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Archive for March, 2014

March 30, 2014

One week later, from speaking with my friend on the topic of sexual immorality and being redeemed, washed clean by the Lord’s forgiving grace, and God answered with “Thy Will Be Done,” a sermon series from the Rock Church in San Diego, California (http://www.sdrock.com/messages/2014-03-30/).

Today, I woke up too late to attend my own church.  God pursued me by opening my mind to attend the church where I began sponsoring a girl through Compassion International.  Five years later–for the second time ever– God asked me to attend Rock Church, and He inspires a deeper declaration rebuking the hold Satan has in our lives.

Pastor George Clerie interviewed Maria Sainz on “Spiritual Identity Theft.”

We see this Spiritual warfare demonstrated by the shepherd-turned-anointed king in 1 Chronicles 21 as “Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel.”   David’s right hand man, Joab, asked, ” But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this?  Are they not all your servants?  Why must you cause Israel to sin?”  Still, the captain of David’s army followed instructions and conducted the census.  To which, “God was very displeased with the census, and he punished Israel for it.”  David said to God, “I have sinned greatly by taking this census.  Please forgive my guilt for doing this foolish thing.”  God then allowed David to choose from one of three punishments, and once the angel of death left the people, Israel was forgiven.

Maria considers our bodies as a mobile home, the place of warfare between Satan and God.  However, the Devil has been stripped of his power by the Cross, he needs our help to succeed.   His weapon is deception.  The enemy uses our wounds to make a legal contract with him.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly (John 10:10).

“What we give power to will rule over us…When under the influence of the enemy…you no longer go the direction the Father has for you;” therefore, we must first break our contract with the enemy to fully receive peace and forgiveness.  It is by forgiveness that we are cleansed of our filth and revamped into the likeness of Jesus.

Sanctification is a process in which we grow intimate with God as He molds us into the image of Christ Jesus.  Once you have relinquished Satan of his power over you, you begin the process of sanctification.

You may enter into this state of rest with a loving Father.  For God sent His Son before you, has written a love letter to you, and forgave you.  Pastor George Clearie shares, “God is not mad at you, He knew you would sin!”  We serve a proactive God, not reactive.  For He intentionally made you just as you are, chose you individually, and loves you uniquely (Psalm 139).

Excitedly, Maria shared: “Our birth right is to experience the fruit of the Spirit!  Jesus rewrote the contract.  We are no longer bound by law but redeemed by grace!”

May you come to live intimately with God, captivated by His attributes, proclaiming  “I don’t know how this works, but I follow the guy that does!”

Through personal trials, Maria has developed four stages:

  1. Recognize a lie you have been agreeing with
  2. Repent: Ask God for His forgiveness, for His justice to prevail
  3. Renounce: Break the legal agreement the enemy has with you
  4. Refill: Replace the lie with God’s Truth, make a divine exchange

You have God’s permission to rebuke the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ, the Almighty!  Maria describes this divine exchange as the opportunity to be released from your bondage, experience the true freedom of Jesus Christ, receive a baptism of love, and receive a fulness in Christ.

A guided prayer led by Maria: in cooperating with the Spirit of God, expect a break-through:

“Heavenly Father, in the name of the LORD Jesus,

I recognize that I have sinned by agreeing with the enemy in a lie.

I ask you to forgive me for any bitterness I have held against that person for this incident.  Any rejection, any fear, I release this to you now.

I thank you LORD that it is done and over with.

I ask, Holy Spirit, come, tell me your Truth, and fill me. “

Selah.  Stop and rest in the LORD, listen to His guidance.

I am personally captivated by modern psalmists.  By that I mean, Christians humbling themselves at the throne of Jesus, writing poetry, singing praises, honoring His very name.

Strahan’s album Posters is a compilation of this very idea.  In which, they sing “Wells”:

Well I have bought fire and I’ve bought ice
I’ve sold myself and I’ve sold lies
And I’ve walked these streets I know these roads
I know the beat they’d tell you so
And I know
I need grace more than I ever have before
I’ve done one thing and separately
have done the other I don’t mean
I’ve knelt to pray and walked away
And not listened and not forgave
So I say
I need your love now and I need it now to change
I’ve seen the wells with dirt be filled
Stood in the dessert left to melt
And I’ve felt the rain through my veins
To see the wells open again
My heart now changed
You give your Spirit when I give my life away

This is your chance to change, don’t walk away! May you be able to look Heavenward, declaring:

You give life, You are love
You bring light to the darkness
You give hope, You restore
Every heart that is broken
Great are You, Lord*

Two songs to consider in your contemplative spirit, surrendering before the Lord Almighty: “Dead and Gone” by Elenowen, *All Sons & Daughter’s “Great Are You Lord”

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March 27, 2014

Human perception is foolish.  We see roadblocks when truly the LORD sees we are still fervently walking along His chosen path.

From the beginning, God set his people apart, and warned them that no king will reign as God reigns over them.  Samuel asked for guidance, and the LORD responded, “they don’t want me to be their king any longer” (1 Samuel 8:7).  The LORD then looked down on his people “in mercy and heard their cry” (1 Samuel 9: 16).  Samuel warned the Israelites and offered them Saul, to whom it was said, “you and your family are the focus of all Israel’s hopes” (1 Samuel 9: 20).

Having read through 1 & 2 Samuel today, I find myself baffled by the relationship of God’s first two anointed kings.  At one point, Saul referred to David like a son, as it was David who played the harp whenever “the tormenting spirit from God troubled Saul” (1 Samuel 16:23).  It was also David who bravely defeated the Philistine giant that Israel’s army feared.  However, in fear of losing his power and his life, Saul hunted David for several years.  Even then, David was a man after God’s own heart, and kept his oath to never kill the anointed king.  When Saul fell upon his own sword, David led his people and mourned over the loss.

David was anointed through Samuel as a young boy– the youngest son of Jesse, the last to be presented before the prophet as an eligible future king.  He was crowned king of all Israel at 30 years old (2 Samuel 5:4).  During the period between his anointing and reign, David’s army defeated several of the Lord’s enemies.  However, David was called a visitor to many regions, for he fled from the hand of Saul.

Imagine being anointed a king of Israel, leaving Israel, hiding in the wilderness from the current anointed king of Israel, and finally returning and capturing Jerusalem for the God of Israel.

All the while, even the Philistine king said David had been a trustworthy ally,” without flaw, “as perfect as an angel of God”  (1 Samuel 29: 6-10).

The past seven days have been filled with confusion–in my mind and body.  I found myself perhaps struggling with the tormenting spirit that God had given Saul.  However, today was a day of anticipation.  And as it approached, I found myself fully believing God’s presence in my life, but confessing, “Ye of little faith, how dare ye not trust in the LORD’s provisions.”

At that moment, I wept, as did many before me when faced with our own sins.

I began worshiping the LORD, singing of His light and steadfast love, that His was the strength that endures.  I called upon the LORD and he responded with a miraculous sign: A flashing green light.  Joyfully, I began to rationalize the sign’s meaning.  The LORD is  my light that leads me through darkness.  When a red light flashes, we stop for a shorter break than a solid red light.  Therefore, what is it’s contrast?  Rather than sprinting towards God’s promise, shall I be wise in maintaining endurance until my dying breath?  Time and time again, we read in Scripture that a man foolishly made an oath that caused troops to faintly approach battle, or otherwise, led to another man’s sin.  For instance, we read that Saul made a foolish oath causing his own son to sin before the LORD (1 Samuel 14: 1-46).  Perhaps, instead of offering God our restless bodies, we are to fortify the breath He has offered us and deliver to Him rightfully what is already His.

It is in the spirit, that I boldly recognize, that no letter of denial can hinder my trust in the Lord’s promises.  For a man may stray from keeping an oath, but “he who is the Glory of Israel will not lie, nor will he change his mind, for he is not human that he should change his mind!” (1 Samuel 15: 29).

It was in my approach that I wept, but in reviewing the letter, I found myself already praising God for what will come of it.  For the process, all I can do is trust in the LORD, knowing that He is my Great Teacher, my Provider, and that His presence will not hinder, for in chasing after God, He promises, ” I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13: 5).

I have a green light.  I have not been stopped.  I will continue forward, accepting the commands God spoketh unto me.

My prayer tonight:  I pray this is a journey.  May I not rely on the comforts of my present temporary state to withstand the next season of preparation.  Rather may I pursue God boldly in radically living to serve Him.  May I recognize His voice and follow His directions.

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March 22, 2014

We are identified as the children of a perfect Father, not by our own short-comings.

Recently, I spoke with a dear brother in Christ about the transformation of his heart.  For seven years his relationship with his girlfriend-turned-fiance was his priority.  He convinced himself that with marriage in their future, it was okay to practice God’s design of intimacy within their dating years.  When she broke it off, he was shattered.   Three years later, his proclamation of Jesus Christ as Savior and Redeemer is truly his joy.  Now with the opportunity to share, he revealed the Lord’s transformation from confessed sinner to redeemed follower of Jesus Christ:

“Draw near to God.. it is the most important tool to get through times of hurt.

Testimony will bring light into someone else who is going through hurt so that they will find a path of hope, peace, and joy.

Out of every negative, make two positive thoughts out of it.

If you really love someone you are not going to guilt trip them, you will not lead them somewhere they will one day regret.

How are you going to make it, so that next time you will not be victimized?

Advised steps: 1.  Admit “I’m a broken, sinful person;” 2. Rely on Christian Friends; 3. Rely on prayer, God, and the Bible;   4. Trust that God loves me the same as He did before I made the mistakes

You are not less of a person.  We are all broken people.  You can’t look into the mirror and see yourself as anything less than what God sees.  Ultimately, God is going to use you as He has planned.  Seek God’s Word.  Seek God.

How are you going to use this to benefit God’s Kingdom?  It is not your own story, rather, it is God’s.  Allow Him to use it.

In a future relationship, he will love you in all your imperfections.  He should accept the past trials and the transformation of who God has made you.  And when God has you in that relationship, you will thank the Lord for removing you from this painful relationship.  He knew all that would happen in your life, and He promises to never forsake you (Joshua 1:5).

God will heal you, and you will be able to use your healing to help someone who is currently experiencing this hurt in life.

Ultimately He is the one who has suffered the greatest amount of pain, as He did on the cross, in order for us to receive His grace and salvation.”

My prayer is that the life of this follower of Christ is able to encourage you through your own personal struggles, as you claim Jesus Christ as your guide to salvation.

Songs to consider in receiving God’s grace:

Jeremy Camp’s “This Man” and Jimmy Needham’s “Forgiven and Loved”

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March 15, 2014

For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him” (Philippians 2:13).  Teaching this verse to the 2nd and 3rd graders at North Coast Church has been a joy.  Each day, as children of God we are being transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ.

The Station Pastor, Josh Nelson’s “Better Days – Part 3” sermon also speaks to the matter of living a life that is fulfilling to the life God has set forth:

“It’s trusting Him in your career. Pursuing the dreams and the desires of your heart.  There are so many people who don’t even think about discovering their own gifts and their own abilities.  They don’t even ask the question, ‘How can I impact the world for the LORD?’ or ‘How can I make the church better for the LORD?’ These have become just lofty, distant ideas because we have just been bombarded by fear.  And we want to be a church that not only inspires but empowers you to do those things. You don’t have to retract in fear…you can step out and do the impossible.

Jim Zimbala “I despaired at the thought that my life might slip by without seeing God show Himself mightily on our behalf.”

Josh confessed to the congregation, “I want to live a life that leaves a legacy…that is not mundane. ”  How much greater would life be if we truly concentrated our energies on the impossible, knowing that God gives us the ability to do whatever it is He sets out for us to accomplish.  Life should be impossible without the continuous intervention of God.

Let me end with the prayer Josh lifted high that Sunday morning.

God I pray that we would be a church that lives fearlessly.  LORD help us to be bold.  To have faith and courage despite our fear.  We want to be a church that steps out of our comfort zones, that walks into the fullness of Your plan for our lives… And God, as we reach out to this morning, we thank you that we are empowered to walk in everything you have created us to do.  

Amen.

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March 9, 2014

As I sit her just this moment, I recall the day I walked towards the remaining wall of what once was the Holy City’s Temple.  As I walked backwards in respect leaving the Western Wall (known also as Wailing Wall or Kotel), I took out my journal and began to write the victory of a confession that had just been placed in a crevice of the wall.  I was speaking with Jesus, and was asked to stop.  It was against Jewish law to work in the presence of something so Holy, and to them, writing was work.

Here I am on my Sabbath, and again I find myself working.  However, I do not hesitate, as what I write is inspired by my devotion to the LORD, and is therefore a sign of worship in and of itself.

However, my readings of Scripture this morning were of different topics, so this comes from a conversation with the Holy Spirit.

Just yesterday, I listened to “Scare Crow in a Melon Patch” a 3-part sermon series by Pastor Josh Nelson.  In it, he speaks on how the idols of his past kept him from initially believing the Divine call on his life.  Josh attended Hillsong International Leadership College, and during one worship service, he asked the Lord for direction.  In response, Josh saw clearly the hand of God anointing him as he heard one word, “pastor.”  He was 21.  It wasn’t until Josh was 30 that he felt the LORD insist it was time to begin the church.  Again, Josh battled saying, “I am not educated enough,” or “I am not old enough.”

Today, The Station Church is 2 years old and thriving to serve God and anticipate the movement of the Holy Spirit in every relational interaction and serving opportunity.

Josh thought his past prevented him from being “good enough” to pastor God’s church.

A different perspective of Divine destiny is my own.  At 20 years old I had received the Call of God in a dream.  After the most trying years of my physical, Spiritual, relational, and emotional life,  I had finally rested a full night’s sleep and awoke at peace.  This dream ended an excruciating series of disgusting, distorted, traumatizing nightmares where the enemy had held me captive in the night.  I fully believe our night’s rest prepares us for the works of our day, so in this season of nightmares, I found myself believing my worth was relative to that of which the enemy claimed.

However, the dream unleashed an ambitious student of an everlasting God.  It is my childhood, my independence as a teenager, my foolishness, my temptation, and my distortion of my worth as a female that make me the person God chose to pursue a retreat for broken families, where parents will be equipped to better support their children struggling through mental, emotional, or psychological pain.

Similarly, last night I spoke with a 16-year-old girl who had been fighting the urge to self harm for hours.  Her anxiety kept her from talking with anyone she knew, so she called a stranger.  After discussing several options for 20 minutes, I was left clueless as to how to help.  However, just at that moment, I suggested a phone number that changed her mentality completely.  It was a teen line, trained teenagers who will not judge or condemn a caller, but rather, support and empathize.  At that very moment, this young girl spoke clearly, “Can I do that?” She began to speak energetically, “I want to be a psychiatrist for teenagers.”  At 16, this girl already recognizes that her experience suffering with mental illness is what qualifies her to help others more accurately.

Because of what and who we were, we are able to better empathize with individuals struggling in the same matters.  It is then, the transformation through surrender and obedience to God that enables us to have an eternal impact on such individuals.

Whether you struggle to think you are not good enough to accomplish the calling God has set forth, or you recognize it is your past that makes you the right person, know that it has been placed on you, and no one else is responsible.

In Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream, David Platt speaks of the 6 billion people who have yet to hear the Good News.  He repeats through the text, the only way this is possible is that we are not praying.  He also suggests, too many people are not listening and obeying the calls to share God’s Truth.

As Josh, the 16-year-old girl, you, and I continue in life, may we be praying people who trust the voice of God and look for guidance in His Word.  May we be bold in our radical pursuit of becoming more in-lined with God’s path: living and loving others as Jesus has lived and loved us.

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March 2, 2014

Yesterday I had a phone conversation with a 27-year old woman who spelled out God’s flawless grace, and she had no concept.

Let us call her Jane.

Jane was born a product of rape and was abused for 25 years of her life.  She felt like she was a good girl, but four years ago that all changed after a car accident.

Now haunted and driven by obsession with brilliant yet disgusting attacks on humanity, Jane found herself finally releasing the stories for the very first time.

She sees the world as beautiful, but, recognizes that few humans walk blameless.  Therefore, she finds herself idealizing children’s naive state of mind and love of enjoying life.

Her background has brought about much anger in her life; and unfortunately, she finds herself exerting the anger onto the one person she feels is undeserving of such pain.  Jane reflects on her mom as saint-like, pure.

Despite the words, threats, and violate outbursts Jane presses on her mom, Jane recognizes “if there were a such thing as unconditional love, it is what my mom has for me.”  In empathizing with Jane, I stated, “Your mom forgives you.  She loves you.”

And yet, Jane cannot forgive herself.  Rather, Jane thinks her mom would be better off if Jane were never born.

As this parallel became more vivid in my mind, I began to weep and praise God.

Jane threatened terrible things, and yet, her mom loved her.  Her mom’s marriage was on the line for the protection of her daughter.

Jesus and the Father knew the plan for salvation before Jesus was born of the flesh.  And yet, on his final night, He cried to the Father, ” “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine” (Matthew 26:39).   Jesus recognized he was the Way, and still, it was difficult.

Jane was right in speaking harshly on the effect of humanity on creation; however, where she lacked hope, Christians are hopeful.  As human beings, we are not perfect as Jesus was perfect.  However, our intent is to become aligned in the Image of God, or in Jesus’ likeness.  With this as our pursuit we must look into the mirror and not see our reflection, but rather look into it as a passage, the window observing Jesus.  We shall seek whom the Holy Spirit is, not the empty flesh.

We are wicked; and yet, God sent Jesus, “He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

This mother’s love does not hinder in correlation to the distressed life her daughter lives.  Rather, it is multiplied and overflows as the cup of forgiveness and salvation has unto us.

God hates that which is wicked.  How much more beautiful is it, that He entered into community with sinners in order to share His Truth.  We are embraced by the Everlasting Love.

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