Meditation and Faith

FeaturedMeditation and Faith

My God is the God of miracles.

I repeated over and over again last night a motto or a mantra that kept me from allowing any idle thought from taking over. “My God is the the God of miracles” I repeated, then began to pray.

“You are the God of Elijah. You provided food and water in his time of need. You provided shield from the scorching sun for Jonah, even in his disobedience. These are your people, before your salvation came to us. So how much more for your daughter, will you give unto me in my time of need. I love and desire you. I cry out to you. You are my provider. . .”

I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11

Even when the night brings its anxiety and depression. I call out for strength. I find myself in tears some nights when my days are filled with love and excitement. I feel alone sometimes. I learned that is okay to feel because the truth still stands. The truth is I am never alone. I cannot allow this lie to over take my darkest hour. No one person will ever fulfill my thirst for love because it must continually be quenched with the constant. In my inconsistent lifestyle, I have a savior. He calls me his own before any name change from Ramos to Payne, I was branded with Jesus’ name across my heart, across my forehead. I walk in His likeness even when I do not feel it. Truth is not found in the seen. It is found in the unseen.

For too long, I have sat on my dreams and goals. I believed the fear of failure was greater than what God had planned for my life. Like Peter walking out on the water but soon sinking, I took my faith to the next level just to see the waves in my life overtake my faith. Thankfully, like Peter, I was caught by none other than the Savior of the world.

Today, I urge you to find out what seems to be keeping you from the greatest that God has for you. It might be unwanted debt, fear of failure, sickness, or a stronghold like pornography or cheating. Yeah, it just got real guys. I know we all face our giants. I am not perfect either. I can tell you I am facing/have faced some of those things listed. Guess what? My God is always greater than whatever you are facing. Victory is just around the corner. It is time to claim your it!

Planning My Better Tomorrow

Planning My Better Tomorrow

I Praise God for what he has promised; yes, I praise the Lord for what he has promised. Psalm 56:10

 This weekend was unexpectedly fun. I had the opportunity to hang out with my best friends and make a new one. I do not know what other people think when I mention having a bucket list but I do have a list of activities that I am hoping to accomplish before I leave the world. On Saturday night I was able to check one of those items off my list. If you are wondering which one it is, you will never know unless you ask me because I have already posted it on social media and since it is illegal, I think, I am just going to let you know that it was fun. 

Last month God was showing me what “living your legacy” is all about. I know everyone has a plan and purpose for their lives. I am excited to see the fulfillment of God’s plan in my life. I am overjoyed to be where He wants me to be right now. I know now everything will be okay for those who love God. 

I stand firm on what I have been promised, because I know God will provide every part of this journey in order to glorify Him. It is important not to deviate from His will. I sometimes see what God wants me to do and from there, I make up my own mind and plans for how I will get to that point. Meanwhile, God is right there waiting for His plan to take over. So I have to remember consistently that He is always there. I even saw it on Saturday when all I planned on doing was watching My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 and making brownies, none of which happened. God has better. 

He sets out people before you when you least expect them to enter your life. They are sometimes introduced into your life and become more significant later to glorify Him. I like to call those relationships, Kingdom-Connections. I  give relationships to God and I constantly search my heart for any part of myself that has yet to be offered up. I hold people dear to me and from time to time I know what it is like to withhold someone I love from Him. I have also been told by God when a relationship must end. It is not always easy to hear God say this to me, because I know I will always love them. Although these people may exit my life, I know it is all to benefit both parties in the relationship. It is healthful to give that love back as an obedient offering; it never leaves me. It just expands my prayer list. I know He has greater things in store for my life and for those around me.

Everyday I see growth in my life and I thank Him for a new day. I do have my gloomy and cloudy days. I do sit at home sometimes asking God, “why?” It puts me in a place of humility and worship because I know He is one to always fulfill his plans and promises. If you are reading this today and if you are wondering what God has planned for your life, I urge you to go to Him and ask. Ask for His heart. He will show you His wisdom and His love will change your life. You will begin to see what He has for your life and that is where your legacy stands. Walk in the legacy. Worship God with your life.

Courage

Courage

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them.

 Joshua 1:6

Sometimes I find myself pondering idly. As much as I want to be in tune with the moment, I know am still chasing dreams that I have yet to wake from. I even think about future meals I want to have. I cannot face the unfinished credits and courses for my bachelors degree but dear lord, I can make brunch plans for next March. Why am I like this? Because I like to run and sometimes I like to run away. 

I run on a path with others jogging and walking. I love to run, and sometimes I run away from responsibility for fear of failure. Last week, I was talking to God about fear. There are fears I want to overcome, like the fear of failure, but I learned I cannot do it on my own. Sometimes, I think I have to face my fears by myself first before anyone else gets a chance to see it in my life. When God is standing there telling me to give it to him. Instead of running away from my fears, He asks me to simply turn around and offer it to Him to gain courage and strength to conquer my fear of failure. I need courage because I have learned the shame of failure and I wish I had never feared it. I know what I did to relieve the pain of the shame. I know there is nothing to relieve the pain unless it is God’s love. 

I am ready to live, walk, and run in God’s love. I want nothing weighing me down. I do not want anything holding me back. Maybe this is the prompting to take courage and strength that Joshua has to receive in order to take over leading the Hebrew people.

Boldness

Boldness

Be strong and courageous, for you are the one who will lead these people to possess all the land I swore to their ancestors I would give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the instructions Moses gave you. Do not deviate from them, turning either to the right or to the left. Then you will be successful in everything you do. Joshua 1:6-7

I came back from my one-week missions trip a changed person. I know now that God’s love is even greater than any kind of love. My heart has expanded and it overflows with so much more compassion for people. 

One of the things God was revealing to me while I painted the borders of the orphanage’s buildings was that my volunteering to do this work was boldness. It is important to have boldness like Joshua. We must be the people to take up the mantle like Elisha and follow our mentors without looking back.

Mom Genes: Fear Not

Mom Genes: Fear Not

Because they all saw him and were terrified. Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Mark 6:50

Today will be a little bit different. I have the honor of introducing my mother to her first written blog post. As I read through this post, I saw a variety of future featured possibilities. This will be shared from a different persepctive with a wiser demographic, being those who I hope do read this and enjoy my newlywed christian worldview as well. Please welcome my mother from which bore me twenty-two and ten months ago, M. Isabel Ramos

Fear not! For God is with my children.
I want to share about the journey of a mother with her children who have big dreams to do great things for a great God, and the fear that looks to kill those dreams. (Editor’s note: this is going to be so good, guys.) One of the first things that the devil does is try to kill our offspring in the womb.
In 1993 the devil tried to challenge the little faith I had with my children’s lives; he did not prevail. By God’s mercy, He gave me a glimpse into the window of faith that brought my dead and dying children back to life. The prayer of intercession was one of the spiritual keys I used in faith to protect my children.
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39
After the victories my family received while my two older children were babies, the  devil tried to challenge their security, comfort and identity as young adults with their parents, classmates, teachers, siblings, and in their relationships. Notice, there was an emphasis on “try.”The devil can only try, but he has no legal permission to win. Who wins is up to you and me working along with the Holy Spirit.
Lastly, although there is no last or end to the devil’s attempts of destrution until he is thrown in to the pit forever, they (my children) will be challenged in their Faith in God. As a parent I have learned we have legal authority in every area I mentioned above. The key to leading my children to victory will stem from our vital connection to God, the heavenly Father, God the Holy Spirit. He is our standby, comforter, and leader. As well as God the Son. He is our savior, master, teacher, and The Word. If we, as parents habitually practice fear in our lives our children will also learn to habitually live in fear but if we choose to live by Faith, we will switch off the destroyer’s power. It starts with our choice to switch from fear to faith, from hate to love, and from hopelessness to hope. So make that switch today! Don’t tolerate the devil and his tactics any longer.
Fear NOT, have Faith in God!
-Mom

Throwing Shade

Throwing Shade

They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” John 8:7

Last night I was on the floor in the dark waiting for what I can only describe as a “spark of inspiration.” Nothing had come to me yet. I did not have a busy day yesterday, but sometimes those are the days where I feel the most drained.

You might be asking why I mentioned the moment I was lying on the ground in the dark as a suitable introduction. It is because, as my face was tucked into my arms, I was reminded of a story that struck me as a corrective reminder of forgiveness. I hope you remember what I mentioned a couple of weeks ago when in the letter to my past self, I shared how it was important to forgive daily until you have healed completely. And lately like so many of us, I held on to my frustration against someone who has not been a part of my life for a while now.

From my perspective, I saw this person as selfish and a liar. I could see right through their stories of how busy they were. This person meant a lot to me, but looking back, I was less than a good friend in exchange. In fact, I could go as far as to say I was the selfish one in the end. In selfishness, I did what any person without integrity would do. I threw shade at the situation. I threw shade at the person. I spoke ill about them behind their back and to them as much I could. I had anger. I was bitter.

Throw shade: the action of publicly criticizing a person, usually a friend.

Like I mentioned before, people have their seasons of growth at different times. I look back and sometimes I have to find the strength to accept my foolishness without condemnation. Something else I have learned is that there will not always be a place for closure. Sometimes a prayer is all you can give.

As a kid, I remember watching Pinocchio. When the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” came on,  I used to walk to my window as soon as it was dark and search for a star. I would look at the moon and just hope with everything in my tiny self. I did not have a wish to offer the star, but I would hold my closed hands to my chest and squeeze my eyes shut. I wanted something beyond my known world. I have always been this way and honestly, I pray that part of me never changes.

I would go back and if I could, I would ask God to teach me to be a better person every opportunity I had to be one. I know little Norma had no intention in ever hurting anyone. She would cry at the idea of any friend being less than special to her world. Throwing anything upon a person, good or bad would be out of her character.

As the Pharisees threw the woman before the crowd of people, Jesus did not see a criminal. He saw a person who had a name. Allow me to give her a nickname. Let us call her Bethany. Bethany was not perfect. In fact, she sounds like she made her fair share of bad decisions. We do not know how she was caught with another man, because none of that mattered to Jesus. He saw Bethany and he saw her as someone in need of love and healing from brokeness. As Jesus asked the people around her to only throw a stone at her if they were without sin, Bethany probably winced a little with expectation of feeling pain from the stones. No one took action and instead they walked away. Jesus approached her and forgave her. She left unchanged on the outside, but was renewed within.

How many times do we find ourselves in new clothes or with a new hairstyle just to cover up the fact that we have something within ourselves that has yet to be improved? After my haircut and color change, I know I still go to bed and wake up the same Norma in need of a career and a degree, and sometimes I still look up out of my window when I can and look for the moon or a star. This time I talk to God. I listen to Him in hope and I have faith that everything in my life is just as it should be as long as I am doing what I am supposed to do daily.

Hear My Heartbeat

FeaturedHear My Heartbeat

Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

 

I see myself in the midst of darkness with my eyes closed and my heart beating. There are ripples of light coming from my chest. They are reaching streets and highways filled with people in their cars and pedestrians alike. Before today, I would maybe share this with a handful of people, if anyone at all. But I also promised myself to share from the heart. This image was the only gift I could give you. It is to remind you to have compassion for all people.

I was reminded of the song “Hear My Heart” by Andy Mineo today while listening to a podcast by Zoe Church out in Los Angeles, California. Friends, I want you to hear my heartbeat for my city.

For too long, I have been excusing the sight of half empty churches on Sundays. I know I have friends out here in San Diego. They are finding countless reasons to do what, they feel, is more important than pursuing the life God has planned for them. I hear excuses like, I need to live my testimony first or I am just not there right now, maybe when I am a little bit older but not now. 

In a culture and a city where we are offered thousands of other activities to do instead of being in a positive environment, I stand in a room with a capacity to hold forty to fifty people but only twelve are standing before me. I am tired of blaming everyone but myself for the lack of Christianity in my city. I see now I am the solution to this problem, and if you are reading this and saying to yourself, “Yeah, Norma I totally agree with you” allow yourself to be informed that you too are the solution as well. You are here to be the high-tower projecting light into the darkness.

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

Today, we live among those who are hurt and in fear. Sometimes, I find myself overwhelmed with grief for the body of Christ. I hear some people say that prayer is not enough, we need action, but prayer is the action we make for it is only through Him that we will find truth. We activate our faith which guides us to speak and do what is righteous before God.

When were we deemed the holy crusaders of today, burning down villages and churches in the name of the Lord? Honor is not about choosing a blue stripe or a black flag; if you place those symbols before your faith, then you are the problem.

I am no super hero. I have no super powers. Honestly, I wish I had super speed, but that is a topic for another day. I am a human being. I am almost twenty-three and guess what? I do not have all the answers. I know that I do not know it all. What a shock right?

That image I described before, is not the way I see myself. Heck, I am sure it is not the way any person sees me. Today, I hope you have a desire to hear what your heart is beating for. Is it wanting to make your city a better place? Do you have a pulse of compassion? What happens when no one knows what God can give? Will you put your pride aside and stand to be the solution to a desert city in desperate need of water. Will you be at the well asking for drink?