Through the blessing of the upright a city is exalted,
but by the mouth of the wicked it is destroyed.
We often wonder why God allows the existence of towns and cities where his name is despised. These towns and cities are populated by wicked people who have misbehaved for years and years, despite the many warnings against it. Towns and cities are known worldwide for using the questionable lifestyle of those who inhabit them as a trademark. Thus we have, for example, San Francisco, California where there is a large community of people who live according to the gay lifestyle. Las Vegas, Nevada, is known for gambling and prostitution. They even call it “Sin City”! Both the principality of Monaco and Macau, one of the Special Administrative Regions of China have been important centers for gambling for a long time. The mountain fortress of Alamut in Iran, now in ruins, used to represent the ultimate place where you could find a murderer for hire. Indeed, the English word assassin comes from the word hashashin, which means smoker of hashish in the Arabic language. But that’s another story.
Many times we complain about violence, poverty and other ills that prevail in the places where we live. We say that the fault lies with the civil authorities who have, by their gross inability, allowed crime to advance freely and without reins. But when was the last time you prayed for your city? Abraham interceded beyond reason with God to save Sodom and Gomorrah. After intense negotiations God accepted that if ten righteous people were found in Sodom he would cancel the sentence of destruction he had imposed on the two cities because of their collective sin of homosexuality. Unfortunately for the sodomites, only four people were found, so the punishment was carried out as it had been decreed. By contrast, the city of Nineveh was spared by the prompt intervention of the repentant king and the obedience of its people to his call for collective fasting. Intercede for your city, chances are that’s all that remains for God to begin to pour out his blessings on it. Only to God be the glory!
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.
On the lips of the children of God there must always be a word of thanksgiving for all the good that God has bestowed upon us. The grace and mercy of God became effective in the life of each one of us and that’s more than enough reason to always be grateful and satisfied with what we are and have. If so, then why do we sometimes feel as if we had been dealt the worst hand? Why doesn’t our heart overflow with joy at all times because of the kindness and blessings that God has given us? Why our mood flags and sometimes we feel as if we were defeated and tired? There are two or three things that exert a strong influence on how we feel every day. One is our sinful nature that leads us to listen to the messages of the world and the tares of the enemy instead of awaiting the promises contained in the word of God. When we listen to what the world tells us we find that do not meet the criteria of what the world considers as successful and we are frustrated because our whole effort has been wasted.
On the other hand we have that we rely heavily on our own strength and therefore underestimate the power of God in our lives. When relying on our power we are heading quickly towards failure because the vast majority of problems and things cannot be solved by ourselves. Third is our limited attention span, which is the ability that we need to focus on a task without being distracted by the environment. This limited attention span reduces the time we need to devote to studying God’s word. With these three powerful influences acting negatively in our daily lives it should not be surprising then that joy and satisfaction are not part of our ongoing mood. Let us identify those negative forces that want to take away the joy and let us fight with persistence its influence on our lives by regularly immersing ourselves into the reading and study of the wonderful gift of God’s word. We’ll see how our mood changes from sadness to joy and from grumbling to praise. To God alone be the glory!
The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;
the Lord is enthroned as King forever.
The Lord gives strength to his people;
the Lord blesses his people with peace.
The Lord’s people have many enemies. These enemies are always lurking, threatening, scheming, plotting and preparing to do as much damage as possible to the chosen people of God. But just as the people of God have so many enemies, so they too have strength and protection from the Creator. He who formed the universe by his word and to whom all the forces of nature obey promptly and without question takes care that nothing wrong happens to his people and that they can always stand on their feet despite the many obstacles of all kinds that come up on the road.
Do you know the strength of the hurricane and its capacity to destroy everything that comes its way? Have you seen the river waters cover vast plains of what once looked like solid and safe ground? Have you noticed how solid concrete and steel structures come crumbling down when the earth’s crust trembles? Have you seen the glowing lava flow from the mouth of the volcano at high speed to burn and raze everything that gets in its path? The same destructive power is used by God to prevent evil forces reach beyond where they have been allowed to go. Nothing can resist the power of God. Let us trust, then, in the immense power of God that enables us to live in peace and security according to his perfect will. To God alone be the glory!
What do workers gain from their toil? I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race. He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God. I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that people will fear him.
Whatever is has already been,
and what will be has been before;
and God will call the past to account
Good! That’s it! What we have agreed to call a year, ie the time it takes the earth to complete an elliptical path 150 million miles around the sun has come to an end. Typically, almost without exception humanity seizes the moment to recall everything that happened during the moribund year and to prepare for the new year that is approaching swiftly. It is also time for celebration. People use the milestone reached to give meaning to all the efforts made during the 365 days a year that ends.
When we reflect on what happened and what has been achieved and what is left to achieve during this time let’s make sure every consideration and thought centers around our heavenly Father and our Savior. How is our relationship with God? Better? The same? Or, worse than how we were a year ago? Are you closer or further away from him? Are you following Jesus’ steps? Can we revisit the route of our steps and feel happy and grateful to God for His many blessings? Everyone has his own answer to these necessary questions. God grant that the balance of everything that happened during the year that ends today is good for you.
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Blessings to all, Happy 2012 and only to God be the glory!
The LORD’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
There are certain things that are difficult to understand for those who have been raised under the philosophy of postmodernism and unfortunately much of humanity belongs to this category. For example, for them it is tremendously difficult to understand that with God there is no middle ground. For them, the clear division between good and evil ─ without falling into the erroneous dualism ─ presented throughout the stories and teachings of the Word of God is simply incomprehensible. The prevailing relativity of our times considers that the biblical view is an outdated way of understanding life and therefore, they are constantly seeking ways to dilute the impact that these teachings have on the conscience of those who listen, either by directly attacking them or by simply ignoring them like the proverbial ostrich. Before God we have only two options. Either will we follow him or not. Either we obey him or not. Either we pay attention to him or ignore him. Either we repent or remain the beasts that we have been all of our lives. Either we surrender at his feet or reject his offer of reconciliation. Either we accept his incomparable love or refuse the greatest opportunity we will ever have.
The consequences of our actions are clearly defined before us so no excuse will be acceptable to elude the responsibility for our decisions. Faced with two possible outcomes one can only assume either one of two positions: to obey or disobey. Unfortunately, the human race has lost touch with reality and has submerged itself in an accommodating world in which all try to be as light as possible to make room for the uneven amalgam of worldviews that are needed to replace and satisfy the need of having personal contact with our creator. Instead of listening and following God, man has been driven by his carnal impulses and this decision can only bring catastrophic consequences upon him. Let us act, then, with wisdom at the fork in the road of our destiny. Let us follow the loving voice of the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ and choose the right path, the path of life and salvation. To God alone be the glory!
Save your people and bless your inheritance;
be their shepherd and carry them forever.
For the vast majority of Christians ─ if not for all ─ persecution by the world begins as soon as we identify ourselves as children of God. As soon as this happens society, with maybe the notable exception of some cultures that were formed in the light of Protestantism, begins to stereotype the son of God as being intolerant, religious, judgmental, bitter, bigoted, pompous and old-fashioned. We must recognize that some who profess to be children of God fit perfectly with this unfortunate description of the personality of the child of God and because of this they have given Christianity a very bad image. Many spiritually immature Christians assume an extremely legalistic position that can only reinforce the stereotype described above. In any case, as soon as we identify ourselves as people of God the attacks, the scorns and the insults start. For many this attitude of the world towards the children of God is daunting and frightening. Many can not stand the pressure of society and family and return overwhelmed to the world and its passions. They do not understand that God protects and guides his people through storms, disturbances, riots, conflagrations, plagues, floods, droughts or any other natural disaster.
The strength of God’s people is the LORD. He is our Shepherd and Leader. Under his watchful eye we will be safe because he does not rest or sleep. His love is bigger than the universe and he has demonstrated it through the work of His Son Jesus Christ. It is he who guides us in paths of righteousness to take us to our heavenly destiny, ie his presence. He only expects of us to show him respect, recognition and obedience. He only wants us to act with justice, mercy and humility. If the Master was rejected, how much more we will be rejected, but not for who we are but for what we represent. Being aware of the protection we have, let us meet our commitment to be witnesses of his love and the Holy Spirit will take care of the rest. Only God can save us, bless us and guide us. To God alone be the glory!
The blessing of the LORD brings wealth,
without painful toil for it.
Some have made of their existence a race to accumulate steadily as much money as possible to somehow ensure they will have covered all their needs when they quit work and stop collecting a paycheck. They are not only concerned with acquiring wealth, but also strive for not spending a single penny that is not fully justified. Unfortunately, these people on top of accumulating wealth, they build upon themselves the consequences of their misdeeds because their sole purpose has been the hoarding of capital and everything else has been relegated because of their ambition. Others do not aspire to become millionaires but live worried all the time, thinking how to achieve the necessary funds for their livelihood.
True riches are attained only through the blessing of God. He gives to each one according to his wonderful purpose, ie some get much and others get little, depending on their administrative capacities and therefore we should never worry about money because he cares for us. The riches that God gives us represent far beyond than simple monetary treasures. More important things such as love, joy, peace, wisdom, safety, health, purpose, stability and life itself are part of the treasure that God has prepared for the enjoyment of those who have placed their trust in the Lord’s name. Nobody, not even the wicked has been enriched by being concerned. So trust in the Lord and follow his advice: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Our heavenly Father knows our needs and he provides for them in abundance. To God alone be the glory!
 Matthew 6:33-34
Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous;
it is fitting for the upright to praise him.
Since childhood we have been taught to be so individualistic that it is very difficult for us to publicly recognize the achievements and talents of others. Of course, we like it a lot when we are the recognized and in fact, recognition is something we expect to receive when we accomplish something important. The problem is that all our thoughts are focused on our self or ego, as it is also known. Worst of all, we do the same with God. We hope that God rewards us and praises us when we “do” something good but we forget to thank him for all he has given us and all he has done for us. We enjoy what we “have” and forget that everything we, God gave to us. We tell God at all times that we want to “be” wiser and more knowledgeable and we forget that we are here for His grace and mercy. Unfortunately, many times we confirm the maxim that says: “There are no atheists in fox holes.” This unacceptable behavior is very characteristic of our sinful nature. The gene of pride is part of our genetic code since the world exists, we are interested only in what a profit or a pleasure we can get out of it. Everything else is incidental and of no consequence.
When we act like this, we are breaking the commands, decrees and laws the LORD our God commanded us to observe so that we, our children and our grandchildren would honor him as long as we live. We must always keep in mind that whatever “we are”, “we do” and “we have” we owe it to God and to no one else and that to him alone we must express our gratitude because this way we will be honoring him. When we focus on ourselves we are denying the glory to God and this, clearly and definitely does not honor him. Let us take away our eyes from our ego and let us turn to our God. Let us consider all the blessings he has bestowed upon us and let us joyfully give thanks always for all he has done for us. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged blessings, Christianity, God, gratefulness, Jesus, joy, life, praise, Psalms, righteousness, sing, upright, wisdom
An inheritance claimed too soon
will not be blessed at the end.
Everyone dreams ─or at least the thought has crossed his mind─ of someday hitting the lottery jackpot. For those of us who do not have to depend on chance since we know that our heavenly Father provides everything we need and a little more, this is just a fleeting idea like many other ideas that may cross our minds but to which we do not give any importance or dedicate any time or pay any attention. For others that are not so clear on how is it that God supplies all of our needs, the hopes of becoming a winner of first prize and after that living a carefree life becomes an obsession and over the years it turns into utopia. With the same intent of today’s verse, conventional wisdom says: “Easy comes, easy goes.” Yet, I do not think that hitting the jackpot is easy at all; but in any case, it is something that does not require much effort because it does not depend on our abilities or the sweat of our brow. On the other hand, I do not think that living a carefree life by winning the jackpot is a given since most of the testimony in this regard is that many winners run into more problems than they had before winning the prize and also many of them are left penniless shortly after receiving the award.
Why base our hope on a gamble that puts us at a distinct disadvantage considering that the odds of hitting the jackpot are 1 in tens of millions, that is, very small? Why ignore him who truly has the power to give you everything you need and more? Do not continue to believe in fairy tales. Whatever is done for greed is doomed to failure, not only physical but also spiritual failure. Put your eyes on the certainty of God’s power and not the whims of chance. Only Jesus Christ can make your life a success and the most important success that you can achieve is the salvation of your soul. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged blessings, Christianity, end, faith, haste, inheritance, Jesus, life, love, Proverbs 20, spirituality, wisdom
Surely, LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield.
It is said that a person is righteous when he or she acts according to justice. In the scheme designed by God for men, justice is achieved when actions and decisions are in line with the law of God. Overall, righteous is anyone who lives seeking to fulfill God’s law. However, in particular, we all know it is impossible to fulfill the law of God in its entirety because the human gene map contains a gene common to all human beings that when having to decide between good and evil, we chose the incorrect path despite of consciously knowing that what we are doing is wrong. That is why the apostle Paul quotes the Psalms 14 and 53 of King David when he says: “As it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God.” to clarify that no person shall be justified in God’s presence by observing the law.
But that is not all because now, an opportunity of hope for humanity is open before us, when we know that the righteousness of God has come through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. Then everyone who has put his trust in Jesus Christ and his redemptive work can now be considered properly righteous. And the righteous are blessed and protected by the shield of the favor of God for we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Do you trust in Christ or in your abilities and skills? Which makes you feel more comfortable, knowing that you have a good amount of money in your savings account or the certainty that God will never forsake you? Does your righteousness depend on your good works or on the redemptive work of Jesus Christ? The difference is important and should not be treated lightly. Remember that God blesses the righteous and protects them with his favor. To God alone is the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged blessings, Christianity, faith, hope, Jesus, justice, life, love, Psalms, righteousness, salvation, trust