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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

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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

Control…control…control…

WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE?

© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

How many times have you been lunged into a new course in life?  The unexpected comes.   The loss of a loved one, a sickness overtakes your body, a job change,  or having to move to a new place.  Or a relationship is crushed as the imperfections of our humanness take center stage. Life can be very hard and painful.  It is filled with continuous change.  And I resist change.  I am a control freak.  Yes, I admit it.  I like to be in control.  Or should I say I live with the notion that I am in control.

I wonder if there is a sense of comfort in thinking we are in control.  And yet when the largeness of life comes, I am continually reminded just how much I am not in control.  I certainly did not have the power to control my exit from Cuba.  Or in the case of my amazing 17-year-old daughter who was diagnosed with MS four-years ago.  If I was in control I would not have willed her to be diagnosed with this terrible disease.

When my life set sail literally on a new course out of Cuba I had no idea what awaited me on the other side.  My heart resisted the change with everything within me.  From that point on I developed the pattern of wanting to control my own life.  I embraced the perception that if I could just control the situations of my life, I would never again have to feel the pain that had infiltrated my heart.

But something remarkable has happened in my life that has carried me from the passage to pain to the passage of freedom.  For as much as I have strived to be in control I have miraculously discovered the joy of letting go.  My journey out of Cuba not only provided me with the right to freedom as a human being versus the grip of communism and or socialism.  But it was also to be the catalyst that would unfold the path to the freedom for my soul,  whereby I would experience the life saving grace of Jesus Christ.

What’s on the other side?  The beauty in life is really found in the continuous metamorphosis that surrounds our journey.  A journey filled with new beginnings and new seasons and the adjustments that come with the ever-changing scope of our life.  God has placed us in this world infused us with the ability to love, hurt, feel, think and even doubt, and sets us on a journey of grand mystery.  The unpredictable looms every day.  And yet we are to trust, have faith, and move forward in the unseen.

Quite often, it may seem that staying in the current situation we are in is easier than facing where God may want to take us.  When God rattles our world, we can suddenly be hit with sticky fingers clutching the very life we have grown accustomed to having, yet knowing how desperately we need to let go.

I never could have envisioned what that painful passage of change from Cuba to Spain to America would provide for me.  That I would have the privilege to live in this great nation, to be blessed with everything I need and to experience learning a new language and a new culture.

You see on this side of change it’s hard to see all that God is up to.  But this is where letting go of the illusion of control, and allowing the powerful hand of God to move in our lives comes to play.  There is a peaceful confidence to life when we are being guided by Someone much greater than us.  Someone that knows the beginning to the end of our journey, and knows what is best for our life.

What is awaiting us on the other side of change?  What is God asking of us today?  Let go, trust Him and watch and see what God does in your life as you surrender to Him.

“Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within in us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.  Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21

© 2011 Marta VanGerwen

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

Passage to Pain…

© 2011 By Marta VanGerwen

It was like so many other days where the sun shined its brilliance upon the beautiful coast of Cuba. But on this particular day amidst the refreshing coastal air there would be heartache and sadness.  The backdrop was a seaport where a very large ship stood filled with children.  Pandemonium, sadness, and separation could be seen everywhere.  Moms and dads clinging to their children, sons and daughters sobbing, uncles, aunts and grandparents painfully saying their farewells.  Right there submerged in the emotion of all the activity is where my life would take a sudden and dramatic turn. 

I was born in Havana, Cuba during the time of Castro’s insurgence.  I have many memories of Cuba, but the one that carved its most significant imprint on my life was that day on the seaport.  I was five years old and my brother was eleven.  From a distance I spotted the activity. There were people everywhere looking lost, confused and very sad.  Children walking up the ships ramp without their parents, and countless kids lined up on the ship’s deck crying and waving at their parents.

As we got closer to the commotion my mom gripped my hand as if to prepare me for what was about to strike our family. My small little mind could not wrap itself around the seriousness of what was taking place.  Something was not right.  I looked up at my mother to catch a glimpse of comfort but she was drenched in her own emotion.

I glanced at the ship, then at my mother, then at the numerous children waving from the ship.  I looked at the people crying and waving good-bye to their kids and the countless children walking up the ramp.   And then without warning, reality struck like a lightning bolt through my heart.  “No, I don’t want to go!” I looked at my mom, and said, “You are coming with me, right?”  Kneeling down to make eye contact with me, my mom said, “No, I can’t.  But I will see you very soon.”  Frantically I said, “Please come with me Mommy, I’m scared.  I don’t want to go. Please!”

Desperately trying to be strong for her two children, my mom begins to direct us to the ships ramp where she is about to make one of the greatest sacrifices a mother can make.  The ships last call echoed throughout the port.  The excruciating final moment had arrived.  My brother began to peel me away from my mom as I drastically held onto the only security my little life had known.  But to no avail my destiny was out of my control.  My brother gently escorted me up the ramp as I wept profusely.  Within seconds I found a spot on the deck where I could see my mom and dad and began to wave at them as the ship sailed away.   My eyes remained glued to my mom, who was immersed in her own tears of relinquishment and sacrifice, as she watched her only two children sail away into the sunset. 

“Bye Mommy, I love you.  I will miss you.” I whispered to myself, as my heart nudged into complete chaos.  The ship sailed further and further away and my life’s purpose seemingly diminished.  My parents were in a desperate situation.  Life in Cuba was changing quickly and dramatically.  The only option they had was to send us away.  Unbeknownst to them was the extent of their sacrifice, and what they were truly rescuing us from:  the communist takeover of Cuba by Fidel Castro.

From that point on I would view my life through the lens of pain and heartache.   My perspective was tarnished and my heart would set sail on its own lifelong journey to find hope and healing.  Whether it is pain, disappointment, failures or regret life has a way of revealing to us just how much we really are not in control.  You may be reading this and have your own painful story.  Maybe you were plunged into a journey which you did not choose, and you carry the marks of abandonment, rejection or hurt.  You may be regretting poor decisions you have made in your life that have left you with painful consequences.

I have found that it has been in the most difficult moments that I have experienced the magnificence of a God that loves us and desires to heal our shattered hearts.  No matter what has happened God has a plan for our lives.  Whether we are in the midst of the hardest trial we have ever been in, or are living with what seems like an impossible situation God is still in control and He can work all things out for our good. 

More to come in Risendreams..…and I hope you come back and visit again…

“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.” Romans 8:28

 © 2011 Marta VanGerwen                      

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