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July 2008

 
 

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July 2008

July 6, 2008

Before the material world existed, Lucifer, the angel of light from heaven, rebelled against God. As a punishment, he was thrown from the sky and became Satan, God`s eternal adversary. He goes against the Creator and against the creation, having the purpose to stop God and to destroy His Church. God`s work was never done without hindrance. Moreover, the intensity of the opposition grew at the same speed the divine work did. The devil never tries to stop someone who is already stopped, rather he is present wherever and whenever someone serves the King.

In his mission to Ephesus, one of the great cities of Asia Minor, a mission presented in the Book of Acts chapter 19, Apostle Paul, in spite of his academic background, of his overwhelming eloquence, and of the divine authority that accompanied his ministry, he is confrunted by terrible opposition. Maybe the most innocent form of opposition, presented in Acts 19, is ignorance. Arriving in the great metropolis, a place that hosted, in a diabolic way, the evil with the divine, Paul asks several of John the Baptist`s disciples if they had received the power of the Spirit. They answer: "No, we have not even geard that there is a Holy Spirit." Ignorance is one of the most frequently encountered forms of opposition in church, because "the people are destroyed from lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Ignorance is the absence of quality and quantity in the information that can trigger faith. "Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ" (Rom. 10:17). Faith that is not founded on the divine Word, is mere tradition, is religion and these two have no opposition.

A second form of opposition in the maturing and the ministry of a church is insufficiency. The disciples admitted that they had no knowledge about the baptism with the Spirit, but they take pride in having taken the baptism of John (v. 3). It is true that a trip around the world starts with a first step, but that is not all of it. The spiritual life is not defined by what you do on a certain day, but by what you do on a daily basis, for it is a process, not an event. People are tempted to do "something", but not everything. Ignorance has to do with what a man knows, while insufficiency has to do with what he does; the first is the cause, while the second is the effect.

A third innocent form of opposition to the spiritual ministry is indifference. After three months of daily public evangelization, "some of them became obstinate... and refused to believe" (v. 8-9). Indifference is the proof of lack of motivation, interest and understanding. Experience confirms the 20/80 ratio - that is, in the spiritual life of a church, 20% of the people do everything, while 80% are indifferent.

Another form of opposition in the Paul`s ministry is imitation. The devil reveals the incompetence of a group of Jews who tried to imitate the spiritual work of Paul. He asked them: "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (v. 15). Only God`s calling and empowerment can emphasize spiritual authority. Lastly, intimidation is another form of opposition to the work paul did in Ephesus: "the whole city was in uproar" (v. 29). The devil tries all way to fight against the holy work. Sometimes, he chooses violence to intimidate the servants of the Gospel. The goal of true servants is not to protect themselves, for their Protector is the Master; their goal is to serve. The opposition is to be expected in ministry, because the work is done in an opposing world that hated God, hates His kingdom, and His Church. If you are the servant of the Master, serve Him to the best of your abilities and he will take care of the rest. Do not focus upon the opposition, not upon the adversaries, but only upon the ministry.

July 13, 2008

Most people are just... common human beings. Men`s greatest desire is to become specil, unusual, and between these two realities live develops. In spite of the fact that life is hard, sometimes unbearable, it is yet the best thing we have. Not all the people have obvious strengths, so that they could be publicly added on the list for success. However, the highest human duty, the greatest honor of any mortal is to hope, to fight, to start over. Life is an unending battle and each person fights for himself or herself only... Than who will fight for those who give up?

In 1894, a 16 year old teenager from Harrow, England, found a note left on his notebook by his grammar teacher: "Hopeless, seems incapable of any progress." The boy`s name is Wilson Churchill. In 1902, a young poet of 28, receive a rejection note to his article, in which the editor of the reknown magazine Atlantic Monthly wrote: "It is not valuable enought for publishing." The poet`s name was Robert Frost. In 1905, the University of Bern rejected the disertation of a doctorate student, calloing it "bizarre and irrelevant". The physician`s name was Albert Einstein.

Most of the time, the message of the people around you is pessimistic, their solution is to give up. A person does not drown because she or he fell in the water, but because he does not swim. A fable says that a group of little frogs entered a race, each one trying to reach first a certain high peak. A lot of spectators gathered around. They became very pessimistic, and their ironical and descouraging remarks made most of the little frogs abandon the race. "The peak is too high", some would say, or "it is to difficult su succeed" others added. One of the frogs, proving a remarkable ambition, succeeded in reaching the top, to the astonishment of the crowd. The resporters were impressed with her performance, so they asked the winner how did she manage to do it, while all other abandoned the race. As they asked the questions, they realized that the frog was deaf, and thus they understood the secter of her succeess. The deaf frog won the race because she was not intimidated by the ironical and descouraging words of the crowds.

Another fable says that a man`s horce fell into a deep ditch. The owner tried all he could to get it out, but when he couldn`t, he decided to cover the ditch with dirt and thus to give up rescuing the horse. After shoveling enough dirt into the ditch, almost filling it, he was shocked to see that he horse was standing at the the brim of the ditch, unharmed. He realized that everytime he shoveled dirt into the hole, the horse stepped on it and rose hight to the sirface. This way, the dirt that was meant to kiil him, became a ladder for it to be saved.

The most imprtant thing in a man`s life, for him to be able to continue to fight, is having a vision that justifies his reason to live. "What do you want to do with your life?" A simple question, but sufficiently important to make a difference between winning and losing. A clear vision, first of all gives ma passion, which is the power to go on with ho[pe. Second, a clear vision give man motivation, which is the capacity to anticipate what awaits for you beyond the hill. Third, a clear vision gives him direction. Paul said: "I do not hit with my fist in the wind". Fourth, a clear vision brings victory by offering man a purpose. The purpose, besides the passion, motivation, and direction, is the definition of what you are fighing for. It`s worth fighting for eternal life, for heaven. Do not give up, God is on your side, so you are with the majority!