So What if I Am Wrong

April 9th, 2007

This time of year I can’t help but reflect on the Jewish Passover and the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus as I celebrate this miracle of God’s love along with Christ’s disciples around the world. The only thing that was really different this year is that I couldn’t help but think, “Ya know, even if I am wrong, so what? “. Then it struck me as strange that this is the first time in my life that I could actually say that about anything, without being the least bit concerned about some kind of ensuing consequences.
You see, in the years since my commitment to follow Christ, I can honestly say I have absolutely no regrets. Not only are there no regrets, but the total onslaught of blessings I continue to experience are completely transforming my life. Even if I never leave this earth when I die to see Christ face to face, as I believe I will, the benefits I’ve experienced from serving Him while on this earth alone, are all I will ever need to be eternally grateful.
I’m talking about blessings that I know come from God, because this world does not have them to offer. Blessings like the unquenchable love that has been poured into my heart to the point of overflowing. An amazing love that knows no end and leaves no room for anger, bitterness, or resentment to set in. Then there’s the transformation that has taken place in my mind. A mind that once was painfully skeptical, cynical, and snarled is now filled with an unquestionable peace which surpasses all understanding, and a confidence that leaves me rest assured. Yet the most surprising blessing of all is the unspeakable joy that fills my spirit. This very spirit that has tasted bareness, bleakness, and brokenness now tastes of the living waters that spring forth as a wellspring of joy, a beautiful by-product of becoming one with God’s Holy Spirit, through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
So all I can say is, so what if I am wrong. I wouldn’t trade these treasures for anything this world has to offer. The things of this world only leave you feeling empty and wanting more, but, whoever drinks of these waters will never thirst again.

The Apostles’ Creed

January 24th, 2007

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic [universal] Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

All Who Belong to God

January 22nd, 2007


Do you belong to God? If your not sure ask yourself these few simple questions. Can I look back through my life and see that God’s hand has guided me, often leading me back on track when I have started to wander far from safety? Has God ever spoke to me through my circumstances, encouraging people, music, or various other forms of media? Has God ever comforted me, when all else in life has failed me and left me discouraged and full of despair? If you have answered yes to any or all of these questions than you can be confident that you belong to God.
I’m asking you this question because I want everybody to understand that all who belong to God will eventually have a personal encounter with Jesus, God’s Messiah. I know this to be true because the Holy Spirit will not rest till we are all brought to the safety of His fold. God’s word says that all who belong to God will come to know His son, Jesus . This is He whom God sent to the earth to make a way for us to develop a real and personal relationship with the Father. You see, because you belong to God His Holy Spirit has been ever near to you, guiding you, speaking to you, comforting you, and drawing you near to Himself so that He may reveal to you His plan of redemption.
Jesus says, “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that has heard, and has learned of the Father, comes to me.” [John 6:44 -45] “All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” [John 6:37-40]
I’ve often heard it said that all roads lead to heaven. Well, I don’t think it’s quite that simple, though I do believe that for those who belong to God all spiritual paths do eventually lead to Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by me.” [John 14:6] “…If God were your Father, you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.” [John 8:42] “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one.” [John 10:27-30] “… He that believes on me, believes not on me, but on him that sent me. And he that sees me sees him that sent me.” [John 12:44-45] “He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:21]
So I guess the next big question is can we trust what Jesus has to say? Many people say that Jesus was just another prophet. They say that He was an amazing man, peaceful, and full of great wisdom, but just a man. Well, I say He can’t be just a prophet and an amazing man, either He is who He says He is, or He was a false prophet and an absolute mad man. No other prophet ever dared make such outrageous claims as Jesus, who claimed to be God Himself, stuck with His story even unto death, than rose again to prove His point. So Therefore I conclude that, “the secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him; and He will show them his covenant.” [Psalm 25:14] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” [I Timothy 2:5]

No Better Place

January 15th, 2007


Lord, how precious are the moments, when I take the time to come before your mercy seat. Where it’s just You and me, uninterrupted by the continuous clamor of this world. This is that special place where You are sure to embrace me with Your comfort. Where I can just sit content to be in Your presence, or pour out my heart and soul, casting all my cares upon You, because You care about me. This is the place where I can revel in Your glory and come away like Moses, Your warm glow still radiating through me.
There is no better place.
Thank You Father, that You rent the veil that separated me from Your Holy of Holies. [Luke 23:45] Thank You Jesus, that I don’t have a high priest which can’t be touched with the feeling of my infirmities; but You, who were in all points tempted like I am, yet without sin. Therefore I come boldly unto the throne of grace, to obtain mercy, and find the grace to help me in my time of need. [Hebrews 4:15-16] Thank You Holy Spirit, that as I meet with the Lord and behold His face, You are changing me into that same image from glory to glory, like a looking glass. [2 Cor. 3:18]
There is no better place.
So why don’t I come here more often? Why do I often wait till there’s no strength left to do anything else before I enter in? Why do I sometimes wait till all else fails before I commune with You. Why do I wait till I’m full of despair before I seek Your comforting embrace? Why do I wait at all, I should enter in every day, simply because…
There is no better place.

No Better Pace, Don Francisco (used with permission)

On Thanksgiving

November 24th, 2006

Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands. Serve the Lord with gladness: come before His presence with singing. Know you that the Lord is God: it is He that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful to Him, and bless His name. For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and His truth endures to all generations. [Psalm 100]

Yesterday, here in the US, we celebrated our National Day of Thanksgiving. To some it may seem we spend the day celebrating our abundance, more than thanking God for it. That’s because they don’t understand that we are celebrating with God, in keeping in remembrance that He is the author of all our blessings.
God is pleased to see us enjoying a great day of celebration and feasting. The bible is full of examples of Holy Days set aside for just that purpose. In fact, though we may think we are quite the party animals, our celebrations pale in comparison to our forefathers. Take King David for example, he couldn’t contain his joy before the Lord. At any given time he could break out in song and dance in celebration of what the Lord has done, and he didn’t care who he embarrassed in the process. [II Samuel 6:15-21]
You see, for God’s children thanksgiving should not be merely a holiday, but a way of life. It is an attitude of gratitude. A condition of the heart by which we are continually thankful for all of our blessings great and small. The blessings seen and unseen, the ones we understand and the even ones we don’t.
We can accomplish this if we have no anxiety about anything, but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let our requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus. [Philip. 4:6-7]
Therefore, join me as I offer to God the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call on the name of the Lord. [Psalm 116:17] That we may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all His wondrous works. [Psalm 26:7] Let us come before his presence… and make a joyful noise to him with psalms. [Psalm 95:2] Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honor, and power, and might, be to our God for ever and ever. Amen. [Rev. 7:12]

The Comforter

November 12th, 2006

Today many people have an unfortunate perception of God. They see Him as a stern dictator, an unrelenting judge. One who sits in heaven just waiting for us to do something wrong so that He may punish us. Sadly over the years the church hasn’t done enough to counter this ill perception. Instead of teaching on God’s abundant mercy and grace, many preachers, eager to line their pockets, have helped spread this vicious rumor. They stand up there yelling “Repent, repent you evil sinners, before the judgment of God comes down and consumes you. Write a check today, before it’s too late.”
Well what I’m here to tell you is that the God of creation is not a dictator, but a comforter. One who takes great pride in His creation and loves everyone of us, just as we are. He is,”… the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted of God.”[II Cor. 1:3-4]
You see, from the beginning of time God has had a plan to redeem us of that sinful nature which plagues and torments us. In fulfillment of that plan, a part of The trinity {the word} came to earth manifested in flesh. Jesus’ sacrifice, resurrection, and ascension were all necessary components of God’s plan to have a real and personal relationship with us. Which He does by sending His Holy Spirit to dwell in us and become one with our spirit.
Right before His sacrifice, Jesus said,” Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I don’t go away the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you.” [John 16:7] “… when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me.” [John 15:26] “At that day you shall know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He that has my commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves me: and he that loves me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” [John 14:20-21] When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on his own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will declare to you the things that are to come.” [John 16:13] “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.” [John 14:18]
It’s important to understand that the word repent simply means to change. The reason that the message of these preachers frustrates me so, is the fact that until we accept Christ and receive the Holy Spirit, we are powerless to change. It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we are made holy, because” … when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” [John 16:8] As God’s Spirit becomes one with our spirit He changes us, by revealing His truths to us and renewing our minds. [Rom 12:2]
So don’t let those wolves masquerading as shepherds lay a heavy guilt trip on you. Find a spiritual mentor who will show you that God is a God of mercy and Grace. He loves you so much that He sent His only begotten son to die for you. [John 3:16] He will not leave you comfortless nor forsake you. He has a plan to establish an intimate relationship with you. All you have to do is accept that plan and He will do the rest, by the power of His Spirit.

On Baptism

November 5th, 2006


In the various sects of religions who confess to be Christian there is much doctrinal differences in tenets. Personally, to avoid confusion I choose to look to God’s word for answers instead of religious institutions. From my experience, differences of opinion between Christian sects tend to be more about traditions of man than about interpretations of God’s word.
God’s word is really not all that complicated or hard to understand. In fact now days with modern english translations and software with bible search engines, it is easier than ever to find answers to all of our questions. We can simply do a topical search, and all scriptures containing such words pop up at the push of a button. No longer are the days of pouring over the scriptures for hours to find various references spread throughout, on any given subject.
Well, that is exactly what I did on the subject of baptism. I didn’t want to know what the Pope, an institution, or my neighbor had to say about it, but what my Creator had to say. After all, unless I seek out God’s truth’s and His plan for redemption, all the religion in the world won’t do me a bit of good.
What I found out is that His plan is spelled out in a way that even the most simple of us can understand. For example:
These scriptures point out that according to God’s word there is only one thing needed to receive baptism, belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, our redeemer;

“And he said to them, Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned. [Mark 16:15-16]
“And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.” [Acts 8:36-38]
Also we learn that baptism is an act of repentance that cleanses us through faith, and is readily available to all who believe;
” And he said to them, To what then were you baptized? And they said, To John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John truly baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying to the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. [Acts 19:3-4]
“Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” [Acts 2:38-39]
Then we go on to learn of the great mystery behind the ritual of baptism, newness of life in Christ;
“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the sinful body might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For he who has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him. For we know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. [Romans 6:3-11]
“Buried with him in baptism, wherein also you are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raised him from the dead.” [Colossians 2:12]
“For you are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ’s, then are you Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” [Gal 3:26-29]
And finally all that remains, is an admonition to practice baptism;
“And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you: and, see, I am with you always, even to the end of the world. Amen.” [Matt 28:18-20]
“Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord…” [Acts 10:47-48]
“And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” [Acts 22:16]

Pruned if I Do and Pruned if I Don’t

October 14th, 2006

One day awhile back, when things weren’t going so hot, It occurred to me that if I were to wait for everything to go right to be happy, I may never be happy. You know how life can be, it’s often laden with disappointments, inconveniences, and just general frustrations. I’m beginning to realize that I can be happy every day in spite of my circumstance, if I make it a point to be.
Jesus says, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that bears no fruit, he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” [John 15:1-2] You see, I’m pruned if I do and I’m pruned if I don’t, so I might as well make the most of things.
God allows trials, troubles, and temptations in our lives to prune us. He lovingly snips away any weak, diseased, and dead wood, carefully shaping us into the image that will bring Him the most glory. It is through this pruning process that we develop the fruit of His spirit which is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance.
This is uncomfortable of course, yet necessary. We must remember that if we suffer for righteousness sake we should be happy, and not afraid of the terror, nor be troubled. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that we suffer for doing well , rather than for doing evil. For Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, and we being put to death in the flesh, are quickened by His Spirit. [I Peter 3:14&17-18]
I’m guessing that this pruning process may not be a pleasant task for God either. Out of all the garden chores I have to do, I find pruning to be the hardest. It’s not the hardest physically, but, it just breaks my heart to go hacking away at my favorite flower bushes and fruit trees. I go through the same reluctance every spring. This year I put it off so long that I almost missed the entire season. I knew I didn’t want to do that though, because a few years back I didn’t prune at all, and my plants only yielded a fraction of their potential growth.
So I guess this law of nature applies to us as well. In order for us to grow at our best we must also endure some seasonal pruning. Just like in the garden, we toil, but it is God who gives the increase. Jesus says, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. I am the vine, you are the branches: He that stays in me, and I in him, the same brings forth much fruit: for without me you can do nothing. [John 15:4-5]
So I suppose I will endure this pruning with total faith and trust in the vinedresser. He purchased me at tremendous personal cost, so I know that He has only my best interest in mind. Not to mention that it sure beats the alternative. Jesus goes on to say, ” If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [ John 15:6] So you see, I have a choice. I can allow myself to be pruned by loving hands, or be loped off due to lack of increase.
Christ also says, “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done to you. Herein is my Father glorified, that you bear much fruit; so shall you be my disciples.”[John 15:7-8] Since I’m pruned if I do and pruned if I don’t, I might as well choose life, with joy! I am most happy when I bring glory and honor to my Father, the vinedresser. After all, thats what I was created for in the first place.

Psalm 33

October 11th, 2006


1 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous: for praise is comely for the upright. 2 Praise the LORD with harp: sing to him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. 3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise. 4 For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth. 5 He loves righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. 6 By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 7 He gathers the waters of the sea together as an heap: he lays up the depth in storehouses. 8 Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him. 9 For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. 10 The LORD brings the counsel of the heathen to nothing: he makes the devices of the people of none effect. 11 The counsel of the LORD stands for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations. 12 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he has chosen for his own inheritance. 13 The LORD looks from heaven; he beholds all the sons of men. 14 From the place of his habitation he looks on all the inhabitants of the earth. 15 He fashions their hearts alike; he considers all their works. 16 There is no king saved by the multitude of an host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. 17 An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. 18 Behold, the eye of the LORD is on them that fear him, on them that hope in his mercy; 19 To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. 20 Our soul waits for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. 21 For our heart shall rejoice in him, because we have trusted in his holy name. 22 Let your mercy, O LORD, be on us, according as we hope in you.

Psalm 32

October 11th, 2006


1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. 2 Blessed is the man to whom the LORD imputes not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile. 3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. 4 For day and night your hand was heavy on me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. 5 I acknowledge my sin to you, and my iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD; and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. 6 For this shall every one that is godly pray to you in a time when you may be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come near to him. 7 You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you shall go: I will guide you with my eye. 9 Be you not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near to you. 10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusts in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about. 11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, you righteous: and shout for joy, all you that are upright in heart.