Fish or Snake?

jeremy-yap-199223-unsplashPhoto by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:9-11

For many years I did not understand why Jesus gave these examples. What a stone or a snake have to do with food? In reality, Jesus wanted to explain something about the things we ask in prayer. Have you asked Him for something specifically that, according to your logic, is good? I know I had. Without knowing, sometimes we pray asking God to give us a “snake,” although we think we are asking for a “fish.” A snake will bite us, harm us. And God wants the best for you and me. Remember, He sees the big picture; we don’t. He listens to our prayers, but not all our requests are answered with a “yes.”

Next time you find yourself asking God why He has not answered you, think about these verses. It could be He is protecting you from a dangerous situation, or it could be it’s not the time yet. Trust in the One who sees the big picture and has your best in mind.

Pennie has been found

watson-pennie-2011

Our family moved from Puerto Rico to Georgia in 2011. With our move, we also brought our golden retrievers, Watson and Pennie. Watson was seven years old, and Pennie was a 6-month old puppy.

On our second week in Georgia, they escaped during the night. In Puerto Rico, they were used to sleeping in the backyard, which had a large and open terrace, with roof and floor tiles. So when we moved, since it was still summer, they stayed in the backyard at night, as usual.

I heard Pennie barking and howling past midnight, but I did not hear Watson. I opened the backdoor and saw that she was all right, so I went back to bed. I did not hear her howling or barking anymore. When we woke up in the morning, I went outside to call the dogs, and to my surprise, they were not there! My husband was on a business trip, and my children were desperately looking for the dogs. Watson’s collar had a tag with our phone number, but he was not wearing it at the time; I found it thrown on the ground.

It was time to go to school, so I promised my son and daughter I would look for the dogs. I searched and searched in the nearby neighborhoods asking people if they had seen them, until I visited a veterinary clinic to check if someone had found our dogs. The receptionist grabbed a flyer and asked me “is this your dog?” A lady had found Watson and distributed flyers in different places! I was so relieved and then proceeded to ask for Pennie. The flyer only mentioned one dog. Then, I recalled her howling in the middle of the night. Watson had probably escaped first, and when she found herself alone, she went after him. I got nervous because she was just a puppy.

I called the number on the flyer and coordinated with her daughter to pick up Watson in the afternoon. I thanked them for rescuing him. On the other hand, we couldn’t find Pennie that day. My daughter was devasted. So my husband decided to put a pet amber alert. During the following days, I received different calls from people I met and from organizations, asking if I had found the puppy. I kept making phone calls and looking around.

We prayed every day for the dog to be found. One morning, before my children went to school, I recalled a similar event recorded in the Bible. Saul was looking for his father’s donkeys; this occurred before becoming the first king of Israel. At the third day, the Prophet Samuel invited him to have dinner and told him not to worry about the donkeys, which “had already been found.” You can read this story here, https://www.bible.com/bible/111/1SA.9.
So, I told my son and daughter, “We don’t know where Pennie is, but God knows.

At the sixth day, while I was doing some errands, I received a call from another veterinary clinic (I had gone to several). The lady on the phone said with an exciting voice, “your dog has been found.” Tears of excitement filled my eyes; I asked for the address and went to pick her up. Then, I immediately called my husband  to give him the good news. A mom with her three kids found Pennie on the street. They took her home and cared for her that night. At my arrival, the employees came to the front to watch the encounter. They even volunteered to take pictures, which I sent later to my husband and children.

Hope and trust in the Lord is all we need in times like these.

 

I’m still standing

My husband was struck by lightning. This is his story.

BREATHE expectantly, LIVE confidently and MOVE boldly

IMG_6034This is a different kind of post, it’s more like a journal entry. As it happens to all of us, our life and our views are framed by the experiences we have. This past Saturday, July 16, 2016, was one of those for me. Here is as short as I can describe what happened; an event I am still processing.

I took my son to work early and after dropping him off, I drove south for more than an hour. I have a car project at home and was getting some parts from another one to finish mine (I’m not a mechanic, I’m a financial advisor, but I enjoy fixing things). I arrived close to 8:00 am to my destination and started to work on the vehicle. It took me 4 hours to finish. As I was grabbing my tools and putting them in the trunk, rain started to fall. I…

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God’s Answer

Is 65.24

I remember praying one morning, still in bed, asking God to provide us with plenty of food. We were struggling financially, and our pantry was empty. His provision was almost daily. I had no idea what I was going to cook; I couldn’t make a plan, not even for a week. And that morning (feeling exhausted of the whole situation), I called to the Lord, and His answer had already arrived among the unopened mail – there was a check! Crying, I praised and thanked the Lord for his provision.

Is Sifting Necessary?

bakery baking blur close up
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I was preparing a type of bread, and one of the steps was to sift the flour. I did not know what the purpose was, but I followed the instructions on the recipe. There were two types of flour; one was lighter than the other. While I was doing this important step, I noticed that one of them had many small particles that didn’t pass through the mesh strainer.

I recalled the words of Jesus to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:31-32

The sifting process in our lives has a similar purpose as in baking, and that is to draw out or get rid of any lumps or particles that, if left, would make the process harder and may cause the final product not to meet the original expectation.

So, is sifting necessary? Yes! Do I enjoy it? Only when I’m baking because I know I will enjoy the texture and flavor of the combined ingredients. On the other hand, after we have passed the test, we can strength others and be ready for what God has equipped us to do.

Take Off Your Grave Clothes

Lazarus was very sick so his sisters Martha and Mary sent word to Jesus. When he received the news, he did not leave the place he was right away. Instead, Jesus waited two more days. He knew what was going on; Jesus was aware of how bad Lazarus’ health was. But, why didn’t he go? Why did he choose to delay? He had a bigger plan, one that would touch the lives of many.

At his arrival Lazarus had been in the tomb for four days. Martha, who worried about many things, who perfectly planned everything (see Luke 10:38-42), said to Jesus “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Jesus asked to take the stone away from the cave where Lazarus’ body laid. Martha said, “but, Lord.” Next Jesus prayed thanking the Father because He always hears. Then, he called in a loud voice: “Lazarus, come out!” And the man who was dead came out alive all wrapped around. Then Jesus commanded to take off his grave clothes and let him go.

When you have a need and cry out to Jesus to help you, do you expect him to answer right away? I know that I do. I want him to come to my rescue immediately, and when He delays, I get anxious, frustrated. Does He enjoy seeing us suffer? Absolutely not! God hears us when we call Him; He may answer immediately or may take some time, or He may simply say “no.” But he always answers. He may wants us to learn something we don’t know.

The answer that delays is the one that brings us to our knees. We depend on Him because there’s nothing else we can do. Our primary plan and our backup plan have not worked. So, what do we do? We seek Him through prayer and by reading His Word, and then follow His instructions.

The time has come, His time has come to glorify His name. It is time to take off your grave clothes!

Clothing Donation

When my children were growing up I used to donate the clothes they had outgrown. I first checked them and asked myself, “If anyone would give me these clothes, would I take them?” Then I would wash them, press them, if necessary, so they looked nice, and bring them to the donation place.

Once, when I arrived to the place, instead of taking donations where they used to, they pointed me to a big container in the parking lot. I drove there and found many bags of clothes on the floor. Among the things I saw, there was a pair of sandals inside an opened box. I couldn’t believe my eyes; those sandals needed to be thrown away. I was so impressed and sad at the same time. How can people give away things like these.

When I got home, I told my husband about what I saw. His answer surprised me even more. He said, your donation was like Abel’s offering to God. When the brothers Cain and Abel presented their offering to God. The first one was careless and the second one was dedicated. You can read the story here: https://bible.com/111/gen.4.1-7.niv.

I’ve never seen this story the way my husband did. I felt very good because God was pleased with me.

Let’s treat others the way we want to be treated.