“Change II”


Change is very prevalent as you read through the Bible. In our previous Devotional on Change we noticed that God believes in change with the purpose to make life better, that He is the Author of Positive Change. We also established the point, we, human beings resist change because we are creatures of habit, it is uncomfortable, and requires much hard work. What else can we learn concerning change?

On the six day of creation, God made Adam and Eve, the Bible account mentions a detail: 

“Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” (Genesis 2:25)

Interesting to know this fact. Today, nakedness is not the norm. We cover ourselves, though there are some who are proud of their good looks and like to reveal a little extra at times, most of us regular folks tend to think about nakedness as shameful. After all, who feels comfortable about being totally exposed to the rest of the world? There seem to be some who do, but many can’t even go swimming without a feeling of uneasiness about the thought of showing skin, which may not look 100% attractive. Did the thought “I am too fat” or “I am to skinny” to wear this ever crossed your mind? How about cellulite, does that ever cross your mind? Well, that was not the case at the beginning. The Bible says they were naked and perfectly OK. Things changed for the bad.

Genesis 3 tells how Adam and Eve were disobedient to God and sin came to the newly created earth. As soon as there was sin, there were a few issues, one of them had to do with nakedness. As God came around to the Garden to visit with Adam and Eve, he realized they were not happily waiting for Him with a welcoming smile, they were hiding. When he asked “why” this is the response God got from Adam:

“He answered, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.” (Genesis 3:10)

With the entrance of sin to the new earth, the situation of the human race changed. Things that were OK first, all the sudden, were not OK. New feelings of shame and inadequacy came in the picture. God knew it would be a whole new ballgame. Things had gone wrong, this had not been His plan. Adam and Eve messed up. What did God do to address the issue with nakedness?

“The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.” (Genesis 3:21)

God saw times had changed, His creatures whom He loved so much had a need, actually, several needs. God addressed the new situation. He told Adam and Eve about the consequences of their actions, He provided ultimate hope for the future (Genesis 3:15), but He did something He had never done before. He killed an animal and made some clothing for Adam and Eve, so they would not be naked. Though it must have been difficult for God, He recognized the times had change and He changed His methods, this included killing the first animal and designing the first leather suits in the history of this earth, and perhaps in the history of the universe. Though He was not happy, though it was not the ideal, God became relevant to the need of His people and He met their immediate need with a solution, which required a new method. He continued to be an innovator in ministry.

What would you have done had you been present? Would you have jumped in the bandwagon of change for the sake of relevant ministry at the time? Would you had criticized God for that change in His ministry? Would you have complain about God killing the animal and getting into the leatherwear business? 

The Author of Positive Change, the God who is not afraid to change His methods to meet the needs of the people He loves, wants you to live a positive life and to have an open mind as you minister to others around you. By the way, don’t forget you are wearing some clothes.
 

Prayer: God, thank you for giving us hope, making provision, and changing methods to minister to us. Help me not to be a critic of those who follow after your footsteps, but an imitator of what you do. I also want to live a changed life and be a blessing to others who are in need today. AMEN.

Jose

“Happy Valentine’s Day?”


Very early today, as I was tossing and turning in my bed, I heard the usual Monday morning noise, the garbage collecting truck, then I heard something else, it was Joanne’s voice and the kids outside our house, at about 6:00 AM. I got up, looked out our second floor bedroom window, and sure enough, there was Joanne and the kids, with some nice little bags, talking to the men who collect our garbage every week. Joanne, Jose III, & Joel gave each man a bag filled with sweets, bags they had prepared yesterday, as I was away all day in a long meeting. I experienced everything from my window, you should have seen the smiles and the happiness reflected on the three men, they were ecstatic that someone thought of them and woke up early to say thanks for what you do. How about that?

Right away I wonder, when was the last time these gentlemen had someone say thanks or give them an expression of love as they do such an important task in our community? When was the last time I did something like that? When was the last time you did that? I continue to think, what would this world be like, if thousands of us, perhaps millions would get up in the morning and commit ourselves to touching the life of one person?

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence…” (I John 3:18 & 19)

On this day, known by popular culture and in some religious cultures, as Valentine’s Day, many Christians will argue about its validity, condemn those who celebrate it, and talk about the commercialization of the day while they sit and do nothing to show love and affection. I am sure some of you, are sitting there right now, reading this blog and wondering, why is Pastor Jose wasting his time to write about Valentine’s Day. This blog is not about Valentine’s Day, this blog is about you and me and the love of Jesus in our hearts, which should show outside of our heart and be translated into acts of kindness and love each day, not only today. The way to show we belong to the truth and that we are at rest in God’s presence is by loving others, not only with words and speech, but with actions. My actions speak so much louder than all the truth I know.   

Today, an occasion a big part of this world refers to as Valentine’s Day, is a good time to begin. Perhaps on a day like today, it will be easier for someone, who is not accustomed to be nice and show love, to break the ice. Just don’t stop after today. Wake up each day with the commitment to give love, affection, and kindness to someone around you.

Just now, as I am writing here, Joanne, Jose III, and Joel came up and told me, they plan to do this on a regular basis for different people and they brought me some chocolate with a delicious strawberry smoothy, you should see the smile on my face. Do you only talk or are you really in the truth?

 
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your love, affection, and kindness toward me every day. Thank you for becoming the ultimate sacrifice on that cross, so I can have forgiveness and salvation. Help me translate my thanksgiving to you into love and kindness for you and others everyday. I don’t want to just talk about truth while living a life without actions of love and compassion, that would be hypocrisy, I truly don’t want that. Help me love others in such a way, they can see that I belong to the truth and that I rest in your presence. AMEN.

Jose

“Change”


Have you ever felt the need for change, whether in your personal, family, spiritual business, or ministry life? How do you relate to change? Are you needing a change, right now? Just today, I was told by our webmaster that our Greater New York Adventist Youth Ministries Website www.gnycyouth.com is running on a very old server, with antiquated software technology and that we need to change. Though, I kind of knew this from some of our previous conversations, I had stalled as much as possible because I feel comfortable with our website and in our office we know how to run it perfectly. Change means that we will have to learn some new programs, invest some money, that our website will be down for some time, and many extra hours of work as we learn and adapt to new methods. Right now I feel I really dislike change. How about you? Do you like change?

We, human beings, are creatures of habit. Once we get use to something it is very difficult to want to change. Most times we change, only when we are forced to. And there are some who prefer to die rather than change. Does God believe in change?

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.” (Genesis 1:1-5)

1. God believes in change that makes life better
2. God believes in Change that has a purpose
3. Change takes work and has a process

If God did not believe in change, this earth would not be here, you would not exist, and I would not be writing now. There was a time when earth was not part of the universe and God decided to change that, He created the earth. Then, the earth was formless and empty, and He changed that. Then, it was dark, and He changed that. The entire Bible is filled with stories that exemplify how God does new things and works change to improve our lives. Are you willing to change? What change do you need now?

As I write, I am thinking of the change I need. Please, do yourself a favor, look at your life and begin to work with God, the author of positive change, in the areas that need transformation. Change in your life will be almost impossible, you are a human being and we strongly dislike change, but God is an expert in change, major change. He wants and He can work some major changes in your life if you allow Him. So, what do you want to change? 
 

Prayer: God, I dislike change so much, yet if my life will reach its full potential, what you have intended for me, I must be open to positive change. Please help me, I cannot do this on my own. Help me to identify my biggest needs and the areas which need transformation and help me through the process. I can’t do this by myself. Thank you! AMEN.

Jose

“Who Are You Making Happy?”

We live in a world where everyone has an opinion, people criticize, blame others, and are cruel. Some hide behind fake names and images, trying to stay anonymous, because they do not have the courage to say what they feel to your face.
The devil delights in seeing humans treat each other this way. He enjoys the fighting, the name calling, the disrespecting, the ridiculing, the bullying, and making others feel weak and less important.

The other day, I was a little upset with my sons for not listening to mommy, and my son Joel said to me “Mommy, the devil likes it when you are upset, you shouldn’t get upset” and Jose said “That’s right Mom, you have to be happy, Jesus likes that”. They were so right! Isn’t it my desire to make Jesus happy? I definitely don’t want the devil to be happy, so what am I doing? Am I being a good example to others & to my kids? Would I like others getting upset with me and treating me in a way that is not right?

Yes, we are all humans and we all make mistakes, but if we want others to treat us right, we need to make sure we treat them right first. Mahatma Gandhi one said: "We must become the change we want to see." Nobody enjoys being mistreated, criticized or disrespected. These acts do not come from God. If we want to make a difference in this world, we need to show them how God would act, how God would treat someone.
Jesus loves everyone. He treats everyone equally and with respect. He never criticizes anyone, or belittles them, making them feel less important. He does not make anyone think they don’t know anything, even though He knows everything. He looks at the best in others and uplifts those that are weak.

Do I want my actions and words to please Jesus or the devil? Am I ready to start acting like Jesus? Yes I am, I will tell the devil to take a hike, from now on I will treat others like I want to be treated, with lots of love, respect and like royalty. To add value to my life, I need to value others! Nobody made a bigger impact in our world, touched more lives, and made a difference, than Jesus.

At the end of this day, as I look back, may I say “I loved, gave, inspired, and treated others with respect, more than I criticized or mistreated them”
Who do I think will be happy with my actions at the end of the day – Jesus or the devil? My prayer is – Jesus!

Do to others as you would like them to do to you.
“If you love only those who love you, why should you get credit for that? Even sinners love those who love them!
And if you do good only to those who do good to you, why should you get credit? Even sinners do that much!
And if you lend money only to those who can repay you, why should you get credit? Even sinners will lend to other sinners for a full return.
“Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great, and you will truly be acting as children of the Most High, for he is kind to those who are unthankful and wicked.
You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
(Luke 6:31-36)

Prayer: Lord, please forgive me for mistreating others, for criticizing and disrespecting those around me. We are all special. You love each one of us, and most of all you love me with all my mistakes and faults. Thank you for Your Love. May my actions and words reflect who You are everyday, because I want to bring a smile to Your face and make you happy. Amen.

Joanne

“Lessons from the Superbowl II”


There are several life-lessons we can learn from the Superbowl. Since the New York Giants and the New York Jets were not involved in it, I did not feel much excitement before the game. After a long beautiful day with the Pathfinder and Adventurers of Greater New York, we got home and my first priority was to spend some quality time with Joanne, Jose III, & Joel. After our family time, we turned on our TV, it was Superbowl time. The score was Green Bay Packers 14 – Pittsburgh Steelers 0. Right away Jose III and Joel identified the team wearing white jerseys and yellow pants (Steelers) as their favorite. From then on, I rooted for the Steelers, even though they were losing. Steelers managed to score a field goal and a touchdown, yet the first half ended Green Bay Packers 21 – Pittsburgh Steelers 10.

The second half of the game was very contested, the Steelers were able to score two more touchdowns and some extra points, they almost caught up, the Green Bay Packers were not as good, but as the game ended the Steelers fell short by 6 points.  Looking back, I honestly think they could have won the game. As I watched the commentators for a bit of the post-game show, they all agreed, the bad plays of the first half killed the Steelers’ chances to become Superbowl Champions again. If they had played the first half the way they played the second half, the Superbowl trophy would have been in Pittsburgh today.

So you ask, what’s the lesson? It is a very simple one: the first half is very relevant, very important. Whatever you do in the first half may help to determine how far you can go and how successful you can be during your second half, and ultimately at the end of your game.

“Honor and enjoy your Creator while you’re still young, 
Before the years take their toll and your vigor wanes, 
Before your vision dims and the world blurs 
And the winter years keep you close to the fire.” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

God is willing to bless you, with His grace He is even willing to overlook mistakes and forgive you. Yet your actions, the plays, the decisions that you make early, during your teen years, in that first half, have consequences, whether positive or negative. When I first turned on the game (Score: 14-0) I said, it is early Steelers can always come back.  We do the same thing in our personal lives, many times. Have you heard the following? “I am young, I can always recover and change”.  At times, it becomes difficult to reach your ultimate goal in life, when you have a great amount of points against you.

My objective is not to discourage you, on the contrary, I just want to appeal to myself and to you, to make the first half count. The first half of your life, the first half of your school years, the first half of your relationship, the first half of your marriage, the first half of your career, the first half of your ministry, the first half of your parenthood, even the first half of your grandparenthood. Ask God for strength and wisdom to start making the right decisions right away, so when the end comes, you will be happy with your results and achievements.

However, just in case your are in your second half and still losing, there have been a few who have made a come back, it is difficult, but not impossible. In that case, in the name of Jesus, I encourage you, be one of those few who makes that come back. God is with you. 
 

Prayer: God, help me not to waste the first half, help me to take advantage of every second you give me. Please, forgive me for the mistakes made and help me to overcome them, with your blessing.  When everything is said and done, I want with your help a winning score in my life. AMEN.

Jose

“Lessons from the Superbowl I”

The Superbowl is one of the most watched events in the whole wide world. In fact, the Superbowl 2011, holds the record for the most watched American television program in history. The previous record was held by the Superbowl 2010. The first set of lessons I got from the Superbowl 2011, was not from the game, that will come tomorrow, it was from the event that preceded the game. Christina Aguilera, a very famous and popular artist, was given the honor to sing the American National Anthem before 110,000 people who filled the Dallas Cowboys Dome (the largest dome in the world); not only that, Christina got to sing before over 111 million television audience in the United States. During her rendition of the American Anthem, she “fumbled” one line of the American Anthem lyrics. She was quick to apologize, she said: "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place. I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."

I was not watching the beginning of the game, but this morning, Christina’s name was all over the news, and it was not positive, people were criticizing Christina for forgetting that one line of the Anthem. When I heard, I was tempted to criticize her, as well. What do you think? Let me share with you some lessons from this incident and its aftermath:

1. It does not matter how good and famous you are, everyone makes mistakes, we are all human, including me and you.
2. Anyone can have a bad day.
3. Whenever you make a mistake, it is good to apologize quickly.
4. The mistakes of unknown individuals go unnoticed, the total opposite happens to well-known individuals, a little mistake is usually exaggerated.
5. Most of the people who criticized Christina have never sang live before such a large audience.

Are you defending Christina, you may ask? I am not defending her, I realize that anyone with a special talent and awesome opportunities has a great responsibility to do things well. At the same time, I am not ready to criticize or judge her for her mistake till I have sang the American Anthem or any Anthem live before more than 111 million people. I wonder how would Christina’s critics do, if given the opportunity to sing to a filled Dallas Cowboys Dome and hundreds of millions on TV? Would their voice crack? Would they forget one line, or perhaps the entire anthem? Would they be a little pitchy or perhaps totally out of tune? Through life, I have seen many critics and judges, whose actions and examples do not back up their judgements and criticism. In many cases, as times passes and life unfolds, it becomes obvious that criticism of others was just a defense mechanism to hide a personal issue, fault, hidden sin, double-life, or insecurity. Jesus said:

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. Don’t condemn those who are down; that hardness can boomerang. Be easy on people; you’ll find life a lot easier.” (Luke 6:37/The Message paraphrased Bible)

Are you a critic? Are you a judge? Are you one of those people who always finds something wrong with everything that everyone does, yet you have not achieved much? Are you one of those who always talks about perfection, yet you never have a positive and encouraging word for anyone, unlike Jesus? Are you known in your home, work, school, neighborhood, church, as someone who can always find a fault? Be careful, critics, in most cases, when exposed don’t look very good. My advise, look at yourself and ask God to fix your mistakes before ever checking on anybody else.

If you are being criticized, it may not be a bad thing after all. Examine yourself, ask God for strength to do your best, and remember, Christina could have stayed home and not sing. But she did not. She accepted the big challenge and sang. Most of the Anthem, except for that one line, was great. Through the process, mistake and critics included, she is the only person on earth who has sang the American National Anthem, live, to so many.

I pray I will not be a critic. I pray critics will repent, but if they don’t…It’s OK, do something BIG.

Prayer: Lord, I don’t want to be a critic or a judge, who is known for always finding a fault. Help me to catch people doing something good. Give me the strength to be like Jesus, who loved dearly and ministered those whom society criticized and condemned. Thank you Jesus for your great example.  AMEN.

Jose

“Secrets”


One day, when I was around 12 years old, my mother needed to go do errands, so she left me with my older cousin, Patricia. She told us not to leave the house, and not to go to the store across the street. A few moments after she left, we wanted to eat chocolate so bad, that my cousin and I decided to quickly cross the street and buy some, and eat it before my mother arrived home, so there would be no evidence. I remember this day so well, because we bought the biggest chocolate bar I had ever seen (big mistake), and to finish it all, so my mother wouldn’t find out, we needed water after every bite, we just couldn’t seem to finish it all. As I look back now, I know I should have listened to my mother. Disobeying and eating so much chocolate just so she wouldn’t find out, wasn’t a great idea at all. She found out anyway, and I got sick.

When I thought I could get away from doing something in secret, thinking it was something innocent, like eating chocolate, I ended up hurting myself. It is never good when you have to hide to do something, or when you think it’s ok because no one is looking. We shouldn’t let the devil fool us. We know God sees and knows everything.

When David had the affair with Bathsheba, thinking it was in private, but then she became pregnant, he tried everything possible to cover it up, to hide the evidence. He knew he had done wrong but he tried fooling himself, forgetting how great God is. God knew what David had done, so He sent the prophet Nathan to make him realize, nothing under the sun is a secret. Not only did everyone find out what happened, but David brought suffering upon himself and his family, he lost his child with Bathsheba, and his own sons rebelled against him.

Are you doing something in secret? Do you think it’s ok because ‘no one’ is looking? Are you trying to hide evidence so you won’t get caught?

Remember, God knows and sees everything. In this life, what ever you do in secret, whether right or wrong, will eventually come out, and others will know. Don’t let the devil fool you into thinking no one will ever know you are doing something wrong. Don’t believe the lies that because no one see you, it’s ok.
Are you taking drugs, having an affair, cheating on an exam, going to places you shouldn’t go to, stealing, or in an illicit relationship that is too intimate – in secret?
You know if what you are doing is right or wrong, God has given you a conscience. The Holy Spirit is next to you whispering in your ear and touching your heart, when it is wrong. He also congratulates you when you are doing what is right!

One of my favorite verses in the Bible is:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. (Psalm 139:23,24)
I always ask God that in everything I do, may it bring honor and glory to His name. I know that secrets only end up hurting me and those that I love. If my prayer is to be more like Jesus, than I have nothing to hide, and nothing to fear.
Do you want to be more like Jesus? Do you want to have the freedom of knowing that everything you do will bring you no shame?

Prayer: Lord, please forgive my sins. I can’t hide from You, You created me. You know everything about me, more than I know myself. If there is something I am doing that is not right, please show me, and lead me on the right path, closer to You! Amen,
Joanne

“Want to be Remembered?”


On Sunday afternoon when I got home from a meeting, I noticed Jose III was working on his coloring book. Soon after, Joanne needed to go to the store, I offered to stay with the kids so she could go and come back quickly.  Jose III disagreed, he likes going to the store with mama, he enjoys shopping fruits and on Sunday he wanted his healthy lollypops. He announced he would go with Mama; Papa and Joel would stay home; however, he requested that Joel would finish the work on the coloring book for him. Joel accepted the request but expressed a feeling of inadequacy, “Jose, I don’t know how to color this book, I am too little.”  It was at this point that Jose III got on his knees right next to his brother and reminded us of a great leadership lesson.  He proceeded to patiently show Joel how to color on this book.  When Joanne called out and told Jose, they both needed to go, he replied: “Mama, I am teaching Joel how to do this, so when I am gone, he can keep on working.” You got it?

If you want your work to continue after you are gone, you need to patiently sit with someone of a younger generation and teach them how to do the work.  If you would like to be remembered after you are gone, invest time and equip a younger person. Time after time I have seen people, who wished to leave a legacy but in their effort to self-perpetuate forgot about the upcoming generation, go into obscurity and total anonymity just because they did not value the kids and youth around them. They were so busy holding on to what they had, they did not have the time to invest in the up and coming generations.

“Tell it to your children,
and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.” (Joel 1:3)

Do you want to live on, even after you are gone? Is your work important enough to continue beyond your retirement and death? Would you like to be remember? Get on your knees and patiently teach a kid, a youth, a young adult; not only that,  please, let them use your coloring book and crayons.  What’s the worse that can happen? That they color outside the lines? How many times have you done that?

When Jose III came back with Joanne, he checked on Joel, I was watching.  He soon noticed that Joel’s work was not totally perfect, crayons had gone out of the lines. Jose told him, “Baby, you messed up a little bit here, but it is OK…I mess up sometimes, too. Next time you’ll do better.”

Prayer: My God, always give me the patience to treat younger generations very well, help me to teach them that which is worth passing on, and keep me from patronizing, devaluing, and discriminating others because of their young age. Help me to be an enabler and empowerer of the upcoming generations. AMEN

Jose

“Who’s Your Hero?”

If someone asked you “who do you wish you were like?” what would you say? Does someone have something you wish you had? Do you want to be like: Lady Gaga? Kobe Bryant? Justin Bieber? Ronaldo? Halle Berry?

Let me tell you of a man who lived on this earth 33 years. He grew up as a regular kid, just like you and me. He had a family and friends. He helped His mom and dad with anything they asked for and always did it with a smile. When the time came for Him to follow his dream, His passion, he did it with all of His heart. He had to leave His family and the comfort of His home, but he never looked back. The love He had in his heart for others was greater than anything. Nothing could hold Him back, He was determined to show us what we are capable of.

He gave sight to the blind. He made the cripple walk. Those who were rejected, cast-outs, lepers, prostitutes, the undesirable, the homeless, He made them feel loved and appreciated. He gave life to the dead. He walked on water. He cast out demons. He fed the 5,000 with 5 loaves and 2 fishes. He calmed the storm.

Yes, His name is Jesus. Jesus left heaven to come to earth, to became man. He came to show you His great Love for you, a love so extraordinary that He was willing to give His life for you on the cross, for your sins. But the story didn’t end there, because He rose again. Death couldn’t keep him down, nothing could hold Him back, for what He had come to do was accomplished.

He also came to show you what you can do through Him. He wants you to know that you can also, heal the sick, give eye sight to the blind, cast out demons, calm the storm, and so much more, in His name. Everything Jesus did on earth, you can do also. All you have to do is believe. Believe and desire to be just like Jesus.

“I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” John 14:12-14

I don’t know about you, but my hero is Jesus. I want to be more and more like him. I want to heal the sick like Him; give Hope like Him; make a difference in the lives of many like Him; have authority to do wonders for His honor and glory like Him; calm the storm like Him; cast out demons like Him; and most of all, I want to love like Him.

Who do you want to be like?

“These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.” Mark 16:17,18

Prayer: Lord, I want to be more like you everyday. I believe I can do all the things You say I can, and have promised in the Bible. I am Your witness. When people see me, may they see You! Amen.

Joanne

“I’ll Bug You Till You Play with Me”


In times when I really must do something, something that really needs to get done, in the busiest seasons of our ministry, I take some hours and at times a day or two away from the office and stay home. I have realized that a full day at my quiet home office exceeds a week’s worth of office work, writing, strategizing, and planning.  A great deal of the success of a leader depends on the personal preparation done privately, ahead of time, before the leader faces the people.

Two weeks ago, as we were getting ready for the 2011 Adventist Youth Evangelism & Leadership Congress, I decided to stay at my home office, there was a lot which needed to be finished.  It would have been impossible at the office. Early in the morning, as I was beginning to pray and work away, I heard the door open, and in came my oldest son, Jose III. He asked that I play with him. I told him I was very busy, needed to finish many things, that I was not able to play. His reply, “Papa, I am more important than what you are doing, more important than your work…” He even told me that God will have a phone for me in heaven so I can call and receive as many calls as I want, but that he needed to play with me right away.  I was really busy and totally dismissed him, I asked him to go downstairs and play with his brother. Ten minutes later, he came back and I sent him away with the same response. The same scene was repeated a good dozen times within the next 3 hours. Finally, around 11:00 AM, he said: “Papa, I am not going to go anywhere, I am going to follow you all day, I will bug you all day till you play with me.”

Take a look at this Bible passage:

“Then the man said, “Let me go, for the dawn is breaking!”
But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
“What is your name?” the man asked. He replied, “Jacob.”
“Your name will no longer be Jacob,” the man told him. “From now on you will be called Israel, because you have fought with God and with men and have won.”
“Please tell me your name,” Jacob said.
“Why do you want to know my name?” the man replied. Then he blessed Jacob there. (Genesis 32:26-29)

Jacob was all alone, going through a difficult time, he feared for his life and the well-being of his family. The moment to face his offended brother was near; he could not sleep, he could not see with certainty into His future, he was stressed out, anxious, and very worried. Just at that point, in the darkness of the night, Jacob noticed a man.  His instincts kicked in, Jacob began to defend himself, not realizing that it was God. Being the smart man he was, it took him all night to decipher his opponent, he had tried just about everything, boxing, wrestling, tae kwon do, WWF style wrestling, sword, spear, a little knife, some more boxing, the kitchen sink, and his opponent would not go down. When “the stranger” asked him “please let me go, the day is coming, I’ve got stuff to do…” Jacob realized who he was fighting with.  He realized “this stranger” was not there to hurt him; Jacob noticed it was Someone special, God. As if fighting with God all night had not been bold enough, Jacob got bolder; he told God “I will hold on to you and bug you all day if necessary, but will not let you go till you bless me.”

Do you wonder what happened inside of God when He heard Jacob say that? Exactly the same thing that happened inside of me when Jose III told me, “I’ll bug you all day, till you play with me.” God blessed Jacob and even gave him a great name. I left everything I had to do and played with Jose III for the next hour.

Anxious, worried, alone, stressed out, life is in danger, fear for your family, can’t see the future? Struggle some with God, all night if need be. If you don’t hear from Him, tell Him, “I’ll bug you till you bless me. Trust Jacob and Jose III, God will bless you and bless you, after all you are His child, He loves you. He actually likes it when you bug Him.  

Prayer: God, I have not heard from you yet, it’s been a while. I am going to keep on praying and bugging you till you bless me. Bless me just like you blessed Jacob.  AMEN

Jose