Freedom Through Confession and Forgiveness

King David, following the lust of the eye, fell into the grave sins of adultery and homicide. For not dealing with them, he suffered consequences marked on his body, called disease. He was also mentally disturbed through the torment of guilt. He describes his ordeal in Psalm 32 by saying, When I kept silence [before I confessed], my bones wasted away through my groaning all the day long. Got fay and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my moisture was turned into the drought of summer; I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord then You forgave me the guilt and iniquity of my sin (vs. 3-5). Two organs felt the consequences of David’s non-confessed sins: the bones and the kidneys- (my moisture was turned into the drought of summer). We have here the confirmation that we bring on ourselves diseases because of non-confessed sins. The weight that they have on us is difficult to deal alone without confession to God and to the one we have offended. We all know the hold that guilt together with fear have on us. Fear, because guilt brings with it the spirit of fear, and fear brings with it remorse. It is fear and remorse that devastate our mental capability, leading us to mental illnesses and ultimately, suicide. If only we had the courage to face the reality before us, we would rid of fear of confessing our sins. We also would experience peace and spiritual and mental freedoms. The Bible says, If we admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9).

Do You Love Me Peter, More Than These?

(John 21)

It was the third time that the Lord had appeared to the disciples after He arose from the dead. They were waiting for Him at the Sea of Galilee, as they were told, although not everyone was there. Only seven out of eleven disciples. We don’t know how long they had waited before Peter decided to go fishing and the rest with him. YAHSHUA came to them in the early hour of the morning, when they were exhausted, for not having caught anything all night. YAHSHUA stood at the beach, without them recognizing Him. His familiar voice called to them saying, Boys, You do not have any meat, do you? They answered Him, No! And He said to them, Cast the net on the right side of the boat and you will find, so they cast the net, and now they were not able to haul it in for such a big catch of fish (vs. 5,6). 153 large fish were caught that morning under the command of YAHSHUA, Whom they did not recognize at first. YAHSHUA had breakfast ready for them when they got to land. He invited them to eat. He took the bread and the fish and gave them to the disciples. After they had eaten, YAHSHUA directed a very important question to Peter. A question that would connect Peter once again with Lord, for saying, “I do not know the man,” he had left the Lord. A question that would challenge his love for YAHSHUA. Three times the same question was asked, measuring up to the three times he denied the Lord. Grieved that YAHSHUA should ask him the third time, Do you love Me? He said to Him, Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You (vs.17).

The first time YAHSHUA asked the question, Do you love Me, He added, more than these? Peter’s mind was on going back to his old life style. “I am going fishing.” With that, he disregarded YAHSUA’S calling of while back: “I will make you fisher of men” (Luke 5). The love that YAHSHUA was challenging Peter was not to the extent of the love the disciples had for Him. As you know, they too failed in their demonstration of their love for YAHSHUA. One betrayed Him, one doubted Him, and the rest forsook Him at the moment He needed them the most. It was not a question of comparison of his love with the other disciples’ love for YAHSHUA. No, this had to do with the love that Peter had for his fisherman’s business. Under the command of YAHSHUA, he had caught many fish. That was his livelihood, his money maker. Was Peter willing to leave all behind once again to serve the Lord, after the Lord had left the world? His past actions showed otherwise. YAHSHUA had to re-instate Peter with the question, Do you love Me more than these? In order for him to realize where he was and where he should have been. “I do not know the man” were the words Peter uttered to confirm he had forsaken the Lord. YAHSHUA was bringing him back to equip him for a task that required his complete surrender. A task that required the giving up his life to die for YAHSHUA, not only spiritually, but physically. It would be only through his genuine love for the Lord that he could accomplish the calling to be a martyr. Had not the Lord reinstated him, Peter would have gone his old way of living; but God had a purpose for him that only him would fulfill it: Feed “My lambs,” three times YAHSHUA challenged Peter’s love for Him. “Not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life that I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me (Gal. 2:20) Peter had to die to self to receive the supernatural strength that came from God for him to go through the hard road ahead of him, as the Lord told him in which manner he was going to die as a martyr.

Brasil Clama a Sua Liberdade

Outubro saiu deixando o povo Brasileiro desmoirado e sem esperança. Um país que se orgulha das suas belezas naturais, riquezas da terra, de um povo pacifico, de uma vida movimentada pelo futebol e suas músicas ritmadas alegres e ao mesmo tempo melancólicas. Mas O Brasil acordou na manha do dia primeiro de novembro, assustado com a possibilidade, de ser roubada a sua liberdade, a vida feliz que desfrutava. Anos atrás, quando o comunismo tentou invadir o Brasil, as forças militares agiram de uma maneira rápida e sem prejuízo a pátria. Hoje, a história repete-se, mas a ação dos militares difere do passado na sua ação demorada no agir pelo país.  A angústia que o povo sente é transmitida pela rede da internet, àqueles que assistem o seu reporte. Chora Brasil a tua liberdade nestes dias de incerteza, na tua dor da possibilidade que tudo que representava a tua vida, o teu calor humano, acabou. Mas, contudo, isso, do Senhor vem a resposta final que precisas saber encontrada em Isaias 7: 1-4, 7,9 que diz:

The Lord Waits to Be Gracious to You

(Isaiah 30:18)

Walking alone through the desert of life, in the winter season, life becomes obscure and uncertain. Doubts controls the mind with the question, Is there a God? If so, why are we suffering? They measure the existence of God by circumstances, a thing that is here today and gone tomorrow. The Prophet Jeremiah was thrown into a mire of a deep well because they did not want to hear the message against them; Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den for not denying his God; his friends were thrown into a furnace for not worshipping the Babylonian god. These servants of God walked the desert while they confidently feared and trusted God. Paul and Silas were thrown in jail for preaching the Gospel of our Lord YAHSHUA, and Peter was thrown in jail for believing YAHSHUA. Yes, the deserts of life and the winters of life are for everyone. But that does not exempt God’s presence in every circumstance life brings us; that is not a confirmation that He does not exist. The parable that YAHSHUA told concerning the two sons, one left at his own will to enjoy the world with his own inheritance. He tasted both sides of the world in his pursuit to his independence. Soon, life became to him a desert in that world that once he enjoyed while he had money. Lonely and hungry, abandoned by his friends, he was left to ponder while feeding on pigs’ food. Then when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father have enough food, and to spare, but I am perishing here of hunger! (Luke 15:17). Back home, however, his father never stopped waiting for him to come home. With the true love of a father, he longed for him day after day. In one of the days while waiting for his son, he recognized him from a distance, although his appearance was not the same as when he left home. Running to meet him, he embraced him filled with joy and forgiveness for that lost son. A change of clothes, a new sandal, and a ring were given him and once again he was established into the family with much festivity.   

From Glory to Glory

                                  (II Cor. 3:18; Ephesians 5:27; I Cor. 15: 43)

And all of us, as with unveiled face, continued to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [who is] the Spirit (II Cor. 3: 18).

In justification, through faith into Christ the sinner is accepted in Christ (Ephesians. 5:17) who Himself is the pure and perfect Image of God, and that divine image is freely imputed to the believer. In sanctification, through the operation of the Holy Spirit who enables the believer constantly to behold the glory of the Lord, that image is increasingly imparted to the Christian. In glorification, justification and sanctification become complete in one, for that image is then finally impressed upon the redeemed in unobscured fullness, to the glory of God throughout eternity” (Second Corinthians, p. 120) Philip Hughes.

When God created Adam and Eve, He made them in His image and likeness (Gen. 1:26). But when they failed out of God’s image, they received the spirit of fear instead. In His customary time when He came to talk to them, God found them hidden and afraid when they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day. Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, Where are you? He said, I heard the sound of You in the garden and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself (Gen. 3:8-10). Because Adam and Eve had lost the image of God, they became slaves to the spirit of fear and to the demands of the flesh. Men lost the sparkle of the glory of God. A wall was now in between them and God; no longer did God walk in the garden to talk to them. But God’s love for men compelled Him to do something to restore them to Him again. And at the fullness of time He sent His Son YAHSHUA to restore and reconcile men to His Father, God. In that reconciliation man was justified through faith in Messiah; he was sanctified through the work of the Holy Spirit given him at the moment of his spiritual birth; God gave them His image through the indwelling of His Holy Spirit. The fullness of the glory of God will be complete in those who have accepted Him in their glorification, God’s final work in men. Man is justified, acquitted, and forgiven in the process of salvation; he is sanctified to reflect the glory of YAHSHUA, which is increasing from one glory to another, as he grows in Christ and matures in Him. Finally he will be glorified and completely holy and blameless and he will be as YAHSHUA is when men see Him.

Guard Your Heart Above All

(Heb. 13:9; Prov. 4:23)

Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23).

The physical heart is not just a muscle; It is the body’s engine room, responsible for pumping life-sustaining blood via a network of vessels. It sends oxygen to the entire body. The heart is an amazing pump; it beats 72 times a minute. It is truly the spring of life. When it stops life stops with it. It is the center of our emotions. As such it is the symbol of goodness or meanness. At the act of one’s goodness, it is said to be from a heart of gold. But it is there that bitterness is harbored and evil springs forth. A carrier of life in the physical, the heart is also a receiver of good and evil in its emotions. The Bible says that the heart is deceitful above all things and perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it (Jer. 17: 9). The tendency of the heart is to be evil. It is in agreement with the ingenerated soul of men which comprises the mind also. It is hard to understand that a body organ so vital to bring life is also a haven to harbor corruption, destruction, and bitterness. Solomon admonishes us to guard the heart with all vigilance, because the heart is vulnerable to all things. The heart receives and the mind processes whatever enters the heart of men. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to hold our thoughts captive into obedience to Christ and to have a renewed mind. That in itself is guarding the heart. We are what we think in our heart. As the heart is, so is man. The mind, the master controller of the body, is key in guarding the heart. When the soul is mentioned, it is implied to be the heart and the mind, that is, emotion, will and intellect. We feel with the heart, we desire with the heart and we think with our mind. Heart and mind are inseparable in their functions.

Good News Nourishes the Bones

(Proverbs 15:30)

Who would think that good news would have an effect on the bones? Emotions, the carrier of whatever happens, have a way to internalize news- good or bad on the bones. The mind receives everything that looms around it and translates into happiness, joy, contentment, and more, or worries, fears, anxiety, bitterness and more, depending of the kind of news that are flying around, personal or not. The body receives the happy news as nourishment to the bones, but the bad news stirs the negative emotions and establishes them in different parts of the body, destroying it with diseases. If not dealt with, it will continue from generation to generation, as in the sin of iniquity, leading to inherited physical diseases. There is a connection between a stuck emotion and certain diseases that we must rid of, not to suffer the consequences. Since the body is intrinsically connected, it will feel the emotional and the mental pains through diseases. We have learned that the emotion translated as worry lodges in the stomach, weakening it to be vulnerable to serious problems. So, it is that when the stomach suffers, the digestive system also suffers. The emotion of fear is lodged in the kidneys. But fear, can be very destructive to other organs besides the kidneys. Fear, they say is physical. It affects the heart by quickening its beat, by increasing the pulse and the blood pressure; by changing the breathing patterns – shortness of breath or rapid breathing. (Well ahead blog). Many of us are unaware of the correlation between anger and the liver. As a matter of fact, the way we feel and express our emotion shows the state in which the liver is in.  The emotion of grief is the emotion affecting the lungs. When we hold onto grief too long a time, like any other emotion, grief will become stuck, causing the constriction of breathing and of the chest, bringing discomfort to the lungs. Long time contraction of the lungs will affect the dispersion of nutrient to the body. Stress, the culprit of many diseases, is lodged in the heart. When stress lasts for a while, the heart will respond with high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Happy emotions will affect the bones, as Solomon said, Good news nourishes the bones; a happy life- happy bones; depressed life, unhealthy bones as in arthritis, brittle bones as in osteoporosis and several other bone diseases, including cancer.  We see in this short summary that our body is not immune from what happens in the world, or around us.

You Have Seen Many Things

The spiritual blindness of the soul has embraced the world, creating turmoil and chaos; when right is wrong and wrong is right, we know that confusion has taken its toll on people, for the lies of today’s life style has touched them all. The obviously, seemingly so, is not so for many, for choosing not to see that which stands right before their eyes, refusing to accept the truth.  As in the days of Israel, when the nation behaved contrary to God’s commandments, they saw, but they did not perceive the true meaning of what they had seen. In YAHSHUA’S day on the earth, He dealt with his disciples for acting blind to what they had seen and heard.  The disciples, representing the nation of Israel, continued blind, missing on many things that was expressed by our Lord YAHSHUA. They had seen many things, but perceived none. In several occasions, He called their attention to their spiritual blindness. When they saw YAHSHUA walking on water, they failed to recognize Him and were taken by fear. They failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; in fact, their hearts had grown callous (Mark 6:50,56). On another occasion, YAHSHUA clearly told them about His coming death, calling their attention by saying, Listen! We are going to Jerusalem, and all things that are written about the Son of Man through and by the prophets will be fulfilled. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles and will be made sport of and scoffed and jeered at and insulted and spit upon; they will flog Him and kill Him; and on the third day He will rise again. But they understood nothing of these things; His words were a mystery and hidden from them, and they did not comprehend what He was telling them (Luke 18:31-34). Peter, in his spiritual blindness, took YAHSHUA aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You! (Matt. 16:22). YAHSHUA knowing that Peter’s words had come from Satan himself, rebuked him by saying, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in my way; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature and quality of God, but of men (vs.24).

You Who Seek God

(Psalms 69:30-33)

Man, without God is lost in his corrupted mind and heart, without direction as one blind in the midst of chaos. Created in God’s image, he chose to give it up to go his own way, or the way of the serpent- the devil, to the point of discrediting the very existence of God. When Adam heard the news through his wife, he didn’t seek God for answers. He decided to eat the forbidden fruit with her. Man then lost the image of God. They hid themselves, instead. Feeling ugly and guilty for the decision they had made, then in the awareness of their nakedness, they were ashamed. Hiding from God was their solution to their problem of committing the first sin. Sin that separated them from the Creator, Who often came to the garden to talk to them. Their action of disobedience broke their relationship with God; they no longer had Him to visit them. Separated from the glory of God, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, never to enter it again. They suffered two separations: from God and from the beautiful place, the Garden of Eden, where they lived. It must have been a place like heaven, free from sin and misery it causes. Free from weeds, bugs that destroy; a soil that was perfect and easy to manage, where Adam and Eve benefitted from for their sustenance. Who would like to change it? Satan did. The enemy of humankind had one goal in mind: to destroy men’s relationship with God and take them under his control. As a result, we all became a fallen race from that time on and needing to return to God for our spiritual, physical and mental restorations, through a relationship with Him. You see, God longs to have fellowship with us; He longs to bless us; He longs for us to call on Him in times of trouble. The Psalmist said, Test and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who hopes in Him (Ps. 34:8).

The Hope that Will Never Fade Away

Hope, as I have said before, is a product of faith. It feeds on it to be alive in every circumstance that presents itself. When hope is deferred, the soul is affected and the heart, too. The word deferred means to put off or drag out, as hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life (Prov. 13:12). One example of hope deferred is found in the life of Jacob, after he labored for seven years to marry Rachel, only to end up with her sister, Leah. Imagine the emotional pain he suffered! Seven years of hope and then been deferred is hard to swallow. That’s the hope that the world offers. Despair and anxiety with depression is often the fruit of a deferred hope. Man in his sinful nature, offers nothing that is not tainted with his sinful nature.  Applying hope on the wrong dream, on the wrong person and on wrong things, often results in disappointments. We all have suffered from deferred hope embed in false promises from jobs, relationships, family and friends. Everything in this world that originates from man, is prone to be uncertain and deserving of wisdom on our part. In whom to believe? It is the question echoing in the voices of those depraved of hope, for having had bad experiences. If the hope we have is only on the physical world, we are most miserable and hopeless people, for hope that comes from God is hope that brings us joy, and peace. By believing in Him, His Holy Spirit will empower us to abound in hope (Rom. 8:24-25).