Ephesians 4:18,22-24 – They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (NIV)

I am originally from Mexico; I have lived in the USA nearly 11 years. Most people in the USA and Canada have a picture of Mexicans as being poor and impoverished. I come from a wealthy family. We grew up not wanting, and very materialistic.

Since I have been here in the USA, my relationship with the Lord has grown greatly. I guess I owe that to my grandfather, "Mi Abuelito". He was a missionary, and helped a lot of missionaries to spread the good news about Jesus and distribute medicine to the poor people who lived in the mountains. He helped found a Presbyterian Church in the little town of Villa Mainero, where he was born. I enjoyed the Bible stories he would tell me, and he really led me to know our Lord. Because of that, I have become unique among the rest of my family. I really wish they would see the joy I have in Christ.

I go back home at least once a year to visit my family, especially my mother, but also my sister, brother-in-law and my nieces. When I return, I come back very empty in my heart and soul, and my spirit hurts. They live in a world full of materialism, and have a lot of money. Yet with all that, my sister tells me that she wishes that she were like me and had the joys that I have, but as soon as I start telling her about the reason for my joy, she rebukes me and tells me I'm ignorant. I cannot understand; she rejects what she wants.

On Labour Day, I woke up very early and went to my back porch to pray. Later that day, my husband and I were working in our back yard, to get it ready for winter. He started cutting back all the plants and shrubs that grow every spring. The bushes were looking really good, nice and green and healthy, but as my husband started to cut them back, I was surprised at the inside of the plant. It was brown and "dead" looking — really ugly. The Lord spoke to me, explaining that a person can be very beautiful on the outside, but can be empty and dead on the inside.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much for your love and for always being there for us. Thank you for opening the eyes of our hearts and letting us see the truth about the things of this world. It is only with You that we can be beautiful through and through. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Lili Gonzalez-Zarle
Akron, Ohio, USA

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