A Month Filled With Love

By Sarina Villalpando     February is the month of love and appreciation for the people you have to cherish. I thought why not make this month special by filling every day with our love for God and his love for us (even though that should be an everyday occurrence). Take a verse every day in the morning and make your days focus on fully understanding the love inside it, because face it, the love that God has for us is the most love any of us will ever see. • “We love because he first loved us” – 1 John 4:19 • “So Jacob served seven years for Rachel, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her” – Genesis 29:20 • “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” – Colossians 3:14 • “There are three things that amaze me—no, four things that I don’t understand: how an eagle glides through the sky, how a snake slithers on a rock, how a ship navigates the ocean, how a man loves a woman.” – Proverbs 30:18-19 • “My beloved is mine and I am his; he pastures his flock among the lilies.” – Song of Solomon 2:16 • “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails …” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a • “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13 • “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and truth.” – 1 John 3:18 • “And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” – Romans 5:5 • “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves...

Noah, the Thankful Pilgrim

Noah, the Thankful Pilgrim

Dec 21, 2017

By Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church in Colton, CA   Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it. — Genesis 8:20 When we were in school and it was around the time for Thanksgiving, we often heard about the pilgrims coming to America. But the pilgrims weren’t the first to step foot somewhere full of thankfulness in their hearts. Noah and his family stepped off the ark with thanks long before any of us. Noah, at the time, was the most faithful man to God. He had all of God’s trust. God could’ve chosen anyone or not chosen anyone at all…but He gave this task to Noah. And Noah followed through. Noah and his family were on the ark for over a year. In that year it is imaginable that they felt doubt or scared about what was going on and about God’s plan. It is a good reminder that sometimes even when we feel like God doesn’t see us or that He doesn’t care, His love and plan are always present. We can thank Him through action and appreciation. Noah was thankful to God for not abandoning him and his family and not forgetting them. He gave worship and sacrificed every sort of animal as a demonstration of his abundance of thanks that his heart contained. God presents a promise of a rainbow that He will never wipe out the world through a worldwide flood again. For the first time God’s promise came with a sign. He showed through a rainbow that He will be merciful to people whose hearts have a tendency to be wicked. Through this rainbow we can remember how caring and powerful God is; how much love and strength He has; and that no matter what, He is with us; no matter how long it takes, His plan will go through. Even when life gets tough — and we deal with our own flood — there will be a beautiful rainbow at the end. “Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God...

Mary Rejoicing

Mary Rejoicing

Nov 22, 2017

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church in Colton, CA   A long, long, very long time ago, an angel named Gabriel appeared to a young Jewish woman named Mary. He told Mary that she was going to have a son, who would be the Son of God. Young Mary was confused about this news but she had faith in God. Mary was given an assignment that was unique. She was to give birth to the child who would be the Son of God. During the birth, Mary faced a number of challenges to her faith but she continued to rejoice in the gifts God was giving her. Mary, out of nowhere, was given a new future — a future she didn’t expect! She was being given a child, the Son of God. We may not know if this is where Mary wanted to be — if this is what she wanted — but she continued to serve God. In the end, she rejoiced over the new baby in her arms and she forever stood by Him. Mary didn’t have to follow through, but she loved her child. Mary teaches us the good lesson that sometimes we are thrown an obstacle, an obstacle that we never expected. We have a choice to fight that obstacle or see our way through God’s plan for that obstacle and make it part of our life. This is what Mary did. She took action. She didn’t expect to have a child anytime soon, but she rejoiced about the child through the action of carrying and loving Him. Rejoicing is the act of being happy and thankful at the same time. But rejoicing isn’t anything without showing...

Fall into Podcasts

Fall into Podcasts

Oct 26, 2017

  by Michaella Osborn SDB Church, Boulder, CO I listen to A LOT of podcasts. They are a great way to fill your commute to and from school or work. Podcasts can also be a creative way to add some Jesus time to your hectic day. Here are my top 5 spiritual podcasts to listen to this fall. The Relevant podcast. Join this goofy ensemble cast (including Propaganda and IJMs Eddie Kaufholz) as they discuss, dissect and occasionally poke fun at culture and entertainment through a Christ-follower lens. This podcast is dear to my heart because it was one of the very first that I listened to. I love their mixture of shenanigans and interviews with cutting edge culture makers, both Christian and secular. The show has introduced me to some of my favorite writers and musicians. Red Rocks Young Adults The portable straight-to-your-phone version of a large-scale young adult service, Red Rocks is a Church here in Colorado and I like to binge sermon series from their back catalogue. Their rotating cast of speakers, clear audio for a live recording, and the fact that they are the only young adult centric podcast that I listen to, make them great for listening to on long drives and while doing chores. This American Life The long running radio show from NPR is also available right to your phone. While not a specifically Christian show, This American Life dives into topical issues and the lives of diverse people each week — letting us all work out our empathy and mercy muscles for people we might not run into every day. Fair warning: there may be tears from time to time. Soul City Church Soul City Church records their sermons from Chicago, IL, and we are all so grateful. The sermons are funny, insightful, challenging and practical. If you need a midweek pick-me-up and refocus in 45 minutes or less, Soul City Church is a good place to start. That Sounds Fun with Annie F Downs Author and speaker Annie F Downs introduces us to some of her very favorite people as they talk about projects they are working on, books they’ve written, and their personal lives....

Seven Days of Creation

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   Sometimes it is important to reflect on the world around us. We tend to take for granted so much, but we forget how we started. Do you ever just look around and realize everything we see was made by God? God created the air we breathe, the trees, our pets, the food we eat, our friends, and everything else. Literally anything we think of — any person, object, or creature — was created by God and in His image. When we step outside, we are engrossed by His image. God loves us so much that we walk on this earth and live a life. He protects us from everything. He gives us the air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. We are incredibly blessed! The other day I was waiting in the doctor’s office for my mom and decided to pull out my phone and read Genesis. I thought why not? I got so entranced in the first few chapters. I realized how much I have overlooked those chapters and how much I have forgotten what those chapters contain. Think about it: off the top of your head can you name what happened every day of creation? I’ll admit the fact that I cannot. If you ask me, the first thing I can remember is that God rested on the seventh day…because that’s all I hear about. I’ve made it my goal to look around and just appreciate what God has created. In order to do that, I think it is important to understand and know every day of creation. On the first day God created night and day. Can you imagine, just both night and day are created. The night and day we live in used to not exist and suddenly they do. It’s pretty amazing. On the second day God decided to create the sky and sea. The sky we see every day and take for granted, and the sea that most of us in some way appreciate — they didn’t exist. God saw a purpose for them. Day three God created land and vegetation. God created the fruit and...

Blindfolded Guidance

Blindfolded Guidance

Aug 28, 2017

by Sarina Villalpando Maranatha Community Church, Colton, CA   You are now blindfolded and trying to find an object in the room. You are in complete darkness, you don’t know where anything is and you don’t know what the object you are trying to find is. The thing you do know is that there is an object hidden for you to find. Could you find the object? Is there something you could use to help you find this object? A voice has appeared to guide you. It is telling you what directions to go in. It’s told you what you are searching for is a small, round, and gray pebble. You still are in darkness, you wonder if the voice is telling you the correct directions, and you wonder if you really need to find this pebble because the journey so far has been hard. Sometimes we are faced with complicated decisions and feel that we are in complete darkness — but we never are. We have the guidance of God. God has a plan for us. He is the voice behind the blindfold that is encouraging us which direction to choose — but the choice of following the voice is our decision in the end. We are blind in the world without Christ. We must accept His guidance in order to find our pebble. In James 1:5-6 (NIV) it is written, “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” It is important to remember that we are not alone, no matter how hard the decision is. God has a plan for us to follow. When we have accepted Christ as our savoir, we have the Bible and other Christians to help lead us. We still may not be able to see everything, but we will have direction. Now the question is, how should we go along with following God’s plan? How do we know what He is trying...