“NOW” FAITH

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I was recently confronted with a challenge after hearing Yolanda Adams speak on her morning radio show on the topic of faith. Everything she and her colleagues said was on point but the one thing that stuck out to me the most was the very beginning of Hebrews 11: 1

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
 (English Standard Bible)

The beginning of this passage is the most important part: NOW FAITH! Many believers know this verse by heart and recite it but have difficulty practicing it effectively because they overlooked these first two words. Besides the description of what Faith is, we are given a reference of time in this verse. The time is NOW. Faith is only active if you declare the things not seen Now. You must live and walk with the assurance that it is now done. I can praise God in times of trouble or tribulation by activating my “Now Faith” and walking in the guarantee that makes me say “Through God I have victory right now”. Too often we pray and say that we have Faith that God will do when “Now Faith” says that we have faith that God has done the deed. If we live our life with this God will do mentality then all we have is hope. There is nothing inherently wrong with hope. Hope is good but it has a different place in time in our walk. Looking back at the verse it indicates that Faith is the assurance of things hoped for. So the sequence states that hope comes before Faith. The problem with hope is that you still see the situation as is. You are walking with the burden, continuously looking at tribulations face to face while you wait, hoping, for God to remove the burden. However, with faith you can release the burden into His hands and walk with conviction and assurance

I had a small accident while roller skating at birthday party over the weekend. I broke my leg bones and had some surgery done. Turns out that I will not be able to walk for a month and will have to miss out on a lot of projects at work with my students and more importantly will have to leave some more burden on my wife to manage while I recuperate. All I could think of at first was all that is being affected and my not being able to lend a hand. This is my time to practice NOW FAITH. There is an encounter that God wants me to have with him and I am all in. I declare strength, stamina and endurance for my wife, excellence for children and my students, speedy  recovery and to find Gods Heart for me in this time. I believe this to be so and find my evidence in NOW FAITH. What a feeling of strength and joy this gives. Lets go beyond hope today and enter the joys of NOW FAITH. I pray Gods goodness and mercy upon you. Feel free to leave any comments or testimonies of your experience with NOW FAITH. Blessings

-Psalmist13

THE FIGHT CLUB

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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!

 

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

God + A Taxi

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Today I had a God moment of the rare kind. Have you ever had a rock speak to you? Well that is what happened to me. If you don’t know already, I live in New York City. The town known for hustle and bustle. My morning commutes are usually a mad dash as I live quite a long distance from the school teach in. Lets just say that if I were to take public transportation I would need to take a Ferry boat, 2 trains and a public bus for a total of 2 hours going and coming back home. That being said I drive through the unpredictable traffic burdened highways of New York  city, through 3 of its 5 boroughs. I notice that there was some traffic on route and deviated towards local streets in order to by pass the traffic. It was on this path that God spoke to me through an unexpected messenger.

I don’t know if you have been in a yellow cab or much less in a New York yellow cab, but they are known to be infamous for reckless driving. I speak as a driver and as one who has taken a few rides in these cabs. When you drive in New York your eyes just naturally spot yellow cabs around you, not because they are yellow but because you know that they might just cut you off with little notice. I can’t say that all cabbies are this way but definitely a vast majority. If you haven’t figured it out by now I spotted a yellow cab in my commute today and I thought that he was gunning to cut me off. I must admit that well I did not react the way I am sure God would of liked me to do so. Yes, I pushed forward and honked the horn as if to say ” your not getting in”. The traffic light is now red and I am lined up right beside him. At this point he rolls down his window to speak with me. I roll my window down, now feeling slightly convicted, to listen to his words and he said…

I was trying to pick up a passenger who is standing there but you couldn’t see that

I look to my left and low and behold there was someone waiting for the cab. There it was my God moment. My heart dropped and my spiritual ears, now open, were able to hear what God had to say.

I am trying to accomplish something, not only in you but in those around you but you can’t see that.

I am humbled in His presence asking for forgiveness for interfering with His purposes, for not looking for what He is trying to do, for not allowing Him to be God in all aspects of my life. I don’t know if this cab driver was a believer. I am honestly shocked that he would even open his window to speak out given the nature of New Yorkers and the attitude they typically have towards cab drivers, but I am glad that he was, for that moment, filled with the spirit of boldness. I was blinded by rush and an incorrect perception of this cab driver but now distraught that I could have been responsible for him missing the biggest fare and tip he ever got. I leave you with this verse:

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4

Build Me An Altar- pt.1

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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.

In my first post titled “Identity Crisis”, I wrote about the dangers of trying to be someone your not meant to be. I specifically made reference to our personal altars before the Lord and the dangers of not building it according to the God intended design. If you haven’t read it I would recommend it, not because I wrote it, but because I believe it will bless you as well. In this post I want to focus on the a general blueprint as dictated in Exodus chapter 20. God has been placing this in my heart for the past few days, “Build me an altar”. Lets break down the verses.

Verse 24: “Build for me an altar made of earth…”

I know that the original text was intended as an instructional guide or a how to, but I am a firm believer that everything in the Word is relevant and applicable to us today. This first portion of the scripture God request an altar to be made of earth. When I read this the first thing I thought of is the creation of man. Taking this back to our early days in bible school, in the book of Genesis, we learned that man was created from earth itself. We can, under this context, say that this altar is built from you, in you and by you. This humble altar would be built, in its most basic form, out of stones. Not just any stone but, as it is indicated in verse 25, natural uncut stones. I believe that these stones are made from the deepest and most difficult trials we go through for it is by way of trials that these we are spiritually shaped. There is purpose behind the problems. God desires that you to take those things that he has brought you through and out of and no matter how difficult the situation may have been, he would have you use it as a building block towards an offering to him. Don’t try to build your alter before the Lord with stones shaped with tools, that is to say,  your alter cannot be composed of your own accomplishments and achievements. Things that you have done as if to merit the favor of the Lord. He says “for that would make the altar unfit for holy use”.  You can build an altar under your own specifications and design so that it reflects or shows off who you are to all around you but you can’t fool God. Your offering will not rise an inch from the altar. He says “Build my altar wherever I cause my name to be remembered…” I ask you what is  one of your fondest memories in your walk with God? For many it would be a deliverance, a miracle, a time when he met the need or answered a long standing prayer. Take these moments and mark them in your mind and heart. Take the lesson learned and use it to build your alter then place your offering upon this altar of earth and stone.

So as Isaac asked his Father Abraham on the mountain, where is the sacrifice? We will discuss this in part 2 of “Build Me An Altar”