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Here are two articles written by Emily Guevara ( Twitter: @TMTEmily)  on our background and on  Grace Español .   Tyler Morning Telegraph...

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Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Prayer for God's Church in Syria

I don't often post links from other sites but is important that we as believers pray for our brothers and sisters in Syria.


Please take take time to read this prayer by Michael Milton here. I was not familiar with him until today. Check his site.


Friday, August 30, 2013

Speaking God's Truth When It Is Not Popular

The book of 2 Chronicles is rich with spiritual truth for us (as all of The Bible). The examples found in it show us how our relationship with God should be, even in times when people turn away from God and His truth. It's human nature, we like to hear what we want. It validates us. But this validation is often built on our own pride and sinfulness. We need to hear God's truth even if it is not what we want to hear. This is the case in 2 Chronicles 18.

Jehoshaphat was King Asa's son (see 17:1). He was a man who walked with God. His heart was encouraged in the ways of the Lord (17:6). He did one thing that was not pleasing to God: the marriage allegiance with King Ahab (see 18:1) who ruled the Northern Kingdom or Israel (see 19:2). Ahab who was not a good King (see 1 Kings 16:31) asks Jehoshaphat to go with him in war against the Arameans. Jehoshaphat asks Ahab to seek God to see if he must join Ahab or not. Ahab calls his four hundred prophets (18:4-5). All of Ahabs prophets say that he should go ahead against the Arameans and assure him that God will give them victory. Not satisfied (he might have had some suspicions about the prophets), Jehoshaphat asks if there is another prophet (he must have known) that they could inquire. Ahab admits there is one, but this prophet, according to the king, is no good. He always prophecied wrong against him. Pause for a moment. King Ahab's judgment is cloudy. He has not given thought that true prophets of God don't speak what others want to hear. They must speak God's truth. They often were called of God to pronounce judgment against sin. It didn't occur to Ahab that his life was perhaps out of line before God.

Ahab's gives into Jehoshaphat's request and he summons Micaiah. While an officer goes to call him all of the other prophets keep telling King Ahab what he wants to hear: positive words, kudos. The officer who calls Micaiah tells him that all the other prophets are unanimous in their words, they all have spoken favorably (18:12). "But Micaiah said, "As the Lord lives, what my God says, that I will speak." (v.13). Micaiah does not follow consensus; he does not speak what's popular. He will speak what God tells him to speak. He will be faithful to his God.

When he arrives Micaiah is asked by king Ahab if he should go and fight the Arameans. Micaiah knows what he is asking so he plays along and in a sarcastic tone affirms what the other prophets have said. But the king also knows this isn't true. Micaiah then prophesies that king Ahab will be defeated (v. 16). The prophet continues and tells him how his "prophets" are being deceived by an evil spirit. God has allowed this because Ahab refuses to hear and follow God (This will happen again in the future. God will allow those who refuse to believe the truth to be deceived. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Micaiah is slapped by one Ahab's prophets and the king sends him to jail. Micaiah last words to the king were ""If you return in peace, the Lord has not spoken by me." And he said, Hear, all you peoples." (v. 27). A true test of a prophet is whether his word comes to pass (Deuteronomy 18:21-22) and Micaiah submits himself to it. His words do come to pass. King Ahab is injured in battle and consequently dies (read here).

Micaiah is a great example of what a servant of God ought (should, must) to be and do. Whether we are pastors, leaders of a church or just your "average" believer, we are called to be faithful to God. Our loyalty is to Him and no one else (Galatians 1:10). We are called to speak His Word whether it is popular or not. (1 Thessalonians 2:3). We are called to speak God's truth even if the consensus of our culture says we ought to speak "favorable words," words others want to hear. Words that are politically correct. Speaking God's truth may cost us. It may cost us jail (I just saw this video of Richard Wurmbrand who spent three years in solitary confinement for speaking God's truth) or other form of repercussion. But the mark of a true believer, a follower of Jesus, is obedience to Him.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

What God is Looking For

I came upon this verse as I am reading through 2 Chronicles:
"For the eyes of Yahweh roam throughout the earth to show Himself strong for those whose hearts are completely His. You have been foolish in this matter. Therefore, you will have wars from now on.” (HCSB and all subsequent verses). 2 Chronicles 16:9

There is anthropomorphism here. God describes Himself in human terms. This verse gives quite an image. It gives a sense of urgency, diligence. God isn't passive, He is actively seeking. What is He seeking? Hearts. Hearts completely His. Completely devoted to Him. For what purpose? To show His power.

The context of this verse is the third king of Judah after Israel has divided. Asa "did what was good and right in the sight of the Lord his God" ( 2 Chronicles 14:20) in times when all Israel turned away from God. This king cleaned up the house and he told people to "seek the Lord God of their ancestors." (2 Chronicles 14:4) Because of this God gave him rest and there was peace. He admits that this peace and rest had come from seeking Him (2 Chronicles 14:7). When the Cushites threatened him and came against him, he cries out: "Lord, there is no one besides You to help the mighty and those without strength. Help us, Lord our God, for we depend on You." (2 Chronicles 14:11). God gives Asa victory and all the cities around them were terrified of the Lord. In 2 Chronicles 15 he gets a reminder from a prophet as to why he has been successful in war. He is told, "The Lord is with you when you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you, but if you abandon Him, He will abandon you." (v. 2) The prophet encourages him saying, "be strong don't be discouraged, for your work has a reward." (v. 7) Asa leads the people in spiritual revival. So far so good until chapter 16.

Asa is faced with war from Israel (the Northern Kingdom) and he panics. He bribes the King of Aram who is an ally of Israel by giving him silver and gold in return for his allegiance. The king of Aram attacks Israel instead. Judah won. Asa lost. God sends Hanani to rebuke him for his lack of trust. Instead of depending on God, he depended on the King of Aram. He had not learned the lesson that God wants to show himself strong (powerful) in those whose hearts are completely His. Our hearts must be focused on Him and on nothing else. There can't be half-hearted followers of Yahweh. It is not "God helps those who help themselves" what God seeks diligently. He is seeking people who will give Him all of their hearts, totally devoted to Him not just Sundays or special days. No holding back anything even when things get difficult.

Asa became angry after this and puts Hanani in prison and mistreats people. There is no change of heart from Asa. In fact he gets a severe disease on his feet and refuses to seek God: "Yet even in his disease he didn't seek the Lord but only physicians." (v. 12) So he dies. He had experienced the blessings of God but refused to give God glory. He held on to his heart. He couldn't let go of his anger and pride. Sad ending.

Asa's heart never became completely God's. The Bible says that David was a man after God's own heart. His heart was completely God's. David wasn't perfect. He failed many times but his heart was always God's until the end of his life.

What about my heart? This is what I am striving for. What about yours?

Today I awoke with the first line of an old Irish Hymn which applies to this topic. When I read the third stanza I was reminded of Asa. He should have "sang" that part. But the whole hymn talks about being totally devoted to God. He should be our singular vision.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Words: Dallan Forgail (8th Century)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Prayer and Body Life In The Church

I have been teaching Acts during Sunday School at Village Bible Church. Here are thoughts about prayer and Body Life in The Church from my study of Acts 4. These are not shocking revelatory. They are obvious. But are they evident in God's Church today?
About Prayer:
1. Prayers that should be natural for The Church. Every situation must be presented to God in prayer.

2. Prayers that acknowledge God's sovereignty over history, over our lives as we live for Him.
3. Prayers that use The Scriptures to apply to our lives.
4. Prayer requests that align themselves with God's known will as revealed in the Bible.
5. Prayers that expect God to answer.
About Body Life or what the church should experience as normal daily life as community.
1. They had one "heart and soul." Summarizes well what they were like as believers in JesusChrist.
2. They had everything (possessions) in common. They recognized they were stewards of what they had
from God. No Jewish dream?
3. The Apostles testified (boldly) the resurrection of Christ. It applies to all of us.
4. They experienced God's grace and it was evident everywhere.
5. They had generosity. No one was needy. People who were more affluent or had more shared with those in need. They had no government programs just The Church.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Save A Life

Today is my 43rd BIRTHday. I am thankful to God for giving me life and for those he has put in my life to keep me safe. God used my mom (and my father) to give me life. I remember that my mom once told me someone close to her suggested to have an abortion when she was pregnant with me. She refused. I am thankful or I wouldn't be here. This is not the case with the 54 million babies killed since 1974. No one protected them. I really don't care to hear the politics of abortion because for me life comes from God. Every human life in any stage of life is sacred. This is not my opinion, it's God's truth. Here are some foundational passages from Scripture (see more here).

    Exodus 20:13 “You shall not murder.

    Job 31:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?
    Psalms 22:10 I was cast on you from the womb: you are my God from my mother's belly.
    Psalms 139:13 For you have possessed my reins: you have covered me in my mother's womb.
    Psalms 139:14 I will praise you; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are your works; and that my soul knows right well.
    Proverbs 31:8 Open your mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
    Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yes, they may forget, yet will I not forget you.
    Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed you in the belly I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations.

This video challenged me today:


This man has saved over 1,000 babies in the 3 years he has done this full time. It challenged me to ask myself what I am doing to save a life. What is The Church, God's prophetic voice, doing to save a life? What are you doing?

More about John Barros here.


Friday, August 02, 2013

World Vision Sponsoring Page

For many years we have supported children from World Vision, a reputable organization that helps children by providing the resources that they need for a better life. Would you consider sponsoring a child? It will cost you less than a meal at a restaurant every month. God bless you as you do!