They spoke against God;
they said, “Can God really
spread a table in the wilderness?
True, he struck the rock,
and water gushed out,
streams flowed abundantly,
but can he also give us bread?
Can he supply meat for his people?”
We do not like to admit it but more are the moments when we doubt God than the times when we believe him. We know perfectly what are the promises that God has given us but we’re not really sure when he will meet them of if they will come to pass at all. When we see that some of the promises of God are not becoming a reality in our lives we wonder: Maybe that promise is not for me? Could it be that I’m doing something wrong that keeps this promise from being fulfilled? Has God forgotten that I exist? Can God really bring out those wonderful things he has promised? and many other questions like that. Just as faith pleases God, grumbling and complaining displeases him. We must realize that our responsibility is to believe and we can not expect to receive blessings and to see results without having done our part of exercising our faith in full. James, the brother of the Lord Jesus put it this way: “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” 
In matters of faith we need much patience to prevent doubt cast by our enemy from entering our minds. In any case, by grace, God’s plan will be fulfilled in spite of our doubts, griping and complaining, but it is better to have faith as we are the main beneficiaries when we exercise faith, even if the promises are not fulfilled in our lifetime. Enough of doubt and griping! Let us exercise our faith! To God alone be the glory!
 James 1:5-8
As a door turns on its hinges,
so a sluggard turns on his bed.
A sluggard buries his hand in the dish;
he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth.
A sluggard is wiser in his own eyes
than seven people who answer discreetly.
Laziness is a bad habit. Laziness is a vice that promises rest, but only ends up generating anxiety and trouble. The sluggard is deluding himself when he tries to justify his inaction. The lazy attitude of him upsets everybody because his tasks have to be assumed by others. The lazy do not understand or could care less that they hurt others with their laziness. The only thing he cares about is that doing nothing gives him pleasure. With all his selfishness, the sluggard neglects his health because he does not take care of himself due to his laziness. As we can see there is nothing good in laziness and yet many people exhibit this dangerous vice. The reason for this behavior is found in the sluggard thinks that he is wise. In his own mind he knows everything and does not need anyone to show him how to do things. This is why he does not seek the opinion of others and pays no attention if someone points out his vice.
The children of God, on the contrary should be diligent in everything they undertake. The Word of God exhorts us to be occupied with good works, always prepared, to persevere, to be disciplined, to be persistent in preaching the word, in time and out of time, to excel with the things of God, not to live idly, to take care of our own responsibilities, to work with our own hands, to make the most of every opportunity, to make further progress towards the goal, not to be tired of doing good and to offer our bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. If, after receiving all these admonitions we continue giving free rein to laziness we are facing a problem of rebellion, which if not corrected will require discipline from God. Need more warnings? To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, discipline, faith, God, Jesus, knowledge, laziness, Proverbs 26, righteousness, sluggard, wisdom
A gossip betrays a confidence;
so avoid anyone who talks too much.
We all need to communicate with each other. To a greater or lesser extent we all need to express ourselves and be heard by others. When someone pays genuine attention to what we are saying we feel honored and useful as we share with others a little bit of ourselves. Now, some people take this need to communicate to pathological and unbearable extremes. These are people whose only aim in life is to talk (usually about themselves) without stopping and without caring whether they are being heard or not. Of course they think others are paying attention and are very interested in knowing what they have to say, even if it is not true, and that’s why they never stop talking mostly inconsistencies. Many of them, having no other subject of conversation dedicate themselves to exposing personal information about other people, most likely something which is not in the public domain. The elements of secrecy and mystery add a little excitement to the subject being shared and the natural curiosity of those who are receiving the message above is conjugated to form an explosive mixture. Just as the Athenians and foreigners living in Athens attended the Areopagus to expend the time doing nothing but listening to and discussing the latest news, today people are guided by their carnal nature to find out about every gossip and news going around them and if they find someone like the people described above, the conditions are perfect for gossip and hearsay.
We should avoid this type of people and we should always stay away from them. A gossip rotten apple soon spoils the whole barrel. The apostle Paul exhorted us to always make our conversation pleasant and tasteful so no there is no room for gossip and backbiting. If someone likes to talk, let him speak of Christ and sparingly to avoid exhausting the patience of others. If anyone wants to come to tarnish our hearts with private information from others, let us pay no heed to their message and let us put a stop to those engaged in such a shameful activity. With our minds focused on our Lord Jesus Christ we will enjoy the peace and harmony that should exist between brothers. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged avoidance, betrayal, Christianity, confidence, faith, God, gossip, Jesus, life, love, obedience, Proverbs 20, righteousness, spirituality, talk, truth, wisdom
Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD,
and he will reward them for what they have done.
What a wonderful opportunity we have to serve the Lord by serving the poor! It is a shame that we often look at them with contempt and arrogance. We believe that their poverty is the result of who knows what evil deeds that were done by them in the past. And even if it is so, we act as ruthless judges condemning them with disdain, when we should be giving them a hand if possible (it always is) and giving them another opportunity. Instead of acting with compassion as our Lord Jesus would do, we refuse to lend a hand to help them out of the deep hole they have fallen into. Egocentrism silences any remorse that our consciousness may bring out of our hearts. Instead of seeing it as an excellent opportunity to serve the Lord we see it as a nuisance that gets in our way and makes our life less bearable.
Let us follow the wise guidance of the Holy Spirit so we can serve our poor neighbors the same way that Jesus would do, but taking care not to usurp the rightful place of God as provider. We are mere pawns in the hands of the Universal Grandmaster placed on a cosmic chess board, carrying out God’s strategic moves that will lead us to victory. We don’t have to go too far to find opportunities to serve the poor. We can find them everywhere and just in case we have not noticed, they happen to be a majority, so we can’t say we do not know where to find them. Make sure that our help to them is not something done as a mere formality. Our actions must spring straight from our hearts and they must be at all times carried out for the glory of God and not for our own glory. Let us find where is the need so we can help with our hands and resources (which are ultimately God’s resources) to improve the lives of the dispossessed. Thus, we will be doing what the Lord expects of us. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, faith, God, kindness, obedience, poor, Proverbs 19, reward, righteousness, wisdom, works
Those who guard their lips preserve their lives,
but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.
There are many ways that our tongue can get us into trouble. Some people like to talk so much that they can not remain silent under any circumstances and end up saying sheer nonsense that no one is interested in hearing. Those are the fools. Sometimes even a king needs to put them in place and ask them to shut up. Others have a poisoned tongue that only utters insults and curses that can only come from a heart controlled by the devil. There are also those to whom nothing seems right and all they do is complain about everything. We also have those who are unable to utter an expression of thanks, but only know how to demand. Some have made an art of lying, if you can call deception that. With amazing skills they can convince even the most skeptical but always at the expense of hoaxes and deceit. We can’t leave aside those who always have an excuse to justify they have not done anything, because of inability or laziness. And what about those who have a treacherous tongue and are willing to sell the secrets, even those of his own brother. As we can see, there are many ways that our tongue can get us into trouble. We can’t mention all of them for reasons of space.
Have you been at any time part of one or more of the groups described above? Are any of these behaviors a problem you’re currently facing? An uncontrolled tongue can do great damage. James, the brother of Jesus wrote: “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell” and “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Before you say anything, consider well what you are going to say to avoid pronouncing evil words. Thus, we will be careful not to hurt our neighbor and also we will protect ourselves. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, faith, fool, God, Jesus, justice, lips, Proverbs 13, rash, ruin, tongue, truth, wisdom
Wealth is worthless in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
It is no secret that the world is facing an economic crisis of such magnitude not seen since the decade of the 20s of the last century, that is, almost one hundred years ago. Not only individuals have been affected by the financial meltdown, entire countries are in serious trouble today and they have not been able to recover from the economic quagmire in which they have sunk. We have the examples of Greece, Spain and Portugal, to name a few economies that in the recent past looked with some strength and are now on the verge of default. Latin American economies have seen an improvement in the last two years with the notable exception of Venezuela, but in any case, apart from Brazil, this growth does not look sustainable in the medium and long term. Even economies that were rapidly growing such as the case of China are suffering some effects of slowing down. In the U.S., the unemployment situation has not been resolved despite strong capital injections by the government in order to revive the economy. Even the rich are worried because many of them have seen their fortunes reduced by the effect of falling financial markets.
The things that are happening are signs that the end is approaching. For those who live depending on the riches they have accumulated this is a worrying situation. For those who have placed their trust in God and depend only on him, the current financial crisis is just a sneeze of the many that the world has experienced since its inception. How does the current crisis affect you? Are you at risk of a financial disaster or are you sure the Lord will watch over you and provide everything you and your family need? Do not put your trust in riches because they are unreliable. Your hope must be based on the power of God and the love he has shown you. Seek his guidance and consult with him before making any decision that may have an impact on your financial stability. He will give you the best guidance available. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, death, deliverance, faith, God, hope, Jesus, love, Proverbs 11, righteousness, trust, wealth, wisdom, worthless, wrath
We are brought down to the dust;
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us;
rescue us because of your unfailing love.
One of the things that should clearly differentiate and separate the children of God from the wicked is the opposite approaches they use when facing difficulties. While the wicked falls into a deep panic when things do not go as he wants, the child of God takes things slowly and looks up to God because he knows he can rely on God because he’s the only one who can solve the predicament in which he finds himself. The wicked only rely on their own strength and when they run out of resources they end up thinking that there is nothing left to do and that all is lost. It is possible that the Christian believer finds himself in a situation when all is hopeless but he will still trust in God because on other occasions when he had found himself in similar situations, God has intervened on his behalf in ways that nobody could have ever imagined. When Satan attacked Job and took his children, his property and his cattle, his wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” It is interesting to note that Job’s wife knew that Job was acting with integrity and that what she was proposing to him was absolutely reprehensible.
And you, how do you react when adversity knocks on your door? Do you run madly to seek help from others and forget that your God is the only one who truly has the ability and power to solve all your issues? Do you give up because you think you have lost everything or otherwise wait patiently with hope for the timely moment of divine intervention? Do you blame God for what is happening to you or acknowledge that you’re the only one responsible for messing up your life because of your bad decisions? Do you act as God’s child or as an unbeliever? You still have time to rectify. Put your faith and hope in Jesus Christ and let him act. You’ll see how all situations begin to solve, how the blessings from God start pouring over you and how your attitude towards adversity changes. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged bring down, Christianity, dust, faith, God, ground, help, hope, Jesus, life, love, Psalms, rescue, rise up, wisdom
My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear.
My wounds fester and are loathsome
because of my sinful folly.
I am bowed down and brought very low;
all day long I go about mourning.
The wealthy citizens of the Roman Empire had at their disposal a technique to commit suicide that was slow and almost painless. They achieved their macabre purpose of leaving this world in a slow and imperceptible way. We will not discuss the details of this technique because this is out of scope. But it is important to know that when we sin, our bodies slowly submerge into a stupor that keeps us from realizing the fall we are experiencing. Changes in our body occur so slow that we can not realize that they are happening until we reach such a state of deterioration that the consequences become a heavy burden.
It is popularly said that “Man is a creature of habit.” Habits and customs produce in us a sense of security and reassurance. The problems arise when the habit or the custom is associated with a sinful practice. If we routinely practice some form of sin we do not realize the negative impact that this practice is having on us. Our hearts become hard as stone and our conscience is numbed into a deep sleep. We displace the Holy Spirit of God and we claim and gradually remove his control of our lives relegating his role to that of being just a spiritual ornament. And that’s when the woes and pains start. That’s when we feel overwhelmed, brought down, depressed and heartbroken because health has abandoned us.
Not every illness or disease is the result of sin, so it is important that we analyze ourselves and that we allow the Holy Spirit to fulfill his purpose in our lives to determine what behavior we must change to avoid the slow process of death. The only available and effective solution to overcome this painful situation is to go to the loving arms of our Lord Jesus Christ. He can set us free from the habit of sin and set us on the path of justice and health. Allow the Holy Spirit to show you where you missed the mark and take your failures to the throne of grace. Christ is the only way to achieve spiritual vitality. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged burden, Christianity, faith, folly, God, guilt, life, mourning, overwhelmed, pardon, peace, Psalms, righteousness, sin, truth, wounds
Turn to me and be gracious to me,
for I am lonely and afflicted.
Relieve the troubles of my heart
and free me from my anguish.
Look on my affliction and my distress
and take away all my sins.
Just as it looks like that it’s the sun that revolves around the earth when the reality is quite the opposite, so it seems that when we sin and make mistakes, God turns his back on us. The reality is that when we sin, it is us who turn our backs on him. We sin because we disobey his commandments, or because we feel that certain aspects of our life do not need to be managed in accordance with the principles established by God. We sin because we place ourselves (or think we can place ourselves) above God. And when we sin we turn our backs to God to follow our own paths and make our own decisions without the participation of the loving guidance of our heavenly Father. With arrogance but also with shame we turn our faces away to avoid being confronted by the truth and justice emanating from the presence of God. Later, when things go wrong, we refuse to accept our responsibility for having failed and often we blame God for what is happening to us without understanding that everything is the result of our disobedience.
Since it was not God who has turned his back on us it is our responsibility to turn our face towards God so we can renew our relationship with him. He is always there. He has never left us. It is us who have separated from him and it is us who must seek and appeal for the mercy of God and through the merits of our Lord Jesus entreat God not to take into account our wrongdoing. Are you in affliction, trouble, anguish,distress or hardship? Have you considered that what is happening to you is most likely a result of your disobedience and distancing from God? The answer is in your hand. Turn to the Lord your God with a repentant heart and seek His forgiveness for all your faults. Then do not turn your face from the glorious presence of God and you will enjoy a relationship that will remain steadfast amid the most violent storm. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged affliction, anguish, Christianity, consequence, disobedience, distress, faith, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, loneliness, love, obedience, righteousness, sin, sinful nature, spirituality, trials, trouble, truth
It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
We can find in the word of God many expressions that compare our daily lives with a continuous war. Certainly we are involved day by day in adverse situations that are the result of attacks by some of our enemies, including our own flesh or sinful nature. Our families are under heavy artillery fire whose sole purpose is to divide us and make us fight against each other. We are in a field of a battle that fortunately belongs to the Lord and by definition the war is already won. But even though our enemies have been defeated they will not acknowledge it and they will continue attacking all those who are on the Lord’s side as long as God permits. Many may wonder why the Lord does not put an end to this long conflict that has affected humanity since the time of our first fathers. Both the duration and troop involvement in the conflict are part of God’s perfect plan and hostilities will end only when God is satisfied that his plan has been carried out and his goals have been achieved. Meanwhile, as soldiers in this fight, the Lord prepares us and empowers us so we can struggle and emerge unscathed from the encounter.
Among many other things that God confers us to go into battle with are: strength, security, swiftness, steadfastness training, and power as King David says in this portion of Psalm 18. All these features allow us to address the conflict with a reassuring sense of confidence, not based on our own strength but based on the strength that comes from God. If we know that we have these skills and we apply them in the battlefield, our spiritual progress will be solid and permanent as that of seasoned warriors. Thank God that the battle belongs to him and we are part of the victorious army. Thank God that He enables us so we can prevail over the many conflicts in which we will be involved on a daily basis until the Lord announces with the hammered silver trumpets that the final victory has been achieved. Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged battle, Christianity, conflict, enemies, faith, God, hope, Jesus, life, love, power, Psalms, salvation, security, sinful nature, spirituality, steadfastness, strenght, swiftness, training, truth, war, wisdom