Friday, February 17, 2017

LET IT RAIN !



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Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

It’s not what I thought or wanted but it was something that was to be expected. My words of advice and the words others share sometimes fall on ground that is just not ready or willing to receive. We continue to plants seeds filled with God’s Word and purpose, even when it doesn’t rain and the ground of our hearts remains unbreakable and stubborn. We pray for rain. It may not come when we call out to the heavens for it, but in due season, God’s Word promises that it will fulfill those things it wants to fulfill and accomplish those things God has ordained and promised. 

The soil of our children’s and spouses’ hearts is sometimes hard because life can make it a rocky field. The choices they make don’t just affect them but those around them. We go through break ups and hurts and through it all God’s comfort comes in like a soft wind and reminds us, “I am here with you through all the news, the changes and the short comings.” 

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In God’s time, the rain becomes to fall slowly and softly. Many times the rain comes after we’ve gone through the misunderstandings and the mess ups of being rebellious.  It begins to rain right after we decided to do things our way.  The soft rain falls when the sin is uncovered and we’re standing naked before a God that exposes us for our own good. It’s when we’re ready to allow the soil and ground of our lives to be broken that God can rain upon us and heal, restore and do a great work.

 It’s when the soil is ready that those words we spoke over our children when they were young begin to whisper into their lives again. Like clay in the Potter’s Hands, our families begin to be molded and restored. It’s when the soil of our minds is stirred and turned upside down that we are able to surrender it all to a God whose Word renews our minds. God’s word showers and flows out into the rooms in our minds and our hearts where the past hurts need to be watered away. God’s Word pours through like rain and says, “Now you’re ready to let me do a great work in your life.”

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It’s not what I thought or wanted, but I know that in the midst of this unorganized mess, God is present and He is still very much in control. That is why I am at peace and I can’t even get upset. The Lord took His time to show me what was coming before it came and He prepared my heart. I sat in church and week after week, God gave me words I would need to remember for the moments that were coming my way. “When God give you something, you have to give it away.” “Grace. If Grace has been given to you are you ready and able to give grace away?”

Through the changes in our lives, God is still at work. We make plans and God looks at us, His children and His creation and He laughs. I serve a Mighty God who also has a great sense of humor. I serve and believe in a powerful God who fights my battle and still takes time to sing over me. I place my hope in a Loving Father who cares about my hurts and still strengthens me because He knows there will be many more to come. Through it all, He is present. And, although it wasn’t what I had expected, God has given me a joy through it all, filling me with expectation because I see that now, the ground of the hearts I’ve planted seeds into all these years, has begun to get ready to receive from the Lord.

Let it rain, dear Lord, let it rain!

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

WHEN WILL YOU CHOOSE TO TRULY LIVE FOR CHRIST?


Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago


I take the blame. I am guilty. The fault is mine.
So much of what happens points to those moments in our lives when we either made a good choice or a not so great one. The end product of what comes my way, I think, is perhaps the result of moments of ignoring what should never have been ignored and not dealing with what should have been spoken about, perhaps out of fear. Fear paralyzes and keeps us from confronting what needs to be tackled head on. My silence or my choice to ignore many things, hoping they would change, gave voice and power to those very things I was hoping would fade away.

And, here we are. Here I am. 
The questions I have are spoken loudly but you cannot hear me. Each time I attempt to speak them, your voice is louder and your anger blurs each sentence, pushing me back into silent mode. You are still stuck in the same place when I've asked you to move forward. You are still in the same level when I've constantly tried to turn the knob to second and third and fourth level. Your resistance has kept you reliving the past when we should've moved forward into the present, into our destiny and our calling, but we could not. I could not. Because I am still with you and your denial to believe you can overcome the hurts of the past keep you from graduating and moving on.

Here we are. When we should be embracing what can be some of our best years, we are back to yesterday. But, why are we here? Why is yesterday the train stop you keep getting off at? Why is it that you cannot change your destination, and when you need direction you return to the past, looking for the broken GPS that never led you out of the dark and into the Light? Why is it so easy to believe in God one moment and put Him on the side bench the next? How is it so easy to cry out and declare you will walk in God's Word and trust Him to restore you and in just days return to the very images and thoughts that broke your life down and so far away from God's presence?


I am to blame, perhaps. For waiting and believing for you when you couldn't believe for yourself. I've often thought that everyone that comes to God, truly comes with such a desperate need for His presence that nothing and no one can separate them from staying on the path where God is leading us. Perhaps too many times I covered it all up and protected your story hoping that you would grow and make the choice to be steadfast in the Lord. 

We've all hurt. There are wishes in each of our boxes where we wish so many things would've never happened to us or with us. But, they did. They did. And they're in your yesterday and mine. Why can't you just believe that when God says He is making and has made all things new that He truly has made them completely new? Why can't you trust Him to heal your mind and your heart. Why is so easy to be convinced of God's love and presence one moment and so confused and uncertain the next? 

Didn't I tell you that you need to see yourself as a soldier and that this battle never ceases? I've told you that you need God's word in your life every day and yet you entertain everything else and have time for everything else, but you're too tired for the Word, and you're too tired for fellowship, and you're too tired for everything and anything that has "God" in it. I've held on and I wonder if I had let go a long time ago, would that have pushed you to seek God like your next breath was about to end? I wonder if I had walked away from you when the time had been given if this would have given you the door to trust in God and no one else? Because here we are and nothing changes. You are the same and I am still waiting. I am still hoping and praying, but I am hoping and praying alone.


You are where you are because you choose and you want to be where you are. You are happy and satisfied and not afraid. Your comfort zone keeps you around me, around us and I wish you would go on with your life and finally make a decision to be for real on your own and not because of me. If I pray, you pray. If I read, you read. If I go, you go every once in awhile but you don't push through. You don't fight! Look around us! Don't you see the chaos and all the problems around us? Don't you see how sickness just keeps showing up it's face and not leaving? Do you think our financial situation is going to get better? Where is your mind when you've been called to lead and the only place you've led us is to the slaughter house? Why should we follow if your feet only lead away from Christ and into the darkness? 

The coming of the Lord is near and oh, you keep moving away from his Presence. I am right beside you and although I am holding on to God and His promises, your lack of faith and commitment don't help my prayers move forward. Your failure to be strong keeps our home on shaky ground. When, when will you rise and shine with the light of the Lord in your life? Will the light of my eyes be gone the day you choose to truly surrender your life to the Lord?

Monday, January 30, 2017

WHEN YOU WISH FOR DEATH

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Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Recently I sat in a conversation with someone who was so overwhelmed and broken that this person had come to the conclusion that perhaps suicide was the only solution to stop the pain. I thank God that in the hardest times, He shows up and helps us to give the right words to someone who is saying they want to die, but I think what they're really saying is, "I hurt so bad, I wish it would stop!"

We have the opportunity to let people who are hurting know that they are not alone. So many times our focus lies in preaching to the lost, when many times, the broken and the hurting are so near to us. God will not only give us the words, anointed with His Love and presence, to change the situation, we can trust that God will do great things in the very situations that seem impossible to change.


Psalm 143:3-11English Standard Version (ESV)
For the enemy has pursued my soul;
    he has crushed my life to the ground;
    he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.
Therefore my spirit faints within me;
    my heart within me is appalled.

 From the very moment we set out to breathe, just like God has an amazing plan for our lives, the Devil also begins to work against that blessed plan. He comes against you and me in our childhood so that we are completely destroyed. Our lives are attacked, our innocence violated, our bodies abused and our minds tormented. We feel alone and pushed against the corner with no escape. It is the Enemy of our lives that works to bring lives to the place where they feel completely imprisoned in silence, rotting away in the silence of forgetfulness as those that have long been buried ten feet under.

I remember the days of old;
    I meditate on all that you have done;
    I ponder the work of your hands.
I stretch out my hands to you;
    my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. Selah
Answer me quickly, O Lord!
    My spirit fails!
Hide not your face from me,
    lest I be like those who go down to the pit.

There were times, even in those dark moments, where God made every effort to communicate with us and we just couldn't see or understand He was there reaching out to us. God has always desired to show us the way and direct our paths. You thought God has forgotten you and that maybe He had not heard any of your cries in the night, but He heard. In our pain, we didn't know how to identify the Healing and helping voice of the Almighty God. He was there wanting to deliver you and me from such devastation and heartache but, oh, how we continued to make so many wrong choices, And, it's not that the Lord didn't love us or care, it's that we had ended up in places and situations where the plan of Satan was taking place. He was hard at work to break our spirits and leave us for dead.

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
    for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
    for to you I lift up my soul.
Deliver me from my enemies, O Lord!
    I have fled to you for refuge.[a]
10 Teach me to do your will,
    for you are my God!
Let your good Spirit lead me
    on level ground!
11 For your name's sake, O Lord, preserve my life!
    In your righteousness bring my soul out of trouble!
 
God has never stopped loving you or me. God has never put His many plans for you in the garbage. God has not changed His mind about how He loves you and what He sees when He looks at you. You see filth but God sees restoration from your ugly past. You look in the mirror and see shame, but God sees a life that is renewed and polished back to something ever more precious than the original beauty. You feel worthless and God says feel my love, feel my presence, and feel the Life I give you. You crave and hunger for death because you believe it is the way out, the end of pain and the only way to stop the hurt and the voices of condemnation. God says, "You're crazy to think there's any life outside of what I am freely giving you. Come closer to my heart and I will give you that peace and that rest you have desired for so many years."

 2 Samuel 22:29  “You, Lord, are my lamp; 
the Lord turns my darkness into light.”

I want to share that the person that spent the  last few weeks depressed, longing for death and feeling like he was losing his mind is smiling again. This person is learning to see that when we feel like we're going to lose our minds, God says, "Take it easy." And He shows us how to renew our minds through His word and by trusting in him. God has a great plan for your life. There is nothing, absolutely nothing that you or I have done that would create a permanent wall of separation between us and God. To crash through that wall of sin and darkness that separates us from our loving heavenly Father we just have to call upon His name and cling unto Him with all our strength. You and I are going to have to put all our trust in Him because being set free will be a battle. The Devil will not want to see you be set free. Satan will not want to see you happy and living a life filled with Jesus Christ. He will continue to come against you. But, one thing I promise, you will have the presence and the power of the Almighty God in your life to fight this battle. 

 Deuteronomy 31:8  “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. 
Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

When the Devil comes to remind you of your past and that suicide is the only way out, you will have the armor of God upon you and the Word of God inside of you to command him to be quiet and leave. God will empower you to walk in victory even when life is hard. God will be with you and help you. Life will have it's moments to make you struggle, but with God in your life, you have the guarantee that you are not alone. God will also put family and friends in your life that will love you regardless of your past, your failures or what you feel shame for. Since God has made all things new, God will also give them a heart to love you and see you through God's eyes. He will provide the support and the help you need. Holy Spirit will indwell you and empower you to resist the devil and the devil will flee. 

So, will the person I spoke to these past few days ever struggle with suicidal thoughts again? I know that Satan loves to attack our thoughts, especially when we go through a difficult situation. But, I also know that if we hide in God's Word and seek the Lord, suicide is going to have to run out of our minds because there is a great God making his seat in our hearts and in our lives. The devil cannot remain where God comes to claim his beloved child. I promise to be here for you and walk with you through your hard times. Together we will pray and seek the Lord. Together we will fight. I will not leave you because I love you, I always have and I always will. El Shaddai has a great plan for YOU!

 Psalm 34:18-19  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all;”

I pray you are blessed. This is very true what I've shared tonight. I pray that just as I am praying for this person in my life, that you will know that I am also asking the Lord to give you victory and give you understanding of how much God not only loves you but cares for your today and your tomorrow. Trust in the Lord and you will see that life with the Lord is a great adventure!

God bless you. Love and Hugs, Your sis in the Lord, Angeline.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

RECKLESS DRIVING




Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

What are some events that can and will take place when a driver is either intoxicated, texting, or driving extreme speeds for fun? Among a few images that may quickly pass through your mind, one might be a deadly accident where not only the driver is affected but those around him or her. The million tears, cries of, "I'm sorry!" and money in the world will not bring back the person that fatally passes away or ends up in the hospital bed in a coma. Money can provide a new car or fix the messed up, crashed up one, but nothing can truly erase the devastation of this moment when the "bang" took place and life as everyone involved knew it, was completely and forever changed.


 I use this example to make you think about  the way we live. We claim to be followers of Christ and disciples of the Lord. We boldly declare in social media that Jesus is Lord of our lives. Our outward lives are living testaments of our faith and our countless activities devoted to proving we "walk with the Lord". Yet, in our private moments, we fail to prove to ourselves that Christ is truly Lord in our lives. We live by two different standards and attempt to compromise and mix both God's ways with the ways of the world or our own thinking and feeling.

Marriages encounter that "bang" and "crash" moment when we, as the drivers of our lives, get in the car of our decisions and choices and make some pretty messed up choices. Just like the car crash, we don't take into consideration the lives that will be hit and destroyed because we are wreckless drivers, out of control with our wayward living and doing our own thing. We flirt. We look at what we shouldn't. We entertain conversations and moments in our lives that as children of the Most High should make us run. We take a second look, taste the moment, imagine the opportunity and even drive around a few times not caring who gets hit as we make a U turn back into sinful behavior.



Mercy. How many times do we take God's forgiveness and mercy for granted. Our minds tell us He loves us and will forgive us so we continue to step on the gas and go all crazy doing what our flesh craves for. Marriages are forever damaged. Relationships are eternally marred. Families are scarred because even when we apologize and move on, the scars are there. We live with the side effects of the bang up that took place. We live with the memories of when and how we were let down or someone we trusted took advantage of our kindness. We accept people into our families and don't know the number they're playing in our lives. They come in telling you one story, but they're after your marriage. Your husband or your wife becomes their prey. Jealous people come into your lives and target your children and all that they see in you.

Too many Christians are driving wrecklessly! We're living off of only Sunday sermons and not taking time to read God's word and pray on our own. We don't think about the Lord throughout the day. We rarely, if ever, meditate upon His word or seek His presence. We spend our days merely entertained with the political agendas of the moment but don't take the time to just ask for God's protection and strength. Our families are broken and hurting and we lean upon the prayers of others for the healing and restoration in our homes.


We forgive and forgive over and over again. But, the affects, just like the car crash, remain. An unfaithful moment can lead to a pregnancy or a disease. Addictions to porn or other inappropriate behaviors are very hard to break. Once we open the door to the demonic realm, they forever believe they have permission to bother, haunt and raid our minds, our bodies, homes and families. 

How do we stop this behavior of having to live with constantly forgiving our spouses or people in our lives for their reckless driving? It's time to realize that our behavior causes accidents and even death. Our careless mistakes can take a lifetime of counseling to help us just begin recovery. We want a testimony that says we messed up or tried the untouchable. Why? Why can't we just give our hearts to Christ and try to live our lives for Him. He gives us clear instructions and directions in His Word.


I believe that if we make it a habit, a habit and routine of the heart and mind to honor, please and live for God Almighty, we can take these same disciplines and honor, please and give our all to our husband, or wife, and our children and family. If we love God, truly love the Lord and try to live for the Lord, then that same path leads us to loving our families and thinking a hundred times before we let ourselves fall. I am not saying there won't be times we mess up or that it can't happen. But, what if we lived really trying to just love our husband or wife and honoring our God? Then, we wouldn't get into the car all intoxicated and uncaring because we would think of hurting our families and breaking God's heart.

It's tiresome to continue to live through the same patterns of dysfunction and impropriety. It's heartbreaking to see God restore and answer prayer to only end up all over again needing to be delivered, healed and restored. Let us stop with the secrets, the habits of darkness that call us away from God, and let us learn to be a family and a partnership that is one hundred percent surrendered to the Lord. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

I SAW FEAR

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Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

This morning, it seemed people were up with the news. Postings were filling up the social media as people reacted to what is and was taking place within the government walls. As I read their remarks, I read words of fear. I saw fear in the hearts of parents. I saw anger. Reading between the lines, I saw the stress of people wondering what was coming up in the future for their children. Panic and insecurity flooded their words as those who have medical conditions struggled with the news of what the new medical situation for our country was looking like. Fear. It sort of creeps up on us when we're people that know about the times we're living in and are also aware of what the Scriptures indicate as far as the end times. 


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As I read what many were sharing that showed the fear within them, I thought to  myself, "It is what it is." People want you to write to Congress and march and do so much, but the truth is, (at least I think) what will be, will be. God has our times in His hands. Our today and our future, as amazing or as scary as it may start to look for so many, it is in His care. We have to have faith that God Almighty will make a way to provide for our needs, all of our needs, not just the emotional ones. God is able to show us and guide us. The Lord, I believe, will not abandon His Church. 

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There is an assurance in my heart that God's love is so great, that I can trust my children's medical future, their jobs, their careers and every aspect of their lives in His hands. Someone once said, "Fear is the absence of faith." I think Fear is also the result of constantly filling your mind with negativity. I once had a pastor who preached about what we allow to go into our minds and our lives. I remember him saying, "Input/Output, Garbage In, Garbage Out, God's Word In, God's Word Out." And it's so true. We can get captivated by the TV and Social Media to such an extent that God's Word becomes irrelevant. The waves of fear take us on a ride and before you know it, we've not only become hopeless, but become the promoters of that same fear and insecurity.

I don't know it all. Truth is, I have a long way to go as I believe I'm always learning. As an Educator I strongly believe that we are lifetime learners and that the moment we declare we've learned it all, we are just at the beginning of our learning. We never, ever stop learning because this world is ever changing. And so, our faith in the Lord must be ever resilient and never easy to move from here to there. If we make up our minds, then let it be so. Let's not change just because this group says to change or that group is telling you this is the way to go. There are marches and demonstrators inviting you to join and agree. I much rather stay on the sidelines and wait for the Lord to place in my heart what I should or shouldn't  do. Fear is not one of those options. I've been there and have done that. Fear and lack of faith have rendered extremely negative results I will always regret. 

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God's Word will enable us to move when we feel paralyzed. God's Word will give us the confidence to make good choices and walk onward, even if we walk alone and the rest of the world says, "Boo, you're a party pooper!" I don't care about belonging to the group or making the crowd happy. I did that when I was younger and not one of those people I tried to please is here by my side today. It's best to please the Lord and live our lives the way we know God is calling us to live. He is the One that will give us what we need so why do we care and bother with anyone's opinions? Fear has no place in our lives. It's time to stop giving attention to the voices around us. Some of us are on Facebook and Twitter as if the devices are physically attached to our bodies. We're more interested in the likes we get than in making sure we have dinner ready on time. Our focus is more on what our so called "friends" have posted than on prayer time. We run with our fingers to look at what the media is posting instead of putting our hope in the Lord and taking care of our families. 

Be encouraged! God is good, very good. He will not fail us. Never. Ever.

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

I'M STRUGGLING, LORD!

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"Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts."
Psalm 139:23

Struggling. It's a real place for many of us this morning. It's not that we don't believe or that we don't have faith. It's just that, well, we're struggling. I don't like struggling. It means life is like an uphill climb where I'm carrying a backpack filled with cement. It means something in my environment feels like I'm pulling west and it's pulling me east. I'm facing difficult situations and deciding on moments that are overwhelming and I feel pulled from both arms and I'll rip in two any moment.

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." 

Philippians 4:6-7

I know that as a mom, I'm not alone in this feeling. It's a feeling and a reality in my life and many of your lives as you read, where you just don't have any answers. So, what do we do? What do I do? I do the only thing I know and it's to pray. I go to the One who has the answers. I run to the One who is full of the resources my mind needs and my life longs for. I talk to God. No. I don't say, "Yo or Hey man, What's up?" I just say, "Father, It's a mess here in this part of my world right now. I guess You already know that. But, it's me, the one you love. Can you spend some time with me and just lead me, guide me and show me the way, Your way."

"You will seek me and find me 
when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13

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Honesty. It's what we have to be in front of the Lord. He knows me completely any ways, right? But, I come before my Heavenly Father and I have to be real. "Lord, I feel at times like I'm going crazy!" Other times, "Lord, I'm beyond exhaustion and can't even think straight." and then, "God, I just surrender. Flood me with your presence, Lord. I just need You, desperately." It's these moments that the warmth of His Love has just covered me like one of those warm, fuzzy blankets that I love so much. His presence is better than Ben-gay on my  achy body and better than the famous Vapor Rub on my back and chest when winter has gifted me with the Flu. God's love melts away the heavy sensation upon my chest and He reminds me, "You're not alone in this struggle. I am on your side. Here, with you, right now."

"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, 
and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

Exhausted. Struggling. Yup. It's the place where I want to crawl under the bed and hide because facing life as a grown up and as a parent is so hard at times. It's easy to have fingers pointed at us to make us feel like a failure. God knows I've tried so hard to be a good parent, a loving parent and an understanding parent. I've tried to be one who encourages and pushes them when they need it. But, right now, God, it's not working. It seems like I'm flunking this test or motherhood really bad. I can't seem to find the resources my youngest needs right now and all roads lead to me as the one with the faults and the mess ups. 

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"Whether you turn to the right or to the left, 
your ears will hear a voice behind you, 
saying, "This is the way; walk in it. " Isaiah 30;21

And, still through all of this, Lord, I choose to take the little free time I get each day to seek Your presence and the answers I need in Your Word. Speak to me today, Lord. Speak to anyone that needs to hear from you. We need your presence, your guidance and the wisdom to make the right choices. Inspire us and show us the way that means forward. Give me the confidence to walk this road depending on You. Provide me with the help that can only come from you.

"My heart says of you, "Seek His face!" 
Your face, Lord, I will seek." Psalm 27:8

I lay my heart and my all in your hands, dear God. You are my hope and my everything. I give you my home, my family, my situations, and my son. I give you my mess ups, my traumas, my wrong decisions and my lacks. Fill in the gaps where I don't have the right move or the correct words. Stand with me. Strengthen me. Provide for the areas in my life where I need to grow. Take over my emotions and guide my heart. Lord. Have your way, today and every day. In Jesus Name. Amen.

"God is our refuge and strength, 
a very present help in trouble." Psalm 46:1

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Blog Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A CLEAN HEART

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 God created all that is. With His hands He formed and with His Words He spoke it and it became part of His creation, His wonderful creation. The Lord breathed into Adam and a part of the Eternal and Sovereign Lord was now in His beloved creation. I look at the word, “Create” and although it seems God is done with His Genesis creation, I see the opportunity for God to keep creating. I wonder how He feels when we read out Scripture that invite Him to put His hands back into the business of creating and working in the human heart, deep in our lives and in our situations?

 
“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10



Lord, create once again with the soil of my heart. Create with your holy hands by working on my unholy and so very needy heart. I’m not the only one, Lord. There are so many of us that are asking you to create, again, renew and restore. Create in me, in us, a clean heart. Create in me a heart that seeks to please you and longs to be right before you. With your hands, form inside of me a heart that can’t stop wanting to live each moment and breathe each moment after your heart. 


Renew. Make me new. Make me different from the inside out. Make me over. Completely new. My spirit, the me inside of me, needs to be transformed. But, it’s Your touch and your ability to create and renew and transform that my heart is crying out for today. 

Written by Angeline M Duran Santiago