God is with us!

Have you ever felt that whatever could go wrong goes wrong, that you suddenly wake up from a night of tossing and turning and the phone rings and messages start pouring like rain of negative things with no end in sight; and it is only 8:00 a.m. Throughout your day all you have witnessed is not good things from friends, family and work, and all of a sudden you start to feel a bit dizzy and fatigue. In your quest for answers the last thing on your mind is, maybe I have done something wrong and God is not pleased. The fact is, that we displease God quit often. Paul tells us in the letter to the Romans that we have all sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (Ro3:23). In fact, throughout the bible we find God’s side on wickedness and sin, it says that he hates such (ps11:5). God dispersed his people from out of his house because of their wicked ways of which he hates (Ho9:15). Luke tells us that if we deliberately continue to sin salvation will be taken away from us (Heb10:26). One thing rests for sure and that is that God does not quit on us, he does not stop seeking after us and drawing us to him; even if the things we are doing are not pleasing to him. The fight for your soul is on!

Lamentations 3:4-9

He has made my skin and my flesh grow old and has broken my bones. He has besieged me and surrounded me with bitterness and hardship. He has made me dwell in darkness like those long dead.He has walled me in so I cannot escape; he has weighed me down with chains. Even when I call out or cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has barred my way with blocks of stone he has made my paths crooked.

Jeremiah was struggling, because like many of us he woke up one day and found that God was against him and his people. He felt that God was not please with him. He felt sick, bitter, sad, trapped, bound, and an answerless prayer life which are all signs that something is wrong with God and me. One might say that is a bad state to be in, but it is better to have God against us then to have him completely absent from us. David shared this feeling after he sinned by sending out a census out to survey God’s people; an action provoked by Satan. The bible tells us that God gave him 3 choices for handling this sin; either three years of famine, three months of fleeing from the enemy or three days of plague in the land (2Sam24:13-14). And, David chose to fall into the hand of God then of that of the enemy. It is better to have God against us, because he knows what is best for us then to have him absent from us. That is what Jeremiah understood as well, that it is better to have God with us even if he is not too happy with us, then to have him absent (Lam3:31-33). Because God’s mercy are for ever, he does not mean to afflict us.

Signing the dotted line

Knowing your family’s God purpose and call is vital for keeping unity and bond of it. God has a call to the family for service and ministry and it is up to the head of the house; the dad, to acknowledge it and build it up. God not only has a plan for adults but for the entire family. But, knowing the call is not sufficient for a home to be edified, there needs to an agreeing reaction and releasing to God of the family(Mt19:14). The bible teaches us that we need to prepare our children for God’s calling (Deut4:9) and that through witnessing and testimony’s. There are blessings to the dad who seeks out God’s calling for his home (Ps128:2-4) such as no other family will have. The children will be like shoots of olive producing oils of knowledge and talents. Going against the grain of society is what it takes for a family set on a course God’s call.

Luke 1:59-64

59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.”

61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.”

62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 

Now, Zachariah was a priest whose turn came up by the choice of lots to burn incense in the temple while the people prayed outside. He and his wife Elizabeth were descendants of Aaron the priest. They were up in age and his wife was not able to conceive. The priest whose function was to bring incense to the temple was to have tied to his feet a bell with a rope of which would sound as he walked into the temple. If the priest would die in the temple the bell would make a stomp sound and stop sounding signaling those who waited outside to pull him out. When Zachariah walked into the temple the Angel of the Lord appear and gave him the good news that he was going to be a dad, but he needed to name him John. Zachariah was challenged to go against the currant of tradition and family and in this time and age we too are challenged to go against the currant. Zachariah became mute because he chose not to believe the news, and so for nine months he could not speak. He had the choice when the child was born to either go with tradition or sign the name of descendants or the one associated with the kingdom. As dads we decide with whom are we going to associate our children and family’s as Joshua did (Josh24:15) to serving God.

From volunteer to servanthood

One of the great challenges churches have is finding people that are willing to volunteer without limitations; devoted people to the work of the ministry. And, part of the reason for a lack of volunteers is that feeling of commitment; that once I join I am responsible and cannot quit especially when things begin to get difficult. The US census says that 1 out of 4 adults volunteer in churches, which is about 43% of the people. The goal of churches is to transition volunteers to servants of the Lord. And, once one has become a servant of the Lord the task that is handed to him comes with powers and enriching experiences one has never experienced before. Like the disciples of Jesus Christ, after the Lord resurrected, he told them to stay in Jerusalem until they were empowered with the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts2:1-4). But, the task that was going to be laid before them was not going to be easy, they were going to go through hunger, homelessness, and persecution. Paul was one of those who after receiving his call to servanthood (Acts9:3-6) tasted how good the Lord is, and set out to pursue his calling at all cost(2cor11:23-28). When we become more then volunteers the taste of the ministry will continually be in the palatal of our tongue.

Ezekiel 2:6-10

Do not be afraid of what they say or be terrified by them, though they are a rebellious people. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you. Do not rebel like that rebellious people; open your mouth and eat what I give you.”

Then I looked, and I saw a hand stretched out to me. In it was a scroll, 10 which he unrolled before me. On both sides of it were written words of lament and mourning and woe.

Ezekiel’s calling was like many others called with a specific purpose. He was specifically called to speak God’s word to a very rebellious group of people. He was given a scroll to eat of which was sweet as honey to the palatal of the tongue but became bitter to the belly. Such leads us to interpret that our calling when it moves from the volunteer mindset to that of servanthood will have a sour aftertaste. Ezekiel left the presence of God and sat with his people in a depressed mindset. This scroll he had eaten was filled with all kinds of lamentations, and woes, which depicted how God felt about how his people were behaving. Our calling has its highlight, but at the end of the day, it is for the difficult task of helping to save mankind and equipping other believers (Acts4:12-13). Within the ministry, in the belly of those who have eaten the scroll of God’s words, lies a distasteful feeling against sin(pro6:16-19). He hides his face and rejects to hear prayer when we persist to sin (Is59:2). Ezekiel’s calling turned him to a powerful and hard man, because of the people he was to minister too.

The Servant

Once a person decides to serve God; that is get involved in a ministry or become actively involved on a frequent basis, two things happen in the spiritual realm one he/she become an active target of Satan and two God’s divine shield of protection towards the ministry is activated. Now, everyone is an open target of the enemy, because the scriptures say that he, Satan, came to kill, steal, and destroy (Jh10:10). Peter tells us that our enemy is prowling like a roaring lion seeking to see whom he may devour (1Pt5:8). At one of the churches in Revelations Jesus tells them that they are the synagogue of Satan (rev2:9). So, Satan’s work becomes more engaging when one individual becomes and active member of their church or ministry. He will strikes at the work place, the home, the church and every place that person encounters. Satan’s disguise is so discrete that churches have been deceived; the angel of light (2Cor11:14). God has primary interest with his servants, they are his delight (ps35:27). He has set apart his servants and pays special attention to them when they pray (ps4:3). God will protect his servant (ps34:22) and though Satan will attack the church it will not prevail against it (Mt16:18).

Esther 6:13-14 His advisers and his wife Zeresh said to him, “Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has started, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him—you will surely come to ruin!” 14 While they were still talking with him, the king’s eunuchs arrived and hurried Haman away to the banquet Esther had prepared.

Now, Satan had instill in Haman’s heart to destroy God’s people the Jews and had the king decree to reward anyone who would kill a Jew, so one final blow would utterly destroy God’s people and that was to kill their representative and intercessor Mordecai. It seemed like the perfect plan, after all the king was his all time buddy whom crowned him with all kinds of favors. But, God who knows the thoughts and secrets of men and just as Haman was about to get his way he changed the entire panorama. Haman’s friends this idea that no one can come up against God’s servant and prosper. Isiah says “no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord” (Is54:17).

Made weak

For someone to become strong he/she must recognize that he has a weakness. To become totally strong one has to target and increase every set weakness in them and unfortunately no one has gotten to that stage in their lives. We are all weak in some area of our lives or another whether it is food, drink, work, the mind etc…, there is always a part of us that needs some empowerment. We go to the gym and take vitamins to feel strong, but what do we take when our conscience becomes weak? The weakness of the conscience is not neglected with the idea of every man for himself. But, the scriptures teach us that we can wound someone’s conscience and cause him/her to sin as well (1Cor8:12), when we part take on things that are controversial to others. In fact, Paul tells us that we sin against Christ when we engage in things that are negative or uncommon to someone’s conscience. I think that being considerate to how others see and feel about things is part of helping them to being strong; and this what the gospel is all about(Is35:3-4).

Romans 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence. 21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

God is at work. The scriptures says that he that began the good work in you will perfect it until the end(Ph1:6). But, it can take longer to finish the work God is doing in us if we walk around disregarding others and being judgmental. In order for someone to stumble he/she needs to be made weak, whether it is a physical thing, emotional or spiritual. The same way we can weaken someone we can strength him/her with the things we say and do. Satan had asked Jesus if could cut Peter down, but he prayed for him and so Satan could not take Peter down. But, Jesus told Peter something very important once he was able to lift himself up; Peter’s weakness was Satan’s point of attack, and that is that he should strengthen the brothers (Lk22:31-32). Peter’s denial of Jesus weaken the brothers. His area of weakness was intimidation, Peter was easily intimidated by others with opposing views. Instead of making others weak through the things we say and do we need to teach them to be strong (Col2:7). So, being strong is something we learn, although some are born being strong in certain areas, but weak in other. God uses our weakness for his glory (1Cor1:27). It causes us to draw closer to God, our weakness because no one else can strengthen us for our strength comes from the Lord (ps18:32).

Ready to Forgive, The prodigal Son Story

According to a finding on forgiveness 90% of the world and in America says that they need more forgiveness in their relationships, 83% say in their neighborhoods. In Recent news parents were took their son to court to have a judge evict him, because he was not helping but was being a nuisance. Jesus said that there will come a time when sons will be against their fathers, daughters against their mothers, because of the gospel (Mt10:35). There is this war in the homes where the children have risen against their parents. In recent days youth rallies against gun violence have erupted all over, and they are say that parents are not doing enough to protect them.  Parents are not modeling enough forgiveness to their children. Now, according to the findings 60% of Americans say that forgiveness has to begin with an apology and some changes before it can take place.  But, something greater happens whey one can forgive without being put in the position of forgiveness; especially because he/she is ones son or daughter.

Luke 15:20-24

20 So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

Now, Jesus spoke this parable on the prodigal son with relations to a relationship that was lost, and then found. But, he first began with a thing of good value like the sheep that became lost and then he went to a coin which was of high value of which was lost and also found. In all three instances of the lost sheep, coin and the son a great amount of joy was noticed, but only in the son was forgiveness displayed.  There is a great amount of importance given in the bible about forgiveness up to the point that if it is not practiced it can hinder our chances to entering into heaven (Mt6:15).  This son recognized that he needed forgiveness; the need for forgiveness is a sickness in the spirit, and so the father forgave him without listening to his apology. The power to forgive has been given to us, but with it our children will remain sick in their soul. Jesus said to the spectators who were waiting to see if he would heal this guy that was lured to him by his friends, which is easier to say your sins are forgiven or to say arise and take up your bed; suggesting that it is harder to heal the soul then the body(Mk2:9-11). See we can have a child wounded in the spirit doing crazy things in earth, because he/she needs forgiveness. And, one may ask well how many times should I forgive, well Jesus told Peter seventy times seven inferring countless of times, or not keeping a count(Mt18:22).

 

Thirst quenched!

Thirst quenching is almost a continuous process that to some needs to happen almost by the hour. Most of us cannot go too long without having something to drink to quench our thirst.  Our bodies are 75% water for a reason and it is probably because we can dehydrate rather quickly. God told Elijah to go to this brook and stay there until the famine was over and there he would be able to drink and be sustained. He commanded some ravens to also sustain Elijah for about 3 years (1Kg17:3-5). Water scores a 1 point for hydration over every other drink, but according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, several drinks measure as hydrating or more than still water (score of 1): From left: sports drink – 1.02, whole milk – 1.50, sparkling water – 0.98, orange juice – 1.39, oral re-hydration solution – 1.54, cola – 1.23, and coffee (black, before cream) – 0.91.  A study found that brewers add an ingredient to beer to make their customers feel thirstiest.  Now, the bible tells us that thirst can be quenched once and for all. Thirst is a sensation of dryness in the mouth and throat associated with a desire for liquids; alsothe bodily condition (as of dehydration) that induces this sensation

John 7:37-39

37 In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. 38 He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. 39 (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given;because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)

Jesus is the well of living waters that quenches our thirst, but man has to come to him on a consistent basis. Once your faith level is increased you can tell a mountain to move and it will obey you (Mt17:20).  There was a women from Samaria that came to fetch water at a well and Jesus asked her to give him some of that water, now Jesus was thirsty from his long trip. This women instead of giving the water to Jesus engaged in a conversation which confirmed her faith (Jh4:10).  We all thirst for something in life, but many end up drinking waters that do not quench. The people of Israel came across waters that were sour, when they were in the wilderness. Moses lead them out of bondage and when they became thirsty the waters that were before them were bitter and undrinkable. God shewed Moses a tree and when he cast it into the waters they became sweet (Ex15:25).  They complained the second time during their journey through the wilderness and God had Moses touch a rock of which gushed out water and Paul states that that rock was Jesus Christ (1Cor10:5). Jesus said in the beatitudes that blessed are they that thirst after righteousness because they will be satisfied (Mt5:6). Satisfaction of thirst is found in Christ.

The Eye

The human body is perfectly made and no one part cannot work without the other in its perfection. Yes, some people have had the unfortunate mishap to lose a limb or two, and some were born without too. Yet, missing one limb has not stopped people from achieving great things like Nick Vujicic who was born with any limbs, but found purpose in life. Now, the eye is one of those parts of the body that no one would prefer to give over another. Compared to a kidney, a lung, or part of the liver for extremes, no one would prefer to donate an eye. In fact, the bible calls the eye the lamp of the body (Mt6:21-23) and it can have conditions that are good and bad, but if the conditions of the heart are bad no one is willing to take it out. The bible tells us that in the process of healing the eye is a vital part for it to happen (Mt13:15). With a little faith this blind man received his sight again when he encountered Jesus in Matthew 9:28-30. The eye is closely linked to the heart, so whatever you allow to go through it, it will eventually end up in the heart.

Matthew 5:28-29

28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

So, taking your physical eye is not something that we are not too willing to do no matter what, but Jesus made it clear that because of the gravity of the act of impurity we need to consider. The people of Beth Shemesh, after the Philistines sent over the ark of the covenant with golden rats and tumors for sins, died when they looked inside the ark (1Sam6:19). These people of Beth satisfied their lustful desires to see inside of what they knew did not please God. Plucking out those desires from the flesh are not so easy to do, but the bible tells us that we do need to flee (2Tim2:22). But, not just from sexual immorality do we need to flee from, there are other things from which our eyes needs to be hid from. For example, when we look at the conflicts in the homes between parents and their children it can be attributed to a haughty spirit (Prv30:11-13).

Stand by me

God’s saving plan for the home begins with any particular member of that home especially with one that will reach the head. And, sometimes when the head of the home is a little challenging to reach, God has to begin working through one that is a little distance but has close tides with family. God’s promise to bring salvation to the family has the ultimate goal of reaching the head of the home; dad. Peter’s life and calling from God is interesting of it self and of his home, because without he knowing God was on a quest to capture his heart. But, before we begin with his account we begin with the end. Peter was crucified upside down, because when they were leading him to the cross he did not find himself worthy to die like the master. God used Peter with healing (Acts 5:15), resurrecting the dead (Acts 9:40) and establishing the Christian church (Mt. 16:18).

And, it began with Peter’s mother-in-law, that God’s plan took its course with Peter. Now, she was a very liked women in those days even by Peter himself, although mother-in-laws were not very much appreciated, but not in Peter’s house; he loved her and so did everyone. This women had a high fever that caused her to stay in bed (Lk 4:38). Jesus was invited to Peter’s house to heal her I do not believe that Peter invited him, because he was out fishing (Lk5:5). This the first healing miracle that Jesus performed before he went out and unleashed his healing power on the men those days. I’m sure that once Peter’s mother-in-law was healed the word came to Peter by others about the account preparing his heart for the adventure of his life. Peter loved his wife so that appreciation to her mother was just another blessing to his life. His wife stood right next to him throughout his ministry even till his death. She waited for him for nine months when he was incarcerated in the worst jail of those days. Peter was so happy that his wife was next to him that when before she was killed he imparted her joy and assurance.  It is God’s way of working to reach the head of the house when he touches those closely related to us with signs and wonders. God’s out reach finally came to Peter with a catch of fish that left him perplexed (Lk5:8). God uses the things Peter and his friends fished all night long without catching a single fish.  God’s healing’s and wondrous signs are for the purpose to draw us to him (Jer. 33:6).

God’s seal

Tattoo’s have become a way of today’s fashion. Some tattoo’s are appropriately done as to say in size, color and content where as many not so. The meanings today’s tattoos vary from remembering a love one to making a statement, but in ancient times tattoos had only two meaning; protection and pertinence.  Women according to the Smithsonian’s were tattooed because they were prostitutes or to protect them from sexually transmitted disease. Tattoo’s were a form to seal someone. The ink of the tattooer’s use is supposed to be permanent. Because of so many shades of so called god seekers, God; the most high God, has his way to secure the identity of his people, his chosen ones and that is through a seal (Ep.4:30). The tool God uses to seal his elect is the Holy Spirit.

Ezekiel 9:3-4

Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim,where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the Lord called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side and said to him, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.”

God took the prophet in chapter 8 of Ezekiel and show him all the sins of his people. The major problem of these people was idolatry. These people worshiped beast, creeping things, the sun, and Tammuz. Within these people there was a people that belonged to God but dwelt with the idolaters, and the time came when they needed protection. So, God sent this man dressed in white linen clothing to seal his elect, and with this man were six other guys who were commissioned to destroy the people. Now, the seal of the Holy Spirit is for protection and salvation, so that when the enemy comes to attack and destroy he is restrained. Ancient kings used a ring to impress the seal to secure their estate (Mt. 27:66 Jesus’ tomb), and Jesus is God’s ring that burns the impression on man (Jh6:27); God’s word. Paul tells Timothy that God’s seal leaves an inscription (2tim.2:19) and that is placed in our hearts (2Cor. 1:22). The inscription of the word of God; when read, it is engraved in us by the seal. King Solomon called his girlfriend a seal fountain (SOS 4:12). God sealing his people is a sign of the dread and danger to come.