The Unfading Crown of Glory

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

1 Peter 5:4

When we read only what I Peter 5:4 says, we might be very happy to see that a glorious reward awaits us when the Lord returns. It is a beautiful promise to hear this: And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Now who will receive this crown? The Bible says that God will give the unfading crown of glory to those who bring His Word to others. That could lead us to think that then the pastors already have it guaranteed. Without taking it so lightly, it is necessary to meditate in detail the whole context of 1 Peter 5:4.

To do this, let us see what the previous verses say, 1 Peter 5:1-3, The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.

The sheep are of the Lord, not ours. He puts them under our care, not that we take advantage of them. I will tell how God made me understand that great truth. By the end of 2005, I had sold my house and bought another, which was twice as far from the church as I was congregating. In my old house, I was a leader of a very successful cell group. For two years a new generation of disciples with leadership capacity had been raised in that group. My biggest concern was that my new home would be far away at all.

That’s when the question came out of my mouth, what am I going to do with my group? The answer of God did not wait. I felt a voice inside me saying: “Your group? It’s not your group, the sheep are mine, not yours.” At that moment I realized the terrible recklessness of my words. I understood that this cell group was not my possession but God had put those people in my care for a while and that time was over. My house had been bought by another leader of the church and I gave the group to him.

In my new house, I started the task of starting a new cell group from scratch. To obey God brought the blessing that in a very short time, the new group surpassed in size and quality the first one. I was with them until God moved me from the church where I was to new responsibilities. As I had learned the lesson the first time. At no time did I think to take the sheep with me. I just said goodbye to all the members of the group and left them in the hands of their new leader.

Peter is very clear in the requirement that we must fulfill in order to reach the unfading crown of glory: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. Let us remember that our mission is to serve, not to serve us. Our greatest reward is not material but the unfading crown of glory that the chief Shepherd will give us. God bless you.

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Patience and Prayer

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

James 5:7-8

Those of us who are waiting for the glorious coming of our Lord are aware that we do not have a date. It is written that only the Father knows the day and the hour, so no one can say when it will be. The same could be today in a few days, months or years. In that sense, we should not be anxious, but clothed with patience and watching over in prayer. Let’s be ready for that great day as if it were to happen tonight; but without despair. It is clear that time only runs in one direction, and that moment is getting closer and closer.

How should our patience be? James puts it this way: See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. It is likely that for those of us who have always lived in cities we find it difficult to understand the patience of farmers until they can harvest the fruit of the land. The agricultural process occurs for a period of time that can take from several months to several years, depending on the type of plant that has been planted.

In any case, even before depositing the seed in the soil, the farmer must prepare the land in order to condition it for sowing. Not all seeds are fertile, hence it is necessary to select them. Then a whole series of stages of caring for the plant is planted, which includes applying fertilizers, pesticides and adequate water, pruning the leaves so that the plant grows in the right direction and produces the desired fruit. As the farmer waits for the fruit, his financial resources are likely to be scarce.

At the end, when the abundant harvest arrives, the farmer will receive the joy of having in his hands the fruit of his patience. Likewise, believers who await the glorious coming of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ, when we see Him descend from the clouds with His holy angels, we can say that it was worth having the patience to see such a great moment. And just as the farmer spent time to watch over the well-being of his field, believers should spend time watching in prayer until Christ comes.

In the natural, the farmer does not always reach what he expected. It happens sometimes that, even though he puts all his effort to obtain the fruit of his work, events that are beyond his control could prevent him. Nature can act against the farmer, either by a drought, excessive rain or pests that destroy his plantation. Even the fruit may not be of adequate size or its quality is poor, which causes its price in the market to decrease and this man stop winning and even lose what he invested.

However, in the spiritual, our waiting for the coming of Christ will not bring losses. No matter what happens in the natural world or the spiritual hosts of evil oppose. The Lord will come without a doubt, at the right time, which we do not know; but of which there is no doubt. Let us wait for Him with patience and watching in prayer, for He will come as a thief in the night and the great moment draws nearer and nearer. God bless you.

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.

Every Good Gift Comes from God

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures.

James 1:17-18

It is impossible for God to give us bad things. The gifts from God will always be good. There are numerous promises of God in the Bible, which are meant for those who love Him, those who follow His Word and believe Him. If these good gifts do not reach our hands, it is not because God changed His mind, but because we do not do our part. It will always be God’s will for the well-being of His children.

The first good gift that comes from God is salvation, of which Ephesians 2:8 says, For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Salvation is something we cannot do for ourselves, but a gift that comes from God. And this gift opens the doors to the other gifts, such as the gift of righteousness of which Romans 5:17 speaks, For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Being unjust because of our sins, God justifies us by faith in His Son. And makes us partakers of communion with Himself by giving us the gift of the Holy Spirit, as Acts 2:38 tells us, Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. And having the Holy Spirit in us, the spiritual gifts that are described in detail in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11 come to us with Him.

God does not change, as James says about Him: with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. So He expects that when we receive His call and the gifts He gives us, we will accept them and walk in that direction from that time forward. This is borne out by the Word in Romans 11:29: For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. If we have been delivered from bondage to sin, saved and endowed with spiritual gifts, it is not for us to renounce all that and to return to the old life.

Paul says in 1 Timothy 4:14 that we should not neglect the perfect gift that descends from above, Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Instead of neglecting the gift of God, it is our duty to stir it up, as 2 Timothy 1:6 says, Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.

The gifts of God are not to be neglected or used in a selfish way, but are to be used within the body of Christ. Scripture says in 1 Peter 4:10, As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Thus the gifts received serve to edify the church as 1 Corinthians 14:12 says, Even so you, since you are zealous for spiritual gifts, let it be for the edification of the church that you seek to excel. If we are blessed with the spiritual gifts, let them not serve as excuses for our ego to inflate, but for us to recognize that they are given by God to enable us in the work of the expansion of His Kingdom. God bless you.

Enduring Trails

A man who endures trials is blessed, because when he passes the test he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.

James 1:12

Enduring the trials, according to what James 1:12 says, brings your reward. The reward of those who have endured trials is the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love Him. The best demonstration of love we can give to God is to withstand temptation and withstand trial. For this, it is necessary to remain firm, without giving up or discouraging. The task is not easy; but we must remember that God is good and will not give us a burden higher than our ability to bear.

There are temptations that are very obvious and a lot has been talked about them. I believe that when many hear the opening words of James 1:12: A man who endures trials is blessed, the first thing they imagine is a man tempted to desire a beautiful woman who is not his. It is true that this is one of the baits that the enemy sets us to stir up the hormones and make us fall; but there are other forms more subtle and dangerous than that, which lead us to the total loss of our reward.

When we succumb to the temptation to follow the false gospel of prosperity, we are failing the test. In no way are we showing love to God, but love of the riches that God is supposed to give us. Whoever does such a thing is not looking for God for who He is but for what he can give to increase his ego and his unhealthy desire to become rich and powerful. Using the Word of God out of context, this man falls into the net of the enemy so subtly that he believes in the lie that those who do wrong are those who preach sound doctrine.

But even this temptation is obvious to many, who have opened their eyes and turned away from such harmful doctrine. Now come even stronger tests for everyone. The world is moving into very dangerous paths that could lead humanity into serious conflict. It would not be at all strange for a global war of terrible destruction to happen. Before the war, the desire of the great majority is to achieve peace. And here comes the temptation, the great test for believers in accepting the conditions of worldly peace.

To cling to the foundation of our faith in order to harmonize with the world and to obtain peace is not to withstand temptation and to resist the test. To reach an ecumenical consensus where the true God coexists with idols is not to show love for the one and only God. In no way whoever does such a thing will receive the crown of life. We are already looking at what Matthew 24:6 says, And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

If our legs are already trembling with rumors of war, will we be able to endure the next test? Matthew 24:9 says what that test is: Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. Enduring the hatred of the world for being a Christian is the best demonstration of love for Christ and is our sure guarantee of receiving the crown of life at His triumphant return. Persevere to the end and we will be called blessed because we will be eternally with the King of kings. God bless you.

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.

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.