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

33 And Counting

Its my 33rd birthday and i am dedicating this blog to this event. I have never been the type to.really celebrate my birthday. In fact 3 years ago I forgot my actual age and, when asked, I would say I was 28. So what is the big deal about this birthday? In a nutshell it’s all about Jesus.

My wife asked me the same question a couple of weeks ago and I had a hard time explaining the reason to her because, for whatever reason, I thought it might sound silly, but I am over that. As I anticipated this birthday I continued to think about the crucifixion of Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Many theologians believe that Jesus was crucified around the age of 33. There it is! To think that around this age he was crucified but beyond the crucifixion that he completed his mission to begin mine. I began asking myself what if that was me? What if this is the last of my days and know that soon I will be giving myself up to die? All these thoughts rattled my brain and then it hit me. Yes, He died so I might live but to live this life, in him,  I have to die to my previous life.

Here I am, reflecting on my last 33 years and along with the memories of things accomplished come the thoughts of those things that have yet to carry out. I think about Gods calling on my life since my mother’s womb. Before I was born and before my mother knew my sex God spoke to her in a dream and told her she was having a boy. He also selected my name and gave it to her in that same dream. When the time came to birth me out the doctors suggested she abort me because the chances of her dying during labor were really high. She was willing to sacrifice her life for mine and God saw her through the delivery. My life has had many ups and downs. In my walk with God I have made many poor decisions that kept me from fulfilling my purpose in Him and yet he hasn’t given up on me. You see, He died for all the negative decisions. He died for all my transgressions and there is nothing that I have done or could ever do that will surprise him. He has a plan and a purpose for all of us but there comes a point in our lives when we say I am willing to die to myself, my desires, my plans and let you live in and through me.

Its time to move on and move forward into what God has planned for me. Grab hold to him and all that he has declared for my life. I believe this is the year of the supernatural where God will be doing a dynamic move. I am 33 and counting.

– Isai Serrano / PSALMIST13

Identity Crisis

2 Kings 16 :1-19
Amazing scripture that relates to the dangers of insecurity as a minister, in this case worship ministers. If you can, scroll down to read the above mentioned scripture or read it in your own bible. The passage speaks of King Ahaz, king of Judah, a man who scripture indicates did not do what was right before the eyes of God. Ahaz in many ways had an identity crisis which is the core of all insecurities we may have as ministers. While visiting the King of Damascus, Ahaz saw an altar that he liked and desired. He immediately sent the plans and a pattern of this altar to Uriah the priest. Here is the first issue I found with Ahaz, he saw, admired and desired someone else’s altar. We cannot fall into the trap of desiring other ministers gifting and anointing or thinking I want to be just like him/ her. This often happens when believers have not identified with the gifting God has placed in them or just haven’t found their identity in God. There is a great danger when desiring someone’s altar. I believe that as individuals God has called us to raise an altar of sacrifice and worship in the secret place where we reach for his glory. The altars of biblical mention would typically be made of heavy stones, many of which have been shaped through long periods of time by pressure and weathering. These stones are representative of our own struggles and trials which have molded our characters and strengthened our perseverance as believers. Your altar has a specific design that none can replicate. The stones, the experiences that God has led you through and out of, are meant to hold the weight of your sacrifice. The construction and the foundation of this altar is critical to the offering you bring before the Lord.

Don’t get me wrong, it is alright to admire someone’s ministry but when you desire and then begin imitate or replicate, then you will soon find yourself doing as King Ahaz did. He not only had this new altar built to the same specifications as the one in Damascus, but he removed, replaced and repurposed the bronze altar that stood in front of the temple of the Lord. Granted, the actions of this king were not surprising given his track record of bad decisions during his reign, but even the best intentioned believers among us, can succumb to this poor judgement call. The reality is that you may not want that ministers altar. You don’t know the nature of the stones that built it, the sufferings and burdens they bear. Furthermore, whose to say it can bear the weight of your sacrifice? Imagine having spent so much time edifying an altar, under the specifications of another, just to see it collapse the moment you placed your sacrifice. How can God honor an offering on a collapsed altar?

If in your walk and the development of your ministry you find your self feeling insecure examine yourself and define yourself in Christ. Reevaluate what he has given you and how good a steward you have been with it. Keep in mind that in Him we are called to go from glory to glory. Stagnant times can be attributed to how well you’re managing the gifts and talents deposited in you.

God bless you!

2 Kings 16 :1-19

1 Ahaz was the son of Jotham king of Judah. Ahaz became king of Judah in the seventeenth year Pekah son of Remaliah was king of Israel. 2 Ahaz was twenty years old when he became king, and he ruled sixteen years in Jerusalem. Unlike his ancestor David, he did not do what the Lord his God said was right. 3 Ahaz did the same things the kings of Israel had done. He even made his son pass through fire. He did the same hateful sins as the nations had done whom the Lord had forced out of the land ahead of the Israelites. 4 Ahaz offered sacrifices and burned incense at the places where gods were worshiped, on the hills, and under every green tree. 5 Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, came up to attack Jerusalem. They surrounded Ahaz but could not defeat him. 6 At that time Rezin king of Aram took back the city of Elath for Aram, and he forced out all the people of Judah. Then Edomites moved into Elath, and they still live there today. 7 Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your friend. Come and save me from the king of Aram and the king of Israel, who are attacking me.” 8 Ahaz took the silver and gold that was in the Temple of the Lord and in the treasuries of the palace, and he sent these as a gift to the king of Assyria. 9 So the king of Assyria listened to Ahaz. He attacked Damascus and captured it and sent all its people away to Kir. And he killed Rezin. 10 Then King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria. Ahaz saw an altar at Damascus, and he sent plans and a pattern of this altar to Uriah the priest. 11 So Uriah the priest built an altar, just like the plans King Ahaz had sent him from Damascus. Uriah finished the altar before King Ahaz came back from Damascus. 12 When the king arrived from Damascus, he saw the altar and went near and offered sacrifices on it. 13 He burned his burnt offerings and grain offerings and poured out his drink offering. He also sprinkled the blood of his fellowship offerings on the altar. 14 Ahaz moved the bronze altar that was before the Lord at the front of the Temple. It was between Ahaz’s altar and the Temple of the Lord, but he put it on the north side of his altar. 15 King Ahaz commanded Uriah the priest, “On the large altar burn the morning burnt offering, the evening grain offering, the king’s burnt offering and grain offering, and the whole burnt offering, the grain offering, and the drink offering for all the people of the land. Sprinkle on the altar all the blood of the burnt offering and of the sacrifice. But I will use the bronze altar to ask questions of God.” 16 So Uriah the priest did everything as King Ahaz commanded him. 17 Then King Ahaz took off the side panels from the bases and removed the washing bowls from the top of the bases. He also took the large bowl, which was called the Sea, off the bronze bulls that held it up, and he put it on a stone base. 18 Ahaz took away the platform for the royal throne, which had been built at the Temple of the Lord. He also took away the outside entrance for the king. He did these things because of the king of Assyria. 19 The other things Ahaz did as king are written in the book of the history of the kings of Judah.