The Flesh and the Spirit are Incompatible

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Galatians 5: 16-18

I’ve heard many people say that this life was to enjoy it. According to those who think this way, life is very short and the only thing that we carry when we die is what we have enjoyed. Therefore, this type of person prefers to live each day like it was his or her last one, they are given to pleasures and do not care about spiritual things because they think that prevent them from enjoying as is their desire. But enjoying carnal things is the opposite of the spiritual. In the flesh we live crazy life, while in the Spirit we will enjoy eternal life.

Walking in the Spirit is not easy nor is it something we can do in our natural state. The nature of every human being without exception tends to lean toward sin, not to holiness. Every day, life presents us with many temptations that pull us focus on the things of God. The media, social networks and our own friends, can drag us to do things that often lead us astray. Satisfy the desires of the flesh can lead us to our own destruction.

When I was a freshman in chemical engineering I lived in a boarding house with two other students. I was the youngest of the three and the oldest of all was Carlos, a last year student of economics who had 23 years. His father was a Spaniard merchant and his mother was a German of Jewish origin. Carlos had everything you could crave: money, good looks and ending his career.

However, Carlos preferred to live life to the fullest instead to pay attention to his studies. Repeatedly he was missing school because he slept during the day as the night wore for the pleasures: alcohol, drugs and women. A weekend in which only Carlos was on the house a friend, drinking buddy went there to get him. That day, Carlos had no intention of leaving; but his friend persuaded him saying he had a girl for him.

The party night of Carlos and his friends ended in disgrace. They went in a pickup truck his friend was driving who, amid drunkenness and drugs did not see that the road was under construction and the truck went down an embankment until it dump on itself. In turn, Carlos was thrown out of the vehicle and struck his head against a wall and died instantly. The fate of his friend and the girl who was with them was no different, he died two days later and she did four days later.

Let us try to ask God to lead us to live in the Spirit rather than living in the flesh. Not always do what we want is good for us, but the wisdom of the Spirit of God will always lead us down the right path. God bless you.

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La Carne y el Espíritu son Incompatibles

Digo, pues: Andad en el Espíritu, y no satisfagáis los deseos de la carne. Porque el deseo de la carne es contra el Espíritu, y el del Espíritu es contra la carne; y éstos se oponen entre sí, para que no hagáis lo que quisiereis. Pero si sois guiados por el Espíritu, no estáis bajo la ley.

Gálatas 5:16-18

He escuchado a mucha gente decir que esta vida se hizo para gozarla. Según quienes así piensan, la vida es muy corta y lo único que nos llevamos cuando morimos es lo que hemos gozado. Por eso, este tipo de persona prefiere vivir cada día como si fuera su último, se dan a los placeres y no les importan las cosas espirituales porque piensan que les impiden gozar como es su deseo. Pero el gozar las cosas carnales es todo lo opuesto a lo espiritual. En la carne se vive la vida loca, mientras en el Espíritu vamos a disfrutar de vida eterna.

Andar en el Espíritu no es algo sencillo ni tampoco es algo que podemos hacer en nuestro estado natural. La naturaleza de todo ser humano sin excepción tiende a inclinarse hacia el pecado, no hacia la santidad. Cada día la vida nos presenta múltiples tentaciones que nos sacan del enfoque sobre las cosas de Dios. Los medios de comunicación, las redes sociales y nuestros propios amigos, nos pueden arrastrar a hacer cosas que muchas veces nos llevan por caminos equivocados. Satisfacer los deseos de la carne nos puede conducir a nuestra propia destrucción.

Cuando yo era estudiante de primer año de ingeniería química viví en una pensión junto con otros dos estudiantes más. Yo era el más joven de los tres y el mayor de todos era Carlos, un estudiante de término de economía y quien contaba con 23 años. Su padre era un comerciante español y su madre era una alemana de origen judío. Carlos tenía todo lo que se podía anhelar: dinero, buena presencia y terminando su carrera.

Sin embargo, Carlos prefería vivir su vida al máximo que prestarle atención a sus estudios. Faltaba repetidamente a clases porque dormía durante el día ya que las noches las usaba para los placeres: alcohol, drogas y mujeres. Un fin de semana en el cual solo Carlos estaba en la pensión fue un amigo suyo, compañero de juergas a buscarlo. Ese día, Carlos no tenía ánimo de salir; pero su amigo lo convenció diciendo que le tenía una chica para él.

La noche de fiesta de Carlos y sus amigos terminó en desgracia. Andaban en una camioneta que manejaba su amigo quien, en medio de la borrachera y las drogas no vio que la carretera estaba en construcción y subió la camioneta por un terraplén hasta hacerla volcar sobre sí misma. En las vueltas, Carlos salió disparado fuera del vehículo y su cabeza impactó contra un muro muriendo instantáneamente. La suerte de su amigo y la chica que los acompañaba no fue diferente, él murió dos días después y ella a los cuatro días.

Procuremos pedirle a Dios que nos conduzca a vivir en el Espíritu en lugar de vivir en la carne. No siempre hacer lo que queremos nos conviene, pero la sabiduría del Espíritu de Dios siempre nos llevará por el camino correcto. Dios te bendiga.

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Prayer Badly Worded

You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.

James 4:3

On numerous occasions I have heard complaints from people who ask God for things they never receive. The rationale for such people is that God is not interested in settle their problems. They say that Heavenly Father is probably very busy on other matters or simply He has forgotten them. As almost always those persons are looking for people to blame the other side, almost never stop to ponder whether their prayers are certainly on the correct order from the perspective of God or not.

Consider an event that can happen in private life. Suppose you want to take a trip somewhere and talk to your boss in the workplace to cover travel expenses to you. The answer may be yes or no. If the trip is going to serve a purpose that benefits the company, it is likely that he or she pleased. But if you wish to go for enjoying a holiday with your family on a Caribbean beach, certainly your boss will deny you the funds to cover such a trip.

During the course of my career I have enjoyed many trips which have not cost me a penny. For many of them I have not even asked but the company I worked for sent me to a congress or training. In some of those trips I went with my family paying for that part out of my pocket. It is true that in addition to conferences or training I had always space to enjoy things such as knowing the vineyards of Napa Valley in California or the museums of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington; but undoubtedly the main purpose of each of those trips was in accordance with the plans of the company.

God will not answer a prayer if made with a selfish purpose. Definitely if we ask Him to give us money to spend on things we like it is unlikely to obtain it. But if we ask this blessing in order to expand the Kingdom of God and go for the nations proclaiming the good news of salvation, it is more likely to receive it. It is also likely that God will allow us to enjoy the journey knowing places and people. I tell you from experience, since I have been on mission trips and also doing my task for God, I had time to enjoy and meet wonderful places such as Macchu Picchu in Peru or El Peñol in Colombia.

In Psalm 23 we see that God, as our pastor promises to give us wonderful things for our enjoyment. This shows that God’s intention is not that bad move on. However there is something He wants us to do first, as Psalm 37:4 says: Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. If we seek His presence first and we delight in Him, then our prayers will be answered. Let our prayers seek first meet God’s purpose not ours. Our chief delight is Him and not to satisfy our passions. As our Father, He has promised to meet all our needs, everything we need. We have to please His heart. God bless you.

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La Oración Mal Formulada

Pedís, y no recibís, porque pedís mal, para gastar en vuestros deleites.

Santiago 4:3

En numerosas ocasiones he escuchado quejas de gente quienes le piden a Dios cosas que nunca reciben. El razonamiento de tales personas es que Dios no está interesado en resolverle sus problemas. Dicen que probablemente nuestro Padre Celestial está muy ocupado atendiendo otros asuntos o que simplemente Él se ha olvidado de ellos. Como casi siempre la gente anda buscando culpables del otro lado, casi nunca se detienen a meditar si ciertamente sus oraciones tienen o no el fin correcto desde la perspectiva de Dios.

Veamos un caso que puede suceder en la vida particular. Supongamos que queremos hacer un viaje a algún lugar y hablamos con nuestro jefe en el lugar de trabajo para que nos cubra los gastos del viaje. La respuesta puede ser un sí o un no. Si nuestro viaje va a servir con un fin que beneficie a la empresa, es muy probable que seamos complacidos. Pero si lo que deseamos es irnos a disfrutar de unas vacaciones con nuestra familia a una playa del Caribe, sin duda que nos negarán los fondos que cubren tal viaje.

Durante el ejercicio de mi carrera profesional he disfrutado de numerosos viajes los cuales no me han costado un centavo. Muchos de ellos ni siquiera los solicité sino que la propia empresa para la cual trabajaba me enviaba a algún congreso o entrenamiento. En algunos de esos viajes fui con mi familia costeando esa parte de mi bolsillo. Cierto es que además de los congresos o entrenamientos siempre hubo espacio para disfrutar de cosas tales como conocer los viñedos del Valle de Napa en California o los museos del Instituto Smithsoniano en Washington; pero indudablemente que el propósito principal de cada uno de esos viajes iba conforme a los planes de la empresa.

Dios no va a responder una oración formulada con un propósito egoísta. Definitivamente que si le pedimos que nos provea dinero para gastarlo en las cosas que nos agrada, es poco probable que lo obtengamos. Pero si pedimos tal bendición con el fin de expandir el Reino de Dios e ir por las naciones proclamando las buenas nuevas de salvación, es más probable que lo recibamos. Y también es probable que Dios permita que disfrutemos el viaje conociendo lugares y personas. Te lo digo por experiencia, ya que he ido en viajes misioneros y, además de hacer mi tarea para Dios, he tenido tiempo para disfrutar y conocer lugares maravillosos como el Macchu Pichu en Perú o El Peñol en Colombia.

En el Salmo 23 vemos que Dios, como nuestro pastor promete darnos cosas maravillosas para que las disfrutemos. Eso demuestra que la intención de Dios no es que la pasemos mal. Sin embargo hay algo que Él desea que hagamos primero, tal como dice Salmo 37:4: Deléitate asimismo en Jehová, y Él te concederá las peticiones de tu corazón. Si buscamos Su presencia primero y nos deleitamos en Él, entonces nuestras peticiones serán respondidas. Hagamos que nuestras oraciones procuren primero cumplir con los propósitos de Dios no los nuestros. Que nuestro principal deleite sea Él y no satisfacer nuestras pasiones. Como nuestro Padre, Él ha prometido cubrir todas nuestras necesidades, todo lo que nos haga falta. Nos toca complacer Su corazón. Dios te bendiga.

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Faith, a Requirement for Effective Prayer

But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.

James 1:6-7

The best way to prevent something from happening is doubt that will happen. Many people have hopes and dreams that are never realized because they simply lack the conviction that they will reach them. Spiritually, many people prays for something that never receives. When this happens, those people blame God that He is not listening and that He has been abandoned them in the midst of dire need. The truth is we did not receive what we ask for because we ignore the motor that moves the hand of God is our faith, not our need.

In the Spanish language there is a word that for me is the symbol of the doubt. That word is “ojalá”, which is translated into English as hopefully, that word came from Arabic language and literally means “if God wanted.” According to the Dictionary of the Royal Academy of the Spanish Language, this interjection denotes a yearning for something to happen. However, the context in which Spanish spoken people use that word and its literal meaning indicates that they are not sure that something will happen but they want to let the uncertainty occupy a small place in their desire.

On the other hand, faith becomes the opposite of doubt. Says Hebrews 11:1: Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Since faith is the substance of things hoped for, there is no room to doubt that we will get what we expect. When we pray with faith, there is the wish for if our prayer is according to God’s will, undoubtedly He wants no matter what you’re asking.

We read in Hebrews 6:11-12: And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. The fact that the answer to our prayers is not immediate does not mean that God did not listen. He can tell us that it is not the time yet or that He has a better plan for us. But if we ask what is in the plans of God and part of His promises, we must never doubt that will happen, not in our time but His, which is the perfect time.

Many people are driven by circumstances around them. I know it’s not very pleasant to live with water up to the neck; but believers walk by faith not by sight. Pray every day, convinced that we are talking with our Father in heaven, who is listening intently. Put all our faith in what we pray and we do not doubt for a moment. The lack of faith, which is equal to the presence of doubt, is what will prevent that prayer is heard and answered. If the answer tarry, all you need to do is wait for it. A Christian song says that when God is silent, it is because He is working. God bless you.

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La Fe, un Requisito para una Oración Eficaz

Pero pida con fe, no dudando nada; porque el que duda es semejante a la onda del mar, que es arrastrada por el viento y echada de una parte a otra. No piense, pues, quien tal haga, que recibirá cosa alguna del Señor.

Santiago 1:6-7

La mejor manera de evitar que algo suceda es dudar de que vaya a ocurrir. Muchas personas tienen anhelos y sueños que nunca se realizan porque simplemente carecen de la convicción de que los alcanzarán. En lo espiritual, mucha gente ora pidiendo algo que jamás recibe. Cuando esto ocurre, esas personas le echan la culpa a Dios de que Él no los escucha y que los ha dejado abandonados en medio de su terrible necesidad. La verdad es que no recibimos lo que pedimos porque ignoramos que el motor que mueve la mano de Dios es nuestra fe y no nuestra necesidad.

En el idioma español hay una palabra que para mí es el símbolo por excelencia de la duda. Esa palabra es ojalá, la cual vino a nuestro idioma del árabe y significa literalmente “si Dios quisiera”. Según el Diccionario de la Real Academia de la Lengua Española, esta interjección denota un vivo deseo de que suceda algo. Sin embargo, el contexto en que usamos esa palabra y su significado literal denota que no estamos seguros de que sucederá ese algo que deseamos sino que dejamos que la incertidumbre ocupe un pequeño lugar en nuestro deseo.

Por otro lado, la fe viene a ser el antónimo de la duda. Dice Hebreos 11:1: Es, pues, la fe la certeza de lo que se espera, la convicción de lo que no se ve. Siendo la fe la certeza de lo que se espera, no hay lugar para dudar que vayamos a obtener lo que esperamos. Cuando oramos con fe, no existe el ojalá porque si nuestra oración es conforme a la voluntad de Dios, indudablemente que Él quiere que suceda lo que le estamos pidiendo.

Leemos también en Hebreos 6:11-12: Mas el justo vivirá por fe; y si retrocediere, no agradará a mi alma. Pero deseamos que cada uno de vosotros muestre la misma solicitud hasta el fin, para plena certeza de la esperanza, a fin de que no os hagáis perezosos, sino imitadores de aquellos que por la fe y la paciencia heredan las promesas. El hecho de que la respuesta a nuestra oración no sea inmediata, no quiere decir que Dios no la escuchó. Él puede decirnos no es el tiempo aún o tengo un plan mejor para ti. Pero si lo que pedimos está en los planes de Dios y forma parte de Sus promesas, nunca debemos dudar de que sucederá, no en nuestro tiempo sino en el Suyo, el cual es el tiempo perfecto.

Muchas personas se dejan llevar por las circunstancias que le rodean. Sé que no es muy agradable vivir con el agua hasta el cuello; pero los creyentes caminamos por fe no por vista. Oremos cada día, convencidos de que estamos hablando con nuestro Padre que está en los cielos, quien nos escucha con atención. Pongamos toda nuestra fe en lo que oramos y no dudemos ni un instante. La falta de fe, lo cual es igual a la presencia de la duda, es lo que impedirá que la oración sea escuchada y respondida. Si la respuesta tardare, lo único que debemos hacer es esperar por ella. Dice una canción cristiana que cuando Dios queda en silencio es porque está trabajando. Dios te bendiga.

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The Model Prayer

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Matthew 6:9-13
I think many of those who read or hear this message know the Lord’s Prayer. Well, I am one of them and I have repeated it thousands of times in my life. And I know that many have believed what somebody told them that Jesus taught us this prayer that we repeat every day. In fact, although there are many others repetitive prayers practiced in some churches, the Our Father is the only such prayers in the Bible. Today I want to show you that this prayer is a model of how we should go to the Heavenly Father not a ritual that must be repeated each time the same way.

Let’s look at the context in which Jesus taught His disciples the model prayer. Before Matthew 6:9-13, He said what is written in Matthew 6:7-8: And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. Therefore, the Lord had already said that the repetitions in prayer were vain, i.e., ineffective. So He never told His disciples that they would always repeat the same words.

In Matthew 6:9, Jesus says first: In this manner, therefore, pray. Pray in this manner means pray in a similar way to this model, he never said “pray repeating the words” because he had warned that the repetitions were vain. So, from the beginning, the Lord was stating that the prayer that He had taught was the format we all should use to address our Heavenly Father.

In the model prayer, the first thing we must do is to recognize that God is our Father and that He dwells in heaven. Then we glorify His name; give Him the praise He deserves. All this can be done using our own words. An example would be the following: Heavenly Father, bless be Your holy name. You are great and Almighty, I raise praise to you on this day.

When we say “Your kingdom come” we are recognizing that God has authority over us, which we reaffirm by saying that Your will be done. God is not our servant or firefighter waiting we mark the spiritual 911 to rescue us. He is God, the Creator of all, and the owner of everything that exists and as such, He deserves that we submit to Him.

We then present our requests with humility, acknowledging our mistakes and apologizing for them while we decided to forgive wrongs they have done to us. We must also ask to keep the temptations subjugate us and lead us to sin. Moreover, in calling us from evil walks we are aware that an enemy like rabid lion seeking to devour us. At the end we closed with praise and thanksgiving. God bless you.

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