Monthly Archives: May 2015


DSC_1223By Judy Villanueva

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.  Praise Him all people here below.  Praise Him above ye heavenly host.  Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen. (Doxology)

Frustrated and anxious, I decided to slow down from my errands and take my pulse.  “What’s up?  Why so fitful, O my soul?”  I connected immediately to the source of my unrest and sighed.  The beauty of today was that there was no agenda and, the angst that nipped at my heels today was that…there was no agenda.  Nothing to accomplish that might give me a sense that my life has purpose.  In other words, the gift of a day off, free to play or rest or dig a hole or sleep!  Instead of soaking it up I found myself restless and longing for something to fill that place within me…you know the place…the one that is God-shaped and only quieted by His presence.

My soul knew its longing would not be satiated by worthy deeds but rather, by drawing near to God and finding my “Amen” …the one that was waiting to be sung to Him!

We say “Amen” at the end of prayers as a way of affirming whatever has been prayed.  It means “ Yes! So be it.  It is true.”  We do the same thing with our lives and daily live in affirmation of that which we believe and value most.  We spend our time, energy and money according to the treasures of our hearts and over a lifetime, we declare a holy or unholy “Amen” to whatever has captured our imaginations.  Think about it.  If someone were observing your days, and all the choices you make, what would they conclude about your values and deepest beliefs?  Is your life being lived and prayed in adoration and thanksgiving to God…or, are the cares of this world usurping your “Amens”?  The question to ponder is:

“What are you saying “Amen” to with your life?

It was 5:00pm and I decided to take a muddy walk toward some horses and cows that were feeding on the land next to ours.  As I watched my feet hunt for dry patches, I became aware of a gentle breeze that beckoned me to notice the Companion of the ages who walked alongside me.  In that moment, I felt myself exhale the angst of the day and draw in a deep breath of peace. All worry evaporated as I was roused from my stupor and awakened to the reality of God with me. What a happy “Amen” that bubbles up within us whenever we enter God’s fellowship.  There we encounter THE Amen, the Faithful One, the True Witness, the Beginning…and there, in the middle of His “Yes” to us, we find our own “Amen” spilling out of us in praise!

 “Thank you, Father, for nestling up close and helping me to feel your company today.  I confess that I live too often saying “Amen” to things that are passing away…like, the comforts of the day,  or making life all about me.  Lead me into Your presence and fill my heart with praise.  Amen!”

What about you?

What are you saying amen to with your life?

Are you aware when God is beckoning you into His presence?

When your soul is restless, how do you draw near to God?

Have you experienced God’s “Yes” over your life?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

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Higher Ways

DSC_0167By Judy Villanueva

Isaiah 55:9  

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.”

Turning over, I pressed the button on my phone to see what time it was…3:00am. Ugh!  I thought, “If I don’t start thinking I won’t start worrying and I’ll be able to go right back to sleep.”  No such luck.  Loved ones flashed through my mind like a slideshow, each one holding their pain or need.  Before long, I was wide-awake and aware of a familiar tightness in my tummy.  I knew that loving my friends and family with worry would never be as helpful as loving them through prayer but it was the middle of the night and I was at a disadvantage.  I wanted to pray but found myself listening instead to faith crushing questions like, “What’s the point?” and, “Does prayer really make a difference?”

Our lives are full of events that we understand and right alongside is everything else!  God does not explain everything and, even if He did, we’d likely not grasp the complexity of how our lives fit into the immense orchestration of lives and events that He watches over with love. Our sanity, not to mention, our faith depend on believing that He is good and able to hold all the pieces of history and work them together for purposes that we will one day celebrate.

In the meantime, we hope and pray in the gap that exists between what we know about God and what we do not understand about our world.

Knowing God and trusting Him is everything!  Praying in the middle of the night needn’t depend on our ability to make sense of everything and can instead lean on the tender heart of the God, who listens.  Do you know His heart?  There are many good things to know about Yahweh but the experience of His love and the conviction that He reigns over, above, in and through ALL of life is a gift of peace in the dark and precious laughter in the light.  Which is easier, I wonder?

To trust in what happens next or to trust in the One who holds what happens next?

God holds what happens next…and He holds us, too!  We can’t know what we can’t know or control all that we wish we could, but we can put our trust in the One whose thoughts and ways are higher than ours.

“Thank You, Father, that You love with perfection, even when I cannot see or measure it.  Watch over all our prayers in the middle of the night and help us to feel you with us especially when it’s dark and we are tired.  Bless us and fill us with faith in Your good heart.  Amen.”

What about you? 

Do you know that when you pray, God is always listening…even at 3:00am?

Have you experienced God’s love?  Have you felt His tender heart?

Do you need faith in the middle of the night?  Strength to pray in the gap?

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night.”(Psalm 92:1-2)

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