May 8, 2017

Do you ever have those moments that God just overwhelms your heart with joy, gratitude, thankfulness so much so that you feel like it's bursting at the seams? 

This week has been one of those weeks, not only for me personally but for others  for whom we have been praying very specific things. We have prayed for healing when healing seemed impossible and healing came because you see, for us, it is impossible but for God nothing is impossible. Prayers were lifted up for provision in a very specific way and God answered those prayers not only specifically, but above and beyond what was asked. 

My friends, we serve a Risen Savior who loves us so much and who delights in showing up in our lives in ways that wow us. He cares deeply about every detail of your life, from the smallest to the biggest thing you are encountering, because He cares about you. It has been said that God is too much of a gentleman to push doors open and for this reason, He knocks. He knocks on the door of our hearts and waits for us to open. He waits for us to open and invite Him in. So I challenge you, open up the door of your heart and ask Him to enter into all those places you have been trying to live on your own, bring your requests to God, seek His will in all you do, entrust those things that you are holding on to, that are weighing you down, and see Him work. Believe that He will answer because He does!

“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened." Matthew 7:7-8

"I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray." Psalm 17:6

Lord, I praise You for who You are. I pray that Your will be done-not ours-in all we do. May You be glorified in all, prepare our hearts for those divine appointments that will come, give us eyes to see you, ears to hear you and be attentive to your call. You are truly worthy of our praise and trust.

April 11, 2017

As I read my devotional this morning, it talked a little on this truth of "So God loved the world..." and the writer explained how sometimes the idea of God loving the world may seem so big and can sometimes be difficult to understand that "God loved me". So as I was reading, I kept thinking it is personal, it is so personal. God loved and loves me. God loved and loves you. 

In John 20:11-16 Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb only to find Jesus wasn't there. She was weeping, in distress trying to figure out to where they had moved his body, not knowing, not realizing He had risen. When she turned around to leave the tomb, there was Jesus standing behind her yet she didn't recognize him. It wasn't until Jesus said her name, "Mary", that she recognized who He was.  

Sometimes we are so clouded by our pain, distress, weeping, worries, distractions and Jesus is right there beside us and we don't even recognize him. But praise be to God for His grace and mercy that it's in those moments that He calls us by name. He is a personal God who, yes, died for the world, rose on the third day, a victor over death, but He is also the God who knows you by name. So as you seek His face and spend time in prayer and His Word, take those Scriptures you hold close to your heart and place your name in them, just as He's placed your name on the palm of His hands.  

“...Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
    I have called you by name; you are mine." Isaiah 43:1

"See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands..." Isaiah 49:16

Praying for you. May the Lord bless you and keep you. May He strengthen you day by day. May you hear Him calling you by name, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself." Jeremiah 31:3

March 13, 2017

The Lord Speaks to Elijah

"But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.”

 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the Lord told him. And as Elijah stood there, the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.  When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19: 10-13

There are times that the Lord speaks to us in a loud voice as He could've spoken to Elijah in the mighty windstorm, earthquake or fire, yet more often than not, He speaks to us through the sound of a gentle whisper. In the day and age we live in we find ourselves "on the go" rushing through our day in the midst of our busy lives and full schedules. Rarely do we sit long enough to listen or recognize that "gentle whisper" from the Lord. Yet in His Word he often tells us to, "Be still and know that I am God..." Psalm 46:10 and "The Lord Himself will fight for you. Just stay calm." Exodus 14:14. I believe this act of being still and staying calm is an outward expression of our trust in Him but I also know that in those "still/calm" moments are the times we can hear His gentle whisper. 

I will be the first one to admit that those things are hard to do, but when we intentionally are still in the Presence of the Lord, He will speak to us in that gentle whisper as He spoke to Elijah. Remember, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever." Hebrews 13:8

As you go about your week I pray that God will speak to the depths of your heart by the gentle whisper of His voice.

March 2, 2017

Recently I've been thinking on these words, "Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom." Psalm 90:12. Often, we get so caught up in our day’s activities and busyness that we don’t stop to reflect on the most important things. We can so easily neglect the things God places right before us and those people God places right before us. So as I was reading Psalm 39, it was another word of affirmation on how fleeting life is but also a call to action. So my prayer is that we do acknowledge the brevity of our lives and purposefully pursue God and His plans for us, not on a future basis but on a daily basis. Wake up each morning asking the Lord, "What do you have for me today, Lord?" Ask Him to prepare you in advance for those "divine appointments". Ask Him to allow you to be His hands and feet to all those you encounter. Jesus is our hope of Glory and that hope is not only for us but to share with others. 

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say.  I will hold my tongue when the ungodly are around me.”  But as I stood there in silence--not even speaking of good things--the turmoil within me grew worse. The more I thought about it, the hotter I got, igniting a fire of words: “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered—how fleeting my life is. You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand. My entire lifetime is just a moment to you; at best, each of us is but a breath.” We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it. And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you." Psalm 39:1-7

February 9, 2017

I was recently given the devotional Jesus Always, Embracing Joy in His Presence by Sarah Young. One of the reasons I love this book and author is because she writes as if the Lord himself is speaking to you, making it more personal. In today's reading there was something written that really captured my heart. It said, "I know absolutely everything about you. So rest in the wonder of being fully known-yet delighted in!" 

Wow! I'm so thankful that we serve a God that knows us like no other, flaws and all, yet still delights in us. Sometimes in our walk with the Lord we feel like we have to "do" all these things to gain His approval or acceptance, yet we forget that He is the One who says come as you are. We are accepted and loved through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. But not only accepted, delighted in!

"For the Lord takes delight in his people;
   he crowns the humble with victory. Psalm 149:4

The Lord has heard my cry for mercy;
    the Lord accepts my prayer. Psalm 6:9 

January 27, 2017

"God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another." 1 Peter 4:10

I've been thinking and praying for some time about God's gifts and calling. Praying to be found faithful in the things He has entrusted to me. One of my prayers is to have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Lord would have me do. It's a prayer I pray often not only for myself but for others. 

It is written in His Word that we all have all been given gifts by the Lord.  Many years ago I prayed that God would make those clear to me and He was faithful to do so. But we also have been given a calling. This is one of the things that I admire most about NCS. Those gifts flourish in the position you have but what a power house it is when you combine your calling with your gift. There is a passion that comes with your calling that compliments that gift and infuses it. It is your calling that impacts those around you most. 

For example:

My gift is the gift of encouragement and God provides the opportunity, platform and words to encourage others through writing, through conversation and through His Word to the Glory of His name. My calling is to prayer. To intercede, to stand in the gap, to battle in the spirit what can only be done in spiritual warfare to the Glory of His name. And although the prayers prayed are an encouragement to others, they are different yet they compliment each other. 

So it is my prayer that you identify and use the gifts and calling God has placed in your life for His Kingdom purposes as you serve here in NCS and wherever you go.  

Zuliaka Garzon serves as the Librarian for the Upper School and Head Prayer mom for the Friday Morning Prayer Group.  Her passion is encouraging others in the Lord through His word and praying for others.  Zuliaka is the mother of NCS graduates, Chris '10 and Emily '15, and current student Grace, '21.  Zuliaka is fluent in Spanish as it was her mother's desire that she not forget her first language.  She was born in Puerto Rico, moved to New York as a young child and in 1998 moved to Virginia with her family.  For many years Zuliaka was a stay-at-home mother, until, she says, "Little did I know that God would open many doors for me while subbing (substitute teaching at NCS), but He always has a greater plan."   

Zulaika Garzon serves as Upper School Librarian and a dedicated Prayer Warrior for Christ.  Read her encouraging words each week here on this page.  You can read more about Zuliaka in her bio below.