I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
The children of God are always involved in a very special battle. Unlike the wars that we hear about every day in various parts of this wide world, Christians do not have to fight with other human beings. The struggle of the Christians is against the passions that war within themselves. James, the brother of the Lord Jesus described it this way: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures. You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  He also says: “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”  The apostle Paul puts it this way: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” 
Our enemies are not our fellow believers, not even those who do not believe in God or who believe in false gods. Our enemies are within our own being and also in the spiritual realm. The hardest part of dealing with this situation trying not to make it personal against those who adverse and harass us. They are not who should be the object of our attacks or those against who must make a defense. Behind each of these people there are a lot of spiritual beings of various ranks organized to do battle against us. If we do not know who our enemy really is on the battlefield how can we point our guns against the troops that oppose us? So let us humble ourselves before the Lord and he will exalt us and grant us victory over our real enemies. To God alone be the glory!
 James 4:1-4
 James 4:7
 Ephesians 6:12
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
They did not keep God’s covenant
and refused to live by his law.
They forgot what he had done,
the wonders he had shown them.
He did miracles in the sight of their ancestors
in the land of Egypt, in the region of Zoan.
One of the problems with sinful nature is its selective memory. We are too selective to remember things that are important and some things we should keep always in mind we completely forget. All this according to what we think is best for us. And that is another problem. Sinful nature does not allow us to properly discern what is really best for us and what is not. Every day we make decisions that, according to our limited criteria, we consider convenient for us and they really are not. Our sense of direction is very limited in this respect; hence all the time we see how lives and families are negatively affected by bad decisions taken according to completely wrong criteria. Pride, rebellion, disobedience, lying and sin in general completely distort the direction we should take to maintain a conduct that is of benefit to ourselves and our loved ones.
Not surprisingly, oftentimes we see ourselves surrounded by trials and tribulations, which are allowed by our heavenly Father for us to keep our memories fresh and so we do not forget the great things he has done and continues to do for us. God made a covenant with his people. This covenant is not something we deserved to be part of. However, because of his wonderful grace and the perfect love he has for us we have been included under its coverage. Let us look carefully and often at the stories available in the word of God so we always bear in mind and never forget that God is the giver of all good and that Jesus Christ is the pioneer and perfecter of faith. May our prayer be: “Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits.” Only to God be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged covenant, forget, God, hope, Jesus, law, life, love, miracles, Psalms, sin, sinful nature, trials, wisdom, wonders
If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
would not God have discovered it,
since he knows the secrets of the heart?
Yet for your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.
Sometimes the plan of God is manifested at the national level and corrective disciplines and trials to correct deviations cover several generations of the same people. The people of Israel, the apple of the eyes of God, have been through this situation many times. Also the church of Christ, his bride, has had to deal with situations of persecution or rejection by powerful groups that make things more difficult for the faithful. Some people want to discredit the Judeo-Christian God accusing him of being cruel and a chastiser. When attempting to describe God, they speak only of the aspect of justice which requires that sin be dealt with discipline. They forget that every action brings its consequences, both good and bad. They forget also that along with justice there is the other side to the coin which is love and that God has kept alive an entire nation that has been scattered across the world much of its existence. Empires, peoples and civilizations have disappeared completely from the face of the earth but the people of Israel have remained. God’s church has also been attacked from within and from outside by many opponents and yet it has remained standing through the centuries.
Today, some nations that once were thriving are on their way to oblivion because of the widespread presence of various pests such as authoritarianism, communism, idolatry and corruption. Many will blame God for what is happening to these people, but the truth is that, in fairness, the faults committed by them collectively as a nation have brought disastrous consequences for themselves. The kingdom of God has nothing to do with the kingdom of darkness and the different states of the world, democracies, monarchies and dictatorships; they all belong to the world system that by definition precludes the establishment of the kingdom of God, even when they have taken this purpose as a flag to justify their outrages and abuses. Take away your eyes from the world and its corruption and raise your gaze upon Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, the only one where justice and love come together and are integrated to bring real life, liberty, security and eternal welfare to all who believe in him. To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged death, discipline, God, hope, Jesus, justice, life, love, Psalms, salvation, sin, trials
The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold,
but the LORD tests the heart.
Gold and silver have been highly prized metals since the dawn of history. Their beauty and malleability have made them the favorite metals all over the world and one can hardly find a culture where these two metals are not appreciated. From a chemical standpoint, these two metals are pure, i.e. they are not combined with other chemical substances and they do not react easily with other elements to form compounds. For this reason, they support very well the attack of acids or strong alkalis and that is why they are known as noble metals. Also for this reason they can be found in nature in pure form or as elements ─as for example the rich silver mines in Zacatecas─ unlike other metals such as iron, copper or aluminum which must be extracted from an ore. However, in their natural form some impurities may be present that can only be removed by melting the metal. When the metal is subjected to high temperatures the unwanted material can be separated in the form of slag which floats on the molten metal and can be easily removed.
This long explanation is necessary because the heart of man is very similar to these two noble metals. Almost everything that can be said of gold and silver also applies to the human heart. God subjected the hearts of men to high pressures and temperatures by trials in order to eliminate the slag that makes them unclean. That is why Moses urged the people of Israel after they left Egypt with these words: “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.” Also, the psalmist King David said: “Test me, LORD, and try me, examine my heart and my mind.” Let us understand, then, that when we are confronted with trials and we feel the fury of the fire on our lives, our heart is being examined and purified so it becomes closer to the heart of God. To God alone be the glory!
You have laid down precepts
that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
when I consider all your commands.
When one sins, that is, when one aims, shoots and misses the target, one feels frustration and, most probably, also shame of not being able to achieve the objective. To be successful at hitting the target requires three things: a steady hand, adequate training and talent to make the most of the weapon being fired. The steady hand is equivalent, in the Christian life, to steadfastness in faith and character. The apostle James said: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” How well could one aim if one fluctuates every moment of one’s life? Secondly, adequate training is the process of sanctification that God achieves in the lives of their children by means of trials and exposure to increasingly difficult challenges in order to strengthen us. Or, as the apostle Peter said: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”
Finally, the talent for using the weapon is equivalent to the capacity ─talents and gifts─ given to us by the Holy Spirit of God for the service of others. The apostle Paul said: “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good.” In another place he says: “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it…. to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” I hope this apostolic illustration will guide you when you have to face the enemy’s attacks. Every victory achieved is a step forward in the way of justice and truth in which God has placed us. Hit the target! To God alone be the glory!
Posted in Psalms
Tagged faith, gifts, God, Holy Spirit, life, love, miss, Psalms, sin, steadfastness, talents, target, trials
All this came upon us,
though we had not forgotten you;
we had not been false to your covenant.
No one is exempt from having to go through trials and tribulations and the Christian life is not necessarily a bed of roses. When the Lord Jesus spoke of life to the full, he meant abundance of life, not abundance of property and facilities. However, in this highly materialistic world we live we are taught to equate well-being with security and wealth accumulation. How easy we forget what the teacher said about greed, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” In spite of the Lord’s warning we act daily as if the only objective of our life was money. There are many people who suffer immensely if they do not get the promotion or the salary increase they were expecting. If we keep our eyes focused on wealth accumulation and not on the owner of the riches we will be experiencing difficulties until we learn the lesson.
Let us be concerned primarily about gaining spiritual riches and the rest of the things will be added without us having to look for them. In any case, the person who is spiritually rich does not depend on material possessions to experience love, peace and joy. Life to the full is the kind life that only Jesus Christ can give. Let us therefore come to him for the blessings he has prepared for all who pay attention to his call and follow him. At his side we will be able to enjoy the abundant life. To God alone be the glory!