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Calculate your prey…

I was fascinated as I was watching a documentary about Lions. Did you know that a lion is a large cat and are known as “king of the beasts?” They are very territorial and truly defend their area against intruding lions and other animals. One of the ways a lion proclaims an area is by their roaring and scent marking on trees or different regions. Interesting enough the lions were calculating how to take down their prey, and then all of a sudden lunged at the neck and bit down until the animal was strangled.

This documentary was such a great illustration of how easily individuals can become prey and be killed. It made me reflect on how easy it is to fall prey to certain things in our lives. One downfall the lions have is that they do not keep track of the direction of the wind blowing. Which leads the bigger prey to them due to their scent marking. Reflecting on the enemies in our lives we tend to not see coming and are caught off guard.

I know one of my enemies has been “thoughts.” Did you know that we get anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 thoughts a day? Seems overwhelming and exhausting all at the same time. Experts say, typically it is more negative thoughts than positive that come and can change your whole outlook on life. Those thoughts usually come in at the midnight hours, while sitting dormant or when facing difficulties.

I know for me it is tough to shake some of those enemies off. I have watched people lose touch with who they were because this “enemy” crept in and took the life right out of them literally. Not realizing how damaging that “enemy” can be to our well-being. In the line of work that I do” thoughts” are the number one cause that enables people to remain stuck and from growing.

I have learned to decipher things and become a good listener, be more observant of where I am at mentally and watch my behaviors as well as others. At times it can be disheartening to see how people change due to the enemy that has come in and sapped who they were called to be versus who they are. We get so bombarded that one has to be intentional about deciphering what those enemies are so that they do not sap the life right out of us.

So I want to propose these questions to you:

What are some of the things that you did not calculate that have changed who you are?

Are you sitting with those feelings of defeat because you lost sight of the enemy and life has strangled who you are?

Learn to be alert and calculate how to take down your prey, so it does not take you out.

Be sober [well balanced and self-disciplined], be alert and cautious at all times. That enemy of yours, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion [fiercely hungry], seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8, AMP).

Carriers of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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Are you letting your junk build up?

Have you ever felt like there so many things going on all at the same time?

Then that one little thing sets you off and you reflect on everything that’s not going right.  What do we do with that? Do you deal with things as they come up or are we just continuing to stuff things and tell ourselves I’ll deal with that later? Yet later never comes!

I know from personal experience I have been one to stuff what I was feeling and then never come to address it ever again.  Either because I was afraid of having to go there and relive that experience or those feelings of being angry would come up all over again.  What I have learned on this journey is that by holding on to things in and never addressing them it begins to create a hardened heart.  It begins to take away from who you were called to be.  You begin to become complacent and believe that this new journey is a part of you.  When in reality it is taking the life out of you.  You become hopeless in the process and start losing the fight.

Like the rest of the world we are all struggling with some type of brokenness, wound or challenges in our lives.  The suicide rate continues to  escalate or people begin turning to things that they believe can numb or fix the pain.  Then to circle right back around and stay stuck in the same place we  started.

I want to advice you to change your thinking and change the lane your on and head towards the path of bettering yourself.  Remember we are all a work in progress.  Learn to deal with stuff along the way or kill the pride and ask someone to walk alongside this journey so your not going at it alone!  Two are better than one!

Take time today to deal with one thing that you can change and have control over versus the opposite of that.  Your worth it!

Carrier’s of Hope

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

Why do you keep ringing that bell?

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Have you ever read the story of Corrie Ten Boom? She was a Holocaust Survivor. Corrie was in a concentration camp with her sister. They were mistreated and eventually her sister died.  There was a guard that mistreated Corrie and her sister for many years. On one particular day she was scheduled to die and somehow they made a mistake and released her from the camp.   For many years she held unto what that guard had done to her and replayed it over and over in her mind.

Have you ever seen those beautiful large bells and how beautiful they sound when you pull on them?  She used an illustration of letting things go. Well the ringing of the bell was her feelings that continue to remind her of what was done. Once she began to let go of the rope, the noises of the bell seem to begin to slow down and eventually stop. Meaning her feelings began to subside and she no longer heard the noise.

Well forgiveness is like letting go of the bell rope. It is not easy to just stop pulling on the rope.  I can relate in being a professional at pulling that rope.  Many years of my life I recall being so angry at my step father for all he had done to me.  I believed that if I forgave my dad that it meant that what he did was okay.  See, forgiveness is not about what was done to you it is about letting go of the person that did what they did to you. That sounds so simple right? Wrong, if I can be completely vulnerable here, whenever anyone has done something to me, it has always been a challenge to just let it go.

I held my position my at the bell post and God called out things pertaining to my stepfather and I refuse to leave the position.  This was an area of my life that was dead to me.  My heart was calloused and there was no heartbeat there.  When the Lord asked me to forgive, I was having a tantrum and refused to give him that area of my life.  I believed that if I trusted once and people hurt me then there would not be a second chance and basically your dead to me!

When the Lord asked me to forgive, I refused to give him that area of my life.  Then he gently reminded me, “I have forgiven you and have not turned my back or closed my heart towards you”.  That was like a scene out of the Wizard of Oz where the witch is saying, “I’m melting”.  It was one of the toughest things for me to do.It was really hard to forgive and even today I have to remind myself, “Let it go”.

Forgiveness is not about forgetting. Forgiveness is a process that can take years to overcome.  By extending forgiveness it doesn’t make things right or say that the person who caused the offense won’t do it again. Or that the person will ever come to you and ask for your forgiveness.  You may be saying Sandy, “You don’t understand what this person did” or maybe this person continues to hurt you.  Please know I don’t expect for you to be a doormat and allow that person to continue hurting you, not at all!

I knew I could not do it in my own strength and needed help.  I am reminded of the words that he said as he was laying on that cross, “Forgive them, for they know not what they are doing”.  He chose to forgive even with what was happening to him. I wish I could say that I have been that quick to forgive, but I am working at letting it go a lot faster than where I once was.  I have resigned of my position at the post.

So are you ready to stop pulling on the rope?  I promise you it takes a lot more energy continuing to remind yourself of what was done versus releasing it to God and allowing him to teach you how to forgive.

Beloved, I am not sure what you are facing today but God knows.  He is such a gentleman and extends a hand in the process to help you forgive.  Maybe your father or mother abandoned you, or maybe you experienced some type of trauma, or you’re in a relationship that person continues to hurt you. Or just maybe you need to forgive yourself!  Whatever it is God is here and says, “It’s time to let go”.  He will be right there as you release it to him and will help bring healing and restoration to your heart.

Life Application

  • Identify if you’re a professional at pulling on the rope or have a position at the bell post
  • What are those areas that you have held unto to, that it is time to give to him.
  • Allow the Lord to bring healing and restoration to those areas of your life.
  • Share with someone so that they can help walk alongside this process.

Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you (Colossians 3:13, NIV).

I pray this has ministered to your life.  Help me by sharing it to someone who can use a word of encouragement!

Be Blessed,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

 

“That Giant”

I remember being bullied throughout middle school by these twin sisters and everyday after school they would wait for me to get off the bus and just terrorize and push me around. At times I would get off the bus first and power walk home.  I could hear them calling me names from afar and those feelings of fear paralyzingly me.  I would have nightmares of these girls just taunting me and could hear their laughter.  This reminded me of the story of Goliath.  He would terrorize the Israelites, laughing and mocking them from morning until night. By terrorizing them it created fear and kept them from going up against him.

As I was reflecting this morning, I asked myself “What are the giants in my life that terrorize and try to paralyze me”? Many different ones came to mind: fear of failure, maybe not having clear direction about certain things with my career or life.  Or certain health issues that have popped up and allowing fear to take root in my heart, due to fear of the unknown.  All the while I am in the waiting room, anxiously waiting for the doctor to tell me the diagnosis of all of my different emotional symptoms.

How many times in our lives have we allowed fear to taunt us, nibble at us and destroy our peace and faith?  How many times have we made those giants look bigger than who God is?  David went up against Goliath and he was a scrunny little guy.  He tried to use his own weapons at first, but it was that one stone that knocked Goliath down.

So I probe this question “What weapons are you using: your human strength, fillers, are you running in the opposite direction when things come up, crumbling under pressure or will you pull out that one stone and knock that giant down?”

One day as I was getting off that bus I finally had the courage to stand up against the twins and took my umbrella and came out swinging.  The twins were shock and a little taken back.  After so many different incidents I decided to take a stand that day.  Do you know that they never messed with me again!

Remember God is bigger than that giant!  He has given you the stones (promises) to fight against them and so take comfort that “He is with you”. Take the stand today and pull out your stone and knock that giant down!

Isaiah 41:10: “Don’t fear because I am with you; don’t be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will surely help you; I will hold you with my righteous strong hand”.