Kaye Mendoza: April 28, 2008

Move out of the Wilderness

But with whom was he grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:17-19)

Unbelief is the opposite of faith; and we know that without faith, it is impossible to please God - for we, who come to God, must first believe that He IS and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

There are times when we choose to linger in the wilderness because it is familiar, it is hard to give up your comfort zone for merely a "promise" of good things. We choose to stay in our own kind of wilderness, our: thankless jobs, spiritual routines, reserved relationships, bad habits, eating patterns, and ways of thinking - just because we are too comfortable with them. No, it does not in any way make us happy, but hey, it's predictable, at least we know what to expect tomorrow.

Is this kind of life and relationship what God really wants for us? Are we in the center of God's will in our lives? Or are we like those poor Israelites wandering about the wilderness when God's promise is eleven days away, yet it took them forty years to reach because of their unbelief?

I believe that our Father is a loving God, Who desires only good things for us. When we consider the promises He has in our lives, let us not fail to consider Him Who promised. It is absolutely impossible for God to lie, He never makes empty promises. Brethren, let us seek the Lord diligently with all our hearts, pray for a desire to know Him more, ask for wisdom that He may be revealed in our lives each and every single day.

Surely, there are certain aspects in our lives that we cannot fully turn over to God. Perhaps we think that we can do better handling those things, instead of giving them up to our Lord. I believe that our best efforts are not even comparable to what our loving Father has in store for each one of us. Let us trust in the Lord with all our hearts and lean not on our own understanding.

Know that our understanding can only lead us so far - we are still blinded on many things, for not all things are exposed to us. Yet our Father sees everything, all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of Him with Whom we have must give account.

He calls us and beckons us to trust Him, to move out of our wilderness and He will guide us for He is trustworthy. He died for our sins while we were yet sinners. He gave us all and our fulfillment may only be found in Him. Pray for hunger and thirst that we may know the Lord and His ways - for when we know the Lord, we cannot err in our hearts because we also know His ways.

Our Father, we ask for divine wisdom and revelation this day, that we may know you. Give us hunger and thirst and deep desire and longing for YOU - not only your ways, but YOU personally. Once again, we invite you in our hearts, dwell inside us and re-ignite the fire in our being. Lord, we put our trust in you, knowing fully well that we are assured of our hope in You, that You are the Author and Finisher of our Faith. We ask all these in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

Debie Misir: April 21, 2008

Placing God First

O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; (Psalm 63:1)

We have all heard the words, “You must place God first in your life”. “He must be number one, first priority”. We all know and understand why, and we try to obey this as a command, with our own meager strength and disobedient, resistant flesh. We resolve to pray, to go to church, to worship, to give him our best, and indeed to do everything we are told to do in an attempt to place God first. But what we do not realize is that placing God first in our lives is not a doing, something that takes concentration and effort. But it is a state of being

Many churches and ministries teach the body of Christ to seek God. They know that the only way for the body to know God, to grow in God, and to live a victorious life is to come into a personal, right relationship with God. However, one cannot seek God simply because they are told to do so, but they must have the desire to do so. Their hearts must burn to know their Holy Father and their souls must thirst after Him. The true seeking of our Lord must come out of a soul’s longing and a heart’s cry from deep within the innermost parts of our beings…a longing to behold Him, to taste of Him, to know Him, to worship Him, and to abide in Him, to be one with Him. Then and only then can we truly seek Him, and then and only then will we find Him. For He says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13). Then and only then, will we begin to know Him, and then and only then will we place Him first. It is not something we do, but something that is so much a part of us that it becomes as effortless and natural as the air we breathe. In our longing and ardent seeking, we begin to see Him in everything we touch, everything we smell, everything we see, everything we hear, everything we desire, everything we think, and everything we do. We begin to place Him first.

How does it all start? By simply asking “Lord I want to know you. Lord, give me a desire to follow hard after you. Give me a hunger and a thirst to seek you with all my heart, all my soul and all my might, in Jesus name I ask Amen.” Know that God wants you to seek Him. He desires you more than you desire Him. He longs to become one with you completely. He will quickly respond by filling you with a deep growing hunger and thirst for Himself. Then the seeking begins. A deep holy longing will begin to consume your entire being, so much so that you will gradually have no taste for anything else but God. You will have no other desire but to know Him more and more. You will want nothing else but to hear His voice, see His face, bask in His glory, sit in His presence, and please Him in everything you do and everything you are. He is now your highest priority and you will gravitate towards His heart as if being drawn by the most powerful magnetic force the world has ever known. Know that even as you seek him, He is drawing you closer. It becomes a wonderful love story of heart panting after heart. “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8) A beautiful harmony of seeking and response is created for God has now taken first place in your life. You begin to behold His beauty everywhere and in everything. You stand in awe of His greatness and power. You give Him your best, not just of your time, money, and efforts, but the gift of your total self with all its weaknesses and strengths, love and hatred, and filth and purity. No sacrifice is too great, for self is now fully surrendered. You worship Him for His goodness and mercy. You walk in humility before His holiness, you reverence and honor Him in everything you do, think and feel, and you love Him with all your heart, all your soul and all your might.

Many still struggle with trying to balance the cares of the world, the burdens of the soul, the pleasures of life, and placing God first. We fail to realize that if we seek Him first like David, become yoked with Him, and place Him first always, our cares and burdens become light for He says “My yoke is easy and My burden is light”. These are not empty promises but truth given in love. As for the pleasures of life, we know that the world was created by Him and for Him. “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16). We also know that He created man and gave him dominion in this world. The great beauty and pleasures this world has to offer are there for us to enjoy in Him. But there is also the evil one who offers pleasures of a different kind, alluring and wonderfully satisfying to the flesh. Ravi Zacharias in his book “Cries of the Heart,” refers to these two types of pleasures as legitimate and illegitimate. One gives life, the other brings certain death. We need to discern, discern, discern. Ravi gives an easy way to discern the legitimate pleasures of this world in the following statement, “Any pleasure that refreshes you without diminishing you, distracting you, or sidetracking you from the ultimate goal is a legitimate pleasure”. The ultimate goal being: to come into a true knowledge of God, into a right relationship where we become one with Him, to become a true worshipper who worships the Lord in Spirit and in Truth and to live only for Him. In this is the true reconciliation God desires with us, where all flesh dies and Truth unites us as one with our Holy Father and rejoices in that unity. Out of this unity, we serve the Lord and He perfects our living Sacrifice unto Himself.

Ask Him today to fill you with a deep holy hunger, begin to truly seek Him with all your heart, and become one with Him. He will become first in your life for He will increase and you will decrease

Wyeth Mendoza: April 15, 2008

Taming of the Tongue

James 3:7-8: "All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."

The tongue is the rudder of the heart. Though it might be small compared to the size of our body, it can create a huge impact in our ways and influence the world around us. It is the where words are formed and released and through this same tongue we give blessing, adoration, love and appreciation and on the flip side we use it to gossip, curse, condemn and inflict emotional pain to others; though we think it is small and insignificant - it has tremendous power.

This is synonymous to a giant luxury cruise liner being controlled by a small rudder amidst turbulent currents across a vast ocean. Or a diminutive horserace jockey acting as one and controlling the direction of a huge 2,000 pound stallion and storming down the racetrack. Let us not be fooled by its size but let us be aware on how it affects the entire body.

Remember the saying -- sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me? We might be injured physically and in time we heal but the hurt that was brought forth by the harsh words that were spoken to us will affect us deeply and for some people, it can cripple them deeply and leave a huge impact that would last them for a lifetime - just because a person did not guard his/her tongue. This is true for children who were verbally abused by parents and they carry that baggage with them till they have children of their own and sadly pass it on. We assassinate people by spreading gossips that are detrimental to their reputation. And the list goes on... just because of an untamed tongue.

James 3:9 "The tongue we praise our Lord and Father and with the same tongue we curse men who've been made in God's likeness. From the same mouth come praise and cursing." Imagine how wicked the tongue be? Yet most believers are not aware of this. As Christians, we must learn how to tame our tongues. Guard them fully and only speak productive words or none at all.

In life, we always have a choice. It is a choice to speak life, love and peace to a fellow brethren and it is also a choice to speak death and condemnation to cause emotional pain. In everything we do we should choose the path to righteousness. We must choose words that give life over death. We must learn to use our tongues to uplift our brethrens and bring them closer to God and salvation.

God is pleased when we speak words and do things that would further build and expand His kingdom. Let us be vessels of righteousness through the words that we utter to our fellow brothers and sisters and not let them stumble by our wrong choice of words. We have to realize that our words display who we are and what is in our hearts.

We all know that the tongue is a deadly weapon and has to be tamed. The question now lies on how do we tame the tongue?

Our words display who we are and what is in our hearts. For what is in our hearts we express through our tongues. We must pray to God for a brand new heart just like what David is pleading to God in Psalm 51 "... create in me a clean heart." A new and clean heart that is overflowing with the Holy Spirit will bring forth fruits which are expressed from the heart and shared to others through our tongues.

God is the way the truth and the life. The only way to get control of your tongue is let Jesus Christ have control of your heart -- thus taming our tongues and start glorifying God and proclaim His greatness to all.

Debie Misir: April 10, 2008

A Friend of God

The word friend encompasses unconditional love, trust, and dependability. It speaks of someone you communicate with, someone you council with and receive council from. It embraces openness and honesty and gives you the assurance that this someone would always be there for you and with you through thick and thin, lack and plenty, sickness and health, pain and joy, and suffering and rejoicing. It speaks of someone you can count on to give you first priority. It speaks of someone you believe in.

Oh how I long to be a friend to God. A person who knows the heart of God, His desires and His will for my life, so much so that my obedience is made perfect in the knowing. How I long to become someone He can trust. Someone He will council and share His dreams with. Someone He will reveal the mysteries of life to. Someone He can pour out His heart to, knowing that He can depend on my obedience, knowing He can count on me to always align my will with His to accomplish whatsoever He commands without counting the costs. I long to be someone He knows would willingly give her life if He so commands. No price He requires of me can compare with what He has already paid for me. No cost is too high. No sacrifice too big. How I long for the power of the Holy Spirit to perfect my heart towards Him so completely that He calls me friend. Would you like to be His friend too?

We sing the song “I am a friend of God, He calls me friend” but we do not understand that there is a qualification necessary to become the friend of God. You see, God knows our hearts. He knows the realness of our love for Him and the sincerity with which we offer this love to Him. But His knowledge of our imperfection does not limit His love for us or separate us from His love. Regardless of the state of our hearts and the imperfection of our love, He loves us. Regardless of the level of faith we have in Him, He loves us. Regardless of what we do or don’t do for Him, He loves us. Nothing can separate us from His love. There is no requirement or qualification for His love. His love is unconditional, everlasting and limitless. But there is a requirement for His friendship.

The word of God states that if I “believe” like Abraham James 2:23 “And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God”, and I “do” whatsoever He commands John 15:13-15 "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends. "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” I will be His friend. Being a friend of God requires that we believe in Him and prove our faith by doing whatsoever He commands. It means we must have this unshakeable faith in Him and we do the works this faith demands; for our faith must be active otherwise it is not faith. Our faith should constantly be expressing itself through love. Galatians 5:6 “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.”

Moses was a friend of God. The Word says in Exodus 33:11 “The LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks with his friend”. How marvelous! Moses believed in God so much so that whatever God commanded, Moses did. If he did not agree with the Lord, he had the confidence in knowing that God was his friend and He could go to Him anytime with his concerns and council with Him. The Lord in return, listened to Moses and seemingly took advice from Moses. God trusted his integrity and purity of heart. God knew that when he spoke, it was out of his love and faith that God was a merciful God. God knew Moses believed in Him totally.

John the Baptist was a friend of God. He loved the Lord so much that his joy was just in seeing the Lord fulfill His commission and reap His just reward, His bride. John lived to usher in the Lord into this world and proclaim His coming. He rejoiced to see the Lord’s mission coming to fruition, whatever the outward cost to himself. John 3:29 “The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.” John was a true friend who placed the Lord before and above himself always and made the Lord’s joy his own.

Being a friend of God is the ultimate place our spirits should come into in the Lord. In this place, not only do we believe in the Lord absolutely and our obedience is perfected, but the Lord believes in us and trusts us. We come into true oneness of Spirit. Let us reach for this goal. Let us be walk by faith and in obedience to His commands and be His friends.