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July 2011

 
 

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July 2011

July 3

Every mortal man, in one way or another, experiences the conflict between God’s will and his own personal desires. The first experience of this kind happened in the Garden of Eden, with the first man and woman, when their personal desires became subordinate to the will of God. The defeated series within ourselves continues, and today it is our generation’s turn to experience this painful conflict. One of the original insructions given by the Creator was, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it…” (Genesis 1:28). However, being defeated by their own personal desires and interests, man, who came into conflict with the Creator, failed. As a result, man had to leave Eden and Noah’s Flood was a punishment for all the sins. What have people learned from these two painful experiences? Absolutely nothing. Instead, what follows is another rebellion against the Creator, the Tower of Babel. The instruction was clear- to “increase in number; fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28). However, the people had a different desire, which renounced the will of God, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." (Genesis 11:4) The conflict between God’s will and man’s will is powerful! It is interesting to see that, despite man’s plan to not fill the earth, God “scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.” (Genesis 11:8). God gave them a mission to “fill the earth”. They had a different desire, to “not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” Then, God commanded them to spread and fill the earth and they did. The conflict between the personal desires of man’s heart and the will of God is so powerful!

The Old Testament ends with the abandonment of Jesus, by the chosen people. Jesus “came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:11-12). This is how the Christian church was born and how the gospel was spread from the Hebrews to the Gentiles and Jesus taught and instructed twelve apostles for three and a half years. After Jesus rose again, as a last instruction Jesus said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19). Before he ascended into heaven, the Lord renewed the command, telling them, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). You would think that the apostles would have learned the lesson of the conflict between God’s will and personal desires. “All the believers were together and had everything in common” (Acts 2:44). The creator’s command was clear: “and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and o the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). The evangelism of Jerusalem is present in the first seven chapters. “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (Acts 1:46-47). Their spiritual life developed in the midst of the temple with brotherly unity, fellowship and Their ministry in Jerusalem and all of these things brought them such great and holy joy.But what about evangelism in all Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth? “And Saul was there, giving approval to his (Stephen’s) death. On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). Where were they scattered? “…throughout Judea and Samaria” (Acts 8:1). Where were thye supposed to witness after they received the power of the Holy Spirit? “…in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

The problem from the Old Testament repeated itself in the New Testament. The conflict between Gods will, “Go out”, and man’s personal desires, is big. Family needs, the fulfillment of earthly dreams,spiritual coldness, indifference to the Creator, lack of motivation and passion for God’s work turns “Go out” into a command that has become increasingly more difficult to fulfill. Being aware that we are living in the final days, The Apostle’s provoking question rings in our ears: “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and and gody lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.” (2 Peter 3:11-12) How do we speed its coming? “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a tesimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” (Matthew 24:14). The church of God must continue moving forward- it is the Creator’s command: “Go out…”

July 17

God has a divine interest in people; and in order for them to be saved, he invests an unlimited amount of resources. Approximately 2000 years ago, the minister of finance in Ethiopia, who was not satisfied with the countries’ current religious status, searched for God at the temple in Jerusalem. After visiting and worshiping at the temple, he buys the book of Isaiah from a library and proceeds to read it cover to cover on his journey back home. His heart searches for God, but none of the prophets, ministers, or other people at the temple answered the call. God recognized his sincere desire, and he sent an angel and man to answer his calling. God sent an angel to Philip, with the instructions to leave and travel the road down to Jerusalem. On this road he meets the financial minister of Ethiopia, who is reading from the book of Isaiah. When Philip reaches the mans cart he asks him, “Do you understand what you are reading?” Regardless of his economic status and education, the Ethiopian answers sincerely: “How can I understand if I am not guided by anybody?” His modesty is a confirmation of his sincere desire for God.

The Ethiopian man was reading from chapter 53 in the book of Isaiah, where we find the message of the Messiah. The man asks Philip to explain whom the prophecy is referring too. Seeing that the man had an open heart, he climbs into the man’s cart and begins to preach about Jesus Christ. Everybody needs to learn about Jesus and about his salvation through faith and repentance. But, this depends on a saved individual’s responsibility and availability to help the unsaved, as was the case with Philip. What would have happened to the Ethiopian minister’s soul if Philip had been too busy, too tired, too uncomfortable or too uninterested to answer God’s calling? The angel sent by God and the evangelist were not too busy, or too tired. God sent them and they answered. The salvation of the Ethiopian man was dependent on Philip’s ministry. How many people die without receiving salvation nowadays because the “Philips” of today are too busy? Who will reach out their hands to God? What does God need to do for “Philip” to be more dedicated, available, and responsible…? What is “Philip” lacking that does not allow him to become a man that God can use? Why does “Philip” not understand God’s will and the urgency to work in God’s Kingdom? Why is comfort the number one concern of man? Why do we see excuses time and time again for why someone cannot mission to those who are not saved? Why is it so easy to be critical of others, but difficult to lend a helping hand within God’s Kingdom?

Philip is in the cart, preaching the Word of God, the entire Word of God. While He is talking about Jesus, faith, salvation, and baptism in water, they reach a body of water and the Ethiopian asks: “Look, water, what is stopping me from getting baptized?” Philip responds: “If you believe with your whole heart, it is possible.” He responds, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” It was possible for him to be baptized because he had a biblical faith, a pure motivation, and a whole-hearted sincerity in the Word of God.

God knew who He needed to send to the Ethiopian- a man that would listen to the Master’s calling, a man who had the courage to preach, free from the traditional Jewish ceremony, a man who had the ability to carry on a convincing conversation with the Minister. God has many followers and everybody has a calling (Romans 12:7). He has many followers and each has their own personal talent (1 Peter 4:10). God has many followers and each has their own spiritual power (1 Peter 4:11). The calling, gift and spiritual power of a man are not things that they are born with, because they would then use them for their own personal benefit, but rather they are personally received from God, based on what God has in mind for the individual to do within God’s kingdom. He has a variety of workers each suited to meet the needs of specific individuals, which is why God sends each of his followers where they are needed, where they are best suited, and where they will be most efficient.

They stop the cart and both men climbed down. They both entered the water and Philip baptizes the man. When they walked back out of the water, the Holy Spirit touched the men and they were filled with joy as they continued on with their journey. This man who had been worried and unfulfilled was now filled with great joy and happiness. Within the signs that confirm the authenticity of a mans worship, we see the fact that after fulfilling God’s will they are filled with joy. Joy is a heavenly atmosphere; it is the perfume of God’s heart. Heaven is the place of happiness and presence of the creator. The Ethiopian turned towards his house filled with joy, because this is the status of the human heart that fulfills God’s Word. When man is in God’s presence, the soul is full of happiness and peace. When a man is the Child of God, his soul is full of happiness and peace. This is the secret to happiness and peace.

July 31

Sensory perceptions are sufficient for the relationship with the material world; For the relationship with the invisible spiritual world, faith is sufficient enough- faith in God and faith in His book, the Bible. Several different kinds of faiths exis

Natural faith, necessary to human life- We turn on the faucet with faith that water will come out.

Intellectual faith- convictions of the mind that does not affect ones personal life style. “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder” (James 2:19) Although they believe in God, they remain demons, their lifestyle unchanged.

Spiritual faith, salvation- This comes from hearing and reading the Bible. This faith leads man to a spiritual relationship with God and life style changes, as is the will of the Creator of the Bible.

Usually, people tend to have faith in themselves, in other people, in money, in facts, and in their traditions. They only Trust in God in extreme situations of life, with the interest of solving the problem.

Faith does not mean ignorance, rather it means knowledge and understanding. We only trust someone who has confidence, safety, and strength. Faith is not against reason, but on the contrary, is above it. Reason is extremely limited; the opposite of it is faith, which has no limits. Chapter 11, from the book written to the Jews, presents the hall of fame of faith, with people who have faith in the promises of the Creator:

1. Abel brought a sacrifice by faith (v. 4). Sacrifices cost exhaustion and people have a tendency to look for convenience, selfishness, and materialism. If people believe that God, heaven, and eternity exists, then they would be strongly motivated to sacrifice for it. The absence of sacrifice exposes lack of motivation and faith in these things and in the possibility of entering heaven.

2. Enoch did not see death through faith (v. 5-6). Physical death, spiritual death, and eternal death are the result of sin and the enemies of God. Spiritual life and eternal life are the result of reconciliation with God. Enoch was pleasing to God because of his faith. How could a man who despises God and who does not trust God be pleasing to God? Enoch had faith in God.

3. Abraham obeyed God through faith (v. 8-10). He left his country and property and set out toward and unknown and strange destination just because God told him to do so. Today God simply tells people to repent and they choose to not do so. There is a difference between Abraham and people in today’s time. Therefore it is normal for God to treat them both differently. Faith is different from unbelief and God sees and knows this difference. People do not listen to God because they do not believe in Him, do not respect Him, and do not worship Him. However, that is their choice and this choice has consequences. Some choose to hang themselves. Disobedience is sufficient enough to expose unbelief to the Creator.

4. Sarah receive power through faith. The result of logic is normal; it is normal for a woman of 20-30 years to give birth. Faith goes beyond the normal, logical result and creates miracles. Thus, through faith Sarah gave birth at such an advanged age, at and age that many women never even reach. Man’s faith honors God and He honors man’s faith, making things happen after man’s faith. What a privilege, what grace, and what honor! Praise God!

5. Jacob blessed (v. 21). This patriarch spoke words of blessing over his children, believing that God will bless them, and so it happened. God honors faith. Other parents curse and blasphemy their children and it becomes fulfilled. Everybody does what he or she believes.

6. By faith, Moses did not wish to be called “the son of Pharaoh’s daughter” (v. 24). People sell their souls for positions, money, and worldly privileges. Moses did not wish to do so. Instead, he accepted modest suffering, poverty, and anonymity, all to obey God and to serve His people (v. 25). People flee from suffering, humility, obedience, service, and therefore run away from God. People want to be known but Moses valued shame (v. 26). These days, by the world, it is considered shameful to be a man of God. God is not considered popular. However, he remains the Creator, Saviour, and King of Eternity. We can believe what we wish to believe about God, but that does not make God what we think. He remains what He has always been, Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Creator and God of gods. Praise God!

What do you wish to do with your life? Do you or do you not believe in God? The answer is a matter of life or death!