Have you thought about what makes you get up in the mornings to begin your daily routine? Would you rather stay in bed longer, go into work much later or maybe have a four-day workweek? Well, I have thought about it. Truthfully a four-day workweek does not sound bad at all. In fact I experienced this time frame at work during the summer. It was nice to have a three-day weekend. But back to reality. I need to know that when I get up in the mornings, I will live my day as someone whom God created to be His reflection of love, joy, peace and excellence to others on this planet. I have an opportunity each day to live, laugh, enjoy with others, knowing work is simply a means to plant and reap the essentials of life.
So how do I live my life? I live it by first giving thanks to God when I get up for blessing me with a new day. I give Him a big smile. I then offer the day to Him by putting it in His hands, because I cannot handle all that life throws at me in my own strength. I need God. “…He is a shield for all who take refuge in Him…You give me your shield and your right hand sustains me.” Psalm 18: 30b, 35 (NIV)
I have learned the importance of honoring God throughout the day by respecting the authority in my home, work place, organizations I belong to and Church. I honor Him by valuing and nurturing my relationships. I strive to work in an excellent manner, “straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13b-14 (NIV)
I am so grateful to God for loving me in spite of all my flaws. I know I am beautiful in His eyes. This is why I want to honor Him with all of my heart. He fills me with favor and grace as I step out in faith to begin my day.
I urge you to honor God in the simple things as you get up and begin your day. He honors us when we focus on Him, read His Word, accept His Son Jesus into our lives as Our Savior and live out a life reflecting His love. Enjoy your day walking in the love and presence of God…
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In Christ’s love,
The past weeks have been intense for me. I have had situations that have made me uncomfortable, distraught and without energy. I had to make a decision and take a risk. I had to trust in what was right. Doing what is right is not always a comfortable thing to do. So how do you know what the right decision is? You know when you focus on the things that matter.
You see, I realized a long time ago when I need to make a change in my life or a decision, I cannot rely on my emotions but I need to go before the ONE who can “direct my paths and make them straight.” (Proverbs: 3:6) “ I began to close the door to my bedroom and sit before God and put it all at His feet. I focused on Him. I read His Word and asked the Holy Spirit to illuminate my mind on how to react, walk or decide whatever I needed to do. I found the more I did this the more confident I became. I began to memorize small verses of the Bible that would help me to keep focused. You know how fearful and anxious you get when you are not sure of something? Well, I began to memorize Philippians 4: 5-6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV). As I read this passage and memorized it, I truly began to feel peace. Peace helps us to put things into perspective.
I have to be vigilant of my time with God because I can so easily get distracted with work, TV, activities, things that make me lose my focus. My relationship with Him needs to be continuous and work on it everyday just as I have to nurture my relationship with my daughter, family, co-workers and friends.
The more I seek God, in my quiet time in my bedroom, put the day He has blessed me with in His hands, and think of Him and His Word through out the day, the better it becomes to live out my day. It does not mean I am exempt of troubles, it means I am not alone and whatever decision I need to make, I wait for God’s peace to take over my being and walk in the direction He is leading me.
I invite you now to focus on the things that matter. Follow God’s purpose for your life. God loves you so much and wants to build a relationship with you. Put your cares before Him… Give Him the opportunity and your life will be transformed.
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In Christ’s love,
Jenn Johnson (Bethel Church), God I look to You
Five years ago I went on a mission trip to Cuenca, Ecuador, to assist Pastors Missionaries Steve & Bobbie Clark with the ministries at their Church, Siervos del Señor (Servants of God), Christian Church. I went to serve and little did I know how God was going to use me and the many blessings I would receive. When we walk out in faith, God will honor and support us. The awesome thing about God is that when He blesses, He does so over abundantly. I was able to minister to the small groups within the Church in particular with the Women’s Group, Worship Team and Youth Group. My heart felt so much love for these people who were so hungry for God. The ten days I was there were ones of the happiest in my life.
I got to share my faith, my experiences, love, compassion and teachings but most of all I let the Holy Spirit guide me in all of our meetings. The outcome was more than I could imagine. Several said the Prayer of Salvation and are now serving the Lord.
The Siervos del Señor Youth Group was on fire for the Word and presence of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. They would meet every Friday and Saturday mornings at 5:00 a.m. to pray and worship God. I am speaking of youngsters from the ages of 14 and up. Participating with them, watching them on fire for God was an experience beyond words. Many got filled with the laughter of the Holy Spirit. The sweetness of the Presence of God was incredible. …“Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “Jeremiah 29:12-14 (NIV)
This past week I was reunited with Pastors Steve and Bobbie Clark at a dinner hosted by a dear couple, Steve and Moneudy Flores. Others who also went as missionaries in past years to Cuenca were there as well. It was a night of laughter, memories and a flame sparkled in my heart to return and minister.
On Saturday I hosted a breakfast for the Pastors and the Youth Leader, Christian Pesantez and his father Osvaldo. We reminisced over delicious food my time at Cuenca and got another update. The Youth group continues strong and continues to meet on Saturdays at 5:00 a.m. Their fire for the Lord is still burning. The small groups are strong and growing. A facility for the Youth camp and retreats is under construction. God is doing great things at Siervos del Señor Church.
On Sunday we were all able to go together to Church and worship God experiencing His sweet and divine presence at Centro Internacional Aliento pastored by Marcos and Carla Barrientos Aliento. After Church we all parted our ways for Pastors Steve and Bobbie will continue their trip within the States visiting churches and attending Conferences. Christian and his dad will visit with family and then all return to their beloved Ecuador.
How did this all happen? I was connected in a Bible based Church with the mission to go out and serve the Nations. The Pastors encouraged small mission trips. God put a desire in my heart to go to Ecuador, I took the step of faith and God took care of the rest. I poured out God’s love while serving there and the rewards were beyond my expectations. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
I encourage you to serve wherever you are. Give of your time, your resources and your talents. Read God’s Word and truly get to know Him so you too can experience His sweetness and power.
You can check out two of the Siervos del Señor Youth Group’s videos:
Invitation to Youth Camp and Youth Camp
Learn more Steve and Bobbie Clark and their ministry at: Steve and Bobbie Clark
In Christ’s love,
My time in Ecuador captured in pictures.
Life is full of situations and moments of utter darkness and despair. I have learned during my walk with God that moments of fear, despair and sadness are part of the process we call life. No one is exempt from this. We see this in the life of Jesus during one of His darkest moments, where He felt fear even when He had his disciples around Him. Unfortunately they were oblivious to what Jesus was experiencing.
Mark 14: 33-42 NIV
33 He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. 34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” 35 Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. 36 “Abba,[a] Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” 37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. 40 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. 41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!”
Jesus, being God, felt what you may be feeling at this moment. He had a purpose in life just like you also have a purpose in this life. Jesus felt strength in prayer. In His moment of distress, He lifted His eyes to His beloved Father who understood what He was going through. God the Father gave Jesus what He so needed to carry out His life purpose which was to die on the cross to redeem our sins so we could go from darkness into the Light. Just as Jesus gave His suffering into the hands of His father, you too can also give your fear, despair and sadness to God. Trust Him to deliver you from the abyss you are in. Cry out to Him. God says in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me and I will answer you…” God is faithful. He keeps every one of His promises. He will fill you with His peace but you need to take that step of faith, believing God can and will deliver you from your sorrow. Believe in His healing and peace. Philippians 4:6-7 “ Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Be attentive. God will open a door, make a way for you. How? It may be through a person, a call, an event… There is nothing impossible for God. Nothing is bigger than He. Put yourself in His loving hands. Trust Him. You will see what God will do in your life if you just give Him the opportunity to do so. Allow Him in your life and you will feel His loving presence around you. You will see how your darkest moment will become one of light and peace. God will not leave you. You are not alone.
I have learned to cry out to God, surrender myself totally to Him and let Him take control over my life. He has been faithful. My moments of fear, despair or sadness have become just another bridge I have had to cross over to encounter a better and wonderful place in my life.
Read His Word which is the Bible and begin to have an intimate relationship with God. Pray. It is your tool in overcoming those difficult moments.
In Christ’s love,