Uneducated and Untrained

There have been so many times in my life where I felt that I was falling short as a Christian. I did not want to share my faith because I felt unqualified and untrained. As a Christian, I lived a life of defeat when I should have been living a life of abundance and victory. I started to care more about what other Christians said that I should be doing (going to Bible college, ministering, and leading), instead of simply understanding who I was in Christ and fully accepting the gift of the Holy Spirit. Over time, I went to seminary twice and earned multiple degrees in religion, chaplaincy, and biblical studies. However, what has made the largest impact in my faith and Christian walk is two simple things. They are knowing who I am in Christ and the fact that I stopped getting in my own way and let the Spirit lead my life. This walk that I am on did not come fast or easy, I can assure you, but through my faith in Jesus Christ, it was possible.

I was reminded of this when I was reading the book of Acts with my family. We were reading how Peter and John were performing many miracles and healings through the power of the Holy Spirit, and their foundational faith in Jesus Christ. Many felt convicted because of their boldness and many felt jealous because they were given the same power as these men of God had. The Scripture tells us that these two men were having to stand against the Jewish High Court to defend themselves for doing good (Acts 3:1-12). They healed a man through the power of the Holy Spirit within them and they were proclaiming Christ. However, the important thing that I want to address is what happened next. The Jewish High Court saw their confidence and boldness, knowing that they were “uneducated and untrained” men (Acts 4:13). Then, the Scripture continues to state that this Jewish High Court was astounded and began to recognize that Peter and John had been with Jesus. This High Court saw the fruits of their faith when they saw the healed man standing there with them and they had nothing else to say (Acts 4:14).

When I read this with my family, I started to think back about all those years I spent in seminary and the most effective tool that I have in my ministry and life is the guidance of the Holy Spirit. These two apostles did amazing things during their lifetime, however, their training and power came from their faith in Jesus Christ. They were untrained and uneducated, yet the Lord used them in mighty ways. They preached the Gospel and shared the only way to salvation, which is through Christ with everyone they met. The reason why I am writing this message is to remind not only myself but everyone reading this that we can do nothing without the power of the Holy Spirit. You can go to seminary for many years, you can study and earn multiple doctorate degrees, however, you will never be fruitful in the Body of Christ without being lead, strengthened, and covered with the Holy Spirit. It took me many years to get to the point where I am now, and I pray that this short message can help someone today. Remember who you are in Christ, and let the Holy Spirit do His job. Do not worry about what others say you should be doing, worry about what the Bible tells you to live. The rest will fall into place in your Christian walk. Do not put yourself down because you are uneducated or untrained, God can and will use you! So, give thanks for the life you live and keep moving forward!

I would like to end this message with a small prayer. Dear Heavenly Father, please allow us to see ourselves through your eyes. Help us understand that regardless of our condition, education, and training, you can use us to do your will if we are willing to do so. Father, guide and strengthen us and protect us from ourselves, our pride, our insecurities, and any lack in our faith. We know that you have always used the least of men to do many miracles and blessing, and I simply pray that you can continue to use people like us to do the same today. Amen!

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Leaving Malta

My family and I are very sad to leave Malta tomorrow morning. We head to Athens for a couple of weeks and look forward to making new memories. However, Malta will be missed. Malta has been the only place that has made our family feel at home, similar to how Okinawa did. The people were friendly and amazing (it helps that they speak English) and there is something free to do around every corner.

These are some pictures that I wanted to share with you all from yesterday!

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Silema, Malta

We are sad to say that we leave Malta in a few days. Our family has really enjoyed the scenery and how nice the people are here in Malta. So, we just wanted to share some of our favorite pictures that we have taken around Malta. Please enjoy and if you have any question about this country, traveling abroad with children, or just want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment!

Having the right mindset

On my last post, I wrote about there not being a gray area, meaning that we either walk in the light of God or we walk in the shadow of the world/satan. This is an important lesson that I have been sharing with my children and I wanted to share it with all of you. However, today I would like to go a little deeper into this lesson. I would like to explain why we should not live a fake life in the “gray” area. I will first do this by sharing a simple fact taught in the Bible and then sharing the importance of having a godly mindset.

It is written, “No one who is born of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, because God’s seed [His principle of life, the essence of His righteous character] remains [permanently] in him [who is born again—who is reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, and set apart for His purpose]; and he [who is born again] cannot habitually [live a life characterized by] sin, because he is born of God and longs to please Him,” (1 John 3:9, AMP).

This piece of Scripture is clear about how a Christian should be living. Notice how the author identifies the children that are born “of” God. These children are those who have submitted their lives to His son and are filled with the Holy Spirit to guide them. These people with God’s seed within them or His Spirit, hold on to the principles that He has revealed to them not only in Scripture but in their hearts. These people who are born again are spiritually transformed and renewed. Not only that, but God sets them aside for His purpose. These people living in the light are usable and fruitful for the Lord. Then, the author goes on to explain that a person who is truly “born again” cannot habitually sin because they live a life that longs to please their Heavenly Father. Their reverence for God is what keeps them from habitually sinning. In other words, they keep their eyes on their prize and that is pleasing God and living a life worthy of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The author of this Scripture was letting his audience know what the foundation of godly living is all about. It is about being born again and transformed by the love of God, humbled by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, and being convicted by the Holy Spirit. These people walk in the light and they understand that there is no gray area. These “born again” Christians live a life of example and this is why the Lord can use them. Regardless of their circumstances, God is good and they are willing to crucify themselves and carry their crosses. However, this cannot be done without the proper perspective.

Notice, the way that someone thinks guides their actions and words. A person that is always looking up at the cross and not down on this earth will choose to glorify Him in every aspect of their lives. If we can take a knee and look up at the cross, we can understand that just as Jesus humbled himself before the world as an example for us to follow and out of obedience to God, we cannot have the option to not do the same, especially, if we are calling ourselves Christians. If we are truly born again, every fiber in our very being should be yearning to glorify Christ. It is that simple. It is not a very complicated way of living, challenging yes, but not impossible. This is why we have the conviction and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

This message is clear, how we think and see the world directly impacts how we live, speak, and act. If we keep the perspective that no matter what goes on in our lives that we will not sin against God since we have accepted His son in our lives, then we will feel the conviction when we do something that does not glorify Him. Thinking soberly minded (1 Peter 5:8) is how to start this transforming journey out of the gray area that many of us have slumped ourselves in. Then, remember to keep our thoughts focused on above and not on ourselves or this world. When we can do this it is a humbling experience. It will guide you to understand that we live “in” this world but are not “of” this world anymore since we are “born again.” This is the only way to live a life in the light of God.

God knows that we are not perfect, this is why the Scripture stated: “habitually sinning.” We all fall short and we will never be perfect, however, this is not justification to continue sinning. It is a simple reminder of the mercy of God and the love of Christ that is constantly willing to cover us from our sins each time we truly repent of them. Now, by understanding this, I pray that if there are any people reading this that find themselves convicted because they themselves are living in a “gray area” can repent of their sins and their mindset. I pray that we can all stay focused on the Kingdom of Heaven and not on ourselves or this world. I pray that we all can be transformed and rejuvenated daily by the Holy Spirit and that we never forget the sacrifice of Jesus Christ because this is the only way to live in the light!

There is no gray area

I often tell my children that there is no “gray” area when we do our Bible studies because it is very important for them to know. For some time now, the Holy Spirit has wanted me to share this message but I did not know how to present it in a manner that will be received well. You see, the problem in our Christian culture today is that there are so many “Christians” in this world with a false sense of security in their salvation. They go through the motions and never live a life of victory. They go to church and many of them even get baptized. However, if you never meant it from the bottom of your heart and soul, then are you truly a new creation? We are all called to be like Christ and this cannot happen if our old selves does not die after our baptism. The teachings of this are very clear in the Bible.

It is written, “But if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations],” (1 John 1:7, AMP).

When we are changed and truly born again, we “really” walk in the light. This means that you are no longer talking about your faith but you are walking out your faith. This is an everyday battle against our flesh, the worldly influence around us, and the spiritual warfare that we do not see. We have to be on guard from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to sleep. This is what it means to be “really” walking in the light. Each and every day we must conform to God’s presence and the life and ministry of His son Jesus Christ. When we can do this daily, we can truly enjoy the fruits of having a true and unbroken fellowship with God.

If we cannot meet our issues face to face and give them to Jesus, we are walking around with a stain waiting to be washed away with the blood of Christ. Any of our unrepentant sins places a wedge between us and God. Since God is light and darkness cannot be around light, this means if you continue to go through life without being truly changed, your salvation is not as secure as you may think. You cannot say that your saved and live worldly, justifying yourself by saying that you are better than you were before. However, are you the best version of yourself? Did Christ suffer and die on the cross for our sins so we can live a life in this “gray” area? Either you are in God’s light or your not. You are a son of God or you are a son of this world (John 3:17-19).

This message is not meant to judge others because we all fall short, however, knowing that we will fall short does not mean it is a means to justify our actions. When we live a life that is not according to God’s will, we have become false prophets, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. We say that we are Christian and we are not living according to Christ’s sacrifice. This means that you are a child of this world and your salvation is not as guaranteed as you may think. You see, when we do not live according to God’s will, we are no longer in His presence. The fruits of His Spirit start to leave our lives and we become something that we do not want to be, stagnant and hardened of heart.

So please, take some time and reflect on your walk with Christ. Are you living according to His word and teachings or have you began to compromise. If you have begun to compromise, please remember that we live “in” this world but are not “of” this world once we are a new creation (John 17:6-19). Reflect on you’re words, thoughts, and actions. Are they filled with positivity and love or are they not? Do you love your neighbor and your enemies or are you being unforgiving? Are you living a life worthy of getting into heaven or not? It is that simple. Either you are in light or in darkness. There is no gray area in the Kingdom of God.

Let us finish with a simple prayer. Father, I pray that you provide each and every one of us the discernment to know if we are living according to will. If we are, please continue to encourage us and guide us through your Spirit so that we can grow ever closer to you. If we are not, I pray that you can break the chains and kick down the doors of our misconceptions of salvation Father. I pray that all of us can have a genuine fellowship with not only you but one another Father, However, this is not possible if we have not truly become yours and let go of who we used to be. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!

Exploring Malta

My family and I have now been in Europe for almost two months. Since we started our trip in Rome, we could not fly our drone to take pictures and videos. However, we are now in Malta and I wanted to share a little of what we are blessed to see for the next three weeks.

I originally started this blog to share my family’s adventures as we travel and minister to whoever the Lord places in our path. But then life happened and I ended up writing more devotionals that sharing my family updates. I apologize for that and I want to start sharing a little more about our journey (with devotionals) .

Please enjoy the pictures and the video that my wife and I made last night!

A Lesson from Jesus

Matthew 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery]. “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

In this piece of Scripture, Jesus provided us the two illustrations of “salt” and “light.” Each of these examples are meant to build upon the other and this is the core of this short message. This lesson is just as important and valid today as it was to Christ and His disciples many years ago. Jesus wanted his followers to be like salt so that people would thirst for more knowledge. By being the “salt,” His disciples should always maintain their character and never change their message or their ways. If they would change their character by compromising to this world, they have truly lost their purpose. Similar to salt losing its taste. By making this statement, Jesus is telling us that our character matters. How we walk, talk, and think matters. The first thing that people notice about us is our character. Are we good and positive people or are we not. This is a very important lesson that we must take to heart as Christians. Whenever we stop living in accordance to God’s Word, we lose our purpose and start to allow the world to influence us because we are no longer working in accordance with God’s purposes for us, and this purpose is to proclaim Christ lived, Christ died, and that Christ concurred death and rose on the third day. However, how will anyone take us seriously if we have no “salt” in our words? Are we leaving people thirsty to know more about Jesus or are the people we are speaking to agreeing with us to shut us up? Maybe, just maybe, the reason why we are not leaving people thirsty for the Gospel is that we need to work on our character and the consistency of our walk with Christ.

Next, Jesus references to His disciples about being the “light.” This “light” means to give people direction, and that every direction should always lead to Jesus Christ. Jesus disciples were to guide and lighten up the path of those they were ministering to. Just like a rescuer with a flashlight helping a bunch of people lost in the dark. However, this part of Jesus’ message goes a little deeper than that. Just as easy as someone with light can guide someone, the light also shows the deeds of the people with it. If we are to light the way for others, don’t expect them not to judge our every action. They will judge our relationships and our works. This is as true then as it is now. Jesus sent out His disciples to live by example and to share the doctrines of His Father. This is why He used these two examples in this message.

The purpose behind my message is simple. If we are truly wanting to carry our cross and follow Jesus, we need to ensure that we the right amount of “salt” and “light” in our lives. Are you a person of good character? Do you walk our your faith instead of simply talking about it? When you talk about Jesus, do people stop what they are doing to listen to your words? Jesus is not saying that you have to be a theologian or hold a Ph.D. In Religion. Jesus is telling us that we need to have good character and live in a manner that brings Him glory. When people see Christ in our lives and they see the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, they want to find out why. They want to find out why you are different. This means that your character cannot waiver. If you are “hot” one day and “cold” the next, your words will not carry any seasoning to make them thirst for more. This also applies to our good deeds. Remember that we should always do the right thing to be rewarded by our Heavenly Father instead of the people around us. When we can do this, we can be powerful and effective. So please, if you feel like your losing your “salt” or “light,” call upon the Holy Spirit to give you the discernment to change and study what the Bible tells you to do. It is that simple.

Now, let us pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that your children never lose their purpose in you. I pray that our character and deeds align with your Word and your Word alone. May the guidance of the Holy Spirit help us be reflective on our lives and our ministry. Father, since we are called to lead the lost by guiding them and the only way we can do this is by living a life of example, I pray that you give us all the strength to do so. In Jesus name, we pray, Amen!