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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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Stop Copying Me

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As a child did you ever mimic someone in what they were doing to be silly?  Or decided to do something in return to because they hurt you?  There are so many times that I think to myself, “It can be difficult to be a Christian”.  Then being who am I ask, “Why, do you say that, Sandy?”.

Well we are not called to act and behave like the world does. Yet this can be hard to do when someone is being malicious towards you or towards one of your loved ones. Your instant response is to want to rough them up with your words or possibly with your bare hands!  It’s in our nature that we want to do to others what they have done to us.

I was convicted this morning and heard the Lord say, “Your acting just like the world handles these situations”.  I thought, “What are you talking about Willis?”.  Yes, I do talk to my daddy like that at times! He happened to shine the light in a situation where I witnessed someone bullying someone with their words.  Making them feel inadequate and questioning their abilities.

So, you’re probably asking how are you acting like the world? For starters, I lose my cool when I am seeing this behavior take place and I allow bitterness to sit in. I allow this situation to steal my joy and instead of praying for them I slander them with my mouth. Well there you have it, acting how the world handles their affairs.

If I am called to be different from the world then why am I mimicking their behaviors and the way the handle things? As a Christian I am called to be different and be a witness for the Lord. I am called to live in the light, so I shouldn’t allow darkness to influence me.  In these different situations I’m to ask the Lord to help me pray for that individual and for those that are being affected by it. I need to learn how to avoid these types of spiritual pitfalls.

I have to learn to leave it at the feet of Jesus and respond the way he would.  It’s actually having to die to what I would l really like to do.  I want to tackle that individual and do what they are doing to others or call it out in their life, but my approach would not be godly in any way, how I am being a witness if I play this out.  I’m mimicking how the world would handle it.  I was reading something that said, “The best offense is a good defense”.

Beloved, what are you mimic from the world today? Are you carrying bitterness or unforgiveness in your heart? Has someone done something to you that your carrying resentment towards that person?

Will you join together with me and leave whatever your situation is at the feet of Jesus. Let’s not allow the enemy to have a foothold in our life-like I have with mine. I’m choosing to release this situation and allow him to transform my thinking and my heart towards that.   Now this is mimicking God’s behavior!

Romans 12:2 “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect”.

Carrier’s of Hope,

Sandy Cortes

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!

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Aftermath

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When you hear of the word “Aftermath” what do you think of?  It makes me think of a hurricane and I think of consequences of something.  As I am look more into the effects of a hurricane it can be a scary thing.  The strong winds move in a circular motion and when you look at the eye of the storm this is where the strongest winds are happening. They cause a lot of damage when it hits land.  I wondered to myself how does the hurricane grow?  Well once it comes into contact over warm water it helps the hurricane to become stronger.

I love the analogies that the Lord uses to speak to me when it comes to things in life. Hurricanes can happen in our own lives emotionally.  It can start off as something minuet like a thunderstorm like having a rough day at work or something that’s been brewing or sitting dormant in our hearts.  Then it comes in contact in warm waters and things begin to happen more frequently.  That’s when it begins to cause the eye of hurricane to grow in our hearts.  The trauma can cause torrential storms in our mind and hearts.

One of those torrential storms came in 2014, after receiving a call where one of my kids attempted to take their life.  My whole world turned upside down when I got that call. There was already a lot happening with my family and life.  As a parent this is one of the most devastating news that a parent could receive.  So many thoughts went through my mind,”What just happened and what could have been so bad to want to take your own life?” You begin to decipher through the thoughts “Did I parent well enough or did I shelter too much”, Was I too hard and the thoughts began to pick up speed.

The eye of the storm began to create strong wind forces that began destroying everything in its path.  I could not handle the circulating lies that were trying to destroy me. It was one of the loneliest times of my life. It was a time where everything was dark and my husband and I were getting beat up from the bands of the hurricane. My husband and I were on a sleep rotation to make sure it did not happen again. While trying to help stay attentive to our other children and life.  This journey of mine has not been easy. Being a Christian doesn’t mean that I have it all together and haven’t had to deal with anything.

In fact, I’ve had all types of different storms throughout my life. I wish I can say somehow the problems skip me because I serve God.  That in those dark times I felt alone, without God. Knowing deep in my heart that he was there every step of the way. Especially in that particular dark season.  Today, my son is alive and well.  I am thankful to God that he rescued him that day and had preserved him all these years.

Sometimes we do not understand why certain things happen and maybe never saw it coming.  A lot of times after a storm there is the aftermath that we have to deal with. Things happen in a blink of an eye either from an unexpected illness, a loss of a loved one, divorce or even a financial setback.  The storm hits so hard that then we have to deal with the aftermath.  That our whole life can be in a billion pieces and do not know where to go to for coverage.

Today, I like to say I am a “Storm Chaser”, because I am curious and love to investigate and interrogate people and observe their interactions.  I want to find out the media coverage of their lives.  Like when the live news comes on the television.  I find myself being sensitive to what they say, because you never know if they are threading on warm waters.  Or if the winds are picking up and the eye of a hurricane is about to hit their life. In these situations I think to myself,  God is wanting to come in and bring calmness to the storm.

Beloved, I am not sure what you may be facing today, but I want you to know your not alone in this.  Allow me to pray for you today.  Lord, touch my friend and allow him or her to feel your presence.  Help bring the peace and calmness to their storm wherever they are at.  That your love for them would be like a rushing wind that they are overtaken by it. Thank you for you reading this blog.  I am still in awe of the things that God has done in my life and I know he has great things in store for yours! There maybe someone who is struggling and going through a hard storm.  Be a storm chaser and help me, help others find coverage!

Storm Chaser,

Sandy Cortes, Carrier’s of Hope

Breathing Hope One Life at a Time!