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Women in His Presence

by Erica Salazar

Devotional Jan. 14, 2019

Luke 4:16-19 

16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. 17 And the [a]book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the [b]book and found the place where it was written,

18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind,To set free those who are oppressed, 19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”

There are two quick things I love about this passage that we can easily apply to our daily lives.

  1.  When handed the book of Isaiah, Jesus knew where to find a particular scripture.

Reading the Word regularly allows us to be so familiar with the Bible, that we can find and reference scripture to declare, encourage, and state Biblical truths

2.  Jesus read scripture that declared who he was.

We can do the same thing by placing our name in place of scripture that has the word “You” or “Me.” This is perfect during prayer and also putting other people’s names in scripture who you are praying for

Know the Word and use the Word daily.

 

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Devotional Jan.9th, 2019

Luke 1:6-7 New International Version (NIV)

Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

Here our two main characters are pretty close to perfect.  They are walking a blameless life that is pleasing to God. However, their situation brings undeserved shame with little hope of change.

Sometimes, life seems really unfair. Sometimes we feel we are getting what we don’t deserve. Sometimes, we think God is punishing us for a past mistake.

This frustration however is self inflicted. Keep a perspective that this is life. We falsely have a mentality of, “If I do this, then I will get that.”

At times life will be exactly what we thought it would be. However, in some important areas of our life, it will be not what we expected at all. Don’t let your situation determine your joy. Keep in mind no matter the hardship, God will some how bring a wave of mercy and a moment of redemption.

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.  Luke 1:57-58

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Lap

Joshua 6:15-16

On the seventh day, they got up at daybreak and marched around the city seven times in the same manner, except that on that day they circled the city seven times. The seventh time around, when the priests sounded the trumpet blast, Joshua commanded the army, “Shout! For the Lord has given you the city!

The Bible is full of miracles.  Some are foretold and some are surprises.  In Joshua 6:2-6, the Lord tells Joshua of a miracle that is going to occur.  The impenetrable walls of Jericho are going to come crashing down and the city will be theirs.  However, obedience of a couple simple requests was required.

The first request is to WALK. 

*Walking is movement, but it’s a simple movement. 

*Walking is not what we choose when we are in a rush. 

*Walking is an option when we want to get from one location to another. 

However, the Lord requests that Joshua, the priests, and the army walk in a circle once for six days and seven times on the seventh day.  This means they aren’t walking to gain ground in the natural. Seems simple, but purposeless. 

To be frank, this simple task also seems silly. 

This shows us that obedience is hardly as simple as it seems when what is being requested seems silly to the point that it couldn’t possibly be effective.  

The second request was to SHOUT.

Sounds simple. 

But to shout of victory before the moment has occurred is bold. Under the circumstances, it’s not as simple as it seems. Shouting for everyone to hear feels not only silly, but scary. What if the wall doesn’t come crashing down? 

SIMPLE, SILLY, SCARY

UNLESS, you are fully confident in the Lord. 

Then obedience becomes quite simple.  You simply just do it.  You walk the last lap and shout when you are suppose to shout because the Lord said so. You don’t think about how it may seem to everyone else.  You ignore your own reasoning and natural instincts. 

And why? 

Because, he has foretold a miracle to you and you don’t want to miss it. 

I am currently experiencing a miracle unfold.  A miracle foretold to me in my dreams, journals, and prayers.  A miracle that required the simple obedience to just WAIT.  

WAITING seemed silly to others.

But to me, WAITING made perfect sense. I had full confidence in the Lord and what he had been speaking to me in prayer and in scripture. 

It’s not time for me to SHOUT yet. I’m not on that seventh lap. However, I’m definitely closer to walking that last lap then ever before. And when I’m done, you better believe I’ll be shouting LOUDLY! 

To God be ALL the Glory,

Erica

Sea Glass Lessons

This morning, I stumbled across a sea glass honey hole.  I didn’t set out to hunt for this special treasure, but amongst the debris washed up on the Corpus Christi Bay, laid a piece of sea glass. 

Sea glass has a unique frosted look from being tumbled in the ocean.  It has lost its clarity and it’s brokenness has been rolled over by the water, beat against the sand, until it has lost its edge and eventually settled upon a distant shore.  

I couldn’t help, but think about this beauty amongst the debris that kept appearing and relating to the brokenness in life.  

So, as I wandered the shore on a sunny chilly day in Corpus, the Lord spoke several gentle lessons that I would like to share with you.  

  1. The broken pieces are the most beautiful. In life, at first it doesn’t seem like it.  But, after the tossing, turning, and beating of the circumstances, you reappear as unique desired beauty.  
  2. They are beautiful, because they have been tumbled.  The pieces of glass that still have their translucency, I would pick up but then discard. They weren’t pretty yet. I kept some of the iffy ones, but kept the frosted ones without hesitation. 
  3. You have to look for the beauty. Although it was a honey hole, I still had to look for it.  I didn’t find the amount I found, because of chance like the first one. In life, we have to intently look for beauty in the brokenness.
  4. Finding a piece, brought pure joy and excitement.  It kept me motivated and persistent.  When you realize the beauty of the brokenness, you are encouraged to know that any future brokenness will be just as beautiful. 
  5. One interesting thing was, the best pieces tended to be in close proximity of each other.  This reminded me that brokenness brought together is better than brokenness alone. 
  6. Last, the broken glass only went so far.  I noticed that the debris was washed up in levels.   Very little settled close to the water’s edge.  The farthest line of settlement had wood and plastic.  In the middle is where the sea glass and shells  laid. Too heavy to be washed too far, but light enough to be washed up and away from the water.  God patiently waits for us to come out of the deep.  He is waiting, ready to pick up and gather us all into his hands. 
  7. There is only so much focus and time you can give to the broken pieces.  At some point, you have to take their beauty, pick your head up, and move forward in Christ.

1 Colossians 1:20

Not only that, but all the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe – people and things, animals and atoms – get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the Cross.

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To God Be the Glory,

Erica

Checklists & Ladders

Myself and two other friends are going through very similar experiences that to the outside seem as if it is a hopeless cause.  Not all friends fully support or understand us in our calling to wait for our spouses to be restored to the Lord which then leads to marriage restoration. 

Sometimes they think we are misunderstanding God or not hearing from God correctly.  Sometimes they think it’s us not letting go.  Sometimes they think that our spouses don’t deserve us after what has happened and that there is someone better for us.  

When facing this type of doubt by other believers, it is frustrating.  

It’s frustrating because it is a HUGE step of faith and an act of obedience on our part to really TRUST God in the impossible.  We are very confident in conversations, but you have no idea the many conversations we have with God in our head and prayer closets. 

“Are you sure God?”

“Am I hearing you right?”

“Why is it taking so long? Are you sure it’s going to happen?”

“I’m tired of waiting.”

“Why is it worse?”

Deep down, we have more than enough doubt that tosses us around from time to time.  But to be honest, we have the courage to step out of the boat when Jesus calls us. 

The best peace that I experience comes from being focused on Him and this calling.  He tells me His truths about the situation and provides scripture and Bible stories to support what he tells me. In those times, it makes perfect sense.  In fact it seems crazy not to wait on the Lord to do His thing. 

Why would God ask me to do this?

  1. Realize no man can ever make me happy or complete…only God. 
  2. Seeking out another husband or a “better” one is a lie.  My original husband, living his life for the Lord is the best husband for me.  Until then…God’s got me. 
  3. Experience completeness in Him, not trying to be completed by him(spouse).
  4. Learn what crazy faith is.
  5. Get me focused on how God has to grow and refine me, instead of pleading with God to change my spouse. 
  6. So God can have my full attention
  7. Show me that I’m not in control of my life.  I can’t choose my path or the outcomes. All I can do is be guided daily by Him. 
  8. My favorite…what unconditional love truly is. 
  9. To experience laying down my life for someone else like Jesus did. 
  10. To show me what it feels like to be rejected, even when it was my best and I loved with all my heart.  This experience put a better perspective on what Jesus felt as he was rejected on this earth and still is today. 
  11. To realize, this life on earth is not perfect and having a spouses doesn’t make life perfect.  

I could go on and on about this growing list. 

In a way, this list has become a checklist of milestones.  A list that reflects the spiritual maturity that has occurred ONLY because I’m being obedient to the IMPOSSIBLE.  

A checklist that as I go down, makes me think I’m closer to the promise.  But, God reminds me it doesn’t work like that. Instead this checklist is more like a ladder I’m climbing up that gets me closer to Him. 

And for that….this crazy journey is VERY worth it! 

To God be the glory,

Erica

The Black Widow

Post 4: July 17

I have this funny fascination with spiders when I see them at night in their web.  Plenty of times I’ve tried to get as close as I can to capturing the animal up close without it jumping on me. Do not be mistaken though.  I do not like spiders.  Not at all; but there is a curious naturalists in me that still admires how they make their web.

A few weeks ago I was out on my night walk/run when I saw a decent size spider web on a tree.   As I approached the web I was thrilled to see that the spider was still making it.  It was creating the outer rings of the web going around counter clockwise as if it was a satellite orbiting the earth.  The curiosity lured me closer in with my camera at hand.  The trick would be to see if I could capture a picture with very little lighting as well as remaining undetected by the spider.  My attempts failed and I knew that I was going to have to try with the flash.  Now this entire time, the spider hadn’t ceased spinning its web until the flash.  How interesting that the light in the darkness scared it and ceased all operation.   In fact, the spider left its post scurrying off to another part of the web.

My prayer session for July 8 started after midnight making my prayers for that day on July 9.  This week I had been continually praying between 12:00-3:00 am, which is the Third Watch also known as the Breaking of Day Watch.  By this time, I was becoming more comfortable going to war in prayer. I was having a good prayer session and in the middle of it I saw a spider web being cut strand by strand counter clockwise at the same speed and pattern I had seen that spider a few weeks earlier spinning it.  With each nip, it was becoming more and more slack.  I sat up and opened my eyes surprised, because it’s like it came out of nowhere. I didn’t know what to think since it happened so fast and out of the blue.  So, I just drew it in my prayer journal and gathered that the web was losing strength.

On July 10th, I woke up with a very vivid dream that was quick but carried a specific meaning.  It was very personal and it was mocking me as a woman of God.  It was a picture of a post from a specific woman who was publicly displaying her lewdness and promiscuity.  But, it was in her lewdness that she revealed the tactic used to lure her victim.

As I drew it in my journal, the word black widow came to mind and so I jotted it down under the picture.  I immediately went into intercessory prayer.

July 11,  I finished up my prayer session at 12:02 am.   During this prayer time, I had wondered if there was a connection to the Jezebel spirit and spiders.  I specifically honed in on Jezebel because of the dream the morning before.  I had done enough research in the past to know she was a major cause to the destruction of something very dear to me and I was constantly praying during intercession that a particular person was anointed with oil which would cause her grasp to slip.  So, in my research I found that in fact she is represented by the black widow.  Crazy!

The pieces were starting to click.   God was showing me her web was losing its hold. The dream was showing me the desperate attempts and tactics she is using to keep her victim headed toward death.  In doing research, I found that a black widow will fake her death if her web is disturbed. This was showing me to be relentless in prayer….always. Last, I learned that the black widow’s web seems as if it has no pattern like other spider webs.   It looks chaotic.  But that is actually a huge deception. Her web is actually in layers that have a purpose, and only when the victim is completely lured into all layers does it become apparent that the web is skillfully crafted to intentionally trap him/her.  Therefore, the plans of the evil one will be exposed right before death.

There is truth and life in the Word.

Job 8:14 New International Version (NIV)

14 What they trust in is fragile[a];
what they rely on is a spider’s web.

God led me to this scripture that prayer session   The takeaway was, Jezebel is fragil. She is easily broken. Her web is easily broken and her captives will be set free.  I serve the God Almighty and the Maker of Heaven and Earth.  There is nothing impossible for my God.   I just got to learn to wait patiently as he disarms the evil one nip by nip.

 

 

 

 

Hungering the Holy Spirit

Post 3: July 9, 2018

This week started a little different right off the bat. Praying more definitely caused a tapping into my emotions that I’ve tried to cover. In the middle of the day, I went to my prayer room and just started crying. I didn’t have words to say just a grieving heart that needed to be comforted by the Lord. This weeping reminded me of my early prayers when mountains weren’t moving. I would cry and weep and I started to wonder that back then maybe instead of weeping, I should have had the hunger to be a warrior. At some point that day after I stopped crying, I started searching for prayer warrior videos.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7

Ironically, I saw a video called “Weepers and Warriors.” It was by a woman called Vesta Mangun. I had never heard of Vesta Mangun, but you could tell even before listening that this was a tiny yet mighty woman of God with a lot of experience with the Lord under her belt. I thought for sure this woman was going to tell me to stop weeping and start warring. However, it wasn’t until three days later that I actually listened to that video.

It was on the third day, that I started praying not knowing what to say. So, I went to the Word to listen. Psalm 33 led me to write down God’s truths, but personalize them. The Lord was also prompting me to fast and repeatedly pointing me to that direction with several confirmations.

When I listened to Vesta’s “Weepers and Warriors,” I was encouraged to fast. But most important, I was encouraged to weep. This was not what I was expecting. But she made known that every drop of my tears has going into a bucket and to continue to weep until you get to experience the water.

Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
Psalm 126:6

It was around this day that I confirmed to God that I want Him like Vesta has Him. I want to know the Lord so intimately that I experience what she is experiencing. I don’t want to have a good relationship with my Lord, but the best. I don’t want it just to get my prayers answered. I want it, because I desire the Lord and to experience his love and mighty will for my life first hand.

I don’t want a second hand, past down relationship with Jesus Christ. I want front row, first hand knowledge, and personal experiences. I want to testify to God’s goodness and greatness and not just tune into to someone else on YouTube declaring it. If they can have it, so can I.

God pursues me and you, but our level of engagement creates the opportunity for the best arrangement to experience it. If we don’t engage we miss all that was arranged by God.

Be Blessed,
Erica

Starting Small

Post 2:  July 1, 2018

The last time I felt I was seriously praying consistently was during the last few months before my divorce was final. I would say that it was during that time that I entered into what I could only call as “prayer warrior” mode. At times I felt as if I was a praying ninja. I would slice and dice the enemy with hand motions while I was praying. I remember one specific evening having this burning in my chest like heartburn from praying. I really thought that the divorce wouldn’t go through and prayed for delays and moves of God in my spouse. I definitely got to witness those things, but the end result did not change. The divorce still happened and the reinforcement of “I’m not a prayer warrior,” set in.

Therefore, my praying slowly fizzled away with the exception of some sporadic surges. Now, I did continue to talk to God all the time, but as far as getting away to a quiet place, it just didn’t happen much.

So here I was this past week on the path of being a prayer warrior. Where to begin? Well I got in my prayer closet and turned on worship music. I started writing down the small things. As simple as it sounds, I actually found myself chuckling earlier that day because a friend of mine said she was going to have to pray about what to name her car. As I laughed to myself, the Holy Spirit convicted me big time. It was clear at that moment that God wanted me to pray for the little things and the little decisions. So, that became my starting point.

The Results:

The first three days started out the same way. Me making a list of the little things and praying about them. However, during prayer I would start to see things. One was a heart arising out of stone that was being cracked with a hammer. I would also see God cupping a particular person’s heart bringing him back to life. Scriptures would come to mind as well and always carried a particular meaning related to prayer when I looked those verses up. I would definitely say that I was getting warmed up to be a prayer warrior.

On the third day, I felt the need to just intercede for that one person. My entire prayer time was on him. During prayer I was seeing a rebirth of this person. He was waking up and being resurrected. He was having an awakening. It was during this prayer session that the prayer warrior mode resurfaced. It was at this time that I was directly speaking to the enemy and taking back territory. I was on the offense and out to cover that person in prayer and bind up what is holding on to him. Again, I also received a scripture.

John 3:15 That everyone who believes will have eternal life in Him.

Day four was different. On that day, the prompting to pray and intercede came from the Holy Spirit and not during my scheduled prayer time. Instead it was during the day. Again, it was for this one person. This time though, I was seeing a sucking of this person like a whirlpool into a tormenting place. He would come out and get sucked back in. I was also getting that the “new” version of this person was being resurrected because there was no more tug-of-war. His heart was turning to God and he had a renewed mind and was FREE. Again, prayer warrior mode came out and territory was taken back.

The following days were the same. Prayer warrior mode was occurring more naturally. I continued to see pictures and pray specifically for that one person over various areas of their life. The intercession was becoming more of a fight. I found myself having more faith in my prayers as well as sheer determination to cover that person in the spiritual realm. My voice was becoming authoritative in prayer as I would tell the enemy and his agents where they belong and where I cast them. Occasionally, I would stand up and march during prayer as if I’m entering battle as well as tying up the enemy and throwing him on the ground. I would follow that up with a crushing of his head with my heal.

The overall lesson I learned this week was praying for the small stuff got me comfortable with praying and in the habit of praying. However, I was very surprised how quickly that moved me into prayer sessions that were intercessory in nature as well as the increase confidence that the Lord was doing something when I pray.

Starting off at the beginning of the week, I felt awkward and unsure. But, by the end of the week it felt very natural to come boldly to the throne.

Believing the Lie

Post 1: June 23, 2018

Although I pray and talk regularly with God, I am not a prayer warrior. This statement although honest, is actually limiting of my prayer life. It carries several hidden messages that are not God’s truth. First, it sends a trail of lies that prayer that works is reserved for a “higher class” of Christian. Second, it reveals that I believe certain peoples’ prayers carry more weight with God. Last, it keeps me comfortable in my prayer life as if being a prayer warrior is a spiritual gift that I do not have and cannot attain.

I am at a point in my walk though, that I want to be a prayer warrior. I want to trust God with my prayers. I want to know that he hears them and that they aren’t meaningless vapor floating up to the sky.

I want what prayer warriors have and from what I see, it is a relationship that undeniably believes that God really is in control. It is an undeniable faith that God hears and that God does answer. It is with such a convincible tone when spoken, that they know Whose child they are and they know God’s power. Although I’m sure they waiver in faith, from the outside, they seem unshakeable in the most dire of circumstances.

So, as a woman of God who is strong in my faith and walk, I invite you to journey with me in this area of prayer that I know will allow me to know and grow in the Lord more intimately. I trust God, most of the time. But I know He wants me to trust Him all the time. He will leave the 99 to find the one. He will also take the 99% of my trust in Him, but will pursue me for that 1% that doesn’t.  It’s this 1% that causes me to be independent of God and not pursue prayer-prayer warrior style.

I’m not a prayer warrior, but I’m one in the making.

Blessings,

Erica

 

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