According to the Promise of Life

The word promise bears a wonderful meaning, especially in times of trouble. It assures us of better things; it brings hope to the soul, strengthening it when all seems gloomy and hopeless. I am referring in particularly to the promises of our Lord YAHSHUA, promises that will never fail us. Paul, God’s faithful servant, who suffered much persecution, and was taken for dead, endured all because of God’s promise. He wrote, For I know Him Whom I have believed (II Tim. 1:12).  For knowing God, Paul without a doubt, believed His promises. The word know according to Webster, is to have a clear perception or understanding of. YAHSHUA said that will take knowing Him personally for one’s entrance to heaven. Not by work of miracles, not by work of uttered prophecies, neither by the casting of demons. He said, Not everyone who says to Me Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven (Matt. 7:21). “Depart from Me, I never knew you” will be the words those who did not do the will of God will hear.

Paul’s life, when YAHSHUA revealed Himself to him through a bright light, on the road to Damascus, was changed forever. Now an apostle of Messiah he pursued a deep relationship with God. His words, For I know Whom I have believed, is a solid statement of his faith. In a letter to the Philippians, he expressed his desire to know God by saying, [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed to His death (Phil. 3:10). At the time when the day for his departure from this world was approaching, he said, I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me and recompense me on that day… (II Tim. 4:7,8). Paul endured all, never losing his faith, for the love of God and the promise of his victor’s crown.

Inside the Belly of a Fish

When we read such a tittle, Jonah’s experience comes to mind. Yes, and it is so this time. In his running away from answering the call to Nineveh, Jonah was swallowed up by a great fish, God had prepared to save him from death. For three days and three nights in the living room of the fish’s belly, Jonah had time to reflect on his foolish decision, that of running away from his calling. The fish not only provided safety for Jonah, but also a prayer room. In that uncomfortable environment, Jonah bent his heart toward God and said: I cried out of my distress to the Lord, and He heard me; out of the belly of Sheol cried I, and You heard my voice (Jonah 2:2). Imagine for a moment how awkward that must have been for him, and for the fish too, not being able to digest him for those three days. He could not burp him; neither release him. And Jonah? well, we can just imagine by placing ourselves in his place. He was probably in a fetus position, not being able to move freely. A nightmare that lasted him like forever, so we would express ourselves. This great fish provided Jonah the means of transportation, too. For God directed it to take Jonah where he was supposed to go. That must have been a bumpy ride for several miles to his destination. But in the darkness of that fish, Jonah learned to call on the Lord for his salvation.  The Lord, Who is compassionate and abundant in lovingkindness, heard Jonah’s cry for help. He commanded the fish to disgorge Jonah and it did. That must have caused Jonah to have a change of heart, and when the Lord coming to him a second time saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach and cry out to it the preaching that I will tell you. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord (Jonah 3: 1-3a). Smelling like fish, Jonah sure had a story to tell others and encouraged all not to behave like him.

Prayer of Paul (Personalized)

(Father), grant me a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of You, by having the eyes of my heart flooded with light, so that I can know and understand the hope to which You have called me, how rich is Your glorious inheritance in the saints,  and what is the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of Your power in and for me, as demonstrated in the working of Your mighty strength, which You exerted in Christ when You raised Him from the dead and seated Him at Your right hand in the heavenly, and You raised me up together with Him and made me sit down together in the heavenly sphere in Christ Jesus.

Grant me (Father), out of the rich treasury of Your glory, strength reinforced with mighty power in my inner man by the Holy Spirit; may Christ through my faith dwell in my heart! May I be rooted deep in love and founded securely on love, that I may have the power and be strong to apprehend and grasp what is the breadth, length, height, and depth of it, that I may come to know the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge; that I may be filled unto all the fullness of God.

Father, may I be filled with the full knowledge of Your will in all spiritual wisdom, and in understanding and discernment of spiritual things, that I may walk in a manner worthy of You, fully pleasing to You, desiring to please You in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and steadily growing and increasing in and by the knowledge of You. I pray that I may be invigorated and strengthened with all power according to the might of Your glory, (with) every kind of endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to You, Father, Who has qualified and made me fit to share the portion which is the inheritance of the saints in the Light. I pray that my love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that I can determine what really matters and be pure and blameless in the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise (of You, Father).

Now to You, Who by the power that is at work within me, is able to do superabundantly, far over and above all that I dare ask or think, to You be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout  all generations forever and ever Amen!

Obedience (part 2)

But you shall go to my country and to my relatives and take a wife for my son Isaac. See to it that you do not take my son back there. He will send His Angel before you and you will take a wife from there for my son. (Genesis 24: 4, 6,7b)

Following the order of Abraham to fetch a wife for his son Isaac, his servant Eliezer went to God and prayed, “I pray You cause me to meet with good success today and show kindness to my master Abraham.” That’s the secret of obedience: a humble heart before God and man. Eliezer did not go fetch a wife for his master’s son on his own power and wisdom. He acknowledged his limitations and asked God for help. This is a beautiful story of God’s faithfulness expressed to Eliezer. His heart was tuned to God’s frequency in His plan for Abraham’s posterity. He blessed Eliezer by answering his prayer and giving him Rebeka as a wife for Isaac.

How To Be An Overcomer

(I Peter 5: 10; James 4:7; Psalm 92)

The suffering of the believer is not something that happens by accident, neither it is to be regarded as in vain. But it requires a personal search of the heart to be allied in the right position with God, so to understand the perfect will of God in that situation. The sufferings of the believer in YAHSHUA caused by persecution are without a question, the most honorable way of suffering. He so confirmed by saying, Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful for your reward is great, for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5: 10-12).

All Is Well

In II Kings chapter four the Bible registers the story of a Shunammite woman. No name was given, just the place where she lived. Shunem was located in the tribe of Issachar, to the north of Jezreel and north of Mount Gilboa. The Bible views the Shunammite as wealthy, influential and respected, a woman with kind heart, and compassionate. We see that in her good deeds toward the Prophet Elisha. As she watched him often passing by, she perceived him to be a man of God. Her perception led her to provide Elisha a furnished chamber to rest while in his journey. She not only had good perception, but she was also an initiator of action. She was willing to receive the Prophet Elisha in her house because he was “a man of God.” Her good deed toward Elisha was for love of God. Although they were wealthy and had everything they wanted, they did not have children.  Children in those days were not inconvenience, but considered a blessing from God. They were not aborted, but they were given their place on earth to fulfill God’s plan for them. Elisha was most grateful to her and wanted to reward her. Knowing this detail, he promised her a child. Knowing her husband to be old, she pleaded the prophet with these words: “No, my lord, you man of God, do not lie to your handmaid.” Nevertheless the Shunammite woman conceived and bore a son at that season the following year, as Elisha said to her.  A true Abrahamic miracle!

Interruptions Are Life’s Stoplights

(Mark 5:22-34, 41-42)

One certain day one of the rulers of the Synagogue named Jairus, came to YAHSHUA prostrating himself at His feet begging Him to come and heal his daughter who was at the point of death. This leader was one of the board members of elders who governed the activities and oversaw the building and whatever else that pertained to do with the synagogue. They were lay leaders who did not get paid for services rendered. Jairus, in spite of his position, had to make a decision not acceptable by the Pharisees or the Scribes- the spiritual leaders of the country. Based on the testimony of many concerning YAHSHUA’S power to heal the sick, and possibly having witnessed it himself, he believed YAHSHUA could heal his daughter who was at the point of death. No doctors could turn her around and give her life. Jairus could be thrown out of the synagogue’s leadership position due to his decision, but his daughter’s health situation was of more value at that moment. He courageously went to see YAHSHUA humbly begging Him for his daughter’s healing.  His heart was filled with hope when YAHSHUA decided to follow him to his house.