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.   

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.

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).

Waiting for His Return

Life is waiting; it is time divided by seconds, minutes and hours. All in the space that time allows in a clock to guide us as we wait for something. Waiting teaches us patience and maturity of our understanding; it teaches us to accommodate ourselves to the framed time we must wait. Waiting requires faith for one to be at peace in that period of time. There are many types of waiting; some not so urgent in its routine. But some others very much to the point of bringing us anxiety. It is a thing of the mind trying to control the situation. Usually, we expect the worst, believing whatever comes to mind. This kind of waiting destroys the well-being of the body, especially in area of the stomach, because of its root being fear embedded in worries. However, we must realize the importance of time and use it to do things unrelated to what we are waiting for. It is the time to exercise the muscle of faith, which is in great need to be made strong.

The Upstairs Room

It was close to YAHSHUA’S last Passover, when He sent two of His disciples to a definite place to prepare it for His last Passover Super with them. He said, to them, go into the city, and a man carrying an [earthen] jar or pitcher of water will meet you; follow him. And whatever [house] he enters, say to the master of the house, The Teacher says: Where is My guest room, where I may eat the Passover with My disciples? And he will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready; there prepare for us (Mark 14:13-15). He had come to the end of His earthly ministry and needed a time alone with those called apostles to warn and to teach them and to prepare them for the ministry He was leaving behind for them to continue. That was the time and place when YAHSHUA, alone with His disciples, ministered to them by washing their feet; the time when He constituted the new covenant of His blood; the time when He gave a new commandment- to love one another as He loved them; that was the time and the place where He uttered His priestly prayer for them and for us. There were many disciples who followed Him, but He chose only twelve to be His messengers. These were the ones He explained the meaning of the parables to, who experienced a deep relationship with Him as His friends, who experienced the mount of transfiguration, and who witnessed His anguish at the Gethsemane Garden in the crucial moment of His decision. The last words from YAHSHUA to His disciples were printed in their hearts to change yesterdays and today’s world. Peter’s life was changed from a coward to a courageous outspoken man for the sake of the message he was given to tell; The doubtful Thomas died as a martyr in India for obedience to go and preach to all the world the message of salvation. John died on the Patmos Island, after they tried to kill him by putting him a caldron with boiling water. All died as martyrs for their Messiah. Nothing would stop these disciples from taking a stand for their Master, after the upper room experience.

Rebekah’s Dilemma

(Genesis 25:20-27)

Abraham’s wife was dead at the age of 127 years old. As it was the costume of those days for the parents to find spouses for their children, Abraham trusted his servant, Eliezer of Damascus, who ruled over all he had, to get his son a wife from his own relatives. So, it was that Eliezer by God’s providence found his son a wife, who was Abraham’s brother Nahor’s granddaughter and his grandniece. The Bible relates a beautiful picture of Isaac and Rebekah meeting at her arrival: It was at the time when Isaac went out to meditate and bow down [in prayer]. He looked up and saw that, behold, the camels were coming. And Rebekah looked up and when she saw Isaac, she dismounted from the camel, for she [had] said to the servant, Who is that man walking across the field to meet us? And the servant said, He is my master. So, she took a veil and concealed herself with it. And the servant told Isaac everything that he had done. Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s ten, and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her; thus, Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death (Gen. 24:63-67). Isaac was then forty years old. They were married twenty years and without children. Isaac prayed much to the Lord for his wife, because she was unable to bear children; and the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah, his wife, became pregnant (Gen 25:21). God’s timing plays a very important role in the fulfilling of His promise, no matter how long it will take for it to be fulfilled. In the case of Abraham, it was not until twenty-seven years later, when he was then one hundred years old, that the Lord blessed him with the son of the promise. God blessed Rebekah with twin boys- a double blessing she did not expect. However, wanting to know why such a struggled within her, she went to inquire of the Lord. He revealed to her that two nations were in her womb, and the separation of two peoples had begun in her body; the one people shall be stronger than the other, and the elder shall serve the younger (Gen. 25:21-23). There, in His presence, she found the answer for her dilemma.  Understanding the problem, her burden was not as heavy on her soul. As Rebekah experienced the lifting up of her burden in the presence of the Lord, we too can enjoy the relief of our troubles in His presence. It is there that we will experience peace, joy and healing. Psalm seventy-three shows the frustration the psalmist struggled with in relationship to the prosperity of the wicked. He said, But as for me, my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipped, for I was envious of the foolish and arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked… But when I considered how to understand this, it was too great an effort for me and too painful, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. A prayer away, is all that will take to understanding and relief from our struggles.

In Remembrance, I Bow Down

(Lamentations 3)

The cries of Lamentations’ writings detail the sufferings of Israel’s people when taken away as captives by Babylon. “How solitary sits the city that was full of people!… all Zion gates are desolate… all her people groan and sigh seeking for bread; should and shall women eat the fruit of their own bodies, the children whom they have tended and swaddled with their hands?” (Lamentations 1,2).

Calamity had come to the city of Jerusalem-Judah and its people for their sins were grave before the Lord. Israel had been warned by Moses when yet in the wilderness of the consequences if they deviated from obeying the commandments of the Lord. The prophets also warned them of the coming judgment if they continued in their idolatry. But Israel’s heart was hard toward the Lord. “Jerusalem has grievously sinned; therefore, she has become an unclean thing and has been removed…her filthiness was in and on her skirts; she did not consider her final end (1:8a,9a).

In 589 BC Nebuchadnezzar II laid siege to Jerusalem; In 587 BC the culmination of the destruction of the city and temple happened. The Jewish people were then deported to Babylon, including Daniel and his friends, who God used mightily to change the heart of the King; He used Daniel to serve as prophet for the Jewish nation. God, in His love and mercy, allowed seventy years of captivity for the Jewish nation for having failed to keep seventy Sabbath years. It is written in the book of Leviticus that a Sabbath year comes every seventh year:  But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord, you shall neither sow your field nor prune your vineyard. What grows of itself in your harvest you shall not reap and the grapes on your uncultivated vine you shall not gather, for it is a year of rest to the land…and you shall number seven sabbaths or weeks of years for you, seven times seven years, so the total time of the seven weeks of years shall be forty-nine years (Lev. 25: 4-8). The number seventy is embed in the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9:24: Seventy weeks [of years, or 490 years] are decreed upon your people and upon your holy city to finish and put an end to transgression, to seal up and make full the measure of sin to purge away and make expiation and reconciliation for sin to bring in everlasting righteousness… When the disciples asked YAHSHUA how many times should one forgive, He gave them the answer found in the period of 490 years given the Jewish people in the prophecy of Daniel, illustrating the validity of Daniel’s prophecy’s time frame given them for forgiveness.

The Eyes and the Ears are the Windows to the Soul

The first lust of the eye happened in the Garden of Eden, when Eve fell into the serpent’s temptation. Because Eve believed the serpent, she became recipient of Satan’s curse. She disregarded God’s law concerning the tree at the moment she looked at it and she saw something she hadn’t seen before.  That’s how her mind interpreted what she was seeing: the tree was good for food and that it was delightful to look at, and a tree to be desired in order to make one wise; (then the result was that) she took of its fruit and ate; and gave some also to her husband (Gen. 3:6). As a window to the soul – intellect, will and emotion, the eyes are essential in what we see. A blind person, not having eyes that cause him to sin, has no window to fall into temptation, or direct the mind to sin. However, the eyes are not the only window to the soul; the hearing is also the other window to the soul. Eve heard the serpent’s deceitful words before she looked at the tree. The serpent’ swords misguided Eve to sin.  I am sure that Eve had looked at that tree several times, but without intention to eat of its fruits. Satan’s words came to her tempting her to doubt God’s commandment: Can it really be that God has said, You shall not eat from every tree of the garden? The words were formulated into misguiding her to doubt God’s authority. Then Eve answered him saying, We may eat the fruit from the trees of the garden, except the fruit from the tree which is in the middle on the garden God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die; the serpent replied, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing the difference between good and evil and blessing and calamity (Gen. 3:1b-6). So, it was that the woman seduced by the lust of the eyes, caused not only her soul to sin, but also the entire world.

DNA – The Evidence of God’s Signature in Every Cell

God said, Let Us [Father, Son, and Holy Spirit] make mankind in our image, after our likeness, and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts, and over all of the earth, and over everything that creeps upon the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them; then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath or spirit of life, and man became a living being. And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam; and while he slept, He took one of his ribs or a part of his side and closed up the flesh; and the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken from the man He built up and made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Then Adam said, this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of a man (Gen. 1:26-27; 2:7,21-23). When God created men, He perfected them with intelligence and wisdom. No one can comprehend the complicated manifold of His work. The human body, the heavens, all nature and every created living thing, have God’s signature on them. His, and His alone matches the manifold of wisdom manifested in all He created. “OH, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen (Rom.1:33a,36).

When created man and woman, God performed an act of perfect and wonderful creation. He focused on every detail of the body, visible and invisible. When He said, Let Us make mankind in our image, after our likeness… His words carried a very important meaning, not applied to the rest of His creation. Man was made to carry God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:27). In that, man was set apart from the animal world. King David in his psalm 139 says, … You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb; I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well; my frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depts of the earth; Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them; how precious and weighty also are Your thought to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! “Intricately and curiously wrought,” he could be referring to the DNA, the hereditary part of humans. It is there that information is stored as a code. It transmits genetic information. It determines each cell’s structure and function; located in the center of the cell, it is responsible for the control of the cells’ activities. We are truly “God’s intelligent design!” Amazingly, scientists have found proof of God in the DNA code. As Paul said, man is without excuses concerning the existence of God (Rom. 1). DNA expresses information from intelligence, and one like no one else’s “It is an instructional script.” The DNA’s code is very complex, compost of 3 billion letters, which are four chemicals called, adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine. It is mind boggling; It is hard for men to grasp the complexity of God’s creation, for they are limited in their understanding concerning the deep wisdom and knowledge of God, since they are created and are not the Creator. DNA’S code is the evidence of God’s signature in every cell proving that He is the Creator of all living things. Paul asks the question: Who has known the mind of God and who has understood His thoughts, or who has been His counselor?  (Rom. 11:34) All God’s creations – animal and plants alike have DNA, which is a long molecule containing their entire genetic code. Although the animals have will, emotion and intelligence, showing how smart they are in many things, they do not reflect the image of God. God does not require accountability from them, as Paul said, Creation was subjected to frailty, not because of some intentional fault on its part, but by the will off Him Who so subjected it- with the hope that nature itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption into the glorious freedom of God’s children (Rom. 8: 20-21).