The Land of the Free

by Anita Mondragon
 

The anniversary of the passing of my dad, and my mother-in-law, will be coming up shortly.  I think about them often…them, and other loved ones that have gone on to be with Jesus.  These thoughts are what inspired the following poem.

I still feel the pangs of loneliness from time to time, and, yes…even regret at things I failed to tell them while they were here; things that would have meant the world to them to hear.  Like, “I love you so much!” … or, “I’m sorry that I hurt you!”  I know they are in a wonderful place, and all the bad things, sad things that happened here on earth are far from their minds now.


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How To Receive The Master’s Touch

by Anita Mondragon
 

I drew this from my Promise Box this morning.  “Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.  Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,(You are the God of my salvation) and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalm 25:4, 5 I know you all must be getting tired of my Promise Box revelations, and my Teddy stories… But, God reveals so much to me through these two things.  So…here I go again!


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Ask With Confidence

by Anita Mondragon
 

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”  James 5:16

Are you seeking God’s face, asking Him for something out of the ordinary?  A miracle perhaps; something other than daily prayers?  If you KNOW Him…have confidence that He will answer!

You may be struggling with health issues.  Perhaps, you are searching for a job.  Others may be praying for the salvation of family and friends, or the return of the prodigal child.  Don’t give up hope.  The word in the verse above is fervent.  It means: having or displaying a passionate intensity.  When we are passionate about something, we do not give up easily.

You may think that you are anything but righteous, and in ourselves, we are not.   Only through the cleansing of sin by Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can we be righteous. We have no ability to achieve righteousness in and of ourselves. But we can possess the righteousness of Christ, because “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (II Cor. 5:21). This is an amazing truth. When Jesus died on the cross, He exchanged our sin for His perfect righteousness so that we can one day stand before God and He will see not our sin, but the holy righteousness of the Lord Jesus.  This is why we can go boldly before the throne of grace and bring our petitions to God and have confidence that he will hear and answer.

So be confident when you ask God for something in prayer.  Be sure…He IS listening and He will answer in His time!

Go to the depth of God’s promise, ask freely of Him, and receive.  All good may be had for the asking, if seeking, you truly believe!” -Unknown



Lilly

by Anita Mondragon

Here is an Easter poem I wrote back in January of 2008.  I was thinking about the events that took place; I closed my eyes and thought about the day of the Crucifixion…and then the Resurrection; how the earth itself mourned the death of the Creator.

This is a little on the abstract side of writing.  It’s a story of a flower that awakens early in the Spring, only to find she’s been moved from the garden to the hill of Golgotha and is about to witness the Crucifixion of her Creator. 

Tremble before Him all the earth!  Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad and let them say, “The Lord reigns!”  Let the sea resound, and all that is in it.  Let the fields be jubilant and everything in them.  Then the trees of the forest will sing…they will sing for joy before the Lord. – I Chron.  16:30-33

 

‘Neath a blanket of glimmering, soft, snowy white

The naked trees sleep peacefully through the long Winters night.

 

The flowers sleep also, as they dream of Spring

When the sky will be blue, and the grass will turn green.

 

Then Spring dons her bright robe of emerald-green,

As nature awakens from her long, cold dream.

 

Lily stretches and yawns, then bursts forth through warm ground.

As birds upon wing, their sweet songs resound.

 

She’s looking for Daffodil, Violet, and Rose

In the garden so fair where they slept in repose.

 

But to her complete dismay, she awakes all alone

To the snap of a whip, and a shuddering moan.

 

She’s not in the garden…she’s been moved, far away

To a desolate hill, where the sky’s turning gray.

 

Two men hang already, on crosses nearby

For crimes they’ve committed, they’ve been sentenced to die.

 

Bewildered, and shaken, Lily looks all around

Then she turns to the right as she hears a loud sound.

 

Another man with a cross, trudges slow up the hill;

His face soft and kind, yet determination of steel.

 

He walks with a purpose, despising the shame…

But He was born for this moment; it’s the only reason He came!

 

He stops for a moment, and looks in Lily’s direction.

His gaze focused full, soft eyes make a connection.

 

Why!  She knows this man!  Its Jesus, The King…

The Creator of all…even her!  Everything!

 

How could this happen?  What could He have done?

And, what’s wrong with those soldiers?  Don’t they know He’s God’s Son?

 

She knows He is innocent of all He’s accused,

Yet He’s broken and battered…He’s beaten and bruised!

 

His eyes are all-knowing as He searches her heart.

He knows every room there, every secret, each part!

 

He knows she’s bewildered, confused, and afraid

By the things that she’s seen.  Her mind is reeling, and dazed.

 

So He bends down, fingers touching her petals so pure…

And in His eyes, she can see, Mankind’s long needed cure!

 

One drop of His blood falls, and stains her robe of pure white;

Then He picks up His cross and willingly marches towards His plight.

 

She marvels at His will…His tolerance, so great!

Why!  He could call 10,000 angels to come to His aide!

 

But He takes every jeer, every slap – all the loss;

He’s determined to die…up there, on that cross!

 

And as He hangs there, stripped naked between Heaven and earth,

He cries, “Father! Forgive them, for they don’t know My worth!”

 

He says, “It is finished.  What is lost, shall be found!”

Then He closes His eyes; Lily hears no other sound.

 

Then Nature mournfully speaks out loud, as the trees bow themselves to the ground;

The Sky cries great tears, for the Creator is gone…God’s Son, has kept His vow!

 

The Earth shudders, and shakes.

Lightening flashes, Thunder breaks.

 

The Sun is black now, and refuses to shine;

And the Wind, mourns and howls and plaintively whines!

 

As Lily stands all alone, she takes the scene in…

The Creator, God’s only Son, has died for all of man’s sin!

 

Night soon draws neigh, as Lily waits in the dark.

She sees them take His body down, and watches them depart.

 

She hears He’s been buried in a rich man’s borrowed tomb;

The all is quiet, she’s all alone, hoping morning will break soon.

***

Three days have passed, and the Sun just rose.

He’s been entombed, in quiet repose.

 

But a new day has dawned!

The victory over death has been won!

 

For a voice calls out, ringing loud and clear…

It falls ever joyous on Lily’s ear!

 

“He has risen…Just like He said!  He is alive…no longer dead!

He has for sin with blood atoned, now sits with God on rightful throne!”

 

All the flowers of the field rejoice, for a new day is born.

There’s no time for sadness…that time, has gone!

 

He was dead…Now He lives!  Earth, bless His name!

Praise God, for sinful man He came!



Are You Under A Curse?

by Mike Mondragon

Cain did not get himself in trouble, when he killed his brother, he was already in trouble.

There were signs previous to his deadly and murderous encounter with his brother, which showed Cain was not right with God, and he was not obedient to God. 

Short and to the point, are we right with God tonite? You see, regardless of what we believe, there is no such thing as a little sin or big sin. All sin is equal to God.

There are people sitting in prison tonite who are there because of the choices they made. And I don’t mean just physical prison. There are mental prisons, there are spiritual prisons. Some People are divorcing, they are losing homes and jobs and cars and relationships because of the dishonorable choices they make. There are those things which weigh us down so much, we can’t and don’t operate the way God wants us to. What is weighing us down tonight?

See Cain was operating under a curse he placed upon himself. He thought he was doing everything he was supposed to be doing. He was working and paying his tithes, he was doing everything he thought he was supposed to be doing to serve God, but you see the Father can see what is crouching at your door. 

You see if you claim Christ, the enemy is out to kill and destroy and steal from you. See when God says NO to something in your life, those things he wants you to stop doing, and you say no to God, because of disobedience, you curse yourself! Not only that but you may curse those nearest to you as well.

See Cain also brought offerings of first fruits to the Lord. He must have had some kind of spiritual life, he believed he knew God, and he brought his “tithes and offerings” , but you see Cain was putting on spiritual lipstick. He was using holy rouge and makeup, trying to please the Father. He was going through the motions. There are lots of christians these days, putting on spiritual makeup. Many of us believe we are doing God things. See, You can preach and teach and do visitation, sing in the choir and do other good works, there are a whole bunch of these works we can do to powder up our” religiosity “but are your spiritual activities all Cain like.? It’s entirely possible, because You do not have a faith filled love centered, relationship with God!

You know how many christians get mad at god, because he is not blessing their works. Some are Working 50 to 60 hours a week and not making ends meet. Mortgages are not being paid on time, struggling with finances and children and bosses and all sorts of drama. We go through this life, Experiencing baby mama drama and no good daddy problems. We have issues with family and moms and dads and teenagers, and all sorts of trouble and then we end up being angry with God! Telling God in our prayer time, how can he bless that other person, that doesn’t even go to church regularly, and not bless you. Come on you know it’s true. 

Extra extra…I hate to tell you this, but I have learned that God does not favor everyone.  The Bible says God looked with FAVOR upon Abel’s offering but not Cains. Both of them were doing God things, but You are not blessed because you do good things, or act like you are doing them in God,s name. In order for God’s favor to rest upon you, you must do those things BECAUSE you posses a displaced heart. Are you doing what God has told you to do? Favor is fair! See we want to blame God for our troubles. 

I really don’t know how to say this, but, Some of Gods people are favored and some are not. If you are a born  again Christian, you are going to heaven, yes, but we are not walking in the favor of God, receiving the blessings of paid bills, extra money for offerings, not having to compromise on our tithes, because of our heart condition. We don’t get favor from God just by just naming it and claiming it or singing a song about it. You get favor by doing God things with a changed heart. 

Hebrews says  in 11:4 BY FAITH Abel brought God a better offering than Cain. God doesn’t care what type of offering you bring, it’s the condition of your heart with faith AND obedience and love for and to God. Faith brings obedience and obedience brings favor! Favor is just evidence that you are pleasing God!

You must intentionally do things through faith to please God. You see I’m trying to impart some wisdom to you, that I had to learn the hard way! We get all religious and say, I’m saved and covered under the blood! And walking in God,s favor…..GOOD! GOOD! That’s a start. Come on God is a person, and expects more from us. He expects us to these things because we love HIM! Because of our relationship to Him. Because WE LOVE HIM!

If your heart is not set to please God, by doing what God expects from us, and do it in love, and faith to obedience FOR God, , we ain’t getting it right.

We cannot please God through religion, there has to be a love thing going on. Jesus said if you love me you will obey me.  It just going through the motions! 

Focus your attention on falling in love with God and your relationship will be the type of spiritual act God provides favor upon, does that make sense. You see it says if you don’t do it right sin is crouching at your door!, ready to snatch you up! Sin! The questions we should ask ourselves is:

Lord search me and know me. What’s crouching at my door what is the enemy trying to use to place the curse in my life. What’s going on in my heart? 

The definition of crouch states 1. Is to bend close to the ground like an animal preparing to spring or pounce 2 to crouch or cringe in fear. See sin will respond to your heart position. What will the enemy do when he rolls up on you? Before you let sin make you crouch or cringe in fear, get your heart right tonite. Sin desires to have you but you must rule over it! Salvation gives us the power to rule over sin and fear, we must get the devil crouching and cringing in fear! The enemy knows we have the power over him, but he roars LIKE a lion to get you in fear. He is not a lion. See Grace is the tool we use to defeat sin. We can fail, but we have the GRACE which gives us the POWER to rule over sin. When sin gets the best of us, we have the grace to get up and try again. God is not mad at you..It is Gods love for us. Jesus died to remove punishment for sin, but we must be the master over sin. We must die everyday to sin. Holiness and purity costs us something. Spiritual Blood sweat and tears, but it’s necessary to gain God’s favor!

Start by embracing the grace God has already provided for us. We are not under the law but under grace! Let’s give God our heart before our service, and the favor of God will follow us all the days of our lives! The only holiness and purity i possess in my life, is because I have fallen in love with God!

My challenge to you tonight is,  Are you willing to put in the work.? Are you ready for God’s favor, simply because you have fallen in love with Jesus, and are we ready to do the things he asks of us because we love Him? 

His favor will abide with us if we seek purity and holiness and to please Him in every area of our lives.

I encourage you tonite to ask him to show us what is crouching at our door. 

What sin has beset us. 

What is it that we either need to do, or stop  doing, in order to gain favor with God . How do we obtain his favor in our lives!

God wants to place in order, and give us favor in the things He has ordained for us. Oh Father, we come humbly in the name of Jesus and pray:

Search us Lord and show us the errors of our ways. Change our hearts  and draw us nearer to you, remove and rebuke the curses we have placed upon ourselves with our unbelief and faithlessness, cleanse us and renew a right spirit within us, and show us the way to your favor, We Thank you father for your unfailing grace And mercy, in Jesus name!

Amen!



DO YOU WANT YOUR POWER…OR HIS PEACE?

by Anita Mondragon
 
The other day, I was speaking with a friend of mine.  We were discussing anger and hate, and how we should strive to surrender it to God.  My friend, to my surprise, said, “I like my anger!  It makes me feel powerful.  I don’t want to give it up…I like it!”  I can relate to that, for I was once the same.  But, the problem with this attitude is that we forfeit God’s peace for our power!

Thomas Paine, the great English writer wrote the following words during the darkest days of the Revolutionary war: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The soldier and the patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their country. But they that stand it now, deserve the love and thanks of men and women. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered. But the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph…”

 

You see…it is difficult to stand in the face of adversity and not shrink away from the torrential waters that flood your soul!  It would be much simpler to run than to stand and fight!

 

The same holds true for the soldiers in God’s army.  It is easier to hold on to your hate and anger…your control, than to surrender yourself to God… to turn your back on all that is right and good and follow the crowd.  It is painless, undemanding, and trouble-free to simply ride the current.  But to row against it as you press toward your victory, is very difficult indeed!

 

As Mr. Paine pointed out, “hell is not easily conquered.  But the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph!”  Jesus’ conflict in the garden of Gethsemane was only won by His surrender to God the Father.  According to Scripture, He sweat great drops of blood as He prayed that the cup of crucifixion could possibly pass from Him…but in the end, He said, “Nevertheless, Thy will be done!”  That was complete surrender because if Jesus had wanted to, He could have called for ten thousand angels to come and rescue Him.  But He gave His power to God, and God, in turn, gave Jesus peace.

 

We who are soldiers in God’s army have a choice.  Do we want the thanks of men and women who found Jesus as their Savior because of our stand?  OR…would we rather keep control of OUR power with no peace in site?   Wouldn’t it be better to surrender ourselves to GOD’S POWER and Peace that will lift us up when the floods of adversity come? 

 

The choice is yours….

 

Your Power?  Or HIS Peace…



Words To Live By “Overcoming Fear with Faith”

by Francine Rodriguez
 

Faith that conquers is great faith, but faith that continues is even greater. In Hebrews 11 the Old Testament heroes conquered kingdoms, performed great acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness they were made strong, became mighty in battle, put foreign armies to flight. But that was not always the case…Others were tortured, not accepting their release so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mocking’s and scourging’s, chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, sawn in two, tempted, put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins, and goatskins being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (Men of whom this world is not worthy) wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground. (vv.35-38). If they would have recanted their faith they would have been delivered, but they endured suffering because they were looking for a heavenly and eternal existence, not a temporal one. They did not fear death because they viewed their trials through the eyes of faith. “God help us to see our trials the same way.”

To grow our faith, we need other people: Battle Formation: While the Roman shield was carried by an individual soldier, it was most effective when combined with the shields of other soldiers.

In Paul’s day, archers of the Roman army would put cotton like material on the tips of their arrows and soak it with pitch. Before they shot the arrow, they would light the material. It would burn slowly but it was very hot. When the arrow hit the target, the pitch would splatter and start little fires, sometimes even the soldiers garments were set on fire.

To prevent this the soldiers would get into battle formation called the tortoise or phalanx. This is called the shield of faith; they would lift their shields and interlock with the soldier next to them. This shield of faith is utilized in community. Sometimes God will strengthen us when we are all alone but most often he strengthens us through the words or presence of other people in our lives. So do not neglect the benefit of following Jesus as a part of a community of believers, and let God grow your faith alongside, and as a part of His people.

God never intended for people to follow Christ alone. To grow faith that dispels your fears, you need other people. Faith is Contagious! “Every Word of God is tested; he is a shield to those who take refuge in Him.” As long as you believe God, your shield is up. When you believe Satan’s lies, your shield comes down.

Faith is the most important element in life– without it; it is impossible to please God. At the core, faith is an act of trust by which we commit ourselves to someone or something. Faith is believing in the object of our trust. Believing in ourselves. Believing in another person. Ultimately, believing in God.

Faith is so important that it is mentioned over 300 times in the Bible!

The power of our faith rests in the object of our faith. At the foundation of all love is belief in the object that is loved. If we do not believe in a person we cannot love him or her. The same is true in our spiritual journey. We must begin with God: believing that He exists, believing that He cares, and believing that His love is real. “There is no fear in love but perfect love cast out fear” (1John 4:18).

The object of Abraham’s faith was not just the promises of God. His faith rested in God Himself. The key to the Christian life is our faith in Jesus Christ and His sacrificial and atoning death for our sins. We do not only believe that He died on the cross as a fact of history, but we believe that He died for our sins personally.

When we trust what Jesus did for us on the cross, we receive the gift of eternal life. (John 3:16-18) God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves.

What Abraham believed in his mind and heart, he put into action with his life. He turned trust into travel and experienced God’s grace and power along the way. Despite his imperfections God blessed him and Sarah with their promised son Isaac. Through them the nation of Israel was born- the lineage of Jesus Christ was begun. The plan to bless the world with a Savior continued to develop. God’s plan rested on the shoulders of a man who practiced faith.

I pray that we will be like the saints of old. Each one of them trusted God in a unique way. Their confidence in God’s promises resulted in personal obedience to His will for their lives. They clung to the hope that God would eventually triumph over what was challenging them. May we believe the same!



Before and After

by Anita Mondragon
 

We just finished re-storing an old antique table that our kids gave us.  They know my love for re-storing old things, so instead of throwing it out, they asked if I wanted it.  I jumped at the chance, seeing the beauty and craftsmanship in the tired, weathered piece.  It was a mess when we got it!  Dust, cobwebs, spiders, veneer peeling off in spots; dry, colorless…downright ugly and ready for the trash…in most eyes,  that is.  But I saw what it once was, and what it could be again with a little TLC.


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Dwayne

by Anita Mondragon
 

The other day, our family was on our way to the grocery store.  We had no sooner turned the corner, and Mike and I saw a man sprawled out on the grass, his cane lying beside him.  Mike stopped, I jumped out and ran over to the man.  I thought he was dead!  He didn’t twitch a muscle as I approached him.  “Sir…Sir! …Can you hear me?”  Nothing.  I didn’t know if I should touch him, move him, check his pulse…or just leave him alone.


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Edit Me

by Anita Mondragon
 

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:  And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 139:23-24

I went to a Bible Study the other night.  Upon arriving, the hostess handed out some quotes.  The first one I looked at started out with the words: “Lord, edit me…”

Now, I’m not a believer in coincidence…I KNOW that God makes all things happen at certain times for His purpose! And, considering the conversation I had in the car with my friend…I’d say HE was listening. 


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One Response to “Forgiven- A Daily Devotional”

  1. Anita says:

    What a great prayer! As Believers, this is the kind of stuff we should be seeking God for on a daily basis!
    Thanks for the reminder sister Francine!
    -anita

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