THE FIGHT CLUB

brain-vs-brawn

Lately I have been thinking a lot about Jacob. As a child I was so impressed with the story of Jacob and his epic fight with an Angel. If you look at the many things that lead up to this fight you will  first see a young man that received a blessing from his Father Isaac that was not intended for him. Now if you don’t know the story you should read up on it, don’t take my word for it. Jacob had a twin brother Esau, who was technically the first born. From the womb these siblings seemingly fought to be the first one out as if they knew about the benefits of being the first born with in the cultural context of the time. Scripture indicates that Esau was the more active brother engaging in hunting and more physically demanding activities. Jacob, on the other hand, is portrayed as the exact opposite. That being said, what Jacob lacked in brawn he made up with wit. The following versus will explain my points thus far

Genesis 25:

29 Once when Jacob was cooking some stew, Esau came in from the open country, famished.

30 He said to Jacob, “Quick, let me have some of that red stew! I’m famished!”

31 Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

32 “Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

33 But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob.

34 Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left.

So Esau despised his birthright.

Now we see the wit in full force. One thing has to be stated, Jacob did not steal the birth right. Esau did not value it enough and willingly released his birth right. As you read along the story of the feuding siblings you will find that their father, Isaac, was advanced in age and decided to bestow his blessing to his eldest son before passing away. Isaac, who favored Esau, asked Esau to hunt and bring him a meal and he would then bless him with the favor of the Lord. Mom, Rebekah, favored Jacob and convinced Jacob to trick his, now blind, father and take the blessing from Esau. Here is the catch, besides the brain versus brawn, the twins had physical distinctions. Esau was hairy and Jacob was not. Rebekah and Jacobs plan was so thought out that in the end Isaac could not tell the difference and gave his blessing to Jacob.

The obvious reaction from Esau placed a target on Jacob and Jacob had to flee because . Jacob was now blessed and favored by God and though he had to go through some rough times, he ended up a man with much wealth but was always hiding from Esau. In addition to his fear of his brothers wrath, I believe that  Jacob felt guilt. Maybe it was because of the deception that caused him to run away or he never felt like his wealth and success was something he earned. We see this in Genesis 32 where Jacob tries to mend his relationship with his brother and on one fateful night he has a battle that would change his life thereafter. Jacob was blessed by God and his fathers blessing would come to fruition one way or another. Jacob knew he was blessed but this time he fought to earn it.

Genesis 32:

Jacob Wrestles With God

22 That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. 23 After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. 24 So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak. 25 When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man. 26 Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

27 The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

28 Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel,[f] because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

29 Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

30 So Jacob called the place Peniel,[g] saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

31 The sun rose above him as he passed Peniel,[h] and he was limping because of his hip. 32 Therefore to this day the Israelites do not eat the tendon attached to the socket of the hip, because the socket of Jacob’s hip was touched near the tendon.

 Many times I feel like Jacob. I was born and raised in church and blessed by my parents. Sometimes I felt that I was the favored one in family and that put a lot of pressure on me growing up. I’ve had my share of slips and falls but God has seen me through and blessed me despite my shortcomings. The problem is that I feel that I am riding on my parents blessings for me, their prophetic declarations over my life since I was a child, but its time to earn it. When my father passed away almost 9 years ago some one told me “Wow you  have some big shoes to fill.” To some extent it was true my father was a great man. Didn’t have any wealth or titles but was a wise man, humble, and had a servant’s heart. A good friend heard the comment and told me “You don’t have big shoes to fill, your father ran what he had to run and has now hung up his shoes. You have your own shoes to fill and run with” (Thanks Moses)
I invite you to rise and fight for that blessing, that prophetic word given to you and your purpose revealed to you. If you have seen God provided and bless you until now then you can expect an overflow of his goodness, mercy, love, riches, grace and favor. God Bless you and may you enter 2014 ready to fight!
-Isai Serrano

MEDIOCRE WORSHIP

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I recently read a tweet from @WisdomMoon that said

What if we lived each moment of each day like God really is all-powerful?

This question brought to mind the many times I have personally been in a worship service where I may have not been all there. I am sure I am not the only one who has gone through these dry spells in our worshipful living. I have to admit that in these moments I simply forget who God is. I openly admit that I realize there is something missing in my relationship with God and that is all of me.

Many times we live a backwards life of worship. It’s an outside-in christianity versus an inside out. We go through the motions, we say the right things, read our bible superficially, and offer a routine praise in hopes that somehow what we are doing outwardly will somehow filter inside of us. I do not doubt that with time it could be possible that this outward worship lifestyle could have some impact on the inside but it will not be long-lasting.  Because, as before mentioned, the change on the inside is filtered. We have placed so many obstacles for God to work and move in us that we settled for feeling a little tingle during worship services. Our worship is nothing but mediocre at best.

What if we lived every day of our lives as if God were all-powerful? This is inside-out worshipful living. I seek him with in me before I read his word, before I sing a song, before I step out of my home and I stay in that place with him at all times and everywhere I go. When this happens there is no room for doubt. You walk and act in faith, even in the hardest of times. You place God in all you say and do and the world will see God through you. You preach without using words.

So what is the formula for this intimacy with God? It takes Effort. You know how they say a little bit goes a long way well that doesn’t apply here. You have to put in a lot of effort to making time to connect with God through prayer and his word. With that comes Commitment. You must be committed to further develop your relationship with God. Lastly passion will drive your efforts and support your commitment.

Are ready to step into a new season in your walk with God? He is ready to receive you. Be blessed!

 

Bitter Water: The Curse and the Cross

Yesterday was Good Friday and I was reminded of the last 7 words spoken on the cross by Jesus. Some years ago I was asked to speak on one of these 7 and found a different perspective to the words

I THIRST

When Jesus spoke these words there could have been many reasons why. Clearly he had been beaten almost to death, forced to carry a heavy cross a long distance and then nailed to that same cross to hang before a crowd of accusers and mourners. Clearly he had physical stress and a desire to drink but I find that all the words he spoke had a resounding meaning that merged the The Old Testament, The New Testament, and our testimony. You see, when he spoke the words “I Thirst” he was given something to drink, bitter water. Now many theologians speak about the symbolism behind the bitter water and the traditional lamb sacrifice as well as other connections. I don’t refute any of it but found it quite interesting when I looked up bitter waters and came across the following versus. Now this is details the instructions for a man who believes that his wife has been unfaithful. Mind you this is during the time of Moses. The man would bring the woman to the high priest and you should read the rest:

NUMBERS 5

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”— 21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the Lord cause you to become a curse[d] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

You see the bitter water was meant for us to drink. We were, have been, or may be unfaithful to God. Knowing that we would not pass the test of bitter water, He sent the only one who could, Jesus Christ. When Jesus spoke with the high priest of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemas, he told him

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]

“How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’

Because Jesus proved his and our innocence by taking the bitter water we are now all given the opportunity to be born again through him. I hope you never forget the importance of his death and resurrection. Let this not be a one day event but instead celebrate his sacrifice and our new life in him with every breath we take. Blessing to you all!

Build Me An Altar P.2

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In our last conversation “Build Me An Altar p.1” We were looking at the following verse. If you haven’t read this first part I would ask that you look through it so you can get the fullness of this study.

Exodus 20 ( New living Translation )

24 “Build for me an altar made of earth, and offer your sacrifices to me—your burnt offerings and peace offerings, your sheep and goats, and your cattle. Build my altar wherever I cause my name to be remembered, and I will come to you and bless you. 25 If you use stones to build my altar, use only natural, uncut stones. Do not shape the stones with a tool, for that would make the altar unfit for holy use.

Just to recap, I mentioned that God has a specific design for your altar before him. The literal foundation of an altar as noted above are earth and stone. The stones represent the trials we go through and overcome. They are the building blocks of our altar before God. He would use them so that you may come before him recognizing him for what he has done in your life and then present an offering onto him. Peter solidifies this idea of “living stones” when he states:

1 Peter 2

The Living Stone and a Chosen People

4 As you come to him, the living Stone(F)—rejected by humans but chosen by God(G) and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built(H) into a spiritual house[a](I)to be a holy priesthood,(J) offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.(K)6

This verse is a lesson in of itself but in the context of an altar you can see that God desires us to build an altar, in your secret place, so that we may offer “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God” So what of this sacrifice. If you recall the scene between Isaac and his father Abraham, Isaac says

Genesis 22:7
Isaac spoke up and said to his father Abraham, “Father?” “Yes, my son?” Abrahamreplied. “The fire and wood are here,” Isaac said, “but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?”

As you may know Isaac was the sacrifice. A unique request from God to ask a man to offer up is son as a sacrifice. I praise God because he won’t ask of you something he is not willing to do himself. — Thank you Lord for the ultimate sacrifice, Jesus Christ, your son. Now God is is still request a live offering from you and that offering is you. Paul writes:

Romans 12:1-3

12 Therefore, I urge you,(A) brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,(B) holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform(C) to the pattern of this world,(D) but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.(E) Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is(F)—his good, pleasing(G) and perfect will.

What God desires is our willingness to give our selves up as a living sacrifice. Dying to our wants, desires and even our needs. Its not only the dark areas, the bad habits, and sin. Yes this is important and vital to our growth as believers and necessary in order to draw closer to Him, but he also asks you to give him your dreams, your aspirations and all your needs. Trust him to meet your every need and guide you to your purposes in him. I am reminded of the scripture that say “Seek ye the kingdom of God and all things shall be added unto this”. Our worship depends on our ability to die to our selves daily. This isn’t something you can just wake up in the morning and say “I am going to die to myself today”. This means we need to, no, we must come before his presence, before this altar and bring our offerings. Give him all that is in us. This will enable for his glory to fall in your life and you will bear witness to his provision, his healing, redemption, covering, his will and his purpose for your life. Now I am preaching to the choir as I am still trying to make it but lets make that commitment today.

Build Him an altar, offer your self as living sacrifice, and wait to see His Glory Fall!

God Bless You!

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SMILE : )

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Today I am Reminded of the words my late Father, Efrain Serrano, used to say to anyone and everyone he knew or just came in contact with. So to you I say the most impacting and always relevant words the greatest mentor ever said.

Sonrie que Cristo te ama!

Smile Jesus Loves You!

I miss you and look forward to our grand reunion!