Saturday, February 8, 2014

No one told me...

I asked for more of Jesus. To partake in His sufferings. To be given a heart to love like Him. To see with His eyes. To walk like Him & to take on His likeness. What I didn't expect. What they forget to tell you is that the rain will come, the wind will blow against your house, the hail will be so hard you think the roof might come down. No one told me the storm would rage all around me like it has. No one told me the affliction that would visit & make it's home with me. No one told me that the only way compassion is birthed is through the experience of loss. No one told me how lonely I would feel or how I would question my Savior the way I have I ashamedly admit. No one told me that the fire would get so hot that my only thoughts would be whirling around escape. No one told me that when I asked for more of Jesus that it came at such a high cost. No one mentioned the tangible pain that would visit so regularly for seasons on end. But can I be the one to tell you that it's all worth it. That no scheme of hell could intimidate this warrior. You see what I can tell you is only those who are willing to die truly live. What I can tell you is who you think you are is a shadow of who you are in Him. I can confidently tell you that you will not be utterly forsaken. What I will shout is His arm is not too short that it can not reach out to you. His ear not to deaf to hear your cry. I declare right now that you will move forward & walk out from that wilderness. I declare that the gift of His fire will leave you pure & spotless before the King. I speak the overflowing power of Yeshua course through your very blood supply & that your heartbeat be a reminder of His watch over your every move. I declare that fire fall & you endure until He has completed His work in you...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Come up higher...

Ponder with me for a moment…

If there is to be fruit in my life…I must completely die to self so that what is resurrected in the passing of my flesh (my way, my distorted thoughts, my strongholds) is truly BEAUTY for ashes.(Isaiah 61:3) For it is the Living Water provided in Jesus Christ that causes me to BLOOM in fullness & bear fruit, not for my glory but for the Father's alone. Pain often visits fruit bearers in the early days & unexpected times when we get complacent . Not to hurt us but to inflict enough disturbance that the hidden dark places of the heart are revealed & pruned away. I will tell you the way I have come to understand my Daddy God. When I am betrayed & have every reason to justifiably be hurt, He says my child forgive. I toss back & forth saying BUT what about me? He lovingly says I know baby, I saw it all, I've seen everything that's happened & I still ask you to come higher. The ways of the Kingdom are beyond the ways of the world. To be a fruit bearer you must absolutely die to the way your flesh desires to respond. God sees. He knows. He cares & for our good He still calls us to raise our standard to His. He doesn't change. He can't. He would be a liar if He justified our hurting & our tendency to hold onto hurts(that only hinder us in the end). No God in all circumstances sticks to His WORD no matter what has come to visit us in the wilderness & HE uses it to train us, if we will allow it. He prepares us for war against the enemy by using our trials for our good. You want to soar? You want to punch the devil in the face & makes sure he doesn't forget you? Then raise up, seek God for every move you make & by all means forgive, love, walk in peace, put to death your flesh.. Just like any lover, God(the lover of your soul) is jealous for ALL of you, your complete entirety, the deepest places you weren't aware of. The secret places you've worked tirelessly for years to cover up only to bear bad fruit such as anger, gossip, lying to keep up the dance that nothing is wrong. I'm here to encourage you to let His fiery love burn you in such a way that you are never the same, I encourage you to visit the most painful places & let the Living Water be poured into the dead, desolate places so that you are replacing all the lies of shame, guilt, worthlessness with TRUTH & you begin to BLOOM. He comes to declare you as His own, to place His seal over you heart. Don't be afraid of the wilderness…it's there you meet HIM up close & personal. He is the only one who WILL. EVER. TRULY. SATISFY. P.S...I'm beginning to see the most beautiful fruit come to life inside & I'm hell bent on teaching whoever will listen how God can do the same for you...

"Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. Love flashes like fire, the brightest kind of flame."~Song of Solomon 8:6

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

who i am in the Great I AM...

It took very little time to choose my word for 2014. Matter of fact all it took was stopping to think of what I desired to conquer in the coming year. The word that immediately came to mind & resonated deeply within was Authentic. I above all desire to be authentically happy, authentic in joy, and authentic when I love, authentic in worship, authentic in prayer. I want to conquer being distracted away from what truly matters. I have a mind that goes a hundred miles a minute. Constantly thinking. I want my mind to rest. To rest in simply being who God made me to be in all it's simplicity. I desire to be a powerhouse full of the Holy Spirit in 2014. I desire to be true to His will for my life. I refuse to focus on anything the world is selling & set my eyes alone on HIM. I want more revelation, visions, dreams, and intimacy with my Savior in 2014. This quote from Henry Ward Beecher really speaks to my heart right now& embodies much of how I'm feeling. I'm looking towards heaven & spreading JESUS to the world. May I be a sweet fragrance that lingers everywhere I've been. May my words be seasoned with love leaving a indelible mark. I want to focus on the glorious future of the Saints of God. I refuse to be melancholy, anxious, or impatient about what God has in store for me. I believe we are entering into the greatest time in history for the church! I am digging deeper in preparation and I can't wait.

"There are apartments in the soul which have a glorious outlook, from those windows you can see across the river of death into the shining city beyond. But how often are those neglected for the lower ones, which have earthward looking windows."Henry Ward Beecher

 "But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?" 2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Sunday, December 1, 2013

when it all changed...

I feel compelled to write, lots to say. December has made it's way back to my life once again. I remember the roller coaster of my daddy's battle with cancer was nearing it's end this time two years ago. I learned a lot about myself & about God that year leading up to now. I'm not jaded at all, I've had the privilege to see the heart of God because of the despair I faced in his untimely death. To be honest when we all got news of his terminal illness I was pretty confident that God could & would heal my dad on this earth. I fasted because at that time I thought my fasting(going without food, just drinking juice & water)would somehow move God to answer my prayers for my daddy. Bare with me here. I also thought if I could give a big enough offering($$$) that God would honor my gift. I prayed, I cried, I prayed, then i cried some more but most of all I was changed.

I don't want to come across the wrong way at all with what I'm saying but I'm saying is that God is God and for a time I thought that He could be moved by what I did. I really wanted to believe it too, I did nothing short of beg Him. With everything in me, I begged. I would have done whatever He asked me to but you know what? He didn't ask.  I can tell you what He did do. Despite all my "doings" for the Lord. He came & He literally walked beside me. When I cried, He cried. When I was devastated He sat & He held me. He was a not genie in a bottle & He didn't make my trial magically "go away"but He did "come" and He "dwelled" with me, He still does.

What my heart is crying out is this. We can not earn, work, perform, achieve, perfect, etc. enough good deeds to reach Him. He's not waiting for you & I to do anything but to turn our hearts towards Him. Grace hit me square in the face when this all took place. It hit me so hard in fact that every ounce of religion that had been planted for years since my birth was rattled, shaken, turned on it's head. You see man made religion has done a number on who God is & what He wants. To be quite honest I think they've really done a pretty good job of running off those whose life don't have a lot of "good" in them. Had God not been so persistent in loving me & faithfully pursuing me, I may have been another number. I remember hearing well if your faith was big enough. That stung me to the core. Cause trust me I had mustered all the faith I could find at that point & it wasn't enough. Losing my daddy has been the single most devastating thing I've lived through up until now. I experienced more than I had anticipated and because of it December will never be the same for me.
I see the sacredness & beauty of Christmas, of the celebration of Jesus coming into a graceless world. Of fighting to shake things up & to dismantle the law. He alone threw grace on the scene & it took me until my adulthood to grasp the magnitude of the simplicity of what He had done.  I have very little care for the gifts, the frill, the commercialization of it all. I remember that Christmas Eve, I remember saying our last goodbyes that morning when he took his last breath and strangely going home that evening(at the suggestion of family) to try and make Christmas as normal as possible for my children(what a joke). I think I still have issues with us all going home to handle losing daddy, alone. But I wasn't alone. HE was there, He has always been there. I just had to choose to rest in faith that He loved me & had me in the palm of His hand.

I write this to tell you the law was abolished because a baby was born in a manger, grew to be a man, and full of innocence died not just for my sin but to reconcile me fully to God. No more separation, the veil was torn from the top down to prove NO MAN could have obtained what Jesus did. That's grace. That's why it's eludes most of us because we can't make sense of it. It's undeserved. The harder you work for it the more disillusioned you become. God doesn't require your money, your service, your words, your sweat to bless you. It makes little to no sense to me when I hear people make big deals out of money,trust me God doesn't need your money, He simply desires that you not serve it, He longs for us to be generous & to give when He says give. Whether it be paying for groceries at the grocery store for a momma who has her hands full, or paying for someones gas at the quick stop, you get the drift. God wants us to be generous & Spirit led. Most of the church may disagree with me but that's what I learned. I know also that grace is for EVERYONE. God sees hearts. It's that simple.
Don't let anyone convince you that you must do anything other than trusting God in faith that He alone by way of Jesus can save you. Don't let anyone convince you that you have to "work" a single second for your salvation because it's simply not true. In losing my daddy I gained a greater understanding of God's unconditional love & grace. I spent years thinking I had to "do" to get to Him when all along He wanted me to just "be" and rest in Him. I hope this holiday season you do too…

With love,

Monday, November 11, 2013

when Deep calls unto deep...

My hearts been heavy. God has been pulling me closer, taking me deeper. Teaching me about quiet time & prayer. I've been praying the scriptures. I let it take me into worship and recount the scriptures back out loud with worship laced into the Word. It's changing my life. I'm hearing clearer than before. I felt lead to share about it today. As I prayed Isaiah 64 and repeated verse one and asked God to rend the heavens, tear open the heavens and come down. Make Yourself known to us. As I was expressing all that God has been to me, I was especially touched as I kept reading into Isaiah 65. That's when He began to speak through the scriptures saying

"I permitted Myself to be sought by those who did not ask for Me; I permitted Myself to be found by those who did not seek Me. I said 'Here am I, here am I,' To a nation which did not call my name. I have spread out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, Who walk in the way which is not good following their own thoughts."Isaiah 65:1-2

Then I began to have a vision. I heard Him say you are a grace dealer, I will show you now. I see myself eagerly & urgently running towards the crowd of people. I see myself handing something out, looks like balloons. Grace is written on them, I am giving them to everyone who will take it. Many are resistant. They look at me with reservation. They think who is this stranger? I don't want that silly balloon. They see it as useless, unneeded. There are so many people, I am getting lost in the crowd. I see above the crowd now, I am seeing far above the crowd. I am the only one handing out these grace covered balloons. People are too busy to stop. I am aware that I am a tiny piece of a much larger puzzle. I am looking around in circles handing out these one sees me.

This is what I hear next. My people reject Me. I am right before their eyes yet they can't see Me. I see the fires, the battles, the trials that seem they might be the end of them. And I wait, with wide open arms I wait. Help Me gather them together. Tell them of My great love for them. How I long to give them rest, How I desire above all to walk with them. To give them abundant life. I want them to make a decision. To stop trying to marry Me up with the world. I don't share. I am a jealous God. I want entire hearts not just small portions. I want a full time commitment not part time, every now & then visits. Am I Your everything as you say? Show Me. Spend time with Me. Let Me be the lead. Come NOW to Me, dwell amongst Me. I will be Your God and you will be My people...

I encourage you to read the entirety of Isaiah 64 & 65.

Spoken as it was given to me. I don't take what He says lightly. Crazy as it may seem. I write what I hear from His heart to yours.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

oh, the webs we weave...

Today I want to address secrets. You know the things we pray no one ever finds out. I'm no stranger to secret keeping. Matter of fact I've experienced tormenting dreams of being found out, dysfunctional coping mechanisms, and down right fear of shame or embarrassment in my past. What I find relieving & full of hope is confession. You see once I confessed my "secrets" the enemy of my soul no longer had an avenue to get to me. He functions only out of darkness & keeping a deep, hidden secret is exactly that...darkness. What I find very interesting in scripture is the instruction to "confess your sins to one another" in James 5:16...

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.~James 5:16

Here we find the solution for many of the things that hinder us & ultimately make many of us sick. Physically, emotionally, or mentally sick. Secrets kill & rob us from living a life full of freedom. Let me explain how. Something happens in our life either from poor choices or things outside our control. The enemy first will guilt us & fear us into thinking that if we are "found out" we will suffer rejection, embarrassment and shame. That we are alone, weird, and worthless. All things none of us want to experience for any amount of time. We were made for acceptance & love not rejection & hate. So first we become guilty. Then over time we become tormented & reminded of that secret by the enemy because he is an accuser of the brethren, the one standing day & night before the Father bringing all our faults to mind. So now we become complacent. This secret begins to manifest itself in our behaviors & we often begin to build a wall around that place in our heart, that way the secret stays hidden safe from being discovered. But in the mean time we have lost apart of our trust and vulnerability and that my friends is the end place of bondage. We become prisoners of our own mistakes. And because we are prisoners we ultimately become slaves. Slaves to our past, to our hurts, and to the wickedness of the enemy. Chances are because you are a slave you attempt to enslave those around you by judging, accusing, and labeling them. It's simply because you are a slave & are subject to a slave mentality. Freedom is far from your heart & mind and you are stuck.

BUT there is HOPE!!! Here's where it gets good friends. Confession seems intimidating to most & unnecessary to some. But the truth is as long as we're holding on to something that needs to come out it will do more harm than good. I don't suggest just telling anyone. Matter of fact I would pray & ask God to lead you to someone you can trust. Someone who will support you, speak truth, and pray for you. Be careful who you entrust with such tender issues. Releasing the burden of holding secrets inside is a healing all it's own. Healing comes from confession. It's that simple. God can't invade a place with walls unless you let Him in. What, if anything is hiding inside & needs to be confessed to someone who can love you & point you to Jesus?  I personally have been completely released & freed when I finally told someone I trusted something I had kept secret from everyone around me. My husband is that person. It not only freed be but opened up a door for him to release things he may had been afraid to tell too. It allowed God to come right in the middle of our marriage & draw us closer to one another. For you it may be a counselor, a mentor, or a friend. I'm not talking about dredging up the past and sharing things that are unnecessary. I'm talking about the things that keep you up at night. That alter your vulnerability & trust with others. Release anything the enemy routinely uses against you to bring you shame or unworthiness and then pray with one another. We are in this together! We need each other. The prayers of the righteous are powerful & effective! Prayer works. Confession is precious when done with a fellow believer who will lift you up by praying. Expect results!

Be encouraged that God desires us to love without limits. Say a prayer tonight, meditate on God's Word, and begin to make the steps to be freed from the prison that secrets have built around you. The only thing stopping you you!

Blessings sweet readers! So thankful to pour out my heart in hopes it will help someone else!

Monday, July 22, 2013

the last place you thought you'd be ask to die...

Let me just start out by saying this is not addressed to shame or scold anyone. I'm only addressing women in marriage & not men because I can only speak from what God has brought me through as a woman. I've battled dissatisfaction in my marriage more than once. This isn't my first marriage(so I know all about failure). But what I've found in my search for God's answer in my desire for more from marriage is pretty crazy & to many down right offensive but if you know me for any length of time you know I tell it like I hear it straight from the heart of God. What I hope to do in writing this is to paint a picture of God & His beloved bride…accurately & with love.

When we first meet & date the "one" we hold onto every word. The very words we often times eventually resent. You look at them in all their perfection just to one day be married & grow to a place that someones looks become meaningless. At one point all their idiosyncrasies made you feel all warm inside & now you've grown to a place of pure annoyance. Maybe you don't feel all these at once but on occasion my guess is you've most certainly felt them. Hollywood has done a number on painting a pretty stinkin beautiful picture of LOVE. BUT…Here in lie the problem & the ever increasing divorce rate in the world & the church. It's pretty darn obvious that the world began influencing the church (not the other way around) when we began to have the same chance of divorce as the unsaved world did. You may wonder OK what are you trying to say? Follow me here.

When I married my husband it was because I genuinely loved him. Everything about him. I still do. But somehow along the way I began to expect him to fulfill these romantic expectations that he had no idea I had created. So 7 years later & many times of frustration God has revealed to me something that as a child of God & one who so desperately desires more of Him, was a really surprising answer.

Can you imagine a human being fulfilling every single desire you ever had? I thought this existed. I really did. Until God proved to me otherwise. It's been over 4 years since I decided to relentlessly pursue God and all He was. In doing so I have encountered more pain than I ever expected. Pain? You may wonder. Yes pain and as a dear friend of mine so clearly stated not long ago "Precious in His sight is the death of His Saints"~Psalm 116:15. Most refer to that as an actual death but have you considered at any point in time that "dying to self" is death. Marriage is such an intimate connection with another that when you are flared by something they may have done you immediately begin taking score against them. But have you considered that the very thing that flared you is not the problem but the flare inside you is. What is it inside you that needs to die? Why is it easier to believe that everything that happens to us is someone else's fault? I learned a while back that if I wanted to grow into the woman God had called me to be that it would take a lot of self inspection then addressing many times being pruned by God to become more like His Son. How was I behaving, speaking, and carrying myself? Was this reflective of who I belonged to? Could others see Jesus in me?

 Let me tell you my marriage has been a reflection of myself more than I liked. God gave me a strong-willed man that was as stubborn at believing he was right as I did. I thank God for that now. Because I was unable to push my way around & demand my own way parts of Katie had no other choice but to die. And DYING to self HURTS. Something fierce. But God is so faithful & has rewarded that obedience time & time again. I've learned that my husband is my ministry and loving him is apart of my purpose here on earth. Holding his mistakes against him is voluntarily participating in the enemy's will for his life but forgiving & serving him is apart of God's will. The fact I could have been a willing participant in anything satan wanted to do makes me sick & even more determined but I'm guilty as charged. That's what opened my eyes to truth & freedom in my marriage. I'm still learning. No where near perfection I hold on to hope that God is not done with him yet. I choose daily to believe that I am apart of something much bigger than I can see & that is my husband's success for the Kingdom. I am no longer concerned with what he can do for me but what can I do to advance the Kingdom in my home & in the lives of those around me. How can I honor God better but by honoring my husband in word & deed. How can I worship God any more purely but by encouraging & speaking life into my marriage. The Bible is full of scriptures about love, submission, and honor…and for good reason. It's God's order of things. It's the apart of the path of righteousness, it's a stop on the path to be living blessed & favored.

My selfishness serves eternity nothing of purpose. That's how I choose to live, with eternity in mind. God is most glorified when we surrender our way & choose His way even when we have every right to give up. Which I'm totally guilty of in the past but I will fight until I'm gone to make sure my husband is supported, loved, and edified trusting God that He will finish & perfect the work He began in my man. Looking back we started out unequally yoked. (He was saved after years of praying & actively forgiving and loving) But I can tell you there isn't a bone in my body that regrets a tear, a hurt feeling, or frustration because in being the imperfect human being he is (we all are) he drove me to the feet of Christ. It pushed me with so much force that I wasn't backing down from moving forward. I meet the love of my life(Jesus) & will never be the same so in part I owe my husband my life…my soul. He loves his family & I well, he provides, he is loyal, always home, an attentive father, and my best friend. There's no way my demand for more of what the world tells me is love will stop me from finding the true answer to love in the Bible then gracefully and abundantly giving it to my husband. He is the most beautiful person I've met, His heart leaves me stunned. God has great big plans for him & if I had forsaken the call to be his wife & love him no matter what then he'll tell you himself, he never would have made it this far. There isn't a devil in hell that will rob me of giving of myself & knowing when I do so, God will restore me to overflow. Really, it all lay in the connection to Christ because without Jesus leading me we'd already had been a statistic and that's... real.

Katie Ramirez