Apr 15, 2014

When Heaven Touches Earth

As I dig deeper in the Word of God (The Bible), and read consistently, I’ve come to realize something. From the beginning of creation, God the Father, His son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit always wanted to have communion with mankind.


Because of sin, Our Father sends His Son, Jesus, to die for us on the cross and to shed His blood to cleanse us from our sins. In that process, God restores mankind through the sacrifice of Jesus. Then, to ‘seal the deal’, God sends His Holy Spirit to live in us and to guide us every step of the way. WOW! What an amazing love the Father has for us.


When we talk about ‘heaven touching earth’, this is exactly what it means. God through His Spirit touches our lives, everyday, every hour, every moment, for the rest of our lives! All we have to do is be a vessel, desiring God’s Glory. Then we can experience that Glory.


His Glory is available. His Glory is much like His presence, yet it crosses the threshold of just being with God in His presence, to being intimate with God and experiencing His Glory. It’s a more intense level. His Glory will transform you, heal you, mold you, shape you in every way. YOU WILL NEVER BE THE SAME. Allowing heaven (God the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) to touch earth (You) will cost you, meaning you will have to  separate yourself from this world and its desires. You have to be holy and ready to receive that Glory.


My friends, always remember God created you with purpose. His Glory is awaiting you. Be like Moses; ask God to show you His Glory. Be like Jacob; tell God you won’t leave until you get your blessing. Be like David; desire nothing else but God.


Remember, heaven wants to touch earth….and that (earth) is You.   


- Omar Rivera

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Dec 6, 2012

In Pursuit





The Biblical definition of the word ‘pursue’ is to follow; to go or proceed after or in a like direction. But the idea of pursuing God is far greater than simply finding God or having a moment in His presence. The idea of being IN PURSUIT of God is seeking Him, allowing Him to PERMEATE everything I once was, so that everything HE is becomes everything I am.

I was created to pursue God. As a matter of fact, my heart burns with a deep desire to passionately pursue God’s presence every moment of every waking day. It is an unyielding pursuit to know Him more and become like Him. And God is faithful when we choose to pursue Him, unlike the looming rejection of others we pursue in our lives. 2 Chronicles 7:14 - “If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 

"Our pursuit of God is successful just because He is forever seeking to manifest Himself to us". (A.W. Tozer) When we choose to abandon this world, to die to this world to pursue HIM by bowing to His presence, reading His book, communicating to Him, He rewards us with His manifest presence in our lives imparting the attributes of who He in us. He gives beauty for ashes, strength for fear, gladness for mourning, peace for despair, joy for sadness, and healing for sickness. It is worth it to desert the things of life and this world all for the ONE who quenches my utmost thirst and hunger for Him.

Every day I get up I make a choice to pursue Him. I die daily in an effort to decrease myself so that He may increase. I die to my attitude, my flesh, and my desires because nothing I have can satisfy me. I found Him, but I still pursue Him. I love Him therefore, I am in deep pursuit of HIM. He loves me, so I am always pursuing Him. #dietolive #inpursuit

“To have found God and still to pursue Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”
― A.W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God

- Maritza Rivera

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Jul 19, 2012

Time to Rise Up

To rise up is defined as coming up to the surface; to stand up; to arise.

The days that we are currently living happen to be the best days of our lifetime. What we mean by that is that we are experiencing the biggest spiritual awakening ever. The Holy Spirit is pouring out a fresh anointing over His people (the church). We are living in the midst of a revival and it is amazing to partake of this blessing. God is calling His people (man, woman, young person, and child) to RISE UP and stand for Him. He is looking for people of conviction that do not waver and change their position, but instead move forward with the calling and purpose upon their lives.

Rising up? Yes, rising up to the task of taking the Gospel (Jesus) to a generation that is hurting. Yes, rising up with purpose to bind up the brokenhearted. Rising up to proclaim freedom to the captives. And,rising up to release from darkness the prisoners and to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.

Are you up for the challenge? It is not enough to look around at this culture and say to yourself, "They need Jesus." This world is crying out for people of conviction who will RISE UP above and from the spiritual mediocrity that has become the ordinary. This thinking makes us self-satisfied and unconcerned. But in the midst of the common, there is a generation ready to be mobilized into a cause and effect. ARE YOU ONE OF THEM?
It's time to rise up.

- Omar Rivera

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Apr 19, 2012

Made Alive

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. Colossians 2:13-14

 

ALIVE: having life; not dead or inanimate

 

What drives you?

What is your passion?

What makes you feel alive?

 

There are many things that make us feel alive. For some it is money, fame, a gazillion friends on whatever social site; for others it’s sex; and still for others they turn to drugs or alcohol. There is something innate in each and every one of us that begs us to ‘feel alive’. This world is full of stimuli that solicit us to constantly be in a state of feeling alive. We almost expect to be in a state of animation. Let’s face it, we live in a world that relentlessly arouses our need for speed. We wait for the response to the text we just sent out and when it doesn’t come back within a minute, we check to see if we even sent it in the first place and check our phone every second after that until it comes in. We check to see who commented on our latest status on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. every few minutes. Our heart beats faster than ever waiting for these things. It is no wonder we are a generation that accepts God’s grace but lacks the commitment to walk in that grace. Our attention span has been reduced to a nanosecond. We are entertained by the latest social tool, movie, or party, only to get tired of it and move forward to the next thing that will keep us entertained for a while all in an attempt to feel alive.

 

We keep ourselves busy this way. And, when the business of life doesn’t cut it, we turn to things that are more damaging to our whole being like promiscuity, drugs, and suicide. For many it is just an attempt to mask the hurt and pain of rejection, abandonment, depression, guilt, shame, or loneliness. The fact is that these things don’t paint a picture of reality. While they offer a temporary feeling of significance, happiness, or relief, they offer little for the long run in life and can never give us a real contentment that makes us feel alive. The truth and reality is that the only thing that can make you ALIVE is Jesus. 

 

The Scripture says that once we were dead because of the sins we had committed. But the good news is that God makes us ALIVE. And, He does this through our personal relationship with His one and only son, Jesus Christ! Think about that….all of the time you spend looking for peace and joy can be found in Jesus. When I came to Christ I truly felt like I was living for the first time. He made all things new in me. The love that He lavished on me was far greater than anything the world had to offer. Even now, after years of knowing Him, I am constantly in awe of how everyday is like springtime with Him.  Despite the challenges I may face, I feel more alive in Him than I ever had without him. NOW THAT IS LIVING!

 

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). Ephesians 2:4-5

Maritza Rivera 

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Jan 9, 2012

The Secret Place

It is no surprise that the Holy Spirit constantly draws us to spend time in the secret place with God. The Scripture says in Psalm 139:15, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” The secret place is the place where you put aside the affairs of your everyday life, find a quiet place, and go to be alone with your Creator.

The fact is that we were made in the secret place. There in the secret place God made us to perfection. It is the place where He could spend time with us alone and with no distractions; it is a place that is hidden from the commotions, amusements, and bewilderments of this world. We can be real in the secret place, no façade, no mask, no pretending. David knew this, that’s why he wrote Psalm 139.

Not only were we made in the secret place, but God wove us in the secret place. God knit us in the secret place. He ordained every step for us. He purposed every stride, every movement, and every action at once in the secret place.  So when we veer off-track from the place of our originality (the place we should be) the Holy Spirit tugs at us, whispering to our consciousness how important it is for us to spend time alone with the ONE who established our existence. Why? Because it is there that we are once again reminded of and redirected toward His plan and will for us. It is in the secret place that He first declared His will for our lives.

The secret of all success in life is found in our spending time in the secret place which provokes God’s revelation of His will for our lives. He reaffirms His purpose for us. So, go and shut the door and spend time with Him in the secret place. Mt 6:6, “But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”

Maritza Rivera 

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Oct 12, 2011

In His Presence

What does it mean to be “in the presence” of God? I have often used this phrase without explanation. The truth is that God is omnipresent. He is everywhere. And, the fact is that technically, we are all ‘in His presence.’ But upon more careful consideration, when we discuss the idea of being in the presence of God, what we really mean is to be ‘mindful’ of God. We need to be mindful of the fact that He is where we are at, and the reality that we are where He is, while at the same time acknowledging who He is.

In my attempt to study this topic clearly, I soon realized that we need to get to the heart of the matter! The word ‘presence’ in the scripture is found numerous times. The Hebrew word for ‘presence’ is Paniym. It is defined as literally being face to face with someone, and further described as being in front of someone.

This idea of being ‘face to face’ reminds me of Moses’ request to see God’s glory in Exodus 33. In Exodus 33:11 the Scripture says, “…the Lord spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaketh to his friend.” In verse 14 of the same chapter and conversation, God tells Moses, “My presence shall go with thee.” The Hebrew word for face and presence found in these verses is the same, it is Paniym. It also reminds me of Isaiah 6. Isaiah has an incredible encounter with God (Read up on that when you have time.) When we talk about the presence of God or seeing God’s face, we are saying that God is manifesting Himself in a very powerful way in our lives that brings us close to HIM, and leaves us desiring more!  

Here are a few points that I have noticed when observing a face-to-face encounter between individuals:

The individuals are in close proximity to each other. Do you leave room in your life to be close to God? Or is your life too cluttered to leave space for God. Do you set time aside just for Him? Or is your relationship one-sided?  The Bible says in James 4:8, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” Coming close to God to be in His presence, requires that we make the move! This move includes a desire to be clean and pure. This is just the first step to enter His presence.

The individuals face each other. Have you taken time to look to God? ‘Cause I know He is looking at you. Psalm 105:4 says, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” To look implies that your eyes are focused on an object. That object is our Creator. Focus on the Lord, even in your moments of pain and sorrow. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” Put away all of the distractions in your life so that you may have some face time with God. One of my favorite sayings is, “Seek His face and His Book, not just Facebook.”

The individuals communicating with each other use words and expressions.  Do you talk to God? Do you express your heart to Him? Do you praise Him? Lack of communication has been linked to many broken marriages and other types of broken relationships. We can’t treat our relationship with God as we do our Facebook friends.  God doesn’t have a Facebook page where we can casually check His ‘wall’, see what He is doing or has planned, and leave a comment. He wants a REAL relationship with us. A relationship where when we talk, He listens and when He talks, we listen. This relationship includes a constant flow of communication that takes us into His very presence. “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thes. 5:17 Paul uses these words to imply that at all times we should speak with God.

Being in God’s presence is what every believer strives for. You don’t have to be at the latest Jesus Culture conference or Hillsong concert to experience God’s presence in your life (although I highly recommend it.) God is available to us all. We must press in. In His presence we grasp significance for our life (Isaiah 6), we find rest (Ex. 33:14), we find joy (Ps. 16:11), mountains melt like wax (Ps. 97:5), and enemies fall back (Ps. 9:3). Entering God’s presence gives us full access to Him. His presence is our ultimate goal. One day we will all leave this earthly existence to be with Him. But for now, my soul longs to be close to Him, in His presence, seeking Him face to face. 

Maritza Rivera 

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Aug 11, 2011

The Blood

In the Old Testament, the blood of animals was used for the sacrifice of the sins of the people of Israel. This blood was offered to God so that their sins would be forgiven. This was done once a year. You could imagine all the animals, all the sacrifices, all the bloodshed. Quite a site. But, this was the only way to have your sins forgiven. 

In Exodus 12, the blood of an animal was also used in the Passover. This animal was to be a sacrificed lamb, one year old with no defects. God told His people to put the blood of the lamb over the doorposts of their homes. Why? Pharaoh, the leader of Egypt, had not followed God's command and so as part of the punishment, God was going to smite the firstborn in the land. But, every house that followed God's order to put the blood of the lamb over the doorpost of their home would be spared. 

What a story and true one I should say. However, in the New Testament we see that perfect lamb without blemish or spot is Jesus Christ. He made the perfect sacrifice, once and for all, so that the whole world may be forgiven from all their sins. The Bible says in Hebrews 9:22, "…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins." What a wonderful savior, Jesus, who shed His blood for our sins. 1 John 1:7 says, "…and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." In Hebrews 9:14 we see the depth of His blood, "Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins." 

Remember that blood means LIFE. Jesus gave you life when He died on the cross for your sins so that you wouldn't have to die. He became that perfect sacrifice for you and me. And, the only way we are going to live eternally is through Jesus' sacrifice on the cross and by receiving that sacrifice in our hearts. Thank You Jesus, for shedding your precious blood for me! 


- Omar Rivera 

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