Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

You Are What You Say

I have been trying to drive this point home to my boys lately. My youngest can be very hard on his older brother. I am teaching them to help each other shine rather than diminish their flame. This week’s verse is Luke 6:45.

Luke‬ ‭6:45‬‬, A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

It can be hard in the heat of an angry moment, but It’s important to remember to speak positively and encourage others. It’s so easy to slip and let your anger flow, but we need to pray that God would change our heart and make it more like his so we won’t get angry and have slip-ups. I want my heart and mouth only to flow good things, full of love.

This week let’s meditate on this verse and make a point to encourage those around us, even if it’s a difficult interaction. You never know how much a kind word is needed!

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Be Sweet On The Inside

This week I want to start on a positive note. I want to focus on the goodness that blooms from within when we live God’s way. So our verse this week is Galatians 5:22.

Galatians 5:22 "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness."

I saw a sign that said, “In the morning, give me coffee and Jesus” I think I need a double portion of both! I am not always the most loving, joyful, patient person, especially if I haven’t had coffee yet. But since we house the Holy Spirit, he will help us be better. Like coffee, He warms our souls!

I like the way this verse is written in The Message bible.

But what happens when we live God's way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

I do not think I could explain it better. If you are struggling in any of these areas, it may be a sign you need a dose of vitamin GOD. I prescribe you open up your bible, put on some worship music, and spend some time basking in his glory! And maybe have a cup of joe.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Delighting In The Lord.

I read this week’s scripture the other day, and I thought it was beautiful. So I have been working on memorizing it. The bible tells us the Lord delights in us, but do we take the time to delight in him? So this week, our scripture is Psalms 27:4.

Psalms 27:4, The one thing I ask of the Lord— the thing I seek most— is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his Temple.

When I was little, I had a very skewed view of God. I feared God would send me to hell if I did wrong. I remember thinking it would be impossible for me to be good enough living in the world. So I wanted to be a nun because I thought it would be easier if I lived a life devoted to God without distraction. I didn’t have much Godly instruction growing up, but I did have one thing right. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own.

I know now that my salvation is not based on my actions but on the work of Christ on the cross. My life is far from a quiet, distraction-free existence of servitude, but it is still essential for me to find quiet time to delight in my Lord. I need to be in His presence. It’s home to me.

This week let’s seek most to be in the presence of God, meditating in his word, and delighting in his perfections!

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

He Has Risen!

In honor of our Lord and Savior and the resurrection holiday we all just celebrated this week, I want to focus on Matthew 28:6. I usually use the New Living Translation, but I am using the New International Version this week. I think the wording is more profound in this case.

Matthew 28:6, "He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay."

First of all, the good news was that our Lord was not there. He had risen. Our whole faith is rooted in these words, in the belief that Jesus conquered death on that cross. And the following words, “Just as he said he would.” So faithful, so trustworthy. Our Lord said he would, and he did. Jesus is a promise keeper. Let’s meditate on that this week.

I hope you all have a blessed week!

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Hopelessly Devoted

When I first started as a Christian, I resonated with Peter. He is stubborn and stands up for what he thinks is right. Notice how I said what he thinks is right. Yea, Peter grew spiritually, and I am too. Now I admire Paul. His books give me so much encouragement. So this week, I started with a small verse from the extended one you see below. It is Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart.”

The whole piece is too good not to share it in its entirety, so please read it below.

Colossians‬ ‭4:2-6‬ , "Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. Pray for us, too, that God will give us many opportunities to speak about his mysterious plan concerning Christ. That is why I am here in chains. Pray that I will proclaim this message as clearly as I should. Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone."

So, this week let’s devote ourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. First, let’s pray for each other so that God will give us many opportunities to speak his good news. Pray that we, as the body of Christ, would live wisely among nonbelievers. Remember that we need to make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Next, we can pray God gives us pure hearts so our words will be gracious and lovely. Finally, we can pray for our brothers and sisters in chains, bondage, and war. Pray the Lord is working in the circumstances they are in and that they can get the message out to those who need to hear it.

Traditions & Rituals

Traditions & Rituals

Significant Additions To Supplement Faith

Learning about other cultures and traditions is something that interests me immensely. I am New Mexican, and the customs there are vibrant and affluent. New Mexico is very saturated in old Catholic art and traditions. From the historic cathedrals to the shrines dedicated to the Lady of Guadalupe in the historic districts. Visiting is very much an experience whether you are catholic or not.

You can expect rich customs and traditions from many religions, except American Christianity. I know I must seem like I am always on the attack of American Christianity, but lately, I have been feeling flat in my worship. I crave something more. I read my bible, am enrolled in Bible Study Fellowship, attend church every Sunday, and listen to podcast sermons daily. I try to make Christ an integral part of my day. I still crave more.

I have been learning more about Christianity’s Hebrew roots and Jewish customs. It is essential to know and experience certain things to understand them fully. For example, my boys and I recite the Shema Prayer daily since hearing it in our nightly Abide meditations. My boys have taken to saying the morning and evening prayer and love to say the Hebrew words in the Shema. Doing this has also brought attention to the words in Deuteronomy ‭6:5-9. My kids have questioned what it means to wear them on your hands and forehead and write them on your doorposts. They have asked why we do not have this written on our doorposts. It has profoundly impacted us. Even though we pray, adding the Shema helps us re-frame our prayers to come to the Lord with reverence and worship rather than just supplications.

The Shema prayer is a Jewish prayer recited at morning and evening services. In the Abide meditation, the gentleman mentions that no doubt Jesus said this prayer every day, which moved me to make it part of our routine. I prayed about it because I did not want to offend my Lord. But, I felt this was something good and was led to move forward because, as you know, He offers discernment when we seek it. He affirmed me, and we are truly blessed. I cannot tell you how amazed I am that my kids have taken to this so well. My boys remind me to say it now, and I hear them throughout the day repeating it. My oldest son already has it memorized and leads us in our prayer.

What traditions and practices do you and your family do together to keep your heart on God?

Encouraging Mondays

Encouraging Mondays

Peace Over Worry

I will be starting my weeks off with scripture to meditate on for the week. We could all use some encouragement, and what better source than The Holy Word. So this week, I am meditating on Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything instead of pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

Honestly, I meditate on this verse often. I have spent many nights repeating this to myself as I drift off to sleep. This verse is the second verse I memorized and one of my favorites as a chronic worrier. I hope it will bring you some comfort this week!

If you want some extra encouragement, I have included a free phone wallpaper with this weeks scripture below!

Loss, Control, and Healing

Loss, Control, and Healing

Repeat After Me, Emotions make us human.

It’s been just about two months since I lost my gram. I haven’t been able to deal with my feelings about it. So this is hard for me to share, as you know, I am not comfortable with sharing. It makes me want to hide in a hole, but I have been at a loss for words for a bit trying to figure out some things.

I struggle with emotions, feeling things, facing things. Things that make me uncomfortable or sad. So much of my life is out of my hands, I pray, and I trust God, but it’s still hard sometimes. I couldn’t deal with losing my gram. I was already bottling up so much, and losing my gram was too much. I shut down emotionally. I hate feeling sad or helpless. I hate crying. I had always felt weak when I cried. I know its ridiculous. So I just shut off my feelings, so I don’t have to deal with them. What I did not anticipate was that I wouldn’t feel anything at all anymore. No emotions. None. I knew how I was supposed to feel, but I just felt nothing.

I have been on a mission to recover my emotions. To be honest, I did not want to. At first, I was ok with not feeling anything except I didn’t feel happy either. Just numb. Jesus made it quite clear to me that holding out on my feelings rather than letting Him have them was not ok. He showed me that I was not giving up all of me. I had tried to take control of my emotions myself. So, I have found a way to help reinstate my emotions through prayer, yoga, Christian meditation, and journaling. I sort of feel better, but I didn’t know how much it was helping until I played Roberto Griego while I made breakfast Saturday and couldn’t hold back the tears. If you haven’t heard of him, he is a New Mexico music artist. I always played his music for my gram when we were together, running errands, or getting ice cream.

I have never been so happy to feel sad in my whole life. I miss her so much. Losing someone that meant the world to you is so hard whether you are a Christian or not. Knowing she is in Heaven is terrific, but she’s still not here. I miss her laugh. I miss her jokes. I miss squeezing her little tiny shoulders and kissing her cheek. These are all things I can feel sad about now. It’s a strange thing to be happy about, but when you have been numb for so long, it feels good to feel something.

I know that my emotions play a unique role in my life, and by putting myself on autopilot and turning them off, I am not taking an active part in my life. I am learning to deal with them, live in them, and work on being ok with shedding a tear or two if it helps me feel something. I know I will see my gram again, and that is a hope I can find some peace in.

I love and miss you so much Gram!
Connecting With God

Connecting With God

Overcoming Spiritual Roadblocks.

Do you ever feel like you are having trouble connecting with God? Do you feel like you are doing everything you are supposed to do, but it feels empty? Do you feel like God doesn’t even hear you? Looking back on my journey as a Christian, I can see some roadblocks that occurred that may have stalled my growth. If you answered yes to any of these questions, I have a few things you can try that may help!

  • Be Emotionally Open and Honest with God. Opening up emotionally was so hard for me. I live my life in a safe little bubble. I do not open up to people much, if at all. I carried this habit into my relationship with God at the beginning of my walk with Him. I knew he knew everything about me, so I didn’t feel like I needed to go over the details. I was wrong; He wanted me to. I needed to. Once I surrendered and told him everything I had done, even though He knew, we had a new closeness. He had become a confidant, a friend, my Jesus. Though Jesus knows everything we have ever done and paid the price for it, he wants you to share it with Him so he can heal you. You have got to confess your sin. You can’t brush it under the rug and ignore it. It will just sit there and keep resurfacing. Once you confess your sins to Jesus, He can heal you and help you clean it out so it won’t come back!
  • Rethink Prayer. Prayer can be tough to master, especially if you are new in your faith. Growing up, I attended Catholic mass occasionally. Catholic prayer, for me, was mechanical and repetitive. Going from that to a Christian church was such a contrast. Prayer in the Christian church scared me. It was loud and emotional. They used churchy words, and some even flailed their arms around. I was so confused about how I should pray because I didn’t feel like my prayers were spiritual enough. I had to flip the word in my head from prayer to conversation. Whatever your background is with prayer, Jesus wants to hear from us. Jesus doesn’t care if you are saying repetitive chants or using spiritual churchy words. He only wants us to talk to Him. If you use those words, cool, but if you don’t, that is cool too. Tell Him what makes you sad, the bible says he grieves with us. Tell Him what makes you happy, the bible says he rejoices with us. Tell Him what’s stressing you out, the bible says to give him your worries, and he will provide you with peace. Talk to Him about your day, your decisions, everything, just talk to Him!
  • Don’t Compartmentalize Jesus. It can be so easy to keep Jesus secluded to your bible study or prayer time, but he’s with you all the time. Try talking to Him throughout the day. Let Him infiltrate your whole life. Find ways to remind your self He is there. I heard Pastor Greg Laurie talking about how he uses his Apple Watch Breathe reminders to remember Jesus throughout the day. I loved this idea, and now every time my watch tells me to breathe, I take a minute and say thank you for something I am grateful for at that moment. I don’t always have time to do the full minute of the breathing exercise, but it is still a reminder that He is there with me at that moment, and I always send up a quick thank you!

These are just a few things I would recommend trying out if you are having some connection issues in your walk with Jesus. Keep in mind that the relationship you are building with Jesus is unique, so do not compare yours with anyone else’s. Give yourself some grace and keep trying, if you are genuinely trying to cultivate a relationship with Him, know that He is ready and excited to guide you through your roadblocks right into His loving arms!