Sunday, March 31, 2013

Redemption at it's finest...

Easter serves as the reminder that I wasn't good enough, worthy enough, or beautiful enough to make it back to God. It's the day I'm reminded that because of Jesus I am now, all of the above. Not on my on merit or by my own righteousness but because of Him! I stood in this mornings worship service & couldn't keep the tears from streaming(not that they don't frequently during worship) but this morning was different. Easter serves as a time of such deep reflection & thankfulness for me. That He is who He said He is. That because of Him all my ugliness is redeemed & made beautiful. I've felt waves of His love & peace wash over me today. Mostly because I feel very humbly thankful. I woke up made a big breakfast and when I was tempted to feel overwhelmed by the time crunch & the fact I was doing it all by myself, His victory gently reminded me to say "Thank you that I have this family & the ability to cook for them." Again at lunch something similar. I find it encouraging to live life aware of what knowing Him awards me. We have the mind of Christ therefore we can choose to love, think the best, be thankful, and enjoy what we have instead of the alternative murmuring & dissatisfaction. What I feel most today is the priceless gift we've been given on the Cross. I refuse to ever down play it's importance or glorify it into the Easter Bunny's day. When I sing the words "Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me." I will continue to probably get choked up because it's true. In all it's simplicity, I'm overwhelmed with a cup that overruns with His grace. The grace He so willingly offered for us all on the Cross & so valiantly displayed when He said "It is finished" Today is the 2,000th plus celebration of our redemption! Now that's something to shout, dance, and praise about!  Be blessed today!!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

When God reveals your inner warrior...

What I'm about to share with you may click inside your spirit or completely weird you out. Either way I want to share of what has happened because it's been confirmed too many times to blow off as happenstance. A few weeks ago the Lord gave me a vision. It was me, I was reminded instantly of Katniss from the Hunger Games. I was standing in a off white dress. It was fitting but not tight so that it still identified my femininity, a gold belt accentuated my waist. I was immediately drawn to several things.

1.) I was muscular. It was obvious I was strong & agile. Able to defend myself easily from any outside attack  2.) My hair was down & rolled back, my head was adorned with a head band, I loved that. 3.) I was carrying a bow & arrow on my shoulder. It was my weapon & I was always aware of it's presence on my body 4.) I was looking around. I appeared to be on guard waiting for what mission I would be given next.

The picture was quick but my spirit hasn't stopped thinking about it for weeks now. I've shared it with close friends & had an interpretation but tonight after speaking to a friend via facebook I was confirmed again that the vision I saw was indeed from God. I don't feel like He was showing me so much what I physically looked like although my physical strength was emphasized. It was who I was to Him, in His eyes. It was who He saw when He looked upon me as His daughter. I believe this is how we should all begin to see ourselves as warriors ready for battle. 

Psalm 18:34 says "He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze." vs 39 goes on to say, "For Thou has girded me with strength for battle…" I want to accurately portray this so that you feel it too. I want you to see that we are living in times that require our diligent training so we will be fully prepared for whats to come. We must be girded with the TRUTH of the WORD. We must be solid about what the bible says and to be leaders to those around us. We must walk in love but never compromise what Jesus died for. God has asked of us holiness. 1 Peter 1:16 says "Be holy as I am holy." Friends we must take the assignment to endure & fight the good fight.(1 Timothy 6:12)
What I hope you feel inspired to do after reading this is to dig in to God. Seek Him out & let Him show you what it is He would have you do to prepare. 1 Corinthians 9:25 speaks of this training. "Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." A crown that lasts forever!! Let us be strong, passionate, uncompromisable warriors! We are entering into a new season. Get excited & get prepared. 

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Consider this...

I'm going to post something that may not be the "popular" thing to hear or say but I was born with boldness coursing through my veins so I'm prepared for whatever persecution may follow.  I'm addressing what needs to be said at least what my spirit hears resounding loudly right now so here it goes. For far too long we've addressed stereotypical sins. We've put faces on them & in the process segregated those guilty, therefore kicking being Christ-like out the window with our actions. I wonder how many hearts we're guilty of causing to stumble because the way we acted didn't match what we were saying on Sunday's. I'm not here to say I support marriage equality because I believe exactly what the Bible says about marriage and that settles it. I don't have an "opinion" because I choose to follow what God has instructed as Truth. I don't have to lay out my beliefs for you to know where I stand because my guide for life isn't man made but Spirit breathed. I love God & I love ALL His creation. I don't get the privilege to pick & choose who is lovable or worthy to be judged because the plank in my eye is taking entirely much too long to get out. The religious spirit that rests upon some men may immediately take offense but newsflash if it's not done in love please step away from the podium. We aren't gonna win souls by slamming people to the ground and shaming them but you know what does attract others to Jesus? The undeniable feeling of acceptance when they feel completely undeserving, I've been there. God didn't come to me and remind me of all the horribly embarrassing decisions I had made. No, He came to offer me new life & that became my mission from that moment on. To introduce people to a God that was as strong as He was tender. His very presence in my life commanded I deal severely with my choices & make changes. It wasn't a man who did it. Only God has that kind of power, to change the heart of a man. Thank you Jesus for the sacrifice that made reconciliation possible.
You want to know where we've gone terribly wrong? By not addressing the multiple brazen sins secretly being committed & many done in public arrogantly then exploited all over America as normal. By sitting idly by while our children go fatherless because of divorce & accepting it as part of life. God hates divorce. That's a pretty strong word yet it's exactly what's said in Malachi 2:16. While we're pointing out sin let's address fornication before marriage, lying, and pride. All strongly addressed in the scriptures as things that God detests or hates. 
The list is endless & it's birthed in our own desires which lead to sin. While we're busy building cases against the specific sins that make us uncomfortable why don't we address all sin which means then we'll address the fall of man and maybe just maybe we can deal with the issue of the heart. It's the heart of men that conjure up imaginations big enough to explore way past what's safe or healthy in any of our lives. It's men who allow sin to run rampant in their lives & it's sin that has become categorized by it's severity. Not by God but by you guessed it, man. We want to talk about homosexuality like it's the only sin spoken so harshly of in the Bible. How about we address adultery & how it rips apart families every day, or better yet let's talk about gluttony which is just as frowned upon in God's eyes. 
What I'm trying to say is look at the whole picture. Not just the parts that you don't agree with because you think it's "wrong". We as a nation need to address the root of ALL our sin & then, maybe then we'll have revival in the heart of men. I pray that hearts are awakened not to what's up for decision in the Supreme Court but what sin are you allowing in your everyday life. What's your backyard look like? Stop for 5 seconds & realize just because you don't agree with someones lifestyle doesn't mean you have to argue hatefully with them and just because you love someone that does things you don't agree with doesn't mean you "support" what they choose to do with their own lives. 
I pray that God makes us all sick with our sin and that from that compassion is birthed for others. I pray that the desire to pray & love others begins to far outweigh the need to be right or feel justified and this goes for everyone who picks & chooses whats right or wrong without first consulting God & His Holy Word…

2 Corinthians 5:14-21

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one [a]according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ [b]according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer.17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, [c]he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and [d]He has [e]committed to us the word of reconciliation.
20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Monday, March 25, 2013

God wants His daughters back...

This blog comes from deep within my heart. Not for the purpose of shaming anyone or to put them down. I just want to address this because it's the "new" tone being pushed amongst today's women. It's what we are teaching our daughters & what we ourselves are participating in on a daily basis most times without second thought of how destructive a cycle it may be. At some point in the your life, if you are like me, you have thought something negative about yourself. Maybe it's thoughts about your self image, abilities, or worth. Perhaps the thought you could be sexier, have better clothes, or the newest goodies from Sephora. Frankly, I have a wish list that keeps growing because I don't have the time nor the finances to purchase my wants without going into major debt.(We have 4 boys to raise!) The truth is I'm a wife, a mother, a full time nurse, and heavily involved in women's ministry. I think too much about what I look like, dress like, and often times measure myself up to the fit chick standing next to me in the grocery isle(being fit isn't bad, me measuring myself up to her then feeling like a failure is). I let my mind drift & wonder to places God never intended for it to go. The bible is clear about what God says about us being "fearfully & wonderfully made" it also goes on to say that our soul knows it full well. So what I want to remind us all is that we are enough & deep within us lay our God-given DNA that marks us as His creation. God sets the standard & I for one want to rise up to meet His not the thousand around me commanding my attention. We set ourselves up for failure & feelings of inadequacy every time we try to conform to becoming copies of the women in magazines or the beauties in Hollywood. Because guess what? No one can meet them all completely without losing a part of who they really are. Be strong. Be You. Be smart. Be wise. But please do it for His glory. Don't be apart for one more second of the self-destructive decisions being pushed by money hungry companies who will exploit innocent women in the name of "beauty". 

When we live in a constant state of want, it forces our minds away from what really matters. When I focus solely on how I look or what I want I am looking at myself and that my friends is selfish. I'm guilty. Guilty of wanting then sabotaging myself with thoughts of failure. That seems to be the exact opposite of what the Bible teaches us. We are up to our eyeballs in self absorption. An amazing truth at the end of the day is that your worth does NOT come from a set of six pack abs, a Louis Vuitton purse, or a beamer in your driveway. You are more than the shallow things this world has manipulatively disguised as desirable. I'm sick to death of "wanting". I want to be so busy giving to others that I have no time to want. I'm not saying getting new things, working out, or shopping is all together bad but when it is the drive & focus of the majority of our lives, it begins to serve as a distraction. Beauty is fleeting ladies. We have limited years that what we look like is valuable according to the world's standards. You want to know what I desire? I long for God to know me by name. I cling to promises like this one in 1 Corinthians 8:3 and I long to lead women in this pursuit first & foremost before anything else in their lives.

I want it to be clear what it means to be His. To be known by God. We must be willing to put priorities in our life. It's vital to keep God first. To follow Him in our journey as a wife, a mother, a friend, and a employee. To be keenly aware of how we present ourselves to the lost & dying world. To be held accountable for the way we dress, behave, and speak. 

"But flee from these things, you (wo)man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness."~1 Timothy 6:11 

You may feel that this is overboard but I'm here to prove to you it's the sure path to a life of peace & soaring high above our circumstances. We aren't perfect but that's no excuse to not follow what He's given us in the scriptures as a pathway for life. Do you know how much He loves you? How much He longs to be intimately acquainted with you & to fulfill all of your needs. The hole that remains in your life will be open until it is filled with Him. I can promise you there is no real, lasting satisfaction apart from Him. He desperately wants to show you how wonderful He truly is. I believe ultimately He wants His daughters back. He wants to claim you back from the adulteress world that serves to only make you more unhappy & miserable. There isn't an amount of attention from men from your sexiness, or beauty that could give you value & love the way God can. He is the author of love. He created you. He knows what makes you tick & what will fill you to overflow. He knows things about you that you don't even know about yourself yet! Come back to your first Love. To the One who longs to spend a little time with you & has nothing but your best in mind. It's a narrow road, few will follow. But it leads to life...a decision you won't soon regret!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Your King comes to you...

Today marks the beginning of what most call Holy Week. I believe it's a great time to reflect on what Jesus did for us. How grave the sacrifice. How seriously He took fulfilling His purpose according to the Father's will. I'm taken aback when I think about His arrival on the back of a donkey into Jerusalem. It is marked in the Bible as a triumphal entry. The people praised Him & sang Hosanna in the Highest! They believed He was there to become their King. The King of the Jews! What they missed was that He didn't come to be their earthly King but to join us all back together with God, to be our Heavenly King. What they didn't understand was that God has a plan that far outweighs what our human minds can wrap around. He sent His Son-the perfect lamb to bear the entire weight of humanity's sin & all they could think about is what they would gain from His arrival. The moment He rode in on the back of a donkey was the beginning of what Jesus already knew was His end on this earth. He knew that the very ones who praised Him would turn on Him when they realized He wasn't there to fulfill the purpose they so desired. What makes me even sadder is that I've been that person too. When things didn't work out the way I expected I questioned God's love for me. When unexpected hardships came & God didn't answer the way I prayed I've gotten a little jaded about His perfect will in my life. We've all had our part at some point in praising God when it's good but turning away when it's not what we anticipated. Lord, forgive us. 

For me the most powerful of all the scriptures is Mark 14:32-38, while Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. I imagine what it looked like for Him to be very distressed and troubled. Frankly, it makes me sick. Jesus says His soul was deeply grieved to the point of death and requested His disciples(those closest to Him) to stay by His side and keep watch. I imagine what it must of felt like to know what horror He would experience by way of the Cross. Luke records it like this  "And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. (Luke 22:44 NASB). Think of how horrific He must have felt to literally sweat blood. Then to come from praying multiple times to check on your friends just to find each time they repeatedly fell asleep. Never realizing what was to come, He wanted them to pray & warned them to wake up! To be on guard least they be tempted.  I imagine Him falling to His knees, in prayer to His Father, alone. With no support, forced to face this alone, just He & God. Friends, Jesus was God in flesh. He felt emotion just like we do so that He could identify with every bit of the reality of what we face in this life. With that being said I believe He was scared. He knew what was coming & He even prayed Abba, Father, all things are possible to you; remove this cup from me.~Mark 14:36 A heart-felt, fervent appeal to His beloved Father. And just like the obedient son He was Jesus immediately, no matter how distressing the situation, guaranteed His obedience. This has served as such a reminder over the years for me. That obedience, if done the way Jesus did, is accomplished by choosing God's way over our own. Not because of our comforts but because of our devotion to God. To His will, His power, His glory. So today I encourage you to look deeply into the story leading up to the Crucifixion of our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ. Learn what exactly He walked through. Find out who Jesus was & discover now who He is in your life. We were on His mind when He went to the Cross. He knew His blood was required to give us our inheritance. We didn't deserve it but He did it anyway. That's worth praising God about when all else seems to have gone wrong. He carried the weight of my sin, your sin and did it from a heart that desired to please His Father more than to satisfy His flesh...let this be said of us too.

With thoughts of Him,
Katie Ramirez

32 They *came to a place named Gethsemane; and He *said to His disciples, “Sit here until I have prayed.” 33 And He *took with Him Peter and [a]James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. 34 And He *said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch.” 35 And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might [b]pass Him by. 36 And He was saying, Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.” 37 And He *came and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”~Mark 14:32-38

Sunday, March 17, 2013

heart talk...

So I've been thinking after a weekend away to relax & here is what is on the tip of my tongue & the edge of my thoughts.

Coffee & Jesus was born from a heart that was so lost & in love with Jesus she couldn't wait to rush up & grab her coffee to sit down for a quiet time spent basking in scripture & just simply conversing with Him. To encounter His one of a kind presence & be refilled by His love. My heart wanted to share what I had discovered with anyone willing to listen to me. It was never to preach or shove my beliefs down someone else's throat but to live in such a way that Jesus was obvious in my life & that maybe He was a solution for the life of others too.

My husband purchased & we are still in the process of completing the transfer into our name. This waiting process, which has been since the first of the year has been one of very little worry or stress but recently has become one of the need for direction. Which way do I go now? What will the website consist of? How will I accurately display what it is God wants to do through me? You know, questions with very few right now answers. What I do know is that the answer is so enormous that I can't even put a touch of it on paper. What I know is that I desire above all else is that HE alone be glorified. That the hard stuff is freely shared as well as the fun stuff. I'm guilty in just the last few days of being too busy to get still before Him & my little heart is a tad bit home sick for His presence. I want with all that's in me to stay so closely connected to Him. I know when I feel further away & it's because I moved back. Not on purpose but from distraction. I am completely lost without Him & to be quite honest that's the easiest way to explain how I'm feeling even after a few days of being lax. There is nothing I want to hold so tightly that it keeps me from experiencing Him to the fullest. Including social media, material things, activities. You can call me overboard, I won't be upset. This is real & an accurate depiction of someone who has experienced Him fully.

Then let us fill all of our pauses with praise! Let us give all that lies within us not to the voices of the enemy, but to pure praise, to pure loving adoration, and to worship from a grateful heart - a heart trained to look up.

So with a heart of humility here's what I would love. Pray for me. Pray for the direction of Pray that His will is clear & I am able to accurately convey what it is that He desires. Pray that my heart is tender & that His grace is ever present. Pray that the people it is meant for are reached. But above all pray that His love far outweighs everything else in my life & I let go of anything that is in the way. That I dwell in the shelter of the Most High & walk this earth with purpose & that it would be contagious...

For Him

Monday, March 4, 2013

Come away with Me...

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.~Psalm 23:1-6

This chapter of scripture has been ringing in my spirit since this afternoon. I tend to get antsy in seasons of waiting on God. Life is peaceful & good right now but I'm ready to get some things that are in the process going & it's not God's timing just yet. This causes me to battle allowing my mind to either begin to figure it out or choose to rest in Him. He prefers the latter so the Holy Spirit reminded me today that He MAKES me lie down in green pastures...He LEADS me beside quiet waters. I was instantly caught up in the thought of what this scripture looked like in my life. As I began to ask God the visual came. Will you walk with me as we hear Him whisper to "Come away with Me" The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. When we chose Jesus, God made sure that our every need was supplied & met ahead of time. Our hearts tended to, our tears collected & kept accounted for, our dreams planted in the depths of our being, our desires every so gentle placed upon our hearts. You see the Lord loves His own & He tends to us just like a shepherd leaving us wanting NOthing. Every need met. Will we trust Him for that today? 
He MAKES me lie down in green pastures or causes us to rest, to feel at home with Him, in His presence. Isn't that true definition of His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as it is in Heaven?(Matthew 6:10) He leads me beside quiet waters, can you imagine that? Quiet waters. Sounds tranquil to me. I imagine a gentle flowing stream where life is poured into it moment by moment but there is still peace present all around this body of life-giving waters. John 7:38 speaks about rivers of living water saying that "He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, "From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water." A body of water may be quiet but still be powerful & produce life. This is what I believe is promised here. It is there in the lush green pastures with quiet waters that peace flows and our souls are restored. And from the abundance of this we are guided on paths of righteousness, for His names sake. Not because of a rule but because its the response that comes from a life lost in peace with Christ. We then carry His peace-filled presence and the lost & hurting see hope in our life causing them to wonder how to possess this peace. We then lead them to the source, Jesus.  I believe He is asking us all to let Him lead us to this place. Less trying more resting in Him. A less active thought life & a more quiet, peaceful one. One that is full of thoughts of hope in Him and less thoughts of our own, self destructing any peace we currently possess. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear NO evil for You are with me. He is with us but we must be in a place of rest to hear Him & to be aware. We don't ever have to possess fear for any reason because He is in our corner. He will not ever leave us or forsake us, not ever! His rod & staff comfort me, always. He freely gives us victory because His Son paid the ultimate price for it. So it's more about being aware of what's ours than it is about earning it. It is our inheritance & a promise. Let's not let it slip through our hands. Hold tightly to the hope we have in Him. Surely goodness & His mercy will follow me ALL the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. You see we were meant to live in this house, lay in this pasture of rest. Our peace won't come from "figuring" it all out. It will come from fully surrender our lives including thoughts to the One who already knows. He already paved the way. His faithfulness to David in these scriptures are just proof that our good is always on His agenda even if what leads to good looks more like a battle than a joy ride. He loves when we trust Him. Period. Won't you join me? Won't you stop thinking of how the future will unwrap itself & just trust the maker of our futures? It's worth it. I refuse to settle for anything less...