DO//LOVE//WALK

Anxiety check for this Thankful Thursday

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Today I’m thankful for birds and bees, here’s why…

Have you looked at the birds today? Have you thought of who takes care of them? Who provides food for them? Who makes the bugs that they should eat?

Matthew 6:26 makes us turn our gaze towards the sky and look for the proof that will back up Jesus‘ statement. It raises the question of control. Who is really in control of life today, right this second? It’s not you for sure! You are not seeing that all the birds have enough water, or food or shelter, not even for yourself.

Even if we become anxious about all the birds in the sky, we cannot give them the next breath. That’s when we realize how powerless we really are! So why bother in being anxious? If we can’t even add a single hour to our lives?

Why add anxiety to our hours, if we can choose to add joy to our day!

This whole passage of Matthew 6 is a big reality check. The climax is when Jesus says we should not be anxious about our life. How does He convince us that it is not profitable or something we ought to do? Well, He makes us realize our littleness. We are but a vapor and He is in control of the whole world.

When we worry, the least thing we think about is BIRDS. Or FLOWERS, or the other millions of people in the world, we just focus on SELF. What we need, what we are missing, our troubles, our lack of “you-name-it”. So to get us to stop being self-centered Jesus just invites us to look up, look outside and look to Him.

We are not the only ones on earth, yet, God is still in control of everyone and us at the same time! He makes His point so clear that bringing up something so trivial like lilies of the field, something we do not worry about, but still need care, breaks any reasons we might have to defend our worry or anxiety.

I am not writing this as an expert on dealing with anxiety, I write this because I need to preach it to myself too! And I thought someone else might need to be reminded of this. So I hope you enjoy todays little reminders of Who really is in control of your life!

What makes you anxious the most? 
What else helps you exchange anxiety with joy?

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

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DO//LOVE//WALK

Prayer Requests and the things I cannot do

The other day I was praying out of my huge list of prayer requests.

Cruz

To have a better control of my prayers I use (and love) the Reminders‘ app provided by Apple. There I can register a request under a specific list and then when God has answered it I mark it as completed. By the way, there is also a Completed List in the App which makes it easier to remember the many answered prayers and remind yourself that God indeed is active, He does answer our prayers and works for His glory! (I might expand on my prayer list system on another day 🙂 )

Since things to pray for come up throughout the day I usually tend to carry my iPod everywhere, this way I can keep my prayer requests updated. So I end up reviewing this list almost 5 times a day, it’s part of my life! This special list is filled with other people’s names and has a variety of issues that I pray about. For example:

Prayer list

These are the most general ones, others have names, dates, specific facts etc.

My requests might seem for the best interest of others and that I care for God’s glory ultimately. So, I think that what I’m asking God is legitimately good, honorable, true, and would ultimately work for His praise. I mean isn’t it good for a teenage boy who ran away from home to go back to his parents’ care? Wouldn’t it show God’s power in restoring a marriage? Doesn’t it display God’s love and care in keeping all the churches in México on sound doctrine and with a fervent passion for His kingdom? Wouldn’t this make others see His glory and holiness, and want to praise Him even more? At least this is what my near-sighted view lets me think.

The problem comes when some of those requests are not answered. It most likely meant God had bigger and better plans. But…How do I respond to that? How do I respond to God’s timely silence, or His sovereign ‘no’? There are a number of ways I could be reacting to this, but yesterday’s response was simply this…I acknowledged a simple, basic truth which is essential to the Christian living. We learn this the moment God regenerates our spirit, and we need to be reminded of it, over and over. For me it was yesterday.

This is what I prayed and acknowledged before God…

God here are the things I cannot do:

I cannot change people’s minds, I was never able to do so, today is no different.
I cannot direct the heart, where it might turn or go, I could never do it, now even less.
I cannot keep my loved ones safe from harm, from falling into temptation, I could never do it, I can’t even now.
I cannot control the way anyone thinks of me or my family, I never could, now even less.
I cannot make people see the blessings missed out because of sin, I couldn’t before, now even less.
I cannot make love spring from a heart, I am completely incapable.
I cannot produce any godliness, I couldn’t then, now even less.
I cannot make people rejoice in You or seek Your love again, I simply cannot.
I cannot control who will cross paths with who, I never controlled this in my life even.
I cannot control the past I can’t control the present nor the future.
I cannot make others taste and see that it is good to trust God, I can’t even control my next breath!

Only God can do all that!!

What kind of power is that!! Even if I pray the most selfless, God-honoring prayer, it will always be God acting and not me. Thankfully He hears our pleas and gives ear to our requests, He invites us to approach His throne of grace so that we might receive help and mercy in our time of need! So I started praying in light of that, I know I cannot…that’s why I come to You… It was refreshing and liberating, He is the One that carries our burdens because He cares for us!

Our security is not found in being in control, but being under the control of the One whose purposes can never be defeated -Dr. Bill Thrasher

 

God controls our hearts, He controls our steps, our thoughts, our mistakes, our growth, our life!
We are subject to His grace, to His favor, and we can rest and trust Him because He is love, He is merciful and the greatest Comforter!
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DO//LOVE//WALK

Have you had dessert today?

tis so sweet

So have you?

I finished up the homemade chocolate cake leftovers plus some nutella-covered strawberries! It was like a hug in my mouth!

Then I stumbled upon this picture on pinterest and the song ‘Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus‘ is the first thing that came to my mind. So I added the text, quite fitting don’t you think? But why is it sweet? I mean can we really taste the sugary effect of trusting Jesus?

While it’s obvious that we cannot use our taste buds to enjoy the sweetness of God’s Word. It’s the after taste of being in His presence and delighting in that. If only we seek Him. If only we take the daring step to taste and see. If only we choose to dwell in His commandments.

Living for and trusting Jesus is like better than eating dessert all day long!! think of it!

He invites us to taste His goodness, we can indeed experience His care and lack nothing. Even when we don’t have everything we might want, or when we have suffered loss, or when we are being blessed, He is sweeter than having all your wishes come true!!

‘Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him, Oh fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack!’ Psalm 34:8

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DO//LOVE//WALK

We can be someone else’s answer to prayer

to Whom shall we go

A couple of nights ago I was wallowing on how some prayers that were dear to my heart had not been answered, or the answer had been ‘no’. I was discouraged, focusing on the wrong things and having a pity party for myself. Silly, I know! But there I was being sad about things that didn’t really have to make me feel like that. Then I remember praying almost not wanting to be heard by God and not expecting an answer to this little secret prayer. I was realizing of my heart’s estate and wrong focus that I asked God to humble me and comfort me at the same time. I prayed while going upstairs, looking down, almost grumbling, I just exhaled that little simple prayer not giving it much thought. As I took the next step the phone rings and it’s for me!

My childhood friend that lives far away and had been battling a chronic disease was at the phone! It was a little bit of a surprise and not. The weekend before, her and her mom were supposed to come over and visit us, but they couldn’t. Two weekends earlier had been her birthday, and I missed it. I had to be the one calling her, but there she was waiting for me at the other end of the line.

It was such a pleasant conversation, she was so encouraging, she was doing better about her disease, she was being strengthened even through those fearsome trials in her life. We laughed and rejoiced, we talked about trials and even about some pleasant surprises! All in all a very edifying convo with her, as usual.

After I hung up, my heart was humbled, more like humiliated, and comforted. Did she know I needed that call? I’m not sure. But I trust a sovereign God, so there is no room for coincidences. God knows what I need, when I need it.

Today I needed to remember in a tangible way how God answers our prayers through other people. Other times He answers other people’s prayers through us. Through me. What a blessing that is! We can be His hands and feet, ears and eyes, arms and mouth for others to feel Him, to receive His love in a tangible way. May we keep humbling ourselves before Him who cares for us and looking for opportunities to love others as He loves them.

How have you been comforted lately in a tangible way?

 

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DO//LOVE//WALK

Living in the ‘now’ as we are living for ‘eternity’

“We must have the courage to live aware that the kingdom of God is close at hand.”

Jill Carattini

Breaking Time. [Link to Article on A Slice of Infinity at http://www.RZIM.org]

This incredible article invites us to view “time” differently.

Chronos as the measurable second-to-second, minute-to-minute in which we live in.

Kairos as the immeasurable importance of an event.

Naturally, God does not dwell in chronos, He is ever existent, but He has surprised us and interrupted our chronos with kairos as Jill Carattini mentions in the article.

So, along with Carattini, I would encourage you and myself to be courageous by letting ourselves be absorbed in the eternal kairos.

His everlasting Kingdom is all that matters, even as we live day to day.

His ongoing glory is all we should behold and be amazed at, even while we are still living second by second.

His never ending love is what gives us an opportunity to step into eternity with Him, when we step out of this earthly life.

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”

1 Thess 4:16-18 (emphasis added)

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DO//LOVE//WALK

A short survival to-do list: In case of winning the Lottery

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girl: “YES! You won!”

guy: (internal 10-sec-monologue) “who? me? but how? wow! this gotta be a dream! OH NO! Omgosh, terrifying flying papers, yep it’s real! I can’t believe it!!!”

Well, at least that’s how I would have reacted if I had won the lottery! How would you handle such a big surprise, specially in front of so many people? He did a pretty good job, don’t you think? But seriously, what do people do after having won something as life-changing as this? Personally, I think it is vital to know what to do after something wonderful like that happens, and here’s why…

Now, I realize winning the lottery is rare, it just doesn’t happen to everyone, and it certainly hasn’t happened to me (yet). Tragic, I know, but I still had to face a similar situation. The only difference is that I won something immensely better than a couple million dollars. LOVE.

To be honest, love is beyond compare, it makes you feel the richest man alive, even richer than Carlos Slim Helu,
because your fortune is not monetary, it doesn’t fade away. You don’t spend love, you just love, and love never ends. (1 Corinthians 13)

So, my true intentions come out at last. I have to admit, I never meant to write about life after winning the lottery. It’s just that there are very few experiences in life that make you feel surprised, terrified and fabulous all at the same time! Finding love is such a wonderful thing, worthy to be treasured. Just as if you had won a multimillion dollar prize because…

“Who being loved is poor!”

Oscar Wilde

If you do, say, feel, accomplish something, whatever it is, you only care for what the other person thinks, or if they like it too…Problems seem less important, you have their trust, their love, their attention and nothing else matters. This kind of love is great too, but it’s not what I’m talking about either. The love that makes me feel like I’ve won the lottery every single day is the kind Jesus gives. I know it sounds ridiculous, who could possibly win the lottery every day? Crazy, right? Well, His love is the same, it’s just ridiculous how much He loves, no one can measure the width, depth, height or length of His love. It surpasses all knowledge.

So with confidence I can say I’m rich, Jesus’ love makes me rich!

If I have nothing else, but His love, I have everything I need, everything I could ever want. Sadly, as a flawed human being, this excitement fades away if I don’t keep reminding myself of what a great gift I’ve been given. Just as when your favorite soccer team wins, or when you win a car from your local department store’s raffle. At first you are very excited out-of-your-mind, but then as a better more important game comes up, or a new model of the car you won is out, the one you have looses your interest. I am well aware that no one will expect you to live as the richest most lucky person in the world if you only win a soccer tournament, right? The happiness you get from something you won is directly proportional to the object itself. That’s why I feel silly by daring to compare God’s love to winning a car or even the lottery, but it happens, we forget how infinite God’s love is and I’m guilty of that. I suffer from amnesia. This is why it is important to know how to live according to what we have been given, because it is life changing. God’s love is never ending, our joy should be the same way. God’s love is not selfish, our lives should be selfless. God’s love is patient and kind…so on and so forth.

In short, here is a simple survival list to appreciate God’s love daily and live accordingly in case you suffer from amnesia like I do: (or in case you win the lottery, whichever comes first 🙂 )

  1. Freak out!  – it’s totally understandable.
  2. Be thankful. Always.
  3. Remind yourself daily, so you would never ever forget what you won.
  4. Consider you are still not immune to bad things happening in your life.
  5. Don’t be shy about it, tell everyone who asks and share accordingly!
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HereToWin

Here to win:: Running with the end in mind

I know it has been a while since my last #HereToWin post, and here is my honest explanation for that: I  just simply stopped running. 🙂

After the half marathon last year, I took a little break from running an-hour-a-day, besides I was trying something new too…AERIAL DANCE! And let me tell you, it stole my heart! It’s one thing to do art with your hands like writing, painting, making sculptures, or even with your voice like singing, but using your whole body to make art is a whole different thing. Anyways, back to running…

This year I signed up for 10 races – one every month or so -, and these don’t include the ones I usually love running in. I’m hoping this will keep me accountable with my running. So at the end of the year I know I will have run at least 10 races and put on a few more miles than usual to my running shoes…exciting…I know!! haha

But seriously, that’s all I know!

I don’t know how hard they will be, I don’t know if I will get injured, or if I will feel like dying in some or like I’m flying in some others. I do not know what will happen until the very last one is done, and I am totally fine with that! Let me explain…

Have you ever been in a race before? Have you been in a race where you knew exactly when the big curve would hit in, or when the beastly hill was coming up? I have. Knowing what will come next made me save up energy for that undesirable hill, or dread that long steep downhill. And at the end of the race I would always have extra energy, because I was always saving up and being careful because I knew there were a lot more turns ahead. This as a runner is very frustrating, ending up with enough strength to run it again but better this time. Yeah, not the best feeling in the world, to know you could have done better.

If you have been in this blog long enough, you can recall that I see life as a race. A race in which you do not know what is coming up, I mean you are planning on finishing and finishing well. But the little bumps, hills, and obstacles that are up ahead remain unknown to you, until you have to face them. A little like the game Age of Empires when you haven’t discovered your territory.

age-of-empires-3

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As much as my curiosity wants to convince me otherwise, I love not knowing! That way you are more likely to treat every moment, every step of the race as the very last one, because it might as well be the last one. In life too, we do not know when this uphill will end, or when we will have to stop, but God gives us “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow”. He gives grace in the time of need!

So in whatever stage of the race we might be in, let’s give our best, treat it as the last one, so in the end we can be sure we held nothing back and say:

no regrets

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P.S. Here is a picture of me and my sister at the end of the 6k race last sunday! Race number 2 out of 10!

2:10

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