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

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

The Confident Worshiper

After almost a year of being a member of my worship team I had a break through of sorts in my worship. For many years I led worship at another church. It took me some time to adjust to this role being that I was a musician for so long before. I accepted Gods calling to be on this new platform but when the ministry closed its doors I began to question that call. For a long time my family and I felt like wanderers visiting different churches until the search ended. Now came the time to find my place back in ministry. After joining the worship ministry I was complacent taking a back seat and singing in the choir. Truth be told I still find it to be a comfort zone. Given the opportunity to lead, I was taken back and afraid that I was not good enough. I sort feared this larger audience and was intimidated by all the talent around me.  The church population is larger than the last and the quality of worship is at another level. I was and am being stretched, singing songs that I would not typically sing. God was working on me and my confidence.

A confident worshiper is one that understands his/ her calling from God. With that knowledge comes an identity.  I know who I am in Him and He has designed me and equipped me to worship like only I know how.  You can worship with confidence when its you behind the microphone and not an imitation of another worshipper. I am no BJ Putnam or Israel Houghton they have their anointing and calling. I won’t attempt to be that which God didn’t call me to be. It’s not going to work. You see God doesn’t just want you embrace your calling embrace the identity that comes with it. God doesn’t want a phony behind the microphone. He wants your voice, your style, and your worship and His anointing upon you to be manifested.  Worship with confidence today!

The Little Engine That Could

I am fortunate to be a part of a church body that, like many, has stepped up to the plate and helped meet the needs of many communities around New York and New Jersey after Hurricane Sandy. The Kingsbridge Armory in the borough of the Bronx in New York is one of the largest Armories in the nation. The task was to fill this armory and distribute goods to all the disaster areas in New York and New Jersey. There were many trucks full ready to be unloaded and only man power to do the task. It took hours to unload one truck and a special request came to my pastor for a forklift. One of the brothers in my church just so happened to have one in his possession but it was damaged. Long story short, the necessary parts were purchased and the forklift truck was fixed and shipped from New Jersey to the Bronx, New York. It made a huge difference in unloading and reloading and I am happy to say that with it we were able help distribute over 400 tons of food, water and supplies.

All this time this forklift stood in a shop with no hopes of ever being used. So much potential to do work yet untapped because of the deficiencies it contained but God knew its time would come. It was designed and separated for a bigger purpose and given the need one person looked past its damage and saw the potential and invested in bringing it back to working condition. I know we are talking of a machine or tool but how do you think Gods looks at us. Many of your peers may look at you as one with many defects. They see what you cannot accomplish because of the weaknesses but God sees beyond that. He looks at you and is able to see potential and purpose and is aligning your life for the right time to shine. Don’t let your weaknesses determine your future. Don’t look at others and predetermine their future rather invest in them and build them for the purposes God has intended for them. This little engine could, can you?