Confessing That They Were Strangers

(Hebrews 11)

Faith, a thing that moves mountains, a thing that compels us to do the impossible, a thing that transforms and directs a life that embraces it, it is a thing that conquers the world. Faith is the assured feeling embed in hope and belief of the reality of things not seen, as if they existed. Faith is the force that keeps us persevering through it all in our pilgrimage on this earth. YAHSHUA, the Author and consummator of it, has given us a measure of it to uphold His promises for now and for the future. Our hope in Him is by faith that springs out from belief. There are many heroes and heroines of the faith that are suffering persecutions and many who have died for the faith in the true God.  They have understood beyond doubt the true meaning of following the Savior, YAHSHUA. Their lives were and are true living sacrifices unto God, as they confessed and confess to the world that theirs is the heavenly citizenship. As those heroes and heroines of ancient times, today’s heroes and heroines of the faith, have provided the way for us to follow, carrying the torch of faith that will never be snuffed out, lightening the way for all to see beyond earthly stuff. It is a matter of our heavenly citizenship. Paul said, But our citizenship is in heaven, and from there we eagerly wait the Savior, the Lord YAHSHUA Messiah (Phil. 3:20). As patriots, we love our mother land. It is a natural thing to get attached to it, for it is where our ancestors’ roots are established. We die for it in times of war; we measure no sacrifice to display the love we have for our country. It is an emotion that goes deep into our soul. However, our permanent home is in heaven, where life after death will continue forever in a sphere of holiness and beauty, one we have never experienced before, but long for. Our love for heaven then should be of greater esteem and devotion with readiness to give our life for it.

The Faithlessness of Today’s Church

Will not God defend and protect and avenge His elect, who cry to Him day and night? Will He defer them and delay help on their behalf? I tell you, He will defend and protect and avenge them speedily. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? (Luke 18: 7-80)

The faithlessness of today’s church is perceived everywhere. The Lord YAHSHUA rightly asked the question: When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth? What possibly caused the church to lose her faith? From one extreme to another, the church has lost her faith through the multiplied wickedness and through the pursuit of worldly things. The prosperity teaching has caused the church to lose focus on YAHSHUA’S teachings concerning the pursuit of heavenly treasures. They instead are running after the worldly treasures and losing faith. Do not gather and heap up and store up for yourselves treasures on earth, He said, where moth and rust and worm consume and destroy, and where thieves break through and steal. But gather and heap up and store for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust nor worm consume and destroy, and where thieves do not break through and steal; for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also (Matt. 6:19-21).  The church’s heart is sunk in the wealth of the world, not in heaven. In their faithless acts they pursue the world, not YAHSHUA. So they have become faithless.

The church’s faithlessness happens also when wickedness abounds and super abounds without correction. The acceptance of wickedness is easily received and adopted, as one example, the case of moral issues. Faithfulness to the teachings of the Word of God has faded and many has followed the wide road, in the attitude of co-existence, instead of taking a stand for the teachings of the Lord. They spare their lives but will lose it in the end.  YAHSHUA said, Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven; many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name?  And then I will say to them openly, I never knew you; depart from Me you who act wickedly (Matt. 7:21-23).

But Thomas Did Not Believe

Just before His trials and afterward His death, YASHUA spent time alone with His disciples comforting and instructing them, preparing them for what was coming. He spent His last hours with them alone to say good-bye in a sense. Disregarding what was ahead of Him, when He had to go through much suffering, His focus was now on the needs of the disciples. His three-year ministry had come to an end; the time had come when He was going to experience death and resurrection to accomplish the will of the Father, for which He had come. Subsequently, His exit from the earth was approaching. But these were news the disciples couldn’t digest for not being able to understand the meaning of it all. It seemed that they stayed in the dark of their understanding, until the Lord’s resurrection, when the He revealed plainly the meaning to two of His disciples on the road to Emmaus: YAHSHUA said to them, O foolish ones and slow of heart to believe everything that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary and essentially fitting that the Christ should suffer all these things before entering into His glory? Then beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, He went on explaining and interpreting to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning and referring to Himself (Luke 24:25-27).

Do not let your hearts be troubled, He starts, you believe on God, believe also on Me (John 14:1). The days ahead were going to be days of uncertainties for all the disciples, with the absence of their Messiah from among them. Believe on God; believe also on Me, because the future holds the promise of deliverance and hope. I will not leave you orphans; I will come [back] to you (vs. 18) … And when I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also; and where I am going, you know the way (vs.3,4). Thomas then asked a leading question in the middle of the Lord’s words of hope. He said, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, so how can we know the way?”  which opened the door for YAHSHUA to declare Himself as the Way, the Truth and the Life. (John 14:5,6). He is the Way to heaven, and to the heavenly Father; He is the Truth that sets the sinners free, He is the Life eternal. The definite article, the implies that He is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life.

God Is Working Salvation in the Midst of the Earth

“Timely spoken words are like apples in the platter of gold!” Invisible, but certain, is the work God is performing to save us. Faith applied in these days, when confusion has taken its seat with loud noises, leading many astray, is the most necessary feeling for peace. The tangible things we embrace, hoping to bring relief to the mind of our troubled soul, is just transitory in its existence, they are just things; not able to bring the spiritual comfort and hope we long for. Our cries increase while turmoil continues day by day. We ask, “O God, why do You cast us off forever?” In a desperate cry, with sobs that reached the soul in our anguish for deliverance, we remain in the presence of our God.  The invasion of demons has taken over the earth, engulfing many with fear and terror; no longer a comfortable world to live in. The end, perhaps. The end has come and we are not prepared to believe the truth. Longing for the old times, when there were peace and order, and respect for others; when fear laid low, when oxygen was what we breathed in and carbon dioxide was what we breathed out, when we laughed and sang and danced to the tune of the songs we liked; when children were desired and protected; when the food we ate was natural and GMO free.  In these thoughts we remain solitary pondering the outcome of all things.

Like the Psalmist however, when his nation was going through difficulties, we must find a song in our darkest night in remembrance of God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past. He said, I will earnestly recall the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember the wonders of old; I will meditate also upon all His works and consider all His deeds (Ps. 77: 11). Therefore, the soul of men must rest in the fact that God is consistently faithful to His Words and will perform that which He promised. Valleys and deserts are places to connect with God in faith and hope, and not to connect to fear and despair. We will see “the light at the end of the tunnel” when our eyes will be directed to God’s promises and strength, even in face of a storm.  As the psalmist says, Yet God is my King of old, working salvation in the midst of the earth (Ps. 74:2). Many a night we will still face troubles that will make us scared and fearful; many days will come with trouble beyond our control; that will be our way of life until the consummation of all things takes place. However, there is a place of sure peace and security right now near to the heart of God, where we will remain emotionally stable and secure; where we will not be afraid of the terror of the night, not of the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor of the destruction and sudden death that surprise and lay waste at noonday (Ps. 91).

The First Multiplication

(Mt. 14:15-23)

When evening came, the disciples came to Him and said, this is a remote and barren place, and the day is now over; send the throngs away into the villages to buy food for themselves. Jesus said they do not need to go away; you give them something to eat. They said to Him, We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish. He said, Bring them here to Me. Then He ordered the crowds to recline on the grass; and He took the five loaves and the two fish, and, looking up to heaven, He gave thanks and blessed and broke the loaves and handed the pieces to the disciples and the disciples gave them to the people. And they all ate and were satisfied. And they picked up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces left over. And those who ate were about 5,000 men, not including women and children. Then He directed the disciples to get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, while He sent away the crowds. And after He had dismissed the multitudes, He went up into the hills by Himself to pray. When it was evening, He was still there alone.

“Send the throngs away into the villages to buy food for themselves,” said the disciples. Jesus however had another plan. He answered them; you give them something to eat. How? was the question in their minds. Five loaves and two fish was all that were available to feed thousands. But YAHSHUA only needed to have them to be given to Him for a miracle to happen. A need, much greater than the resource, cannot be met by the human standard, but in the hands of the Master, no resource is too small for Him to perform a miracle. Although the disciples puzzled over YAHSHUA’S command, “You give them some to eat” they brought Him the resources of five loaves and two fish. Something was happening at that time besides the physical need of the thousands of people. In God’s calendar He was expressing symbolism in these two numbers: five and two. What were these numbers speaking of at that point of time? They were expressing their meaning in prophecy. YAHSHUA said, For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16. That crowd represented by several nations, was the focus of the message hidden behind all that was happening: God loves the world. The two fish and the five loaves of bread did not happen by accident. No, through them God was lighting His love not only to the Jews, but to all the world. The message in the two fish is that the space of two thousand years He was going to give to the Gentile nations for their salvation under His grace which is symbolic by the number five in the five loaves of bread.

The World in Spiritual Chaos

Peace, peace is the cry of the world today as it faces turmoil of biblical proportion. What is really happening world widely that so many people are committing suicide in a hopeless state of mind? Can you separate what’s happening in these days from the prophecies written in the Bible? No, you cannot. YAHSHUA, when answering the disciples’ questions concerning the end of time, said this as a sign of His coming, among many other things: And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not frightened or troubled, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, a d there will be famines and earthquakes in place after place; all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs (Matt. 24:6-8). There is a cry out there coming from the hearts of men for the normality of things, when there will no longer be as it was just two years ago. No one expected that a manmade virus would control the destiny of the world, much less that it would linger with vaccine, mandated vaccine and passport vaccine. When will it ever end? A question everyone asks anxiously wanting to see the end of the ordeal. One thing we did not realize was that what’s happening today is the result of many years the few who controls the world have been planning in the pursuit to depopulate the world from billions to five hundred million. An evil plan coming from Satan himself, performed by those who follow him. This is definitely a scary time for those who do not know God neither His word. The Bible is filled with fulfilled and unfulfilled prophecies in God’s watch. The prophets of old did not see what they prophesized; because although, some prophecies were to be fulfilled in a short time, others had a long span of weighting time for them to be fulfilled.

Nations are unsettled and will continue to be until God supernaturally intervenes their plan, and these people will be judged for the slaughter of many who took the vaccine. Used to be cradled in comfort and peace, nations are found shocked at what is happening. Why do the nations assemble with commotion, and why do the people imagine an empty scheme? (Psalm 2:1) For sure this verse describes the world’s situation of today. The chaos created by the few to bring about their “empty scheme” will not prevail, although it looks as though it has. Our God is not limited to impossibilities of problems. He shines then, because there is nothing impossible for Him. One of several examples concerning God’s unlimited power is found in II Kings in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah’s reign over Judah, when the king of Assyria came up against the cities of Judah and took them. All seemed to be impossible for King Hezekiah to overcome such power, as the king of Assyria defiantly challenged him. But King Hezekiah found a place of comfort in the presence of the Lord, when he went there to pray. The message came to him from the Prophet Isaiah saying, Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled and blasphemed Me. King Hezekiah prayed: O Lord our God, I beseech You, save us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know and understand that You, O Lord, are God alone (II kings19). The Lord heard King Hezekiah’s prayer and supernaturally delivered Judah from the hands of Assyria’s king.

Elijah, Ravens and a Widow

(I Kings 17:2-16)

The days of the prophets of old were days of unprecedented supernatural happenings, when God visibly acted for or against His people – Israel. Elijah’s life, for example, was one with stories to tell, perhaps not all registered in the Bible, causing us to wonder why doesn’t God continue manifesting Himself in our days as He did then. Israel had the direct spoken word from God through the prophets, but they did not heed to them, instead they killed God’s messengers. In Luke 13:34-35 YAHSHUA utters a warning to Jerusalem for having done that: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who continue to kill the prophets and to stone those who are sent to you! How often I have desired and yearned to gather your children together, as a hen her young under her wings, but you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken. And I tell you, you will not see Me again until the time when you shall say, Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!

Elijah had a message from God to give King Ahab that would cause his anger to arouse, persecute and kill him. However, it is the duty of a prophet to be God’s mouth and Elijah courageously took the podium and proclaimed the word from the Lord to King Ahab: As the Lord lives, before Whom I stand, there shall not be dew or rain these years but according to My word (vs.1). However, before that happened, God provided not only a hiding place for Elijah, but also sustenance.  He told him, Go from here, He said, and turn east and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, east of the Jordan. You shall drink of the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there (vs.3-4).

The raven is the largest of the perching birds. It resembles a crow; it is all black, with a 4ft. wing span, measuring over two feet from head to toe. It is one of the most intelligent of all birds; it communicates warning, threats, taunting and cheer to all other birds by changing the sounds it makes. Amazingly how all birds understand the meaning of the various sounds it makes! It is like police to us humans with his siring car. So, God chose ravens to feed Elijah with bread and flesh in the morning and bread and flesh in the evening. For a few days Elijah depended on those ravens to bring him food from heaven, already prepared by God Himself. It must have been the tastiest food ever tried by Elijah. Ah the faithfulness of our God! The Prophet Elijah neither question God, nor doubted His provision, but “did according to the word of the Lord.” Obedience first, then the fulfillment of God’s promises in one’s life. Elijah, was a man of courage and faith; his name has a wonderful meaning: YAHWEH is my God; he is also called Elias. His ministry extended to the northern kingdom of Israel (the remnant of Joseph); his ministry was during the reigns of Ahab, and Ahaziah. In his zeal for the only true God, he commanded the slaughter of all 850 false prophets and prophetess of the northern kingdom in one day. Nothing stopped him from performing the word of the Lord. Taken to heaven without experiencing death, Elijah was one of the two witnesses of the Lord’s death and resurrection; in the future, he will come as one of the two witnesses to turn the hearts of the nation of Israel toward God during the tribulation.  

The Danger of Unbelief

Many things in life constitute their ways and means of survival; from the time of birth to adulthood, life is always on the move. The physical part of it, guided by the soul, determines and accomplishes success, or goals. Life is a beautiful thing, when lived in agreement with its destiny. A successful person has the stamina and perseverance of belief to persevere to the end and so he accomplishes what he determined to do in his life time. Belief in something is necessary in life to achieve success. Here I am not referring to religious beliefs, but beliefs in the natural ways of life itself. We wonder why success has not reached everyone in the term of riches. We can go only as high as our belief leads us to go. Some reaches for the stars, and gets high enough to accomplish many things life offers. Others’ goals and beliefs go as high as they determine to go in their course of studies. Content with what life offers in that dimension, they seek their success. Knowledge however, has a way to take life higher, when one belief in it. To be distinguished in life, requires belief and efforts. Believing in yourself, in your abilities and solidifying your belief by your success, will be your reward on earth.

A man of unbelief is as Solomon described in Proverbs 24:30-34, when he said, I went by the field of the lazy man and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and behold, I was all grown over with thorns and nettles were covering its face, and its stone wall was broken down. Then I beheld and considered it well; I looked and received instruction. Yet, a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep – so shall your poverty come as a robber and your want as an armed man. Man without belief in self has no reason to get up in the morning, so he continues in his slumber and the result is seen in his life style. Weeds outside his garden, and cobwebs inside his house declare who he is. There are many answers given to the question, What do you want be when you grow up?  I want be a fireman, a postman, a trash collector, a doctor, a lawyer. All these careers have merit in the belief of the person, if for sure it is achieved. Life in general then is believing in the future of all kinds, creating a society that generates colorful and promising future for all who believe in it by doing the best to achieve its success.  

Faith vs. Fear

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me… (Ps. 23:4b).

Faith is the strong pillar that holds and secures us in times of uncertainties. It looks not into circumstances, but above it and ahead of it, to guide and to take us where we must remain standing firmly. It is like the rainbow in the sky pointing to God’s promise of deliverance in every color demonstrated, when times are hard with no seemingly way out. Look up, in times like these, look up and realize that redemption is at its door, that’s the message clear and concise written in the Bible. Looking at the direction where the help will come from, is with certainty a good beginning, when faith, like a ministering angel takes us by the hand leading us to our safety. Faith – Paul called it a spirit. In the letter to the Corinthians, He said, Yet, we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, I have believed, and therefore have I spoken. We too believe, and therefore we speak (II Cor. 4:13). This was in reference to Psalm 116:10. A beautiful psalm, indeed, but like many other psalms, we do not know who wrote it.

The spirit of fear on the other hand, is ever tormenting and causing one to make decisions that reflects the control of it in one’s life. This type of fear is not from God; it is rather from the evil one, with the purpose to control and destroy the mind. It enters the mind through lack of faith and knowledge. Paul tells Timothy, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power, of love and a sound mind (II Tim. 1:7). There is no hope in fear, but dread and guilt. It is voided of love; therefore, it is filled with punishment. Fear looks down and panics, it looks straight at the storm of whatever problem is around and leads to a state of hopelessness with its torment.

Elisha, The Prophet With Double Portion

Those were days of unprecedented happenings, when God dealt with the nation of Israel through His prophets and their performed miracles. We see this in the lives of Elijah and Elisha. Like no others, these were both actively involved in the lives of people. However, Elijah was a prophet of judgment; he shut the heaven and stopped the rain for three and a half years; he brought down fire and on Ahab’s soldiers. He is more like John the Baptist, a loner; Elisha, a prophet of mercy. A prophet that mingled with the people. His ministry parallels that of our Savior, YAHSHUA. Elisha’s name means God’s salvation; YAHSHUA’s name YAHWEH will save. Elisha’s ministry started in the Jordan River, after Elijah is translated to heaven. He takes his mantle and parts the Jordan’s water; YAHSHUA started His ministry after being baptized in the Jordan River. They both raised a woman’s son from the dead; both fed the multitude with small resource, with food leftover. Elisha’s bones brought life to a dead man, after his body touched his bones. YAHSHUA resurrection brought many to life, when the earth shook, the rocks were split, the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints were raised to life (Matt. 27:51-52).

Elisha was a disciple of Elijah and his successor, as Joshua was to Moses and succeeded him after Moses’ death, to continue leading the Israelites to the Promised Land. Following his master to the place where he was to be translated, Elisha asked him for a double portion of his anointing, to which Elijah said, You have asked a hard thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you (II Kings 2:9-10). Elisha saw Elijah’s departure to heaven in a chariot of fire and horses of fire, as he went up by a whirlwind into heaven. He threw his mantle to Elisha, confirming the double portion of his anointing.  Elisha, then took the mantle and parted the waters of the Jordan River. Elisha, when called to the ministry, left everything behind, including his career to follow Elijah. A young man from a well to do family, never looked back. To start with, he severed the links of his life style by slaughtering the oxen he was ploughing with at the time of the call, the wood he used as fire wood to cook the oxen for his friends and family, perhaps to say goodbye. Off he went to pursue his new career as a prophet. YAHSHUA said, No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God (Luke 9: 62). Elisha mastered on this one. Still very young when called, he persisted to the end looking ahead, never backward. He was a hero of the faith in every sense of the word. “A man of whom the world was not worthy.”