Monday, October 22, 2018

70 Days

70 out of 365. This is how long we have left in the year 2018. The natural question is, what have I done? The real question is: what can we accomplish in 70 days? 

Take a good look at the following areas:

Your goals - this is a good time to reassess them and make steps towards closing the year strong. I will admit that looking at the goals I set in January make me uneasy. I quickly get over those feelings because the only way to make progress is to start from where you are. I encourage you to take small steps. I am here to remind you that one year from now, you will be so glad you decided to persist. 

Your schedule - the major holidays are coming soon. Take an honest look at your schedule from last year. If you felt like you needed a hospital stay in order to recover, you may need to change your commitments for this year. Think about how you want to feel this holiday season. Your schedule has a lot to do with your well-being. You can't attend and host every get-together and feel well. Be honest with yourself. Prioritize your family and your health. "No" is a complete sentence you can use it often.  

Your family - how can you invest in your family in the next 70 days? Let's be honest: when it comes down to eternity, you are forever connected with the family God gave you. We are all in different seasons of family life. Every family member can use encouragement. Don't wait until the holiday season to exchange pleasantries with difficult relatives. Forgive now and pray for God's best. If you have small kids and volunteer responsibilities are stealing your time with them, reconsider your commitments. 

Your faith - there is a natural aspect to our faith journey. God encourages us to seek Him. It is up to us to pray, read our Bibles and practice other spiritual disciplines. Don't wait until everyone decides in January that it is appropriate to fast. Don't wait until one of your friends starts a Bible study. Decide to take responsibility for your own faith journey. 

Don't complicate your schedule for the next 70 days. Time is going to pass anyway. You can't control time but you can control yourself. Take a good look at your goals, schedule, family, and faith. I believe you will accomplish a lot of worthy things as you finish 2018.  

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Episode 6: Jealousy on Spring Break

Jealousy is not the best for you and I.
Today, I walk you through my process of going from jealous to joyful for others.

Read the original post "Jealousy on Spring Break" here

Let's Talk about Jealousy:
What is the object of your jealousy? Is is a person, a situation, a material possession?
How does that feeling make you feel?
Jealousy is not from God. You and I need to turn away from it.
How can you turn away from jealousy today?
I have learned that when God wants me to turn away from something, it is because He has a great blessing for me. What is the blessing that awaits you on the other side of repentance from jealousy?

Let's take a Deep Dive. Jealousy is a clear sign that we are not content with the life God is giving us. Here is what 1 Timothy 6:6-12 (NIV) says:

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Meditate on this Scripture. If you want to know more about the background of this passage, please go to Merry Ministries and scroll down until you find 1 Timothy (you can also listen here 53:30). Once you are sure about what God's intention for us is, answer the following questions:

What does 1 Timothy 6:6-12 say?
What does  1 Timothy 6:6-12 mean?
How does 1 Timothy 6:6-12 apply to me.

You can support me by listening to the Podcast, giving me a 5-star review, spreading the word and making a donation. Thank you!

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Wednesday, October 17, 2018

App Rupture

One of my goals for 2018 is to use less of my phone in the presence of others. It hasn't been perfect but I can see my progress has been steady.

Recently, Apple created a way for iPhone users to measure their screen time. I cringed when I looked at my stats. It was that same feeling I had when I was overweight and I needed to do something about the number I saw on the scale. I immediately gained some extra motivation to reach my goal.

Everyone has excuses why they need to have their eyes glued on their phone. Mine are very noble: "it's part of my job." The truth is that even as a professional, I can make better use of the time I spend on social media apps.

So I decided to let go of "my darlings." Personally, I love certain apps yet they are not loving me back. Simple stats are helping me see that the time I spend on "my darlings" need to be redirected somewhere else.

The reason why I wanted to decrease my phone usage in the presence of others is because I want to teach my children how to properly manage technology. It is hard to teach if I am not giving them my full and complete attention.

Once I made progress on my goal, I noticed I had extra time to do a lot of things such as:

• Use my DSLR camera;
• Listen to audio books;
• Read;
• Write;
• Chores;
• Work on my business goals;
• See, hear and interact with the people right in front of me.

I only have one chance to live the life God has given me. I don't want to be found by Him starring at a little screen.

All of the reasons I gave you to decrease phone usage can be noble. The key thing that motivated me to rupture with my apps was the Word of God.

Moses, in Psalm 90:12, writes: "So teach us to number our days so we may gain a heart of wisdom." I took this quite literally as one should.

I only have a dedicated amount of time with my kids as little kids. There's a lot of teaching happening right now. I can't effectively parent them while starring at a screen. Multitasking is costing us effectiveness in key relationships. Don't you believe that lie. Your family needs all of your attention. Give it to them.

A heart of wisdom is the gift I gain when I follow God's plan for my life. I know you didn't see this one coming. Neither did I, but I'm glad wisdom is part of God's gift to me.

James writes that our conduct should display God's wisdom (see James 3:13-18). He goes on to tell us that the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.

You and I cannot get wisdom apart from God. Starring at your phone will not get you any wisdom.

Am I advocating a mass exit from social media? No. I am encouraging you to take a look at your app usage and the fruit you are displaying because of it. I am daring you to seek God for guidance in your phone usage. He will always lead you into all truth. His truth is His Word.

I believe God wants us to walk in the Spirit all of the time. I believe He wants us to display the fruit of the Spirit even in our phone usage. Self-control is listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as the fruit of the Spirit. God has given us self-control. It is up to us to ask His guidance as we display such amazing gift in our lives.

This message is not intended to cause you to feel guilty. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. This message is intended to encourage you to freedom.

God wants us to use our apps in His freedom. The process to get there is different for everyone. God might lead you to take a sabbatical so you can recalibrate. He may lead you to stop for a season (or forever if it's really toxic). I don't know how the process will be for you. Here's what I do know: there's freedom be the people God called us to be.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free my dear friend. Let's enjoy this gift today in Jesus' name.

Oh, there's also health benefits in decreasing app usage. My health has improved. My stress level has decreased tremendously. There's science behind that and there is the reality of the healthier life I am living.

Today is the day to pray for guidance, make adjustments and walk in freedom. There's wisdom in following God's word.

Prayer: God, teach us to number our days so we may gain a heart of wisdom. We repent from depending on technology more than we depend on You and Your word. Set us free from bondage, give us a heart of wisdom so we may serve You in this world. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Monday, October 15, 2018

Podcast 5: Speak out of your Wisdom

We are all looking for peace, we just don't know it.
Today, I encourage you to speak out of your wisdom.

My blog post "don't speak out of your wound, speak out of your wisdom" blog post was one of your favorites. I decided to record a podcast about it. Enjoy it!

You can support me by listening to the Podcast, giving me a 5-star review, spreading the word and making a donation. Thank you!

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Chores without Tears

My youngest was in preschool when I heard of the concept of handwriting without tears. Humans have a way of showing their dislike for things that need to get done. While handwriting was never our problem, chores certainly were.

I felt like crying just thinking about the amount of work that needed to be done. I have a full-time job, a business of my own, church and community commitments. How can I possibly add chores to this list without shedding many tears?

I learned to work smarter so I don't have to cry every week. Here are my strategies:

Work with family • Every little bit helps. The kids can pick up toys, clothes and put their shoes in the right place. Helping with chores around the home is a way of learning. They learn what it takes to have a clean home. They learn how to do different chores themselves. Let's be honest, I don’t know a lot of kids (or adults) who are excited about any type of cleaning. I learned that if I ask them to do a 5-minute pickup, everyone is glad to know there will be an end to the activity. Remember to give the kids grace is needed when they are helping with housework. They're not adults so don't expect the same results. Remember, the house will get dirty again because you live there. They key is to be consistent and have a lot of flexibility when involving kids. Also, never abandon kids while they are cleaning. Supervision is needed and encouragement is welcome. 

Work Multiple Days • I can’t get all the cleaning done in one day. I learned to be happy with working multiple days to accomplish most of the cleaning. The key is to focus on the most important chores you need to accomplish. Picking three works for me. I usually go for dishes, laundry, and bathrooms. I start the laundry, do the dishes and clean the bathroom (light cleaning). I learned to identify what a good stopping point is for laundry. It might take a couple of days but I get the chores done if I accept they will not get done all at once.

I had to give up on the idea that my home will look like the cover of a magazine at all times. There will be dusty spots. There will be laundry and dishes to be done. Happy families live in homes that get messy.

I have learned that even when I work slowly to reach my housekeeping goals, it is worth it.