All Posts By

Ibelisse Sánchez

Meditation

Suddenly

snow-and-a-red-umbrellaI woke up this morning, looked out my window and was struck by the blanket of snow covering everything. Pure, milk-colored snow. I was expecting it but when I actually saw it, its beauty captivated my eyes. And it reminded me of God. The way He suddenly changes things in our lives. Suddenly, the waiting is over. Suddenly, the pain is over. Suddenly, hope shoots up like Spring in our hearts. Suddenly, God…

A few days ago a kindred spirit spoke to me of God’s “suddenlies” and to have an expectant heart. I’ve decided to keep my eyes peeled, and I hope you will too. Don’t give up on your dreams. Don’t lose hope for that miracle. Keep believing because what He promises He fulfills. Take a moment to read the messages God sends to you through nature; all those subtle reminders of God moving all around you. He’s nearer than you think. Can you feel His breath?

You may be smack dab in the middle of a storm, but a sudden move of God can drastically change the course of your life at just the right time. I know this to be true in mine. Years of waiting suddenly turned on a dime. It was over and orchestrated with so much love that when the fog of pain lifted, I was able to look back and see God’s fingerprints molding it all for my good.

As time goes by, I hope to see more clearly, but not with my eyes.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for. You don’t have to see it to believe it. You have to believe it to see it.

Wait for His suddenly. It’s coming!

Meditation

The Old Paths, The Good Way

Going-To-Pay-For-Your-DreamMeditation Verse: Thus says the LORD, Stand you in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it, and you shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it. (Jeremiah 6:16)

Finding our way back home isn’t always easy. We’ve wandered rather far. Actually, it’s in our nature to wander. We’ve been sidetracked. Our pride, shame, fear, guilt, anger, unbelief yanked us by the neck and veered us to the right and to the left. We’ve swerved down a lengthy, winding road, took a wild, treacherous one and even crossed some abysmal waters. We’ve even traveled down newfangled paths others have freshly carved, leading us to where we are today.

But where are we exactly? Some of us have been wandering around in circles for years and haven’t moved an inch. We’re clearly not where we’re supposed to be. Drained and dehydrated from the journey, we keep walking or running and not moving forward.

If we replay our thoughts we’d see how they guided every step we’ve taken, every stride made. Many of our decisions felt right, in their season. Some were complete dead ends. The blazing Do Not Enter sign warning us must’ve blinded us. Some were clearly marked Private Property, yet we trespassed anyway.

Whatever the case may be, here we are. But is here where we are to be? And where is here? Are you satisfied with where you are?

Most of us are just plain weary and burdened from trekking through life without some measure of purpose. We hear that promise from long ago, faintly. That there’s a future out there, a plan, a hope. We believe we can do it. We can get there. Wherever there is. Where are we going, anyway?

Are you interested in unearthing those old paths, the good way to get to where you’re supposed to be? If so, you’ll need a light for your path and a lamp for your feet. What path? The one that leads to that garden where you can hear the heartbeat of God. Where you smell His fragrance and breathe in His very love. You know. The one from once upon a time, in the land of Eden. The one where something unforeseen slithered into our lives. The one we left behind.

We may not be able to retrace our steps, but there’s a voice calling out to us that will lead us there, saying, Where are you?

Meditation

Why are the Angry Birds angry?

3d-drawing-art-angry-birds-game-funny-backgroundTruth is I’m not a smartphone game app player. In fact, I’ve never downloaded one to my phone. I mean, really. Ain’t nobody got time fo dat! {smile} I prided myself on holding out on those timestealers but my curiosity got the best of me. Which one did I gravitate towards? Angry Birds, of course. And so have over a billion other users.

I’m greedy for any information about birds nowadays. So I asked myself, Why are the Angry Birds angry? I had absolutely no idea. I decided to find out before downloading the app. In my quest, I came across a blog post by Marwa Aly, a former Muslim Chaplain. Her post, Angry Birds or Self Sacrificing Soldiers? got my wheels turning.

My answer to her question is both. The birds are angry because some blue pigs kidnapped their eggs and ate them. Now they’re out for revenge, and losing their life in the process isn’t stopping them. Aly says that when we play the game, we are the angry birds. That blew my socks off!

By playing the game we’re subconsciously agreeing to the premise of the game; self-sacrifice to achieve an end. We’re not only applauding the mission of these angry birds, we’re stepping into their shoes, or shall I say their wings? Over and over and over again, we’re going after those blue pigs.

What about real life scenarios? What do we do when we’re offended? When someone steals something of value from us? Before we put on the angry bird super-hero(ine) costume and propel ourselves with a slingshot to squash our target, let’s pause and think about why we do what we do. Where does our anger take us? Would we die for something we believed in? Is it for justice or revenge, to save another life or for something entirely vain? Is losing our life ever worth it?

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be an angry bird. I’m attracted to the idea of a sacrificial life though. We don’t necessarily have to lose our physical life to live one either. A sacrificial life is meaningful, even if the days are shortened. Empty days trying to figure out why we’re here are drudgery. If done with a noble motive, it can be life-transforming and life-giving.

We give our lives over to something everyday, whether we’re aware of it or not. Either we lose our days to unworthy causes or we’re investing them in something other than ourselves. The latter is the kind of living that leaves a legacy. It gives us purpose.

I’m thoroughly convinced that the most widely known model of self-sacrifice in the history of history is Jesus. He laid His life down for the world. Not for the innocent either. For the guilty. For those that despised Him, rejected Him, spit on Him, and cursed Him. It was love that motivated Him to willingly lay down His life. He did it for His friends. He did it for His enemies. He did it for me and He did it for you.

Jesus teaches us that love should motivate our sacrificial lives. Not anger. Not revenge. Love for God and love for others.

Meditation

Harps Hanging on Willows

Weeping_willow_by_the_pondMeditation Verses: By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land? (Psalm 137:1-3)

People plummet down the depths of despair when tragedies occur; a world without hope, scraping for answers to the why of evil. Christians get caught up in the whirlwind of emotions as well. Occasionally we too get blindsided by the fiery darts of the enemy.

When the dust settles and the shock wears off, we scramble to anchor ourselves in God’s peace and comfort. Yet, we hear the echoes of travailing souls stuck in pits of darkness, grasping at straws. Then they look to us.

We’re barely surfacing from the deep-sea of heartache and the world asks us for a song. How on earth are we supposed to sing when the wounds still sting? And why are they asking us to sing?

When the children of Israel were taken captive and exiled in Babylon, their captors asked of them the same thing. They asked them to sing songs of Zion and required of them mirth. Whether their intent was to taunt or satisfy their curiosity, the motive behind their request is unknown.

Regardless of the motive, it would be safe to assume that the Israelites refused to sing. How could they sing and betray their sadness? How could they sing songs and forget their desolated temple and city? It was simply inharmonious to do so. They had hung their harps on the willows by the rivers of Babylon and had no intention of picking them up.

There’s no doubt that we will continue to be eyewitnesses to the pandemonium of the forces of darkness upon the earth. We can expect the worldly system to despise us, to ridicule us, and to attempt to carry us captive into its deviant beliefs, culture and lifestyles. Yet, we’re reminded that we are in this world but not of this world.

Despite their animosity toward us, during times of crises, the world will look to us for hope. Why? Because they have no personal memories of God’s goodness. They’ve wandered far from God. Barren trees grow by the rivers of Babylon. They offer no sustenance or assurance to its people.  We, on the other hand, should have reservoirs of God’s faithfulness tucked away in our spirit’s memory closet, spilling with garments of praise of varied colors and textures.

The world will ask us to sing because they know we carry hope deep within. Will we hang our harps on the weeping willows or sing songs of deliverance to a world caught in the throes of deception and pain?

Bible Study

May God Live

Treasure Chest1 Chronicles 29:6-9; Ephesians 4:11-16.

King David captured the city of Jerusalem from the Jebusites, brought the Ark of the Covenant over from Kiriath-Jearim, trained Levitical singers and musicians and composed Psalms—all in preparation for the future temple his heart desired to build for God. As a leader, King David set an example. He gave from his own personal treasures and asked who was willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord. By this he meant, giving gifts for the construction of the temple. The leaders of the people responded joyously with gifts of gold, silver, bronze, iron—and even precious stones!

There’s no doubt that the metals were acceptable gifts, but notice in the Bible text that the precious stones were given to the treasury of the temple. They were especially guarded—entrusted into the care of Jehiel, the Gershonite. Being a Gershonite made him a descendant of Levi. The Levites assisted the temple priests. They were servants of the Lord in His temple with varied functions—singing, maintenance, construction, teaching and judging, to name a few. Let’s keep that in mind as we discuss the spiritual parallel to the physical temple.

The physical temple was a foreshadowing of the spiritual temple of the body of Christ (Church). Believers are now the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16). In Hebrew, Jehiel’s name means may God live. When we surrender to the leading of the Holy Spirit (Rom. 8:14) and allow Him to be our teacher (John 14:26) and our guide (John 16:13), in essence, we’re saying, “May God live” in us and through us and use us. When we build up the body of Christ, the fullness of God in His Son Jesus Christ lives in us through His Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9)!

With that in mind, what do we have that God can use for the edification of the body of Christ? Our personal treasures are nothing less than the perfect gifts God Himself has given us (James 1:17). We are to give to the service of God what He has deposited into each of us—all of His precious gifts. Believers today are entrusted with natural and spiritual gifts to edify—build up the body of Christ, just like the precious stones in Jehiel’s custody. By using our unique gifting in service to God and each other, each member of the body of Christ helps to fortify it.

Not only has God given us charismatic gifts (1 Cor. 12-14) and service gifts (Rom. 12:6-8) but the ultimate gift of Christ Himself (John 4:10), the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:18-20), eternal life (Rom. 6:23), natural abilities (1 Cor. 7:7), salvation through faith (Ephesians 2:8) and love (2 Tim. 1:6-7).

But listen, we can’t give what we don’t have—much less, joyfully. Lives running on empty—just getting by without the saving blood of Jesus and His power through the Spirit—isn’t an effective life (Acts 1:8). We’re breathing but not living the abundant life Jesus offers—a chest full of treasures waiting to be discovered to edify God’s people!

This is a repost of my Bible Study on Charisma Magazine’s website. Click LINK to view.

Bible Study

Bursting the Veil

unique-storytelling-wedding-photography-nature-photojurnalistic-retro-vintageHebrews 9:1-9; Judges 1:9-15

There is a hidden love story with an incredible “The End” in one of the unlikeliest of places in the Bible—in the first chapter of the book of Judges. Among the tale of the conquered Canaanites by the tribe of Judah after the death of Joshua, is a gem of a story that women will Ooo and Aah over and men will respect.

Long story short, Caleb offers his daughter Achsah in marriage to the man who conquers the city of Kirjath-Sepher. His younger brother, Othniel, wins the prize. End of story? Not quite. Once married to Othniel, Achsah urges him to ask her father for land. Caleb gives them a southern land but she also asks for a water supply and he gives her the upper and lower springs.

Are you at the edge of your seat yet? I know you’re not. A superficial reading of this story has probably left you huffing and puffing at the arranged marriage. Hang on! A closer look reveals a fresh perspective and the study of biblical Hebrew adds an astounding depth to its meaning.

Humor me for a few minutes. We’ve already read the text in a straightforward fashion. Suppose we read the story slightly different and substitute God for Achsah’s father Caleb and Jesus for Othniel, whose name means lion of God. Nothing less than spine-chilling! Jesus as the bridegroom puts His life on the line to redeem Achsah when He took possession of Kirjath-Sepher or city of the book. Debir, which means Holy of Holies, was formerly known as Kirjath-Sepher.

As the innermost sacred space of the tabernacle, the Aaronic high priest only entered the Holy of Holies once a year on the Day of Atonement—no bells, no speaking and barefoot (Leviticus 16:1). When Jesus died on the cross, the temple veil dividing the holy place from the Most Holy tore in two from top to bottom, granting believers access to the Almighty God through Jesus’ substitutionary death (Matthew 27:50-51a).

With that said, here’s the icing on the wedding cake: Once married to Jesus, the church-bride Achsah enters God’s throne room and asks for a special favor from God and she’s given the gift of His Spirit with an unending flow like rivers of living waters. Achsah’s name means anklet or adorned, but according to Hitchcock’s Bible Names Dictionary it also means bursting the veil. Only her feet covered with the gospel of peace, which is the Wordof God, would allow her to enter with boldness into the Most Holy place where the Shekinah Glory of God dwells.

Dare we as the body of Christ—the bride without spot or blemish—imagine what life would be like if we truly claimed our spiritual inheritance through Christ Jesus? We would be bursting through the veil to grasp the promises of God as abundant gifts wrapped and ready for a receiving heart; expecting more spiritual riches from our heavenly Father than what we’ve settled for. The end of this sweeping romance opens the door to a promised land flowing with much more than milk and honey.

This is a repost of my Bible Study on Charisma Magazine’s website. Click LINK to view.