Forget the past; focus on the future

July 26, 2012 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSE: Philippians 3:13(b),14,15(a)
“…But I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward–to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us.”
[The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H.  Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE:
If you have been laid off like me and you’re struggling to get back on track, I’m sure you’ve experienced day-dreaming moments of wishing for the “glories” of the past: those times when we were pretty much comfortable with our job and lifestyle. Regardless of how unfair work conditions might have been (in many cases), how low the wages received compared to our outstanding performance, and despite all the sacrificed personal time we had to put in for an employer that might have not thought it twice to lay us off, our human tendency is to hold tight to our comfort zone… and we keep wishing that our reality is not real and that we are not experiencing today’s lack of employment and a steady income.

Unfortunately, as we all know, the past is the past, and there’s no way to bring it back. However, as we accept our new reality, we can bring the future to our present by focusing on new goals and trusting God for a better tomorrow under His guidance and care. Since our earthly life is a non-stop once-in-a-lifetime race that always moves forward, why not concentrate on the opportunities that await us for us ahead and every chance we get to make a difference in someone else from now on?

Despite my current circumstances, I am convinced that God has something much better for me –and for you if you believe and trust Him. That’s why I continue to write and encourage others; that’s why I volunteer as a resume coach in a nearby non-profit organization; that’s why I freely serve as a worship leader at my local church every Sunday. All because I believe and trust the True God Who is a loving and caring Father and Who knows best everything that awaits for me ahead.

Are you ready to trust Him and keep running your race?

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your unfailing love and care for me despite what circumstances may show. Although I cannot always understand why my present conditions are the ones I am experiencing right now, I believe that You do care and are working on my behalf to bring about something more beautiful and better than what my past was able to offer. Teach me to be patient enough to wait for Your green light. In Jesus’ Name I pray and rest in Your everlasting promises, amen.

Where’s your confidence?

July 24, 2012 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSES [from the Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman  Foundation]:

Exodus 14:13(a)
“Fear not; stand still (firm, confident, undismayed) and see the salvation of the Lord which He will work for you today.”

Joshua 1:6(a), 8(b)
“Be strong (confident) and of good courage; …meditate on [this Book of the Law] day and night, that you may observe and do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall deal wisely and have good success.” [brackets added]

Psalm 4:5(b)
“Trust (lean on and be confident) in the Lord.”

John 16:33 (Jesus speaking)
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]”

TODAY’S MESSAGE:
When we have a respected education, up-to-date licenses and/or certifications, and a professional profile full of top-notch qualifications, skills and results, it is very easy –and seems pretty logical– to place our confidence in all these great achievements to succeed in life and reach a higher level in sync with our life dreams. However, when it comes to finding the right job opportunity in the midst of a hurting economy with scarce openings for thousands of other well-qualified professionals competing for those same chances, confidence in the greatness of our past performance might mean nothing. And if we add to this the reality of rapid-changing technology and employment trends waving at us while passing by at lightning speed, our confidence and hope for a brighter future have a reason to simply become null.

This is exactly where I’ve personally been in eleven of the past twenty-one months… not a desirable place to be, unfortunately. However, I have decided *not* to place my confidence on myself or my human achievements anymore but trust and lean on my Heavenly Father, the One Who designed me with a purpose and Who has promised to take care of all my needs through my relationship with Jesus Christ if I place as priority #1 His Kingdom and eternal purpose. Not an easy thing to do under present circumstances, but given the historic track record of God’s faithfulness, combined with His everlasting love and guidance, I am sure it will work.

Perhaps this is the ideal time for us to switch from a self-confident mentality to a God-confident perspective, and allow our Heavenly Father to prove His Word once again.

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for everything You have already provided for the benefit of Your children through faith. As Your child and believer in Jesus, I am determined to follow Your guidance and trust You in every decision and circumstance I face. I believe You are a loving God Who will always fulfill Your promises, and I trust that you will take care of opening the right doors for me. In Your Son Jesus’ name I stand and claim my victory today, amen.

The key to receiving what’s been promised is…

July 21, 2012 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSE: Hebrews 6:12
“Don’t drag your feet. Be like those who stay the course with committed faith and then get everything promised to them.”  [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H.  Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE:
If you’ve been waiting on God for a long time like I have, you may have experienced many moments of uncertainty coming against your belief in God’s faithfulness. Perhaps, like me, you even encountered critical times when utilities were temporarily disconnected due to lack of funds, or a health condition not showing signs of recovery. But you have kept your faith unwaivered and have trusted that God will supply, heal and deliver.

The key to receiving the full harvest of what we have planted during all this time resides in having and living out such committed faith that stays the course no matter what. Despite all the obstacles and distractions that will continue to show up every single day, we who believe in God’s unfailing Word have the power to stay focused and keep walking. For we are clear that every word from God’s mouth will never return to Him empty-handed or useless (Isaiah 55:11) and we will reap at the appointed time if we faint not (Galatians 6:9).

If we’ve come this far, then let’s not stop now but keep walking and trusting the One Who created us and Who has promised to take us to safety and rest.

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your everlasting   faithfulness, always ready to provide and keep us moving toward our destiny and purpose. Teach us to stay focused on Your promises and not allow everyday distractions to take our sight off You. Thank You for our daily bread and daily strength to keep going regardless of what we see, for we trust You, The Almighty Source of everything we need and desire. In Your Son’s Name I pray and give thanks, amen.

Are you still waiting?

July 20, 2012 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSE: Psalm 27:14
“Wait patiently for the LORD. Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the LORD.”
[New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.]

“Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.”
[Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman  Foundation]

TODAY’S MESSAGE:
For the past three-plus years, during which I’ve experienced some of the most challenging times in my life, I keep receiving the same message almost daily: “Wait on God.” Sometimes it has come with additional words of encouragement; sometimes it’s all I’ve received. Even when reaching the end of my rope in different areas during such length of time, the same message continues to stand. Even though nothing seems to shine on the horizon, the message is still the same: “Wait on God.”

Only when we truly believe that God exists and is the rewarder of those who diligently and earnestly seek Him (according to Hebrews 11:6) can we stand still and firm on our conviction that God’s faithfulness will prove our wait to be worth everything. Regardless of circumstances or waiting time, that, my friends, is the true nature of our Christian faith: believing a loving God who desires the very best for us and Who is simply asking us to be patient while He brings into reality everything we have hoped for according to His beautiful plan. Not always as encouraging as it reads, but since it is based on God’s Word I will continue to believe and wait.

Are you waiting on God?

TODAY’S PRAYER:
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your everlasting love that keeps us running the good race despite what we see in the natural realm of things. Thank You for always being there to comfort and guide Your children even when human hope seems lost at times. Teach us to wait patiently on Your promises, for at the appointed time we will see the expected results if we do not faint. In Jesus’ Precious Name, amen.

Are you enjoying your good days?

June 28, 2010 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSE: Ecclesiastes 7:14

“On a good day, enjoy yourself; On a bad day, examine your conscience. God arranges for both kinds of days So that we won’t take anything for granted.” [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE

After several months without seeing her, these past two weekends I have been truly blessed to enjoy my beautiful 7-year old Veronica, especially on Father’s Day. And, through the end of next month, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy each other under a warm and beautiful Summer here in Ohio!🙂

Being away from our loved ones for months is not the ideal scenario for anyone, especially those of us who are family oriented, for the sense of loneliness that it produces is nothing to be desired. However, when the good days to be with them come, we surely praise God and enjoy them to the fullest, for we know these special moments will not last forever.

My friend, never take for granted the blessings you currently have, for our earthly journey is not a very long one. Let us enjoy them while we have them, and trust God for His strength and comfort when our time to depart from them arrives.

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being such a wonderful Father always there even when at times we find ourselves away from our loved ones. Thank You for never forsaking us, and for allowing us to enjoy good days while making us strong for the not-so-good ones. Keep us always safe and strong no matter what. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

Are you recharging from your Power Source?

June 14, 2010 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSES: Psalm 121:1

“I look up to the mountains; does my strength come from mountains? No, my strength comes from God, who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.” [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE

If you have one you might experience the same thing I do. Every single day my cell phone needs to be recharged or else it will die on me by the time the day is over. So part of my daily routine is to make sure I am recharging it in my vehicle while driving or at home while it is not being used.

Our spiritual life, specifically our connection with God, is very much like a mobile phone. If we do not make it a habit (or discipline) to recharge our spiritual batteries frequently we will find ourselves feeling empty or alone in this world. But when we make it our priority to seek His will every single day we will definitely experience the satisfaction of experiencing a deep connection with our True Source of power, strength, and love. And nothing becomes an impossibility as our faith builds on this daily connection, believe me.

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for always being available to grant me power and strength to carry on with my daily challenges and pressures. Forgive me when I have not made it a priority to recharge my connection with you on a daily basis, and help to me make the most of my time as I strive to follow Your lead. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

Are we taking God’s grace for granted?

June 7, 2010 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSES: 1 Thessalonians 5:18

“Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live.” [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H.  Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE

A few days ago a Whispers subscriber shared with me the following incident:

“Yesterday, I was standing in line at a local Walmart. The lady behind me was on the phone telling someone that she was a … teacher who had just been wrongfully selected for permanent layoff. She started to murmur and complain about how hard the job was and how she had been mistreated by her superiors. She went on to say “as a Christian God had seen her struggles and how he would avenge her.” She said God knows me and he knows how I am!”

“What she didn’t remember was that sometime ago she prayed to God that he would give her that job, and how God had answered that prayer, and how God knew she would be strong enough to be a light in a place of great darkness. She didn’t realize that many others believers prayed for that same position but he gave it to her!”

“I was hoping to hear her thank the Lord for answering her prayer and for seeing her through a time of great trial but she never did.”

Does this scenario sound familiar? How many times have we complained and complained about our circumstances while missing the fact that it is God Who has graciously answered our prayers and provided for our daily needs? Isn’t it sad that we sometimes choose to be upset and murmur about everything going on in our life without taking the time to thank God for His everlasting goodness and faithfulness?

While God’s love and care for us are eternal, there’s no guarantee that our earthly blessings will be there tomorrow. Therefore, let us give thanks to God at all times recognizing Him as our Ultimate Source of our entire life. Perhaps this daily expression of humbleness before God might help us enjoy our blessings even longer.

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being Yahve-Jireh –my Supreme Provider–, always there when I need You. Forgive me when I have taken Your grace and love for granted many times, not realizing that everything I am and everything I have comes from You. Teach me to be thankful no matter what, for You have promised not to forsake Your children. In Jesus’ precious name I stand, amen.

Are we listening?

June 1, 2010 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSES: Hebrews 3:7b-8a, 15a, 4:7b

“Today, please listen, don’t turn a deaf ear…” [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H.  Peterson]

TODAY’S MESSAGE

God speaks to us every single day in many different ways. Even when we don’t realize this reality, every single moment God, through The Holy Spirit residing in every believer, is there guiding us every step of our earthly journey. And for this purpose He will use His Word, our neighbor, a song, a book, an e-mail, a stranger… and the list goes on and on.

Why? Because (1) you and I are now His special possession, bought with Jesus’ blood in Calvary and translated from the kingdom of darkness to His Kingdom of light, (2) you and I have a divinely-appointed mission to accomplish while on this earth, and (3) you and I need Him to help us carry our earthly purpose while striving to live a life of holiness and integrity that cares for others and brings them to the truth of who they were also designed to be.

God will use anything and anyone to speak to you and me today. The question is not “Is God speaking?” but rather “Are we listening?”

TODAY’S PRAYER

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for caring so much for me and not giving up even when I have not listened nor obeyed Your daily instruction. I ask forgiveness for those times I have lived according to my own limited understanding and have failed to recognize that Your way is always best. Thank You for Your forgiveness and for continuing to mold my heart to Yours. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

Are we loving and gracious like our Father?

May 24, 2010 - Leave a Response
TODAY’S VERSES: Psalm 145:8, 9, 13b, 17
“God is all mercy and grace— not quick to anger, is rich in love.”
“God is good to one and all; everything he does is suffused with grace.”
“God always does what he says, and is gracious in everything he does.”
“Everything God does is right— the trademark on all his works is love.”
[The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H.  Peterson]
TODAY’S MESSAGE
In times of social and economic challenges like the ones we live in, it is very easy to lose sight of our call to be gracious and loving toward others at all times. As earthly creatures our tendency is to fight for survival, even when that means stepping upon others to prevail. Especially if we’re faced with lack or adversity of some kind, we see ourselves as priority number one and helping others becomes second.
The plain truth is that our Heavenly Father is not like that, and the good news is that we do not have to live like that either. As today’s verses declare, our God is a gracious and loving God, good to all and always doing what’s good and right for us. He is our utmost example of how we should live our daily life, for virtues such as love and grace are not bound by circumstantial realities but profound character. And living beyond circumstances while developing a strong character is key to successful living.
Aren’t we glad God is Who He is?
TODAY’S PRAYER
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being such an awesome God –always quick to love and working with our best interest at heart. Forgive me when I have lost focus of my divine call to be like You, and help me to share Your love and grace to those around me. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

Declare that God is good despite what you see

May 18, 2010 - Leave a Response

TODAY’S VERSE: Psalm 34:8

“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him.” [The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson]

“O taste and see that the Lord [our God] is good!” [Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation]

“Discover for yourself that the LORD is kind. Come to him for protection, and you will be glad.” –CEV [Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society]

TODAY’S MESSAGE:

I know how difficult it is at times to understand why things happen in life, why our circumstances are not the way we planned or expected, why we are here when we should be there. As a human just like you I’ve also failed God many times by not honoring His Word or listening to His still voice on a timely manner. Worst yet, I know first hand what it means to make not-so-wise decisions that eventually catch up with us and become an inevitable gap that hinders us from seizing that awesome opportunity that just slipped from our hands because we were not ready for it. I know how that feels, and I’m sure sometime in your life you’ve felt the same way.

But despite how we see our present or our future, one single truth remains: God is good and will continue to be good! If we were able to uncover and see the many times our life has been spared from death, or the many ways we’ve been protected from harmful intentions, or the countless times our simplest prayers have been answered when least expected, I’m sure you and I would agree that God is indeed faithful, far beyond what we imagine possible.

Let us make it a priority to praise God every day for Who He is, and not focus so much on where we are right now. For the truth of the matter is that every stage in life is temporary, and where God will place us tomorrow does not compare to where we stand today. God has better plans for you and me. He always knows what’s best, and will take us there.

TODAY’S PRAYER:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for being such an Awesome and Faithful God even when at times I fail and mess things up. Thank You for always being so patient as to not count my faults against me. I ask forgiveness for not relying 100% on You, and commit to praise You every day, for You are worthy of my adoration and will forever be good. In Jesus’ precious name, amen.