Believing in God

Believing in God is the best thing that has happened to me. It has been a great adventure with ups and downs but the ups make up for the downs all the time. I am learning a lot and I will be a student for life but one thing I am understanding more and more is that the Lord is active in our lives as much as we let Him be active. It has to do with faith and trust and with how close we are to Him. Being close to Jesus never meant believing in God before. Believing in God was more a ritualistic religion with many do’s and don’t’ stand. I was under the impression that God was a ruler who was far from us and I had to watch everything I said and I did. I was walking on eggshells with God. This is something I can’t imagine now. I can’t imagine tiptoeing around my God. I can’t hide from Him or be quiet around Him. Believing in God to me now means celebrating Him and being in contact with Him all day long.

God is always in the background and in the foreground. I put work into my relationship with Him and I make an effort to stay in sync with His Spirit. Believing in God to me is knowing that the Holy Spirit lives in me, it’s embracing Him and getting to know Jesus better through Him. I can’t conceive believing in God without the Holy Spirit. He is a fervent and active agent who promotes and magnifies Jesus. A life with God without the Holy Spirit is not satisfying. I have been there and I did not enjoy God. Today I want to encourage you to revisit what believing in God means to you. I want to encourage you to make sure that the Holy Spirit is a big part of the equation and Jesus is at the center of it all. I also want to encourage you to tear down the walls of traditions and beliefs that might present God as a far away God that you have to adore from a distance. Believing in God is being close to your Savior and striving to know Him the best you can.

Believing in God is not something laborious and strenuous. Like I pointed it earlier, it’s not always easy but it is the best thing that could happen to you. I am talking about believing in God and having an encounter with Jesus. That is what changed my vision of God and my connection with Him. Encountering Jesus takes on many forms but every form is orchestrated by His Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the key ingredient in our faith. He is the salt of the earth much more than we are and He is the fruit that makes life so much sweeter and better. Jesus sent His Spirit as a gift to us. Now, some people value humans more than the Holy Spirit and give them roles that appear to be superior than the Spirit of Jesus. Those people count on “those special humans” to connect them to God. We don’t need a go-between to reach the Lord.

Jesus is the bridge and the way. His Spirit makes Him more real and more accessible to us and that is where we should start. If you want to believe in God more, develop a relationship with the Holy Spirit. You can do that through daily communion and daily prayers. You don’t have to wait for Sunday to find the Spirit of God at the altar. He is present ever single day waiting for you to come to the altar and to worship Him. He is your liaison to the Father. He dwells in you. He is part of you and He desires to speak to you and through you. He is the One who motivates you to pray and to do all things that are about Jesus and that make you move forward spiritually. His fruit is amazing and He will always influence you in a positive way so that His fruit ripens in you.

Believing in God is your weapon against the enemy. Research what believing in God entails. Research in the Bible and find out what you can trust the Lord will do and who He is. It is interesting to see that we don’t believe in God fully because we don’t know Him well enough. We can only believe what we know. It sounds basic but it is a deep revelation. Our faith can only be as big as what we know. Faith is knowing God is active without a doubt. It is believing God is God but how much of God we understand does matter when it comes to faith. Imagine you have been trusting God for years. You are saved and you love the Lord.

Now, if someone asks you who God is to you and what you believe in. If you don’t spend time in the Word of God and if you don’t pray regularly, you will have a small God to talk about. You won’t be able to give specifics to the person who asked you. God is impossible to fully know and understand but we ought to be on the road to discovering Him more and more. Believing God is believing in His love that is out of His world and His miracles and powers. Those are just a few things we can believe in. Get to know God for yourself. Redefine your beliefs and sharpen your understanding of God. Rely on His Spirit daily and you will make great strides. May God bless you and protect you and remember that He will always love you!

Suggested reading: Psalm 56:3-4; Proverbs 29:25; 1 Thessalonians 2:13

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 149)

Be vulnerable with God. Be at His mercy. Let Him hold you in the palm of His hand. Surrender. Be the clay and let Him to be the potter. Let God be God in your life!

Believe in the impossible every day by declaring that God can do the impossible in your life every single day! What you say matters. Say what God has to say about your situations all the time.

Never pass an opportunity to praise the Lord. Every excuse is a good excuse to exalt Jesus above everything. Do it often. Do it whenever! Do it when it hurts. Do it when you are joyful. Do it when it’s confusing. Do it when you have clarity. Do it all the time!

God’s plan for you is so good that no one can duplicate it or imitate it. Stick with His plan. Trust that He has the best plan. Embrace His plan for your life. It is detailed and well-prepared.

God opens a world of possibilities that clashes with your world of difficulties. Let Him change your world and bring great things out of nothing.

Wisdom from above destroys the misconceptions and misunderstandings of this world. God’s wisdom clarifies and polishes the ideas that need to be purified and made brand new. Out with the old patterns of thinking and in with the new ways of God’s thinking.

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Join the worship of the angels and let the melodies of Heaven be louder than the noise of the world. Fill your heart with praise and give a voice to the worship within. Lift up the name of Jesus. Lift His name above all names!

The Lord makes rivers in the desert. He will make peace in the middle of the storm. He will make joy in the middle of sorrow. He will make miracles in the middle of the impossible. He will make healing in the middle of sickness. He will make you whole in the middle of your brokenness.

There is hope beyond the clouds. Don’t look at the sky and see darkness. Look at the sky and see what’s above the storm. Faith will show you the sun and the beautiful weather that is coming. Rejoice over the sunshine even when it’s raining.

There is power and authority in the name of Jesus. Face the day with the name of power. Face the adversity with the name of authority. Face life with Jesus and you will see His power and His authority over everything in this world.

Suggested reading: Matthew 28:18; Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9

10 nuggets of wisdom for your Saturday (Part 147)

God’s got you in the palm of His hand. His helping hands are busy working for you. Learn to recognize what His helping hands look like.

God will take you through the fire, through the storms, through the winter, through the pain. He will get you through your worst seasons. Don’t try to settle in the rain when He has the sun waiting for you. Stay strong through the fog. Sunny days are coming your way!

Gratitude is the key to (spiritual) success. Turn the key to success every single day. “Thank You , Lord” gets the engine started. Thanksgiving keeps it going. Praise keeps you running.

If it’s stealing your joy, it has to go. If it’s stealing your joy, it has to be dealt with. If it’s stealing your joy, give it to the Lord. If it’s stealing your joy, it has to be arrested. If it’s stealing your joy, God will put it in jail and justice will prevail!

God sings all over you. Melodies from Heaven are all around you. Music on the harp is invading your space. Let God sing His beautiful songs over your life. He will take care of the soundtrack of your life and He will write the lyrics of your beautiful song.

Sometimes life is a steep hill and you need to be pulled up. The Lord is always giving you His hand ready to help you up. Don’t get discouraged by the hills of life. God will always get you to the top.

God is smiling at you. Smile back. Smile when the world wants you to frown. Smile despite the sadness. Smile despite the pain. Smile with the Lord and everything will be alright!

God sees you the way He made you. God sees you through the love that created you. God sees you through the lens of mercy and grace. God sees you. Start seeing yourself through the power of the Word of God. His Word displays the vision He has of you.

Find new words of worship. Find your own words of worship. Exalt the Lord with words from your heart. Find words from your soul. Words that lift up the King with emotions from the depth of your heart.

Be ready to receive from the Lord. Expect more. Expect an avalanche of blessings. Be on the lookout for His mercy. Be prepared for His goodness to dump a river of joy and peace into your life. Be ready to receive from Jesus!

Suggested reading: Numbers 6:24-26; Psalm 20:4; Philemon 1:25

How ready are you to receive from God?

I have been traveling for the holidays. When I am not at home, I find it a bit harder to pray at times. It has become a lot easier in the past six years but I am very sensitive to the spiritual atmosphere around me. I remember trying to pray when I was in Barcelona a few years ago and it was a struggle. Thank God it wasn’t anything the Lord couldn’t help me with. He helped me break through. I strongly believe that our environment can help our prayers or can deter them. What we have to do is keep “pushing through” and the flow of prayers will come. I flow with the Spirit when I pray. It starts with praise and thanksgiving. That combination sets the ground for praying with the Spirit. He comes in and takes over and all I have to do is yield and let Him lead the way. The other night, I was in bed praying here and I found that it was very easy to pray. Everything just went so smoothly. The Lord showed me that the family member I was staying with had a very fertile soil for the things of the Lord. He has a good base that allows the Lord to come in and bless him. He prays daily and he has the faith of a child. He believes that what the Lord says is the utmost truth. I meditated on the “fertile soil” concept and I received some insights. The question I came up with is how fertile is our soil? The soil here represents our foundation, our base, our level of faith, our engagement with the Lord and our “preparation ground” as I like to call it. When our soil is fertile and expectant, God can shower us with His rain and blessings grow all over the place.

The spiritual soil we all have is our level of faith. Faith is everything because without it we would not believe in God. Now, we all have a soil that we have to maintain. We all have a measure of faith that we need to cultivate. We can actively work on it or we can be lazy and not do anything to it. Being lazy and having a non-active faith is obviously not the best solution. We ought to be laborers of faith that spend time working on our piece of land. We have control over how much faith we are adding every day, how much fertilizer we are using. The Word of God is the best source of fertilizer. If the Word stays on our shelves, it won’t do any good. No harvest has ever come out of a land that is never taken care of. It is true that the rain comes and does something to it. That is what we can compare to God’s grace. His grace is given to us without us doing anything. Yes, God does bring the rain and we see miracles come out of the soil but He also expects us to do the growing and the cultivating by studying His Word. I want my land to be so fertile that there are crops all over the place and others can come and taste the fruit of the land. Our faith is for us and for others. We can stand in faith for others until they start growing their own crops. Use the fertilizer of the Word of God daily.

Praying like I said earlier was a joy that night. It has been ever since but that night is when I got the revelation as to why it was so great. When we pray every day, when we pray without ceasing, we make our soil very fertile. Praying without ceasing can seem impossible but it means praying often and keeping a prayer attitude. Our prayer attitude is sustained when we say and do things that don’t contradict out prayers. It’s when we say and do things that line up with faith. Our words outside of our prayer time are very important. We need to watch what we say. Are we doubting God when we talk or are we supporting our belief that God will answer our prayer? A faith that is rooted in “God can do all things” is a strong faith. When your soil is constantly sprinkled with words of affirmation and words of faith, it becomes fertile and it is ready to receive from God. Keep sprinkling faith all over your foundation. Pile up faith on top of faith. Let your declarations be strong and assertive and let them speak of how great your Lord is. The more fertile your soil, the more sustained blessings you will see. Jesus said that He couldn’t perform miracles where no one believed. Don’t let your soil be a place where He can’t perform miracles. Be sure your land shouts out His praise and you will see great miracles take place in His holy name!

Suggested reading: Matthew 21:22; Hebrews 11:1; 1 John 5:5

Don’t worry about God

When you worry and wonder how you are going to get through a certain situation, you are really worrying about God. You are wondering if and how He is going to come through. You are doubting that He is God enough to help you. It sounds a bit harsh but it is true. I have been there many times. When I have needed money, I have found myself planning in my head how the money would come. I think of this source and that source and I imagine how it should all happen. It is good to save and budget. This is not what I am referring to. I am talking about visualizing how my needs will be met. The problem with my approach is that I look at material things as the source. If I need money, I will obviously think of money but I shouldn’t focus on the money that much. I should instead focus on my provider. Whatever the issue is, the victory comes from the Lord. He is the One fighting all our battles. The victory is sweet but the Lord is sweeter. In all circumstances He should be the center of our attention and we should regard Him as more than able.

It’s easy to perceive God as powerful and almighty when everything is going well. We can praise and worship Him all day. All is good. God is good. When good things happen, we thank God for them. They certainly come from Him. When life is good we see God as a good God and a strong and invincible God. We don’t worry about His ability to bless us and to love us. We have an image of a loving God who can’t fail. There is nothing to worry about. Now, when things get tough and we run into problems and tribulations come from all sides, we panic. It’s a normal reaction since we are human. However, if we stay in that state of panic and fear, we are truly doubting God. We unconsciously or consciously don’t see the powerful God we are familiar with in good times. We stay up at night and worry about how things are going to work out. It’s not our job to worry. Our job is to agree with the Lord when He says He will provide our needs and bless us at all times. I once heard deep down on the inside “Don’t worry about Me.” I was praying and God was shaking me up showing me that I was worrying about His power. God doesn’t change when things get bad. He doesn’t lose His ways. He doesn’t run around trying to figure out how to help us. He is not broken. He doesn’t need to be fixed. He fixes all situations.

Worry about God needs to be replaced by confidence in God. It’s easier to have confidence in someone when we know them well. Building a strong relationship with the Lord is extremely helpful. I suggest studying the Word of God as often as possible. Prayer should be a habit. It should be a daily habit that is second nature. We should be so into prayer that we couldn’t spend a day or even half a day without it. I am in Europe for the holidays and there are days when I have not been able to pray as much as I usually do and I realize how valuable and important prayer is. I know you might feel like you have heard it all before. I have as well but it is a reminder that can save you next time you hit rock bottom. Remember that the Rock at the bottom will get up back on top. Jesus is the Rock that can never be broken and that can never be defeated. Develop your vision of Him being invincible because that’s how He is. Don’t worry about Him. He can handle your life. There is nothing He can’t do. Stay encouraged and stay in faith!

Suggested reading: Mark 5:36; Mark 11:22-24; John 7:38

The gift that keeps on giving

A couple of years ago I wrote a Christmas message about Jesus being the gift that keeps on giving. Today I want to reiterate that message. Jesus came to save us and to give us eternal life. Life in Him is like nothing we can imagine until we enter this new life. We go from darkness to light. The change in my life was like night and day. I got saved at an early age but I didn’t know the Lord for a while. It was as if I had been given an admission ticket to the best amusement park in the world but I didn’t know how to get on any of the rides. I could see the rides. I could see how great they looked but I had no clue how I could actually get on them. When I accepted Jesus completely and I started embracing His plan for my life, I saw a drastic transformation of my life.

I wasn’t just changed; my life was altered and changed for the best. That is what Jesus does. He changes us on the inside and He gives us a better life on the outside. The inward change opened my eyes to a life worth living in Him. I found myself walking around the amusement park holding Jesus’ hand so to speak. Every ride became accessible. Every ride brought a lot of joy. Every ride was part of this gift package that I had received in Jesus’ name. It doesn’t mean that everything was easy in my life but it meant that I could deal with life better with the One who was holding my hand.

A gift is given willingly to someone without payment and without any expectation of anything in return. At least that is the definition of the gift of life that Jesus gives. His gift is free of charge. He paid the price for all of us. He paid the highest price for the highest sins and the highest problems in life. Whatever you have done can be forgiven. You could be the worst sinner in the world according to society, Jesus will forgive you if you repent. There is nothing that can separate you from the love of God. Your mind, shame and the enemy’s lies can create a gap between you and the Lord but the gift is still there ready to be taken and open. When I opened the gift of salvation, I needed a guide, a manual like I alluded before.

The Holy Spirit is the One who can show us how to navigate through this new life and He does come with the gift of salvation. Jesus sent His Spirit to dwell in us and that truth needs to be taught and to be taken into consideration so we can live out our salvation. The gift of the Holy Spirit is like a gift that has millions of other gifts inside of it. The joy and the peace of the Spirit are amazing gifts that will make your life so much better. When trials come, the Spirit of Jesus will give you the strength and the power to go through the bad times with hope and calmness. The world can’t give you that. Only the Lord gives perfect gifts.

We know God by faith and we are told not to rely on our senses to know God. Faith is what connects us to God and it is our entrance ticket into His kingdom. We can’t rely on our feelings and emotions in order to know God better. However, the Lord will always have an impact on our feelings and emotions when we draw close to Him. He will give us good feelings and He will temper our emotions. He gives us balance and He becomes our gauge for life. He replaces sadness with joy. God can and will work on our emotions when His Spirit is our guide and our best friend.

I have seen so many changes in myself due to my relationship with the Holy Spirit. He gives me so much peace and so much hope even when everything seems lost. The gift of the Lord never lets you down. Jesus will continue to give you more and more. There is no stopping and there is no taking away. He gives and He builds up. With the Lord you will always go from glory to glory. On this Christmas Day, celebrate the One who keeps on giving and let every day be a Christmas Day where Jesus is celebrated. Merry Christmas!

Suggested reading: John 14:15-31; John 15:26; Acts 2

A call to walk in love despite conflicts

If you follow some Christian groups or leaders on social media, you must have read about some of the clashes that have been taking place among them lately. They don’t seem to agree and get along. If you are from this political party or from that party, it creates friction. You can’t follow this person because you might be deemed as a traitor. According to some leaders, God is only found in one political party and if you belong to a different party, you are living in sin. It is crazy how politics have grown roots in Christianity and vice versa. I never thought Jesus was going to take a stand and criticize all that are not in His party. Why did that never cross my mind? Well because Jesus doesn’t act like that. He stood with the ones people rejected in society. He bent people’s views of life. He loved the unlovable ones and He welcomed the ones people despised. Would Jesus be the same way nowadays?

The Bible doesn’t say that Jesus has changed. As far as I know  He is still the incarnation of love and I truly believe with all my being that He will never ever change. The problem is that we all have ways we perceive Jesus and we present Him according to how we see Him. We project the Jesus we have in our minds more than we present the One we have in our hearts. Our minds have taken over our belief system and it has injected principles, ideas and opinions that are our own and not the Lord’s. How can we feed the homeless with one hand and starve the ones who are looking for love by depriving them with the other hand? We pour money into charities and we empty our hearts of love with other actions. Every time we reject and segregate people, we take love out of our hearts and replace it with judgement and man-made opinions. 

If people can’t find love in the Church, where are they going to find it? Clashes and conflicts don’t look good on the face of the Church. It gives the Church a frown instead of a smile. I know of people who are turned off by the Church because they find it to be too rigid and too judgmental. There is a distorted image of Jesus that is being broadcasted in the world and it hurts the body of God more than it helps it. I don’t think it is wrong to be involved in politics. I find it difficult when our political views strip our messages off love. I think this goes for anything in life. If what we do and what we believe in take love out of the equation, there has to be some type of readjustment or recalibration. The question is what are we standing for? Who are we mirroring? Is our message tarnished or is it filled with God’s love? It is when our back is against the wall that our true colors come out. My prayer is that our true colors are always the colors of God’s love no matter what party we belong to or what job we have. Our main job is to love God and love others. If we compromise our job by changing its description, we are susceptible to do a poor job. In the natural, if our job is to review applications for instance but instead we file them without reading them, we can’t be considered good workers. Love can’t be filed away and replaced by actions that we regard as being more important even though they don’t reflect love.

Where do we go from here? How can we help fix this situation? I have stayed away from social media these past few days so I don’t have to read the anger and the hate that is publicly displayed. However, I can’t be silent. I am not saying that I need to denounce specific groups and leaders. I am saying that I feel the need to call for truce and call for peace. I strongly believe that we can be part of the solution if we mirror Jesus for everyone. If we continue to walk in love and be great models, we will touch people. We can be Jesus to everyone even to those who are established in the Church and who are very influential. We can be the influence that influences the influencers. I know a few people who live by example and who inspire me and encourage me to be more like Jesus all the time. I have learned that even though we can have great role models, Jesus is the ultimate model and He should be followed despite what people say. When we follow the Lord against all odds, we can’t go wrong. When we look to Him for inspiration, for direction and for aspiration, we are always heading in the right direction. Conflicts and disagreements are bound to happen even in the Christian world but Jesus’ imitators can help make things better. Let’s stand for love and for the Lord. Let’s be the Church that acts in love all the time. No more how popular or unpopular it is!

Suggested reading: John 13:34; Ephesians 5:2; 2 John 1:6

The beautiful meaning of Christmas

Have you ever wondered what the meaning of Christmas was? To many people Christmas is a commercial holiday and it is a reason to show they care for others. For many people Christmas is a stressful time because of all the shopping, the cooking and all the relatives getting together in one room. To some people Christmas means a yearly visit to church. Some people see it as sad time because they have no one to spend the holiday with. Some people promote Santa Claus way more than they celebrate Jesus. Jesus is the reason for the season. He is why we have Christmas in the first place but He is way too often the last one to be celebrated on that day. Gifts and big dinners have taken up the throne of Christmas. Stress and anxiety pay a yearly visit to many people during the holidays. Christ has been ousted from Christmas and the holiday has lost its original significance. Today I want to encourage you to give yourself the best Christmas gift ever. Revisit the reason behind Christmas and spend some time honoring the One who gives meaning to this holiday. Focus on the Christ part of Christmas and minimize the commercial side of Christmas. It’s not about the gifts but it’s about the biggest gift given to the world.

When Jesus was born, a new window was open. A window that let in hope, peace, joy, love into the world and that led to the path to salvation. For God to come to earth in the form of man is an amazing miracle that shut the door on the enemy. Jesus coming to earth was the beginning of the end for the enemy. The enemy got so agitated that he tried to kill Jesus as an infant but the Lord demonstrated that nothing could stop His plan and that the enemy wasn’t greater and stronger than He. Jesus being born on earth is a tremendous gift from God. It marked the reconciliation between God and humanity. It bridged the gap between God and men and it illuminated the world with hope. Christmas symbolizes hope coming to earth. It symbolizes the start of the victory over death. It represents the beginning of a new life and the fulfillment of the promise of salvation. The symbolism of Christmas alone is a good reason to celebrate the One who came and died for us so we could have eternal life. Shouldn’t Christmas be a big celebration of the Lord?

I am not advocating changing the whole gift exchange idea and the whole family gathering concept. I am just in favor of adding to it by making Christ more important on that day than most of us do. How could you recognize the importance of Jesus’ birth today? Some would say that going to church is enough. Some would say that praying on that day is enough. However, we can have church every day at home and prayer should be a habit in my opinion. A beautiful way to recognize His importance today is to receive Him as if it were the first time. Go back to the excitement of receiving Him and lift Him up higher than ever. Use Christmas as a starting point to magnify Him every day. Use today as a reset button and reset your dedication to Him. Give Him the gift of your attention. Give yourself the gift of adoring Him like you never have before. Spend time alone with Him today. Merry Christmas to you and happy Jesus celebration!

Suggested reading: Isaiah 7:14; John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 9:15