KNOW WHAT YOU BELIEVE…Before the Crisis Ever Hits! By Lori A Alicea

When you least expect, a crisis drives into your blind spot, catching you off guard with no time for a lane change.

Like a tornado touching ground, most will never hear the crisis warning in time before the freight train barrels through the path of their life.

This past December, 2021 our world turned a page and the narrative set for us a scene we never imagined or prepared for, although it was comforting to know what we believed in God before the crisis ever hit.EMERGENCY ROOM

During these four weeks of uncertainty battling a health crisis which waged war against my husband, we found ourselves free-falling into God’s arms to sustain us, wrapping up in the security blanket of what we believed about Him.

God is good.

No matter how bleak or unwelcoming these cold winter weeks in the hospital presented, David and I found strength in our Father’s enduring love and goodness, His faithfulness promised to the generations.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.  Psalm 100:5 NIV

We rejoiced in the moment; we were glad for today.

This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24 ESV

As difficult for us during this unforeseen storm, we tried our best not to worry about tomorrow, remembering tomorrow was never promised to any.

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:34 NIV

God is near to the brokenhearted.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18 ESV

In the lonely midnight hours apart from each other, nothing sustained us more than our belief in the power of prayer.

God was ever present and in the midst of those gathering and petitioning in prayer on David’s behalf, speaking the promises of God’s Word for our encouragement.

(One of the numerous prayers I received via a text message during these four weeks from the intercessory team…)

We praise you Lord for David’s “steps forward!”

There is power in the prayer of agreement. There is power as we decree and declare God’s word, in faith believing.

There is power in the name of Jesus!

For I will do whatever you ask me to do when you ask me in my name. And that is how the Son will show what the Father is really like and bring glory to him. Ask me anything in my name, and I will do it for you!”
John 14:13-14 TPT

“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:20 NIV

God is our provider.

While knowing God my entire life and receiving Him as Savior at an early age of thirteen, I’ve trusted God as my provider, demonstrating my dependence on him through “returning my tithe” and witnessing the multiplication of seed in my giving, beginning as a young teenager earning my own money.

My husband David has a similar testimony.

Tithing and giving is an act of our worship no matter the valley or mountain top we travel.

But our act of worship would stand and be tried when an earthly provision ceased during the challenges of a four week crisis.

Would our trust remain in our God as Provider?

Would we return the tithe and still give though the well of an earthly provision was temporarily dry?

Or would we hoard what little we had?

It is written about such a faith in God’s provision through a widow in the following…

God directed Elijah to a widow’s house to serve him a drink of water and feed a piece of bread, a woman who only had a handful of flour and little olive oil in a jug to make a last meal for her and her son.

Elijah asked her in faith to make a small loaf for him first; then make a portion from what remained for herself and her son. This widow woman trusted in God and didn’t hold tight the last of her earthly provision.

The Lord said, “The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land; and so it happened as the Lord said.

(1 Kings 17:7-16 NIV)

From his hospital bed to me over the phone, David led in bold prayer albeit weak in physical strength, re-affirming our trust in God, our Provider.

Groceries were soon delivered to our doorstep.
Gift cards were given.
A few bills had been paid.
Unexpected visits to our door with soup, chili, and other provisions.
Our household increased.

Of all of our increase, we worshiped in giving and tithes.

These “showers of blessings” overwhelmed a grown man to tears.

God was faithful to the generations.

The page of our life has since been turned once again.

David and I reunited after a four week stay apart from each other.IMG_0891

While there are now new challenges facing David, we rest in what we know, in what we believe

The Lord is still good…
The Lord is ever near…
The Lord remains our faithful provider.

FAITH SEES FARTHER By Lori A Alicea

Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
The evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

Faith sees farther than the natural end of the road.

man walking in the forest
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Faith hopes.
Faith believes.

Faith doesn’t get discouraged when the “end of the road” is a mirage to the “bend in the path” ahead,

A traveler’s bread crumb in the forest reminder that the “substance of things they hoped for” is still a journey away; when the evidence remains to be seen.

photo of an empty dirt road between trees
Photo by sirpa jyske on Pexels.com

Faith sees farther beyond the sun’s lamppost illuminating our slow travels of “one foot in front of the other”.

green leaf tree surrounded by green grass field
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Because Faith Hopes in God’s gifts and promises.
Faith Believes in His perfect timing.

Faith doesn’t grow weary when the seasons change guard with the other, seasons handing over the spring months of peace and tranquility, to the fall barrenness exposed to those unexpected bumps in the road and delays.

autumn autumn colours brown countryside
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Faith doesn’t give up when our travel burdens become seemingly too much to carry.

road walking cute young
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Because Faith Sees Farther ahead to the still waters where God is waiting, to quench our thirst for another drink of His love, to refresh our souls for the miles which remain.

clear body of water between yellow and green leaved trees
Photo by Inge Wallumru00f8d on Pexels.com

Faith Sees Farther to those mountains of adversity, and travels with pockets full of mustard seeds.

When your mountain refuses to step aside, double-dog-daring you to stand up and fight,
A childlike faith clinches one small seed in his raised fist of defiance,

If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain,
“Move from here to there, and it will move.
Nothing will be impossible for you.”
Matthew 17:20 NIV

Faith believes God sees us and trusts He hasn’t forgotten us.
Faith remembers God knows us each by name,
Just as He does for every bright star shinning in the midnight sky.

silhouette photo of trees during night time
Photo by Miriam Espacio on Pexels.com

Faith Sees Farther beyond what eyes can see because nothing is too hard for God.

Faith sees answered prayers even when the trails of our journey detour through the roughest terrain.  Faith hears the knock of the prodigal’s return.  Faith testifies the dry bones of a dead marriage come back to life.  Faith rejoices over sick bodies healed.

Faith sees provision for lack.
Faith sees a way out of a difficult situation.
Faith leads us to those lush green pastures of peace.

Faith hopes.
Faith believes when God doesn’t make sense.

Faith Sees Farther because:

Faith is the substance of things hoped for,
The evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

agriculture clouds country countryside
Photo by ge wang on Pexels.com

 

 

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS By Lori A Alicea

I’m listening Lord.

You said for your children to ask so I’ve been asking.

I know you haven’t forgotten me.

I’m confident you’re working on my behalf.

I’ve been walking this familiar stretch of road for miles heading in the same direction from the last time you spoke.

I’ve lost track of time along this silent path of my unanswered questions, bending my ear for course correction or direction with one word from you.

I’m waiting.
I’m watching while walking.

As rustling leaves from the breeze of my heart it echoes,
“I’m listening Lord.”
england journey walking on pathMany of us have lost the ability to wait, myself included on occasion.

We find ourselves stuck in the quagmire of trust what we don’t understand or see, caught up in the entanglements of our feelings instead of the safety net of God’s faithfulness.

God would have us leave the path of our unanswered questions and wade into the cool waters beside for refreshment and unearth the treasures of Him we have yet to discover.

God is enough for our lives.
He longs for us to…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on our own understanding;
In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV

The answers to our unanswered questions are deeply rooted in Knowing God.
england journey tree rootsHe is faithful.
He keeps his Word.
He honors his promises.

When roots go deep in God, we can trust Him beyond our understanding, anchoring a wavering faith against the gusts of unanswered questions.

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes, its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.
Jeremiah 17:7-8 NIV

But one does grow weary on the path of unanswered questions at times.

Prolonged delays can tempt us to follow the dead-end road signs of our impatience, re-calculating the GPS coordinates of God’s best for us.
england journey walking on path 1Always remember that God hasn’t forgotten us with His silence.

Prior to the birth of Jesus, God didn’t speak for four-hundred years.

His back wasn’t turned to them.
Quite the contrary.

In this dark night of eerie silence spanning four centuries, God was preparing the perfect time and place for the arrival of His beloved son.

In his silence, God was in great preparation.
I suppose though a Save the Date would have been appropriate for this grand entrance.

For our encouragement,
Brian Simmons wrote about God’s delays in his devotional…

I Hear His Whisper; Encounter God’s Heart for You
Brian Simmons

What you call delay, I call preparation. Many times I am at work behind the scenes, yet you cannot discern it. I am preparing others so that your destiny may be fulfilled, and I am preparing you even as I prepared Joseph for his season of promotion. Never judge My works by what your eyes see but by the promises I have made to you.

 Hold tightly to those promises.

Instead of lamenting our unanswered questions, may we rest in His promise that the wait will be worth it.
May the overflow of our heart sustain us while we rejoice in the goodness of God.

Goodness of God
Written by Ed Cash, Ben Fielding, Jason Ingram,
Brian Johnson, Jenn Johnson, Bethel Music

All my life You have been faithful,
All my life you have been so so good.
With every breath that I am able
I will sing of the goodness of God.