Do Not Weep

(Luke 7:11-16)

After a busy day teaching the multitude, YAHSHUA entered the city of Capernaum. From there, a Centurion’s servant was healed. Then He proceeded to a town called Nain. Nain was a small village in Galilee, located approximately four miles from Mount Tabor and twenty miles southwest of Capernaum. It was nestled in a beautiful region in Israel. Nain means beauty and pleasantness. The Mount Tabor carries a prominent role in the times of Joshua and Deborah. It is situated at the eastern end of Jezreel Valley, with the elevation at the summit of 1,886 feet high. It is a symbol of beauty according to Scripture in Jeremiah 46:18 and Psalms 89:12. As YAHSHUA enters that beautiful place, He is greeted with a funeral procession. Crying and sobs, hopelessness all in one tune reach His ears. A young man, the son of a widow, who depended solely on him for everything, lies cold in a coffin to the place where would not be seen no more. The crying of the widow moves YAHSHUA’S heart, and in a moment of hope, He says to her, Do not weep. Hope abounded in the heart of the widow, as she heard His voice. That was a voice of the Creator, comforting her with resurrection power. She had not heard that voice before perhaps, but the serenity and love echoing through His voice, she knew it was the voice of her Messiah, raising her from the ashes of sorrow and transporting her to the height of joy. Resurrection power took hold of her son and life entered him at the command of the One Who is the Resurrection and the Life!

YAHSHUA, My Shepherd

(Palm 23; John 10)

When we read Psalm twenty-three we see the beautiful love the Shepherd has for His sheep. In the course of the sheep’s life, He makes sure that they are well provided, protected and cared for.  He makes sure that the life of His sheep is provided all the way into eternity. This is what a true sheep says about her Shepherd: The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not lack. He is to His sheep their Living Bread, the Manna that came from heaven. Although Israel ate manna in the desert, they died. But the Manna that our Shepherd offers, produces life that is everlasting. YAHSHUA assured Israel that Moses did not give them the Bread from heaven, but it is His Father Who gives the true heavenly Bread; for the Bread of God, said YAHSHUA, is He Who comes down out of heaven and gives life to the world; I Am the Bread of Life. He who comes to Me will never be hungry, and he who believes in and cleaves to and trusts in and relies on Me will never thirst anymore (John 6:32-34). That’s the standing promise to the sheep who has accepted YAHSHUA’S invitation.

After a long day of wandering, the Shepherd makes His sheep to rest. He makes sure that they lie down in soft cool grass, from where they receive not only their rest, but also their nourishment. It is a time of reflection, a time of healing, a time to converse with the Shepherd and hear what He has to say. Oftentimes His sheep spend their energy on things that are of no spiritual values. Sometimes they wander away, far from Him and feel lost in the confusion of their mind. The Shepherd calls them to rest and makes them to do so. It can happen through any means He chooses to do: It can come through prolonged disease or any other ways that will cause them to hear His voice and obey Him.  After a restful time in His Word, He then leads them beside the quiet waters. We can never appreciate the quiet waters without first laying down at His feet to be nourished with the bread of life. The quiet waters are the ministry of His Holy Spirit. He came to comfort, to teach, to convict, to guide, among many other things. Our soul is restored with His presence. Our Shepherd then leads us in the path of sanctification for the glory of His name. The paths to sanctification include the hard and fearful valley of death. This is a must for every sheep of YAHSHUA to go through with Him. Fear will not be present in the heart because His presence supplies all they need to overcome the dreadfulness of the valley. The Shepherd uses His rod and His staff to defend, protect and to comfort His sheep. His rod is His weapon against danger that rises against them; it is also the means of discipline when a sheep wanders away from Him.  The staff conveys concern, compassion and comfort. Phillip Keller, a shepherd himself, defines the difference of the two: he says, “Whereas the rod conveys the concept of authority, power, of discipline and defense, the staff speaks of longsuffering and kindness.” The presence of our Shepherd is key in bringing peace to our heart. When we are near Him we experience His peace and nothing in the world can destroy it. Philip confirms: “In the course of time I came to realize that nothing so quieted and reassured the sheep as to see me in the field. The presence of their master and owner and protector put them at east as nothing else could do. Continuous conflict and jealousy within the flock can be a most detrimental thing. The sheep become edgy, tense, discontented, and restless. They lose weight and become irritable. But one point that always interested me very much was that whenever I came into view and my presence attracted their attention, the sheep quickly forgot their foolish rivalries and stopped their fighting. The shepherd’s presence made all the difference in their behavior.” – Philip Keller

I have Called You My Friends

The word friend brings warmth to the heart that not even a fireplace in a cold winter could compete with it. It warms the soul of man with assurance and confidence in the person we consider a friend. A true friend overlooks many things for the sake of lasting friendship. But in spite of all that, there is no perfect friendship that will last a lifetime without disappointments and sometimes to the point of breaking the link of friendship chain.  I am sure that all of us in one time or other have experienced betrayals in our relationship with a friend. King David testified of that in Psalm 55:12-14: For it is not an enemy who reproaches and taunts me- then I might  bear it; not is it one who has hated me who insolently vaunts himself against me- then I might hide from him; but it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my familiar friend;we had sweet fellowship together and used to walk to the house of God in company; and even my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, who ate of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me (Ps. 41:9) Prophetic of YAHSHUA’S experience at the time of His ordeal fulfilled in John 13: 18 in YAHSUA’S  own words: …I know whom I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, He who eats My bread with Me has raised up His heel against Me. YAHSHUA suffered the betrayal from one of His disciples, who were considered His friends.  Judas, in spite of walking with YAHSHUA as His disciples, experiencing first-hand miracles and the supernatural for three years, had not set his heart to be His friend, because he hadn’t accepted Him as the Son of God.  On one occasion, he criticized Mary for anointing YAHSHUA before His death. There was no room for anyone to do that, unless he was of the devil and was performing the deed of his father. As the son of perdition, He was available for Satan to enter him and perform the act of the betrayal of the Son of God. His heart was focused on doing that, even when there was the opportunity for him to repent at YAHSHUA’S warning.

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).

I Am in the Same Place Where You Left Me

In their distress, men find a way to call on God, even if he does not believe in His existence. An Atheist found himself at the mercy of a bear, one day while walking in the forest; his first reaction was Oh my God! A minute earlier, his belief was, “I don’t believe in God.” How convenient it is for some people to use the name of God to release their stress, as if by magic God would come to them right at that moment. I am sure that happens sometimes to those who trust in Him. For He is ever so near to us. Nothing separates us from His love and care for us. But even for those of who love the Lord, we must understand that the Lord’s timing for all things is beyond our reasoning of space in time. All Knowing, our God knows the right time to answer our prayers.

When YAHSHUA was hanging on the cross, performing the work of redemption for the world, in His last hour on that cross, He left a cry to His Father that has been registered for us to grasp the meaning of: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Do you suppose He did not know why He had been rejected by the Father in those hours? Have you ever thought why He would cry that way? That, my friend, would be men’s cry in hell, where the presence of God is void. That happened when God made to light upon Him the guilt and iniquity of us all; that was the will of the Lord to bruise Him; to put Him to grief and to make Him sick; God made His life an offering for sin; in time to come He shall see His [spiritual] offspring (Isa. 53: 6b,10).

He travailed for our salvation in order to present us to His Father a blameless church, pure and sanctified by His Spirit.  So, when He cried to His Father the separation between them, it was so that we would not be. However, He did not promise a perfect life on this earth; He promised to be with us to the end of time. He said, In the world you will have tribulation; be of good cheer, I have overcome the world (John 16:33b). You and I well know when it happened. He deprived the world of its power over us; He conquered it for evermore so that would not hurt us. At Lazarus death, YAHSHUA suffered for us, when He wept at the circumstance; not that He could not bring life to Lazarus, but for the hopelessness of man confronting death at their cry. He saw then what He had to go through to redeem us from the power of death.

In The Sixth Hour He Thirsts

(John 4)

The Samaritan story begins with rumors that YAHSHUA was baptizing more disciples than John. However, John denies that in verse two: Though YAHSHUA Himself did not baptize, but His disciples. We know for a fact that YAHSHUA had the authority to do so, being the Messiah, and the Prophet. But when He heard the rumor, He left Judea, and went back to Galilee. On the way to Galilee, it was necessary for Him to go through Samaria, about 30 miles distance. (v.4). There is a strong connotation of the word necessary, God’s hidden plan for the salvation of the Samaritans. Samaritans were Jewish people who intermarried with foreigners and adopted their religion. They were considered half-breed and were despised by the Jews and the world. They were the result of the time when Assyria carried the ten tribe captive and replaced them with people from several other places. They then intermarried with the Israelite’s population, resulting in a mix of all sorts of idolatrous religions. They were a rejected race, but still had knowledge of the Law and some history background of their ancestors. The Samaritans were visible to the Jews and vice-versa, perhaps in their way of dressing, etc. YAHSHUA, aware of that enmity between the two people, did not consider to isolate them from the plan of salvation, but proceeded to go through Samaria on His way to Galilee to fulfill God’s purpose.

He stops at a town called Sychar, which held historical meaning, for it was the tract of land Jacob gave to his son, Joseph and his well was there. Tired, as He was from His journey, He sat down by the well. It was about the sixth hour (about noon). When He sat by their well, He was expressing to the Samaritans that He was the Living Water, the Living Water that satisfies their spiritual thirst. That divine appointment had to happen in space of history with the purpose to unite the two people as one in and through YAHSHUA also their Messiah. The point of contact was YAHSHUA’S thirst. He acknowledged to the Samaritan woman, when she came to fetch water, that He was thirsty and asked her for some water. There stood a woman who was also thirsty, spiritually thirsty and ready to drink the water YAHSHUA offered her. YAHSHUA was also thirsty physically thirsty. She could not satisfy His thirst due to the wall of enmity that separated the two of them, when she said, How is it that You being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan woman for a drink? – For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans- (v. 7,9).

But YAHSHUA stood there offering her life apart from the wall that divided them. He was the Messiah that came to redeem them from their idolatry to satisfy their spiritual thirst. He did not respond to her remark, but contrary to that, He said, If you only had known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, give Me a drink, you would have asked Him and He would have given you living water (v.10). From this point on the conversation changed its physical tune to the spiritual tune, when YAHSHUA revealed Who He was to the Samaritan woman.

The water the woman could give YAHSHUA was good to satisfy His physical thirst only for a while. The sixth hour when that event took place was of great significance in God’s plan for that day in the lives of the Samaritans. Later, in YAHSHUA’S ministry, it would be at the sixth hour that Jerusalem would experience total darkness for three hours, as YAHSHUA would hang crucified from nine in the morning until His death at three o’clock. For six hours He hung on the cross to liberate the Samaritans from their idolatrous ways to bring them to the true and only God, the One Who stood there asking the Samaritan woman for a drink of water. The Light of the world had reached the place where the people had been rejected; where darkness abounds. But God came for them, too. In an hour just right He touched the hearts of many of that community that was thirsty for the Truth. The Samaritans were also waiting for the Messiah. They had knowledge of that fact as the woman expressed to YAHSHUA: I know when Messiah is coming. He Who is called the Christ and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. YAHSHUA then answered her: I Who now speak with you am He (vs. 25-26).

The Importance of Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal

(Deuteronomy 11:29-30)

Directed by Moses before he died, Israel was to set the blessings on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal, after they had reached the Promised Land. On that day, Moses set before Israel a blessing and a curse- the blessing if they obey the commandments of the Lord, and the curse if they did not obey the commandments of the Lord their God. He said, And when the Lord your God has brought you into the land which you go to possess, you shall set the blessing on Mount Gerizim and the curse on Mount Ebal (Deut. 11:29-30).  The people were to hear the blessings from Mount Gerizim, when they obeyed the law and the curse from Mount Ebal when they disobeyed God’s law. The significance of these mountains, in particularly the Mount Ebal is relevant to us today in its symbolic prophetic meaning.  The late Dr. Francis A Schaeffer, an American theologian, philosopher, an apologetic and pastor, a thinker of his time, suggested that these two mountains represented two life styles: obedience and disobedience. Consequentially, the mountains were to remind the people that keeping God’s law was as if they lived on mount Gerizim. From there, God’s blessing would fall on Israel. But an altar was to be built on Ebal mountain when they sinned against God. Shechem, a city of long history, is found between these two mountains. There, the Patriarch Abraham built the first altar to the living God; Joseph, his great-grandson, sought for his brother in Shechem; his bones were buried there many years later after Israel’s exodus from Egypt. Jacob dug a well near the city and many years later, YAHSHUA providentially met a Samaritan woman there with a message of salvation. The Samaritans, after hearing what the woman had to say about YAHSHUA, said, Now we no longer believe just because of what you said; for we have heard Him ourselves and we know that He truly the Savior of the world, the Messiah. Many more believed Him, because of His personal message (John 4:42,41). The city of Shechem, was a silent witness of past history and of the spiritual meaning they carried, according to the words Moses spoke to Israel before they entered the Land.

YAHSHUA at Thirty Years Old

Monumental for YAHSHUA was the age of thirty, because it was when the reason and reality of His coming into this world started to take shape in the eyes of the people. He was revealed to John the Baptist as the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world, when he came to him to be baptized. John testified by saying, Look! There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world; this is He of Whom I said, after me comes a Man Who has priority over me, because He was before me and existed before me; and I did not know Him and did not recognize Him; but it is in order that He should be made manifest and be revealed to Israel, that I came baptizing in water; He gave further evidence saying, I have seen the Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven and it dwelt on Him. He Who sent me to baptize in water said to me, Upon Him Whom you shall see the Spirit descend and remain, that One is He Who baptizes with the Holy Spirit; I have seen and my testimony is that this is the Son of God! (John 1:29-35).

John’s testimony leaves no doubt in our minds Who YAHSHUA was. Obscure to many, the truth was clearly revealed to the world, and in particular to Israel: “The Son of God, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” Powerful words that shone the light for all to see and receive YAHSHUA as the Messiah- the Savior, the Redeemer. He was then thirty years old, entering the time that would change the hearts of many, when seeing the evidences of Whom He was by miracles performed before all to see. He was until then, the Son of Mary- His human connection. She allowed God to use her for the purpose to bring His Son into the world, and for a time, she would shine as an important part in His life. But the time came when He had to disconnect Himself from the human connection and follow His heavenly Father’s purpose, for which He had come into the world.  At the wedding at Cana of Galilee, when they lacked wine, and His mother told Him about it, His response was one that sealed His position between them. Not in a disrespected term did He addressed her as “woman, what is that to you and to Me”? [What have we in common? Leave it to me.] My time has not yet come. In response, His mother said to the servants, Whatever He says to you, do it (John 2:4-5). By saying that, Mary surrenders her position of earthly authority of a mother. She realizes that aspect of her role, had come to an end. He enters into a new phase to perform that which He came to do, and under the authority of His heavenly Father. No longer was He identified as her Son, but the Son of God. An agreement happened that day between the two of them, that Mary’s role of a mother in every sense of the world had been finished. To prove that, one day when He was very busy, healing all who had come to Him, with no time to eat, His mother and brother concerned for Him, came looking for Him. Hearing that, He said, Who is My mother and who is My brothers? And stretching out His hand toward [not only the twelve disciples but all] His adherents, He said, Here are My mother and My brothers; for whoever does the will of My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother! (Luke 12:47-50)

For I Know Whom I Have Believed

This phrase confirms the credibility of the pronoun Whom. It is essentially good for one to know the source in whom he puts his trust and reliance.  Faith in money or positions seemly stable, faith in politicians representing government is to be up for big surprises. Putting faith in anything pertaining to what the world offers is without a doubt, foolish and disappointing. History frequently shows us humanity’s failure in delivering the promise. In the political world, they come with promises and they leave without fulfilling them. Job positions are relevant only upon success one has achieved. It is all circumstantial and transitory, together with what we as humans are. Friends often betray each other’s confidence and the bridge of relationship destroyed. Even the closest to us, as in family, has failed many times causing family to break up. Where then can one go to find the assurance and the certainty he is looking for? The Apostle Paul gives us the sure answer that will never frustrates, neither fails us. In His words, “For I know Whom I have believed,” with these words, he establishes a firm foundation and pillars that will not collapse our faith and belief in time of trials. Amidst Paul’s suffering persecution for the Gospel, he never gave up, because he knew Whom he had believed. I know He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed until that day (II Tim. 1: 12). Faith is not blind; it does not walk with a stick for guidance; it is not ignorant. Instead, Faith is knowing, although not seeing, it is sure, although not touching. Faith is hope, it is proof of things we do not see, it is the assurance of their reality; faith perceives as real of things not yet revealed. Believing in God it is for knowing Him; it for having a relationship with Him. It is to disregard everyone else and everything else in order to embrace His words of promises, especially in our most trying times. “Be still and know that I am God!” The stillness of the soul rests on Him Who can calm the storm and rage of the sea. He rushes the storm to a calm and to a gentle whisper, so that the waves of the sea are still (Ps. 107: 29). That’s our only true God. In Him we can put our trust in confidence. “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” Words from the Psalmist, who after great time of suffering anguish and grief, said, Because He has inclined His ear to me, therefore will I call upon Him as long as a Live; the cords and sorrows of death were around me, and the terrors of Sheol had laid hold of me; I suffered anguish and grief; then I called upon the name of the Lord, O Lord, I beseech You, save my life and deliver me! I believed, and therefore Have I spoken (Ps. 116:3-4.10).

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.