Author Archives: Naty Matos

Come as you are

I know it’s not Worship Friday, but we shall worship every day. I really like this song. It reminds me of my life before Christ. It reminds me of the times when I was going to church sitting in the last sit by the door so that nobody would see me. I would not talk to anyone; I didn’t want to make any relationships so that nobody knew me and the things that I was ashamed of. It wasn’t until I decided to resubmit my life to Christ that I realize that he had been waiting for me to get out of that corner all along and he didn’t care about those things that I kept holding on to.

Recently this song has been playing a lot on the radio, but now, being on the other side of that fence it has actually made me realize how some of us don’t help that process. Sometimes we act like the older brother from the prodigal son. I’m glad that when I was in the wilderness God sent people who were not judgmental and critical or I would have stayed in that wilderness longer. My shame and my condemnation would have kept me away from seeking the light because I would have thought that God was not going to accept me where I was, because those who “were with the Lord” around me would be telling me how unacceptable I was.

It cause me pause. There’s a saying that we may be the only bible a person will ever read. It causes me to evaluate how my attitudes, behaviors and words could repel or attract someone to Christ. Even with fellow Christians, we forget that not everyone is at the same maturity level. Do I encourage them to grow or do I discourage their faith making them feel that they don’t do enough?

We can sometimes hide behind providing correction to impart judgment. We say with authority that we are called to tell the truth in love. But what is love?

love

Is this what we practice when we tell the truth? Is what we’re saying our “truth” or God’s truth?

Food for thought

Arguing About Faith on Social Media

I was having an interesting exchange with a gentleman on social media the other day. His wife had responded under an article regarding debating with people in social media about values. Her position was that she felt that defending her values and point of view was basically was she was called to do.

I decided to reply. I had recently read Proverbs 23:9 “Do not speak to fools, internet 3for they will scorn your prudent words”. No, I didn’t just post this scripture and moved on. I said that after reading this I had changed my point of view.I explained that sometimes I felt like defending my values in social media, but I took a step back and started observing before speaking. I realize that there are people who like to say outlandish things just to get a raise out of others and actually enjoy debating with people just for the fun of it. While your blood pressure rises, they are laughing on the other side until they burn you out and they move to the next victim. The exchange is futile and fruitless.

I shared my experience and observations. I said that I had opted for demonstrating my values and beliefs in my daily life. I post things I wish to share and if anyone approaches me I’m always willing to share my testimony. That arguing in social media, in my opinion was not an effective tool of evangelism. That’s when the fun began.

Her husband came to the thread and asked me why was I against people speaking about God publicly? He said that my scripture was out of context and that I was trying to impede the furthering of the Gospel. For a little over an hour, that I will never get back, I attempted to explain to him that I was doing nothing of the sort. Until a light finally went off and realized that I should have followed my own advice to begin with and I walked away.

One of his challenges was that we as Christians needed to defend God. I honestly laughed. Me, little human dirt is going to defend the Alpha and Omega, Almighty God. Yes, to me it was funny. God doesn’t need defending in my mind. As far as I’ve read in the bible, he’s asked us to remain in his Word and love others while speaking the truth in love. He’s asked us to defend, protect and provide for the orphan, the widows and the needy. I haven’t found a single request to defend him. If someone has the scripture I’m always open to learn something new.

As I was meditating about this post I remembered that he doesn’t even ask us to defend ourselves.

  • In Matthew 5:39 Jesus tells us, “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek”
  • Then in Luke 12: 11-12 “When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.”
  • Matthew 10:19 “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say”

Yes, 2 Timothy 4:1-22 tells us “I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, grandmawho is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. ..”

So yes, we are called to reprove and rebuke…but keep reading; it says with complete patience. It calls us to be sober minded, and endure suffering. How much teaching can we provide when we’re spending our energy defending our points of view? How do we model Christ in our interactions; face to face or online   ? How attractive (and by that I don’t mean putting a dog and pony show) are we making the Gospel to the lost? Does my life shows something that they would want for theirs?internet

I have to ask that myself that every day to stay focus into what God has called me to do.

Be blessed

Luke Murphy Presents: Kiss and Tell

This novel took me 15 years to write. Well, not exactly, but…1425368_517024845062353_568710561_o

Even though Dead Man’s Hand was my first published novel, it’s not the first book I wrote. Kiss & Tell is my “baby”. It’s the first book I ever even attempted to write. I started writing the novel in the winter of 2000, while playing hockey down in Oklahoma.

A lot of circumstances surround this novel, and it’s the reason I started writing in the first place. This novel, and all of my writing, happened by “chance”. I was playing professional hockey in Oklahoma, and was struck in the eye with a stick in a preseason game. That injury ended my season before it began.

My wife, who was my girlfriend at the time, was attending a French college in Montreal, and her English professor assigned the class the task of writing a short story.

My girlfriend knew that I was an avid reader, so she asked me if I would help her develop the story, which I did. I had so much fun with the project, that when we had finished, I took one of the characters we had created and started writing my own story.

I wrote Kiss & Tell in six months, but it was nowhere even close to being publishable. Actually, it stunk. It was a practice story for me, so I left it sitting in my computer, and started writing a second book.

After I published Dead Man’s Hand in 2012, I decided to reopen Kiss & Tell and take another look. My first reaction…it was bad, written by a first-time, newbie, amateur author. But I loved the plot, cast of characters, and the potential. I didn’t want to give up on this story.

So I took everything I’d learned about the craft of writing and the industry and put it into editing Kiss & Tell. The revisions completely changed the entire book.

After I’d completed it in 2001, Kiss & Tell was written from the point of view of Jessica Philips, the primary murder suspect in the Ken Anderson investigation, and the story was told from Jessica’s first person POV.

The Kiss & Tell that came out in 2015 is told from Detective Charlene Taylor’s point of view, written in third person. Although the plot never changed, some of the characters and scenes did.

A major scene/twist change that occurred?

In the original Kiss & Tell, the identity of the Celebrity Slayer was never revealed. I was planning on turning this CS plot into a series, extending the investigation through a number of books. But, taking into consideration a suggestion from one of my editors, I decided to change that. But don’t think I don’t have more plans for the Celebrity Slayer, in upcoming Charlene Taylor books.

But that’s for another time, and another place.

Buy the book here: http://myBook.to/Kiss Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00072]

The Rising Muse Mid-Year Review 2015

mid year review

As always I like to make an inventory of how things are going usually around my birthday and the end of the year. God planned those very well because they’re exactly 6 months apart. I know I haven’t been writing as often as I used to. The funny thing is that I think about posts I want to write all the time, but the butt to chair connection hasn’t happened. The year started with great news, I was moving into a new 9-5 that would allow me more breathing time to write and do other things.

At the beginning of that transition I decided to take some time off. My last 9-5 had left my brain cells quite fried and I needed to take time for myself. After resting a little, I decided to catch up with some life things that had been left behind. Do we ever catch up with life? I don’t think so.

I was able to finish the first draft of “Saving Paola” earlier in CLRFebruary, but it’s sitting there waiting for a second review. I’ll get to it…lol. God has been pressing in my heart some things. I had been entrusted with a ministry back in 2013 and just like newborn babies; they require more attention than grown up children. As a new “mom” I was trying to figure out what to do. God never calls the equipped but equips the called and let’s say that boot camp is his form of training. I say this to say that although I was tending to this baby ministry in autopilot for the last year, now that I had the opportunity to give it some time and dedication, it became my priority.

It’s been an exciting process. I’m learning and doing things that I would not have imagined in my wildest dreams. I recently had to move residence, which I’m sure most of you know how pleasant that experience is. I like the new place. It’s a lot smaller but I know that it is exactly what I need. One of my goals is to learn to live a simple life. We have so much junk that we don’t need or use and I don’t think that’s good stewardship.

movingRight now I’m living out of boxes still trying to decide what to keep and what needs to go. It’s going to be a journey. But I think of you, my readers, a lot. I miss interacting with you and letting you know about all the things that I’m learning about how to live this life that has chosen us with Christ. So forgive my selfishness.

I was reminded yesterday how big writing is a part of my life is and the part that plays in my calling. Ironically, because there are no coincidences in God’s kingdom I ran into someone this morning that had found this page and told me how it had meant something to them. So here I am. No promises on frequency, I have a lot on my plate right now, but with the commitment to not let this much time go by.

Be blessed.

Naty   procrastination

Drink your Starbucks

Not too long ago, I was sitting by the entrance of one of my favorite restaurants waiting for takeout. Igods usually dine in and hadn’t paid much attention to my surroundings. The place is clean, good customer service and superb food, nothing to complaint about. This particular day, while having the opportunity to seat there and with nothing more to do than look around (my phone battery was low); I noticed something I had never noticed before. Right behind the bar was an altar to a god. Something inside of me didn’t feel right. Here I was picking up lunch and now I had a dilemma, where am I investing my resources?

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

If we look at social media and regular media, the world has decided that our belief system should accompany our support as patrons to different businesses. If you agree with their policies and their beliefs, we support you, if we disagree, we don’t. That’s actually a great concept.

Many remember the issue with Chic-fil-a a few years ago. A sector of the population disagreed with their views and decided to stop eating there. Others who didn’t even eat there, decided to do so out of principle. Walmart has had the same issues, where some people support them and others not due to their practices.

Which way you decide to go is a decision between you and God.

However, my experience at that restaurant has left me thinking, what businesses do I support? And by support I mean where I spend my money? As a believer, I’m responsible for administrating the resources I’m provided, which are not mine, are for kingdom purposes. “Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. ” Luke 12:34 I will be held responsible for how I used them. No, I’m not cutting everything out of my life, but I’m more aware of the things I do and allowing the Holy Spirit to let me know, where I need to go to do what?

starbucksYou may be asking why you chose Starbucks on your title. Do you have something against them? Aside from the overpriced coffee, not really, I actually love their soy chai latte. But for the last few weeks I have not been able to stop looking at their logo and decided to look into what it meant. It did look like a Hindu goddess to me, but in researching, Starbucks says she’s a siren. A seductive siren…

CEO Howard Shultz has explained the following: “The mermaid was exotic. She was also topless. At first, and despite some complaints, Starbucks just rolled with it. As Schultz later explained, “Bare breasted and Rubenesque, [the mermaid] was supposed to be as seductive as the coffee itself.” But then the time came to put the logo on the delivery trucks, and that was problematic. “The logo was huge,” Heckler’s website relates, “—and so were the mermaid’s breasts.”

Are they selling coffee or sex?

In the Starbucks website the same man describes her as follows:

She is a storyteller, carrying the lore of Starbucks ahead, and remembering our past. In a lot of ways, she’s a muse –always there, inspiring us and pushing us ahead.

And she’s a promise too, inviting all of us to find what we’re looking for, even if it’s something we haven’t even imagined yet.

She means something different to everyone who sees her, who knows her. For me she’s kind of the final say on the spirit of everything I write and everything we do. Even as I’m writing this, I wonder what she thinks. (She likes it, by the way.)

That’s interesting…

Am I launching a campaign against Starbucks? No. I’m just trying to demonstrate a point, which is… There’s a lot that we do in auto pilot without knowing what and who we are really supporting. We should take pause in our lives and see where and how we are investing the resources that were entrusted in us.

 Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. Colossians 2:8

Food for thought

.truth

Practicing humility

humility In Romans 12: 14-16 we get a lesson on how to be with others regardless of how they treat us.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

When we read this we know in our gut that is no easy task. We tell others what we know. We repeat the right words practicelike a chant, but in the actual day to day is a different story. Be honest with yourself, how loving and blissful are you in your commute? How forgiving with that parent that yelled at your kid at the game.

Living in harmony is everyone’s wish. But when that neighbor’s visitor always parks in front of your house, or their dog eats your most precious flowers, you’re not really in a blessing mode. Still, God calls you to be.

The words, “we are all created equal” is not true at the end of the day. We are all unique and different. Our society has decided on how we are to be categorized. We are not created equal but to God we are all of same value. Think about this: a quarter is 25 cents, 5 nickels are also 25 cents; not equal but of same value. So when we meet other people that society has categorized as lower than us because they haven’t have access to the things that we have financially, emotionally, education or spiritually, don’t look at them as less but treat them with respect. Know that their value is the same as yours and that you are in their lives to be of service.

humility-and-mind-up-jan-2013-10-638Believe it, at the end of the day, you will learn that you are more blessed by them than whatever you were able to do for them.

 

Until then, be blessed!

 

 

Not just serve, but how to serve

serving We are no looking at:

Romans 12:11-13 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

 

When we serve we need to check our attitudes and motives in check. We start a new service assignment with excitement, like all new things. At the beginning we are learning the ropes, then we go through the phase of knowing our roles and probably improving our service. But like everything in life, not every moment is a happy and stable one. We will run into moments of discontent, burn out and stress.

Those difficult moments can’t be avoided, but how we address those is what could make the difference. We can choose to run away from our commitment due to offense or burn out. In those moments we need to make the decision. Who are we serving? Are we serving God or the people who make our lives easy? Are we followers of Christ? If we are, we need to remember that some of those who followed him throughout his ministry were chanting “Crucify him!” right outside Pontius Pilate’s doors. That didn’t change Jesus’s mind to complete his mission.

We need to serve with joy, hope and in prayer. Only keeping our connection with God will give us the strength and serving2peace to get the job done. Remember, he never sends out to the field the equipped, but equips the chosen ones.

Finally remember that every act of service has to be with the same final purpose, to spread the Word of God, to show his love to others. It’s not for us to look pious in front of others. We are just ambassadors of the true message.

Until then, be blessed.

Love in Action Romans 12:9-10

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

actionThe tricky part about love and honor is that it’s not just for those who we like. Being devoted to love those who are mean to us is no easy task. But this is something we really need to get serious about, after all is our second commandment right up there with loving God above all else.

The other misconception is that love is just tolerating everything others do and that’s not what love is. Love also brings correction and boundaries. Honoring others above ourselves doesn’t mean idolize them, it means to honor them in spite of our rights, hurts and emotions.

But in all we must be sincere about our love for others. Yes, no fake it until we make it. real loveWhen that love is not possible, it means that we don’t understand the love of God. Its at this time that we need to have Him show us his love and show us how to love others.

This also means that we are not happy when something bad happens to someone we don’t like and let me say, that means everybody. It includes, the neighbor, the coworker, the politician of the other party, the player of the opposite team, the driver who cut us in traffic and the person who did us wrong. It means that the most important muscles to workout are love and forgiveness.

That’s plenty to process, until next be blessed.

WF: Open Up The Heavens

This is an amazing worship song. I need this song to be my alarm because it will not only get me out of bed energized but filled of the spirit. After a long hard week of work we need to be refreshed and renewed and what better way than praising God.

How awesome is recognizing that God is almighty, all powerful, all amazing? We are all in need of a showers from heaven of peace, love and just his sweet presence. Enjoy this song and have a great weekend.

heavens

 

More on serving Romans 12 :4-8

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to showmercy, do it cheerfully.

Just as I closed the last post, verses 4-8 talk about being humble into our gifting. Sometimes we have the tendency to forget that not all of us are really created equal. Each of us has a gift and a purpose. We were each given a personality as a tool for our specific mission.

Sometimes in serving we get hung in terms of titles within our ministries. Who’s the greatnessleader, the elder, the minister, the main person? Honestly we were not all created for every job. Yes, some positions have more exposure than others, but it doesn’t make it more meaningful. In their immaturity people want to be in the center of a stage or the center of attention and those who are not place there by God will not thrive.

Recognize your gifts and thrive within what God has given you. For example, I have the gift of writing, some administrative gift that comes along with leading. I’ve always been involved in some sort of leadership position; in ministry, school, work, etc. Even when I’ve hid myself away from it, it finds me. That doesn’t make me great or the most important person. I alsohappen to be a big picture person, details tend to elude me. Every day, in all my life scenarios I have countless stories of those with better administrative gifting than mine who take care of those details that I don’t even think about. Those details are just as important and sometimes more than the work I do.

conformOn the opposite side of the spectrum, yes I have the opportunity to speak in front of people. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but I know I do it well and its part of my mission. Now, if you ever catch me with a microphone ready to sing, you all have open permission to knock me out of the stage before your ears start bleeding. Both the worship leader and I are in front of people, but we both have very different roles. At the same time, if the person behind the sound system is not there in their gifting, it doesn’t matter because nobody is going to hear us.

Do what you love and what you’re good at. Those gifts and desires were placed in your heart by God to guide you in through your purpose in live.serving

 

Until next time, be blessed

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