Te Bendeciré / I Will Bless the Lord


En estos tiempos estamos experimentando muchos cambios en nuestra sociedad. No voy a discutir las causas aquí. Estoy aquí para decir que nosotros como cristianos tenemos que ver las cosas no a través del cristal político, conservador o liberal; mas ver las cosas en términos si son de Dios o no. Tenemos que encontrarnos en la presencia de Dios para que podamos a prender a amar y no a odiar. Esta grabación no es perfecta, pero es espontanea y, envuelve a mi esposa y a mi persona. Ella tocaba su piano en la sala después del trabajo y yo sentí la presencia de Dios y la acompañé. Esta es la canción, Te Bendeciré de Artist: Ingrid Rosario Featured artist: Mary Alessi Album: Amanecer Con Dios Genre: Christian/Gospel Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhvH5q8Lf2E

We are experiencing a lot of changes in our society. I am not here to discuss the reasons. I am here to say that we, as believers, need to stop looking at things through the glass of conservative and/or progressive and start looking at things in terms of what is God and what is not. We must find ourselves in God’s presence so we can learn to love and not hate. This recording is far from perfect, but it was spontaneous, and it involves my wife and me. She started playing the piano after work, I felt the presence of God and I joined in. This is the Song, “Te Bendeciré”, Artist: Ingrid Rosario Featured artist: Mary Alessi Album: Amanecer Con Dios Genre: Christian/Gospel. Click here to watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhvH5q8Lf2E

Who Are We and Where is Our Church Family? Part 3


My ministry

I can honestly say that the spirit of exclusivity is completely out of control today. But the fundamental questions of this article remain unanswered, who are we and, where is our Church Family?

  1. As Born-Again Believers (John 3 / I Peter 1:2-4) we are chosen by God (I Peter 2:9).
  2. We are the church, not the building. The building is not necessary for us to be a part of the church.
  3. The church’s modus operandi is very simple; is found in Acts 2:42,

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” NASB)

Church is not a Sunday morning service with every head pointing at one direction looking at the Worship Team and later is expect that the pastor ONLY bring the Word. Church is more than that! The Biblical Church demands real relationships, the Biblical Church demands sharing our lives with other believers, a true family and enjoying true friends. We do these thigs in accordance to Acts 2:42.

I believe that before the coming of the Lord, God is going to bring down denominations. I believe that our church buildings will be shut down and the constitution will not be there to protect us. The Coronavirus is giving us a rehearsal of how things will be like.

The last question to be addressed is where the real church is? If we take a chart of the history of denominations, we may end up confuse. However, we should not be confused. We are not starting any church; how can we start something that’s being around for 2,000 years. All you need is a few men who are mature in the Lord. First Peter 5:1-4 tells us,

Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. (NASB)

         Is it the will of God for you and a few good men to start a church as elders? If the answer is yes; that’s all you need. Open your home for ministry (Acts 5:42), start preaching the gospel to the lost (Mark 16:15), start making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20), start equipping the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16) and start releasing folks to use their gifts to serve others (First Peter 4:10). Put an end to this show time in the Apollo spirit that is overtaken our churches… put an end to this spirit of exclusivity that have been infecting our churches for hundreds of years… Is that simple. You don’t need any denomination for validation; you just need to know the will of God and a wiling heart.

 

 

 

 

 

Who Are We and Where is Our Church Family? Part 2


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The seed of the mess of Christian denominations that we have today started in around 108/140 A. D. with Ignatius Theophorus. “Ignatius Theophorus  was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. While en route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. This correspondence now forms a central part of a later collection of works known to be authored by the Apostolic Fathers.”[1] In one of those letters he used the word Catholic as he states, “Wherever the bishop shall appear, let the multitude of also be, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church…”[2] As we look through history we see a great representation of Christianity through the history of many men and women of God and many awful representations as well. The Catholic Church, whether we like it or not, became the visible church for the whole world to see.

During those first 300 hundred years of church history there was a lot of persecution against the invisible church; that was the church that did not compromised and did not lose the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A lot of people died simply because they were believers in Christ. A lot of Christian blood was shed during this period. A young Roman Emperor, emerged as the “savior” of the Christian Faith, did he really? Constantine the Great, converted to Christianity and declared Christianity the official Christian faith in Rome in 313 A. D. I not believe that Constantine was a Born-Again believer and I believe that:

  1. He was used mightily by Satan to mess up the church and mix the profane with the holy. To keep everybody at peace he mixed things up.
  2. Constantine version of Christianity became Prime Time and very prestigious.
  3. They lost the true Gospel message; the birth, life, resurrection and salvation through Jesus alone.
  4. Anybody that opposed the Catholic Church was considered heretic and killed.
  5. The Catholic Church abandoned God’s Word and embraced and institutionalized version of Christianity… a form of godliness. They moved far away from the Orthodoxy presented by the Original Apostles.
  6. True believers were still suffering persecution and it remained that way for over a thousand years.

Key men were instrumental in challenging the heresy of the Catholic church even before Martin Luther; Men such as:

John Wycliffe 1320s – 31 December 1384)[2] was an English scholastic philosopher, theologian, biblical translator, reformer, priest, and a seminary professor at the University of Oxford. He became an influential dissident within the Roman Catholic priesthood during the 14th century and is considered an important predecessor to Protestantism. Wycliffe attacked the privileged status of the clergy which had bolstered their powerful role in England and the luxury and pomp of local parishes and their ceremonies.[3] Wycliffe advocated translation of the Bible into the common vernacular. In 1382 he completed a translation directly from the Vulgate into Middle English – a version now known as Wycliffe’s Bible.[3]

John Huss 1372 – 6 July 1415), a Czech theologian and philosopher who became a church reformer and an inspirer of Hussitism, a key predecessor to Protestantism and a seminal figure in the Bohemian Reformation. After John Wycliffe, the theorist of ecclesiastical reform, Hus is considered the second church reformer, as he lived before LutherCalvin, and Zwingli.[note 1] His teachings had a strong influence on the states of Western Europe, most immediately in the approval of a reformed Bohemian religious denomination, and, over a century later, on Martin Luther. Hus was a master, dean, and rector at the Charles University in Prague.[4]

Martin LutherO.S.A. (/ˈluːθər/;[1]  German: [ˈmaʁtiːn ˈlʊtɐ]; 10 November 1483[2] – 18 February 1546) was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, Augustinian monk,[3] and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. He came to reject several teachings and practices of the Roman Catholic Church; in particular, he disputed the view on indulgences. Luther proposed an academic discussion of the practice and efficacy of indulgences in his Ninety-five Theses of 1517. His refusal to renounce all of his writings at the demand of Pope Leo X in 1520 and the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms in 1521 resulted in his excommunication by the pope and condemnation as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor.[5]

Well, I wish I can say that after Martin Luther everything became ok with the church, but that is not true; that was the beginning of many, many, many denominations to come. Today we have more than 30,000 denominations.[6]

To be continued…

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignatius_of_Antioch

[2] https://www.inspiringquotes.us/author/2645-ignatius-of-antioch/page:2

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scholasticism

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Hus

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_Luther

[6] https://evolution-outreach.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1007/s12052-010-0221-5

 

Dream With Leviticus 5:1 & Personal Testimony


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I had this dream a few weeks ago. On the dream we were in some kind of camp, retreat or something. I got out of bed and this white American preacher, who seemed to be accompanied by his wife, starts a full blown Bible Study.
We gathered around some round chairs, similar to the bar chairs. He immediately and very enthusiastically asked for us to open our Bibles in Leviticus 5:1. I made the comment that I just woke up 3 minutes ago.
I am the first to get to Leviticus 5:1; but I had problems reading it. The preacher, his wife and the small group that also included my wife, some of my children and my brother Carlos, laughed about me having problems reading. I laughed also and said “I better read this thing with my cell phone so I can see.
As we all laughed the preacher walked us outside. It look like a camping area or retreat area. The weather was nice and it was sunny. I am getting ready to read Leviticus 5:1 and I woke up.
When I woke up I immediately grab my phone to read Leviticus 5:1 with great anticipation:
“Now if a person sins after he hears a public adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.” (NASB)
So, essentially, if you are an eye witness or you know of a crime, sin, violation of any law, etc. and you decide not to testify of that sin, violation of any law, etc. that you know about, that you know is wrong… then you become guilty of what you are trying to cover up.
When we look at the apostles, they dealt a great deal with sin. I am sure they have many people accusing the apostles of judging and thinking they were holier than anybody, but that did not stop them from continuing to address sin, preach the gospel, teach sound doctrine and confront false doctrine. At the end, it cost them their lives. There is indeed a price to pay when we speak God’s truth. I wonder what would be the price I have to pay.
It is so easy to keep our mouth close, to stop preaching and teaching, to turn our heads and go on by our business. However, we as Christians are called to be witnesses and as witnesses we have an obligation to testify of what we see according to Leviticus 5:1. When we don’t we become accomplice. So what are you?

Missing the Glory Days

For months I have felt that nobody cares what I have to say… NOBODY! I got out of Facebook and Twitter. I still have a YouTube channel that I am not using lately. This blog has become the place where I sincerely write what I feel, but always with a Word centered focus.
I know our gifts and callings are irrevocable; Romans tells us that. However, I wonder, where did my ministry go? I used to have my own congregation, I used to minister in prison to the Hispanics and to the general population, I used to often have invitations to preach. Now, nobody cares. I still hear God, I still feel his Word burning in my heart with messages, Bible Studied, etc. But for the most part, they end up in this blog.
After so much sin and disappointment in my life I feel that I disqualify myself. My purpose have been severely affected. I know I will obey God if He calls me to do anything. For now I have witnessed failures after failures in everything I do, from published books, to the starting of any ministry, local churches and yes, even in ministering to my own family.
This is a very dark place to be; I am now 52 and not one door has open! The reality is that I have been one to actually speak up according to Leviticus 5:1; but my price have been a total rejection of my ministry everywhere, starting in my years in Alaska. Yes I preached here and there in Alaska, but not even close to the way it used to be; not even close!
The glory and top of my life as a minister goes back to the summer of 2005, 15 years ago!!!! when I was called to pastor a church in Winton North Carolina and, shortly after, the Lord gave me a powerful prison ministry.
It was very common for me to preach 4 times a day. I will start my day with a morning service to the Hispanics in prison (8:00 am), then I will preach, by invitation, in whatever church (10:30 am), then I will minister in my own church at 3 PM and lastly, I will finished my Sunday’s going back to minister to the general population at prison at 7 PM. Those were, without a doubt, my glory days. I felt so happy, I had great joy in my heart doing what I felt I was born to do.
What price did I paid for that dedication? Well, I lost my first wife to cancer only six months after accepting my call to pastor that church in Winton, North Carolina. I kept ministering with the same schedule, but it did not last that long. I quit ministry and embraced a lifestyle of sin.
Through the years, after that, there have been moments when I feel that I am coming back; but like an old boxer who attempts to come back into the ring, I have witness failure after failure in my life as a minister.
So what am I to do? I am here, ready to preach in and out of season. I am not forcing any doors or loose sleep over it. I will continue to work and make a living and let God use me there. This blog will continue to tell my story; the good, the bad and the ugly and, if God needs me for anything else He knows where to find me!
For now, on this hot day in Arizona, I look forward to playing a round of golf, to walk the golf course at Arizona Traditions and keep lowering my handicap!

Who Are We and Where is Our Church Family?


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On a Pentecost Celebration, 50 days after the resurrection of Christ, the church was birthed. The church started with a membership of about 3,120 brothers and sisters. The Apostle Peter had the honor of preaching the first anointed sermon that marked the inauguration of the Bride of Christ. The result of his preaching brought 3,000 new souls into the Kingdom.

At the time of the birth of the church we had the Old Testament, eyewitnesses who saw Jesus walking on this earth, they saw him dying on the cross, there were eyewitnesses of Jesus’ resurrection and, eyewitnesses who saw him ascending to heaven. The church started with 11 apostles and a substitute for Judas was identified in Acts 1:12-26; Mathias was his name. The New Testament was written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Jude and Paul. We do not know for sure who wrote Hebrews. It is widely accepted that the New Testament was completed by 70 A.D. with the death of the John. Also, even as the rest of the original apostles did not write any portion of Scripture, history tells us that they were very active in the spreading of the gospel and in planting churches. All of the them died horrible deaths for their commitment to their faith in Jesus. John was the only one who died of natural death.

Nothing written after the death of the Apostle John is part of Scripture.

It is important, as we develop this article and in our search for who we are as a church and where is our church family; that we place our focus on the Word itself. The Word is key; Jesus stated in John 8:31-32 “So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (NASB)

It is important to remember these verses because, as we can see through Church history, it is very easy to identify who were not disciples of Jesus by their heretical approach to Scripture and by the twisting of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even as we know in part, the Scripture has made certain truths very obvious and non-negotiable. For example the Apostle Paul has no tolerance for folks who preach a different Gospel when he states, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” Galatians 1:8 (NASB)

Obviously, after the death of John, folks continue to write books just like they do today. Some of those writings were great, but some were flat-out heresy. Let me make it clear that choosing the divine scriptures was not a complicated task; it required three simple qualifications:

“The process of canonization did not grant biblical books their authority. Rather, books that were recognized as authoritative were admitted to the canon.”[4] Klein gives the following criteria for the New Testament Canonicity: 1) Apostolic connection, 2) Orthodoxy in the theology and ethics of the New Testament and 3) books passed the test of times in their effectiveness in helping a large number of churches since the early generations of Christianity.””[5][1]

It is safe to say that for the first 140 years of church we had no denominations; no Catholic church, no Methodist, no Pentecostals, etc.  The original apostles had disciples that were train and they kept the church in good theological shape. So far there was plenty of persecution, but no dealings with the government, no 501 © (3), no need for organizations and no need for an agency to recognize your credentials. In other words, there was no sense of exclusivity as it is today. You were born again; you were discipled, trained in your ministry and expected to walk in your divine calling.

This spirit of exclusivity has been around for a long time and is obviously not of God. For example, Moses finds himself tired, he is suicidal and ready to quit after 39 years of walking with the children of Israel in desert. God tells Moses:

The Lord therefore said to Moses, “Gather for Me seventy men from the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and their officers and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take of the Spirit who is upon you, and will put Him upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you will not bear it all alone. Number 11: 16-17 (NASB)

Many years back Moses’ Father in law provided a man-made solution that proved to be a failure (Exodus 18). However, Moses is now receiving a Godly solution. It is here that we see the spirit of exclusivity showed up for the first time. In Numbers 11:26-29 the Bible tells us,

However, two men, whose names were Eldad and Medad, had remained in the camp. They were listed among the elders, but did not go out to the tent. Yet the Spirit also rested on them, and they prophesied in the camp.27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua son of Nun, who had been Moses’ aide since youth, spoke up and said, “Moses, my lord, stop them!”

29 But Moses replied, “Are you jealous for my sake? I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” (NASB)

Jesus was faced with the same spirit of exclusivity in Luke 9:49 when they saw other folks casting out demons,

John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow along with us.” 50 But Jesus said to him, “Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you.” (NASB)

Finally, we see Paul addressing and explaining this spirit of exclusivity even further. In Philippians 1:15-18 Paul states,

Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ even from envy and strife, but some also from good will; 16 the latter do it out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel; 17 the former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition rather than from pure motives, thinking to cause me distress in my imprisonment.18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. (NASB)

God does have a church government in place. His Government is simple; it includes Apostles, Elders and Deacons. The Apostle was sent and recognized massively by church leadership as a church planter, as leader of leaders and diverse churches. The Elders were the group of leaders of the local church and the Deacons were helpers or servants. Now, with the arrival of tens of thousands of denominations we may feel that if we are not connected with this or this other denomination we may be disconnected from the Body of Christ; but nothing can be further from the truth. The reality is that men has complicated the CHURCH way too much. I go as far as stating that, moving away from God’s Word and the spirit of exclusivity, have served as powerful destructive weapons against the orthodoxy of the church. As I continue developing these articles, I hope to prove my point.

To be continued…

[1] https://angelcasiano.com/2018/02/12/the-canon-of-the-bible/#_ftn4

Salvation is God’s Choice, Not Ours


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I believe that every Born-Again believer will agree with me when I say that, to see our lost family members and our lost friends refusing to follow Jesus is both, painful and frustrated. At times, it seems like the more we pray and the more we witness to them, the worst they get. With this article I hope to take away our frustration by making the point that humans do not have the power or ability to make the choice to be saved. To start making this point lets go to John 1:12-13,

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (NASB)

We are born again not because of the will of man, but completely because the will of God. We are indeed chosen. Peter makes my point when he states, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” I Peter 2:9 (NASB). The Apostle Paul makes this point very clear in Ephesians 2:8-9 when he states, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (NASB)

Based on these verses we need to stay away from the idea that folks can make a decision to accept Christ. It is clear that God is the one choosing us, and it is Him, by Grace, who releases the faith to believe this Gospel. Remember that folks who are not believers are spiritually blind (I John 14:17-20 / 2 Corinthians 4:4). Also, folks who are not saved considered the Gospel foolishness (1 Corinthians 1:18). How God determines who to save and who not to save and why? I don’t know! What I know is that God is perfect in his judgements; the Bible tells us that his judgments are true and righteous (Revelation 19:2).

I am saying all these things directly from Scripture; I believe that the Lord wants to take frustration from our hearts as it relates to family and friends who are not saved. I also believe that the Lord wants to make clear that we also have a job to do as it relates to the unsaved. I believe the order of these duties are important:

  1. Pray for the lost: Paul stated in Romans 10:1, “Brethren, my heart’s desire and my prayer to God for them is for their ” (NASB) As we recognize that we can’t save anybody; we must throw out our frustrations and go to God in intercession for the lost. There was a man who minister to me for 5 years before I got saved. There was a lady who told me that she prayed for me to get save for five years also. She added that she was close from giving up.
  2. We have a duty to love one another as an evangelistic tool: Jesus told us in John 13:35, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (NASB) The only thing that will make us authentic disciples of Jesus Christ is our love for one another. In a world of so many ideological, politics and ethnic divisions, only the church will display true unconditional love (Agape love). As the church becomes more and more purify and, as the church gets ready for the coming of the Lord, the world will be able to witness people of different nations, different ethnic backgrounds, skin complexion, etc. coming together as a true family. That will impress them! That will get their attention! We will not only meet on Sundays and call ourselves a multicultural church. We will share our lives, eat in each other’s home, celebrate birthdays, have fun together, etc. The world will be astonished as such unity and will not question our Christianity. Even if they don’t agree, they will know we are real, and, I believe, they will be attracted by such unity.
  3. Preach the Gospel: Romans 10:14 tells us, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?” (NASB). It is essential that we preach the gospel to the loss. By the gospel I mean the life, the death and resurrection of Chris and, the salvation that is found ONLY through Him. We must not water down the message. Preach the gospel! Another point that I want to make here is, that I have been guilty of teaching God’s principles to the lost; that is a waste of time. As we established before, the lost are blind to God’s righteousness. We are called to preach the gospel to the lost and disciple the believer… period! Many pastors have become psychologist, they have become political and they have become financial advisors, and, in the process, they have totally forgotten the Gospel. Preach the Gospel, that is our job! God will do the rest.
  4. Be an Agent of Good Works on this Earth: Jesus told us, “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (NASB) Listen, salvation is not by works, nobody is good enough and is able to do enough works to be save; if this is so, Jesus died in vain (Galatians 2:21). However, after we are saved, we have a duty to do good works as an external manifestation of our internal faith in God. James 2:20 tells us, “You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless?” (NIV)

In conclusion, the miracle of salvation is all God’s Work entirely. Salvation is a supernatural event that can’t be duplicated by humans. By God’s grace, however, He has given us a job to do. We are called to pray for the lost, to love one another, to preach the gospel and to be agents of good works on this earth. That is how we cooperate with God’s plan.

 

 

 

 

The Danger of Selective Mercy


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God gives mercy to whomever He chooses to give mercy to (Romans 9:18). He is the only one to gets to do that. The rest of us do not have that choice. As believers we are called to extend mercy to everyone. However, there is something in us, a little voice that tells us that, if we give mercy to “certain’ folks who commit “certain” sins, we are allowing them to get away with it. So, we become selective in who we extend mercy to according to how much we like the person, or the sin committed. Let’s face it, who wants to extend mercy to a child’s rapist? Who wants to extend mercy to a terrorist? or, who wants to extend mercy to a serial killer? What about the husband who beats his wife? What about the wife who slept around on her husband while her husband loved her and worked so hard to provide everything she needed?

Beloved, giving mercy is not compromising the righteousness of God. You can call sin, sin and also extend mercy at the same time. We are actually called to do both, to teach what sin is, but also to give mercy. Luke 6:36 tells us, “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” At the center of God’s character is his mercy. When God officially introduced him to Moses, He showed us this seemingly contradiction between mercy and punishment:

Then the Lord came down in the cloud and stood there with him and proclaimed his name, the Lord. And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.” Exodus 34:5-7 (NIV)

 

Concerning sin, the Bible tells us in Isaiah 5:20 “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.” We are called to tell the truth, to call out what sin, transgression and iniquities are. We have a mandate to be trustful regarding sin, but also a mandate to extend mercy. But what is it about mercy that folks have such a hard time with?

On one hand we see people living their lives any kind way, with no fear of God, embracing lives styles of sin and using God’s mercy as an excuse to sin; this is liberalism taking over our pulpits. On the other hand, we have such rigid approach to God that folks feel that they are condemn; that there is no hope because there is no… mercy. Both of these approaches are equally wrong.

Folks embrace liberalism because they want to follow God and also continue in their sin. Folks embrace legalism because 1) they have become wise in their own opinion (Proverbs 3:7); they actually feel they are better than everybody. 2) They have become arrogant; they don’t understand that they can fall in whatever they see others falling (Galatians 6:1). These folks think they are superman or superwoman. They don’t really understand how weak they are. They don’t really understand that it is the Lord who keeps them standing and, that it is the Lord who keeps them away from facing temptations they can’t handle (I Corinthians 10:13). 3) They don’t see their sin as bad as others or, they don’t see their sin at all. In Matthew 7:4-5 Jesus explains this concept by stating;

How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (NIV)

The bottom line is that James 2:13 should get our attention when it comes down to giving mercy to others: “For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” (NIV) From this verse we learned two fundamental principles: 1) If we do not show mercy when others screw up, we will receive no mercy when we screw up. That is the danger of our selective mercy; why? BECAUSE WE WILL SCREW UP… GUARANTEED!

We all need mercy; that is the reason why, even from the Old Testament God declares that “…his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning…” Lamentation 3:22-23 (NIV) 2) Mercy is more effective than judgment when it comes down to changing human behaviors. If you are like me, you like to tell it like it is and, many times, we can come across unmerciful. However, God is telling us here that mercy triumphs over judgment.

We must be careful that we do not find ourselves conforming to the world as we see our society becoming more and more unmerciful. If we are in the business of working and helping people with their soul issues; that is 1) their mind sets, 2) their decision-making and 3) their emotions, we better ask God for a deeper understanding of mercy. We must all stop with our selective mercy and we must be willing and able to extend mercy to everyone. That is our universal call as Christians.

 

 

The One Thing that Impressed Jesus


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God is not impressed with anything we do. He is not impressed with how much we read the Bible or our knowledge of Scripture or how much time we spend in the building we called the church or how much money we give to the poor or, even how much we pray. When Jesus walked on this earth there was only one thing that impressed him. In Matthew 8:5-10 we find an amazing story of the only man who impressed Jesus while Jesus was amongst us.

And when Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, imploring Him,and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, fearfully tormented.” Jesus *said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion said, “Lord, I am not worthy for You to come under my roof, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.” 10 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled and said to those who were following, “Truly I say to you, I have not found such great faith with anyone in Israel. (NASB)

The word Marveled is the Greek word, thaumázō; meaning “To wonder, to marvel, to be struck with admiration or astonishment.[1] What was about this Centurion that struck Jesus with such admiration and astonishment? One thing and one thing only… his faith! The word faith is the Greek word, pístis; meaning “Firm persuasion, conviction, belief in the truth, veracity, reality or faithfulness (though rare). Objectively meaning that which is believed, doctrine, the received articles of faith.”[2] We are many amazing things through Christ, but the only thing that impressed Jesus is our trust in HIM.

The Bible tells us in Hebrews 11:6 that “…without faith it is impossible to please him.” The word please here is the Greek word euarestéō; meaning “Well pleasing. To gratify entirely, to please. To take pleasure in, to be pleased with.”[3] Do we really trust God? These days of the Coronavirus has shown that fancy worship teams and fancy preaching could not bring many folks back to the church. Many are still hiding; they are paralyzed by fear, talking about “fear not!” while still hiding and holding services via Facebook Live and Zoom! Where is our faith? Where our trust in God?

 

 

 

[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[2] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

[3] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).