Category Archives: Articles

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

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

Back to the Future

Do you remember the series of Movies “Back to the future” with Michael J. Fox? Maybe I’m revealing my age here. LOL! For those who have not seen this movie, it was the story of a crazy scientist and a teenager. They had created a time machine. Marty (the name of Michael J. Fox’s character) is the teenager. He’s living an unhappy life at home. He goes back in time to his parent’s senior year of high school, witnesses the time where they met and understands the reason why things came out to be the way they were in the present.

He interferes with the past, but when he comes back to the future realizes that his interference has affected the outcome to the point where he now doesn’t even exist. He now has to go back to the past to fix what he has done, but still had to interfere because he wasn’t able to go back to the exact same moment in the past.

There are many times when we wish we had a time machine. We live in the land of if’s. If I had not done this, I had not said that, I had not met this person, the list can be endless. I admit sometimes I can actually pinpoint the exact moment when my decisions led me through the wrong path and I wish I could take them back.

But recently I have changed that perspective. I’ve learned that even the worst events in my life and the worst decisions I have made has taught me lessons that has made my life better. How is that possible? Well , that’s just a fulfillment of a promise from God.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Are you not wiser, more mature for those life challenges that we’ve had? Let’s stop living in the past and the Land of If’s. Let’s use the present with is all we have.

When you feel like the burden of this day is taking a toll on you, stand on these scriptures:

Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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“This book is in a class by itself, you will not be able to put it down! The characters pull you in and you begin to feel their emotions. Excellently written. The title fooled me, the saying goes” never judge a book by the cover “and this is one of those books.” By Duezette

Legitimate Rape

During the US Senatorial Campaign in Missouri, a politician stated that if a woman was involved in a situation of “legitimate rape” the body knew how to reject the products of conception and she wouldn’t get pregnant. This raised a huge issue, as it should have. Starting with the concept of legitimate rape, implying that there are situations of non-consensual sex that are not considered rape. Why am I bringing this up now? Recently, NBC’s “Law & Order: SVU” aired an episode dealing with this issue and brought it back to my mind.

I don’t agree with the biology of this concept and I know a lot of people were outraged by the insinuation. But then it became an issue of faith when the Bible was misquoted insinuating that God approved of Rape. These were some of the scriptures utilized.

  • Deuteronomy 22:28-29- This scriptures talks about pre-marital sex not rape and how a man who was already engaged to this woman should marry her after having sex with her.
  • Deuteronomy 21:10-14 This scripture talks about marrying a prisoner of war women, not rape. Now historically no woman had a choice in the men they married in those times. Within that logic every woman before the 19th century was raped and we know that’s not true.
  • Zechariah 14:1-2 This scripture is describing the situation going on, not asking for women to be raped.

Personally I couldn’t serve a God who believe in rape, but I know this is far from the truth. I know how he has healed me from situations that were not His will but someone else’s misuse of free will. Taking the Word out of context is a old trick from the enemy to distract us from the healing that God has for those who have been hurt.

If you have been sexually assaulted, I know that you are hurting. Do not believe this is your fault. Do not believe that this was God’s will. This was the misuse of someone’s free will and God wants to free and heal you.

Now this is what Jesus has asked us to do with each other and it shows the Truth of God’s heart:

John 13:34 says “”A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” NIV

We also read in

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails” NIV

Jesus said that when Moses was giving the law, he allowed certain things because of the hard hearts of men. Although he said that in relations to divorce, I can see that translating to other subjects. God has not approved for women to be hurt. If we love others, we would not hurt others and that’s the True command.

Until then, be blessed.

clip_image002 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

Competing Faith

Have you ever been in a competition where Christians discuss their denominational differences almost like football fans? I think what we miss as believers is that our differences are really as the many ways  of making white rice. What do I mean?

Growing up I learned that to make white rice I had to place oil, water and salt, bring it to a boil then pour the rice. Some people use butter instead of oil, some add garlic powder. At the end of the day you get in your plate the same thing: white rice

The Word of God tells us in John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I believe that our particular rituals work for us in our humanity. Just like music is a matter of taste, but at the end of the day is the message of the Word of God that we are called to live by. I also believe that our discrepancies are used by the enemy to distract us from our real purpose which is to spread the Good News to others. So when you find yourself and those around you that we are ALL here to do the work of the kingdom and not for our purposes. I also invite you to use that opportunity to come together and do something for the kingdom that all of those in the conversation can agree. You will see that you have way more in common than you imagine.

Until next time, be blessed!

clip_image002 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

Becoming the church

The beginning of a year is a good time for reflection and planning for the future. 2012 was a hard year and we saw in many ways how the church was either an important part or absent in those events that we experienced.

So in a society that is visibly degrading progressively, we as believers have to ask ourselves where is the church. On my last post I talked a little about who the church is and the importance that the church has for Jesus Christ. He is the one we say we follow and worship. But the bottom line is that WE are the church. The church is not a building or even an institution. Every time one of us makes the decision to follow Christ we become the church.

The word “church” as rendered in the New Testament comes from the Greek term ekklesia which is formed from two Greek words meaning “an assembly” and “to call out” or “called out ones.” In summary, the New Testament church is a body of believers who have been called out from the world by God to live as his people under the authority of Jesus Christ.

So when we ask where the church in the tragedies, the sadness and the scandals was the question really is, where was I? How did I contribute to this situation? Was I an element of healing or part of the problem?

You may wonder, what is it required from us. To love others as we love ourselves.

Don’t know where to start. I’ll give you a good starting point.

Follow Matthew 25:34-40

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

Until then, be blessed

clip_image002 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

The Church and its Bride

No, I didn’t lose my GPS again. I’m not looking for directions to a particular building or talking about a particular denomination. The bible doesn’t talk about these particularly it just refers to the church as its bride.

I think of the woman who is in expectation of her groom. She runs around making preparations to spend the rest of her life with the love of her life. Her groom is the one that makes her feel butterflies in her stomach and sing love songs in the morning.

So who is this bride?

In Revelation 21:2 the bible tells us that the apostle John had a revelation, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” This scripture says that the New Jerusalem will be the prepared bride for her husband. Do we see the parallel of the believers in waiting for the return of our Lord?

We are the New Jerusalem beloved. But are we the eager bride preparing for the coming of the Lord, or are we like the parable of the virgins, who thought that his groom was never coming and ran out of oil.

We are living in crucial moments. God’s perfect plan has called us to be here for a time like this. Are we doing our part? Are we focused on the kingdom of God or are we focused on our own selfish needs? Do we trust God to provide ALL of our needs and like he says seek him first?

Come back on Wednesday as we discuss what the expectation is from us to be ready for the groom.

Until then

Be blessed

clip_image002 This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

Working the Mission Field

What a blessing we find in those who dedicate their lives to the work of the kingdom. In a way we are all called to the mission field. Our field may be different and that’s why we don’t consider ourselves missionaries. It is our duty as Christians to sow the seed of the Gospel in our workplace, with our family and friends, with the works of our ministries, with our neighbors and the cashier at grocery store.

With that said, I admire those who leave family and friends, move away to just work for the kingdom. Those who leave their commodities and sleep on the floor, and have very little to eat just to help needy communities and dedicate their lives to the mission field. They truly fulfill the scripture that reads Acts 6:4 “But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” They see first hand the pain and suffering for those in need. They love with the love of Christ every single day of their live. They are an example of what Christ-like life is.

Matthew 28:19-20

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Let’s stay alert to what our individual mission fields are and fulfill them eagerly. Also let’s help as much as possible those who have sacrificed everything for the cause of the Kingdom.

Until then, be blessed.

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In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

The Economy Frenzy

Well, this is the beginning of the year and what do we hear, we went halfway over the fiscal cliff. Can I be honest with you? I am not concerned. Yes, I just got my first paycheck of 2013 and has less money than the one before. Yes, I have a lot of debt and expenses to pay. Why I am not concerned? First of all, as it says in Psalm 54:4 “Surely God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me.” God is my provider and I assume responsibility for the debt that I have. This was not something that the government made me do, I got into that debt. I was fiscally irresponsible and my mistakes have consequences. I disobeyed to the instruction on Proverbs 22:26 “Do not be a man who strikes hands in pledge or puts up security for debts” So if I have to tighten up, I will do so knowing that my Heavenly Father will provide for my needs. My wants will have to wait.

As I say that, we just watched with glee how much was spent just a few weeks ago. Christmas has moved from a spiritual celebration to a worldly, expensive one.

My 9-5 is very close to a shopping mall. My office has a window that looks directly onto the road in front of the mall. I would stare with amaze at how crowded that road was. Leaving work was painful during that time because the traffic was insane. I’m not against celebrations and presents. At the same time I know that people stretch themselves for the wrong reasons during this season, struggling in the aftermath.

Black Friday was just as eventful and successful as days prior. There were people camping in front of stores since Tuesday to buy a television. That’s beyond my comprehension. It all comes down to stewardship. Are you being a good steward of everything the Lord has given you? When I say everything that means your time, your resources, His Money…because it’s his, your body.

Trust in the Lord. Seek the kingdom of God first. He will supply your needs and instead of agonizing over the world’s economy, agonize over what else you can do to further the kingdom of God.

Be blessed.

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In Growth Lessons, I was reminded of this beautiful truth: Our walk with the Lord is a process of growing up into the image of Christ. P. Yates

I would recommend this book for anyone who would like some common sense and light added to their life. C. Cunningham

Great for meditations and daily devotions. N. Thames

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