It is said that God is the God of second chances. Time, after time, experiences after experiences, He has proved to be so in everyone life’s experiences. Unimaginable is His love for the human race. Israel’s history speaks very loudly about it. How many times did God spare His people by giving them a second chance as a nation? When Israel sinned against God by committing the sin of unfaithfulness, God was about to destroy the nation and start over with Moses’ offspring. But Moses intercession for the people caused God to give the nation another chance. Psalm 107:11-13 register a beautiful example of true second chance: Because they (Israel) had rebelled against the words of God and spurned the counsel of the Most High, therefore He (God) bowed down their hearts with hard labor; they stumbled and fell down and there was none to help; then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. Not only has Israel experienced such mercy, but the entire world. Look around and we will perceive the mercy of the Lord all around it, saving and blessing all, when we all deserved otherwise.
“I will say of the Lord, He is my Refuge and my Fortress; my God; on Him will I trust.” The assurance coming from these words carries faith to a new dimension. In view of the continuous storm before us, with no relieve in sight. Faith, however, arising to the occasion, lifts and delivers the faithful one to a new height- closer to God, and under His wings, a refuge is certain to protect us. David sought a hiding place in a cave to escape from King Saul. But that did not constitute a refuge for him. From there he cried to God saying, I cried to You, O Lord; I said, You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living; attend to my loud cry, for I am brought very low; deliver me from my persecutors, for they are stronger than I; cause me to hear You loving-kindness in the morning, for on You do I lean and in You do I trust. Cause me to know the way where I should walk, for I lift up my inner self to You (Ps. 142-143).
Those who wait for the Lord, Isaiah wrote, shall renew their strength; they shall mount up to God; they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint or become tired. (Isaiah 40:31). Close to God, yes in the place of refuge, where we can hear His voice, assuring us of His presence and protection; where our prayers will be heard and answered; where no troubles around will harm us, for they are voided of power. In the Secret Place of God, there shall be no fear of evil, for He covers us with His pinions, and under His wings we find our refuge in times of trouble. No pestilence, no destruction and sudden death shall affect us in any way. The refuge is a place to grow in faith and in knowledge of God. We may witness the evil taking roots in many ways, but it will not withstand God’s power. Be still and know Who God is. He is our refuge and strength, a very present and well-proved help in trouble. No matter if the earth change, the mountains shake into the midst of the sea; if the water roar and foam; if the mountains tremble at its swelling and tumult (Ps. 91, 46:1-3 paraphrased).
The word refuge is a word that gives us the sense of security, when we are going through danger of any kind. It is a place of comfort and safety. The most secure place available as our refuge is in the secret place of the Most High- under the shadow of His wings. One might think, How do I get there? Or Where is that place, invisible it is to me. To all of us, as a matter of fact, this place, my friend is found in your faith, for faith elevates us to God’s presence no matter the circumstances we face. It is a shield of protection against any weapon coming our way, even today’s weapon, the covid-19, followed by its vaccine. Both humanly created for a purpose of destruction of the human race. The spirit of fear has been hovering its stings around the world since then. Our refuge is not found in the vaccine, but in God, Who has never left us forsaken. He is just a call away. He said, He shall call Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble (Ps. 91:15). Calling on His name brings salvation to all who calls on Him. What does the Lord promise when we make Him our refuge? There shall no evil come near your tent, for He will give His angels charge over you to accompany and defend and protect you in all your ways; they shall bear you up in their hands, lest you dash your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent shall you trample under foot. Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him, I will set him on high because he knows and understands my name; he shall call upon Me and I will answer him, I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver and honor him; with long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation (Ps. 91:9-16).
Just before His trials and ultimately death, YAHSHUA spent time alone with His disciples preparing them to face the world without Him and at the same time warning them of things to come, including persecution. After His last supper with them, He washed their feet with the purpose to teach them humility. In chapter 14 He promises to return to earth to gather His own for Himself and blessed them with His peace; He presented Himself as the only Way to the Father, the Truth that will set man free; and Life. He is the only source of life physical and eternal. In chapter 15 He emphasizes sanctification. Here, He presented Himself as the Vine and the believers as the branches. Apart from the Vine there is no life. He calls their attention to love one another, for it is a commandment that summarizes the entire law – love for God and for others. in chapter 16 He promises the Holy Spirit; He details the nature of His ministry; and gives details concerning future persecution coming against them and encourages them to endure, for He had overcome all for them. He concludes it by saying: In the world you will have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer! For I have overcome the world (vs. 33).
The tribulation YAHSHUA mentioned was not concerning the great tribulation, as many Christians think, but it referred to persecution from the world which embraces all those who are enemies of God. If you belonged to the world, YAHSHUA said, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, the world hates you. Remember that I told you. A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15: 19-20a). Persecution is a sign that the believer is not of this world.
How much can happen in the speed of a twinkling of an eye? I Can’t think of anything besides the twinkling of an eye itself. What will take place in that short space of time that will be supernaturally magnificent? The hope of glory radiating a beautiful glow, as God brings to life those who were dead in Him and those of us who are still living, when will experience a transformation from corrupt to uncorrupted body, at the sound of His trumpet. That is called our hope of glory. Paul, in his writings to the Corinthian church says, Take notice! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (I Cor. 15: 51). How fast it will all happen? He said, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. Paul probably thought that day was going to come in his lifetime. The Christians of those days embraced this hope then more than we do today, for the fact that their lives were constantly under severe persecution for their faith. The Thessalonians thought they were already into the great tribulation, so great were their sufferings. But Paul assured them saying that for the tribulation to happen, the rapture had to come first, or the “departure” of the bride of Christ, of which they were part of. It seems to me that for many, persecution will have to happen in their lives for they to desire the Lord to come in an earnest desire, permeating their inner being.
Since covid-19, the spirit of fear has permeated the entire world; masks, a mandatory face covering, have hidden people’s faces, and have taken the freedom to speak, as a symbol of what is to come in the future of the world. In the biblical days of Israel as a nation, many circumstances enveloped this nation that resembled what we are going through today. Invasion of nations was a means by which God removed His people from the Land, when Israel grossly kept sinning against Him. In the days of the Prophet Isaiah, God warned him not to be in fear what the people were fearing and dreading, but to fear God and let Him be his dread in time of judgment. Fearing circumstances will lead a person to emotional and physical breakdowns of the body, for it comes with torment. To fear God however, is to revere and respect Him, acknowledging His sovereignty over all as the only true God. Fearing Him will remove the power of torment the spirit of fear brings us. The Lord tells us in Proverbs 24:10: if you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. It is a fact that faith is the source of our strength.
Today, the world cries in despair in view of unheard-of circumstances that mercilessly robbed it of its many lives, opening fear’s door to control humanity. Everywhere we go, we see it in the faces of the multitude through the use of an unnecessary facial covering. The hearing impaired can’t understand their muffled words, causing frustration on both sides. This is time of confusion, mind boggling, for fear has taken over the hearts of many, including ignorant Christians. Fear deafens the ears and reasons contrary to the reality of truth. God has spoken through today’s prophets, but as it were in the days of ancient Israel, who rebuked and punished their prophets, Christians are doing the same today, embraced by fear, not realizing what God is doing to warn us, and in His mercy to let us know the outcome of things that are happening right now, meaning, Donald J. Trump will remain the president of this nation. He revealed to them the outcome in part, not in full, so that we will learn to trust His Words spoken to His prophets. President Trump won; it is a fact. The victory will be reality to all after God reveals all those who are corrupted. He did not tell them how or when, but He told them the important fact in the equation, Trump’s victory. America stands now at the mercy of God. Like the Israelites, after leaving Egypt, on the third day when they faced the Red Sea in front of them and the Egyptians behind them, without a place to run, even if they could have done, due to the multitude plus their flocks, they could not. Moses, whom God had given the task to free them from slavery, put up with the Israelites doubts and complaints, as if he had wronged them by leading them out of Egypt. Here are their words against God’s anointed: Did we not tell you in Egypt, let us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness (Exodus 14:12). God however, did not tell Moses His plan in full, neither how He was going to do it. He did not tell Moses about the Red Sea through which He was going to lead Israel to the Promised Land. Likewise, God did not tell His prophets the how and the when, just that it will happen. That should have been satisfactory to all of us, to know the end of the story, as many of us turn to the last page of a book to see how the story is going to end. As it is, seemly this nation is now at the point of hopelessness: the Red Sea point. It is the time to battle, not to complain; divided we will not be established in the faith. Blaming the prophets will do us no good, but to turn us against God, as if we were His enemies.
A man of perfect integrity
Was Job in the sight of God
With no equal
On the face of the earth
Blessed with wealth to share
Respected by all who cared
He lived his life shinning
The fear of God among men
When yet in our unformed substance, all the days of our lives were written in God’s book. Our destiny was established at that moment. Circumstances presented to us often require choices. Life is full of choices. They determine our success or our failure. The choices we make also determine our future. From the time we learn how to walk and talk, choices are before us. We as parents, have guided the lives of our children in every way exposed to them. Either by words, behavior or actions. A child left to decide for himself will have a hard time following directions in the adult life. He will wander through life, not knowing what he wants; he will however, follow the pressure of friends, and become like them or worse than them. That’s when parents have lost their good influence on their children. Because we are carriers of our ancestor’s iniquities and curses, we tend to be contrary to sound teachings, until we are transformed by the Word of God.
We start writing our lives’ stories from the time we learn to walk and talk. The first pages are gibberish and laughter. The things we do in our innocent age are really funny in the eyes of an adult. Sometimes they are funny, but sometimes they are indicative of developing rebellion. It is important for a parent to correct the child even in his innocent behavior, for the pages of his book to reflect the love of his parents. The Bible says, Even a child is known by his acts, whether [or not] what he does is pure and right (Proverbs 20: 11), and again, Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him (Proverbs 22: 15). When discipline is applied to the child he becomes the crown of his grandparents and joy to his parents. At the end of his life, if accepted the corrections, the pages of his book will reflect wisdom and discernment and well guided decisions.
Life is many things in time and season for all of us. For some, life is joyous and fulfilling; for others, life is searching its meaning. But life is for us all, waiting. Sometimes in lines, sometimes for time; sometimes to grow up. Waiting, as a matter of fact, is life wrapped up in gray hairs, in hope and faith until death separates the spirit from the body. It will always exist in our life-time. Life without time to wait, is fast and unsecured. The Lord YAHSHUA assured us with the promise of His return for us by saying, Let not your heart be troubled, believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. 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 (John 14:1-3). A familiar passage we often mention to boost our hope in His promise, but at the same time, many of us are waiting not for this promise, but for the false messiah to be revealed. While we wait for Him, our hearts must not be troubled with anxiety and worries over the evil happenings in the world. Our hearts must be filled with faith and belief in God and in YAHSHUA’S promise of His return for us, when He will take us to Himself. This promise was the hope of all who came before us, without seeing it being fulfilled. This promise has been given thousands of years ago to the prophets of old. They too did not see it fulfilled in their life time, but it is still alive today, supporting and uplifting us in this troubled world.
YASHUA took my sins and guilt
Nailed them to the cross
He freed me and said,
It is finished!
He suffered the pain of hell
And cried, My God, My God
Why have You forsaken Me?
For me He did it