Filling ALL in ALL

trabajador-petroleroOnce in the history of this country, its little town of Camiri had one of the largest oil and gas reserves which made it earn the name of the Oil Capital of Bolivia. Those old days of profit and glory of oil drilling are in the memory of the grandparents of our students at the Christian School. As we all know, and should have been in the minds and vision of people of the past, it’s the simple fact that oil is a non-renewable resource of the earth. When it’s gone, it’s gone for ever.

The phrase in Ephesians 1:23 has caught my attention: “the fullness of Him who fills all in all“. For something to fill something of everything, in every way and in every time; it has to be a tremendous unrestricted, illimitable source. That is Christ himself and that is Christ working through his body, the church!

my_cup_overflows In some way or another; at some point we feel hunger, thirst, craving, yearning, hollow, crying silently or out loud, dry, desolate, void and unfilled. Jesus’ riches and resources are endless. We all have intellectual, emotional and spiritual empty tanks, but He can abundantly fill our mind, soul, heart and spirit with all that is necessary for our well-being.

Christ is the only inexhaustible reservoir of everything for everything. He makes all things complete!

“Spring up, O well within my soul.

Spring up, O well, and make me whole

Spring up, O well, and give to me That life abundantly.”

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Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Magi

Sometimes they are called kings, but they were not royalty; they are also called Magi, but did not do magic tricks. They are call “Wise men” because they were men of learning, research, observation, science and wisdom.  Some identify them with the kind of men that the prophet Daniel was surrounded.
They were not in the barn, they came to a house. Matthew 2:11 probably two years after birth.

WHAT DID THEY DO?

1. They saw the heavens: “For we saw his star”-Probably they were not familiar with all the prophecies since they had to asked more information, but they were attentive to God’s message in the heavens (Psalm 19:1). Somehow they perceived the star of a newborn king.

2. They Inquired. Matthew 2: 2-They had a lot of knowledge, but they had the wisdom of asking what they didn’t know and found the truth.

3. They came with one purpose: to worship Him. Matthew 2: 2 The Magi are described as “falling down”, “kneeling” or “bowing” in the worship of Jesus. They were indicative of great respect, and typically used when venerating a king.

4.  they worshiped properly. Matthew 2:11
a) .- “They opened their treasures, they offered him”
Worship is giving. Romans 12: 1 Worship includes all of me and all I have.
b) .- “they worshiped him, offered him” If the Bible would teach that Mary is owed tribute as the mother of the Lord, this would be a good place to teach it, but the emphasis is on the child. The original language is singular and masculine.

5. .Sensitive and perceptive. Matthew 2: 8,12
They were not convinced by Herod’s appearance of wanting to go to worship the child. Herod was an unscrupulous and ruthless man (Matthew 2: 13-18). First they followed the star, then they obeyed the revelation of the dream; they were men sensitive to the voice of God.

What will I do?
wise_men_gifts1. I don’t want to be indifferent to wonder of the universe.
Psalm 19: 1, Romans 1:20. When was the last time you had a moment to observe God’s creation? Observed, but above all also heard.
2. I want to ask Questions.
Acts 17: 10-11 Imitate the Bereans, who inquired and confirmed what they heard. There is wisdom in asking questions.
3. I want to worship HIM.
We were created for it. It is not difficult to bend the knee if I recognize his worthiness.
4. I want to worship by GIVING. Romans 12: 1

It has been said that we can give without loving, but we can never love without giving.

 

Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 7:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Star

The Bible does not tell us much about this star. There are many speculations: Was it a Meteor? a Comet? All celestial bodies have always inspired wonder from among us Earthlings. A star is simply an immense ball of exploding gas mainly composed of hydrogen and helium held together by its own gravity. The nearest  star to us is the sun. There are approximately 200-400 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy alone.  There is estimated to be over 100 billion galaxies in the universe, so the total number of stars in the universe is mind-boggling,

wise_man_star

Scripture reading: Matthew 2: 2-10.

WHAT DID THE STAR DO?

1. It did what stars naturally do: Shine.
The stars are God’s creation (Psalm 8: 1, 3). They are not people, but God knows each one of the billions of stars in the universe and called them by name (Isaiah 40:26). By doing what it was created to do, this uncommon star achieved a place in an unforgettable event and became prominent in history.

2. It did what stars typically do not do: move.
Matthew 2:9 says that it “went ahead of them until it stopped”. These words have caused  the debate if it really was a star. Stars aren’t physically moving around. It’s the Earth’s rotation on its axis that causes this effect. The Bible says “star” and should not be cause for discussion. God owns its creation and can do and ask whatever He wants. In one occasion the sun and moon stopped, on another occasion hail fell only over the enemy, he made a donkey talk, etc.

3. It pointed out to the Savior.
For many years at the stars have served as cardinal points in the sky to guide humans (Compass). Only one guided to distant men from the east to the Saviour.  What a privilege for this unnamed star to be chosen to shine and point out to the newborn Savior. It is now known as the star of Bethlehem.

WHAT WILL I DO?

1. Do what God gave me to do. Ephesians 2: 9-10
2. Do not be afraid to do what God asks me to do, even if it seems impossible.
3. Guide others to the Saviour. Matthew 5: 14-16

 

Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 11:13 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Shepherds

Angel-Announcing-the-Birth-of-Christ-to-Shepherds-Robert-Leinweber-300x200The shepherds are not the elite group of society. They are smelly field workers.
– God had a message for them for God is no respecter of persons – 1 Corinthians 1:26.

WHAT DID THEY DO?

1. They heard the message in the middle of their working hours.
2. They heard the message at night. Luke 2:8

Shepherding is more than sitting all day. A look at the life of David helps us understand that shepherds had to guide (walk) from place to place looking for better pastures. Protect the sheep from wild animals (bears and lions) so they could not be malnourished skinny men nor fat gluttons. A shepherd had to be fit. If necessary he did not sleep. Those nights could be long and cold.

3. They acted with interest. Luke 2:15, 16

let’s go and see … … they came hastily.
Many put work, fatigue, cold or sleep as excuses for not hearing the message or take no action. For these men there was no “later” “tomorrow” “after” “in a while” “when I have time”, etc. God’s message requires action. Listening without action is like not listening! James 2: 14-18

nativity-shepherds4. They gave importance to the message.
It was a newborn, but the important thing for them was that it was a message from God. Verse 15 “The Lord has told us.” Babies are born every day, but this one was a unique baby and they understood it.

5. They shared the message with others. Luke 2: 17-18
They were not highly educated men, but they could not remain silent. Acts 4:20

6. glorified and praised God. Luke 2:2

What will I do?
1. Work is not an excuse.
2. Time is not an excuse.
3. Hear and Do. James 1:22.
4. I will share the message. Luke 8:39
5. Give glory to God.

Published in: on December 29, 2015 at 7:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Angels at Jesus’ birth

angel and josephThe Angeles had a major role in the birth of the Savior. Without their participation, young Mary and Joseph, the carpenter, had been lost and confused about what was happening in their lives (no wonder why he tried to left quietly; Matthew 1:19 and she asked “how will this be?”; Luke 1:34). Thanks to the message the angels brought, Joseph and Mary submitted to the will of God to an unprecedented event: The miraculous virgin birth of Jesus (Matthew 1:20).
 Scripture: Luke 2: 8-14
WHAT DID THEY DO?
1. They obeyed God.
God commands but that does not mean automatic obedience. The creatures he created were made with free will (the ability to decide and choose). Not all angels obey; a third of them rebelled against God and became Satan and his demons.
2. They obeyed even though their presence causes fear. (Luke 2: 9 To take just one example).
The fear comes from the Greek word “phobos” whence all the words that identify a particular fear come from. But they always immediately provided comfort and security. Then they made the announcement.
3. They delivered the message even though it was not easy to understand. Luke 2: 11-12.
As we read the words of the message, we can only imagine what went through the mind of angels and shepherds. It is a ridiculous and contradictory message. Let’s analyze the message about this child:
a) .- He would be from the City of David, meaning a descendant of King David … heir to his throne.
b) .- He is a Savior… they expected to be delivered from the tyranny of the Romans.
c) .- It is called Christ … it means Anointed, only kings, priests and prophets were anointed and were filled with the power of the Spirit.
d) He is called Lord which speaks of his domain … as God, owner, sovereign and speaks of power.
So far no problem, but but but, what would be the sign of this great news?
a) .- Swaddling clothes.
We don’t think too much about these details. It speaks of full humanity and especially of dependency.
b) .- Manger.
It is the place of animals.  No doubt it was a smelly place; something we cannot perceive in Christmas paintings
While the newborn is worthy and majestic, his birth signal was humble and low.
APPLICATION:
What will I do?
1. Obey.
2. Obey despite what others think of me.
3. Share the message and leave the results to God.I wish to say “yes” to God.
Published in: on December 29, 2015 at 10:30 am  Leave a Comment  
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Different Miracle 2

nearsightedIn my teen years I went to the theater movie with my family. I asked my mom if we could sit nearer to the big screen to which my mom replied with the explanation how we could enjoyed the movie “better” from the middle rows. She perceived then my nearsightedness and handed me her eyeglasses. I remember the difference the glasses made in my eyesight and ended up watching the movie with my mom’s glasses. I have used eyeglasses ever since and my well-functioning in life depends on them.

mentreesThe two-stage miracle in the Gospel of Mark 8:22-26 Jesus opened the eyes of a blind man to the point where he saw people looking like trees walking around; then Jesus touched him again and this time the men’s eyes were fully opened and sight totally restored.

Just a reminder to all of us who have believed in Jesus and have been called out of darkness to a marvelous light that in spite of this miracle; all of us have spiritual nearsightedness to one degree or another and still see life through a veil, imperfectly, dimly, as a blurred picture.

I daily need the second part of the miracle to have a full sight of the riches of God in Christ, to see and perceive everything in life with perfect clarity;  to have wisdom and insight to comprehend the riddles of life, the darkly side of life, that is. This is a progressive miracle.

“Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law”

Published in: on June 11, 2015 at 7:10 am  Leave a Comment  
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Different Miracle

Thirteen years ago I prayed to God to provide for a PC. I was expecting him to pronto bestow the needed amount, but it never came. I am writing from that computer now, so how did I get it? I paid a monthly fee in the course of a year. Although it was not how I had conceived it in my limited mind, God did answer my prayer.

healing-of-the-blind-man-cropped-e1360904703756Mark 8:22-26 It is the only instance of healing in which the Lord Jesus asked if the person was healed. It was a miracle done in two stages. WHY? It is a big human mistake to make a “miracle formula”, to put God in a box and set the rules by which he can or cannot operate. This is a wonderful miracle because it is precisely unique, out of the norm, singular and peculiar. God is God, He does as he pleases, when it pleases him, to whom he wants to and how he wishes (Psalm 115:3).

Instant miracles happen, but sometimes God decides to perform a different kind of miracle in my life.  No matter how long it takes, the result is what counts; I need to trust God for the HOW.

Published in: on June 4, 2015 at 6:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Babel, Then and Today

Torre Babel BrueghelThe people in Babel did not need a course on “Effective Communication” nor an exhortation to unity. God said of them “Indeed the people are one and they all have the same language…and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.” (Genesis 11:6).  They possessed two powerful tools in achieving goals: Good communication (one language) and One mind (unity).

Burj KhalifaEver since, men continue on building their ego. Today skyscrapers are symbols of financial success and wealth. Men continue to strive to “make a name” for themselves and reach for the heavens, God’s dwelling, without God. We have found our way back to Babel where we speak the same rebellious language against God and have the same greedy mind-set of this materialistic world.

God is sovereign; in Babel, He made one language into many and in Pentecost (Acts 2), these languages that once confused and alienated people were employed to proclaim the good news. Yes, He will ultimately accomplish his purposes one way or the other, but instead of letting our pride bring confusion, let us be part of the harmony. In 1 Corinthians 1:10 the Apostle Paul plead with the brethren to “speak the same thing and that there be no divisions”. The body of Christ is being built and needs the same tools of Babel, one language and unity.  Church ministries are filled with small and big projects;  it is a blessing to execute them in peaceful agreement and repeating Psalm 115:1 “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, But to Your name give glory.”

Published in: on August 21, 2014 at 4:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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Rahab, the prostitute

Rahab330402211Rahab’s story is found in the book of Joshua Chapter 2. She is an outcast rejected by society.  Rahab is mentioned 8 times in the Bible. Five times her profession of prostitution is attached to her name. “The prostitute” is not the greatest title to be remembered for. It seems that God wants us to think “prostitute” when  we think about Rahab. In her livelihood we see the given up of any hope of ever turning her life around, but by her faith we can see how God can turn shame into glory in one shining moment of redemption!   She took a big risk, chose the God of Israel, acted on her faith and she was saved and blessed by God. One of the great lessons we can learn from her life is that “WHAT YOU ARE TODAY IS NOT WHAT YOU CAN BE, BY GOD’S GRACE, TOMORROW”.

Published in: on June 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Law of Love

10This month, month which has a day dedicated to children in Bolivia, I am taking our daily morning devotions at school to teach our students the 10 commandments. It is good if we all learn that there are rules to obey everywhere and anytime. Many, including sincere Christians, think they are out dated, negative and restrictive. So I am giving them examples of warnings for our good that contain a negative: “Don’t touch electrical cables”, “Don’t drink poison”, “Don’t dive in shallow waters”. I am praying that by the end, they might understand that these commands were given to express God’s love for us to teach us the perfect way to relate to Him and to my neighbor. God is love and love also says “NO”.

Published in: on April 10, 2014 at 2:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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