Asking in Faith

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

Faith is not only important to please God, it is absolutely necessary to receive what we ask for in prayer. Certainly we all have needs, but the hand of God will move faster to those who ask in faith. Raising petitions to our heavenly Father with doubts is tantamount to telling Him that we do not believe Him capable of doing the things we ask of Him. Obviously, God would not be inclined to grant the requests of those who do not believe Him.

The Bible presents stories of men and women of great faith. One of these stories is that of the Canaanite woman, which we see in Matthew 15:21-28, Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

In this story, the Lord tested three times the faith of the Canaanite woman. The first test was keeping silent at his request. The second test was when the disciples of Jesus asked him to say goodbye and He answered them saying, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The third and last test was when He answered the woman who was prostrate before Him: “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

The Canaanite woman successfully passed her three tests of faith. Before the first two trials, instead of resigning herself and leaving without fulfilling her request, the woman prostrated herself before Jesus and said, “Lord, help me!” And although the Lord’s answer might have seemed to many as cruel and offensive, the woman passed this final test by placing her rightful place, but recognizing that God’s mercy could reach her too, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” This answer moved the Lord, Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.

Today we do not have the Lord face to face as the Canaanite woman had, but prayer puts us in direct contact with Him. And although the first Lord’s answer is silence, our faith must stand firm in prayer. And if we continue in prayer and receive a no for an answer, that does not mean that it is definitive, but another proof of our faith. But if the Lord makes us see our unworthiness, instead of offending us, let us humble ourselves before Him by recognizing the smallness of our humanity and the greatness of His mercy. God bless you.

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Pidiendo con Fe

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 fe no solamente es importante para agradar a Dios, sino que es absolutamente necesaria para recibir lo que pidamos en oración. Ciertamente que todos tenemos necesidades, pero la mano de Dios se moverá más rápidamente hacia aquellos que pidan con fe. Elevar peticiones a nuestro Padre celestial teniendo dudas es equivalente a decirle que no le creemos capaz de hacer las cosas que le pedimos. Obviamente que Dios no se sentiría inclinado a otorgar las peticiones de quienes no le crean a Él.

La Biblia presenta historias de hombres y mujeres de gran fe. Una de estas historias es la de la mujer cananea, la cual vemos en Mateo 15:21-28: Saliendo Jesús de allí, se fue a la región de Tiro y de Sidón. Y he aquí una mujer cananea que había salido de aquella región clamaba, diciéndole: ¡Señor, Hijo de David, ten misericordia de mí! Mi hija es gravemente atormentada por un demonio. Pero Jesús no le respondió palabra. Entonces acercándose sus discípulos, le rogaron, diciendo: Despídela, pues da voces tras nosotros. Él respondiendo, dijo: No soy enviado sino a las ovejas perdidas de la casa de Israel. Entonces ella vino y se postró ante él, diciendo: ¡Señor, socórreme! Respondiendo él, dijo: No está bien tomar el pan de los hijos, y echarlo a los perrillos. Y ella dijo: Sí, Señor; pero aun los perrillos comen de las migajas que caen de la mesa de sus amos. Entonces respondiendo Jesús, dijo: Oh mujer, grande es tu fe; hágase contigo como quieres. Y su hija fue sanada desde aquella hora.

En esta historia, el Señor puso a prueba tres veces la fe de la mujer cananea. La primera prueba fue manteniendo silencio ante su petición. La segunda prueba fue cuando los discípulos de Jesús le pidieron que la despidiera y Él les respondió a ellos diciendo: No soy enviado sino a las ovejas perdidas de la casa de Israel. La tercera y última prueba fue cuando Él respondió a la mujer que estaba postrada ante Él: No está bien tomar el pan de los hijos, y echarlo a los perrillos.

La mujer cananea pasó exitosamente sus tres pruebas de fe. Ante las dos primeras pruebas,  en lugar de resignarse e irse sin alcanzar ver cumplida su petición, la mujer se postró ante Jesús y le dijo: ¡Señor, socórreme! Y aunque la respuesta del Señor pudo haberle parecido a muchos como cruel y ofensiva, la mujer pasó esta prueba final ubicándose el lugar que le correspondía estar, pero reconociendo que la misericordia de Dios la podía alcanzar también a ella: Sí, Señor; pero aun los perrillos comen de las migajas que caen de la mesa de sus amos. Esta respuesta conmovió al Señor: Entonces respondiendo Jesús, dijo: Oh mujer, grande es tu fe; hágase contigo como quieres. Y su hija fue sanada desde aquella hora.

Hoy no tenemos al Señor frente a frente como lo tuvo la mujer cananea, pero la oración nos pone en contacto directo con Él. Y aunque de primera intención Su respuesta sea el silencio, nuestra fe debe mantenernos firmes en la oración. Y si continuamos en la oración y recibimos un no por respuesta, eso no significa que sea definitivo, sino otra prueba de nuestra fe. Pero si el Señor nos hace ver nuestra indignidad, en lugar de ofendernos, humillémonos delante de Él reconociendo la pequeñez de nuestra humanidad y la grandeza de Su misericordia. Dios te bendiga.

The Testing Produces Patience

Consider it a great joy, my brothers, whenever you experience various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. But endurance must do its complete work, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

James 1:2-4

When we are tested, we have the impression of being inside a crusher that breaks us. Certainly, in the natural, all we want is to pass the bitter drink as soon as possible and to tread a more secure terrain. In the Christian life, the tests are inevitable and continuous. If we pass a test successfully, we must be prepared for the next one, which will be more difficult because we will be on another level. With each new test, we will be strengthened if, with patience, we approve it.

We can make an example of life to illustrate what James 1:2-4 says. Let’s say at 5 years old they take us to our first day of school. From that moment we begin a process of learning. First we learn the letters and numbers and that way we are getting ready to learn reading, writing and basic arithmetic operations. After the lessons learned, we are tested to check our progress in learning.

And gradually we are advancing and leveling up in school. We are exposed to higher levels of complexity in both language and mathematics. Now we are challenged to be creative in the composition of written texts and to the basic operations are added more complicated ones including algebra, geometry and trigonometry. Then we are taught the social and natural sciences, such as history, geography, chemistry, physics and biology. And every new topic of learning must pass through tests that measure our degree of understanding.

If we want to be more productive in our lives, we will not settle for a high school diploma, but we will go to college to study a career. Many colleges have the requirement for a rigorous entrance test. In some countries, it is the State itself that provides equally challenging national tests. Only those who successfully pass these tests are admitted to the best programs of the most prestigious universities. The others could pass through technical institutes in order to be considered later.

If we have chosen a career in science or engineering, our training will include increasingly complex subjects such as: calculus, differential equations, statistics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, materials science, hydrodynamics, economics, and different types of design depending on the specialty, among others. And in each of these matters we are tested. At the end of everything, we get an engineering degree or a bachelor’s degree in science, but that is not the end, as some will continue towards a master’s degree and a doctorate.

Throughout this process from the first letters to a doctorate, we must go through numerous tests, which will strengthen our patience. It is patience that helps us not throw the towel without having reached the goal. Likewise, in the spiritual world, we are not going to stay in Christian kindergarten, but we will go from test to test for the Lord to bring us from glory to glory until He returns. And the test of our faith will give us the patience necessary to await the hope of glory that is Jesus Christ. God bless you.

La Prueba Produce Paciencia

Hermanos míos, tened por sumo gozo cuando os halléis en diversas pruebas, sabiendo que la prueba de vuestra fe produce paciencia. Mas tenga la paciencia su obra completa, para que seáis perfectos y cabales, sin que os falte cosa alguna.

Santiago 1:2-4

Cuando somos sometidos a prueba, tenemos la impresión de estar dentro de una trituradora que nos despedaza. Ciertamente que, en lo natural, lo único que deseamos es pasar cuanto antes el trago amargo y pisar un terreno más seguro. En la vida cristiana, las pruebas son inevitables y continuas. Si pasamos exitosamente una prueba, debemos de estar preparados para la siguiente, la cual será más difícil porque estaremos a otro nivel. De cada nueva prueba, saldremos fortalecidos si, con paciencia, la aprobamos.

Podemos hacer un ejemplo de la vida para ilustrar lo que dice Santiago 1:2-4. Digamos que a los 5 años de edad nos llevan a nuestro primer día de clases. A partir de ese momento damos inicio a un proceso de aprendizaje. Primero aprendemos las letras y los números y de esa manera vamos preparándonos para aprender la lectura, la escritura y las operaciones aritméticas básicas. Luego de las lecciones aprendidas, somos sometidos a pruebas para comprobar nuestro progreso en el aprendizaje.

Y paulatinamente vamos avanzando y subiendo de nivel en la escuela. Somos expuestos a mayores niveles de complejidad tanto en el lenguaje como en las matemáticas. Ahora nos retan a ser creativos en la composición de textos escritos y a las operaciones básicas se suman otras más complicadas incluyendo álgebra, geometría y trigonometría. Entonces nos enseñan las ciencias sociales y naturales, como historia, geografía, química, física y biología. Y todo nuevo tema de aprendizaje debe pasar por pruebas que miden nuestro grado de comprensión.

Si deseamos ser más productivos en nuestra vida, no vamos a conformarnos con un diploma de la escuela, sino que iremos a la universidad para estudiar una carrera. Muchas universidades tienen el requisito de una rigurosa prueba de ingreso. En algunos países, es el propio Estado que imparte unas pruebas nacionales igualmente retadoras. Solo aquellos que pasan exitosamente esas pruebas son admitidos en los mejores programas de las universidades de mayor prestigio. Los demás pudieran pasar por institutos técnicos a fin de ser considerados luego.

Si hemos elegido una carrera en ciencias o ingeniería, nuestra formación incluirá materias cada vez más complejas como: cálculo, ecuaciones diferenciales, estadística, mecánica cuántica, termodinámica, ciencias de materiales, hidrodinámica, economía, diversos tipos de diseño dependiendo de la especialidad, entre otros. Y en cada una de estas materias somos sometidos a pruebas. Al final de todo, obtenemos un título de ingeniero o licenciado en ciencia, pero ese no es el final, ya que algunos continuarán hacia una maestría y un doctorado.

En todo ese proceso desde las primeras letras hasta alcanzar un doctorado, debemos pasar por numerosas pruebas, las cuales fortalecerán nuestra paciencia. Es la paciencia la que nos ayuda a no tirar la toalla sin haber alcanzado la meta. De igual manera, en el mundo espiritual, no vamos a quedarnos en el jardín de infantes cristiano, sino que iremos de prueba en prueba para que el Señor nos lleve de gloria en gloria hasta que Él regrese. Y la prueba de nuestra fe nos dará la paciencia necesaria para aguardar la esperanza de gloria que es Cristo Jesús. Dios te bendiga.

The Blessed Hope

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Titus 2:11-14

Despite not being one of the best-known biblical passages, Titus 2:11-14 is a clear summary of the Gospel. Paul speaks of grace for salvation, but also speaks of the requirement to have access to grace, repentance, which expresses it as denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. He also speaks to us in this way about conversion: we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age. In verse 13 he talks about what gives a title to this message: Blessed hope. That hope we will have when the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ occurs.

On the other hand, Titus 2: 11-14 is also a wake-up call for all of us who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. He paid a heavy price for our salvation, so once saved, we must stop living according to the parameters dictated by the world, to walk from there to the end according to His holy will. Let us always remember this about the Lord: who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

So, as we await His glorious coming, let us do as He tells us in Matthew 24:44-47, Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. “Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over his household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods. The blessed hope of those who love the Lord implies a great reward.

That reward is what Santiago calls the crown of life. James 1:12 says, Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. The Bible does not promise that our waiting will be easy, we will have trials, persecutions, tribulations, temptations and afflictions; but if we resist all that, the promises of God will be fulfilled in each one of us. Blessed hope has not been sacked by our Heavenly Father.

To some of us life might be a little harder than normal. If you are one of them, you could ask, how long should I wait? Revelation 1:3 says to you, Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near. And Revelation 22: 7 reassures him, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”

The day of the glorious manifestation of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ is ever nearer, let us keep in holiness for Him and we will be called as Revelation 20:6 says, Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. God bless you.

La Esperanza Bienaventurada

Porque la gracia de Dios se ha manifestado para salvación a todos los hombres, enseñándonos que, renunciando a la impiedad y a los deseos mundanos, vivamos en este siglo sobria, justa y piadosamente, aguardando la esperanza bienaventurada y la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo, quien se dio a Sí mismo por nosotros para redimirnos de toda iniquidad y purificar para Sí un pueblo propio, celoso de buenas obras.

Tito 2:11-14

A pesar de no ser uno de los pasajes bíblicos más conocidos, Tito 2:11-14 es un certero resumen del Evangelio. Pablo nos habla de la gracia para salvación, pero también nos habla del requisito para tener acceso a la gracia, el arrepentimiento, el cual aquí lo expresa como renunciando a la impiedad y a los deseos mundanos. Además nos habla de esta manera sobre la conversión: vivamos en este siglo sobria, justa y piadosamente. En el verso 13 habla sobre lo que da título a este mensaje: La esperanza bienaventurada. Esa esperanza la tendremos cuando ocurra la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo.

Por otro lado, Tito 2:11-14 es también una llamada de atención para todos los que hemos sido redimidos por la preciosa sangre de Cristo. Él pagó un alto precio por nuestra salvación, así que, una vez salvo, debemos dejar de vivir según los parámetros que dicta el mundo, para caminar de ahí en adelante y hasta el fin conforme a Su santa voluntad. Recordemos siempre esto sobre el Señor: quien se dio a Sí mismo por nosotros para redimirnos de toda iniquidad y purificar para Sí un pueblo propio, celoso de buenas obras.

Así que, mientras esperamos Su gloriosa venida, hagamos lo que Él nos dice en Mateo 24:44-47: Por tanto, también vosotros estad preparados; porque el Hijo del Hombre vendrá a la hora que no pensáis. ¿Quién es, pues, el siervo fiel y prudente, al cual puso su señor sobre su casa para que les dé el alimento a tiempo? Bienaventurado aquel siervo al cual, cuando su señor venga, le halle haciendo así. De cierto os digo que sobre todos sus bienes le pondrá. La esperanza bienaventurada de los que aman al Señor implica una gran recompensa.

Esa recompensa es la que Santiago llama la corona de vida. Dice Santiago 1:12: Bienaventurado el varón que soporta la tentación; porque cuando haya resistido la prueba, recibirá la corona de vida, que Dios ha prometido a los que le aman. La Biblia no promete que nuestra espera habrá de ser fácil, tendremos pruebas, persecuciones, tribulaciones, tentaciones y aflicciones; pero, si resistimos todo eso, las promesas de Dios se cumplirán en cada uno de nosotros. La esperanza bienaventurada no ha sido echada en saco roto por nuestro Padre Celestial.

A algunos de nosotros la vida pudiera ser un poco más difícil de lo normal. Si eres uno de ellos, te podrías preguntar, ¿hasta cuándo debo esperar? Apocalipsis 1:3 te dice: Bienaventurado el que lee, y los que oyen las palabras de esta profecía, y guardan las cosas en ella escritas; porque el tiempo está cerca. Y Apocalipsis 22:7 lo reafirma: ¡He aquí, vengo pronto! Bienaventurado el que guarda las palabras de la profecía de este libro.

El día de la manifestación gloriosa de nuestro gran Dios y Salvador Jesucristo está cada vez más cerca, guardémonos en santidad para Él y seremos llamados como dice Apocalipsis 20:6: Bienaventurado y santo el que tiene parte en la primera resurrección; la segunda muerte no tiene potestad sobre éstos, sino que serán sacerdotes de Dios y de Cristo, y reinarán con Él mil años. Dios te bendiga.

The Lord Delivers Us from Every Evil Work

And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!

2 Timothy 4:18

When God chooses us, His purpose in our lives will be fulfilled in spite of the resistance that the enemy puts. It is obvious that our adversary will use all his weapons in order to prevent God’s plans from being carried out. There will be obstacles, temptations to make us fall, people will use to harm us and will find a way to distract us to defocus ourselves. But God, who has us reserved for His Heavenly Kingdom, will deliver us from all evil deeds so that His plans and purposes may be fulfilled in us.

How does the Lord deliver us from every evil work? God uses different ways to deliver us from evil. Sometimes it warns us of danger, sometimes it hinders us to stop our advance on the wrong path and may even give us supernatural demonstrations of His power. He may even use our own mistakes to help us out of evil, let us remember Romans 8:28, And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

Now let us learn to distinguish when an obstacle comes from God or from the enemy. The subtlety of our adversary can confuse us. A saying goes that not all that glitters is gold and certainly the evil one tries to imitate the things of God in everything. God’s effort to keep us from evil by putting a stone in our path, is also used by the other. We must ask for guidance from the Holy Spirit to help us distinguish whether the stone was placed by God so that we may surround it or the devil put it so that we remove it and continue toward the abyss.

Through intimate and constant relationship with the Lord we will distinguish His voice over the other voices we hear. John 10:27-28 says, My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. These words assure us that by hearing the voice of the Lord and following Him, we will have eternal life, we will never perish and no one will take us from His hand. That means He will deliver us from every evil work and preserve us for His Kingdom, as 2 Timothy 4:18 says.

But the warning call of the Lord does not usually come through hearing His voice directly. God is more likely to speak to us by other means. Fortunately, the most reliable source of that warning voice we have at hand, is the Word of God, from which says Hebrews 4:12, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

Could you ask me how I can find that part of the Bible that I need for my particular situation? If you start looking for it in the natural, maybe it will give you much work to find it or not to find it. But every child of God has been sealed by the Holy Spirit, of which we are a temple. The Spirit of God lives in you and in me and it is written on John 14:26, But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit—the Father will send Him in My name—will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you. We have a great help in our weaknesses and we will be freed from all bad work and preserved for the Kingdom. God bless you.