Like a Tree Planted by Rivers of Water

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional


Second Sunday in Lent
February 21, 2016
Like a Tree Planted by Rivers of Water
8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season…@ (Psalm 1:3, KJV).

In the above reading, the psalmist speaks of stability and being blessed. Imagine a tree planted by rivers of water and bringing forth its fruit in its season. This imagery gives us an idea of what it is to be stable, strong and productive as God means for our lives to be.

Here, in the natural realm, every fruit-bearing tree has a season for putting forth its fruits. And in the word-pictures the psalmist painted above, we get the imagery of a tree doing just that...not out of season but at the right time for its fruitage.

Are there continual shifting patterns in your life? Are you seeking comfort and better circumstances here, there and everywhere? Maybe you lack patience with yourself for your progress in life? Maybe you compare your progress in career or vocation with that of others and promote disappointment with yourself?

If so, you are building instability in your ways, which can be a hindrance to your progress

Yet, just where you are, there are treasures of talents, gifts and wonderful opportunities for outstanding performances for the glory of God and the good of your soul. You can be like that tree: stable, strong and being productive in the right time.

All the good conditions you seek are within you, waiting to be brought forth into manifestation, with God
=s help, of course. When you seek the directing hand of God and trust Him to move you to their fulfillment as He sees fit, He will do so in His way and in His timing, and season.

However, along with stability and strength, waiting on our season calls for developing patience on our part. Then we would be more open to God
=s blessing and gain some sense of direction in our lives.

: Psalm 1:1-3; Jeremiah 17:8; James 1:6-8.
PRAYER: "Lord, give me strength and stability. And grant me grace to await my season for bringing forth fruit in my endeavors. Amen.”
All life is cycles and seasons, and there is a season for each of us personall
to bring forth fruitage.



Hiding In the Secret of His Presence

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

10th Day of Lent

February 20, 2016

Hiding in the Secret of His Presence

8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

AThou shalt hide them in the secret of thy presence from the pride of man: thou shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the strife of tongues@ (Psalm 31:20, KJV).

David affirms that AGod will hide those who fear Him in the secret of His presence from the pride of man.@ This has a twofold significance: first, God will hide us from the effect of the pride of other persons toward us, and secondly, God will hide us from becoming prideful. David also affirms that AGod will keep those who fear Him secretly in a pavilion from the strife of others...@

Other Scriptures tell us that God hates pride and resists the proud. What promotes pride? It is an excessive focus on self and the accomplishments of self rather than on the greatness and power of God. When we begin to become obsessed with self, and pride sets in, we can know we are heading for destruction. But when we seek the Lord=s presence as a refuge from pride, He will reveal to us the attitudes we need to change and how to overcome pride.

Pride is destructive to our souls but we can resist it by practicing to be humble and asking God for His help. Sometimes, in challenging situations, we succeed in being humble, yet at other times we fail, but as we continue to practice being humble, we will grow into that state, and when the pride of man and strife of tongues come, the Lord will keep us secretly from their effects.

To be humble means not to be easily provoked. Yet it does not mean to be lamely submissive or be a walk-over. To be humble is to know our rights: both civil and spiritual and be assertive about them without being arrogant. To be humble is to be charitable to others, also to have spiritual strength, which only arises out of an abiding peace in the heart.

The Bible tells us that pride is the forerunner of destruction and a fall. Truly, pride is the result of faulty thinking and feeling, and as such, its consequence will always be faulty. When we allow prideful thoughts and feelings to fill our minds we will always be led astray. However, with the help of Jesus, our Master, we can change those thoughts and feelings

Often, our pride interferes with our motives when doing favours for others. As we do favours for others, it would be wise for us to inquire of ourselves: AWhat is my motive here?@ AIs it to merely satisfy my pride or is it in the labour for Christ?@
SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 31:20; Psalm 91:1; Proverbs 16:18 James 4:10.
PRAYER: "Heavenly Father, hide me in the secret of your presence always, keep me from the strife of others, and help me overcome prideful thoughts and feelings. Amen."

When we are humble in the sight of the Lord, He will exalt us.

Are You Building Wisely?

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

8th Day of Lent

February 18, 2016

Are You Building Wisely?

8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

ATherefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock@ (Matthew 7:24).

In every form of house building, we can never be too careful in our choice of materials for the building of our foundation. We would choose materials for durability, beauty and functionality. And from a spiritual perspective, here is Jesus giving us sound instruction about the foundation we are to construct upon which to build our spiritual house.

When we examine the teachings of Jesus given in Matthew, chapter seven, we see that every precept within it is a vital pillar in the foundation of our spiritual house building as a safe-guard against the winds, rain and floods that will come at certain times as we walk through life.

Some winds that come and beat upon us are trials, tribulation, temptation of various kinds, and for each of us, those perils come in different forms. But when our spiritual house is built upon the rock-solid foundation of Jesus= words, the winds and rain of life will not destroy us when they beat upon us. The floods will not overwhelm us.

What does it take for you and me to build our spiritual house on a foundation so strong that it would be secure from the storms of life? Heeding Jesus= words and teachings is the spiritual discipline that would form a rock-solid foundation for us to build our consciousness upon. It will ensure us endurance and durability when the winds, rain and floods come.

Besides studying and practicing those sayings of Jesus in Matthew, chapter seven, we could add praying, contemplating the things of God, meditating on Scripture and divine ideas. Also, daily changing our thoughts, words and actions so that they conform to the image of Jesus Christ.

Upon what foundation are you building your spiritual house? Is it upon solid principles of truth as outlined in Matthew, chapter seven, or are you building upon the principles of the world? Can you be counted as the wise man who built his house upon a rock?

SUGGESTED READINGS: Matthew 7:7-8; Matthew 7:12-14; 2 Cor. 4:7-14.

PRAYER: ADear Lord, help me to build my spiritual house on a rock-solid faith in you and your words. Amen.@

The wise build on solid rock, but the foolish build on sinking sand.

The Unfolding Christ-life

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

9th Day of Lent

February 19, 2016

The Unfolding Christ-life

8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

@For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God…which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 3:3; 1:27).

The Scriptures tell us that followers of Christ have their lives hidden with Christ in God. This life of Christ in God is the life of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father both living within the heart of every believer. This is the Christ-life.

There is now a togetherness between the Father, Son and us and something mysterious is taking place in our inner being: we are being transformed as the Christ-life unfolds and expresses itself.

Day by day, as the Christ-life unfolds within us, we are being renewed and its presence gives us authority and wisdom to address the adverse issues in our lives. The Christ-life covers our weaknesses, giving us strength to deal with difficult circumstances and helps us partake of its divine nature, which is meekness, love, forgiveness and triumph, along with other blessings.

The Christ-life unfolds within everyone who receives the invitation of Jesus to follow Him. And like a rose unfolds, petal by petal, row by row, the Christ-life unfolds, little by little, day by day, revealing its fullness and potential. The unfolding of the Christ-life within us is the process of change and regeneration; it is spiritual growth.

As we are open and receptive to the Christ-life within us we receive spiritual understanding and insight. And its presence within us gives us the privilege to become children of God, offering us a heritage of triumph over adversity in this life and a better quality of living.

As children of God, it is our privilege to enjoy the fellowship of the Father and the Son within us and receive their gifts of healing, restoration, discernment, guidance and direction. However, these gifts are promoted by a growing intimacy with Father and Son and us.

Are you building intimacy with the life of the Father and the Son that is within you?

SUGGESTED READINGS: John 17:21-24; Colossians 3:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:14-16.

PRAYER: AChrist within me is my hope of glory. Thank you, Father, for the presence of you and Jesus Christ within me. Amen.”


The life of Christ unfolds within His followers, taking them from glory to glory.


Reflections on Prayer - Part 2

FOLLOWING THE MASTER – A Lenten Devotional

7th Day of Lent

February 17, 2016

Reflections on Prayer – Part 2

8 Copyright 2016 Monica Hernandez

AAnd she vowed a vow and said...give unto thine handmaid a man child...then will I give him unto the Lord all the days of his life@ (1 Samuel 1:11).

Consider Hannah=s prayer. In First Samuel, chapter one, we read of Hannah, yearning for a child and praying to God for that blessing. And Hannah’s prayer was fervent and specific: she wanted a man child and vowed she would give him back to the Lord for service all the days of his life.

Though Hannah had a husband, she recognized the Lord as her Source and cause for her to conceive a child, and poured out her heart to Him.

Hannah was a woman of faith and hope. The Bible tells that after her prayers to the Lord, she was so confident that God heard and would answer her prayer that "she went her way and ate and her countenance was no more sad." This tells us of the faith and expectation in her heart as she waited upon the Lord for His answer. And God answered Hannah's prayer.

Like Hannah, we can choose to be filled with hope and courage while we wait on God=s answers. And as we hope, He further strengthens our hearts. But what does it take to be filled with hope while we wait on God? The secret is Aknowing that our God neither slumbers nor sleeps@ but is continually working in our lives arranging and re-arranging circumstances for His brightest and best favours.

Each of us is praying to God for something, be it a job, a new house, a spouse or child, or whatever desires we conceive in our hearts. And when we understand that it is only God who furnishes us with good things, it gives us courage to go to Him one more time. And our faith and hope in God provide Him a space to work and increase our good.

What can we learn from Hannah=s attitude in prayer? We can learn to be steadfast and specific in our prayers. We can also learn to keep whatever vows we make to God, and also to give back to God out of the first-fruits we receive. There are always ways we can give back to God.

There are keys to answered prayer, and Hannah knew one of those keys: that of being specific, neither doubting nor wavering, The Bible reminds us too, that “he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” and will not receive anything from the Lord, also that praying amiss hinders a response from God.

SUGGESTED READINGS: Psalm 27:14; 66:18; Jeremiah 29:11, James 1:5-8; 4:3.
PRAYER: "Thank you Lord, you do hear and answer prayer. Thank you Lord, for your brightest and best in my life. Amen."


God is willing to favour us and it would do us good to be specific.