Suddenly and Completely Taken Away

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Suddenly and Completely Taken Away

We know and understand that God both can and does bring good out of even the worst of circumstances (Gen.50:20;Lk.24:44-47;Rom.8:28), and this Coronavirus is certainly no exception.Hopefully, one of the greatest things to come out of this current pandemic will be people’s honest realization of just how quickly all the things they once thought were so essential and indispensable to them and their lives, can be so suddenly and completely taken from them.How the pursuits and activities that once consumed so much of our time, effort, energy, and finances – and which we had somehow convinced ourselves were so critically important to us – can be so swiftly and suddenly… just taken away from us.

Suddenly

Are you ready for suddenly?

Hopefully, more people will now take the time to really stop and think about the fact that one day, as we all inevitably near our own departure from this earthly life, all of these same worldly pursuits and activities – plus a whole lot more – are going to be similarly and perhaps even more suddenly taken away from us and then left behind as utterly worthless, and totally meaningless (Phil.3:7-11;1 Tim.6:6-12).The only thing that will matter at all in the day which one draws their final breath, will be the closeness of their relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ;said relationship which will, of course, be totally dependent on the time and effort that they have previously put into seeking, developing, maintaining, and maturing it according to the word of God – and that’s it.Period.

This is why Jesus Christ said in the sermon on the mount,“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal;but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you”(See and study Matt.6:19-33).It is surely also the reason why His handpicked Apostle John who was there that day would also later write what He did in 1 John 2:15-17.

For those who have never, really, seriously considered their desperate need to make sure they get and stay right with God;those who have hence never seriously sought to more Biblically get to know Him before that fatal and final earthly moment suddenly comes upon them (1 Thess.5:2-10;2 Ptr.3:10-12);may the good that God brings out of this current pandemic be, that it provides the reality check they need in order to start doing so.

For those Christians who are only half-hearted in their pursuit of, and relationship with their Lord, and hence only lukewarm in their Christianity, may this current pandemic provide the vital reality check they need, in order to more fully and steadfastly devote themselves to “the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, … the breaking of bread, and [prayer],” as well as to a far more regular, rigorous, and diligent study of His word (Acts 2:42;2 Tim.2:15).

And finally, for those who are already faithful children of the living God (Rom.8:14-18;Gal.3:26-27);those whose only priority each day is to live for and with the Lord whom they love and already realize is their life (2 Cor.4:16-5:11;Col.3:1-4);may this current pandemic only serve to reinforce your faith, peace, and reliance on your Lord who said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.In the world you will have tribulation;but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (Jn.16:33).

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Does Jesus Cry When We Die?

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Does Jesus Cry When We Die?

We read in John 11:35 these simple and sympathetic words: “Jesus wept [cry].” Jesus felt for others and loved them as we do when we lose someone close to us.The Bible talks about Jesus’ compassion (Matthew 15:32, 20:34, Mark 5:19, Mark 6:34, Luke 7:13).He really did care for others while He lived on the earth.

jesus cry

Jesus has compassion on the plight of mankind.

Jesus’ compassion flowed out of His divinity.It is God Who enabled Jesus’ humanity to have compassion for others and to weep.Psalm 116:5 says, “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous;Yes, our God is merciful.” Psalm 117:2 states, “For His merciful kindness is great toward us, And the truth of the Lord endures forever.Praise the Lord!” Psalm 86:15 states, “But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.” In God’s mercy, He hears our cries to Him: “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).He cares for us very deeply.Peter wrote, “casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7).Yes, Jesus cares even now!

Does Jesus cry when we die?Certainly.Jesus mourns over all death.He wept for us in the garden of Gethsemane understanding that He was dying for all (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).However, this mourning is momentary.Psalm 30:5 states, “For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life;哭泣可能会持续一夜,但欢乐会在the morning.” In Revelation 14:13 we read, “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.”’‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.’”

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Débil pero fuerte.¿Contradicción?

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Débil pero fuerte.¿Contradicción?

Hasta el día de hoy odio el sabor de las espinacas.Mi abuela solía prepararlas en el desayuno y decía: “Tienes que comerlas para que seas fuerte como Popeye”.Así que de mala gana me las comía con un sabor amargo pero pensando qué me saldrían los músculos de Popeye al instante.Pensaba “Cuando soy débil (por el sabor amargo) seré fuerte (como Popeye)”.La frase original de hecho está bajo la pluma del apóstol Pablo en 2 Corintios 12:10 cuando dijo: “Por lo cual, por amor a Cristo me gozo en las debilidades, en afrentas, en necesidades, en persecuciones, en angustias;porque cuando soy débil, entonces soy fuerte.” (HLM énfasis añadido).

fuerte popeye

Quien se considere así mismo fuerte todo el tiempo debería de tener cuidado.

Uno podría pasar demasiado rápido por el texto y perder de vista la profundidad de lo que realmente él está expresando.La forma como inicia el versículo en realidad va más allá, él está diciendo: en “consecuencia de”… “por esta causa…” “por lo cual”… desplazándonos obligatoriamente a la idea anterior para comprender con precisión su sentir.Algunos podrían considerar la expresión en cuestión como una contradicción.¿Como puede alguien ser fuerte cuando se es débil?Y ciertamente lo es, pero no para Pablo, ni para quienes han experimentado como cristianos fieles padecer por causa delbuen nombre.

El contexto de esta frase está basado en las persecuciones que experimentó Pablo, o como dice el mismo:“aguijón en la carne”.Es realmente complicado tratar de entender lo que este hombre de Dios pasó por causa de la verdad, aún así bajo inspiración del Espíritu Santo Pablo nos explica un poco, algunos de sus sufrimientos, él dice:Pero tenemos este tesoro en vasos de barro, para que la excelencia del poder sea de Dios, y no de nosotros,que estamos atribulados en todo, mas no angustiados;en apuros, mas no desesperados;perseguidos, mas no desamparados;derribados, pero no destruidos”(2Co.4:7-9).Luego como si fuera poco en 2 Co.11:23 describe brevemente cómo fue: azotado, apedreado, fue náufrago, peligros en caminos, peligros de ríos etc..¿Quién quiere seguir a un Dios que no te libra del dolor, sino más bien que por su causa vas a padecer estas cosas?Es ahí cuando Pablo entiende que al ser débil entonces es cuando se hace mas fuerte, principio que los ateos no logran comprender.

Pasar todos estos peligros no es nada, comparado a estar junto a falsos hermanos.Aquellos en quien uno a confiado y ha amado pero resultan ser enemigos de la cruz de Cristo.Es inevitable no sentir compasión por Pablo, al observarlo solo, sin esposa.Amigo lector es probable que si usted está casado le sea un poco más difícil comprender, pero uno debería de ser más considerado en el contexto de este hombre de Dios.Pablo no tenía hijos con quien jugar y pasar el rato, sus amigos de años con quien él había crecido en el judaísmo ahora eran sus enemigos… y algunos querían matarlo.Pablo no tenía con quién hablar por teléfono cuando se sentía solo, lo único que tenía eran los hermanos en Cristo fieles (2Tim.4:11).En el ambiente del apóstol Pablo cualquiera podría entrar en depresión y aislarse del mundo para que no le sigan hiriendo, pero este predicador era bastante peculiar.El fue un hombre con determinación y nada le iba a detener, al punto de que estando en prisión en Roma da la idea como si estuviera escribiendo desde un hotel cinco estrellas incluso exhorta a otros a ser felices (Fil.4:4).Les anima a pensar en todo lo puro, en lo honesto, en lo que es de buen nombre…(4:8) mientras que en la realidad lo único que veía eran cuatro paredes, guardias, paganismo e idolatría de roma.Entonces ¿como puede alguien ser fuerte cuando es débil?Fuera de Cristo no se puede.La clave está en la respuesta del Señor en el v.9“…bástate de mi gracia, porque mi poder se perfecciona en la debilidad…”.Cuando uno está caído, humillado desamparado es ahí cuando la persona se agarra de la gracia de Dios como un náufrago en alta mar se sostiene sobre un tronco para no hundirse, bien la gracia de Dios es más basta que todos los océanos juntos.Lo que pasan realidad es que es muy difícil aprender las lecciones que el Señor tiene que darnos en las circunstancias normales de la vida.Es absolutamente necesario quebrar nuestro orgullo, estar en situaciones donde podamos entender nuestras limitaciones humanas.Es ahí cuandomejortrabaja el Señor…se perfecciona en la debilidad”.El Salmista dijo:“…Al corazón contrito y humillado no despreciarás tú, oh Dios.” (Sal.51:17).En el caso de Pablo cuando más débil era su condición en la carne por todas las dificultades, más grande se hacía su deseo de estar con Cristo (Fil.1:21) lo que obviamente solo puede desear quien esté seguro de su salvación y relación con el Señor.Tantos miles de personas, aún cristianos viven sumidos en un mar de Temor en relación al coronavirus, pero, ¿qué es lo peor que pueda pasar?, ¿Morir?No, más bien morir para un cristiano fiel es solo el inicio de la gloria que ha de venir (Fil.3:20).我temo刺青,是休息德尔2020 en una gran mayoría estamos fallando en volver nuestra mirada al cielo(Col.3:2) en ves que al televisor para saber cuál fue la cifra de contagios del día de hoy reportada por el gobierno.

Este es el tiempo indicado para mostrar de qué semilla hemos nacido los cristianos (1Pe.1:23), para decirle a todos por nuestros actos o por nuestro Facebook que los cristianos no viven en temor aunque el mundo se hunda y la gente muera en masas (aunque nos dolemos por eso), que nuestra fe está en un mundo mejor, en cielos nuevos y tierra nueva donde mora la justicia (2Pe.3:13).El poder de Dios se encuentra en su palabra, es ahí donde nos hacemos fuertes al estar débiles.Nada ni la psicología, o la medicina puede reemplazar la satisfacción que brinda la palabra de Dios en un enfermo del alma o un soldado caído.Ningún otro lugar en la Biblia lo expresa con tanto sentir que el Salmo 46:1 cuando dice: “Dios es nuestro amparo y fortaleza, Nuestro pronto auxilio en las tribulaciones”.Ser débil como lo decía Pablo es reconocerlo y buscar amparo y fortaleza pues también el salmista decía:“El solamente es mi roca y mi salvación;Es mi refugio, no resbalaré mucho”(Sal.62:2).

Quien se considere así mismo fuerte todo el tiempo debería de tener cuidado.En una batalla yo prefiero ser débil y esconderme detrás de la roca que es Cristo y no salir al frente pensando que soy muy fuerte y no ocupo de nada.El ser débil también nos ayuda a reposar en hermanos fieles y confiar en ellos, no solo eso sino que les provee a ellos la oportunidad de prestar un servicio a un siervo de Dios, Cristo dijo: “…en cuanto lo hicisteis a uno de estos mis hermanos más pequeños, a mí lo hicisteis”(Mt.25:40).Depender del consuelo de otros no es fácil es de hecho un tanto humillante y consolar a alguien quien está pasando por algo que a lo mejor yo no he pasado tampoco es fácil, pero el esfuerzo de ambas partes cumple uno de los más grandes y bellos mandamientos en el Nuevo Testamento y en los que el Señor hizo énfasis: “…amaos los unos a los otros” (Juan 13:34), cuesta creer que en algo tan simple como una visita, una cena, e inclusive pasar la noche en casa de mi hermano angustiado o en problemas (quien sufre de tristeza ha experimentado que las noches suelen ser más deprimente que el día) le muestra al mundo el amor de Dios y de esta forma evangelizamos mientras ayudamos a nuestra familia en Cristo ¡Cuando soy débil, entonces soy fuerte!, cuánta sabiduría en tan corta frase.La debilidad llegará a todos los seres humanos en el algún momento u otro, pero sí ha de llegar, ¿No cree usted que es mejor que llegue estando en el Señor?.

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Learning from the Apostle Song

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Learning from the Apostle Song

Do you remember the words of the song you may have learned years ago entitled, “The Apostle Song”?It is the best way to remember the names of the twelve, but have you ever noticed the opening words?“Jesus called them one by one, Peter, Andrew, James and John…”

apostle song

Following Jesus is a decision the individual makes.

He called them, but the emphasis is that He called them one by one.Those four fishermen in the first chapter of Mark, who left their nets to follow Him, obviously had prior knowledge of Him.He called them, but He called most of them one by one.

We think of Jesus teaching large multitudes and are right in doing this, but have you thought His work involved one-on-one conversations with individuals?Look at this list.

He had individual, personal conversations with the Samaritan woman;the woman taken in the act of adultery;Mary outside of her house after Lazarus died;Martha outside of her house after Lazarus died;Matthew as he collected taxes;the one thankful leper;the blind man beside the road in Jericho;Legion, the “wild man” of the Gadarenes;the thief on the cross;the child who was used to teach humility;Zacchaeus in the tree;and likely many others.Jesus came to seek and save the lost, but many times He sought them out individually.

How often have we failed to see that, while the Great Commission involves going into all the world, it is most often achieved by taking it to every creature?There is a different emphasis in “all the world” and “every creature.” The commission in our lives always involves personal, individual contact.

再看看这个列表,看看多少反对tact with others was not planned contact.Jesus walked on this earth, and as He walked He saw the people around Him.Do we see people around us?I am not asking whether we see their physical presence but am asking a far more important question.Do we see the souls of those around us?We see their bodies, but do we see their souls?Jesus did!

Have you ever had a song come to mind and it stayed with you all day?The lyrics just kept coming to mind.Let me urge you to consciously put this song or at least its lyrics in your mind.It is more than 80 years old.

Lead me to some soul today,
O teach me, Lord, just what to say.
Friends of mine are lost in sin
And cannot find their way.
Few there are who seem to care
And few there are who pray.
Melt my heart and fill my life,
Give me one soul today.

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The Opportunity of Being Together

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The Opportunity of Being Together

Another Lord’s Day has come and gone.We all had the awesome opportunity to worship our Lord in spirit and truth.We sang His praise, prayed to our Father, and heard a lesson from His word.Most of all, we had the sacred privilege of communing with our Lord and Savior just as He instituted and instructed that we should the night before He died for us.What a day.What a God.What a hope.What a Savior.“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God” (1 Jn.3:1)!

Better together

Together we build our joy, strength, and hope.

We were also extremely blessed by God, that even though we were forced to worship in small segregated groups in our homes due to the Coronavirus, that we were not having to do so for fear of being put to death for our faith by the authorities like so many of our early church brethren were, and as so many of our faithful brethren in some foreign and less religiously tolerant countries still are today.

Yet despite all of these incredible blessings from God, some of us undoubtedly still walked away from worship feeling a certain sense of emptiness or loneliness.We may have even felt guilty at first for feeling that way, because we know that we do not attend and participate in worship because of the people, but because of our Lord Jesus Christ;and that He is indeed, all that we need.

So why the sense of loneliness then?I believe the following is why… It is this same God, who in the beginning of creation said that it was “not good that man should be alone” (Gen.2:18).From the very beginning our God created us to be social creatures!Subsequently, when He later recreated us as New Testament Christians in Christ Jesus (Gal.3:26-27;Eph.2:4-10;Col.2:13-14), He also created us to be socially active, interactive, together with, encouraged by, and dependent upon, one another, throughout our daily, earthly lives.He created us to constantly: be together (Acts 2:44-47), come together (Acts 20:7), and gather together (Acts 20:8);that we might be encouraged, refreshed, and raised uptogether(Ro.1:12, 15:32, and Eph.2:4-6).His ultimate plan, purpose, and design for us, as members of His one New Testament church, is that we are constantly “being joined together” (Eph.2:21), “built together” (Eph.2:22);and therefore “encouraged,” “nourished,” and “knit together” (Col.2:2, 19;Eph.4:16);that we would always “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Phil.1:27).

Together,” “together,” “together“……我们作为个体成员的身体/教会of Christ, must surely understand that just like the different parts of a human body, none of us was ever made or intended to have to stand alone, or to be segregated, separated, cut off, or set apart from one another (Ro.12:4-5;1 Cor.12:12-27;Eph.4:25).Instead, we were made to be and to function together as one;to thus serve, sing to, and teach and admonish one another (Gal.5:13;Eph.5:19;Col.3:16);to greet, be hospitable to, and assemble together with one another in order to “exhort,” and “stir up one another to love and good works” (Ro.16:16;1 Ptr.4:6;Hebs.10:24-25).

So it is totally understandable, that even if we are able to meet in small groups and worship the Lord on His day as He instructed, that we still miss the Christian love, fellowship, refreshment and encouragement that only being together with our brethren whom we hope to be together forever in heaven with, brings.God made us that way from the very beginning.In fact, if you feel no sense of loss at all, then that might possibly be the sign of a more serious problem…

According to the news, our governor and his staff are currently making plans to re-open the state.One report I heard near the end of last week said that he hopes to have Oklahoma restaurants and churches opened back up for business by mid-May if not earlier.Let us continually pray that that happens my beloved brethren – the sooner the better, and all over this nation!Can’t wait to see, study, worship, serve, and fellowship with my brethren in Christ, in person, together once again, soon and very soon.Can you?

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