Tuesday, December 31, 2013

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!


WISHING ALL OF MY WONDERFUL BLOG READERS, FRIENDS ON TWEETER, FRIENDS AND FAMILY ON FACEBOOK A HAPPY NEW YEAR AND A BLESSED 2014!!!

My prayer for all of you is that you will experience the presence of God more in your lives. He loves you and wants to help you navigate this life. Signing up for a study of the Bible in 2014 will help you discover God in a new loving way! Here is an excerpt of my book titled, "How To Love God with All Your Heart" Copyright 2015.


"For a meaningful and intimate study time, remember the Word of God is not only to be read but to be experienced. When you’re reading a Bible passage try to do the following:
·       Visualize it

·       Meditate on it (stop and think about it)

·       If you read a promise—claim it!

·       If a verse “jumps off the page” and speaks to your heart, receive it, for it is the voice of God. Underline the verses that seem to be speaking directly to you.

·       If you read a passage that talks about how much you are loved by God, you may want to pause and give Him thanks for what He has done for you.
When you read the Bible in this manner, your experience will be more profound. For instance, recently I read Numbers 6:22-26 that says, The LORD said to Moses, ‘Tell Aaron and his sons, this is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.’”  
Then I considered Hebrews 4:14, which state that Jesus is our Great High Priest, “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.” At that moment I visualized Jesus, as my High Priest, saying this particular blessing over me. Can you imagine that? I said, “Lord, this is how you commanded the priests to bless the Israelites, so please Lord Jesus bless me, keep me, protect me, make your face shine upon me, give me favor and give me peace. I also ask this blessing on all my family and friends.” I then wrote about this experience in my journal. This is what I mean by making the Bible come alive and being a blessing in your life! 

Do you want to experience the presence of God more? Begin to worship Him more. I start my groups with a worship song. I first read the words of the song aloud to reflect about what we’re singing. People can either sing or close their eyes to listen to the words and pray in the quietness of their hearts."  (How To Love God with All Your Heart - Copyright 2015)


What a better way to start the year than worshiping the God who created you and loves you unconditionally...just as you are!

Praying for all of you in 2014!!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

FINDING JOY DURING CHRISTMAS!


FINDING JOY DURING CHRISTMAS!

Growing up I thought Christmas was supposed to be the happiest day of the year. The magical idea that a very generous person named, Santa Claus would bring me many presents was this little girl's delight. I counted the days. Expecting to receive the gifts I wrote about in my Christmas list would bring me the ultimate joy I was seeking.

My expectations of a happy day had been high the entire month. However, opening gifts, eating a delicious dinner with my parents and sisters and lighting a few fireworks in Nicaragua didn't create the magic I hoped for. I thought, "That's it? This is what I waited for so long?" Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the gifts, my family, the meal, but I still didn't have the deep joy I had anticipated.

Later on, I was married and had two boys. They also were excited about Christmas, but only hours after opening gifts, the boys were fighting and didn't seem happy or grateful. I heard my sons expressing what next toy they were eager to obtain just days after they opened all of their presents. I said, "This is going to change!" The following year the number of toys were reduced and we gathered as a family to thank God for the birth of Jesus and the precious gift of eternal life. 

Nowadays, we avoid the shopping malls and we give our two grown sons money, so they can pick exactly what they want. We don't deal with return lines either. We enjoy attending the Christmas service together and have a wonderful meal at home. Christmas is everyday of the year in our hearts! 

I personally like the gift of friendship and time more than shopping for gifts. I love to go out to lunch or coffee with friends and family. My Christmas is peaceful because I don't have a long list of things to do. Several years ago I told my mother, "You know what I want for Christmas, mom? She said, "What, honey?" I replied, "Nothing, please don't buy me any presents. I have everything I need and I don't want you to spend money. Let's instead go out to lunch and relax."

There are people who love crowds and the excitement of  a packed mall energizes them, that's okay...go for it! But, if you're like me, then don't let other people decide how to spend your Christmas.  

Several years ago the highlight of my Christmas was to sing and praise God in the Christmas Choir at church. I finally felt the warmth of God's love filling the desire of my heart. May you be filled with the love of Jesus and enjoy a relaxed and safe Christmas!

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord." - Luke 2:11

Jesus came to save us, that's what Christmas is all about. 



Saturday, December 14, 2013

CHRISTMAS... WHY JESUS?



CHRISTMAS... WHY JESUS?
  
...Because our lives and eternal lives depend on Him! That is a bold statement, right? Let me share why I believe this...

This is what we Christians celebrate at this time of the year:

Luke 2:10-12
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”


For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Matthew 1:21

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.



John 3:16-17

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.



Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.


Jesus said in John 5:24:

24 “Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.


And there are many, many more Bible passages! Christmas is not about shopping or a beautiful Christmas tree, which are nice things. The true meaning of Christmas is that God sent Jesus into the world to save us and die for our sins, so that those of us who believe in Him as the Messiah and only Son of God, will not perish, but have EVERLASTING LIFE, ETERNAL LIFE!!! What better than a powerful video to demonstrate the true meaning of Christmas...Here you go...

THANK YOU FOR READING AND HAVE A BLESSED CHRISTMAS!!! GOD LOVES YOU THIS MUCH...PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO...


May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you and prosper you this Christmas and in the New Year!!! I don't know many of you that read my blog in many different parts of the world, but I thank you and love you with the love of Christ!  

Guadalupe 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

THANKSGIVING IS COMING SOON!


THANKSGIVING IS COMING SOON!
It does not need to be Thanksgiving to give thanks and have an attitude of gratitude.
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:12, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want."
Even wealthy people and celebrities search for happiness and contentment. So whether with little or with much, let's ask God to help us be thankful in every situation.
I pray you will find joy and contentment in the simple and small things of life.
Looking forward to the Fall season and the rain. Wishing all of you a multitude of blessings!!!
For those of you new to my blog, here are the links to my blog interview regarding my writing journey and my TV interview regarding my past fears.
Ok, I'll share a YouTube song too just to make you happy!!! :)
 http://youtu.be/-SJR2vdJFXw  (Turn the volume up on this one and dance!)


Thursday, August 29, 2013

YOU ARE LOVED!!!



YOU ARE LOVED!!!
This blog is dedicated to you, my reader!

We all want to be loved. Nobody desires to be hated or rejected. There is a longing in the human heart to be accepted and loved. Some of us carry scars of feeling unwanted by a parent, a spouse, a child or a friend.

Since infancy we long to be cuddled and cared for. Some of us grow searching to be popular and accepted by our friends in elementary school, then college and the workplace.

If you've felt the awful pain of a heart wounded by rejection, I have good news...Your Maker, the Creator of this world, loves you! He is passionate about you. His love for you is unconditional. God cares about every detail of your life and emotion. How do I know this? Because the Bible screams about how much you are loved!!!

It's hard to know this fact if you haven't read the Word of God. Or maybe you had a bitter experience when you were judged or criticized by other Christians and decided that God is as mean and cruel like those who hurt you. Other times, you might feel unworthy of God's love.

As always I'm taking you to the verses of the Bible to show you what I mean. There are tons of Scripture verses where God declares His love for you. The entire message of the Bible is of a God who loves you so much that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to die in your place, let me say that again: He died in your place...because you are wanted and loved.


If you've been rejected by a parent, this is what the Lord says in Isaiah 49:15-16, "Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..."



We are of great value. We are worth God's only Son. 1 John 4:10 says, "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."


 He made the first move... He loved us first! 1 John 4:19 says, "We love because he first loved us."

Were you abandoned by your parents? Are you an orphan or a widow? Psalm 68:5 says this about God, "A Father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling."


When we put our faith in Jesus Christ and believe He is the Son of God, we become God's children. We are adopted by Him. Romans 8:14-16, " For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children."

Do you feel unworthy of God's love? Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

God said this to Israel in Isaiah 54:5-6, " For your Maker is your husbandthe Lord Almighty is his name—the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The Lord will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit—a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God.

Deuteronomy 31:8, "The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."

I wrote this in the chapter titled, "Perfect Love" of my book:

Whether single or married we desire to be loved and accepted at all times. But in this world we’ll suffer rejection and disappointments. At times you might feel unloved by a friend or a relative. Keep in mind that God, your Creator, loves you unconditionally and He’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” He loves you so much, that in order to prove His love for you, He chose to give up His life—that is love! (How Do You Love God with All Your Heart? - Copyright 2015)


Sometimes a song and a video explains it better... so here are a couple of songs about God's perfect love for you!


John 3:16, " For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Blessings!


  


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

YOU ARE FORGIVEN AND FREE!!!

                                                                                                              Photography copyright 2011

When I first attended Bible study, I heard the women say they were thankful for Jesus’ sacrifice and that they had assurance of going to heaven. I said to them, “Wait a minute, how can you be so sure? What if I kill someone five years from now, would I still go to heaven?” My thinking was, if you sin, you lose your salvation. That’s why in my example I came up with a serious type of crime such as murder.

My friends pointed out that all sin separates us from our Holy God. Lying, pride, envy are all sin too. And the list goes on and on—sin is sin. No matter what kind of wrong I might commit in the future, Jesus had paid the price at the cross. All I needed was to sincerely repent and ask God for forgiveness.

They assured me that the same day I invited Jesus into my heart I became a child of God, received salvation, forgiveness and the promise of eternal life. This was hard for me to accept. It sounded too easy. I said, “There has to be more I should do—I have to be good all the time.” A friend lovingly said, “Guadalupe, are you saying Jesus’ sacrifice and death wasn’t good enough and that you have to add to it?” 

Another friend asked me, “How many times does Jesus have to die on the cross to keep on forgiving you?” She showed me in Scripture where it says Jesus died once and for all.

Hebrews 7:27 says, “Unlike the other high priests, He does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people.  He sacrificed for their sins once and for all when He offered himself.”

This amazing verse made perfect sense. Of course, we need to repent of our sins and ask God to help us not continue to sin, but the Word of God assures us that eternal life is obtained by faith in Jesus, the Son of God, not by our behavior. (Excerpt from my book, Chapter 3, "How Do You Love God With All Your Heart?" Copyright 2011)

During my years as a Bible study leader, I’ve listened to many people express their guilt for past sins. Even though they’ve asked God for forgiveness, they continued to carry burdens that according to the Word of God, no longer exist.  

Think for example of a child who says to his parent that he’s sorry and truly repents for what he has done. The parent forgives the son, but the son still goes on the rest of his life feeling heavy with guilt and shame. The parent no longer remembers what the child did because he forgave him. That’s an example of how God is with us.

After repenting and asking God for His forgiveness, I still carried guilt, until I realized this meant I didn’t fully accept God’s forgiveness. We need to be able to believe and accept His total forgiveness—He wants us to. (Excerpt from my book, Chapter 3, "How Do You Love God With All Your Heart?" Copyright 2011)

It took me years to understand that eternal life was given to me as a “free” gift.  Have you ever heard of a gift that isn’t free? God loves us so much, He wants to make sure we “get it” by telling us His gift is “free”— no strings attached. We can’t earn eternal life, it’s given to us the minute we place our faith in Jesus. 

There are many religions that believe people have to do many good deeds in order to go to heaven. The truth is we can’t make it on our own effort. Our righteousness comes from God through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. He is the only way to the Father. Look at the thief at the cross. How many good deeds did the thief have to do to enter paradise? None! Yet he received this response from Jesus, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise(Luke 23:43), because he believed Jesus was truly who He said He was, the Son of God.I love pleasing God in all that I do. But it comes from a heart filled with love and gratitude instead of fear or obligation. We cannot earn our salvation. We’re saved by faith and grace alone. The Bible says, we’ll be rewarded for our good deeds— however my greatest reward will be to kiss the hands and feet of Jesus! (Excerpt from my book, Chapter 3, "How Do You Love God With All Your Heart?" Copyright 2011)

Here are some Bible passages that assure us of forgiveness and eternal life:
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 10:9 “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”

Colossians 2:13-14 

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; He took it away, nailing it to the cross.”

 Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

John 5:24

“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

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

This is only a small section of my chapter and just a few verses, where I explain salvation and the assurance of eternal life.

Today, by placing your faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you can become a son or daughter of God. Read the following prayer. You may want to read it aloud and sign your name. By doing this, you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord. When you repent of your sins, you will receive His complete forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life. 
After you do this, you can celebrate and literally jump up and down out of joy from now knowing where you’ll spend eternity! Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my Word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”- John 5:24.

PRAYER TO INVITE JESUS INTO YOUR HEART
 LORD JESUS,
I BELIEVE BY FAITH YOU ARE THE SON OF GOD
THAT YOU DIED FOR ME ON THE CROSS
AND GOD RAISED YOU FROM THE DEAD.
 I REPENT OF ALL MY SINS… EVEN THE ONES I HAVE ALREADY FORGOTTEN.
I SURRENDER TO YOU.
 I INVITE YOU TO COME INTO MY HEART
AS MY PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR.
THANK YOU FOR WASHING AWAY ALL OF MY SINS
AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR GIFT OF ETERNAL LIFE.
 PLEASE HELP ME TO FOLLOW YOU
AND TO DO YOUR WILL
ALL THE DAYS OF MY LIFE!
 IT IS IN YOUR NAME, LORD JESUS, I PRAY. AMEN!!!
  _______________________________________
Sign & Date
The word "condemn" means to pronounce guilty and to convict. When we are in Christ, we are free from condemnation—Glory to God!

 Romans 8:1 says,“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
Celebrate with this YouTube Video song, "I Am Free"
Photo and blog are excerpts from my book, "How Do You Love God With All Your Heart?" Copyright 2011
Guadalupe C. Casillas