Blessed are the Meek, the Innocent at Heart for They Shall See God

On the sermon of the mount, perhaps Jesus most well known sermon in then Christian Bible, He teaches us the following godly lessons written in the book of Matthew.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad,because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5-7.

Being meek, or the act of being quiet and gentle, is shared by God to be the formula to inherit the earth, interpreted as a means to those who sustain earthly power will inherit the kingdom of God. The pure innocent of heart, they shall see the living God.

Clearly, being meek and having innocence in our hearts are two qualities that God is looking for us to have here on earth in order to obtain eternal salvation. I believe that, not just because of what Christ has taught us in the sermon on the mount but due to Christian logic.

Can you imagine anyone being in heaven with a defiant attitude towards the authority of God or with a heart of malice? I can’t. Let’s not forget that the former were some of the reasons why Lucifer was expelled from the heavens, along with pride.

The message is clear cut to me — we must leave this earth with much meekness on us and with an innocent heart. The challenges are for real because this world is full of arrogant insubordinate people with much evil in their hearts. The workforce, as an institution in itself, has proven to me to not be any different than the quarrels that we witness in so called off day life.

Be quiet, gentle, follow the rules and with much innocence, love your neighbor as yourself. This is how the Lord wants us to live.

Just Because They Say They Are Doesn’t Mean Much

Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46). “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” Matthew 7: 22-23.

Have anyone treated you poorly yet calling themselves a Christian? I must admit that i have experienced more devilish behaviors by those who consider themselves to be Christians than those who follow or practice pagan religions and rituals. It’s a sad yet true reality that I’ve experienced, particularly in higher education.

“A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit; neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.” (Matt. 7:15–20). Listen carefully: “But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8.

When a Christian does evil to others (including Christians), it is a detestable horrible display of loving others as yourselves. Lying and the idolatry of the self (pride) for self gain by diminishing others along the way is also a demonic practice. Always test the spirits before believing what others may say.

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” 1 John 4.

Don’t be afraid. Don’t be angry or mad, the Lord will take care of you, show you the ways of the devil and protect you against your enemies. Words can be easily said. Consistent actions aren’t always easily done. Be on the alert and read each person’s fine prints. It is amazing what you found when you dig deeper into someone’s true character.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.” 1 John 4:7-12.

Be a man or woman of character who isn’t afraid to say that they love the Lord. Don’t believe the first thing somebody says without knowing who they are: it’s easy to speak but near impossible to fake a character. Never forget that.

Work With Them Anyway

We don’t need to like people in order to work with them. If they are a co-worker bully enemy (or a potential enemy), I get strategically closer to them, if I feel there is potential in them.

“Know thyself, know thy enemy… a thousand battles, a thousand wins.” Sun Tzu.

Usually, adversary workforce bullies have been bullied by a role model before (many times by a parent or a close relative) when they were very young. It’s a debilitating learned behavior for them, an Albert Bandura teaches us in his well discussed social learning theory.

This kind (bullies) are often screaming for help with their actions and words. I’ve turned around bully adversaries from a foe to an ally too many times simply by making the effort to get to know and working with them. They are often loners because their interpersonal communication style is too confrontational and eventually… they explode without warning.

Most human beings like peace and no conflict. That’s why bullies strike first. They, however, struggle in the workforce especially if they encounter a person who embraces war, ain’t afraid to fight, and is strategic about it.

Fact: In every organization, there are people who embrace conflict and fight back. It’s the end of the bully’s ride and the beginning of retreat.

Eventually, workforce bullies get physically sick, suffer a major mental breakdown or both for losing control of a situation they deem under control. They own personalities are very bad for them. It’s a handicap, I would say.

The clever ones minimize their attacks and start realizing that firing a nuke on someone can have severe consequences to them. Many of them learn quickly that it ain’t worth striking a well defended target again.

I don’t take things personally in the workforce. I don’t hate bullies or wish them success. I will fight them when the time is right, if necessary. Maybe you should do the same. As my mentor combat veteran Kurt once said, “Going go war is good sometimes.” It establishes boundaries.

God instructs us to love our enemies in Luke 6:27-36. Sometimes, loving others is calling them on their own evil actions and doing something about it.

Perhaps we all should love those we don’t like (even if they are a bully) by working with them. Sure, there is a risk — There is the risk of getting burned by that person but a person who don’t like you (or that you don’t like) can (and probably will) be a problem anyways whether you work with them or not especially the bully kind.

My advice? Give them a shot. See if you can collaborate with them. You may even like work with them after a while. Can you turn a bully into an ally? They are crying for attention!

Try them, why not?

A Calling For The Obedience Of Faith

In the beatitudes we learn that “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” Jesus was meek and had a humble heart (Matthew 11:29), it has been written. Therefore, we are called to obey in faith and be meek.

Talking with others with a docility of spirit, being gentle and kind are qualities we want to see in the brethren. It is our duty to behave this way and to celebrate God’s law by exercising self-control and having a meek spirit.

Submission to the will of God is sometimes challenging especially when God calls you and me to blindly follow His commands for our sake and His glory when our plans aren’t His. In the book “Experiencing God,” Blackaby eloquently shares this theme.

Even if we are to experience much hardship!

Being quiet and gentle… being meek. God wants us to be easily imposed on His will and we must go along with whatever God wants us to do. Therefore, set pride aside and in much prayer ask for God’s guidance and His will to be revealed for you.

“Ask and it shall be given to you. Seek and you shall find…” Matthew 7:7. Obey and be faithful. Be meek and let the Lord work in your life for your sake and His glory.

It starts with submission to God’s will. Meekness is at the center of it. Be meek, humble, and in everything, give glory to God.

The Last Will Be First And The First Will Be Last

I’m seating here on my first graduation at Talladega College. I’m the first faculty to be present in the graduation premises which is often not a surprising fact. If a ceremony starts at 9:00am I’m usually in my spot around 8:15am or so.

I could have taken my seat up front but in my book, being in the front of any ceremony, especially when somebody is new to an environment, seems arrogant to me. I won’t do it, unless asked otherwise by a long standing member of the faculty or administration.

In Matthew 20:16 Jesus said, “The last shall be first and the first shall be last.” The reference for the former is used in bible commentaries in relation to wealth and a chance to entering the kingdom of God.

By no means I’m attempting entering heaven by being last in this ceremony but in humility I respect the system in which I’m a part of allowing for bible lessons to be applicable in other areas of my life where I see it fit.

Choose humility, avoid seeking self acclamations, be humble and know your place. God has given you the air that you breathe and the food that you eat, along with a comfort dwelling and so much more.

Obedience is to be our second name. Say thanks for everything that the Lord has chosen to given you. That’s the biggest gift of all. His grace for you and me. Blessings to you.

Resist Pride At All Costs

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2.

Resist pride at all costs. Much disgrace comes to those who choose to not repent from pride. I’ve experienced the former in my own skin.

When I was a teenager, I remember experiencing a period when I had much pride in me. The good God has gave me a golf talent from a very early age.

In humbleness I asked God for the ability to play golf well after being the only kid who didn’t go to the club of the 500 in Brazil for a junior tournament, after a friend cheated to get into the bus. The next year, I went as the number 1 seat.

Then, years later, now as the top junior in the state undefeated for two years in competition, I remember reading my Bible and God asking us to beg for His grace. I was 15 and with much pride thought to myself? Why do I need to beg for anything? Even to God? Pretty prideful, isn’t it?

The following year, I got 2nd place in every tournament I’ve played, many times losing against opponents who were much inferior. I’ve learned a big lesson at the end of the following year. Don’t test God and push pride to the side.

The message is clear if you don’t…

The following year, after much prayer before and during the national team qualifier in a small town near the city of Campinas in Brazil, I made the second spot (out of 3) in the Brazilian junior national team. What people don’t know is that in the last round of the tournament, in the morning, I was vomiting in the bathroom with fear.

I asked God in humbleness for protection in the bathroom and trusted that God would help me with my nerves in the last round. He did. I shot -1 with a dumb bogey on the 17 about 100 years from the green and a bogey on the 18.

Moral of the story. Say no to pride. It simply doesn’t pay off. Resist this evil for your own sake. God detests pride. He will humble you in one way or another. Much suffering can happen because of it. Stay humble and always focus your attention to God.

That’s the best way, that’s the only way.

God Takes Us Places For A Reason

The Lord guides us to do His will when we submit to His authority. The bible says, “For I know the plans I have for you… plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.” I truly believe that.

Many prosperity gospel false preachers take the former scripture out of context and argue that God wants us to be wealthy and that lack of wealth means lack of faith. What they fail to mention is that prosperity can mean something other than financial success. A prosperous well beings and health condition is also prosperity.

I’ve learned that I was “Olive” not white in the eyes of many Mississippians. That was weird, I shall say. It was cultural… I guess.

Anyhow… when we do God’s will, amazing things happen in our life’s, even if God’s will isn’t necessarily what you’ve planned for initially.

I must say that coming to Alabama wasn’t on my plans when I was in living back in Pennsylvania looking to move my family to the south. I was hoping to move to Georgia, Florida or California not Mississippi and Tennessee.

I’ve learned a big lesson. God takes us places for a very good reason. It’s to develop us to bigger assignments orchestrated by a God to advance His kingdom, I think.

I’m now understand why the Lord took me to Pennsylvania in the late 90’s, then Mississippi and Tennessee before coming here to Alabama.

Coming from Brazil, where I literally had everything under the sun but little to no maturity, God took me to the outskirts of Pittsburgh in order for me to learn western PA culture, which is heavily based on what you do instead of who you are. I needed that back then.

Putting me in a cold and grey area made me want to study instead of wanting to go to the gym and the beach everyday and neglect my studies. For the first time in my life, I had to start from the bottom. It worked! Against all the odds, I got a bachelors degree with a high GPA, in a second language, with little to no training in secondary education. God exists!

After getting a PhD from and eventually tenure at IUP, as a family, we decided to move away from the north and move to Florida, hopefully. It didn’t work as we planned. I ended up taking a college teaching position in Mississippi, of all places. What?!?!

Yep. In there, I’ve learned what racism really is in this country and the implicit biases that are ingrained in a large number of Americans regardless of political affiliation. I’ve witnessed much hate against African-Americans which was something that really bothered me as a Christian.

I’ve come to also learn how kind Mississippians can also be, especially when their buddies aren’t around when you speak with them. Being there, reminded me of Brazil in many ways. It was tradition over progress, heritage above reason many times, and very good food!

The Lord took me to Jackson, a predominantly black city to understand black culture best. I’m glad that He did. I met some of the most amazing African-American personalities while at JSU including James Meredith, Demarco Morgan, Mignon Clyburn, among many others.

I was lacking in black culture. Not anymore… I wanted to be a pastor. The Lord exposed me to a wide variety of people while living in Mississippi, that’s for sure.

The flock comes in many shapes and colors, the Lord reminded me, through scripture. I was there for a reason! Then a major state crises came and my plans had to change. God clearly wanted me someplace else. I had to go…

The options were Louisiana or Tennessee not California or Florida. I chose Tennessee due to a college having a Christian component and my dream of working as a pastor somewhere. Why not serve as a professor full-time and pastor part-time somewhere in town? Good plan, not what God wanted.

The truth: It wasn’t until I moved to Cleveland TN that I was constantly mistreated and undervalued in higher education. I met some of the meanest people I’ve ever met in my adult life and a few kind ones but they were outsiders. Many of them were openly racists while pretending to be Christians. How hypocritical! Very, in fact.

I witnessed devilish people claiming to be part of the flock using the argument that speaking in languages makes them holy and others not having the holy spirit in them but the Lord again delighted me with his teachings, “By their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:20.

God made it clear to me who they really were. All the masks were taken out. I could see through them all and the schemes they were planning against me and others. Remember: The Lord protects.

I had to get out, ASAP… For my family’s sanity.

I must add that despite my experiences I. Tennessee were literally horrible, the Lord has taught me how to deal with “sneaky mean” people and how to leverage their unkind behaviors for the advancement of the gospel. I’m so thankful for that. There are many lost lives in that town — They need a lot of help, that’s for sure.

The new chapter in my life started a week ago. So far, so good. I’m sure there will be challenges but this time around, I bring cumulative cultural experiences from a variety of places within the United States. It takes much longer for me to be upset, I have a thick skin now and will act immediately and firm if injustice or misbehavior occurs.

I’m here to guide our kids majoring in Mass Media Studies at Talladega College to find a place under the sun. I will do what I can to help them. I’m much better prepared for this job. I give thanks to God for having developed me over the years. God interfered in my self growth professionally, I’m convinced.

Without Him, my ministry journey in higher education would have been much shorter. As my wife once said, “Higher education is full of crazy people” which was a small variation from what one of my chairs once told me, “To work in higher education, you need Prozac.”

I’m looking forward to what God is preparing for me this year and beyond. That His will be fulfilled. I’m ready.

Only God Is Worth Worshipping

No man, no matter how popular or competent he is, deserves much attention to a point of being idolized. If a man is then the leader of a self-made cult like institution where minion followers then say “nice things” about him for self gain, flee from this situation. It ain’t Christian.

“Therefore, my friends, free from idolatry.” 1 Corinthians 10:14. “Dear Children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21.

We’re reminded throughout scripture to avoid idolatry. The Jewish people has paid a big price for idolatry in antiquity. The same can be said to Baal worshippers and more recently, the fans of cult-like business and non-profit organizations.

All Glory is to be given to God. He owns everything. What we get is purely a function of what He gracefully gives to us. It’s my faith and belief. Perhaps ours, right?

No man is great enough to replace God and get His glory. How dare anyone rob what is from God? At least, this is how I see it. You?

Everything Was Wrong Now It’s Right

People can’t chose in which circumstances they were born but the future is indeed a chosen path. Thank goodness this is the case. Let me explain.

I was born in a family with tradition in Brazil who belongs to the Brazilian upper class. Although I enjoyed growing up with the many amenities my parents were able to provide, I must admit that the overall environment in which I spend most of my time as a kid has handicapped me until recently.

First and foremost: Golf was a great sport to learn and master but the implications of trying to be a competitive golfer in a country without a history for the sport were pretty negative. I took a big hit in school for a dream that wasn’t reasonably attainable which eventually resulted in me leaving the country for an opportunity under the sun in the United States.

I grew up with the ambition to own luxury cars. That’s a big problem, I’ve come to learn. A BMW X1 costs significant more than a Honda CRV, providing less value for your buck costing 20K more MSRP, without taking into account cost of ownership. For what? A symbol? Come on man.

Third, my philosophy of work growing up was based on hard and smart work in order to maximize income growth. The former isn’t necessary bad but the former without an understanding and value for money and investing is futile. It took me a long time to realize that frugality is a variable in personal finance.

I was once told by an old man to sleep with 7 girls a week for 10 straight years in my youth. Stop for a minute and think about this for a minute. The value of having a caring person on your side taking care of you in worth much more than having dozens of other ones for a night or two.

Having multiple houses, building your million by age 40, luxury here, luxury there… women and alcohol everywhere without any concern for a God’s law is simply suicide. I’m glad that I woke up from these ideals overtime.

It took me a while, I must add. Unlearning bad behavior just doesn’t happen overnight. I’m going to make a bold statement. To some degree, growing up in wealth can handicap a kid if he (or she) doesn’t make an attempt to unlearn behaviors

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.” 1 Corinthians 13:11.

I’m glad that God showed me the way to His path. Not everything that seem or feels good is good for you. The value of walking with God is priceless.

If God can make the crooked straight and the rough roads smooth as we learn in Luke 3:5, He can help you to become a better person if you repent and ask.

I did and he helped me. If you ask with the right motives to advance His kingdom, you shall receive. “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” James 4:3.

Be with God and flee from earthly pleasures. It’s worth the effort. Blessings to you all.

Celebrate Humility and Be Humble

C.S Lewis once said, “True humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less. We learn from the Bible that “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:-2). Being humble doesn’t mean being meek or week.

Arrogance is everywhere ranging from name dropping, rolling of the eyes, along with many other observable non-verbal clues including pointing of the chin and a false charm. Be aware of those who are constantly gossiping about others and get aggressive when others challenge their thoughts.

Instead, strive to be confident by celebrating others, speaking with authority when asked, by keep learning new skills, and recognizing that in life, nobody knows everything. Only God does.

Humility is at the core of excellence in leadership. Self control is a strength as are those who are helpful to others. Be known for being a humble leader. Arrogant ones tend to be short lived.