Things That Matter Most

(Colossians 3)

The walk of life leads us to many directions in its distractions, accomplishing a lot, sometimes, but again, not a lot of great significance. At the end of the day, we ask ourselves, What did I accomplish today? Priorities get misplaced in the order of which we favor most. The things that demand more from us are those which we dearly care about. But what do we make of Paul’s words to the Colossians? If then you have been raised with Christ…How can we have been raised with our Messiah, if we are still in this body of decay? That’s a question we must consider in our spiritual walk. For many of us Christians, there is the thought that our salvation was free and that there is nothing else we have to do. I do pity the idea, for first of all, salvation was not free for our Lord, Who paid it with His life; and it is not free for us, who must deny ourselves, carry our cross and follow Him. We are not exempt from our duty before God to do our part, if we are to be saved.

Read the words from Paul: And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also; heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory (Rom. 8: 17). To be raised with Christ, it is to have died for oneself; raised with Him is He controlling our inner being; it is losing all that has to do with one’s desires; it is, “not I, but Christ lives in me.” The mind, the control center of the body, Paul says to keep focusing on what matters most- on the things above, where YAHSHUA is seated at the right hand of God (Col. 1:1). Dead to the world, we are of no concern to it, neither should it be to us. We, believers in YAHSHUA, are seeds which went through the process of death in order to be alive. The seed that does not die, will never become a tree. In YAHSHUA’S death, he planted in us the seed of life eternal; however, it does not finish there. In dying unto self, the believer gains sanctification, which is a process to attain glorification. Without it one cannot see God. When we go through the new birth, the Holy Spirit seals us with Himself. I call this a ring that unites us with YAHSHUA, confirming our engagement with Him. And that is the most important thing we must pay attention to while in this world. Although, the human heart tends to lean more toward the things of the world than heaven’s. We must make an effort to switch the priority’s direction to heaven. Our citizenship is not of this world; the longing of every Christian should be heaven, because Paul said, Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord YAHSHUA Messiah, Who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself (Phil. 3:20-21)

Moses and Elijah on Mount Sinai and Mount Herman

(Exodus 19; 33; I Kings 19:8-14; Luke 9: 28-33)

Moses, as Israel’s leader to the Promised Land, was a remarkable man. No one that has ever lived, has ever experienced God the way he did. He was not only a leader for the nation Israel, but a prophet, who spoke with God face to face, although he did not see His face. From the signs and wonders seen in Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, water coming from the rocks, mana coming from heaven as food for the people while in their journey of forty years through the wilderness, and much more, Moses’ life shines over all others.

As a baby, Moses was taken from the water when his mother tried to hide him in the time of the king’s command to kill all the Jews’ babies to control their population. He was rescued by Pharaoh’s daughter, who later adopted him. She named him Moses because she said, “I drew him out of the water.” For forty years he lived in the royal palace, however, he preferred to suffer with his brothers, as Hebrews 11:24-25 confirms: By faith Moses, when he had grown to maturity and become great, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he preferred to share the oppression and bear the shame of the people of God rather than to have the fleeting enjoyment of a sinful life.

One day, while checking out the slavery condition of his people, he saw an Egyptian beating one of his brothers. He then killed the Egyptian and buried him (Ex. 2). His zeal for the wellbeing of his people was a sign of what he was to become in the future. From that time on, he become a refugee in the land of Median, where he married and worked as a shepherd for his father- in-law. Moses had his first encounter with God at Mount Horeb, or Sinai, the mount of God, forty years after his ordeal that caused him to flee for his life. The Lord God appeared to him in a fire out of the midst of a bush. Curious about what was happening, he turned aside to see why the bush would not burn, when he heard the Lord’s voice saying, do not come near; put your shoes off your feet, for the place on which you stand is holy ground (Ex. 3:2-5). In that encounter, God revealed Himself to Moses as the God of his fathers- Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Moses then hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God (Ex. 3:6). God spoke to him from the fire saying, come now therefore, and I will send you to Pharaoh, that you may bring forth My people…out of Egypt. Moses’ conscious burned with guilt and fear of his past in the presence of that fire that symbolized the unapproachable holiness of God. Mount Sinai, the pivot point of Moses’ life, stood before him with a divine call to redeem his people from bondage.

We Do Not Know What to Do

Have you ever been in a situation when you have said, I do not know what to do? Crossroads ahead causing a moment of confusion in the midst of fear in the situation, as if your world shrunk to only you in it? You are not alone. Learning how to get our problems off our shoulders at the beginning of things, is a good thing, so not to suffer the consequences that will follow the worries. There is a path however, a narrow path, not visible at first, but nonetheless, a path we must look for to alleviate the mind from the control of fear; hear the Lord speaking, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” This is the only path to victory; the path that God has directed us to go through. “Though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” The confidence of faith elevates us above circumstances and opens our eyes to its spiritual reality, giving us the certainty that God is ever so present with us. So, never fear, God is near.

A Macedonia Call

(Acts 16: 9-12; 16-34)

A vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man from Macedonia stood pleading with him and saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us (vs. 9)!  On the way to answer the “Macedonia call” Paul and Silas had to go through the “fire” being struck with many blows to the point of bleeding; they were thrown into prison (dungeon) with their feet fastened in the stocks (vs. 10). They faced many stumbling blocks, but none of them kept them from losing the focus of the call to Macedonia.  Yes, they were bleeding and hurting physically, and their feet were fastened in the stocks, but they were strong spiritually to face the enemy’s weapons with praises to God, proclaiming His love to all who were listening to them in jail; and their spirits were free in Christ to proclaim the goodness of God.

That was the beginning of the fulfillment of the call.  That stumbling block in front of them didn’t indicate a stop sign or a change of calling, but a yield sign in the calendar of God; an introduction to what God had in store for them.  Their submission to God followed by praises to Him caused heaven’s door to be opened for God’s Power to be expressed through a powerful earthquake, where human powers could do nothing to stop it.

Teach Us To Number Our Days (2nd Study)

(Psalm 90)

Moses starts this Psalm by saying, Lord, You have been our dwelling place and our refuge in all generations. A testimony he could seal in truth throughout the years he and his people walked through the wilderness, facing enemies of all kinds. He, unlikely other prophets, had a very close relationship with God, Who spoke to him face to face. God said of him, With Moses I speak mouth to mouth. Clearly and not in dark speeches; and he beholds the form of the Lord… (Num. 12:8). Forty years wandering in the desert was indeed plenty time for Moses to reflect upon life in its limitations. He experienced all kinds of perils to realize that it was by the grace of God, and not by his own effort that he survived them all. He watched many suffer God’s judgments and even death at their lack of faith and disobedience. Life seemed to Moses fragile and short and uncertain. His knowledge of human’s limitations brought an awareness of its short span. Life, is really just a breath away from death in its time frame on this earth.

Miracles at YAHSHUA’S Crucifixion

In the midst of chaos, YAHSHUA performed yet great miracles as He was letting go of His life to prove men that He was Whom He said He was. Embed by pains from His head to His toes, from His inner soul to His spirit, He, even though God, suffered as man in every sense of the word, for He was condemned as man by His Father, when He took upon Himself the sins of the world. However, He never stopped being God. Nature knew and reacted in the form of trembling. It was as if it could understand and perceive what was happening to the One Who had created it. The miracles that surrounded the atmosphere were vividly proclaiming to men that that Man was not an ordinary man, He was God! Nature could not be quiet about it.

First, the sun, the chief light of the day, decided it would not shine its Creator’s agony to sinful men. For the three hours YAHSHUA suffered His worst pain; it was as if God was hiding from the eyes of men the sufferings of His Son by turning the sun’s lights off. He had already suffered enough physical pain from the hands of sinful men. But His last agonies were hidden from the world, so that it would be a moment when they would stop mocking and making a spectacle of Him through the cruelty of their sinful nature. Three hours of darkness must have made men ponder about the meaning of it. Except for the Roman Centurion and his guards, nothing we read about men’s reactions that showed significant meaning toward knowledge of YAHSHUA’S divinity and their repentance.

The number three shone during the trials and crucifixion of our Lord. That meant that the “Three in One” all suffered the ordeal YAHSHUA suffered. He was crucified at nine o’clock in the morning; nine is 3X3. From twelve until three o’clock in the afternoon darkness ruled the land. Twelve is 3X4. On the third hour of darkness, YAHSHUA cried with a loud voice, expressing the worst pain He ever suffered in that ordeal- the separation from His Father, when He suffered hell for us. It affected the religious site of the Jewish nation when the curtain of the temple was torn in two opening the door for all to enter the presence of God, that is, those who would accept Him. Interesting thing is that YAHSHUA being God, even there on the cross was the one Who tore the curtain, as He took the position of our High Priest. The curtain of the temple was six feet long and thirty feet wide, with the thickness of the palm of a man’s hand. It was made from 72 squares woven from thick material. No man could ever tear it with bear hands. It was without a doubt the work of God. The most fascinating fact was that it happened at the time when YAHSHUA died and also when the priests were in the place of the Holy of Holies performing their priestly duty, facing the curtain. It was torn in two equal parts. It just happened right in front of their eyes. As a result, the Bible reports that great many priests accepted their Messiah. Acts 6:7 says: And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in YAHSHUA as the Messiah, through whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].  YAHSHUA not only reconciled men to Himself, but also opened the door for them to enter into His presence at any time. That is a great honor given to men. Undeserved as we are, punishment should have been ours, not blessings. With His death, even when we were his enemies, He reconciled us to God (Himself) (Rom. 5:10a). When He tore the temple’s curtain, He gave us full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies by the blood of YAHSHUA (Heb. 10:19). It happened by the power of His blood, not the blood of animals, which were being sacrificed at the same time.

Earth revolted when it witnessed the death of its Creator, sending shock waves radiating to its surface from underground as in an earthquake, splitting the rocks, creating panic in many people who did not understand the cause, especially those who had rejected Him and given Him up to be crucified. It even brought to life saints, who had died some time ago. The power of YAHSHUA’S life, even when physically dead, shocked the earth and it stirred up the dead saints to life. Where His presence is there will be life, no matter what. That was a powerful miracle. No one should ever have doubted the reason for it; no one should ever have doubted the meaning of it. We see here YAHSHUA’S power of resurrection, which will happen in the future at the time of the rapture of His church, when only those “in Christ” will come to life. Note that not all dead came to life in His death, only the saints; and not all will be brought to life in the first resurrection, only His bride. YAHSHUA, when facing the death of Lazarus, introduced Himself to Martha as the Resurrection and Life. He was and is the solution for every problem man has. He said, I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, although he may die, yet he shall live (John 11:25).

Another significant miracle that happened at the death of YAHSHUA was the conversion of the Roman Centurion and his guards. Interesting to note is that those Romans had no knowledge of Whom YAHSHUA was; YAHSHUA, when they were crucifying Him, said a prayer of forgiveness we must not forget to whom it was directed. It was directed to those soldiers who hammered the nails in His hands and feet, who speared His side, who carved His brains with a crown of thorns, who whipped Him to the point of breaking His body through the skin, muscles reaching the bone, causing His body to be out of joint. It was to these cruel and godless Romans to whom YAHSHUA’S prayer of forgiveness was offered. Ingrained in their culture and religion, they were lost without YAHSHUA’S prayer on their behalf. But because God so loved the world to the point of giving His only begotten Son, these Romans were part of the plan of salvation, even if they were the ones killing God’s Son. They well represented the “world” and that prayer was necessary to bring them in too. Matthew reports that when the Centurion and those who were with him keeping watch over YAHSHUA observed the earthquake and all that was happening, they were terribly frightened and filled with awe and said, truly this was God’s Son! What a proclamation coming from a pagan, godless mouth! No longer had that, now these men witnessing the miracles at the foot of the cross, believed YAHSHUA to be the Son of God. Salvation is a result of a confession that YAHSHUA is Lord; Paul said, For with the heart a person believes and so is justified, and with the mouth he confesses and confirms [his] salvation (Rom. 10:9a-10). When our Savior YAHSHUA went to the cross, He went with the purpose to save men from eternal death. He took our cross and with His shedding blood He washed all who wanted, clean, including the thief on the cross, who had acknowledged Him as Lord and to be an innocent man. After he defended YAHSHUA against the other thief, He then asked Him, Lord, remember me when You come in your kingly glory! And YAHSHUA answered him: Truly, I tell you today you shall be with Me in Paradise (Luke 23:40-43). This was a promise for a thief at the end of his life for having believed YAHSHUA, and for all of us who will receive Him.

Stay Here, Keep Awake and Keep Watch With Me

(Matthews 26:38-41)

My soul is very sad and deeply grieved so that I am almost dying of sorrow. Stay here and keep awake and keep watch with Me… all of you must keep awake and watch and pray, that you may not come into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Matthews 26:38,41b).

YAHSHUA, in His anguish at the Garden before He was arrested, took with Him Peter, James and John saying, Stay here, keep wake and watch with Me. Suffering as a man, YAHSHUA needed support in His darkest hour on earth. That was, without a doubt, His most difficult hour, as He expressed to His disciples: “My soul is very sad and deeply grieved so that I am almost dying of sorrow.”  That was His hour of decision. The tempter arrived at the garden at his “opportune time” when YAHSHUA was physically and emotionally weak. His betrayal was at hand by one of His disciples. His nation was going to hand Him to the Romans to be punished, the merciless Roman way. His nation, as a whole, had rejected Him; even one of His disciples was going to deny knowing Him. The ultimate rejection He experienced was on the cross. The hour had arrived when He had to face His enemies face to face- Jews and Gentiles, who would decide on the way He was to die. That was His dark hour. Although an angel came to comfort Him in the garden, nothing else was going to happen to free Him from His ordeal. It was that time!

The Passover Lamb of God

(John 1:29; 12:1-7)

Six days before the Passover Feast, YAHSHUA made a trip to Bethany to the home of Lazarus; six days before His death a supper was prepared for Him; Lazarus was at the table with Him, Martha served and Mary anointed Him for His burial, setting Him apart for His death as He represented the Passover sacrificial Lamb and in essence He was the true Lamb of God that takes the sins of the world (John 1:29). He was set apart four days before His death as it was commanded that the lamb for the sacrifice would be set apart on the tenth of the month, and be killed on the fourteenth, (four days after being set apart) Exodus 12:3,6.  YAHSHUA lived those last days focused on what was to happen in His Father’s plan to redeem mankind. Behold, the Lamb of God! John Baptist’s cry to call the nation of Israel to repentance and acceptance of the Lamb of God- YAHSHUA, Who had come to be the Passover Lamb. While many were busy getting ready for that very important Passover event, YAHSHUA was quietly fulfilling His role of Lamb of God, when Mary anointed Him, not knowing the meaning of her action. But He knew and defended her at the criticism of Judas, who later betrayed Him.  

Is God’s Mouth Muzzled Not To Speak To Us Today?

“My people perish for lack of knowledge.” These are words of profound and consequential meaning, as we read in Job 36: 12: But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword and die without knowledge. The rejection of knowledge is a dangerous attitude to have. For it is hearing, but not listening, hearing but not perceiving; hearing but not understanding; seeing but not discerning. It is being deaf and blind spiritually.  For God speaks not only once, but more than once, even though men do not regard it (Job 33:14). The spirit of unbelief is very predominant in the world today in spite of all the information being available in every avenue of life. Words found in the book of Job 33:15 seals the matter that men hear God’s voice in a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falls on men while slumbering upon the bed. Then He opens the ears of men and seals their instruction. The Prophet Daniel experienced dreams and visions and interpretations by angels. The entire chapter seven of the book of Daniel reveals the three visions he had and the interpretations of them. Those visions served to warn the world of yesterday and of today’s what were and what is going to happen in the future because our God desired and desires that none of us should perish.

A Lamb, A Shofar, A Lion in God’s Timeline

God’s time line is in no way our time line. He acts in the sphere of eternity, in His all-knowing, all seeing before even anything takes place, to the time when all begins. In fact, before there was time, He was. Hard for a limited human mind to comprehend such reality. Where there is no beginning and no end, it just floats around our mind, without settling in our understanding. But that is the way it is. For our God is not in the frame of our understanding, being Who He is. This is how the Apostle Paul describes Him: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable are His judgments! And how untraceable are His ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has ever been His counselor? … For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be glory forever! Amen (Rom. 11:33-34, 36).