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.

Three Things Your Calling Is Not, By Ivan Mesa

This is an article written by Ivan Mesa that I suspect you will enjoy reading as much as I did. The was Article published at the http://www.gospelcoalition.org website May 16th 2018.

“I’m called to _________.”

Perhaps you’ve heard someone use this statement to explain why they do what they do. It’s a mystical-sounding line that throws a divine aura over one’s life. But I’ve always felt unsure whether or not—apart from my call to salvation in Christ—I had a more specific call that would explain what career path I should take. I’ve never been one of those people with a master plan for his life—a mental trajectory with a desired destination at the end of it. More often than not, I’ve felt my way around, stumbling into one thing, then the next. 

So amid my confusion and filled with fear and questions, I’ve wrestled with God’s Word and tried to seek the collective wisdom of others to help me make sense of calling and vocation. Here are at least three things your calling is not.

1. Your Calling Is Not for You

No doubt each person is called and gifted individually, but a true understanding of calling recognizes that we’re called not for mere personal gratification but for the good of others (Rom. 12:4–5; 1 Cor. 12:12–31; 1 Pet. 4:10–11). This others-focus flies against the individualistic and self-interested spirit of our age. As Tim Keller writes in Every Good Endeavor:

We are not to choose jobs and conduct our work to fulfill ourselves and accrue power, for being called by God to do something is empowering enough. We are to see work as a way of service to God and our neighbor. (67)

Rather than asking, “What will make me the most money and give me the most status?” Keller encourages us to ask, “How, with my existing abilities and opportunities, can I be of greatest service to others, knowing what I do of God’s will and of human need?” This simple and counterintuitive question can make a world of difference, relieving the angst and navel-gazing temptation for many of us.

We don’t choose our callings; by definition, we’re called to them. Repeat: God calls us; we don’t call ourselves.

But we must be careful to not confuse our job with our calling. While for some the two are intertwined (think of a pastor), callings often encompass broader realms like society, family, and church. According to Gene Veith,

Someone may no longer be in the workplace, but he may still pursue callings as a grandfather, a concerned citizen, and perhaps as an elder in his church. Some people find their callings in spheres other than the workplace—a woman who refuses a job so she can devote herself to her children; the independently wealthy man who does not need to work, so he devotes himself as a citizen to philanthropy; the elderly shut-in who devotes her energy, as a Christian, to prayer. (48)

Young or old, weak or strong, successful or unemployed, we’re each able to fulfill callings to care for others. 

So, practically, one simple way to discover your calling is to figure out how you can best serve others with the gifts and abilities the Lord has given you. For some that might be through their employment, while for others through their nearest relationships—in their home, in their neighborhood, or in their church. 

2. Your Calling Is Not from You

We don’t choose our callings; by definition, we’re called to them. Repeat: God calls us; we don’t call ourselves. 

This might sound like an obvious point, but a large part of the angst that has characterized most of my adult life has been due to the assumption that I have to grab hold of my calling—or else it could slip away, forever gone. I’d be lost, I feared, wasting my life because I hadn’t been decisive or clear-eyed enough to know what God had called me to. Talk about needless pressure.

Of course there is human agency in all we do. But fundamentally we’re under God’s sovereign guidance and care. Whether we’re talking about the church we’ll join, the city we’ll live in, or the vocational path we’ll pursue, we plan our ways, but heestablishes our steps (Prov. 16:9). It’s in our doing that God makes his calling clear.

We find our callings with, by, and in serving others. And we fulfill our callings as others fulfill theirs.

And, related, the Lord uses others to confirm us in our callings. Again, Veith observes:

Vocation comes from the outside, having to do with opportunities and circumstances, doors opening and slamming in our face. Since God works through means, he often extends his call through other people, by means of their vocations. (54–55)

As you serve others and receive input, correction, affirmation, and opportunities, trust that you have a faithful Father who “created [you] in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that [you] should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10). And these “good works” are done in the various callings, through the various seasons, that God entrusts to us.

We’re not called to everything, which means we can joyfully lean on and work with the callings of others. We find our callings with, by, and in serving others. And we fulfill our callings as others fulfill theirs.

3. Your Calling Is Not Future Tense

Look at your life. Apart from sin, your calling is whatever your life consists of right now. 

In God’s good design, he has likely placed you in a family, in a neighborhood, in a church, in a job. Rather than worry about what’s next, anxious about tomorrow, Jesus summons us to seek God’s kingdom (Matt. 6:25–34). I’d argue part of that means we’re to bloom where we’re planted—to “aspire to live quietly, and to mind [our] own affairs, and to work with [our] hands” (1 Thess. 4:11). It could also be flavored with Wendell Berry’s pleasingly unoriginal formula for the good life: “Slow down. Pay attention. Do good work. Love your neighbors. Love your place. Stay in your place. Settle for less, enjoy it more.”

There’s nothing wrong with godly ambition or planning for the future. But in all that, make sure the emphasis is on faithfully serving the Lord where he’s placed you until he makes it clear—whether through a shift in desires, input from others, or a change in circumstances (usually a combination of these three)—that he is calling you to something else.

Look at your life. Apart from sin, your calling is whatever your life consists of right now.

I don’t mean to imply callings never change. They can and often do. Calling is a process rather than a destination, since life is ever-changing as we likewise change. But as friend of mine says, “Be grateful for what is rather than strategizing for what ought to be.” In a discontented and restless age, I suspect we need more of this humblerooted faith. More faithful plodders—those free of self who “make it [their] aim to please [Christ]” (2 Cor. 5:9). 

As you look up from this screen at the grass that needs mowing, the diaper that needs changing, the church member who needs care, or the stranger who needs befriending, go with a glad heart and meet those needs and fulfill your callings. 

Beware of calling envy and never despise the monotony of every day faithfulness. God has called you today to serve him. And even amid difficult situations—perhaps with suffering, disappointment, and failure—we can find our joy in the Lord, knowing he has promised to never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).

Faithful Servants

Maybe you’re not like me and have never experienced dark nights of the soul because of calling confusion. But I know if you’re a child of God and trusting in Christ, he has called you to himself and to others. So serve people and God by pressing into the ordinary fullness of life.

May we be good and faithful servants. Starting today.

Silence is a Great Source of Strength

Wise men aren’t always silent but they know how to use it at the right time. There is much strength is silence ladies and gents. Often times, silence means rearming for a counter attack. Fortunate are those who pay close attention to it and take notes for they will be at the top.

“The quiet words of the wise are more to be heeded than the shouts of a ruler of fools.” Ecclesiastes 9:17. Silence is a weapon than can fire at any time under a strategic general. Do you know of anyone who is unusually silent with you? Be aware! Change your plans, be unpredictable, develop an independent life/work strategy that isn’t dependent on that person.

You may be under a war zone without knowing. Remember: There is a time for war, there is a time for peace, “…a time to tear and a time to sew; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.” Ecclesiastes 3:7-8.

Let me be clear. I’m not silent all the time especially when I witness injustice because the Lord has instructed us to do so, “Speak up, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and oppressed.” Proverbs 31:9. It is okay to judge and be judged.

Wait patiently for the Lord’s justice! It will come when you least expect… “The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the person who searches for him. It is good to hope and wait patiently for the LORD’s salvation.” Lamentations 3:25-26. Listen carefully: the Lord is good and faithful.

Prudence equals silence. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” Proverbs 10:19. Be the last to talk but talk. Gather your intelligence and display the facts with appropriate evidence at the right time.

If you have to judge, judge fairly. Do what is right and pay attention to detail as you live your life. Be aware of unexpected silence from people that you know. It can (and probably is) a sign of rearming, usually against you. Listen to the Holy Spirit that is in you.

“You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ.“ Romans 8:9.

Choose good over evil and with little emotion, and much objectivity, pay close attention to the behaviors of others especially if they are suspicious actions in nature. It is likely to be (or to become) an aggression against you. Don’t be deceived.

Nothing is an accident. It is appears to be, it usually is. Judge silence wisely and behind close doors with a pen and paper. Shift your strategy if you suspect that you are going to be cornered or attacked. God will show you the way out… the enemy will most definitely be conquered under such conditions much like the football team who can’t predict the plays of an offensive team.

Be blessed and with your guards up. With the eyes of a lynx, watch and take notes. Catch the enemy unprepared! Your life may depends on it. God will show you…

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?

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.

Choose Love Over Evil, Do Good

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.” Romans 12:9.

Love, above all things, are to be stamped inside of our hearts so that evil flees from our sinful nature resulting in is doing what is good, in Christ.

I’m often amazed by how evil some people can be. The many strategies and tactics of isolation and oppression that unchristian people do to others. How awful these unnecessary actions are. We learn in the Bible that we are to be the light of the world — Matthew 5:14-16.

“A city on the hill cannot by hid.” Matthew 14.

Choose good. Use the divine love that God has given you to help others. Next time that you see injustice, be vocal! Say something about it, no matter the context. God will provide.

Stand for what is right in this Full or wrong world. Are you up for the challenge? I am.

We Should Be Thankful For Everything That God Gives Us

We should be thankful for everything that we receive from God, ranging from the daily food that we eat to the air that we breathe. Being with God is a most certainly a gift. Fortunate are some of us who choose to follow His ways.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9.

As I lay here in my room, I’m reflecting so much. God has given me more than I’ve asked for — from my ignorance, the Lord has given me a PhD. I was once terribly shy. Today, I can carry a conversation with strangers with ease. I was once dead spiritually now I live.

In my youth, I thought like a child and felt that life revolved around me. As an adult, the Lord has showed me why life is about serving others. The gifts that we receive from the Lord are to be used to help others for God’s glory. They come straight from Him.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1:7.

Put a smile in your face, forgive and forget what others have done to you, and ask God for keeping looking after you, your family and friends. Remember: It’s by God’s grace that we achieve eternal life. We shall pray for those who oppress us.

“But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44.

I forgive those who have mistreated me and my family in these past three years and pray for their salvation. I hope that God shows them the way of the light which is much love not hate.

God gives us peace and I’m so thankful for it. Thank you God for everything.