Friday, September 22, 2017

WHAT'S YOUR STORM?


It's been an exhausting week.
The news kept the world stressed with news of storm after storm and hurricane after hurricane. The advances in technology not only predicted and warned people of what was coming, but we were able to be present, watch, hear and weep with those who cried as the winds battered so many places, leaving them in crisis.


In parts of the world where we the hurricanes have not and may not visit, we have our own storms passing through. I can say that the week was not only exhausting, but as it comes to a closing, it has been negative news after more very hard to deal with news. 

You see, the hurricanes come in all shapes and sizes. And, when they come, they thrash and crash upon us physically and mentally. 


So, what can I say but, "It is what it is." "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away!" Blessed be the Name of the Lord. What can I say? The Lord has not only told me not to be anxious and stress for nothing but to confide and relax in His promises. 



Oh, but, I can say, "Lord!! This life is hurting so much right now and it seems as if you're walking away and allowing so much to befall us at this moment. Sickness, traumas, stress and so many things all falling upon us in one moment. Lord, where are you when my world is falling apart? " And His word reminds me that I should not be surprised that these fiery trials would come my way but to be of good cheer because He has already triumphed and overcome this world. 

Yes, in this world we will have challenges and tribulations, but Our God, Almighty God, has overcome and because He has won, we shall be victorious. Through our situation God wants us to see ourselves as victors and not as people that are falling apart and the horrendous news overpower us.



Yes, the waves rise and crash upon us, but He still speaks and calms the storms in our hearts, and in our minds. God, still rises to stand with us and hold our hand when the bad news comes on the phone or while we're sitting in the doctor's office. God is present with us. It is not His will for us to be affected by disease, poverty, war or pain. Jehovah shows up when we pray. We may still live through the storm and the after effects of the tornadoes, and we have the promises of God's word to hold us tight and keep us tough through each new journey in our lives.

I end with this, your battles, your problems and your moments right now are your current storms. Still, I repeat again what I've written before, the storm is not eternal. God's peace, loving care and presence is very real and eternal.

God is for you and me so anyone or anything that comes against us matters little when we know our precious King is standing majestically by our side. 

The enemy will try to steal your joy, rob your faith, and make you give up but don't. Stand firm. Be dressed in His armor. Stand in Him. 




Written By Angeline M Duran Santiago

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

PRAISE HIM IN THE STORM!



By Angeline M Duran Santiago 

The storm rages on and the winds buffet the lands in violent twirls. Some say it is the season for hurricanes and storms. Others say it is the hand of God's judgement upon the people. Others say it is just nature out of control. Regardless if you find yourself on the islands, the states or other parts of the world where it seems the tropical storms and the hurricanes have entered without mercy, know that in the midst of the tragedies, God is still able to hear our cries. 

Many may not be in the midst of the devastation, without electricity or water, and seeking for food. Still, there are many who are still in the whirlwind of the storms that are rocking their homes, the hurricanes that have violated their health and their finances, and yes, the winds have come upon them and it seems terminal and hopeless.




Yet, in all this I am reminded of a story I once heart. The person sharing spoke of a time where there was a great storm in Puerto Rico during their vacation. He shared how he witnessed the palm trees being bent all the way down to the ground as if surrendering and bowing to the harassing winds. He waited to see the palm tree break in pieces and fly into the nearby homes causing more damage. Yet, what he did see was the palm tree immediately arise and regain it's former strength and stand as the winds began to loosen their power. 

The palm tree swept the dust off and shook itself off, and got right back up to face the sun. The winds slowly returned and once more, the palm trees surrendered, but never breaking, never surrendering it's place, holding on for dear life with itself deeply rooted and planted in it's place.

I may not be where my family is and all I can do is pray and trust in their Lord to care for them. We are not exempt from natural disasters and from the chaos that comes from circumstances coming against us as well as the enemy of our souls seeking ways to attack and destroy those of us who trust in the Lord. As children of God, our faith and our hope is often put to the test and many times it is one of the hardest exams to take and pass. 




Nothing hurts more than to see your child always sick and as time passes, he gets sicker and it seems there is nothing to help him get better. Nothing is worse than a marriage that is falling apart, a parent that is suffering and you can't help them, your home being lost because your job closed down and your finances are gone. Storms that may not be physical like a hurricane, but they torment your spirit and break your very being.

Through all this, I believe we are to remain faithful. We cannot lose faith. When others tell us we are foolish to keep hoping, we know that He who rose from the grave can resurrect our situations and can heal in His way and in his time. I cannot tell you the times I have asked the Lord to heal my son, to restore the broken places in our lives, to deliver those that are suffering from any type of addiction and just show up and be the God who is our Refuge and Deliverer. God shows up when we are ready to see Him move. God will answer according to His will and His time. 

This I know, He is for us and not against us. Not everything that goes wrong is God's hand of judgement. We are in this world so corrupt and just a mess. Yet, He stands out and asks us to trust Him and come to Him with all of our storms, our hurricanes, and our destroyed lives. God calls us to come and run into His chest and allow His arms to be wrapped tight around us and allow Him to hold us close to His heart. He invites us to trust Him as the wind blows and we feel desperate. 




Just as the palm tree bends to the push of the storm and rises as the winds give up because the storm is temporary and cannot and will not last forever, so my dear brother and sister, you and I will not be forever thrust on the ground of the problems that come our way. You and I will not be pushed down forever. We will also see the Son of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings and shine upon us. We too will arise and straighten up, brush the dust off of our shoulders and stand stronger than ever because through the storm, we praised Him and we trusted in Him.

Love and hugs to everyone. My prayer for all, not just my personal family, but for the world as the hurricanes and the storms slam into your lands. My prayer for your safety and Jehovah's provision as things seem to get worse. The Lord will shine upon you all and you will experience His presence through it all. We will see His glory and praise Him through the storm.

Click below and enjoy this beautiful song:


Monday, September 18, 2017

TIME IN HIS PRESENCE




By Angeline M Duran Santiago


Saturday morning, I put aside how I was feeling and a mind filled with a million things to do according to my calendar. It had been a few days already and all I knew was that I was hungry, deep in my heart to be just be present in the house of the Lord. I had been living on small bites of prayer here and there and my insides were anxious for the Bread of Life.

Entering the sanctuary, I inwardly rejoiced to find the sanctuary just as I had wished it and seen it in my heart. Nothing had started yet and to find an empty church to me was finding a gold mine. I had dragged myself and willed myself to obey the longing in my heart, and oh, how wonderful to find the space all for me.

Taking advantage of the time alone and not knowing how long I’d have the place to myself, I came before the Lord. As I just spoke my thoughts and my heart out, I saw myself as the woman with the issue of blood in the Bible who was pressing through the multitude, pushing through, being bruised, pushed and maybe even trampled on at some point, but she persevered and crawled if she had to if only to touch the hem of His garment. “I’m here, Lord.” I said. “I don’t know how to push through anymore. I’m tired. I’m exhausted. I’m waiting and believing that You are in control and that You have a plan, but I’m still here surrounded by the multitude that reminds me of all the unanswered prayers, of my mishaps and mess ups. I’m pushed against and yelled at by those who remind me there’s still something wrong with me, or that I’m not enough, or that this is my destiny; to live with unanswered prayers, family that need healing, loved ones that can’t break through their addictions, and a fight that never ends.”



I poured out my heart to the Lord and saw myself taking that stand where I am usually found, one that declares, “I can fight a little longer because the Lord is with me, I will not be afraid!” Then I asked the Lord to help me to get my eyes and my heart off of everything and everyone that took up my space and my time, so that I could focus on Him, His Voice and His leading. “Remove those things that in my life that keep me so occupied and worried that I take care of them and forget to trust you and surrender it all to you. Help me to focus and keep my eyes and my heart on You.”

Voices behind me where a sign that my alone time with the Lord which I cherished so much had come to an end and I would have to share His Presence. And, that was ok, for the room was being filled with women just like me that perhaps had also ended up here pushing through the crowds of their family obligations, their burdens and their hang ups. But, they were here, to soak in His Presence.

The time of worship was lovely. I knew without a doubt that I belonged here, in this moment. Soon afterwards, the speaker took her part. My heart was astonished as she shared. “How, Lord? How could this be?” She spoke and her words were the words I had spoken to the Lord in secret. The guest speaker spoke about keeping the focus on the Lord and not only identifying the distractions, but knowing how to put them aside and making God my priority in this busy world. She spoke about the many responsibilities we have and how sometimes we have to set them all aside just to be able to be alone with Jesus and see Him at work in our lives, as He did with the little girl that was returned to life with just a spoke word. And then she shared on how Jesus took the time to pay attention to something as small as recognizing the touch of someone upon his garment. At this, I knew, if no one else was getting this message, I knew, “Lord, I am that woman. Speak into my life, I receive it.”

Although Jesus was on a mission, he was still interested in this woman with the issue of blood. She pushed her way to get to Jesus. Yes, He had what many called an emergency to attend to, a child was dying or as the story goes, she dies on the way before Jesus gets to her home. But, through it all, Jesus stopped to let this outcast of a woman who most likely felt alone, unwanted and unloved, without a purpose and at the end of her rope, He stopped to recognize her, to smile and make a big deal in regards to what she did, to bring attention to what she had done.

She had stretched forth her hand to touch Him if even with her fingertips. Maybe this was her last chance. Maybe she had planned on taking her life and ending it all if she couldn’t get Him to slow down enough to stretch through the crowd. Jesus made a big deal about her healing and her deliverance moment. Jesus stopped his mission to celebrate this woman’s faith. He knew her desperations and her intentions. Jesus knew she was moving on her final strength, and He acknowledged her. His look of love that turned from facing forward into the needs of others, made Him stop, make an about face and seek her out.

On Saturday, I was that woman.
And Jesus stopped in a corner of Keansburg and in a very gently way turned around and said, “Who has touched me?” Lord, I was that woman among so many other woman, broken, abandoned in so many ways, hurt and feeling at my end that came for a word and you spoke into my life.



The moment you feel that tug in your life to press through, push through your situations and your circumstances, leave the house and just follow the call of your heart to be in the Lord’s house as if it’s an emergency, because you know what, the dishes and the laundry will still be there when you get home. So, why worry. The Lord is calling us out for more. “Just come.” Is all I heard and I followed, and oh, how I was restored and reminded to continue to press onward.


Do not give up. Do not lose hope. Don’t let your faith be crushed by your circumstances or situations. Don’t allow the things you are experiencing determine the time you give to the Lord. Let those challenges or lack of them lead you always into His presence. For the Lord is good, and His mercy endures forever!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

My PRAISE is My WEAPON!

                         ~By Angeline M Duran Santiago

Sometimes we find ourselves in situations we don't understand. "Lord, why? Why this? How could you have allowed this to happen?" We find ourselves waiting on the Lord to bring into the Light what has been foolishly and with evil done in the dark. Our heart is heavy because we harbor truths in our hearts that we cannot share and can only pray about. We keep secrets that have been shared with us and we can only take that person's pain and hardship before the Lord until God, and God alone can alter the situation and bring a breakthrough. It is God, and God alone that can open or close the doors that are needed to be open or closed. It is He who can break what has to be broken and heal what needs to be completely healed and renewed.

We find ourselves in a place, a hard place where the only one we can bring our story to is Father God. He alone can be trusted because most everyone else has failed. We can take our cares to others, hoping for a Word from the Lord, and it's so sad to see how many times, even those who we know and have seen to be the vessels of the Lord can still only supply us with with confusing messages and leave us more confused and yearning for truth, God's truth.


It is here in that place where I cannot speak and I have to keep things between God and my heart that praise, praise that comes from my hurts, my need for God's presence, a praise that is a cry like no other cry, comes out and praises the God of my heart. I acknowledge His greatness and His power because I know that this is just one more situation and one more battle that He alone, YES, God alone can take on. I know when to be still and recognize His Sovereignty. I also know when it is time to shout and give Him my praise, even if with just my heart when everyone is sleeping.

Praise is my weapon! Praise is Your weapon! Praise is mighty when we are praising the Lord!

Praise brings down the enemy and brings down the walls built around us to keep us trapped in confusion, in doubt, in trouble and without help. Praise confuses the enemy who thinks we will lay down and weep and feel abandoned. Praise invites Holy Spirit to come into my life and into my home and begin to move around with freedom. Praise, praise that comes from within, with joy and confidence changes my sadness and removes the anger, it replaces it with joy and peace in my mind. 

God abides in our praise and visits us ready to join us in battle.


Praise is my weapon. I sing and the plan and work of the enemy is shaken. I dance and the presence of darkness and all dark principalities know I will not be broken and removed from my faith and hope in Christ. I praise God and enter a place of worship where He is my everything and all I want is Him. All I need is the Lord. He prepares my hands to war. The Word of God, my Sword, moves in my life and gives me a shout of victory. He moves in my life and gives me strength I didn't have. He takes care of my situation when I decide to surrender it all to Him.

You don't know my life and I don't know yours. But, if you are facing some hard moments in your life, do not become discouraged. Don't turn it into a pity party and decide you want to die. No! You have to get up and begin to speak to the situation in your life. Speak to the circumstances that are hard in your life, in your body, in your home, at your workplace, in your ministry and in your church. Speak to those things with authority and begin to surrender them to the Lord. 

Begin to acknowledge the Lord God Almighty and Praise Him. Brothers and Sisters, something happens when you say,
"I will enter His gates with thanksgiving!" You don't need to be in church to enter into His presence. You can worship God in your bedroom. You can praise Him while you're cooking. You can cry out to Him while you're in the shower. God is not into appointments. He is available. He is attentive to your heart's cry. Let praise be your weapon today and tomorrow. Praise Him through it all!


Something will happen in your environment when you invite God into your life. The atmosphere is about to change the moment you turn up the praise that comes from your heart and bless the Lord.


Know God, Seek God, but also Know Your Enemy

By Angeline M Duran Santiago

We learn as much as we can about surviving and getting through the daily motions of life. We're born into a world that sometimes seems like a jungle, a war zone almost, and we're expected to thrive through all the storms and all the crazy moments that come our way as we go from year to year. For some, along the way, we learn about a loving Heavenly Father who sees our distress and knows our condition. He knows us so well, that He plans ahead of time to make a way for us to succeed in our lifetime, if we so choose to accept His plan for our lives and let His love inspire and light our path. 

Many times, we stray away from the path, and yet in our worst condition, a condition of the heart and mind that moves away from God and peers into the darkness or is entrapped by sin, still in that covering of sin and pain, God still bends down to listen to our cry and takes us out of our mess.



We are told to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to listen to the Lord at all times. We are rarely told to be alert and pay attention to the adversary, because this too should be something we are aware of. Just as we desire to get closer to the Lord, so also there is an enemy of God that is seeking to get closer to us. Yes, God is with us and He is our protector. This doesn't mean the devil takes a break to leave us alone. He is looking for the many ways he can enter our lives to bring havoc, some disturbance, and shake us just enough to get our eyes off of the Lord and on to our situation.

Our foe is ancient. He has experienced the way humanity moves, feels and reacts in situations time and time again. He observes what draws men to certain attractions and what helps another fall into despair. For this reason, we must do our best, no matter how tired and how burdened with daily tasks we find ourselves, we must make God's presence a priority. Oh, this is such a challenge when you work so early and have to be at work for a long portion of your day. This is so hard when you come home and it's already bedtime, you're exhausted, maybe cooking dinner and just wanting to soak in the tub and go to bed.



Still, remember that the next minute in your life is not promised. No one is your life is promised life when the sun rises again. The attacks on your life will never cease and the problems around you remain whether you are strong in the Lord sometimes or too tired to pray. Life doesn't stop and wait for you to feel like praying or feel like seeking the Lord. Your reality doesn't change just because you think it can. We have to, I have to, get up and seek the Lord because He alone is my help and my fortress, my Refuge and my Deliverer, My God in whom I can trust.

God alone is my shield and the Lifter of my head. God is my Healer even and I keep declaring it until my son is healed. I must continue to declare the victory when I still don't see a complete breakthrough in my home and we are still going through difficulties. We were not born with the knowledge on how to survive, but once we were born again, God has supplies us with weapons of warfare in the spiritual realm, so that through our prayers and our praise we can cast down imaginations, bring down principalities and rulers in high places, command sickness to leave in Jesus name and stand firm,trusting in His power to prevail in our lives.



I'm going to take some time now to practice what I've shared. I need some alone time with my Jesus. I want to keep the fire burning and when it's starting to get low, I want the Lord to renew me and restore me. Keep the fire burning in my heart, Lord. Keep your presence ever kindled and true in me. My family needs you daily. Fill my home with your presence. Let your presence remove what needs to be removed and put all things in order. Rain upon us today. Shower us with your love. Remove the hurts, the veil on our eyes, and heal us. In Jesus Name. Amen.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Learning To LIsten


By Angeline M Duran Santiago

We're a people that loves to communicate via technology. We rarely speak on the phone. We text. Gone are the days where we just took the time to write a letter because we can see one another through a chat room in so many different ways. Talk, talk and talk some more but we rarely take the time to listen and really hear what others are saying.

I've been learning more on listening. It's taken me a hundred years to get it right, or at least try to, and here I am, working on my listening skills. I'm one of those persons that is quick to think and voice a response, or is it, while I"m listening, I'm ready to say my part as well? What I want to say is that I know the Lord has truly been dealing with me with really stopping myself from listening to someone but already have my mind a million seconds at a time thinking on what to say and how to say it. The Lord has been teaching me to hush, and shush, and be patient. Even if I know the response is wrong and I'm going crazy inside wanting to speak out, many times, yes, many times, the Lord has been telling me to just be silent. And, wow, is that hard to do.


It's not just at home and it's not just a work. It's in my personal time with the Lord. He's teaching me to listen and learn to listen to His Voice, His leading and His presence involved in  my life in every area. I believe that we are so busy with life and we are so tied up with our daily schedules, that we can schedule every moment of our lives, including using the restroom, but we cannot fit the Lord into our daily planner, weekly schedule or even weekend time. We're tired. We're exhausted. We're busy.

I'm learning that He desires time with me and that I need to long for that time with him as well. Just like we need to eat each day, and at different moments of the day, so we also need to nourish our lives with the Word of the Lord and with times of seeking and meditating on the Lord. I know it can seem so hard and overwhelming. But, it's in our pushing ourselves, disciplining ourselves and making it a part of our lives that we can truly be close enough to the Lord to listen.


I want to listen. I want to hear His voice and not just suppose or assume I heart or I know what He says. I want to be confident and assured of His guidance for all these hard moments that keep showing up at my door. I want to know His will so that I can successfully go about my Father's business and do what I am supposed to do. I've made enough mistakes and I'm through with making wrong decisions all because I rushed through a moment of crisis or couldn't wait on the Lord.

Listening.
I'm asking the Lord to fine tune my ears so that His voice is clear. I want to have the right connection with my Heavenly Father, no static and no interruptions. I want the Spirit of the Lord to be free to speak into my life while I sleep and while I am walking to the train station.


Listening.
I am still a student and I believe I will forever be a child sitting at my Father's feet because I want to learn more, I want to grow and be able to experience all He has for me and see all He has for my family. It's where my heart is tonight and where I hope the Lord finds me each day. Lord, let my life, my hearing and my mind be ever ready to receive your words, for they alone are life.

Lessons Learned on the Dance Floor


By Angeline M Duran Santiago


A few days ago someone asked me what is something I've learned as a person who dances for the Lord. There are so many things I could have shared and I shared some of the deepest moments in my life. Those were times of intense intercession and meeting with the Lord, on the dance floor. Those were times of surrendering my innermost struggles and experiencing the breakthrough power of a Mighty and Loving God, on the dance floor.

Once I was home, I started thinking about the question and I began to think back to my early years as someone who was dancing unto the Lord. I remember a wedding I was asked to dance in. My task was to begin the wedding, introduce the event, with a worship. I remember times of prayer and truly asking the Lord to do something special so that the atmosphere in the church was completely filled with the Spirit of the Lord. The church building was very cold and I began to feel feverish. Still, I waited for the moment to come out, and with chills and not feeling great, I began to bring forth a worship, an invitation to the Lord to come and fill that event.


Here's what I learned that day. When the wedding was over and we were heading towards the banquet hall, I heard some of the leaders in the church speaking in Spanish. It was then I heard one of the women angrily say, "That dance was completely done in the flesh! How could she have been allowed to dance?"

My heart became heavy and in my silence I went before the Lord. I examined my heart and searched to see where I could have failed and where I had not given my all to the Lord. It was later on that I was told that everyone knew how cold I was. Finding it strange, I asked how that could be. It was explained to me that my bra had no done the task to offer full coverage. It was then I understood how I was labeled all the horrible things I was labeled. 



This event gave me the opportunity to learn two things. One, always wear a extra support and heavy padded chest undergarment under my layers. We may prepare and think we're fully covered and appearing in modesty but there are cases where things can happen. It's best to be extra clothes, then have something see through sheer or body part bouncing out of place. No one, especially those in church who will never see us with the eyes of the Lord, should be given any extra opportunity to speak negatively about our dance before the Lord. Don't just go out with a skirt or a dress. Wear the correct underclothes. Remember, you are representing the King of Kings as a worshipper, in priestly garments, ready to praise and do war with your dance.

My heart has always been to make sure there is no focus on my body or the imperfections in me, but that the eyes are on the expressions and movements I make to tell the story of God's love, his power and his plan for all who say, "Yes!" to him.

The other lesson I learned was nothing new, but it was confirmed that day. We live, breathe and move for the Lord. Anyone that says they're a dancer is seeking and desiring to worship, to pray and do what they do, as I always say, for the Audience of One, the I Am, El Shaddai and My Savior. It's not about what pleasing people, looking for their approval and their recognition. The moment our dance and our ministry becomes about pleasing the "in" crowd, the "right" ministers or getting  the applause, we are one more empty shell, a mere carcass with enough fuel to move around like a rag doll that solicits the praise of men, but have lost the grace and favor of God's loving face.


I learned that my eyes belong on Jehovah. My goal is to please Him and Him alone. I learned that you can sacrifice yourself, but few really appreciate. You may make the effort to minister while feeling ill, leave your sick child with family in order to be supportive or show you can be relied on, but someone will always find an error or a reason to speak negatively. I learned that as long as I've placed the Lord first in all I do, only how He sees me matters to me. Your outfit will not be right, your something will make them talk because their eyes and their heart is not seeking the Lord and saying, "Lord, use this dancer and speak into my life." 

I learned to listen to the Lord for the songs, the movement, even if I danced alone. And, this is why, I may not be where I once was, but I am happy where I am, because all I have ever desired is to be in His will. And that's a great place to be.


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LET ME BE YOUR PEN

  By Angeline M Duran Santiago I know  your story. You have shared some of the most difficult moments of your life as a child. I know...