Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Job Moments

Today I read a quote by Leonard Ravenhill that made me grin and shake my head at the same time.  The quote goes like this:

“My MAIN ambition in life is to be on the devils MOST WANTED LIST.”

Sounds pretty awesome, right? Look at me, I’m on the devil’s most wanted list. The only thing is that people don’t really comprehend what that really means.

Being on the devil’s most wanted list means you get to kind of be like Job. You remember him? The man who was minding his own business, enjoying life, enjoying his family, not realizing that God and the satan were having a conversation about HIM.  We all know the story… “Have you considered my servant Job?” That’s what God told satan. I can imagine satan rubbing his hands together in glee…he was probably thinking FINALLY, Job has been on my most wanted list for years!

Yet the enemy knew that there could be a catch if he didn’t explain how things should work out for him…. so being who he is, he tells God, “well, of course I’ve considered him. But you have a hedge of protection around him and all that belongs to him. How will I ever know if Job is really who you claim him to be? Take your hand of protection off of him, and I PROMISE you that man will curse you and die.” That’s where God smiled and said, “I know Job is who I think he is. Just don’t take his life.”

How many times do you think the Lord looks down and chooses one of us, and as the enemy gleefully rubs his hands together, God says, “I know who she is. I have faith in her. Do anything you want to, just don’t take her life.”

These are called Job moments, my friends. Will we fail, or will we prevail? Is the faith that God has placed in us really who we are? Do we love him enough to allow him to carry us through moments of pain, suffering, trials, temptations, problems, illness, wayward children…. the list could go on and on.

Before we so valiantly declare, “My MAIN ambition is to be on the devils most wanted list” Are we ready to pay the price to make that declaration?

What are you willing to do to change your world? How far are you willing to go? What sacrifice are you willing to pay? I challenge you today-during your Job moment-do not lose faith! Don’t lose your vision. Don’t lose your passion.  Keep pressing on!

I made the statement this week, “I keep standing, even if it’s on my knees.”  When you’ve done all you can do, when you’ve prayed all you can pray, when you’ve fasted as much as you can possibly fast, keep standing on those knees.  It’s just a matter of time when God will step in, smile gently, lift you up, embrace you and say, “I knew you could do it!” 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Twenty Three Years

In three hours it will be my birthday. No, not my physical birthday, but one that is much more important. My Holy Ghost birthday. Twenty Three Years ago, in LaWard, Tx, a ten year old girl knelt beside the couch in her living room and received the gift of the Holy Ghost (her two little brothers did too).

It was during the times when people got really excited when someone received the Holy Ghost. Can you remember those times? When old fashioned revivals were held for day without end, when people received the Holy Ghost not just at the church, but at home? When I came to, our living room was filled with our church family. The voice went out through the small town-all three of the Castillo Kids were speaking in tongues and God was filling them with the Holy Ghost. It was cause for celebration. The year 1988 had come in with a bang!

In 1988 I had NO idea that 23 years later I would be a licensed minister of the United Pentecostal Church, a Career Missionary alongside my husband, and an International Motivational Speaker. I have ministered in the countries of Mexico, U.S., Canada, throughout Central America, the Caribbean, and in South America. A little Spanish girl from South Texas? How could that be possible?

Good thing God doesn't look at our outer appearance (because if He did, I certainly would not have been the one chosen!) but He looks at the heart. He saw my deepest desire. I longed to do great things for His kingdom! My heart screamed out, even at that early age, "God, if you can use anything, you can use ME! I will do whatever it takes to reach the lost and hurting, telling them of the mighty God that I serve!"

As the first day of 2011 dwindles to a close, my heart, again, screams what it did 23 years ago.."God, if you can use anything, you can use ME! I will do whatever it takes to reach the lost and hurting, telling them of the mighty God that I serve!"

I have entered this new year with great purpose. I told my husband yesterday. I feel like a thoroughbred horse that is in the last race to win the triple crown. The gates are closed. The crowds are hushed. Everyone is anticipating for the gate to open for that thoroughbred to leap out and run as fast it can...

Philippians 3:10-14
10[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [b]">[b]which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope]

11That if possible I may attain to the [c]">[c]spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].

12Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.

13I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,

14I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Under the Covers

I know all of you have sat in the chair I am sitting in this morning. No, it might not be a black leather office chair. it might not be in my bedroom in Santiago, Dominican Republic. You might not be able to see beautiful white clouds, in a blue sky, over a mountain setting-and you might not have a brand new air conditioner that a pastor so kindly bought for you. Nonetheless, I am sure you have sat in my chair.

You see, as I sit in this comfortable leather chair, I am contemplating. What, you say? Jessica, contemplating? Can't be possible. Most of you know that I am a contemplative, and I dissect most things beyond dissection.

I look back at this month that has passed behind me. I wonder, how can one single human being have accomplished as much as I did last month. Then I think to myself, I must have been crazy. Then again, craziness must run in my blood, since every month is the exact same. Just different services, different churches, and different towns.

I sit here and think, wow, I'm 32. (Yes, all of you precious friends wished me the Happiest of Birthdays. Thank you.) I look back to Sunday Morning when my husband asked me what I wanted to do on my birthday. The beach? No, thank you. The mall? No. The capitol? No Out on the town? No Lunch at the new Italian restaurant? No The spa? No, thank you. What would you like to do, he asks? With a sheepish grin, I respond, "Can I just stay in bed all day long in my pajamas, reading, relaxing, and enjoy our new air-conditioned room?"

Does this mean that I'm OLD? It seems like I have waited all of my life to finally be OLD. Friends, I think it crept up on me....

My gorgeous husband looked at me, somewhat perplexed..(this isn't the Jess he knows. the Jess he knows would be bouncing off the walls, ready to celebrate her birthday in a BIG way..) Then comes the barrage of questions..."are you sick? NO are you okay? yes you're not depressed? now, why would I be depressed? are you SURE you're okay? YES"

He brought me a big mac for lunch (one of my favorite burgers) Bought me donuts for breakfast. Stuck his head in the room every few minutes to make sure I was really okay. Snuck in when he thought I wasn't watching to sit and stare at me. I started to wonder if maybe I had 3 heads or something. I think I really threw him for a loop...crazy, fun, outrageous, spontaneous Jess wanted to stay in BED for her birthday...

This really made me think. How many of us are leaders, mentors, pastors wives, assistant pastors wives, missionary wives, youth pastors wives, the list could go on and on.

We jump into the fray, ready to do battle with the enemy, ready to hold the fort, lead the march, preach and teach until we turn blue, with people following us, ready to charge when we yell the cry...

Time passes, years go by, and we are still in the forefront, doing our best for His kingdom..but then the day comes when sometimes out of necessity, we ask, "can I just crawl under my covers and REST." PLEASE, someone, anyone, just let me sit and take a deep breath...

Then come the people who follow...they peek in, ask the questions, make sure you are fine, sit perplexed, wondering..and it finally occurs to them that you are...*GASP* HUMAN...

So, my dear friends, as I sit in my leather bound chair, I say to you, (and yes, this is coming from the person that some call the energizer bunny), it's okay to crawl under your covers sometimes, just be sure to COME BACK OUT!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


So, it's been a long time since I've sat to even try to blog-since February....that makes it 7 months. I'm pretty sure I had quite a lot to say...maybe I just didn't want to say it. That's probably a good thing.

God has really brought us a long way in the last 3 years (remember I'm contemplating)...and I'm not talking about mileage...if we did that count, it'd be from Mexico to the states (for deputation), back to Mexico to pack up our things, back to the states to ship it out to Costa Rica, back to the states for medical leave, back to Costa Rica to pack up our things again, and on to the Dominican Republic. (That's not counting all the side trips either). It also does not count all the times I have been in the hospital, in 3 of those countries.

So in the midst of my contemplation, and my lack of understanding of how God works...I sit back and smile. Smile, you ask? You must think I'm crazy. No one in their right mind would smile after so much moving, turmoil, duress, and illness.

Yet I smile. I smile because I KNOW who has been in control of our lives. I think back to my friend Job. (not Job Marquez, but Job from the Bible) He thought he was living the good life. He had everything he ever wanted or needed (kind of how I had been feeling)...He loved his kids, loved his wife, had a nice home, had enough money to live comfortably, had food on his table...and I can imagine him leaning back, saying "this is what life is all about"...

Then out of nowhere, there comes that sneaky devil, trying to get Job to curse God and move on with his life. I can imagine Job's despair...with nowhere to turn..YET he trusted in his God.

That's been me since late last year. I had been trusting in my God. I knew He had His hand on our lives...(though I am not saying that through the process I did not have my doubts and fears)...

So my smile comes from the fact that we are now in the place where the process had been leading. I smile because I am happy. I smile because I am content. I smile because my heart is full of love for my God and for His people.

So in the midst of my contemplation this morning....the hardships are a dull memory. My heart rejoices in the process of growth, wisdom, and knowledge. For without trials and tribulations, we would just be a shell of what God has called us to be...

Saturday, February 28, 2009

I have been broken and broken and broken, Praise God

Today, this is my devotion..I take it as the utmost privilege to be able to read from the writings of Smith Wigglesworth. After you read what was my devotion for today, I will write my own thoughts...

Paul spoke of two classes of Christians, the obedient and the disobedient. The obedient always obey God when he first speaks. It is these people whom God will use to make the world know Him.

You cannot talk about things that you have never experienced. God has a process of training us. You cannot take people into the depths of God unless you have been broken yourself. I have been broken and broken and broken. Praise God for "the Lord is near to those who have a broken heart" (Psalms 34:18) You must have a brokenness to get into the depths of God.

There is a rest of faith that rests in confidence in God. God's promises never fail. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:17). The word of God can create an irresistible faith, a faith that is never daunted, a faith that never gives up, that never fails. We fail to realize the largeness of our Father's supply. We forget that that He has a supply that cannot be exhausted. It pleases Him when we ask for much. "If you the, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, HOW MUCH MORE, will your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask Him! (Matthew 7:11) It is the "MUCH MORE" that God shows me.

There are times when a stone wall seems to be in front of us. There are times when there are no feelings, when everything seems as black as midnight, and there is nothing left but confidence in God. What you must do is have the devotion and confidence to believe that HE WILL NOT FAIL and CANNOT FAIL. You will never get anywhere if you depend on your own feelings. There is something a thousand times better than feelings, and it is the powerful word of God.

My thoughts...

I have been broken and broken and broken...Praise God...There are times that come into our lives that we feel that we cannot take anymore. We want to throw the towel in, go back to the place where we came from, turn around...and leave the will of God for our lives to the side. It may be because we did not know it was going to be so hard. We did not know that the trials and difficulties would affect our health, or maybe in other cases, your family life and marriage. Things seem to overwhelming, and we feel desperate, not knowing where to turn and who to ask advice for.

But dear friend. Brokenness is beauty. At this certain moment in time, it may seem unexplainable. Your dreams and visions may have been shot down at every turn. But it just SEEMS that way. Ultimately, the LORD is in control.....

So when you say, but I have been through the grinder, and I have been through it all...REMEMBER...though you may have been broken and broken and broken (as I have been) give glory to God...He sees the big picture...and you are just being put through the process of training...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Broke Free

Okay...I know one is supposed to be so super serious about being in the hospital. (And really, folks, I have been..) I mean, my head was wrapped like an ancient mummy for 2 days. Was having all of those seizures, (up to 7 a day), and was pretty freaked out. After having my head mummified, or making it look like a person who had been in a severe car accident....I realized...I was connected to a machine that was NOT going to allow me to go to the bathroom during this time frame.

This is when I decided to pitch a fit.

Now, you person, who are reading this blog, if you say you would not pitch a fit about said event, you would be COMPLETELY lying. My nice little nurse, who by the way, was named Baby, goes, "Mrs. Marquez, you can use the bedpan." I told her, "um, nurse baby, do I look like a 95 year old man who is going to use a bedpan to go to the bathroom? I THINK NOT. We are going to have to find some other way to resolve this situation."

Needless to say, an arrangement was made, and peace fell upon the third floor of the hospital....at least for that day.....I'm not a bad patient. PROMISE. In between seizures, and when I was not just plain wore out, I was my normal, jovial self. Even had one of my Nigerian nurses want to dance a jig with me, although I don't know how I could have accomplished that.

I do thank God for one thing. I did not spiral into a black hole of self pity. (at least not too much)...even when my brother told me that the wires sticking out of the top of my head (from the mummified wrap) made me look like Joe Dirt with his new hairstyle... (who is Joe Dirt anyway? it just SOUNDED offensive, especially the way he started laughing and laughing and laughing...)


Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Lord is My Strength

I arrived home yesterday, after a very stressful physical therapy session. It seems that the entire right side of my body is much weaker than the left. The doctor allowed me to come home (if I were a kid, I'd say HIP HIP HOORAY!), and I am so grateful. After having been in the hospital for 5 days, it is such a joy to be home. I will have to continue physical therapy, since I cannot walk very well by myself. My dear husband has been such a strength to me. May God bless him for his patience, love, and understanding.

My kids were ecstatic to see their Mommy home. Many of the brethren, preachers, and their families, decided to come and make sure I was okay, so finally when all that was done, I was extremely exhausted. I am truly humbled by the amount of love and support that we have received from ALL of the brethren in Costa Rica, despite the fact that we have only been here for 9 months. We have such a love for them also, and it has made my heart joyful to feel their love, prayers, and support. I do not have enough words to even express my gratitude to Bro. David and Sis. Yonda Schwarz, who have been at our side, helping, praying, and being there for us. I am grateful for them, and for their presence in my life.

I sat to quickly check my email, last night, and was overwhelmed by an email that I received from a dear friend, who had directly heard from God. Although I was so weak, I drug myself out of bed, with the help of my husband, and went downstairs to pray. I was SO humbled in His presence. I serve such an all powerful God, who helps us in good times and also in the bad. I began to thank God, because although I am physically weak, my spirit is strong. When I begin to think of all of the bad things that could have happened to me, all I can do is smile (although it's only half a smile), and say, what I always say..."when one is faithful to God, HE is faithul to us..because we serve a faithful and just God!"

As I lay before the presence of the Lord, weeping, and thanking Him for his mercies, I heard as my children, ages 8 and 9, snuck into the room. They both lay beside me, laid their little hands on me, and began to earnestly pray and to thank God for their Mommy. They were weeping and crying, and by the time we were finished praying we were all rejoicing in His presence.

What else can I say but, "Blessed be the LORD, because he hath heard the voice of my supplications..The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth.."Psalms 28:6-7

I love you all friends...