We are the leper!

Matthew 8:1-3

When Jesus came down from the mountain, large crowds followed Him. And a leper came up to Him and bowed down before Him, saying, “Lord, if You are willing, You are able to make me clean (well).” Jesus reached out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.

Before I start this message, I would like to first explain what it meant to be a leper in the time of Jesus. As the Jewish people were taught from the book of Leviticus, they were instructed to keep away from people with the “leper plague.” If someone was stricken with leprosy, they would be brought to a priest and inspected. They were told to be cleaned and if the person still had leprosy, they were shunned from the community. Their belongings would be burned, this was to include their homes if they were deemed “unclean.” People did not want anything to do with a leper. These people were hurt physically, emotionally, and spiritually because of this disease. These lepers were socially rejected everywhere they went. Can you possibly imagine how this can make a person feel? From the moment they were stricken with leprosy until the day they died, they were treated so poorly. In fact, they were treated worse than farm animals. I don’t know about you but this destroys my heart to even think of how these people were treated.

Now, by understanding the background of a person with leprosy, I want to start this message. The leper came to Jesus and acknowledged His authority as Lord. He bowed before Jesus and having confidence through his faith in Jesus said, “If you are willing, You can make me clean.” That leper knew exactly who Jesus was and the authority that was given to Him by God. This is something that we should take to heart. It is one thing to have faith, and it is another this to have confidence because of how strong your faith is in Jesus. That leper understood his condition well, yet he still sought Jesus.

Then, Jesus healed the leper by touching him. Let’s really meditate on what happened. Jesus did not just heal a person that was sick. He reached out to him and touched him. Jesus went against every social norm at that time concerning people with leprosy. The reason why I explained exactly what it meant to be a leper at the beginning of my message is that I wanted my audience to understand what it felt like to be a leper in that time. Can you imagine how that leper felt after Jesus touched and healed him? That man instantly went from not being able to touch “clean” people to be able to live among them. He would no longer be despised or treated poorly because of his illness. That man was made a new creation and I can guarantee you that he lived every single day after Jesus touched him as a new creation in Christ.

You see, the point of this message is to remind each and every one of you that you were once that leper. However, somehow I believe that many of us tend to forget that simple fact. We used to be filled with the sickness of sin, and then one day we were healed by the touch of Jesus Christ. We recognized Jesus authority and we all sought Him out. We accepted Him as Lord over our lives and accepted His gift of atonement. But what the Holy Spirit is guiding me to inform everyone reading this message is where is our follow through? I feel that the Spirit is grieving over so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ because there is no follow through. We started our journey chasing down Christ like the leper and accepted the gift of being “cleansed” by Christ, but how many of us have truly become a new creation? How many of us are still living a life of defeat instead of living every single day in victory? Christ healed us and gave us His Spirit so we can have a changed life. So, I urge my readers today to remember that we were all once like that leper and we should remind ourselves daily of this. It is only when we can do this that we can live each and every day truly being healed.

Now, I want to finish this message with a simple prayer. Lord, I pray that you provide each and every one of us with the same confidence that the leper in this Scripture had. I pray that each and every one of us can remember that you went against everything to save that one man, just as you came to do the same for us. I pray that we can live a life worthy of your sacrifice. I pray that all of our brothers and sisters can also live a life of victory understanding that they are a new creation and understand that it is not simply words. It is a promise that you have given us. It is upon this promise that we have victory over ourselves, the world, and satan. Lord, thank you for healing lepers like us. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen!

Location Update!

We have been blessed to stay in Ronan, Montana for the past two months. We have three weeks left and we are sad that we have to leave. We have made some amazing friendships and built stronger connections with the people of this community. 

We were blessed to have helped the amazing youth at Light House Christian Fellowship. We were also able to build a close friendship with the staff and they will be missed when we leave. 

We will miss Gabe and Leah’s Bible studies. Hanging out with Larry and Debi and their wonderful daughters Joleah and Angela. We will also miss the Tribal Waves team members and our softball team. 

I will also miss Chuck and his wife Linda. Chuck is a former Marine Sergeant. He walked across the US amd raised almost $100,000 for disabled veterans. We hit it off because leather necks stabd together. We had an amazing double date at the lake. I was thought how to paddle board and we had an amazing meal!

It brings a joy to my heart to see so many people serving their community cheerfully as Light House Christian Fellowship and the local YWAM base, both ran by Pastor Sika.

Our ministry is looking forward to coming back and serving next year. I pray all is well with everyone and please tell us how you are serving your community!

A passion for God’s house!

John 2:14-16

In the Temple area he saw merchants selling cattle, sheep, and doves for sacrifices; he also saw dealers at tables exchanging foreign money. Jesus made a whip from some ropes and chased them all out of the Temple. He drove out the sheep and cattle, scattered the money changers’ coins over the floor, and turned over their tables. Then, going over to the people who sold doves, he told them, “Get these things out of here. Stop turning my Father’s house into a marketplace!”

Whenever I read over this piece of scripture, I always get the chuckles.  To picture Jesus turning His rope into a whip and whipping the corrupt money exchangers and sacrificial animal sellers, seriously who cannot? 

I have heard and even used the argument “if Jesus did that, why cant I?”  However, this is not correct to think or even teach This to others, even if joking you will be planting a bad seed in their minds. There is a lot of important lessons that can be taught from this scripture with a little bit of background information for clarification.  I wish to share my message with you all today.

During the Passover festival, Jews and Gentiles traveled from all over to celebrate the festival of unlevied bread and the actual Passover day. They remembered and spoke about the miracle’s our God did when saving them from slavery and taking them out of Egypt. This was a time for  praising the Lord for all the good He has done for them and to glorify His name.

Deuteronomy 16:16-17

“Each year every man in Israel must celebrate these three festivals: the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the Festival of Harvest, and the Festival of Shelters. On each of these occasions, all men must appear before the LORD your God at the place he chooses, but they must not appear before the LORD without a gift for him. All must give as they are able, according to the blessings given to them by the LORD your God.”

Since many people had to travel from foreign countries to celebrate, many could not bring the perfect animal sacrifices that was commanded of them nor could they exchange their currency to temple currency. I am sure what started off as good intensions, such as being able to help others with their currency exchange and help with their animal sacrifices turned into a greedy business over time.  

I blame this on our natural sinful human nature.  They made God’s house a business and even worse were extorting the worshipers by making them pay more than the value of animals were worth and crazy currency exchange rates.  

When Jesus saw what had become of His fathers house, He was consumed with passion and wanted to get those corrupt people out of the temple grounds.  Jesus did this because He had the authority of God to do so, not because He just wanted to beat people down.  Just like police officers are sworn to protect and serve the people in their communities, they are given the authority to do so from a higher governing authority.  If everyone were to go outside and attempt to stop crime, the world would be in pure anarchy.  The same goes out for those who wish to emulate this scenario with Jesus actions because we do not have the authority of God. I want to make this perfectly clear because I understand there are times of complete corruption in God’s house and we may also get filled with passion like Jesus did, but we cannot use violence against others and can only report these issues to have the ones with proper authority fix the problem.

These type of issues happen to churches as much as businesses, many times things are done from good intensions, but get corrupt down the line because we are all human.  The message Jesus was trying to teach His disciples and all of us is God’s house is a place of sincere worship and nothing else. When we go to God’s house, whether it is in a church, a building, school, or house; we are there to glorify God and praise Him for all the good He has done in our lives and share this good news with others.  These gathering should never be treated like social gathering or business like of any sorts.  This pollutes the environment for those whose intentions are pure and wanting to dedicate their time to glorifying their Heavenly Father in worship.

So please take this message to heart and never forget why you are in God’s house when you are there. Remember all the good God has done in your life and all the love He has given us. God bless you all and please have a wonderful day!

When sinners entice…

Proverbs 1:10

“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

Being enticed. Now of days we are enticed daily by sinners and most of the time we do not even realize it. We get enticed by the gossip on the news stations and the constant negativity it brings. We get enticed by social media and false idols on television and radio. They entice us by saying it’s ok to do drugs or drink. They say it’s ok to experiment with your sexuality. They entice us by planting those negative thoughts in our minds that pervert our minds. They teach us that sex and pornography are ok.

Even though we deal with these sinners attempting to entice us, we are called to be different as followers of Jesus Christ. In fact, we are told that we are not from this world (John 17:16). However, we continue to look up to these idols to try and fit in. 

The best way to fight against these enticers are by remembering that the Old you is dead and you are a new creation in Jesus Christ. You need to remember to yourself next time you feel enticed that you are better than that. That feeling in your gut that tells you that you are doing something wrong, that discernment comes from the gift of the Holy Spirit that was sent to all believers from someone that loved us before we were even a thought. Use this give you strength when you feel weak and the enemy tries to entice you. 

Just think to yourself, did Jesus get beaten, whipped and crucified for you to be so easily swayed from your beliefs? That same strength that hung on the cross lives in each one of us today. All you need to do is pray for the strength and it will be there. That is how much Jesus loved you.

So when a sinner tries to entice you, remember these words of Solomon. “My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.”

Don’t lose your raven!

1 Kings 17:1-6

“Elijah the foreigner, who was an alien resident from Gilead, told Ahab, “As the LORD God of Israel lives, in whose presence I’m standing, there will be neither dew nor rain these next several years, except when I say so.” Later, this message came to him from the LORD: “Leave here and go into hiding at the Wadi Cherith, where it enters the Jordan River. You will be able to drink from that brook, and I’ve commanded some crows to sustain you there.” So Elijah left and did exactly what the LORD had told him to do—he went to live near the Wadi Cherith, where it enters the Jordan River. Crows would bring him bread and meat both in the morning and in the evening, and he would drink from the brook.”

Elijah was the first in a long line of prophets that God sent to Israel and Judah.  The tribe of Israel was the northern kingdom and had no godly kings, and all of them turned to pagan worshiping and turned the hearts of the people away from God.  

There was a few amount of priest from the tribe of Levi there because the majority of them lived in Judah.  But even the priest of Judah were corrupt and were inefficient in bringing the people back to the Lord. With all this corruption, what did God do?  He started to send out prophets for the next 300 years or so.  The prophets were to help the people become moral again and help them spiritually.  It was their responsibility mandated by God to bring the people’s hearts back to Him.

Now what was so important about 1 Kings 17:1-6?  The pagan worshipers believed in Baal.  To them, he brought the rains to the people.  So when Elijah told them his God was going to stop the rains, Elijah was putting the pagans in their place.  He was saying that our God was the one true God and all the pagan gods were false gods that had no power over our Heavenly Father.  But this is only the first important part of this scripture.  

Secondly, God told Elijah to hide  and told him that he would provide all the provisions he required to be sustained.  So Elijah did just as God told him to do and left.  This showed full obedience and trust to God’s promise to him.  Then a miracle happened!  A raven was bringing Elijah bread and meat everyday to eat and he was able to drink water from the brook just like God promised him.  Man, isn’t that amazing! God did not bring him Gold, or wine, just the necessities.

If Elijah was humbled and grateful for every provision God provided, what is stopping each and everyone of us? People spend a lot of time being lustful and wanting everything they do not have.  People even covet their neighbors even though God clearly commanded us to do the opposite.  However, we do it anyways and expect for God to bless us all abundantly just because we are saved or believe in Him. The Lord is not a tool for getting what you want!

First you must humble yourself and be grateful for the provisions He has already provided each and everyone of you. Pray and glorify His name and give thanksgiving for what you do have.  If you spend too much time worrying about what you do not have, you will lose sight of your day-to-day blessings.  Don’t let yourself lose your “raven” because of your hardened heart.  I say this because if you lose sight of your “raven” you will never be truly blessed. I pray that everyone has a blessed day today and God bless you all.

Why is obedience so important?

For today’s lesson, I wanted to share what the bible teaches about obedience.  Being obedient is the hardest thing to do as people especially as teenagers.  We naturally want to do things in our own ways. But once you decide to follow Christ with your entire heart, you make a commitment of obedience to Him.  But how do you know if you are being fully obedient? The Holy Spirit helped guide the authors of the Bible to give us a guideline on how we should live our lives in the eyes of the Lord.  So let’s begin!

2 Timothy 3:16-17
“All scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work.”

As Christian’s, we are all called to minister to others.  We want to bring them to know the truth about Jesus Christ.  We do this by sharing the  testimonies about our life and how God worked in our life. But you also have to obedient and study the word of God.  

If you do not know the examples of the early Israelites, we will repeat history and fall again over and over.  Too many  people are legalistic now of days and pick and choose what they want from the Bible and do not use the scripture as a whole for teaching.  This takes away from many lessons that God wants us to know about. That is why this Bible verse is so powerful to me.  It clarifies scripture for anyone that is confused about how to teach from the Bible.

ALL scripture is breathed out by God.Every book and verse is important, if not, God would not have had it written. We must be obedient to this and correct others that are not doing what is commanded of us all. God wants to equip us for His good works.

1 Samuel 15:22
Samuel said, “Has the Lord as much delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifices and to heed than the fat of rams.”
Obedience is not a new issue that we come by now.  People  had to be corrected over and over then with the Jews, and now with us. It doesn’t matter how much you sacrifice after you do something wrong. God has always wanted our absolute obedience to Him.

By listening to his word and meditating on it, it will bring you closer to God than any personal sacrifices you can do for Him. We all fall short, but that is not an excuse to not give your all to God. Obedience is what He has always wanted from from His children. That is why he had to send Jesus Christ to die on the cross to give us another chance to repent and to fulfill the law.  

This is not something we can take lightly. Eternal life is only awarded to those who obey His word.
Romans 6:17
“But thanks to God that though you were slaves of sin, you become obedient from the heart to that form of  teaching to which you are committed.”
To be committed to God is to be obedient wholeheartedly.  If you expect God to forgive  you from your sins, an action from your heart must be done.  The Bible does not say sit down and then be forgiven. When asking for forgiveness and committing to Jesus Christ, it should take everything out of you. Jeremiah cried when begging the Lord for forgiveness and asking for his grace.

You need to dig deep and show God your heart! You cannot be obedient when you chose to because God knows what is in your heart. On the contrary, you will be cursed for falsifying your faith to Him.

Hypocrites like that push people away from Christianity. We are called to minister to everyone, but if you are not doing what you should be doing, you are being disobedient to our Lord. In a sense you would be an Antichrist.

I just wanted to talk about this very important matter to you all. Being fully obedient should never be a part-time thing. Would you want God’s grace and love partially in your life? You cannot expect to constantly receive without giving the only thing God wants from us. Full obedience to His living word.  

This lesson is not to talk down to people, but to clarify how important giving God your full obedience is. I have given God my all because I want his love and grace filling every part of my life.  It is not until you know how important His grace is in your life until you no longer have it.  

If you have been having a bad week, month, or year, think back and see if you were being obedient to His word. If not, I recommend you take some time from your day and walk into a closet or somewhere where you can be alone and give some time to communicate with our Heavenly Father.  Tell Him sorry for not being fully obedient if you have not been and mean it from your heart.

Repent to God and tell Him how much you need him in your life.  Accept the gift of the Holy Spirit in your life. You will feel and see a change in your life.  All it comes down to is your choice to be obedient! God bless you all!

Why is faith so important?

Today I would like to share with everyone, one of my favorite scriptures pertaining to faith. Now let’s go back in time. Imagine you are one of the small groups of people assembled at a foot of a mountain waiting for Jesus’ help. We see a father that has a demon possessed child asking Jesus for help. The father goes on to tell Jesus that his son has seizures and falls in fires and water due to his episodes. It is obvious to you that this boy does not merely have a medical condition, but this is something sinister.

Then to your amazement, you hear the father tell Jesus that his disciples tried, but could not cast out the demon inside of the boy. I could just see it now, Jesus walking up to the child and speaking to the demon with total authority “get out!” and then seeing the boy be instantly healed.

Now imagine that you are in a small room with Jesus and his disciples’ and you over hear them asking him, “why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” Then you hear Jesus say, “Because of your lack of faith. I tell all of you with certainty, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you,” (Matthew 17:20, ISV).

Jesus was not trying to condemn his disciples. Instead, he was trying to show them how important it is to have faith not only now, but in their future ministry. Maybe the disciples could not cast out the demon because they were relying on their own ability instead of fully relying on God’s. Regardless to the reasons, they simply could not do it on their own because they did not have enough faith.

Then Jesus goes on to tell them, if they had faith, they could move mountains. Jesus was not talking about partial faith, but total faith and devotion to God. He meant that they must believe fully with not only their hearts and minds, but their very souls. That is true faith! If they could only have a small amount of that faith, the size of a tiny mustard seed, mountains would submit to them. Literally, nothing would be impossible for one that has this kind of faith.

What a powerful lesson Jesus was teaching. Not only to his disciples, but to all of us today. The Lord put this devotional in my heart to share with everyone today. I not only wanted to share it, but I wanted people to read and experience it. Almost as if we were there because even though we were not, Jesus lives in and with us all today.

If you are dealing with any problems and are praying for resolutions, and you don’t see any movement in that area of your life, do not be dismayed. Do not start to have reservations about our Lord and think “maybe he is not listening” or even worse, “maybe I am not worth having this prayer answered.” There may be a large amount of things not letting your prayers be answered such as not forgiving someone or not repenting for a past sin.Maybe you may be having trouble really connecting to our Heavenly father while you are praying to Him. Are your thoughts being cluttered or you have trouble focusing to speak to Him. 

So I would like everyone today to take some time away from their busy schedules and dedicate 15 minutes to prayer. Fully devote yourself to our Heavenly Father during that time and focus only on Him. Pray to Him as if you were talking to a friend and do not have any doubt on His ability to properly govern your life. I promise you that resolution will come your way. It may not be in the form you want it to be, but we must all have faith in knowing that God’s will is being done one way or another.

When we have full faith in God, we will be able to one day move mountains and our prayers will be answered according to His perfect will. As it was written, “That is why I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours,” (Mark 11:24). As you see, we must believe and have faith that things will begin to move in your life and they will.

God bless you all and please have a blessed day!