Communing with One Who Listens and Responds

Video

As a child growing up in East Harlem, New York, during the mid-sixties, there was much to pray about—heroin addiction, domestic violence, racial tension, poverty and more. But, I didn’t know the Lord then. I grew up as a Catholic, occasionally visiting mass on Sundays and memorizing the Lord ’s Prayer. And so, that’s what I did. I religiously prayed the Lord ’s Prayer every night, for many, many years–believing that God was listening even though I never heard an audible voice.

One night, frightened by the day’s events of violence, I cried out to God in prayer for safety. That night, I dreamt I was in church and I told God, “I want to be where you are!” I was desperate to leave my current life. I began to rise toward the ceiling of the church believing that God was answering my prayer to take me. But, instead, I heard God say, “It is not time yet.” So, I slowly drifted back down to the floor of the church. At best, I woke up knowing that God had been listening.

Over the years, I viewed God as my silent partner. Never quite understanding why I couldn’t hear him or why he wasn’t answering. It wasn’t until years later that I realized I had to accept his finished work on the cross and receive His gift of salvation before my eyes and heart would be open enough to recognize and hear his voice. It’s been a long journey and I still lean in to hear him.

Ministering in the dance during Manhatttan Grace Tabernacle's Sunday worship service in the park

Ministering in the dance during Manhatttan Grace Tabernacle’s Sunday worship service in the park

Hearts Ablaze

The video link at the end of this article, is of a ministry called Hearts Ablaze, where many women and sometimes men gather for a time of intense, intimate prayer to God. In doing so, many are being set free –emotionally, physically and spiritually.

My own experience with this ministry was when I was struggling with knowing whether or not I had forgiven someone from past hurts. The woman of God, Joy Payne, founder of Hearts Ablaze, led us to the altar to pray. She asked us to release any bitterness or forgiveness in our heart to God. I wanted my heart and my conscious clear, so, I went up to pray.

During the prayer time, I said, “God, I forgive the best way I know how. But, how can I know for sure I have forgiven in my heart?” After a few moments, I felt what I can only describe as Velcro being removed from my heart. Something lifted off of my heart. I heard “You are forgiven.” You see, in the Bible (Mathew 6:15), we are only forgiven, when we have truly forgiven someone else. So, God assured me of the position of my heart in this matter. I cried and felt nothing but pure joy! I was truly elated!

Enjoy the video and hear what others are saying about the power of prayer through this ministry and know that whatever situation you are facing – God is listening and responding to your prayers as you commune with Him.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qil0iqoskbgu9g7/Hearts%20Ablaze%20Ministry.mp4?oref=e&n=69948112

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“For a changing time, I need a changing people”

“For a changing time, I need a changing people.”

This was a message I received while worshiping the Lord recently.

Change in Hebrew means to overturn; turnaround; turn back and overthrow.

In Greek, it means to repent and to change the inner man.

That same day on my way to work, I saw an ad on a truck that struck my attention. It read: Imagine what the right light in the right place can do.

Sun burst in New York City. Photo: J. Santiago

Sun burst in New York City. Photo: J. Santiago

LUKE 11:34-36

“Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. Therefore, if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it dark, it will be just as full of light as when a lamp shines its light on you.”

As Christians, we are light carriers and should walk as light givers to enlighten others spiritually and imbue them with saving knowledge. But, if we ourselves are not lit with the light of Christ then what good are we to others?

How do we become a ‘changing people for a changing time?’ What do we have to overturn or overthrow within ourselves to operate with the light of Christ that dwells within us?

Know your ways and motives; but also review daily your sense of heart perspective and how you see things, how you see people, and how you see or judge situations. Because what you see affects your mind, heart, will, thoughts and actions.

Perspective is a powerful thing – it can be constructive or destructive.  It can influence what we know as truth, or it can distort what we perceive as truth. Our misperceptions are often the cause of schisms in the body.

In the natural: Our vision begins when light rays are reflected off an object and enters the eyes through the cornea, the transparent outer covering of the eye. The cornea bends or deflects the rays that pass through the pupil. The iris, or colored portion of the eye that surrounds the pupil, opens and closes making the pupil bigger or smaller to regulate the amount of light passing through the eyes..

In the spiritual and like manner, our viewpoints of one another or situations we perceive with our natural eye, provide or feed that information into our soul and belief structures causing us to regulate the amount of truth we take in (which can be the light of truth) or we can take in misconceptions of truth (which is false light and where strongholds are built).

Now, If we act out on a misconception seeing through the eyes of flesh versus’ God’s eyes, we overstep our boundaries and can hurt the body. Why? Because you went on with your thoughts, your flesh and did not wait to first hand it over to God for his input before addressing the situation to see what He says about the matter.

And, thus we become what we behold. For example, if you believe or judge someone in a negative way then negativity has entered your light. We take in and become what we see to be true (even if sometimes it’s not). For years, you can be a Christian and be full of low self-esteem and believe that reality. But, that’s is not who we are called to be.

Therefore, when your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light.

Do not allow the eyes of flesh to distort God’s truth about a matter or God’s work in matter. Who are we to judge?

Mathew 5:16: Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Not Without Hope

A few years ago, I had the privilege to meet some amazing women in Armenia who were survivors of trafficking and who endured some hard experiences.   Here is a video I worked on following that trip which speaks about one special one survivor but also captures the essence of their cry to be seen in plain sight.

Human trafficking is a $32 million per year industry. Today, $27 million people are in modern-day slavery around the world and 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders every year – 50 percent are children, 80 percent are women and girls.

 

Unchartered Waters: The Reality of Faith

Our unchartered water experiences underscore the presence and reality of our faith.

First let’s read Mathew 14:22-32 when Jesus walks on the water and Peter’s faith is tested:

22 Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, 24 and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. 25 Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.27 But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 28 “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”29 “Come,” he said.Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30 But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” 32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.

In these verses, Peter, in a quick moment is like a young boy in the country jumping from rock to rock to rock over a rolling river in an effort to get to the other side.  Here, Peter dives in boldly from a faith position onto an unchartered path, but takes his last leap onto doubt. What happened?

We become what we behold.

Peter, being summoned by Jesus to ‘come’ is drawn by his faith in response to the one he loves. And, in doing so, the miraculous happened—Peter walks on water!

But, he also loses focus.  The scriptures read: “But when he saw the wind, he was afraid. Since when do we see wind? What was it in the wind that frightened Peter so?

I believe Peter arrived at a place within himself where he recognized the enormity of his faith leap into unchartered waters.  He experienced the miraculous and endless possibility that he could have with Jesus—and that my friend, probably scared him silly.  The power of our potential resides with Jesus.  And, it’s this power that often frightens us.

Imagine yourself walking on water – the real possibility of it. Frightening? Yes. It’s trust without borders and a faith reality—our true potential in Jesus.

Enjoy this beautiful song and prayerfully consider where Jesus may be taking your feet: