Reflections

Reflections on God's Grace - Part 1

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

15th Day of Lent

February 26, 2016

Reflections on God's Grace – Part 1

Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

"My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).

The Scriptures tell us that the apostle Paul had a burden, which he called Aa thorn in the flesh@ and though he sought the Lord three times for the relief of that burden, yet Paul was not relieved. However, the Lord told Paul that “His grace was sufficient for him, and His strength was made perfect in weakness.”

Jesus had paralleled "grace" with "strength," meaning spiritual strength.

Clearly, this Scripture indicates that though the Lord does not remove all thorns from our lives, yet He gives His grace as strength to endure afflictions and tribulations. And just as Jesus counselled Paul then, He would counsel us now concerning our burdens.

And since His grace is sufficient, and He replaces weakness with strength to endure, we know that we could rely on Him for relief of our burdens today in some way or form. In other words, there is always a way out and that way out is Jesus, our Master: the Way, the Truth and the Life.

The writings of Paul show us that he was well acquainted with God=s grace, for at another time, he told that it was by God's grace he was able to live in a simple, surrendered life for Christ. He also told that by God's grace he was able to communicate the gospel to others and more so to the Corinthians.

God=s grace is always sufficient for us whether He answers our prayers in the way we would like or not. And so, in all our struggles, whatever they may be, we can take courage, even if our Athorn in the flesh@ is not removed. We know that God will come through for us in some way. We can cast our burdens on Him and He would make them light.

Can you pause in this very moment and consider the times in your life when God=s grace came through for you? Maybe, by His grace, He gave you just what you asked for; maybe He didn’t give you what you asked for, but walked with you through your struggles, giving you comfort and strength to endure. Count those times and thank Him for His grace.
SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 84:11; 2 Corinthians 1:12; 2 Corinthians 12:9.
PRAYER: "Thank you Father, for all your blessings, most of all, thank you for your grace in helping me to endure whatever I must endure. Amen."

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

It is by God=s grace that we are enabled to do difficult tasks and

live surrendered lives for Him.

Cultivating Spiritual Awareness

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

 

14th Day in Lent

February 25, 2016

Cultivating Spiritual Awareness

Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

AThe kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened@ (Matthew 13:33, KJV).

When teaching about the Kingdom of Heaven, many are the parables Jesus spoke. And usually, He explained His parables to the people, but this one about a woman hiding leaven in three measures of meal, He did not explain. On examining this parable, it would seem that Jesus was speaking of spiritual awareness and how it expands.

As the words imply, cultivating spiritual awareness is the cultivating of a continuous knowledge of the virtues and potential of the life of the Spirit of God within us. And we do this mainly by giving attention to the Word, especially the portions spoken by Jesus Himself, for He said that AHis words are of spirit and of life.@

When we daily acknowledge God=s works and words of life, and speak with Him about our problems, our hopes and aspirations, this awareness grows. Many times we might just sit in deep contemplation of His virtues, and be saturated with His glory, basking in it and experiencing His presence.

For many of us, it is easy to get caught up with outward spiritual phenomena, for example, being slain in the Spirit and speaking in unknown tongues, not realizing that the Spirit often works in simple everyday matters, which easily go unnoticed.

And it is amazing to witness these important works of the Spirit as the progressive, little transformations from day to day, for example, change of attitudes and personality from the negative to the positive.

Can you look back, and by hindsight, see how much you have grown within the past year, five years or more? Can you see how the Word is working like leaven in your life?

SUGGESTED READINGS: Matthew 13:8; Matthew 17:20.

PRAYER: AHeavenly Father, help that your Word and knowledge of you would grow in me and expand to produce a harvest. Amen.@

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

As we cultivate spiritual awareness daily, it grows and expands within consciousness, much like the leaven in the parable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not By Bread Alone

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

12th Day of Lent

February 23, 2016

Not By Bread Alone

Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

AMan shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth@ (Matthew 4:4, KJV).

At a time when Jesus was tempted to turn stones into bread, He taught that Awe are not to live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God,@ indicating that physical bread nourishes the body and sustains natural life, but the Word nourishes the soul and sustains it with spiritual life.

Words that are sent from the mouth of God are capsules that carry His divine ideas in them, and it is the ideas within the Word that feed life to the human soul. When we feed on the ideas the Word presents, the inward being grows in understanding and leads the outward being to function in a right way.

Psalm 119 tells us that God’s Word is pure and true from the beginning and gives understanding to the simple. And when we press in deeper to the ideas given by the Word and hide them in our hearts, these ideas constantly draw us from the downward pull of what is not right for us.

Settled forever in heaven, the Word is a foundation for the Lord=s devoted ones and is a Source of hope and comfort in times of trouble.

We need every word that comes from the mouth of God: every commandment, every precept, every instruction, every encouragement, every truth. And when we not only read the Word but speak it, the Spirit uses that devotion to quicken our innermost being.

The Scriptures tell us that Afaith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God,@ indicating that it is beneficial, not only to read the Word but speak it as well, allowing it to fall on our outer ears and strengthen our faith. When we read the Word and speak it, we are being in service to the Amouth of God.@

When we do not feed our bodies adequately we become undernourished and our immune system suffers; we would become vulnerable to all kinds of diseases. It is just the same with our souls. When we neglect quality soul food, our spiritual immune system suffers; we would become depleted and vulnerable to the snares of life.
However, as we feed our souls with uplifting thoughts, prayers, quiet times and speaking the Word of God into our lives, we become spiritually healthy.

May you be continually blessed by the reading and speaking of the Word into your life.

SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 119:11; Psalm 119:49-50; Psalm 119: 105.

PRAYER: AThank you, Lord, your Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. Amen.@

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

The ideas of the Word are manna for the soul.

Taste and See the Lord is Good

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

13th Day in Lent

February 24, 2016

Taste and See the Lord is Good

Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

“O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him” (Psalm 34:8, KJV)

In our journey through life, we often encounter hard places and dry spots. But thank the Lord, He encourages us and allows us to taste and see that He is good and can fix our lives.

And when we respond to His encouragement and see His goodness, we then have a choice. We can choose either to go back into worldly living or follow Him who can deliver us from what worldliness has to offer. Thank the Lord, He has given us of Himself through Jesus Christ, His Son, that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

The Lord allows every person an opportunity to taste Him: to experience His person, beneficence and character. Even so, His goodness is either easily ignored or misinterpreted.

When we taste the Lord and savour the qualities of His being as healing, restoration, discernment, guidance and direction, we can never be the same. We taste Him in the actual changes that take place in our being. And after we have tasted Him, as we make our changed lives accountable to Him, it is wise to seek to help others get a taste of Him as well.

A famous poet has said: AIf all the seas were one sea, what a great sea that would be...@ And it is truth that Aif every person in the whole world would taste the Lord and recognize goodness as His greatest gift, what a great world this would be...@

Tasting the Lord calls for a willingness and commitment for His way of life; it also involves asking and seeking His presence.

When once we taste the Lord and have seen His goodness, it means we have tasted the Bread of life, the Water of life, the Author and Finisher of our faith, the Rock of our salvation, the Refuge and Restorer of our souls.

Are you willing to taste the Lord and see His goodness?

SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 27:13; 136:1-5; Proverbs 11:30; James 1:17.

PRAYER:"Dear Lord, your Spirit says “behold I come quickly…” Come quickly, Lord, move within me like a mighty wind and help me taste of your goodness in a deeper way. Amen.@
THOUGHT FOR TODAY:

To taste the Lord is to be blessed with an experience of His healing, restoration, discernment, guidance and direction.

Waiting Upon the Master

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

11th Day of Lent

February 22, 2016

Waiting on the Master

8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

AMy soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him@ (Psalm 62:5, KJV).

David speaks to himself: "...Wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." This tells us plainly that David was looking to none other than God for whatever he expected, whether it was something spiritual or natural.

Many are the persons who claim to be waiting on the Lord for something they hope for without even asking in faith for the same. However, a positive waiting on the Master involves asking, seeking and knocking in faith for the things and conditions we would like to experience in our lives.

The secret of successful waiting on the Lord is not just a vague, passive waiting on Him to perform something on our behalf, but a spiritually active waiting, filled with patience, expectation and trust, after we have “asked, sought, and knocked on heaven’s door.”

How should we wait on the Lord? At Psalm 123:2, David gives us graphic insight on just how we should wait on the Lord. This is a picture of dependency on one who is capable of support and delivery: the servant looks toward the hand of the master to feed him and the maiden looks toward the hand of her mistress just the same. And it is with that same kind of dependency and expectation that our eyes are to look to the Lord.

What can we learn from David's attitude in these two readings? We can learn to keep our eyes fixed on God for all our needs, for only He can deliver. The Bible tells us that very good and perfect gift to us comes from Him.

In the Hebrew, in this text, the word for "wait" means "to expect, look for, hope." So, to wait on the Lord really means "to expect@ from Him, or to Alook for@ (things) from Him, and Ato hope@ in Him. When we recognize Him who is all-powerful as our Source and support and "expect, look for (things) and hope in Him," He will not fail to give of His strength and power in times of need.

Are you waiting on Him for some special manifestation in your life? As you meditate on Psalm 123:2 you will find it to be a friend and guide.

Further, think about an expectant mother awaiting the birth of a child; she goes about her everyday affairs knowing that there is a day her child will come. She is sure of that and waits.

SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 123:2; Jeremiah 29:11; Matthew 6:22; James 1:14.
PRAYER: "Dear Lord, as the servant looks toward his master for the fulfillment of his needs, so help me to look to you always for all things. Help me, Lord, to realize that you are all I need for all my needs. And thank you Lord for hearing me when I call. I know you hear me always. Amen."

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

As the expectant mother eagerly awaits birth of her child,

so should we eagerly await the birth of our dreams.