Friday, July 25, 2008

The Closet

How did I come up with this subject?
Well I was standing in front of my closet, (you must know that I have this fixation of keeping my closet color coordinated and very organized.) and I was wondering what to wear. It was one of those days were you think, “I need to go shopping; I do not have the right wardrobe”. Well the fact is that I am very close to laundry day too, so I was very limited in choice and I just couldn’t make up my mind. I felt frustrated and angry. Needless to say that I didn’t go to where I was invited, just because I didn’t find something proper to wear. Isn’t that silly, I truly missed out!
I stayed home and I prayed and I ask God to reveal to me what the real problem was and to give me the wisdom to deal with it.

Just like my closet, I like to have my life organized and under control. Yet life brings us in different corners where
we have no control of situations or circumstances, we can only rely on God. Of course this brings much trouble to our minds because we do not know where we will end up or how we will find a solution to our problems. It raises a thousand questions in our heads and at times we seem to miss the answer. The thing is that the answer is there all the time in front of our eyes. We need to draw to God and focus on Him; most important we need to remain focused. Easier said then done. Right?
My closet, even though I live in Miami has winter coats/jackets/sweaters on hangers (I can’t fold clothes, that is why everything is on a hanger in my closet), I also have clothes that are 2 sizes bigger then I am now (I was a bit chubby a while ago) and I also have very old clothes I don’t have the heart to throw away (cause I am a collector..right) and last but not least I have those things hanging in the closet that were very cool when they were in the store but once they got into my closet they didn’t match my personality and I have wear them once or twice the truth is that they made me feel insecure and uncomfortable some of them even still have a tag on. My closet would be much more in order if I would only remove those things that no longer fit me and those things I no longer have use for.

Once I realized that the problem was all about my state of mind and focus, I made a list of the things that trouble me so much and I also wrote the reason why they troubled me.

Like the old garments in the closet, I had a pj's my mom gave me long ago, they have holes everywhere but it has a sentimental value for me; can't trow it away. The truth is that I never wear them, my mom will still love me the same and perhaps give me a new pair of pj's if I would trow these away.
My heart is not different, I found all the issues that are just too old to keep dragging around. The guilt of my sins, Jesus paid a too high of a price indeed to keep that guilt hanging in my life, I am not worthy by my deeds but by the blood of Christ. So I took all these things out and brought them to daylight and now they are vanished.

I looked for all those things that are useless and took them away(like the clothes I have hanging still with the price tag on, I have not found yet the right occasion to wear them), like thoughts that only confuse our minds, things that have not happen but you would like to see in your life. They all have a tag, it could be a future husband, new job, new house, new car, we spent way too much time thinking of the things we don’t have but surely one day will be at our doorstep. We try to figure out how those things will be added to us if the circumstances are far from being adequate to make all that happen.
I have to trust God with everything and I have to know that He is faithful and that He is our provider. All we need is His precious word in our lives that is the rack where we need to hang all these things and He surely will make them go away.

Then I removed all those things that no longer fit me, like that dress size eight! Now I am a size 2 but imagine I was size 8. I kept them because I thought maybe I can bring them to resize them for me, the fact is that I will never do that because I don't like those garments any more and I they only remind me of a painful period of my life, so why keeping those things in my closet!
I was this person always in struggle but I couldn’t see the victory at the end of the day, Jesus has change that and has manifested in so many ways in my life but the thing is that I had not acknowledge God’s plan in my life so I thought I had to hold on to those things cause maybe one day I might be there again and will need to use all that all over again. I surely forgot that God brings us from Glory to Glory and not backwards.

I bought this beautiful denim skirt, I loved it in the store, but when I tried to wear it, too short! it is just not me; or this pair of jeans I have, they have a bird embroiled with feathers and all, gorgeous, do I wear it? NO, I look silly, it is just not my type.
So finally I also removed all those things that don’t really match who I am, my ways and my words are the ones which edify the God I worship, no room for insecurity and shame. By mercy God has delivered us from evil and has made us a new creation. Having removed all these things from my heart has made room for righteousness and peace.

I came to realize that I am missing out, just like I missed the opportunity to share a great time with friends the other day, I am missing out on being close to God and be where he wants me to be so He can fill my heart with Joy and Abundance.

After cleaning up my closet, I felt fresh a renewed. I went shopping and I asked God to go with me, I discovered that He has given me and you the best wardrobe ever. He just wants to make sure that we know at all times what to wear and never leave home without. He is so awesome! This is what God wants us to wear:
Ephesians 6:10-20 (NIV)
The Armor of God
10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
19Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My trip through the desert

For 40 years the people of Israel wondered in the desert. Moses lead the chosen people of God from Egypt to the land of milk and honey. Through this period the people at first were happy they got freedom and they were getting to this fruitful land promised by their almighty God.
Soon on their way they faced hardships and rebelled against God, they never signed up for a forty year trip in the desert. The ten commandments were given by our merciful God, still the people sinned and worshiped other gods. God delivered mercy and restored the covenant with them by asking for the right sacrifice to bring back holiness to his people. And finally after those forty years they entered the promised land.

Today I am returning home from such a spiritual trip sort of speak.
At one point in our life we meet with God and we realize that he wishes to bring us into the land of milk and honey. Some of us do accept that invitation and we begin that journey with Christ. We are fueled by the new beauty we have found in his promises, we are blown away by the indescribable joy we discover in our heart. Then the hardship comes...and we began to count the things we lack instead of counting our blessings. We become selfish and needy, we demand from God that we are served as we think we deserve. We become arrogant and we long for the riches and abundance we left behind in Egypt. We forget all about the slavery we were once bind to.
Like the people in the desert, we too worship other Gods. It just happens unnoticed. Maybe for you it is your work, perhaps your car or your children, your freedom. We miss out and we don't see the blessings in our life. We don't give value to what God serves to our plates, we don't accept the manna or the water from the rock, we want a banquet and the best wine to be served to us ASAP.

It happened to me, reason why I am telling you my story. So when I discovered I was no different from the people in the desert, I wondered: how am I going to get home? How will God ever forgive me for my rebellious behavior? I feared God's anger against my sinful ways in my life.

I remember when I decided to follow God, I painted this little aquarell: a girl in the desert. That girl is me, leaving my house to follow God on a Journey that is guaranteed to be a great one, knowing that when things get though I will have the privilege of carrying everything to God in prayers. I was determined to follow Him and willing to allow him to guide me and to mold me through the Journey. I knew he would sustain me.

That Journey has last 12 years now since that day. Recently I just made one more step in faith forward into that Journey.
For weeks I sat down and cried and cried, not knowing where to go and who to call. I felt I didn't want to go back to God cause he knew what I was going through and I was not hearing his voice. I thought of all those cold nights and hungry days in the desert and couldn't see the end of it. My problem had strings to everything around me. Nothing could bring me joy, I felt like God had abandoned me and forgot all together about us, me and Him, our relationship we had. I could not hear his voice, I could not see his hand, I could not feel his presence, so everything else lost its value.
I felt as if my heart became a cold stone and my spirit was crushed and without fuel. Deep in my mind I remembered all his promises and became determined to pulled to his ropes just to remind him of this servant and cry out to him as loud as I could. I fell face down to him and asked him to take my heart and to renew my spirit and ask to receive the gift of repentance of the soul and cleansing of the heart. I knew there is nothing I can do to change all these things.
Just as Abraham, I did bring my Isaac for sacrifice and trusted in God. Don't get me wrong I had no strength to do it and no will to complete the request, but God showed up right on time to rescue our hearts from desperation and total brokenness. I felt God's presence and I trembled, immediately I understood the meaning of "I am who I am" exodus 3:14. God was telling Moses what name to use to tell the Israelites who sent him to them.
Exodus 3:15 God also said to Moses, "Say to the Israelites, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.' This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation.

To me it mean: "know that I am God, the all mighty Sovereign Lord, all these things are possible through me. I am who I am. I am here for you both"
I trusted the Lord our God and I am free of the pain, free of a heavy heart and again happy to hear my Sweet Shepherd's voice. I still have to go through a healing process but God will take care of that too, I just need to keep on praying.

I have come to pray for forgiveness and I have made the trip to the past, not to see the bad things that happen but to count the blessings God brought to my life. The manna he provided when I was most hungry, his merciful hand that came to my rescue over and over again.
I was reminded of the fire I once carried in my heart, such a strong fire that I found boldness and left my house to begin a journey with Christ, Jesus being my only compass, my only friend. He is the same 12 years ago and forever years ago and always will be a loving, merciful, sweet Lord. Still forgiving his hard hearing children, he is still in the business of trading those heart of stone to a heart of flesh and blood, still forgiving me for my short comings and sins. Still giving me the pleasure of hearing his Sweet peace giving voice, still giving that warm embrace of a caring Father comforting his scared crying misbehaved repented daughter.

How did I get from rebellious to a sweet daughter? Well I am not a sweet daughter, I was born a sinner, but in the eyes of my Lord I am his daughter and he loves me not for my deeds but because He is Love and he is grace and mercy. He has saved me and he wants this not only for me, but for you and everyone you know. I am hoping I can bring you a message of hope and showing the path back home to our Creator as I have found my way back to Him through prayer. I don't want to keep quiet, because today you might be in the desert trying to find your way out. Don't quit, be bold, bring your burdens to the cross.

How I made it back to His presence, was through prayer, there were days where I didn't see why I should pray if I had no answer, still I prayed cause I knew God listens always. I didn't feel like praying because I didn't feel I believed for what I prayed and also I didn't wanted to pray because I felt so far away from God that I thought perhaps there is a chance He might not hear me. But then a voice in me knew that I could be the only one doing wrong, the Lord is holy. The root of my worries and anxiety was evil, if I like that or not, that is my problem, but it is what it is.
On the Journey of prayer I recognized that I was being arrogant, selfish and ungrateful to the beautiful things and people God placed in my life, this has been the root and reason why I could not enjoy the banquet Jesus prepared for me. I didn't do it intentionally but the evil one fools us and blinds us and sin comes by unnoticed.
It is so important when friends and loved ones pray for you, I tell you their prayer and the prayers I brought to the Lord help me out of this dry desert. I came with a naked sincere heart to God and little by little, day by day(it seemed an eternity) I came to that point where I found my faith back. Got nudge my heart and I took the requested action and made that step forward, confident that God was next to me holding my hand and guiding my words. It was not easy and it took me a while to get to that point, but I followed God. I felt scared but not afraid, I am holding dearly to His word and promises.
When we ask in prayers to whatever we need and it is according to God's will, be sure that he will provide to your needs.

"Which of you, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!" (Matthew 7:9-11)

From the book of Exodus and the people of Israel there is much to learn, but today I am reminded and learned once more, that God never changes. But we do, when we continue to pray even when we have no answer, even when we don't feel like it, when we believe that God will never forgive us, when we keep the prayer even in those hopeless moments, our life changes because of prayer, it really does!
In prayers we build a stronger relationship with God, we interact with him and come naked before him. We give him the authority to restore our lives and mold us as he thinks is best for us and He provides the strength and courage to face the days left on earth to continue his work with a diligence servant's heart.
He has called me, us, to walk in holiness because He is holy until we come before him again to spend eternity praising His holy precious name, "Adonai Elohai"

Some years ago, I began a quest to seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, I found Jesus and I answer a calling to walk in holiness. I remember when He called my name and I said : Here I am!
Today I will continue to press on forward and face the deserts to come in my life, for Jesus paid the price for my soul with his life. That means a lot to me, it is for that reason that today I can be called child of God. The Lord will give me strength and wisdom to continue in faith every step of the way.
1John 4
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome
them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Exodus3:2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw that though the bush was on fire it did not burn up. 3 So Moses thought, "I will go over and see this strange sight—why the bush does not burn up." When the LORD saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, "Moses! Moses!" And Moses said, "Here I am."
"Do not come any closer," God said. "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground." 6 Then he said, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob." At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.

If you are going through hardship in your life and my testimony has spoken to your heart, would you pray with me:
Father, forgive me. So often I don't bring my troubles in prayer and I forget the true importance of prayer. Teach me your ways and guide my heart to discover day by day the power of prayer that I might be a witness of your love and power to influence others and bring them to know you Jesus, use me as an instrument to make a difference in your Kingdom.- And if you have not accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior in your life, let me tell you that he is extending an invitation to you right now. An invitation to have a personal friendship with Him, he is the friend you can trust, the friend who suffered for you long ago and paid with his life for our sins. The friend who loves you and wants just the best for you. A sweet man called Jesus Christ, the best of all friends. I pray you accept His calling today.
It is in His precious name, I pray. Amen.

"Then the L
ORD relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened." (Exodus 32:14)
Julieta Reyes

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pray for our groups

Dear soldier,

You don’t know me, it doesn’t matter who I am. What matters is that God has nudged my heart about you.
How so? Well, God has shown me your suffering and he has shown me the lack of understanding we have towards you.
Many of us pray for you and we count the days for you to be back but when you are back we expect that you are the same person who left sometime ago, forgetting or not imagining what you are going through.
Some of us are so against this war or any war for that matter, that we forget the human life that is behind it and we take the sacrifice easily for granted.
And so many of us are very grateful for what you do but lack to understand exactly what it is that you have scarified.

This is where God comes in.

For centuries God has been leading his Kings into victory, he has protected his soldiers and he has deliver them from their enemy. The Lord has serve his people a great feast before their enemies and has made them glorious in every battle.
This battle you are in might not be won or lost but you are going through a tremendous life changing experience. What many of us go through a lifetime you are living it in a fewer years. Your mind is hurt and the memories are hard to erase of the things you have seen and lived. Too hard to comprehend, too shocking to repeat, too complicated to explain.

The grief of loosing your fellow brothers, the loneliness that constantly reminds you of how far you are from your dearest loved ones. Not knowing if you will be back from your assignment. Perhaps you feel that nothing makes sense anymore to you and you feel disoriented, you can’t find purpose of being where you are.

Today God wants you to know that he is thinking of you, he has not forgotten you and he definitely has not forsaken you.

I am going through such time where I can’t find purpose in my life, where I feel scared cause I am alone and far from my family and my comfort zone. Thinking of you, has inspired me and has put some things in perspective.
I have read this verses that God has remind me of which seem not very bright for it speaks about death, but when you look closer it is all about life. Read with me, I pray that the Lord may open your heart and your eyes to see his love and hope left in these verses.

2 Corintians 4:6- 10
6For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.
7But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 8We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

Be the light and shine bright in those days of darkness, when death and loneliness come by close and whisper thoughts of devastation and surrender, stand in victory for you have the light in you, Jesus Christ. In you, also you have the life Jesus paid with his blood for you and me.
Bring the message of hope to your fellow brother, whisper the eternal life and shine the word in their hearts. Encourage one another, lift each other up!
You might know the word of God but around you there are many who don’t. I know the word and God has nudge my heart to write it to you, to encourage you and to remind you that he Loves you and that he is with you even when you don’t see him.

Imagine, a day ago I could not have thought that God would use me to encourage you cause I feel truly tired of my own problems. Yet he is both lifting me up and using my pain to challenge me and fuel me to encourage you.

I can send this message to you, but it is your turn to send it out to others who are in need of comfort not in something that will fade away but for in need for something that is eternal.
I don’t wish you to think about death and bring fear in your heart; I wish to share the word, the living word that changes lives. A word that brings the truth and is worth living and dying for.
God loves you and that is why today we have these words that will be with us until we come before him. Words to remember or words to tell someone next to you.

2 Corinthians 11:18
11For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.
13It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken. "With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, 14because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. 15All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
16Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Why it is that we sometimes go through what we go at the stage where we are in life? I don’t know. Why we suffer and cry out/ I don’t know.
This is what I know, that when you cry, Jesus is right there and is sadden to see you like that. I know that He knows how many tears dropped down your cheeks and I know that you are so precious that the Lord our God gave his only begotten son Jesus Christ to die on the cross and be sacrificed for our sins so that we could have eternal life and spend eternity in a place where we can be near him. So your life matters or else He wouldn’t have given away something as precious as His only Son.

I also know that this is easier said then done, I am coming from there so I know it is not that easy. God never said it would be easy but He promised He would always be there with us.

Take a moment if you would if you are alone or if you are with others, hold hands or kneel down. Acknowledge that Jesus is right next to you, he is not far away in some place where you need to make an appointment, pray that He reveals himself to you.
Seek His presence by inviting him in your life, open your heart and show you naked soul. Cry out to Him who loves you, in whom you will find comfort and rest if your spirit, the one who is and will always be Lord and Father.
He is there with open arms, he is not requiring any stars any recommendations, you are his creation and you are his unique master piece his son and daughter.

In a moment of silent near your bed or an open field, with friends or by yourself, say a prayer like this:
Today God you have touch my heart, I have understood the sacrifice you have done for me and I am grateful for that. I acknowledge that you are my Lord and Savior and that in your son Jesus Christ I have found a friend that has revealed himself to me in this very place. Father take my heart and fill it with Joy as your word says you will and Father I feel tired, in you I wish to rest to feel your peace even in the mist of this place where I am. Help me to be the light and spread your message of hope and courage. Help me persevere and keep me focused in you and protect us from our enemies, in Jesus name I pray, Amen

Keep in touch with us, send us an email or send us your letters, we look forward to hear from you.
Don’t forget you are in our hearts and in our prayers.
God bless you!

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