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Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Mom Chosen By God

I have been meeting with parents this week. This has let me to reflect the blessing they are for their children. I see how much they do for their kids and how much they provide for them. So naturally, I started thinking about my mom.

Today she turned 83. I thought of how God chose her (read Psalm 139:15-18), not someone else, to be my mom. Yes, let's get it clear, she wasn't perfect at all. She was by-product of her times.  She grew up in a rural area in El Salvador, had 3rd grade education, worked hard, never received attention from her parents nor received the material benefits many others had. In fact, she started wearing shoes at around 16 years old.  She had kids at a young age (I am not sure when she married and I am leaving some details out) and old age, ten total. One did not survive (it was a boy). I was child number eight. She was 42 when I was born and she gave birth to my baby sister at 44.   We grew up in rural area and I have faint memories, none of my mother when she was young.  As a mom, she worked tirelessly to provide for all of us. So I didn't see her much as I was growing up.  She also wasn't the affectionate nor the apologetic type. I don't remember her saying "I love you," or "I am sorry." Her parents were like that, she was like that, and I am somewhat like that (ouch!).

But she was the mom God chose for me. I didn't choose her. It's not my job to question it. It is my duty to accept it and be thankful to God for her. It is my duty to honor her as my mom.  He chose her just as He chose to grant me grace I didn't deserve. He saved me, and this is not from myself, it is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8). She was God's instrument to bring me to this world, to provide for me, to guide me, to nurture me and yes, to love me.


She also has taught me with her example. She has always been a giver. In fact, she has given so much to others that she has very little materially. She had chances to make money, but decided to give to others. She was never selfish and thought of herself first.  Many times I have thought she went too far, but she never has regretted this. I fall short in being like her. 


She also possesses determination and resilience.  She has faced very difficult situations and has overcome them.  Whether it was walking long distances to provide for her family or working tirelessly, she has never given up. 


She is compassionate and cares for people. I can make a list of the people she has helped or cared for without counting her 9 children, 21+ grand kids and great grand kids.  


As she has aged, my mom can no longer do what she was able to do. But she has left a mark on me forever. I can only be thankful for being my mom. When eternity knocks at her door, I know she will be well received and I will miss her greatly. But not forever. I walk the same path. We'll be together. Forever!



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Speak Well of Him

It has become my personal tradition to read Psalm 103 every Thanksgiving. For me, this Psalm  expresses what we truly ought to be thankful for. I know that today we are thankful for many people and for that which is valuable to us. But the question is who are we thankful to? Are we thankful to them? Are we thankful to ourselves? or are we thankful to God? As a Christian, of course I am thankful to all those who are part of my life, but ultimately it is He who I speak well of today. It is to Him that I say,

"Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and all that is within me,
   bless his holy name!
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
   and forget not all his benefits," (ESV)

It is interesting to not that the word "benefits" in verse 2 above, in Hebrew,  is the same used ("gamal") in verse 10 where it says, "He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities." This was intentional.  The writer of this Psalm wanted to make clear that we enjoy God's benefits because he doesn't deal with us according to what we deserve. 

 I stopped to think about this: "God withholding what we really deserve, is a benefit in of itself. Wow! And he doesn't do it just for me but for all of humanity. They enjoy his benefits."

The Psalm has a list of benefits that God has bestowed upon us: forgiveness of ours sins, health, physical strength, daily provision, mercy, everlasting steadfast love, patience and fatherly compassion. He gives us these benefits because of his own steadfast love in spite of our own sinfulness.  He knows us quite well because He made us. He knows that our life is short and what we really are, clay! 

The Psalm ends by urging everyone ought to bless Yahweh (the Lord) even angels.  

Today we should continually say,

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name.
 2Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits:" - KJV

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Sinful Woman

I have been thinking about the passage in Luke 7:36-50.  It's a passage where Jesus is at a Pharisee's home eating dinner.  Pharisees where the top religious leaders of that time.  Apparently this man was interested in knowing more about Jesus or had come to believe in him as the Messiah (Savior).  A sinful woman, who we do not know who she is, but was likely a woman of the street, finds out where Jesus is staying. She walks in and starts to weep while kissing, cleaning his feet, and pouring perfume on them (during this time, people would sit on the floor and recline on their right side and thus would leave the feet exposed).  What a weird story you say.  Not so weird.  This sinful woman is washing his feet, something a slave or the host would do for guests.  Not only this but she poured perfume which was very costly.  This caused Simon to think to himself how Jesus could not be a prophet or else he would have known what kind of woman she was and would not have allowed her to do this. But why these thoughts? Simon knew that "good" people like him would not associate themselves with these type of people. But Jesus did not come to seek those who were righteous but those who were sinners (Matthew 9:13).

Jesus direct himself to Simon as soon as he is having those thoughts.  Stop for a moment. Think about that. You just had a bad thought in front of Jesus. He knows it. He answers you! Jesus was omniscient (all-knowing) and knew Simon quite well (and still is and knows us quite well as well. Everything we say, do, or think is before Him NOW!). He tells Simon a story of a man who forgives two people who own him money. One owed more than the other. He forgives them both. He asks Simon who he thinks would be more grateful and he answer correctly.

Now he gives him the application. You are the one who doesn't consider himself THAT sinful thus you are not as thankful for God forgiving you.  The woman knew how sinful she was and she is grateful and showed great love for Jesus. But wait, she hasn't asked anything up to this point. But Jesus knew all already. He knew her heart. This woman came seeking forgiveness from Jesus and considered herself so unworthy of it.  Jesus forgives her sins (Notice he doesn't dismiss her sins. He doesn't try to minimize her sins or to try to make her feel better).  Jesus saves her. Jesus blesses her and gives her peace! And she never really asked verbally, but Jesus knew her heart and knew Simon's heart. He knows your heart.

As I thought about this, there were some things that came to my mind. How many men are like this woman? I tried thinking of men in the New Testament that came to Jesus expressing the same emotion of repentance as this woman and I couldn't think of any. Would I have done what the sinful woman did? Not very likely. I would have been like Simon.

I thought about my own sinfulness.  As I have grown older, my sinfulness has become more apparent. I've realized how much I need Jesus to take a hold of me and not let my sinful inclinations control me. I've realized that I need his grace and forgiveness each day. I've realized that without Him I could not take a step forward without falling.

I also thought how uncomfortable we about admitting our own sinfulness (just like Simon).  And I am not talking about telling everyone our sins.  But do we show to our Savior how much we love him by our thankfulness for his forgiveness for all of our sins? Do we have the brokenness of heart that the sinful woman had?