My heart pounds, my strength fails me;
even the light has gone from my eyes.
My friends and companions avoid me because of my wounds;
my neighbors stay far away.
Those who want to kill me set their traps,
those who would harm me talk of my ruin;
all day long they scheme and lie.
How many times have we seen that when we are burdened by the weight of guilt and the consequences of sin, instead of receiving help from our fellow-men what we get is contempt and hardness of heart? It only ratifies the conventional wisdom that has been described as “When the tree is fallen, every man goeth to it with his hatchet.” Nobody is willing to reach out or to express affection in these sad and difficult moments that can happen to anyone. Friends, neighbors and relatives alike are kept as far away as possible from us as if our adversity was highly contagious. This is where we see the harsh reality of the human heart, insensible and hard as flint. Some even, not content with staying away, take advantage of our misery to seek our destruction.
If everybody would apply the Golden Rule that Jesus taught us things would be quite different as we are seeing today. The Lord said, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”  If today we see someone whose life’s adversities have made him a shadow of what he was before, let us consider in our hearts how we would like to be treated if we were under the same circumstances. Let our heart be like the heart of our Lord Jesus Christ who always acted out of compassion for a lost human race who had no possibility of salvation outside of putting their faith in him. To God alone be the glory!
 Matthew 7:12
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, companion, friend, harm, heart, Jesus, kill, lies, light, love, neighbor, Psalms, scheme, strenght, wounds
The LORD is the strength of his people,
a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.
When we find opposition or adversity in our path we raise our countenance to our Lord to seek his protection and help. This should be our immediate response to any challenge. However, oftentimes we engage in trying to resolve things by ourselves and we ignore the great opportunity that we could be giving our Lord to manifest himself in power and make his name to be exalted. Taking things upon our hands is like telling him: “I do not need you” and that’s a snub. Let us take notice of the rather large number of attributes that God shows in relation to our needs for protection. Let’s take a look at the word of God.
God is my light and my salvation, my fortress, my shelter, my refuge, my rock, my hope, my protection, my help, my strength, my shield, my shepherd, my fortress, my refuge, my strong tower, my righteousness, my God! As the sons of Korah said: “Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”  So when faced with adversity may our reaction be automatic and immediate. let us seek shelter under the loving protection of our Lord Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior. To God alone be the glory!
 Psalms 42:11
You armed me with strength for battle;
You humbled my adversaries before me.
You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
King David’s greatness was to recognize the limits on its own strength and lean on the strength of God. Moreover, the example of King David is valuable because it teaches us not just to rely on the strength of God but also that we must give him credit for the victories. Egocentrism, that element so prevalent in our sinful nature often causes us to attribute the successes to ourselves when in fact the glory belongs to God and to him only. This happens to us in everything we undertake. We are always leaning on our own knowledge and skills to carry out our dreams and plans and forget all about him who really has given us everything, starting with life.
When writing your curriculum vitae, Who do you attribute the authorship of the achievements that you want to highlight so those who read this document know how valuable you are? At the end of the day, Do you congratulate yourself or on the contrary you offer a prayer of thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for all he did for you? When difficulties arise, Who you go for help if indeed seek outside help? Here is the instruction that King David gave his son Solomon: “And you, my son Solomon, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every desire and every thought. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.”  Let us always acknowledge God in our path and give Him the glory that only he deserves. To God alone be the glory!
 1 Chronicles 28:9
No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all its great strength it cannot save.
We spend a lifetime preparing to successfully face any difficulty that stands in our way. Years of study and training provide us with the knowledge and skills with which we are sure we can measure up to any problems. We strive to build assets and capital in order to feel “protected” when the hard times come. We are dedicated to aggressively scale positions of increasing responsibility in our work environment, even trampling on those who we see as obstacles to our progress. When it comes down to it, we end up following in the footsteps of the philosophy of “every man for himself,” without caring for others. All these things produce a false sense of security that is useless when we face the harsh reality.
The strength and tranquility of the Son of God is not based on the treasures that he may have accumulated or on the many connections and friendships that he has cultivated throughout his life. Placing our hopes on the resources at hand is simply idolatry. It is placing any other thing that inspires us confidence in the place that rightfully belongs to God. If your security is based on what you know, in what you do or in the riches that you have accumulated, a painful encounter with failure is waiting for you. The only person that can take care of us and that gives us the strength to stand is God Almighty, our Lord. Let us eliminate any ballast of idolatry that is impending our progress toward the goal that is Christ and let us go forward with our hope placed only in Jesus Christ, our Savior. To God alone be the glory!
Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
who rely on horses,
who trust in the multitude of their chariots
and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
or seek help from the LORD.
Man’s life is spent seeking to consolidate his security. From birth we seek the security that gives our mother’s breast and later we always look for the security that offers the coverage of our parents. We go to school to ensure that later we can find a good job. At work, we ensure that we can increase and maintain a steady revenue stream that allows us to meet our security of covering our basic needs and our daily living expenses. Also, if possible, we save money to make sure that we have enough resources in case we come across a contingency. We also seek financial security for our old age. And as we reach the end of our earthly journey we ensure that our death does not become a financial burden to our loved ones. Few realize that after physical death we have a long life, not in this world, for which we must be prepared and secured. We put our trust in the riches, few or many, that we may have. And so we spend a lifetime working hard to strengthen our security without realizing that true security can only come from God.
Where are the foundations of your strength? What makes you feel safe (or unsafe)? What situation do you think can occur that may cause you fear and shake your safety? What have you been doing about it? In any case you should first seek the support of God. Without it you will never have a real security. You need to do as the wise man who built his house on the rock. “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” We need to place all of our trust in God, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness so all these things (including security) will be given to us as well. So let us not lose our sleep because of insecurity, but let us place all our troubles in the loving hands of our Lord Jesus Christ. Both now and in eternity there is no greater and firmer source of security than him. To God alone be the glory!
Listen, my son, and be wise,
and set your heart on the right path:
Do not join those who drink too much wine
or gorge themselves on meat,
for drunkards and gluttons become poor,
and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Without falling into judgments or resorting to much detail we can conclude that most people who roam the streets for lack of housing, also known as homeless, are in this sad and painful situation because of chronic and excessive use of alcohol and drugs, which led them to end up being slaves to a terrible addiction. Addiction to alcohol and drugs is a serious problem that affects society in every area and social stratum. Dependence or addiction to these substances cause problems at the personal, family and society level. Its consequences, as noted above, are devastating and have led many to fall in extreme poverty. Apart from restricting the free availability, conducting educational campaigns, restricting the dissemination of commercial messages, reducing the hours where sales are allowed and setting age limit to sales, it is very little that governments can do to control this disease. The problem goes beyond legislation, the problem lies with the individual as part of the sinful nature that all humans possess. Man’s lack of discipline and control is what makes his defenses against this scourge ineffective to protect him from the terrible consequences that result from consumption and uncontrolled exposure to these substances.
The improvement of the individual is not achieved by modifying his environment but by transforming his inner being. This can be achieved only by the Holy Spirit of God. The word of God warns us that excessive consumption of alcohol leads to debauchery. The Word of God exhorts us not to let ourselves be controlled by our sinful nature but by the Holy Spirit of God. All time dedicated to fulfilling the extravagant desires of the sinful nature is wasted time. Let us not lose time and be wise and attentive to the word of God. This will keep us on the right path.Only God has the answer to the problem of substance dependency . To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Proverbs
Tagged Christianity, drowsiness, drunkards, gluttons, God, heart, hope, life, path, poverty, Proverbs 23, rags, righteousness, strenght, wine, wisdom
Your arm is endowed with power;
your hand is strong, your right hand exalted.
One of the biggest obstacles that keep us from walking close to God is our short attention span. The attention span of a person is the ability that someone has to keep his concentration on one task or stimulus, without being distracted by other people or things in their environment. According to studies conducted by psychologists the ability to focus on a target is necessary for learning and for successfully completing any project. We joke about the very short attention span of a child or a dog without realizing that we also have serious limitations in this respect. The world constantly bombards us with many messages and almost all of them are successful in diverting our attention from where it should be focused, which is pleasing our Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ. In a world where the use of mass media is intensifying every day is easy to lose focus on the things of God. The number of things that are competing to capture our attention, even for brief moments, it’s phenomenal. For the advertising folks is not so important how long they can grasp our concentration as long as they can secure it repeatedly throughout the day. Not surprisingly then, the indiscriminate bombardment of messages we receive minute by minute of our existence.
The solution is not that we move to the opposite end of the pendulum and we spend all day reading the word, in prayer and fasting. The extremes can never be good. We must strike a balance between the attention we devote to the things that keep us connected to God, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our daily activities related to our work and family environments. However, the fact that we spend most of our attention and time on activities that are not spiritual does not mean we should not take every thought captive to Christ because everything we say, think and do must be related to our obedience to God. Let God be the center of our life in action and thought to keep us in a constant attitude of praise to his name regardless of what activity we are doing. Never lose sight of the purpose for which we were created, the glory of God. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged arm, Christianity, exalted, God, hand, hope, Jesus, justice, life, love, obedience, power, Psalms, right hand, righteousness, strenght, wisdom
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
His victims are crushed, they collapse;
they fall under his strength.
He says to himself, “God will never notice;
he covers his face and never sees.”
The powerful and the evil have deceived themselves into believing that they are not under the authority of God and therefore they can act with impunity. This self-deception gives them a false sense of security that encourages them to continue to do as they will without paying attention to the terrible consequences that their reprehensible behavior is going to bring over their heads. The only way they know is the way of violence and abuse of power. Their joy and satisfaction lie in humiliating, bend and dominate their neighbors as often as possible. The more successful they are in their campaign to dominate others the closest they get to the trap that will catch them like the innocent critters. A false sense of security prevents them from seeing the sad future that lies ahead. Their arrogance gives them the encouragement they need to persecute the helpless, convinced that God does not exist and if he does, he does not see, he has forgotten his creation or he does not care what happens to this world.
The reality is quite the opposite. God is fully aware of all the persecution and abuse that these wicked followers and instruments of Satan have carried out with much pleasure on the innocent and the oppressed. The judgment of God does not tarry, although the fact that God sees time differently than we do makes us think that he ignores our suffering or he has forgotten us. Our faith must withstand the weight of oppression. Our hope is that sooner than later God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and will bring back the peace and joy we are entitled to as children of God. Do not let the enemy steal from you the joy of knowing that you are fully protected by the mighty arm of God. Remember that the Lord sees the trouble of the afflicted; considers their grief and takes it in hand. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, collapse, cover, crush, face, faith, fall, God, hope, Jesus, justice, love, notice, peace, protection, Psalms, righteousness, spirituality, strenght, victim, wisdom
In the course of my life he broke my strength;
he cut short my days.
So I said:
“Do not take me away, my God, in the midst of my days;
your years go on through all generations.
How sad it must be to live without hope! To think that God does not exist and that after this earthly life there is nothing else to do. To believe that the vast universe exists only as a result of chaos and chance. To feel at all times a sense of emptiness that can not be filled with anything no matter how hard we try. A fish out of the water perishes from lack of oxygen even though the air contains twenty times more oxygen than the water where it naturally moves. The fish out of water dies because its gills can not extract oxygen from the air as they do it from the water. A person without God is like a fish out of the water. His life without God will cease because he can not receive the grace and forgiveness that Jesus offers and therefore he is destined for damnation. In every second of our existence, in every breath of air we take, in each heartbeat we are entirely dependent on God who gives us life. To pretend that God does not exist is like thinking that the air we breathe does not exist because we can’t see it. All we need is couple of minutes without it to be convinced of its existence and how important and fundamental it is for our lives.
Let us recognize our utter dependence on God in every aspect of our existence, irrespective of how trivial or insignificant it may seem. The Lord Jesus taught us that he is the life and that whoever lives by believing in him will never die. The universe exists because in him all things hold together. It is he who keeps the universe in place and matter exists because he holds it together. Never forget that every second of our existence we owe entirely to God. Jesus Christ is the answer to all our needs. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged Christianity, day, faith, generation, God, hope, Jesus, life, love, Psalms, spirituality, strenght, truth, wisdom