Tag Archives: faith

Coat of Arms

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Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And
don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
(Romans 13:14)
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I recently began reading a book that has been so enlightening. Mind you I haven’t even fully delved deep into the book and have already found this to be so transforming, so riveting so inspiring and life changing. I will write about the book once I finish reading the full book while making biblical references and completing the self reflection pieces within the book.  This may take some time for these reflection pieces are not only for spiritual understanding but spiritual growth as well.
The book is called:
Women of the Bible: A One-Year Devotional Study
By Ann Spangler, Jean E. Syswerda
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Today as I read this verse, I can not help but think about the passage I read just this morning during my commute from this book.
The Passage states the following:
“This week take some time fora wardrobe check – make sure you aren’t missing anything vital, without which you will be more vulnerable to attack. Here’s a quick checklist for the well-dressed spiritual warrior:
The Belt of Truth – have any small dishonesties crept into your life?
The Breastplate of Righteousness – Are you cooperating with grace to become more Christlike?
The Shoes of the Gospel of Peace – The gospel reconciles us to God and others. Are you willing to receive it, live by it and share it?
The Shield of Faith – Are you responding to life with faith or in a way that shows you really don’t think God is quite as loving or as powerful as he says he is?
The Helmet of Salvation – Salvation is a gift. But like any gift, it has to be received.
The Sword of the Spirit – God’s Word wounds the enemy and thwart his purposes. Reading and praying through Scripture helps us take the offensive.”
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The author included a prayer which i will share at the very end of this piece (before my closing prayer).
In Roman’s we are told to clothe ourselves in the Lord’s presence. We are reminded to stay away from evil desires. Our goal is to be Warriors of Christ.
How else are we to do so without knowing how to dress like these spiritual warriors. I love the description that Spangler provides in her Book on how to do a wardrobe check. What both Paul (the author of the book of Romans ) and Spangler are saying is that we need to be better equipped.  This recipe that she gives us is provided in Ephesians 6, where we see how we are to arm up.  We need to be always ready. We need to check ourselves and our evil desires and put on our coats of arm. We are spiritual warriors of the most high God. Our war is not a carnal war but a spiritual war. The only way we do not become vulnerable in an attack is if we are properly equipped.  The bible provides everything we need to be fully equipped for battle.  We need to just pay attention and listen.
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Check one selves.
Dress accordingly. (Spiritually).
Make sure you not indulging in Sin.
Put on your “Belt of Truth”.
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Put on your “Breastplate of Righteousness”
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Put on and shine your “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace “
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Grab and shine your “The Shield of Faith”
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Secure your “The Helmet of Salvation “.
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Sharpen and carry “The Sword of the Spirit”.
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Spangler’s Prayer:
“Lord, help me to be ready so that any moment I can stand against the enemy and even deal a decisive blow in the battle. Give me courage, discernment, and wisdom and help me to stay close to you in the midst of the fray. Amen.”
My prayer:
Father God your timing is precise. Thank you for being amazing in all that you do and all that you provide. Your timing for this passage in the scriptures and this passage in the Book is purposeful and not of a coincidence. I ask you to help me be ready, I ask you to help me thwart evil desires and sins. I ask or redemption and forgiveness If i have failed you. I want to be ready for battle and not be vulnerable for attack. Help me to help you in the battle field with fellow warriors. I want to stand firm against the enemy and be of use in your ministry. Give me courage, strength and wisdom to carry on your works and to not loose sight of your greatness. I will dress accordingly, arming my self as your spiritual warrior. I will Put on my “Belt of Truth”. Put on my “Breastplate of Righteousness”. Put on and shine my “Shoes of the Gospel of Peace “. Grab and shine my “The Shield of Faith”. Secure my “The Helmet of Salvation “. Sharpen and carry my “The Sword of the Spirit”. In the Name of the father, the son and the holy spirit Amen.
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​ Christ as Our Forbearance

Christ as Our Forbearance
A few weeks ago I received this email. I thought wow, let me hold on to this. I want to share this.
“If we live Christ as our forbearance, it will not be possible for us to be
anxious. Anxiety is an impossibility for those who have Christ as their
forbearance. Do you know why we are anxious and why we worry? We are
anxious and worried because we do not live Christ. The words live Christ
may merely be a doctrinal term, a way of speaking, not our actual
living in a practical way. But when we live Christ day by day, anxiety
has no ground within us.”
A Life of Full of Forbearance but without Anxiety by Witness Lee, published by Living Stream Ministry (mass-distribution ed., p. 59).
What a way to put things into perspectives. Our natural reaction in many circumstances is to become anxious. Anxiety is not from Christ. He was never anxious, he was calm and collected. He didn’t freak out and have a panic attack when he was taken to judgement, trial, down the path to Calvary nor hanging st the cross. He took it all with grace and strode.
We need to live like Christ. He is with us after all. We should Chanel him, at all times regardless of the circumstances and not succumb to our anxieties. Do not get me wrong it is normal to be anxious. We need to apply more faith and trust in God so we do not have to go through the carnal stages of anxiety.
When we live a life filled with fear, insecurities, doubt and worry we create a life constantly anxious. How do we make Christ our Forbearance?
The author from both excerpts points out that our Anxieties hold us back. Our Anxieties are not natural. We need to live a life with Christ as our forbearance, meaning, we need to remain calm and collective know that he got this. Reassured by the fact that he will take care of us. We will and may stumble; but he got this. Its not just about talking about what we need to get done or how we need to act in doctrinal terms, but to live it. We need to live with Christ as our forbearance. We need to apply our faith, love and trust in him so that anxiety does not take over us.
Father God I thank you for another day, I thank you for the breath of air I am able to breathe. God you are loving, kind and merciful. God I thank you for being so compassionate with me and my loved ones. You have blessed us beyond words can ever compare. God you know my troubles, my worries and my anxieties. I want to live With you as my forbearance. I want to be free of anxieties. I trust in you wholeheartedly. In the name of the father, the son and holy spirit. Amen.

Satisfied

Psalm 107:9 esv
For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.
I recently wrote about how we tend to use vices and materialistic items to complete us. To fill the void we feel exists in our lives.
What we continuously fail to realize as mentioned in this psalm is that He satisfies the soul; and if your are hungry for what has to offer; he will provide you the good things you need.
You do not need your vices, your addictions, the cars, the jets, the material items to fill any voids.
Like our children, they constantly go through phases with what they “need” in order to survive.
Right now Power Rangers and hot wheels are their necessity to survive (or so they think).
They are constantly trying to figure out how they can get a new toy, book, video, dvd, game on these items just so they can be satisfied (for the moment).
These “want’s” and “needs” that we so desperately crave (whether toys or vices) are only temporary.
They give you those 5 minutes of equilibrium that the mind and body wants, then, you are still searching for more, because it wasn’t just quite enough of what you needed. It just wasn’t enough of what you wanted. It didn’t do anything but placate and pacify you for a mere short amount of time. Now you are back in this vicious cycle of tiring to get your “fix” of gratification.
As we constantly forget, God has all we need.
Psalm 16:11English Standard Version (ESV)
You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
All this superficial, artificial, temporary joy is nothing compared to the joy you can get directly from our creator. You know why?
There will always be a new toy, a new car, a new outfit, a new drink, a new whatever. That new whatever which we will claim to need to complete us will only do so but for a short amount of time.
Like back to my kids. Right now they are in a hot wheels and power rangers phase. When they went through a ninja turtle phase, minion phase, super hero phase, Mickey Mouse phase and Elmo phase we purchased them everything under the sun that we could find to keep them happy. Guess what happened? You already know what happened, your probably going through it too, they played with their toys for a short period of time and boom it was over. On to the next phase. Toys have moved from accessible to reach to somewhere in the toy chest. Never to be looked at, played or seen ever again. That is….. until mommy and daddy wants to do an overhaul of unused things. Suddenly the urge, the want the need comes back. Just like the first time they got their toy fix and filled that void, what do you think happens? They need more. They need another because as I told you before …. the void that joy fills. Is only temporary.
Yet God is not temporary.
His love is eternal.
The void you can fill with him is permanent.
The lord knows our path like psalms 16:11 states; his presence provides all the joy we will need.
Jesus even told the Samaritan woman that he is all we will ever need.
John 4:13-14English Standard Version (ESV)
13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[a] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
As our children grow, let us all teach them that nothing, absolutely nothing, can substitute for faithfully walking with Christ.
Teach our children to seek more of him.
Teach our children to constantly build their relationship with God. To take time out of their day to have a one on one with God. The spring that comes from God is all we need. If we can teach our children that, they won’t care about the trivial stuff.
Father God I thank you today for your love, compassion and mercy. Thank you for being so gracious and kind. Thanking you filling my heart, my mind and soul. You are all one needs to be fully satisfied. Only you can fill the void many try to substitute with other worldly things. Help me, guide me, help the person reading this to only rely on you and you alone. You have told us we shall never thirst as long as we drink from your living waters, it’s your waters I want to be able to only drink from. Amen.

​ Time for change

Time for change
“The one who guards a fig tree will eat its fruit…”
(Proverbs 27:18, NIV )
I read this devotional from Joel Osteen and the entire devotion I’m just like wow. So true, so much perspective in this simple devotional.
He writes:
It’s easy to get stuck in the trap of thinking that if only your circumstances would just change, then life would be better. You might think, “If I got a new job, or a new house or had better friends, then I would really be happy.” But I’ve learned that oftentimes, God changes us before He changes our circumstances. We are thinking, “If only my circumstances would change,” when God may be thinking, “If only your attitude would change!”
Today, if you’ve been thinking, “If only,” it’s time to turn your thoughts around. Don’t allow negative thinking to direct your attitude or affect how you treat others. Instead, begin to thank God for what He has planned for you. Bloom where you are planted. Tend to what God has placed in your hand. If you will focus on what you have instead of focusing on what you don’t have, then God can bless you, multiply you and lead you forward into the destiny He has in store for you!
I began crying while reading this. I am feeling this as I’m continuing to write. These past few days with what I’ve been going through I’ve been feeling exactly that…. “if I had a better….”. “If only ….. was different”. “If only i could change ……”.
Maybe I’m the one that’s changing.
I’m the one that’s viewing things differently.
I’m the one that wants a peaceful life with God and am willing to do what he needs me to achieve this walk.
I want things to be different, but maybe, just maybe God asking me to be different.
I’m happy in some aspects of my life. I know other areas could use some work. I know I’ve changed. I also know God had made some changes in my life, the thing here is am I willing to accept and embrace the changes God has put before me to get out this “if only, what if” rut that I am in.
Joel Osteen was on the money with this devotional. The timing of when I read this was perfect. god l knows what he is doing.
Father God thank you for your goodness and grace. Thank you for my life and the changes you brought forth. Today I ask you for guidance first lord, help me embrace the changes before me, he’ll be trust more in the path your directing me to. I will be faithful knowing that you have set this path for me, knowing that there is something specific in my life you want me to focus on. God I know you have a plan,i know you have greatness in store for me and I will trust in you. Thank you father. Amen

Knowing when to pick your battles.

"It is an honour for a man to cease from strife…"

(Proverbs 20:3, KJV)

Knowing when to pick your battles.

It takes a bigger person to stand down. I was going to confront someone after something I witnessed. My child was playing with another child. I don't know precisely what happened between the two children because I couldn't see them from where I was. My 2 year old went to strike a 4 year old. Now, I know for a fact this 4 year old has loose hands, the same 4 year old recently hit a 7 year old. I also know for a fact my 3 year old when annoyed is very loose with his hands as well.

Needless to say I didn't witness that specific encounter, I did hear when an adult (not the parent of the 4 year old) spoke to my 2 year old and told him "hey we don't hit, play nice". My two year old walked away as did the 4 year old. Now the mother of the 4 year old at first said, it's ok, he's only a baby, then her friend who didn't realize I was watching said "nah man, if she gets hit she needs to hit back", this woman's mother who was the one whom initially spoke to my son said, he's only a baby, we just got to teach him from now that we don't hit our friends. The 4 year olds mother agreed. The 24 year old then said again, nah man she needs to toughen up, if she don't learn now to hit back and defend herself regardless who it is, she will get walked all over. Then the mother of the 4 year old said, yes I should tell her hit him back, they all started to laugh after that.

I was going to approach them about that whole conversation but felt it wasn't the place to start a fight (we were in church). I was more annoyed at the response. Granted my two year old is a baby, granted he is in the Hitting phase, granted I am working on this which i am not too proud he is in this phase.

As I called my two year old over to me, i reprimanded him. The elder mom stated he wasn't wrong, he's only a baby, I responded no, they both need to learn to keep their hands to themselves. The 24 year old walked on by, I personally have felt she has something against me and you know what, I'm not loosing sleep over your animosity. I've never done anything to you, so whatever beef you got, either address it or cut the crap, I'm too old for this nonsense, but that doesn't mean take it out on my kids either. Mind you we are in church, how dare you disrespect the lords house in such a fashion….

So I say nothing, not because I felt in the wrong, because this person is the explode type when addressing any situation and I just had a blessing with the sermon about prosperity that I didn't want to loose my blessing….

I wanted to keep the peace.

When the mother of the 4 year old passed by I said, look if my kid hit your kid i am sorry.

I don't think she knows that I saw and heard not only what she said but I was watching her body language as well. She responded to me, "he's only a baby, it's ok."

We kept it moving. As I said I didn't see the kids interaction, but I apologized just in case.

I simply saw the adults reaction to whatever happened.

I am not one of those parents that gets defensive if you reprimand my child. If they need to be put in place by telling them hey, we don't do this or that, I'm cool with that. I am not cool with co signing on violence and bullying.

What bothered me more was the response.
Hit him back so what he's a baby.
Insert pretend to hit someone action.

I was livid that this was the conversation and response after a sermon about wishing prosperity for all. After a sermon on love for all. After a sermon on success for all. After a testimony about a financial blessing for the church after random acts of kindness gave testimony of whom we are as Christian's. That acts of kindness moved someone not in the faith to bless the church monetarily.

I was perplexed at the fact that all this went in one ear and out the other.

I could've said something.

I chose not to start a war, not to start conflict I chose to let it go.

I am not going to lie, it bothered me, still does. Yet some battles are worth not fighting. Instead I will ask to lecture about bullying. I will ask to preach against bullying. I will ask to preach about turning the other cheek. When to know to defend oneself, how to pick your battles wisely.

The Mother of the 4 year old father I guess in the moment under peer pressure:… the 24 year old is known for her temper. I would rather just keep peace.

The bigger prize and picture that day was me not loosing my blessing. I wasn't going to lose out on something amazing from God for anyone. My two year old in his terrible twos is something I constantly pray over and work on with him. I know it's not going to end today, nor tomorrow, but know with time this phase will be over.
I also know that I will not stand for bullying regardless of where it comes from. There is a way to address this subject I just have to find it and ask the Pastor if we can take that route.

Yes I am hurt, yes I am offended, yes I am upset. Writing here has let me release what I am feeling. I have already forgiven the party involved. I've already asked for forgiveness for my sons alleged transgressions day of. Yes this is a lesson in itself.

We must always learn and be cautious of the battles we choose to face. We should always be weary and think is it worth it? Was I also in the wrong? What can we do to make similar situations not happen again. Will we be endangering ourselves in saying anything?

I trusted in the voice from within that said let it go. Don't waste your time. I'm glad I listened. Though today I write about it. Not out of bitterness or resentment but out of learning and understanding: today I write about it because as parents, Christian or non Christians alike we face these challenges in public settings, when kids go to school etc. we face the possibility of will my child be bullied and how will I handle that, we all face that struggle that I don't want to be the mother of a bully either. The scenario that I displayed that took place with my two year old, the four year old and the comments of a 24 year old woman whom does not have any kids of her own, is a scenario that plays out daily.

Mother takes child to a park.
Child plays with another child.
Child 1 & 2 have a sort of disagreement;
Child 2 wants to play with a you, refused to let child 1 play. Parent of child 1 says no grab your toy, snatch it from them, child 1 listens, child 2 stays shook, child 2 goes on and plays with something else: the now powerful and victorious child 1 wants that too, parent of child 1 encourages child 1 to push child 2, hit child 2 of need be to get what they want.
Parents observing observe the type of parent said parent is, many do not get involved. Encouraging bullying is not the solution. Encouraging bullying is not the answer, encouraging bullying needs to stop, whether in a secular setting or non secular setting. The world is ugly as it is already, if your not going to be apart of the solution, you my fears are apart of the problem.

Advice is welcomed in the comments, shared experiences is welcomed as well.

Before I end this post I want to finish with a prayer, father God we come before you and thank you for your good graces. Thank you for guiding us, for loving us, for speaking to us and discerning which battles are worth fighting for. Thank you for your hand in victory in my life, thank you for the wisdom and courage needed to walk away from certain circumstances. Thank you for allowing me to rule out possibilities that may arise based on personality traits that can escalate any given situation. You have guided and prepared me in such away, and it's because of that we were victorious and I didn't loose out on your blessings. I pray for anyone dealing with the burdens of not knowing which battles they must take up. May they seek your guidance and support to make the correct choices. As I begin my research for better equipping folks locally I ask for your guidance, may this be approved by you, may this be guided by you and may you get all the glory in the steps to come. Amen

Change

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24

I am wondering dear lord is It me? Am I the problem? Am I too defensive? Am I unknowingly offensive? Am I anxious and nervous for nothing?
I trust you lord, but is my trust in you reflected in my words, actions, reactions and ways?

Dear lord forgive me if I have offended others. Forgive me if I have overreacted. Forgive me for being over emotional.

Sometimes we are quick to blame others without looking at the man or woman in the mirror. We are quick to blame others without seeing the bigger picture.

We need to think, rationalize not jump the gun. We need to take it easy. (Actually to quote one of my professors "Cojelo con el take it easy okay mama".)

Proverbs 16:32 ESV /m
Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit than he who takes a city.

We can all heed this advice. Myself, you, even our President. We all have had moments of reacting…. and over reacting.

I'm wondering the cycle of behavior patterns if that's something one can truly change. I can lift my hands and ask you dear lord for guidance. Not everyone understands the power in reaching out to you can do.

I spent 14 years with my husband, 9 of those years married. I uprooted myself to be with him. Moved to his side of time which is about a half hour to forty five minute drive to my everything, my life line, my family, at the time my friends. Some of my anger which comes up during arguments is the notion of being uprooted.

Building a relationship with my husband I lost many. I always put him first. Yet I still tried my best to be there for my family, friends and loved over time, distances grew and I've had to make a choice. My house hold or yours?

How much sacrifice I have to make for those whom don't appreciate my efforts. How much more sacrifice do I need to make for those whom don't acknowledge what I've done in their lives. Why sacrifice for people whom don't even look for you?

Tensions buildup, external and internal reasons for them. Quick to explode, quick to snap, quick to anger.

Why though? Over the trivial things that we keep thinking of. Right now I'm only briefly mentioning things that bother me from time to time, but we all go through experiences like this. We bottle things up that bother us up and snap.

Think about this: for many years I've said I uprooted myself from my family and friends for you, dear husband…. for you. I've stopped going out, stopped seeing people since you had me move with you. Deflecting to the real problem. Deflecting from the truth. Deflecting from admitting I had a choice.

I chose not to go out when invited, because of my own fears and insecurities based off where I live. I never wanted to be caught walking out late alone.

I chose not to travel sometimes because my commute is longer using mass transit (before we had a car). Blaming my husband for my own inability to accept what was really going on.

God had pulled me away from toxic people. God was even pulling me away from toxic relatives…. you know the ones that milk you until you have no milk left. You know the toxic friends….the ones that want you to binge drink with them until you all pass out.

Toxic relationships.
Relationships which did not honor gods will.

My husband was a pawn, by God to get me away from what distracted me from my reality. My husband was used by God to reopen my eyes and get me back on my feet. I was also a pawn used by God to get my husband to accept him as his lord and savior and serve him dutifully.

My lord has taught me time and time again how one can change. How one can be used for his greatness. How we need to open up and look at the bigger picture.

My dear lord thank you father for another day to write, worship, praise your name and analyze the great deeds you've done in my life. Without you lord I am nothing. You are the god of my fathers, the god of Abraham, the god our father, the king of all kings dear lord. I love you with all my might and my being. I thank you for the lessons of life you present me. I pray for forgiveness if I have offended anyone. I ask you for forgiveness dear lord for I am human and have sinned. I ask for forgiveness and redemption in your holy name. Amen

Measure of faith

"…God has dealt to each one a measure of faith."

(Romans 12:3, NKJV)

In this chapter Paul gives clear instructions to the romans. He asked them to sacrifice their bodies as living sacrifices in verse 1. In verse 2 he instructs us not to conform to this world, instead he asks that we be transformed by our renewal of our minds so that when we are tested we can be able to discern what is gods will and what is not.

In verse 3 he tells us to not think that we are better than the next but to use sober judgement and each if us to be faithful with the amount of faith given to us by God. Our faith and how much faith we have is passed down to us by God himself.
He continues on in the rest of this chapter teaching us how we are to function, treat one another, to love one another, be compassionate , rejoice and even behave towards one another and others alike.

You have the ability to Believe because god had given us that ability. He had given us the ability to help one another, to love one another, to pray for one another to be one with one another. If you believe in God, in his word, in his ministry you can be successful in your walk and overcome obstacles.

We were given the tools and resources in this bible and more specifically in his chapter. The important thing to remember is God had given us the ability to do what we want to do. Our faith in him can allow us to do so. Our faith in him can allow us to grown spiritually, succeed secularly and help our fellow brothers and sisters in their walk.

This chapter speaks of unity for we are one church. To pray for one another as you would pray for oneself. To pray for those whom hurt and offend you in the same manner you would pray for a loved one. Our faith is given to us.

The lord knows some need more faith than others. He provided according to each and everyone of our needs. All he asks in return is that we walk a clean walk, we follow the laws of the Bible and love one another.

Father we thank you for loving us. I thank you for providing just enough for me to live the life you want me to live. Thank you for your mandates for remind me that I need to show love to those whom don't show me love. I need to pray for those whom may not like me. I need to remember always that we are all your children and apart of your body. I thank you for your words of truth, for your words sort me free. I thank you for my eyes for they slow me to see. I thank you for being in each and every select of my life. For providing just enough of what I need. Amen

Arise

"Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you."

(Isaiah 60:1, NKJV)

The Glory of the Lord has risen within you. The glory of the lord gives us the strength to rise and shine the light the lords has given us.

We all have gifts/ talents that were given to us by his good grace. These gifts and talents were given to us for us to grow and use in his glory. They are provided to us so that we can rise up from our circumstance in the flesh. They were given to us so that we can shine in his holy light. It is when we put god first in all of our endeavors, it is when we properly glorify his name, it is when we give him due praise for our success and talents that we can shine like beacons of light in his name.

We shall and can rise up. We shall and can shine bright and let his glory manifest among us. His glory is already with us. All we have to do is wake up, look for it, rise up and we shall shine and be of blessings. We don't have to look far. We don't have to travel the world to find ourselves, we have to search within. We need to look in the depths of our soul, the depths of our hearts. We need to see from within to see what God wants from all of us.

Did you know that the word “glory” in the original language indicates that God’s favor, blessing and splendor is on you in a heavy way.

He has filled us with so much of his glory that it weighs us, its there, in searching for it you shouldn't have to search far, it's there.

Please know that your time is now. It is time to shine bright. It's time to rise. Let that sink in. Let this marinate in your spirit. His glory is with you. It's time to ride and shine because of his glory.

Thank you father for your glory. Thank you for letting your glorify marinate and manifest within me. Thank you for allowing me to rise, so that I may shine. Lord I know I shine because your glory is within me, you placed it there. Many may not realize this my lord. Many may not realize that your glory is with them. I pray for them dear lord, I pray for them dear lord that they may see your glory within them so they too can rise and shine. Amen.

Zanqueo quiero conorcerle… Zacchaeus I want to get to know you

Luke 19:1-5New International Version (NIV)
Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through. A man was there by the name of Zacchaeus; he was a chief tax collector and was wealthy. He wanted to see who Jesus was, but because he was short he could not see over the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-figtree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way.
When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.”

Zanqueo quiero conorcerle… Zacchaeus I want to get to know you.

This was a sermon that my pastor gave and even hours later it kept resonating. I needed this sermon. I think if your read my post a few days ago about an encounter and once you read this, you will understand why I feel this resonated deeply inside me.

God I am listening!
I'm going to paraphrase the sermon.
In The sermon the pastor described Zacchaeus procession. He was the chief tax collector, hated by all because of what he did. Yet when Jesus arrived, he had a drive, a need, a wang to see Jesus. Zacchaeus was short in stature, no matter how hard he tried, the crowds were so big they kept preventing him from seeing.

I tried moving along with the current of the crowds, but was still unable to see.
He saw a sycamore tree, so Zacchaeus climbed a sycamore tree so he could be able to see Jesus, despite his lack of height, despite being held back by the crowds, beside being hated due to his profession.

He wanted to see Jesus…. with his ambition, drive, and faith…. he saw Jesus. He saw Jesus….. and Jesus saw him too.

Don't let what others think, what others say, what others do deter you from getting to where you need to get spiritually. Do not let their actions, their words, their expressions deter you back. Do not let their actions, their words, their expressions hold you back spiritually.

Now back to the sycamore tree. It was explained to us that in those times the fruit of the sycamore was used to feed the pigs, pigs were deemed and unclean by the Jews, since the pigs were deemed uncleaned so was the fruit and the tree which provided Nutrition to these animals.

God qualifies the unqualified.

The sycamore tree was used to help Zacchaeus both became qualified and significant to God for an important lesson in our faith.

I also wanted to learn more about this tree, here is what I learned: links and references will be found at the very end of this post.

Sycamore Symbolism:
1a-"In Catholicism, the sycamore tree symbolizes the place in a person’s life where he has a clear vision of Jesus. "
2a-"In mythology, the sycamore tree was thought to be the embodiment of three goddesses: Isis, Nut and Hathor, who was called Lady of the Sycamore. In a traditional and attributive sense, the sycamore tree is considered the tree of protection and favors."

In this section where I have quoted from an article I found where we see how in Catholicism the tree symbolizes a place in a persons life where he has clear vision of Jesus, the author also shows the mythology of the mythology of the tree

Sycamore Tree
1b-"The sycamore tree that Zacchaeus climbed into was the Ficus sycamorus, also called the sycamore fig.  Some scholars argue that the Ficus sycamorus was the original fig tree in the Garden of Eden, not the Ficus carica. "

2b-"In Israel, sycamore trees grow where underground water is shallow and is most prominent in the southern Israel because of construction and rapid development.     Under very favorable conditions, the sycamore tree may produce up to six crops per year."

Symbolism: Regeneration    
3b-"In Israel, the sycamore tree symbolized regeneration.  Regeneration refers to someone who is spiritually reborn.  (Like zacchaeus)Zacchaeus had a spiritual rebirth thorough his discussion with Jesus in his home.  Levi, known as Matthew, was one of Christ’s original 12 apostles.  Like Zaccheaus, Levi was a tax collector (Mark 2:14).  When Christ called, Levi left his tax collector’s booth and followed Christ.  Possibly Zacchaeus knew Levi and wondered why his colleague who could become very rich collecting taxes would give it up for Christ.  After spending several hours with Christ, Zacchaeus no longer wondered because he too had a regenerated heart. Zacchaeus’ new heart did not cause him to follow Christ as did Levi’s.  Instead, Zacchaeus’ regenerated heart caused him to make restitution and change his life where he lived in Jericho."

What we see in these three points from the author is that the genome of the sycamore tree, we see why and how it was able to grow in Jerusalem and we see its symbolizing regeneration, renewal and rebirth. How this tree became qualified for a pivotal moment in someone's life. How this tree was pivotal in ones salvation.

Focus on the Lord, not "the crowd."
1c-"Faith is not a vicarious experience. While others can help to bring us to Jesus, He calls our name and we must personally respond. Not just once, but every day, every moment. Faith is a door into an ongoing, intimate dynamic relationship with a living, loving God who, in Jesus Christ, has come to seek and save the lost. Jesus reminds us "You did not choose me but I chose you…" (John 15:16) Zacheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?"
2c-"The "crowd's" in our lives rarely lead us to God. Remember the exchange with Simon Peter recorded in the Gospel of St. Matthew, chapter sixteen? Jesus asks the disciples "Who do men say I am". They told him what the "crowds" said about Him. "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah…." Jesus then spoke personally to Simon and asked "…but you, who do you, say I am." Peter replied "You are the Christ".

3c-"Desire to see Jesus more than anything or anyone else
The story of Zacheus invites us to ask ourselves if we are serious about fully and truthfully living out our Christian vocation. Do we really want to see Jesus or are we comfortable with keeping Him at a distance? Do we compartmentalize our lives, living a separation between faith and life that keeps religious things in a "religious compartment", treating faith like a hat that we put on and take off depending upon the environment that we find ourselves in?"

4c-"The Christian vocation is a call to ongoing conversion by giving ourselves away to the One who poured Himself out for us…and being transformed in the process. It is about giving our whole lives over to the Lord who takes up His residence within us and then continues His mission through us. "

5c-"We are also called to love differently, because we love "in" Jesus Christ. We are invited to "be" differently, because we are different now, at the deepest level. Jesus Christ continues His life and mission on this earth through His Body, His Church, of which we are members."

6c-"Choose to live in the Sycamore tree
The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zacheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! Imagine the thrill. For us, the Sycamore tree is a symbol of that place in our own lives which enables us to have a clear vision of Jesus. Zacheus did not hesitate. With the same lack of caution which he had demonstrated in climbing the tree, he came down to stand in the presence of God Incarnate. There he heard the call that would forever change his life."
7c"Where is Jesus passing through in our own lives? He always shows up for those who have their spiritual eyes opened to see Him. How about in our workplace? How about in our relationships? How about in our families? Are we running out to meet Him? Or, are we afraid? Are we wondering "if we see Him, what will He ask of us?" The invitation of this story is to climb that Sycamore Tree; to find the place that will make it possible for us to see Jesus, unimpeded, so as to hear Him call our name. He still comes to seek and to save what is lost. He still comes to the homes of all who open their hearts wide to his presence and are willing to live lives bathed in the light of His refining fire."

8c- "When we see Jesus on the Jericho Road of our own lives we are invited to exercise our faith, to choose Him and change. He does not do the changing in the relationship. He is the same "yesterday, today and forever" (Hebrews 13:8).Prayer is not, in the first instance, about getting God to do what we want. It is about entering into an intimate communion with Him and in Him, and then abiding (St. John 15). In that relationship, we invite Him to change us and we learn to surrender all to Him in love. ……. Zacheus teaches us about life in a Sycamore Tree. "

In this section we see 8 points 1- focusing on faith and it the crowds around you. 2 the crowds won't always lead you where you need to go 3 ones faith and determination, 4 ones vocation as christians, 5 we are called to love, 6 we are asked to live in the sycamore tree 7 we are asked to question where we see ourselves with Jesus and our relationship and 8 we are taught and reminded Jesus is the same.

I loved this added research on the sycamore tree and how it relates to us and our faith. I can't wait until the second part of this sermon.

Father God I thank you for this sermon and this research that came from it. You know my heart and you know how this sermon moved me. God I hear you. I will not listen to the crowds nor will I let them deter me from you. My relationship with you matters more than what others say. I will climb that sycamore tree, I will look for you with all my might so that our relationship can grow. Amen.

Notes 1a &2a came from:
http://peopleof.oureverydaylife.com/sycamore-tree-symbolize-6810.html

Notes1b-3b came from:
https://www.google.com/amp/s/godasagardener.com/2013/10/13/climbing-a-sycamore-tree/amp/
But for further reading on
Bible plants along with their symbolism. Check out : 1) Rooted in God and 2) God as a Gardener. You can purchase them from website: Carolyn Roth Ministry at http://www.CarolynRothMinistry.com/

Notes 1c-8c came from: http://www.catholic.org/news/hf/faith/story.php?id=34384

Sluggard or Diligent

The soul of the sluggard craves and gets nothing, while the soul of the diligent is richly supplied.”
(Proverbs 13:4, ESV)
Sluggard or Diligent
Are you a sluggard?
Are you diligent?
That will determine how we will be rewarded in the after life.
Those whom are diligent reap rewards for their favors, for their love, faith, work, compassion and behavior.
God wants to bless us, god wants to give us his favor.
The thing is though we have to be diligent.
We must diligently seek him, diligently follow his commands.
We have to be diligent in our tasks.
We have to be diligent with our time.
We have to be diligent with our resources.
We have to be diligent with every circumstances that arise and opportunities that come before us.
We must always be diligent.
What does it mean to be diligent at all times?
Matthew 25:14-30New Living Translation (NLT)
Parable of the Three Servants
14 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. He called together his servants and entrusted his money to them while he was gone. 15 He gave five bags of silver[a] to one, two bags of silver to another, and one bag of silver to the last—dividing it in proportion to their abilities. He then left on his trip.
16 “The servant who received the five bags of silver began to invest the money and earned five more. 17 The servant with two bags of silver also went to work and earned two more.18 But the servant who received the one bag of silver dug a hole in the ground and hid the master’s money.
19 “After a long time their master returned from his trip and called them to give an account of how they had used his money. 20 The servant to whom he had entrusted the five bags of silver came forward with five more and said, ‘Master, you gave me five bags of silver to invest, and I have earned five more.’
21 “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together![b]’
22 “The servant who had received the two bags of silver came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two bags of silver to invest, and I have earned two more.’
23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
24 “Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. 25 I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, 27 why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’
28 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. 29 To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. 30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
What do we see here? Jesus tells this parable about three men who were
entrusted them with some money. Of these three men, two invested the money handed to them. One hid the money. The two men who invested the money given to them were diligent. They invested and received returns on their investments. The other man who was afraid, buried the money that he was given. This man was a sluggard. All three men were tested, two reaped the benefits on their diligent actions, on was basically fired, he was left without.
What do we learn from this?
Follow the examples of the two men whom invested, they were diligent in what was presented before them. Do the same.
Be diligent in all your endeavors, in everything that you touch, in all that you come across. Whatever it is that you do, do it with the utmost of excellence. It will not go unnoticed. We bless others with our diligent actions, and we become blessed ourselves in doing so Even when you think people do not notice, they do, even when they don’t notice you working diligently at your tasks, God notices.
Do not be a sluggard.
Do not be afraid, do not hide.
Thank you father for blessing me, thank you for the wonderful blessings you have provided me and my family. I choose to be diligent in you and your ways . I chose not to be a sluggard my dear lord. I will work hard, work efficiently, work smart all in your Glory. Amen.