Woman Running
Christian Life

Keep pressing forward

Woman Running

Recently, I learned that even when the going gets tough, we need to keep pressing on. The end results will be worth it.

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been on a no-carb diet. I have eliminated sweets from the menu also. Contrary to what many have said about a no-carb diet, I haven’t struggled much with it.

What I am struggling with is exercise. Last night, as I was working out on the elliptical, I found myself getting very lazy. I didn’t want to work out! It was hard, and I didn’t want to do it. I wanted to give up!

I kept lowering the recline level and resistance. Oh, yes I did! I struggled; however, I persevered and managed to get in a 20-minute workout, and I burned a few calories.

It’s better than nothing, I think.

As I struggled on the elliptical, I thought about how, at times, we struggle spiritually, and we want to give up.

Our prayer life becomes stale. We don’t make time for Bible study or quiet time with the Lord, etc. It becomes quite a challenge to find the time to be with the Lord.

It’s even harder to press on when we are surrounded by “Christians” who aren’t encouraging. Everything that comes out of their mouth is negative, gossipy, and rude.

Where’s the love? Many people say that they love, but their actions prove otherwise. I know its’ cliche, but it is true, “actions speak louder than words.”

Our behavior (verbal and nonverbal) says so much about who we are. The manner in which we approach a situation, how we say things and our reaction to adversity reveal our real character.

Let’s take a good look in the mirror. We aren’t perfect, and it will be a long time before we achieve perfection. However, that isn’t an excuse to continue to sin.

I hear this often, the first step to healing is admitting that we have a problem. In this case, we need to confess our sin to God.

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” Hebrews 12:1-3 KJV

Hebrews 12:1-3, reminds us of a few things:

1. Let go of anything that is weighing us down (sin).
2. Run the race with patience.
3. Let’s keep our eyes on Jesus.
4. Remember all that Jesus endured on the cross for us.
5. Perspective! Jesus suffered and persevered until the end. We can too.

The past year has been a hard one for me, spiritually. I’ve been under spiritual attack. The best part is that I’ve learned many lessons. The greatest one is that God is the only being who is trustworthy.

We can pour out our hearts to him. As my former pastor says, “He listens, and He cares.”

Many times we allow people, who we think are trustworthy, into our lives when we should be seeking God every single day.

He is the One who cares.
He is the One who has our best interests at heart.
He is the One who keeps our secrets.
He is the One who loves us unconditionally.

It seems simple, but not easy to do:

Keep praying. Keep reading. Keep fasting. Obey God. Have faith. Have mercy. Love.

We should often think of all that Jesus had to go through for us. It’s the only way to keep pressing forward.

 

God bless you,

Ivette

 

 

Christian Life

Sometimes, we hang on for dear life

A few months ago, I thought that my Kindle was lost forever, but I discovered that it was just hanging on for dear life.

My husband and I decided to go out to dinner. I wasn’t in the mood to cook so I was grateful that he suggested going to a restaurant.

It was 5 o’clock, on a dark, January day, and we needed to get our toddler ready. We were hungry and anxious to get to the restaurant. And with all the running around, somewhere between getting the bag replenished and getting our energetic toddler into his car seat, we misplaced the Kindle.

Of course, we didn’t realize it was missing until we got home. Husband stated that he handed it to me and I said, “nope”. We retraced our footsteps and that didn’t help. We tried to solve this mystery.

It was a case of “where in the world is the Kindle”?

Days passed and we continued to search for it. Maybe the toddler hid it? Maybe it was in the car? Or maybe we dropped it in our “parking lot” (that’s what I call our driveway!)?

Let’s fast forward a few days (maybe 2 or 3? I can’t remember now!).

As I was driving with my mom and my rambunctious toddler, I noticed a white, mid-sized vehicle driving close to my car. (That is irritating!) However, I didn’t know what was about to unfold. I questioned, “What is going on with the driver? Is she okay?”

I pull into my driveway, I glance in my rear-view mirror and she is parking in my driveway, too.

I step out of my vehicle, in wonderment and I ask her, “Is everything all right?” She says, “You have a tablet sitting on your window. I’ve tried to get your attention.”

Of course, I laughed. Then, I thanked her. Feeling foolish.

Mystery solved! She found the Kindle.

This is what I believe happened– While my husband was placing our son into his car seat, on the evening we went to dinner, he placed the tablet in the space between the rear window and the trunk. It’s the small space that you have to dig into when it snows. Yup. That small space was what saved the Kindle from meeting its end. Obviously, he forgot to retrieve it.

Then I thought, “Hmm, this Kindle survived our trip to the restaurant, into and unnamed town (has a bad rep) and it didn’t get stolen. It survived my trips to the grocery stores and work and snow showers. And I didn’t notice it sitting against the window.”

This led me to meditate–we can be so distracted by all that is going on in our lives that we aren’t present or “in the moment”. We are surviving, but not functioning at our best.

We tend to worry about every-day-life and we forget what Matthew 6:25-26 says:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”.

Scripture tells us not to worry and that God will take care of our needs. But we don’t do that.

Exhausted from our work week. Drained by all the negativity in the media. Unsure of how we will pay this bill or the next. Tired of the gossip. The teenager doesn’t listen. The spouse doesn’t care anymore. The best friend betrayed me.

Just like the Kindle, we are holding on to dear life and we fail to remember that we aren’t alone. God is still there. Waiting for us to talk to Him.

But, if we cannot slow down, when will we have time to spend with God? How will we hear God’s voice? When will we give Him our worries?

We need to learn to “stop and smell the roses”. We need to learn to trust Jesus with everything. That means our day, our household, our family, our work etc.

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Giving all our worries to our Creator is a good thing. He can work on resolving all those problems and working it out all for our own good. He knows best.

“And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:27-29; KJV

Distractions and worries are robbing us from living a full life in Christ. God tells us, through His Word, not to worry because He provides for our needs, to trust Him with everything because He will work it out for our own good.

Instead of hanging on for dear life, let’s give God our worries and live purposefully.

Ps. I am happy to report that the Kindle functions. Not at 100%, but it does. Hubby bought me an iPad mini.

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Faith

When everything appears to fall apart….

With the elections underway in the United States of America, many of us have mixed feelings about the candidates and the process. We don’t know who to vote for. Who is the real deal? Who speaks truth? Don’t actions speak louder than words?

There is uncertainty in the air. How do we shake off the uneasiness?

As a Christian, I am leaning on God’s guidance and strength. Whoever becomes the President of the United States, was chosen by God, either to bring judgment or to restore America.(That’s not to say that I am not doing research and paying attention. I am and it is important to be impartial. )

Everything appears to fall apart, but God is in control.

Just as the Lord has control over the wind and sea (Mark 4:39-40), he has control over this election. It is an ugly election. Too much “rock throwing” and not enough repentance.

This past year, many events have unfolded that have made people uncomfortable, angry and passionate. The Lord has allowed this to happen. Why?

Mark 4:22 tells us that, “For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.”

Everything that sits in darkness has to come out into the light and only God can make that happen. Ever hear, “God doesn’t like ugly!”?

Sin is ugly. He doesn’t like it. He will expose it and we aren’t going to like it. We don’t have to. God is God and He can do what He desires. Who are we to applaud one sin and condemn another?

Sin is sin. Period.

Where is God in all of this? 

He is sitting on His throne watching us closely. (Oh, yes He is!)

He is waiting for His people to rise up and call on Him.

He is waiting for His people to trust Him.

He is waiting for His people to seek Him and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

He is right next to each of us, waiting for us to repent and to come to Him with our concerns.

Bottom line: God is tired of sin and unrepentant hearts.

God has been removed from schools, the workplace, the court system and… this one will shock many people– the church! (Did you know that every church isn’t part of God’s church?)

However, there is hope in Him! If we focus on God’s promises, we will gain  perspective and hope. The following scriptures are a reminder that regardless of who becomes President, God is still in control. 

God is going to fight for His people. He will protect us. 

And I commanded Joshua at that time, saying, Thine eyes have seen all that the Lord your God hath done unto these two kings: so shall the Lord do unto all the kingdoms whither thou passest. Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you.” Deuteronomy 3:21-22

God’s will be done, not man’s. 

” After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” Matthew 6:9-13

God will guide us and help us.

“’For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:13-14

Trust in God and only God.

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.” Proverbs 29:25

 

God bless you & yours,

Ivette

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Christian Life

Family & “Sunday dinners”

 

It’s not often that my family can get together for a “Sunday dinner”. My sister lives 2,000+ miles away, my dad works evenings and frankly, I am too tired after church service (5 – 6 hours later. Yup.).

Well, my sister is visiting from out-of-town, and she decided to make dinner for the family (yesterday). She desired to have a “sit-down dinner”, which we haven’t had in a while, as a family.

Frankly, a “sit-down” meal doesn’t happen at our house! Normally, my two-year-old runs around the kitchen because he wants to, I stand at the counter trying to swallow my food and chase my son, while the husband is lost in our house. Nice, huh?

This time it was different: my sister set the dinner table with white plates, eating utensils, napkins and wine glasses (for juice or water; we don’t consume alcohol.). The chicken alfredo was ready and we waited on the garlic bread.

After wrestling with the toddler for a bit, we finally got him into his high chair and we sat down at the table. There were six of us. (My dad and brother-in-law were not present as they were both at work. Booo!)

Prior to “digging in”, we prayed and thanked God for our meal and family.

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Psalm 100:4

This is important to us, as a family. We value God, His principles and teachings. And I want my son to understand how important God and family are. God is first, then family.

[bctt tweet=””Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6″ username=”inhispurpose7″]

Then we served dinner, chatted for a bit and laughed often. It was a nice change.

For some families, it is a challenge to get everyone together for dinner. Even those living under your own roof!

It’s a challenge for my family, as my husband and I arrive home at different times. And it’s not possible to wait so long to have dinner as a family. I need to feed my toddler (when he decides he is hungry).

Also, I attend services on weeknights and that means that we have to eat quickly and go. Off to Bible Study, prayer night or evangelical service, usually three nights in a week, sometimes less. I need to spend time with my family, too. What kind of Christian am I, if I can’t give my family attention?

“But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” 1 Timothy 5:8

Of course, it doesn’t mean that “sit-down” dinners cannot happen. It is not possible every evening, but I can try to make it happen every Sunday.

Do you have a hard time preparing meals or getting everyone together?

A few things that have worked for me:

  • Use a crockpot
  • Prepare meals the previous day (cook it when you get home and serve an appetizer while you wait.)
  • Cook the meal the morning of and warm it up later
  • Take-out! (I’d like to avoid this one.)
  • We have dinner at the counter (sometimes)

 

What has worked for you and your family? I’d love to hear from you.

God bless you & yours,

Ivette

 

 

 

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Christian Life

Forced to take an “unscheduled break” from blogging?

A few months have passed since I last posted on my blog. Unfortunately, a plague stopped by my house. (Ha! Plague?!)

Plague is an exaggeration, but let me tell you, it really felt like that. Everything from asthma, viruses, 36-hour bugs and colds hit our home. It felt like it was never going to end. It was a frustrating period for me and my family. This has never happened in my household! Back-to-back illnesses.

Who wants illnesses to linger for months? Exhaustion hit me and I needed to rearrange my schedule a bit. It wasn’t easy and I’m sure you have experienced this at some point in your life.

The result– an “unscheduled break” from blogging.

My personal definition of an unscheduled break is anything unexpected that keeps me from completing a task. As hard as you try to keep it together, it just seems like it won’t work.

“Unscheduled breaks” happen. How we decide to deal with the “break” is another issue. Whether it is a break from a project, blogging or ministry, there is a reason for it. And there is one!

We have a real enemy and his name is satan (I don’t like capitalizing his name! He doesn’t deserve it.). He attacks those who are moving forward in God’s will. And this is what happened in my household. If you are a Christian who serves in Spirit and in Truth and you are under attack constantly, you are doing something right.

Then comes victory.

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24

I learned that persistence is key. Keep moving forward in God’s will. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you. Keep your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).Put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:13). The Great I Am is fighting for you and me. God is good and He deserves all the Glory.

What can we do during this “unscheduled” break from blogging, besides getting frustrated and crying an ocean?

  • Take a deep breath, you will be okay
  • Stay connected to God via prayer
  • Create a scripture list & keep it handy
  • Keep a notebook with you at all times and  jot down blog post ideas
  • Stay active on social media
  • Immerse yourself in the Word
  • Pray harder….

Have you had an “unscheduled break” from blogging? How did you handle it? Please share your thoughts below.

God bless you & yours,

Ivette

 

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