WF: Born Again

We hadn’t had one of these in a while. Worship is the easiest way to God. So if you’re struggling or even if you’re happy, just rejoice today in the Lord and join me in worshipping He who deserves all praise and glory.

What a joy to be born again!

WF: Worship Friday

The abuse that nobody sees

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. This is a cause very dear to my heart and once again I want to collaborate by bringing awareness to this illness in our society.

When most people think about domestic abuse they think of broken bones, black eyes and dishevel appearance. Usually the abuse is thought of as from a man to a woman. Although this stereotype is true, there’s a silent, sometimes subtle kind of abuse that goes on in many households undetected, that’s emotional abuse.

Emotional abuse is usually defined by instances where one spouse or partner belittlers, yells, name calls and is offensive towards the other spouse or partner. Some victims believe they are not being abused because they engage in the cycle by responding to the attacks.  I found this interesting article on emotional abuse that if you think you are in an abusive relationship you should read. It gives you the right questions to ask yourself to determine if you are in an emotional abusive relationship.

I’ve talked to Christian women in domestic violence situations that do not believe they are in an abusive relationship because there are no bruises on their bodies. They also quote scriptures about the wife being the role model to Christ for their husband. Yes, that can happen, if the man wants to be lead by Christ and not his emotions. When a man becomes abusive, he has become his own god, why would he need the real ONE?

I have been presented with this scripture in 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 ESV  “To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, (this particular portion makes a lot of women in abusive relations justify their acceptance to abusive situations, but like my pastor would say keep reading) and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace. For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? (Yes, as Christians we are to model Christ not only to our spouses but to everyone, but we are not the saviors, Jesus is. Only the spouses willingness to accept Christ and his lordship will save and change him) how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife? “

God has a particular plan for your life, as stated in Jeremiah 29:11 ”For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. See those plans are specific for YOU and they are not to harm you. If God Almighty doesn’t want to harm you, do you think he wants you to be harm by your spouse? Read in the above scripture where it says, “God has called you to peace” Is that relationship bringing you peace?

I’m not advocating for any particular decision or solution, what to do is something you should decide with God in prayer. All I’m saying is that we need to look deeper into the Word and will of God for our lives. Slavery doesn’t come from God. There are options to stop the abuse. You need to recognize your value as a child of God, to know that you are loved, precious and accepted. That tolerating abuse is not the answer as it tells the abuser that is ok.

Please be safe

Blessings customs under the microscope

Achoo!…God Bless you! This is the first knee jerk response for most people when they hear someone sneeze. Gesundheit is another word used, which is a German word that according to my friend Webster means “to wish good health”

According to my research this practice stems from a bubonic plague in Rome around AD590. Pope Gregory I, ordered unending prayer throughout the streets and since sneezing was a common symptom of the plague, people would “bless” anyone sneezing as a chant of prayer against the disease.

In looking this up I found very interesting feedback. There are some people who are actually offended by someone saying “God Bless you” to their sneeze, even some believers who commented on an article that I read that thought that the practice was superstitious. In California, a teacher even scolded a student for “blessing” another one who sneezed. Wow!

The other blessing cliché that I’ve encounter is asking elders for blessings. Culturally, as a Hispanic, I’m accustomed to be blessed by my mother or any other family authority figure (aunts, uncles, grandparents). It is taught to the children to ask for their parents blessing when gathering or departing their presence. Even as grown ups most of us still ask for our elders blessing when interacting with them.  It’s a sign of respect, endearment and fellowship.

Blessing others is not far from biblical principles either. In the Old Testament we see various characters even fight for their parent’s blessing, which meant their wealth and prosperity in many cases. Read about Jacob and Esau and you will see how much a father’s blessing meant.

Personally I don’t mind being blessed; I sure can use all the ones I can get a hold of. So regardless of the setting, although it may be cliché, manners, and customs or in a deeper meaning, I don’t think that wishing someone blessings or placing blessings upon others; even strangers could be a negative thing.

So from my heart to yours…God Bless you today!

Helping others in the midst of our troubles

In conversations with fellow believers I’ve heard way too often” I’m too messed up to help others with their mess”. I admit that I used to belong to this school of thought up to very recent. Ironically the other common denominator was the passionate desire of these women to serve God and others.

The enemy has done a good job pointing out each one of our mistakes to paralyze us from our destiny. We have the tendency to feel unworthy and inadequate to help others because of our life is upside down. Then we come up with the incorrect believe that as we become “perfect” or as close to it, we can then demonstrate the things that God has done in our lives and then be able to be an example. Who hired us for the God job?  God doesn’t need us to ensure his image. He is who he is and he does what he does.

Our journey lasts a lifetime and the reality is that “THE DAY” of perfection is not scheduled on earth, but in heaven. So what do we do with that?

  •  Be real -Let’s be honest with ourselves. Why are we trying to become holier that thou to feel worthy to assist others in pain. When we accepted Christ and started our recovery journey; who were those who we would be more inclined to listen to. Those who has situations or had been in situations similar to ours; who were strongly trusting God to see them through. We don’t do well with those who we don’t relate to.
  •  Share – Yes, if you have overcome some of your issues you can witness to those still in the struggle. My point is that not having arrived is not a requirement to extend to someone who is just starting the journey, of course maintaining awareness of providing support without affecting our own recovery. As it says in Galatians 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
  •  Acknowledge God– Let’s say you’ve only been working on your issues for six months. It would be unreal (if you’re really honestly working in your issues) that you have not done any progress. Everything you have attempted, either if it has been successful or it has failed; its part of your walk and God has placed those blessings or obstacles to promote your growth.

 You may be surprise how much sharing even your failures can enlighten someone else. Remember that  those small or big step God has used to guide you through your healing. 1 Peter 4:10 says ,”Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms”  The scripture says we should serve others with our God-given gifts not with our perfection skills.

Food for thought

The concept of home

It’s been a while since I’ve followed one of wordpress prompts for blogging, but one this week seemed very fitting. The prompt was how you define “home”. This  definition has changed for me throughout the years.

In younger times my definition of a home was to have a large family and a particular house. I admit that I still daydream with that particular house. There were three main requirements: a fireplace, a large balcony in the master bedroom and an office with large bay windows for me to sit there and write away.

God’s plans for my life have been a bit different, but I’m content with what I have. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that” ( 1 Timothy 6:8) I have made sure that the places I’ve lived have fireplaces and if nothing else I always have a chair next to a window as my writing spot. I’ve learned through life and scriptures that this life I’m living is temporary and I’m not searching for an earthly home anymore. Instead I’m building the blocks for that heavenly home Jesus has promised.

I picture life as long business trip where you have a place to stay, you do your work, and you may have visitors over and even your family with you, but knows that at the end of the trip, you go home. Nothing in that hotel room is yours. It has been provided for your use, but you have no ownership. “ But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:20)

So home for me is not the place where I rest my head, or the place where I enjoy time with loved ones, home is the promise of a better life, a perfect life with the Beloved one. In the meantime I need to get back to work as part of this business trip.

In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14.2

Blessings,

Christians have something to learn about celebrity fans

Michael Jackson Ster
Image via Wikipedia

I’m usually intrigued with criminal high profile cases. Today was the first day of the trial against the doctor accused to be responsible with the death of Michael Jackson, and of course I’m with the rest of the world watching. I couldn’t believe my ears when I heard a woman being interviewed who said that she came from Germany just to see the trial. Really?

No disrespect to Michael Jackson, he was a great artist and he has now passed on. There are people who are still claiming for him and he can’t do anything for them because he’s dead. This has nothing to do with MJ, it was this situation that got me thinking.  It made me look at our behaviors as Christians. Are we that bold as followers of Christ?

Jesus didn’t come to earth to entertain us, he gave his life for us, to save us from eternal damnation. He is alive and still intervening on our behalf and yet a lot of his so called followers do not exhibit the passion that some celebrity fans do.

Just following the same example, think how much sacrifice it may take to follow this trial for that person who came to the US from Germany. She was an adult, so I’m imagining that she should have a job, which means vacation time, travel expenses, lodging, food to see something she could have seen in the comfort of her bed as I am doing and gain nothing but satisfaction I guess.

On the other end, as a Christian, are you willing to cancel your family vacation and utilize all those resources to do a missions trip or spread the Good News? Are we this passionate to follow the Word of God? Do you spend your time doing what Jesus would ask us to do in Matthew 25:35-37 “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, 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”

I’m not judging what others do with their free will, but it does let me know we can learn to be more passionate for He who matters over every other.

Food for thought!

Behind Complaining

While I was preparing for my testimony a few weeks ago, I was talking to some friends about the process of preparing for the event. One of them said something very interesting, “it will be good to hear someone else’s problems because I’m tired of listening to myself complaint about mine” He was trying to be funny, but he truly had a point.

I think that when we focus on our problems too closely we have the tendency to get depressed and not see the solutions that may be right in front of our noses. On the other hand when we get out of ourselves to help others we give your brain rest space to actually focus on other things and two things can happen: either we see the answer or we realize that ours are not the worse problems.

In Luke 7:31 (MSG) we read,How can I account for the people of this generation? They’re like spoiled children complaining to their parents, ‘We wanted to skip rope and you were always too tired; we wanted to talk but you were always too busy.’ John the Baptizer came fasting and you called him crazy. The Son of Man came feasting and you called him a lush. Opinion polls don’t count for much, do they? The proof of the pudding is in the eating.”

So as I look back at what my friend made reference to, it makes sense. Complaining shows not only that we are focusing too much on ourselves, but it could also be that we are not content with something. How many times we complain about very superficial things and act like spoiled children?

However, this is the way we should live our lives, “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. (Matthew 5:5) and since we are fearfully and wonderfully made; and God’s works are wonderful, then we should be more than well with who we are and what we have. If not, then it’s probably related to our choices and decision and that’s an easy fix. Yes, I say easy fix because our choices and decisions are ours, therefore it’s in our hands to change our circumstances instead of complaining about them.

Food for thought

Be blessed

Reviews and Endorsements

There comes a time in the process of publishing a book where the newbie writers need to find someone with credibility to endorse their book. The popular notion is to find a celebrity that would say something about your book and that will draw people to buy it. I’m not sure how I feel about that. I’m sure that part of it is because when I look at my contact list there are no celebrities listed in there. But more than that I place myself in the buyer’s shoes and I don’t know how much a celebrity endorsement would sway me either way to a purchase.

I found this blog yesterday, and yes I would agree that if Oprah was promoting sack potato dresses they would fly off the shelves, I just don’t see the translation to books. I would probably be more incline to by a celebrity book than a celebrity endorsed book.

I’m a twihard (Twilight series fan) and I’m honestly not into vampires and werewolves, but my friends wouldn’t shut up about the books, so I went bought the first one and got hooked. I admit that I’ve read them all, seen all the movies and I’m secretly in love with Edward, (and hate Bella… Even after her redemption I couldn’t get over her nonsense) On the other hand if I see a book endorsed by Stephanie Meyer it would not move me to buy it just for the fact that she’s endorsing it. The topic of the book needs to capture my interest and the first few pages need to lock my attention in order for me to buy the book.

In my genre, I’ve bought several books from Joyce Meyer, but once again I’m not sure that her endorsement of a new author would automatically make me purchase the book. Yes, it may make me take a look at it, but not necessarily get my debit card out of the wallet.

Now good reviews on a book, and like with Twilight, having friends talk about it will probably get my wallet out of my purse a little quicker.

As always I want to hear your thoughts. My writer readers, how important do you think endorsements are for your books? My reader fans, would a celebrity endorsement influence you in any way towards buying a book?

Looking forward to your comments

Blessings

A day to remember

September 11th, 2001 was one of those life changing events that everyone always asks themselves where they were when they heard about it. I was at work, supervising a call center. My mother called me and said that a plane had crashed against the World Trace Center. Being overwhelmed with work, I heard what she said but I didn’t listen. I ended the call and continued to work, but her words kept roaming in my busy brain. I pulled up the internet and saw the news and then it hit me. A plane had crashed against the World Trace Center! …and as I was watching the live news feed the second plane hit the other tower.

My eyes opened in disbelief. The phones in the call center got quiet or so it seemed. Then anxiety started rising. I have family in New York and there were talks of war, and I have family in the military. My first instinct was to find out where everyone close to my heart was, regardless if they lived or not in New York. I called my mother back and asked her to try to ensure our loved ones in the area where ok as I needed to continue to work.

The buildings near my job were evacuated. After the Pentagon was hit, people were afraid of what other federal facilities would be targets. Our office was inside a main TV channel and near a main federal building. Every office around us was evacuated but us. My staff was complaining. I was too busy watching the news perplexed to what was happening. A friend of mine and I walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch. The streets were empty. At the restaurant the news were playing on a tv set. We ate what we could and headed back to work.

I remember that I went to bed late that night. I could not unglued my eyes of the television with everything that was happening. I was hoping that more people would be found alive, but that didn’t happen. During the course of the years, on this day, I’ve always tuned in for the memorial ceremony online. I’ve watch every documentary and movie that I have been able to get my hands on. I didn’t lose anyone on that tragic day, but I think America lost the sense of safety that was taken for granted.

Looking back our lives have changed forever. We were awaken to the fact that we need to embrace life one day at a time because tomorrow is never promised to us. Let’s be grateful for the things that we have enjoyed in the last 10 years. Enjoy the promised of God. Let’s embrace our loved ones and remember those who lost their own and can’t embrace theirs today.

Let’s also remember those who are fighting for our freedom and safety and giving their lives every day. They are also not home to embrace or be embraced in a day like today.

Let’s place out trust in our Lord Almighty for comfort, peace and joy

Be blessed

Who owns the moon?

It must be the writer in me. Sometimes the weirdest things just pop into my head. I decided to do an internet search thinking, “nah, nobody has thought of this, it’s ridiculous” and it never fails; I find some information on it and it just blows my mind.

So I’m writing a romantic scene where the man says the phrase, “ Oh I would give you the moon” and my mind keeps running, if someone was “serious” about getting the moon what would they have to do? Do they need to buy the space program? I was joking, but decided to research who owns the moon and found out that since 2008 that has been topic of legal dispute. Really?

Apparently there’s a man in the U.K. that claimed property rights to the moon and has been selling acres of it for $40 an acre. Pretty cheap if you ask me. Of course then I think, what would I even do with it? It’s not like I can build a house and live there. Well, this man has sold 500 million acres. It really blows my mind that men want ownership over creation. It’s obvious that pride is one of those things that always keeps us thinking that we have rights to what is not ours to begin with.

Deuteronomy 4:19
And when you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worshiping things the LORD your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven.

I found this song to the moon and thought it was fitting. Enjoy creation, we are stewards (and not too good ones) not owners. Be blessed!