Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Are we praying right?

Last sunday I heard a wonderful message during church. The pastor talked about a little incident he went through couple of weeks ago. After attending a meeting he had, he met some people, some others were introduced to him and so on. After he left the office, he walked to his car and right before starting the engine, somebody comes running across the parking lot calling him "pastor, pastor, pastor". The pastor thought he was getting old for he didn't remember seeing this person never before" So the excited man comes over and approached him from the window and saluted the pastor like if they were old time friends. So the pastor finally asked him, have we met yet?. The guy said, "no", but I know you are a pastor from a church in the outskirt of panama city. And then the guy asked "I know, we don't know each other, but I wanted to get from you 5 dollars" The pastor was totally caught off guard with this, he didn't know what to do, never before had been in this situation, he didn't expect this and didn't know how to deal with it. So the pastor, after making up his mind, did ask him, what was the five dollars for? And the guy said, for bus fares.

Now, let me explain this, in Panama, with five dollars you can make it halfway through the entire country on a bus. So the pastor started to doubt about the sincerity of this perfect unknown person. After reading his uneasyness, the guy finally said "well, you don't have to, if you don't want" and tried to make him feel bad about thinking over it. So the pastor finally left that place and he felt totally disgusted about the whole situation, how he felt abused, used, manipulated by a perfect stranger, who calling himself a christian tried to take advantage of him.
Then, he heard God whispering to his ear, telling him, "son, now you can see and feel a bit about how I feel when lots of people come to me with their whish list to me, but never come to me for a relationship, many of them christian including yourself sometimes, don't care about the Provider, but only the goods you can get from me"

We come to God in prayers all the time, and the first thing we shoot is our needs. Oh yes, we all have needs, we will never be completely needless, we'll always have things to ask for and God always will have tons of blessings ready to be poured out to us upon request, but, that's not all about praying. Praying is to talk to God. We worship him with prayers of thanksgiving, we aknowledge that we need Him, and of then of course we present to Him our needs. But what do we do? we are not thankful at all anymore, we seem to forget what he's done for us and only concentrate on looking at him as our celestial santa claus, without longing to have a beautiful and productive relationship with the owner of everything, the creator of the whole universe, the King.
So, this phrase sums up, the message I heard on sunday. "The answer to our prayers is directly related with the quality of our relationship". We can't pretend to get everything we want from Him, without committing our lives for Him in sanctity and justice, otherwise it would be like using, manipulating and abusing God, which we can not do after all.

Now, imagine, that your dear and beloved friend comes to you, running across the parking lot, calling out "pastor, pastor, pastor", "do you think I can borrow five bucks?" For sure he would give it out, without hesitation, moreover, he would ask if five dollars was enough and he would consider a privilege having been asked this.

Don't you think, our heavenly Father would feel and act the same way? I mean, he would say, my son, my daughter, I will not only give what you need but what is good for you. In other words, you cultivate a healthy relationship with your spouse, friend, parent and there would be very little they would not do for you, how much more our Redeemer, our source of blessings, how much more he would do for you and me, who valorate His frienship and supremacy in our lives.

I just think it was a powerful message, and just make me reconsider my prayer sessions and think carefully how I am carrying it and how I am relating to Him.

Think about it.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Whatever happens to us christians who knowingly are living a low standard life and yet we are still able to find others to be blamed for circumstances?

Why is it that on several ocassions we do not let others help us when we are troubled in our minds and hearts?

Why is it more easy to just either explode it onto others or in the other extreme just close ourselves up like a shell in our own little world?

Why is it that knowing that we have an ever loving Heavinly Father who has promised to rescue us, we turn our faces away from him in pain and resentfullness like saying "You see what I am going through and you do nothing"

I could continue asking myself several other "whys" and the list would grow dramatically, however, the answers to all these interrogants have always been in the Scripture ready to be found and applied.

It reminds me the picture of a hurt dog who's got one of his paw pinched by a thorn along the way and the dog is lying on the floor sitting on his rear legs whining and groaning, hurt and in great pain, licking his paw with saddened eyes. If you ever try to get even close to the dog to help him out, you will see that his reaction is not pleasant. Let me explain, the dog is frightened, scared and in pain, he won't trust noone easily under this particular circumstance and he will bark and will be aggresive. He doesn't understand that the hand that is trying to get close to him only wants to take the thorn out of his paw so that he can walk freely again and breath painless, but he fails to understand so. He can't take out the thorn by himself, he doesn't have what it takes, namely, human fingers, so he rather sits back and licks his paw in self-pityness and he could spend the rest of his life with a limp rather than allowing someone to come and free him from his bondage.

How many times do we get our hearts and emotions pinched by spiritual thorns and we get hurt and dismayed? The Bible is clear when it says that being a christian doesn't mean we are going to live in a crystal bubble separate from the problems of this world. Jesus said that we will face tribulations and afflictions in this world, but he said "trust" I have defeated the world. So everytime we encounter ourselves in a poor emotional situation, we ought to seek God's face and open ourselves to others and be honest enough to humble ourselves to the dirt and cry out loud to our family, leaders and closest friends "HELP" , and not only that but to be humble to accept it without trying to justify our faults and put the blame on everyone else but us and then we will see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

We all go through difficult times in our lives, some of us, more often than others, but in a good measurement we all have to spend some time in the dirt and it would be greatly helpful to stop trying to find why others are not doing what we think they are supposed to do to please our selfish needs and rely on the spiritual help we can get from Him in the first place and from the people He has left on earth for us to lean onto whenever these times, namely, our family in first place, our church leaders and our closest christian friends.

God is about to do amazing stuffs in and through your life and no one can stop it but yourself, don't allow that to hapen.

I love you and I continue praying for you, that God opens up your eyes and heart and let you see what you've been missing.


Monday, March 05, 2007

A Wonderful Story

One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd." I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friends tomorrow afternoon), so I shrugged my shoulders and went on. As I was walking, I saw a bunch of kids running toward him. They ran at him, knocking all his books out of his arms and tripping him so he landed in the dirt. His glasses went flying, and I saw them la nd in the grass about ten feet from him. He looked up and I saw this terrible sadness in his eyes. My heart went out to him. So, I jogged over to him and as he crawled around looking for his glasses, and I saw a tear in his eye. As I handed him his glasses, I said, "Those guys are jerks. " They really should get lives. " He looked at me and said, "Hey thanks!" There was a big smile on his face. It was one of those smiles that showed real gratitude. I helped him pick up his books, and asked him where he lived. As it turned out, he lived near me, so I asked him why I had never seen him before.

He said he had gone to private school before now. I would have never hung out with a private school kid before. We talked all the way home, and I carried some of his books. He turned out to be a pretty cool kid. I asked him if he wanted to play a little football with my friends
He said yes. We hung out all weekend and the more I got to know Kyle, the more I liked him, and myfriends thought the same of him. Monday morning came! , and there was Kyle with the huge stack of books again. I stopped him and said, "Boy, you are gonna really build some serious muscles with this pile of books everyday! " He just laughed and handed me half the books.
Over the next four years, Kyle and I became best friends. When we were seniors, we began to think about college. Kyle decided on Georgetown , and I was going to Duke. I knew that we would always be friends, that the miles would never be a problem. He was going to be a doctor, and I was going for business on a football scholarship. Kyle was valedictorian of our class. I teased him all the time about being a nerd. He had to prepare a speech for graduation. I was so glad it wasn't me having to get up there and speak.
Graduation day, I saw Kyle. He looked great. He was one of those guys that really found himself during high school. He filled out and actually looked good in glasses. He had more dates than I had and all the girls loved him. Boy, sometimes I was jealous. Today was one of those days.
I could see that he was nervous about his speech. So, I smacked him on the back and said, "Hey, big guy, you'll be great!"
He looked at me with one of those looks (the really grateful one) and smiled.
" Thanks," he said.
As he started his speech, he cleared his throat, and began
"Graduation is a time to thank those who helped you make it through those tough years.
Your parents, your teachers, your siblings, maybe a coach..but mostly your friends...
I am here to tell all of you that being a
friend to someone is the best gift you can give them.
I am going to tell you a story."

I just looked at my friend with disbelief as he told the story of the first day we met. He had planned to kill himself over the weekend. He talked of how he had cleaned out his locker so his Mom wouldn't have to do it later and was carrying his stuff home. He looked hard at me and gave me a little smile. "Thankfully, I was saved. My friend saved me from doing the unspeakable." I heard the gasp go through the crowd as this handsome, popular boy told us all about his weakest moment. I saw his Mom and dad looking at me and smiling that same grateful smile. Not until that moment did I realize it's depth. Never underestimate the power of your actions. With one small gesture you can change a person's life. For better or for worse. God puts us all in each other's lives to impact one another in some way.
Look for God in others
"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother". Proverbs 18:24
....Authour: Unknown

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Panama is a beautiful country located right in the center of America, It’s a small S-shaped country with only 3 million persons. My country have been blessed by God big time over the years and His church has been fast-growing in an amazing way. Nowadays, there are more believers than ever before in it’s history. These days, I’ve been surprised to see so many people walking in the streets, doing their business and talking freely with other believers about the last sermon preached in their church, I see so many others walking freely with their Bibles, people in the bus stops, waiting for a taxi, or for a public bus, almost everywhere I turn in Panama city, I see there are a lot of people been unusually open toward it. That’s just great and only confirm some prophecies delivered to Panama from different preachers from different countries around the world which said we were going to have a revival and the church would grow like never before and there would be a revolution. I believe that word and I see it’s happening. I believe my country is not lot worse like several others in the region, because the people of God have decided to live in the edge for God.

One of the things that always bothered me is the fact that Panama is relatively a rich country with the resources been unevenly distributed. We have three powerful sources of income for our ever growing economy. Tourism is currently in a huge boom in here, with the cruise ship industry getting interested more and more in Panama as a more frequent destination or even as a homeport for one of their ships. Lots of constructions of expensive buildings which are being bought by rich europeans, americans and canadians. Secondly we have the Panama Canal which right after been given to us to be fully operated and controlled is giving some pretty amazing numbers in term of revenue every year and moreover, now with the upcoming enhancing of the current locks to allow bigger ships to pass through, it only means, lots of money. And thirdly, we have one of the most interesting banking center in the world which generates huge amounts of tax dollars to the country. My question has always been, in a small country like Panama, with only and only 3 million persons, how do we justify people dying of hunger in the country side, low standards of living, more than 70% of general poverty, no good jobs and everything that comes with this? How can we explain this to our childrens who are studying in school all this amazing facts of our country and how succesful we have become with these three prosperous industries and at the same time, they have no food in their tables to eat and no books in their bags to study and no money to go to college, essencials we all are supposed to enjoy if as we know, there is so much prosperity in our country?

There is no excuse, we can not justify it and the only coherent answer will always be, the sin which is embeded in our hearts. The more men without God have, the more they want and they just don’t care about the rest. I believe, my country is not in a worse moral and social condition because of the ever growing people of God. Two verses jump in my mind. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, Psalm 33:12” God is blessing Panama, irregardless of the bad things and the sinful people in eminence. There is another verse that comes to my mind that says that God allow the unbelievers to accumulate resources with the sole purpose of being used at the end by the people of God.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Mr. R.

Couple of days ago, I went to this lady’s office because I needed to see her to ask from her some information. As we sat there for a moment, we started talking about some panamenians who are currently working on the cruise ships and their stories. Suddenly, R. walked into the office and I was so happy to see him and so was him. We shared greetings and a hug and really, I was so happy to see R. To make a long story short, he was fired from the ships because of some misbehaviour. After we finish telling stories of the ol’ good days, it was time to go, and he did ask me for a ride, so I gladly accepted. As we were on our way to his place, we started getting more deep in our conversation. He was rescued from the grip of the enemy a few years ago, and he had been attending his local christian church and he had been growing fast as a follower of Christ, but he stepped back while on the ships and decided to follow the world again rather than God. He took that decision and I saw him going down that road a year ago while we were toguether on the same boat. Although I tried to speak some sense into his head, he would just not listen at all. Now after more than a year, I see him again, he is jobless, he sorta feel hopeless, skiny out of going through some serious economical problem and he seems to be still struggling to keep up his personal relationship with God. I felt so bad, kind of angry toward the enemy who really knows how to pull his dirty tricks on the believers whenever he is given a chance. Ever since, R. had been going through seriuous family problems and every sort of thing you can imagine can happen to anyone who ‘has a really bad luck”. I really felt myself compelled to encourage him to see this whole situation with a different perspective, although it seemed impossible to do. Our God is a gentleman, he will never force you or me or anybody else to take a decision or to follow his wonderful plan for our lives, he will respect if I or you decide to go on another direction. We are free to do so, we will always be, but what we fail to understand, or should I say, what the devil stop us from realizing is that, we CAN NOT choose the consequences of our decisions. R. is paying high for the set of decisions he took some time ago, and it will not be easy to overcome and he will cry some more and yet, it doesn’t mean his heavenly Father abandoned him. Our Father in Heaven is watching over him and is looking at him with his merciful love waiting for him to turn his face toward Him once again and ready to rescue him. God is all powerful, there is nothing he can’t do, but one thing he will never do is to coherce us. We basically get ourselve in a position where God can’t do anything for us because of his divine nature of not interfering with our own decisions. So once R. or anyone of us get fed up of living a disgraceful, empty and meaningless life and we decide to crawl back to Dad and ask for forgiveness and mercy, he won’t have to be asked twice. The Bible says that Jesus is interceding for us before the Father. He is basically our lawyer, when we hire his services of redempting and justifying us before the Father, He promised He would do it. R. and I spent some time toguether in the car before stepping outside, and we talked about this and we prayed and I trust that God is going to bring into completion what he already started a few years back in his life when R. first heard and accepted Him. Amen.