UNDER GOD???

Under-God

UNDER GOD???

WHAT HAPPENED TO UNDER GOD?

I was eight years old the day I stepped foot on American ground.  My first impression of this great country was the evening lights peppered across the Los Angeles vicinity.  I had no idea as I sat there on my TWA flight, and watched the plane descend, what landing in America truly represented to my life.

Having been born in Cuba I experienced firsthand the destruction that communism and socialism brings to a nation and its people.  There isn’t a day that goes by that I am not grateful for the privilege it is to live in this great country.  It’s really upsetting to me when I hear people that live in America bad mouthing our nation.  And then I am reminded that the reason they can say whatever they want is because we live in a country that is free.

A country where opportunity awaits, and dreams come true.  Yes, America where freedom reigns.  Where we can speak our mind, and worship God freely.   America founded with God at the core.  We are a lighthouse!   A country drenched with ethnic diversity and culture.

What has made America so great?  FREEDOM!  And it is that very FREEDOM that is in danger.  May we never forget the cost of freedom, and that it is a gift from God.  The United States of America has prospered because God was at the center  –  of the establishing of this great country.   But, piece by piece this country has wavered from keeping God first, and the freedom’s we have enjoyed are slowly diminishing right before our eyes.

I can’t help but take what is happening to our country seriously because I have lived through this before.  The signs are rampant.  May God help America.  And may We the People do our part to protect and preserve the foundations of our country.

Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. Psalm 33:12 NASB

Without God, democracy will not and cannot long endure. Ronald Reagan

If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under.  Ronald Reagan

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.    Ronald Reagan

Just some thoughts from an American citizen who is so thankful and concerned for this country…HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!

God Bless…

Marta

GOD’S PURPOSE

god will fulfill

GOD’S PURPOSE  – God taking what we deem to be impossible and turning it into something miraculous.

For many years I lived with the notion that life should be happy all the time.  Then reality struck.  Hardship arrived.  Suffering barged in uninvited.  But unbeknownst to me it would evolve into one of the greatest gifts I had ever received.

Yes, I do believe that hardship is a gift to human nature.  Hardship provides substance to our life.  Walking through difficulty takes us into a dimension in our character that will provide deep transformation – if we allow it.  And right in the middle of  the hardship there is GOD’S PURPOSE.  However quite often GOD’S PURPOSE is drowned out by the pain and suffering that hardship brings with it.  But be assured GOD’S PURPOSE is there.   In many ways GOD’S PURPOSE is shouting I’m here, and in other ways GOD”S PURPOSE is quiet and requires stillness to find it.

We were all created with powerful heavenly purpose.  But we were also created with free will.  Those two elements quite often collide because we want our way and we think we know what is best for our life.   And right in the middle of all of that there is a God who has a marvelous plan for our life.

There I believe is where hardship often comes in and plays a divine part in the making and shaping of our character.  Because it is when the LARGENESS OF LIFE hits us that we can really begin to see that we are just mere humans with extreme limitations but HE IS GOD WITH NO LIMITATIONS.

Whether we are dealing with a terrible disease, a loss, divorce, financial hardship, painful situations, we will at some point come  face to face with the reality that we don’t have the answer.  We can’t fix this. Or we don’t know what to do.  This is where the treasure is found.   Right in the center of anything you may be facing God is at work.  And His purpose is being divinely woven.

No matter what you may be facing;  whether your situation seems impossible or makes no sense to you – in the hands of a powerful all-knowing God there will arise great purpose.

If you are going through a difficult season I encourage you to go straight to Romans chapter 8 and into chapter 9.  There you will find truths that will help you along, reassure you, and provide hope.

ONE THING IS FOR SURE…

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…” Roman 8:28

We can live with the assurance that GOD’S PURPOSE  is at work in our lives.  And at some point…at some time…good will come from whatever we are facing and persevering through.  Trials are not God’s punishment in our life, but rather His means to drive us deeper into His love and grace.  They are instruments that teach us to trust in a faithful God.

No matter what you may be facing today rest assured that Your Creator sees what you are going through and He is at work.  And your hardship is producing bountiful blessings inside of you that will be revealed in due season.

He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

GOD’S PURPOSE  –  God taking what we deem to be impossible and turning it into something miraculous.

God has a purpose for you and your life!

“Dear Jesus…help us to trust you with our whole heart.  Provide us the strength we need to persevere through the trials we are facing.  And to trust that you are working all things out for our good.”

Amen

God’s strength and blessings to you…

Marta

SACRIFICE leading to FREEDOM…

9/11

THANK YOU to all the heroes!

SACRIFICE…

May we never forget the SACRIFICE of all those who were affected by the tragedy of 9/11..to see the enormity of impact this horrible event had on our fellow brothers and sisters…check this site out……http://nymag.com/news/articles/wtc/1year/numbers.htm

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  Well the above picture certainly rings true of that statement.  When I first saw this picture I was captured by it’s powerful display.   Lying there on the cot was a human being just like you and I, except on that terrible day he SACRIFICED his own safety and well being.    I don’t know if this Hero survived or not, but his SACRIFICIAL devotion to help others is a tribute to just how amazing the human spirit truly is.   I was overtaken by what (it cost him) to SACRIFICE for others.

SACRIFICE  and freedom are directly linked.  For as we look back at the immense SACRIFICIAL trail left in the history of our great nation we see the countless lives lost on behalf of the freedom that we so freely enjoy everyday.   SACRIFICE is costly and so is freedom.  May we as Americans – of all nationalities living in this great nation do our part to help preserve the liberties that have been provided for us at the expense of  the countless SACRIFICES  throughout our history as a nation… Thank you to all the heroes!

Jesus, cross, sins, died for, salvation

Sacrifice leading to Freedom

And while the significance and importance of  all the sacrifices made by humans on behalf of their fellow man is  loudly proclaimed as it should, there is another aspect of SACRIFICE that takes it deeper into the soul of a man.  Over two thousand years ago….there was another SACRIFICE with ramifications that are exceedingly deep and wide.  Impacting and transforming.  A SACRIFICE that runs through the veins of humanity reaching the place that can only be reached by an all powerful God – –The human heart.

Jesus, freedom, bible, scriptures

FREEDOM OF THE HEART

The world is filled with amazing heroes that deserve our praise, respect and honor.   But there was One who died in order for all of  humanity to experience  HEART FREEDOM.  Jesus Christ died on a cross  for you and me.  He paid the painful price the SACRIFICE,  taking upon Himself our sins so that we could walk in complete freedom and spend eternity with Him.

So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. John 8:36

So often we may not realize our internal need to be rescued or set free from the rubble  and debris of our own lives.    But every heart has a reserved place that can only be filled by its Creator.  And when that vacuum in our hearts is filled with Christ  – His SACRIFICE is turned into our FREEDOM.

May we think of freedom, not as the right to do as we please, but as the opportunity to do what is right.  Peter Marshall

May God bless, keep and protect our country, and may He also be the keeper of our hearts…

Marta VanGerwen  © 2012

STAND UP! FOR WHAT IS RIGHT!

STAND UP!

GOD BLESS AMERICA

“Our society strives to avoid any possibility of offending anyone-except God yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control.” Billy Graham

The Fear of human opinion disables; trusting in God protects  you from that. Proverbs 29:25 MSG

There are times when silence is warranted…and then there is a time when our voice must stand up for what is right.  And we are living in a time where silence is allowing the dismantling of the fundamental Christian values that this great country was founded on. 

We may think, “What would my one voice do anyway?”  And so we do nothing…and in many ways that is exactly what is happening right now…those who are working endlessly to destroy what America really stands for – are making all the noise.  Just like the bully in class who continues to misbehave and dominates the teacher’s attention.  While the rest sit quietly watching and the student continues to wreak havoc.   And yet the students just sit back and watch even though they don’t agree with how the bully is acting up or what he is doing.  But they are afraid to speak up for what is right.   We can all understand that I am sure.  Because it’s hard to speak up or raise your voice for what is right,  when your convinced that there will be backlash for your courage.  That  you could be scorned for voicing your opinion and standing up for righteousness  Yet, the silence of many including myself is in essence allowing the voice of a minority to resound with the appearance of a majority.

It is a fact that the strong movement that is echoing through our society attempting to destroy the decency of this country – is the voice of the minority.  And if the majority would begin to with God’s courage and resolve first go to our knees for our country, and then begin to do something to stand up for what is right.  We would see a radical difference.  Can you imagine what would happen if we began to by the millions pray for this country.  If we would begin to express our voice and not allow the bully to continue to be the only voice.  Because the majority does have something to say.  But for many reasons our voice are not ringing out as loud as the minority.

The thought that our one voice can’t make a difference is a lie.  Your life is of great value and worth,  a worth that comes from God who created you.   And so your one voice, my one voice can make a huge difference in this world.

I know that we are living in the end times and while I am watching and waiting earnestly for the return of Jesus Christ.    I don’t believe we are to just sit back quietly and watch evil take over.  What I see in Scripture is that we are in a battle and we are to be armed , vigilant and standing up for righteousness.   God wishes for no one to perish but all to come to know Him.

This is not a time in the history of our country…in the history of Christianity to be sitting idle and silent watching as evil prevails.  On the contrary it is time for the MAJORITY to stand up and declare with confidence and boldness the powerful love of Christ.  To courageously stand up for what is righteous and not succumb to the powerful swaying that is taking place.  The message that is being shouted in our faces…like a neon sign plastered across our country declaring in essence …

MORALITY DOES NOT MATTER ANY MORE?

Or in other words – Family values, integrity, honor, uprightness, honesty, decency, and morality are a thing of the past.  Now it’s all about doing whatever we want at the cost of our country and its people. 

And seeing examples like the hateful attacks on Chic-fil-A because they support traditional marriage.  With actress Roseanne Barr tweeting nonsense statements like “anyone who eats S*** Fil-A deserves to get the cancer that is sure to come from eating antibiotic filled tortured chickens 4Christ.”

And while we may just shrug this statement off as ridiculous, (which it is) WE CAN’T OVERLOOK THAT IT IS PART OF THOUSANDS OF ATTACKS THAT ARE BEING LAUNCHED AT THE CORE…THE FOUNDATION OF WHAT AMERICA WAS BUILT ON…

The minority speaks with vengeance…it is time for the majority to stand up for what is right If we just continue sitting as spectators watching from a distance and do not jump in… this great country will no longer be the light on the hill declaring the majesty of God.  And because of the greatness of this country we have the freedom to be able to express ourselves.  AND THE MINORITY WITH THEIR STRONG WAY IS VOICING THEIR FREEDOM OF SPEECH…AND IT IS TIME FOR US TO DO OUR PART.  We either continue watching the eroding  of all that is decent in our country or we use our ONE VOICE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. 

ONE of your men puts to flight a thousand,  for the Lord your God is He who fights for you, just as He promised you.  So take diligent heed to yourselves to love the Lord your God…Joshua 23:10-11

There are so many ways that we can make our voice known.  With modern technology the choices are many.

  •  First and foremost…..PRAY…PRAY…PRAY…”Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15

“And MY people who are called by MY name humble themselves and pray and seek MY face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

  • Twitter, Facebook, email, text, call…write our elected officials…MAKE YOUR ONE VOICE BE KNOWN…
  • STAY ON TOP OF WHAT IS GOING ON…..AND VOTE IN NOVEMBER…AND NOT JUST VOTE BUT STUDY THE CANDIDATES AND UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY STAND FOR….Im sure you have heard it stated already but this coming election stands to be one of the most critical elections in the history of our country.  YOUR ONE VOTE DOES MATTER!
  • Share truth wherever you can….

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of ME.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  Matthew 5:10-12 & 16 

God help America!  And it begins with each one of us – One voice that can make the difference!

I welcome your comments!

By Marta VanGerwen © 2012

Trusting An Unseen God

                                                                                                                                                                     

For many a life yielded to God appears weak, boring, restrictive and too religious.

I had the privilege of growing up in Culver City, California.  A city filled with great enchantment for a child.  My backyard for several years was attached to the Desilu Studios.  At that time I didn’t realize just how very unique my surroundings were.  From daily seeing the Batmobile, Lassie,  Bruce Lee and his son living two houses from me, to sneaking into the studios to see such shows as Andy Griffith, Gomer Pile, and F Troup being filmed.  This was the era where children played outside until dark, and neighbors talked with each other for hours.   And it was in the center of that backdrop where I first saw them.

Theirs was a feat not many could withstand, and yet they seemed to do it with such grace and joy.  I was around ten years old the first time I spotted them. Instantly my heart was drawn to their plight and mesmerized by the beauty of their harmony.  They walked simultaneously, synchronized like a beautiful orchestra, guided only by what they held in their hands.  This extraordinary couple was blind, and their walking stick was their only means of experiencing freedom in their world.  I had the opportunity of watching this amazing couple walk the streets countless times during my childhood.

I found it difficult to comprehend such an enduring hardship.  For a moment, my little world seemed insignificant compared to what I was witnessing.  I looked with wonder at the confidence they placed on the instrument they each held. It led them. It guided them.  And protected them.  And yet I wondered how they could put so much trust in this stick with all the danger, obstacles and challenges surrounding them.  Their blind faith captured my heart.

They depended unreservedly on their instrument to direct them every step of the way. They held the walking stick in front of them, and with complete trust surrendered to the instrument leading them and protecting them from what was ahead.  Trusting that it would guide them in the unseen avenues of their world.  I would watch as they approached a crosswalk,  tap the stick to feel the street and listen intently for traffic.  Then when they sensed the road was clear they crossed the street completely trusting their walking stick.

Little did I know the impact those repeated scenes, etched in my memory, would have on my life; how the memory would draw a parallel to my learning to trust in an unseen God for everything in my life.  It is one thing to say “I trust God” and then another thing to really live that out in life.  Just as this blind couple totally relied on their walking stick to experience freedom in their world, I have had to learn how to totally rely on the Lord to experience freedom in my world. 

For many a life yielded to God appears weak, boring, limited, restrictive and too religious.  And yet what I have discovered first hand is that real freedom comes by way of letting go and trusting God.  Yet, as humans we strive and stumble trying to do it our way.  Convinced that we know what is best for our life.  Trying everything under the sun to mask the emptiness and dissatisfaction we feel.  All the while God is  lovingly and passionately pursuing us waiting for us to open our hearts door to His AMAZING GRACE. 

At this very moment God issues invitations by the millions.  He says, “Come, enjoy me forever.”  Yet many people have no desire to do so.  He speaks; they cover their ears.  He commands; they scoff.  They don’t want him telling them how to live.  They regard his son as a joke and the cross as utter folly.  They spend their lives telling God to leave them alone.   Max Lucado

 Jesus offers the invitation in Matthew 11:28:  “Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

What about you?  Are you depending on the things of this world to satisfy the longing in your heart?  GOD LOVES YOU!!!  And while you may not know it yet – The unseen God is really clearer and nearer than anything else in this world.  Take the step today to trust the Lord and watch and see the miracles He performs in your life.  

God’s blessings……….I WELCOME YOUR COMMENTS….

Marta

By Marta VanGerwen © 2012

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.                

 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Whatever you’re doing inside of me…It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace.   It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see…Sanctus Real

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven…Ecclesiastes 3:1

I don’t know about you but change is hard for me.  I kind of like things to just stay the same nice and cozy.  I’m not much for my world being rocked out of its comfort zone.  And yet isn’t that what life is really about seemingly.  Just as we experience the beautiful seasonal changes in our weather so it is with our lives. Life truly does not remain the same.  It is a journey filled with continues changes, and I find that the more I fight change the murkier the view ahead becomes.

My daughter is graduating in a few days and I am reflecting on all the times I longed for this day to come. The day she would finally be finished with High School.  No more last-minute typing reports, or rushing to Walmart to get a glue stick for an assignment.  No more boring lunches, arguments about her getting her homework done, or going to bed or getting up.  No more missing socks or uniform pants.   No more driving her to school.  No more last-minute phrases from my car as I drop her off – “I love you Cece!  I believe in you!  You can do it!  Your awesome girl!  Make good decisions.  Make it a good day.”    The season is now finished.  Graduation has arrived.  And yet, I find myself still wanting to hold on to her like she is five years old.  As she ventures out into her new season, her new world I just want to  keep her in a protective bubble to make sure nothing hurtful happens to her.

Change is hard!   And letting go is even harder.

I am facing a new season in my life and CHANGE is flooding in with unstoppable force, spurning on deep reflection.  And while I know that change is inevitable!  This new wave is challenging me to look at everything I believe in.  And as much as I want to hold onto the safety of what is comfortable,  it is time to step into the unknown and trust God for the new season.  It is time to move on and move forward. Taking the joys and pain of the past and using them as stepping-stones on the new road.    Moving forward triumphantly knowing God works all things out for our good.    And as I stand gazing at the road ahead there is much uncertainty.  It’s like standing at a crossroads and having to determine which road to travel on.

                                   

I remember another big crossroads in my life.  I was around the same age as my soon to be graduating daughter.  It was a magnificent Spring day in Westchester, California.  Something had been stirring in my heart and I was not sure what it was.  But when the opportunity arose.  When the challenge came.  I took the step of faith.  I did not know what was next.  I could not see far.  All that was clear was my next step.  But with a fresh and new deposit of faith my heart leaped into the unknown season that would end up completely transforming my life.  On that day I decided that inviting Jesus Christ to enter my life was far better than continuing my journey without Him.  And that was 35 years ago and there has not been one day, minute or second that I have regretted that decision.  For it was that turning point, crossroads, new season that provided my life with healing, wholeness, peace, fulfillment and everlasting acceptance and love.

So as I stand facing the road ahead not knowing what lies beyond my next step, I can walk with resounding trust knowing that it will be God’s faithfulness that illuminates the path.    Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.  Psalm 119:105

What about you?  Are you needing direction?  Is your life at a crossroads?  Are you uncertain about what is next.  Is there a tugging in your heart   that change is needed but your hesitant or afraid.   Step into the loving embrace of a Savior who not only knows your future but has the expertise to get you there.  JESUS LOVES YOU IMMEASURABLY.

Thank you for stopping by…I close with some words from a song that is actually one of my links under  my Blogroll on the right side of my blog.  It’s worth taking the time to listen I think you will be blessed by it….

Whatever you’re doing inside of me…It feels like chaos somehow there’s peace.   It’s hard to surrender to what I can’t see…but I’m giving in to something heavenlyTime for a milestone…Time to begin again…Reevaluate who I really am…Am I doing everything to follow your will…or just climbing aimlessly over these hills…So show me what it is you want from me…I give everything I surrender…To...         Song by Sanctus Real “Whatever you doing (Something heavenly)   

More to come from Risendreams….PLEASE FEEL FREE TO LEAVE A COMMENT….

 By Marta VanGerwen © 2012            

 Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

FROM DISTANT TO MY HEART

God seemed untouchable to me.  Detached from His creation.

I remember as a teenager my thoughts of God were filled with both fear and astonishment.  Who created God, I wondered?  What do you mean He always existed?    Watching the movie, “The Ten Commandments” left me with a confirming sense of just how small I am – in comparison to how big and gigantic God is.  I would picture His thundering voice resounding with a deep penetrating energy that could shake the ground.  God seemed untouchable to me.  Detached from His creation.   Like looking through a telescope and seeing that very far away dazzling bright star.  It’s unreachable; distant and beyond our human grip.

But at the age of 19 that perceived distance broke through my doubting heart.  I made the greatest decision of my lifetime, and discovered that with the Lord it’s the opposite of that distant star… we don’t need a telescope to find God.   He is as close as our heart.   But just how can the Great and Mighty God even relate to us?   It can be a bit overwhelming to consider how the God who created it all can bridge the gap and enter into our world.  But that is exactly what He did by sending His Son Jesus Christ.

The decision involved inviting Jesus Christ into my heart into my life.  And it was that choice that bridged the gap between me and what I thought was a distant God.  When I said “Yes” to Jesus – He entered into His rightful place as King of my heart.    He was now my dear Heavenly Father who lives not in some distant place but in my heart.

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if anyone hears My voice and open the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelations 3:20

How about you?  Where is the God who created you seated in your life?  Is He distant?  Are you keeping Him at bay as you  live your life your way.    I sure kept the Lord at a distance.   I was under the great assumption that I could handle this life without Him.

It is clearly the most reassuring truth to know that GOD IS NOT SOME DISTANT GOD who sits on His throne looking down and watching all of us trip over ourselves, as we try and figure out this thing called life.  Instead He is our greatest cheerleader.  An adoring fan.  Who has our back.  Who holds our destiny.  Who carries us during the most difficult times of our lives.  Who above all is the strength of our life…the wind beneath our wings…He is God!  The great I AM.  Who chose (instead) of relating with us from a distance –  to dwell within the human heart.

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.  Galations 2:20

Blessings to you…….more to come from Risendreams…

By Marta VanGerwen © 2012

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.