Month: July 2018

  • Living At Peace With Everyone?

    “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
    Romans 12:18

    I can be a real grump. Not intentionally, but I find there is a limit to my patience and tolerance for certain shenanigans. There are times that I feel hard pressed to get along whether because of dealing with a difficult person, or navigating my own insecurities. Either way, it triggers a lack of empathy and perspective. I can become inwardly focused and tone deaf to the needs of the people around me. To further complicate things, my mom is from the south and I am also Latina, so on the outside I will look calm and composed and say something like “Bless your heart” but on the inside I am ready to take off my earrings and throw down. It’s a challenging thing to balance.

    As a daughter of God Most High however, I am called to do whatever is in my power to live at peace with everyone. Everyone? Surely, that is not what the Lord means! I mean, some people can be downright impossible at times!

    I don’t believe I am alone in this. As humans, we all bump up against our own selfishness and have to buffer it with the grace and humility that Christ calls us to. There are a million different scenarios that can be tough and they’re not always directly related to conflict. Being in new or uncomfortable social settings, feeling insecure, being nervous about a test or presentation, all of these can get us thinking inwardly.

    Jesus literally endured the impossible because he knew who he was, where he came from and where he was going. We have that same benefit. We are God’s beloved daughters. He has redeemed our past and set us on a new path with Him, headed toward a beautiful future where conflict and heartache are no more. Our past, present and future are secure in His hands, therefore we are secure.

    In this truth, I am freed to look at things through the eyes of Christ. The verse says to live at peace, as far as it depends on you. I may not always have the right words to resolve a conflict, or know how to be still when I’m feeling insecure, but I know how to point to Jesus.

    I can ask myself, “How can I show the love of Jesus in this situation?” That IS within my control, that IS in my power, and through the Holy Spirit, I can model Jesus’ love in any situation. Because of who I am in Christ, success is redefined. It no longer matters if I’m perfect, only if my actions point to the One who is. And suddenly, the peace that passes understanding washes over me because I’m back on mission, doing what Jesus would do.

    We can remind ourselves who we are, and then ask, “How can I show the love of Christ here?” Maybe that looks like comforting someone else who is nervous too, or letting the joy of the Lord shine through as you speak. Perhaps it is staying silent when you are angry, until you can speak in love instead.

    While we cannot control other people, how we handle conflict can open the door for God to change hearts and lives. We can continue to walk forward with a clear conscience that we did what was in our power; having the confidence that prayer and the grace of God will cover the rest.

    In whatever situation you find yourself, may you step out boldly in faith, assured of who you are as a daughter of the King, and ready to show the love of Jesus.

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  • Glow in the Dark

    “The old way, with laws etched in stone, led to death, though it began with such glory that the people of Israel could not bear to look at Moses’ face. For his face shone with the glory of God, even though the brightness was already fading away. Shouldn’t we expect far greater glory under the new way, now that the Holy Spirit is giving life?…Since this new way gives us such confidence, we can be very bold. We are not like Moses, who put a veil over his face so the people of Israel would not see the glory, even though it was destined to fade away. But the people’s minds were hardened, and to this day whenever the old covenant is being read, the same veil covers their minds so they cannot understand the truth. And this veil can be removed only by believing in Christ. Yes, even today when they read Moses’ writings, their hearts are covered with that veil, and they do not understand.

    But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Corinth 3:7-8, 12-18 NLT

    In Exodus, we read about Moses and the Israelites and God’s giving of the Ten Commandments. When Moses returned from the mountain after having an personal encounter with God, his face shined so brightly that no one could look upon him. The glory of God was radiating from his face, literally! As a result of Moses spending time in the presence of God, he literally soaked up God’s glory and was still glowing with it as he left the mountain. He was like a living glow in the dark toy! So to put it lightly, the Israelites were a little freaked out when they saw him, so Moses wore a veil to conceal his face because it was too bright and glorious.

    In the Bible, we sometimes see two meanings for things. In these verses, there was a literal veil that Moses wore, but the veil also symbolizes the barrier between God and his people. Their hearts could not fully “see” what God was trying to show them. Their hearts were not yet enlightened–the veil remained and obscured their sight (literally and figuratively) from God’s glory.

    At one time or another, a veil has covered our hearts. Because of a barrier between ourselves and God, we couldn’t see God’s glory. Instead of seeing the light, we walked in darkness.

    But we have hope! Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, the veil between heaven and earth has been torn away (Matthew 27:50-54). When we turn our hearts to the Lord, we see truth and we find freedom from the veil that blinds us. The barrier between God and us no longer remains. In Christ, we can have full access to God’s spirit, in fact God spirit now resides within us! How amazing is that?!

    Our encounter with the risen Christ doesn’t leave us with a glowing face like Moses, instead we radiate God’s glory daily as we spend time in His presence, being made more and more into the image of God. The veil has been removed and now we radiate God’s glory to the world around us. This brings a whole new meaning to letting your light shine!

    We are not to conceal God’s glory from those around us, instead, we are to shine brightly and be a beacon in the darkness pointing others toward God.

    Praying your encounters with God this week leave you filled to the fullness of God. Be bold and shine brightly!

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  • Set Free

    In America, we live in the home of the free and the brave. But what does it mean to be free? With Independence Day this week, I decided to look again to see what the Scriptures have to say about freedom. I discovered that there are a lot of references to freedom. In John 8:31-36, Jesus tells the Jews that once they know the truth, the truth will set them free. They are confused because they didn’t even know they needed freedom. They said, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?” To this question, Jesus replies: “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.”

    We may live a country that is “free” but are we free the way God intended?? Are we living in captivity without even realizing it to addiction, sin, illness, fear, insecurity, broken relationships or financial crisis? Jesus came that we may be set free in every way: physically, spiritually, and emotionally. He came to restore and give us true freedom. A long time before Jesus arrived on earth, the prophet Isaiah spoke of Jesus’ coming ministry and purpose on this earth that later Jesus himself would proclaim.

    The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

    “They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations” (Is. 61:1-4Luke 4:16-21)

    Jesus came to restore what was broken in this world and in his creation. Through his ministry and ultimate sacrifice, he ushered in a new way of life and brought hope for a renewed and restored creation.

    Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.

    “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Romans 8:14-17

    Because of what Christ accomplished through the cross, we no longer need to live as slaves to sin and fear. For if we are in Christ, we have received his Spirit and He has set us free from the law of sin and death. We are no longer slaves to the things of this world but instead are the children of God. The power of sin and death has no hold on us any longer because the Christ has conquered both and His spirit now lives in us. And we know that “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor. 3:17).

    As we learn to live from day to day in the power of the Spirit, we continue in that freedom. Freedom means that we are no longer compelled to obey the things that mess up our lives and threaten to enslave us, but we are now free to follow a new and better path–one that leads to peace, joy and life to the fullest, the way God intended. As you take a moment today to reflect on freedom, thank God for the freedoms in our lives and for His Spirit that has truly set us free.

    Happy 4th of July!!

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