Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Nativity Story in a Nutshell!

The Birth of Jesus foretold - Luke 1:28-33
The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the most High. The Lord will give him the throne of his father David, he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
The Birth of Jesus Christ - Matthew 1:19-23 19Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. 20But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus,because he will save his people from their sins." 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

The Birth of Jesus - Luke 2: 4-7
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,14"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The visit of the Magi
atthew 2:9-12
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house , they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The escape to Egypt
Matthew 2:13-15

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, " take the child and his mother  and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Hero he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 1d until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Giving- That's the Spirit!

Help me Color My Life!

Giving is not an obligation, it is one of those peculiar actions where we gain more than we loose even when it means having less money to spend. When we do it from the heart we never feel it is an obligation but a privilege.

Make a difference for children in poverty by donating socks. For over two months I have been in contact with Fundacion Creer en lo Nuestro it is time to take action. Help warm these feet to walk steady into a new future, in Jesus name. Join me!
This is how you can help:
"Help me warm my feet" by donating socks for children in poverty in Bogota Colombia. The temperature in Bogota right now is 51 degrees.
Go to and find it by list number or click here on List ID: 012399301879116

The church I attend, Flamingo Road Church will also have several events to help cloth the poor, feed the hungry and visit the sick. They have done it during the year of course but now we will do it on a bigger scale to help many people around the world.
This is how you can help:
We need volunteers to make this happen, you could be one of the angels that will volunteer your Hands and your Feet to help others in need. Sign up Hands & Feet

The spirit of giving is strong also among my friends. A long time friend called me a few weeks ago telling me that she has this great desire for helping others in need. She just got an invitation to spend some days in her country of origin, the Dominican Republic. She remembered that there was an orphanage nearby where she is staying and she contacted the orphanage. She found out that they are in great need of 150 PJ's for the children. Join us!

This is how you can help:
it is called PJ's for the Children of Christ "Pijamas para el orfanato ninos de Cristo" Go to and find it by list number or click here on List ID: 012399101255102
Bring a smile to a child with a new PJ.

Make a difference in the world and give, that's the Spirit, the Spirit of Christ!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Hello Friends,

Did you start getting your Christmas stuff out? Did you buy your Christmas cards yet?

There is much work to be done. Join me in spreading the message out about a baby boy who was born in a manger. God's greatest gift to human kind, his name is Emanuel which means God with us. Every Christmas day we celebrate the birthday of a great King, my Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Mile High City - Denver Half Marathon 2009

I found it easy to keep the pace with the music I downloaded on my I-phone specially for the race. The slower rhythm gave me enough time to catch up my breath and the more up beat ones helped me to pick up the pace. The Coors Field was at mile 3, I missed it because I was hypnotized by the view of the mountains, so I did not see the building uppps! Still I felt I needed to see a sign an indication of where I was, I had been running for an hour, there was the sign: I reached the 5th mile. I could not believe my eyes, my time was just like here at home!

Last year my friend taught me to write a prayer list, a prayer for each mile; so I took it out of my pocket and checked my next prayer. I had a dear friend of the family who is fighting cancer, unfortunately it has spread over his organs and the doctors did not give him much time. I have struggled in finding a way to encourage him. It is not easy, there is no comfort in words and there are no words for good-byes. There it was the beautiful scene of green, orange and golden trees, the City Park. It made me think of our life as a tree, how we too have seasons and how the Fall is beautiful but in a way sad. After the beauty the winter comes and freezes everything, it ends life for some time. Anyway the Joy that warms my heart is to know that after our lives end it is then when it begins for all eternity long with our Father in heaven. The run in the park was of 3 miles, but the view was so amazing that one could not complaint. Miraculously I did not have to use the restrooms and was feeling really good, still at mile 7 I decided to have one of those Gu-Gel, those things are terrible! But my friend had told me that I needed to replenish the energy, so I did eat one. At every water station, I took a sip of Gatorade and a sip of water.

Emotionally I was feeling heavy and anxious but I did not know why. I kept running and continued with my prayer list. When I looked up, I saw this view. At that point I saw my life like on video mode, good things, bad things and lots of blessings. A Christmas song began to play, "It is beginning to look like Christmas" and it took my mind to happier thoughts. I was able to remember many blessings and many joyful moments. It is a shame how we get overwhelmed by the past sometimes, it only takes away the joy of the present. That is one thing I will try not to forget.

Without noticing I was at the second Park, Cheeseman Park. The one complaint I have about the half Marathon is that they did not place signs of the miles, so I had no idea where I was. Half way in the park I saw the 10th miles and the time was 2:04 minutes. I got a boost of energy in me and thank God for his help in the run. Last year I had regular candy so I could eat every other mile, this year the only thing I could find was Halls. I think that helped my longs to open up and my airway to be clear and breath as much oxygen as I needed. I had 3.5 miles to go.

There was something in my heart bothering me and I could not pin point it, but I felt it was growing as I ran. Then I bursted into tears. You have to understand I was not running just to run and proof I can run. I was learning to persevere and be disciplined in my faith while I ran. I was not going to let the possible anger, hurt and frustration take away my joy of being there and allow it to slow me down. That is exactly what happens in life, we get burdened by our frustrations and we can't see the blessings in our life. God had prepared a beautiful day to run, He had given me the energy and motivation needed to accomplish it why would I put my energy on the negative. I reached mile 12, the last water station, I felt that I was right there and drank too much water. Big mistake! I felt a terrible pain beneath my right rib and I could not even breath of the pain. I was running slower of course and it was painful but so are moments in life and we just need to go on and finish strong as they say. I could not see the finish line, I knew it was right there but I could not see it. I felt the noise of the crowd getting closer and closer and then... there is was... I ran thanking God for helping me out with this personal challenge in teaching me to run the good race as if I was to win the prize. When I passed the finish line and I was hoping for yet another miracle, when I felt breaking free from all my frustrations and felt a crisp and fresh breeze clear up my heart, I had overcome the heavy feeling of my stubborn heart. I completed the Half Marathon in 2:41:16; last year I completed the Half Marathon in Philadelphia in 3:21:59

It is after you get your medal that your body starts aching everywhere! Instead of walking to my hotel I stayed around in the park and talked to other runners, stretched a bit had something to eat and something to drink.
One verse kept popping in my head:
Isaiah 40:28-31
28Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
29He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not faint.

Seek him with all your heart and you will find him; put your hopes in Christ and He will renew your strength; Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed!
Thank you for running along with me, for your prayers and encouragement, together and against all odds, without stopping not even once, we ran the Mile High City Denver Half Marathon 2009, Thank you Jesus, thank you my Friends!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The First Mile!

So I felt as sleep at around 11:50 p.m. and had no dreams, I woke up sometime at 1:00 a.m. and went back to sleep. But when my alarm went off, I did not want to get up; I thought what if i just don't go. Yes that crossed my mind, shame on me. But I decided to pray and get up and get ready to go. I began running around as if I did not know where my stuff was. All was carefully placed together so I would not forget anything. I had ti return to get my gloves cause I forgot them. I got to the lobby and it was a mad house, I felt I wanted to trow up because of the emotions. I got outside and it was not cold, it was about 40 degrees, I was expecting the chilly breeze I experienced last year in Philadelphia but it was nice outside. I checked in my bag and I realized that I was missing my tag to check it in, but the lady made an exception and helped me out.
At that time I was thinking: " what was I thinking", " why am I here?", "I am crazy!". And I guess I am. Now I was waiting for the organization to open the corral and started talking to a lady who was also participating ans was by herself. I was already getting many encouraging messages through Face Book from you and I wanted to share how the mood was but how could I ask the lady to take my picture, that is very narcissistic of me, right?
So I did anyway, look at my face, Yeap, I was insecure.
They finally opened the corral(start-line)and I went right in it. They have the line up by the minutes per mile you think you will keep. So I moved to the 13 minute per mile. I met some more ladies who participated, they were from Colorado and they were telling me how difficult it was going to be for me because of the altitude. That was great encouragement! At 7:00 a.m. the wheel chairs that participate in the event got the go. O that point I look at my left and I saw the peak of the church tower in sight, you see next to the red light? It was beautiful, I was praying and talking to God at the same time, asking him to be with me all the way through, that I could never do such thing without him, that he is my strength in the times of perseverance. I begged him to hold my hand and to run next to me. I felt ready with my friends word in my mind, win as if to get the prize....And I dared to ask someone to take a picture and posted it on FB. After that I pushed on the play button of my I-phone and the music began to play. I marked my pace with music and the first song was "Can you hear the mountain tremble" by Mark Redman. It begans "Could this be the land of the free?". The crowd was shouting, the announcer was screaming and welcoming the brave who came from sea level states. My heart was pounding very fast and finally we got the Go! I took a second to take the picture of the go moment and I started my first mile. I wanted to cry, I felt a huge stone in my throat, I fell like I could not breath and it felt as if I was not moving as everyone else was passing me by. I could God whisper "don't cry Julie, I am with you, you are not alone, let go" and I took off. I was overwhelmed, I had two difficult months behind, two months of training and hardships and it all came to surface. The second song began to play "How great Thou art" by Paul Baloche a more modern rithym and I kept my pace just as when I was training on the streets of Coconut Grove. With the sun in my face and with your words of encouragement in my heart I kept running one step at the time. A smile awaited for me just after the tears dried up and I felt God's presence so close I could high five with him. It was 7:35 a.m. and no sight of the first mile but I trusted that I had run that mile twice at that time; I did not worry and enjoyed discovering the city of Denver, Colorado.

Acts 20:23-24
23I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The day before the race

View the slide show and you will see all that I delighted my sight with. Nature displayed the most astonishing views from Pikes Peak. I truly had an amazing day. At my return from the mountains, fire trucks were surrounding my hotel- false alarm- what a blessing!
I turned in my car to valet and walked to Denver's convention center to pick up my goody-bag with my bib number and many other stuff. For dinner I had a great burger with fries!
Saturday morning I got out of bed quite late but right on time to have a nice buffet breakfast. Had lots if starch, tons of proteins and much potassium. The morning was gorgeous and so I went out for a walk and returned to the hotel. The weather was so nice that I went to the pool; yes I had my swimming gear with me. I knew that I had to go running but I was feeling afraid to go running. The altitude was going to impact my breathing and I was afraid that I might lose my confidence if I would go running and realize that I could not even run a mile. After some at the pool I decided to find my way to the gym. My pace here in Miami was of 12.14 minute per mile, so I would be happy if I would do at least 13 minutes per mile. I programmed the machine to 13 miles per minute and it was hard to keep up but after half a mile my body reacted better and better. I pushed the programming faster and I ran the second mile at 12:30 p/mile. I shot down the machine and got outside. I let the wild horses run loose. I ran around the city enjoying being able to breath with no problem what so ever. The city had a very peculiar energy, everything was in set up mode. The streets were closed and people were working everywhere I turned. The park was being transformed into the start and finish line. The signs for the drop/pick up place for the check in bags was already in place. The next morning I had to bring my personal belongings to this post, my Bib number was 7509. I was so excited and confident I would run and enjoy the race. I felt like I could have run the half marathon that same afternoon. But, I had to wait and save my energy, so I returned to the hotel and after a shower jumped into bed. I watched the Gators vs Arkansas, pfff poor Arkansas they thought for a moment they would win. was a great game and it felt good to be a Gator fan! After much delight it was time for the famous pasta night. It was not a fun dinner as the official past dinner was at the hotel and the setting was just as if you would eat at a restaurant and so I ate alone. As the night was setting in, I put all my gear in place and got myself into bed early and miraculously I felt as sleep too. Before going to bed, I read all the messages on Face Book and my emails; I prayed and thank God for all of your encouragement, for allowing me to spent such a great time on the mountains and making my dream of running this race come true. At that point, I was missing my dear friend who was not with me, the one who inspired me to run in the first place, Francisco. during the training there was not one day that I did not hear his voice in my mind, coaching me on what to eat and what to drink. Step by step I followed all the instructions he once gave me; thank you Francisco for having shared the joy of running in a race. With the memories of last year's Half Marathon in Philadelphia and a tear in my eye I felt as sleep. "Run Julie run, you can do it"

Saturday, October 17, 2009

On the top of the Mountain

Matthew 4:8-11

8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 9"All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me."

10Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only."

11Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Today when I was at the summit of Pikes Peak
the lady who sat next to me in the train, was taking pictures next to me on one of the ramps. It was just the two of us on that spot, I asked her to take my picture actually. I forgot my headphones at the hotel and the moment and place was perfect to hear the song How great Thou Art, so I took my I-phone and just played it. The wind calmed down so we could hear the music louder, I thought she would walk away but she did not. She sighted and leaned over the bar and we contemplated the beauty around us. She did not say a word, neither did I. It was as if we both just had to Be Still and Know we were in the presence of the Lord. It was the most beautiful moment of the day. I closed my eyes and told God how much I love him and gave thanks for the beautiful trip he allowed me to have today. When I opened my eyes I could see the bigger picture before me, I cried and walked back toward the train.

By the way I had no reservations for the train trip, I had to drive an hour and a half to Colorado Springs, I have never been there of course and the train was supposed to depart at 9:30 a.m. At 7 a.m. is rush hour, but today Friday, there was no traffic, when I got to the railway station they put me on standby, and guess what the last seat was assigned to me; today they had the best temperature of the entire year up there almost no wind, visibility was also the best, Bold Eagles are rarely seen, today we saw it twice! I have no doubt that God was up there and I felt his tender whisper and his softly hand, showing me the way, guiding my steps and healing my heart.

Hardships can make us feel weak and meek and sad, but do not allow those feelings to turn you blind of the good things God pours in our lives. We are humans and just as we cannot change the snow from being cold and the fire of being hot, we cannot control feeling sad or restoring a grieving heart; but we have the hope that we have our heavenly father that will comfort us and he will restore us, he will lift us up again and make us fly like eagles, I saw that eagle fly by today and I though I will fly like that, I know God will restore my wings. When I saw it the second time, I knew in my heart I will grow strong again.

Engrave the Word in the tablets of your heart and remind yourself of it so you do not forget that the Lord is the owner of all the beautiful things and owner of all riches and everything else that is on this earth, he alone is the one who gives and takes away, He is the one who truly loves you!

Do not be tempted to quit, do not be tempted to leave your brothers and sisters in Christ in the cold, pray for them, seek them, visit them, allow God to guide you and obey. Rebuke the evil one with authority and with self confidence because Christ is with you, he will never leave you or forsake you. If you allow Him, he will use you to make a difference in the life of some one near your. Once we begin with his ministry, big or small, we are never done with ministry. Focus on the family reminded me that today. Dr. James Dobson quit his job and began a small ministry focused on the family in a small office but God blessed him and doubled the size of the ministry and moved to another facility they were four hundred and something and today they are more than thirteen hundred employees. Their facilities are huge. Dr. James Dobson just followed the guidance God gave him. I wonder what God has in store for us??

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Half Marathon Count down

I am only four days away from running my second Half Marathon, I had a 10 week training, well... actually eight week training. I kind of injured my knee and was not able to run for two weeks. Honestly I didn't think I could run again, the pain was severe at one point and my knee felt really weak. Friends and family, all prayed for me and God heard the prayers I believe.

Tomorrow I will prepare my bags and take my flight in the afternoon, getting out of town to the mountains before running the Half Marathon. Can't wait to smell the fresh crisp air on the top of the mountain.

Last year I ran the Half Marathon in Philadelphia in a 21 degree weather, but I had my friend by my side so the cold was not so bad. This year it will be warmer weather in 40 degrees, but it will feel colder as I will cross the finish line without the cheer of that friend. My other friend told me not to worry, he promised to never leave me or forsake me, he loves me for who I am and he is coming along, his name is Jesus Christ.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Christ healed me and we are running the Half Marathon!

By the weekend of September 13 I ran 19 miles that week and the average was of 12.98 minute a mile. On September 15 after finishing mile 7.5 of the week, I felt some pain in my right knee; it was making crunchy sounds. I stopped running and waited to see the specialist. I felt frustrated cause I thought I would not be able to run the race I have been looking forward to. Some of you prayed for me, I prayed and prayed; all I wanted was to have time with God during that run. Just him and me. I have been left to run alone, so that is what I was training for. I thought, well maybe God just wants to spend time with me without having to run. I felt it would be fun and challenging to run but I could settled for a quite time with him in a beautiful setting as long as his presence is with me. My ticket is already paid for so if I run or not, still I will take that plane. Two weeks after on September 29, last Tuesday, I was at the specialist and they gave me green light to resume my training. I jumped and praised God for his kindness in granting me the race! On September 25th I was coming back from South Carolina and had to connect in N. Carolina but my flight was delayed. Guess what? I ran and I felt no pain, but on Tuesday I got professional confirmation that I could run. God did a miracle for me and cured my knee.
Last Wednesday I was at the gym helping my legs to do some exercise and make sure I got no pain. On Saturday, I ran my first 3 miles and today I ran 5 miles, so this Sunday I close a good 8 miles with an average of 12.15 minute the mile. God is great!

Perseverance has many faces; we can overcome the valley of death when we go through it, only if we persevere in our faith and in our hope. Quitting is not an option. It is not an easy process for sure not a fun one, but there is an end to that valley and the green pasture is just at the other side. Sometimes hard to see it, but we must have faith that it is there. Out of the valley we will come restored, cleansed and strong again. Until then, we need a hero to hold our hand, to heal us and protect us; Christ our Shepherd and Savior.
In our brokenness he will comfort us and he will carry us for the time that we cannot walk on our own. Because we all grow weary and we all will feel weak at some point, we need to fix our eyes to these verses, no matter how difficult it is to feel them, we should hang on to them for they are promises for God's children, for you and me, we are his children. Believe...

1 John 4:4 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.

Isaiah 40:28-31
28 Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.

29 He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;

31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


For the last 6 weeks I have dedicated to my running training to be prepared for the Half Marathon in October. I have followed all the instructions and have stick to the training without skipping a mile. Yet nothing prepares you for the disappointments along the way, the injuries and the great probability of not being able to reach your goal.

I am training by myself and have made this race a personal accomplishment to achieve the mission. At first I thought I could not keep the training because I lack accountability from anyone. But once I committed to the challenge, perseverance seemed my only opponent. I am hanging in faith that if I persevere, I can do all things in Him who gives me strength Philippians 4:13. I don't doubt this now or ever but something other than perseverance is holding me back. My knee. Last Tuesday September 15, I hurt my knee and I am waiting for an appointment to see my doctor and I am praying that he will tell me that I can go back to my training and continue to get ready for the race.

Today I do not know if I will be able to run that half marathon, not because I lack what it takes to complete the training but because of an injury. I won't loose faith if I don't get to run, perhaps perseverance shows herself up with different faces and my challenge is to recognize her and remain committed to keep on going and running the good race through life. I will keep on pushing, keep on doing my best without giving up!

Proverbs 16:3
3 Commit to the LORD whatever you do,
and your plans will succeed.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lets run!

1 Corinthians 9:26-27
24Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

25Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. 27No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Galatians 5:7
You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Word - Miracles

Psalm 77:14
You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples.

"A MIRACLE is a sign of the love of Jesus, Who yearns to heal each one of us
So that we can become truly alive and grow in love". Jean Vanier, Drawn into the Mystery of
Jesus through the Gospel of John

It is Monday my Friends!
I pray that you had a great day and that you are getting ready to share time with your family. The weather is great here in LA, it is almost 70 outside but the sun makes it feel like 83.

What is it about miracles that drives us? How is prayer related to miracles?
Have you been a recipient of a miracle lately?

What do you think, are miracles and prayers should be private or should they be shared?
When we pray in the intimacy of our room, the interaction is between us and God. It is part of the intimate relationship we build with Jesus.
Also there is a power when we pray together as God's church, it brings the community as one, we share our concerns and lift them in one spirit in prayers. Answer to prayer is a miracle to me, as Jean Vanier mentions, it is a sign of God's unconditional love to us. I believe it lifts the spirit and it fuels the faith.
Recently I invited you to join me in prayers for my church, I am sure that many of you did, we all agree that prayer with love and with a grateful heart is necessary. This morning I got news that the praying sessions are taking place and that a sweet change has blessed our congregation. The sense of unity has flown through the halls and hearts. It is not because we perform some kind of ritual but because we have God and people around us at heart. Jesus told us to love one another as he loved us. He said that for a reason, when we obey the command with love as family or as church family we see God's grace and presence in the results.

Lets apply the love with a smile today to the closest person around you, give love.

Blessings & hugs from LA,

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Word - Amazing Grace

It’s Friday my Friends!!
I pray that you had a good and productive week and that you could see God’s grace in your life. It was a very productive week here in LA, I am enjoying the training at USC (University of Southern California).

Ephesians 2:4-9
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast.

Sometimes being death does not mean that you are 6 feet in the earth. You can be spiritually death and buried, in form of depression, sickness or buried in immoral lifestyle. Such was the live of John Newton born in London in 1725, son of a commander merchant ship. His mother a devoted woman of God raised him a child of God, she taught him to read scripture and sing the hymns and prayed that John would become a Pastor when he grew up. His mother passed away when he was 7 years, his father send him to boarding school but soon he abandon school to work on a ship. He adopted the immoral life style of the sea, which is full of temptations and gave in to debauchery (excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures; intemperance.
A few years later he was captured and was forced to serve in the navy, he managed to escape but they got him back and made him serve in the lowest rank on board. In his journal he wrote, “My heart was full of indignation, shame and fear. I was now brought down to a level with the lowest and exposed to the insults of all. My breast was filled with the most excruciating passions, bitter rage and black despair.
He pleaded to be removed from the navy and his request was granted. He then joined another ship; he didn’t know that he was about to be part of the most hideous business, the slave trade. The transportation of slaves was very inhumane and cruel.
One night he faced a storm at sea as he struggled to keep the ship under control, he knew he was having an encounter with God. It must have been a very tough storm as he surrendered to God shouting “Lord have mercy on us”. He recorded in his journal his reflections on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far And grace will lead me home.

He continued in the slave trade after the conversion but tried to give better conditions to the slaves. From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield’s enthusiastic disciple. He decided to become a minister and applied to the Archbishop of York for ordination. The Archbishop refused his request, but Newton persisted in his goal, and he was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire. Newton was not only a prolific hymn writer but also kept extensive journals and wrote many letters. Historians accredit his journals and letters for much of what is known today about the eighteenth century slave trade. Newton was not only a prolific hymn writer but also kept extensive journals and wrote many letters. Historians accredit his journals and letters for much of what is known today about the eighteenth century slave trade.

The Lord has promised good to me His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.

It has been said that the Grace of God is mostly cherished by those who have walked far from the light of God. During this week you have read about men who were devoted to God and lived a life to honor God. They all kept a journal and penned down their pains in life and the inner joy of having a friend like Christ. Today we read of a man who had a mother who invested in her child and prayed deligintly for the future of her son. John commented that “the scriptures and hymns followed me all the days of my life”. He repented from his sins and made peace with God, God accepted him with open arms not because of any of John’s deeds after he repented but because

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil, A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below, Will be forever mine.

Join me in prayer and reflect on the stories you have read about and share them with others. If a Friend is where John used to be, here is a little prayer you can say from the bottom of your heart: Lord I repent of my sins and I open my heart to you and invite you in, recognizing Christ as your son, my Lord and Savior.

Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved.
How precious did that grace appear The hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares I have already come;
’Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promised good to me His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be, As long as life endures.
Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail, and mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil, A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow, The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below, Will be forever mine.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Word - Amazing Grace

My dear Friends,
It is another day here in LA, another day full of new things I will learn.
The Chief Executive of the United Nation's Radio sits next to me through the entire two weeks. On Tuesday morning we were having breakfast and we were talking about what do we do when we have free time. He asked me if I go to night clubs etc..I told him that I spent time with more books because I am getting ready with God's word and he looked at me and asked me if I was a Christian I told him that most definitely and he told me "good for you!, I am too". And we began to share Christ. He told me that Christ was in high places into the UN, that his children are really answering the call to serve him and honor him wherever He places them. And I rejoiced!

The story of "How great Thou are", has two authors and 50 years of events that inspired the completion of the hymn.
In 1885 a Swedish Pastor Carl Gustav Boberg was coming back from a hike when he was surprised by a storm. He took refuge in an abandoned farm and watched in wonder the powerful act of nature orchestrated by God. When he returned home, he penned all he had seen during the storm and now everything was calm, the river was like a mirror and all of nature was quite, while he was reflecting on all this, the bells of the church sounded in the distance. He wrote this poem and read it to his congregation and later published it in the newspapers(this is the English translation of course):

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,
Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,
Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

When through the woods, and forest glades I wander,
And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees.
When I look down, from lofty mountain grandeur
And see the brook, and feel the gentle breeze.

Later in 1907 it was translated in German, it was the favorite hymn among young people and they liked to sing it specially when they went hiking. 20 years later in a Ukrainian village an English Pastor Stuart K. Hine translated the hymn into English. The people seemed to appreciate the Lord's word but not fully understood yet what was the gift that God had given humankind. One day a lady from church read the passage of Christ crucifixion and people began to cry and fell on their knees in humbleness of the love God had with us that he did not spare his son. Stuart added to the existing hymn:

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;
That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

1939 due to the breaking of WWII Stuart returned to England and ministered to the people from all over Europe who were taking temporaraly to seek refuge in Brittain. Among the refugees a lady stood up and asked " when are we going home?". It was then that Stuart added the final words to complete this beautiful hymn of all times:

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,
And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.
Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,
And then proclaim: "My God, how great Thou art!"

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee, How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

In 1957 "How great thou are" was introduced to America in Madison Square Garden during a Billy Graham crusade. It was so that this hymn was completed and embraced in many languages, denominations and cultures.

God bless you and your family abundantly!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Word - Amazing Grace

Dear Friends,

While I have walk around the courts of the USC campus I have thought a lot about you, specially those of you who also attend FRC Doral. I will boldly ask that you pray for our Campus and for each other. We have a great community of volunteers and attending families that need to be loved, guided and encouraged. It goes beyond the beautiful lobby that we have and it is much more then having candles in the auditorium. It is to create the time to genuinely have interest in people and share Christ because we care. Not only with new comers but with anyone who is hurt or in need of encourag
ement. Pray for direction, we have a clear vision, but we need committed direction, if we do not pray, we will not receive the Pastor that will come to take care of the sheep and not of the building. Alone, we cannot do anything, but praying together will bring a beautiful aroma to God, He will know his children are praying and their hearts are hungry for answer to their prayers. We have had loving people who have come forward and have done a great sacrifice for us and we must pray for them too with a grateful heart for the time and devotion they gave from their lives.
We know the great things that we have done in the past. The many City events that we
attended as FRC Doral, trunk or treat, Ronald McDonnald gift visit, Feeding the homeless in Hallandale, the water distributions, 5 de Mayo, volunteers Day and the International Food Festivals. All these happen without trying too hard, but just by being who we are, one great family, Christ is with us in this too.
John 15:15
"I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you."

I write you about these hymns, not because they have a tune that raise the hair but because the attitude of these fellow Christians are inspiring. They demonstrate a character of submission and genuine devotion to Christ even in the most critical times of their life's.
The things they go through we read in the book of Job perhaps, but they are people who lived not long ago. Their stories of faith and perseverance go further then their emotions and their own want.

Joseph M. Scriven was born and live in Ireland. In 1844 was engaged.
A day before the wedding the couple was going to meet by the river
but when she got there she felt from the horse head first in the water
and drowned. Minutes later Scriven arrived as she was taken out of the
water without life. He was devastated, now he would never marry the love of his life and live
the dreams he had built with her. Despite his misfortune, his faith was clear and he clung unto
his only true Friend, Jesus. Scriven m
oved to Canada as everything in Ireland reminded him of his beloved and also of the broken dreams. In 1845 he moved to Canada, to Port Hope, and he devoted himself to serve Christ with his life. He help the poor, the widows and anyone in need. he never denied a request for help. He was known for his reflection of Christ in his life. In 1854 when he was helping a friend, he met with this young lady. Scriven felt in love again. Months before the day of his wedding, tragedy struck again. His new love became sick of pneumonia and despite of the excellent care he provided, she died. Again Scriven ran to the arms of the one Friend who could comfort and strengthen him in the only way he could find peace, Christ.
A year after he wrote a poem to his mom to encourage her, he wrote about this Friend of his who helped him through all this time of devastation and pain and who gave him purpose and guidance in life, Jesus. He wrote:
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus"
What a friend we have in Jesus,
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
Everything to God in prayer!

Join me in bringing prayers to Christ, prayers with love and gratitude for our church, for past leaders and future leaders of FRC Doral . Amen.
Love you much,

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Word - Amazing Grace

Dear Friends,

How is everyone doing today? I am in LA and will be here for two weeks,
I am attending a training at USC.
This is very cool I am meeting people from all over the world and from different
Hugs & blessings from LA

This week I want to tell you about some of the most amazing hymns we know today. I
hope you are inspired by them.
If yo
u want to see the entire stories with audio and visual, Netflix rents the DVD amazing
Grace Hymns that changed the world.
The Story of "Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht"
On December 1818 in a village church in Oberndorf in the Alps of Austria Father
Joseph Mohr and his friend Franz Gruber made history. The two often shared
their passion for Christmas carols and both agreed that the christmas carol of all
times was yet to be written. A few days before Christmas day, Father Mohr got
word that the wife of a woodcutter gave
bith and he walked to see the child. On
his way back to the village he pauzed to reflect on all he had
seen and lived. He was deeply moved by the born baby and
made him think of that special baby boy born on Christmas day in Betlehem. Inspired by the purity
of the white snow all around him he thought of that special day when God reached out to the world
by sending his only beloved son fo rour salvation. When he got back to the village in a burst of
inspiration he captured the essence and beauty of Christ birth. The organ in the St. Nicolas church
was broken, so he rushed to his friend's house Franz Gruber and ask him to make a music

arrangement for the lyrics with a guitar. On christmas night Pasto
Morh shared the song with his congration and soon it became
know around the world, translated into 120 languages. It became the favorite
Christmas carol for the rich and poor.

The song was sung simultaneously in English and GErman by troops during the
Christmas truce of 1914, as it was one of the few carols that soldiers on both sides
of the front line knew.
Today the church is not there anymore, but a memorial was built where the St. nicholas church once stood.

Silent night, holy night! All is calm, all is bright.
Round yon Virgin, Mother and Child. Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight.
Glories stream from heaven afar Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia,
Christ the Savior is born! Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night! Son of God love's pure light.
Radiant beams from Thy holy face With dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus Lord, at Thy birth. Jesus Lord, at Thy birth

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Word - Amazing Grace

Horatio G. Spafford is the author of the hymn "It is well with my soul".
This week I will share with you some amazing stories of people like you and me who got struck by calamity and yet discovered grace in their faith.

Horatio was a lawyer and was very knowledgeable in Real Estate as Chicago Illinois was growing at that time into a metropolis, Horatio made good investments and great profits. He was well respected among his peers in the city and was considered a man of impeccable integrity. One of his friends was evangelist Dwight L. Moody, it was at Sunday Scool class where he first met his wife Anna. Through the support of his Minister and his family, he found spiritual fulfilment and growth.

"When Horatio realized that Anna, fourteen years younger than he, was only fifteen, he arranged for three years tuition at a boarding school near Chicago before the idea of marriage could be discussed. The couple married in 1861." source
Horacio considered his blessing to be at home, his wife Anna gave birth to four daughters and one son. In the fall of 1871 his only son died of scarlet fever. Not long after that on October 8th, 1871, tragedy struck the Stafford's again. The Great Chicago fire swept away much of the Real Estate he had invested in. Despite of his loss, he was trying to help his friends who had much serious financial sit backs than he did. His evangelist friend Dwight L. Moody traveled to England to minister and Horatio decided to follow him. He bought six tickets on the Ville du Havre, a luxurious vessel to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Days before their departure Horatio was called to finalize some legal papers with regards to the property he had lost in the fire and needed to stay a few more days. He insisted that his family would travel any way. Four days into the voyage, the ship sank. He received a telegram from his was with two letter message " Saved alone". immediately Horatio took a boat to meet his grieving wife and four days into voyage the captain told Horatio " I believe this is where the Ville du Havre went down. Horatio spent hours of contemplation and prayer and in the depth of his sorrow the word of God and his promises suddenly were shining into his heart and found an amazing grace in God's presence. Sorrow became Hope!
He penned down at sea the most amazing lyrics out of his broken heart, as if he was in the sea of life, that no matter what comes your way, through it all God will not leave you and He will not forsake you.

Consider when you read the lyrics that these words come from a man with a broken heart but who in the mists of the darkness he called unto the Lord and clung unto him for comfort and guidance. The result are sum in the lyrics:

It Is Well With My Soul
When peace like a river, attendeth my way,When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life, Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, 'tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord! Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.
Horatio Spafford

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