Monday, June 20, 2011

Plus-Minus Principle

Brother


Mahatma Gandhi was right when he said that when one gets famous someone is 
despised. It is more clearer in the bible when John the Baptist once d said that 

Christ must increase and he must decrease. A man of God must be under to Him who 

called him, not putting his feet on the shoes of His Master and Lord. Only that 
way His Lord is clearly seen while his sent is hidden. When one get rich in 
money, surely one is robbed or defrauded, when one is deceived, one is sure a 
victim of deception. When one is lifted up then one is also humiliated. God and 
covetousness cannot sit together in one throne at the same time, a liar cannot 
go with honest people then accomplish a common goal. Materialism cannot walk in 
the path of Morality, either the one will hate the other to accomplish his goal. 

When a wicked man rule the people mourn, but when a righteous man rule, someone 
is punished.

There is no victory without a damage, there must be pain and perils in going to 
glory and greatness. One must die in order for many to live, one must be cursed, 

for many to be freed upon. Barrabas must be freed so that Christ may die. A 
nation hungry for freedom, must need a hero to get that nation out from bondage. 

One cannot be an impartial and partial man at the same time, One cannot be a 
lover of Truth and an inventor of lies at the same time. But human experience 
and history will teach us that many people sides with the abusers publicly or 
secretly, while only few are with the abused, and these few are not even heard 
or listened to by people concerned. But while many are the abusers, they 
themselves are not at peace going along with their co-abusers fellows.


If we look at people in the corporate world, all of them have one in common, to 
accumulate more money or gain. But they are not at peace to each other, they 
always at doubt against the other, for a lover of money cannot allow to be out 
witted upon from his co-lover of money partners. People in money accumulations 
are the most afraid fellows to die, they are also the less comforted and less 
convenient people. They are almost awake 24 hours a day just to invent more 
efficient and innovative ways in multiplying their wealth. But while they are 
too preoccupied to get more wealth, other important parts of their lives are 
being sacrificed or neglected, such as their health, their loved one's and most 
especially so their remembrance to their Creator and Maker. It is true that in 
this life you can have your gain and also your bankruptcy, but how terrible if 
one is bankcrupt on things that are far essential than the things of this life.

But to those few who would prefer to sacrifice material things in favor of 
eternal things, they are at peace going along with their peers, for they also 
have one in common. They treat material things as tools to get the things that 
remain forever. They believe that coveting the things of God while sacrificing 
material things is the first and foremost mission or goal while living in this 
not so secured and full of perils kind of living. There is no such thing as 
plus-plus-plus factor in this life, one is to embraced the other must be left 
aside. As the saying goes this way, when we were yet young, we sacrifice our 
health to get wealth, but when we get old, we spent our wealth to recover our 
health. We just live here to die, there is no profit under the sun.

Look at the people of the world now, the love of many gets colder and colder, 
but their vices and pleasures gets hotter and hotter. The forests, rivers, and 
seas are deluded and polluted, but civilization and technology gets higher and 
higher. Almost daily new drugs or medicines are discovered, but new diseases are 

also coming in to destroy lives. That is practically the plus-minus factor 
principle, no one is exempted to this principle. Telecommunication apparatus are 

newly discovered and transportation technology have come to a higher level of 
discoveries, but life span of man gets shorter and shorter.

In this life all is vanity, vanity of all vanities, this life is just a bridge 
to reach the real and true life. A life free from death, defeat, perils or 
nakedness. Start crossing now this bridge while there is time and energy to 
spend, before you will say this life was not worth living for. Before your 
health fail and your eyes get dim and your ears get deaf, remember now your 
Creator, for there is no works or wisdom in the grave where man is going to 
descend permanently.

Referenced books in the bible: The books of Job and Ecclesiastes.


by Bro Alberto Esplago

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Hearts of the Fathers and the Children

Malachi 4:1-6  For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.  (2)  But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.  (3)  And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the LORD of hosts.  (4)  Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.  (5)  Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD:  (6)  And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse. 

My dad is the hardest worker I  know. While growing up, he worked 2 and sometimes 3 jobs just to support his wife and 5 children. I get my work ethic from him. He was dependable and always at his jobs. I don't ever remember my dad being home for a sick day. I remember my mom piling us up in the old Station wagon ,on many occasions, and we would travel to our Dad's job to bring him that day's supper. It was sad , growing up, that my dad was always at work. We did not get to really know him very well. Oh he would try to do stuff with us on the weekends, and I will forever cherish those moments. Those moments of football playing, wrestling on the ground, and just sitting around watching TV with my dad. My dad did not grow up with a presence of a father in his life. His dad divorced his mom and remarried. He had another family that he spent time with but never had a relationship with my dad and his brother. This caused Dad to struggle at times being a father to us children, but he fought hard to be the best Dad he could be. My dad would always hug us and kiss us on the forehead. I always remember my dad's kiss on the forehead. I guess it was an Italian thing, but it is something that sticks with you. I always tried to do the same with my children and still do.

My mom and dad divorced when I was 15. Mom and I moved down to Florida while Dad and my two youngest siblings stayed in South Carolina. I did not have my Dad during my teenage years when I needed him the most. We would talk on the phone but I could never really tell him how I felt. It was not his fault or anyone's fault. It was just how I felt at the time. I always felt like my mom and dad divorced because of me. I was the only Christian in my household at the time of their divorce, although they both claimed to be Christians, they would later admit that Jesus was not in them. I remember giving them both advice on how to have a marriage for God and it falling on death ears.  I use to feel like I failed them both, and it was my fault they could  not stay together. There is a pain that children go through when their two parents divorce. Their whole world comes crashing at the time and their security is broken. If you have never been through it; you can never fully understand. For me the absence of my Dad in my  teenage years turned me closer to my heavenly Father. My life with my Heavenly Dad grew immensely and profoundly. Daddy God filled in the gaps of my life, and I am forever grateful. I am the man I am today because of my Dad and my heavenly Dad. Plus the many male mentors and influences that the Lord has brought to my life over the years like Glenn Barry ( my spiritual dad at the time),Ron Bolin ( my Youth Pastor whom I wish I could find), Randy Honeycut, ), Leon Bible( my old Pastor and teacher), Bobby Taylor ( Rob Taylor's Dad),Micah Baldwin ( my Boss ), Pappy Grimes ( my Drill Sargent in boot camp), Sheldon( wonderful Christian brother in San Antonio who took me to church), Fernando Impang, Ulyses Carnice, Philbert Herinques ( my apostle friend who is now with the Lord. I miss him so much. He truly was a great friend and brother in the Lord. [ crying now]) and many more past, present and future.

Right now my dad does not speak to me for whatever reason. I have tried to talk with him. All I can get from him are texts on the phone. Hey I take what I can get. I know it will change and God will restore.  I never wanted to be one of those people who used their up bringing as a cop out to sin. I have ministered to countless of people over the years who have these cop outs in life. " My dad did not talk to me growing up so that is why I sleep around with other women." " Mom and dad made me go to church that is why I don't go now." " My parents use to make me eat my veggies so that is why I watch porn on the internet."  I know these are silly sounding but I have heard these cop outs many times. Why do we focus on the wrong that people do to us or thing they do to us?  My parents did not beat me nor do any thing bad to us siblings, but they were not the best parents in the world. They made mistakes. Mom would make us stay outside as kids and many times lock the screen door. Something I laugh at now. Dad would often be seen as the enforcer growing up because Mom did not like to correct us as children. Dad would come home and be the judge, juror and executioner. I have bad memories but I CHOOSE to allow the good and the bad to shape my character in life.You know what? The bad memories are a part of who we are as well. It is what you do with it that matters the most. I also always try to put my feet in my mom and dad's shoes and look at things with a different perspective. I know they did not have a great up bringing and they did the best they could with us children. This is what the Lord is doing in this hour. He is turning the hearts of the children to their parents.

There is an absence of fathers today both in the natural and spiritual realm. We all need that fatherly influence. That is why mentors and spiritual fathers are so important in the life of the church. The passage above speaks of the Last Days. and what the Lord is going to do in this hour. I believe the Lord is calling the family to reunite and to stand firmer together like never before. The days are getting harder and the world of sin is growing at a faster pace. It will be the heart of the fathers being imparted to the children which will allow the message of Christ to spread further throughout the nations. This a natural and a spiritual truth that we must hold onto. God is calling old men to be mentors to the younger. He is calling for fathers to reach out to their children and for the children to reach out to their parents.  This MESSAGE is so important for the world to hear. It is life changing, and it is powerful.  There is a power which comes through fathering in the  natural and the spiritual.

As leaders within the body of Christ, we need to be open to the concept of spiritual fathering young men and women in faith. We should be willing to teach them the values of the Gospel and the values of relationships among each other. We are called to give them foundative truths and to help direct them to their destinies in God. This type of spiritual fathering takes time and commitment. It is costly but the reward is worth it. We get to produce sons and daughters of the faith which seek whole heartedly for the things of God. Paul the Apostle wrote to the church of Corinth this spiritual truth.

1Corinthians 4:15  For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel.

What are we birthing through and for the gospel?  As leaders, what are we producing for the kingdom? Are we willing to take the Gospel to the next level in our lives?

Christ is returning whether the world believes it to be true or not. Truth does not stop being truth just because you don't follow it anymore. It still carries on. The awakening of natural and spiritual fathering is not a new concept but the Lord is renewing it within our hearts for such a time as this. We must be about our Father's business. Who are we influencing? Who are we life changing? Paul said he birthed the gospel among the Corinthian Christians. He took spiritual fathering very seriously. The presenting of the Gospel takes on a greater impact when done through Holy Spirit. It is time to change the way we present the gospel and mentor others.  There is a spiritual leading that our God is calling us too. He is calling us to produce memories that are embedded in the ones we lead.  I am excited for what our Lord is doing in this hour. May he get all the Glory and the honor.

Blessings,

Johnny



Monday, June 13, 2011

White-Washed Tombs

Matthew 23:27-28  "How horrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees! You hypocrites! You are like whitewashed graves that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of dead people's bones and every kind of impurity.  (28)  So on the outside you look as though you have God's approval, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

The bible does out line a STANDARD of conduct of how believers should act and behave. Unfortunately, many denominations and churches around the world are like the Pharisees. They make up and follow not the STANDARD of God but made up Religious do's and don't's.

Jesus called the Scribes and the Pharisees hypocrites and compared them to a bunch of Whitewashed tombs. Now Jesus could blurt such powerful words out because He lived the Word and was the Word.  Only when you walk in the truth can you reveal the world of hypocrisy to others. Jesus knew that the Pharisees where bound up in their own made up doctrine and beliefs. They had taken the word of God and turned it into something religious and binding.

The Pharisees would dress up the Tombs of the prophets and famous leaders. The fancier the tomb the more popular and prestigious the person in it. Only the rich and well off were buried in the nicest tombs. No matter how much you dress up a tomb on the outside; lying on the inside are still dead, decomposing bodies.

I have been blessed enough to pastor two churches thus far in my life time. Through all the taped messages and the written sermons , there was a central theme. " Jesus desires a relationship with us not our religious do's and don't's." When we have a true relationship with Christ His standards become flowing out of our lives. We have taught our family and church families this overwhelming truth. God is not moved by our man-made religious ceremonies. He is moved by our open heart to Him and our desire to know Him deeply. Out of our relationship with Him comes holiness and righteous living. If we are passionately following Jesus then our hearts are being convicted and our lives are changing.

Many declare their holiness or righteousness by the religious acts they perform.  Then those acts are pressured and placed on others. God's word is clear on what is right and what is wrong. We need not to add to it. The Pharisees had a man-made rule of washing their hands before a meal. They noticed that Jesus' disciples did not perform this religious act. They questioned Jesus on it in hopes of trying to point out some kind of sin.

Matthew 15:1-2  Then some Pharisees and scribes came from Jerusalem to Jesus. They asked,  (2)  "Why do your disciples break the traditions of our ancestors? They do not wash their hands before they eat."




It was their tradition to wash their hands and this ritual became a part of their walk before God. God never told them to do such a thing. He never wanted their rituals but their hearts.



Going to church does not make you an automatic Christian. Just like standing in the middle of a garage does not make you a sports car or swimming in the ocean does not make you a dolphin. Wearing a suit and a tie to Sunday morning services does not make you a holy believer or wearing a long dress past your ankles does not make you a holy woman. Reading your bible for 8 hours a day or praying for 6 hours a day does not make you a super christian either. Mankind puts such stipulations on the things of God. Yes, we should pray, yes we should read his word, and yes we should gather together to worship our Lord, but those things are just religious acts unless our heart is in the right place.

This was what Jesus was pointing out. He was showing the Pharisees a truth. They had a heart condition.  Their religious acts and man-made traditions caused them to stray away from their true God.


The disciples had something different than what the Pharisees had; they had a true relationship with their Savior. They had a sense of humility, and they passionately wanted more of their Lord in their lives. This is the true Christian walk. Nothing I do on the outside of my life will put me in right standings with my  God. It is what I do on the inside of my life that my Lord looks at the most.


For instance, I serve the Lord not because I know it is the right Christian thing to do. I serve the Lord because He lives in me and I have a relationship with Him. I know Him and He knows me. Out of my love and passion for my Lord comes my ministry and my service to Him. To do those things without Him are just religious acts. I witness because of Him. I pray for people because of Him. I travel to different countries because of Him. I love because of Him. His love is deeply planted within me and it pours out to others.  This is the Christian walk! This is the Message of Jesus my Savior and your savior!


God is not looking for painted up Christians but believers who are willing to surrender all for and to Him. Believers who desire not religious acts or ceremonies but who desire Him and His ways. I personally don't want to be a white-washed Tomb. How about you?


blessings.






Monday, June 6, 2011

Surrounding yourself with the Right kind of voices

1 Kings 11:26  There was also Jeroboam, who was the son of Nebat and an EphrathiteZeredah. His mother Zeruah was a widow. He was one of Solomon's officers, but he rebelled against the king. from
1 Kings 11:42-43  The length of Solomon's reign in Jerusalem over all Israel was 40 years.  (43)  Solomon lay down in death with his ancestors and was buried in the City of David. His son Rehoboam succeeded him as king.
1 Kings 12:1-14  Rehoboam went to Shechem because all Israel had gone to Shechem to make him king.  (2)  Jeroboam (Nebat's son) was still in Egypt, where he had fled from King Solomon. When he heard about Rehoboam, he returned from Egypt.  (3)  Israel sent for Jeroboam and invited him back. Jeroboam and the entire assembly of Israel went to speak to Rehoboam. They said,  (4)  "Your father made us carry a heavy burden. Reduce the hard work and lighten the heavy burden he put on us, and we will serve you."  (5)  He said to them, "Leave and come back the day after tomorrow." So the people left.  (6)  King Rehoboam sought advice from the older leaders who had served his father Solomon while he was still alive. He asked, "What do you advise? How should I respond to these people?"  (7)  They told him, "If you will serve these people today, humble yourself, and speak gently, then they will always be your servants."  (8)  But he ignored the advice the older leaders gave him. He sought advice from the young men who had grown up with him and were serving him.  (9)  He asked them, "What is your advice? How should we respond to these people who are asking me to lighten the burden my father put on them?"  (10)  The young men who had grown up with him answered, "This is what you should tell them: 'My little finger is heavier than my father's whole body.  (11)  If my father put a heavy burden on you, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions.'"  (12)  So Jeroboam and all the people came back to Rehoboam two days later, as the king had instructed them.  (13)  The king answered the people harshly. He ignored the advice the older leaders gave him.  (14)  He spoke to them as the young men advised. He said, "If my father made your burden heavy, I will add to it. If my father punished you with whips, I will punish you with scorpions."
1 Kings 12:20  When all Israel heard that Jeroboam had returned, they sent men to invite him to the assembly. They made him king of all Israel. Only the tribe of Judah remained loyal to David's dynasty.


Read the passages above to get the summary of what I am about to speak.

As leaders and as people of God , we have to be careful with who we surround ourselves with. There are many voices in this world. The voice of God and righteousness. The voice of darkness and deceit and the personal voice within. All play a role in our lives and all are consistent in nature.

King Solomon had rebelled against his God and started to worship false images . Although it is believed that he repented before His death. ( I.E. the book of Ecclesiastes); his arrogance and sin was more well known. After his death, his son Rehoboam became the next succeeded King over all of Israel.  Sometimes greatness is built within you and sometimes it is thrust upon you. For Rehoboam, greatness was thrust upon him, and he failed to rise to it's expectation.

King Solomon had a rebellious servant name Jeroboam. This servant would become a thorn in the side of King Rehoboam in the future. Because of Solomon's sin and unrepentive heart; the Lord had told him that the nation of Israel would split. The choices that Solomon's son would make in the future would fulfill this prophecy.

1Ki 11:10  God had given him commands about this. He told him not to follow other gods. But Solomon did not obey God's command.
1Ki 11:11  The LORD told Solomon, "Because this is your attitude and you have no respect for my promises or my laws that I commanded you to keep, I will certainly tear the kingdom away from you. I will give it to one of your servants.
1Ki 11:12  But I will not do it in your lifetime because of your father David. I will tear it away from the hands of your son.
1Ki 11:13  However, I will not tear the whole kingdom away from you. I will give your son one tribe for my servant David's sake and for the sake of Jerusalem, the city that I chose."

Sometimes God tells us the future or what could happen if repentance is not met. He compassionately tried with Solomon but Solomon refused to listen. The sins of the one can affect the lives of  the many.  Our sin does not  just affect us but all those around us. Solomon set off a chain of events which would become disastrous for his nation.

King Rehoboam had a decision to make. Jeroboam came out of hiding to ask for compassion and the lifting of a heavy burden that Solomon placed upon him and his people.  Rehoboam asked the elders of the day what he should do. They gave sound advice that would have saved the kingdom, but Rehoboam refused to listen. He asked his friends and peers what he should do. The arrogant answer from the friends would cost Rehoboam the nation. Even though the prophecy was being fulfilled do you think Rehoboam still had a choice to do the  right thing?  I believe so or Jeroboam would have never came to the king for leniency; he would have just taken over the nation. God, in his infinite wisdom, was giving the seed of David one last time to make things right. Unfortunately, Rehoboam listened to the ignorant , prideful, and rebellious friends that surrounded him. Rebellion surrounds itself with Rebellion. The nation of Israel was split. 10 tribes followed Jeroboam and 2 tribes followed Rehoboam.


As leaders we are faced with decisions every day. As people of God we are faced with many different kinds of decisions. Ones that can alter our whole lives and the lives of those around us. Like Rehoboam, we are sometimes faced with several different choices which come from the advice from others. How we take in the advice and respond could change our very lives. Rehoboam listened to his friends who he grew up with. These were his  buddies and the ones that made him feel good to be around. They never questioned his motives or challenged his belief systems. They were, in fact , just like him.  They did not have the life experience or the wisdom to give solid advice for a situation as important as this. They simply told Rehoboam what he wanted to hear. Rehoboam knew about Jeroboam and his fight with his father. Do think maybe Rehoboam already had it planned in his mind what he wanted to do? I think so, and he went to the very people who would tell him how right he was. ( His childhood friends).Pride hangs around Pride.

As Leaders and people of God, it is a fatal mistake when you surround yourself with " YES MEN." or people who always agree with you. Everyone wants to feel that they are right about a situation. Nobody likes being wrong. Nobody, including me.  However, it is a part of life. " Yes men or women"  are not good to have as your best form of wise counseling. They will often tell you what you want to hear because they don't want to rock the boat or because they are in the same rebellious state that you are in. It is better to surround yourself with men and women of God who will listen to the Holy Spirit and not their emotions. Having a wise counsel is important for any believer and leader in the Body of Christ. It keeps you grounded and accountable. Now accountability is only as good as what you are willing to release. Having a wise counsel keeps you from making important decisions by yourself. Guess what? We need each other. We need the sound advice from those you are wise and have the life experience to speak into our lives. I tried to build my leadership team to be more than " YES MEN" This is hard to do at times and the maturity of the leaders makes a difference. Unfortunately , I was not always successful. Fortunately, I had and still have older and more wiser people that I try to surround myself with. In fact, I hope to meet with one this week. I am not too prideful to think that I am always right about everything. That is why I believe strongly in wise counsel and listening to it!  For me it is not about being right or wrong ; it is about following the Lord with my whole heart. I want to be in His perfect will at all times. I don't want to miss Him and His plan for my life. Rehoboam's youth, pride, ignorance, rebellious heart and unwillingness to seek wise counsel caused him to lose his whole kingdom. As leaders, your decisions are important. Major decisions should always be brought under the authority of wise counsel. It protects you, God's kingdom, and the people of God. As the people of God, having wise counsel for major decisions could protect you from stepping into things you should  not be stepping into.

What are some things you should remember in regards to surrounding yourself with the right kind of voices?

1. Take out the pride. Pride stops many from getting the counsel he or she needs. Pride can be the carrier of rebellion. When we allow pride to sink in; rebellion becomes a prodimante spirit.
2. Don't allow " Yes men" to be on your main leadership team.
3. Pray, seek, and find elders in the faith who will help direct you.
4. Listen and pray over the advice you receive. ( You don't always have to listen to the advice given but if the counsel you are surrounding yourself with is listening to the Lord. Then the counsel they give should already be felt in your spirit to do. )
5.Stay humble and don't make it about being right or wrong. ( It is not about being right or wrong. It is about passionately following the Lord and doing what He desires to do. )