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Raul Esparza  • Married to @arielraee • Founder/Creator at @psalmsthirtyfour • Email: raul.esprza@gmail.com

http://psalmsthirtyfour.com/

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : “I was in darkness all of my life. I never knew the day from the night. But, Spirit, You made me see. And I swore I knew the way on my own. A head full of rocks, a heart made of stone. But, Spirit, You moved in me.” From the end of middle school I entered a deep spiritual darkness. The words I’m known for writing didn’t exist. The smile and the laughter you know me for didn’t exist. My passion for Jesus and His gospel didn’t exist. I was spiritually in chains confined to my thoughts, my sins, my heart and mind. My beliefs and values were at a standstill. Just living through the motions. I was spiritually confined in chains. “But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew‬ ‭6:23‬) Friend, I don’t know how your life looks like but I’m here to share with you that only Jesus could bring you the freedom you desire. In my spiritual darkness, I limited myself to what I was capable of. I limited my vision because what I was storing in my heart. I limited what God had planned for me, who He saw in me. God broke my chains the night I faced death in the face to rescue me for “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah‬ ‭29:11‬) That night in 2013, Jesus walked between me and death to break every single chain to break me free from the enemy’s captivity. I surrendered in darkness in order to live a life in the light of Jesus. God isn’t the light at the end of the tunnel, He can be the light in the tunnel to get you to His freedom. We were never made to stay in the valley of the shadow of death, remember it’s only a shadow and only God can take us to safety. In the name of Jesus Christ, we submit all chains that keep us away from Your goodness, Your promises and Your grace. Break every chain, so we can stand strong in Your name to worship in the light of Your beautiful glory. “for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, "Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." (Ephesians‬ ‭5:14‬) 🌿

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : All that matters 🌿

- #ByRaulEsparza : Foggy mornings in Abbot Kinney featuring @hannamontazami. 📸

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Back in 2012, I chose to quit the arts. From drawing to painting large canvases that would be exhibited in galleries across LA. It was a tough choice to make because it was my first love but I knew I was in spiritual darkness. My artwork did not glorify God (His heart, His character, His commandments, or His creations). I was just another artist undisciplined in their raw talent letting my flesh, my thoughts, my confusion take ahold of the talent God had given me. I selfishly created in darkness and called it good. “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah‬ ‭5:20‬ ‭ESV‬‬) How did I know I was in spiritual darkness? I became aware what I was creating, who I associated myself with, my surroundings, my vocabulary, my heart, mind and soul. Being nice never got anyone to Heaven and I knew I wasn’t going. Things had to change, even if they were drastic to interfere how comfortable I was. We were never made to jeopardize our eternal life with Jesus with what we want. My action to step away from where the enemy had me, where I was spiritually weak began the warfare for my life and the quest to God’s kingdom. I was confortable creating art and doing what I wanted. I was no threat to the enemy at all. But a flicker of light is all it took to drive away all the darkness because my parents shared the gospel of Jesus when I was a kid. That flicker of light was something inside of me that the enemy feared. But the moment I allowed Jesus to rescue me from death was the second the enemy lost. The enemy fears you whenever you shine the light of Jesus. Whenever you proclaim Him as Lord and Savior. On October 18, 2013 Jesus became the King of my heart and my life. Darkness is just an absence of light, now imagine if the world had it’s light on. Darkness would not exist. “Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 🌿

- #psalmsthirtyfour : #atribecalledquijano in the studio today! 🌿

- #psalmsthirtyfour : Happy Anniversary Mike & Steph! 🌿

- #ByRaulEsparza : Re-edited this session with @arayanicks for my updated portfolio I’ll be sending out. So many fun shoots to choose from! 📸

- #ByRaulEsparza : As I start to put together my fashion portfolio. I loved going through these shots of @officiallyquigley. Studio work has always been my favorite to do. 📸

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : As @arielraee and I prayed over this year, I thought the theme for this year is fruitful and obedience. In a unknown year, there could be an urge to do whatever we want. We could either lose focus on our surroundings or focus on God’s plans. As we get closer to God. We are aware of the urgency to strengthen our marriage, our business @psalmsthirtyfour, our dreams and our hearts in alignment to God’s will. We wouldn’t have celebrated so many victories in 2017 without the help of God. He’s the reason why we can celebrate victoriously a year of redemption and a path to His kingdom. Like Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10:31 we need to: “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” With everything, we want to reflect God’s glory for the sake of the gospel. We are His tools and we surrender to Him. Lord Jesus Christ, thank you for bringing us together and giving us the privilege to worship You through our talents, our words, our actions, our marriage, our church, our hearts, our families and our work. We submit 2018 into Your hands our King Jesus. Let Your glory and favor shine from beginning to end of this year. Thank You for 2018! 🌿(Photo by @korinamariem)

- #AnEsparzaAdventure : Last year we stood in a similar spot like right now. Everything was up in the air for us together and individually. We had only two weddings booked. Ariel left her position at @puravidabracelets and I was in pursuit of being freelance. Our finances were average. I was only hustling to pay my car payment. 2017 was pretty unknown to us but all we knew for sure that we loved each other and we needed the biggest miracle for both of us. We humbled ourselves before the Lord and with open hands gave God complete control of 2017. Yeah, there were times where we interfered and God had to rescue us from hurting each other from our already broken hearts. "We were both heart broken, but God had a plan for us to meet and help heal those broken hearts." This year we had to choose together and individually if we wanted the path to redemption. The path to restoration. The path to joy. The path that Jesus paved for us, if only we say our best yes. I was very well aware of the spiritual events that were happening around us and it was hard for me, for us. I delayed my proposal to Ariel because I was afraid. I knew our story from all around. From us to our families. But God had a better story, a better ending for just us two. It was then I started to trust and lean in closer to my King, my savior. I didn’t want average or a cookie cut lifestyle. Everyone already does the same. I wanted a marriage after God’s kingdom. A lifestyle that would proclaim Jesus and His glory wherever we would go. 2017 belonged to God, and in all of His faithfulness He placed us on His undeserving platform to unite us in the worthy of His presence. We went to Mexico with only $500 with our friends, God brought us 15 @psalmsthirtyfour weddings, God brought provision to help us pay off our debt before getting married, He paid for our wedding, He used my parents to help us financially to spiritual support. Faith in Jesus got us through the best year of our lives. Every good and bad moment, I treasure because I can look back and say, “God you love us.” With all of my words, all of my breath, all of my voice, all of my heart and soul. I worship the God of hope. Thank you Jesus for 2017!

- #AwakeInThePsalms : What is our outward response in difficult times? If we can take the good days from God, why not the bad days (Job 2:10). Pride, hurt and confusion can keep us from lifting our hands. Like Mary, we must recognize there is a God of restoration, redemption, healing and faithfulness. “And Mary said, "Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word." (Luke‬ ‭1:38‬ ‭ESV‬‬) 🌿

#AwakeInThePsalms : There was a time when I didn’t even know You. A time I didn’t even know Your name or the sound of Your voice. A place where I didn’t even know existed. Could it be true. Could it be love. Could it be You. But You were there through it all. The faint sound of who I was, as you breathed life into me. There was joy. There was love. There was hope. There was You. Fingertips, slide through wonder. I meet You everyday. Like the first breath before the morning mist falls upon a new day. I could hear Your laugh now. How hard it is to imagine life without it. Heaven kisses You and Your eyes smiled upon my beating heart. Your beauty is endless, like the oceans we run across. The painted skies catch Your promises, as home calls upon my name. Are You everything I imagine You to be? The whisper of Your voice, calms the storms. As you lift me to safety. You chased me relentlessly to show me that there is a place among You, O God. Thank you Jesus for never giving up on me. 🌿

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