IF ONLY THEY KNEW

Read Romans 2:1-6   

His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.  

 He shall not judge by what his eyes see, 

or decide by what his ears hear.

– Isaiah 11:3 (NRSV)

You don't know . . .I was driving in the right lane with my foot to the floorboard. The speed limit was 50 mph, but my car would not go any faster than 20 mph. Several drivers glared as they sped past me. Some had clenched fists, uttering words I thankfully couldn’t understand. They had no idea that I was going as fast as my car would allow. They unfairly judged me solely because of what they saw.

Circumstances and situations aren’t always as they appear. When relevant information is missing or overlooked, we all make assumptions. I learned what it’s like to be on the receiving end of unmerited judgment. God used this incident to humble me and to reveal the sin in my own heart. It was time for me to repent, to turn away from my sin.                                            

How often do we jump to wrong conclusions because we failed to get all the facts? How often have our thoughts about others been judgmental? Instead of judging others, we can delight in God’s goodness and begin to learn how to extend God’s grace to others in their times of need.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, empower our hearts to search beyond what our eyes see so that we are careful not to pass judgment on others. Amen.     

                                                                                              Lydia Gomez Reyes (Texas)

Prayer Focus: SOMEONE I HAVE JUDGED 

   

(Published in The Upper Room, September-October 2016 issue, p. 71)
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Best Friends

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 (In loving memory of Rosalinda “Rosie” Saenz Soto 12/27/1959 – 02/07/2009)

 

Somewhere on this planet is your best friend.
                   Find that person.
                     – Omar Kiam

My best friend knows me well,
And reads me like a book.
She knows when there is something wrong
By taking just one look.

She also reads between the lines,
When I’ve got things to share.
She listens without judging me
And lets me know she cares.

She tells me what I need to hear,
I know it’s for my good.
Otherwise, I’d never change
Or do the things I should.

She laughs when I am happy,
And cries when I am hurt.
She stands firm and takes my side
When others dish out dirt.

Our friendship is forever,
It’s priceless and won’t end.
I’m absolutely sure of this
‘Cause I’m also her best friend.

Lydia Gomez Reyes

 

(Published in Chicken Soup for the Soul – Just Us Girls (Nov 2013), p. 81-82)

The Consequences of Disobedience

1 Samuel 13:5-14                                 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Samuel said to Saul, “You have done foolishly . . .” 1 Samuel 13:13a

deadlineSaul waited seven days in Gilgal for the prophet Samuel to arrive to sacrifice the offerings. When Samuel had not come and Saul’s troops began to scatter for fear of the Philistines, Saul took it upon himself to offer the sacrifices. Samuel arrived and asked Saul, “What have you done?” Upon hearing Saul’s explanation, Samuel told him he acted foolishly, because he had not done as God had commanded. As a result his kingdom would not endure.

When faced with overwhelming circumstances, I, too, have been guilty of making hasty decisions. I could have avoided the negative consequences of getting ahead of God had I simply chosen instead to wait patiently. We are to live our lives in obedience to God. Our obedience reflects our confidence and trust in God. As a result, we also experience safety and a peace unlike anything the world has to offer. What an incredible testimony to those around us!

PRAYER: Gracious God, may we learn to trust you and your timing in every situation. Amen.

                                                            Lydia Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Fall 2014 issue, p. 32)

Broken Promises

Isaiah 38:1-8                                                                   

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: “This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised . . .” Isaiah 38:7

tacosSince my sister works long, hard hours, I promised her I would cook dinner for her and her family on my next day off. I knew it would be a blessing for her not to have to cook after coming home from her job. Unfortunately, a last minute change in my schedule required me to work on my day off. She graciously understood, and we rescheduled the dinner for another night.

Life can be unpredictable. A sick child, a sprained ankle, or unexpected guests can keep us from following though on a promise we’ve made to a friend or loved one. Rescheduling isn’t always an option. Sometimes, our absence becomes a hardship for those who were depending on our help.

The Bible is full of precious promises. These promises are not subject to changing circumstances in everyday life. They are promises made by God, who is steadfast and immovable. We can count on God.

PRAYER: Thank you, God, for the peace and assurance we have as a result of your faithfulness to us. Amen.

                                                    Lydia Gomez Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Spring 2014 issue, p. 57)

The Greatness of God

sunrays

I see you in the vast, blue sky,
The sun, the moon, and stars,
The galaxies and Milky Way,
The planets, Earth, and Mars.

I hear you in the praises sung
By dove and mockingbird.
They sit outside my window
As I read through you Word.

I smell you in the air I breathe,
Among the pines and firs
I praise you with uplifted hands,
And tell you I am yours.

I feel your presence in my life.
You’re everywhere, it’s clear.
From all that you have given me
Your love for me’s most dear.

                                                   Lydia Gomez Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Springs 2014 issue, p. 64)

 

Caring for Others First

1 Kings 17:7-16                                                   

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Elijah said to her, “Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son.” 1 Kings 17:13

wallet 2It was the first of December and I had just been paid from my new, part-time job. I felt led by God to give one-third of the money to a family member and to use another third to buy Christmas toys for children in an orphanage in Mexico. I obeyed God and wondered how our needs would be met by the remaining third, since my husband was unemployed and my job was only temporary.

A few days later, I saw a friend in church and went over to chat with her and her mother. Her mother, who took me through the hiring process at my former job, asked me why I had not yet gone to pick up my last paycheck. “Last paycheck?” I asked, surprised. She explained that the last paycheck is not directly deposited into an employee’s bank account. It has to be picked up in person at the Human Resources Department.

I have no idea why I was unaware that my check was never deposited into my account. All I know is that God knew there was more than enough money not only for me to give to others, but also to meet our own needs.

PRAYER: Gracious, all-knowing God, help us to obey you in all things, even when we have no idea how things will work out. Amen.

                                                     Lydia Gomez Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2013-2014 issue, p. 14)

Do Not Complain

Exodus 16:1-8                                                                     

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: And Moses said, “When the Lord gives you meat to eat in the evening and your fill of bread in the morning, because the Lord has heard the complaining that you utter against him – what are we? Your complaining is not against us but against the Lord.” Exodus 16:8

Blah, blah, blahWe were looking forward to volunteering at the nonprofit community event. Once we got there, however, it was obvious that it was poorly organized. Frustrated, I verbally expressed my observations loudly enough for one of the leaders of the group to hear.

My husband, on the other hand, saw the same things I did and quickly came up with a solution that brought order and peace to all. The leaders were pleased with his plans and glad to have him take charge of the situation. The evening was a success.

God used this situation to open my eyes to the sinfulness of my heart. I had chosen to complain rather than help find a solution. I had not only sinned against one of the leaders of the group, I had also sinned against God. Thankfully, both accepted my apology and forgave me.

Paul reminds us, in 1 Corinthians 10:10-11, “And do not complain as some of them did, and were destroyed by the destroyer. These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come.”

PRAYER: Lord, remove the root of pride from my heart and replace it with your love, mercy and compassion for others. Give me a servant’s heart willing to work through problems. Amen

                                                     Lydia Gomez Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2013-2014 issue, p. 39)

No Such Things

Nehemiah 6:1-9                                                               

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done; you are inventing them out of your own mind.” Nehemiah 6:8

keyboardShe questioned my motive for choosing one client over another; “Did you pick that client solely on your friend’s recommendation?” she asked, seemingly ready to reprimand me. Her accusation couldn’t have been further from the truth. I gave her additional details and a timeline of what had transpired which resulted in my decision. She listened, but said nothing.

At first I was upset. But later as I thought about it more, I realized I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing. I recalled the time my friend hadn’t responded right away to my e-mail. I initially thought she might be angry at me for something I had said. My negative thoughts continued with each passing day. Imagine my embarrassment when I learned she had just returned from being on vacation for two weeks without access to a computer.

The mind is quick to entertain vain imaginations when we do not have all the facts. It is best to wait patiently until we do, before proceeding to say or do anything that could result in damaging consequences.

PRAYER: Lord, help me not to be a stumbling block to others by jumping to conclusions without having gathered all the facts. Amen

                                                     Lydia Gomez Reyes – Brownsville, Texas

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2013-2014 issue, p. 62)

Making Intercession

female, praying

I’ll spend some time in secret prayer,
My burden’s for the lost.
I’ll pray until my family’s saved
No matter what the cost.

I’ll also pray for all my friends,
My next-door neighbors, too.
Please give me opportunities
To lead them all to you.

I won’t forget the mission field,
I’ll pray for those abroad.
Protect them, Lord, as they go out
To preach the Word of God.

For all those in authority,
Please help them understand,
They need to seek your wisdom when
They make laws for our land.

Finally, Lord, ignite your church,
I pray that everywhere
Christians will get on their knees
To seek you, Lord, in prayer

                                                   Lydia Reyes – Colorado Springs, CO

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2010-2011 issue, p. 51)

Godly Hospitality

2 Kings 4:8-17                                                              

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: “Let us make a small roof chamber with walls, and put there for him a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp so that he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 2 Kings 4:10

table, chaire, and lampWhen the prophet Elisha came through Shunem, a wealthy woman persuaded him to come in and eat. Stopping at her house to eat became a regular routine whenever he was in town. Perceiving that Elisha was a holy man of God, she and her husband even had a small room built on their roof for him. They furnished it with only the barest of necessities.

This generous Shunammite woman possessed the gift of hospitality. She met the needs of her guest by ministering to him within her means. Despite her wealth, she did it simply – no frills, no thrills, no stress. It’s not about how big our homes are or how well we can entertain. It’s about remembering that everything we have comes from God and is to be shared with those God brings our way.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you for everything you have given us. Help us to use your gifts to show simple hospitality to those you bring our way. Amen

                                                              Lydia Reyes – Colorado Springs, CO

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2007 issue, p. 38)

Wisdom Hunters

Proverbs :1-6                                                                  

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Search for it as for hidden treasures. Proverbs 2:4

WisdomI couldn’t find it anywhere. I tore through the office and looked under the computer desk. I went though each folder in my file cabinet. I flipped through piles of paper and books on the futon behind me. I even dug through the discarded heap in my trash can. And still, nothing. Where did I leave her book? I had promised to return it that night.

Checking again on the bed in the adjacent room where I often lie down to read, I found it next to the comforter. I embraced the little book to my chest and sighed with relief. I ran upstairs, grabbed my car keys from the recliner, and hurried off to return the book to my friend as promised.

The first four chapters of Proverbs talk about the importance of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. We are to search them out as one would search for silver or hidden treasures. While you may have never gone on a quest for silver, maybe you have turned everything upside down to look for lost keys, reading glasses, or a check. Isn’t it time to obey God’s call to hunt for wisdom?

PRAYER: Lord, may my desire for your wisdom be greater than any earthly thing. I will turn my ear to wisdom and apply my heart to understanding (Proverbs 2:2) so that I may know you more. Amen

                                                               Lydia Reyes – Colorado Springs, CO

 

(Published in The Secret Place, Winter 2007 issue, p. 34)

Do You Know Jesus?

Jesus name

Do you know Jesus,
The Alpha and Omega,
The Beginning and the End?
Door of Salvation,
Fountain of Life,
Most Intimate Friend.

Do you know Jesus,
The Pearl of Great Price,
Only Begotten Son?
Horn of Salvation,
Son of the Highest,
Israel’s Holy One.

Do you know Jesus,
Desire of all nations?
Mighty God is he.
Jehovah-Jireh,
Merciful Savior –
He’s all these to me.

                                                   Lydia Reyes – Colorado Springs, CO

 

 (Published in The Secret Place, Spring 2006 issue, p. 32)

The Heart of a Child

Matthew 18:1-5 

THOUGHT FOR TODAY: Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation.  2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

frustrated tired childMy seven-year-old son came up to me with his hand outstretched. “Look, Mom.” I was horrified to see my husband’s watch broken in countless pieces in his palm. “Son, what did you do?” “I just put in on the sidewalk and I went like this” – he stomped his leg up and down on the floor – “to see what would happen.” I moaned in disbelief. He asked if the watch could be fixed; I told him it couldn’t. Disappointed, he went to his room. After a while he returned with his favorite little toy. “Mom, do you think if we sell this, we would get enough money to buy Dad a new watch?”

My little boy knew he had done wrong and was sorry. Now he was trying to make restitution in the only way he knew how. As adults, we often blame others for our wrongdoings, or we attempt to justify them, or we hide our sins altogether. Jesus wants us to be as little children.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please help us to come to you as little children, especially when we have sinned and need your forgiveness. Amen

                                                               Lydia Reyes – Colorado Springs, CO

 

 (Published in The Secret Place, Fall 2004 issue, p. 59)