Humbled before God

Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.

James 4:8-10

There is no doubt that God is waiting for us at this time to humble ourselves before Him and acknowledge our sins. We cannot deny that the world is convulsed and misfortune can touch us. No country is exempt from a criminal mind carrying out a terrorist act that kills dozens of people and destroys monuments and symbolic places appreciated by its citizens. Our response to God for an event of this nature should not be one of pride and self-sufficiency, but humble ourselves and seek His face with all our hearts.

The book of Jonah can serve as an example for what James 4:8-10 says. Jonah 1:1-2, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” The prophet’s response, instead of fulfilling his mission, was to go the other way. Jonah 1:3 says, But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.

Jonah was not an unbeliever but a servant of God acting double-minded. As he was not satisfied with the assignment, he preferred to ignore it and flee. Of course, it is impossible to flee from the presence of God. So the boat where Jonah went was caught by a great storm, he was thrown into the sea and was swallowed by a huge fish. All this can be read in the rest of Chapter 1 of his book. Inside the fish, Jonah reconsidered, acknowledged his sin, and prayed a beautiful prayer found in chapter 2 of his book. As a result, the prophet was able to escape unharmed from the entrails of the fish.

In chapter 3 of Jonah the prophet is seen fulfilling the mission entrusted. Jonah 3:1-4 says, Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey[a] in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s walk. Then he cried out and said, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

The message of warning came to the inhabitants and king of the city, who took it very seriously. Jonah 3:5-9 says, So the people of Nineveh believed God, proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them. Then word came to the king of Nineveh; and he arose from his throne and laid aside his robe, covered himself with sackcloth and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published throughout Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything; do not let them eat, or drink water. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily to God; yes, let every one turn from his evil way and from the violence that is in his hands. Who can tell if God will turn and relent, and turn away from His fierce anger, so that we may not perish?

And here is God’s answer in Jonah 3:10, Then God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God relented from the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them, and He did not do it. God bless you.

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Humillados ante Dios

Acercaos a Dios, y él se acercará a vosotros. Pecadores, limpiad las manos; y vosotros los de doble ánimo, purificad vuestros corazones. Afligíos, y lamentad, y llorad. Vuestra risa se convierta en lloro, y vuestro gozo en tristeza. Humillaos delante del Señor, y él os exaltará.

Santiago 4:8-10

No cabe duda que Dios está esperando que en este tiempo, nos humillemos delante de Él y reconozcamos nuestros pecados. No podemos negar que el mundo está convulsionado y la desgracia puede tocarnos a cualquiera. Ningún país está exento de que una mente criminal lleve a cabo un acto terrorista que mate decenas de personas y destruya monumentos y lugares simbólicos apreciados por sus ciudadanos. Nuestra respuesta ante Dios por un suceso de esta naturaleza no debe ser una de orgullo y autosuficiencia, sino de humillarnos y buscar Su rostro de todo corazón.

El libro de Jonás nos puede servir de ejemplo para lo que dice Santiago 4:8-10. Dice Jonás 1:1-2: Vino palabra de Jehová a Jonás hijo de Amitai, diciendo: Levántate y ve a Nínive, aquella gran ciudad, y pregona contra ella; porque ha subido su maldad delante de mí. La respuesta del profeta, en lugar de cumplir con su misión, fue irse en sentido contrario. Jonás 1:3 dice: Y Jonás se levantó para huir de la presencia de Jehová a Tarsis, y descendió a Jope, y halló una nave que partía para Tarsis; y pagando su pasaje, entró en ella para irse con ellos a Tarsis, lejos de la presencia de Jehová.

Jonás no era un incrédulo sino un siervo de Dios actuando con doble ánimo. Como no le satisfizo la encomienda, prefirió ignorarla y huir. Por supuesto, es imposible huir de la presencia de Dios. Así que al barco donde iba Jonás le sorprendió una gran tormenta, él fue arrojado al mar y fue tragado por un enorme pez. Todo eso puede leerse en el resto del capítulo 1 de su libro. Dentro del pez, Jonás recapacitó, reconoció su pecado, y oró una hermosa oración que se encuentra en el capítulo 2 de su libro. Como resultado, el profeta pudo salir ileso de las entrañas del pez.

En el capítulo 3 de Jonás se ve al profeta cumpliendo con la misión encomendada. Jonás 3:1-4 dice: Vino palabra de Jehová por segunda vez a Jonás, diciendo: Levántate y ve a Nínive, aquella gran ciudad, y proclama en ella el mensaje que yo te diré. Y se levantó Jonás, y fue a Nínive conforme a la palabra de Jehová. Y era Nínive ciudad grande en extremo, de tres días de camino. Y comenzó Jonás a entrar por la ciudad, camino de un día, y predicaba diciendo: De aquí a cuarenta días Nínive será destruida.

El mensaje de advertencia llegó a los habitantes y al rey de la ciudad, quienes lo tomaron muy en serio. Jonás 3:5-9 dice: Y los hombres de Nínive creyeron a Dios, y proclamaron ayuno, y se vistieron de cilicio desde el mayor hasta el menor de ellos. Y llegó la noticia hasta el rey de Nínive, y se levantó de su silla, se despojó de su vestido, y se cubrió de cilicio y se sentó sobre ceniza. E hizo proclamar y anunciar en Nínive, por mandato del rey y de sus grandes, diciendo: Hombres y animales, bueyes y ovejas, no gusten cosa alguna; no se les dé alimento, ni beban agua; sino cúbranse de cilicio hombres y animales, y clamen a Dios fuertemente; y conviértase cada uno de su mal camino, de la rapiña que hay en sus manos. ¿Quién sabe si se volverá y se arrepentirá Dios, y se apartará del ardor de su ira, y no pereceremos?

Y he aquí la respuesta de Dios en Jonás 3:10: Y vio Dios lo que hicieron, que se convirtieron de su mal camino; y se arrepintió del mal que había dicho que les haría, y no lo hizo. Dios te bendiga.

 

God Gives Grace to the Humble

But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

James 4:6

We are living in very difficult times. Every day, the news is not pleasant. In many parts of the world, terrorist acts, natural disasters and politico-social conflicts are increasingly common. Before such news many people say that God has left us and that is why such things happen. The truth is that what happens in the world is not the fault of God but of ourselves. And our attitude to these tragic events must be to humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness for our sins. No doubt God will give grace to the humble.

There are two characteristics of the time in which we live, both sin and pride have increased to a high degree. Today, humanity considers acceptable behaviors that are in clear contradiction to what God condemns in His Word. There are even those who claim that the Bible should be “updated” to modern times to exclude from the list of sins all that is now lawful in the world. And if some brave preacher tries to confront sin, they consider him an anachronistic and outdated being, a legalist who does not fit the present time.

On the other hand, when some catastrophe touches them closely, there are those who vaguely remember God and ask for help, prayer for God to have mercy; but at no time do they humble themselves and acknowledge that they have failed Him. On the contrary, once the crisis is over, everyone returns to their old practice and forgets that God exists. And I’m not just talking about ungodly people who do not know God, many who call themselves Christians act in the same way.

What is the answer that God expects of us when He confronts us with our sin? The very Word of God gives us the key in 2 Chronicles 7:14, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Although it sounds uncomfortable to many, we have sinned, we are at fault with God and the warnings He sends us is not to pray for mercy but for repentance.

Will there be someone who does not need to bow their heads before God? Of course not! Even we who are made children of God cannot do it. On the contrary, Christians themselves should be the first to pray, seeking the face of God, leaving behind the evil path of false doctrines, face to face, humbled before Him. And our prayer must continue to intercede for the repentance of those who do not know God, that the Holy Spirit may convince them of their own sins and turn to Him.

To arrive before God with a prayer full of pride, decreeing, declaring and ordering as if we were the bosses of God, is not the right attitude to reach the favor of our Father. This is not biblical prayer. Neither Moses, nor David, nor Paul, nor even Jesus prayed that way. In Psalm 51:17 the Scripture says, The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart, these, O God, You will not despise. Let us humble ourselves before God and we will not only reach His favor, His forgiveness and His mercy, but He will give grace in us to those who reject Him so that we may intercede for His salvation. God bless you.

Dios Da Gracia a los Humildes

Pero Él da mayor gracia. Por esto dice: Dios resiste a los soberbios, y da gracia a los humildes.

Santiago 4:6

Estamos viviendo tiempos muy difíciles. Cada día, las noticias no son nada agradables. En muchos lugares del mundo es cada vez más frecuente escuchar de actos terroristas, desastres naturales y conflictos político-sociales. Ante tales noticias mucha gente dice que Dios nos ha abandonado y por eso ocurren tales cosas. Lo cierto es que lo que ocurre en el mundo no es culpa de Dios sino de nosotros mismos. Y nuestra actitud ante estos trágicos eventos debe ser la de humillarnos delante de Dios y pedir perdón por nuestras culpas. Sin duda que Dios va a dar gracia a los humildes.

Hay dos características de la época en la cual vivimos, tanto el pecado como el orgullo se han incrementado en grado sumo. Hoy día, la humanidad considera aceptable conductas que están en franca contradicción con lo que Dios condena en Su Palabra. Incluso hay quienes pretenden que la Biblia sea “actualizada” a los tiempos modernos para que excluya de la lista de pecados todo lo que ahora es legal en el mundo. Y si algún predicador valiente trata de confrontar el pecado, lo consideran un ser anacrónico y desfasado, un legalista que no se ajusta al tiempo actual.

Por otro lado, cuando alguna catástrofe les toca de cerca, hay quienes se acuerdan vagamente de Dios y piden auxilio, oración para que Dios tenga misericordia; pero, en ningún momento se humillan y reconocen que le han fallado a Él. Al contrario, una vez superada la crisis, todo el mundo regresa a su antigua práctica y se olvida de que Dios existe. Y no estoy solamente hablando de impíos que no conocen de Dios, muchos que se autodenominan cristianos actúan de la misma manera.

¿Cuál es la respuesta que Dios espera de nosotros cuando nos confronta con nuestro pecado? La propia Palabra de Dios nos da la clave en 2 Crónica 7:14: Si se humillare mi pueblo, sobre el cual mi nombre es invocado, y oraren, y buscaren mi rostro, y se convirtieren de sus malos caminos; entonces yo oiré desde los cielos, y perdonaré sus pecados, y sanaré su tierra. Aunque suene incómodo a muchos, hemos pecado, estamos en falta con Dios y las advertencias que Él nos manda no es para que oremos por misericordia sino por arrepentimiento.

¿Habrá alguien que no necesite agachar su cabeza delante de Dios? ¡Por supuesto que no! Ni siquiera nosotros, los que hemos sido hechos hijos de Dios lo podemos hacer. Al contrario, los propios cristianos debemos ser los primeros que oremos, buscando el rostro de Dios, dejando atrás el mal camino de las falsas doctrinas, rostro en tierra, humillados delante de Él. Y nuestra oración debe continuar intercediendo por el arrepentimiento de quienes no conocen a Dios, a fin de que el Espíritu Santo los convenza de sus propios pecados y se vuelvan a Él.

Llegar ante Dios con una oración llena de orgullo, decretando, declarando y ordenando como si fuéramos los jefes de Dios, no es la actitud correcta para alcanzar el favor de nuestro Padre. Así no es la oración bíblica. Ni Moisés, ni David, ni Pablo, ni siquiera Jesús oraron de esa manera. En Salmo 51:17 dice la Escritura: Los sacrificios de Dios son el espíritu quebrantado; al corazón contrito y humillado no despreciarás tú, oh Dios. Seamos humildes delante de Dios y no solamente alcanzaremos Su favor, Su perdón y Su misericordia, sino que Él pondrá gracia en nosotros ante quienes lo rechazan a fin de que intercedamos para su salvación. Dios te bendiga.

Rich in Faith

Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

James 2:5

It is curious that in the last decades has unleashed a wave of new “believers” who walk more in search of riches than the face of God. And the most curious thing is that one of the names of that movement has to do with faith. And I wonder, faith in what or in whom? What is that faith for? Faith for the eternal promises or only for the temporal ones? It is good to meditate on what James tells us. 2:5, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

When someone posts social media on a Bible verse about God’s promises, immediately dozens of people like “Like” or respond with an amen. However, when the published verse confronts us, it tells us to turn away from sin or live in holiness, the people who react are only a few. And most likely some of those who react will do so to say that we do not judge or that we must respect the thought of others.

Some time ago, I made a Facebook link to one of my YouTube videos in which I talked about the false servants of Jesus Christ. A sister in the faith, whom I know and have a great deal of appreciation, corrected me harshly even going so far as to tell me to focus and better listen to my call. My last reply to the sister was that what I had published was precisely my call and that in that I was fully focused without deviating to things contrary to biblical truths.

I agree with the one hundred percent expressed by the American pastor Paul D. Washer: “Today in the churches speak of money, cars, houses, clothes, fame … Is not it enough that Christ died for us? What does it matter if we are poor all our lives! What does it matter if we suffer for Him all our lives! Christ died for me, that’s enough, I’m going to serve Him, I’m going to worship Him, I’m going to work for His Kingdom. Christ died for us, we do not need another motivation!” The best thing God has to give us are not the ephemeral riches but the salvation of our soul.

Our motivation to seek God should not be for the earthly things that someday will disappear or leave our hands. As James 2:5 says: God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him. The Kingdom of God is not of this world, therefore those riches are not the money, the cars, the houses nor the jewels that we can see but imperishable and incorruptible treasures. It is foolish to settle for what we believe to be good and lose the best of everything.

James does not say that God has chosen the rich but the poor of this world. The rich feel confident; but the security of the most disadvantaged is not placed in material goods but only in faith. Because as 2 Corinthians 5:7 says, For we walk by faith, not by sight. It is time for those who claim to love God, love Him for who He is, not for what He can give us here and now. Our greatest treasures must be safe in the heavens and not based on this earth where everything is uncertain and perishable. And that great treasure is the inheritance of our Heavenly Father, the owner of everything, he wants to give us everything. God bless you.

Ricos en Fe

Hermanos míos amados, oíd: ¿No ha elegido Dios a los pobres de este mundo, para que sean ricos en fe y herederos del Reino que ha prometido a los que le aman?

Santiago 2:5

Es curioso que en las últimas décadas se haya desatado una oleada de nuevos “creyentes” que andan más en busca de riquezas que del rostro de Dios. Y lo más curioso es que uno de los nombres de ese movimiento tiene que ver con la fe. Y me pregunto, ¿fe en qué o en quién? ¿Para qué es esa fe? ¿Fe para las promesas eternas o solo para las temporales? Es bueno meditar en lo que nos dice Santiago 2:5: Hermanos míos amados, oíd: ¿No ha elegido Dios a los pobres de este mundo, para que sean ricos en fe y herederos del reino que ha prometido a los que le aman?

Cuando alguien publica en las redes sociales algún versículo bíblico sobre las promesas de Dios, inmediatamente decenas de personas le dan “Me gusta” o contestan con un amén. Sin embargo, cuando el versículo publicado nos confronta, nos habla de alejarnos del pecado o de vivir en santidad, son contadas las personas que reaccionan. Y lo más probable es que algunos de los que reaccionan lo harán para decir que no juzguemos o que debemos de respetar el pensamiento de los demás.

Hace un tiempo, hice un enlace en Facebook a uno de mis videos de YouTube en el cual hablaba sobre los falsos siervos de Jesucristo. Una hermana en la fe, a quien conozco y le tengo un gran aprecio me corrigió duramente llegando incluso a decirme que me enfocara y que mejor prestara atención a mi llamado. Mi última respuesta a la hermana fue de que lo que yo había publicado era precisamente mi llamado y que en eso estaba plenamente enfocado sin desviarme hacia cosas contrarias a las verdades bíblicas.

Coincido al ciento por ciento con lo expresado por el pastor norteamericano Paul D. Washer: “Hoy en las iglesias hablan de dinero, autos, casas, ropa, fama… ¿No es suficiente que Cristo murió por nosotros? ¡Qué importa si somos pobres toda la vida! ¡Qué importa si sufrimos por Él toda la vida! Cristo murió por mí, es suficiente, le voy a servir, le voy a adorar, voy a trabajar para Su Reino. Cristo murió por nosotros, ¡no necesitamos otra motivación!” Lo mejor que Dios tiene para darnos no son las riquezas efímeras sino la salvación de nuestra alma.

Nuestra motivación de buscar a Dios no debe ser por las cosas terrenales que algún día van a desaparecer o salir de nuestras manos. Como dice Santiago 2:5: ha elegido Dios a los pobres de este mundo, para que sean ricos en fe y herederos del Reino que ha prometido a los que le aman. El Reino de Dios no es de este mundo, por lo tanto esas riquezas no son el dinero, los autos, las casas ni las joyas que podemos ver sino tesoros imperecederos e incorruptibles. Es de tonto conformarse con lo que creemos bueno y perdernos de lo mejor de todo.

Santiago no dice que Dios ha elegido a los ricos sino a los pobres de este mundo. Los ricos se sienten seguros de sí mismos; pero la seguridad de los más desventajados no está puesta en los bienes materiales sino solamente en la fe. Porque como dice 2 Corintios 5:7: porque por fe andamos, no por vista. Es tiempo de que los que dicen amar a Dios, lo amen por quien es Él, no por lo que pueda darnos aquí y ahora. Nuestros mayores tesoros deben de estar seguros en los cielos y no basados en esta tierra donde todo es incierto y perecedero. Y ese gran tesoro es la herencia de nuestro Padre Celestial, el dueño de todo, quiere darnos todo. Dios te bendiga.

Doers of the Work

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

There is something to be noted, the works we do, do not make us worthy of salvation because it is obtained by grace, as a gift from God. But once we are saved, we must become doers of the work, doers of the Word, living according to what is written in it. Grace is not a license to sin but a safe-conduct to be doers of works worthy of repentance.

Today many who call themselves Christians do not feel compelled to obey the Law of God because they think that grace is sufficient and they are already saved and have nothing more to do. This thought is a product of the wrong teaching of many churches. Although works do not serve us for salvation, being saved and not observing what God commands is a mockery of the blood shed on the cross by Jesus Christ.

The English pastor Maurice Roberts (1938- ) said, “Although we are justified and saved only by faith, we do not persevere for eternal life only by faith. We must cooperate through obedience to His written Word and daily implore His gracious grace.” Three centuries before Roberts said this, another Englishman, William Jenkyn (1613-1685), had said, “We are not justified in doing good Works, but when we are justified then we do good.”

Doing the work is a logical and direct consequence of having been saved and justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. It would be an act of supreme betrayal to the God who forgave us of our sins by continuing to sin. On the contrary, now, through His Spirit we are enabled to do good.

The words another countryman and Jenkyn’s contemporary said are not wasted. The Englishman Richard Baxter (1615-1691) said, “If you have a better master than you had before, now you must work harder than you did before. Will they not serve God more zeal than they served the devil? Will they not strive harder for the salvation of their souls than they do to condemn them? Have they no more zeal for good than they had in evil? If you are true believers, you now have a reserved hope in the heavens; deal with it, in the way worldly people go after the world.”

Another aspect of doing the work is service. The Lord Jesus Christ himself said it in Matthew 23:11, But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. In that sense, let us look at what the Irish preacher Frederick Leahy (1922-2006) said, “It is not an insignificant comment to say that we are ‘saved to serve.’ Without service to God and to others through evangelism and Christian compassion, the Christian’s life would soon be self-centered and introverted.”

The Christian life is not to be carried out in a selfish way. We are called to serve both brothers in the faith and those who are not yet touched by grace. That was the Lord’s command in Matthew 10:8: Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. I close with what American pastor Phineas F. Bresee (1838-1915) said, “We are indebted to every man to give him the gospel in the same measure we have received.” God bless you.