First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Texas

​First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Texas

I want to talk  about Texas.  First I want to start off by giving my heartfelt condolences to the families of the wounded and killer at the mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs Texas. As brothers and sisters in Christ know that your pain and anguish is felt among the Christian communities around. Your church is very similar to mine. Small church, roughly 50 families in all. Two sections with one aisle dividing the pews with 27 rows of pews.
I am praying and asking that other prayer warriors unite to pray for you all and the Christian communities as a whole. We all represent the body of Christ. We are all one, despite the various denominations within Christianity.

Prayer:

Father God I ask that these family can find comfort in you despite this act of terror. Father God may they seek redemption in you dear lord. Father God may you provide strength in this difficult time. May they find love within their communities and within the Christian communities. Father God may this church find support and comfort during this time. Father God we do not know the day nor the hour when our time is up, only you do. Father God may the families find comfort in knowing that during this tragic occasion, they were all in your house worshiping your name. Lord I will continue to pray for this congregation during this difficult time. Praying for you dear lord to provide strength, guidance, love and support from your family and friends. As you mention in
Psalm 23:4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,[a] I will fear no evil,
for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. I hope they know that as though they walk through this dark valley, they can find comfort in you. For you dear lord are with them. For your rod and your staff is with them. Amen.
I have started off my prayer early on because these families need prayers. We can intercede for them spiritually from wherever we are in his planet. We can help them maintain their faith, maintain in their walk and remind them via our prayers that we are to worship god in the good times and in the bad times.
We are living in times where the church is being persecuted more and more. No matter what, the church is under attack both physically and spiritually. This act yesterday was an act of terrorism. It wasn’t an act of mental illness. You have terrorized the house of God and the lives of those affected.
For a few years now houses of worship have experienced hate crimes, vandalism and terrorism. I do not condone either of these acts regardless of denomination or faith.
The Jews have dealt with backlash and antisemitism for years. Christianity is under attack even in America where the founding fathers sought out religious freedoms. Christian’s, Jews and Muslims are not allowed to express their religious identities in schools despite their right to freedom. Children are not allowed to talk about God despite free speech and religious freedom. In the workplaces we are discouraged to talk about God again despite our constitutional rights.
  • Christianity is under attack.
This is not just a spiritual war we are battling but a physical one as well. Where people think it is OK to enter a house of worship and attack individuals in prayer. This is not a mere act led by someone with a sort of mental illness. This is terrorism.
Had the attacker yesterday been of color, he wouldn’t have been portrayed as someone with mental illness. He would’ve been portrayed as a gang banger, maybe and illegal or child or an illegal whom has made their way through our system undetected and went on a killing spree. Suddenly mug shots would appear, suddenly a history would be found, but never mental illness would be blamed. It may even be labeled as a hate crime against reverse racism.
Had the shooter been of middle eastern descent like the attacker last week on Halloween, suddenly there would’ve been ties to extremists and radical terrorists and this would’ve been labeled as terrorism.
I want to define a few words. (Oxford Dictionary)
  • Persecution Hostility and ill-treatment, especially because of race or political or religious beliefs; oppression.
  • Terror –  extreme fear. The use of extreme fear to intimidate people. Terrorism. A person or thing that causes extreme fear.  1.4  the Terror The period of the French Revolution between mid 1793 and July 1794 when the ruling Jacobin faction, dominated by Robespierre, ruthlessly executed anyone considered a threat to their regime.  Origin  Late Middle English: from Old French terrour, from Latin terror, from terrere ‘frighten’.
  • Terrorist  – A person who uses unlawful violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
  • Terrorism  –  The unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
Origin Late 18th century (in reference to the rule of the Jacobin faction during
the the period of the French Revolution known as the Terror): from
French terrorisme, from Latin terror (see terror)..
  • Massacre  – An indiscriminate and brutal slaughter of many people. Deliberately and brutally kill (many people)
Why the definitions? Well, depending on who does the act of terror, depending on where the massacre takes place, the media and our leaders spins the situation as either terrorism or an act of violence due to mental illness. If a massacre goes on, I am sure those whom are in the situation are filled with terror. Regardless of the incident, it is an act of terrorism. When civilians are intimidated, despite it being for political aims, anti religious aims, or any other aim, it is still an act of terrorism.
I do believe in us not judging anyone, for we are no one to Judge, I just find it interesting in how the media and this country for that matter are quick to judge the assailants based on their backgrounds whether or not they are mental, whether or not they are terrorists, whether or not they have gang affiliations or if they are illegals. This act of judgement based on where one comes from or ones background or religion needs to stop. Many are dying. Many are being persecuted despite religious beliefs.
Yes Christianity is under attack, it has been the case Since the times of Christ. He did state we would be vilified, we would be crucified, we would be persecuted, we would be called out on for blasphemy, but we should not be discouraged.
If a mental breakdown led to this unfortunate incident yesterday, then I really think NRA regulations should get stricter. I do believe the observance in the right to bear arms, however the moments one’s mental stability is questioned by any one person, needs to be looked into.
Not including the the incident that happened last week on Halloween in the city, where an individual mowed down people (heinous act of violence and terrorism) there has been several instances Houses of worship have been attacked.
  • 11/5/17 The mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, Tex., on Sunday, in which at least 26 people died, was the latest and by far the most deadly shooting at a church in recent years. Here are some notable previous fatal shootings at churches. 20 were wounded.

 

  • Sept. 24, 2017 | Antioch, Tenn.A gunman carrying two pistols opened fire as Sunday services were ending at the Burnette Chapel Church of Christ, killing one person and wounding seven others; he also pistol-whipped a church usher who confronted him. The gunman, identified as Emanuel K. Samson, shot and wounded himself, the police said; he was taken into custody.

 

  • June 17, 2015 | Charleston, S.C. Nine people who had gathered for Bible study at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a landmark black church in Charleston, were shot and killed at the landmark black church in Charleston by a white gunman, identified by the police as Dylann Storm Roof, who was arrested the next day. A 10th person was wounded. The dead included the Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a prominent state senator.

 

  • May 31, 2009 | Wichita, Kan.  A gunman shot and killed an usher in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church as he handed out church bulletins after services. The usher was Dr. George Tiller, one of the few doctors in the country who performed late-term abortions. The assailant, Scott Philip Roeder, an anti-abortion activist, fled the scene and was arrested three hours later; he was convicted of murder in 2010 and sentenced to life in prison.

 

  • Dec. 9, 2007 | Colorado   A gunman shot two people at the Youth With a Mission Center at Arvada, near Denver, and then killed five people 12 hours later at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, before he was shot by a volunteer security guard, the police said. The gunman, identified as Matthew Murray, died at the scene of the second shooting. The police said he was carrying two assault rifles, three handguns and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

 

  • In April 2014, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish community center and a Jewish assisted living facility in a Kansas City  suburb, killing three, including a 14-year-old boy. The suspect, an avowed white supremacist named Frazier Glenn Cross, aka Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., wascharged with first-degree murder. None of the victims was Jewish.Cross, in failing health, said this past April that he would plead guilty to avoid a lengthy trial.

 

  • In August 2012, an attacker entered a kitchen at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin in suburban Milwaukee before Sunday services and began shooting. He killed three people inside the house of worship and three people outside. The shooter, Wade Michael Page, an Army veteran, reportedly wounded a police officer before killing himself. He was known to have ties to hate groups, but the FBI could not completely clarify his motives.

 

  • In July 2008, a man walked into a children’s musical performance at Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church,pulled out a shotgun and began shooting. Two people died and seven were wounded. Jim David Adkisson confessed to the attack in an affidavit,saying the church’s “liberal teachings” had compelled him to kill. In2009, Adkisson was sentenced to life in prison.

 

  • In December 2007, 24-year-old Matthew J. Murray went on a killing spree at two locations 65 miles apart.After being told he could not spend the night, he shot up the YouthWith A Mission training center in Arvada, Colorado, killing two people.He then killed two more at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, where Youth With A Mission kept an office. He was reportedly shot by a congregant doubling as a security guard before he was said to have committed suicide. Forensic evidence led police to determine that Murray had committed both attacks.

 

  • In August 2007, a shooting in Neosho, Missouri, pierced the heart of the Micronesian community. Shouting “Liar, liar!” a man riddled the First Congregational Church with bullets. Three people died in the gunfire during the Micronesian  service and five were wounded. Eiken Elam Saimon, also a member of the Micronesian community but not an active member of that church, later pleaded guilty to first-degree murder and was sentenced to life in prison, avoiding the death penalty.

 

  • In July 2006, a man barged through the security entrance of the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle and shot six women, killing one. The gunman, Naveed Haq, said he was angry at Israel. He received a life sentence in 2010. The violence needs to end. We all need to pray and ask for redemtion, for protection.

 

A few months ago, maybe even about a year ago at my church, we almost became victims of a shooting spree. For that particular service I was home with my family with 2 sick children and I didn’t attend the service, but my church were in a similar situation. A young many walked in the service, and at the time unknowingly to all the parishioners he was had a firearm on his possession. He stood during the service listening and fighting with himself on whether or not to start shooting and rob everyone. As the service went on no one knew the demons this man was facing. To shoot, or not to shoot. No one knew he was carrying. It was during the alter call, that he decided he was going to do it, he was going to demand cash and begin shooting if need be.
When he tried to get up he couldn’t, he couldn’t get himself to do so. While the preachers prayed and delivered people from their oppression, chains were being loosened, shackles were broken. This man finally decided to admit his guilt. He confessed at the alter what his intent was. He stated every time he felt the urge to demand money and pull the trigger an indescribable force kept him seated. He wanted to scream and yell and he felt as if his lips were glued shut. He stated he tried to fight the force against him to fulfill the crime he intended to commit, yet he couldn’t. As he listened to the sermon, as he listened to the worship, as he listened to the prayers, he knew God did not allow it. They prayed for him, he left his weapon behind. He asked for forgiveness. He has never came back.
After hearing of something like this, you can’t help but always be on Guard. WE live in a time where even the house of God is not safe. We should be able to freely pray and worship. Yet we have our guards up when a newcomer comes in. We are still warm and embracing and loving, but still have that slight guard up, wondering are you a threat, are you safe, did you come with good intentions?
It is sad after such an experience to always have this thought at the back of one’s mind. I know we serve an amazing God. It is the reason why nothing happened that Sunday and why my church was fine. I know God’s presence was there, his angels were among our parishioners keeping everyone safe. I know God moved this man so much so that he changed his heart, asked for forgiveness and redemption. God is amazing.
This may have been one positive instant but we too could have been one other place of worship on a list where gun violence took over.
We need to all realign our relationship with god, reaffirm our faith, we need to all pray for one another, despite religious difference despite political differences. We need to get civically engaged as well, just because one is a christian doesn’t mean one cannot engage in politics. We should ask for reform in our gun laws. We should ask that they are not easily accessed. We should stand up for one another as a body of Christ.
I will end with not one of my prayers but a prayer I found which is much needed for times like now.
Abba, Father! Help us to be honest with You about our fears. Satan
wants to terrorize us with fear, but we draw near to You with our
anxious thoughts knowing that You respond with wisdom and revelation
that stabilizes our inner man. Help us to hear Your response. Strengthen our minds to remain focused on You regardless of the
“bad news” that we hear. You have filled our today’s and tomorrows with
Your Good News. Immanuel, the with us God, leads us to streams in the
desert and speaks peace to the storms raging around us. Help us to
expect Your resurrection power to flow to us and through us. Sharpen our
minds to think Your thoughts. Quicken our ears to hear Your voice
speaking peace and life to us. Purify our hearts so that we no longer
tolerate a fear of men. Open our mouths to speak what is true with love,
joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness and
self-control. We rejoice that You are our strong tower. We run to You
for protection and we lay aside all of our habits of self-protection.
You are faithful and by Your power at work within us, we will be
faithful to You. In Jesus, we pray. Amen.
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​ Comfort

Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee
– Isaiah 49:15
When I read this scripture I must admit I was taken aback a bit. I was also slightly taken aback at the devotional it corresponded with. I instantly thought, “how can a woman forget her child and not show compassion for a child in a womb?”
Maybe I was raised differently. I put the needs of my loved ones before my own, especially my children. I rarely keep up with my doctors appointments, rarely purchase new items for myself, and if I do I feel guilt. I usually buy multi-functional items that my kids can use (i.e. Crafting / art supplies) i usually turn items i buy for myself into objects the whole family can benefit from.
So to see and read of mothers forgetting their children or not putting their children first troubles me at times. It troubles me because I just can’t understand why anyone would neglect their kids. I am not trying to pass judgement on anyone. For who knows they probably think “why can’t she take better care of herself and stop always putting her kids first”. Valid argument so I do not judge anyone. I respect and understand that our pov’s will always be different.
Have you ever felt forsaken, forgotten, or overlooked? Have you ever had your closest friends, and even family, let you down?
As unthinkable as it may seem, as unnatural as it clearly is, it is possible even for a mother to forget or neglect her nursing baby. She may become frustrated, or exhausted; or she may simply put herself first and not consider the needs of her infant baby. There have been shocking accounts in the national news lately of mothers who even harmed their own infant children for selfish reasons.
But God speaks this unalterable, unmistakable promise: even if your own mother were to turn against you, or forget you, yet he will never forget you. Although in a fallen and sinful world, parents may neglect or abuse their children, God will always nurture and prosper and provide for his.
What a comfort to hear these words from our heavenly Father! Though circumstances may deteriorate, though fathers may disappoint, though friends may forsake, God will never let you go. He is the perfect, protective parent.
There is no trial that faces you, no temptation that overtakes you, no problem that afflicts you without God’s loving hand embracing you. Fall into his ever-present, compassionate embrace today and rest in the fact that he will never leave you or forsake you.
My narrative:
Though I was initially taken aback this makes perfect sense. I also feel I am clearly being spoken to. (No not in the aspect of neglecting my kids). The very first paragraph of this devotion hits home.
Yesterday I had a discussion about disappointments in people. Friends, colleagues and yes even family. We as people put too much expectations in others when we should be putting them in God.
Though the first two paragraphs talks about being let down by those we didn’t think would let us down. The third paragraph of this devotion reminds you that God got your back.
“….even if your own mother were to turn against you, or forget you, yet he will never forget you. Although in a fallen and sinful world, parents may neglect or abuse their children, God will always nurture and prosper and provide for his.”
In my mind I took out the words mother and parent and filled in the blank with the individual(s) whom have let me down based on my own expectations of them.
Last night I fell asleep disappointed in many. Today I rise feeling liberated in known that “God will always nurture and provide for” me.
Do you feel neglected?
Have you been disappointed?
Have you been ignored?
Fear not.
Despite your hurt.
“God will always nurture and provide for” you.
What I feel I was taken aback more from this devotional was not only the notion of how can someone neglect their children, but the fact that God works in mysterious ways and was speaking directly to me.
Thank you father.
I got your message.
If you feel this message is speaking to you directly.
Thank the father.
Praise him.
For as I write this I surely am praising him for he is just so amazing.
Dear lord I thank you for the words that you have allowed me to read but my own processing of this. Thank you lord for being just, loving, comforting and amassing. Lord we do not deserve the love and mercy you give us on a daily basis. I am grateful that you do. Today I confess my sins to you, my doubts and my supplications. I ask that you continue to guide me and the reader reading this to understand and accept that despite the challenges and disappointments we face in life that you will always be there to lift us up and remind us that “I Am Here with you my child.” Amen

Singing to the LORD

How I Enjoy Singing to the Lord

http://blog.biblesforamerica.org/singing-to-the-lord-testimony/?utm_source=The+Bibles+for+America+blog&utm_campaign=b1398e3aad-BfA_Blog&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b01b533dcb-b1398e3aad-272874985#disqus_thread

This Past Sunday I had to sing for church.

This article I read a day after.

I must say the timing was perfect.

Though my voice isn’t the greatest, I do enjoy singing for the Lord.

The song I chose was a song which meant alot to me.

It was a spanish Song entitled Adonai.

In Hebrew Adonai means Lord.

the Song Roughly Translates,

Oh ADONAI, Oh ADONAI,

God of the Universe, Lord of allcreations.

The heavens, shout out the lords Glory, the people today shall adore you, for all the marvels that you have done in our lives, Oh Adonai

Its a short song, very powerful, meaningful and straight to the Point.

I know I have much to be grateful for the marvels God has done in my life, so why not sing a song that says just that. I wasn’t nervous like I usually am when I get to the pulpit. I knew god was in total control. I love my lord and savior and am eternally grateful beyond words or songs could ever describe.

The artilce i read is below: it discusses the authors joy in singing to the lord. It describes that bond and connection one gets when singing to the lord. The link is above incase you would like to go to their site, but this was a good read. Worth sharing.

August 21 2017

A BfA staff member shares his experience of singing to the Lord.

In my everyday Christian life I really enjoy praying to the Lord, calling

on His name, and speaking about Him to others. All these things give me a

way to contact the Lord Jesus throughout my day and enjoy His presence.

But one of my favorite ways to touch the Lord is by singing to Him with

my spirit. The apostle Paul wrote about singing in 1 Corinthians 14:15:

“I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing also with the mind.”

I of course need to use my mind when singing to the Lord, but this verse shows that I can sing to the Lord with my spirit also. Since my spirit is my deepest part

and the means for me to contact and worship Christ, exercising my

spirit to sing really brings me into the enjoyment of the Lord.

Singing in the morning

I particularly enjoy singing to the Lord in the morning. Sometimes as I’m

getting ready, a song pops into my head, and I start singing it to

touch the Lord as I go about my routine. Recently, I’ve sung one song in

particular quite often (hear the music at hymnal.net):

“Therefore with joy shall ye draw water

Out of the wells of salvation.

And in that day shall ye say,

Praise the Lord.

Call upon His name,

Declare His doings among the people,

Make mention that His name is exalted.

Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion

For great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”

At first it seemed a little awkward to sing aloud like this, especially if

other people could possibly hear me. But I’ve found it’s such a great

way to contact the Lord that now I can’t stop!

Singing to the Lord in the morning is so enjoyable because it’s one of the six ways we can drink Christ as the living water

revealed in Isaiah 12. By singing to the Lord in the mornings I “draw

water with rejoicing from the springs of salvation” (v. 3)! And verse 5

says,

“Sing psalms to Jehovah, for He has done something majestic!”

For me, the mornings are a critical time to draw water from the wells of

salvation. Whether I take a drink or not impacts how the rest of my day

goes. I rarely jump out of bed the minute I wake up, and I’m usually

groggy and spiritually dry first thing in the morning. Because I haven’t

called on the Lord or prayed all night long, I need to contact Him in the morning to be

spiritually revived for the day. The easiest way I’ve found to do this

when I’m still struggling with just being awake is to open my mouth to

sing to Him.

What Isaiah 12 talks about is really true. When I sing to the Lord at the

very beginning of my day, I draw from the wells of salvation and take a

good, refreshing drink of the living water. I’m revived and strengthened

to live in my spirit throughout the rest of the day.

Singing and psalming to the Lord anytime, anywhere

While I love to sing to the Lord in the mornings, I’m so glad I can turn my

heart to the Lord by singing to Him at any time. I’ve found that singing

to the Lord during the day helps me maintain the flow of the divine

life within. In various circumstances throughout the day, I might begin

to feel dry, down, or empty. When that happens, though, I often just

sing to the Lord to touch Him in a fresh way. I can testify that the

Lord has been so real to me at those times.

One particular place I like to sing is in my car. Sometimes instead of

turning on the radio, I take the time to sing some songs or hymns to the

Lord. These are such sweet, personal times with the Lord, and every

time I get refreshed and revived. Sometimes the Lord also leads me to

call on Him or to pray. I might end up praying for someone I know, or I

might confess something I sense the Lord is speaking to me about.

Instead of wasting the time in my car, I’m enlivened when I take

advantage of the privacy to turn my heart back to the Lord.

Try it and see

The psalmists knew firsthand how enjoyable it is to sing to the Lord, as we can see in Psalms 104:33:

“I will sing to Jehovah while I live; I will sing psalms to my God while I yet have being.”

If you haven’t experienced singing to the Lord this way, I hope you’ll

give it a try! While it’s wonderful to sing psalms and hymns in groups

with other believers, it’s also so personal, sweet, and refreshing to

sing to the Lord with your spirit at other times during your day. Once

you experience how sweet it is to touch the Lord by singing to Him,

you’ll find yourself doing it more and more. May we all sing to Jehovah

while we live, and sing psalms to Him while we still have breath!

For more on the benefits of singing to the Lord, you can read this post on 5 Marvelous Benefits of Singing to the Lord in Our Daily Life.

We’d love to hear about your experience of singing to the Lord. If this is

something you personally enjoy, please leave a comment to share your

experience and to encourage anyone who’s thinking about trying it for

themselves.

God what a wonderful article you have sent for me to read.

Father God I thank you for your marvels. Shall we continue to praise you in song and worship, for you ar worthy. God I thank you for all that you do. I am not worthy of your kindness for I sin daily. I rebuke my sins and repent. I am grateful to sing your praises for all that you do for me.

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