Tag Archive: faith


shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331All seemed lost. All seemed hopeless. A people who once had carried great hope in their hearts, had long given up and no longer looked toward Heaven for mercy. They went about their lives doing what needed to be done to survive. An oppressive government caused people great hardship. A heavy tax and census was laid upon them, and their lives were disrupted to appease those who ruled over them. In their duty and compliance, life went on…

Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption occurred. An angel brought word to a young, humble teenager. What was promised at the beginning of the age in the beautiful garden was being kept by the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven. Though none were found deserving, though all had failed their God, in the quiet of an ordinary night, a baby who embodied all love, all grace, all mercy and compassion was brought forth from Heaven.

Far away from city life, angels filled the sky bringing the great news to lowly shepherds. Even farther away, wise men wondered about a brilliant star that danced in the sky and chose to follow and seek where it led.

Revealed to those whose hearts were open, the Savior of Mankind, the Light of the World, God’s Greatest gift, came to earth and the redemption of man was set in motion that starry night in Bethlehem. And as the story continues, this little Prince of Peace grew and gave Himself on a cross, bearing our sin and shame.  With that one particular act, man was reconciled with the Perfect, Glorious Creator in Heaven to have fellowship once again as in the days of old while in the beautiful garden.

Now 2,000 years later, the rest of the world goes on, distracted by doing what needs to be done to survive. With heavy taxes and census laid upon them, they grapple to appease those who rule over them. Yet, unknowingly, in the midst of it all, a divine interruption is about to occur.  Another age old promise is soon to be realized. Crowned now as the King of Kings, those whose hearts are open to Him await the return of Jesus Christ, the faithful keeper of promises who carries victory in His hand. He will conquer evil and make everything new. He will reign with truth and justice for ever and ever.

Is your heart open to Him? Are you longing for more than what this world has to offer? Say yes to His promises and receive the miracle of Christmas in your heart by praying this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas and Blessed and Happy New Year!  God bless you!

 

Change happens. There is no way to get around it. Sometimes change is by choice, other times it’s not. Sometimes change is for the better, other times it is not. One thing I am discovering about change is that it is much harder to handle when you’re older. You work diligently to arrive to a certain way of life, to meet goals, to realize dreams and you have the expectation that you are on a course that you can stay on until the end. Your future is sure and you have done everything possible to maintain what you have worked for, when suddenly something unforeseen happens that is beyond your control. I’m going through a huge change in my life that was not welcomed, even though it was necessary.

The book of Job tells us in 1:21 that “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away.” Job is an excellent example of someone that is confronted with sudden change on every level. He has great wealth, great children, great health and a great life, when calamity strikes and he loses everything. He’s not aware that Satan has accused him of only being faithful to God because of the many blessings God has bestowed on Job. God allows the enemy to test him and take everything except Job’s life. Job is devastated with the tragic loss.  His friends give their own thoughts to Job about why these terrible events have taken place and what to make of it. His wife flat out tells him to curse God and die, which Job, being a righteous man, refuses to do. When Job continues to give praise to God even after all he has lost. God restores him and blesses him even more than before.

Thankfully, most of us have never had to go through the devastation that Job went through, but it does remind us of the sovereignty of God, and that every gift and blessing we have is only because of Him. He knows exactly what we need, what we don’t need, and the perfect time of when to receive it, or let it go. For sixteen years I was a teacher to bilingual Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten students in the inner city of Houston. It was the toughest and most challenging job that I ever had, and I loved every minute of it. However, the demands of education changed as society, technology and ideology led the way into a new direction. Everything flipped and my greatest strengths in teaching now became my greatest weaknesses. I was forced to part ways with my former employer.

I had planned to eventually retire with this assignment, but I’m still a few years away from qualifying for retirement. I was sure I would have been married by now, but have not yet met the right person. So then, what’s a girl like me supposed to do? I’m supposed to walk by faith and not by sight.  It’s time to trust and not lean on my own understanding, time to listen, time to let God be my provider, my guide and my Heavenly father. I know without a doubt that my earthly dad would have let me move back home and helped me out.  How much more I can believe my Heavenly Father, who created all things and has a good plan for my life, to take care of me. 2nd Corinthians 3:18 says that He transforms us from glory to glory. I can trust that if I keep my eyes on Him and stay in faith, that God has something even greater in store for me.

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve felt a tug on my heart to a life in ministry. I wasn’t quite sure how, but I thought that I would have a preacher or missionary husband and that I would handle all of the music. Now, all these years later, I’m in a place where I have been forced out of the boat, and now I can either walk on water, find another boat to climb in, or drown. In order to remain on the water, I have to draw out the gifts and talents that God has given me and put them to use. I’m kind of excited and cautious at the same time.  Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:8 “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”  I sense the wind is blowing me in the direction of writing so I’ve decided to publish a book using a collection of my blogs. Stepping out in faith, I published a Kindle ebook that is available on Amazon for $2.99 called Life Kissed By Heaven. To continue stepping out in faith, I’m seeking to get my book published.

Recently, a friend of mine lost a young family member to suicide, and no one knows why.  He was a bright young man and was to enter his senior year in high school this fall.  He had everything to live for, but in a solitary, desperate moment, he came to the wrong conclusion that his life was worthless.  He then imposed a permanent solution to a temporary circumstance.  I want to do all I can to prevent this from ever happening again.  I want the message of Job to be known by all, that difficult seasons are only temporary and that seasons of joy will come once again.  I want the painful lessons that I’ve learned in my own life, along with the increasing knowledge of God’s goodness, to be used to encourage others that feel their lives are hopeless.  In order to raise the funds for a publisher, I’m selling T-Shirts with a Masterpiece Message that everyone has been created and designed by God. I specifically chose orange because it is the color to wear to show support for persecuted Christians. I’m also going to donate 5% of the profits to International Christian Concern which ministers to the persecuted Church all over the world.  I would greatly appreciate your support, but even more importantly, I ask you for your prayers in following God’s will.

He also has a good plan for your life, and I pray that He reveals His will for your life.  If you haven’t yet made Jesus the Lord of your life or need to rededicate your heart to Him, you can click on Make Peace with God, to find out how.

Love and blessings to you all, my friends!

Life Kissed By HeavenT-Shirt Picture

No Fear in The Follow

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“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters.  He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  ~Psalm 23:1-3

We live in a day and age where leadership and success are considered to be interchangeable. To be successful in the world’s eyes, one must lead. If you are an ambitious, confident, type A, “take life by the horns” extrovert, you might eagerly agree. Someone has to lead, so why not you? Or you may be a reserved, quiet, “don’t rock the boat” introvert that would rather not assert yourself. Does that automatically make you unsuccessful? Don’t get me wrong, the world needs great leaders to rise up for just causes and take a stand they feel strongly on. However, whether you feel you have what it takes or not, it’s not up to us to decide.  Daniel 2:21 tells us “He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings.”  Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps. These verses tell me that we naturally want to lead our own lives, but it’s God who calls and raises up the leaders among us according to His purpose.  Some have been born with the God-given ability to lead, and they realize it early in life. Others feel they’re not called because of a lack of ability, but God equips them with everything they need. There is a most important quality that all must have to lead, and that is a humble heart to serve others.  Matthew 23:11 says “The greatest among you will be your servant.”  Just like Jesus Christ came to serve us by taking our place on the cross and rising again, a true leader has a servant’s heart and seeks wisdom, when he follows after God.

A leader that follows after God takes up their cross daily and submits every area of their life to Christ. It doesn’t take long, before one realizes how much of a challenge that can be.   Some of the obvious things are easy to let go, but some areas stay hidden until a trial brings them to light.  Those are the real toughies.  Recently in my own life, I’ve become aware that a certain sure path that I expected to be on for a few more years, seems to be winding down to an end. I always considered myself to be a humble, quiet person that easily submits to God, until I was put to this test. It’s been amazing and humbling to see how much of my future was according to my plan and trusting in what I see and hear. Faced with an uncertain future, I have to take captive all the worst case scenarios that want to play out in my thoughts, and replace them with God’s promises in His Word that He will provide all my needs, that my life is in His hands and I have nothing to worry about.  Ever heard the phrase “That’s easier said than done.”?  Well, I’ve found that to be the case.  I want to use reason, logic and what I know about the world’s system to guide me as to what to do next, but what I really need is to quiet myself and trust my Great Shepherd to lead the way.  As I reflected on this over the past weekend, I suddenly felt inspired to write a poem about trusting God.  As I wrote it, I began to think of the 23rd Psalm and it became the subject of my poem (which I will post at the end).  The awesome thing has been the confirmation by the Holy Spirit  that has come this week.  At the Wednesday night service at my church, Pastor Lisa’s message was about Jesus being our good shepherd.  I highly doubt that she hacked the documents on my computer to plan her message.  Another confirmation just occurred as I began to write.  Rabbi Schneider’s program “Discovering the Jewish Jesus” was on the television and his message was also teaching on the 23rd Psalm. I don’t think he hacked my documents either, but he may have watched Pastor Lisa online.  I love when God does that!  He speaks a message to your heart and everywhere you turn, people are speaking about the very same thing! It’s one of those cool God things, for sure!

I really believe God is telling the Church to keep our eyes on Jesus and follow Him wherever He leads, especially in the time we are in.  We need to be able to discern His voice and follow the peace through the Holy Spirit to guide us.  Knowing His voice and peace comes through having a relationship with Jesus Christ, by walking with Him daily, praying and meditating on His Word.  As so many of our beloved brothers and sisters in the Middle East have found, we as Christians will walk through the valley of the shadow of death.  Yet, we won’t fear evil because our faithful Shepherd is right there with us and He will lead us through to life everlasting.  I still get tears in my eyes when I think of our 21 brothers from Egypt who were marched out onto a beach to their death.  I read somewhere recently that every one of them with their very last breath gave praise to Jesus Christ. That is so courageous and so heart-grabbing!   What the world couldn’t see on the beach was Jesus right there in their midst and angels gathered around our brothers, ready to escort their spirits to Heaven, where they will one day soon have glorified bodies. Let us remember to lift each other up in prayer and intercession, especially those facing persecution.

Great Shepherd

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring,
But my heart will sing
Just the same.

I know that my steps are planned
That He holds my hand,
There’s no shame.

For He leads me to life everlasting.
Nothing can hold me down.
Whatever comes against me tomorrow
He can turn it around.

For He’s my great shepherd who leads me,
Besides refreshing waters so still.
To green pastures, a table before me
His every promise He’ll fulfill.

My Father’s goodness and mercy
He sends to follow after me.
In His house, I will dwell with Him,
Forever loved, complete, whole and free.

If you haven’t made Jesus the lord of your life and would like to invite Him into your heart, please pray the following:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent
Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior.  Amen.              

God bless you.

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.”  – Proverbs 13:12

How often do we settle into a routine, turn the volume down on our hopes and dreams, and brace ourselves to live life as usual?  We believe in God and His Word and that someday in the far off future, He will deliver on His promises.  I know I have.  Five years ago I surrendered myself to this way of thinking.  Both of my parents had become critically ill within months of each other, and although I desperately prayed and believed for a miracle, God took each of them home instead.  During this time, I was in a relationship that I truly believed was an answer to prayer and to bring comfort,  but it only added to the hurt and heartache I was already going through.  So I had reasoned that in the Age to Come, I would  see the promises of God fulfilled in my life and not a moment before.  I knew God loved me and was good because I could sense His presence in my life. I knew God could answer prayers at any time, as I had seen in the lives of others and heard in their testimonies, but year after year when life became a cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep, church, work, sleep, work, sleep, church…with my prayers seemingly unanswered, I stopped expecting to see God ever move in any major way in my life.  Little did I know that during that time, God was setting things up to blindside me with a HUGE, Over-the-Top blessing!

I’ll never forget Thanksgiving of 2013.  I was sitting in a Cracker Barrel restaurant by myself, eating my holiday meal.  My family lived very far away and my friends were celebrating with their families and relatives.  I wasn’t sad to be alone or anything like that, I had simply accepted that this is how my life was.  Had anyone said to me that day that I would spend next year’s Thanksgiving Day, sitting in a living room on the other side of the world, drinking Turkish coffee with a group of some of the most incredible, wonderful people you could ever meet, I would have looked at them like they had lost all sense of reality.  Yet, that’s exactly what happened!

A few weeks into the 2014 year, I decided to attend a Missions Meeting at church.  They would be talking about the various trips where they planned to send teams  I wanted to see if there would be any affordable trips to a Latin American country that coincided with my summer break from school.  I had gone on missions trips many years ago in the past, which led me to major in Spanish in college and become a Bilingual Teacher.  There weren’t any.  I was a little disappointed, but continued to listen about the other trips in the fall.  As soon as they mentioned the  details of the trip to Israel, I felt a spark of excitement on the inside, as if I had suddenly come to life!  It had been many years since I last felt that way, and it was incredible!  I knew it would be nearly impossible to get the time off from school, especially during one of the busiest times of the year.  And yet this feeling that I was supposed to go, superseded all of the many reasons “of why I shouldn’t bother trying to go”  playing out in my mind.

20141123_153048I picked up the application as soon as they were made available.  I held on to it, wondering how I could approach my boss about this.  The trip was scheduled to return after Thanksgiving and Kindergarten would be gearing up for standardized testing.  That meant that I would be gone during the test preparation time and return just a couple of days before testing started.  Then it was announced that the Stanford would be replaced by the Iowa test in our school next year, and there wasn’t any indication of when it would take place!  That announcement was by no doubt, in my favor!  As the due date drew close, I was still trying to think of a way to bring up the trip, but then the perfect segue into the topic opened up at our Family Science Night.  My colleague and I had chosen to present the experiment in how to make an egg float to the top.  It was an experiment regarding the density of water.  My principal came in the classroom to observe how our experiment was going and began asking questions.  As I answered his questions I thought to myself that now would be a great time to mention the trip, but how??  As he was wrapping up the conversation he mentioned how our project explained why everything floats in the  Dead Sea.  BINGO!  There it was!  As he was turning, I said “Speaking of the Dead Sea, I wanted to talk to you about this opportunity that I have…”   Even though he didn’t give me a solid  yes, he encouraged me to go ahead and get the application in before the deadline.  With that, I began my adventure.

I got the application filled out and turned in just in the nick of time.   I then had to wait to see if I would get called for an interview.  Weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was not selected and felt disappointed.  After I had finally given up, I received a call a few days later to contact them if I was in the building to conduct the interview that was scheduled that day.  After combing through my inbox, I saw the email informing me of the date and time of the interview, and I had missed it!  How could I have let this happen?    I was closing out the school year and didn’t check my personal email.  I sent a message back explaining what had happened and asked for another interview, which thankfully was granted.  The interview seemed to go well, but again it was time to wait.  I got the  call a week later that I was selected.  I was beyond excited!

20141125_114137I really felt that the Holy Spirit helped me to get to the first meeting!  I had the wrong date written down in my calendar.  Our team leader sent a text to remind us about the meeting that morning.  She had my home phone listed as my cell phone.  For the first, last and only time ever, I received the message on my landline.  I scrambled to get ready and go, thanking God the whole time,  that the text came through on that phone and not my cell phone.  I  often wait until later in the day to check my cell phone for messages and would have missed the meeting entirely.  When I got to the church, the 11:00 service was letting out.  I had to park in a garage about a block away which made me late.  As I hurried into the church and in the area that we were to meet, no one was there.  The meeting was held in a conference room in which you needed to be escorted by someone with authorization.  I turned on my cell phone to notify the team leader that I was there, but my battery was dead!  I couldn’t believe it I stood there not knowing what to do and started praying for a way to get there.  Within five minutes, I noticed a female custodian heading in that direction.  I went over to her and let her know that I was there for an Israel trip meeting and before I could ask if she could let someone from the team know that I was there, she simply took me to the area and let me in with her security pass and rushed away.   I thanked her at the time, but I was so very grateful that I wanted to again express my appreciation after the meeting was over, since I knew this wasn’t ordinarily done, but I couldn’t  find her.  In fact I never saw her again and I sometimes wonder if she was an angel.  Had she not done what she did, I would have left thinking God must not want me to go and pulled myself out of the team.  Whether she was from Heaven or not, she was definitely my angel and I knew God was orchestrating everything!

I arrived and got to meet the other members of my team and was blown away by this great group of ladies.  I couldn’t help but think, “What am I doing here?  These ladies are incredible and so spiritually mature…I’m just the daughter of a factory worker…”  But they made me feel very welcomed and that I was a definitely a part of the team.  We had trainings and scheduled events to take part in leading up to the trip and began to bond as a team.

While preparing for this trip, there were many obstacles that popped up that made it seem like this trip would not take place.  I got a new boss who gave me a bit of a hard time about going in the last week before the trip (even though I talked to her about it when she first arrived on campus), the Iowa testing schedule was announced and Kindergarten would be taking the test after Thanksgiving (same as  the test before);  my position was changed to teach regular Kindergarten instead of Bilingual  in the second week and everything I had was in Spanish (I would have to create all English materials myself) .  The biggest obstacle of all, was that in the summer, Hamas began attacking Israel.  This led to  Israel having to defend itself,  resulting in the One Hundred Day War. This ended before the trip, but tensions were still high.   I won’t even mention the conflict Israel had with the United Nations over whether to lower sanctions against Iran, which  would give them  liberty to progress in their Nuclear Energy Capabilities.  Okay, so I guess I did mention it, but that’s all I’m going to say.

20141128_090530The trip went as smoothly as can be!  We got to see  many of the famous landmarks, hike up Mt. Arbel, sail in the Sea of Galilee, float in  the Dead Sea, pray at the Western Wall, and much more.  My favorite was visiting the Garden of  Gethsemane and  going inside the tomb believed to be where  Jesus was buried –  EMPTY , of course!  We also  got to meet, encourage and bless many wonderful people along the way.  My team members were a major source of inspiration  to me and I learned so much from them!

All of this brings me back  to the verse quoted at the beginning in Proverbs 13:12.  This trip was a dream come true for me.  It woke me up from a deep slumber and revived my spirit  and faith!  God really is good, and He wants to give good things to His children!  When asked by a friend to describe what this whole experience was like, they only words I could use to describe it were I felt like my life  was kissed by Heaven!  If you feel like you’ve been put on a shelf collecting dust, don’t  fall for the lie!  Don’t you dare give up and lose hope!  Wait on God with patience, faith and expectancy!  He has much, much more for you!  If He fulfilled this long time desire of my heart for me, He will  fulfill the desires of your heart as well!

I pray that in this New Year of 2015, your life is kissed by Heaven over and over! God bless you!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”

While searching for a quote on peace, I came across this little gem by the famous Jimi Hendrix.  Although, I’m not familiar with his music and career, I do know he is highly respected and celebrated as one of the great musicians in the history of modern music.  Since there has been much talk about peace and the possibility of achieving it worldwide, I wanted to look at why we have so much conflict over it.   Islam, which has dominated news headlines in the last few years, says that it is a religion of peace.  Members of the Jewish faith lavishly bid one another peace in every greeting of “Shalom”.  In Christianity, peace and goodwill toward men is highlighted in the Christmas celebration and its many carols that are sung.  Even those that don’t believe in any religion, atheists, wear the “peace sign” on jewelry, clothing, and anything that can display a symbol…so then, if everyone is for peace…why is there so much strife, fighting and war going on?   I believe the reason is all based on how one translates the word “peace”.

As I thought about what my interpretation of peace was,  my first thought was it means “no fighting” and images of a tranquil, calm scene came into my mind.  I looked up the word on an online dictionary site Merriam-Webster.com and read that the full definition of peace is

  1. a state of tranquillity or quiet: as  a :  freedom from civil disturbance  b :  a state of security or order within a  community provided for by law or custom <a breach of the peace>                                                                    
  2.  freedom from disquieting or oppressive thoughts or emotions  
  3.  harmony in personal relations     
  4. a :  a state or period of mutual concord between governments  b :  a pact or agreement to end hostilities between those who have been at war or in a state of enmity 
  5. used interjectionally to ask for silence or calm or as a greeting or farewell.  

So I was pretty much right in the traditional sense of the word, but my love for word origins took over and I began to read further…

Middle English pees, from Anglo-French pes, pees, from Latin pac-, pax; akin to Latin pacisci to agree.

Hmmm…that got me thinking about what the meaning of peace is according to the Bible in the original languages it was written.  I  looked up the verse in Isaiah 9:6 where it says the Coming Messiah would be called the “Prince of peace” in the Interlinear Bible.  It shows the Hebrew word  shalom  which in Strong’s Concordance is defined as “completeness, soundness, welfare, peace.”  I also looked up  the verse in Philippians 4:9 “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus”.  In that verse, which was written in Greek, the word is eiréné  which in Strong’s Concordance is translated as “one, peace, quietness, rest”.   Right below it on the page was the HELPS Word-Study from HELPS Ministries, Inc.  which added:   (from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole“) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace (God’s gift of wholeness).

So what does all of this mean?  It brought me to this conclusion:  the true meaning of peace is completeness, wholeness and oneness when joined or tied together with…God. But, how does someone become one or in unity with God, the Creator?  Easy…by believing on the Prince of Peace referred to in Isaiah 9:6 which is Jesus Christ and receiving Him into your heart as Lord and Savior.  But, how do you know that verse is talking about Jesus?  I know because 2 Corinthians 5:18 tells us that God reconciled us to Himself through Christ. The reconciliation between God and man opens up a person’s soul to experience peace.   Furthermore, it is illustrated in the most popular quote from the Bible, John 3:16  “For God so loved the world that He gave His Only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”  There is no other faith that has a Savior that atones for the sin of man.  There is no other faith that brings a message of grace and mercy from a Heavenly Father.  There is no other faith that offers salvation or freely gives everlasting life.

So there you have it!  I don’t know where Mr. Hendrix stood in regards to his faith, but his quote was quite profound and true.  The power of love comes only from God, because “God is love” (1 John 4:16).  By believing in Jesus Christ, that He died for the atonement of our sins, and rose again three days later, we are now one with God through Christ.  Peace is the result of a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Experiencing God’s presence here on Earth is equal to nothing else.

So then, in answering the question “Will the world ever find peace?”  It’s all in how the world looks at it:  if it’s looking for an absence of conflict, no.  If it’s looking for true, everlasting peace,  it’s already here and available to those who call on the name Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.

Have you receoved Jesus Christ into your heart as your Lord and Savior?  If not, and you would like to, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father,
I confess that I’m a sinner.  I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy.  I make You my Lord and Savior. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

May you be blessed and enjoy His peace and presence!
 

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331 Hello everyone!  It’s been awhile since I last posted.  I just got back from the movie theater, where I went to see the film Son of God produced by Mark Burnett and Roma Downey. This is a beautiful depiction of the life of Jesus Christ. It made a deep impact on me and inspired a poem in response. I am awaiting a wonderful, glorious day like no other, when Jesus returns for His bride, the Church. It is that hope and anticipated joy yet to come, that keeps me going day after day. Jesus lives in my heart, and I sense His presence often…but what I experience now is only a little taste of the glorious joy that is yet to come when I and all who call on Him are with Him for eternity. I hope this blesses you!

The Joy Yet to Come

There’s a joy that awaits us that we cannot yet fathom
A glory our earthly flesh can’t contain,
When our Prince of Peace returns for us in the clouds,
Only the tried and true in us remain.

In an instant we’ll become imperishable,
Into immortal bodies we shall be clothed.
No longer hindered by sickness and death,
In His presence, beloved and betrothed.

There’s a time that awaits us, when all sorrow shall end.
By His hand, tears forever wiped away.
We will live in the light of His glory and love,
Night banished by endless day.

~ Linda J. Vandock

If you haven’t had a chance to go see the movie, I strongly encourage you to go. Here is a link to the official trailer:  http://youtu.be/uUja5WJFAXA

Enjoy and be blessed!

shamrock-wallpaper-for-pc_1152x864_7735331But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23.

I’ll never forget the early days of my Christian walk when the friends I connected with at church were very big into street ministries. This meant going into some very rough areas on a Friday or Saturday night with handfuls of Christian tracts. We would go outside of bars and nightclubs, heavy metal concerts, and adult bookstores to witness to people. The guy that headed this up had a real passion and drive to bring people to Christ and never wanted to miss an opportunity to talk to people about Jesus. Anyone who knows me, knows that approaching strangers and engaging in conversations isn’t one of my biggest strengths, so this was a real stretch out of my comfort zone. I just wasn’t a talkative person, although I’ve grown a lot in this area. I think back to a time when God tried to break me of this, on my first summer missions project with Teen Challenge in New York City. At the initial meeting where we were given our instructions, I was so relieved when I found out we would be going out in groups of three. Everyone else was so extroverted and out-going, I figured I’d be the one to pray quietly in intercession, while the other two did all the talking. The funny thing is, by the time the leader got to assigning me to a group, there was just one other person left, and he was even quieter than I was! Uh, Oh! How did that happen? That’s when I discovered the sense of humor of God. So I was in a position where I had to be bold and approach people, and I can’t tell you enough how mightily God used that trip to influence my life for him.

So right from the start, I learned that it was our mission to tell people the good news about Jesus Christ. I would do my part and always try to maneuver every conversation with anyone who didn’t attend church on a regular basis to the plan of salvation. After awhile, the guy who led our group at home went off to college and everyone else’s life went into different directions and so we stopped going out. I would occasionally find groups from other churches going out and would connect with them sometimes. Most people were open to us coming out and talking for the most part, but there were others not so cool with it. One time, we came up to some young people acting silly and playing around. Before we even said hello to them, one of them came up and threw a bucket of water on us. He immediately felt bad and apologized and spent a few minutes talking with us afterward, but after that incident, I did less street evangelism and began to focus more on witnessing in my everyday life.

As I was finishing up with college, I did my best to always bring faith into the conversation, but by that time, the world had begun to change. It was during the 500 year anniversary of Christopher Columbus discovering America. My University had a conference depicting him as an evil person who brought ruin and destruction to the Americas. I had to attend because it was part of my grade as a Spanish major, even though I saw things from a different perspective. It was then, however, that there seemed to be a shift in the opposition toward Christianity. Long-time friends from college began to press me for answers on controversial subjects and then suddenly cut off their friendships as I answered with what the Bible said. It began to get very difficult. It didn’t help that I was also facing many other difficulties in other areas of my life. Businesses, including the one my dad worked for, began to close and move south after the North American Free Trade Agreement passed. My dad was blessed in that he just barely got his 30 years in, and received his pension and retirement package. Others he worked with were not and lost everything after 29 years of dedicated hard labor. It made for some tense times and it was harder and harder to keep talking about the plan of Salvation when emotions were so raw and ran so high. I began to grow very anxious about even opening my mouth at all since it meant certain ridicule and disdain, but I thought I could please God by continuing, so I did. Then one day, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart and it made all the difference in the world for me. In fact, had He not spoken this to me, I probably would have burned out as a believer a long time ago.

It took place in an ESL classroom for third and fourth grade students, where I was called in as a substitute teacher from time to time. This particular lesson was a science lesson on fruit. I was going over a worksheet with the class that the teacher had left. As I pointed out to the students how the seeds were in the fruit, the Holy Spirit suddenly spoke to my heart at that moment and showed me that it worked the same way in the Spiritual realm as well. The seeds that we as Christians plant in the hearts of other people comes from the fruit of the Spirit that grows in us as we abide in Him. Jesus said in John 15:4-5 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” So much clicked for me at that moment. If we truly want to plant seeds in the hearts of people, we need to have our fruit developed which only happens when we abide in Him. It is in our developed fruit that yields the seeds that are to be planted. God has made it so that His Word is spread through us. The Word of God is powerful enough alone, as it is alive and does not return void, but when we deliver the Word, along with the words of our personal testimony of what God has done in and for us, demonstrated by the fruit of the Spirit that we bear, there is no denial of the power of God and that He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

This is further demonstrated by what the Apostle Paul said in I Corinthians 13:1-3 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Love is a fruit of the Spirit, and without that love behind our words and motivating us, we will not be effective for the cause of Christ.    We only bear fruit from a true relationship with Him, through time spent daily in His presence and yielding our will to His.  It is knowing Him personally that we are compelled and want to share, no matter what, the wonderful, satisfying, strengthening, enriching love relationship that keeps us going day after day after day.   It’s the love, joy, peace, patience,  kindness, goodness,  faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control that people see and are moved by.  It’s what sets us apart from non-believers and will draw those seeking for something more to us.  The more I grow in Christ, and understand how He gave His all for me, the more I want to give my all for Him.

If you have never invited Jesus Christ into your heart to make him, please pray this prayer:

Dear Heavenly Father, I confess that I’m a sinner. I repent of my sins and ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You sent Your Son, Jesus to die on the cross in my place to pay for my sins, and that He rose again from the dead, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. I invite You, Jesus, into my heart and ask that You would wash me and cleanse me in Your blood. I thank You for Your love and mercy. I make You my Lord and Savior. Amen.

You are loved!  Be blessed, everyone!

Welcome to a New Year! Did you know that you have the opportunity to make a brand new start for this new year? Whether 2011 ended favorably for you or not, you can leave all the past worries, concerns and frustrations at the door step…no need to bring it into 2012!   There truly is so much out there in the world today that can bring a person down to their knees…which actually is the best place to begin fresh and anew.

If you were like me, you may have had a year full of transitions where you had to let situations, relationships, or negative ways of thinking go. I learned this last year that whatever I tried to cling to for suppport, apart from God, was like quick sand. I began the year having to adjust to living life without the secure, unconditional love of my parents. My dad passed away a year earlier after struggling with a long illness. Five months later, my mother was diagnosed with cancer. She died the following month. With the rest of my family living far away, never had I felt so lost and alone in my life. I found, unfortunately, that not everyone I turned to had my best interest at heart, leading to more feelings of abandonment. The one thing that kept me going, was knowing that no matter what I was feeling, I knew in my heart of hearts that God was there for me and would never, ever leave. He is the Rock of Ages, that is always steadfast, unmoving and unchanging. There is always hope in Christ. Isaiah 43:18 says “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”  It’s time to let go, forgive when needed, and move forward to the new things that God has before us, knowing that it will be good because He is good!

So then, if you’re not already down on your knees, you may want to get there and ask the God who can fix everything that is broken in your life and make it brand new again to come into your heart.

If you would like to invite Jesus Christ into your heart, whether this is the first time or the umpteenth time, just pray this prayer:

“Heavenly Father, I thank you for sending Your Son Jesus to die for my sins. I confess that I’m a sinner, and ask that You would come into my heart, and wash me clean with Your blood. I’m done trying to live on my own. I need You to lead and guide me. I choose to follow You and make You my Lord and Savior for all the days of my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you said that prayer, you should know there is a big celebration going on in Heaven right now over your decision to follow Christ. The angels are rejoicing! And best of all, your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. (Revelation 22:27)

Happy New Year! God bless you!

It’s Just Temporary…

The holiday season is a wonderful time filled with friends, family, food, music and fun.  It’s a time to create lasting memories to cherish with loved ones and give thanks for all the blessings we’ve received from God above.  For some, however, it can be a a bittersweet time to remember  loved ones that have passed on to eternity.  My dad passed away on Thanksgiving weekend in 2009 and as I come upon this second year without him, it’s comforting sometimes to remember that all of this is temporary.  I wrote this today while reflecting about the up-coming week:

 

 

A Day Soon Coming

A day is approaching and even now coming
When hearts will no longer be broken. 
Words will be used to heal wounded souls
And curses never again be spoken.

And it shall be as it was meant to be,
Before the dawn of time
Where grief and sorrow have no dwelling
And neither a rock to climb.

Where love shall shine so brilliantly
Causing the light of the sun to fade.
Joy and peace will flood every heart
As new heavens and earth are made.

Until that day let us abide in Him
To strengthen and encourage one another,
Keeping our hearts knitted in grace
And tightly bound together.

Be blessed!