Work Your Land

Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies have no sense. Proverbs 12:11

Observations Part 1:

“Those who work their land will have abundant food…”

1. Everyone gets land to work

2. Everyone has ownership of the land

3. It’s a choice whether or not a person works it.

4. Working on land requires the use of hands.

5. Working land is slow and steady.

6. Working land allows one to see the process of growth.

7. Land has different grow

8. Food/harvest is an outcome of work.

9. Working brings an abundance of food.

10. Food from land can be sold or eaten

Interpretation:

Work what God has given you and it will produce “food” that gives life to you and others.

Observations Part II:

“but those who chase fantasies have no sense.”

1. The ones who don’t work their land are doing something.

2. They are using their mind and not their hands.

3. Fantasies are mental and not physical.

4. The ones who don’t work are using their “feet” to chase.

5. Feet cause movement away or to things.

6. When you are chasing something, you are leaving the location you were standing in.

7. A chase is a fast movement in which you are tailing and hoping to catch something else.

8. The chase is hard work.

9. It quickly leaves you tired and breathless.

10. You quit because you can’t keep up.

11. Chasing is trying to catch something you didn’t create.

12. A chase requires something to be fleeing.

13. If that something is caught, then it fights to be set free.

14. The struggle to hold on to it, requires a lot of strength and energy.

Interpretation:

A chase will take your air and your strength. This will leave you laid out, lifeless, and in a position of vulnerability.

Application:

Stay focused and don’t be distracted by wishful thinking. You are standing on a harvest that is more than what you need.

What Am I Waiting For

If you asked me if I like to fish, my response to you would be yes. However, I like fishing conditionally. To clarify, I like the experience of the fish tugging on the line, setting the hook, and reeling in it in to see what I caught. I do like to catch fish.

But, fishing is also an experience of not catching. It’s an experience of waiting. In those moments you experience every detail that affirms the lack of action and stagnation.

Lines in the water move only when the wind exhales. People are still, quite, and interrupted only by a recast. Interaction is limited to when lines get crossed and a quick untangling is accomplished through teamwork.

In the waiting, contemplation of quitting starts churning.

And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become (B)fishers of men.”[a] 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him. Matthew 1:17-19

I am learning that there are times in life that it has been very clear when God has called me to be a fisher of men. My response has been immediate, and the catching starts occurring quickly. But, I am realizing that there are seasons when the catching is on hold in comparison to the way it was before.

I find this is the time when I just want to put the pole down and quit instead of staying in the waiting. I doubt the calling all together. I feel off and not in sync. I wonder if I ever really heard Him correctly.

When Caleb, was 85 years old, he finally received the land that was allotted and promised to him 40 years prior. At that time, he was 45 years old. He, along with Joshua, were one of 12 spies sent out to get information on Canaan. Only Caleb and Joshua reported back with confidence that they could conquer the land. The other ones spread fear.

The age he was sent struck me first. This helps be realize that age is not an advantage or disadvantage to God’s calling.

Instead it affirms the advantage you have when you have confidence that the calling comes in his timing.

The other thing that stuck out in Joshua 14 was that Caleb followed the Lord/God wholeheartedly. Caleb and Joshua both saw what the other 10 men saw. However, Caleb knew that as long as he followed the Lord without a doubt, victory was in the plan.

This helps me realize that how, when, and how often is not for me to know or see.

I just need to have confidence in the one who put the pole in my hand.

Blessings-Erica

Walking in Career and Calling

Looking back at the path the Lord has led me on, I have at times felt conflicted. I remember when he first started calling and developing me for ministry, I was very confused. On one track, things were taking off in my career. On another parallel track, I was simultaneously having opportunities in ministry and feeling a tug to write, speak, and teach.

The frustration with that was time.

I still struggle with moving forward in the vocation God has calling me to, while carving out the time to work on my ministry. I often feel ministry slipping away, because I’m too tired to be creative and consistent.

However, I’ve noticed over the years when busyness is conflicting with my ministry calling, that God still has this.

Things that cross my mind:

1. There is a perfect timing. Sometimes I see how a delay, or downtime, is actually part of a bigger plan. This helps me not to be so hard on myself when I’m struggling to give my ministry calling my all.

2. I refocus and realize that everything and idea comes from God. He is calling me to do this. He will bring his initiatives forward in His timing. My goal when I’m busy is to think about the calling and listen to his directions and have an awareness of his nudging. Then, I jot those thoughts down and return to them later.

3. Go with it. When the time does come that I can shift and focus on ministry, I try not to aim for perfection. I just do it from the heart and complete the task.

4. I try not to worry. Worrying creates a fear and an unsafe space to work freely and creatively. It’s hard enough having to work on ministry in moments, instead of blocking out huge chunks of time.

5. Last, I reflect on the many bi-vocational pastors that lead a congregation and also work full-time. It’s a huge reminder that some of us are called to be in both worlds.

With encouragement,

Erica

Let me know how you are struggling to walk in your career and calling.

My Daughter in His Presence

Last night I took an unexpected walk with my daughter Erica. I’m a morning walker so I usually decline but decided to invite myself.
We walked through the back of our neighborhood and made our way to her secret place and that’s when I saw so clearly the joy and freedom that she was feeling admiring God’s creation!
I was walking with purpose, my health. My head down, pushing through leaving her behind at times. She too walked for her health but first and foremost to celebrate God’s handiwork!
She noticed little things like ripples in the water and the beautiful moon, shrieking with delight when she started her jog. She walked through muddy water to reach her destination while I complained about hating squishy tennis shoes.
I love walking and I love the outdoors but I tend to compartmentalize and tend to miss the beauty around me in order to “get the job done”.
This mindset has always been part of my personality and I now wonder how often as a wife, mom and daughter I missed the beauty just to
“get the job done”.
I pray that God will help me slow down and enjoy the gifts He has blessed me with especially to enjoy many more walks with my Beautiful daughter.

With love,

Delia Guajardo

Defense Becomes the Offense

A little over three weeks ago, I twisted my ankle pretty severely moving.  The timing was horrible. I was moving from a third floor apartment and I had finally gotten into a consistent workout routine.  I had also just completed my fastest 2 mile run and was really excited about continuing my running plan that should have had me running a half marathon by November.

About two weeks later, I was able to do the workouts, but had lost stamina.  Walking for more than a mile however was about all I could do. Jogging was also very ineffective.  All I could do was shuffle and then would have to stop.

Today, I decided to try again.  It was a perfect evening to take a stab at it.  The rain had subsided along with the heat and humidity.  The storm clouds were slowly peeling back to expose a radiant evening sky.  The sun was highlighting the clouds and coloring the sky while the empty wet trail below was beckoning the critters out of hiding.

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There were several bigger snails traversing slowly on the concrete path.  A little cotton tail had center stage until the sight of me gave him stage fright which left him scampering off to hide in the brush.  A snake, that was more afraid of me, obviously slithered into the tall grass off to the side until it successfully was hidden from me.  And last were my crawfish encounters.

The first crawfish I saw was crawling directly towards me.   Upon the approach, I stopped to take pictures of him. He wasn’t too thrilled, but he just kept moving along

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On the way back, I thought I was running up behind him.  However, this one was different.  He had one claw…not two. This one was really intriguing, so again I stopped and pulled out my phone and planted it directly in front of him.

When he sensed the presence of perceived danger, he started to do that back paddle that crawfish do while waving that one claw in the air mightily.  He was waving that thing around as if he was swatting flies really trying to scare me off.  I chuckled to myself, until I noticed he was coming at me and my phone that was dangerously close to him.

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But still, I tried to get a good pic of this crawfish in defense mode and fighting a battle against a giant.  And then changing angles slightly, I saw him differently.  It was as if I was seeing him with one hand up in church in serious worship using praise as an offensive weapon. It was also as if he was in strong offensive prayer with that one hand up declaring and decreeing victory in Jesus name.

This switch of defense becoming the offense resonated with me so much.

When I’m scared and the battle or the enemy seems so much larger than me, I let fear push me back while trying to fight in my own strength and strategy.

But when I’m trusting in God, I march forward praising, praying, and declaring the victory that God is with me fighting and conquering the giant.

With blessings,

Erica

Ephesians 6:10-18

New International Version

The Armor of God

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist,with the breastplate of righteousness in place,15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith,with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Get the Net: A Parallel Life of Luke 5

Today was fishing day! It had been at least four to five years since I had gone salt water fishing and I was most excited to be able to wade fish.

The night before I was led to read Luke 5 because in that story, the fishermen (soon to be disciples) had been fishing all night and were unable to catch fish.  So while Jesus was preaching to a crowd on the shore, they were washing their nets signaling that they were done for the day.  However, parallel to their finished work, was Jesus in the midst of his mission.  In short, they were coexisting in the same space but not entangled in each others’ lives.

This reminded me of a couple of times on the boat when we fished parallel to each other.  Occasionally, if a fish (or in our case a baby shark) was on the line, our lines would intersect because of the movement of the fish.  Therefore, we had to do a little dance of ducking and bringing over the rods so that the intersection would not produce an entanglement. It was in those moments that a partnership came into being. Beyond those moments however, we each stayed in our own space whether we were on the boat or wading in the water.

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret,[a] the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

Now, our fishing day had pretty much gone like Simon’s.  We had not caught many fish in the shallower parts of the bay.  It was really an odd situation, because every spot we fished had fish. However, they just wouldn’t bite even though we were using the go to trout bait: live croaker.  So after awhile our guide, just like Jesus, proposed an idea.  He was wanting us to catch fish just as much as we did and probably more so because that is what he was hired to do.  There is an expectation, no matter how good or novice your clients are, they leave with a good number of fish.  So, he proposed this crazy idea that he knew would work and we decided to agree and go along with it.

Off we went to deeper water to partake in a creative and crazy idea.  When we got there, he started explaining what was going to happen, how quick it was going to happen, and how we were going to have to adjust our technique and work as a team.  I think we were all skeptical at first, but the moment that bait hit the water, the trout would blow.  But, getting the trout to bite was the easy part, getting them out was a whole different story.

“Get the net!” was being shouted out from one team of us at the front of the boat and the other team towards the back. If you were fishing, you were trying to wear the trout down and not let it swim near the barnacles. If you had the net, preferably the long one, you were trying to scoop the fish up the moment it was reeled in straight trying to ensure that it didn’t swim back to the barnacles that were usually just a foot a way.

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It was fast. It was fun. And, it required teamwork especially when the big trout were hooked on the line.

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

In scripture, the BIG catch from throwing the nets deep, required the fishermen from that boat and the other boat to work together.  Fishing today required us to do the same thing while we really listened to the guidance and instruction of our guide.

But, notice how the scripture ended. They left everything behind including the fish.  If you think about all the empty handed fishing the night before, to experiencing the biggest catch they had ever had, they walked away from a big win and a lot of glory.

Jesus was calling them to fish for a greater and more valuable fish-people.

I don’t get to fish a lot and by no means am I an expert fisher-woman.  But I know enough to know that great fishermen have a lot of patience and perseverance.  They don’t give up easily on their unproductive fishing spots.  Sometimes they persevere until the fish start biting. Sometimes they realize something is off and it’s just not the right time.  Moving to a new spot, never means leaving the unproductive spot forever.  It just means moving on in the moment and revisiting it the future.  They know there will be days with very little caught and some days that yield high numbers.

Having the characteristics and qualities of a great fisherman are the exact same ones needed for ministry and loving others like Jesus.

So get the net and be ready, because getting people hooked is half the battle.  Getting them in the net and to the safety of Jesus’ boat requires teamwork.

For His Glory,

Erica Salazar

 

Passed Up

“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.”

Isaiah 1:18 NIV

My God place is a trail that runs along a creek.  Most of it is hidden from the road. Only a few people know about it or dare to venture off to the unpaved portion.  It is commonly referred to as my “secret place” to friends and to God it’s referred to as our place.  I feel most in God’s presence outdoors and living in an area covered by concrete, it is my nearby escape when I need to listen to what God wants to speak to my heart.

Now, I should let you know that God speaks to me in feathers. It is directly associated with a situation I’m in and I tend to collect them when I see them.  Lately, they have been everywhere in indoor locations which is kind of odd.  They have been constant reminders of what I want to ignore, give-up on, and forget.  But, he seems to be bringing them like rain coming in through a roof.

This morning on my walk, I unexpectedly ran across one that was white.  I picked it up because it reminded me of purity, salvation, and also out of habit. On the way back when I was almost home, again my eye unexpectedly saw one in the grass.  But, this one didn’t look pretty.  It was kind of wet from the dew and mangled.  So after a short pause, I continued in my stride determining its value was not worth bending down to pick up.

And then came the download from God.

People like to pick what is pretty, what looks fresh, and what seems valuable.  The ones that seem dirty, disheveled, and discarded are the ones that get passed up.  The one who is so entrenched in sin, to the point it is obvious to others, is given a quick glance and then ignored.  It seems as if they are not worth the time anymore to pick-up and carry along.

But with a perspective of salvation, God revealed what those two feathers represented. One is the before and one is the after.  We need to be willing to pick a person up and carry them when they don’t seem worth the time of day. By no means are we meant to literally carry what only God can handle and hold.  However, there is much value in a person’s testimony even if their present tells a different story. Passing them up in prayer can be tempting when they seem too far gone, but today was a great reminder that there is always hope that their trial will lead to salvation and a mighty testimony.

With hope,

Erica Salazar

 

 

Resting in Salvation

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:23

When things started to get really crazy at the stores, every entrance had a stand with sanitizing wipes.  What was the purpose behind providing this offering upon entrance?

  1.  It brought you comfort to keep yourself personally pure of germs from anything that was infected.
  2. It brought you comfort to purify anything you touched in the event you unknowingly were infected with something.

Whatever your personal reason would be for utilizing the wipes, you still had to choose to use them.

Like these sanitation wipes, salvation is a free gift that you have to choose to take and utilize. Choosing salvation and Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior, purifies your sinful soul and flesh.  We never reach perfection, but we become clean and a new creation in Christ despite our sinful past.

You also get the mind of a Christ and begin to see things from the Lord‘s perspective. This keeps you from exposing yourself to sin the way you use to   You want to stay pure because you inherit a peace of mind in that lifestyle. You aren’t weighted with guilt, shame, and a feeling of dirtiness.   Instead you can stand confident in your salvation.

Being saved and having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, allows you to rest in salvation instead of being restless in sin with a fear of death

I wouldn’t say that death scares me.  The world can be such an ugly place that even with close friends we jokingly/seriously make comments like, “Can’t Jesus come already.  I’m so ready for Heaven.”

What has been on my mind the most during this time is, “Will this chaos create a stirring in the lost to come back to God? Will this calamity cause a calling out from the ones that have denied and rejected Jesus as Lord and Savior?”

I hope it does.  I hope people start reaching for that free gift of salvation that stands at the door of their heart.

With love,

Erica

Resting with Friends

Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.   Hebrews 10:25 NIV

A common phrase I get as an observation from friends and family is that I’m always busy.      It’s not uncommon for me to turn something down cause I need to work on something in my non-official work hour whether it be for work or ministry. 

Monday was no different.  With strep ruining my “work” weekend and vacation, I rearranged my schedule to work Monday-Wednesday to finish some things while school was closed for the break.

Monday was a great start.   I was able to work in silence, with access to my two monitors, printers, and without interruptions.  I left feeling very accomplished and looking forward to being able to work without distractions the next two days.

Later that evening, my mom invited me to have lunch and watch a movie with a friend on Tuesday.   I thought about it, but declined because I was going to be too busy working.

Yesterday evening however, I started to get anxious.  I was already feeling bored the first day of spring break which started to make me anxious and kind of depressed. I already was not looking forward to Tuesday evening.

So, I knew what I needed to do although reluctant to do it.  I needed to go with my mom and friend to lunch and a movie and then work in the evening.  I have a bad habit of making my world about things I’m working on because resting and doing nothing doesn’t make me feel good either.  However, I’m always energized and encouraged when I’m around friends and family.

So today I made a decision to rest, but not in the way that you think.  I was still doing something, but I was resting and relaxing in the company of others.  The laughs and conversations bring a type of active rest that brings peace to the soul.   

Today I was thankful for the time spent with my mom and friends which helped me work well this evening energized and finishing my work goals a day early this evening.

To God be the glory,

Erica

The Rooms of Your Heart: Proverbs 24:3-4

Proverbs 24:3-4

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.

This is one of my favorite verses.  

When building a house properly, you have to have a plan drawn with wisdom.  The layout has been thought out to create a smooth flow inside.  Rooms are predetermined to be in locations that are logical and not illogical. For example, you wouldn’t build the front door of the house entering into the master bedroom.  You would put the restrooms on the opposite end of the house than the bedrooms.  

The actual construction requires taking that two dimensional plan and it’s measurements and turning it into a three dimensional object.  However plumbing, electrical, and ac also have to be included.  Installation of doors, windows, and cabinets, and other features and fixtures are added as well.  It takes a lot of understanding to make sure that each of these unique and important parts of a house are done in the proper order of construction and in such a way that it doesn’t interfere with the another aspects. 

But what makes a house a home is what is inside.  The knowledge and interaction of the members inside is what creates the rare and wonderful memories. 

To build those rare and wonderful memories in the rooms of your heart with Jesus requires that you make a decision to include Jesus in your plans that you build your life on.  Understanding Jesus and how he sees things can be gained by reading your Bible as well as through prayer and communication with him.  This will let you have some amazing and personal experiences and memories with God that will allow you to experience just how real he is.  

With love, 

Erica

The picture included was taken in the informal dining room that was in our kitchen.  It had bay windows, and I have a lot of memories in that part of the house.  It’s where we would eat dinner, do homework, and where I learned by a master plan fail that the Easter bunny wasn’t real.  This is at my first grade birthday slumber party.  

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