BUT GOD…

Have you ever looked back on your life and thought to yourself, “Wow! How did I survive all that?” Most of us have a story to tell reflecting God’s love and mercy and so did Joseph.

Joseph’s hardship started the moment he was sold into slavery by his envious brothers. After being sold to the slave traders, he was sold again to one of Pharaoh’s officials – Potiphar. From being sold twice to being thrown into jail for false accusations for 12 years, things weren’t looking too bright for the kid. However, even so, “…the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy, and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison (Genesis 39:21). Long story short, a few years later the tables have turned. Joseph ended up being the second most powerful man in Egypt, next to Pharaoh. When the brothers became aware of the situation, they feared he was going to seek revenge. But he didn’t. Instead he let them know: “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good…” (Genesis 50:20).
When you read through each scenario of Joseph’s life, you see how God was forming him and preparing him for his purpose, to save thousands of people in Egypt and in the surrounding regions.

BUT GOD

Having said this, every single scenario in our lives has also been played for a reason. This past year has been a year of so many questions. “Why God? When God? How God?” I couldn’t understand the way God was moving in my life. Nothing was making any sense. It felt as if someone pressed the pause button on my entire career and personal life. I wasn’t getting the job I wanted and and other areas of my life were nonexistent. But God! Won’t He do it? Oh yes He will!
After job hunting for over a year, God opened that door with that job opportunity for me. And right at that moment, each past humiliation; hurt; rejection, made perfect sense. God was preparing me to walk through that door. Have I not been prepared, my old way of thinking and my old way of perceiving things wouldn’t have allowed me to operate accurately.

THROUGH EVERY SET BACK

Remember that in every setback God moves us closer towards our purpose if we allow Him to. No matter how irrational and unfair your situation may be, trust that God is always in the midst of it and means it for good. He is moving mountains we don’t see.

Are you allowing yourself to grow through what you’re going through? Are you ready to walk through that door?

 

D. Arelis

The greatest one of all

You know, sometimes people can really surprise you. It was one of those days where I found myself in that situation where I just couldn’t quite understand why certain people treat others (act) the way they do. These are the type of people that make it hard for others to love them – they make you want to punch them in the face!

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During this past year I’ve been really working on that one commandment, “LOVE” – the greatest one of all. That’s right! I’ve been asking God to help me love like He loves. It didn’t take me long to noticed that which I was asking God for was not going to be easy. I quickly realized that God was allowing different unpleasant situations (people) to cross my path in order to teach me how to love, and boy oh, boy it has been a real challenge.

This morning as I was writing, a verse came to my mind, Matthew 5:46 – If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?” Uh yeah, OUCH! That one slapped me right in the face. Basically what it’s saying here is that if I choose to only love the ones that are “easy to love/lovable”, I am no better than, let’s say, the “worst kind of people”. Therefore, unless I am loving the unlovable, I am not loving like God loves. After reading that I quickly stepped down my high horse and got my act straight again. You see, there will be times when you will get angry or disappointed at certain people and you will want to cut them loose, but then the Holy Spirit reminds you of that one commandment – the GREATEST one of all!

 

D. Arelis XO

In every season

“All of my life, in every season you are still God. I have a reason to sing; I have a reason to worship”, is what I was singing yesterday. This song brought me all the way back to four years ago when I was going through the hardest time of my life – I laid there on my apartment floor crying out to God as this song ministered to my heart. It was my prayer in the desert, all that was within me did indeed feel dry. But even though I felt hopeless, deep down I knew that my God would provide, and guess what? He did! He provided me with peace and strength to get back up.

Now listening to it again after a long time, it amazes me how these powerful lyrics still minister to my heart. This time it made me look at my life now and the season I’m in right now, and I can honestly say today that, “He is still God. I sure have a reason to sing and a reason to worship.” When I look back I say to myself “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Hmmm He is good indeeddd 🙂

D. Arelis XO

 

Through the Silence…

 

You’re there standing in the middle of nowhere and you have no idea where to go. You don’t know whether to take one step forward or to just stand still and wait for a sign. You look at the time – the clock is ticking!20140417-120817.jpg

“What’s going on? Is He speaking through the silence? Did I miss something? Am I doing something wrong? What’s going onnnn?” – so many questions. My heart wants to go towards one direction but my mind tells me to wait. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” is what comes to my mind. Sometimes, “wait”, is all we will hear.

One of my favorites, “I know you can do all things, no plan of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2). What does this mean? This means that whatever plan God has for us, no matter what happens, no matter how long we have to wait, no matter where we are in life, it cannot be thwarted – it’s a promise. Therefore, take rest in Him – embrace this season. Great things happen through the silence.

 

D. Arelis XO

Change is good

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Through the years I’ve learned that with change comes new challenges – new opportunities. I personally love trying out new things. For example, several months ago I was wrestling with the thought of becoming a vegetarian. Yes, I wanted to cut out meat completely from my diet. However, at the same time I hesitated to do so because to be honest, I thought to myself “what if I won’t be able to commit to my decision? Am I going to miss eating all this food that I know will not do my body any good?” So at the time, I decided to set my awesome plan on hold. I couldn’t step into something life-changing with a doubtful mind.

A few months later, December 2013 to be exact, I made up my mind. I started to inform myself on healthy eating by reading articles on nutrition and health. Now as I was gathering information and marinating my thoughts on what ended up being my final decision, I realized that this choice was a personal one, a choice that only I could make and that it was going to be one that will benefit no one else but me. I did not decide to change because someone else talked me into doing so. If that were the case, I would probably have given up in the process because it wouldn’t have been my personal conviction.

In relation to all this, God used this “changing experience” to show me how our spiritual lives can somewhat relate. As believers, often times people will tell us how we should live our lives, what we should do or not do. One thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that if you’ve not received that personal conviction in your heart, you will have a hard time changing your patterns – whatever it may be. Don’t do something because someone else is telling you to do so; do it because you want to and you know that it is good.

“Changing can be like climbing a mountain; to reach the top it is hard work…”, of course this can be applicable to all parts of our lives, especially our spiritual lives. The moment you decide to give your life to Christ, you have to change your worldly patterns, which can be a challenge. However, “…once you’re there you will see things you’ve never seen before”, you can be certain that once you’re walking in the perfect and acceptable will of God, you will begin to experience Him on a whole other level.

D. Arelis XO

Why??? Why God Why!

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“EVERY WORD OF GOD IS FLAWLESS; HE IS A SHIELD TO THOSE WHO TAKE REFUGE IN HIM.” – PROVERBS 30:5

God is no man that he should lie, His word is flawless! Yes, we know this very well but sometimes our actions speak louder than our words. It is easy to say that you believe that God can do this or that. But it is your attitude towards that difficult situation that will determine if indeed you believe in what you say you believe in.

The way God works is beyond our human understanding. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Job was called a servant of the Lord, a man that fears God and shuns evil – he was a faithful man. However, one day he lost it all; his family, his possessions – they were all gone. Even his health was being threatened. But even though God was pleased with the man that Job was, He still allowed him to go through major disappointments.

Often times when we are going through the valley of the shadow of death, we ask God “why?” We cannot understand how God can allow certain things to happen to us. Like many of us today, Job started to question God. “Why God, why?”

But then the Lord spoke to Job and said: “Who is this that obscures my plans with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man: I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?” (Job 38:2-5). Woah, God is such a boss! Can you imagine Him thinking to himself, “Who does this man think he is to ask the ancient God of all wisdom and power all these things?”

Aren’t we often times just like Job? Every time I read the book of Job, it reminds me of God’s faithfulness and of how I should just be still and know that He is God. He knows what he’s doing and no matter how hard the storm, you and I can be confident that He will be our shield the moment we take refuge in Him. God is in control; He knows what He’s doing.

D. Arelis XO

Overwhelming Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 2 Corinthians 13:6-8

I have never known a love so pure, so exciting, and so fulfilling. A love that is full of life!

Perhaps you are wondering, “what is love?” Or maybe you wander around with the question, “can I fall in love with someone today then fall out of love with them tomorrow?” I understand if you have these questions, ’cause I had them too. The answers to these questions are in the understanding of what love is. 

2 Corinthians 13 thoroughly explains it – you can consider it being a “love handguide”. I dare to say that it is better than any article or love book ever written. The way our society has portrayed love is unfortunately messed up. 

But let’s take a look at what love truly is. First of all, love forgives;  it is kind, it does not seek revenge – it sees beyond any flaws. Love has the patience to wait – to persevere through difficult circumstances. Love is strong and courageous, It has no fear – it cannot stand beside fear because perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). This love gives without expecting anything in return; it is selfless, it trusts, and always hopes. This kind of love gives all. If we can’t love in such way, we have never known love.

God is love; if we do not know God, we do not know what love is (1 John 4:8). “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” There is no greater love than this. But, as I was meditating on this I came across something else.

Romans 5:10 tells us that we were enemies of God, until we were reconciled with him through the death of Jesus. Now this verse here just took my understanding of “love” to another level. So, “before Christ died, we were enemies of God”. Seriously, I don’t know about you but to me, the thought of someone giving their life for their enemies, is just mind-blowing! I most probably have read this verse a thousand times, but as I was trying to find out the meaning of true love, I got a complete different view of this verse. Hmm, is it just me or does Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies…” makes so much sense now? This goes beyond human understanding. 

A love that sees beyond the imperfections. A love that, even though we did not deserve anything, yet allowed us to have it all. A love that goes deeper than the deepest ocean. A love that only comes from God – it’s overwhelming isn’t it?!

D. Arelis XO