Monday, November 29, 2010

My Trip to the Emergency Room

I had a bit of a problem last Mon, had to go to the emergency room, via paramedics (not really there were more than 2) the drama of the ambulance, fire trucks (why did they send 2, I am not that big) and all theatrics sacred the little one, but I lived, major asthma attack followed by an massive allergic reaction, worst in my life… another near death experience, but wait it gets worst, it was embarrassing and now the bill is coming!

It has been a tough year for us, it is the “year of the Job,” experiencing medical problems, lowest giving in 30 years and we can’t pay bills, was swindled and cheated by a friend in a bad real estate deal, my hydrogen car did blow up, the loss of most of our overseas operations due to the floods, (who knew fish farms did not like all that water) and the irony, our roofing business, is in the biggest demand ever (how we raise funds for our overseas opps) but we lost all of our buildings and equipment and can’t replace it… We have no funding and massive opportunity. So, I have a week to find what I am grateful for, besides Christ in my life and my family….

Hot off the press, our new Newsletter!

Please keep us in prayer; we are facing enormous spiritual warfare and difficulties against us as staff, ministry workers and the ministry. We need your fervent prayers and people to step up with support to continue this ministry, be blessed and thank-you!


Are you in the dark moments of life?

In the dark moments of life, we often ask and plead why is God allowing this to happen to me? Is this love and care?

What happens to you that causes a loss of focus upon Christ? How does it make you feel that your sorrow is temporary?

In John 16:16-33, Jesus said: in just a little while, I am going to the Father; I know you are very sad, but this is actually good and for the best. You will see me again soon. The Disciples had trouble understanding this. For them, Jesus was going to His doom and all they felt was gloom; and yet, Jesus was trying to tell them this would be the greatest triumph and their greatest joy. For He would transform worldly joy to sorrow and the believer’s grief to Joy, for He is real and alive, living and working in us all! Then, Jesus used the illustration of a woman and her extreme birthing pains that turn into joy when she finally holds her baby.

The pains are temporary, but the baby becomes a dear loved one for a lifetime. Sorrow would be temporary, for they would see Jesus again. We cannot identify with them in this particular loss (Jesus leaving them), but we do experience loss of focus. Jesus is still there, but we rather place our eyes on our circumstances and woes; we become scattered from His percepts, call, and love, and we fuss over our issues until we refocus and face our Lord and see His hands of love that were there the entire time. We have a God who is here, who is there, and to whom we can go directly and commune with Him, ask of Him, know and do His will—all by Christ for Joy. Christ has overcome the world so we can have peace!

In this passage, the Disciples realized their world and all their hopes and dreams would soon fall apart, leaving them disillusioned, desperate, and depressed. They would be confused and dazed, and weep, wondering what would happen to them. However, Jesus assured them that it would be OK, and that they would see the risen Christ again. But, at this time, they were not “getting” it. The world may express joy for the suffering and death of the One True Savior and for our troubles, but, true joy will come to those of us in Christ! Then, Jesus reassured them that this would be good, along with a promise of His permanence and that this would all transform to great joy! John and his followers were experiencing the very tribulation Jesus was telling about. They were losing their places in the Synagogues, being betrayed by friends and family, losing their families and lands, losing their jobs, and any influence or inheritance by hostile, prideful Jews and God-hating Romans. The Jews did not believe one could hear God or have a personal relationship with Him as the Christians claimed, and were jealous and/or refused to be convicted. The Romans had an extreme distain for monotheism and apocalyptic cults (that Christianity was considered then by them), thus the antagonism (John 9:34; 11:50; 12:42).

If Jesus is here in our midst, then why do we tend to place our eyes on our circumstances and problems? How does this scatter us from His percepts, call, and love?

We may not understand what we are going through or understand what is God up to in all of this, but as we find ourselves in these shadows and dark places of life, we can find ourselves in His arms of love too. Like a hug in a very dark room, you can’t see the person giving you the care or love, but you can feel their presence. It is so with God; we can feel our way through by touching His Word and standing on His precepts. We have to allow our trust in Christ to work, believing that He is not smiting us, but He is working out something marvelous in us and even when we can’t see it now, knowing that one day we will. We do have hope and He will not allow anything to happen to us that is not in His will or that will be totally detrimental. There is a limit to what He will do…so we can hang in there and trust in Him!

Do you fully realize that you have a God who is here, who is there, and you can go directly to Him? How does the fact that Christ has overcome the world so we can have peace strengthen your faith and perseverance? How can you make this more so?

Monday, November 08, 2010

Who is the Holy Spirit to you?

Who is the Holy Spirit to you?

John 16: 1-15

This essence of who God is and what He did must pour into us from Christ and then stream out of us so we can touch others with God’s love. This love is the definitive work of our God and the power we have as Christians. We are to be empowered by God’s love through all situations and circumstances. Then, we can practice the true love that we are given, which is the turning of our backs to what we want and our concerns and instead facing forward to others. This requires us to surrender our will to His.

Is He your Spirit of truth?

The Holy Spirit is the Supreme Interpreter of Scripture. He testifies about Jesus to us and to the world as real, authentic, true Truth—and nothing but the Truth! He even enables us to live out and perform Christ's teachings on His terms so we enabled to trust and understand Him and His call. He does not steer a true follower into interpretations that contradict His Word or fail to have logical consistency from the understanding, application and teaching of Scripture. The problem is our pride and will and lust for what we want that gets in the way. The good news is that His Word is here and available. God’s Truth is faith and reason that is intertwined and given to us and we are given the rational capacity to understand it and the ability to have faith and trust Him when we do not. He does not give us information or duty that we can’t understand or apply (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:12-15; Rom 1:21; 1 Cor. 2:9-12).

Is He your Guide?

This is not about science and knowledge; rather, it involves preparation for faith by His lead and command. We are to have a trusting and prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, for He inspired the Word in its inception and inspires us now in our understating and application of it. In fact, we can’t properly grasp or apply His Word without His guidance in it (John 14:26; 15:26; 2 Peter 1:21; Eph. 4:18; Rev. 1:19).

Is He your Truth?

This means the knowledge of who, why, and what concerning Christ, and it is true Truth. It is not bound to or by any human reason or tradition and can’t be corrupted; but we can misrepresent it (Psalm 25:5; 43:3; John 5:8; 14:6; 15:15; Eph. 1:13; Col. 1:1-8; 2 Tim. 2:15; James 1:18).

Do you speak only what He hears?

The primary role of God the Spirit is to “showcase” Christ, never to point to Himself. The same goes for a servant of God; he/she is to point to Him, not to self. The distinction is pride. Does one point others to Christ wholly or to themselves? When a person or ministry emphasizes the Holy Spirit to the diminishment or exclusion of Christ, you will know they are false and not of God.

Do you bring glory to Christ?

The Holy Spirit will never ever draw attention to Himself; He only promotes the glory of Christ. If any preacher does or says otherwise, he is not of God! The plan and scope of creation and redemption center upon Christ as Creator, Savior, and LORD. Then the Holy Spirit brings Jesus’ teachings to us by the Bible and helps us understand it (John 15:26; 1 Cor. 2:4).

Our partnership with God though faith is demonstrated by substance and connection. It is confirmed in how we choose to live our lives and touch others for Christ. It shows how our character, from our spiritual formation, is applied. If we ignore our brothers and sisters in the Lord or those in the world who are in need while we boast we are in Him, what good is our faith? Our pious demonstrations would be ineffectual, and even detrimental to others. Faith is not a substance meant to stand unused; rather, it is to be employed and infused by Christ (Luke 3:21; John 1:32-34; 3:34; Acts 1-21 John 3:16-20)!

1. What would it mean to you to be more empowered by God’s love through all situations and circumstances?

2. How can you allow the essence of who God is pour into you, and then stream out so you can touch others with God’s love?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Are you ready for Worship?

Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:19-25

In the context of the passage, Hebrews chapter nine, we have a reminder that we enter a Most Holy Place; we have access to God’s Heavenly Temple where before, in the earthly copy, only the high priest had access, and then only once a year. This is a monumental opportunity and shows us the depth and magnitude of how much we have been saved, the whole propose of giving honor to God. This passage shows us that Jesus is our Perfect Sanctuary and gives the comparison between what God expected in the Old Testament and how we were not able to meet His standards; but, Christ does so in our place (Psalm 100; Heb. 9-10).

The passage in Hebrews, chapter ten, gives us an incredible promise and hope for our lives. We have the mind-boggling opportunity and call to approach God with boldness and confidence since He has covered our sins by the Person and Work of Christ. In worship, we are entering God’s holy sanctuary! We must be aware of the extraordinary unique sacrifice our Lord paid on our behalf and the agony and cost He bore, just so we could enter into God’s presence (Rev. 4-5).

Perhaps by refocusing on what Scripture lays out, we can fix our broken churches and our irreverence for our Lord. We must pay attention to Christ with faith and hope. He is giving encouragement to show an essential aspect of faith; it is trusting in Christ, but not blind faith because we know in whom we trust. This gives us assurance. We do not need to go to an altar or a priest, since Christ fills that role Himself. Jesus now asks us to come, where before, we had to stay away and give a sacrifice that was very temporary; in addition, if one’s heart was not right, the sacrifice was not accepted. Now we can go before Him anytime and anywhere. In context, we are also given four conditions:

1. Sincere heart!
2. Undivided allegiance, as in loyalty to Christ and His Church!
3. Full assurance of faith!
4. Hearts sprinkled and Bodies washed!

The question is why do we not, or why do we do so, so rarely? The pointed question for us is: are we filled with gratitude for who and what He has done? Can we really draw near to Him (Heb. 10:19-25)?

This all means we have clear, uninhibited access to God because of Christ (Gen. 4:2-15; Psalm 15; 73:28; Jer. 30:18-22; Matt. 27:51; Rom. 5:1-2; Eph. 2:13-22; Heb. 4:16; 7:19-25; 12:28; 3:15-16; 1 Pet. 2:4-10). And what makes this entrée happen is responding to His call with our sincere and true heart. This is showing that our willingness to be dependable and faithful without ulterior motives are the practical applications and exhortations of Christ’s precepts (Psalm 24:4; Jer. 24:7; Matt. 15:8).

Then, our full assurance of faith indicates our commitment; our faith does not hesitate since we are trusting in and following Christ. This sets us up for the Hebrews chapter 11 “hall of fame” of faith, what godly people do with faith. Salvation is not meant to be an invitation to merely sit in a pew; it is meant to impact our lives so we can motivate others to be encouraging and practical to one another.

By the work and love of our Lord, our hearts are sprinkled. By this, I mean a complete change and renewal of our hearts and minds when we receive Christ’s work and gift of grace and are thus released from a guilty conscience. This is about who Christ is and what He has done, and that we have freedom because of His once-for-all sacrifice (Rom. 1:8-15; 1 Cor. 11:4; Phil. 1:3; Col. 1:3; 1 Thess. 1:2; 2 Thess. 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:1; Philemon 4).

We are given covering and spiritual cleansing as our bodies are washed. This is like how the Hebrew Priests who went through the cleansing rituals could enter God’s presence with reverence and respect. We are cleansed before God’s sight; what an animal sacrifice did in the OT law, now Christ has done permanently for us, and we are washed so we can enter God’s presence (Ex. 24:8; 29:4; Lev. 16:4; Rom. 12:1-3; Heb. 9:13-14; 1 Pet. 1:2). Why is this important? It prepares us to worship God, for our sins are temporarily hidden. Now, in Christ, we are cleansed by the New Covenant and we are enabled to worship, which is an essential component of communion and community in Christ. We communicate our love, adoration, and gratitude to Christ, doing it together as a church locally, as a Church universally, and with all of creation “in concert” (Ex. 30:19-21; Lev. 8:6; 14:7-9; Ezek. 36:25-29; Eph. 5:26).

However, we must be on guard for the barriers that block us from receiving the application of worship. First, we are not to doubt, rather, trust and obey. James warns us that being double minded is like being on a rudderless boat, in a storm, on the sea. It will toss us to nowhere but ruin. Second is unwavering faith. The result is we will turn our frustrations and problems over to the Lord. If we insist on solving life’s issues ourselves, we will be very disappointed at the outcome. Giving of ourselves is a prime aspect of worship as our own personal gift to ourselves cannot work. If you are too busy working it out yourself, then the opportunity for God to work in you will be lost. Let God give Himself to you, let Him be God. Instability leads us nowhere, just like the storm tossed sea. Let your faith be unwavering and your boat be guided by God’s rudder and power; then, we can be healthy growing Christians in that elusive healthy church (James 5:1-8).