Monday, May 30, 2011

Does Prayer help?

I came across a blog of a mormon family. Under one of their postings a girl asked if prayer helped. She mentioned that she used to believe in God, but did not anymore because prayer did not help. I would like to answer her question (does prayer help?) with a blog.

God tells us many times in the bible that if we ask we will receive. He promises to provide for us. Even the authors of books write prayers asking God to not forget about them, to answer soon. We even find Jesus praying (that is what he did every night!). But we often forget that God's answers to our prayers will be according to his will for us. That they will have God's great intentions and plans for our lives. The answer will not necessarily be in the way, shape or form that WE want it. God is not impulsive. He is not careless or irresponsible. He will not just answer for the sake of answering and getting us off his back. He will never give us something that he knows is not the best for us. He will never give us something that will cause harm, hurt or separation from him. Another thing is that God's answer may not only be a YES or a No, it may also be a WAIT. That means it may be a yes, but not yet. The Lord's timing is different than ours. He sees the big picture. We don't. The Lord knows our heart better than we do. He knows our intentions, he knows our desires, he knows our dreams, he knows what bother us, he knows what we cry for at night, he knows what bring us joy.

The LORD says:"For I know the plans I have for  you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you" declares the Lord, "and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,"declares the Lord, "and will bring  you back to the place from which I carried you into exile."

He always answers. Prayer always helps. It may not be in the way we want it to, but it always does. I guess it is important to understand that God is not a ATM machine that gives you what you want when you want it. He is not Santa Claus that only gives us presents when we are "good kids" (there is no "good" man in this world). He is not a genie in a bottle that will grant us every single selfish desire that we have. He may even say no to the most "noble" prayers that we can say. Because God is not after nobility or humbleness, not even sacrifice! He is after obedience and trust! trust that He is God the Almighty! trust that He is your Joy! trust that He knows best! Obedience in following Jesus' words, Obedience in living a life according to his will. Obedience in prayer, worship, fellowship with other Christians, service, loving him first, your neighbor second. Obedience in seeking him, longing to know him more everyday. Prayer always helps. It helps in ways that go beyond our understanding, but if we obey and trust, we will see the hand of God working in our lives in wonderful ways.

Prayer is more powerful that we think. Even us Christians forget the power of prayer. I believe prayer helps and I believe it is even better when you are not alone. "For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." Mat. 18:20. That doesn't mean that he is not present when you pray by yourself, however God is all about unity and fellowship. That is why we have a relationship with Christ, it is not just a segregated religion. He encourages us to help each other. "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:9-10. Prayer always helps.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Praying for Pharaoh

As I read through Exodus and all the plagues that God sent to Egypt, I find it very interesting and encouraging that Moses never said no when Pharaoh asked him to pray for him. Now, we all know that Pharaoh was just interested in getting rid of the plagues but not in having a relationship with God. He confessed to be a sinner many times, he said "This time I have sinned," and in other occasion he even says that he has sinned against God and Moses. However, his heart was hard. He may have said the truth or not about his sins, but one thing is for sure: his repentance was not life changing. Nevertheless every time he asked Moses to pray for him (sometimes, perhaps, even mocking him), Moses never refused to do so. All the contrary, he gave him specifics on when he would pray for Pharaoh.

Many times (if not most of the time), we tend to rather than pray for our "enemies" we simply give in to criticism. We (or at least I do) complain about them, get hot in anger when others do things we disagree with or even worst, affect us. I hardly ever stop and pray for people that make me mad, or do things I disagree with. Unlike Moses, my answer is many times "No, I will not pray for you". This is not with audible words, but with my attitude. My heart is hardened because of that. Because I choose not to love on them. I guess I should be more like Moses, who too was hot with anger, however, he never stopped praying for Pharaoh and Egypt.

Just think of Politicians. You are most likely already furious! So stop and pray for them. Not for their policies to be what you want them to be, but for their salvation. For God's wisdom in their decisions and actions. Think of your least favorite teacher. I know, they can drive us crazy at times. So stop and pray for them. For God's love to come into their lives. For you to shine Jesus' light before them and be able to witness God's love to them. Pray for them to be good teachers. Think of your boss. Nasty, huh? Well, you know what I'll say: pray for them. Pray for God's mighty hand to be upon them and protect them. To guide them and give them a soft heart to hear His words. Now stop and pray for that one person that "ruins your day". You know, if you think about it, they don't ruin your day. Your own attitude towards them does. They actually give you an opportunity to grow in your faith, to practice your godly love, your patience, your grace (just like Jesus gave it to you!).

Say Yes, I will pray for you.


PS: I am praying for you.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I was reading Exodus 7 yesterday. Here, Moses is reminded by the LORD that He is with him. That God will use Moses as if he was god and Aaron the prophet. All these because Moses had trouble speaking, therefore Aaron had to be his mouth. Anyway, it just popped the conversation with my husband about Aaron's actions later on in the story.

When Moses is up in the mountain talking to God [ this is after they have finally taken their people out of Egypt], Aaron is left with the Israelis for a few days. This people, although chosen by God, had a hard time being faithful and trusting the LORD. They were tired of waiting for Moses to come back and their hearts were seeking a god to worship. So they asked Aaron to make them a golden calf statue for them to worship as god. So Aaron did what they asked. He told them to gather all the gold they had (rings, earrings, jewelry, utensils, etc) and they melt it and made a golden calf.

The discussion my husband and I had was on why Aaron did that. We did not have right or wrong answers but I thought it was because Aaron was used to do what he was told. He was Moses mouth, so whatever Moses told him to do or say, he did. I am no expert but I believe that he was used to do whatever he was told to do. It is also believed that he was jealous of Moses at some point because of his relationship with God and how God chose Moses for the job. However, not much is said about Aaron's personality.

When we live a life of religious practices we can fall of track and forget what the LORD is really trying to teach us. God clearly said: "‘Do not make idols or set up an image or a sacred stone for yourselves, and do not place a carved stone in your land to bow down before it. I am the LORD your God." Leviticus 26:1. So when Aaron comes and says lets worship the Lord, referring to the statue, he clearly misunderstood God's message. I don't mean to criticize Aaron or say that he did not love the LORD. I even believe that he may have felt pressured to make the idol. I mean, he was used to being told what to do. Perhaps he was confused, frustrated and even worried about the people hurting him or even worst, walking away from God altogether. I don't know, we will never know what exactly crossed Aaron's mind when he agreed to make the idol. However, it should make us reflect on our own lives. Are we living a Christian life based on what we are told to do or say? Or are we truly seeking the LORD and his guidance? Are we making godly decisions, using the brain our Father gave us to think reasonably? or do we just give in to what everybody at church tells us without even thinking if it godly or what God wants us to do? I strongly believe that we need each other in order to grow as believers. It is important to learn from other Christians, keep each other accountable and seek counsel and guidance. Nevertheless, we need to be careful to not fall into the bad habit of believing and/or everything we are told, and only that. God gave us his word, the holy spirit and a brain. We should use them all to discern the Lord's will for our lives. Do not be a Muppet. And if the Lord has chosen you to be somebody else's mouth, do so wisely. Listen to what the Lord is saying through you, because it also goes for you.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

End of another School Semester

Finally, the semester is over!...oh wait, not yet for me. I still have that on-line class for ESL. Oh brother!! Anyway, at least now I can focus only on that class. Hopefully I will get it done by next week.

This semester was long, and although I feel like I did not get much out of my academical experience, the little I did was good. I took two classes in Spanish. It was a joke at times, but I did learn a few things. One was on Business and the other on Spanish civilization history. In both I basically learned new vocabulary, mostly words used in Spain and business vocab that I do not use very often. Other than that, I already knew most of what was taught.
One thing I did learn is that a lot of students graduate with a Spanish major/minor and they really do not speak Spanish at all. That was kind of sad. I think the foreign language department has a lot to improve. But I guess it can't be all the teacher's fault. The students probably did not practice enough or made an effort to learn the language. The university offers lost of opportunities to practice a foreign language. Come on! there are MANY foreign students on campus. If Americans don't learn other languages very well (as they should if it is the major/minor) it is because they simply don't want to. As a non-native speaker of English, I love it when people come and ask me about Spanish and want to learn or practice with me. I am more than willing to do it. So I hope that I can continue to spot people that need more practice. I am always offering my help, but they never get back to me. I'm sorry but I can't force them to practice with me if they don't want to.

On another note, my Religious class was FABULOUS!  I loved it. As a Christian I believe it is crucial to learn about other religions. This will give us a better understanding of the people we deal with, why they believe in what they do and how we can share the gospel with them in ways that they can understand us. We studied Hinduism and Buddhism. Some amazing stuff there. They both have many branches, pretty much like Christianity does (Catholics, Protestants, Baptist, Lutheran, etc). They also have looooooots of rituals and teachers, and are all over the world. I thought it was interesting  that my teacher always said this phrase: "For religion to survive, it needs to change". Implying that in order for different cultures to accept the new "religion" they needed to change it and add or eliminate some aspect of it. Whether it was a particular ritual (or all of them), a believe (like if there is a heaven or not), or the way to "get there" (either through meditation, devotion, discipline, or what not). I have not completely wrapped my mind around that thought yet. My impulse thought was that it was not true. Religion does not need to change in order to survive. God is one, and he is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow and for all eternity. However, when I look at the different branches of Christianity, I guess I can understand why she said that. What do you think? I may dedicate another entry just for this topic. Sounds like fun!

My other class was World History until the 1500's. As much as I love history, I just can't memorize all the dates and names of all the emperors and all the languages and all the peoples and all the governments and ...and...and...and the enormous amount of information that they pour on me in only 4 months! I mean, come on! I took 5 classes (6 with the online one!). I guess though that I chose to, so it was fault. Anyway, this class although it took the most out of my little brain, was fun as well. I loved learning about the mongols and the franks. Those were my favorites together with Sparta. (THIS IS SPARTA!!!! hahahaha, awesome!).

This is a footprint from Schmeeckle 
Finally, my last class was First Year Seminar. A class given for the first time this semester, designed for freshmen and sophomores. A complete waste of time and money. At least for me, and some of my classmates. It is supposed to help you decide or have a better idea of what  you want to major in, and how to pursue the career you want. I already know all that. However, it did help me start thinking about more seriously. Since it covers the Environmental Literacy, we had to go to Schmeeckle many times, as well as read poems about nature and reflect on everything we did. It also covered humanities, but I am not sure what accounted for what. Anyway, I do not recommend it. Nevertheless, I believe it will be mandatory in the future! HA! poor you, new comers! I mean, it was fun at times, and kind of relaxing, but the work load was way too much for what we were doing in the class. The class is also designed to help you get around the school, know where everything is and what school has to offer. I think I did learn something new there, but I can't remember what since I knew most of it. I just felt that I could have invested all my time and effort in another class (maybe History!). The teacher was a sweetheart though. In spite of feeling that she treated us like elementary school kids, I loved her. Feel free to ask me more about this class if you need to.

Well, that was my semester. I made a few friends. Or better said acquaintances. I had fun with most of my classes, and I grew closer to my husband! :P how does that fit in with the school semester? well, I live with him, right? ha! He was very supportive all along and help me stay on top of my studies.  Next semester will be my turn to do the same for him. :)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Florida Pictures

 I will let the pictures tell the story of my trip to Florida. 
   Picture by Flor Slezak

Picture by Ronald Silva

 Pictures by Flor Slezak


 Pictures by Ronald Silva

 Pictures by Flor Slezak


Pictures by Flor Slezak     


Jon, Ronald and Joy are on it!!


 After the water rides! we were soaked!



 I went on that one behind us! :)

I did not go on that one. My husband, sister in Law and her husband did. It is called "the hulk"