Saturday, January 19, 2013

Good Morning San Vicente

Just Another Day In My Life

I awoke at 6:35 A. M., did my early morning prayers and then read chapter six of Daniel.  A fun-filled chapter with a lot of activity in it.  Got dressed and ate a bowl of oat cereal with vanilla soy milk.  Delicious.  Went outside in the smokey cold and fed the dogs and cats while I tried not to breath in all the fumes from the neighbor's morning trash burn.   Coming back in where it was much warmer, I got a pleading call from one of the young Bible students that lives here in San Vicente, her computer was blocked and she asked if I could help her.  She said that she was trying to give a password to a personal file because she wanted to keep her information private but instead of doing that, she had accidentally blocked the whole system.  And then, she immediately forgot the password she had just thought up.  So, I went over to her place and from the shallow depths of my very limited knowledge I tried everything I could to remove the password but all of my attempts were unsuccessful.  So, I drove back home and went on-line to get some professional help from those that know a whole lot more about computers than I do.  Shortly, I found a couple of sites that offered me a few things to try.  So then, I drove back over to her house.  After about a half hour or so, when the tricks I learned didn't work, we decided to pray and right after that God placed the forgotten password back in her mind.  Carefully typing in the password, the screen opened up, the password worked!  The system was then unlocked and ready for use.

                                                      Sorting the gifts and the baby clothes

When I got back home, I instantly got another call from a friend who works at an OXXO store in town.  It's a small grocery store, like a Circle K or 7 Eleven.  Earlier in the morning seems that someone had moved the store's big ice machine and also unplugged it.  Not only was the programming lost, the move itself had broken the water inlet tube and the store's warehouse was flooded.  PVC tubing is easy to fix, once you find out where the water main is located, shut it off and get everything dried, then the repair job is a piece of cake.  The machine's visual display screen was in English, for that reason I got called in the first place, as I am bilingual.  Wading through the ankle deep water, I quickly read everything I could find about the controls, programming and settings of the machine.  All in the Queen's English.  Even with everything being written in English, it was still confusing to me.  So, I just started pushing buttons.  It always seemed to work for Moe, Larry & Curly.  And, by doing that, I started to be able to walk my way through the screen's menu and found several things that I figured I should try.  After a long while of pushing and reading and resetting and such, the machine was finally reset and would automatically restart itself and return to prior programming in half an hour.  And, in the process, I discovered that I was able to change the screen's language from English to Spanish.  Of course, before I left, I advised my friend and the other employees to not unplug the machine and not to move it without unhooking the water pipes, first.

                                                         Lining up for the toys and candy

Then I drove back home and got cleaned up and went to Ensenada, first to visit a friend in the hospital who is suffering with a parasitic infection.  He's doing much better but is still weak.  Since he hasn't worked in more than a week, his wife and children were without food.  So, I loaded them up in my truck and we went to the local Calimax grocery store and got them some food, drinking water, diapers and clothes washing supplies.  Then, I drove them home and quickly drove myself to the Bible school in El Zorrillo.

                                        Gabriel and Charo pass out the gifts and baby clothes

Being a Thursday, it was my night to teach, my subject was the second chapter from the book of Jonah, one of my favorites, and it went well.  After class, we had cupcakes and punch, made by yours truly, the day before.  Plus, we divided the wonderfully donated baby clothes among the new moms or those that would soon be moms.  They were very happy and really grateful for the special gifts.

                               Everyone is thankful for the blessings the Lord sent through you

Afterwards, about nine that night, I drove the hour home, thanking God for helping me through another day at Rancho Santa Fe Mexico Mission.  When I got back I noticed I was hungry so I ate a cheese sandwich with a glass of vanilla soy milk and crawled into my waiting bed.   I said my prayers and turned on the TV, and, much to my great enjoyment, they were showing a Laurel and Hardy short, in Spanish, and it was just starting, La Vida Nocturna, (The Night Life).  

                                          Samuel is happy with his brightly colored glow-worm

When I finally shut the set off and closed my eyes, I knew that tomorrow would probably be just about the same as this today.  And, to no one's surprise, it was.

                                                Here I am, playing guitar and singing, as usual

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Baptizing New Believers

"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," Matthew 28:19-20.
The performance of baptism in water, of and by itself, does not wash away our sins, 1 Peter 3:21.  The first step towards baptism is the conversion of the heart and mind, as in the last moments of the thief on the cross, who was being crucified next to Jesus.  He had no chance to come down from the cross to be baptized, Luke 23:43.  But, he believed in Jesus and was therewith saved.  Baptism is an important moment in the life of a believer, but Salvation is not based on works, but on a relationship based on faith in Jesus, the Christ, Ephesians 2:8-9.  However, water baptism, is an intentional act to stand for the spiritual joining together with Jesus, that does save us, Galatians 3:27.  Public baptism is the outward expression of an inward experience of the soul´s desire to serve God and to obey the teachings of Jesus.  With faith the believer makes a steadfast decision to live a life based upon the Bible´s teachings and to carry out a right relationship with God, in which we are forgiven of our sins and have a conscience of fellowship with Jesus, our Lord and Savior.
When carried out as an act of obedience, based upon faith in Jesus, Acts 2:36-39, water baptism augments our faith, in a very positive way, James 2:17.  It also serves as an evidence of our repentance and spiritual alliance with Jesus.  As the Scriptures say, This water baptism symbolizes that you are now rescued, not by the removal of dirt from the body, but by baptism, you declare your pledge of living a life with a good conscience toward God, 1 Peter 3:21, (Paraphrased Version).  Given the chance, every individual who accepts Jesus as his or her personal Lord and Savior, should observe the Lord's example and be baptized in water.

In this little video, men at a local drug and alcohol rehab center are lining up to be baptized.  Frequent base visitor and mission friend, Stephen Gould, is leading the baptismal service and is always happy to get in the water with the guys and lead them in a prayer before being baptized.  We hold baptismal services usually four times a year or when anybody would like us to help them in this way, we are always receptive, eager and delighted to lend a hand.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Faith With Works Is Enough

Written to an agnostic-atheist:

The Bible clearly describes faith and tells us what it is.  Sorry, you don’t know what having faith in God is or what it means to have faith in God.  I am pretty sure that you know not to argue just to argue, ‘cause that will never get you anywhere in life.  In my life, I have discovered that most people, not all and perhaps not you, do that, to hide behind walls of ignorance because they refuse to try and understand anything outside of what they choose to know.  Now, I didn’t say that you are doing this.  But, do try to understand that none of us is the most learned being on the planet, certainly not me anyway.  If you learned everything you wanted to know about life at your age, that I would find interesting, and maybe just a tad-bit sad.  But, since I am not sure that you understand the meaning of the word faith, as I used the word with the other person, I’ll give you a tiny, quick and rapid-fire lesson.  If I may.

Is my faith in God, alone, enough?  Yes and no.  I’ll explain.  Firstly, faith in God has to be enough cause I can’t work my way to God.  But if I have faith in God, I will want to obey Him.  The result of having faith in God is that my actions will demonstrate that I believe in God.  If I bake a cake, starting from scratch, and I still do, I must have all the needed ingredients before I get started.  Once properly mixed and placed in the oven, in about 45 minutes, I will have a cake.  That was faith in action which produced a good result, my cake, only no chocolate for me, please.  Secondly, faith in God isn’t just knowledge about God, knowing that a god-creature exists out there, somewhere in the Universe, it’s being intelligently wise with that knowledge.  Love, joy and peace, mercy and grace are things that He uses to guide me to do good works.  I feel like I am serving Him when I serve others.  All of these godly attributes, the grace, mercy, love, joy, ETC., in our lives and in action, would mean that groups like the KKK, Nazis and certain churches, would have never existed.  They may claim a religious base, but certainly calling them godly or Christian is a bit much.  These beautiful characteristics that I mentioned, in action, visible in all our lives, in my life together with my faith, are certainly enough, but as I said, they cannot remain motionless, being just pretty words.  They are hard working words, always active words.

Real faith mixed with obedience to God and positive and good actions towards others is faith in action, and in expression.  Belief, by itself, is just passive, only a dead word, lacking in itself, unless we actively express our faith, simple belief is useless.  We must put heart, soul, body and mind into action, as our expression, life-style, if you like, and transfer our beliefs into one package of working faith that we, for and towards God, put into action.  Brainpower, soul and heart must act upon faith in a resourceful, all-inclusive way.  When we put our faith in God in action, faith is certainly enough. 

So, friends, I really hope this helped you.  I could write you a book on faith, thousands already have, the subject is very, very big, as is everything concerning God. 

Right now, I am going to be off the computer probably for the rest of today, time to set-up things for church, and then maybe tomorrow, as I go to Ensenada tomorrow to speak at a few churches and do a couple of radio programs. 

Romans 12:3, tells us that God gave every human the proper amount of faith to be able to believe in Him, “For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.”

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Perhaps, This Is Interesting

If I am not misguided, you declared your religious views as, 'naturalism.'  If I am off beam, please, forgive me and, please, correct me.  And, if not a naturist, this might help you understand what a 'naturalist' believes.  Anyway it is, then people, enjoy the ride along with me.  I ask this of you with the desire to get to know more about you since we are family.  I don't know a whole lot about much of the younger family members as I have lived in Mexico for most of the last thirty years. 
As I see it, in my studies, I see this, naturist opinion as the belief that the only thing that exists in the Universe is physical, material matter, which denies the existence of anything spiritual.  No angels, no knowable life-force and certainly, no type of gods.  Is that right?  It is believed then, as I understand it, by 'naturalists,' that humans have no soul, no inner-self.  Thereby meaning, that all living beings are just a bunch of lifeless neurons, certain chemical compounds, and a huge cosmic mishap and the like.  Of course, then, under this category of credence, there could also be no Living, Purposeful Creator; as naturists just follow evolution as the creative force in the entire Universe.  Which, if I am not wrong, means that such human experiences like pain, pleasure, appreciation of beauty, art and music and a reality of one's own being, could not really be authentic.  These, and other, 'mystical-type' things, just become some form of physiological reaction, bringing one to find no reason to wonder about, really, anything.

Please, if I am wrong, let me know.  Being as I see it, the values of naturalism leads to several shortened ways of assessment about the world.  One of the most important concerns is the philosophy of telos, or purpose.  Does a kitchen knife have purpose?  Or, does the user of the knife have purpose?  What give us purpose or where does it come from, if it exists?  Naturism promotes the idea that humans are not used by higher powers for assorted and enigmatic reasons.  Therefore, lacking such agents or AGENT or direction or Director, we must decide our own purposes.  As you probably already know, the Christian view embraces the knowledge that the purpose of all things was given to them by a Higher Authority.  (Just like Hebrew National All-Beef Franks)  Since naturalism explains that there is no higher authority, no deity, divine or holy being, it therewith assume that Humankind, all of creation, and every individual thing in it has no aim or real objective in life.  (Which, to me, seems very dark, gloomy and totally depressing.  Nevertheless, a few out there do hold fast to this philosophy.)

Uncaused-evolution is what the majority of naturalists believe, though, not all.  Nevertheless, both sides support the idea of everything having no real purpose.  Yet, they can never really put in plain words how they actually arrived at that murky theory.  Naturalists, and most atheists, believe that the theory of evolution explains how all life on Earth began without the work of a supernatural element being involved.  Yet, most evolutionists try to place at least a small sense of purpose to our otherwise dead existence while many naturists don’t even bother to do that.  As an alternative to Mankind having an existential, sacred purpose, evolution proposes that it is only our genes which have a function and that this function is to simply propagate and multiply.  However, as I see it, this is not a genuine purpose.  If it was, then why worry about fidelity in marriage, getting married, having families and things of that nature?  The survival and spreading of our genes would be more important than any of these other, emotional and feeling-oriented types of restrictions.  Away with them all!  The rationale of this in material form is, the survival-of-the-fittest.  Which, of course, then become the number one element and teaching of evolution.  Everybody must get pregnant and have lots of babies.  The strongest of these will survive.  The others?  Who cares?

Naturalism, as I understand it, asserts that there is no soul, no intellect, and no identity, and I think it also teaches that there is no preference or choice.  Like the hurricane that is caused by the flutter of a butterfly's wings.  Every whim we have, every accomplishment we make, every word we say is determined by the dealings that came beforehand.  If we are controlled by our genes' drive to breed, then we are incapable of choosing any of our ideas, our view of the world, or our favorite color or flavor of candy.  This defeatist attitude becomes a hindrance in the sphere of moral principles.  If our actions are not controlled by our brains or souls, one must ask the questions, are lawbreakers answerable for their wrongdoing?  This line of thinking also reveals the two-facedness of evolutionists who spew wrath on Creationists; if previous measures establish our beliefs, how can Christians be blamed for believing in God?

It is pretty much spot on that our actions and beliefs are, for the most part, influenced by events we have been exposed to.  That's why our God encourages us to contemplate on His Word, Deuteronomy 11:18, “Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Colossians 3:2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  The Bible also teaches that we have a distinct soul and spirit, Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active.  Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart,”  And, that Mankind has a specific purpose, Genesis 1:26-31,“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.  And God blessed them.  And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”  And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit.  You shall have them for food.  And to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”  And it was so.  And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good.  And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”

In the end, someone once wrote to me in a letter, ‘naturalism is just another fancy way to deny the existence of God.’

So, if I made some grievous error along the way, please, take the time to let me know.  Thank you.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Time To Hate Is Long Gone

To me, it's really mind-blowing how much we still take notice of the Nazis, the KKK, and those that so hate Christians, God, the Bible and even Jesus, the Christ.  Even though their numbers are tiny and their organizations and ranks are virtually ineffective, made up of mostly misfits and social losers, we still worry about them and their undersized and deteriorating off-putting expressions of odium.  That being the case, these hate-mongers always seem to find a place to post their spew, hoist their placards and disseminate their views, even if at a peaceful place, like my FACEBOOK Wall.

This is no surprise, because what they are doing, and it should shock no one to find out what they are doing, is promoting cultural strife every time they can.  Now, I am all for free speech and that right comes directly from the United States Constitution.  And I agree with that right.  But, when we advance hateful ideas and crusade against certain sectors of society, it’s wrong and not gainful speech on any level.  

 The usual barefaced campaign strategy of your ordinary atheistic dissenter seems to be the use of Bible texts themselves but used way out of context.  To promote their reckless and sadly laughable ideas about the Bible, God, Jesus and His followers, that’s what they have to do.  However, by so doing, they make themselves easily and openly known, at least to anyone who actually has studied the Bible and knows what it really says, what it puts forward and how it all fits so nicely together.  They think that these unfounded attacks make them appear smart.  But, in their lines, one just follows the biased and baseless criticism made by one detractor and then another opponent and so on and so on, never knowing that the Bible itself nips their uneducated remarks right to the bud.  And, as one could easily guess, almost none of them has ever read The Good Book for themselves.  Almost their entire message is, ‘Everybody who doesn't agree with them should be hated, is stupid and is harming the free world at large and should be instantaneously stopped.’  

There are plenty of atheists who shout this type of anti-Christian ‘racism,’ on a daily basis.  Grievance mongers, that work persistently to bring back racial hatred based upon someone’s spiritual beliefs because it's good for fund raising and gives them a reason to justify their existence.  Fortunately, to date, they have never created anything effective and it is doubtful they ever will.

For anyone that has ever posted a hate-oriented, anti-God or anti-Christian post on my wall, here are a few words that best describe you, in my eyes, at least:

“objectionable, abominable (man), accursed, appalling, bitter tasting, shameful, catty but not kitty, confounded, confused and cursed, contemptible, despiteful, detestable, disgusting, execrable, unfriendly, fetid, vulgar, monstrous, ghastly, iniquitous, impossible, nasty, malicious, hurtful, cruel, obnoxious, abusive, pestiferous, nauseating, antagonistic, stomach-turning, angry, revolting, shuddersome, unkind, totally not cool, wildly undesirable, inhumanly vicious, low and just plain bad.”

Anyone who admires someone, or looks up to someone, or relates to someone, that has posted hateful images and posts on this page, is just as guilty as the poster. 

Hate the sin but not the sinner.  God still loves you and so do I.  But, I don’t want haters to hang around my wall at all.

I don’t mind if people don’t agree with me, that’s their right.  But, if they are haters, please, go elsewhere to promote your ideas and indoctrinate your followers.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Perhaps, during the last year we all faced some events that caused some tears.  For that, I am truly sorry.  It’s never fun to be in pain, at any time or on any level.  Now here comes the New Year and I earnestly pray that it will bring us all more cheers than tears.  And, I ask that as much as we can, let us forget the past, because the future is now here; Let us say Happy New Year to everyone we meet and mean it from the bottom of our hearts.  Ring out the old, ring in the NEW!  And, any time you can, give one of the warmest hugs you’ve ever given.  Because, there are just way too many people that need to be hugged that aren’t getting their fair share of them.  In this Holiday Season, let your love so shine that people can see your faith in your actions and give thanks to God that they know you and that you are part of their lives.  Even if that is only for a moment in time.  Smile often, even while running your daily chores.  Try to make the world a happier place because God still has you in it.  There are so many ways we can joyfully greet one another, saying Happy New Year, is just the beginning.  Each moment of every day in the New Year, has its own value and so do you.  In the early hours of the day, bring hope with you where ever you go.  In the afternoon, bring faith with you.  And, every evening, bring love with you.  Do this, so that at night, yourself, and others can rest in hope knowing that faith still exists and that love conquers all.  May God Bless Us All and Give Us All a Very Blessed and HAPPY NEW YEAR, 2013.  “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,” 1 Corinthians 13:13.