Sacrifice

HEBREWS 10:26

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins

Let us be real for a second, no one is perfect. But if you are a follower of Christ, there are certain tenets of faith that we all follow and know to be true. One is that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. Now that said, if you have accepted the truth and the knowledge that comes with it and continue to sin then you have made the mistake of being a hypocrite, accepting the gift under the false pretenses of being a genuine Christian. Willfully sinning is the topic of this passage and is geared toward those who are aware of their sin and continue to profess their faith. Some turn away or lose interest in Christ, rather than grow in maturity during their walk. This person does not sin because they are oblivious to it or have a momentary lapse that he or she is too weak to resist. They are self-aware of the situation and tend to make the conscious decision to cling to their earthly desires.

Please understand that no other sacrifice will do. Only the blood of the one and only Son of God, Our God, can cleanse the sins of this world. That debt has been dissolved through the crucifixion. So do not let go of Jesus, for he wants us in his presence as stated in HEBREWS 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure. We should act as children would with their parents after a long absence. Filled with love, compassion, joy, and embrace our Father. Just know that if you do backslide, it is not over. He knows you and the choices that keep you a prisoner. There is redemption and power in the name of Jesus. You just need to get back to it, take responsibility for your actions, deal with the true consequences of your disobedience and renew the commitment to your faith. I too battle demons daily, Please pray for me as I will be praying for you.

The Battle Is Already Won

 

12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him. ~2 Samuel 10:12

The Lord goes before us in every battle and knows all aspects of the conflict and the scope, in which it is fought. What makes us not only successful but a great soldier is trusting him with the outcome of the battle. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times this was true in my experience overseas serving in both Iraq and Afganistan. I have seen death and hardship during my time on this earth. More than any man should bear witness. Yet in every battle, the Lord was there, and here I am while many others are not. The plans for all were already set in motion long before we stepped foot on the battleground.

Knowing that our days are numbered (Job 14:5), helps me to realize the importance of following the Great Commission by Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20). My present walk with the Lord has sparked so many changes in my life. I am eager to share the Gospel message fearlessly with all because I try to want the same thing as God – that no man should perish (2 Peter 3:9). I know God goes before me into this spiritual battle that we are all part.

Are you of good courage? Are you courageous before other believers? Get into the battle – we know it’s already won, but we need to do our best to lead those on the losing side to follow Jesus and be victorious with us.

Victory In Jesus

 

11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you. ~ Romans 8:11

The book of Romans was influential in a lot of doctrines that we see in churches today. The common theme of this book is that we are all slaves to sin and we need to be slaves of God. God sacrificed his son for our sins and then raised him from the dead.  As a believer and follower of Christ, this is one thing that we accept and know in our hearts to be true. This is just the first step to our salvation, but an important one. None the less, once accepted we know that it is a new life. Your life is now Gods and you were dead inside before coming to the lord. Now you are armed with the knowledge of sins of the flesh and life with His spirit that lives in you. Claim victory in Jesus for he has defeated sin and death on our behalf. Leaving us with the precious gift of life through faith and freedom from the laws of sin and death and all the power that it has over us.

20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. ~ Galatians 2:20

Lord, I am not perfect, I do believe that you sent your only son here to earth to die for our sins. I pray that you will continue to use me as a warrior to spread the gospel. Father give me the strength to weather the storms that lie ahead and stand firm in my convictions and love for you. Through Jesus Christ our Lord I pray. Amen.

 

Ongoing Spiritual Battle!

12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
~ Ephesians 6:12

We talk about spiritual warfare all the time but what does that consist of? I still have much to learn from the good book, but in this paragraph, the apostle Paul is saying that even though you are surrounded by the enemy. There is no need to be physically combative but rather spiritually defensive and steadfast in your faith that the lord will not forsake you.

I have been counseled by a dear friend of mine that the closer you follow the narrow path, the more satan will begin to attack you spiritually. Things that may not seem like a big deal at the time but over time can consume you. Even writing these small paragraphs to spread the gospel took a toll on me. I told myself I’ll do it later and then my day comes around and I had nothing to submit or simply forgot or told myself I did not have enough time to get it done. These are definitely minor infractions on this crazy ride we call life, but it was enough to bring me back to prayer over it. So I let the Lord guide my heart and the words that I place on this page. For you see the small voice in my head that tells me, oh I just missed one day or I’ll watch another one of my shows on Netflix instead of opening my bible, these are all part of this spiritual warfare.

I’d encourage you to be vigilant on your journey and stay the course for our advisory is always lurking. Things will never go according to plan and you can say I am going to do this with my life and set goals which are not a terrible thing to have. But Thy Will Be Done, you will fail at some point. Attacks will come in many forms it may be Finances, Health, or even Relationships will be tested.

Lord, I am tired and weak, you are mighty and strong. Teach me to pray and trust in your divine power, I am asking you to guide me and detour satan’s attempts to blockade the path which you have set for me. I pray you strengthen my faith as I grow to know you more every day. I pray to not only know you but have a living relationship with you. In his holy name, we pray. Amen.

James 1:17 – God Has This!

 
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.
~ James 1:17
Do you ever struggle with the thought of: “Am I on the right path”? “Am I where I’m supposed to be?”
The funny thing is that I consistently have to remind my wife not worry. I say “Leave it all in Gods hands it will work out. You will see”.  
I honestly do not believe in coincidence. There are times when finances are exhausted and there is food that needs to be put on the table. Next thing you know, your wife is in the middle of laundry and finds a $20 bill to hold us over until payday. Just this past weekend me and the family were on an outing just driving around when I got this feeling that I needed to visit my father. Now with no preparations (Clothing, Toiletries etc.), we head down south for a 4 hour trip to San Antonio. The day was perfect and the children had a blast  with the top off of the Jeep and it was truly a wonderful day.
So we arrive in San Antonio at my parent’s place when my father was so confused, but so happy that we had arrived. You see, he himself, had been praying for help for their mode of transportation that hauls their trailer because it had been broken down for over 2 weeks. Without that vehicle, it really put a strain on their way of life. My father is very weary of mechanics and does not have experience enough to do the work himself. Especially when it comes to electrical, which, by the way, is my expertise. Within a few hours, we had that thing purring like a kitten sleeping on top of a cabinet out of reach of the 2 year old!
We talked for a few hours that night and we are still in awe at the way things always work out. It really is remarkable when you have those moments when you feel that you are right where you were supposed to be! The moments where you know you’re part of God’s bigger plan and you’re being used a tool to answer another persons prayer!

Hebrews 10:25 – Is Your Church Boring?

25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
~ Hebrews 10:25

Finding a “Church Home” can be overwhelming when moving to a new place or even if you been at the same church for years. Maybe your family and friends attend a church and you another.

If you are one of those that just go through the motions and just go to church to check the box I encourage you to get involved with your church. Join a bible study get involved with your community even take a weekend to enjoy a church event, fan the flame and grow with your brothers and sisters.

Not to offend anyone, but if you feel like something is missing from your Sunday service or you are still looking for a church home maybe go explore another church. You will know when it’s a good fit. You know what? Finding a home church is a lot like food, Yes food. When you sit down for dinner you know right away when something is missing… salt, garlic, and pepper you know what your palate is craving. Maybe it is a dessert that looks amazing and glorious on the outside just to take a bite and it is bland as cardboard or so overly sweet that you feel your mouth cringe from the sugar you shoveled in your mouth.

The point I’m trying to make is you need a good balance of flavor! You need to take that first bite and say this is amazing I’ll have seconds, please! Your time spent in fellowship should not just leave you satisfied but craving more of it. Even asking how did you make this? What is your secret? You need to give me this recipe.

So just take a moment think about how you spend your Sundays. I challenge you to not be another face in the crowd but an ambassador for Christ through the ministries of your Church. If you do not have a church home I challenge you to go and find one that you truly call “Home”.

I’ve found mine at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship Church and YOU are invited!

Mark 12:31 – Love?! WOW!

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
~ Mark 12:31

Love. Wow! What a powerful force. Love has the ability to heal the broken, the sick, and even find the lost. What an amazing gift this emotion is the chance to share it with everyone. But is love really an emotion or is it measured in our actions and how we treat one another?

This neighbor can be a stranger or a friend but can also be your spouse or your children. When I get home after a long day the thing I want most is to get home and see my beautiful children playing and my loving wife smiling, food on the table and a clean home right? But life happens and laundry does not always get done and the kids are fighting and guess what? There is no aroma of a pot roast cooking! Now, here is why I say love is not only a choice but based on our actions. I have thought of it in both terms.

I could go in guns blazing and tear down my wife with hurtful words and make her feel like a complete failure because the house is a war zone and there are dished piled high and kids are screaming. However, this option to just blow up makes everyone miserable. It honestly got me nowhere but making my children feel like they did something wrong and they don’t know why I’m upset.  Also, my wife feeling like she is less than worthy of being my partner.

Love Is The Answer

Then I quickly realized that “Love” was the answer to my outburst of anger. Instead of lashing out for things that had not been done around the house, I comfort my children by giving them a big hug and a kiss. Even if they are in the middle of being rambunctious, they light up when I get home and I lift them up in the air and tell them I love them dearly and missed them. I roll up my sleeves, give my wife a big kiss and ask her how her day was. I ask what did not get done that day and if there is a way I could help her finish up the chores. This option led to guess what? Dinner being cooked for me when I got home, kids wanting to be around me and help me wind down after a long day. They take off my shoes and are happy to do it even bring me my house slippers.

I could go on and on about things that happen every day but if you get anything from what you read here, please know that love is a choice you have to make every day and let us show truth by our actions. So no matter what your day may bring or how infuriated someone makes you, stop think about it and make the choice to love your neighbor and know that we are all children of God. Who knows? Your love and kindness might just be what changes a person’s perspective in their own life.

1 Peter 5:6-7 – Anxiety

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, . Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~ 1 PETER 5:6-7

I was “That Guy”. You know, the one who viewed depression as a weakness. We are all human and struggle with life lessons in different ways. My defense was lashing out in anger toward the people I love to hide the truth that my mind and heart were lost and broken.

It was not until I truly accepted that I was not alone in these feelings of depression, that I was able to properly vent my anxieties and fears. The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who struggled with mourning, being downcast, miserable, broken hearted, and despair among many other feelings.

What I take from these few verses is that anxiety can be a form of worry in your daily life and the battle for your pride will manifest in your heart and mind. We need to surrender them to the Lord and accept what we cannot change. We should ask and rely on Him to help us share the weight of the burdens that we sometimes feel are only ours to bear.

Humble yourselves, and take that first step realize you are not alone in your feelings we were created with a variety of emotions we are after all human.

Galatians 2:20-21 – Break Every Chain

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
~ Galatians 2:20-21

Like Paul, we should live our lives through Christ allowing him to guide and empower our day to day. The ultimate price for our sins has been paid for through the crucifixion, we are no longer slaves bound by sin and fear. Our chains are now broken, the person we once were will no longer hinder our future because we live our lives through faith. Do you feel like you have chains binding you? Ask Jesus to break those chains!

~ Horacio Berrones

P.S., Here’s a great song that I love:

Psalm 91:4-8 – Do Not Fear

4 He will cover you with his feathers,
and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,
nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
8 You will only observe with your eyes
and see the punishment of the wicked.

~ Psalm 91:4-8

All of the verses in this Psalm are very important to me, but these 4 passages stand out to me and are dear to my heart. You see, I spent a lot of time overseas while serving in the United States Army. I completed 3 tours to Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. Let me be the first to tell you that prayer works. At times, when all felt lost and dark, I swear I could hear my mother’s voice praying for my safe return and this feeling of comfort would come over me. Just as it is written, it felt like a shield, a bubble, cloak there are 100 ways to say protected. She always asked me to read this Psalm and know that there is nothing to fear while your heart is guided by the Lord. No matter what your battle in your life is: Physical, Mental, or Spiritual, just let the Lord in and guide you and you to will have this feeling of comfort that you are here for a greater purpose. Even though darkness surrounds us every day in many forms, if you truly embrace the love that the Lord has to offer, you too shall have this shield and refuge that only those who choose to walk in the light can truly embrace.

~Horacio Berrones