Monday, January 26, 2015

NO FUNERAL THIS WEEK!

By Angeline M Duran Santiago

I purposefully placed an exclamation mark at the end of my title. Our declaration sometimes has to not only be loud but powerful.

Before I posted this, I asked my husband, Frankie, "Do you mind if I share?" and he was like, "No." I think he was actually happy I wanted to share. You see, we could've been planning and attending his funeral this week. But instead, we can look back and laugh, even bother him because even though what Frankie has experienced is nothing to laugh at, we rejoice that he is here with us celebrating life.

Frankie's job sometimes requires him to spend the night on site in order to make sure the boilers in the building are running well and that staff and students wake up to enter a very warm school building. Unfortunately, this week, in one of his moments going to check on the boiler system, he had a fall. It wasn't until he saw the bubbling liquid falling down his head that he realized he was hurt was than he imagined. Instead of calling, 911, he walked to the hospital- holding his head. I am still in awe and thankful because he could have fainted and instead he made it, almost in shock, but he got there and was able to get the medical help and attention he needed.

Let's take it back a little....

Before Frankie left for work I had wished and asked him not to go. Our whole life together his job has kept him many nights away from home and it's hard. I don't ever want my family separated, but especially when the kids were little, it was hard being home alone during the cold weather or when he had to be away at work.

Prayer Time....
That night, after reading about the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, I felt a deep urge to pray. I felt the need to pray for my family, for my family in New Jersey, and for my children. I decided to just begin to pray for my family in specific ways. I suddenly felt the need to pray for someone specific, but each time, Frankie would come into my mind and I'd change my prayer for him. I knew he was alone and I just wanted the Lord to remind him that God's love was with him, keeping him company.

As many times as I decided to go down my list to pray over other people, Frankie's face returned into my thoughts and I think I fell asleep praying for him, speaking God's protection over him. I fell asleep filled with peace that the Lord was protecting and keeping company my family.


It wasn't until later the next morning that Frankie shared with me what had occurred. The staples on his head made my heart fill with hurt. Through the sadness, I also felt an overwhelming rain of peace. Through the shock of what he said he experienced, my heart filled with thankfulness because the news could have been that the Cat-Scan showed damage. The news could have been a coma or waking up to visit my husband in ICU Intensive Care Unit in the hospital, or worse, having to go say, "Good bye". The news of family passing away unexpectedly, or facing a hardship alone and not being able to say your farewell is hard. So, I was thankful for a God that has heard my prayers and protected my husband. It could have been worse.


I could have spent this weekend planning a funeral yet God allowed us to keep going. I could have had to comfort my kids and family due to a horrible crisis, yet God's protection left only a few stapled stitches on his big head to remind us all, "God is still in control!"

Through it all, God is present!
When we live like He exists or not, He still takes care of us!
Our choice to pray today and not tomorrow doesn't cancel His promises to be with us, always!
If you wake up in the middle of the night with a longing to pray, then do it. Pray! Pray!
Don't ignore the tugging of the Lord to pray for the people in your life, your friends, your co-workers.

So, I am thankful!
Thank you Lord that you provided for Frankie what he needed during his emergency.
Thank you for the people that took care of him immediately and comforted him.
Thank you for protecting him and keeping him alive.

What are you thankful for today?
You see, in my home, there's no funeral this week. There will always be a day for death to visit, but it's in God's time and in God's way, not like this. God gets the glory, no matter what. I believe the Lord protected him. You may say, "He still got hurt." But, I say, "He's still alive!"
So, don't take out your black and white clothes yet, because in our household, there's no funeral this week.

God bless you.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

GOD ALLOWS THE FLOOD

 By Angeline M Duran Santiago

Recently, I wrote about how I was affected when I witnessed the immense damage caused by a flood. I shared how after I assessed that rarely anything could or would be saved, that it was best to get everything new and start over. I also shared how the phrase, "A New Beginning" impressed upon me, getting me to not only see what was there in a new light, but my own personal situation in a new way.



It seems people like to blame God for everything that goes wrong. Many will never credit Him for anything good or that succeeds. They are quick to attribute disaster to a loving God, asking questions more for the right to debate and prove their so called proof that a so called loving God is not so loving after all. Others will connect the dots they themselves draw, and say, "Aha! I told you so! And you say that there is a God!"

To all these, I say, "Yes, God~ the All Loving God, allows the floods to come and wipe us clean of all that needs to go."
"Yes, God, the All powerful and full of mercy God, will allow the floods to come and fill the bedroom that needs to be cleaned out, the living room that needs to be cleaned out and the heart that needs to be cleaned out."

There are so many areas in our lives that have become comfortable, don't want to change or be moved even when we see that the way things are, they don't work. We want to remain complacent in and we don't like when others assess our damaged lived, our disorganized living quarters, and our "Oh my God it looks like a tornado hit your house" reaction from others, insults and offends us.

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But, isn't that what we need?

We need someone, and if it has to be God, then come Lord and do it. 

God knows the junk inside our closets.
He knows how out of order our lives really are.
He knows the procrastination that keeps us living in debt, in need, and not moving forward.

God knows the bills that are piled up and are being ignored. He knows the bottles and can that should have been taken for recycling and they're still in the closet. He knows we are hoarders not only in the physical but in other areas of our lives.

Enough is enough. Wouldn't you agree?


We need the flood to come and wipe our slate clean.
We need the Lord to visit us.

We need, "I NEED" God to allow the flood because it forces me to reflect, to think, to re-examine my faith, evaluate what I believe and where I stand.

I need the flood to come and mess up my mess so that I can clean up and throw it all away.
 
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Doesn't it feel wonderful when we buy new furniture of put up everything new and clean in our homes? Or, what about when we have a new outfit, shoes or a new purse? Oh, especially for many women, the purse (the bag) especially a name brand bag is a joy. Well, that's what the flood can do.

Yes, it brings pain. It brings heartache and it breaks us down. Yes, the flood rips our world apart and for many, it leaves us homeless.

The flood takes our identity as our birth certificates, photos, special memories are washed away. But in my heart, I keep hearing God say, "Let it go! Let the past go! New...I make all things new!"

Lord,
I am humbled, broken and bare before you. I don't even dare ask you, "Why?" Still, I trust that you are in control. I thought I knew so much, I don't.
You are allowing the flood, not to break me, but to rebuild me. You are allowing the flood, the storm, the things that have just shown up in my life, not to curse me, or to show you are better and bigger, but to give me room to start brand new.


Lord, 
I don't know how to start or where to begin. I don't even know why all of a sudden I feel and am writing these words. I do know that I will not stop serving you. I will not look back. I will not have an attitude to accuse you or what goes wrong. I will hold steadfast to your word and wait on you.

God allows the flood? Ask anyone cleaning up the mess or who has lost everything. 
God allows the flood? I surrender to you, Lord, I give you my mess, I give it all up, to know you and have you in a greater measure, to see your glory new and full blown in my life, in my home and in my surroundings, today and always.
Amen.

Friday, January 9, 2015

IGNORING HIM

By Angeline M Duran Santiago

 

Here I was, sitting in the airplane, waiting to go home. The announcement went on and the young man in the front went about doing his job, with his hand signals, giving directions on what passengers should do if anything would go wrong during our flight.

The small group of passengers were mostly rude, ignoring him, and going about with their personal agenda. He was an invisible alert, an invisible visual of directions and I guess my face showed my disapproval.

An older man was in front of me. He spoke loudly, increasing in volume, and going on and on as if no one was speaking. I mean, I get it. Perhaps he flies regularly for business and knows the speech and hand directions by heart. It was, at least to me, the principle of the attitude shown to this young man.

We connected in our eyes, the young man and I, and our eyebrows lifted and we smiled. I think he read my lips when I said to my co-worker, "I can't believe how rude he is." When he was done, he walked over to me, bend down close to me and spoke into my ear. He said, "Now, you know that if something went wrong with this plane, he'd be the first one yelling for help and going crazy not knowing what to do."

I started laughing. We shared a private moment, laughing at how he would have looked and agreeing that this man, along with most of the passengers, would have gone crazy, not knowing what to do because they failed to heed the warning, to pay attention to the speaker, to ignore the visuals, and ignore the speaker.



As this happened, I realized that this is what is happening daily in our world, at least for me, in the realm of the Spiritual. The Word is going forth in all forms. There are sidewalk preachers, mime and dancers in the city sharing through music, churches out in the streets sharing the gospel, and people (however crazy they may appear) declaring the message of salvation and repentance as we ride the train home. 

While they are speaking God's Word, while they are sharing the book of instructions for life, the message with directions to walk towards Joy and Light, millions continue reading their paper, talking with the person next to them, listening to their Ipods an ignoring the messenger. The Message has been ignored for hundreds of years by many. But, just as this young man told me, "If something went wrong with the airplane, he'll go crazy not knowing what to do." I took this and internalized it with God's message for today, living in what is known as the last days. 

What if, What if, What if?
What if everything the Bible has alerted us to is real and we've missed the boat?
What if every message in the Bible is true and we decided we've heard it too many times, we don't need to pay attention?
What if the Bible's message and instruction is the hope we need and we walk on by?
What if, the end does come, in some way and we don't know what to do?
What if?

I think we are so busy with our gadgets, our personal gratifications, and our acceptance of knowing it all. We seem to pay attention only to what involves my immediate intimate needs and tomorrow is only important if it falls under my personal agenda.

I guess what I want to say is that we need to return to being alert, pay attention, and live without excuses. There will be no excuse when we stand before the Lord. Hey, What if? What if we do stand before the Lord, right? Then what will we say? What excuse will you and I have if everything we've heard, seen, and read turns out to be reality?


So, today my words are for meditation, deep internal thought. We're all riding on this airplane called life. Most rides will be perfect, with a few ups, downs and shakes here and there. But, during those scary moments, will you and I have paid enough attention to the stewardess to know what to do if an emergency landing takes place?

What if?
Are we ready?
I hope so.....

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