El Evangelio es para Todos Hechos 10: 9-11:11 primera parte

Lo que este pasaje nos enseña es que el evangelio es para todos sin importar el trasfondo étnico, cultural o lingüístico. Todos necesitan escuchar las buenas noticias de salvación. Pedro, como el líder que el Señor escogió para ayudar a fundar la iglesia, recibe una misión del Señor de una manera extraordinaria. Esta misión envuelve a un centurión romano a quien Dios se le ha manifestado para que pueda escuchar, recibir y creer en el evangelio. Esto abrirá las puertas del evangelio a todos sin importar el trasfondo étnico, cultural o lingüístico.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Psalms 43-44: A Blueprint for Times of Depression

As a deer[c] longs[d] for streams of water,
so I long[e] for you, O God!
I thirst[f] for God,
for the living God.
I say,[g] “When will I be able to go and appear in God’s presence?”[h]
I cannot eat; I weep day and night.[i]
All day long they say to me,[j] “Where is your God?”
I will remember and weep.[k]
For I was once walking along with the great throng to the temple of God,
shouting and giving thanks along with the crowd as we celebrated the holy festival.[l]
Why are you depressed,[m] O my soul?[n]
Why are you upset?[o]Wait[p] for God!
For I will again give thanks
to my God for his saving intervention.[q]  – NET Bible

The Bible isn’t a fairy tale book. It’s a book about real life. In it, especially Psalms, we have strong emotions, raw feelings expressed to God. God has feelings, strong feelings and so do we. Some of our feelings or emotions go beyond what should be, but we know this isn’t normal. Our lives are lived in an unperfected state of being. But we are not hopeless. Twice here (42:5,43:5) the psalmist tells himself “Hope in God”. He desires God as a deer pants for water. It is amid depression. He is flooding his bed with tears. What’s the cause? he is being oppressed, persecuted by people. They mock his him saying “Where is your God?” He pours out his heart to God. He recalls the good moments that he has had with Him and God’s people. He is confident he will “again praise him”. During the day he sees God’s loyal love coming. In the evening he prays with a song to the God of his life. But he also questions him about his presence and why he has forgotten him in this moment. Yet he reminds his soul (telling himself out loud) that he needs to hope in God. He is confident he will get out of this. He will again “praise Him”, his salvation and his God.

Here is a model for us in those moments when we are cast down or depressed. We must speak to ourselves the truth. In these moments our desire for God should be stronger and real. We can express our raw feelings and emotions to Him. Our songs (we have plenty to choose from as opposed to writing our own) and prayers should be more not less.

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Haciendo la obra de Dios Hechos 9:32-10:1-8

Jesús le dijo a Pedro que le daría las llaves del reino (Mateo 16:19). Esto significaba que Pedro sería una persona clave en el establecimiento de la iglesia de Cristo. Fue Pedro quien predicó a los judíos en Pentecostés en Hechos 2 y quien confirmó a los samaritanos en Hechos 8 como parte de la iglesia.

En este pasaje lo encontramos tratando con tres personas específicas: Eneas, Dorcas y Cornelio. Este último es muy significativo ya que trata por primera vez de los gentiles que reciben el Evangelio. Ahora la iglesia será establecida y Pedro no será más la figura clave en el libro de los Hechos.

 

 

 

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Thoughts on life’s temporary nature

Death of friends often makes us think on life’s temporary nature. As I was running this morning, I reflected on how fragile and temporary life is in our current “fallen state” (referring to the first man Adam through whom death came). Paul used the metaphor of a tent to refer to the temporary nature of our bodies: “For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” (NLT) – 2 Cor. 5:1

Our bodies have a tent that holds the immaterial (the essence) part of our being. It is hard for us to conceive it because we can’t see it. Of course, some believe the body is all there is, and when we die, we (our whole being) dies with it. But this is too hard to believe. Even as a child, I had a hard time believing this. Yet as believers in Christ (who said he was the resurrection and the life and those that believed in him, even if they were dead physically, they would still live), we know that when we leave these bodies, we (our immaterial being) will be at home with the Lord. (2 Cor. 5:8[1]) This is still hard for us to comprehend because we haven’t seen heaven. We are earthly creatures created from “Adamah” the Hebrew word where the word “Adam” comes from which means earth or read earth. Earth is the only environment we have experienced. As we age our bodies grow weaker and they groan. They desire not to die but to put on a new type of body, a heavenly body.[2] Knowing this does not make it easier as we face our departure from this earth because we leave behind people we care about. That’s hard for them because we are part of their lives. The divide of earthly and heavenly will someday be removed and we will get a new body (1 Corinthians 15:43-44)[3]. In the meantime, our goal is to please Him (2 Cor. 5:9).

 

[1] “We are confident, then, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord”

[2] 2 Cor. 5:2-4: “We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies. While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.” (NLT)

[3] “Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.  They are buried as natural human bodies, but they will be raised as spiritual bodies. For just as there are natural bodies, there are also spiritual bodies.” (NLT)

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Jesús Enseña sobre la Oración – Lucas 11:1-13

En esta segunda parte estudiaremos lo que Jesús enseño sobre la oración en Lucas 11:9-13.

IV. La oración persistente vv. 9-10
V. La parábola del padre e hijo sobre la bondad de Dios para sus hijos vv. 11-13
Segunda ilustración sobre la oración.

 

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Jesús Enseña sobre la Oración – Lucas 11:1-13

Es interesante que el pasaje que vamos a estudia está después de las palabras del Señor a Marta que estaba afanada con los quehaceres antes que el estar con Él. Esto es lo que sucede con nosotros. Preferimos “solucionar” los afanes antes que dedicar tiempo con el Señor en oración.
 
Cuando hablamos de un “patrón” queremos decir “modelo”, “forma”, “esquema” que podemos seguir para orar. No es un modelo para repetir constantemente como algunas denominaciones enseñan. El patrón que el Señor enseñó a sus discípulos sigue siendo el mejor modelo para la oración en cuanto al contenido de nuestra oración. Nada es superior.
 
Es el fundamento para la manera de expresarnos delante de Dios en nuestro tiempo a solas con Dios y corporalmente como su iglesia.
 
Comúnmente se le llama «El Padre Nuestro» por la manera que comienza. Debemos memorizarlo y aun repetirlo a menudo (la iglesia primitiva lo decía tres veces al día), pero no pensar que es una fórmula para que Dios nos escuche. Hebreos 4:16 nos dice que podemos acercarnos a Dios por medio de Cristo con confianza que Él nos escucha.
 
“Acerquémonos, pues, confiadamente al trono de la gracia, para alcanzar misericordia y hallar gracia para el oportuno socorro.” Hebreos 4:16
 
Pero debemos saber cómo acercarnos. Aquí es dónde aprendemos del patrón de la oración que el Señor enseño a sus discípulos. Es un patrón muy sencillo pero transformador. La iglesia antigua lo leía o decía tres veces por día. Personalmente lo he hecho seguido durante la semana por muchos años. Creo que a medida que lo hacemos somos transformados en nuestra manera de orar.
 

 

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Simple Resolutions

It’s been a while since I write “formal” resolutions. A while back I wrote here about why I don’t really do them any more. This doesn’t mean I have no plans or goals for the year. This year I created some “simple resolutions” that for the most part are already part of my life. I want to improve incrementally in these areas. I haven’t yet specified the specific increments but I will do that on paper.

Follow Jesus Closely. This sounds vague. The idea is to be close to him by seeking Him through prayer and His Word. I want to learn to be like him by reading the Gospels (I am reading them in a chronological Bible). I want to be obedient to Him. This is my foremost priority above others.

Read more (with this comes buying more books). There is always room for improvement here.  I have a fairly good amount of new books (you can see the books I am reading in Goodreads) to read (including in Spanish). I will vary the genre (biography, theology, culture, church ministry, fiction), but will mostly be non-fiction. I am also doing more audio books (currently listening to Les Miserables through libriVox. I enjoy the different voices of readers.)

Pray more. Purposely pray more during the day (I already spend early morning for prayer). Prayer’s ultimately goal is to know the Lord and this is the purpose of increasing time. I have been using Prayermate for a number of years and I have customized it by adding Psalms, Proverbs, Mark and other prayers. I also use other resources like Be Thou My Vision.

Keep running. I’ve been doing this for a long time, maybe 10. years. I run six days a week for 30- 40  mins. I plan on keeping this. This is important to maintain my body healthy.

Have fun. There are things that are enjoy doing that are fun (reading, relaxing, listening to music, dancing, joking, running, taking pictures, biking). I will keep this in mind and be intentional in having these times both by myself, with family and others.

Spend time with friends. Time spent with those we consider our friends is a good investment. I want to be more intentional in spending time with them.  I don’t have many close friends but nevertheless, there are people in my life I want to get to know more by spending time with them.

Cherish family. I want to cherish my family by valuing them in ways they feel valued. This starts with my wife and children. I know already that I will be traveling more to see them this year.

Work diligently. Diligence is a virtue that requires more than just working hard. It requires dedication and intentional focus. My job is working with people so it requires patience as well.

Eat less, eat healthier. I don’t think I eat too much but I want to develop a habit of eating less even if I can eat more. I also want to be intentional to eat healthier. There are things I know I need to eat more and eat less.

Journal/Keep track with pictures. I have been using Day One for a few years now and have upgraded to the Premium level. I often put pictures in my entries. When I write in my journal notebook, I put a picture in it. At the end of the book I save a pdf version of it.

Keep trucking. I have no idea why I wrote this. I just thought it sounded good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.

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Keeping Christmas Well

“It was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive
possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!” – Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.

This is a very interesting quote. For those of us who are followers of Jesus, this should be said of us. We should keep Christmas well because most of us have the knowledge.

How do we do this? We all have the knowledge, yet it is good to know what the basics are to keep Christmas.

To keep Christmas well, we need to understand that it isn’t just December 25th. The essence of Christmas is something we need to do every day.

Here are ABCs to keep Christmas well throughout the year.

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El Amor que Llegó para Quedarse – 1 Juan 4:7-18

Hoy aprenderemos que el amor llegó, no por un tiempo, para irse o desaparecerse. El amor llegó para quedarse. Llegó en la forma de un bebé, un niño que nació como todos nosotros, creció, murió cruelmente asesinado, pero resucitó. No se quedó acostado en la tierra como la chicharra. Resucitó. Resucitó para compartir su vida con nosotros a través de la fe en su acto sacrificial en la cruz.

Quizás tú has estado buscando el amor, el amor romántico, el amor familiar, el amor de amigos, pero no has tenido éxito. Pero quizás tienes estos tipos de amor, pero no tienes el amor de Dios. Este es al amor que perdurará aún más allá de tu existencia mortal.

¿Cómo es este amor?

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Brief review of Inhabiting Time by James K. A. Smith

Inhabiting Time by James K.A. Smith

 

It was an enjoyable book dealing not with just time in general but our time, how we live our lives in this world God has placed us. God created time and we are part of it. This is significant. We must live keeping this reality in the forefront. It is very insightful.  I related a lot with him since we are about the same age and season of life as he is. It is of course philosophical, quoting from diverse sources including his favorite “his friend” St Augustine, Kierkegaard and others. His religious (and political) bent is different than mine so I don’t agree with al his views and interpretations of Scripture (He spends some time criticizing Dispensationalists and their End times views) and of life in general.

But he is a good, thoughtful thinker. I appreciate his transparency about his life, (e.g., bouts with depression) which I relate to as well. Again, he has some really good thoughts about life and its course through time (with end notes with more books to explore).

Here are some of my favorite quotes and some of my thoughts.

“We might imagine spiritual timekeeping as an expansion of the spiritual discipline of memento mori, the disciplined habit of keeping death before us.” (12)

“Human beings dwell temporally. Time doesn’t just wash over us like rain, because our very being is temporally porous. To be temporal is to be the sort of creature who absorbs time and its effects. A rolling stone might carry no moss, but a temporal human being picks up and carries an entire history as they roll through a lifetime.” (27)

“William Faulkner’s insight: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past. Our past is not what we’ve left behind; it’s what we carry. It’s like we’ve been handed a massive ring of jangling keys. Some of them unlock possible futures. Some of them have enchained our neighbors. We are thrown into the situation of trying to discern which is which. We are called to live forward, given our history, bearing both its possibilities and its entanglements. Faithfulness is not loyalty to a past but answering a call to shalom given (and despite) our past.” (33)

We are not victims of time, we are part of time. Time carries history or history time and we carry with it with us as we live our lives. We are absorbing the events that happen in our times.

“God does not want to undo our pasts; nor does he want us to nostalgically dwell in our pasts; God’s grace goes back to fetch our pasts for the sake of the future.” (63)

“The “I” is saved only if this me with this bodily history rises to new life. If all that I’ve lived through was simply erased by grace, then “I” am lost rather than redeemed. If all that I’ve become and learned and acquired and experienced was just overwhelmed and made null by grace, then salvation would be an obliteration rather than redemption.” (64)

“The jagged line that is your story tracks the path of God’s companionship and care. Who, indeed, can straighten what God has made crooked? And why would you wish it were straighter? Look what God has done: that crooked line is one he drew with you.” (72)

These three quotes relate to our past, especially that which has hurt us. God uses all of it “for the sake of the future”.  Who we are is made up of al these experiences and God makes out of this something.

“Historical proximity is not the same as an encounter with the God who arrives in history”(81).

“Learning to live with, even celebrate, the transitory is a mark of Christian timekeeping, a way of settling into our creaturehood and resting in our mortality.”(97)

“When you understand that life is a vapor and appreciate that the seasons of life are both expected and transitory, you’re primed to inhabit them with the proper expectations: to know when you are and dwell in that now, but in such a way that you recognize this too shall pass.” (115)

“”Taking the time” is a way of letting the season shape us, and ultimately there is a trust that God’s providential and caring hand is not only behind the season but holding us through it.”(127)

God is actively involved in our lives. We need to be aware of our temporary nature in this planet but also that God is part of every season we go through.

“God’s nearness looks and feels different depending on the season you’re in. You will also find that Scripture sounds different, depending on your season.” (141)

“Because time is not flat, God doesn’t always sound the same. Of course his Word endures, just as the score for Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony is “set.” But that doesn’t mean we don’t hear it differently, that it doesn’t mean anew. This is why repeated listening is a gift.” (141)

“A life lived with God through time is a period of incubation in which the Spirit of God is creating the capacity in us to hear the same Word anew and to make the Word echo afresh in the new crevices in our heart. ” (143)

I agree with this. As I have lived my life as Christian, “God’s nearness looks and feels different” and even “Scripture sounds different.”  This is part of the growth towards being in the likeness of Christ. It is hard to determine progress because we can’t really see how it all fits together. But we will in the end when the Lord comes back for us. What should be true is that we are experiencing God’s presence each step of the way.

“The God who saves is a mosaic artist who takes the broken fragments of our history and does a new thing: he creates a work of art in which that history is reframed, reconfigured, taken up, and reworked such that the mosaic could only be what it is with that history. The consummation of time is not the erasure of history. The end of all things is a “taking up,” not a destruction. “Time was not made for death but for eternity.”“

Amen to this!

 

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