I LOVE YOU!!!!!

True Love

In all the universe there is nobody like you. Destiny was woven into your existence at conception and formed in you even as a child.   You and I were created to receive and give love away.  One of the things I am most passionate about is helping others encounter God’s divine love and mercy.  I want to share with you some of my thoughts and experiences as I traveled to the beautiful city of Guadalajara, Mexico and loved on its precious people.

First, let me begin with the truth that our journey with Jesus is just that…. a long, intimate journey consisting of amazing encounters and resulting in an evolution of thoughts and beliefs. I tell people all the time, it is NOT a sprint to the finish line of eternity, but rather an intentionally paced cross country event!  It is the process of getting out of our head and our fleshy thinking and into the deeper things of His Spirit.  When we lean on our own understanding, we will always fall down and have to start over.  In this season more than any other, I am learning that I must trust in my precious heavenly Father with all my strength.  My peace and abiding love must come from a place of complete dependence on Him, for I realize I have great lack without Him and His power.

So, back to Mexico…. when I was invited to speak at a women’s gathering in the bustling city of Guadalajara, I was humbled beyond description. No one knew that over 10 years prior I had a vision from God where I was standing on a platform in a foreign country proclaiming the goodness of God to a sea of faces.  I instantly knew that this invitation to travel to Mexico was a direct fulfillment of that heavenly assignment.  I have shared many times in the states with diverse groups, but never preached or shared the gospel outside the comforts of my own country.  I knew God was setting me up for some divine happenstances that only He could orchestrate.  Within a matter of weeks, the invitation to speak was growing…. the Pastor called and asked if I would speak in the main service on Sunday morning to his entire congregation. He then proceeded to tell me that a woman had never preached in his pulpit before.  Little did I know that this man of God had been praying for virtuous women to rise up in order to share and testify before the churchgoers.  Since no one had accepted the invite, I was able to step into some holy shoes.  It was if Spirit was saying, “Tag – you are it!”

Once I agreed, another invitation came to travel outside the city to a “poor village” (this is actually what the locals called the village) and share at a sister church there.   This appointment allowed me 2 opportunities to share Jesus’ love and goodness with some of Mexico’s poorest residents.

I will elaborate on these trips but, I want to include that our obedience to the will of God on our lives will often result in more opportunities to bless and give to others. Your obedience and mine are closely tied together and will make a greater impact than we could ever imagine.  Today, I pray for each of you to say ‘yes’ to whatever opportunity presents itself to testify of God’s love, power and goodness.  You never know what or who you will be affecting for all of eternity.

These invitations came at a huge price, as is often the case in our submission to the Father’s call, but it is worth the cost-whether it be monetary, a matter of sacrificing our time or a matter of what we consider to be inconvenient.  Since I had never spoken with an interrupter before I knew I was going to be stretched way out of my comfort zone.  Saying yes to the Lord will always take you places you have not been before….are you ready to accept this challenge and become transformed?

The greatest blessing in living among the people of Mexico and sharing God’s love with them was hearing their stories, their angst and their struggles. There is nothing more sacred than when a small child cries in your arms and tells you of how they are bullied at school and then meekly asks for prayer to make them stop.  Or when a group of ladies bring a 10 year old boy up front who is deaf and has skin cancer….his body a mere skeleton.  Perhaps it was when the elderly man looked into my eyes and begs for prayer because his leg is in excruciating pain and needs healing so he can return to work in order to provide for his family.  There is no sick leave for the poor, or workman’s compensation for when you are injured.  No quality medical care or doctors for the lowly.  There is only a pure and simple trust in knowing Jesus is your only answer to the hardships of life.  Many requested prayer for their marriages to be restored or prodigal children who had gone astray and were now living a life of addiction.  Their problems are the same as ours, and yet they understood that the only attainable solution for them was to turn to Christ.

The small girl, named Maria, who came to me for prayer on Saturday night had a mother and she quickly joined us for prayer. Hastily, her mother began to confess to me that she too held hatred in her heart and lots of unforgiveness.  Humbly, she asked me to pray for her and as I did so, she was completely released.  Straightaway, you could see the visible change in the countenance of both their faces.  Though I could not comprehend the thanksgiving coming off their lips, I knew it was praise to our God.

For the next 2 days, as I served at that church in Guadalajara, little Maria was my constant shadow. Even though we could not sit and talk together, she stayed by my side and pulled on the essence of God’s love within me.  One of my favorite experiences was Sunday afternoon. Maria and I had the chance to stand at the alter, and sing worship songs to our heavenly Father at the top of our lungs.  She in Spanish, and I praised in English, but our God understands all things and indeed knows all!

To hold these people in my arms as they cried, changed me as a person. I realized that as western Christians we really have a lot of options to meeting our needs – some are healthy and some are not.  Sadly, God is sometimes our last resort.  We can run to our bank accounts, our savings account and credit cards for comfort.  We turn to our many social activities to mask our pain or indulge in eating, drinking and entertainment to dull our sorrow.  We engage in frivolous relationships to get our deepest needs met and yet we are still drowning in our troubles.  I have personally done despicable things in order to lay ahold of things I craved, all the while, groaning, and complaining while engaging in the sultry deeds.  If only I had turned to Christ sooner.

I fear we don’t know or fully understand our identity. As children of God, we oftentimes fluctuate between being royal youngsters in God’s kingdom, yearning to become Deborah the Sage or David the giant-slayer! Neither of these roles get at the heart of living with our true identity which is found ONLY in Christ.  I see so many proclaiming these identities and falsely believing that if you wear the uniform, then the identity is yours.  So you and I dress ourselves in godly Bible studies and activities, and yet continue to live with the anguish that we really are not satisfied.  The truth is, our identity in Christ says, You were formed by a loving and powerful Creator who has a marvelous plan for your life and whoever you are in the Lord, go… BE… rest.   In other words, live like who you are – a son or daughter of the KING OF THE UNIVERSE, which means you are royalty.

Our response should be to crawl up in our Father’s loving arms and embrace Him so we can become intimately connected through experiencing His love. We can never find our identity in the stuff we do, or the things we wear, or the holiness that we pretend to exude. Our identity only comes through our birth rights, never our performance. When you accepted Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for your sins, you became His child. As His child you are now part of His royal family and you are entitled to everything He owns-and He owns everything.  You will not be able to know your true identity by memorizing the entire bible or quoting a bunch of scriptures.  Nor will it happen just by sitting in a church pew week after week.  The transformation that you and I want only happens as we surrender everything to Him and give Him first place in our life!

This was the greatest lesson I encountered in the 8 days south of the border. I had no tv, internet, girlfriends or A/C.  I wasn’t able to communicate fully with anyone except my interpreter.  Most of the time, I used by body language and my eyes to speak what was in my heart.  I believe the deepest message God spoke through me was through my tears.  Often times, words would escape me and all I could do was weep before those who came to hear me speak or simply just hold someone while they poured out all their cares on my shoulder.  Even though I could not understand so much of the language that was being conveyed, I believe the essence of Christ that I possessed was given away to those I encountered.   That is what transforms a community, a city, and a nation.  His character, His identity, His life, His love!

The presence of Christ was so tangible in all the meetings that we held. People were impacted, simply because HE showed up in the room to love on His people.  When you and I can become conduits of His love and allow that to flow in and through us, it will change atmospheres, people and nations. Because of His great name, He shows up to meet the needs of the people!  He walks into the chambers of our heart and rearranges everything….if only we allow Him to do so.

I will never forget the words spoken by a young man in his thirties in the Sunday morning service, “I looked around the sanctuary, and everyone was weeping and I thought to myself, I must too!” He had never been in a church service like that and instinctively knew that the people were encountering God’s love and he desired that for himself and his wife.  If only we would all say “Yes, come Lord!”  I promise, that is a prayer that will always get answered.

Jesus said, Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”  John 13:35NLT

Most people don’t care about how much you know or eloquently speak, they are looking for and needing a love and kindness that will change their reality for the better. I humbly ask you to take this challenge with me.  To lay down whatever is before you that is blocking you from laying ahold of more of Him.  We can only give away that which we possess.  What are you hoping for today?  Is it more money, more friends, more “stuff”?  Or have you felt the tugging at your heart to put off some things in order to grab ahold of more eternal and weightier things?

A very real part of me did not want to return to the comforts of my own community back in Texas. I am ever cognizant of the luxuries that I have as an American, but also as a citizen of a fairly affluent city.  My time in Mexico forced me to rely on Holy Spirit to a degree that I don’t engage in back home every day.   I knew I had the potential of slipping back into some counterfeit affections or frivolous comforts when I returned.  Therefore, I have made a daily declaration that I will do whatever it takes to obey Him because I know that true and lasting joy is only found in giving Him all the praise.  It has become my joy to lay it all down so that I can obtain MORE of Him.  Not my will be done, but HIS be done.   I AM IN LOVE!  And if Oprah Winfrey’s couch was in my living room, I would be jumping up-and-down on it.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, remember back in 2005, when Tom Cruise appeared on the Oprah show? He was promoting one of his movies, however, he began to gush about his new love.  He proudly stood, strutted across the stage and then began to jump up and down before everyone on Oprah’s beautiful white couch.  Out of his mouth, he yelled, “I am in love with Katie Holmes!”  His soon to be bride, sat in the front row blushing with girlish excitement.  Whenever any of us have fallen head over heels in love, we tell anyone who will listen.  Finding that deep euphoric love of Christ is compelling me to do things I would not normally do.  I want to shout it from the rooftops.

Shake off the dust as you arise my friends….the song of love is playing across all the lands. Can you hear the notes and frequencies beckoning us to become the hands and feet of Christ?  To carry out God’s love to the darkest places, the hardest places?  The harvest is ripe.  Jesus is alive and He lives inside of you!!!

Jesus deserves our everything! Our life, our song…..our possessions…..Everything!  But all He really wants is our hearts!  When He is the owner of our existence, then everything is in proper balance.  The peace you and I so desperately crave is available, only I promise you it is not found in the trappings of this world or its imperfect systems.

I want to give Him everything, and nothing less. My life is His – bought and paid for in full!  A finished work!

As David said “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied when I awake in your likeness.”-and not until.

My Gateway to Love: Take ahold of more of Him!

 Take courage….be brave! Do it afraid!  Bill and Lisa Roitsch have decided to follow Jesus and there is no turning back.  Follow them as they follow Christ at:  www.powerofhislove.com

 

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Worship a bunny?

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My family just returned from a weeklong vacation to Cancun, Mexico. While we had a wonderful time relaxing on the gorgeous beaches and listening to mariachi music, I could not help but be fascinated by all the Mayan and Aztec culture that surrounded us.  There are temple ruins in many locations along the Yucatan and most offer tourist packages to traipse around the old, stone structures and learn about the ancient religion of Mexico’s native people.  While I am sure it is fascinating to most, I didn’t have a desire to pay money to climb hundreds of feet to the top of some crumbling rocks.

However, a couple of relics that did vex me were 2 large statues just down from our condo. Along the central expressway that allows you to move along all the beautiful resorts is a promenade park with luscious vegetation and palm trees.  Nestled among the flowering plants and trees are 2 stone images that caught my attention.  After driving past it for the first few days without any attention, all of sudden, it caught my eye.  One afternoon, I walked down to get a closer look.  One stone statuette was of a rabbit at least 12-15 feet tall and the other was a stone figure of a naked man kneeling in front which was about 7 feet tall.  Several feet away, on the other side of the park was another set of rabbit and man statues. Bunny worship

After taking a few photos with my iPhone, I walked back to our condo and began to do some research. The ancient Mayan and Aztec religions worshipped many gods.  One of the main gods involved in their worship was a fertility goddess named Ixchel.  An interesting dynamic of this particular goddess was its involvement of rabbits and eggs.  Both are associated with fertility and were reverently worshipped by these ancient people groups.  I was now beginning to understand why Mexico would proudly display stone statues of a man bowing before a very large rabbit.

A 15 minute ferry ride from Cancun lies ‘Isla Mujeres.’ Mujeres is woman in Spanish so it translates, Woman’s Island.  On the island there have been found many statues of rabbits within the temple ruins.  All part of the worship of Ixchel – the goddess of fertility.  While I certainly recognize that the people of Mexico do not still worship rabbits or follow the ancient traditions of their forefathers, I find it interesting to know where their culture and some of their traditions originated from.

The worship of rabbits dates all the way back to bible times where Nimrod’s son, Tammuz, was worshipped. The worship of Tammuz, which originated in the Middle East, is filled with a lot of similarities of Ixchel worship.  Both pagan deities involve worship of the sun and moon as well.   Ishtar was Tammuz’s mother, and where we derive the name Easter.  I don’t want to get into all the details of the particular genesis of these celebrations.  However, I will say that upon doing some diligent research on Ishtar and Tammuz you will find earie similarities to other traditions of Christianity.  Practices observed today that began thousands of years prior to Roman Catholicism.

I happen to love history so I find “digging around” in ancient cultures, religions and people groups fascinating. Since I do believe history repeats itself, there is much we can learn from going back and understanding what our forefathers did before us.  And we can certainly acquire a measure of wisdom from knowing what NOT to do or rather how NOT to repeat the mistakes of those who have lived before us.

Nevertheless, you and I are here in the 21st century and in “modern” times and about to celebrate our independence from Great Britain – July 4th.  I wonder if most Americans realize that July 4th could really be noted as a religious holiday.  A day where we celebrate our forefathers breaking free from the iron grips of the Church of England and its kingdom power over us.  A time when much bloodshed was spilled in order for us to form this great country of ours under the principles of the holy bible and God.  Where man is free to worship the Creator God in fullness of truth and precept.

I can’t help but ponder if there is any correlation between the blessings our country has enjoyed over the past 238 years and its roots and foundations on the truth of the bible. I wonder if there is any correlation in Mexico worshipping rabbits hundreds of years ago and its state today.  A country some might call “third world.”  A country that has paradise qualities but, also serious crises of education, security, human rights and health.  Sadly, a large portion of Mexico today lies in poverty and the average worker in Cancun makes just dollars a day.

During our visit, we found the native people of Mexico very hospitable and eager to take all of our American money. Yet sadly, as a people group, they are far behind other countries in development of medicine, technology and business.  And yet, they still hold onto and revere their customs of old-even paying homage to their ancient religions.  I wonder how long the grand rock structures of Ixchel worship will be publically displayed in their city.  Do the people of Cancun even notice the 7 foot naked man kneeling before an animal with large ears?

It seems absurd to us today that man could revere a four-legged creature and pray to it for blessings and prosperity.  And yet, isn’t that what so many Americans participate in with the worship of power, sex and money?  As a nation and culture, will we continue to mix our forefathers religion of Judeo-Christianity with the worship of intellect, influence, and riches?  If so, what demise will our country suffer?  How long will America’s greatness last?  Questions that need to be asked, especially for the sake of our younger generations. If we continue on the downward slide we are on, will they be able to enjoy the same blessings we had?

“I am the LORD and there is no other, there is no God besides Me.”

This morning I happened to be reading from the prophet Isaiah. One of my favorite portions of the Old Testament when my eyes fell on the 44th chapter.  God is pleading with His children, Israel, to turn from their idol worship and seek Him only.  In verse 10, God asks man a bold question, “who would form a god or mold an image that would profit him nothing?”

Throughout the entire chapter, you can see that man had been making their own gods to bow down before.  Yet, in His love, God warns them to turn from their stone images and call out to Him.  God is pleading with His people and admonishing them that images made of stone will never profit them in any way, only He can satisfy them.  Isaiah reminds the people that they were created for God’s glory and the success and pleasures that they were craving would only be found in true worship to the creator rather than the creation.

On this holiday of July 4th, many of us will sing ‘God Bless America.’  I pray that as you do, stop and meditate on the words of this historic song and be thankful for the freedoms we all enjoy, and the truth that is our nation’s foundation.

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,

Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free.

Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,

As we raise our voices in a solemn prayer:

God bless America, land that I love, Stand beside her and guide her

Through the night with a light from above. From the mountains, to the prairies,

To the oceans white with foam,

God bless America, My home sweet home.

 

http://www.lisaroitsch.com