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Archive for December, 2017

Dear Friends,

I received the link to this beautiful song, “Where Is the Line for Jesus?” by Becky Kelley, from a dear friend today, and in her words, “it pierced my heart.” A little boy is walking around in a very busy shopping mall looking everywhere but he can’t find what he’s looking for. There was a long line to see Santa and people were walking in a hurry with bags full of presents so the boy stops and asks a girl (the singer), “Where is the line for Jesus? … If Christmas time is His birthday, why don’t we see Him more? … He was born for me. Santa Claus brought me presents but Christ gave His life for me.”

As I reflected on the lyrics, I realized that even though I try to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I too get caught up in the busyness of the holiday season and the stress that accompany it. This song reminded me of how far the world is from the truth—the true celebration and the amazing meaning of Jesus’ birth. Everything around the Christmas celebration is so commercialized and it’s designed specifically so we all forget about the hero of the story—the little baby Jesus who would grow up and later die on the cross to save us all!

For a lot of people, Christmas is a fun time to be with their loved ones. Yet for many others, this season can be lonely, full of despair, and sadness. So for those of us who are blessed to have loved ones around us during this time, let us reach out to those who are alone and lonely. Let us reach out with the overflowing love of God and with the sweetness and humility of Jesus.

May you have a blessed Christmas celebrating the birth of our Lord and may you extend the love of God to those who are in desperate need of His love.

I will leave you with the link to the song on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFwV1YlAWZA

Merry Christmas to all my friends and family! You are LOVED by Jesus and you are LOVED by me.

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Dear Friends,

Each year during this time I ponder on the year that is ending and wonder what’s ahead in the New Year. Will I have new opportunities? What should I focus on? Will I lose a loved one? Will this year bring good things? What if something bad happens to me or someone I love? Will I be able to help others? Those are some of the questions that run through my mind and maybe you have some of those questions too. But most of all, I welcome the New Year with hope and gratitude—the gratitude for having lived another year and that everything worked out okay and also the hope that everything will be okay next year as well.

I am a firm believer in having goals and writing them down. I do this each year during December and the beginning of January. Then I keep that list of goals on my desk and look at it often through the year. Sometimes I feel discouraged because I’m not accomplishing everything I set out to do and I start feeling anxious. Then I think of all the things that I have accomplished and that makes me feel better.

Sometimes we put goals that may take longer than one year and we need to be flexible with ourselves. Other goals may have to be delayed because we needed to focus on other projects instead. Yet other times life happens and we have to put all or some of our goals on hold until that situation is under control. For example, this past year I had my parents at my home visiting from Nicaragua for five weeks during my mom’s cataract surgery process. I put several projects on hold, postponed several meetings to the next month, and cancelled several events I had scheduled that were not important if I missed them. Even though this situation was not an emergency nor sad, it caused me to change my plans, which in turn affected my goals. But in the end, everything turned out great. My mom can see well again! During their stay I tried to not be too stressed out and enjoy their company as much as I could. I am blessed to still have my parents and I live with the awareness that each time I see them it may be my last.

The point of the story is that we need to focus on what’s most important in our lives—the people we love. Business can be delayed for a few days, events can be missed, and meetings can be postponed. Taking care of our loved ones, our family, should be a priority and sometimes throughout our busyness we don’t take advantage of those moments when we can really be there for them.

During this time I also reflect on my spiritual life. Am I the same as I was last year in my personal walk with God? Did I forgive those who offended me or do I carry unforgiveness in my heart? Did I help others the way God would want me to help them? Did I spend enough time with the Lord just to be with Him, learning from His Word and being in His presence? The answer to the latter question is “not enough,” not as much as I would like to or should.

Some of you know that I spend most of my Saturdays praying, writing, reading the Bible, and spending quality time with God. But one day a week is not enough to sustain my spirit nor to grow my relationship with Jesus. On the other hand, I do my best and pray daily and throughout the day. I ask God to help me daily with my business, with my family, to help me grow in Him, to let me see how I can help others, to make me humble by never allowing me to forget that without Him I am nothing. Every day I thank God for all His blessings in my life. I try my best but I never feel it’s enough. So what is enough?

When we purpose to seek God with all our hearts, it’s never going to be enough time to get to know God, to walk with Him each moment of our daily lives, and to love on others God’s way. But God knows our struggle for time. He knows the demands of our lives and He is compassionate and understanding. We are also each on our individual walks with God and are going through different seasons in our lives. Therefore, sometimes we need to spend more time in the presence of God to get us through each day. Other times, we are going through a good season and don’t feel the need to spend so much time with God. But the truth is, we need Him in the good times the same as in the bad times. When we are in the good times maybe we can spend more time helping others. When we are experiencing dark times then we seek for others’ help to get us through.

So for this next year, I encourage you to keep in mind your loved ones and also your relationship with God. Include them both in your annual goals. For example, set a goal to go on a monthly (or weekly) date with your spouse and schedule it. Set a goal to not miss your kids’ most important sports activities. Another goal could be to reconnect with an old friend whom you love very much but haven’t seen in years because you’re both too busy. One of my goals is to go visit my parents in Nicaragua just to spend quality time with them. One of my spiritual goals is to read my Bible every day with no exception—even if it’s just one scripture. I also want to spend more dedicated time in the mornings to pray—even if it’s just a few minutes—instead of “praying as I go.” I want to create the habit.

When we feed our soul by nurturing our relationships and we feed our spirit by being in God’s presence, we feel more refreshed to tackle the business side of our goals. It’s a positive investment of our time and produces fruit that goes beyond what we can imagine.

This Christmas, dedicate more time to thank God for sending us the biggest gift of all—Jesus. I wish you a Merry Christmas and the best in the New Year full of love, hope, and gratitude!

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