Friday, March 23, 2012

On change of attitude

O that you would care for your soul more than for the comforts of the moment and the joys of today! So I plead with you to consider these words.

One of the most misused verses in the Bible is: "I can do everything through Him who gives me strength" Phil. 4:13 It is taught today as an empowerment verse, giving you that little push that you need to do great projects, or make great trips that you were afraid of doing before, or riding that so dreaded roller-coaster, or taking that extra course you needed to advance in your studies, or finally being able to talk to that person you had no courage to do before. And all these are good and fun, but the verse is not about any of them. This is what it says:

"I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (13I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

God has ordained the circumstances you are in. He has decreed them from eternity. Nothing is escaping unnoticed nor is out of His reach. He is Sovereign over all things, over all acts of nature, over every atom, over every trouble, over every joy, over every tragedy, over every miracle. Nothing is by chance. So it is in those circumstances He set before you, is that "you can do everything through Him who gives you strength" not to change the circumstances in your favor, but to change your attitude towards those circumstance. Knowing it comes from your Sovereign God, who cares for you, who wants that which is best for His children.

Change your attitude. Whatever you do, do it as for the Lord and not for men. Learn the secret of being content in every circumstance. If is serving, serve with all your heart. If persecuted, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. If in trouble, pray. If in prosperity, help those in need. If in need, trust in the Lord. If outside of home, give witness of Jesus Christ all the time. If alone, resist temptation. When provoked to anger, do not sin. And yes, it is there, that you can do all things through Him, who gives you strength.

May the Lord teach you that contentment so that you may truly know it and hold on to this resting assured that He will give you strength.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

On growing in grace and knowledge

"Therefore, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by error of lawless men and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ..." 2 Peter 3:17-18

Here is a great advice to heed. Listen so you may not be deceived. You are not called to learn to be happier, or to feel better about yourself. You have been called to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior.

So I encourage you to study His word faithfully. You need not to be content with knowing what you hear at church on Sundays, or what your parents teach you or what you saw on a "Jesus movie". Do not be satisfied until it is your hunger to search for more. Study the Word of God in a way that you are a theologian, know what you believe, why you do so, grow in knowledge of the Lord. If you do this, you will not be moved. Your feet will be firmly planted and will strengthen your faith. And at the same time, grow in grace. Grace will keep you humble, not thinking of yourself higher than you ought to. Grace will help you see others with less knowledge with patience and compassion, learning from them, and renewing your joy for the things that are holy. Grace mixed with knowledge will prevent the results of boasting, because you will know very well, that anything you know, is because God graciously gave it to you and you deserve it not.

Guard your heart from pride that comes with knowledge alone. Always fill your mind with grace so that is always overflowing. But also, guard your heart of grace without knowledge, because it will give you tolerance of sin and you will be weak in your faith, your mind will change very easily from one way of thinking to the next... you will be moved by emotions alone. Remember, you need to grow in grace and in knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the Lord' Day

Dearest children,
Prepare your heart always before going to hear the Word preached on the Lord's Day. Never go unprepared. Never enter without going before your Lord and ask Him to prepare your heart, to help you to listen and not be distracted, to listen and learn something for yourself. Go with an attitude of worship. Not to be entertained, not to be amused, but where the Word is preached. Be quick to listen and be sensitive in areas you need improvement; where discipline is lacking, and humble yourself not think that you know that topic, that you heard it before, but be aware, because there is always good to learn, always good that your soul needs.

Walk away from people that complain too much about the sermon, the church, the music, the likes, the dislikes. Walk away from them, they will only make you fall and pass that bad habit to you. But instead, speak what is right, look for the good, and encourage the weak.

There will be many churches with great music, or with a great preacher, or a wonderful program for kids or youth.  Do not be distracted. You do not go to church for an emotional experience, you do not go to find joy or happiness. You go to church to learn to wean yourself from the world by worshiping God, not necessarily the way you like it, but in a way  that your mind will be more focused to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth (using your brain, saying that which is right and not run by the peer pressure of the emotions). Now, I am not saying you should have no emotions! Emotions are important! You go and sing or listen, with all fervency, even if you are the only one. You sing with your emotions poured out before the Lord. Be all aware of what you say and whatever you do it with all your heart.

Many people will complain about the preaching... may that not be you. If the Word is not been taught in the church, leave. If the Word is been preached, stay and listen without complaining. The style of preaching is the least important when it comes to hearing the Word. If you are attentive, you will learn.

 And lastly, I say to you. Be merciful with others. The Lord works in each one of us at different stages. And some people may know more than you, and some may know less, but always, there is something to learn. Prepare yourself so that the Lord's Day, may be of great blessing, growth, and satisfaction to your soul.

Monday, March 5, 2012

On Sin

Do not get tired of hearing about your sin. The world and ourselves make great excuses to minimize its guilt for that which God calls downright wicked and ruinous to the soul. We need to learn about its seduction, its poison, its goal if we want to understand God's grace.

Sin will not come to you and look at you in the eye and say: "Here I am, Sin. I want to take you, destroy you, kill your soul and increase hatred towards God.". No. It will come in a very attractive way, it will come and be something you desire and that it may seem good and pleasing. Good enough, that will be worth risking many things for a taste of it. It will be very seductive.

Sin will not knock at your door. It will come through unexpected ways, it will come when your guards are down, when you were not looking for it it, when you feel secure in your own ways. Be on your guard. The Bible says: Watch and Pray so that you do not fall into temptation!

Watch and Pray. Make that your resolution to always be on your guard, to always keep an eye over your mind and heart who are not trustworthy. Trust the Lord only. Trust your heart and mind to Him.

Resolve it in your heart, to never put yourself in a situation where you are vulnerable to sin. If you hide into your room, will be to pray. If you speak in secret, will be to edify. If you watch a movie, never watch something you cannot watch in front of your parents. If you play, never play whatever will bring shame to the Name you carry. If you read, read something to educate you. If you listen to music, listen to the words. If you play in the computer, will be in an open place where everyone can see what you are playing. If you must be alone, be accountable to someone for your time. If you need counsel, ask for advice to godly men. If you fast or pray or give to the poor, do it secretly, as secretly as possible.

And if you know sin and know how it always tries to seduce you the same ways, know it, know your heart, do not be ignorant about your weaknesses, but know where you need help from the Lord, and ask for that grace He gives to those who need it. Understand how terrible sin is in the eyes of the Almighty God, and even if you do not understand the severity of sin, see the cross, see the cruelty that happened on that day, see your Savior crucified and beaten because of your sin. See the blood that needed to be shed, the mocking and the nails He endured, the pain and the shame. All because of sin. And if you see that, you will much better understand His love, His grace and His mercy.


Saturday, March 3, 2012

On Rejoice

What a mine of daily comfort there is in the thought—that we have an Advocate with the Father, who never slumbers or sleeps, whose eye is always upon us, who is continually pleading our cause and obtaining fresh supplies of grace for us, who watches over us in every company and place; and never forgets us, though we, in going to and fro, and doing our daily business, cannot always think of Him.(Ryle)

Listen and  Rejoice! Rejoice in having an advocate who is faithfully interceding with the Father in your behalf. He does not sleep. He does not get tired. He does not grow impatient. He is faithful. He cares for you. He does not change His mind. He does not forget. He is the One praying to the Father for you! Rejoice!

Rejoice that it is Jesus, who shed His blood for you, God's only Son himself praying for you all the time. What a comfort! What a comfort to know that Jesus will pray that which is good, that which pleases the Father, that which is perfect and not stained by sin or by selfish gain. I say to you, rejoice in that understanding. Grab unto that promise.

He is faithful and does not lie.

So I say to you: Rejoice!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On the 5 Solas

Live by the 5 Solas:

Sola Scriptura - Scripture Alone
Solus Christus - Christ Alone
Sola Gratia - Grace Alone
Sola Fide - Faith Alone
Soli Deo Gloria - The Glory of God Alone

Do not trust in your human nature or your ability for salvation. God's grace in Christ is not just necessary but is the cause of salvation. In salvation we are rescued from God's wrath by his grace alone. It is the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit that brings us to Christ by releasing us from our bondage to sin and raising us from spiritual death to spiritual life. Salvation is never, never an act of human work. Faith is not produced, is a gift from God.

Scripture alone. Stay close to the doctrine of the gospel, but those doctrines that are closely knit with that which is written. Go to the Scriptures for final authority. Stand firm on the principle:
"Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons -for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another - I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God's Word" (Martin Luther).

Christ alone. There is no other way. No other path, believe or religion outside Christ to go to the Father. Christ alone paid the price, shed His own blood; not to cover His own sins but the sins of His people. He bought us with a price. Christ alone is the way.

Grace alone. You are saved by grace alone. Not by works, not by the will of man but because of His mercy. You cannot earn it, you cannot lose it. You cannot  buy it, you cannot demand it. It is a gift from the Father, executed by the Son and we are convinced by His Spirit who makes us call Him Abba Father.

Faith alone. You are justified (made as if you have never sinned)  by faith alone. Faith in the work of Christ, faith that rests on the work of Christ. Faith that believes in He who saves you. Faith the He hears your prayers. Faith that was given to you because it pleased the Father.

For the Glory of God alone. And why did He saved you? for His glory. He needed it not, but pleased Him to show us mercy. He alone receives the glory since it is His work alone. We add nothing, we helped in no way, but His love and mercy are enough. And our salvation rests upon God and God alone. So that on the day that we meet Him, we will have nothing to say but come with empty hands and lips full of thanks!