Monday, September 29, 2008

Wall Street, Main Street and "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus"

I'm not going to give my opinion to the present economic conundrum. Too many 'experts' are giving contradictory solutions, so I would only confuse the matter. But I can offer a few reminders that will help us keep our focus during this time.

Nothing new here, my friends, but do you remember the old hymns? Many of them still speak loudly to our hearts today. One of my favorites is "TURN YOUR EYES UPON JESUS," written in 1922 by Helen H. Lemmel. Here are the words of the first stanza and the refrain:

O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Saviour,
And life more abundant and free.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His Glory and Grace.

Many these days are feeling "weary and troubled" over the financial crisis. There is no doubt that our nation is facing (will face) difficult times in the upcoming months. That's why although we are experiencing an economical maze and uncertainty over the next few months, it's important to regroup and go back to the anchor of our faith, the Lord Jesus Christ, and to the Word of God. There are many verses that come to mind, but two are especially helpful in these days: "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

I don't know how the present crisis will affect you and your family. I don't know to what degree we will have to change our lifestyles (most of us are already doing so). So what should we do? I guess trying to understand what's going on and learning how to best 'prepare' for the future, has its benefits. But, there are at least two things that are basic to our faith. We should pray for those who govern us, for those who will be making decisions for our economy this week, and for our nation to return to the true God and Savior, Jesus Christ. But we should also continue to place our faith in God who invites his children to trust him to supply their needs, and who encourages them to seek his rule and his ways above all things (read Matthew 6:25-33). Don't let your heart be troubled this day. Instead, let us "Turn our Eyes Upon Jesus," and be careful to view all things through the lens of faith.
Por Su Gracia y Poder (By His grace and power)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Yes, I believe in Jesus, But. . .": Why worshipping ‘God’ makes all the difference - Part III (Continued from Tuesday)

Some time after the glow of being married recede some couples begin to take each other for granted. Little attention is given to the development of the marriage. Weight is gained, isolation kicks in, and life becomes ho-hum. Some spouses even begin to chide their partner and demonstrate lack of honor and respect in front of others. Somehow any value of the partner has disappeared and now only disdain seems to fill their mouths. This shouldn't be. When as Christians we don’t live our lives in honor of God; when we disrespect God by disobeying his word or we break his heart over areas where we sit as master, we show that at least in our life-ruling concept of God, we are also rather, ho-hum. Although many believers in Christ live as if God is important, and even essential to their faith, they fail to live surrendered lives because they are NOT in awe of God’s greatness, majesty and wonder.

Why does God seek his glory? As God seeks his own glory he calls us to worship him, and the act of valuing and honoring God, with all our hearts, consequently leads to produce in us the desire to share the good news of Jesus with others. In other words, living for God and desiring to be used of God to share our faith in Christ is strictly linked to how we view the Lord and the kind of worship we render to him. Again, this is the way John Piper explains it. “. . . The deepest reason why worship is the goal in missions is that worship is God’s goal” (15). But again, why does God seek his own glory? Why is worshipping God, and not sharing your faith or any other way of serving God, the highest calling? Why is God seeking his glory, fame and honor?

Is this confusing? It really isn’t if you understand what Piper is saying about how missions will flow from God’s people. First, for God not to want to bring glory to him would lead God to commit idolatry. Hang in there. Second, for God to seek his own glory is to seek our best interest which in turn can only be realized when God is worshipped. Why should God exalt his own glory? Piper clarifies this for us: “He would be unrighteous not to do so since he would not be prizing what is infinitely valuable. He would be, in fact, an idolater if he esteemed as his infinite treasure something less precious than his own glory” (26). What Piper is saying is that the most righteous and most perfect thing for God to do is to worship that which is most worthy, honorable and highest . . . himself! Now I’m hearing some of you say, “You’ve lost me.” But, please hold on, as we go a little deeper still.

Think for a moment about how we could bring the most glory to God. What will fuel your missions, your evangelism, and your life lived in total surrender to God? Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that we are to do all things to the glory of God. He told us to glorify God in whatever we do. That is, our lives should be concerned with the glory and honor of God. God desires that we glorify him for who he is. But, what does this all mean? Piper writes what may be the most significant statement of his book: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” (26). Please re-read this statement a few times. It’s significant and life changing. “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him” Helping sinners find the cross and understand the reason for Christ’s death and resurrection is not the goal. The worship of God by sinners is. To serve the poor, feed the hungry, educate the masses, and heal humanity’s pain is not the goal. The worship of God by those who are set free is. The enjoyment of the good things in life and the good pleasures of life is not the goal of our existence. The worship of God’s children who acknowledge that all good gifts come from him is. Are you beginning to understand how it is that as we begin to recalculate what our true calling is will we then begin to do the works of God more willfully and consistently?

In conclusion, when is the Church most mobilized, energized, and compelled to want to share Christ? Here’s the final answer: It is when God’s children are “most satisfied in him.” It is when the redeemed are most satisfied in seeking after God that their meager service will flow from a heart full of wonder for God. It is when our most treasured desire is to seek to be in a growing relationship with God because we are "most satisfied in him." This is why for God to seek his own glory is not selfish or self-gratifying. “If it is true, then it becomes plain why God is loving when he seeks to exalt his glory in my life. For that would mean that he would seek to maximize my satisfaction in him, since he is most glorified in me when I am most satisfied in him” (26).

Is God your greatest passion? Do you run after God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength? If not, spend some time to get alone with him, confess your lesser gods, acknowledge his lordship over your life, and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with a heart of worship for our Creator and Savior. It is only as each of us who call ourselves followers of Christ continues to seek the glory of God as our highest calling, will a desire to love people, and share our lives and faith with them, become the heartbeat of our lives.
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

"Yes, Jesus is my Savior, but. . .": Why worshipping ‘God’ makes all the difference - Part II (Continued from Monday)

Living our lives as followers of Christ can have its challenges. Yet, could there be something that most of us are missing that makes living totally surrendered lives for God less appealing? I think it’s a value thing. Living for God, and sharing Christ within the context of relationships that we have fostered should be natural when God fills our hearts. That is why John Piper in his book Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions writes the following: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. . . .Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal in missions” (11). What is Piper saying? Loving God and worshipping him (recognizing his ultimate value) as the centerpiece of my life is the beginning of any kind of service I can offer, including sharing my faith or being involved in living missionally.

Think of it like this. Most couples who are planning their wedding become enamored with the process itself and forget that it’s really about the woman or man with whom they will share the rest of their lives. The ceremony will come and the honey moon will soon pass. What will fuel the well being of the marriage will not be the activities done before or after the marriage, as important as many of these might be. What will produce a solid marriage and strong relationship is not just the fact of being married. Nor is it to simply play the role of married individuals. What will distinguish one marriage relationship from another are the value that is placed on and the honor that is given to each spouse in the relationship. In the same way, there is no doubt that God values each of us. The question is, how much do we value and love and treasure God? This is what Piper unfolds in his book. Living our lives fully dedicated to God, in awe of God, and thankful for his mercies, only comes when we understand who God really is and how deeply he loves us. Worship precedes and is the fuel for missions.

So I believe that if the churches in my city of Marco Island, or any of the churches in Florida or anywhere else in the United States, are going to have an impact on our culture then a renewed vision of God and passion for God needs to flood our hearts. Piper expresses this belief like this: “Where passion for God is weak, zeal for missions will be weak. Churches that are not centered on the exaltation of the majesty and beauty of God will scarcely kindle a fervent desire to ‘declare his glory among the nations’ (Psalm 96:3)” (12). Declaring the praises of God – living lives worthy of being God’s children, spreading his truth, his goodness and his fame to others – won’t happen unless our hearts recognize who God is and the honor he alone deserves from each of us is genuinely given. That is why Piper is quick to challenge the Church to understand that “The most crucial issue in missions is the centrality of God in the life of the church. Where people are not stunned by the greatness of God, how can they be sent with the ringing message ‘Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods!’” (Psalm 96:4)” (14).

On Wednesday we will understand why God seeks his own glory, and why being in awe of God is significant in producing in believers a life of joy and service. To say that God seeks his own glory might be confusing to many because it sounds egotistical. Not so. We will see that it is in God’s desire to seek his own glory that we find one of the keys to motivating true worship and a heart for missions in believers.
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Yes, Jesus is My Savior, but. . .: Why worshipping ‘God’ makes all the difference - Part I

“Houston, we have a problem.” No, I’m not going to write about our space program. The next three days I want to write about a theme that I need to keep in the forefront of my own life. I’ll need your patience because I’ll develop it slowly. I hope you stay with me and come back all three days. First, I want to start with a most joyful event in most people’s life: engagement. Do you remember when you got engaged? Do you remember the details of the occasion? I do. I proposed to my wife while walking through the beautiful courtyard of the Don Shula hotel and restaurant in Miami Lakes (a city in South Florida). It was an unforgettable evening for which I had meticulously planned for a long time. You too probably remember your engagement.

What does this have to do with sharing the gospel? Well, consider these questions: Why don’t more Christians share their faith in Christ with others? Why does it seem as if those who profess Christ are not living worthy of their call as followers of Jesus? Do we really understand what our highest calling is? In the following days I want to consider one important reason for which many Christians do not live their lives yielded to God and why often sharing Christ is more a duty or an obligation than a joy.

Back to my engagement illustration. I think that we can find many correlations between a love relationship between two people and our commitment and love for God. Take for example when you realized that God loved you so much that he paid the ultimate sacrifice for your salvation. Do you remember when you felt your eyes opening to the reality of God in your life? All of a sudden there was a deep love that filled your heart for him. Something great had happened. Engagement is the step that shows that two people are serious enough about their relationship that they plan to spend the rest of their lives together. The wedding ceremony is finally the last symbolic event in which the couple promises their love for each other before God and people as their witness.

Now, if you are married you know that the high levels of emotional euphoria are at best inconsistent throughout the years of marriage. They are replaced by a settled commitment to one another which with God’s help and our resolve to make the relationship work, the marriage continues to grow and be strengthened. Yet, for other couples, their experience is nothing like this. In a similar way, for many believers their fellowship with the Lord wanes, and slowly the intensity and desire to share his love with others dies down. This shouldn't’t be, but often this is the case. Living for God and sharing the good news of Christ seems to fizzle down. Why? What has changed?

Could it be that we begin to focus on the activities of faith instead of God? Could this be the reason why it becomes burdensome to live for God? Why do many believers seem to live selfish lives and forfeit the joy of living and serving God? Why is having fellowship and congregating with other believers often looked at like a chore? Look around. Start with your life. Sadly, the lives of many Christians become like a lot of folks who are married and who slowly begin taking their spouses for granted? The passion, enjoyment and awe of marriage have subsided.

In this series of blogspots I want to share with you some of the thoughts of well known pastor and theologian, John Piper. Years ago he wrote a book entitled, Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions. Here’s one of his opening thoughts from the book, but I have to caution you. Piper is a deep thinker. This is what he says: “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship doesn’t. Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man. . . . Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal in missions” (11). For Piper being involved in missions or sharing the good news of Christ becomes confused when we begin to think about the process (missions or evangelism) as the goal instead of focusing our attention on the ultimate object (God) as the true purpose of all of life.

Tomorrow we will begin to think through how settling the most important issue in life will give clarity to our highest calling. As we understand this better it will provide the motivation for us to live life missionally and share Christ with others more often.
Por Su Gracia y Poder (Continued on Tuesday)
(By His Grace and Power)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"The Gospel, Clear and Simple"

What must an individual do to be forgiven by God? If we stand guilty before our Creator because of sin, how can we receive God's acceptance and forgiveness? I was talking last weekend with my family about how to share the good news of salvation with unbelievers. There is a lot of confusion in this area due to various theological positions, some which add a human factor - surrender, commitment, promise, dedication, submission, etc. - as conditions to be met before one can be forgiven or saved.

Let me ask you the same question I shared with my family: How would you answer your friend if he asks, "What must I do to be saved?" or, "What must I believe?" I think many people in our postmodern world will be drawn to Christ through our changed life. But at some point they will need to exercise faith in Christ. What do they hear us saying about what one must do to be saved? What do we share with them? This is such an important question that each of us must be clear on the answer to life's most important question. EvanTell, a Christian organization that educates God's people on how to share their faith, has a simple gospel presentation that you can use, or direct someone to, that spells out in a clear way how unbelievers can respond to God's offer of salvation. You can find it at:

The Gospel of John is clear about what we must do to be saved. You can read about it in John 20:30-31. In another passage in John Jesus said, "He who believes has eternal life" (John 6:47). Salvation comes when we believe that what God said about our sin and Jesus Christ is true. Our sins separate us from God. But the death of Christ and his resurrection is sufficient to freely give us the gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

I pray that you have come to faith in Christ. That is, that you have the inward conviction that only Jesus Christ can save you from your sins. It is true that many believe that repentance or a change of life or change of direction must be present in order for God to receive us as children. Although sinners should repent, and many in fact come broken before the Lord with a deep desire for change, the act of repentance doesn't save them. Repentance may lead people to faith [You can read more about my thoughts on "repentance" by reading the posts in July 31-August 1, 2008]. However, it is by believing in Christ that you are saved, forgiven, and adopted as a child of God forever. Faith in Christ alone is the only condition for us to be forgiven (see Ephesians 2:8-9; Galatians 2:16). That is the "Gospel, Clear and Simple."
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Viva Picasa2!

My wife has always liked taking pictures. I've often encouraged her to take a class on photography. For Mother's Day this year I surprised her with her own laptop (something I regret at times!) Besides feeding me a lot of information about news items and world events she has mastered the use of Picasa2. With the use of scanners and pictures from digital cameras she has put together many of our photo albums in a convenient way which makes finding our family and vacation pictures really easy. Picasso is like her new hobby. Good for her.

Whether our growth be accademic or a new hobby, growth should characterize each of us. I believe one of the joys of life is the pursuit of knowledge. To be sure, the Bible says that the greatest knowledge is to know and honor the Lord (Prov. 1:7). Yet, many folks allow days, weeks, and months to go by without a plan to grow as individuals.

Growth is for everyone. For example, Christian leaders who want to influence positive movements and change, must be readers. Many leaders know this addage:"If you want to lead you must learn. If you want to continue to lead, you must continue to learn" (John Maxwell, Leadership Gold, 126). Growth, however, must be intentional. Take for example our kids. Most kids must be helped to consider the importance for intellectual growth. At the beginning of a new school year many are still on summer mode. Parents intent on their children's education will be sure to help them shake off the slumber and get going on the new academic year. Yet, many adults will go through life and forfeit the pleasures of discovery because they have not developed a passion for knowledge and growth.

My pastor is leading our staff through a study of Leadership Gold. Last week we discussed the chapter which dealt with the topic of becoming lifelong learners in order to continue becoming effective leaders. In his book, Maxwell states that "the greatest obstacle to discovery isn't ignorance or lack of intelligence. It's the illusion of knowledge" (127). When you're young you think you have things figured out pretty well. After a few years you know better. Remember Socrates? He once said: "I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing." I like that. That's why I'm always trying to hear for new ideas and learn from the perspectives of others on issues. We can often learn from the gleanings, insights, experiences and knowledge of others. Maxwell says it like this: "Teachability, is essential for being a continual learner."

By nature I'm inquisitive and I enjoy learning, even what some would consider trivial facts like, how much longer is Florida than Cuba. But, I also love to consume many areas of knowledge, including of course, theology, philosophy, history, leadership, the life of the Church, and lately, yes, tennis. In order to be a lifelong learner, however, we need a plan, and having someone more knowledgable than you around is also helpful. Think about new areas of knowledge you can dive into. Think about deepening your understanding of matters you only know little about. Read a book each month. Take a class. Whatever you do, be intentional about developing a personal growth plan.

Maxwell again gets it right: "The secret to success can be found in people's daily agendas. If they do something intentional to grow every day, they move closer to reaching their potential. If they don't, their potential slowly slips away over the course of their lifetime" (125). Second, if possible, find others who are further along than you in a certain area that you want to really grow in. This can come through personal meetings with others, attending conferences, or through reading materials written by a particular author on a specific subject. Maxwell again states: "Being around people who are better than we are has a tendency to make us stretch and improve ourselves. That is not always comfortable, but it is always profitable" (131).

Finally, get out and share what you are learning. Would you believe it if I told you that I'm teaching several people how to play tennis? (Well, maybe "teaching" is too strong of a word.) Imagine me teaching tennis? Yes, it's true that sometimes I'm not sure what I'm doing on the court, especially when I play more experienced players who remind me of how little I know. Yet, that's okay because I do know a few things. As I continue to grow I can begin to pass along the information and the techniques that I'm accquiring. And this too is part of why we want to continue growing and learing throughout life. It's not only about ourselves, and about experiencing God's creation and the pleaures of knowledge before us. It's also about the people you can take along for the ride. It's about enriching others as well.

For years in middle school and high school the light of acquired knowledge shinned dimly in my life. But something changed. Besides the spiritual impact of having my life touched by God during my senior year, something else was ignited within my soul: A thirst for knowledge. A thirst to understand how the world turns. A growing appetite to learn about the wonders of life, of the animal kingdom, of astronomy, history, all things God.

Picasa2 is a great computer program. I especially get a kick from seeing my wife's ability to juggle around pictures and place them in the order she wants. I hope you too well have the light switch of knowledge turned on in your life. Read, understand, grow, and share. In whatever area, be it academic, hobby, or sport, become a lifelong learner!
Por Su Gracia y Poder (By His Grace and Power)

Monday, September 15, 2008

"Dad, how do you know God exists?"

Kids. Some times I think they are the greatest theologians among us. Many parents can attest to the inquisitive questions children ask them about faith and life. Where do they get these ideas? What happened to many of us that stopped the flow of questions from coming?

A little while ago I was doing my nightly ritual of reading some devotional materials with my ten-year old. We were talking about creation and about how sin came through one man, Adam. Kathy asked me, "Dad, how do we know that God exists?" "You know, how do you know that's the way it was." Oh, boy. That's when you pray and ask the Lord to help you come up with a quick and easy explanation to your child's questions.

Well, let's think about it like this. Let's just say we're about to have dinner, and you come up to me and your breath smells like chocolate. In fact you have crumbs of what seems to be a cookie on your mouth and marks of chocolate smeared on your lips. The cookie jar had ten cookies and now there's only nine. Now it could be that someone else ate the missing cookie, or that a mouse got into the jar and ate the cookie. But, guess what? All the evidence points to you! I didn't see you eat the cookie, and yes, someone else may have eaten it. But, your chocolate filled mouth, your breath, and the missing cookie seems like enough evidence to say that you're guilty: you ate the cookie before dinner. Well, that's kind of the way many people try to argue for God's existence. In the same way I used the evidence to show that you ate the cookie is how I show that God exists: the evidence in our universe seems to point to God's existence. I went on to share some of the evidence from design apparent in our universe to argue for the existence of God.

Well, it may not have been the best explanation, and it was getting late for more discussion, but I think my illustration satisfied her curiosity, at least for tonight. My fifth grader is growing up and her questions well get tougher. I just hope that I can help her think critically about faith and life issues. May the Lord help all of us lead our kids into a growing knowledge and confidence in God and his word.
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

"It's My Way, or the Highway" - Part II (Continued from Monday)

God's response to sin has not changed. It is when we choose to live outside of God's will and independent of his Word that we reap the sour results of our ungodly choices. Jeremiah probed his people to consider why she was suffering: "Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me" (Jer 2:19b). Reading Jeremiah is a reminder of how easily we can replace the ways of God with our own idols. God often whispers into our hearts our secret sins, whatever they may be, hoping to gently tug our hearts and move us back to love and obedience. He wants us to confess our sins and to not live in them (See 1 John 2:1: 3:1-2). He wants those who have fallen into a sinful pattern to repent and turn completely away from their sinful practices and begin to live obediently.

Proverbs 19:3 reminds me of what Jeremiah told Judah about the consequences of her sins. The writer wrote: "A man's own folly ruins his life, yet his heart rages against the LORD" (Pro. 19:3). If I can deviate for a moment, as you carefully analyze this chapter in Proverbs you will notice how Prov 19:3 sets the theme and the rest of the verses are its sub-points, or explanations (See 19:16, 20, 23, 27, 29). Our folly, our decisions to live according to our ways instead of seeking to honor the Lord with our lives, will brings us down.

But there's something else that should lead us to keep close watch over our sins. Reading Jeremiah is also to read about the goodness and tenderness of the God who redeemed us. It is to hear the cry of God over the sins of his people who forsook him. Over and over again God asks, "What fault did your fathers find in me?" (Jer 2:5); "Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!'" (2:20); ". . . "But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them'" (2:25b); "Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; we will come to you no more'?" (2:31); ". . .Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number" (2:32). God's heart breaks over the sins of people, especially of those who are his children.

When we forsake the Lord and his ways we do so to our detriment. When our ways are preeminent, we set ourselves up for the fall. Great are the woes of those who think that their ways are better than the Lord's. May we choose this day to honor God for who he is, for his love, and live according to the teachings of his Word.
Por Su Gracia y Su Poder

Monday, September 8, 2008

"It's My Way, or the Highway" - Part I

I'm again reading through one of my favorite books of the Old Testament: the Book of Jeremiah. I'm drawn to this book for various reasons. As a follower of Christ I am amazed, as well as encouraged, to read of how Jeremiah remained faithful to the Lord in the midst of hostile situations and a rebellious people. I also read Jeremiah because it helps me deal with sin in my life. Although God had delivered the Hebrew people from slavery in Egypt, led the nation faithfully through the wilderness, and provided for her well being, she still managed to forsake the Lord. This is why God asks, "Has a nation ever changed its gods. . .but my people have exchanged their Glory for worthless idols" (Jer 2:11, NIV). As I read through Jeremiah I am forced to look at my own life and ask the question: "Am I guilty of sin and rebellion against God?" "Am I living my life my way?"

Many times our sins invite suffering. When people ask why bad things happen to them, they rarely associate the suffering with the actions that produced it. Questions dealing with suffering have multiple layers to its response. But, if we are honest, many times, we are the recipients of our own poor choices. This is what God tells Judah, the southern tribe of Israel, when she is taken captive to Babylon (modern day Iraq). "My people have committed two sins: they have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water" (Jer 2:13). Many times our problems began long before with initial steps of rebellion and of actions we took that we knew were not pleasing to the Lord.

Jeremiah was trying to provoke a response from Judah about her suffering. Her suffering was not the result of a capricious God bent on dishing out pain. Jeremiah wanted to help Judah understand why she was taken captive to another nation. Her predicament had not come as a surprise. The tribes of the northern kingdom, Israel, had been taken captive to Assyria in 722 B.C. Many prophets preached to the southern tribes of Judah, calling her to repentance (=to turn away from sin and live differently according to the ways of God), but she refused to listen. This is why Jeremiah tells Judah, "Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you" (Jer 2:19a). Did you catch what the prophet said? The captivity was the consequence of her rebellious lifestyle and unrepentant sinful choices. Sadly, the final invasion and captivity of Jerusalem took place in 586 B.C.

Jeremiah calls God's people to repentance. To turn from evil ways and live unto the Lord. Before its demise as an exiled community God called Judah to reflect on her condition and return to him. In addition, one of the things that the prophet did was to try to elicit a change of behavior from God's people as he recorded the emotions of a loving God and Father. Jeremiah wanted wayward Judah to turn from her evil ways and return to her God. (To be concluded tomorrow)
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New Energy Sources - Consider Pickens' Plan

Sometimes people give up and do nothing when facing difficult circumstances. They loose all hope for change. However, the American people are starting to believe that we can do something about our dependence on foreign oil. Perhaps you are aware of how much we depend on other countries for fuel. But, are you aware of the escalating amount of money being paid to these countries each year in order to keep our economy working each day?

If you watch TV you have probably seen advertisements for the "PickensPlan". I took a moment to go online and read through some of the material. There's a video which lasts about four minutes which you can link to. After checking out the web site you may want to become involved in promoting this plan. The fact is that our dependence on foreign oil is almost at 70%. The next 10 years, accoring to the Pickens' web site, will cost us $7 Trillion dollars. Link on to the plan and let others know about it:

The oil crisis is just one area of our national life where we can't afford to simply throw up our arms in defeat. Our national defense, our future economic prosperity, and the well being of our country in years to come will be closely related, in part, to how we respond to this energy crisis.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

"Have Sex," "Don't Have Sex". . . Hypocrites!!

I'm a bit ticked off. Whether you like Governor Sarah Palin or not, whether you are a staunch Democrat, Independent or Republican, be consistent! I can't stand the hypocrisy of our media and many of our social institutions and organizations. Are not kids today encouraged to have sex? Isn't abstinence education looked down on? Don't they say that women have a right to abortion? So, what happens when our children fail to live up to our moral standards? We are scrutinized and ridiculed. "What else is in our closet?" they ask. "What else is being kept secret from the public?" Give me a break!

The office of the President of the U.S.A. is the highest calling of a public servant in our country. And yes, we should be aware of what's in the history of our candidates. Governor Palin has electrified conservatives because of her views. Now that her 17-year daughter, Bristol, is found to be pregnant, what do we hear? We don't hear that she's a teenager and is expected to have sex, and should have the right to do so. We don't hear how she should consider having an abortion (God forbid that she in fact was planning on having one--she isn't). We don't hear the cry of feminists that come to her defense.

Conservatives, instead, are condemned for their hypocrisy. How dare conservatives place someone with these family problems in the office of Presidency at a time like this? Why doesn't Palin apply her conservative views and stay home and solve her own issues? Hello? Is this situation really the heart of the matter? Do problems at home with children disqualify you from holding public office? Should our children's behavior and choices determine how we can serve? How quickly do so many forget the actions of some while still in Office?

Whether or not you agree with the choice of Palin by McCain, is up for debate. But, don't speak out from both sides of the mouth and dish out a double standard. Our culture prides itself with giving freedom to sexual expression and right over a woman's body. Are we now going to play the role of a society zealous for absolute truth and biblical morality in order to discredit a potential candidate from holding office? Pure hypocrisy!

The reality of life is that children don't aways follow the ways of their parents. The Bible is full of examples where good kings in Israel sometimes were followed by evil children (See 2 Kings 14:1-4). Many are the hearts of fathers and mothers which are broken over the poor choices made by their children. Furthermore, the reality of the world is one of tension and conflict between how we want to live and the way we do live. Still, for Christians, the Bible encourages us to live lives worthy of the call as followers of Christ. We are to live lives that are filled with integrity. Our children will also live with this tension and sometimes live lives of dissonance.

You may want to cast your vote against Palin on arguments based on her inexperience and the challenge she would face if she had to take over the Presidency if something happened to McCain. But, don't argue against her on the basis of the poor choice made by her daughter and cast your vote based upon the decisions of a family member over which she had no power. Everyone is responsible for his/her choices.

Obama said it well and forcefully on Monday: leave the family out of the campaign, especially the children. More importantly, I think many in our society need to learn to sing a tune of fairness for all and begin holding a distinct note of judgment that applies to everyone. Above all, everyone needs to seek mercy and compassion, forgiveness and restoration. And remember the words of Jesus, "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" (Matthew 7:3).
Por Su Gracia y Poder

Monday, September 1, 2008

A Prayer to God

Years ago I wrote out a prayer to God based on Isaiah 11:2, which is a prophecy of Messiah Jesus. The New Testament says that we have fullness in Christ, or have been made complete, in Jesus (Colossians 2:10). Jesus is God's provision not only for our salvation, but for our daily sustenance (See Ephesians 1:3). He is our daily bread in every possible way. I hope this simple prayer encourages you to trust the Savior who alone will completely uphold and guide your life.

"Jesus, on you the 'Spirit of the LORD' rests. Be Thy, my Lord. Jesus, on you rests 'the Spirit of wisdom'; give me wisdom to lead Thy people; Jesus, you have the Spirit 'of understanding'; help me to understand your will for my life. Jesus, on you rests the 'Spirit of counsel'. Thank you for being my Counselor in times of uncertainty. Jesus, Spirit 'of power,' please meet me in my points of weaknesses and give me strength to overcome. Jesus, Spirit 'of knowledge,' enlighten my mind to understand, to will, and to obey. Spirit 'of the fear of the LORD,' teach me to revere and honor God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. In your Precious Name. Amen.
Por Su Gracia y Poder