Faith and a flood

In a world that had forgotten God, a world filled with violence, there was one man who God considered “perfect.” His life was a story of faith. There were no bibles or churches. No place to go to strengthen your faith. No group to seek comfort in. It was an entire civilization that had turned its back on God. Somehow Noah had managed to stay faithful to God. He was proof that even when we must stand alone it is possible to keep the faith.
God challenged him even more. He told Noah that he was going to do something that had never been done. He was going to destroy His own creation with a flood. Imagine what the naysayers said. “Noah you’re mad. You’re just hearing voices.” Perhaps they said “But God created us and loves us. He’ll never destroy us.”

However Noah was a believer to the end. He built an ark that was 450 feet long, 50 feet wide and 30 feet tall. It included 3 stories and was built to occupy his family and a multitude of animals. How he managed such a feat the bible does not explain. In the long time it took Noah to build the ark his faith never diminished. (Genesis 6)

Due to his unwavering faith Noah and his family were saved. This is the faith that is necessary today. Many have lost faith. Those that believe in God, the bible and see Christ as their savior appear to be fewer with each generation, however Paul prophesied a “falling away in the last days” (2 Thessalonians 2:3) or a falling of the faith. Like in the time of Noah, Paul also prophesied a coming destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Like in the time of Noah most are not concerned. However Christ is faithful to His word and will surely return. Therefore like Noah we must strive to keep the faith even in the most difficult of circumstances; a storm may be on the way!

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Tending to others while on the cross

Jesus was beaten, whipped and nailed to a cross. After all Jesus had been through, you would expect him to hang there in His misery crying in pain or casting judgment. Surely we all have the tendency to focus on our own problems and difficulties. We can be rather indifferent to others when we are in the midst of great tragedy and sickness. In truth even the smallest setback can make us a bit self-centered. Some would call this survival instinct. Perhaps we can call it selfishness. But Jesus with His last breath, and little strength, fighting pain, saw the women that had been with Him since childhood and the most faithful disciple He had. He saw their hearts and knew their needs. He saw a mother losing her son and a disciple losing his friend and companion, and knew how to care for their needs. He drew them together with this statement “Dear woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” (John 19:26-27) He knew that one could supply the need of the other.

Jesus still sees our hearts and knows our needs. While hanging on the cross He made the needs of His followers a priority; surely our needs are also His priority. Wait one minute; this was Mary and John! Are we held in the same regard? Actually we are! Jesus said, “For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.”(Mark 3:35)

Jesus has never be too distracted or busy to tend to our needs. He proved that on the cross. One other note here is that He took care of the needs of two individuals by bringing them together. Often God uses us to satisfy the needs of each other. It is one of the many reasons why we are called to do His will (John 14:23) and tend to those in need (Matthew 31-46). In doing so we do what is best for our lives and all those around us. We also become more like our Savior who was able to tend to the needs of others while in His most difficult time.

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Jesus was never captured

When they came to arrest Jesus he was surrounded by his disciples. The high priest came with soldiers and Jesus without fear or hesitation approached them and asked who they sought. When they responded Jesus told them “I am He” (John 18:6), immediately they all fell back. Such was the power of the only begotten son of God.

Jesus did not have to go.  He did not have to surrender.  He was never captured. Jesus was completely in control as much as the day he formed us. He is the alpha and the omega who knew He would have to give his life even before laying down the foundation of the earth. (Ephesians 1:4) Knowing that He would have to suffer He made us any way.

Jesus allowed the soldiers to get up and arrest him. The only thing he asked was that his disciples remain untouched. (John 18:8) Only after they agreed did Jesus give himself up. He was, still is and forever will be the good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep. (John 10:11-18) Because of His sacrifice we can be saved.  All we have to do is believe. Now we are forever in the hands of this good shepherd.



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Falling into the water

Falling into the water

Is it the master upon the sea?
Oh how great with him to be
No a ghost it be this night
Or perhaps our poor sight.
“It is I. Do not be afraid.”
The 12 he did not persuade.
If Peter could dare,
They wondered how he’d fare.
One of us do it too?
“Lord let me come to you.”
“Come” is all He would say.
Now trust in Jesus for the way!
Bravely he stepped upon the sea.
Look to Jesus faithfully.
Oh does mortal man walk with God?
Do not think this odd.
For faith does move mountains.
and chases legions of demons
Ah but for the wind.
Now the devil did grin.
For upon the sea rose fear.
yet the savior was so near.
Into the water fell he.
“Lord save me” was his plea.
Jesus saves the man who cries.
The fallen, He makes them rise!
Now our faith we must keep.
Less we with fear, fall in the deep!

© Samuel Melendez. All rights reserved

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The Devil and his tricks

Paul discovered a demon possessed clairvoyant girl who had great value to her owner. (Acts 16:16-40) I asked my New Testament class. Did she really know the future? Could she have read the minds of her customers? Could she have had the power to look into your past and see things clearly? Perhaps demons are truly powerful creatures that can help us?”

The bible relates that Paul was able to cast the demon out and then she no longer had value. As Christians we believe in the power of God, and we have experienced it in our lives. But often we forget that the devil has a few tricks up his sleeve. There is much he can do.

One student in my N.T. class commented “Well the devil can influence other people in your life. (Mark 8:33) So if the girl would have told her client you are going to meet a tall dark handsome fellow, the demon could whisper into the ear of such a fellow and convince him to take certain actions that would lead to such a meeting.” In truth the devil does this all the time. He is constantly trying to influence people. Another student had this to offer “Well if the girl had told someone you are going to get a promotion, that person might believe it so strongly that he or she would work harder, and with more confidence make it happen. “In this manner a demon can influence your life.”

Demons also have another advantage. There are legions of them all over the world. (Mark 5:1-20; Luke 8:26-39) They can’t be seen and apparently they love to watch us. They know “what we did last summer,” and the summer before and this morning. They also know what catches our attention and what makes our heart race. When a clairvoyant tells you that what your father told you when you were eight years old is still haunting you, it is only because the demons using this person were actually there and saw it.

Therefore there is no doubt demons can impact our lives. However scripture makes it clear their intentions are only evil. The devil comes to destroy devour, deceive, murder (1Peter 5:8, Revelation 20:10, John 8:44). He shows up as the Angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), offering to give us advice or help, but his true intention is the total destruction of our lives.

The bible directs us to flee from demonic influence. (James 4:7) Instead let us learn to trust in God. He knows our future and has great plans for us. His intentions are to bless us and be with us until the end.

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Grateful for everything I have and everything I am

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever. Psalm 136:1

I was still a child when my father asked me, “Why did God make our young so much more helpless in comparison to the young of other animals?” He later explained that being helpless required us to receive much attention and love. What wonderful gifts from God! It takes much more nurturing to raise a human than any other species on the planet. Without proper care what would any of us become? At birth we are incapable of walking, standing or swimming. We come into this world incapable of cleaning, protecting, and feeding ourselves. We would literally die within days if left unattended. Many years after our birth we still need a great deal of attention just to make it through one day without harming ourselves. There are many important principles that my father taught me from this one important fact.

Without the love and nurture of others we are nothing. Without teaching and guidance we would know nothing. Everything we have, everything we can do and everything we know we owe. It should make us the most grateful and loving creatures in the world, no doubt it was God’s plan all along. Yet we often lack this grateful attitude.

Many have noticed an attitude of entitlement, the feeling that something is owed to us, or that everything we’ve gotten was supposed to have been given to us. Therefore, we don’t have to be grateful. But with this attitude we only cheat ourselves of the opportunity of recognizing what others have done for us.

We should be grateful for those loved ones that cared for us and provided throughout the years as well as those significant others who made a difference in our lives.

The biggest difference maker being God, He created us and has made a way for us to succeed. He blessed us with intelligence, talent and countless opportunities to develop them. However an even greater reason to be grateful is God’s love and mercy. While we deserved condemnation for our sins he sent his only begotten son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we might have eternal life.

He is more than worthy of our gratitude. When we are grateful to God we are able to worship him in spirit and in truth and we are able to see what he has done for us, therefore our faith is strengthened.

An ungrateful life is a sad life where we would be unable to realize the love and care that has so carefully been spent on us. All that we have are gifts and the greatest of these come from God, our lives and our eternal souls.

Let us be grateful this holiday to all who have made a difference and let us lift a mighty praise to our lord and God.

A few more verses to consider

James 1:17

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1 Corinthians 15:10

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

 Go to Verses on Gratitude 

Wow, Jesus is powerful!

And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Imagine a horde of demons 3000 to 6000 large. It would look like something out of the Lord of the rings movie. Ugly and ferocious any normal man would flee. We would definitely believe them difficult to defeat even with a force equal in size. How do you kill a demon any way? Well Jesus came face to face with such a horde of Demons. They had possessed two men.

They were so extremely violent that no one could go anywhere near them. These demons upon seeing Jesus immediately began to speak. They were fearful and asked Jesus not to torment them. This wasn’t one demon. It was a multitude of demons, powerless against Jesus. Jesus ordered them into a herd of swine, what a pitiful fate for these demons. However they had no choice but to listen. (Matthew 8:28-34)

Demons were not the only ones who submitted to the power of Jesus. The disciples were once on a boat and Jesus feeling a bit tired decided to take a little nap. Then a terrible storm ensued and the disciples became frantic. They quickly sought out Jesus. Jesus calmly got up and told the wind to stop. The change did not come gradually. Immediately everything was calm. Nature itself had to obey the voice of the master. (Matthew 8:23-27)

Now comes the best part. A close friend of Jesus, Lazarus, had died. He hadn’t just died. He had been dead for four days. Therefore, there was no doubt in anybody’s mind that Lazarus was completely dead. Matter of fact he was laying in his tomb. Not a problem for Jesus. He simply said “Lazarus come forth” and death itself had to submit to Jesus. Lazarus surely got up. (John 11:38-44)

Now there are a lot of problems we are dealing with in our lives, perhaps some of them seem greater than a life threatening horrific storm, a legion of demons or death, but I am sure Jesus is able to rescue us. However remember what Jesus told his disciples “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” (Matthew 8:26) We should ask of Jesus, but we must ask with faith, for he is certainly able!