Prepared Good Works

“You can be my tutor…” the young lady earnestly asserted as she painted a pumpkin on my face. It was the fall of 2018 and we were at a Church fall festival and I was answering a question about what I do. At that time I was a homeschooling mama that worked part time at our Church as a younger children’s director. Fearfully I responded, “Ah, yeah…maybe I can.” I was fearful because even though I had homeschooled my children for 8 years I still felt I didn’t really know what I was doing. {Truth be told, I still don’t. My secret is I depend on Jesus Christ in me.} The young lady that was encouraging me to tutor was at a local girls home called “Under His Wings.” 

The home began in the heart of God and was entrusted to two ladies whom the Lord equipped and empowered to open in 2013. What was especially intriguing about this invitation to join as a tutor was not just that the young lady was asking, but also it stirred in me a call from God to this same ministry just four years before in 2014. During that time my young family and I were in the middle of selling our ‘things’ and surrendering our hearts and lives to be full time missionaries and the Lord directed our steps to my family in California. Six months before we left Alabama, I met a sweet family that had experienced great loss, and by the compulsion of the love of God, I was drawn to them. My new friend had a daughter that was in a girls residential program called, “Under His Wings.” By the stirring of God I asked to visit her daughter, even though she didn’t know me. While I visited and walked the grounds God impressed on my heart, “this is where I’m bringing you…” At the time I had no idea what He meant. I was confused because our plans were to head to a third world Country after time in California with my family. 

Fast forward to 2016 the Lord directs our steps from California BACK to Alabama. BACK to the SAME HOME and HE provided new furnishings for us! It was clear His will for our family was to return to Alabama. Even though I had experienced the love and power of God, the summer of 2016 was a spiritually tough for me and I had experienced what I call a ‘backsliding’ time of when I struggled with self-entitlement and selfishness among other things. During this time it wasn’t that I lacked faith in believing the existence of God. It was more like I wanted both. I wanted the love of God and my sinful desires. I was tired of serving God and I began to rebel. Few people knew this struggle. I’m thankful for God’s kindness which led me to repentance but I struggled to believe God still had ‘good works’ for me to walk out. I believed the lies of the enemy telling me that I was no longer part of the family of God, and that I was useless to God. I remember the words of a Pastor regarding backsliding seasons and how to get out of them—“You worshiped your way to this place, you must WORSHIP your way out.” That was true. I had made myself an idol, and worshiped myself, so I began to humble myself to worship the One True God that same year-2016

When I read John 21:15-25 God restored me as He restored Peter who denied Him three times. It was the words of Jesus that revived me as He asked me, “Arcelia, do you love me?” I broke because I knew I had said and done things that showed I loved myself more. I wept and dared to hear His charge, “Tend My lambs,” “Shepherd My Sheep,” “Tend my Sheep.” During that season my Pastor also approached me and asked if I would be willing to join the Church team serving in the Preschool for Sunday and Wednesday services. I knew I wasn’t worthy to this task and I cried to God sharing all the reasons I thought I was unworthy. It was then He shared, “Now, I can use you…” I knew my depravity and flesh apart from Christ and after the horrible experience of walking away I never wanted to grieve His Spirit or ignore His presence again. So I restarted as a lead learner with preschoolers. God taught us about His love and goodness and His power to equip us to do what He calls us to do. Those two years with the preschoolers were so refreshing and renewing to my soul. 

In January 2019 just a few months after the words of that young lady at the Fall festival, the Lord directed me to serve as a tutor at Under His Wings. There’s more testimonies to share God’s confirmation of leading me to Under His Wings I can share at a later time. What I wanted to share today was a testimony of the “good works” that God has for you BeLoved reader. God has good works for you to walk out. If you are sleeping, wake up! If you are entrenched in sin, call out for help—tell a fellow Christian that you trust that will not judge but gently remind you of the goodness of God. Get back in the fight and keep your Armor on and shield of faith up! Remember God’s TRUTH written in Romans 11:29, “for God’s gifts and His calls are irrevocable.”

When we first moved to Baldwin County, Alabama in 2010 I was a one year in the Lord—a new Christian. At that time the Spirit of God encouraged me to PRAY FOR REVIVAL. At the time, I didn’t know what that meant. I do now. Those who have ears to hear I share, pray for revival. Pray revival for your heart first. The Body of Christ suffers when we are not obedient to the assignments God calls us

“Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before.” Acts 3:19-20

*If you have been a reader of this blog for years than you know the journey of growth God has taken me and I invite you to prayerfully consider supporting Under His Wings as a prayer warrior or in any way God shows you. I have been quiet on this blog for sometime because God was teaching me how to be a DOER of His Word not just merely a hearer or speaker of His Word. Thank you for your prayers. Let us continue “..to press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14


In Mourning

751EF274-C183-4DC7-8016-2E105514C551All sin is unrighteousness.
I can’t rejoice with unrighteousness and I mourn for the stumbling blocks placed before others. It’s not that I don’t want people to be happy in this life. It’s just that I really believe in an afterlife. Heaven and hell exists and it’s hard for me to see people led blindly to a place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
I don’t scorn the lost.
I mourn for them.

I don’t share the Gospel for legalism but for love. (Mark 12:30-31)
I don’t share the Gospel to condemn, but to lead them to the one that brings no condemnation–Jesus Christ. (John 3:16-17; Romans 8:1-2)

I don’t throw stones, but introduce them to the Chief Cornerstone–Jesus Christ (John 8:7; Ephesians 2:20)

I don’t think I’m better than anyone for I know my own depravity and temptations to sin. I know it is by grace I’ve been saved through faith in Christ.
I can’t tolerate sin because sin brings death.
I can’t condone sin because sin brings condemnation.

I know this first hand.

That’s why I can’t help but plead to the lost, begging you, on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God! Make Jesus Lord of your life today and He will bring you to the Father. I’m praying for you.

To the brethren I say…
May we not be surprised or distracted by the behaviors of others, but remember the root cause….a rebellious heart. This rebellious heart keeps us from knowing God. We once had a rebellious heart until God gave us a new heart and put His Spirit in us. We must remember we were given this holy calling according to God’s purpose and grace. We must not fall asleep and get caught up in the ‘pleasures of this world’ forgetting our ministry of reconciliation. People are dying without Jesus Christ!!

We must prayerfully MOURN for the lost not scorn them!! We must humble ourselves and allow God to love others through us. For it is the kindness of God that leads to repentance.
Who is in your sphere of influence that needs to hear the Words of Life? I am praying for us.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16


The Day the Sun Stood Still

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These days have felt as though time is standing still. It reminds me of the time when Joshua spoke to the LORD in the sight of Israel:

O sun, stand still at Gibeon, and O moon in the valley of Aijalon.”

This is how God responded:

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.” Joshua 10:12-13

May we use this time of “being still” wisely. May we use it to identify the enemies, entanglements, and encumbrances in our lives to lay aside along with our sin. This will help us to run the race set before us in endurance…as long as our eyes are fixed on the Son, Jesus Christ, the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

BeLoved, this time of ‘isolation’ and quiet can sometimes bring forth feelings of condemnation as the Holy Spirit convicts us of the sin in our lives. Remember, the identification of sin in our lives is not to bring us to condemnation but to lead us to see our need for a Savior. This is a time of confession, repentance and refreshment as we redirect our faith in Christ. Not in relationships, our jobs, money, or the government…but in Christ alone.

We may feel like calves stuck in a stall right now…but those who fear the name of God know about the healing that is to come and “we will skip about like calves in a stall.” (Malachi 4:2)

I’m praying for all of us in His world, not just for a physical healing, but a spiritual one that will bring revival.

Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren.

*Hebrews 12

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”

John 3:16-21


An Invitation

Hello! Those of you that have been reading here may have noticed I was quiet here for many months. It was due to several reasons…my mouth was almost silenced but I can still say like Jeremiah, ”

“But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.” Jeremiah 20:9

If you read my testimony you may remember in 2008 my husband and I did a competition on who can read the most books in a year. When we discovered the Bible had 66 books we began to read the Bible even though we were not Christians. The rest is God’s story. The Bible is God’s Word to us, a way He speaks to us. A way we can know Him.

During this season of ‘quiet’ my husband and I have chosen to read at least one book of the Bible everyday in addition to our daily readings. Jesus said in John 17:3

“This is eternal life to know the One True God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.”

Will you join us in this exciting adventure? If yes, just send me a comment and I’d love to hear how God is revealing Himself to you this season.

Be blessed BeLoved.

Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren

 

 


Faith & Unbelief

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It’s fascinating to me that Jesus would spiritually heal someone by forgiving their sins based on someone else’s faith. And equally intriguing Jesus would physically heal based on someone’s unbelief.

Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of four men carrying their paralytic friend to Jesus. They removed a roof and let down his pallet to get him to Jesus. Verse 5 says, “And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “Son your sins are forgiven.” When the scribes reasoned in their hearts that ‘only God can forgive sins,’ Jesus confronts them on their poor reasoning and unbelief and  shows His authority to forgive sins by physically healing the paralytic.

What a mystery! In the mixture of faith and unbelief there’s a potential miracle. There are many in my life I am taking to the feet of Jesus and I am praying He sees my faith and heals them. However, I’m encouraged to know that even if there’s unbelief present, He could still show us His glory through a miracle.  He is over all things…even unbelief.

Dear reader, do not grow weary of taking your friends to the feet of Jesus.

Luke 18:1-8


Bearing Burdens

IMG_6221“They stooped over, they have bowed down together; they could not rescue the burden, but have themselves gone into captivity.” Isaiah 46:1-2

God is speaking through Isaiah about the Babylonian gods/idols “Bel” and “Nebo,” and it reminds me of my temptation to do the same.

Sometimes when I see the burdens of others I too can stoop over and bow with the weight of their burden and end up in captivity myself. God does tell us to “bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ,” but He does not mean in our own strength.  He is pointing us to the only one that bears our burdens—Jesus Christ.

Jesus invites us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.” Matthew 11:28-30; *Galatians 6:1-5

Prayer: God, may I bear the burdens of others while remaining yoked to Christ so that I may fulfill your commandment of love, for your glory and namesake. Amen.

Glorify God. Magnify Christ. Edify the Brethren.


Guard Your Heart

Eight years ago today I began a relationship that has changed my life for eternity!!

God found it pleasing to draw me to Himself through Jesus Christ and I have never been the same since!!

This rebirth year has been a time of great internal testing and sifting and I have failed often. Through my failures I’ve learned about the unrelenting LOVE and endless GRACE God provides.

Though I am happy to revisit the day I fell in love with Jesus, I am learning:

It’s not how you begin the race but how you FINISH it.

It’s not a matter of salvation but sanctification.

I know my salvation is secure not in what I do, but faith in what Christ has done as being the propitiation for our sins.

My sanctification is God’s purifying work in me which He will complete until Christ returns.

My privilege is to continue to seek and enJOY knowing God. To be still and abide in Christ, listen for His voice to obey, and walk out the good works He has prepared for me.

My prayer is that I would love God:

With all my heart: guarding my heart with all diligence

With all my soul: that I see Jesus as the guardian and lover of my soul

With all my mind: that I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

“What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.”

The Answer Is Jesus

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”‭‭Proverbs‬ ‭4:23‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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Swift Salvation

img_3830“Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears our burden, the God who is our salvation. God is to us a God of deliverances. And to God the Lord belong escapes from death.”
Psalm 68:19-20

There’s only One that daily bears our burden of sin. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Matthew 11:28-30)

There’s only One that is our salvation. (Acts 4:12; Matthew 1:21)

There’s only One that delivers us from evil. (Romans 6:8-14; Galatians 5:16)

There’s only One that helps us escape from death. (John 11:25-26; Romans 6:23; John 3:16-17)

His name is Jesus.
Jesus means, “God saves.”

Jesus is the Messiah.
Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

I am just a grafted gentile, declaring His good news…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16

“I bring near My righteousness, it is not far off; and My salvation will not delay. And I will grant salvation in Zion, and My glory for Israel.” Isaiah 46:13


The Truth About Sin

 

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Francisco de Goya: Prisoner

Why do parents train their children to look both ways before they cross a street?

It’s because they love them, and want to protect them from harm.

Why do you think God gave us commandments?

It’s because He loves us and wants to protect us from harm.

It’s interesting the Greek translation of ‘sin’ has similar letters of ‘harm’: hamartia, it means ‘to miss the mark.’ Have you ever tried to throw a wad of paper in the trash and miss it? Well, it was no big deal because you can pick it up. But to miss the mark in one of God’s commands is a matter of life and death.

God does not give us commands because He doesn’t want us to enjoy life, but because He wants us to have life abundant in Christ. Even though sin may ‘feel good’ for the fleeting moment, the consequences are harmful. It is harmful to you, and harmful to others. In fact, it breaks the greatest two commandments: loving God and loving others. Once the counterfeit enjoyment of sin is accomplished it brings forth death. Do not be deceived…sin steals, kills and destroys.

  • Sin destroys relationships: you hide from God and His people; you no longer hear God’s Truth as love but as hate. You become insecure with your relationships with God and others and you become oversensitive and selfish.
  • Sin kills and destroys faith: It produces doubt and insecurity. Doubt that God could forgive ‘this’ sin.
  • Sin kills and steals grace: bringing you condemnation
  • Sin kills and steals confidence: bringing you shame
  • Sin kills and steals your purpose: instead of bringing glory to God you bring shame to yourself and testimony

Sin brings discouragement, depression, and division. Sin binds us. Chokes us. Mutes us. You become entangled and you have given Satan a foothold, and begin to believe his lies, after all he IS the thief who comes only to steal, kill, and destroy.

With this shame and discouragement, you begin to stop reading God’s Word. Even though you’ve been born again of the Spirit of God you become the walking dead. It’s not a matter of eternal salvation but of sanctification-growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ. You can’t grow because the ‘lying’ words of weeds wrap around and choke you, making you feel you’re in bondage. If you are a child of God, there’s no joy in your life because your sin has grieved the Holy Spirit living inside you.

What are we to do with this shame and condemnation?

  • Some live alone in bitterness and anger hardening their hearts, perishing until the day they die.
  • Some run full force into sin, searing their consciences and numbing their hearts, denying the toxic affects of sin not realizing the consequences of sin begin in this life, not just in hell.
  • Some live in a façade. Outwardly living ‘normal lives’ pretending everything is ok, but they know they are not. Instead they start to ‘do good works’ and try to make themselves feel good by serving in ministry.
  • Some hear and remember the gospel, turn from their sin and are healed: They remember in order to obey God’s commandment we need a Savior:

(God) He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21

They remember they have ‘begun in the Spirit and must be perfected by the Spirit’ that ‘apart from Christ’ they can do nothing. They remember it is by grace through faith they were saved, and are being saved. They remember: “Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.”

The longer I walk with God, the more I cannot fathom His love. I see the reason He asked fullsizerender-9Adam and Eve not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I see what type of death and condemnation He was trying to protect them from. Indeed it IS the kindness of God that leads to repentance, which leads to abundant life in Christ.

“…He Himself (Jesus) bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might DIE to sin and LIVE to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 1 Peter 2:24-25

Heavenly Father, thank You for being so loving and patient with me. Thank You for setting boundaries to protect me and others from harm. Thank You for Your loving discipline to help me to return to You when I willfully disobey. Give me a love for You and Your commandments as never before. In Jesus name I pray, amen.

 

May God be glorified. May Christ be magnified. May the brethren be loved and edified.


Spiritual Investment

IMG_0639Someone once told me I was wasting my achievements of Bachelors and Masters degree by being a stay at home mom. They also said I went from riches to rags.

Yes, it may have looked that way when I chose to leave my $113k/yr job to stay home to be a full time wife and mother.

IMG_8801I’ve worked as a military officer leading over 100 troops with multi-million dollar contracts, I was involved in national security projects working at the pentagon, provided leadership for security of Air Force One at Andrews AFB, and served as a successful consultant and leadership/executive coach in the D.C. Area for three of the 15 executive departments of the U.S. Cabinet…and yet…the most challenging and rewarding calling to me is being a wife and mama.

I went from combat boots, to high heels, to bare feet. I say ‘bare feet’ because the calling of motherhood is on holy ground–I finally understood the importance of a mother.

The truth is I went from rags TO riches. I went from my filthy rags of my own self-sufficiency and dependency to God’s glorious riches!!

The world can’t appreciate the spiritual investment of what God is doing in and through us as mamas. Sometimes we doubt it too.

But stand firm in the convictions God has given you...

Happy Mother’s Day!

**Disclaimer** This is not written to invoke condemnation on moms that work outside the home.   A mother’s work is never done, and is always full time.IMG_7984

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama serving in the military, knowing at any time I could be deployed. It’s not easy. 

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that works full time outside the home. It’s not easy.

I remember what it’s like to be a full time mama that stays home full time. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time mama that home schools. It’s not easy.

I know what it’s like to be a full time homeschooling mama with a part time job. It’s not easy.

The calling of every mother is sacred and holy.

This is the story of God’s grace in my life.

I just needed a season of purification to learn to put my priorities in place and I was exclusively working in the home, but recently have had a part time job, and next month I will be working in a director’s position for a Company where I get to encourage other mothers. This is the path and good works God has for me. Follow the convictions God has given YOU and be at peace.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Philippians 4:13

To read more about my conversion and the testimony of the grace of God in my life click here

“I will extol You, my God, O King,
And I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You,
And I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and highly to be praised,
And His greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise Your works to another,
And shall declare Your mighty acts.
Psalm 145:1-4


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