Wednesday, July 29, 2015

These kids...

“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that brings good tidings, that publishes peace, that brings good tidings of good, that publishes salvation, that says unto Zion, Your God reins! Isaiah 52:7

My heart is full tonight. As I log into Facebook and once again find new updates of ‘children’ on their way to try their wings. Some on their way, others back home, and even more planning still. So many plans, so many dreams.

Theirs is a purpose in the process of fulfillment.

Oh that more lives would wish for full surrender…and then surrender all their will to live, not for themselves but for the King.

So many claim to be partakers and yet so very few pursuit the real deal!

My heart is full indeed.

I watch these lives, these kids, eagerly anticipating the unknown with the outmost excitement, KNOWING without a shadow of a doubt that THIS is what their faith is all about!

These are the hands. These are the feet. These are the voices.

These are they which rise out of a generation marred by darkness. The candles in the hills. The soldiers volunteering for the front lines of the battlefield of persecution.

These are our kids. The ones who choose to serve, so that others may live.

And when sometimes I imagine what the next few decades may be like, when I think about the utter destruction that evil is imparting in this world, I am grateful! Grateful for the few that seeing the need take to the plow and go to reap the fields.

At an age when most are simply basking in the glow of youthfulness, and all the enjoyments it entails, I’m grateful for the few that choose to go where others only dare to tread.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

From life to greater life

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.      John 12:24   KJV 

On November 8 my youngest daughter lost one of her best friends in a tragic accident. His name was Jon Gregoire.
I never met Jon in person, but virtual reality is an amazing thing! If my daughter was home from college and she was talking to any of her friends via Skype or Face time my husband and I would barge in and tease in the background. And much to her chagrin and embarrassment that is how we've met or kept in touch with quite a few of her friends. And that's how I'll remember Jon.
The last time I said hello to him was during a visit to my daughter at Liberty University. She insisted I would speak Spanish to him, since I'm from Puerto Rico, and when I did he laughed out loud and said 'mamacita!' It was the funniest thing and I'll remember it for years to come. Still, I regret he had class and other things to do and never had a chance to meet with us that day.
I never knew Jon in person, and yet I have mourned him deeply. When my husband asked what happened all I could say through tears of grief was 'he called me mamacita, he called me mamacita'. There was no doubt I would be there for my daughter that day. She was broken and so was I. But then again, everyone was. 
I have never met a person so blessed with the ability to reach everyone they meet, and touch them in a positively powerful way, the way Jon was blessed to do. That was a gift. God gifted him with an incredible personality and Jon knew just how to make the best use of that gift. He shared it with every single individual he came into contact with, every single day. Such was the influence Jon had on others, that even after he went home with The Lord, Jon is still winning souls to Christ. And that is why I'm still amazed at the person that he was. Like the still flame that gently glows after the initial fire dies down, Jon's memory continues to shine bright.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Four days after his death, the University held a memorial service during their largest, campus wide worship service known as Convocation. That day, Jon's best friend, Josh, shared memories of Jon and gave one of the most moving eulogies I have ever heard. As stills of Jon played on the large screen, Josh reminded us that for those of us who believe in Jesus and have our hope and faith in Him, there is no death. We don't go from life to death but from life to greater life. I love those words. When I heard him say that I remembered what Jesus said in John 12:24
          'Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.'
The only time Jon knew death was when he died to self in order to live in and for Christ. And in doing so, Jon definitely went from life to greater life. In his earthly life Jon honored God in all he did, and brought much increase. But like the corn of wheat that falls to the ground and dies, thus bringing forth much fruit, his death too, has proven to be fruitful. Two days after going home to The Lord, Jon was honored and remembered during a prayer vigil at the university. I remember after it was over, hearing loud cheers and applause in the background. Soon the news had spread that a young man had made a decision for Christ after hearing the testimonies being shared about Jon and the life that he had led because of Christ. The next morning three more people had also accepted The Lord as their savior and that same day more than fifty five individuals had collectively made a decision to trust Jesus for their salvation when the invitation was made during Convocation. All that AFTER Jon had died. Truly, unless the seed falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, but if it dies it brings forth much fruit!
During the vigil, someone else who knew Jon well, D. Glen Schultz, likened him to a shooting star. How very appropriate, for Jon was wise indeed.
         "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.'' Daniel 12:3
Jon lived and died for Christ. That was his gain. And in the process he 'birthed' many sons and daughters to the family of God. What an offspring! What a legacy! What a life! It was never about him, it was and continues to be always about God. To Him be the glory!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

When The Spirit of God rests upon us...

'Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you' Matthew 5:11-12

Summer is always such a busy time! For some people summer translate as vacation. For others, like my husband and I, it only means more work. In 'real estate days' summer is a time for moving. Lots of people coming and going. Some selling, some renting.  It's also a time for things to happen, like A/C's not working while it's 98 degrees outside or secretaries choosing to leave during the busiest time of the year, the month and the week.

After many years as a business owner I've come to learn a few things. One of them is that employees come and employees go. There's no partnership and no vested interest for them other than a paycheck at the end of the week. Yet, my husband and I know no other way to treat our employees but as family. And isn't that funny, that when offenses come they usually hurt more when is from our family than from a stranger? When an outsider hurts us is easy to say 'that person this or that person that' then turn our face on the other direction and move on. But when family hurts us we usually say 'I can't believe she or he did that' That's how it feels when you love someone, when you trust them, and when you least expect it they stab you in the back.

Our secretary left by her own choosing. She also chose to stay with us for as long as she did even though according to herself she hated it. She didn't like her job but never said a word to us about it. Instead she vented to her husband and the net, as in blogging about her unhappiness at work then posting it for the world to see. Fair enough, is a free country. Except that if you are going to call yourself a Christian you shouldn't go around insulting people behind their backs then turning to smile at them as if you really care about them.

But that's not the point. Her betrayal, though hurtful, is truly not the point. And I am so incredibly grateful to God for the experience! So grateful I had to share what God taught me through it all :) Because He is amazing! And because God uses even the worst times in our lives to show His love for us and His presence in our lives!

Yesterday I experienced God's word in my life like I haven't felt it in a very long time! Not that I didn't before, but rather it is about how God revealed to me his word through the things that happened with our secretary and how He showed Himself strong and faithful on my behalf! I know He's always there, I know that even if sometimes I can't 'sense' Him, I know He is not ever far away. I know He knows exactly what is going on in my life, carefully listening to me and taking care of every little thing even when I think nothing is happening. God is ALWAYS at work!

When we hired this last employee we did so under the same terms and with the same fairness we have hired anyone else that has ever worked for us. Not a single item for discrimination was ever considered. Whether or not the government says no one should be discriminated against on the basis of sex or sexual orientation,  handicap, ethnicity, age, race, political affiliation or religion, none of those things ever matter to us. If you qualify for the job based on skills, knowledge and experience we could care less if you are black, white, gay, atheist or on a wheel chair. We'll hire you! Just know one thing, from the moment you start with us until the day you leave and beyond that, one thing is for sure and you can count on that, I am going to pray for you.

So the new girl came, and with her she brought an agenda. First week on the job she was sitting at her desk and my husband was discussing some things with her, when both of them notice a couple of mormons walking past the office. She immediately asked if he would ever hire a mormon. Not having ever taken in consideration discriminating on the basis of religion, his immediate answer was 'sure, why not?' Then she said, well, because I am one. And he pretty much said, 'so?' 

It was obvious to him she was fishing for information. Maybe testing the waters to see how we felt about other religions or about her. Though she tried to get him involved in religious conversation it was obvious to her that was going no where fast. From then on her agenda book was opened and the proselytizing began. Thank God my husband is also saved and knows how to give the proper response when necessary. 

1 Peter 3:15 says, 'But sanctify The Lord in your hearts and ALWAYS be ready to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason for the hope that is  in you with meekness and fear.'  (emphasis added)

I wasn't in the office that day, so that night when my husband came home and shared that with me  I remember telling him that it was obvious there was another reason for us to hire her, more than to get help.  I remember thinking and telling him that God brought her to us for a purpose other than to help us. And I remember how upset my husband was when I told him that :) We were so busy at the time and had not had any help in more than three years and were more than ready to unload some of the burden. All he could think of at the moment was 'if she's not here to help us, then what are we going to do?'

There was a lot to be done, no doubt about that. But nothing that could not be handled. We tend to advocate and practice teamwork at our company, but in order for that to work everyone has to be a team player. Unfortunately for some people just wearing the uniform and sitting it out is enough to call it a game.

Time went by and the workload increase. More accounts were being opened and more help was necessary, except we could't hire another employee and the one we had decided to 'shove it', to quote her own words. Yet I didn't complain, at least not to her. 

My prayer increased, and so did my burden. Not in work, but in my spirit. Something was not just right and I could feel it. I kicked in my prayer gear on high and started seeking The Lord more about our business. I prayed fervently about what was going on, but especially about our helper. It just didn't feel right and I felt guilty about that. I felt guilty feeling upset with her all the time. I hated that feeling. It just didn't feel good being around her and sensing a struggle within me, an oppression. I felt like my spirit was hurting and I could not figure out why I felt so much ugliness emanating from her even when she didn't speak a word. But it was there, and I could feel it as tangible and palpable as if it had flesh indeed.

I would turn on my radio and listen to gospel music. I would let it play when the pastors were preaching in the morning. It was comforting and refreshing to me to hear the Word of God through the day. And it lifted me up.

By years end I started having dreams, revealing dreams. And they all involved our secretary and they all took place at the office. They were ugly, frustrating dreams that made me wake up with anxiety and stress. I could see things happening and know that she was responsible. In each dream I could hear myself asking her 'why? why are you doing this to us?'

One day I got to work and just as I was ready to tell her that I had been having dreams involving her, like every time I would try to open my mouth, I could almost hear The Lord stopping me. I could hear Him say 'No', don't tell her. And I would walk away. 

I was upset, I could't understand the dreams and I hated the spirit of apathy I felt towards her. It was an ugly feeling and I prayed so much to God to please forgive me for feeling that way and help me get rid of that feeling and to help me love her and have compassion for her. I prayed for her and her salvation. That The Lord would reveal Himself to her and show Himself mighty before her. And I prayed that if she was to remain working for us to please give us the wisdom to be the people we were supposed to be with her and for her, but that if  she was to leave, then He would have to be the one to remove her Himself. If I would have fired her then it not would have been God's will, because I would have fired her based on my feelings and observations of her work, or lack thereof. But if God removed her then it was meant to be and He would be the one in control. All things must happen according to His will!

The year ended and a new one started and the dreams continued. Then one day in April, a Sunday, I woke up and told my husband about a dream I had the night before. In it I was walking down the hall from my office to the front lobby, and there, sitting in her usual place, was our secretary. The phone, the computer, the miscellaneous that always were at her desk were all there, in the same place, only they were suspended in the air. The desk had been taken from her. And as I once again asked her, 'why are you doing this to us?', she began to cry.

The next day when I got to work my husband entered my office with our secretary. And then he said something I was almost expecting. He said, 'she's leaving us, her last day will be May 8th.' I looked at her, nodded, told her we were sorry to hear that then wished her well. She then started bawling her eyes out to which I said, 'you know what? no need to cry, God knows the plans He has for you, that they are good plans, not of evil nor to hurt you, but to give you a hope and a future.'  Of course, that's from Jeremiah 29:11 ;)

When she left my office my husband shut the door, got really close to me and whispered with eyes wide opened, 'your dreams! you told me about them! and this is the answer to your prayer isn't it!' I smiled with great satisfaction and nodded once again, one because he was right, and two because God was in control :) And that, knowing He is in control and acted according to His will, made me feel good, no, it made me feel great!

It hasn't been easy since she left, not that she was indispensable or reliable, but because of the monumental mess she left behind. When she posted on her blog about working for us she said that 'the job is sucking life out of her and not a moment too soon she took that job and shoved it' And shoved she did. Countless documents that were never filed I now find myself working on Saturdays and Sundays to take care of them, information that was never updated on the computer, bills that were never paid because she made sure I never saw them and the list goes on and on. I found her blog, and read how proudly she posted silly comments and drawings she worked on during business hours, then referring to them as the things she was doing while I stood at the other side of her desk talking to her. Her emails showed a side of her I really was hoping wasn't true. She bashed us and insulted us and called us names and made fun of us and what we did and how we did it every single chance she had,  and then at the end of the week happily took our check to the bank and cashed it. And she did it all with a huge smile on her face and while trying to talk to me about God, honesty and integrity! And she always had plenty to say about that. BUT,

'A double minded man is unstable in all his ways!' James 1:8 (emphasis added)

And how has all this been a blessing and a great experience? Why am I so happy to share? Because we know that persecutions will come to those who follow Jesus. Because He made sure we knew that for His name we will suffer persecution. He made sure we knew that when men reviled us and used us and abused us it wasn't really us they were after, but Him. And how does that tie to this experience? One little thing that would have never crossed my mind until I read one of her emails...Gospel music!

Whew! Ok...if you've made it this far...first of all you are a trooper! ;) and second, you must have seen the part where I talked about finding comfort through the day by listening to music and hearing the Word of God.

See, this person is a mormon, and her idea of God and worship is definitely not what born again Christians have come to know and practice. Born again Christians are born of the spirit! And that birth brings about a revelation of God and of His Spirit that people in the world can not begin to imagine, let alone understand.

One day I was listening to The Brooklyn Tabernacle's rendition of 'How Great Thou Art'. Apparently it played loud enough to be heard in the front lobby. Girl wasted no time getting to her email and letting her husband know that in less than thirty minutes she had heard that song and that, among many other ugly things she said, it was 'less than reverent!

Now, I read plenty of her emails, enough to know how she truly felt about us and our business, and yes, I admit I was offended by some of them. But NOTHING she said hurt me as much as reading what she said about this song. Her 'less than reverent' comment left me speech less. 

NOTHING else she said, and she said plenty, moved me to tears the way this did. That one email about that song and how she couldn't stand it and what she thought of it, THAT hurt me deeply and made me cry. Why? Because is no longer about me but about God! And with that she took things to a whole other personal level! And all of a sudden it just made sense, why one day when I told her that those who are born again are indwelled by the Spirit of God, she laughed at me.

I prayed and asked God why, why would she say something like that? How could she talk so much about God, and The Bible and all kinds of religiously related things, and YET hate the words of that song and what they represent and mean! Religion without God is  nothing  more than an empty ritual, void of significance and sacrifice.

 Psalm 150:6

I played worship music and she was offended by it, and that told me all I needed to know about her! And all of a sudden, all her insults, all her mockery, all her shoving just didn't matter anymore! Because God helped me to see and understand that it had nothing to do with me or us or the business.

When the Spirit of Lord rests upon us no other spirit can tolerate it! 

GREATER is He that is in me than he that is in the world!   (emphasis added)
                                                                      1 John 4:4

Thus the oppression I felt! The presence, the attacks! Every time she proselytized to me I answered her with the Word of God and she hated it! She would say something and I would answer her with scriptures and she would bite her bottom lip and walk away. I could tell she was upset. It was a no win situation for her. She tried to show me her ways but I pointed to His way! She quotes Thomas S. Monson, I quote Jesus. My spirit is comforted with gospel music, her spirit struggles within her when she hears it.  And thus the spiritual struggle began.

God made it clear to me in a matter of seconds, that it had nothing to do with me or us, and everything to do with Him! And in that short period of time between the time I felt my heart breaking and the time God revealed this to me, in those few minutes, I understood why

* the servant of The Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, able to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those who oppose themselves (2nd Timothy 2:24-25)
* if we are reproached for the name of Christ, happy are we, for the spirit of glory and of God rests upon us; on their part it is evil spoken of but on our part He is glorified! (1 Peter 4:14)
* God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble
* this is thank-worthy, if a man for conscience towards God endure grief, suffering wrongfully (1 Peter 2:19
* no weapon formed against us shall prosper! Isaiah 54:17

And thus peace returned to my soul :-D

After that wonderful and comforting time I spent with The Lord at the office, I literally skipped my way to the car.  Hearing God confirm to me that HIS Spirit rests upon me was enough to make me jump with excitement and exceeding joy! The kind that someone who doesn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ is not able to understand!

'Rejoice in The Lord always! and again I say REJOICE! 
Philippians 4:4

She moved to the midwest hoping to find peace, happiness and a job. I remain in the East Coast peaceful and happy, working and praying ;) 


The Spirit of The Lord is available at any time, and ready to take up residence in the heart of any individual who is ready to welcome Him into his or her life!
If you are not sure of your eternity, if you don't know where you are going when you die or what happens to our souls when our hearts no longer beat, then put your faith in Jesus, who made a way for you and for me to make sure that when we die we would not be lost forever! Trust Jesus with your salvation!
Ask Him to forgive you for your sins and invite Him into your heart! That His Spirit may also rest upon you! :)   

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A step in the dark

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.
                                                Psalm 119:105

After a recent weekend of violent storms from Illinois to Virginia and parts of the Carolinas, millions were left without power. For a very short time our home was part of that number too.

It was two o'clock in the morning and I was still awake, nothing unusual for me as I have struggled with insomnia for many years. For an insomniac like me, one of the most boring things that can happen is for the lights go out in the middle of the night because there is really nothing to do, it's too quiet. That night however was amazing! I went to the sunroom and looked out the window which faces a narrow country road surrounded by trees. The lightning was such that it seemed to give a constant light to the back yard making it quite possible to see every detail of the storm. The wind forcing each branch to the ground, the rain coming in sideways from the north, the sky looked like a gray blanket overhead. It was a beautiful sight indeed.

Only problem was finding my way inside the house. One would think it would be easy since I live here, I should know where everything is. But every time I took a step in the dark I would end up hitting myself in some piece of furniture or almost 'walking into the wall'. It seems like it took forever to find the bathroom and my way back to the kitchen to try and find some flashlight or candles. Eventually I gave up and woke my husband up. He got me a couple of flashlights and then I found two yankee candles. So then I had light and a beautiful aroma throughout the house.

I sat back in the sofa and settled with a blanket, a candle in the coffee table and a little booklight to read. It's amazing how much light a little flame gives in the middle of the dark. A soft, mellow glow that seemed to pull everything towards its center. As I sat there my mind began to fill with thoughts of God. How we are to be light in the world, to let our light shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven. I picked up my bible and started to read and time just went by, ever so peacefully. By now all I could hear was the rolling thunders and a gentle rain passing through. It was beautiful indeed.

I like how God uses everything, anything, any moment, any situation, to communicate His thoughts to us. Truly He is everywhere and if we allow ourselves to experience life through a 'spiritual filter' we can most definitely sense Him. No matter how strong the storm we can still have peace in the midst of it, if we focus on Him. Just like Jesus sleeping on the boat in the middle of a storm while everyone else was losing their minds. No matter how dark our days we can still find our way. In Him we can have light in the dark and be light in the dark.

It's not easy walking in the dark. It doesn't matter how opened our eyes are if there is no light we just can't find our way. It doesn't even matter if we are familiar with the area, if there is no light we just can't make it through. That's how it is when we try to live our lives without God. We try, we think we know know the way, we take a few steps and stumble but we keep at it because we are stubborn and want to do things our way. That night it took getting my toes smacked on the coffee table and my shoulder hit on the wall a few times before I finally gave up and went to get help. It was frustrating and it was getting me nowhere fast. And all it took was a little flame to get me going again. With that little flame I could see enough of everything around me, enough to find my way from one room to another.
There is so much darkness around us and so many lives stumbling because of it. Too many people are trying to live in the dark. They think they have everything under control when in reality they have no idea what they're doing. Proverbs 4:19 says "the way of the wicked is as darkness, they know not at what they stumble" No wonder God called us to be light in this world that we may help others find their way. Everything is manifested in the light. But, as the bible says, everyone that does evil hates light and does not come to the light lest his deeds should be reproved. (John 3:19)

 And only abiding in His word can we shine brighter than the stars in heaven! "But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day" Proverbs 4:17

Truly we can not hide the light that has been given to us. Like the candle that can't be hidden under a bushel but rather placed on a candlestick so that others can benefit from it, we must stand tall as witnesses of Christ, as His ambassadors here on earth, sharing the flame, the glow through His word and His testimony and through our service to Him.

Isaiah 58:6-10 "Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the Lord shall be thy reward.
Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day"

Oh that I may seek thee as diligently as you desire me to, that my life reflect your light, as Moses' face shined after spending time with you...In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Undercover Boss

'He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not'
                                                                                                    John 1:10

Ever watched that show where the owner of a company goes undercover to its different locations, working in different areas with the very people that work for him, only they don't know who he is? There he is, the big kahuna, dressed down and getting his hands dirty, doing the work of his employees and listening to them and those who benefit from their services, while quietly watching those whom he knows are in positions of leadership.

I remember one episode in particular, where the owner of a franchise refused to use the appropriate signage in his vehicle, eventually claiming they like to change things around and do it their own way. In the end, it was the company owner who made sure this person understood the importance of not only following company rules, but also honoring them because they represented the original design of its founder, so that the image and the service would be the same no matter who ran the franchise.

I guess my favorite part of the show is always the reward that comes in the end, especially because the recipients are totally not expecting it! These people do their jobs day in and day out, many of them thinking that their hard work is going unnoticed, but they have no idea they are being carefully watched. Their efforts make a huge difference where it matters most.

For these owners and CEOs going undercover gives them the best opportunity to see, up close and personal, exactly how things are really being handled by the people they have trusted to carry on what many times is a very personal affair, especially for those whose business has been in the family for generations.

And these are the thoughts that ran through my mind yesterday morning, as I was kneeling before the Lord when I woke up. There I was, thanking Him for His incredible goodness and mercy, thinking how amazing it is to know that He, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, stepped down from His throne, leaving His kingdom to make this His temporary home. There He was, the Light of this world, living among His own creation and yet unnoticed.

When I thought about that I shouted, 'God! You are the Original Undercover Boss!!' I laughed at the thought, in a good way. I laughed because I was amazed at His wisdom and how He, at that very moment, had brought that fact even closer to my human understanding. It was a hearty and happy laugh and I am certain He was laughing with me too.

The thought caused me to ponder upon His life on this earth and I went to the book of John and read from chapter one:

  "All things were made by Him...He was in the world and the world knew Him not..."

There He was, dressed down, getting His hands dirty, doing the work of a servant, quietly watching those in positions of leadership. As one whose business has literally been in the family forever, it was no wonder He would barged into the temple and turn over the tables, admonishing those who had taken advantage of their positions, looking only after their best interest.

God the Father laid down the law, His Son Jesus set the example, and His Holy Spirit always available to bring it to our remembrance. Still there are a great many out there who, much like the franchise owner who didn't follow the rules, don't think twice about changing things around and doing it their own way. And with religion, denominations and doctrines, the original design has been diluted to nothing more than preference.

In the end, however, we have the promise of a fair and honest judgment, and some to chastisement and some to reward.

"For God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble" James 4:6

Saturday, December 3, 2011

No Virginia, There Is NO Santa Claus

"And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." Genesis 6:5

I used to think the job of a journalist was to bring in the news based on facts and truth. In a country that hails itself for all the freedom we are supposed to have, it sure was a shock to read that Chicago FOX News anchor, Robin Robinson, was made to apologize to the audience less than a day after announcing through the evening news that there is no Santa Claus. Ms. Robinson said,

 "Stop trying to convince your kids that Santa is Santa,” Robinson said to co-anchor Bob Sirott during a segment Tuesday night. “That’s why they have these high expectations. They know you can’t afford it, so what do they do? Just ask some man in a red suit. There is no Santa.”

No sooner the words left her mouth parents rushed in to do an 'intervention' of sorts to make sure their little children's minds would not be tainted forever by the truth! And of course, in the politically correct nation we live in, where we are supposed to be 'free to speak our minds', poor Ms. Robinson was forced to give a "heartfelt" apology to her viewers, for being so 'callous and careless."

Heck, why give your kids the truth when they can spend a good decade of their lives thinking and believing there's some guy on a red suit willing to squeeze through a ton of bricks with fire waiting at the end of it and a sack full of all their heart's desires? And we wonder why so many people need therapy!

In Santa's case, one really can't ask and expect to receive, and Ms.Robinson had that one right! Not everyone that asks Santa is going to get what they want, hence their expectations will not be met and their hopes and dreams will most likely be shattered. And whose fault is that? Ours! Don't worry. I include myself on this one because there was a time when I too made that same mistake. But, thanks be to God that I now know the truth and have no need to live a life based on deception, whether is Santa or religion.

We tell our kids there is a Santa Claus just as easily as we tell them there is a Tooth Fairy and an Easter Bunny. We fill their minds with ideas of things that are not true and have never existed, hoping to give them a reason to have 'hope and joy', something to look forward to. And the worst part of it is that all of it is based on the very things we should all avoid; the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh.

"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:16

It's all about asking for something we've seen and now want. One of those we just had to have it things , so we can fit in and be like the rest. God only knows that children will probably be embarrassed and teased if they can't show off some kind of material thing, like the rest of their friends.

Of course it is about worldly lusts. Think about it; could a person ask Santa to heal their cancer, or help them find a job, or watch over their son fighting a war on the Middle East? Or could Santa give us peace and strength and comfort when tragedy strikes?

No, he can not. And children should not be subjected to the deception that, if you just believe hard enough, you might just get what you want. And all you need is faith on that one desire. Why work hard at believing on something when Jesus said 'if you had faith as big as a grain of mustard'....Do you have an idea how big a grain of mustard is? And why waste faith asking for the very things we are supposed to not treasure here on earth?

Even society and tradition can not preserve the idea of Santa Claus in light of it's supposed goodness, because for mainstream America it's all about business. It's all about enticing people to buy things they don't need with money they don't have, all while keeping children in the dark about the truth.

More than a century ago, a man named Francis P. Church, the editor of the New York Sun, answered a letter to an 8 year old girl who was troubled by some of her friend's claims that there was no Santa Claus. In his letter, the only truth he mentioned was "The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor man can see". Although his thought process on saying those words was not founded on the truth I'm talking about in here, they are in fact the only words that can really be taken for granted. And so, with one man's words, a little girl went on believing, and the rest of the country for that matter, that not only were her friends wrong because they were filled with the skepticism of the age they lived in, but without Santa there would be no poetry or romance to make tolerable our existence in this world and the eternal light of the world would be extinguished.

Wow....I need a moment to gasp. I feel like I am revisiting the front page of a newspaper when Pope John Paul II died. It read "The light of the world has ceased to exist"

Please, know one thing, I am not saying these things because I don't celebrate Christmas. As a matter of fact I do, and in as big a way as possible. HOWEVER, there is a huge difference between celebrating a season in honor of The True Light of this world and nurturing the idea of a character bound to break the hearts of innocent little lives as they come to realize that what they believed in was never real. That, in and of itself is worse for them, in so many levels, than simply telling them early on that it is just a fable. It crushes their trust in adults and makes it even harder for them to believe other things they should believe in as they grow up. How can we expect kids to believe in God if when they are little we tell them Santa is real and they find out he is not after all. For crying out loud, God is invisible! If we tell them that he whom they can see is not real, how are they to believe in one they can not see? If we crush the faith we told them to put in Santa, how are we to expect them to have faith in God? Francis P. Church told little Virgina to 'have faith' even without seeing. Isn't that the same thing Jesus tells us? Blessed are those who believe without seeing? We can not teach children to have faith both in God and Santa, now can we? Because we can not serve two masters.

Santa Claus is not real. God is. And is about time parents start telling children the truth, without fearing they'll break their little hearts. We won't break their hearts if we teach them from day one that God is and Santa isn't. Sure, celebrate Christmas. By all means, buy a big tree, light it up and fill it with presents underneath. They don't have to be expensive or even store bought. Children don't know the difference, only we do. And they are only going to react to the whole experience based on what they see us say and do. Don't let the commercialization of Christmas and the imagination of any come between your children and the most glorious experience they can always have. And yes, always, because Santa "may come" only once a year, but God lives forever.

Unfortunately, for many generations, men has had a need to have a tangible, visual artifact, something to hold on to and look at, something that can compliment his 'faith'. Even when God was giving Moses the original version of 'life's little instruction book', down at the bottom of the mountain men were building for themselves images. And so it has been since the beginning. God gives us freedom and yet we choose bondage. God gives us truth and yet we choose lies. God asks us to teach His ways to our children, and yet we choose men's ways instead. And so it goes, from one generation to the next, the lies, the bondage, the heartbreaks that men himself has chosen to pass on, one child at a time.

"That  was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not." John 1:9-10

This Christmas season, let the the True Light of Christ shine in your life, in your home and in your children, that they may come to know the true joy and the true light of this world. And be not afraid to ask of Him who is truly able to give in such a way that there would be no room enough to receive it! Malachi 3:9

"For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds; casting down  imaginations, and every high thing that exalted itself against the knowledge of God..." 2 Corinthians 10:4-5

Monday, November 28, 2011

Redeeming my time

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefor be ye not unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:15-17 about a hiatus! When I started this blog, a little over a year ago, I had every intention in the world to post at least once a week. Realizing the feat I was getting myself into I figured, maybe I'll post once a month. That was a year ago. I have one post to show for all my thinking...

I had a wonderful experience last November, and I just knew what my second post would be. I knew I would title it Redeeming The Time and I just knew what it was going to be about. Somwhere between that thought and today, TIME 'got away from me'. Oh I thought about it alright, I just never got around to it. And how many times we do that in life.

Last year I reconnected with my cousin and her mother, family I had not seen in almost 30 years! Thanks to the wonder of facebook, we found each other, and have been literally inseparable since then. I invited them over for Thanksgiving and we had the most wonderful time ever, since our childhood.

TIME. I know we spent time together growing up, I remember seeing them, visiting with them, even living with them. There was a time when we all shared a house that belong to our grandfather. My family lived there, in what used to be a basement that my father later converted to a house. They lived upstairs, in what used to be a garage they converted into a living sort of studio. And between our basement and their garage was our grandfather's house. That was the main house where we all gathered. Then time past, they left, everything got shifted around. And from time to time I got to sleep in a sofa bed my Aunt had in her room....which once was the studio they lived in, which was once a garage.

Then we left and moved to a house of our own. And over the years my cousin and her family would come by every now and then to visit. But for some reason we just never spend enough time to really get to know each other well and keep in touch. I wish we would have. Then again, God works in mysterious ways.

My uncle and his wife are born again Christians. I remember when they would visit us, whether at our grandfather's house we used to share or the new home after we moved, my uncle would always sing hymns to us children. He would always talk to us about God. His wife, a woman of incredible discernment, would do the same, and then, just before leaving, she would lay hands on us and pray in ways very few people know how. They always left an impression on me.It would be many years before I would understand where they were coming from. And even more years before I would be able to see them again.

Then I was born again, and as my journey and my walk with the Lord started here on earth, my uncle was starting his on heaven. He died just as I was being born...and I never got a chance to share that with him. When I was fortunate enough to find, and be found of my cousin, and I was able to finally meet them after so many years, there was so much I needed and wanted to share with them! I had so much in my heart and in my mind. I felt just one meeting wasn't going to be enough. When I finally saw them, my heart was so full with emotion, I thought I was going to fall apart. When I saw my Aunt, my beloved Aunt, my eyes welled with tears and my chest was filled with such love and gratefulness for her.
We sat and we talked and as we shared we found we had so much more in common than family, names and blood. We are bound in love by Christ and it is the most beautiful relationship I could have possibly ever hoped for.

TIME. I had to write about time, because too much time had passed since we had seen each other. Too much time has passed since I have reflected upon so many things so close and dear to me;family, friends, memories.Time. I knew I had to write about it becuase my Aunt is the epitomy of someone who knows how to redeem the time.

It is not everyday one meets a person who, once converted and surrendered to Christ, remains unchanged and unspotted by the people or the circumstances or the world in general around them. Faithful, strong, perseverant and more than anything, humble.

She inspires me because she is the only person I know up close who is the same today as she was when I was a kid. She preaches today with the same passion she did 40 years ago. She prays today with the same faith she did when she first believed, if not more. Her joy has never diminished. Her light only shines brighter. There is no doubt in my mind She has not only redeemed her time but has made the most of it!

It puts me to shame when I think about all the times I have sat in front of a computer, or the TV, or picked up a magazine or complained that there is nothing to do! Time truly is a gift, for there is no time in heaven. God does not live in a time frame. That is why we get so desperate when we don't get things when we want them. Because we live within the confines of time, where as God is free from that, and yet, His timing is always perfect. We just fail to see it.

All in good time, and all good things to those who wait. To those who wait patiently for Him. God gave us time but also wants us to not depend on it, get 'hung up on it', or take it for granted. We are to trust Him, and to make the best use of the time He gives to us. There is a reason He gives us time, so that we may accomplish His purpose.

Looking back at this past year I am ashamed of too many instances of times that have gone wasted. I know I'm not alone. Just two nights ago, as I sat in bed reading the Word, I asked God to help me get back in track, to purge and to prune, to convict, to do whatever needs to get done that I may not wander around wasting time. The very next day the Pastor did a beautiful but unusual thing (for too many Pastors don't do it often enough), he invited several men from the church to the front to stand in line and wait as the congregation stood one by one before them, and they laid hands on us and prayed.

I knew then that as always, God was answering my prayer!

I thought about this blog one year ago. I knew what it would be about. Time. It took some time to finally get here. Ok, it took a long time....but better late than never! I have finally come full circle and now the clock is ticking...But thank God that His mercies are renewed every morning...and a new day shall begin.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven..."Ecclesiaster 3:1