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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Grace, Has Not Left You

Listening to: "Forever" by Hillsong.
So if you're reading this. You might say to yourself. I have heard or read about "Grace" before. Can we please talk about something else? Or maybe you would like to hear about "Grace" because you know that you desperately need it. Either way, please hang with me for the next few minutes. Let's have some coffee together. As I, am already partaking in this marvelous coffee beverage a dear friend from church gave me. Just in case, that I would have some sleepless nights as a new father. Hmm...maybe, just maybe it is fitting for me to drink the coffee as I write & talk about "Grace." :)

Let's pretend that one day, you are going about business doing what you normally do. And suddenly, you realize...something is missing? What has happened? You begin to question yourself, question your abilities, question many life choices that have led you to where you are now. And thus, say, "Where is the former glory? Where is the former grace?" Well my dear friend, glad you would dare to ask those questions as we all might one day do so. However, I want to say to you and encourage you...

The Grace, has not left you.

It is still the very thing that you need to carry through. All the chains. Grace has broken. Sometimes, all the trials & difficulties seem like too much. Grace is still the "POWER" that will carry you through. In fact, sometimes the work of Grace is a lot more evident when brokenness has taken effect in a person's life. The type of brokenness I am referring to is a brokenness of the invite to far more than just your very own self. Past the ego-maniac, self righteous, self-centered, individual that usually cries out, ME!

ME! ME! Me=Its all about MEEEEEEEEE

I heard someone talking about this the other day, that marriage was a journey to dying to all of our selfishness that exist deep within, and the truth is YES. From the very moment that we take our very first breath, to the very first hunger craving that we get as a new born. Saying...."it's all about me, feed me!" Hah it is quite the amazing journey that we get to take under GRACE.

Grace spells out: REACH OUT, GIVE, & BLESS

Reach out because we are enabled through Grace to think of others above ourselves! (Phil. 2:2-4)

Give because we can do so by Grace! (Luke 6:38)

Bless because you can make a bigger difference in Grace! (Rom. 12:6-16)

Grace is all that we need. A little while ago...I got to go to a special conference where they were honoring men & women of faith that had been in ministry for over 40 years. And I was taken back by the advice of this particular man of faith, He advice us all, that are still babies in this; "All I can say, is that you need to pray, asking Him for His Grace & Mercy to carry you through." And well that stuck with me.

What we need is His Grace & Mercy. So yes friend, the GRACE that you & I so desperately need...has not left us at all. In fact, it has only just begun to manifest itself. In every area, in every detail, in every waking moment & in every place of our lives! Embrace the Grace. And allow Him to make the difference in the big battles or little battles. That way, the victory is always His, therefore always yours as his/her child. Grace matters. And yep, the Grace, has not left you yet. And it never will.

God bless you,

Daniel Castaneda

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Every Victory Belongs To Christ

"To God be all the glory and honor."
"To God be all the praise."

These two phrases can be better said through out most of our lives rather than lived out. There are many times where our hearts can fail and our minds seem weak; flooded and inundated with stuff, heartache, and more stuff. I recall not too long ago, I seemed to have a lot on my plate and looked everywhere for relief. And little by little I noticed, that the victory that I would have would be sequenced in stages and in baby steps. It seemed as I took my 19 and a half hours of schooling in a Summer session, my head could of exploted, and I thought it would for a moment. But quickly found out, that I needed to depend on God to get me through this and succeed at it at the same time. Victory after victory, encouragement after encouragement would come. Through my buddy Abel, friends and family members as well. However, as hard as I thought this was; what would follow next would pale in comparison with it all.

Before going into the next beautiful challenge lets take a look at what Matt Redman says, in his recent song "Never Once" about the battles we face and the victories we gain.

Kneeling on this battle ground
Seeing just how much You've done
Knowing every victory
Is Your power in us

What I believe Redman is saying to us here is that if we want to win, we will have fights, and as we win; we know that it is Him and His power that works in us. My blessing that would await me in the later years after my graduation is the joy of receiving a wife. The reason why I say, receiving a wife is because after I finally prayed with boldness; and asked the Lord in faith for my wife (hoping all along it would be my sweet Steph). I felt I literally received her in the spirit realm. The reason why I am sharing this as a victory is because this great change has really impacted my life for the better. My wife to me, is God's greatest blessing to my life apart from His dear Son's life for mine! She has been and I know, will continue to be that vessel of honor that God has set apart for Himself to bring Him glory.

Now, the next chapter for me is not just as a husband, but also as a father. My heart is overjoyed and filled with great excitement and anticipation. The lesson I take from this is that God also has a way for giving us the victory before we even face and encounter any challenge in our lives. He is faithful and He is just. Especially, when we may not feel like we have all the weapons we need for the battle ahead. As few years back, I recorded a CD. Well, better said; I attempted a acoustic recording that I never really did much with it. Not too long ago, I talked with my wife and we were sharing how everyone has greatness on the inside and giftings to be used. But many fail to see that and simply don't go after what God has put in their hearts. I don't discount what God has done through that recording. And take it as an opportunity for growth and the chance that I had to do something. And as time goes by; more opportunities will come that allow me to shine from the gifts that are on the inside of me. And as a father, I look forward to the best example I have in God as my Heavenly Father in what I need to know and also to the things that will be developed from within me to have another victory in life.

Victory after victory, we must know that every last one of them. Belong to Christ. He is the author and the finisher of our faith. If you prayed, and had the faith to belive that God would do it; and He did. Then its important to see that He gave you that faith. Other wise you wouldn't of had the faith it took to stand and believe the victory would come. It's never to late to believe for greater things, the greater victory to come. Of course that will only come, after a greater challenged that you face. But never lose heart; the victory of Christ is always there. At arms length. For us to reach out and grab it. Every victory belongs to Christ. We must go, and live out the victory He gave to us, the Church. He is the voice; and we are the willing vessels. Victory after victory, yes! It all belongs to Christ.

Take a look at what Peter says to us as The Church in 1 Peter 2:9-10

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

I share this because once we can see what God has done for us, then we can live out what He has given to us. And part of that is the daily victory of His joy in us. The daily victory that He is with us. The daily victory that He will never leave us or forsake us. I would imagine that I have much to learn. And well; I look forward to learning what is up ahead, and seeing all of what God has in store for not just me. But all of us who are called by Him and have set our heart to love Him. Victory is a great thing to have, but even greater is knowing where and who it comes from.
Jesus, God's one and only Son.

Blessings to you all,

Daniel Castaneda