Kaye Mendoza: May 28, 2008


"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."(John 15:13)

"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."(Matthew 16:25)

Definition: Martyr

The word martyr really used to mean "witness," however, in the context of Christianity, martyrs are considered to be the believers of Jesus Christ who are able to endure suffering, even to the point of death.

Whatever happened to James?

James is the brother of John, Son of Zebedee - also surnamed Boanerges or The Sons of Thunder. It was probably his recklessness and intolerance that won for them the surname "Boanerges, which is, Sons of thunder," because in Luke 9:54 they asked the Lord, "Lord, wilt thou that we bid fire to come down from heaven, and consume them [Samarians]?"

James, along with Peter and John, became the special confidant of Jesus. Only these three among the apostles were present at the raising of Jairus' daughter, the Transfiguration and the Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He also requested Jesus to, "Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy glory," questioned Him concerning the last things, and witnessed the risen Christ when Jesus appeared for the third time to the at the sea of Tiberias.

Why James?

Among the four - Peter, Paul, James and John - James is the least visible. It is clear that what James represents is not the gifts of teaching, preaching, writing, healing, casting out demons, and performing miracles, signs and wonders. However, we must recognize that he accomplished the most significant work of all: suffering.

James was the first martyr among the apostles, being slain by King Herod Agrippa. It was recorded in the book of Acts 12:1,2 "Herod the king put forth his hands to afflict certain of the church... he killed James the brother of John with the sword."

Despite the unique characteristics of the other ministries, there is nonetheless one thing they all had in common, which was this element of suffering-for suffering fundamentally comprises Christian.

The truth is, all works of God are based on what James represents, that is suffering. For in His very coming into this world, our Lord Jesus stood in the place of the rejected. And if we do not suffer with Him-and no matter what good works we may do-we cannot satisfy His heart. Only by suffering can we triumph over all things and achieve the eternal purpose of God.

Isaiah 53:10 "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand."

God wants us dead

God wants us to give up our everything we have, every aspect of our lives even the parts that we don't like. We are commanded to lose our lives and deliberately release it to God. He wants us to give up all desires for ministry, all selfish ambitions, money, name, position, and even personal relationships. He even wants us to give up everything that we feel we have the right to experience and enjoy. It's not hard to give up the sinful things, but it is those that we deem good and worthy to us that may stand between us and God's will.

Our greatest commandment is: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. (Matthew 22:37) This means we shall love God and place Him over and above all our affections, relationships, will, emotions, power, prestige, and intellect.

"And they entered into a covenant to seek Jehovah, the God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul, and that whoever would not seek Jehovah, the God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. And they swore to Jehovah with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and with ram's horns." (2 Chronicles 15:12-14)

This passage clearly tells us that the Israelites deemed it better for the person to be killed rather that not seek the Lord with all their heart and soul. Do we ever think like this, that it is better for a man to literally die than not to know God?

We cannot fail to notice a life transformed by God. The disciples themselves have been arrogant and nervous when Jesus started calling them - look at James and John asking to be seated on the left and right hand of Jesus; and Peter, who saw all the miracles, walked, talked, slept, ate with Jesus for three years, but denied knowing Him to a servant girl.

But as the disciples allowed Jesus to work with them, the Holy Spirit changed and gave them new courage, wisdom and revelation. In retrospect, no one would have recognized these fishermen from Galilee to be the same men whom God will use to help build His Kingdom.

Looking at our own lives, there are times when we desperately want others to believe that we have changed, that we became born-again, that we are more godly, devoted, Spirit-filled Christian. This is all absolutely unnecessary, for everyone who have been genuinely touched by Christ, the transformation will be evident.

Let us not focus on ourselves and the minute changes you see happening every now and then. As we walk with Jesus day by day, let the witness of the transformation taking place within us be validated by others and by our own tongue.

Our Call

Are we ready to die? It may not be the fleshly ties that hold you to this world, but there might be the work of the mission, the souls you love, and the future you believed the Holy Ghost for you? What is your tie to this world? What is most dear to you? What is holding you back? Who is your Pharaoh? Why can't you recklessly abandon your life?

Think about it, what is your legacy when you die right now? How will those who are left behind think about you? Will they think of you as someone who held on dear to their own lives, children, spouse, friends, money, fame, or ministry? Or will they think f you as someone who lived for God?

A martyr is one who voluntarily shortened his life for the Savior's sake, not merely one who dies in the course of duty… The Lord wants to use us as "living martyrs" - that we should shorten our lives of flesh, that we must give up all our rights, will, emotion, body, heart, soul and spirit to Christ.

Brothers and sisters, we must die in order to live.

Wyeth Mendoza: May 19, 2008

Biases and Unreasonable Opinions

"And behold, a leper came to Him, and bowed down to Him, saying, 'Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.' And He stretched out His hand and touched him, saying, 'I am willing; be cleansed.' And immediately his leprosy was cleansed."(Matthew 8:2-4)

In the days of the Old Testament, people who had been suffering with leprosy were considered outcasts. They lived in the far side of the village; they were excommunicated and let to die with fellow villagers who were suffering with the same disease. Anyone who was unclean could not participate in the religious activities of the community, which were central parts of life; and anything a leper touches were considered unclean. Gross deformities plagued a person with leprosy so much so that villagers would throw rocks for mere sightings to get rid of them.

Yet despite of all these, Jesus looked past all these prejudices and cleansed the leper. As the leper was bold enough to ask Jesus for healing, He stretched forth His hands and immediately the leper got cleansed. It is this unwavering compassion and tremendous love for souls that Jesus Christ has for mankind that heals and cleanses everyone who will receive and believe in Him.

Think about leprosy as a metaphor to sin that plagued mankind since the fall of Adam and Eve. Sinning damages the ability to sense right and wrong, and soon enough the self-inflicted damage is as great as or greater than the damage from the disease itself. The act of sinning causes direct damage to the person committing the sin.

But some might say, we are more civilized now and do not do all those atrocious, barbaric and sinful deeds anymore. It is true that in some sense we do not do those deliberate acts anymore, yet it is irrefutable that our sins still manifest in other ways. What is shocking nowadays is that we do our "unintentional crimes" or hidden transgressions everyday without even noticing it.

As for the similarities, we look down upon a person who sinned. How convenient for us to throw hurtful words of hate, condemnation and judgment to our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord, who fell through their own selfish desires or Satan's lures. Though we do not throw rocks anymore, we throw hurtful words, which are equally, if not more so, severe. Just like the days of old, we also ex-communicate obvious sinners and would consider them as unfit and unworthy to be a part of society. We are easy to brand people as such yet we do not see ourselves as sinner as well.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we should strive to look past prejudices and misconceptions just like what Jesus did and look upon everybody on the same level. People might fall yet we should not pass judgments easily, since it is only God's grace and not our works that will bring us closer to God. Instead of judging, we should learn to pray for those who are passing through the fiery trials and severe testing. One way of showing that you truly see a person without any biases or unreasonable judgment is when you can intercede and pray for that person to be blessed and be made whole.

Jesus said He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to cleanse sinners. Cleansing is offered to all who will seek it; surely the unclean can be made clean again. This cleansing of our souls is called – salvation – applying the precious Blood of Jesus in our lives, nailing our sins on the cross and accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

I urge you to receive the Lord our God in your hearts and stretch forth your hands to receive His mighty healing, cleansing and salvation. Once again we renew our faith in the Lord for we are already being healed and cleansed through the power of the Holy Spirit. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ we pray, Amen.

Debie Misir: May 12, 2008

You are Not Your Own

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. (1 Corinthians 6:19)

In the days of old man went to the temple to meet with God. However, only a consecrated few, the priests, could go through the veil that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies and meet with God face to face. Here they made atonement for the sins of the people and heard the word of the Lord for His people. With the sacrifice of His son Jesus, the veil was forever removed. All men now have free access to go in and meet with God, yet man did not take advantage of this awesome opportunity. Instead God took the opportunity to come out and to meet with man. God not only met man, but decided to dwell in man and to make man His temple.

When we received Christ into our hearts, the Holy Spirit made our hearts His dwelling place, His temple. We all know this as a fact of our justification, but have we fully understood and embraced He who dwells within us? Do we reverence our bodies knowing that the God of all Holiness and Purity dwells in us? The God Moses speaks of with such awe…. "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD ? Who is like you- majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?" (Exodus 15:11). This omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God who chose us, the dust of the earth He breathe life into, as His dwelling place, filling us with His Holy Spirit even after He had said in Isaiah 66, "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be?" The God whom the entire universe could not contain. The God whom David loves so tenderly and desires so intensely… "Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee" (Psalm 63:3) he says to the Lord. Do we speak such words of love to our Lord? Do we truly adore and worship Him each moment, or do we go about our daily lives doing the things that are self-serving and gratifying to our flesh, ignoring His tender Spirit's presence within: His love filling us, His small still voice guiding and leading us, His desire to commune and fellowship with us, His longing for our worship, His hurt at our disobedient, self-willed actions, His anger against evil when we receive hurts and offences into our hearts, His gentle convictions when we fall into sin, and His grieving when we refuse to repent.

Won't you remember who is inside of you each and every moment as you go about your daily lives and allow Him to take complete control? Won't you give Him the honor due Him? Beloved, we must offer Him the obedience He desires and deserves. We must worship Him in our simple total awareness and communion with Him each and every moment. We must love and be intimate with Him as the lover our souls at all times. We must continually reverence Him by resisting all temptations and evil. We must not grieve the Holy Spirit for not only do we deeply hurt the one we claim to love, but we bring dire consequences upon our spiritual walk with God and indeed our spiritual life in Him.

Yes, we live in flesh and temptations and evil are all around us, but the Almighty God of Heaven and Earth dwells in us. The convicting power of the Holy Spirit is ever present, swift and strong to convict and gentle to lead us to repentance. This Holy Power deep inside of us cannot be ignored, cannot be subdued, and must not be disobeyed at all costs. In the face of all evil and all temptations; be it a little white lie so to speak, or committing fornication or murder, we must heed His voice. He is mighty to alert and convict. We must revere Him so completely that we cannot be tempted into willful sin and we cannot willingly choose evil.

David was a man after God's own heart. He was determined to follow God's will for His life. David meditated day and night on God's statues and laws and purposed in his heart to resist sin. He said to the Lord… "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11). Now we all know that David fell, but because of his great love for the Lord and his surrendered heart, when convicted he repented deeply and sincerely. For all his sins, he made no excuses and blamed no one, but counted all his wicked deeds as done against God himself… "Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight" (Psalm 51:4). We all need to look inward and measure everything we do as unto God; be it good or evil. When temptation comes we must, like Joseph when tempted of Potiphar's beautiful wife, quickly respond with the words "How then could I do such a wicked thing and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9). We can respond to any temptation or sin, big or small with the same resolve and conviction. We can purpose in our hearts to follow God and only God and walk this out. For if Joseph and David who were not filled with the Holy Spirit had the strength of will to walk out their faith, and if unsaved man can set his will to go to the moon and do it, how much more can we who are filled and empowered by the Holy Spirit, not do the same.

Joseph's response must become our heartfelt response to every wicked thought in our minds, every selfish desire in our hearts, every faithless action of our bodies and indeed anything that is sinful. Know that as you set your mind and heart on following hard after the Lord, you will come deeper into that Holy Place with the Lord. Here the definition of sin also goes deeper. Joanna Wesley, when asked by her son John what sin was, defined sin this way... "Take this rule: whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, or takes off your relish of spiritual things; in short, whatever increases the strength and authority of your body over your mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may be in itself." This is indeed true for all believers. Beloved, keep your hearts and minds pure. It is the Holy of Holies. Do not let any evil inclinations enter in. Keep your most Holy Place holy. Be aware always of Who is inside of you and honor Him with your entire being knowing that you are not your own.

We have been bought with the highest price… and what a privilege it is to belong to our precious Lord! What an awesome blessing! For, He has taken us from death to life, hell to heaven, victimized to victorious, and temporal to eternal. Now we live in Him and He lives in us and we belong to Him. Everything that is hateful to God must now become hateful to us as well; all evil big or small, known or hidden, by omission or commission, in consciousness or unconsciousness. Everything that God loves, we must love also; righteousness, peace, faithfulness, good works, truth…. and His creation. Everything our God does and told us to do, we must do also; speak in tongues; preach the gospel to all creatures, lay hands on the sick and watch them recover, and cast out demons in His name. And what He does not do, we must not do also. In everything we must imitate Him. Paul warns "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children" (Ephesians 5:1). We must worship and serve Him only with all of ourselves.

Paul says it is our "reasonable service" to offer ourselves as "living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God". The Word of God says we were appointed to "bear fruit". This is the sum of what God desires to achieve through us. We must live knowing we are not our own, but we belong to Jesus Christ whose Holy Spirit dwells in us. We must give Him all the reverence, respect, honor, blessings and glory that belongs to Him by being careful to resist evil at all times; daily cleanse our hearts before Him, and worship and glorify Him in everything we think, desire, or do. We must guard our tongues moment by moment, careful to speak only blessings and not curses. We must check our motives in everything, for the word of God warns that the heart is wicked and deceitful, who can know it? We must examine our thoughts and sift them out by the word of God before receiving them into our hearts. We must love. In short, we must display Christ to all and we must bear fruit. Truly begin to live for Him beloved by allowing Him to live in and through you, knowing you are not your own

Kaye Mendoza: May 05, 2008

At the Cross

He himself bore our sins in His body on the tree…(2 Peter 2:24)

Oh, why did He have to die this humiliating, tortured death? Why did He have to endure the suffering of being nailed on a tree? Why did He allow merciless men beat Him up to a pulp and carry His own cross to the place of death? Why didn't He budge, why didn't He fight back, why didn't He show His divinity and power?

There is only one answer: LOVE.

It is because of this love that He allowed that tree to grow and become His cross; that metal ore to be fashioned into His nail; those people that judged Him to crucifixion and death to be put in position of influence. It is because of this same love that He allowed all these things to happen, never once budging, never once murmuring, never once fighting back.

Although He could - oh yes, He could! "Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from Me but I lay it down of Myself. I have the power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." (John 10:17-18)

Can we ever begin to fathom how great and deep and wide this LOVE is that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ has for us? "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) He exuded every bit of this love for us at that blessed day of the cross.

It is at the cross where our wrongs were wiped away; where sickness and death has been conquered for our sakes; where the Father's judgment was appeased. At the cross is the greatest act of love for "greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13) Let each day be an act of love among us, for as Jesus loved us, we should love each other.

Come back brothers and sisters, meet me at the foot of the cross. As the song says, "at the cross is where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away." All because of the love of my Beloved, Sovereign and Supreme. Let this cross of our Lord Jesus Christ allow us to wipe and forgive all the wrongs, all the tears, all the sins, all the offenses - for this cross is where ultimate love is conveyed.