Are you prepared?
The way we operate as a society has inarguably been redefined in the last several months. Since this has been the case, our collective attention as a human race has turned to how we can make sure that we have what we need in preparation for the unexpected. This pandemic situation has made many reevaluate the way they live. My prayer is that it will lead to a greater understanding that disaster preparedness has little to do with ‘stocking up’ and more to do with ‘stepping up’ to the Lord’s will and purpose.
Disaster preparedness for the believer has little to do with stockpiling food, water or toilet paper. Preparedness for the believer begins in the heart, as we learn from the story of Noah that…
Those that keep themselves pure in times of common iniquity God will keep safe in times of common calamity.Matthew Henry’s commentary on Genesis 7:1-4
The problem for many of us is that ‘keeping ourselves pure’ can seem somewhat boring, unexciting and well…ordinary. We tend to focus on everything we can’t have instead of focusing on the incomparable blessings we will have when we purpose to follow the Lord, and live out His purpose for our lives. Noah was the laughing-stock among his generation for many years while he built the ark, but he continued faithful to God’s calling, obeying the Lord even when not a single cloud appeared in the sky. He continued to prepare, and when the rains came, only he and his family came out alive.
If we treasure having lots of friends, tons of money, endless social engagements and smiles and applause from people for our accomplishments, then keeping ourselves pure will admittedly be quite the challenge. That’s why it is called ‘dying to self’ and ‘being born again.’ In order for us to live the fullest life that God has for us, we must be willing to die to the above-mentioned things, and/or whatever else keeps us from surrendering completely to His will.
Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.John 12:24
When we moved to Puerto Rico a little over 6 years ago, we quickly had to get used to a new way of life. Financially, socially and spiritually, our life in Puerto Rico soon proved radically different from our life in New Jersey. We had barely settled in to the work when we began to experience many personal trials that would have seemed insurmountable had we not kept our eyes fixed on the Lord. However, we were confirmed time and again about the calling on our family, and continued to move forward in faith against all doubt and opposition. We clearly saw that God’s hand was upon us, upon our ministry and engaged in provision for and protection of our family.
In fact, we saw these obstacles as coming from the Lord’s hand; it was His way of showing us that there were certain things we still had not died to. We learned the importance of living quietly from these and the many trials since. We understood the importance of keeping our heads down and our hearts active for the work the Lord has established for our hands.
…aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands…that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
WHAT ARE we FIGHTING FOR?
There’s another thing we need to die to as believers: our rights.
Sound un-American? Hear me out.
When Christ died on the cross, He gave us the right to be called children of God. He made a way when there was no way. He showed us the gate to the Father when we did not even deserve a window.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.Romans 5:8 (emphasis mine)
The list of rights we have as believers may seem very short…in this life. As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the right to…
…daily pick up and carry our cross
…live out the Christian life, and
…submit to the authorities that God has put above us as long as they do not ask us to sin.
If you’ve noticed, none of these rights are centered around ourselves or our own personal gain or comfort, but rather for God’s glory.
When our lives focus on decrying the violation of certain rights we hold dear, we are taking our focus off of what should be central in the life of the believer: salvation thru Jesus Christ and a growing relationship with the Father through the Son. Let me explain…
Imagine a serial murderer whose prison sentence has been commuted, not because he is innocent, but because a government official had mercy on his life. He is free!
Now, imagine this same individual asserting his rights to be armed to the teeth, and to live and work near the families of his victims. You’d have some choice words for this presumptuous individual, not to mention the government leader who freed him.
Our sin makes us just like this serial murderer in God’s eyes. Death is our sentence (God’s justice). Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross is our commutation (God’s mercy). Then, we run around insisting that our personal rights need to be asserted at all costs. We shame our God, just like the serial murderer shames the government official who set him free. By this, we imply that we have already received is not enough.
I am not saying that we should not responsibly enjoy the rights we have (as long as they do not lead us to sin). I am not saying we shouldn’t be grateful to God for the freedoms we enjoy, or that we shouldn’t improve on these freedoms for the betterment of society. They are given to us as a sign of God’s grace, and should be used for blessing.
I am also not saying that we shouldn’t seek justice through the correct modes and instituted processes for doing so. After all, God is a God of justice. I am saying that creating a stir about ‘our rights’ is not something that is supported anywhere in scripture, Old Testament or New. What we do see are commands like these:
The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.Exodus 14:14 || See also: (Matthew 26:63, Mark 14:61, Luke 23:9 and John 19:9)
He has shown you, O man, what is good;Micah 6:8
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justly,
To love mercy,
And to walk humbly with your God?
In fact, we see many instances in which those who lived quietly, and who patiently waited on the Lord ended up enjoying many more blessings than those who were ‘fighting for their rights’ at the same time. This is not a popular notion, even among Christians, but God has the last word:
Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.Luke 17:33
The most powerful example of how the battle does not belong to us is Jesus’s rebuke of Peter when the Roman soldiers came to arrest Him the night before his crucifixion. Peter immediately drew his sword, cutting off the ear of one of the soldiers, to which Jesus replied:
“Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?”Matthew 26:52
To be sure, Jesus did not ask His Father to send legions of angels, because, though He was innocent of any crime on earth and in heaven, He knew that God had a perfect purpose in His arrest, in His trial, in His suffering and in His death. Jesus didn’t assert His rights in the light of Roman law. Jesus didn’t attempt to save His own skin. Jesus only cared to carry out the will of the Father, regardless of the unspeakable things He would suffer. Rights? Oh, He had many–and still does–both in Heaven and on earth. Still…
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,Isaiah 53:7
Yet He opened not His mouth;
He was led as a lamb to the slaughter,
And as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
So He opened not His mouth.
serving in such a time as this
We have continued to film, edit and post weekly videos to our YouTube channel, and have been blessed to see a positive response to the teaching videos in particular. This is a surprising departure from our experience while we were out in the schools almost daily, when our music and and character-driven comedic videos would get the most traffic and engagement. We are blessed to see people responding to the teachings we are posting, and also to know that these teachings are reaching people in different parts of the Spanish speaking world.
As of this writing, we have a subscription base of 4,159 on YouTube, and 3,947 followers on Facebook. Below, a description of each video that has been posted during the period since our last update in May…
- GUARDA TU OJO || Mateo 5:29
- Concept: This video focuses on the “eye gate,” and how the things we see and hear are processed by our minds to affect our hearts and eventually, our words and actions. This message offers a practical approach to guarding the mind, a topic on which we posted a teaching in April based on 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
- Teaching/Bible Verses: Mateo 5:29 (as well as many others throughout the teaching
- Views: 2,915 as of this posting
- TU PUEBLO DICE GRACIAS || VIDEO MUSICAL
- Concept: Filmed in our home’s garden with my ‘band,’ this is a cover of a popular upbeat Spanish worship song that we
- Teaching/Bible Verse: We hope to encourage people that worship at home is just as valuable as corporate worship, and that in these circumstances we must still own that God is good and give Him thanks and praise wherever we are.
- Views: 236 as of this posting
- GUÁRDATE DE LA APOSTASÍA || 2 Pedro 2:21-22
- Concept: This teaching focuses on the apostasy that we are seeing in the modern church, and asks us as believers to shine the light of God’s Word on the established celebrations, customs and traditions we treasure.
- Teaching/Bible Verse(s): 2 Peter 2:21-22 and many others
- Views: 2,478 as of this posting
- LAS AVENTURAS DE SUPER PACO
- Concept: Both Paco and Jenny lament the current situation, and each have a master plan to get back to doing what they love most: bringing God’s love to groups in communities, schools and churches. This comic-book-style video focuses on the importance of waiting on the Lord for direction rather than carrying out our own designs to be seen and applauded by others.
- Teaching/Bible Verse: Matthew 6:1
- Views: 97 as of this posting
lacking no good thing
We are grateful to the Lord for continuing to confirm His calling on our family during this unusual time. While we and our boys very much miss going out to meet new people and bring them God’s Word face to face, we understand and see that the Lord has set up our ministry to still be effective during such a time as this.
Thank you to those of you who pray for and support this ministry. We enjoy reading your notes of encouragement, and want you to know that your prayers and support are availing much.
If you would like to make a contribution to RAME Ministries, there are two ways you can do this: financially or physically.
To give financially, you may click HERE to go to our PayPal donation page, or click on the image of our family below.
To contribute to the physical needs of the ministry, you may click HERE or on the image of the gift below.
Thank you for reading, and may the Lord bless you and keep you.