Ya Casi Cumplo Cuarenta y Cuatro Años


 

Mañana cumplo cuarenta cuatro años de vida. En cada cumpleaños le doy gracias a Dios particularmente porque de adolescente siempre pensé que moriría antes de cumplir los veinticinco. No sé porque pensaba de esa forma; quizás era que creía que le iba a seguir los pasos a uno de mis tíos quien murió a los veinticinco años. Tantas cosas han pasado en mi vida que verdaderamente es un milagro que hoy estoy vivo; mas Dios tiene propósito santo para mi vida y con la ayuda de su gracia y de su misericordia espero confiadamente que Dios haga en mi todo lo que El quiera hacer. Es el deseo sincero de mi corazón. Siento que he perdido tanto tiempo; siento que he cometido tantos errores y que en ocasiones le permití al pecado reinar en mi corazón.

 

Muchas veces me canso del camino, muchas veces ya quiero rendirme, muchas veces pienso que mi vida ha sido un total e irrecuperable fracaso, pero Dios y solo Dios me mantiene enfocado. He visto grandes retos, paredes gigantescas y aún he confrontado gigantes que han venido destrozando mi familia en cada generación. Mas cada mañana Dios me levanta y me da energías para seguir adelante.

 

Mañana celebraré mi cumpleaños en una Iglesia llamada “New Vision” (Nueva Visión) Mi querida esposa estará tocando el piano, con otros músicos y cantantes. Será mi responsabilidad el dirigir este servicio de adoración a Dios y que mejor forma de recibir mis cuarenta y cuatro años que cantándole a mi Cristo.  Por todo: ¡Gracias Dios mío!

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 8 (Final Part)


“We Can’t Out give God”

18 But Samuel was ministering before the Lord—a boy wearing a linen ephod. 19 Each year his mother made him a little robe and took it to him when she went up with her husband to offer the annual sacrifice. 20 Eli would bless Elkanah and his wife, saying, “May the Lord give you children by this woman to take the place of the one she prayed for and gave to[c] the Lord.” Then they would go home. 21 And the Lord was gracious to Hannah; she gave birth to three sons and two daughters. Meanwhile, the boy Samuel grew up in the presence of the Lord. (First Samuel 2:18-21)

            Transitions are tough, among other reasons, because they take us away from our comfortable zones. Things get so bad at times that we actually feel that we are loosing. As you go back on this small series you can see that this was indeed a tough road for Hannah. She felt sad, depress, frustrated and perhaps angry many times, but thank God that we are not abandoned even as we feel we are! Thank God that He is faithful! As parents our greatest blessing is go know that our children are ok, doing well, doing the right thing and that they are happy. Well, Hannah had more than enough reasons to feel proud about her son, but God blessings did not stop there. The woman that could not have children now was blessed with three sons and two daughters. I believe that many of us are borderline to see this kind of blessing become a reality in our lives if we just wait a little longer, if we keep the faith, if we trust the Lord and if we don’t allow hope to escape us. It could be a rough season for you, you may be experiencing tough times, but even in the mix of all, deep in your heart you know where your salvation comes from, deep inside even when the pain becomes unbearable you know that God will never let you down. No matter what you done, no matter the magnitude of your giving, no matter, no matter the size of your sacrifice…we can never out give God! Beloved, hand in there and don’t give up!

 

 

 

 

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 7


“Worship Even When You Can’t See What You Are Believing God For”

19 Then they rose early in the morning and worshiped before the Lord, and returned and came to their house at Ramah. And Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. 20 So it came to pass in the process of time that Hannah conceived and bore a son, and called his name Samuel,[e] saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.” (1 Samuel 1:19-20)

 

In these verses we can see that Hannah has yet to receive what she wanted; but she resolved in her spirit to worship God anyway. In order for Hannah to have that baby she needed to have intimacy with her husband and she did. Many times we find ourselves so tired, so frustrated, so fed up, that we don’t even have the energy to do our obvious part. Worship has a way of renewing our strength beyond our own abilities and possibilities. Finally for Hannah, that amazing moment took place; the miracle she was praying for all this time became a reality. Finally, her son Samuel was born; a mighty man of God, a man of integrity and one of the most powerful prophets in the history of the world.

Many of us are carrying something amazing inside of us; something that will change us at last, something that will revolutionize the people around us, our communities, our countries and perhaps the world. No doubt that the moment when Hannah decided to give her child to the Lord was indeed significant. However, it was worship that brought her to the place of breakthrough. Worship gives us the strength to do our part in the matter we believe God for; in His presence we are overwhelmed by His beauty and filled with His love. In His presence our perspective changes, our priorities get fixed; it is the place where nothing else matters; it is the place where we can clearly see that it’s all about HIM and that everything belongs to HIM to start with. In His presence we stop looking at us and our circumstances and we fix our eyes on the Lord. In His presence getting or not getting what we want does not matter; for in the Lord we find everything our souls thirst and hunger for; it is the place where we can clearly see how blessed we truly are and how merciful our Lord is.

Nothing should ever stop us from worshipping the Lord; our worship cannot be subject to what we can and cannot have. He is amazing, He is the King, and He is Lord and the Lover of our souls. Beloved, I don’t know what you are crying out for today; I don’t know where you are at in your transition. What I do know is that God is worthy to be praised whether you get what you want or not. Beloved, right now, at this very moment, stop what you are doing and worship HIM. Do it before the breakthrough; do it in spite of the breakthrough; do it by faith, do it even if the breakthrough never visits you…He is still worthy!

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

 

 

Why Limit Ourselves to One Martial Art Style?


Through my years in Martial Arts I commonly hear many martial artists referring to their particular style as the best. Through the years, I also commonly hear martial artists, negatively speaking of or even mocking other styles. I am convinced that every style has something unique, practical and useful in our development as martial artists. I am also convinced that if you are narrow minded and can’t see beyond the walls of your only style you are becoming more and more obsolete. The strength is in expanding our experiences as we discover our own self as fighters.

Take the Side Kick for example; in my life as a Martial Artist I have been exposed to three different ways of executing the same kick. Even as the foot end-up in the same position basically; the execution is totally different. As I studied Tae Kwon Do, a Korean style of Martial Arts, I was thought to keep my knee and ankle in the same line, the Side Kick was a straight line. As I was exposed to Shotokan, a Japanese style of Martial Arts, the emphasis was in pointing with the knee first.  Later, as I was exposed to Wing Cheung Kung Fu, a Chinese style of Martial Arts, my instructor placed the emphasis on the lifting of the knee. The knee, this time, is above the ankle. With Wing Cheung Kung Fu I found a middle ground between the Japanese and Korean way of doing the side kick.

As I teach my students the Side Kick, I do not limit them to only one experience, I teach them the three ways I have been expose to and let them decide what works best for them. What I have discovered is that the three ways of doing the sidekicks are powerful and useful depending on the student’s body’s structure and depending on where they find themselves in a particular fight and/or tournament.  In my own experience, when it comes down to power, I like the Wing Cheung Side Kick; when it comes down to speed I like the Shotokan style and when it comes down to a side kick in a close range I like the Tae Kwon Do. But is that so? Can I say: this is the absolute conclusion for the assessment of these kicks? Absolutely no! This is my conclusion base on my own body structure and my own experiences! I would have never known this reality if I decided to limit myself to one style.

My son Angelo recently became our first, First Degree Black Belt in my Program. Through the years I thought him fundamentals of Boxing, Tae Kwon Do, Kickboxing, some practical Self-Defense Techniques and some Ground Fighting. As he prepares to go to college and move out of town, I strongly encourage him to continue getting involved in Martial Arts and to try other styles. It is a beautiful and powerful journey! In my opinion, it is a richer and interesting journey compared to locking ourselves into one style and give up our freedom to experience.

My journey started with boxing as a young teenager. I learn hard work, to condition my body for Full Contact, waking up at 5:30 AM to run five miles, ride my bike another three to five miles to get to the boxing gym every day to get yell at by my boxing coach, come back and then close the day with an extra three miles of jogging. My journey continued as I started my studies of Tae Kwon Do in order to develop my kicks. Then I engaged in the study of Wing Cheung as my instructor prepared me for kickboxing and simultaneously I was studying Shotokan. My journey continued, even today as I have a new born passion for ground fighting and practical self-defense. To lock myself into one style is boring to me, to lock myself into one style limits me, so I enjoy my freedom as I continue this never-ending journey.

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 6


“The Power of Even an Obviously Imperfect Leader”

17 Then Eli answered and said, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him.” 18 And she said, “Let your maidservant find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.”

(1 Samuel 1:17-18)

 

            It is an amazing thing that God will use such imperfect people to partner with Him to do the work of His Kingdom. How ridiculous we must look before heaven when we take ourselves so, seriously! When I look at the life of King David, when I look at the life of the Apostle Paul and the shocking statements he made about himself in Romans seven; when I look at some of the leaders God has placed in my life through the years and when I look at my own life, it is incomprehensible to me as to why God keeps using us to partner with Him.

Now, there may be some that think that they are the best thing in the world since sliced bread. Their arrogance is indeed nauseating! Can you imagine if the whole world would be able to see on a giant TV screen all of the things we have done in our secret places? Can you imagine if God makes our thoughts open to the public? Can you imagine if God showcases our thinking? Without God we are destined to get what we truly deserve: eternal hell! However, in all and through all, we must remember that our leaders, even in their humanity, are leaders who carry certain authority on this earth.

Here we see Hannah being mightily blessed by Eli. The result of the man of God’s blessing lifted Hannah emotionally. It was indeed an emotional miracle. When the man of God, even in his mess, declared, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition which you have asked of Him,” depression and frustration were lifted out of Hannah and faith was activated. The Bible tells us here: “So the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” I strongly believe that in the life of every believer God will raise a leader whose job is to bless us right into our destiny. The warning for us is to be cautious that we won’t be blindsided by our leader’s issues and miss the blessing that he/she carries for us. When we look at David and his dealings with Saul, who in an unjustly way wanted to kill him, we are able to see that same blessing taking place.

Beloved, there is a difference between a false Prophet or false Teacher and an Imperfect Godly Leader. God’s elect are human just like you and I. We must learn to discern the difference; it is essential for our growth in the process of transition.

TO BE CONTINUED!

 

I am sorry, so sorry!


 

There are chapters in our lives that we would love to be able to erase. Those awful things we said and those shameful things we did seem to forever hunt us down like a wounded animal surrounded by the deadly predators in the jungle of our condemnation. Why did I take that turn? Why did I get involved with this or that other person? Why did I not walk away? Why did I so, irresponsibly let my loved ones down? Why?

 

The voices of our accusers refuse to be silent; they get louder and louder as our own guilt sounds the daily trumpet of our disqualifications. We saw the awful darkness of our own souls; the evil that fights in us conquered a great victory that day, a great victory that month and great victories for those many years. How can I ever move forward after what I did?

 

There are chapters in our lives that we would love to be able to erase. Those awful things we said and those shameful things we did seem to forever hunt us down like a wounded animal surrounded by the deadly predators in the jungle of condemnations. I want to be free from the chains of those dreadful memories! Is there anybody that can change the tragic song of my past? Is there anybody that can fix the melodies of my today?  Can someone give me the new song announcing hope for my tomorrow?

 

I am the one who betrayed HIM for a few dollars; I am the one who denied HIM three times on that morning; I am the one who yelled crucify him, even as I knew HE was an innocent man; I am the one who nailed HIM to the cross, I am the one who mocked HIM and I am the one who saw HIM dying. I am the one filled with fornications in many pages of my past; I am the one filled with violent acts and with terrifying destructive emotions that made a mark in this dimension of life. Guilty and more than guilty I am!

 

There are chapters in our lives that we would love to be able to erase. Those awful things we said and those shameful things we did seem to forever hunt us down like a wounded animal surrounded by the deadly predators in the jungle of our condemnation.  I am sorry, so sorry!

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 5


“Respecting, Honoring and Forgiving Our Leaders”

15 But Hannah answered and said, “No, my lord, I am a woman of sorrowful spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor intoxicating drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord. 16 “Do not consider your maidservant a wicked woman,[a] for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief I have spoken until now.” (First Samuel 1:15-16)

 

            We must point out that Eli, just like many of our leaders today, was no way near pleasing to the Lord with his way of leadership. I understand that nobody is perfect, but Eli did not have the favor of the Lord. As a matter of fact, later, one of the first words God gave Samuel was against Eli. It is very tempting to see our leaders’ humanity and use that as an excuse to disrespect and dishonor them. However, that will, without a doubt, block our process of growth and we may find ourselves stuck in our transition process until we learn to respect, honor and forgive our leaders, even in their humanity.

We can learn much from Hannah by the humble answer she gave Eli. She did not get offended; she did not compromise the focus of her prayer and what she was striving for and she took the time to correct Eli in his ignorance and bad judgment.

In the Bible we see an extreme case of respecting, honoring and forgiving a leader who really was way off, to the point that God removed His Spirit from him. It is the story of David in his dealings with Soul. You know the story, Soul was so jealous of David that he literally wanted to kill him. Killing David, a faithful servant to him, became the focus of his administration. Twice David had an opportunity to kill Soul and twice he refuse. Like Hannah, David responded with humility, with respect and, in the process, intended to correct Soul in his error.

I know that these are days where we are indeed in a crisis of leadership in our nation and perhaps in the whole world. However, we must not allow the mess of our leaders, their issues and their bad judgments to move us away from the Lord and from the destiny that we have in HIM. You may be facing a situation where, just like David, for the sake of your own destiny in God, you may need to run away from that leader and ministry, but in the process of running, refuse to disrespect, dishonor and fill your heart with bitterness towards that leader. God is a God of justice; He adds and removes whomever He wants and surely He will do justice for you. Only one person can stop what God wants to do in your life and that person is you! One of the easiest ways to stop our progress in God is by allowing bitterness to dwell in our hearts. Beloved, guard your hearts as you move forward in your transition.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Don’t Give Up on the Church!


Don’t Give Up on the Church!

We must understand that even as the church has a long way to go, without a doubt we will be ready for the coming of the Lord. Nothing will stop us: Not the prosperity message, not the lack of fathers in ministry, not the corruption, no sin, no immoral life style, no controlling pastor, no sellouts, no false prophets, no false doctrine, no denomination, no division, no false teachers, etc. The Holy Spirit will burn all that foolishness out of us and will also separate the real Christians from the pretenders. Even as we take time on this blog to point out some areas in the Body of Christ that need fixing, we are well aware of the reality of a guaranty victory. For the Bible tells us in Mathew 16:13-19

13 When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?”

14 They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”

15 “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”

17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be[d] bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.”

 

I am calling those that have given up on the church, to return and to come back home, before is too late. Beloved staying away from the fellowship of the saints is a sin. Nothing that you have gone through justified you walking away from the Body of Christ. Hebrews 10:19-25 tells us:

 “19 Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

 

 

Beloved, Don’t Give Up on the Church!

 

Learning from Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 4


“Falsely Accused by the One Who Should Know Better”

 

So Hannah arose after they had finished eating and drinking in Shiloh. Now Eli the priest was sitting on the seat by the doorpost of the tabernacleof the Lord. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord and wept in anguish. Then she made a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of Your maidservant and remember me, and not forget Your maidservant, but will give Your maidservant a male child, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall come upon his head.”And it happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli watched her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli thought she was drunk.So Eli said to her, “How long will you be drunk? Put your wine away from you!” (1 Samuel 1:9-14)

 

There is no way around this one; this one is an essential part in the process of growing up. Beloved, we must learn to deal with our leaders in the Lord. By now, you probably have already experienced the painful blow of being misunderstood by a person in position of authority. I learned many years ago that after your marriage, perhaps there is no other relationship that the enemy will come against with greater force than our relationship with our spiritual leaders.

 

Here we see Hannah pouring out her heart in overwhelming bitterness of soul and a leader, who should know better, accused her of being a drunk. We must understand that everybody, including us, can be used by Satan to do and say the wrong thing at one point or another. We see in Matthew sixteen how Peter declared that Jesus is the Lord one minute and the other, he tries to discouraged HIM from dying on the cross; Jesus answered to Peter by saying:  “Get behind Me, Satan!”

 

Today’s days, because of the deep crisis of spiritual fathers in the Body of Christ, the number of people wounded and even killed by friendly fire is astonishing. The Church is filled with hurting people, as is also filled with many leaders that are moving in the jealous spirit of soul; others are filled with the spirit of control or witchcraft, while yet others, are totally unconcerned for the people. Their focus is on their careers, the size of the building, the number of members, going on TV, traveling the world, speaking engagements, writing books, making big money, etc. They are in the business of making a name for themselves.

 

However, I must point out, that if we want to move up in our transition process we must learn to properly deal with the ugly humanity of our leaders. We must learn that even as they carry a greater responsibility, at the end of the day, they are just humans like the rest of us. On the next part of this series we will learn how to properly respond the false accusation coming from a leader.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

 

Learning From Hannah’s Painful Transition Process Part 3


“A Desire For Something More”

“Then Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? Why do you not eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not better to you than ten sons?” (1 Samuel 1:8)

            Sometimes it seems like we have it all together; a beautiful family, a nice car, nice home, a good job and plenty of opportunities to minister by using God’s gifts in our lives. However, in the mix of all, there is a sense of sadness, dissatisfaction and a desire for something more. Have you ever felt like that?

Hannah was highly favored by her husband, but her desire to have a son and to leave a legacy was deep within her soul. That’s what happens; is an indescribable destiny that is far greater than us, knocking at the door of our dreams and challenging our imagination. Oh we know; there is indeed something more! Nobody understands the pain, the frustration, the uncomfortable feeling, the irritation…While others go about living their lives and they seem so happy, your heart burns for that something more. Perhaps your are weeping for a particular nation, for the homeless, for the drug addicts, for the condition of the church, for the hungry, for the fatherless or for whatever else.

Beloved, what our hearts break for is the greatest indication of what our ministry should be. Having good people around us, good family, a good local church, good friends and good things does not matter. Nothing will do; we are indeed grateful, but nowhere near satisfied in terms of what we are able to do for the glory of God and for the service of His people. Lord, give us that something more!

TO BE CONTINUED…