Have you ever found yourself out of luck? It is every persons dream to be called a lucky dog, where every thing you try comes out on your favor. Life would be a breeze if everything would come to us. The odds for winning the lottery today is 1 of 175 million people. Luck deals with chance, it is the force that seems to operate for good or ill on a person. It does not depends on ones ability or skill, luck is a chance that no one can control; at least from a human perspective. Luck has its streaks where for a period of time one can have everything be at their favor or not. Now, to some luck comes every so often and it is hardly present, but it comes. The scripture teaches us that both rain and the sun comes to both the good and the bad (Mt5:45).  There are those that because they get on a lucky streak become addicted to say gambling trying to keep it alive. People take many risks to see if luck is on their side. The only way one knows if luck is with one is if he/she take a chance. Solomon tells us that luck is not for the racer, worker, player or anyone in particular, but it comes to everyone (ecc9:11).   

Proverbs 16:33

33 The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.

The outcome of luck is God driven. He decides where the lot is going to be set on. So, if there is a need for chance to be set on, then God will allow it, but then he might not. Just as with the men who needed to know why was there such a storm in the sea, and so they cast lots and found out that Jonah was the problem (Jon1:7). Because every decision is the Lord’s, we need to become risk takers for his kingdom. God’s favor is on those that please him. As Christians we do not depend on luck, if it comes it comes, but we do depend on God’s favor. The “favor of God” can be described as a divine kindness, or an act of true compassion on the part of God Himself toward needy and undeserving human recipients. One of Job’s friends said is correctly. He said that he would turn back to God and speak with him that he would gain favor from God and be restored (jb33:25-26). When it deals with the Lord’s decision, we have a small window of opportunity to change it. King Hezekiah experienced this idea of changing God’s plans when he turned on his bed and cried unto the Lord (Is38:5), and God added 15 years to his life; that is favor. God has a time of favor, and the bible calls it the day of salvation and that is today (2Cor6:2).  

Are we growing?

not just born again

Change, these days are a bit hard to accept especially since those changes are without option. Having control to a change is not always an option that we have. Some changes in our lives take more effort then other.   There is a saying that change comes from the heart, and when it speaks about the heart it refers to the spirit. There are people whose spirit is broken (pro25:28), and therefore cannot change; they are like a city without walls. 

John 3:3-5

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.

Nicodemus could not understand the concept of being born again. His ideas for this concept were literal, and to him there was no other way. In order to see the kingdom of God, Jesus said one had to be born again. One does not have die to see the kingdom, but be reborn giving reference to a change of spirit. The word “see” in this text is in reference to being aware of the kingdom of God. 

But, what is the kingdom of God? It refers to Christ’s rule, and Nicodemus was looking at Christ as a great teacher and not God himself. Later, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter into God’s kingdom he  had to be born of water and spirit (Jhn3:5). And, by water and spirit Jesus was referring to having a humble heart and a willingness to a complete change.  

Now, in order to have a complete change the stage goes from having to be reborn to becoming like a child. And, this we see when the disciples asked Jesus who would be the greatest in the kingdom of God(Mt18:3). To “become” like a little child refers to change from being born again, to now a more mature being. Paul writes to the church in Colossians that they need to continue to grow and be rooted in Christ (Co2:6-7, 1Pt2:2-3). 

Jesus expected Nicodemus to know the spiritual context that he was referring to when he spoke to him about being reborn, and because of his immaturity he could not continue to speak concerning the spiritual things (Jhn3:12). Maturity in Chris is vital in these days and age.  We need to be mature in Christ proficient in the use of the word of God, and not babes (He5:12-13).

 

 

 

Ambassadors of Christ Church

Galatians 5:22-24

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

SUBHEADING

LIving without laws

The push to live without laws is on the up rise. We see more and more people reacting defiantly towards those who enforce the laws, such as the police. The bible calls it the spirit of lawlessness. Paul spoke of the day of the Lord and that it will not come until this spirit is manifested (2The2:4). The bible tells us that Jesus Christ is coming like a thief in the night, when no one expects him (1The5:2-3). We are expect to keep watch for the coming of Christ, else we will stay behind as in the parable of the 12 virgins (Mat25:10-13).  

Keeping watchful in times like these where we see so many signs is important for our redemption. Now, wanting to live with out laws where no one bothers you is tempting, and seems intriguing. And, we can live without laws according to Galatians. 

There those who want to live lawless are fighting a losing battle, because the law is here to stay. There is a law for everything that is against human nature. We were not created to be evil and engage in bad works. We were created to please God according to Revelation 4:11. Galatians outlines a list of sample deeds that have laws against them. But, there is a smaller list that does not have laws against them. I mean we have never received a ticket for loving someone. Paul tells us that love is the fulfillment of the law (Ro13:10). He tells us that God’s peace will rule in our hearts through Christ Jesus (Phil4:7).     

 There is no law against the fruit of the Spirit, we can exercise them without thinking that we are going to be penalized. When we practice these things we do not have to be as the proverbs describes the heathen looking behind his shoulder.(pro28:1). Paul tells us that we have been release from the law to the new way of the Spirit (Ro7:6).  

 

The Remnant

2 Kings 19:29-31

29 “This will be the sign for you, Hezekiah:

“This year you will eat what grows by itself,
    and the second year what springs from that.
But in the third year sow and reap,
    plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
30 Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah
    will take root below and bear fruit above.
31 For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant,
    and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.

“The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.

After all has been said and done what remains standing is important

The last man standing is what declares a victory. During a boxing match if the losing opponent continues to get up with his arms in fighting position the fight will continue. It is when the arms go down that a fight is stopped and a declaration of victory is made. During the time when the people of God were in a war with the Amalekites, if Moses’ arms dropped the people began to lose the fight so Moses needed to keep his arm raised all the time (Ex17:11). And, usually in a battle there is a small group of soldiers that will push to win the battle no matter the cost, kind of like the six marines who pressed to raise the flag at Iwo Jima. Isaiah said that like in the battle of Median where every soldiers boot and garments were rolled in blood and what was going to be left was as said in verse 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Is9:6). The remnant of the battle is glorious. The fact that Christ remain alone steadfast in winning the battle for us is astronomical (1Cor15:57).

The promise to Hezekiah that the victory was going to come came with a sign, that a remnant was going to rise after the third year. Such remnant was going to be rooted below and was to bare much fruit. Now, the reason why a remnant comes about is because they are deeply rooted in the cause, and no matter what storm comes their way they will stand. Now, in order to bare fruits (Jh15:8) one needs to be rooted. Take for instance John the baptist, in Matthew 11:7 Jesus describes him as a reed battered by the desert, but rooted and unmovable. We have gone through so much this year. Many have had no other choice but to entertain themselves; after netflix, hulu and Facebook has been over exhausted, church services. And, have become somewhat rooted in Christ, but the real test to see if you are rooted is when the country opens will you continue to seek Christ; or was it because you had nothing else to do. See, we need to be counted as that band of survival that was promised to Hezekiah that would be rooted. Jeremiah says that when you trust in the Lord you will be like a tree rooted who bares much fruit (Jer17:7-8).

 


Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

 

Receiving bad news is not welcoming to anyone at any circumstances. Especially, getting news that is close to home, is devastating and no one wants to be a part of it. Let’s face it, no one was expecting the world wide out break of the covid19, and certainly no one was expecting the racial tension to get out of control. The fact is everyone is at home minding their own business and is not looking for a fight; at least for the most part. When the storm is coming it just appears with out warning signs and everyone has to react. Just like when the the apostle Paul was being delivered to the court in Italy and they set sail after his warning not to sail. That they noticed a soft wind perfect for sailing and when they set sail a hurricane swiped them with fierce winds (Act27:14-15). Luckily, God was with Paul and assured him that no one would be lost. The day seemed calm, but the unexpected happened; the hurricane hit. No one is expecting the storm to come. Peter tells us that we should not be surprised of the fiery trials that come our way (1Pt4:12-15) as something strange. He tells us to rejoice, because his glory is going to appear during those times. When those unexpected hard times come, they are the perfect moments for his glory to appear and so we need to engage in worshiping him. 

2 Chronicles 20:21-22

21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of hisc] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.

King Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel had one of those unexpected moments where a gigantic storm came their way. An army of immeasurable size was coming against them. They were warned that three kings with a host of men to many to count were headed the way to take over their lives. Such event spread fear to everyone including the king. That the only thing that the king could think of was to pray. The last couple of months America has changed the statistics of anti-prayer to a praying country. And, one thing is for sure that when we fear and trust the Lord then battles that come our way become his battles; as he said to the King (2Chr20:15). In the story of David and Goliath, David tells the giant that he was going to cut him to pieces so that every one will know that the battle belongs to the Lord (1Sam17:47).  He tells him that this battle does not require spears or sword as it is told to Zerubbabel(Zac4:6) that is is not by might or power, but by his spirit. And, the prophet tells king Jehoshaphat not to be afraid but to go out into battle. 

What is interesting in this account is that after the word of the Lord came a spirit of worship arose and the leaders of the tribes of the Kohathites and Korahites began to worship the Lord aloud. In fact, the day of the battle the king sends out men dressed in splendid to worship the Lord in front as they go into the battle field. And, what happens in verse 22 was that as they came in worship the armies that came against them began to kill each other to the point of annihilation, because the battle really belongs to the Lord.  

Until now, being afraid of dying has not been a problem. Before this virus came the majority of us did not think that death could come anytime soon, so we did not react. Now, we have videos of people crossing the street just not to come close to others. In fact, at the supermarkets we have security making sure that we keep six feet distance. Because the reality that we could die has become our worst nightmare, and we have become fearful of that. John teaches that fear has its torment (1Jh4:18), but that perfect love casts out that fear. We have all dealt with some sort of fear at some point or another, but now most of us trace our steps to see if we cleaned the door handle, carefully removed the mask, cleansed the soul of our shoe, etc… Fear affects our heart with pain, the bible speaks that when they enemies of God came to his city to attack, fear came upon them and then pain (ps48:4-6). All of us at one point or another have behaved in an uncommon way because of fear. Fear leads to bondage or being enslaved and God did not gives that type of spirit (Ro8:15). 

Hebrews 2:14-16

14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham.

Now, our verse tell us that Satan had the power of death before Christ came. And, Satan, aka  Lucifer was known as the “morning star”. His beauty was so, that pride came into his heart. He was kicked out of heaven along with one third of the angels of God (Is14:11-12). When Adam and Eve came they freely gave Satan the power of death and they were cast from the presences of God. So, Jesus could not come to man in the form of that very thing that deceived them, the fallen angels or any angel. In order for man to come out of bondage (Heb2:15) or slavery someone had to buy them out, and Jesus did just that (Ga3:13-14). He had to take the form of the seed of Abraham which is the seed of faith (Heb2:16). God told Abraham to leave to land without directions, and he took everything he owned and followed God; without any information. He became the father of faith, and so Jesus took that seed and liberated us from the fear of death. That is why Paul said “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? ” (1Cor15:55) 

The Shunammites Blessing


One thing is for sure that God never forgets those who think and act on him and his elects. God’s rewards are on time, they are never late. When someone acts with compassion and mercy towards one of God’s little ones, their reward is not forgotten (Mt10:42). In Fact, when a person does something nice to you because you are a follower of Christ that person attracts God’s attention.  Isaiah 49:15 Says that although a women might forget the child she gave labor too, he will not forget those whom think on him.

2 Kings 8:5-6

Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land. Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him. Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”

This story of this women the Shunamite is a powerful illustration of God not forgetting his rewards. It begins with this women, because Elisha was a man of God,  preparing a meal for him each time he passed by. She then had her husband prepare a room for Elisha, so that each time he would pass by he could lodge there and rest. Such characteristic profiles a women of a virtuous (chayil) heart such as depicted in Proverbs 31:10. Virtuous is defined as  strong, wealth, army, force. Now, both her and her husband were old and were without children. And, so while Elisha is trying to figure out what is this women in need of to bless her, his servant reminds him that she is barren. Elisha calls her and prophesied to her that her barren days are over (2k4:15-17). 

Because this women displayed her innate ability to be compassion especially to the man of God, the promise for her to be blessed took into effect, and now all the things that were going to happen to her had meaning (Ro8:38-39). The unthinkable happened to her, her son died. But, she did not loose faith; in fact, her run to God for a miracle defied all religiosity and she took her son to Elisha on the sabbath and brought him back to life. This women’s response when her child died was not of fear as the virtuous women in Proverbs 31:21.   A famine was about to strike the land, and because God watches for those who trust in him, Elisha tells the woman that she needs to leave and go to a nearby land and reside there for 7 years. Now, what amazes me the most is God precision with time, that as soon as she comes back everything she had was restored. As children of God nothing is really lost.

 

There is nothing like coming to a clean house. Spring is here and the desire to freshen up the house is in the hearts, so we take out the winter stored items and vacuum the rugs and begin to give a nice clean feeling to our home. But, what if once we did this spring cleaning at our homes, we went to work and came back and everything that we did was back scattered all over the house as if someone had broke in and rampaged our home. What a horrible feeling that would be! Our lives are full of things that need to be cleaned out, and sometimes no matter how many times we put them away or cast them out they find there way back in. Our lives have to be built on solitude, there needs to be some sure foundation as to where it needs to reside. The prophet Isaiah tells us that God has laid a foundation in Zion; Christ, and if anyone relies on him he will never be stricken with panic (Is28:16). And, in Matthew 7:24 Jesus spoke a parable of a wise man who built his house on a rock verse one who built his on sand, that when the rains and the floods came only one fell; the one built on sand. Being cooked up in our homes can store up attitudes and behaviors that mess up our homes, things that are probably of ancient times and it might take a more authoritative approach. 

Matthew 12:43-45

43 “When an impure spirit comes out of a person, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. 45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that person is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.”

Let this be known for sure, that when Christ takes out something from our lives it is gone with no return. When we are struggling with things in our lives that we want to be released, unless God takes it out it will not leave. In fact, sometimes the things that we are dealing with only get worst with time. And, Jesus was referring to this when he was speaking about the spirit that once he leaves goes around looking for a place to rest, decides to go back and find his house clean when he finds no other. Change does not come without decisiveness, but we can be determined to change and for a time we might achieve it. But, it will be only for a period of time that change will last, yet when Christ makes the change it is permanent. Jesus commanded spirits to leave and never to return again to the people they came out of (Mk9:25). The legion of the man of Gadarenes requested Christ not to send them to the abyss, because they knew that they could not come back to where they came from (lk8:30-31). Now, there are things once were gone from our lives, we spring cleaned them that have come back and need to leave once and for all. For example, according to Newsweek and increase of 55% of alcohol sales spiked, people who at one time drank alcohol have gone back to drinking. Making sure that your home is once and for all is cleaned consist of pinpointing that area in your life where the old habits are arising, and surrendering them to Christ (2Cor10:3-5).  

Resurrection Sunday is the third day after the Lord Jesus Christ was crucified. Without the resurrection everything that Jesus did on earth would have classified him as just another prophet, but because he came back from the dead as noted by the apostles and about 500 other believers as well as non-believer he is found to be Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Jesus did not just displayed this power to come back to life on the third day after his crucifixion, but he had it throughout his walk while on earth. He fulfilled the prophecy that the lame would walk and the blind would see by the prophet Isaiah (29:18). Jesus brought back people from the dead, for example, a widow’s son whom when they were in the funeral procession Jesus stopped the bier and told the young man to rise and he rose (Lk7:11-17). And, Jairus daughter whom was dying and died, when he came to Jesus and explained what was going on Jesus went to his house and rose her from the dead (Lk8:49-56). The power of resurrection was in Christ throughout his time, but it was not evident in his own life until he had to experience death himself. Jesus knew that he had the power to take back his life (Jh10:18).     

John 5:6-10

When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.” Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaders said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.

The power of resurrection is to restore those things that were once dead and bring them back to life. And, as this story goes, this man was paralyzed for 38 years which means that he used to walk before. He was laid on a stretcher near this pool at the gate of Bethesda for a long time waiting to be the first one in the pool after the angel who at certain times would stir the waters. The first person who made it to the pool after the angel stirred the waters would be healed from any sickness. After Jesus had learned about this man’s case he asked him do you want to be healed, and if we noticed he did not ask him if he needed help getting into the pool. The power to restore all things in Christ was about to restore this man. Jesus told this man get up and take your bed, and immediately he got up and took his bed. In our lives there are things that need to be restored, good things; things that benefited us as well as others, and with the power of Christ resurrection they can be restored. The bed this man was carrying represents those good things in our lives that we have been laying on, and now we have the ability to carry it; that is if we listen to his voice to get up and take our beds. Jesus said that we should take his burden because it is light (Mt11:28-29) and it will provide rest for our souls. 

 

There is nothing in life that is compared to a miraculous healing. One can take a couple of pills and find relieve or go through a procedure at the hospital or medical office and it is good, but it can not be compared to a divine healing. When a person experiences a divine healing many changes other then the healing occur that become evident in that person. For example, there is a change in the mind set thinking of a person that experiences divine healing; he/she becomes passionately attracted to God. When we go to a doctor and he/she is able to pinpoint a diagnosis in us, we say he is a good doctor and we classify him as our doctor. And, when something affects our physical state of being the way a divine healing does it creates a powerful attraction to the source of healing; God. Depending on ones heart, that is how sensitive it is, it is how he/she will react to a healing. Ezekiel said “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Eze36:26). When ones heart is in the process of changing at divine healing will become that changing agent to transform that heart. So, the question for you is, what would you do if you were divinely healed? How would you react?  

Jesus Heals a Man With Leprosy Mark 1:40-43

40 A man with leprosyh] came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

41 Jesus was indignant.i] He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” 42 Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

43 Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: 44 “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.” 45 Instead he went out and began to talk freely, spreading the news. As a result, Jesus could no longer enter a town openly but stayed outside in lonely places. Yet the people still came to him from everywhere.

God wants us to be healed (Jer33:6, 17:14). He wants to heal our land (2Chr7:14). As in the times of Elisha in 2 Kings 2:19-22 when the waters of the land caused death and were ill that the people tapped into God’s heart to see if he would heal them, and sure enough he did; so will he heal our land and our people.  This man’s inquiry is like we are at this stage and age, does God want to heal us. He tapped into the heart of God towards his will for man kind, and he asked Jesus “If you are willing, you can make me clean”. Jesus came for that very purpose to heal and to save humanity, and so he could not pass this opportunity to heal this fellow. After Jesus finished preaching and healing many of the sick he came went to heal the sick family of his disciples. Peter’s mother in-law was in bed with a high fever and he came and took her by the hand and the fever left her (Mt8:14-15). One of the questions that comes to mind is, why did Jesus strongly warn him to not tell anyone, but to go and offer the sacrifice that Moses commanded (Lev 14:1-4)? The impact of this healing was so great on this man’s life that he began speaking to everyone he came across, and it was so that Jesus could no longer minister in this land because of it. But, that was just in this land that his witnessing impacted and for that time, but if he had gone to the priest and followed what Jesus had commanded him his testimony would have done a great impact for generations.