Leb Blog

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

#love A Dead Plant and a $5 Movie

“A new command I give you: Love one another.
As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
(John 13:34-35)

When I was a little girl my dad made holidays special for my sisters & I. The house was dominated by 3 girls and my mom. In those days Hallmarks was the benchmark. I could always count on my dad to bring something home that would make us feel special. We were not wealthy just rich in love!

So, on a day like Valentine’s Day he would remind us that we were loved, bring home a card that expressed that he was glad he was our dad and of course the famous chocolates. My mom’s heart was always distinctive. She was the Queen and we were the Princesses. Simple things saying, “I love you”.

I’m now in my fifties, married and thankful to God for all the expressions of love in my life. God is Good. During a day like Valentines we often hear, “so did you get chocolates”? If you are in a dating relationship it is almost expected lest you question the authenticity of love. That sounds ridiculous but we have been lured by our commercialized world to believe love can only be expressed by expensive trinkets.  Don’t get me wrong, I like expressions of love, but I don’t want to pay for it for the next 3 months with an 18% interest rate.

So today was my date night with my husband. I was home sick and feeling tired. When he came home he had purchased some items at the store and put them on the counter. About two hours later I went into the kitchen and on the counter was a succulent cactus plant. It made me smile. I quickly went into the room thanked him for it. He remembered that I like cactus and purchased it for me. He began to tell me that when he went to pay for it the cashier said, “make sure you water it, it looks pretty bad”. Wow, a dead plant? Well, we laughed.

About now you are probably envisioning some scrawny, dried up cactus. But, it really was beautiful. I did water it and she is doing well. It’s the little things.

So, off to the movies we go. Today is bargain night so admission is only five dollars! As we are watching the previews I leaned over and said, “so what are we doing for Valentine’s Day”? He answered, “we are doing it right now”. To which I answered, “a dead plant and a $5 movie”. We laughed so hard I thought we were going to get shushed. Good thing the lights were out.

See it really is not about the cost. It’s about the simple things. Expressions of love can be expressed with a candy bar and a note that reads, “I love you”. Love speaks many languages. Love can be picking up the kids from school so mom (or dad) can take a nap. Love is a walk in the park, a pizza with a friend, or a vanilla shake with your daughter. Love is walking your neighbors dog or removing the snow from their driveway.  The ordinary things become extraordinary when they are shared with the ones we love.

Love is always trying to express emotions, intentions and convictions. 

Mornings usually bring peaks of sunshine that slip through the window blinds in my kitchen. The sunlight hits the floor tiles. As I walk toward the coffee maker I can feel the warmth on the bottom of my feet. It’s just a small reminder from my Heavenly Father that he is thinking about me. Open the blinds and a new day begins. He’s made the sun to shine and it brings life all around me. Even my scrawny plant benefits from His expression of Love.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

So, do it today. Share expressions of love with those that God has put in your path. It might be as simple as sending a text that reads, “Just wanted to let you know, I love you”. (or can also pick up a cactus) #Love #ShareItToday

God bless you!~Liz

Friday, February 9, 2018

Prison: On Calvary's Hill

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

(Romans 6:23)

What do we do with the sins of yesterday? Sometimes we ignore them and just put them in a trash container. We don’t have to look at them again or pay the consequences for it. Nobody knows, and we somehow think that God has overlooked them as well.

When we pile garbage in a bag normally things go well, and we can bring the trash to the curb for pickup. Have you ever overstuffed the “hefty, hefty cinch bag” just to find out that you put one item too many and the results is trash all over the floor? If you live in the country, wildlife loves to get into the trash as well. Mornings can be stressful if we must begin the day by picking up yesterday’s dinner from the lawn. Huh!

The sins of yesterday try to inflict pain on today.

If yesterday’s sins are stuffed away we create an avalanche of pain for tomorrow. The Scriptures tell us to confess our sins for he is faithful and just to purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

A little lie can turn into agony later. Stealing shouts and calls us a thief. Adultery leads to mistrust and pain. Coveting returns as idol worship. Misusing the Name of the Lord finds us guilty before the Creator of the world. We have become slaves to sin. (Romans 6)

Guilty. We are found in the wrong before God. The handcuffs are brought out and we hear the “click” of no return. A prisoner of sin, we are now handcuffed and will pay for the sin committed. Truly our garbage will be exposed for all to see.

Our wrists in chains, attached to the Police who personally guarantees our destination.

But, what if there is a way of escape? What if the Lord himself provides a way out?

Jesus knows our weakness. He knows our fallen condition, and he is willing and has paid for the sins of men!

He has broken every chain and freed the prisoner. Go and sin no more!

“What God orders, he pays for”. (unknown)

Sin shouted take them to prison. Mercy stepped in picked up the garbage that was on display, removed the chains and paid the cost. The Authority of the Law, the Police himself shouts from Calvary's mountain “take me instead” and surrendered His hands to be crucified on our behalf.

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:13-15)

He provides a way of escape. 

Jesus was willing to die for you and me.  No need to carry the weight of sin.  He has taken it and calls out, "Go and sin no more".

No temptation [regardless of its source] has overtaken or enticed you that is not common to human experience [nor is any temptation unusual or beyond human resistance]; but God is faithful [to His word—He is compassionate and trustworthy], and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability [to resist], but along with the temptation He [has in the past and is now and] will [always] provide the way out as well, so that you will be able to endure it [without yielding, and will overcome temptation with joy]. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Voice

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. (Psalm 19:1)

I left the Book on a wooden crate by the sea shore next to my chair while I got up to get a cool glass of lemonade. The wind began to flip the pages and the fluttering let me know that the pages were turning. 

God is always speaking!

Often, we speak of hearing God’s voice. But what does that sound like to someone who has never experience the Lord?

This weekend I was at a restaurant and as I was leaving someone called my name. As I turned around her face looked familiar, but I could not quite figure out from where.

She recognized my voice as I was interacting with my friends at the dinner table. Once I got up she confirmed that the familiar voice indeed was me!

It may be difficult to explain how the Lord speaks. Let’s begin with the Book whose pages are now flapping in the wind. The Word of God speaks of who he is and goes into great detail on how far he will go to reach us. 

Creation speaks of Him!

“But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind.” (Job 12:7-10)

I was embarrassed that I did not recognize my friend at first. But a few quick moments into the conversation and I realized this woman had babysat my son for years. My son is a grown, married man now. It’s been years! Her ear was keen. Mine not so much.

Do we miss God sometimes?  Is our memory short-lived? 

She recognized the sound of my voice through dishes clashing at the restaurant, plenty of conversations and loud laughter.

Can you hear Him calling?

What I’ve discovered is that our voices are unique.

Image if your mom and dad had the same voice. That would be creepy! What if your favorite singer’s voice sounded like “Doc”, the inventor of the first-time machine from “Back to the Future.” Hmmm, no need to download that song.

The unique sound of our voice is like a fingerprint.

It’s that uniqueness that makes me, me. Each of us created special and exceptional in God’s sight. The Scriptures note that we are created in His image; spirit just like God. (Genesis 1:27)

As a little girl I loved going to my grandma’s house. Years later when she moved to Puerto Rico and the years of life were added, her voice was still grandma’s voice.

Get a cold and our voice might get raspy for a short time. Spend some time in the roller rink screaming over the noise and music and our voice might get hoarse. But this unique feature is one of our trademarks. My voice is still mine.

God who made us is that way too. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8)

When God speaks through his Word, the heart of God is exposed and is the same from Genesis to Revelation. He loves us in Genesis and He loves us in Revelation.

That’s one way we recognize when he speaks. He does not contradict himself.

God who created life would not ask us to harm ourselves.

God who sent his Son as a payment for sin does not want anyone to leave this earth without this gift.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.” John 10:27-28

Have you heard him Speak? 

Has he been calling you? 

His Voice is like no one else. When he speaks things go into motion; creation, salvation, the redemptive plan for mankind is unleashed.

The sound of the waves reminds us that God the creator put boarders on the ocean so that it doesn’t spill over and consume us. (Psalm 104:9)

God speaks through his Word. We get to know him better as we remain in it.

“Now then, my children, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not disregard it. Blessed are those who listen to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For those who find me find life and receive favor from the Lord. But those who fail to find me harm themselves; all who hate me love death.” (Proverbs 8:32-36)

Lay your back on the grains of sand that amount to billions. Look up to his handiwork and the stars that he placed in the sky speak of Him, our Creator. He is everywhere!

I pray that my ears and sight would become keener. Not only to recognize friends from my past but to recognize the God of my present and future!

He's everywhere!

Can you hear him?

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Call to Me. Ok Google!

"Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know."
(Jeremiah 33:3 )


I left it and I did not die! No, I’m not referring to an oxygen tank. Blood continues to flow through my veins. I feel pretty good right now.

So what is so important that can cause someone to turn around and go searching? Well, I chose not too!

Yesterday I was driving home and decided to make a phone call and you guessed it, my phone was nowhere to be found. I did not panic because the Lord reminded me that I left it on my friend’s kitchen table after an earlier visit.

Honestly, normally I would turn around and pick up my cellphone. But, I felt a nudge from the Lord to leave it behind.

Growing up in the Bronx it was typical for a young girl like myself to carry a couple of dimes with me. Why?

Walk the streets of the city and you will find Superman’s closet. Ok, a phone booth (couldn’t resist). That was my means of communication.

If I got lost, well I better ask the stranger at the gas station for directions and hope he knows the location better that I or I will be stopping and repeating the process all over again!

Phones have become such a security blanket. I can call my husband in the middle of the day just to say hello or to check if he is ok.

When I’m driving, a map App will quickly give me directions; I don’t need to speak with anyone. How sad.

I can be in the pouring rain and speak “OK Google” and it will answer me quickly. It will play me a song to sooth my driving time, dial a number for me or update me on the weather. Oh, how silly, I forget, it’s obviously raining!

I wondered if people prayed more in the days when technology was scarces.

What did we do?

We enjoyed more times of fellowship. Neighbors having coffee at the kitchen table. The simple things of life.

I remember as a young girl looking down Willow’s Avenue, a 5-block stretch in the Bronx to look for my dad. My dad would take the train to NYC and would arrive home approximately 6 p.m.

No phone to contact him unless I wanted to run to the local candy store where the one phone booth existed. Yes, and take my dime.

There was an anticipation to see his face.

We watched and waited. From a distance I could see my father walking closer and closer to where I was. Ultimately, he would cross the street and I would greet him. He always had the newspaper, The Daily News. A kiss hello and I would ask for God’s blessings "bendicion" to which he would reply “Dios te bendiga”. (“God bless you”)

This morning I could not call my husband. The luxury of my own piece of technology that can connect me to anyone or anything is out of my hands.

I can’t really say I missed it much.

My heart was a peace.

“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

A time of worship was interrupted with times of intercessory prayer. Wow, to experience His Presence!

Sometimes technology can rob us of the simple.

Technology is a gift. It does not replace the LORD. Sometimes we spend more time with the gift than we do with God or His Word. Ouch!

I’m glad I did not return to pick it up my phone.

Confession: Because I did not have my phone I decided to see if I could make a call with my computer since my phone was absent. I clicked the microphone and said the words, “OK Google”. I began to laugh historically when my computer answered, “Google is okay, but this is Cortana”. Life is funny! Back to prayer.

(FYI, Cortana is the equivalent of Google for Windows)

God bless you!~Liz

Thursday, January 11, 2018

I'm Overwhelmed

"You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows." (Psalm 23:5 )

It’s been a long day. 

The traffic was ridiculous. 
You walk in and the staff meeting has begun.

You wonder how everyone else does it. 
They are all staring at you and you become self-conscious. 
Lunch consisted of a few crackers and a spoon of peanut butter. Because you arrived late, there is no time for lunch unless you want to lose more paid time.

Day is over, but the race continues.

You arrived late at the sitter because in your haste you left your keys on the work desk. 
Back upstairs to regain the car access.

Yes, more money for the sitter for being tardy again.

This is today!

Sounds familiar. We live in a rush, rush world. Everything is scheduled with no room for error. 
Error means someone loses time, money or their peace.

As you enter your home, the bag gets dropped on the floor. Keys on the table. Wallet on the counter.

It’s time to begin making dinner.

But wait……

As life’s chaos watches, a table is brought out.

Today’s memories are still flooding your mind.

Tomorrow will begin soon and there is no break for you.

He motions for you to sit.

If the staff members were present, the scene would be a little different.

You are not late but have been welcomed to recline. A special invitation.

This is not just any ordinary table. The fine tablecloth is laid out on the table for two.

At this 8 o’clock hour when darkness has fallen, he becomes the light in the dining room.

He speaks and says, “Taste and see that God is good.” (Psalm 34:8)

You feel the cares of life melting away.  The focus has shifted and it feels like you are someplace else.

His presence does that!

The conversation is more than just about the food.

To our remembrance comes the precious words of the Father.

We are loved. We are from a different world.

I could hear my heart receive the encouragement, “relax and take in my presence.”

Take the cares of the world and give them to me. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

Seek my face. He reminds me that he "gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power.” (Isaiah 40:29)

I’m overwhelmed. “Lord, how can I do it all?” “At the end of the day, I am exhausted.”

He walks away and comes back. So tenderly, oils now dripping down my face, he reminds me that I am his. Goodness and lovingkindness will follow you all the days of your life. (Psalm 23)

Without words, his Presence speaks.

Remain in me. You are not meant to carry the burdens of this world. I took those at the cross. Don’t try to look like the world. I have purchased you out of it. Be willing to TRUST me and seek my face.

Tomorrow arrives with a new sense of Hope because he is with me!

"This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success." (Joshua 1:8)


God bless you!
Liz

Monday, January 8, 2018

A life well lived

"So they sent their sister Rebekah on her way, along with her nurse and Abraham’s servant and his men." (Genesis 24:59 )

"Now Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died and was buried under the oak outside Bethel." (
Genesis 35:8)

Do you know who Deborah is?

In the book of Genesis, she is mentioned twice. Once by her proper name and twice by her “profession” or a description of her life. She was a nurse.

What would “the story of our life” say?

Some feel insignificant because the business card does not carry V.P. after their name. The title does not include CEO. Business card; most of us don’t even get a card!

2017 ranked the top 500 companies in the world based on revenue. The revenue is generated by the things we feel are worthy to be purchased with hard-earned money.  Time we spend at work day in and day out.

But, there are some things money just can’t buy.

When I was a little girl I remember my grandmother making cloths for me. I still recall my ¾ sleeve shirt with reflective sparkles that matched everyone else’s shirt in my family. We all had one!

My grandfather made me an ironing board out of real wood. The craftsmanship was impeccable. I wanted to iron my dolls clothes and he granted my wish.

My mom handed me her crochet leftovers and I created a one-of-a-kind skirt that I proudly wore to school.

Money is not what we remember.

Luxuries are not at the top of memory lane.

It’s the people we interact that are held dear in our hearts and memory bank.

My grandparents and mom were creative and giving individuals. They have shaped who I am.

No great wealth, but a plethora of riches!

Deborah was Rebekah’s nurse. In the scriptures it reads that when Rebekah left her household to become Isaac’s wife, the nurse was part of the deal in those days.

Scripture also notes, that she traveled with Jacob. Interestingly enough Jacob was Rebekah’s favorite son. You remember the struggle with Esau and Jacob right?

In Genesis 35, we read that Jacob buries the nurse. What nurse? Her name is noted here. Deborah is laid to rest.

How did she end up with Jacob? This was his mother’s nurse now traveling with Jacob and his family. She must have been someone very special and trustworthy.

This heart warming piece of Scripture points to the incredible woman this most have been.

She was there when Jacob was a baby. She is with him now as he travels with his family, 2 wives, 2 concubines and 11 sons that are noted.

Twice she is mentioned.

This nurse must have been special not only Rebekah but to her son Jacob as well.

Scripture pauses just to mention this burial, to honor this life!

People make life special. Relationships are key!

Jesus desires a relationship with us.

He warned about being attached to the temporary trinkets of this world.

Jacob was a wealthy man. Money is not the problem. Our emphasis is the concern.

When money becomes our focus, the Scriptures warns us. “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.” Ecclesiastes 5:10

Things come and go.

Jesus spoke about having treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).

Relationships are a precious gift from God!

When life’s clock sounds the alarm and our life is over, may we too have the honor of being remembered as people who loved and served God faithfully.

May there be a pause to acknowledge that we honored a Mighty God and served him well. That we loved people and shared God's love with all.

May our names reflect dignity, respect and be reflective of a life that pointed everyone to the Lord!

He came to save us! Save us all.

God bless you!~Liz

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Double Blessing!

Galatians 5:22-23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Double blessing?

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Let’s begin by adding JOY to our daily life this new year.

It’s easy. 

Take every opportunity and turn it into a time of praise!

This afternoon I was making breakfast 
(yes breakfast at 2 p.m.). I took out the left over potatoes and embellished them with onions, red peppers and a little butter. 
I sautéed the ham. 
I am now ready for my omelet. 

I cracked egg #1 and in the bowl it went. I cracked egg #2 and as it went into the bowl I heard myself exclaiming, “wow”. 

You see, my second egg held two yokes!

So what’s the big deal? It was a double blessing for me and it tasted good too!

It’s simple. 

Take every daily opportunity and see God’s hand of blessing in everything.

Fact: Double egg yokes occur about 1 in every 1000 eggs.

Keep it simple. 

Evoke a heart of thanksgiving in everyday life. 

Let you heart be filled with JOY.

It’s good for you. It’s good for those who encounter you as well.😊

Happy New Year!

God bless you!~Liz