that watching the sea life without diving in was good enough. I had traveled far and waited months… and I was willing to settle because I was afraid. I was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there were not any friends, family, or saints around to encourage me or pray me through. I was surrounded by God’s beauty and majesty, and what I did have was His Word in my heart. I leaned on The Word of God that was already in me. Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. 1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. With those verses I was able to calm down and be still. At that moment I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to me “Merel, push past the fear. Trust me; you want to go under the water to see the true beauty that awaits you. You have been excited about this moment and it’s finally here. You can’t see it from the top of the water.” With that, I took a deep breath and plunged into the water. Needless to say this gal was blown away by the beauty of being in and under the water. The colors and clarity I experienced were much more vibrant than I saw from above the water or could have ever imagined.

During this time The Holy Spirit gently reminded me that sometimes I can be like this when He calls me to step out of my comfort zone and move into new areas. I sometimes respond “It’s ok Lord, I am good right here.” This was a defining moment for me. I now respond “yes Lord” and get out of the boat. To go deeper and experience all that He has for me. No more sitting on the sidelines.

Ladies, I encourage you: when God is drawing near and calling you out of the boat…go deeper, go closer and push past the fear of the unknown. Allow the Lord to take you where you have never been before. You will never be disappointed.

This blog was written by Merel Magill. If you’d like to contact Merel, you can do so by sending an email to


January 16, 2014

From Detour to Destination

Have you ever invited guests over and before you knew it, it was time for them to arrive, so you threw everything in a closet where no one could see it? The house looks great, yet behind the scenes there is a catastrophe that needs to be cleaned. Sure you plan to clean the closet once the guests leave, but, well, you know. Likewise, we can plan our lives and set goals, yet never get around to working towards these goals. We find ourselves on detours. When I graduated high school I planned to attend college and earn a degree. Fast forward a few years and that is not what happened. I struggled in school, I was distracted with dating, and I began taking fewer classes. Then I took a well-paying job as a recruiter. The money was great and I was enjoying my job so much that there was no reason to finish school, or so I thought. The great job that I had left school for became too stressful and I decided to quit and look for another position. Weeks, months, and years had passed. Soon my goal to finish school was only a wish with little hope of coming true. To add insult to injury, employers were beginning to seek recruiters with degrees. Imagine that! Somehow taking the easy street tends to lead us back to the starting line.young-woman-walking-on-path-in-city-park By this time too many years had passed and I certainly did not want to be the oldest person in class amongst the youngins. However I was determined to finish what I had started years ago and I enrolled in night school. After a couple of semesters, life happened and I found myself dropping classes once again. Having less money and spending hours studying was simply too much trouble. I gave up and went back to work. I landed a job that I loved and was eventually let go because the company started to require all recruiters to have a degree.  I could not continue to put my education on the back burner. After counting the cost, I knew that giving up was no longer an option. I was determined to finish what I had started twenty years ago. In July of 2012 I walked across the stage and received my associate’s degree. It was an amazing feeling of accomplishment. After two decades and several detours, I had finally reached my destination. How many times have you been determined to make a change only to find yourself back where you started? The plan was to move forward, lose weight, make better choices, save money, be a better wife, or go back to school. You were doing well until something else became a priority. Sometimes the situation is so subtle- it creeps up on you like grey hair and one day you wake up and wonder how you got here. How do you get back on the road to destination? What helped me was to seek God. When God is the center of my life I receive His wisdom, strength, and guidance.  I also ask myself where did I go wrong and what was I feeling when the detour occurred. Once I have identified the detour, I list a few realistic goals and a plan to accomplish those goals. In order for me reach my goals I hold myself accountable to at least one person that I trust; a person who will speak truth into my life. Lastly I surround myself with people who have similar goals and values. We may find ourselves on detours however we can always ask God to lead us to our destination. Psalms 73:23-24 (NLT) Yet I still belong to You; You hold my right hand. You guide me with Your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny.
Written by Jessica Meza.
If you would like to reach Jessica, you can email her at

January 9, 2014

Loving Father

“When you are going through something hard and wonder where God is, remember the Teacher is always quiet during the test.”

I saw this posted on Facebook the other day. Normally, I do not comment on things I do not agree with, mainly because so much can be misinterpreted via text and because it is annoying when you can’t post something without someone else coming along to offer correction, clarification or multiple contingencies on why your statement isn’t true in ALL cases. Not wanting to be THAT person, I paused as I read the sentence over again, understanding the lie it was communicating about my Jesus, but debating whether I would speak up. That statement, in its bland attempt to be mildly philosophical, was a fancy way of saying… “When life is at its most difficult, God won’t talk to you because He wants you to figure it out on your own.” It draws the picture of a sink-or-swim God, Someone who cares but makes you go through things on your own to see what you’re made of. What kind of God are we believing in, if we have to endure the hard stuff by ourselves and gamble with the chance of frequent human failure?

fatherhandsIf you’ve seen Taken, the movie that no doubt sent milliliters of adrenaline through the veins of every viewer (who can forget the gut-wrenching moment when Liam Neeson stoically says, “They’re going to take you”), it is easily apparent in the first 5 minutes of the movie that Neeson’s character loves his daughter. What really captures the audience in the following storyline is the passion this man has for his daughter and the lengths he will go to rescue her. By the end of the movie, you want to cry alongside Maggie Grace as she sobs into her father’s arms after she is rescued. Neeson memorably brought to life the image of a wonderful father. If God is known to me as The Almighty, Lord of Heaven and Earth, Ruler of All and every other prestigious accolade and title included in the Bible, but isn’t known to me as just Dad, I’ve bypassed something crucial to my understanding of His heart towards me. Knowing Him as Dad gives me access, anytime, to the greatest Father Who ever has been or will be, One Who has all the answers, my greatest Resource, Who understands me perfectly, Who sees me, Who accepts me, Who loves me, Who defends me and fights for me. He hides things sometimes, not be a drag, but to delight in my discovery of the things He has hidden for me to find at the perfect time (Proverbs 25:2 NLT). He always keeps His promises (Deuteronomy 7:9, MSG) and never leaves me or gives up on me, no matter what choices I make (Deuteronomy 31:8).

Each of us are faced with moments where we get the opportunity to choose what we believe about God. These choices usually come at the intersection of really hard things, when our experiences and emotions contradict Who God is. If we choose to believe what we FEEL is true, we mold and form God to fit into our circumstances and secretly say to ourselves, “God is good, but only sometimes.” But if we choose to believe ACTUAL TRUTH (i.e. The Word of God), He slowly, according to our daily choice, transforms our mind, will and emotions to Who He is (Romans 12:2) and in turn, He works out everything that concerns us, because He knows we love Him and desire to do things His way (the better way) (Romans 8:28). Regardless of religious teaching, or even the different facets of God’s character displayed throughout the Old and New Testament, He’s demonstrated over and over (Moses and the Israelites, Abraham and Lot, Hosea and Gomer, and, you know, JESUS) that there is no limit to His love and His persistence and pursuit of us as His kids. That is the unrelenting, passionate Father we have.

I ended up posting Jeremiah 33:3 (ESV) under the Facebook post, which says, “Call to me and I will answer you and I will tell you great and hidden things you have not known.” Now if only I would have known that “great and hidden things” probably included the answers to problem-solving math questions like, If there are two trains and one leaves the station going 23 mph…..Never could figure those out.

Written by: Ruth Sanchez. If you’d like to reach Ruth, please email her at