Martha Rambo - Obituary

Martha Schantz Rambo, 101, passed away Friday, February 22, 2019 at Fellowship Manor, Whitehall. She was the wife of the late Stephen R. Rambo. Born in Allentown, she was the daughter of the late Paul E. and Agnes B. (Horn) Schantz. She was a member of Rivers of Life Seibert Church, Allentown. Before retiring, she worked as a vocal teacher and was a well known soprano in the Lehigh Valley. In 1952, she founded the Young Musicians of Allentown Music Club and also served as past president of the Allentown Music Club. In 1977, she produced the Keith Jarrett concert at Symphony Hall, which endowed the Allentown Music Club Past President's Scholarship Fund. She studied voice in NYC with the esteemed Estelle Liebling, who was also the voice teacher of Beverly Sills. Later she studied voice with Bessie S. Graham in Allentown. She was a life time member of the former Seibert E.C. Church, where she was on the choir and taught Sunday School.Survivors: sons Daniel and William J. and his wife Connie; daughter Eunice Rambo Smith and her husband Kenneth; grandchildren Lacy Rambo, Amber Rambo, Nathan Smith and his wife Jennifer; great grandchildren Asher, Ephraim, Reuben, Naphtali and Jaxon. She was predeceased by 2 brothers and 4 sisters. Services: 11:00 AM, Wednesday, February 27 at the Zentz Community Center of Fellowship Villa, 3020 Fellowship Drive, Whitehall. Calling will begin at 10:00 AM and burial to follow at Greenwood Cemetery, Allentown. Arrangements by Trexler Funeral Home, Allentown.Contributions can be made in memory of Martha to the Rivers of Life Seibert Church, 617 N. 10th St., Allentown, 18102.

Published in Morning Call on Feb. 23, 2019

IMAGES of Jesus in the Bible:

Author: Canon J. John

He made himself accessible and RELEVANT to so many…

JESUS is the Bread of Life- so bakers and cooks can understand

JESUS is Water of Life- so plumbers can understand

JESUS is the Light of World- so electricians can understand

JESUS is The Cornerstone- so architects can understand

JESUS is Son of Righteousness- so astronomers can understand

JESUS is Hidden Treasure- so bankers can understand

JESUS is Life- so biologists can understand

JESUS is Great Physician- so doctors and nurses can understand

JESUS is Teacher- so educators can understand

JESUS is Lily of the Valley- so florists can understand

JESUS is Rock of Ages- so geologists can understand

JESUS is True vine- so horticulturalists can understand

JESUS is Righteous one- so judges can understand

JESUS is Pearl of great price- so jewelers can understand

JESUS is Wisdom- so philosophers can understand

JESUS is The Word- so actors can understand

JESUS is The good shepherd- so farmers can understand

JESUS is Alpha & Omega- so scientists can understand

JESUS is King of Kings- so royalty can understand

JESUS is The Way-so traffic officers can understand

JESUS is Truth- so politicians can understand

JESUS is The Resurrection- so funeral directors can understand



By Ceci Sanchez

Friday, April 21st, 2017

Today you awake with the desire to make a positive difference. “What can I do to impact the lives of millions?” you ask. What if the following scenario was presented to you? What would you do?

You Face a multitude. Most of the faces are unfamiliar to you. They see you as hope. Many faces are of those who have done you wrong. They smile and snicker with ill intentions. They all cheer your name, raising their hand and voices in exaltation. You are asked to follow them to the center square where you will come to an arena. You are told “You have been chosen to Fight on our behalf. You will be beaten, you will lose. Your loss will bring us Freedom, but for our freedom, you must die an unimaginable, excruciating, humiliating, undeserved death.” What you ‘see’ is the pain, loss, humiliation and ingratitude of your defeat. Would you Follow?

‘As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here”…When they brought the colt (symbolic of Shalom peace: makes peace with God) to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. Many people spread their cloaks (symbolic of honor and royalty) on the road, while others spread branches (symbolic of submission) they had cut in the fields. Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” (prayer for the Lord to continue to save and sustain his people). “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!”’ Jesus entered Jerusalem… (Mark 11:1-11)

Jesus Followed through to Face the Fight for our Freedom. He entered the city knowing his fate (demise). Yes, he saw the pain, rejection, humiliation and betrayal that would follow. But, he chose to look beyond all this in order to ‘see’ the Father’s purpose and final plan being fulfilled. His purpose in obedience to the Father was to bring a new Kingdom, a godly Kingdom. He did this for you and me.

The Kingdom of God:

His Act – Our Answer

God commands HOLINESS: But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16)

God casts out FEAR (fear of death): Love has in it no element of fear; but perfect love drives away fear, because fear involves pain, and if a man gives way to fear, there is something imperfect in his love.

(1 John 4:18)

His Gift – Our Gain

We can approach God’s throne: Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:16)

The enemy has a ‘hands off’ position; he needs God’s permission: Jesus says, “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31–32)

God offers Salvation: Therefore He is able also to save forever (completely, perfectly, for eternity) those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to intercede and intervene on their behalf [with God]. (Hebrews 7:25)

God gives Deliverance: No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

We are no longer under condemnation or guilt: Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

He has Delivered us from Wrath: And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God's Son from heaven--Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment. (1 Thessalonians 1:10)

We are Heirs of God, co-heirs with Jesus: For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. (Romans 8:14-17)

He gives us New Life: But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.

(Romans 6:22-23)

You awoke today hoping to make a difference. You realize you will never be able to impact as many lives or redeem as the Savior did, but you understand that you are gifted and equipped to influence, encourage, teach, preach, correct, rebuke, serve, minister, and pray as he did. What will you do? Will you follow?

Father: I am grateful for your Son Jesus and the example he left for me to live as he did, love as he did, and do as he did for others. I thank you Jesus for following the Father’s instructions without fear or faltering. Despite what you were to endure, you did not fall away, and you did this with me in mind. I would be lost in sin and lost to the punishment of death if it were not for your sacrifice and love for me. My desire is to make your life and death for me ‘worth it’ in your eyes. What would you have me to do in appreciation and thankfulness? Help me to be as obedient as you were on that special day we call your TRIUMPHAL ENTRY to JERUSALEM that would lead to my TRIUMPHANT (eternal) LIFE by way of your eventual sacrificial death on the Cross. I love you Savior, Friend and Brother. In your name, I pray. 


Change is Inevitable

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, March 24th, 2017

My husband and the presenter of today’s theme both have something in common: They are both avid fans of baseball. At this time, they won’t miss a game of the ‘World Classic Baseball’ tournament especially since their favorite team is in the running for the championship. Strangely enough, World Classic Baseball and ‘God’s ways’ share a subtle similarity: today’s topic… ‘Transition’.

The game of baseball is strategic and is filled with times of adjustments. Is the batter right handed? Use a left-handed pitcher. Is the batter a bunter? Bring in the infield. Does the runner steal bases? Then the pitcher will check him before pitching to the batter…etc.

God’s ways are not always as obvious as baseball’s transitions, but there is a correlation to the principal.


Transition is defined as: movement, passage, or change from one position, state, or stage to another.

The change effected or the period of time during which the change takes place.

Webster’s New American Dictionary 1965


From the moment we enter this world, we transition through stages: infant-to child-to adolescent-to young adult-to adult and to senior. It’s a normal process, embracing highs and lows, light and darkness, and/or expectations and disappointments. Each stage develops our character.

Our spiritual walk describes it as ‘glory to glory’, ’victory to victory’, ‘being transformed’.

Nothing is ever still. We know and believe that God is always moving for He is always up to something. We may not know what, but just know He is.


What do you do when you face times of darkness, uncertainty, or loss? God is most active during these times of your life. What you do determines what happens next. Impatience and doubt leads to hasty or wrong decisions.


Identify time of transition: God will help you identify the time of transition. He allows challenges with the purpose of a blessing. Jacob understood this. He took his hour of darkness and wrestled for his blessing. Scripture tells us… So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” 27 The man asked him, “What is your name?” “Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”…Then he blessed him there. (Genesis 32:22-29)


Wait (with patience) on God to make the correct timely decision: There is a caterpillar who wiggles its way about on the hot, dry ground (trials). This caterpillar has a choice. It can position itself to be stubborn and reluctant to progress past its early stage of development or transition to reach its destiny. Wrapping itself in the darkness of the cocoon (protection and covering) it desires to reach maturity. The caterpillar decides to discipline itself to reach its calling: becoming a butterfly. The caterpillar was not immediately delivered from the darkness of the trial, but used it for beneficial change.


Increase your faith: Don’t depend on old tactics to take you to the next level in Christ. When you have lost your strength, hope and faith, God will tell you to ARISE!! MOVE!! Take the first step for your spiritual transition. You are not alone. You will confront great battles. The greater the battle, the greater the preparation needed. Depend on your spiritual weapons to fight your battles. Be filled with the Spirit during your transition for God’s purpose for you. God is training you in the midst of your challenge. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)


Allow God’s peace to sustain you and govern your life. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. (Colossians 3:15)


Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)


The result of your transition depends on YOU.


F.A.C.E. transition:

Fight for your miracle.

Arise in the darkness. Move by faith.

Confront your challenge. There’s a blessing in its midst.

Enjoy peace and calm through your trust and obedience.


Father: From before I was even born, you prepared every challenge, every trial, and every transition for my life. You established what each outcome would be. Your desire all along is to bless me. I ask you will show me the way I should go during the transitions allowed for my life. I ask you teach me to wait on you for direction. Keep me from making hasty decisions. May your Spirit lead me to your Word for instruction, peace and comfort. Remind me that you are always with me, and that I can do (and go through) all things in Christ who is my strength. When I don’t understand what you are up to, increase my faith to know it is always for my good and your glory. Loss, disappointments, and struggles are never easy Father, but with you, they are more bearable. May my life be an example to others around me especially the next generation. May they see your work through my challenges and find encouragement during theirs. May they develop their own spiritual values, and may they be greater than my own. May I not become reluctant or rebellious in times of trouble, but grasp the trials presented before me with the determination to ARISE, MOVE, and FIGHT for my blessing. My desire is to live with a grateful and thankful heart during any trial you allow. I want to please and honor you. In the name of your precious Son Jesus, my Savior, King, Brother, and Friend. Amen

The fig tree and the mystery

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, March 10th, 2017

There are two brothers born of the same father. Like most siblings, they have had their share of scuffles and conflicts, but unlike most, their discord has led to hatred. Jealousy, covetousness and anger runs through the veins of the older brother, so much so it has made him blind to the fact that they are even related. It has reached the extreme of not only affected them individually, but through the course of time has affected their family, generations and nation. It seems their relationship is irreconcilable.


We as believers and followers of Christ are part of this discord; we share (indirectly) in the struggle and conflict between these brothers: the nations of Ishmael and Israel, and God knew from the beginning it would be so:


Let this be written (recorded) for a future generation, that a people not yet created may praise the Lord: “The Lord looked down from his sanctuary on high, from heaven he viewed the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners and release those condemned to death.” (Psalm 102:18-22)


If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken so that I could be grafted.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not become arrogant, but be afraid. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. (Romans 11:17-22)


Israel (the Fig Tree), as a nation is presently surrounded by the opposition of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq and Syria. Their objective is to take possession of the land of Israel (Jerusalem).


But God has a plan of his own: Holiness, Righteousness, and the fulfilment of Covenant.


The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind (purpose)… (Psalm 110:4)


Jesus takes back the keys of ownership through his act of love on the Cross of Calvary: For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause. (Isaiah 34:8)


I will set my King on the Mount of Zion, my holy hill. (Psalm 2:6)


The Lord will purge all iniquity: Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights in the day of battle…The LORD will be King over the whole earth. On that day there will be one LORD, and his name the only name…But Jerusalem will be raised up and remain in its place…it will be inhabited, never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure. (Zechariah 14:3,9,10,11)


His children will declare who God is, and vindicate the name of Jesus to men before angels and principalities through their righteous acts and lives: Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him: he is blameless and righteous, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” (Job 1:8)


It is clear we have a role to play in this rivalry. We are no longer in the dark. The mystery has been revealed. God has uncovered the mystery through his word. The answer was always there. This secret was ‘hid in plain sight.’ That mystery is his Body: the CHURCH


Now to him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past, but now revealed and made known through the prophetic writings by the command of the eternal God, so that all nations might believe and obey him- to the only wise God be glory forever through Jesus Christ! Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27)


This is a profound mystery- but I am talking about Christ and the church. (Ephesians 5:32)


What then has God summoned his adopted children to do?


I have posted watchmen on your walls O Jerusalem; they will never be silent day or night. You who call on the Lord, give yourselves no rest, and give him no rest till he establishes Jerusalem and makes her the praise of the earth. (Isaiah 62:6-7)


Pray for your ‘brothers’ in Jerusalem. Pray for Israel. (Psalm 122:6)


Father: You exhort your children to pray for Israel. We are related through your Son and should have their best interest in mind. I don’t understand all that is happening to my ‘family’ in Israel, I don’t understand the ‘politics’ involved with their future, but I do understand that they are my family and for them, you ask me to pray. I will pray your Word over the nation of Israel, and, also believe that those who oppress them will come to their senses. Your Word says those who have fought against Israel will realize their error and understand and know who your Son Jesus Christ is. ‘Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.’ (Zechariah 14:16)

I pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May those who love you be secure. May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels (fortress). For the sake of my brothers and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD our God I will seek your prosperity”. (Psalm 122:6-9)

Jesus Christ, who is faithful, the first born from the dead and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To (you) who loves us and has freed us from our sins by (your) blood, and has made us to be a kingdom of priests to serve (your) God and Father- to (you) be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen. (Revelation 1:5-6)

He KNows

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, March 3rd 2017

Geoffrey sits in his cabin looking through the window as the snow falls. He finds himself trying to examine each flake, giving each one a ‘name’; Shame, Love, Disobedience, Joy, Helplessness, Happiness, Hopelessness, Peace… each one entwined one with the other.

Many events in his life shared the same ‘name’.


At the age of 17, he recalls the last time he purposefully disobeyed his parents just to ‘spite them’. That decision cost him dearly. At the age of 18, wandering the streets, in a state of helplessness, (he doesn’t know how), he is ‘sleeping’ with someone who pays well. With shame taking hold of his heart, there is no hope in sight. His life seems to be swirling into a downward spiral.


It’s so cold outside. He needs to find refuge and warmth from the elements. The City Shelter offers just that. The blizzard outside today compels him to remain indoors. There’s not much to do but to read. He remembers the joy he’d find from flipping through the pages of a good read, helping him to escape the mental conflicts while immersed in the author’s words, which brought him peace.


This book speaks to him in the same manner. He sees his life on the pages. It was not always filled with conflict and discord. There were also times of harmony and happiness, love and embraces. He cringes as he asks “How does He know about me?” He Knows…


“I know all about (you)...; what (you) have done is not hidden from me. Now that (you) act like a prostitute (you) have made yourself unclean.” Hosea 5:3


But Geoffrey finds hope in the words “When I heal (you) (your) sin will go away.” (Hosea 7:1)


He knows. He knows everything there is to know about you. Your yesterday, today and tomorrow.


“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. (Jeremiah 1:5)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)


Geoffrey once owned this Book. It sat on the night stand of his bedroom. He now understands when his troubles began. It began when he neglected the Book, when he took it for granted causing him to lose the benefits it contains for overcoming crisis. He suffered loss away from the words that would equip him for good works, would produce fruit and transform his heart through true salvation. He had possession of strength, power, boldness and fearlessness through the Book.


He is holding it once again. It is his opportunity to give God another chance, or is God giving Geoffrey his second chance?


The Book is true. It is the TRUTH, the WHOLE truth, and nothing BUT the TRUTH. God holds back no punches. He’ll tell you ‘to your face’ as he CORRECTS, REBUKES, and TRAINS. He does it in LOVE hoping to RESTORE you to the proper position (God’s intended position) through CONVICTION and REPENTANCE. His BOOK is His WORD. It is God breathed, the mind and heart of God Himself. You can’t rebuttal His Word, you can’t make excuses or justify any actions contrary to His Word. It is also nourishment to the spirit and soul.


Geoffrey is now 29. Many years have gone by, years of discovery, adventure, trials and victories. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but he did not ride alone. His great companion- The Book. Geoffrey realized that by allowing God the position of ‘Head Driver’ over his life it would lead to the best road in life. He also understood the Word to be precious and comforting:


The law from your mouth is more precious to me than thousands of pieces of silver and gold. (Psalm 119:72)


Remember your Word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. (Psalm 119: 49-50)


Geoffrey sits in his cabin on the mountain enjoying a spectacular view of God’s creation. The snow falls in a harmonious musical dance. He tries to examine each flake, each one a representation of his own life as he thanks God for His Book.


Father: Your Word is Life. You have blessed me with pages of hope in my hopelessness, love in my loneliness, beauty when I feel beaten, comfort in my chaos, delight in my disappointments and encouragement from my errors. My life choices have not always pleased you. You allowed me the freedom to make choices, but you have also allowed me to go through the consequences of them. I’m so grateful that you are a Father who gives second chances. Your Word is full of examples of those who have done terribly wrong, and yet have found their way back to You. There is nothing I can do that would keep me from returning, when I return in true repentance. I thank you for the words filled with Love, in your Book, and thank you for your words of correction as well. May I fall so in love with Your Book that its words would be more precious to me than the riches of this world. Thank You for knowing me as you do. Your Word is my visible proof. In the Name of Your Precious Son Jesus, I pray and thank you. Amen

HOME is Your Finish Line, 

Hope will get you there

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Have you ever experienced the death of a loved one? What is your recollection of the event? Was it unexpected? Were you prepared because of the illness suffered by the deceased? Did you take photos hoping to remember your loved one on the anniversary of their departing? In your anguish, was it your desire to ‘go’ with your loved one? Did you see your life as you knew it not worth living?


1 Thessalonians 4:13- 18

Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant (ill-informed, in the dark) about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.


The Thessalonians thought once someone died, that was the end. Paul wrote to assure them that death was not the end of life, but the beginning of eternity. Peter addressed God’s elect with the following words:


2 Peter 3:3-4, 8, 12

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers (ridiculers) will come scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” …but do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day… as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming…look forward to a new heaven and a new earth (home).


His words remind us to work, strive, and condition ourselves to get to the end of the line. We do this by never losing HOPE.


Proverbs 13:12 says: Hope deferred makes the heart sick.

and Psalm 33:20 says: We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield


Determine to finish the race. As a believer and follower of Jesus, stay the course to see them again (in heaven). Jesus is the bridge. Look forward (driven by hope) for the arrival of the King. The one who endures to the end will be saved.


Allow me to ask the questions again:

Have you ever experienced the death of a loved one? What is your recollection of the event? Was it unexpected? Were you prepared because of the illness suffered by the deceased? Did you close your eyes, reminiscing on pleasant memories? In your sorrow, was your heart filled with the peace that only Jesus could give? Were you grateful for the time you were given with him/her? Do you live hoping to be once again reunited with this special person?


Father: My hope rests in you. Help me not to be led astray from your truth, your promises and your comfort. I anxiously await your return as King. May I live a life worthy of your return for me. I know that an end here on earth is but the beginning of eternity with you (as a believer and follower of your Son Jesus Christ). You Jesus are my bridge to the Father. May I stay the course you have before me, and may I entrust my every step to you. My hope is to see my loved ones again in heaven because I believe you will return to take me HOME. I thank you for your life, death and resurrection so that I may live eternally with you. Amen

Fiction, Fairytale, Fable

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Succinct story in prose or verse, that features animal, mythical creation, plants, inanimate objects, or forces of nature which are anthropomorphized (given human qualities), and that illustrate a moral lesson which may at the end be expressed explicitly in a pithy maxim (precisely meaningful fundamental principal).  This, dear reader is the definition of a fable.

Animal: THE DONKEY that SPEAKS:  Numbers 22:30 says…The donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day?  Have I been in the habit of doing this to you?

Metaphorical creation:  THE BEAST:  Revelation 13:1-2 (makes an account of such) And I saw a beast coming out of the sea.  He had ten horns and seven heads with ten crowns on his horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.  The beast I saw resembled a leopard, but had feet like those of a bear and a mouth like that of a lion.

Plant:  THE VINE:  John 15:1 (a beautiful description of our Savior)…I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.”

Inanimate object:  THE DEAD BONES:  Ezekiel 37:4-6 conveys…Then the Lord said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!  This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones:  I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.  I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life.  Then you will know that I am the Lord.”

Forces of nature:  THE SEA of DOUBT:  James 1:6 communicates the following…But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

The above are verses from THE BOOK, so what if any is the difference between a fable, work of fiction or fairy tale and THE BOOK?  Fables, fiction and fairytales are fabricated literature (authored by a single person), are creative, imaginary tales used to entertain, while THE BOOK is GOD-BREATHED TRUTH which produces fruit, gives life and is life changing. (Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true: Psalm 119:142)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 tells us…

‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man (or woman) of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’


The Bible is the ‘GREATEST BOOK EVER WRITTEN’: 66 books written by over 40 authors from different parts of the globe, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, spanning 1,500 years, yet, ETERNAL, HARMONIOUS, UNIFIED and INERRANT, filled with LIFE and POWER. 

Throughout the generations, the Bible has been under attack and has even been burned with the purpose of destruction and total elimination, yet has survived [Your word, O Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. (Psalm 119:89)].   In reading and knowing the contents of this book, it helps the reader to know truth, to discern between what is false and contrary to his Word, will keep the Spirit within you Strong keeping you from being Swayed into being Stupid (having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense). 

Be careful, lest we start to believe as the world believes: ‘Truth is relative’.  It is based on the circumstance of the moment and based on opinion.   When this happens, we are in danger of receiving a consequence for our actions and beliefs.  Amos 8:11-12 addresses this concern: …I will send a famine through the land…of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.

Let us therefore develop a yearning for God’s word, develop a discipline to read his Word daily, and memorize Scripture as part of ‘our norm’, so when the day comes for the opposition to burn the Book, no one could burn the Word within us.  After all, as the definition quoted earlier says, there is a purpose of a fable (to illustrate a moral lesson through fabricated, creative imaginations through entertainment) and a purpose for his Word: to establish the TRUTH that God is God, all Powerful, all Knowing and ever Present.

Treat yourself to some truth through the song titled “End of the Beginning” by David Phelps (youtube)

Heavenly Father:  What an amazing God and Father you are.  You have blessed your people with complete ABSOLUTE truth, uncompromised, unswaying truth regardless of social status, education or financial standing.  Your truth is the same for us all.  Thank you for the gift of your Guide, your Manual, your personally BREATHED Word, which gives Life, Lessons, Liberty and Love.  My desire is to live a life yearning to know and apply your Word in my actions, words, and deed, to reflect who you are and to bring you honor.  I ask you to lead me to the truth which will help me to discern and recognize what is false, evil and wrong which leads to destruction.  I pray your precious gift of your Spirit will lead me to your truth in all I do, say and think in my daily walk.  I thank you for your Son Jesus and for the perfect truth his life exemplifies.  In his Name I give you thanks. Amen

Spiritually Lazy?

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Welcome to Spiritual Anatomy 101…

This lesson is designed to challenge your basic knowledge and understanding of the two terms above.

You have before you two subjects. Their descriptions are as follows:

Subject 1: “Unconscious” male, approximate age 25. No distinguishing markings, no evidence of trauma.

Subject 2: “Unconscious” female, approximate age 25. No distinguishing markings, no evidence of trauma.

Your assignment is to identify the LAZY subject from the LETHARGIC one.

The challenge is to reach a conclusion without physical contact with either individual. You will be standing fifteen feet away. Your only resource will be the following text from your ‘Spiritual’ textbook. It reads as follows:


[Romans 13:11-14]: The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, (inactivity, laziness) because our salvation is nearer now than when you first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So, let us put aside the deeds (conduct, acts) of darkness and put on the armor (shield, defense) of light. Let us behave decently (morally, civilly), as in the daytime, not in sexual immorality and debauchery (shamelessness), not in dissension (disagreement, rebellion) and jealousy (resentment, distrust). Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and do not think about how to gratify (delight, indulge) the desires of the sinful nature.

The text gives us hints on what to look for. There are three within the written material that will help you reach a definite conclusion by the end of this lesson.

  1. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber.  
  2. Put aside the conducts of darkness, behave decently and put on the armor of light. 
  3. Do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 


The lethargic individual is characterized by abnormal drowsiness. He is sluggish and lifeless. He will tolerate sin and justify it. He will allow the enemy to deceive him and hook himself unto him. His behavior will be such that it will keep him from knowing God and keep others from knowing the Lord. He lives for self- gratification (pleasure).

[1 Corinthians 15:33-34]: Do not be misled (deceived); “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back (return) to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God…

[Ephesians 2:3]: As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins…gratifying cravings of your sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts.


The lazy subject is idle, disinclined to activity or exertion, not energetic, and lackadaisical. He is willing to awake and arise,

[Ephesians 5:14-17]: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

and has had enough of the enemy’s influence on his life.

[1 Peter 4:3-4]: For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans chose to do-living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and detestable idolatry. They think it strange that you do not plunge with them into the same flood of dissipation (degeneracy), and they heap abuse on you.”

How then can you tell from the two ‘unconscious’ specimens on the table which one is LAZY and which one LETHARGIC? SHOUT!!! Motivate them to awake and arise! Encourage them to: “Stand up and lift their heads, because their redemption is drawing near.” [Luke 21:28]; and to be alert (aware) to what is right and wrong, good and bad [1 Thessalonians 5:6]. Push them to keep watch and to be ready: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come…So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” [Matthew 24:42]. And lastly, prepare them to RECOGNIZE their sin, to REPENT and RELEASE their sins to God and to RECEIVE forgiveness.

So, have you figured it out? Which subject reacted to your shout? Which one responded eagerly to the call? Which one brushed you off, awakening in a continued sluggish state? How about you? Are you willing to evaluate your position and condition?

Father, full of grace and mercy. You see the abominations of our world today and yet choose to abound in grace. Because you love your children, you will not snuff us out as we deserve, but because you are Love, you choose to show patience so that those who do not know you would have the opportunity for salvation. My desire is for those who do not know you to awaken and respond to your call over their life and for all to live in obedience to your Word. I ask your Holy Spirit to seal me as one recognized by you and by the enemy, leaving notice that I am yours and cannot be touched or tempted without your approval as my Father. Help me to be sensitive to the times and to recognize the dire need to always be ready for your return. Help me to understand the events of the days and to recognize the signs while I wait. Keep me from lethargy and rouse me from my slumber. I desire to be motivated and eager in service, adoration and worship for your honor and glory. I ask these things in the Name of my King, my Lord and my Savior Jesus, your Holy Son. Amen

Take Action

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Calling all soldiers!! Report to “Life Improvements” headquarters for debriefing.



At ease.

 “Your mission (if you should choose to accept it) is to make personal alterations through ‘Life Improvements’ drills and exercises. Turn to (James 1:19-25) of your Manual.


You will be going through some basic drills which if carried out to completion, will result in the toning and development of three major systems . Be prepared to submit to the vigorous training of the ear, the tongue and the emotion. The purpose of the drill is to transform you into the fighting machine that will enable you through EXERCISE to SURVIVE and THRIVE under persecution. Let us begin.”


1 James:19-25…’My dear brothers (comrades), take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. DO what it says…. The man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it-he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his religion is worthless…look after the orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.’


The first activity involves tuning the EAR:

Stand in formation! LISTEN to the orders and commands given. Listen to your unit. Each member has something to say. Don’t just hear what they are saying, but pay close attention. Don’t rush through the exercise just to get it done and over with. Listen attentively. This will better equip you to encourage, pray for and minister to the speaker here amongst you and can also be practiced in your personal relationships. For the believer in the ranks, acquiring the skill to listen will especially aid in your prayer time unto God. He still speaks. Listening not only involves the ears but also involves the eyes.

OK soldiers, prepare for the next drill:


Curb the TONGUE: You now see before you a multitude. Gaze at each one present. Do you see the one who complains and whines? How about the person who offended you in the past? Is there one who constantly boasts of his achievements and merits? Do you notice anyone who you always wanted to correct but did not have the chance to do so? NO TALKING IN THE RANKS!! You don’t need words in response to what is spoken. A listening ear works wonders into someone’s life. Watch for body language. What is the speaker really trying to convey? Don’t have a mental rebuttal ready before the speaker has spoken. Think before you speak.


And finally, guard your EMOTIONS! You may believe you are in the right in ‘setting things straight’ in your own way, but ANGER is the springboard to sin which burns within you making you insensitive, unjust, and prejudiced. It gives your enemy the foothold to your reactions causing a mortal blow in the long run.


You will be recommended for a promotion only if you become DOERS of what you have just learned.

With the daily use and reference of your Manual, you will successfully and completely become transformed to the fighting machine you have been equipped and purposed to be. You will know victory in your battles.

Your training ends here but your practice to apply what you have learned is an ongoing, daily process. Best of wishes to you soldiers of the Army of God. You are dismissed.


Father, Spiritual Commander and Life Coach: I thank you for teaching me and equipping me to be a soldier in your Holy Army. I am willing to apply the lessons I have learned so that I am transformed and made whole. I commit to the exercises learned and promise to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger. My desire is to keep from acting in moral filthiness in your sight. I will be more attentive and receptive to your teachings and will DO what is required of me in your Holy Manual; Your Word. You specifically address these issues in your Word and have given your Word (my Manual) as my weapon and shield.

You mention (for my benefit) in Proverbs 1:5…let the wise listen and add to their learning, and say in Proverbs 10:19…When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise, and then you remind me in Matthew 5:22…anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.

I take your words to heart and will do my best to be the best soldier for your glory forevermore. In the name of your great and wonderful Son Jesus I pray and thank you. Amen

Live Well

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, January 27th, 2017

She enters the physician’s office expecting a remedy for the ongoing malaise affecting her with cough and extreme tiredness. The symptoms seem to linger on without relief. After endless testing and bloodwork, she is hopeful her doctor can finally give her definitive answers to her questions.

The ‘man with the answers’ enters. “The test results are conclusive” he says. “You have a terminal illness, with just one day to live.” She gasps in disbelief, her ‘being’ spins in a hopeless spiral, words, emotions and clear thinking escape her. What is she to do?

What would you do if you knew today was your last day here on earth? What changes would you make? What dreams or desires would you want to fulfill is such a short amount of time?

Would you ask your mother to prepare your favorite dish? Would you finally find the boldness to gather the people you love to proclaim the “Good News” of salvation to? Would your aim be to inspire as many as you could while you still have breath, or would you just sit waiting for ‘your time’ to come?

We must set our minds and live our life on His promises to keep fear, hopelessness and helplessness away. Jesus says: I have come that they may have life and have it more abundant (John 10:10). We are given some wise counsel and direction in (1 Peter 4:7-11):

"The end of all things is near. Therefore, be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other earnestly, because love covers a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each person should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be all the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen."


  1. Be CLEAR-MINDED: We are encouraged to have a sober (moderate, restrained) mindset giving us freedom from the sins that ’make us drunk’. Mark 5 speaks of a man who was healed from the evil that had his mind in captivity. It ends by saying: … ‘they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion…sitting there, dressed and in his right mind’… Our goal should be to stay away from the things that propel, entice and bind us to the sins of our mind. Stay away from the music, the movies and the associations which inebriate us into godless thinking and actions. This will equip us and enable us to remain calm, cool and collected amid those worldly things which try to overpower our thinking.
  2. Be SELF-CONTROLLED: As we find our faith and mind being bombarded by the ‘things of this world’, let us restrain our emotions and behavior. Let’s bridle passions and enforce boundaries on ourselves despite to the mocking and ridicule of others. We have the promise to survive and reach the ‘finish line’ if we read His Word and if we take hold of the new creation in us and rid ourselves of our old nature (2 Corinthians 5:17). Self-control is not attained by our own efforts but, through the life of Christ living in us.
  3. Keep LOVING one another EARNESTLY (with fervor) because love covers a multitude of sins…OUR OWN!! The love expressed here is not the ‘fuzzy feeling’ type of love, one given as it is received. It speaks of the AGAPE (selfless, sacrificial, unconditional) love which is practiced and given even when the recipient is not deserving of our love (based on our mentality). It stretches us beyond our limitations for even our enemies will be loved.
  4. Show HOSPITALITY (practical kindness) without grumbling: We are exhorted to greet, socialize and share. Let us open our homes to receive visitors we would not otherwise purpose to entertain. We may have more in common than we think. Let us not hoard what God has blessed us with such as our Gifting.
  5. SERVE OTHERS: What gifts do we possess that will bring God glory and edify (build others up)? Do you cook well? Why not prepare dishes for anyone who is sick? Are you a handy person? Why not assist an elderly person in household or vehicle repairs? How about those who knit. Would you consider creating a hat that hugs the head of a child or elderly person?

We must live our days as if they were our last remembering that God does not measure days as man does: ‘But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.’ (2 Peter 3:8)

Dear Father in Heaven: I thank you for the days you have given me to live with the hope, purpose and promises found in You. My desire is to live the life given to fulfill all plans established for me and to make a difference in the lives of those who cross my path daily. My hope is to reflect your presence in me in all I do, say and think so that others would be drawn to You. For those who do not know you Father, I ask Your Spirit would touch their hearts so that they could accept and live a life of purpose, meaning, and significance all to honor and glorify You. We don’t know when we will breathe our last breath my King, and so I ask that I would LIVE WELL every day You bless me with. I ask these things in the Name of Your Precious Son Jesus. Amen

The Strange Herd

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, January 20th, 2017

For those of us who have seen shows of the animal kingdoms, we find ourselves interested and entertained by their habits, their living environments, their ways of survival, etc. We notice that any animal outside of their group or herd most times becomes part of “the hunt.” The outsiders do not belong and so become “fresh meat” for the herd’s hunters.

The “church” (as a whole) practices a much different principal in order to survive. We form and become a part of “The Strange Herd”, one where differences make us stronger and eventually more united. We are intentional in building a community (by the display of a common unity [Jesus]. We (the Church) are ‘ignited and incited’ to becoming inter-connected producing more than mere acquaintances, but ‘brothers and sisters.’ The purpose is to co-habitate (do LIFE) in a way that we sense each other’s struggles and celebrate one another’s victories. Ministries are formed not to out-do one another, but for the encouragement and “building up” of the Body… (for the visual, imagine a raccoon, coyote, pigeon, panther, turtle, walrus, and bee. Each has an ability; each have their gifting. Their contribution compliments and completes the other. Together, they make a whole.

Unity makes us a STRANGE HERD. It works and moves by spiritual instinct, not on what it believes “should be” (by logic and reasoning). Unity depends on the heart…” That’s what we do. We look out for each other.” (quote from “Ice Age”)

Let us look out for one another. Allow your old nature, past habits, and those deep-rooted thoughts to die so you can become endeared with your brothers and sisters. Allow conflict (as ‘siblings’ often encounter), without becoming offended. Conflict is used to sharpen us… “As iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17). It’s unpleasant, but with the Father’s intervention and purpose, it results in His Body becoming a MASTERpiece.

Are you a part of the unity of a church? Are you involved in assuring your gifting is put to good use? Can I count on you? You can certainly count on me. You are welcome into “The Strange Herd of Unity”.

Father: Unity in today’s day and age is a foreign concept to many. The reasons are numerous; fear of being taken advantage of, doubt in their abilities, uncertainty in how one can be useful. There are those who believe they have nothing to offer and even those who believe it is not about serving but of being served.

I ask in the name of your precious Son Jesus for a change in mentality. Show them the true meaning of Unity and place the desire in their heart to be a part of the bigger picture; Your purpose.

Allow us all to see how special and unique we are and teach us to be unselfish in the use of the talents and gifts deposited in us through your Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:4). Equip us so that we may ACQUIRE the heart of a true soldier for the ADVANCEMENT of Your Kingdom. Let us remember to wear Your ARMOR (Ephesians 6:13-18). May we not be ‘problem finders’, but ‘problem solvers’ when faced with challenges and disagreements amongst our spiritual siblings. For those who do not yet know you, open their hearts to hear you calling them into community with You, Your Son and Your Spirit, so they can become a part of the Community of your Body: The Church. May we always have it in our hearts (by spiritual instinct) to say “This is what we do, we look out for each other”. Amen.

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promise to give

by Ceci Sanchez

Friday, January 13th, 2017

We are at the time of year where many contemplate on making, and hope to actually fulfill a resolution.

These resolutions vary from person to person. One may promise to change unhealthy eating habits, another may pledge to become more physically active, still another will make a vow to try something new and adventuresome. You get the gist.

These resolutions when accomplished reap great benefits. Our efforts are well paid off.

Yet, there is another type of resolution we should consider. The PROMISE to GIVE.

When we give, we reap great benefits, yet not by our efforts but through His PROMISES.

Malachi 3:10-11 speaks of a promise given by God when we honor Him with tithing.

“Bring all the tithes (the tenth) into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and test Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you (so great) a blessing until there is no more room to receive it”

Let us consider giving as we are blessed. Let us look around. We have blessings all around us; our health, our family, our jobs, homes, dreams, plans, freedom… we can give through service, volunteer for a great cause, be an encouragement to others, show honor in our tithing, trust God with our offerings, or even mentor or support someone who is not so privileged. These are just a few recommendations to think about.

Try incorporating prayer with your giving. Allow God to direct His course of action in your desire to honor Him.

Luke 18:10-14 says: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood (ostentatiously) and began praying to himself (in a self-righteous way, saying): “God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men-swindlers, unjust (dishonest), adulterers-or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay my tithes of all that I get.” But the tax collector, standing at a distance, would not even raise his eyes toward heaven, but was striking his chest (in humility and repentance), saying, “God be merciful and gracious to me, the (especially wicked) sinner (that I am)!”

Which do you think went home justified (forgiven of the guilt of sin) and placed in right standing with God. Whose gift of giving did God accept and honor? Remember it is not WHAT you give that is as important as HOW you give. Your heart attitude is everything. What you give should not be calculated on quantity of weekly or bi weekly efforts but on our minute to minute day by day attitude.

2 Cor 9:6-7 says: Now (remember) this: He who sows (gives) sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows (gives) generously (that blessings may come to others) will also reap generously and be blessed. Let each one give (thoughtfully and with purpose) just as he has decided in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver (and delights in the one whose heart is in his gift).

Let us put our heart in what we give be it financially, physically through service and even through our spoken words. This is pleasing to God.

Dear God: My desire is to know you and show my love and gratitude to you through giving. I don’t want to give so that you would reward me, but want to give to you because you have already given me the greatest reward I could receive, which is your love toward me and my family. You promise to bless me and my household from generation to generation and have already proved it through the love, life, death, and resurrection of your Son Jesus. You need not prove anything to me, but you choose to show me how much you truly care for me and want the best for me. I promise to return your love with my giving of time, honor, service, my heart attitude or with anything you place in my heart to give. When you ask me to trust you as in the Scripture of Malachi 3:10-11, I promise to trust. When you ask me to test you, I promise to believe. When you say you will do something, I promise to allow faith to guide me in waiting and to know you will. My time, my life, any material thing I have is not truly mine, but your gift to me as on loan. Teach me to be a good steward of the gifts entrusted me. May I have an attitude of cheerfulness, joy, and obedience in all things. With all my heart I promise to give you thanks. Amen