Tag Archives: jesus christ

ForGIVE{n}

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We must forGIVE, for He GAVE…

Today I am pondering on the sufferings of Jesus Christ–the betrayal, the rejection, the beatings, the gossip, the slander, His crucifixion…His death…His LOVE!

I’m meditating on the salvation I have because He GAVE me new life through His death.

I can’t help but take a moment to reflect on those that I must forGIVE. I’ve been rejected, slandered, misunderstood, and betrayed. Jesus didn’t die for “just” my sins…but for the sins of the world. This includes those that hurt us.

BeLOVED, when we forGIVE we are “sharing in the sufferings of Christ.”

“For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 8:5-6


{His}Story: Faith, Repentance, Joy…{Final Bite}

 

This post is the final part of ‘bite size’ portions of my testimony. If you would like to start from the beginning you can read:

Downsized. {A Bitesize Testimony} (Part 1); Building Facades & Chasing Mirages (Part 2); An Eternal Invitation (Part 3); A Christian Mary Poppins (Part 4)

***

Seven years ago today God was pleased to reveal Himself to me through His Word–His Son Jesus Christ.

I had asked God:

What does Anna have that I don’t? I talk to you God. I want what she has with you!

One month goes by and that’s when I ‘hear’ Him. It was not an audible voice. He spoke toimage my heart and He spoke through His Word….

He wakes me up at 2am on February 12, 2009 and I feel this prompting to get my Bible and journal and go to the guest room of our home. He speaks to my heart:

Arcelia, you want to know what Anna has that you don’t? I want you to go through the Ten commandments and don’t move on to the next one until you perfected the first”

I didn’t even know where to find the Ten Commandments but looking in the concordance I find it in Exodus 20

You shall have no other gods before Me…”

I respond.

I don’t have any other gods before you…then His Holy Spirit takes me to Deuteronomy 6:4-9

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

I tell God, “I do love You! I do love You with all my heart, soul and might and Anna is ‘diligently’ teaching my children Your word. She knows the Bible better than I do. Besides, this is the Old Testament anyway, what did Jesus say?”

Then I see what Jesus said about the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-40 as He quotes the Old Testament:

“ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

My heart drops…I say again, I DO love you God!! Then it was as if He spoke to my heart these words:

Arcelia, you are passionate about your job, you are passionate about serving in the Church, you were passionate about the military, you were passionate about creative memories….what about Me?”

God through His Holy Spirit began to convict me of all of the idols in my life.

I see for the first time. I did have other gods.

But I wanted to love God with all my heart mind soul and strength but how? How can I ‘perfect’ that? I wept and cried out to God. I cried because I was frustrated, how can I love? What was love? I read 1 Corinthians 13.

I saw my inability to love God the way He was asking me. I saw my sinful state in contrast to His holiness and I wept. That’s when I began to understand the good news:

I can’t perfect anything.  That’s why Jesus died on the cross for our sins, He is the perfect sacrifice. He is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. It is through Jesus Christ I have access to God the Father.

I was broken, my heart soft, repentant and ready to place my faith in Jesus Christ and receive the gift of salvation.

I sorrowfully cried because I finally understood! I understood I was a sinner, disobedient, unwilling and unable to obey God in my own strength. I asked for forgiveness for my sins and had a change of heart and saw my need for Jesus Christ. There and then I loved Him
as never before.

I didn’t get ‘it’ I got ‘Him’, His Holy Spirit and a new undivided heart devoted to God. Just as it is written in Ezekiel 11:19-20:

“And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

It was the beginning of my walk of faith with God.  I told God I am His and I would go anywhere He wanted me to go, do whatever He asked and I would talk to whoever He wanted me to talk to. It was more than just believing in Him, I told Him I would follow Him all the days of my life. I committed my life to Him. 

That was the day I breathed my last and began my life of surrender to God.

A life of a Christian is not perfect nor is it about DOING things for God but BEING in Christ.

A life of a Christian is not about religion but a reconciliation of relationships that begins with God through Jesus Christ and extends to others ( A reconciled Mom and daughter).

A life of a Christian is not without trials and tribulations but there is a blessed assurance and peace that comes from trusting and knowing God.

Eternal life is not about dying and living forever, rather eternal life is meant for NOW.  Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The more you know Him the more you love Him.

***This is my testimony of how God chose to reveal Himself to me. It was a process, a drawing.

It’s not the same for everyone, and not everyone ‘knows’ the ‘exact date’ of their conversion. God is so personal and knows our hearts. The only thing that is the same for all is: repentance towards God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I realize it’s not how you BEGIN that counts…it’s how you end.  I know my salvation is not based on works, but in the finished works of Jesus Christ alone, however I want to run this race of faith well so that I may be found a faithful steward of everything God has given me, beginning with my faith and family.

God is the same, yesterday, today and forever….May God reveal Himself to you today if you do not yet ‘know’ Him. I pray you say, “no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves and know that this One is indeed the Savior of the world.” John 4:42

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The family God entrusted me 2009 {three months after my conversion}

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The family God entrusted me (2015)

“Glory in His holy name;
Let the heart of those who seek the Lord be glad.
Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.”  1 Chronicles 16:10-11

 

“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior Jesus, all the day long…”

 

 


Going through it to get to it…

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Sometimes the shortest distance isn’t always best.

“Now when Pharaoh had let the people go God did not lead them by the way of the land of the Philistines even though it was near; for God said, “The people might change their minds when they see war, and return to Egypt.” Exodus 13:17

God had appointed Moses to set the captive Israelites free from the oppression of the Egyptians, and God had an appointed plan for them to walk out. The Israelites probably wondered why they had to go through the wilderness to the Red Sea, even though it seemed better and faster to go to the land of the Philistines. Besides, what were they going to do when they got to the Red Sea?

I must admit my mind can ask similar questions. If I was one of the Israelites I would walk the path but I would probably be tempted to grumble, and try to assert my ideas and suggestions. I must confess, I sometimes still do.

God has appointed Jesus Christ as the Way to lead us in the paths of righteousness and now we have unlimited access to God’s throne of grace. God has an appointed plan and specific works He has prepared for us to walk out.

I have left the slavery to sin and entered into life abundant through Jesus Christ, and yet sometimes I wonder why is He leading me through the wilderness, and how and when will the Red Sea part? However, when I remember God is love I settle down. I meditate on His word and wonder in the sovereignty and character of God. I remember His purposes and plans are not to harm, and they extend beyond my own life and what I can see.

God sets a hedge of protection around us, helping us to stay on the path. He has given us Jesus Christ as a settlement for all those times we get off the path, He has given us the Holy Spirit to convict us to get back on the path. As children of God we have all we need for this walk of faith. This path of righteousness is where we experience abundant life and joy, because we are walking in the presence of God.

Whatever wilderness God is leading you through, you must remember He knows the future, He knows the consequences, He knows your heart, He knows what’s best. Yoke yourself to Jesus Christ and He will lead you in the way you should go.

May you enJOY your journey with Jesus and continue to walk by faith, for that is how the righteous live.

*John 10:9-11 *Ephesians 2:10


Common Confession to Reviving Repentance

imageDefilement polluted the air threatening to drown out the fragrance of Christ
I was spiritually suffocating
My heart was hardening by bitterness, resentment and un-forgiveness
I was numb and could not hear God
I had forgotten the call
I had forgotten my purpose
I was lost in a fog of delusion, deception and depression
I called on God not believing He could hear me in this darkness
He did hear me…
He mobilized His Saint, my sister fragrant with Christ
I confessed with a hardened heart but not ready to repent
His vessel of mercy and grace listened and did not ignore nor exploit my sin
His daughter anointed my head with the perfume of Truth
My sister wielded the sword of the spirit to slash the bondage of lies

LOVE

Standing by my side she lifted her shield of faith to cover us
We approached the throne of Grace
She spoke, I broke
God’s Words of Life melted the ice around my heart and I began to feel again
First was humility, I wept and repented
Then I experienced grace, joy, power and LOVE
Radiant she turns to me and points up revealing what was hidden behind the fog but was always there…God’s banner: LOVE

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***
Faith is not a feeling.  We will be tempted many times to withhold forgiveness.
We must continue to walk by faith not by sight. Faith in God not by the sight of your current circumstances or how people treat us.

When we see our brethren struggling, we must not provide relief but allow God to provide repentance.  We must help them to find their way back to the throne of grace, for Christ died so that we may have access to God the Father though one Spirit.

God sent Jesus Christ to live for Him, die for the world, and live through us.

His death offers us forgiveness for our sins and new life with the power of the Holy Spirit in us.

Unforgiveness is the quickest way to lose the power that was given to us by God.

Unforgiveness grieves the Holy Spirit and quenches Him.

God said if we don’t forgive others, He will not forgive us.

It is a wretched state for anyone to be in the bondage of unforgiveness, but most especially for a Christian who KNOWS they have been forgiven much.  Praise God for His steady grace and forgiveness. May we love in deed and truth and dispense the grace and FORGIVEness we have been given.

“Love…does not take into account a wrong suffered…” 1 Corinthians 13:5b


Stacking Stones…Not Throwing Stones

When I drew near to God and was born again, I was overflowing with gratitude from the grace and mercy lavished on me. I did not deserve to be forgiven of my sins and I knew it.

I didn’t need anyone to remind me I was a sinner nor did I need someone to convince me I was a sinner, the Holy Spirit was already doing the convicting. It was this conviction that drew me to my knees causing me to pouStacking Stonesnd my chest with my eyes downcast asking God to be merciful to me, the sinner. The day of my salvation is a HUGE stone of remembrance I visit often.

I must confess, if I don’t visit the day of my salvation I can become arrogant and think highly of myself, forgetting I was saved by grace and it is by God’s grace I am kept.

I’ll never forget the first time God taught me a lesson about His love and grace…that it wasn’t just for me.

It was just three weeks into my new birth experience when my family and I went to a local train show and I saw people that were in sin standing near my children. My heart was enraged and I began to judge them and I was haughty in my heart when God’s Holy Spirit led me to Truth and the words of Jesus were brought to my remembrance:

He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone…” John 8:7

Immediately I couldn’t see past the plank in my eye and realized I could no longer see past my own sin and this humbled me. I saw though they may have been in outward disobedience I was inwardly disobedient to God. I immediately repented of my judgmental thoughts and thanked God for His forgiveness, and prayed for them. My heart was tested that day.

Just weeks later God brought a person struggling with the same sin into my life and my heart was now ready to love because I knew my place; I am the vessel not the judge. I am the conduit, not the source.

God showed me if I really wanted this person to be transformed I needed to love them…just love this person. By God’s power that’s what I did. After months of working with this person they approached me and told me they noticed how I was different and she wanted what I had. That moment my cell phone rang and my ringtone, “How Great Is Our God” was singing in the background while I shared with her the Gospel of how Jesus Christ transformed me and how He died on the cross for all of us and we don’t need to ‘clean up’ to come to Him we just go to Him and He will take care of the rest. What an honor to lovingly share the Gospel with someone God is drawing to Himself!

**
What Im learning is this…I am called to exhort my fellow brethren to stay on the narrow road and if they are in sin I am required to restore them and share the Truth in love but…I can’t love apart from God’s Holy Spirit, and before I open my mouth I better make sure they are His Words, His Timing by His Spirit or else it is not Him it’s me.

We can’t love without giving and in this instance it may involve giving up of my own opinion of how they live their lives according to the Bible and wait for God to use me. He can’t use me if I am full of myself, arrogant, quarrelsome–opposite of who He is: LOVE. I’m finding God prepares me for such work by granting me a testing sanctifying moment before I share His gospel by His Spirit.

Dear reader, if you are not a believer and disciple of the LORD Jesus Christ, and a Christian has thrown a stone at you, I am sorry. I have made that mistake before too. As Christians we are not perfect and we still make mistakes. Please do not let man keep you from a relationship with Your Heavenly Father.

I pray God will draw you into His presence and He will send yielded obedient vessels full of His love ready to pour out on you so you will taste and see the LORD is good, kind, compassionate and He is longing for you to come to Him. No matter what you have done, or where you have been, if you turn to Him and draw near to Him, He will draw near to you for Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

*Titus 3:1-7


Declaration of {In} Dependence

Today America celebrates ‘Independence day.’ A day when we declared independence from the British empire.  The preamble to our Constitution reveals our desire to ‘form a more perfect union’ and ‘establish justice‘ ‘insure domestic tranquility…’ It began as a noble effort with the acknowledgment of God, our Creator; Somewhere along the way we began to declare independence from God too, telling Him we no longer wanted to be ‘under’ Him nor did we need His ‘help.’  We have decided to make our appetite our god and glory in our shame setting our minds on earthly things, not on the things of God.

For too many years I celebrated the Fourth of July without any regard to God.  I placed my hope and thanks solely in our political forefathers and our military instead of seeing them as ordinary people with an extraordinary God. I know better now.

Daily I declare my dependency on God, and ask you to join me.

We need God but we can’t go to God without coming to Jesus Christ. It is the cleansing flow of the blood of Christ that allows us to call God our Father, and gives us fellowship and sweet daily communion.

To be in Christ is the most perfect union–a union with God the Father by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is the One that holds all things together, apart from Him we can do nothing. He is the One who establishes justice and ensures all tranquility.

I am praying God sends revival to America, only then will America have unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  We have ignored God for too long. Are you living in dependence to God or are you living independent from Him?In Dependence to God

God is not dead, He’s still alive and He is looking for contrite confessed hearts turned towards Him to cleanse and revive. Cry out to Him for your sins and the sins of our Nation Beloved and don’t stop…

“…now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them? I tell you that He will bring about justice for them quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Luke 7:7-8 (Read Luke 7:1-8 for context)

“He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.  For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him.  He is before all thing , and IN HIM all things hold together.” Colossians 1:15-17

I am the Vine, you are the branches, he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruity, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (Jesus)


Striving Raven or Abiding Dove?

Jesus Christ is LORD!

Imagine entering into an ark, a vessel of safety for you and your family in which you built obediently with the wisdom and direction of God. You know God will send rain on the earth forty days and forty nights just as He has said. But you don’t know how LONG you will have to WAIT for the surface of the ground to be dry and when God will allow you to ‘go out of the ark’.

There were two birds that were sent out to see if the flood water were abated. These birds can represent how our minds might behave when we wait for the ‘flood’ of our circumstances to subside: the Striving Raven or the Abiding Dove.

“Then it came about at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent out the raven, and it flew here and there until the water was dried up from the earth.”     Genesis 8:6-7

Since the raven never returned to the safety of the ark, Noah sent out another bird, the dove:

“Then he sent out a dove from him, to see if the water was abated from the face of the land; but the dove found no resting place for the sole of her foot, so she returned to him into the ark, for the water was on the surface of all the earth. Then he put out his hand and took her, and brought her into the ark to himself.” Genesis 8:8-9

Do you see the difference between the raven and the dove? The raven is like our flesh, striving and flying, never resting in the ark of safety that has been given but being self sufficient to the point of exhaustion.

The dove represents abiding peace, life and rest which comes when we RETURN to the safety of the ark. There is rest for your soul in Jesus Christ!

Are you like the raven, flying ‘to and fro’ striving to fly above this sin flooded world in your own strength? Or are you like the dove returning to the place of abiding rest in Christ?

“For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace…” Romans 8:6

If you are a Christian, you have entered into an ark of safety–you have peace with God through Jesus Christ. No matter your circumstances, be still and don’t try to ‘save yourself’ but continue to place your trust and faith in Jesus Christ. May you rest in the finished work of Christ being an ark, a vessel for the Holy Spirit to rest in by continually abiding in Christ.

**This dove also brings a message of abiding hope…{this post is to be continued….}


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