Friday, February 27, 2015

Every Morning...

We all know very well how the road of life is not a smoothly paved, coastal highway with a scenic view traveled in an auto-piloted luxury vehicle. Rather, it seems, at times at least, more like a rocky path in the middle of hostile territory on board of an Amish buggy in the dead of winter.

What are we to do? Are we to just to give up to a hopeless existence and wait to die soon?

I don’t think so.

The Lord, Our Maker, wants us to have life, and have it in abundance! (John 10: 10)

Therefore, even though life gets tough sometimes, I will not lose hope…that’s why…

Today I cling to His promise that,

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,

for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”
The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him,
to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young. Lamentations 3: 22-27

Every day is a new beginning. Every day brings in new hope. Every day is another chance to seek His face and find His will. Every day His mercies are renewed and to that hope I cling!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

He Will Never Leave Us

Today I cling to His promise that He will never leave me…that He will never forsake me…

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. 
 Deuteronomy 31: 6

This piece of Scripture has carried me through every bit of difficulty I have ever experienced in my years since I first became acquainted with it. I love the fact that if you look at the Biblical reference, the combination of numbers reminds us of another crucial piece of Scripture. I love the fact that this assurance given to the Israelite people directly from God through Moses is also given to us, their spiritual descendants through the Apostle of the gentiles, our dear friend Paul. I love its rhythmical strength. I love the way it comforts me.

I love every phrase in this verse:

Be strong and courageous, a command to us who find strength in Him, and Him alone.

Do not be afraid or terrified because of them…another command to remind us to get a grip. The world is a terrifying place full of terrifying people, but we must not let them get to us. In the midst of the chaos of our society and everyday lives, we need to stand firm, continue our work for the Kingdom and not be paralyzed by our fear.

For the LORD your God goes with you…the promise…the magnificent promise upon which the commands are sustained. He goes with me! The thought is too big for my brain to fully comprehend. How can it be? How can the God who made the Universe and everything in it be with me? How can it be not only that, but, as if such promise weren’t enough, He expands it and assures us also that…

He will never leave you nor forsake you…the promise goes beyond as it establishes the constancy of His presence. How can it be?

It can all be in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit who dwells in us.

I cling to His Faithfulness as He abides in us regardless of time, situation or space. He defies it all as He stays and refuses to abandon us.

Praise You and thank You, LORD for Your Word that connects us to your ever presence.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

He Knows My Name

Those who know me well know I am a tad, just a bit, difficult to deal with. “You yell too much!” “You overreact all the time!” “You have NO patience.” “Why can’t you just relax?” “Why do you always have to get mad at everything?” I don’t know how many times I’ve heard these expressions come out of the mouths of my babes…sigh…

It’s true. It’s all true. My short temper and lack of self-control (along with most of the other fruits of the Spirit) are my life-long struggles. Here it is: I am not a joy to be around most of the time.

I often wonder how could anyone actually love me? My husband would be so much better off with some nice girl who is gentle, tender, loving, understanding, patient…so would my sons…they would thrive if they had a kinder, more caring mother…sigh…

These are the thoughts that run through my head on a pretty regular base.

This season of Lent I want to leave those thoughts behind. They are not doing me or anybody any good. And to help me do that, I am claiming Psalm 139, and I am clinging to all Scripture that reminds me how He knows me…how He knows my name…and even so, even when He knows all of me, He loves me.

He has made me, He has searched me, He knows ALL about me even before the beginning of the world…even before my unformed body began to take shape inside the hidden place…He knew my name and He designed a plan for me…a beautiful plan! And for all that, I praise You and thank You, Lord!

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. 
Psalm 139: 13-14

Today I cling to the truth that You are MY Good Shepherd, and that as such, You know me and I hear Your voice…the voice of truth that says that You chose me and love me just as I am.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Today I Cling to the Fact that He Knows

Jeremy Camp is one of my favorite contemporary Christian artists. My sons and I had the privilege of seeing him in concert a few weeks ago at the Winter Jam in Pittsburgh along with about 9 other great groups, but I have to say that Camp’s performance and words captured me the most. His new song, “He Knows” really speaks to me because it reminds me that, indeed, Our Great God knows…nothing surprises Him. He is in control and He knows our hurt… He knows how to take care of it, and how to make it better.

Today I cling to that truth…to the truth that He Knows!

If there is someone who knows it is Him. He is the God with us who knows what suffering means. He carried our cross, walked our way to Calvary and let Himself be hammered with our nails.

Our misery and our tears are recorded in His Book (Psalm 56: 8) and one day, one glorious day, He will wipe them all off…no more brokenness.

Jeremy Camp reminds us of God’s promises when he sings:

every time that you feel forsaken
every time that you feel alone
He is near to the broken hearted
every tear
He knows…

Therefore, we hang on to the fact that He knows and that He cares for us. He brings us comfort for no one is like Our God!

Your righteousness, God, reaches to the heavens,
You who have done great things.
Who is like you, God?
Though you have made me see troubles,
many and bitter,
you will restore my life again;
from the depths of the earth
You will again bring me up.
You will increase my honor
and comfort me once more. 
Psalm 71: 19-21

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Today I Cling...

This morning, as I look out the window, I admire the snow-blanketed surroundings. After a day of constant snow-fall, today I can barely see the road in front of our house. Regardless of the implications, it is impossible to deny the beauty of the scenery. It is a beauty hard to grasp for someone born in a tropical paradise…it’s a beauty hard to distinguish if you are out there in the elements rather than inside a nice-warm home. It’s a beauty that could be terribly harsh if you are not protected. It’s a beauty that threatens because it could actually destroy.

There are so many things in this world that we lean on, that we follow, that we hang on to which are seemingly beautiful and safe, but that once we cling to them, they become our doom. You name them, but relationships come to mind first. Relationships that turn abusive, co-dependent, addictive, toxic, leave us lingering at the bottom of the pit immerse where desolation and darkness run thick.

Clinging to a relationship, to a someone, to a loved one will inevitable disappoint us. Perhaps, not as dramatically as described above, but it will, one day, bring us to tears and heart ache.

This Lent I want to intentionally turn my eyes toward the One who never disappoints. I want to focus on Jesus, my constant source of breath, hope, truth and love. And where do I find Him? Where do I meet Him? Well, He is the Word, so the one sure place I can most certainly run into Him is by going to Him, by visiting Him in Scripture.

Today I realize I must cling to Him. Today I cling to the liberating power of The Word.

As I look out the window again, I know the seemingly endless snow will soon melt and the wintery scene will dissipate. Not so God’s Kingdom as described in His Word. That’s why I hang on to His promises…that’s why I cling to it.

He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed. Daniel 7: 14

He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. Titus 1: 9

15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. Philippians 2: 15-16

Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1: 1-3

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Today I Cling

This Lent season I want to openly express how I am not ashamed to cling to My Lord. I want to meditate on how I cling to Jesus, and the way I plan to do is by writing “today I cling” statements.

“Today I cling” statements are daily (or as daily as I can J ) affirmations that focus on three aspects:

1. Today: the present. I want to focus on living with my eyes fixed on the present time and not so much in the future or in the past. I want to concentrate on praising God for today’s blessings, thanking Him for yesterday’s provision and trusting Him with tomorrow’s troubles. I want to honor Him by seeking Him and making that my daily priority.

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 
 Matthew 6: 31-34

2. I: my part. I want to realize that I do have a part to fulfill as well. It is true that God’s sovereign power spins the entire world and everyone’s lives into His control; but it is also true that He asks something from us. He asks that we believe, trust, persevere, act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him (James 1, Micah 6: 8). He commands us to not only be listeners of the Word, but must importantly to be doers of the Word (James 1: 23-25).

He wants us to follow Him and not be ashamed of the gospel. He wants us to be His children and act like so.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. 
Romans 12: 2

3. Cling: to the One Who Is Unmovable. I know to whom I cling…I cling to the Solid Rock so I shall not be moved, for He does not move.

Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. Psalm 62: 6

I pray for wisdom so I know to build my house on the Rock.

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. Matthew 7: 24

I pray that I always remember who my Strong Tower is…my refuge and my strength...

From the end of the earth I call to You when my heart is faint; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a refuge for me, A tower of strength against the enemy. Psalm 61: 2-3

Today I cling to You, Jesus, My Lord and My God!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


The desert is probably not the first place that comes to mind when most people fantasize about their ideal location for a nice vacation (though in a night when the temperature is somewhere around 16 below…the desert heat doesn’t sound too bad at all). However, I’m not talking about Arizona here, where we can visit the Grand Canyon or chill at a glamorous resort. The desert I’m referring to here is the thirst-inducing, vast, arid-nothingness that scorches your skin and blisters your soul.

I’m talking about the desert of the heart. It is that period of trial, when the Devil is loud and the voice of the Lord is a distant whisper. It is that time in our lives when it’s difficult to perceive God’s presence and we cannot feel His hand upon us. It is the moment when our faith is put to the test and our motives are searched.

We all go through times like this…Jesus Himself did as well. Right before the beginning of His public ministry, The Spirit led Him to the wilderness to be tested…to be tempted…in preparation for what was to come. He faced the false teaching and enticing deceit of the Evil One, and came out victorious. Armed with the truth, Jesus defeated the enemy, and so can we.

Lent has begun, so let us take this opportunity to walk in the desert, face our strongholds and experience the freedom that only Christ can offer.

Let us put on the full armor of God, and see the truth of the Word, defeat the enemy. Let us cling to the principles that bring us life. Let us cling to the God of Love. And let us not be afraid.

As we enter our personal journey, let us remember that we don’t walk alone. Jesus walks with us and He always gives us something to cling to. I am not ashamed to cling to Him and to His Love and Truth; therefore, during Lent I will meditate on some of the things I can hang on to in order to ensure a safe passage and sure footing while I travel the dry sands of my desert.  

Let's walk together and discover what messages He has prepared for us this season.

Matthew 4:1-11

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. 3 The temptercame to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

8 Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9 “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

10 Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

11 Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


As another Ash Wednesday has come upon us, we would be wise to take a few minutes to reflect on the whole ash thing.

What’s the deal with ashes?

Catholics and other denominations put them on their foreheads. Old Testament Jews sat on it, sprinkled it on themselves, rolled around on it and even ate it…but why?

There are many Bible verses that reference ashes, so let’s take a look at a few

Job 42: 6 “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.”

Daniel 9: 3 “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.”

Genesis 18: 27 Then Abraham spoke up again: "Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes…”

Jeremiah 6: 26 “Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.”

Job despised himself and repented, Daniel pleaded with God, Abraham admitted that he was nothing; Jeremiah commanded mourning, all around the context of ashes. Therefore, could it be safe to assume that ashes have something to do with unpleasant things? Maybe…rather than unpleasant, however, repentance, supplication, unworthiness, mourning have to do with feeling contrite. They are all acts of a heart that sacrificially submits to the Lord.

Psalm 51: 17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.

Therefore, if we think about it, ashes symbolize repentance and godly sorrow. They are an outward sign of the grief we carry inside. The grief caused by sin burns us and reminds us that we are nothing…just like the ashes that cover us. Ashes remind us that only by God’s grace we are worth something…by His forgiveness we live…by His wounds we are healed; therefore, we pray and praise!

Today, then, I pray that this year (even though from my vantage point it should be called “snow” Wednesday rather than Ash Wednesday) the ashes that we carry whether on our foreheads or on our souls may serve to prepare the way to a season of Lent marked by repentance, meditation and a contrite spirit.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

How do you ever write a new song for Jesus?
How do you ever find the right words?
How can you begin to figure out
what to say to Our Lord?

Hasn't it all been expressed before?
How do you ever find something new?

I can't even play an instrument,
neither sing a note...

But if You give me the words,

I will write you a song...

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Snub

Well, yes, I have to admit that ever since Dan and I were dating we became Valentine’s Day snubs. This is one hallmark holiday that we don’t acknowledge (along with many others such as Sweetest Day, Boss Day, Ferris Wheel Day and my all-time-favorite: Tax Day! NOT!).

At any rate…

…it’s not like we started out despising Valentine’s. Not really. The young and very naïve version of us had nothing against the holiday. We actually thought it would be part of our normal celebrations. But right from the start… about 23 years ago to be precise, my then dashing boyfriend (now dashing husband) and I began our sad litany of Valentine’s mishaps…hence, the decision to just give it up for good.

I’m not going to bore you and me by retelling our silly/frustrating stories. Suffice it to say that the several failed attempts left us jaded…besides, I can’t really remember anything prior to 2002…


…as Our Good Lord has blessed me with yet another year stuffing heart-printed little baggies with cavity-inducing sweets and Super Heroes mini-cards for my young son’s Valentine’s Day class party; I got to thinking…

What’s so bad about celebrating love?

Why should I be so cynical at people’s attempts to take a day to show some sort of appreciation to their special someone? (I mean…’comon…it is not every day you get to see tens upon tens of men lined up after work at the Grocery Store’s flower counter, waiting to buy the last, water dripping, cliché, ½ dozen red roses left at the make-shift Valentine’s display…that’s some expression of pure love if I ever saw one)


Okay, focus!

Why is it so wrong to celebrate love!?

The answer is…it’s not!

Love is the only thing that makes life worth living, right!?

Love makes the world go around!

Love made the world…Love made us all. It was Love who spoke us into being. It was Love who took our punishment. It was Love who walked up to Calvary. It was Love who died upon the Cross. Love redeems us. Love saves us. Love sustains us. Love is the Great I AM.

How can I snub love?

I know, it’s not the same. Commercial Valentine’s Day does not celebrate the God who is true Love. But, who says I have to abide by Hallmark’s rules? I can celebrate my own way. After all, doesn’t everyone choose who they want to be their Valentine? Well, I choose mine to be My Lord Jesus the Christ!

He paid my debt. He carried my cross. He found me when I was lost. He took me in when nobody else would have me. Even when those who are supposed to love me, abandon me and forget about me, He never does. He is always there. He binds my broken heart. He heals my wounds. He is my Refuge and my Strength. How can I snub that?

I choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day today as a day to celebrate true Love…the Love who gave it all for me…little, insignificant, wretched old me. (And the best part…I don’t even have to buy a card! : )

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  
John 3: 16

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Peaks and Valleys

A couple of weeks ago I was just about to explode with anxiety and fear. I was preparing to have a series of pretty scary tests done and I had a hard time controlling my emotions and my sense of doom. God, lovingly and patiently walked me through the whole process until He saw me to the other side of the ordeal…but I can appreciate that now. While I was living those moments of uncertainty, I couldn’t help but falling into the depths of panic. At times, I felt anxiety pushing me off the cliff into a place of darkness and cold sweats, where the promised peace escaped me.

Through my struggles trusting Him, Our Lord remained faithful and He delivered me from the disease by giving me a most perfect set of test results. As I heard the doctor giving me the good news of clean scans and good blood work, I felt such an overwhelming relief that it spilled over in tears of joy. My first thoughts were of gratitude, but then, I quickly realized that I would never know such great sense of happiness if it hadn’t been for the times of sadness I experienced a year earlier during my surgeries and diagnosis.

Our Almighty God reminded me, right there, at a hospital hallway, how suffering and hardship have a great purpose in shaping our walk with Him…for it is, precisely, in the trials that we discover His presence…because…

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23: 4

It is because we know what it is like to be low that we can…

…mount up with wings like eagles, run and not get tired, walk and not become weary. 
(Isaiah 40: 31)

Both states belong to God and we must accept both as part of His loving and perfect plan for us.

When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. Ecclesiastes 7: 14

He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said. Job 2:10

They are both part of the refining process of sanctification…and usually one cannot exist without the other…because…to recognize the elation of the heights is necessary to have been in the despairing depths of the pit.

I know test results cannot bring me peace. True peace comes from an unshakable trust in Our Mighty God. Therefore, I cling to Him as my Strong Tower and I pray I remember these lessons when life turns uncertain again.