Wow – it’s hard to believe we’re in the year 2020! If you know me at all, you know that I’m weird in certain ways and 2020 evokes a couple of quick thoughts. First of all, a little superficial rhyme, I told my son the other day (from a Spiritual perspective of course) “Good and plenty in twenty, twenty.”
He rolled his eyes.
The other little thought was more of a prayer, “Lord, grant me 2020 vision from a Spiritual perspective.” I pray that I’d keep my eyes on Jesus all year long. This is what the author of Hebrews told us to do. We read in Hebrews 12:2, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The Greek word translated “looking” (aphorao) literally means to “turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something else.” In this case, someone else – we are to turn away from all others, and fix our eyes on Jesus…that “2020” vision sure helps when things get tough.
According to this passage, Jesus endured the cross because He never lost sight of the joy that was before Him. What do you think that “joy” was? I believe that joy was reconciliation with the Father, and the salvation of the church. He was able to “see” you and me, free and forgiven, in heaven – with Him, forever. If we look to Jesus, we’ll find that in one one sense, He’s looking to us.
Friend, I pray that 2020 is a Happy New Year for you, but you know as well as I do that it will have its unfair share of challenges and heartaches. May we remember, the only way we’ll make it through with a smile on our face, or better yet, joy in our hearts, is if our Spiritual vision is 2020 – if we keep our eyes on Jesus.
Okay, so I just read an article that covered the most googled questions for all 50 states in the USA. Wow, what a wide spectrum of questions we have from sea to shining sea, and like the sea, they’re deep – big time!
Here’s a sample:
Alabama: “What is love?”
Florida: “What is my life purpose?”
Idaho: “What is the relationship between religion and science?”
Illinois: “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
Indiana: “When will the world end?”
Louisiana: “Is masturbation a sin?”
These are some deep questions, far beyond what we might typically suspect people are asking nowadays. Love, life, purpose, religion, science and sin? Hmmm, maybe people aren’t as superficial as we thought, at least not deep down inside, or in the privacy of their own keyboards and computer screens. Perhaps people really are looking for answers to the big questions of life.
As I was reading, I noticed, many of those winning questions had to do with death. For example in Montana and New Hampshire the top question asked was, “What happens when you die?” Massachusetts was similar, “Is there life after death?” Here in California they asked, “Why do we have to die?” And then my heart just sank when I read the most asked questions in the state of Maine: “Why do I want to die?” and New Mexico, “How to commit suicide.”
Maybe you have some of those same questions. If you do, I just want you to know that there is a God who loves you and has a lot of life for you to live. Please, don’t give up. I know, I know…it’s so hard sometimes, and it’s harder to believe when you’ve gone through those epic tragedies that rock our world. But I know a mom who lost her little boy to cancer, I know a woman who was raped, I know a young mommy whose child was molested, I know a grip of sons who have never met their dads, and all of them are living their lives with purpose, not necessarily understanding everything, but finding a supernatural healing for their hearts from the God of the universe. You need to know that God is able to take even the tragedies and calamities of life, and somehow, someway, turn them into victories. I’m not saying that the event itself was good, not at all, but it can be used for good as we trust over time (Romans 8:28). Remember, we’re not home yet, “we’re fish out of water,” and keep in mind that pure and perpetual good will only be found in our homes in heaven.
Maybe your mind is messing with you; if so, you’re not alone, it could be drugs, demons, or flat out depression; all I can tell you is that there is power in the Name of Jesus. He died for you on a cross, they put Him in a grave, but He rose from the dead 3 days later. If you put your trust in Him you will be saved and set free; you’ll find hope and healing for your heart. Jesus is real, He’s alive, and He’s right here for you.
Its not just you, your keyboard, and your computer screen…God is there, God is here.
Acts 2:21 “And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Whoever you are, I want you to know the reason I write is because I love you, and the God who made you is right here just waiting for you to come to Him, because He loves you with a perfect love.
So, we’re 2 days away from electing the 45th President of the United States of America. This is monumental in many ways. We say things like the very survival of our nation, the future of our nation, it’s the world our children will live in. I’ve spoken to many people who have different reasons for the candidate of their choice. For some it’s economics, and different opinions on how the poor and middle class might benefit. For others it has to do with refugees and their cries for safety within our states. Many have told me that it has to do with the demeanor of the candidates, the presentation of the president – they say it reveals deeper concerns, and in all honesty, I understand the sincerity of these citizens, and I am so blessed that when we go vote this Tuesday (and we should all vote), that we can vote having prayed first, and with clear consciences before God. I thoroughly value and respect our freedom as Americans.
For me, however, it usually boils down to other issues, especially the right to life. Since abortion was legalized, we have killed over 58 million babies.
I have a hunch that if Jeremiah, Ezekiel, or Isaiah were around today, they’d be preaching, crying out, and warning the USA that if we don’t stop killing our children, and offering them to the god of Molech, then the judgment of God cannot be averted. If we don’t grant them their right to life, then neither will He grant us our right to life. The only exception should be if the life of the mother is at stake, which is understandable, just as one would choose people out of a burning car one person at a time. But most children who are aborted are killed for convenience, and God sees that. We must not approve of politicians, lawmakers, or laws that end the life of 1 out of every 5 children. Our next president will select at least 2 Supreme Court Justices, and this has the potential to end the murder of innocent children…so in the fear of God, I will vote for the 1 who vows to place conservative and moral judges in power…for the man who will fight for their right to live.
We need to protect the first and second amendments; guns don’t kill people, people kill people; and if God allows us to suffer persecution as Christians, and to lay down our lives, so be it, but to voluntarily relinquish the freedom of Religion and the right to preach and practice the full counsel of God, would be a failure on our parts.
So church, go and vote; vote on capital punishment according to Romans 13:4; consider the epic laws that hang in the balance including the legalization of the recreational use of marijuana; select and elect leaders as God would lead you, personally.
In our church we have an American flag on display; it’s not for show, or simply because other churches have flags, it’s because I love this country, I believe God has blessed the United States of America in so many ways, I stand and salute and wholeheartedly believe we must do everything we can to return to One Nation under God.
I believe God can use politicians, but at the end of the day, the responsibility is primarily given to the Christians. God help us to take to heart that most appropriate passage in, 2 Chronicles 7:14 where God says, “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.”
According to a recent UN Happiness Report, the nation of Denmark is the happiest place on earth (and all this time I thought it was Disneyland!). After Denmark was Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, and in case you’re wondering, the United States of America came in at 13th place.
Sooo, what do you think? Is it wrong to want to be happy? What exactly is it anyways, and how is happiness attained? Would you consider yourself a happy person?
I’m not sure where you’re at, but I would venture to say that most Christians immediately raise their red flags when it comes to being happy. Most Christians would rather use such words as” joy” and “holy,” not happy. I completely understand and for the most part agree, but at the same time I don’t think it’s wrong to long for happiness.
Happiness is not bad, but joy trumps happiness. I love it when my children laugh and smile, and I’d venture to say that God smiles when we smile for good reasons. But the truth is, happiness is not found in a country, it’s found in our Creator. Happiness, and yes, better than that, joy, is found in knowing God and doing His will. If you want to be happy, remember, it’s more important HOW you live, than WHERE you live. Rather than moving your family closer to Denmark, why not try moving your heart closer to God? Happiness has to do with feelings, emotions, and circumstances, while joy has to do with faith, convictions, and trust in God no matter what the circumstances might be.
The article had some “ok” tips on being happy, such as, connecting with people, doing things for others, caring for your body, noticing the world around you, learning new things, having good goals, bouncing back, being positive, and being part of something bigger than yourself. But sad to say, the article missed the most important ingredient of all – GOD. No one will ever find happiness apart from God and a personal relationship with Him established through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Allow me to me close with a few Scriptures on happiness, and some very brief comments.
Psalms 146:5 “Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, Whose hope is in the LORD his God.” Here’s a person who not only has God, but whose hope is in God. Does that describe you?
Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.” Seriously, happiness happens when we know God’s Word and we know how to apply it to our lives – this is wisdom, understanding, happiness, and holiness (by the way) – and the only way you’ll “find” is if you “seek.”
Deuteronomy 24:5 “When a man has taken a new wife, he shall not go out to war or be charged with any business; he shall be free at home one year, and bring happiness to his wife whom he has taken.” This is a rather ironic verse, and a good one to close with – because instead of wanting happiness for ourselves, it’s vital to seek happiness for others, especially those closest to us. If you do, and if that’s your goal – guess what? You’ll get a healthy dose of happiness for yourself. Remember that saying, “A happy wife is a happy life!”
A closing prayer, “Lord, I thank You for Your amazing grace – that I have You, and I can hope in You. Please help me to live out all the beautiful truths You’ve taught me from Your Word, please grant me that wisdom. I know happiness, holiness, and miles of smiles will be found there, Lord; I know that love and laughter and the fullness of life are found only in You, and Lord, this is epic – please, please, please help me to bring happiness to my wife, may that day become a reality, when she says, ‘He made me happy…’ and Lord, one more thing (I don’t know how this all works), but I would love to make You happy too (to please You)…in Jesus’ Name. Amen.”
The other day I received one of tragic those phone calls. A young man (only 18 years old), was traveling southbound on Santa Anita avenue, just before Lower Azusa Rd., and apparently he hit the curb, bounced in the opposite direction, skidded across the street, hit a telephone pole, and then flipped in the air taking out 2 trees in the process. He died immediately. The police department contacted me to see if I would be able to assist with the death notification. You can imagine how heart-breaking that was, to knock on the door of an absolutely unsuspecting family, and let them know that their son and brother had died in an automobile accident that morning. There’s no greater pain – please pray for this family.
The officer conducting the investigation said that there were no drugs or alcohol invovled, the explanation for this terrible tragedy was simply that this young man was going too fast. Based on the tire marks left on the street, he estimated the young man to be going 160 miles per hour! So sad, so preventable, such an unecessary tragedy.
Now, most of us won’t be driving that fast (at least I hope not), but I wonder how many of are living that fast? In this country, there is constant pressure to put the pedal to the medal, to do more and more, and grow busier and busier; it’s been said, “If the devil can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy; if he can’t deceive you he’ll distract you.”
I want to encourage you to be-ever-so careful of self-willed busy-ness. Instead, redeem the time (Ephesians 5:16), and make sure you have quality, quanitity time to spend at the feet of Jesus, every day (Luke 10:38-42). Also, make sure you don’t just find the time, but make the time and take the time; quality, quantity time with your family. Statistics tell us that mom, spends on the average, 14 minutes of alone time with her children each day, and fathers only 5 minutes a day. Statistics tell us that most men spend more time with their computers than with their spouses…no wonder so many families are struggling!
I guess in the end, the most important thing to do is to let God write your schedule, each and every day. When you study the life of Christ, you find that that’s exactly how He lived, day by day, obediently following the plans of His Father.
Maybe it’ time for you to slow down, pull over, get out of the car and take a walk and a talk with God, and just ask Him, “Father, what would You have me to do…all the days of my life?”
For the first time in our history, the Coronilla clan was blessed to attend the Rose Parade as a family. Some kind friends of ours, actually gave us tickets where we could see and enjoy the parade up-close and personal – it was sooo cool! I discovered that it's completely different when you're acutally there – in person – as opposed to watching it on television. I especially enjoyed the marching bands, when they're playing and passing by you can "feel" the music – the drums, the horns, the wind instruments – a great experience.
Of course my favorite part was just being with my family, I thank God for opporutunities to be togther and to make memories. A close second for me was the float called, "God's Promise for All" (photo above). This float was such an awesome witness for the world to see, for millions to ponder the promise of God, that if they would only place their faith in Jesus Christ, turning from their sin, and trusting in God's Son, then they will be saved. In the end, this is what it's all about, and this should be the point of every parade!
I'm so grateful to God for His Son and for His people, willing to penetrate every sliver of society and tell of Jesus – the Lord and Savior of the world. Keep it up Christians, be creative, be consistent, pray and think outside of the box, how can we be the salt of the earth and lights in this world? How can we reach the lost with the message of God's love? Pray about it…really pray…the Lord will show you your part of His plan – and the people He wants you to somehow speak "Jesus" to.
After the parade we stumbled upon a restaurant called "Roscoes Chicken and Waffles." You gotta try it, take your friends, take your family, make a memory 🙂
"Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of RECONCILIATION…" (2 Corinthians 5:18).
As Christian ministers (that's all of who are saved :-), it's so amazing to contemplate this whole concept of reconciliation. For one, we've been reconciled to God! How amazing is that? But then secondly, we've been given this ministry of reconciliation. In this "ministry" we see others come to Christ, and we get to see others literally reconciled with others.
I have to share with you a little something that happened this week. There's a young man whose been coming to the fellowship for the past couple of months, who God is drawing out of the gang lifestyle. God had been moving his heart to find his father, but he didn't know where he was. It just so "happened" that he ran into a relative at the Harvest Crusade who was able to give him the information of his father's whereabouts. This young man then wrote to his father and told him that he had been coming to church sercvices and that God was changing his life, little-by-little. To our amazement the father wrote back and said the same thing, he was now serving the Lord also! Wow! All along God was moving father and son towards Him, and in the process moving them towards eachother.
The other day, this young man's father called here at the church office, and they were able to talk over the phone. Both father and son were so happy and blessed beyond measure, after all, how can you measure the love between a father and son? Afterwards the young man told me he hadn't spoken to his father in 16 months.
Thank You Lord, for the ministry of RECONCILIATION. Please remember them in your prayers.
We finally made it to Cambodia! It took us 27 hours to get here, but man, is it worth it! It was a long journey, but the Lord had me check my heart – how difficult it is sometimes to get out of our comfort zone, sometimes we need to get out of our time zone.
Today we got to know the area a little bit, we got into the Word, spent some time in prayer and worship it was so cool. We met so many beautiful people; The weather's a little hot and humid, and completely perfect.
I thought I would post a real quick video on us getting ready for a medical outreach tomorrow…we spent some time packing medicine and things we're going to be giving to the people – we leave for the village of Prey Veng tomorrow at 6am…please keep it in prayer!
Here's a group photo of the 12 of us that are bound for Cambodia. I was absolutely amazed with all the people that came out to pray for us, to kind of – "send us off" – with so much love and so many words of encouragement. It really is those prayers that reach the heart of God, that make a difference in the hearts of all the people! I was also overwhelmingly amazed that the Lord had us in Luke 9:1-6 on Sunday…Jesus sending out the 12!!!! It's good to know that there's no word for "coincidence" in the Hebrew language. God doesn't need to, but He so graciously reminds time and time again, that He's with us…which is all that really matters.
Please pray for the family and the flock that will be left behind, for those of us that get to go, but most of all for the people of Cambodia, that they will be open to the saving name of Jesus, and that the Lord does a great work in every heart!
Although I don't read too many modern day auto-biographies, I must say, I really enjoyed this book, Choosing to See, by Mary Beth Chapman. Of course a huge contributor would be the fact that I am so appreciative of the music ministry of her husband, Steven Curtis Chapman. God has definitely used this brother in my life, to change my life and draw me closer to the Lord, as Steven has offered up his gifts for the glory of God and the good of the people (like me).
Some elements that made this book such a good read was the absolute and unhindered transparency of Mary Beth. Some might not like her transparency, or even disagree with some of the decisions in the lives of the Chapmans, but the rest of us sinners actually find it very refreshing, and remember, it's pretty important to know that even the best of men are men at best. The basis and backdrop of much of the book is the passing of their little girl Maria – and it was for that reason that I cried a lot in reading this book. It might sound weird, but I actually found myself laughing frequently as well (a good mix – don't you think?). Romans 8:28 says, "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." And so the question is, do you know? Do you know that all things work together for good? And are you the "called" – are you saved, are you a Christian? (This promise is to them/us).
In this book, I read about a modern-day-living-illustration of Romans 8:28. God has taken this tragedy, and through all the tears, trial, hurts and heartaches, He has transformed it into triumph. Does that eliminate the pain? Oh no – the pain is still deep and real and devastating – a 10 on the richter scale of pain; but what we learn is that there is great purpose for the pain, God is glorified, His little girl is home where she wanted to be, in God's big, big house, and one day, by the grace of God and the cross of Jesus Christ - we will join her in the true and tangible Kingdom of God.
May God help us in our Choosing to See Him and His ways, in all of our life, and all of our days. (Let me know if you want to borrow the book 🙂