Category Archives: Inspirational Thoughts

WF: Overcomer

I read this devotional by Joyce Meyers and I wanted to share it in its entirety and I think it goes perfect with our worship song for today.

More Than Conquerors

As Christians, we often hear people quote Romans 8:37, which says we are more than conquerors. For years, I have pondered what being “more than a conqueror” actually means.

I’m sure other people have different interpretations, but I have come to the conclusion that being “more than a conqueror” means you have such confidence that no matter what comes up in your life, you know that through Christ you can handle it. You know before you are ever faced with a problem that you’re going to have victory over it. You believe you can do whatever you need to do in life. Therefore, you don’t dread things, you don’t fear the unknown, and you don’t live in anxiety about what’s going to happen. It doesn’t really matter what the specifics of each situation are, you know you will be victorious through Christ.

Power Thought: I am more than a conqueror through Christ.

From the book Power Thoughts Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2010 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.

#WhyILeft

Naty Matos:

As many of you know one of the causes I dearly support is Domestic Violence. When the Ray Rice case came out, like the writer of this post stated, a hashtag was born #WhyIstayed. It was heartbreaking hearing the stories of many survivors explaining how debilitating is the process to leave and even when they had finally realized that they were not treated well, they stayed a while longer.
In this post the author gives this theme a spin and talks about #WhyIleft

Originally posted on Nikewrites Blog:

Instead of posting the usual #FlashFictionFriday piece, I’ve decided to post a poem for Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This piece is a continuation of the #WhyIStayed hashtag discussion that was started on Twitter last month.  You can read my piece “Why I Stayed,” here.

Photograph: Johner Images / Alamy/Alamy As seen on: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2013/apr/27/save-money-holiday-costs

Why I Left

Because I was tired of being controlled and manipulated

Because I was tired being told I was crazy

Because I was tired of being told I didn’t measure up

Because he wouldn’t, didn’t protect my heart

Because being alone in the world no longer mattered,

Especially since I was so alone in my relationship.

Because the love was clearly one-sided.

Because I learned how to love myself more.

Because my child didn’t need to witness another fight.

Because I caught a glimpse of my strength

And his weakness was exposed.

Because it was…

View original 25 more words

WF: Beautiful

When someone is in an abusive relationship they feel devalued. People often ask how someone could allow another person to abuse them. The reality is that abuse is a slow systematic process. The abuser recognizes the vulnerabilities on their object of abuse and preys on those vulnerabilities.  It doesn’t happen overnight, but eats slowly at the core of the one suffering the abuse.

Once the chains of abuse have been locked, several things extend or perpetuate the abused to stay with the abuser. The lies that were believed, the toll to the self-esteem, the dependence on the abuser (emotional, financial, cultural, etc.) will make the smartest and most educated person stay in an abusive situation. It is very hard for someone who has not lived or is not living in an abusive relationship to understand. This isolates the victim even more.

Questions like: Why do you allow it? Why don’t you leave? And comments like: You are in this situation because you want to; do not help but alienate more the one that desperately needs help. And sometimes the only help that you can provide is a listening ear.

But my point in this Worship Friday is to tell you out there to stop believing the lie. Stop believing that you are not worth it. Stop believing that you are not special, that you’re unloved. Stop believing that you’re not attractive. You are perfectly made. You’re beautiful. I hope this song encourages you in the darkest hours and gives you the strength to know that to He who created you, you are all.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14

If you need to prayer or to share your story, don’t hesitate to email me at therisingmuse at Gmail dot com

WF: Worship Friday

Enough With The Horror Stories

I’m sure that just like me; many of my sisters out there have heard horror stories about mammograms. I don’t know why as horrorwomen we have the tendency to create horror stories about those things that relate to our bodies. We heard horror stories about how our menstrual cycle was going to be. We heard the horror stories about our wedding night, child birth and many other things. And in a latter part of our life we have heard those same stories about our preventative checkup for breast cancer.

I admit that the horror stories kept me away from getting tested for a couple of years. I would go to my annual checkup. The doctor would give the order; the nurse would schedule my appointment and then I would miss it. Ironically I’ve been supporting the Breast Cancer Awareness Cause for about the same amount of time that I’ve been avoiding getting tested.

This year, a coworker who has promised to share her story with us later in the month, went through the experience of breast cancer. She used to have this pretty long beautiful hair and I had not seen her in a while. We ran into each other in the bathroom and I felt confident enough to ask her if something had happened. She briefly told me her story. I will not anticipate the details of her story, but it was preventative testing what help detect her cancer at an earlier stage. I told her about my fears and how I had been avoiding it. She encouraged me to get tested and I promised her that this year I would.

To be honest I had already missed the original date of my test. So, I called my doctor’s office and reschedule. The morning of the test I didn’t want to get out of the bed, but I decided to get up and go. I was late to my appointment. I think I secretly wanted for them to tell me that they couldn’t see me, but that was not the case. I was finally in my gown waiting to be called into the testing room and in my mind I was thinking Should I just get dressed and leave. Nah, I made it this far.

no more excusesLet me tell you that I felt like a fool after the testing was done. The tech told me that it is true that in the past, this was a painful test, but that technology has advance and now everything is done digitally. The whole process takes about 15 minutes. No pain, no discomfort, no horror stories to share. It was almost like taking a chest x-ray.

As soon as I left the office I thought of writing this post. I know that someone out there has been running from this the same way I did. If the blessing that God has given me through this forum saves one life, it is worth telling my story. If like me, you’ve been running to get tested. Stop listening to the horror stories. I’m living proof that it was the greatest experience ever and that next year I will not hesitate to go.

Stay Healthy

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Open your eyes, the help is here.

Those close to me know that the last two months have been quite rough. Several incidents have happened and all of them were quite significant hits.WW

Before becoming closer to Christ I use to have this image that it was the world against me and I needed to be strong for me and for everyone around me. Once I understood what it says  in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  I understood then that I had to give all my troubles to the Lord and that if I was feeling burdened was because there was something I was holding on to. I had learned that his yoke is easy and if he trusted me with things, he always made a way for things to get done while I kept my peace.

I also learned what says in Ecclesiastes 4:12 “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” So when the first bullet hit, I rounded up my accountability team, fought my battle on my knees and although I was wounded I was still up and kicking.

Then a grenade came over, it’s OK. I went back to my prayer warriors to start covering me. I was still on my knees fighting the good fight. I reached out, pulled all those resources that I’ve learned in my walk. I was bleeding, but I was fighting.

While this was going on, and on one of my personal times with God the scripture for study that night was Numbers 11:11-17

 He asked the Lord, “Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me?  Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors?  Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’  I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me.  If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

 The Lord said to Moses: “Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting that they may stand there with you.  I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.”

As a leader, the scripture caught my attention, but it really went over my head. I was still standing in faith that the bleeding and the pain would get better and I would be able to move forward. The enemy saw my determination and that God still trusted more on me, so he decided to send a missile. It’s not that I was caught off guard, it was that I was already wounded, so I fell down holding on to everything that had been entrusted to me. I continued to pray, but there was so much smoke that I couldn’t see. I kept crying out for help, but I couldn’t even hear my own voice. I trusted God in this “valley of the shadow of death” but I felt like I was drowning. I kept hearing voices coming for help but I couldn’t see their hands. I didn’t know what to give them from everything I was holding on.

mosesLast night when I finally did what I should have done and had done the first two times, I surrendered and everything fell off my hands.  The fog lifted and the Lord showed me the image of Moses holding his arms up during the war against the Amelekites. When his arms were tired and Aaron and Hur held his hands up and even placed stones under his arms so that he could remain with his arms up.  Then I understood. I had been surrounded by angels who were just waiting for me to see them. I was not on the floor as I thought. I had been surrounded all this time and I just couldn’t see it. It was very humbling to hear that I had been held, that I was being supported and surrounded by love all along. All I needed to do was allow God to open my eyes.

If you’re struggling right now, allow me to pay forward what has been given to me. You can comment on the blog or send me an email to therisingmuse@gmail.com and I’ll be standing behind you in prayer as many have been standing for me through this storm.

Until next time, be blessed.

Zimmerman VS. Dunn

Being trapped at home snowed in, I had the opportunity to watch the Michael Dunn’s trial. I had promised myself that after Jodi Arias I was done with trials, but this one caught my attention because of the circumstances around it.

The media and social media have compared this trial to the George Zimmerman trial, and although there are many similarities, there a huge differences in my opinion. I’ll try to stay as objective as possible and try stay within the lines of facts because I know there are a lot of people being affected by this tragedy.martin

Similarities

  • These two cases came out of Florida and caught media attention
  • An adult shot an unarmed teenager.
  • The shooter and the victim were from different races.
  • In both cases the shooter claimed self defense.
  • In both cases the shooter alleged that the victim had a weapon.
  • In both cases the shooter alleged that he was threatened.
  • In both cases no weapon was found on the teenagers.
  • Racism was an important part of the cases.
  • Gun control has been part of the discussion.

dunnDifferences

  • George Zimmerman called 911, in fact more than once before the incident, so he knew police was on their way. Michael Dunn never called 911.  I know I’m trying to stay to the facts, but this part was hard for me to understand. I can understand that he didn’t call 911 from the gas station because he claimed to be afraid. He said he didn’t do anything wrong. I can even understand his perception, but if he was attacked why wouldn’t he call the police to catch his alleged attackers?
  • George Zimmerman stayed at the scene and immediately told the police that he had been the shooter. Michael Dunn fled the scene and although he didn’t deny being the shooter, he waited for the police to find him.
  • The incident between Zimmerman and Martin was in a dark kind of alley under the rain. The incident involving Dunn and Davis was in a well lit parking lot.
  • In the Zimmerman case there was very few witnesses, mostly what people were able to hear in the rain. With Dunn there were multiple witnesses and even some videos.
  • Zimmerman had physical evidence of an altercation. Dunn had no physical evidence of being attacked.
  • Zimmerman was granted out on bond to await trial. Dunn had to remain in jail throughout the process.
  • In the Zimmerman case there was a loud, high level of interest and outrage from the community and certain important leaders. Although the Dunn case has been classified as a high profile case and the local community has reacted to the case, it has not reached the levels that the other case did.

In terms of the results, a jury has decided that George Zimmerman was not guilty and acted in self defense. In the Michael Dunn case, the jury is deliberating as I type this article.

Keep both the Martins and the Davis in your prayers. Both families lost their child in a very tragic manner. They will not able to see their kids get a career, get married, or have children. I lost a sister when I was very young and it wasn’t a tragic death. I know from watching my mother that there’s not a single day where she doesn’t think about my sister and that although time does make things easier, that pain is always there.

Matthew 5:4 – Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

As a society we need to look at ourselves and how we are living. We are in a place of intolerance and violence. Let’s go back to what Jesus asked us to do:

“’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

…and remember that your neighbor is ANY human being around you regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, lifestyle, belief, political affiliation, socio-economical status.

Until next time, be blessed

Childlike

quote_0058-childlike-faithI had a beautiful learning experience the other day. I was leaving the church lobby in a rush to go to my ministry obligations. It was a very cold day. A mother was in the lobby with her little girl. She could not have been more than three years old. She had a cute character hat. I told the girl how cute her hat was, if she would let me have it. Without thinking it twice she took the hat off her head and gave it to me.  Then I said that since she was so generous, if she would like to come with me to keep me company as I didn’t have any little girls. Again without hesitation she walked towards me with a smile.

Now, my adult mind was freaked out thinking someone needs to teach this little girl to not be so open to strangers. I crouched next to her and gave her the hat back telling her that my head was too big for it and that it would look better on her. I also told her to go back to her mom, that I was glad she was willing to come with me but that he mommy would miss her. The little girl just smiled. I asked her one last thing, if before she left she would give me a hug. Immediately she opened her little arms and wrapped them around my neck. Her innocence and sweetness really made an impact on me.

When I walked out of the church lobby I could hear the Lord speaking to my heart. He was saying that’s what he means when he said in Matthew 18:3 “”Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven”. We may have to discerning with each other because of the world we live in, but we have to totally abandon ourselves to Him.

As I was driving to the next building where I was expected for the night and I was still meditating on the event. The Lord showed me the image of a little child at the edge of a pool jumping into his father’s arms. I know that the absence of an earthly father have made it a challenge for me to be able to jump blindly into my Heavenly Father’s arms in total abandonment. I feel blessed for Him using that little girl to show me how it feels to be loved unconditionally, without fear into his welcoming arms.

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Have you experienced that? If so, share your experience with us. I would love to hear it. If not and you’re struggling with it; let us know as well and allow us to include you in our prayers.

Until next time,

Be blessed.

Snowed Out Atlanta 2014

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I took this on my own backyard.

Starting Tuesday afternoon the south was hit with a winter storm. There are many approaches to this story. We can either complaint or see how God worked through this crisis. At the time I’m writing this there are still people stranded on the roads or at temporary shelters. I’ve heard of five deaths, a baby was born who was named “Grace” and many cars are still on the side of the roads from people who had to leave them and walk to a safe place.

I can rant about a lot of things that have upset me about this situation. The authorities have not IMG_0814accepted responsibility, not for the snow, I think we are smarter than that. We are not blaming anyone for snowing but for how some things were handled. There has been no sense of accountability, partial truths and some total untruths. Which reminds me of Psalms 146:3 “Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there.”

But there’s another side to this story where we saw not only the southern hospitality, but the spirit of community and the Good Samaritan spirit in full action.

Chick- fil- A decided to serve food to stranded drivers. Drivers were sharing any food, water and blankets they had. Some people walked around their streets passing food and water to the stranded motorists. Supermarkets, gas stations and hardware stores (Home Depot)became shelters. Schools had to keep children while their teachers and employees made every effort to make them feel comfortable, ensure that they were fed and kept them safe.

On a routine day we have people whom we like more than others. I experienced the coming together of people whose personalities I see clashing every day. They were checking on each other, praying for each other. The differences disappeared and they focused on what was important, thy neighbor.

So yes, it was a difficult time and it’s not over yet, but I’ve been able to see that there’s still hope, that although the flesh has a tendency to evil, goodness shows up when the rubber meets the road.

My prayers are with those who lost loved ones and with those who have not made it home. Know that this is not just one of those we are praying for you cliché. We Are Praying for YOU! I invite anyone who reads this and it’s home safe to join me in praying, not only for those who are still struggling, but also a prayer of gratitude for the fact that you are home safe and warm.

Matthew 18:19 – Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

If you have been part of this experience and need to vent, have a special prayer request or a praise report, feel free to share it with us. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it publicly, just email me at therisingmuse@gmail.com

Stay warm. Stay safe. God Bless.

Naty

The Patience of Job

the_patience_of_job

You have probably heard this phrase frequently. When someone seems to be able to tolerate what seems to be intolerable they are often told, “You have the patience of Job” Although I don’t consider myself a very patient person, I have been told that I have the patience of Job. Here’s the thing. I think we miss some of the elements of the patience of Job. We have the tendency to idealize that he never complained, never got angry. If that was the case, not even Job had the patience of Job.

Patience is defined as the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. The key wordsimages for me in this statement, without getting angry or upset and the fact that there are no screams, lamps flying or inappropriate language doesn’t mean a person is not angry or upset.

I’ve read the book of Job a little over three times. There are passages where I pushed my bible to the side fearing that just the fact that I read some of his remarks towards God was going to make a thunder come down from the skies.  Here are some examples but you have to read the book, there are a lot more:

  •  Job 3:11 “Why didn’t I die at birth, my first breath out of the womb my last?”
  • Job 6: 8-9 “All I want is an answer to one prayer, a last request to be honored:
    Let God step on me—squash me like a bug, and be done with me for good”
  • Job 7: 11-16 ““And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet, I’m laying it all out on the table;
        my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest. Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
        the way you quiet the sea and still the storm? If I say, ‘I’m going to bed, then I’ll feel better.
        A little nap will lift my spirits,’ you come and so scare me with nightmares
        and frighten me with ghosts that I’d rather strangle in the bedclothes
        than face this kind of life any longer. I hate this life! Who needs any more of this?
        Let me alone! There’s nothing to my life—it’s nothing but smoke.”
  • Job 9:21-24“Believe me, I’m blameless. I don’t understand what’s going on.
        I hate my life! Since either way it ends up the same, I can only conclude
        that God destroys the good right along with the bad. When calamity hits and brings sudden     death, he folds his arms, aloof from the despair of the innocent. He lets the wicked take over running the world; he installs judges who can’t tell.”
  • Job 10:1 “I can’t stand my life—I hate it! I’m putting it all out on the table, all the bitterness of my life—I’m holding back nothing.”
  • Job 16:8-10 “God, you have wasted me totally—me and my family! You’ve shriveled me like a dried prune, showing the world that you’re against me. My gaunt face stares back at me from the mirror, a mute witness to your treatment of me. Your anger tears at me, your teeth rip me to shreds, your eyes burn holes in me—God, my enemy!”
  • Job 17:6 “God, you’ve made me the talk of the town—people spit in my face”
  • Job 21:4 “It’s not you I’m complaining to—it’s God. Is it any wonder I’m getting fed up with his silence?”
  • Job 23:1“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground. My complaint is legitimate. God has no right to treat me like this— it isn’t fair!”
  • Job 30:20-23 “I shout for help, God, and get nothing, no answer! I stand to face you in protest, and you give me a blank stare! You’ve turned into my tormenter—you slap me around, knock me about. You raised me up so I was riding high and then dropped me, and I crashed. I know you’re determined to kill me, to put me six feet under.”

So once again, if your image of the patience of Job is this quiet guy who took everything in longsuffering not getting ever upset, go read the book again, that was not in the one I read. I don’t know about you but I read a lot of griping and complaining. If someone is saying constantly that he hates his life that is someone who is upset.

I’m not saying this to down Job. He was patient and truly waited on God. He endured everything that happened to him, but he vented and complained quite often. Don’t ever feel that when you bring your sorrows to the Lord it means that you are not trusting God.  When you feel the need to vent to God, don’t think that you can’t.  If God is our everything, it means HE will also be THE ONE to whom we should go with our heartaches, anxieties and pain.

One of the things I admire about Job is that he always knew that his life depended on God. He knew he was feeble and that God was sovereign. He never cursed at God, he kept his faith through losing it all and he lost it all. He lost his wife, his sons, all his earthly possessions, his friends and even his health. When I say he lost it all, he lost it ALL; but his faith.

So at least in my case, I may have some of the patience of Job. I whine and whine and complaint knowing that God is there. I give it all to him, but I still say “God is not fair” and God says it’s true, I never said life was fair, but I am fair.

I don’t only want to have the patience of Job. I also want to have his faith and endurance to be able to Praise the Lord no matter what comes my way.

Food for thought.

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Ending 2013

In the years prior I measured my success by the blogs I was able to write, the books I was able to publish and the personal goals I was able to meet. 2013 was a year rich in life lessons that could not be accounted in numbers.

This year I was a lazy blogger. I was being pulled in so many directions in my life that I couldn’t concentrate enough to write myABV blogs. I participated in a few marketing campaigns for my books but nothing major. I was able to publish one book out of pure perseverance and I know I have not done anywhere near anything to market it, so I’m not disappointed with the results because I can’t have any expectations for the work I have not done.

I have not even been consistent working out, so I have some ground to recover once the year comes back. So what are the highlights of this year?

Well, although my goal was to read twelve books, I read eight. Yes, the goal was not met but it was six books more than I read the year before.

I started working with a new ministry at my church in Spanish. Aside from writing, I’ve found another place where I know God has called me to be.

I cooked Thanksgiving dinner, something I had not done in over five years and I’m pretty proud of myself.

But to be honest the highlight of this year was a card that someone I had not talked to in a while gave me. The card said how much I

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had inspired her. I’m not boasting on that fact, I’m just happy that in spite of all my shortcomings and inabilities the Lord still used me to inspire someone. The Glory is for HIM, I’m just glad my imperfect self is still usable for him and that makes up for 365 rough days of 2013.

I’m looking forward to 2014. 2014 is a New Year with new possibilities, new opportunities, new mercies but the same awesome God.

Happy New Year 2014!

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