Thursday, January 29, 2009

Words That Touch the Heart

by Monica Hernandez

“To be happy, to possess eternal life, to be in God, to be saved - all these are the same. All alike mean the solution of the problem, the aim of existence. And happiness is cumulative, as misery may be. An eternal growth is an unchangeable peace, an ever more profound depth of understanding, a possession constantly more intense and more spiritual with the joy of heaven - this is happiness. Happiness has no limits.”
—Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821 - 1881), Swiss philosopher

The Bible: “What is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

“Be neither the slave of your impulses and sensations of the moment, nor of an abstract and general plan; be open to what life brings from within and without, and welcome the unforeseen, and give to your life unity, and bring the unforeseen within the lines of your plan. Let what is natural in you raise itself to the level of the spiritual, and let the spiritual become once more natural. Thus will your development be harmonious.”
—Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821 - 1881), Swiss philosopher

The Bible: “Counsel is mine, and sound wisdom: I am understanding; I have strength”

“Whenever conscience speaks with a divided, uncertain, and disputed voice, it is not yet the voice of God. Descend still deeper into yourself, until you hear nothing but a clear and undivided voice, a voice which does away with doubt and brings with it persuasion, light and serenity. Happy, says the apostle, are they who are at peace with themselves, and whose heart condemns them not in the part they take.”
—Henri Frédéric Amiel (1821 - 1881), Swiss philosopher

The Bible: “...But the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”

Suggested Readings: 1 Kings 19:12; Proverbs 8:14; Matthew 16:26.

Thought for Today: God speaks to His servants in various ways.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Examine Your Heart

by Monica Hernandez

Yesterday, I visited a church in the city’s East end for the first time and had a memorable experience. The pastor gave a special welcome to people visiting from other churches, and announced that it was Communion Sunday, and visitors were welcome to partake of the Lord’s Supper as long as they knew Jesus. His admonition was: “Examine your heart...” and went on to explain.

His points for examination of the heart were: “Do you know Jesus? What does Jesus mean to you? Is He living in your heart? Is He your all-in-all? Is He leading your life? Are you walking in and with Him? Do you regard Him as the second Person of the Holy Trinity? Do you regard Him as the Son of God? In short, is He your Lord and Saviour?”

He continued: “If you can answer all these questions in an affirmative way, you can partake of these Communion emblems, whether you belong to this church or another Christian church." And he further commented: "There is only one Church, with our Lord, Jesus Christ as the Head, but several denominations within it.”

I felt touched. I was much impressed with the pastor’s words and reflected on the times several years ago, when I held church and did the Communion service. I simply spoke a word of blessing upon the bread and wine and had them distributed to the congregation. I hadn’t given that extra focus on a relationship with Jesus.

This pastor’s words prompted me to a deeper appreciation of the oneness of the Lord’s church, which is all about Jesus – who He was, is and forever will be, what He did, and the abundant life He came to bring.

I remembered Jesus' words to His disciples at the Last Supper: “...this do in remembrance of me.” and what better way to remember Him than to remember the things He did and said as recorded, and remember that He is always with us?

Are you worthy of partaking of the Lord’s Supper at any church, if allowed by that church? It is a relationship with the Head of the Church that matters. Examine your heart and if you are walking “in and with Christ” you are worthy to sup with Him.

Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 11:24-28.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A Day of Rejoicing

by Monica Hernandez

This is a day of rejoicing. Yesterday, President Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States of America. Billions of people around the world were at their television sets, eyes fixed on every move of the Obamas, and absorbing every spoken word.

Obama spoke meaningful messages of hope that can fan the flames of inspiration in our hearts, whether on a national or personal level. For example his motto: “Yes, we can” can be an inspiration to young people and even the not so young, everywhere. And his words: “We have chosen hope over fear...” are powerful.

As I viewed the inauguration of President Obama, and watched the diversity of races of people the world over, rejoicing at his success and promises of economic change for America, I thought of Jesus’ promises of spiritual change at His second coming, when “...every eye shall see him...” Will it be as joyful as Obama’s presidency? And exciting? And hopeful for change? I believe it very well will be. What do you think?

We have a promised day of rejoicing when we see Jesus coming in the clouds. It is a time for complete transformation and joy as we move into His millennial reign with Him. It is our blessed hope for change, peace and harmony. It is a time to hang our hopes upon, even today.

Suggested Readings: Daniel 7:13; Revelation 1:7.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

How Time Flies!

by Monica Hernandez

Today, I celebrate another year-cycle on planet earth; it is my birthday. Wanting to get as much as possible out of today, I awoke early—6:00 am. to be exact. And though I did not accomplish anything spectacular, it was a great day. I believe this was my most well-wished birthday for a long time.

Have you ever wondered at how our birthdays keep piling up on us and we cannot hold them back? It seems to me like it was just a few weeks ago that I was up for birthday wishes, e-cards and all, and here it is again today. And as the birthday wishes, phone calls, flowers and gifts poured in, I reflected on time and how it flies.

Have you ever wondered about time and how it flies? Time does its own thing. We cannot control it, tame it, or hold it back. We cannot put a finger on it. And about our birthdays, we cannot say to time: “Not this year, please...hold this birthday back. I am not ready...I will sit this one out.”

Sometimes, as we watch the years piling up on us, we ask the question: “What is time?” And today, as I thought about time and how it flies, I was reminded of these words by St. Augustine: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”

About time, Charles Dickens once commented: “Old Time, that greatest and longest established spinner of all...his factory is a secret place, his work is noiseless, and his hands are mutes.” True.

When I asked my husband for his take on time, he said: “Time waits for no one, you know that.” That too, is true.

Terry, my nephew, phoned in from Germany with birthday greetings for me and he surely made my day. His take on time was this: “Time is the longest thing we have” and “It is better that time flies and not stand still.” Talk about wisdom! Truly, if time stood still, there would be no life. I never thought of that.

I have heard people say that God is partial. People often say this when they consider how some are rich while others are poor. However, concerning time, it flies for everyone and birthdays? This is one area where people cannot say God is partial—the rich and poor, all have to get older as the weeks and months, and years go by.

While it is customary to make resolutions at the time of the New Year, I find it more appropriate to make resolutions on my birthday. It is a new year-cycle and I find significance in setting my thoughts in order at this time. Today, as I reflected on the past year of my life, making up a sum-total, I realize how many of my personal goals have been accomplished and some dreams came true. And I thank God for that.

God has been good, and I thank Him for life, health, strength, courage, family and all He has done through my life this past year and I look forward to a new year, again filled with God's best, beginning today.

Suggested Readings: Psalm 90:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1-8.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Fine Art of Letting Go

by Monica Hernandez

Do you have problems in letting go the issues that trouble you? I have discovered that one of the biggest challenges we face after we have sought God’s counsel for solving a problem is to let go that issue to Him. However, I have also discovered there is a fine art in letting go and was blessed to learn the secret.

When we are troubled, our human nature tends to hold on to that problem, running negative scenarios over and over in our minds, and though we might pray, we have the tendency to dictate to God the way the solution should come. However, regardless of how we think, God will answer, in any of His manifold ways and in His own timing. I have found that what we need to do after seeking His counsel in a matter is to let it go and let Him perform His wonders for us.

What is it that makes us hold on to a problem after we have sought God about it? It is anxiety and the human need to be always in control. Yet, holding on to the problem causes not only anxiety but fear, and it encourages doubt. That pesky situation seems to keep us tied as though to a stake and we often do not remember that not only we ought to let it go but that we have the capacity to do it.

Letting go to God is not a passive occurrence as some people might think, but a positive choice after one has obeyed the Scripture: “Ask, seek and knock...” This does not mean that we are to live aimlessly, but it means that because we have asked, we are to know we will receive, and because we know we will receive, we can afford to let go the problem. It means that instead of inventing our own solutions, we ask, seek and knock, and make ourselves ready to receive God’s best: His solution and insights from His Spirit to our inner-spirit.

When we do not let go to God we are saying in essence that He does not know our needs and desires, and that He does not know how to fulfil them, even if we told Him. To sum it all up, it means that we are doubting the power of God.

Letting go a problem might be easier said than done, except you know the secret
of the art of letting go. And the secret is to treat the pesky situation like you treat a letter that you put into the mailbox—just let it go!

Think for a moment. When you go to the mailbox to send a letter, do you hold on to it? You cannot mail the letter, yet hold on to it. You just have to let it go! Just the same, when you send a request to God, instead of holding on to it and trying to fix the problem yourself, you can refrain from holding on to it, and thinking how it will be solved.

The Scriptures say: "Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered..." (Psalm 68:1). You can let go your problem and let God arise into the situation and work through it for you.

There is a fine art in letting go our concerns to God and it is three-fold: (1) ask, seek and knock on God’s door about the problem, (2) speak a word of release of the problem, and (3) surrender the solution to the wisdom of God.

In this moment, you can resolve to let go and let God perform His perfect work in your life and affairs, knowing that all things work together for good to them that love Him. You can trust Him to uphold you, making your way safe and successful. You can rest in God for underneath are His everlasting arms.

What problems in your life are you holding on to, trying to fix them in your own strength? The following poem by an unknown author tells it all:

Let Go and Let God

As children bring their broken toys, with tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God, but then...
Instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I came around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back again and cried:
“How could you be so slow!”
“My child” He said: “What could I do, you never did let go...”
—Author unknown

Suggested Readings: Deuteronomy 33:27, Psalm 37:3-8, Proverbs 3:5.

Ask about the workbook: “Breaking Through the Barriers” by Dr. Hernandez. This book can be a helpful resource to you in overcoming fear, worry and anxiety, guilt and other negative emotions. Telephone (416) 744-9745 or send an email to

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Create Balance In Your Life This Year

by Monica Hernandez

Is your life hectic? Are you overwhelmed by obligations, keeping abreast with career and the changing times, juggling priorities, and striving to honour appointments? Whatever your occupation, this busyness is the nature of current times in this society and we all fall prey to it.

Yet, as we begin to think carefully, we see that our busyness all stems from a sense of being in control of our lives, rather than from an understanding that we are owned by God (Psalm 100) and He will lead us into more harmonious ways to fulfill His plans.

However, it is not too late in the new year to make resolution to create balance in your life by savouring God’s presence and the soundness of His leading. Trust me, this counsel is not only for you but for me as well, because I too, am guilty of multi-tasking and being overwhelmed.

Though we might seem overwhelmed by our activities and each one seems just as important as the other, and we want to do them all, we can bring order out of chaos and balance into our every day affairs. We can bring balance into our lives when we recognize that we are creatures not only of body, but of soul (mind, will and emotions) and spirit as well, and need to give attention to all aspects of our being.

In the latter part of last year, I found myself being very busy in the outer realm of life, with writing projects, counselling people, and teaching classes, among other tasks—far too busy and not maintaining my devotional life like I am used to. My sense of connection with God was brittle. I would lie awake at nights, feeling tense, irritable and being flooded with past memories that were not at all pleasant. In other words, my life was not in balance. I was not at peace.

One night, as I lay awake in bed, I was reminded of Jesus’ teaching on the true value of life versus the possessing of an abundance of things in the natural realm (I believe this includes overworking too). He was teaching about the need to recognize our spiritual lives and maintain a balance between that and our natural lives. This indicates that there is more to life that ordinarily meets the eye.

It was not long before my thoughts shifted to Psalm 100 which says that we did not make ourselves and belong to God, and I began to take stock of my devotional life. When last did I meditate in the Word? When last did I spend quality time in the Word and speak it into my life and affairs? And I recognized that it was longer than was good for me.

We hear a lot these days about maintaining a balanced diet—don’t we? But not much about doing the same with our spiritual diet, for example, partaking of the nature of Christ through His words, and appropriating them into our lives so that our spiritual immune system can be strong, and avoid the attacks of destructive forces.

When we maintain a balanced diet and physical fitness, we develop strong bodies and an immune system that wards off illness. Just the same, when we maintain a balanced spiritual diet and spiritual fitness, we develop a strong immunity that wards off many troubles and nuisances in our lives. How do we maintain a balanced spiritual diet? By appropriating spiritual truths into our being, in faith. This practice is very similar to the eating of food.

In balancing our lives, four important principles stand out: (1) time management, (2) re-thinking our priorities, (3) nurturing spiritual values, and (4) building spiritual discipline to follow through.

King Solomon taught that “there is a time for every purpose: a time to plant and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to break down and a time to build up; a time to cast away stones and a time to gather stones; a time to rend and a time to sew; a time to keep silence and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3). And these are just a few of the examples he gave.

I will add this one: there is a time for busyness and there is a time for relaxation and smelling the roses.

Take time to pause and reflect on the following words of an anonymous writer who took time to give us “Take Time...”

“Take Time...”
Take time to work...It is the price of success.
Take time to think...It is the source of power.
Take time to play...It is the secret of perpetual youth.
Take time to read...It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to be friendly...It is the road to happiness.
Take time to laugh...It is the music of the heart.
Take time to love and be loved...It is a God-given privilege.
Take time to share...It is too short a life to be selfish.
Take time to dream...It is hitching your wagon to a star.
Take time to pray...It is the greatest power on earth
—Author unknown

And may I add my two cents’ worth? Take time to talk with God often, and when you do, take time to listen; He has much to say. Also, take time to create balance in your life this year.

Suggested Readings: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Psalm 127:1; Luke 12:15; Ephesians 5:18-19.