Lent Challenge Day 1

Margaret Feinberg is hosting a 40 Day Lent Challenge (#LentChallenge) through the Gospel books.  And of the questions that she’s posing is:

What do I most need to read but least want to hear?

For me, it’s a sense that I need WAKE up and not live a life of complacency any longer.  There is too much at stake.  I need to WAKE and get in the fight and not be a bystander.  My heart cry is for Christ’s light to shine in my life and in the process radiate his light to others.
I think of the following passage: This is why it is said: "Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Eph. 5:14.

The assigned reading for today was Matthew chapters 1-2. And I couldn’t help but focus on the names of the Child that was to be born as Matthew points us to his genealogy from the beginning of time.  And in the fullness of time from the entire Old Testament, Jesus “God saves” shows up to save his people from their sins.

In the first 2 chapters of Matthew, Jesus is:

Davis’s Son
Abraham’s son
Jesus – God saves
Immanuel “God is with us”
King of the Jews

What do I most need to read?  That He is everything on that list and more.



The moment when you say to yourself  'enough is enough' and you get mad enough to do something about a dragging situation that is long overdue.

It could be anything such as eating better, getting out of debt, reading the Bible, spending more time with the family, making an overdue phone call, stepping out of the boat, dreaming big dreams and taking action.  And the problem is if we don't address it soon, the ramifications will be great and regret will continue to hunt us. Let's not waste another moment and do the thing. It's not easy but we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses so let us throw off everything that hinders and run the race marked for us.

The time is now.

It requires sacrifice. Great sacrifice. A wake up call and I can't continue to sleep through and what if e act on the conviction and plead with God to help us.


Who Am I? Really

My name is Myriam and I am …Fill in the blank.

This is how the AA (Alcoholic Anonymous) attendees introduce themselves and it’s been playing in my head. Not that I have been to any AA meetings but relying on what I have seen on TV.  But in a very similar fashion I carry a number of hidden labels spelled out in big letters written all over me.  You just don’t see until I let you in but they are there:
People pleaser

I cannot trace the labels to their  origins but for quite some time, I have worked around many of them written all over me in BOLD letters.  Sure, I try to hide it well and one can hardly tell but they have weighed me down and I am getting tired of carrying them on my back.  Sometimes as in this season of life.
Every now and then I get a glimpse of what it’s like to shake them off and walk with my head high but far too often, it’s shortly lived only to add another label to the ever growing list.
My life verse is Galatians 5:1 –
  It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
2 Cor 3:17 - …Where the Spirit of the Lord there is freedom.
Yoke of Slavery?  Yep.  I've lived in bondage for most of my life and the freedom in Christ at best seems to be an illusion.  And I whisper to myself: can I really be free? And I can hear a voice behind me saying:
 ‘yes you can.  The TRUTH will set you free”.  
 Ah the truth! After all, Jesus is the way, the TRUTH, and the life.

Mentally, I know that.  But deep down do I really believe that?  And that is the question before me.  Do I really believe God or just merely believe in God? How many times, I’ve silently said to myself that this applies to this or that person but for me, a cast-away, don’t even dare think about it. 
That raises another question – what is this voice in my head telling me who I am and it’s very boastful in convincing to just accept that c’est-la-vie?
Herein lies the solution.  I hear both voices and one is louder and quick to get me to settle down by putting more chains around my ankles and hands hereby building a massive stronghold around me.
Freedom is calling my name because God has redeemed my life from the slave market of sin.  I want to know why the enemy of my soul invests so much in tripping me up.  As I am concluding this post, this verse literally popped up in my head:

For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said:" You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence. But you are not willing."  HCSB Isa 30:15.

Could this be my answer? 


Here & There

ONCE upon a time, a very young girl had big dreams and big plans.  Plans to be become a wife and four children specifically two boys and two girls.  She kept herself for that special person that somehow will be the father of her four children.   She grew up in church but never heard the gospel.  She had knowledge of God totally based on fear that He is waiting to strike her down for not being ‘good’.    One can say that the relationship with God or lack thereof was based on God watching her every move. 

FAST forward over a decade later, her plans were still in motion.  She had met the man with whom she was going to leave happily ever after with.  They both agreed to keep themselves pure until marriage.   She left her homeland for a new country or better yet the Promised Land.   Her dream to become a doctor was looking bright – well others’ dreams for her.  She naturally chose a science major to pursue her medical degree.  Along the way, the prince charming with whom she was destined to spend her life with died in a car accident.   He was ready to propose to her and had gotten the ring but lo and behold the night before he died, they kissed each other and their last words were ‘I love you’.  

PLANS shattered.  Dreams died.  During her junior year decided it wasn't really her plan to become a doctor but everyone around thought that it was the right field for her because one can say learning comes easy and she was a straight A student.   But what should she do now?  What should she study now?  Any back up plans? 

NOPE.  Not one.  She’s been listening to other people and following their will and plans.
Fast Forward another five years.   She had a baby boy – out of wedlock.  That was not the life she planned for.  She was ashamed and embarrassed of being a single parent.  She didn't become a doctor.  She didn't marry her prince charming.  She never dreamed of raising a child by herself.  She withdrew from her friends and tried to run away to a whole different state.   Just maybe she might start over with a clean state with no one knowing her background, her failures, her fears and sort of start over.  She packed for Florida with a almost two month old baby boy in tow and headed south.

But God had a plan.  God has planned all along to meet her at her lowest.  Just a week after being in Orlando, she was invited to church and despite her many excuses for not going and one of which was she didn't belong in the house of God as a full time, full blown sinner and God was really going to hand her what she deserves.

IN that service, the pastor came forward and read Romans 7 and that deserves a post in itself.   In short, it’s as if she was in the sanctuary by herself with God and the reading from which Paul shares his struggles with sin and the law.  Finally, she thought ‘so someone understands me’ because the good she wanted to go she couldn't.  And Paul claimed that it was sin living in her but more importantly, he posed the question ‘Who will rescue me from this body of death?’ She thought to herself “I can be rescue”.   How?  And by whom?   Up to this point, the pastor was just reading the  passage and she was having a full blown conversation in her head with the Scriptures , and he went on to answer the question ‘thanks be God through Jesus Christ our Lord’.

THAT’S my story and I was ruined for Jesus from that point forward.  Yes I have blown over and over since but my life had meaning.  God loved me.  So much so that while I was living in serious sins for the first 26 years of my life, His Word said ‘while they were still sinners Christ died for us’.
Thank you Jesus.  I lay it all down for you.  While for many years, saying ‘all’ for you but in the back of my mind I didn’t really mean it because it meant loosing something or taking me to an unfamiliar place or doing something that will stretch me too far that I am willing.  At this moment, you can take it all.  Surrender everything if only to behold you. 

TO him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.  Jude 24-25.