God of Creation

Belt of the Milky Way

It’s amazing to think of God and His hand over creation. Every time I stare up at the sky, I’m so amazed at His magnificent creation.

The lyrics to the song by Hillsongs, “So will I” really gets me thinking about God’s hand of creation. Here are the lyrics:

So Will I (100 Billion X)

Words and Music by Joel Houston Benjamin Hastings & Michael Fatkin

© 2017 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7084123

VERSE 1
God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of light

CHORUS 1
And as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapour of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will I

VERSE 2
God of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voice

CHORUS 2
And as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I

BRIDGE
If the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion times

VERSE 3
God of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to die

CHORUS 3
And as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different ways
Every precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will I

TAG
Like You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind

Come Just As You Are

dramatic view on sea illuminated by sunlight coming from behind storm clouds
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Whenever the word religious is used to describe someone, it usually implies that he or she is good or strives to be a good person. If I tell someone I go to church or if I talk about God, they label me as religious, but I would disagree. I would disagree with someone calling me a good person. I’m just a sinner saved by grave. I don’t go to church to be a good person. As we need food, air, shelter and water for our physical bodies, the spirit inside of us needs an encounter with God that brings healing and fulfillment.

If we think we can’t be in His presence if we’re sinners, it’s God’s presence that delivers us. I remember going to a miracle crusade in Anaheim, California back in 2003. The stadium was packed and before the doors opened, the line wrapped around the entire building. When the presence of God grew so thick, people were falling out in the presence. The youth were so hungry to get on stage and experience a touch from God. They ran up there, racing with each other. My cousin’s friend who never shed a tear, started to cry as soon as the service started and could not stop for entire four hours. When God’s presence comes, healing comes.

That lack of love can do major damage to someone. Failed by the ones that we expected to love us unconditionally and keep us safe, some rebel and carry around hatred in their heart or a lack of confidence. God can heal those areas. Parent’s don’t always say the right things to their kids. I didn’t understand the depth of unconditional love until Jesus stepped into my life and experienced the love of God. He gave His all on the cross as in taking a bullet for us.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

1 John 4:7-10

Whenever the topic of God comes up, we want to run away. When it comes to drawing close to God, some feel that they need to be good in order to do so. Adam and Eve, feeling ashamed, hid themselves from God after they ate of the tree that God told them not to eat from. That didn’t stop God from wanting to be in communication with them. It seems as if some feel that they need to be good, perfect or pure in order to come to God, but the Word says, to come as you are. You don’t need to change yourself before you come to God, rather, come to Him and He will change you.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:8

God says come as you are. You don’t have to be perfect, good, pure or innocent. God heals the broken and brings restoration. Give God all your burdens, anger, shame, guilt and pain. God gives beauty for ashes. Come as a sinner and He will wipe you clean. He is a gracious and merciful God. In His presence, it is safe to be vulnerable and messed up. It is safe to surrender your burdens into the hands of God. Let His love heal the very depths of your aching soul.

Gut Feeling for a Miraculous Healing

About nine years ago I became allergic to wheat. I could not eat bread, cake, donuts, pizza and many other foods that contain wheat flour. If I ate just a tiny amount of those foods, I would swell up on the inside, have a headache, vertigo, IBS, or a rash for two weeks.

For someone who’s allergic to wheat, what happens is when it enters the colon, it makes the villi swell up for two weeks, which blocks it from absorbing nutrients. The body then becomes deprived of what it needs from food. For someone who’s allergic to wheat to continue to eat it can end up with diabetes or cancer.

If I had not spoke to a friend of mine who is allergic to wheat gluten, I would have never known what was happening to my body. She had been diagnosed with cancer twice and survived. After she recovered the second time, she withdrew from eating wheat gluten and afterwards, felt like she’s had been sick for so long. She has been cancer free ever since. It’s been nine years of gluten free eating for me. Although, here and there I get surprised when I unknowingly eat food with wheat flour.

Just to a make things more complicated, I started getting pressure right below the center of my rib cage. This would typically happen when I would eat or drink cold sweet dairy or spicy food. It would sometimes get really uncomfortable at night as I’m trying to sleep. After experience this on and off, I finally saw a doctor this Monday and she had me get an x-ray done just to make sure I’m free and clear of anything alarming and thank God, the x-ray was clear. She prescribed some pills that would decrease my stomach acid.

Two days later, I still hadn’t had a chance to get the pills. It was about that time of the day, time for the news and as I sifted through I saw the 700 club news. Thinking about how they pray at the end of the show and at times, they get a word from God for someone watching to be healed of anything physical, mental or emotional. For some reason, I felt that maybe tonight or some night they would have a word for me.

I casually thought about it and when Gordon started speaking, I heard him say, something about someone with problems with stomach acid, he went on about getting bloated, not being able to eat spicy foods, bread and pizza. Then he said God is healing your digestive system. At that moment, it wasn’t even him anymore as I felt the Lord in that moment. What timing! I had just been tested for wheat allergy and prescribed pills for stomach acid and now God heals me.

Even though it felt like God presence was in the room at that moment, I still had some skepticism so I decided to test it out the next day and today. I had cheese bread, focaccia bread, flour tortilla, semolina noodles and a hamburger with a regular bun on it. Each time, I did not get a headache, nor did I get stomach pains, bloating or a vertigo. I had been praying for the longest time for God to heal my digestive system and God has answered my prayer. It’s hard to make sense out of what has happened to my body, but it’s not supposed to, it’s a miracle. Miracles defy science. God really healed me. Hallelujah!

For those that have a similar request for healing, I ask that God will heal you as well. In Jesus name! Amen!

Starting the Day on the Right Book

light dawn sunset weather
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Every morning there’s that first decision of the day. What is the first thing that I should do? Although the first decision or action of the day may not seem so important, there’s one action that sets the arrow in the right direction, which to me is, reading the word of God.

I can’t count the amount of days where I’ve waken up on the wrong foot, looking at the wrong things on my phone, like the stock market, emails or googled something on my mind; then spent the rest of the day putting God last. Those days usually result in very little focus, getting not much done and feeling…eh.

But when I give the first time of my day to God, somehow, I get so much done, I’m very focused and more chipper than usual. There’s more to giving God the first tenth of your paycheck, but giving Him your first few minutes of the day really pays off. Days even seem much longer as if time was extended.

1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

Matthew 4:4 says, “But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

The Benefits of Tithing

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The idea of giving a portion of money away to charity can be an uncomfortable subject wanting to be ignored, but it is a part of doing and walking the walk and as doing other things for God can greatly impact ones life, so can tithing. When you don’t have much, every dollar counts, but that holding onto every penny can become a hindrance. The idea of tithing is not just about giving back to God and trusting Him with your wealth, but it is a sacrifice. Money often seems to be everything to this world, the most valuable thing in life. Some worship it, kill for it or even sell their soul to hell to have much of it on earth. The lust of the eyes creates a deeper desire for more money and some go through great lengths to feed that desire, even neglecting to pay their bills.

Trusting God with certain things like our health or relationships can be different from trusting in God with our money. If you trust God with the other things, why not trust Him with your money?

I have to admit, I’ve been there, holding onto my money so tightly. I found my faith and did not start tithing until a few years after. I always heard about how important it was in church and how in the bible God says to tithe, but I shrugged it off and thought it was just weird how God would need what I considered my money.

Malachi 3:8-12 says, 8 “Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. “But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. 9 You are under a curse your whole nation because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. 11 I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the LORD Almighty. 12 “Then all the nations will call you blessed, for yours will be a delightful land,” says the LORD Almighty.”

A tithe means a tenth, which means that a tenth of our income or whatever we make must go back to God. Those that don’t belong to a church might give to some charity, but for someone who goes to church and strives to walk with Christ it’s impertinent to give to the church, which is essentially giving to God. Thinking about it, money is necessary to purchase a church building or have one built. It also cost money to keep the place running, electricity, water, garbage and or maintenance or cleaning. In addition, some people dedicated forty hours a week to administrate activities to keep the ministry going and they have families to feed so they need a paycheck. Many people either don’t think about it or choose to ignore the need.

It does take a while to understand the concept of giving to a church. Thinking about it more, with all the money that goes into running a church, what is their main goal? They work together to reach the community, feed people with spiritual food, help guide the lost, distribute food and other necessities to those in need and most of all, spread the good news of God.

When tithing, giving the first is as important. We should never give God our leftovers, in other words, we get our paycheck at the beginning of the month, but don’t tithe until the last day. When we get paid, the tenth to God should be our first expense.

Genesis 4:3-4 says, “In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.”

Back then, before currency was floating around, a person’s wealth was their land, the food grown from it and their animals that provided milk, meat and butter. Even today, a farmer’s wealth can be from their crops or animals. Imagine if a person who was raising bison to sell for meat had to give it away, especially is it was worth the most by weight.

It is a sacrifice. You’re taking an item that you value, probably the most, and sacrificing it, in other words, giving it to God. If you read through the Old Testament, people had to take their animal or buy one from someone, and sacrifice it to be cleansed from their sins. The animal was the sacrifice. Tithing is sacrificing a tenth of your wealth to God. In doing so, it’s letting go of the desire to posses money, which weakens its ability to posses you. Its like saying, “God you are far more important to me than money.” It’s putting less value on money and more value on God. It changes the heart into a more giving one. It can help to be more comfortable investing money aggressively when not holding onto it so tightly.

Tithing is powerful. I’ve heard story after story of incredible things that have happened when someone gives or starts tithing. Speaking outside the church. I assume giving can be looked at as karma, you give, then you receive. One of the stories is from someone who could not find a job for five years and as soon as he tithed, twenty minutes after, got a call for a job and was hired. Another story is someone who was looking for full-time work for so long and when she began tithing, not long after, she received an offer for full-time work. I’ve heard stories of people miraculously getting bills waived after tithing and those that constantly struggled began to have more than enough.

On top of the tithe, there is also an offering. An offering is going above the tithe. Before I started tithing I was searching for work for several months and as soon as I made the decision and tithed, I got a great offer for a job not even two weeks after. My experience with giving an offering has been seeing God open up doors that were not there in the first place. Sometimes there is no job opening, then all of a sudden a job that was not even there ends up popping up. Then there has been side gigs that were once given to another company, then taken back and given to me. Suddenly extra income comes in when I give above the tithe. The more I give, the more the Lord enables me to do better, which eventually leads to an increase in income. I also notice a greater ability to watch my spending and better manage my finances when I give my first ten percent and or an offering.

I’ve been giving to my home church and other charities for many years now and since then, I have not struggled. There have been times where I was late on my tithe and at those times, I always ended up paying for something I would rather not pay for, like a parking ticket or replacement for a punctured tire.

In the scripture, God says to test Him on it. I believe in tithing because I’ve seen the results of it in my own life and heard about how it’s blessed the lives of others. On the contrary, I hear some believers in the church always talking about their financial struggles, but never tithing. If only they would test it out and take a chance, they would see how powerful it really is.

The King Within

Transformation of Jesus painting by Vange
Transformation by Vange L.

If you’ve ever watched the movie, The Gladiator, that is one of my favorite movies. What I like about it, is how it focuses on a character by the name of Maximus who went from a commander of an army to a slave; yet although he became a slave, he still had the same ability to lead a team in a fight to victory. He did not loose his identity because he was no longer a commander. He was still the same man that a dying emperor had chosen to take his place. Although Maximus was not a prince nor in the blood line of one, the man on the inside had what was needed to rule a nation and being a slave did not take away what was already embedded inside of him.

Watching the movie jogged my memory back to a story told by my pastor at church. Occasionally churches do outreaches, where they distribute many items to those in need, within or outside of the country. It takes money, volunteers, preparation and time. Sometimes people choose to volunteer their time, others donate money or personal items. The need was announced at the beginning, then at the end of service, a man who wanted to financially help out requested to meet with the pastor. When the pastor first saw the man he noticed his rundown looking clothing and his scruffy facial hair. He could have passed for a homeless man so when he told the Pastor about the amount of money he wanted to donate, it was an absolute shock. The homeless looking man wasn’t just rich, but he was a King from another country.

Before Jesus came into the world, He sat on a throne as king, but He chose to come into the world as a peasant. He did not come dressed as a king with gold and expensive clothing or with a palace. Some came to the realization of Jesus as King by being around Him. Some experienced His miracles and others, His love and grace. He came for everyone: the rich, the poor, the lame, the sinners, even the ones that the world would consider scum. He hung out with a few people that society abhorred, like a tax collector or a woman who once sold herself for money. He touched and healed lepers or what society considered, the unclean. He did not live extravagantly, although He could have by turning water into wine, healing the sick or by being all knowing. He did not need riches to accomplish His purpose, nor clothing to get people to realize that He is the Son of God. People saw that He is Lord, when they looked at His heart. He took the cross as a criminal would and along with it, the sins of the world: the hatred, anger, pain, bitterness and everything else that needed to be washed away in order for us to be clean and right before God. The sin that would have killed us, He took it upon Himself on the cross. With that powerful love comes surrender and worship.

Isaiah 53: 4-5 “Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”