Who encourages you?

At the beginning of this month, I was reading and working through Deuteronomy 31:1-8 on the my new The Message Prayerful Reading Bible and came upon a question that startled me and left me disconcerted. It asked, “Who in your life encourages you when you are feeling intimidated or overwhelmed? What do you notice about the way they encourage you?”.[1] Not many people came to mind aside from my family, especially my wife. As a pastor, we are expected to be the encouragers in people lives but we often don’t get the same.  At that moment, as I thought of who were those that encouraged me,  I felt a bit, should I say, discouraged. But this shouldn’t be.

All of us face discouragement or become overwhelmed in our lives, pastors and leaders are not excluded. John Bunyan wrote about this in his famous allegory of the Christian life in Pilgrim’s Progress. We need others to encourage us when life gets tough, we are going through changes or difficulties or challenges or when we just face our gloomy days. This is what Moses did to the people of Israel and their new leader Joshua as he got ready to hand the baton and leave this Earth. His words to them resonated with me as well:

“Be strong. Take courage. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t give them a second thought because God, your God, is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you.”

7-8 Then Moses summoned Joshua. He said to him with all Israel watching, “Be strong. Take courage. You will enter the land with this people, this land that God promised their ancestors that he’d give them. You will make them the proud possessors of it. God is striding ahead of you. He’s right there with you. He won’t let you down; he won’t leave you. Don’t be intimidated. Don’t worry.” – The Message

Yes, God is on our side. He won’t let us down. He won’t leave us. But we need people to say this to us as well.

The “Pray” section of this devotional ended with “Pray for your own leadership, that you will be an encouragement to those in your life who need it.”[2]

As I thought about the lack of encouragement I receive, this was a good way to change that. I want to offer encouragement to those in my life that need it. It may as simple as “good job” or “I see how God is using you…” or “I can see how you are growing in Christ…”.

How about you? How do you answer the question, “Who in your life encourages you when you are feeling intimidated or overwhelmed”?

[1] The Message Prayerful Reading Bible by Eugene H. Peterson, (NavPress, 2022), p. 330.

[2] Ibid.

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Christians, We Need Meekness

I didn’t want to dignify what the media has been talking about what happened at the Oscars. If you’re a Christian and haven’t seen or heard it, don’t worry, you haven’t missed much. The world we live is full of contradictions as to how we should live and this is because absolute moral values no longer exist. Everything is relative. On the one hand they say that violence is bad but on the other hand it is acceptable as long as you are defending your rights. The world exalts people who defend themselves and take it out on others, especially when they are offended.

Meekness is not a virtue cherished, proclaimed, or procured in our world. However, it is a virtue that as Christians we need more and must have.

The Lord Jesus Christ said that meekness is a quality of His followers.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

Meek means to control our physical strength.  The meek person understands who he is before God and does not need to demonstrate anything with his strength. Why? Because we have nothing to lose. We understand that we are sinners who deserve nothing from the Lord. And yet God has assured us of our rights as His children in His kingdom. This is why Scripture commands us to not give in to anger.

Don’t be angry or furious.
Anger can lead to sin.
All sinners will disappear,
but if you trust the Lord,
the land will be yours.

10 Sinners will soon disappear,
never to be found
.”  (Psalm 37:8-10)

Proverbs 16:32 tells us that a person who controls his emotions, especially anger when provoked, is better than one who conquers a city. The world does not praise, admires, or teaches being meek. It teaches us the opposite, to be strong and aggressive. The meek does not respond or fights physically.  The world applauds the aggressive who takes it out on others, but not God.

Meekness is not a quality often spoken of by great leaders.  Meekness is to be humble and gentle.  It is someone who does not turn angry quickly. It is someone who does not easily gets upset or becomes violent. He is someone who has a lot of patience before getting angry. It is someone who is not always on the offensive expecting that someone will hurt him. Generally, the person with meekness is harmed and offended more than others.

Meek means not becoming resentful easily or holding a grudge when we are hurt. Why? because we recognize what our position is before God. We are sinners who have received God’s mercy and grace.

“Meekness is to show a submissive character in the face of provocation, the willingness to suffer and not cause harm. The meek person leaves everything in the hands of the One who loves and cares.”  – Hendricksen

Our Lord Jesus Christ exemplified meekness: Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

If we are talking about great leaders who might have felt superior or with a lot of authority, Moses was that leader. He lead more than two million people. He could have been a strong commander, the dictator type. However, he was not. He learned to be meek and humble, possibly during his time in the wilderness (remember he killed an Egyptian before fleeing). No doubt he continued to learn meekness in leading the people of Israel. The Bible says of him:

“And that man Moses was very meek, more than all the men on the earth.”  Numbers 12:3

This is after his sister and brother had murmured against him as a leader. Moses did not defend himself. God defended him and became angry against Mary and Aaron. She ended up with leprosy and was restored until Moses prayed for her. I love his prayer:
“Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” (v. 13)

He prayed that he would heal her at that time and not after she had “paid” for what she did. This shows his meekness. Moses was like Christ. And for this he was blessed by God.

Although it is difficult to be meek and give up our “rights,” God promises us that He will give us every right to inherit the earth: Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” Matthew 5:5

What a privilege! We will be joint heirs and owners with Christ. We will reign with Him because of our meekness.

But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace” (Psalm 37:11)

How are you developing your meekness? Remember that meekness is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:23). It comes as a result of our submission to the Spirit of God.


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Queridos Cristianos el Mundo Necesita ver Mansedumbre en Nosotros

No he querido dignificar lo que los medios de comunicación ha estado hablando sobre lo que pasó en los Oscars. Si eres cristiano y no lo haz visto ni escuchado, no te preocupes, no te has perdido de mucho. El mundo en que vivimos está lleno de contradicciones en cuanto a la manera de vivir y esto se debe a que los valores absolutos morales ya no existen. Todo es relativo. Por un lado se proclama que la violencia es mala pero por otro lado es aceptable siempre y cuando estás defendiendo tus derechos. El mundo exalta a las personas que se defienden y se desquitan de otros, especialmente cuando son ofendidas.

La mansedumbre no es una virtud apreciada, proclamada ni procurada en nuestro mundo. Sin embargo, es una virtud que como cristianos necesitamos mas y debemos tener.

El Señor Jesucristo dijo que la mansedumbre es una cualidad de sus seguidores.

“Bienaventurados los mansos, porque ellos recibirán la tierra por heredad.” Mateo 5:5

Manso significa controlar nuestra fuerza externa. La persona mansa entiende quién es delante de Dios y no necesita demostrar nada con su fuerza. ¿Porqué? Porque nosotros no tenemos nada que perder. Entendemos que somos pecadores que no merecemos nada del Señor. Y sin embargo, Dios nos ha asegurado nuestros derechos como sus hijos en su reino. Es por esto que la Escritura nos manda a dejar la ira y el enojo.

“Deja la ira, y desecha el enojo; No te excites en manera alguna a hacer lo malo. Porque los malignos serán destruidos,Pero los que esperan en Jehová, ellos heredarán la tierra. Pues de aquí a poco no existirá el malo;Observarás su lugar, y no estará allí.” (Salmo 37:8-10)

Proverbios 16:32 nos dice que una persona que controla sus emociones, especialmente el enojo cuando es provocada es mejor que uno que conquista con fuerza. El mundo no elogia, ni admira ni enseña el ser mansos. Nos enseña lo opuesto, a ser fuertes y agresivos. El manso no responde o pelea físicamente. El mundo aplaude al agresivo que se desquita, pero no Dios.

La mansedumbre no es una cualidad que a menudo se habla de los grandes líderes.  Manso es ser humilde y apacible. Es alguien que no se enciende con enojo rápidamente, no se altera, no es violento. Es alguien que tiene mucho aguante antes de enojarse. Es alguien no está siempre a la expectativa que alguien le hará daño. Generalmente, la persona con mansedumbre es dañada y ofendida más que otros.

Manso significa no resentirse fácilmente o guardar rencor cuando nos hacen daño. ¿Porqué? porque reconocemos cuál nuestra posición delante de Dios. Somos pecadores que hemos recibido la misericordia y gracia de Dios.

“La mansedumbre es mostrar un carácter sumiso ante la provocación, la disposición a sufrir y no causar daño. La persona mansa deja todo en las manos de Aquel que ama y cuida.” – Hendricksen

Nuestro Señor Jesucristo ejemplifico la mansedumbre: “Llevad mi yugo sobre vosotros, y aprended de mí, que soy manso y humilde de corazón” Mateo 11:29

Si hablamos de líderes grandes que pudieran haberse sentido superior o con mucha autoridad, Moisés fue ese líder. Lidero a más de dos millones de personas. El pudiere haber sido un caudillo fuerte, al tipo dictador. Sin embargo él no fue así. Él aprendió a ser manso y humilde, posiblemente durante su tiempo en el desierto (recordemos que mató a un egipcio antes de huir). Sin duda siguió aprendiendo mansedumbre al dirigir al pueblo de Israel. La biblia dice de él:

“Y aquel varón Moisés era muy manso, más que todos los hombres que había sobre la tierra.” Números 12:3

Esto lo dice después de que su hermana y su hermano habían murmurado contra él como líder. Moisés no se defiende. Dios lo defiende y se enoja contra María y Aarón. Ella termina leprosa y es restaurada hasta que Moisés ora por ella. Me encanta su oración:
“Entonces Moisés clamó a Jehová, diciendo: Te ruego, oh Dios, que la sanes ahora.” (v. 13)

Oró para que la sanará en ese momento y no después de que hubiera “pagado” lo que hizo. Esto demuestra su mansedumbre. Moisés era como Cristo. Y por esto él fue bienaventurado, dichoso de parte de Dios.

Aunque es difícil ser manso y ceder nuestros “derechos”, Dios nos promete que nos dará todo el derecho de heredar la tierra: “Porque ellos recibirán la tierra por heredad” Mateo 5:5

¡Qué privilegio! Seremos coherederos y dueños con Cristo. Reinaremos con Él debido a nuestra mansedumbre.

“Pero los mansos heredarán la tierra y se deleitarán por la abundancia de paz.” (Salmo 37:11)

¿Cómo estás desarrollando tu mansedumbre? Recuerda que la mansedumbre es un fruto del Espíritu (Gál. 5:23). Viene como resultado de nuestro sometimiento al Espíritu de Dios.

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The Beauty and Goodness of God in my Life (a post by my wife)

My wife walking with my son in Europe

My wife has been writing answers to questions for Storyworth. I have enjoyed reading what she has written. This is a brief excerpt of one that captures the beauty and goodness of God in our daily lives which includes our struggles. It makes me recall Psalm 23:6:

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” (KJV)

I agree with everything she has written, especially about our differences and how God’s beauty and goodness has made the difference in our marriage.

The most obvious way that I’ve seen beauty and goodness is in my faith, the fact that the Lord Jesus saved me from the path of destruction I was taking without Him! I cannot comprehend that The God that created close to 2 billions of Galaxies, 390,000 plant species, 1.2 millions of animal’s species and more than 108,000 millions of people, plus the planets, Earth, nature, skies, the spiritual realm, heavens, etc., has chosen me to belong to Him! And he sees me, hears me and answers my prayers. 

I have seen beauty and goodness in our marriage! My husband and I are so different. He likes sugar, I like salt. He is an introvert, I am an extrovert. I like to be with a lot of people, he prefers one or two! He is very disciplined, I am not. I am a morning person, he is not. I am a risk taker, he is not. I am impulsive, he thinks things through. He is a disciplinarian, I am more lay back parent. In spite of these differences and being told prior to getting married that we would divorce in 6 months, because of the Lord, we have seen our marriage flourish and we have a better understanding and appreciation of each other. And because of our faith (God), Lord willing, we will be celebrating our 31st anniversary May 18th this year!

I have seen His goodness and beauty in my children! In spite of our imperfect way of parenting, our son blossomed in his spiritual life when he was away in college. I see His goodness and beauty when my grandson says “I love you too Nana” or when my youngest one throws me a kiss! 

With my twelve year old daughter, I see His beauty and goodness when she talks about giving me a lot of grandchildren and worries when I get “old and wrinkled”. Or when she says she will live close to us so that I won’t have to walk a lot to see my grandkids. I see it when every morning when she gets up gives me a kiss. When she hugs me after I have disciplined her.

I see God’s goodness with my mother. He has allowed her to live until now. She is 83 years old. He has continued to provide healthcare for her. I see His goodness and beauty when He gave me Psalm 91 to pray for my sister that her life would be spared and not die from stage 3 cancer.  I see His goodness when he spared my brother from two toes to be amputated. 

More than anything I am confident (and prayerful) that His goodness will cover all my family and that He will extend His salvation to them through Jesus Christ and that He will not allow anyone of my relatives to die without being saved. That is true beauty and goodness!


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Moisés: Apasionado por la gloria de Dios – Éxodo 3:1-6

Moisés tubo padres que seguían al Dios verdadero. A los tres meses, sus padres lo pusieron en el rio en una canasta para librarlo de la matanza de niños de faraón. En un acto soberano de Dios, la hija de faraón lo vio y lo recogió del río, contrató a sus propios padres para que lo criaran (muy posible hasta los 3-4 años). Estos padres piadosos, en tan poco tiempo, sin duda tuvieron una influencia positiva en la vida de Moisés. Esto ayudó en la formación del hombre que dirigió al pueblo de Israel fuera de Egipto y le ayudó a formarse como nación. A pesar de que fue criado por sus padres, los primeros cuarenta años de Moisés carecieron de una relación íntima con el Señor Dios. Fue a los cuarenta años que tubo un encuentro directo con Dios que transformó a Moisés en un seguidor apasionado de Jehová Dios. Pero fue en sus últimos cuarenta (no sabemos mucho de los primeros 80 años) que ejemplifica las características de un hombre de Dios maduro. Sus características ejemplifican lo que cada uno de nosotros que conoce a Cristo debe ejemplificar. Sí, nosotros podemos tener las cualidades de Moisés el servidor de Dios. Moisés fue un gran profeta de Dios pero a través de nuestro Gran Profeta tenemos el mismo privilegio de conocer a Dios de la misma manera. Todos tenemos tiempo. Comencemos hoy.


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Ester: De huérfana a reina y libertadora de los judíos

Ester tiene un lugar famoso en la historia. Ella es sólo una de las dos mujeres que tienen libros de la Biblia que llevan su nombre (Rut es la otra). Y se convirtió en una libertadora de su pueblo. A través de los esfuerzos de Ester, el plan de Amán fue frustrado y las vidas de los judíos en todo el Imperio Persa fueron salvadas. ¿Qué aprendemos de ella?

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Saúl: Perdiendo lo Más Valioso – 1 Samuel 13:1-14

El caso del rey Saúl, tristemente es un ejemplo del fracaso espiritual. El perdió lo más valioso (que miraremos más adelante) ¿Qué le lo que ocasionó su desvío? En ese pasaje miramos varias razones. Estas razones le llevaron a perder lo más valioso que le afecto también como rey y como padre. Su vida nos enseña lo que debemos evitar y cómo debemos vivir en nuestra relación con Dios para no perder lo más valioso.

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Yes God!

My 12 year old daughter started a new devotional recently. It is a rather simple, but she gets to write a prayer and a sketch. I thought it would be a good change for her since she loves drawing. This one allows her to do this. We often don’t think drawing has much value when we are learning about God. But pictures reflect how we imagine ourselves, others or the world.  This one in particular relates to the topic of obedience. Interestingly, this coming Sunday I’ll be teaching on Saul. One of Saul’s primary problems was his disobedience to God. Obedience is saying yes to God and doing what He says, how he says it and when he says it. The words spoken to him through the prophet Samuel should resonate with us and encourage us to say, “Yes God!”.

But Samuel replied:

“Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
    as much as in obeying the Lord?
To obey is better than sacrifice,
    and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
    and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king.” 1 Samuel 15:22-23



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Eva: La Primera Mujer y Madre – Génesis 2-3

Eva fue la única que fue creada perfecta completamente para ser el complemento perfecto del primer hombre, Adán. Tubo la experiencia de un matrimonio perfecto con Adán y una relación perfecta con Dios hasta que fue tentada por Satanás. Al ceder a la tentación llegó a ser la primera en pecar lo cambió todo. Su pecado trajo consecuencias que afectaron no solo su relación con Dios, su relación con Adán sino que afectó a todas las mujeres de las cuáles ella es la primera Madre. Sin embargo, Dios no la abandonó. Es de su descendencia que prometió el rescate del pecado a través de un hijo, no cualquier hijo, sino el Hijo de Dios.
A través de ella aprendemos mucho que no solo aplica a las mujeres sino a cada uno de nosotros. Hay cuatro verdades que aprendemos de su vida.

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Nuestro Compromiso Unos a Otros como Iglesia

Muchos no sabemos cuál es nuestro compromiso como miembros (el ideal de Dios es que cada creyente sea miembro de una iglesia). Otros saben cuál es su compromiso, pero piensan que ser comprometidos a la iglesia es opcional. Esta mañana hablaremos de lo que envuelve nuestro compromiso en la iglesia. Ya hemos aprendido las semanas pasadas que como seguidores de Jesús, discípulos, fuimos salvos para adorarle, para vivir en comunión con nuestros hermanos y hermanas en Cristo que tenemos el mismo Padre, y para llevar a cabo la misión de compartir con otros las Buenas Noticias de salvación en Cristo. Hoy resumiremos nuestro compromiso que cada uno de nosotros debe hacer con la iglesia.

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