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:

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.

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.

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).

Do Not Weep

(Luke 7:11-16)

After a busy day teaching the multitude, YAHSHUA entered the city of Capernaum. From there, a Centurion’s servant was healed. Then He proceeded to a town called Nain. Nain was a small village in Galilee, located approximately four miles from Mount Tabor and twenty miles southwest of Capernaum. It was nestled in a beautiful region in Israel. Nain means beauty and pleasantness. The Mount Tabor carries a prominent role in the times of Joshua and Deborah. It is situated at the eastern end of Jezreel Valley, with the elevation at the summit of 1,886 feet high. It is a symbol of beauty according to Scripture in Jeremiah 46:18 and Psalms 89:12. As YAHSHUA enters that beautiful place, He is greeted with a funeral procession. Crying and sobs, hopelessness all in one tune reach His ears. A young man, the son of a widow, who depended solely on him for everything, lies cold in a coffin to the place where would not be seen no more. The crying of the widow moves YAHSHUA’S heart, and in a moment of hope, He says to her, Do not weep. Hope abounded in the heart of the widow, as she heard His voice. That was a voice of the Creator, comforting her with resurrection power. She had not heard that voice before perhaps, but the serenity and love echoing through His voice, she knew it was the voice of her Messiah, raising her from the ashes of sorrow and transporting her to the height of joy. Resurrection power took hold of her son and life entered him at the command of the One Who is the Resurrection and the Life!

Hezekiah Prayed

Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord, saying, I beseech You, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before You in faithfulness and truth and with a whole heart and have done what is good in Your sight. And Hezekiah wept bitterly (II Kings 20:2-3).

The Bible registers King Hezekiah as a good king. He walked in the way of the Lord. He did right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his [forefather] had done. He removed the high places, broke the images, but down the Asherim, and broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for until them the Israelites had burned incense to it; but he called it Nehushtan [a bronze trifle]. He trusted in the Lord and was confident in the Lord, the God of Israel; so that neither after him nor before him was any one of all the kings of Judah like him. For he clung and held fast to the Lord and ceased not to follow Him, but kept His commandments, as the Lord commanded Moses; and the Lord was with Hezekiah; he prospered wherever he went…( II Kings 18:3-7a).

YAHSHUA, My Shepherd

(Palm 23; John 10)

When we read Psalm twenty-three we see the beautiful love the Shepherd has for His sheep. In the course of the sheep’s life, He makes sure that they are well provided, protected and cared for.  He makes sure that the life of His sheep is provided all the way into eternity. This is what a true sheep says about her Shepherd: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack. He is to His sheep their Living Bread, the Manna that came from heaven. Although Israel ate manna in the desert, they died. But the Manna that our Shepherd offers, produces life that is everlasting. YAHSHUA assured Israel that Moses did not give them the Bread from heaven, but it is His Father Who gives the true heavenly Bread; for the Bread of God, said YAHSHUA, is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world; I Am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst anymore (John 6:32-34). That’s the standing promise to the sheep who has accepted YAHSHUA’S invitation.

After a long day of wandering, the Shepherd makes His sheep to rest. He makes sure that they lie down in soft cool grass, from where they receive not only their rest, but also their nourishment. It is a time of reflection, a time of healing, a time to converse with the Shepherd and hear what He has to say. Oftentimes His sheep spend their energy on things that are of no spiritual values. Sometimes they wander away, far from Him and feel lost in the confusion of their mind. The Shepherd calls them to rest and makes them to do so. It can happen through any means He chooses to do: It can come through prolonged disease or any other ways that will cause them to hear His voice and obey Him.  After a restful time in His Word, He then leads them beside the quiet waters. We can never appreciate the quiet waters without first laying down at His feet to be nourished with the bread of life. The quiet waters are the ministry of His Holy Spirit. He came to comfort, to teach, to convict, to guide, among many other things. Our soul is restored with His presence. Our Shepherd then leads us in the path of sanctification for the glory of His name. The paths to sanctification include the hard and fearful valley of death. This is a must for every sheep of YAHSHUA to go through with Him. Fear will not be present in the heart because His presence supplies all they need to overcome the dreadfulness of the valley. The Shepherd uses His rod and His staff to defend, protect and to comfort His sheep. His rod is His weapon against danger that rises against them; it is also the means of discipline when a sheep wanders away from Him.  The staff conveys concern, compassion and comfort. Phillip Keller, a shepherd himself, defines the difference of the two: he says, “Whereas the rod conveys the concept of authority, power, of discipline and defense, the staff speaks of longsuffering and kindness.” The presence of our Shepherd is key in bringing peace to our heart. When we are near Him we experience His peace and nothing in the world can destroy it. Philip confirms: “In the course of time I came to realize that nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master and owner and protector put them at east as nothing else could do. Continuous conflict and jealousy within the flock can be a most detrimental thing. The sheep become edgy, tense, discontented, and restless. They lose weight and become irritable. But one point that always interested me very much was that whenever I came into view and my presence attracted their attention, the sheep quickly forgot their foolish rivalries and stopped their fighting. The shepherd’s presence made all the difference in their behavior.” – Philip Keller

I have Called You My Friends

The word friend brings warmth to the heart that not even a fireplace in a cold winter could compete with it. It warms the soul of man with assurance and confidence in the person we consider a friend. A true friend overlooks many things for the sake of lasting friendship. But in spite of all that, there is no perfect friendship that will last a lifetime without disappointments and sometimes to the point of breaking the link of friendship chain.  I am sure that all of us in one time or other have experienced betrayals in our relationship with a friend. King David testified of that in Psalm 55:12-14: For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me- then I might  bear it; not is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me- then I might hide from him; but it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend;we had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company; and even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me (Ps. 41:9) Prophetic of YAHSHUA’S experience at the time of His ordeal fulfilled in John 13: 18 in YAHSUA’S  own words: …I know whom I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He who eats My bread with Me has raised up His heel against Me. YAHSHUA suffered the betrayal from one of His disciples, who were considered His friends.  Judas, in spite of walking with YAHSHUA as His disciples, experiencing first-hand miracles and the supernatural for three years, had not set his heart to be His friend, because he hadn’t accepted Him as the Son of God.  On one occasion, he criticized Mary for anointing YAHSHUA before His death. There was no room for anyone to do that, unless he was of the devil and was performing the deed of his father. As the son of perdition, He was available for Satan to enter him and perform the act of the betrayal of the Son of God. His heart was focused on doing that, even when there was the opportunity for him to repent at YAHSHUA’S warning.