Glorifying God ~ by Gabriela

We are told that as Christian, we must glorify God in everything we think, say, and do. At times it can be hard to understand what that means or how to do it. We want things for ourselves. We want people to tell us how great they think we are. But, what is the point? What is the point of getting people’s appreciation? All we need is God’s appreciation and love. We are supposed to glorify God, not ourselves. We need to open our selves up to Him. He is our majestic, all-powerful, wonderful God.

Sometimes it can be hard to find a way to glorify Him when you are doing certain things. But there is always a way. You don’t even always have to look for it yourself. God can bring people to you. He wants us to glorify him by looking for ways to help His people. It’s like the Bible explains: If we encourage our neighbor, we encourage God. If we support our brother, we are supporting God. If we love our enemies just as we love our family, we are loving God. We can glorify Him just by being open to His guidance and love and power.

God’s glory is not something that we should just talk about or pay attention to whenever we feel like it. It’s not about us or about when we feel like doing just because. It is all about God and His glory. We should do everything we do in His name. We should boast about Him, not ourselves. We should praise Him, not ourselves. We should honor Him and everything He does, not ourselves and whatever it is that we do. Glorifying God in all we think, say, and do is so important, and not as hard as you might think. We must simply look for ways to do things that praise His name, honor His word, and glorify what He stands for.

GABRIELA

Distracted or Drawn?

Luke 21:34

“So watch out for yourselves,” said Jesus, “that your hearts may not grow heavy with dissipation and drunkenness and the cares of this life…”

The cares of this life.

Every single experience of our day can serve either to distract us from God, or draw us to God.

Ultimately, I believe this choice is ours.

My wife and I have been attempting to teach our daughters that you can view every circumstance either as opportunity or obstacle, and that this is one of the heaviest influencers on your happiness.

This is simply one of those “Secrets of Life” that we sometimes, unfortunately, hear very late in life.

My spiritual partner Dave has always said that your circumstances do not determine your happiness, your thinking does.

This is tough to apprehend for most, and in reality, there are probably very few who live into this radical freedom. But I believe this to be at least one aspect of the “narrow road” Jesus taught us about. Enslavement to circumstances–anxiety over things not going the way we want–is one of the things Christ offers to free us from.

Every little care in this life can distract you from God’s presence and care, if you let it.

If you let it.

Every little care in this life can draw you closer to God, if you allow it.

If you surrender.

Jesus desires to be a conscious, acknowledged part of every aspect of our life. From the trivial and mundane, to the momentous and most stressful. Every single experience of our day can draw us to Him, teach us His ways, and make us effective and more alive. Every perceived obstacle can be turned into an opportunity in an instant simply by switching our lenses through which we are looking.

In every circumstance, we could, for example,  pray: “Lord, you are with me now. You are not stressed out, but are ready to care for me and guide me through this difficulty. I know You are infinitely good and want what is absolutely best for me. Amen.”

I think sometimes we are constantly asking God, if even subconsciously,

“Are You there and do You care?”

How we hear those two questions answered by God determines much of our life, our joy, our peace.

Everything that comes your way today–will it be a distraction or a drawing? What will you decide? Which will you choose?


Bonus Material: While reading in the front yard on this glorious day today, I came across a sentence I just loved by this guy named Jack A. Thorpe who was an Air Force captain in the seventies:

There is nothing like getting yelled at to make you think harder, to really reflect.

This came after he pitched an idea that he really believed in and had worked quite extensively on to some higher-ups and was laughed at. Instead of sulking, being defeated, he used it as motivation to work harder, reflect, and learn from it.

FAMILIES~by Gabriela

FAMILY TIME

Today, instead of reflecting over one of my dad’s writings, I am going to write my own from scratch.

It is important to spend time with your family. If you go to work early in the morning, maybe get home early too, but then go out with friends until late, you do not have much time with your family.Why have a family if not to spend quality time with them? It is the same as being alone, if you never see them. This goes not just for your nuclear family, but also for grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, and nephews. We as people are created in the image of God. God made us to be friends with him and to love him and each other.  Put those together and,…well, ponder it for a moment. God made us to have families to love and share our hopes and dreams, our pains and misfortunes with.  You love your family, right? Of course you do,… well, you need to  show them. Go spend quality time with your family. You, as a person created in the image of God, go do what God had planned for us and families. Think about it: Why have a family if not to love each other and spend quality time together. I can guarantee that you will not be able to come up with any other reasons.

The working and going out with friends might not be the reason you’re  being distant from your family. Actually, I am thinking of a way that you may be a couple feet away, but yet, you still wouldn’t know when they got up from where they were sitting. Can you guess what I’m thinking of… PHONES. Phones can be so addictive. It can be so hard to not check an email or send that response text, but being on your phone is keeping you away from the people you love. It is hard to believe that phones used to be just to  call people; but isn’t that the only reason we invented phones? We needed a way to stay in touch with with our friends and family. If you’re on your phone during dinner, how are you staying in touch with the people you love and cherish the most? You simply cannot. Because  of this I want to challenge you to do something. I want to challenge you to pick a time in the evening to just put your phones away. The time could be from 7:00 to 8:30,maybe 6:00 to 8:00, or maybe even 7:00 to bedtime; whatever works best for your schedule. If you have kids, of course they would have to be older, they could even hide your phone for you so that if you were tempted, you would not even be able to look at your phone. I will encourage you to try this challenge in order to spend more time with your family. GOOD LUCK!

 

 

GABRIELA

Vital Time

Yesterday I returned from a most wonderful weekend men’s retreat. One of the vivid take-aways was the vital importance of forging time everyday to spend extravagantly with God.

You literally have nothing better to do.

All the men this weekend attested, in one way or another, to the supernatural goodness that comes from simple communing with our very real and very alive Trinitarian Creator.

We all need some form of daily renewal, some reminding of who God is and how much He cares for us and our real lives now. We reminded each other this weekend that if you do not program your mind, the world will gladly do it for you.

Your spirit, your soul, needs to eat just as much, if not more, than your body does. Our bodies are designed by Papa to eat life-giving foods that He has provided. Yet we take His creation and concoct all sorts of ridiculous “edibles” to satisfy some twisted agenda of making food fast or sweet to the point of our eyes popping out of our heads–fake really.

Our spirits are designed to feed upon the Bread of Life–upon Jesus Himself, His very being, His words, His presence. Yet we concoct and find and settle for fake bread. Oh how much of our time we devote to eating sh!t. Pardon my language, but that’s what it is.

The fake bread of judgement. The fake bread of worry, of self-loathing, of depressing news, of Facebook…

The best possible way you can spend your time is contemplating a loving God. Science even tells us that 5-16 minutes a day of contemplating a loving God renews and rewires us for joy, for life, for health, and vitality. It changes who we are.

If you don’t have 5-16 minutes to devote to God alone in a day, then I got nothing for you.

Jesus is a real person.

Jesus is alive.

Jesus is pleading for you to spend time with Him everyday.

Why Do I Live Here ~by Gabriela

In school as a class we are right now reading 1 Corinthians. It tells us not to judge yourself along with everyone around you. I know that it becomes all too easy to round up our own opinions on a person. We tend to judge people on how they do their work, how they act socially, maybe even how they eat their food. We must always remember that we are not here to judge other people, that is all God’s job. If someone acts out in an unacceptable manner, they may be , most likely, going through something hard or acting out of their own insecurity. We must remember to love everyone. 1 Corinthians also talks about acting in the flesh and in the spirit. If you act in the flesh , you are acting out of your own accord; but if you are acting in the spirit you are doing what God would have you do.

I believe that we are here to (and this is my own opinion) spread God’s will and word. Ask yourself, why would create us if it was not to be close to him? I believe we are here to be as Jesus was- fully perfect and divine. Walking alongside God and talking to him as you would your very best and most trustworthy friend. Like how it was with Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden.

In acting out of the spirit you must do what God tells you to do, you must listen to him and hear what he has to tell you. I want to challenge you to not judge the people around you, but if they do something you would consider to be wrong, just pray for them.  If they need help, offer to help them. If something hard has happened to them and they are acting out, pray for them to be healed. If they are presently going through something hard and they just need a hug from time to time; be there to give them that hug. You can only truly, truly act out of the spirit if you are in tuned with God; so I want to challenge you to take time out of your day to just sit and be. Whether it is five minutes, wether it is twenty minutes, I want to challenge you to do that. So that you can be alongside God as He had planned for all of us to be when He first created Adam and Eve.

~Gabriela

Gabriela’s Thoughts on “Listen to Learn”

Listening to learn. You might think to yourself, “How hard can that be? I listened to the teacher when I was in school, and I graduated so I had to learn. Right!” Well, its not quite like that. Sure you listened in class, but did you really listen in class. I’m in school right now and I know how easy it is to let your mind wander…”What’s for dinner? When’s the next break?” etc… How many times did you get called on and you didn’t know the answer? Think about it…

Enough about school, besides, that is the easy part. I’m writing to give you a real challenge. Listening to learn, but not quite, listening to people  to learn from people. What’s the point of listening to someone if not to learn from that someone? When you are listening to someone tell a story about their dog, you are listening to learn about their dog, right?

To get relationships you must learn about that person first, to see if you would make good friends. And how is the only way you can learn about this person? You guessed it!!! You listen to them. OK fine, there are other ways to learn about someone, but all other ways are just creepy, so this is what I suggest.

Now do you feel more challenged? I sure hope so! When you listen to someone it shows that you care, it says that whatever is for dinner is less important than the story of their German Shepard. You want people to care about whatever it is that you want to tell them, am I right? Well, just think of the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated. Listen to others the way you would want others to listen to you.

I’m going to give you a little hint on how to start listening like you never thought you could. “Don’t come up with your response until the person is totally finished with what they are saying.” My dad taught me that! I know that it might be hard, but I also know that you are quite capable of doing it, so Good Luck!!!

Listen More, Think Less (revised)

James 1:19

My dear brothers and sisters, always be willing to listen and slow to speak.

Listen to learn.

Taking a class we really want to take or absolutely have to take, how do we listen? We listen to learn. We have to, especially the more difficult the class and subject matter. Whether it’s calculus, quantum mechanics, or molecular biology, we have to tune in in an acutely receptive manner in order to absorb the material and actually understand it. Chances are, we are not forming our own opinions about it or how the teacher should really do his or her job. Or we’re not saying to ourselves, “Quantum mechanics should behave this way!” We’re trying desperately to grasp it so that we can understand it, and therefore, move forward accordingly. According to the reality of the subject.

How much more complicated and nuanced and difficult to know are people? More than even the intricately difficult subjects mentioned above? We know so little about the brain, let alone the spiritual realm and how it is influencing us at all times.

And yet how often do we listen to our fellow human beings in this reverent, open-and-ready-to-learn manner?

Not enough.

We cannot possibly know another person the tiniest fraction of how God knows them.

When we listen without judgment, expectation, or agenda, we affirm the other person. This is when we are at our very best during interpersonal interactions. Affirming someone is encouraging them in who they are. Isn’t this what God does for us? He celebrates us for who we are, not only for what we do. And how powerful is that? How inspiring? Who have you felt closest to in your life? Most likely, it was someone who affirmed you, believed in you. Someone who listened to you because they deemed you worthy to listen to. Conversely, one of the most degrading experiences is to not be seen or heard. They say indifference is worse than hatred.

Listen to learn.

Listen in a way to actually learn about the person. Who they are, where they come from, what they believe, what they like, what makes them angry, what excites them…Listen for patterns that tell what shapes them. Listen without thinking of a thousand things while they’re talking, but listen only to learn. This is powerful. In a sense, you are really limiting yourself.

The power of limiting yourself.

Of listening without judgment, expectation, or agenda.

Try to take a day to practice listening in this manner. It is quite difficult, and for some will feel foreign and nearly impossible. But you will be surprised at what you will now hear and actually learn when you stop thinking so much and you shut your big yapper!