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Items filtered by date: November 2014
BLACK FRIDAY, CHRISTIANS, & MATERIALISM

BLACK FRIDAY, CHRISTIANS, & MATERIALISM

 

Within the last few weeks the Mexico News has been full of stories regarding...

 

President Peña Nieto, Angélica Rivera, and her $7 billion dollar house.

 

I find it interesting that these same weeks I have been studying Revelation in preparation for the series that we are currently in (The Revelation of Jesus Christ), particularly Chapter 17 and 18 speak of Babylon; we don't know exactly what Babylon will be in the last days but one thing that is clear is what it represents; the world trading system. And chapter 18 narrates that one day this whole system will be destroyed in one hour, this is more than any decline in the stock market or problems on Wall Street, this is the complete destruction of the global economy.

 

The decision of the First Lady of buying such a luxurious house has generated much controversy, and my plan is not to add to the controversy but to start a conversation about materialism.  What it is and what are its effects.  In this short blog I hope to discuss Christians and materialism.

 

What is materialism?

 

Materialism basically is finding your fulfillment, identity, and happiness in the things you own; if you earn more this year than last year you will have more happiness, but if you earn less or lose your job then you lose your happiness.

 

When you buy a new TV you feel complete but when you don’t have enough money for the TV you want you feel empty.

 

And maybe you think this is an "oversimplification" of a more complicated issue, but the reality is that for Christians, our identity, happiness, and fulfillment are not in the things that we have but on the relationship we can have with God through Jesus.

 

Why is materialism bad?

 

Although it is not bad to have things, it is bad to allow your happiness to depend on them because sooner or later you will lose them.  Your phone will be obsolete in a few years, your car will be in a junkyard in a few decades, your house will be demolished in a few generations.

 

C. S. Lewis said:

  "We must not let our happiness depend on something that will be lost."

 

The reason that materialism is bad, Jesus says that we should not accumulate treasure where rust destroy and thief steals. The desire to accumulate things leads us to ruin, either we lose what we want or we lose peace because instead of enjoying what we have we are always fantasizing about what we don’t have. In addition consider the debt we have for wanting to increase our "lifestyle" and instead of increasing our quality of life we decrease it.

 

The answer to materialism.

How can we overcome materialism? What the Bible presents as an antidote to materialism is worship.

 

Materialism is worshiping the material, Christianity is worshiping Christ.

 

The result we see in the Bible as a way to worship Jesus is to reflect His life.  What I see in the Gospels is that Jesus lived an impressively simple life.  He didn’t have anything valuable, but instead walking from town to town, sleeping in parks, eating bread and interacting with the crowds. This was a huge contrast to the Roman culture in which their leaders gave themselves over to their pleasures and delights.  The early Church ate bread from house to house in simplicity of heart. This brings conviction to my heart because I know there are many things in my life that consume too much time, too much attention and if I were to lose these things my happiness would be affected. The counterpart of this is to loose ourselves so deeply in love for Jesus so that our happiness depends solely on him.

 

What does all this have to do with what happened with the presidential family? Personally, it frustrates me to see people in debt, without joy, living for the material, and criticizing people with the exact same condition as them.

 

You and I are the same as the First Lady, the only difference is that there are more zeros at the end of her income. The problem of the heart is the same. I'm not saying its right or wrong, what I'm saying is that most of us have to repent of materialism in our own hearts.

 


Jonathan Domingo

 

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When God leaves you: "SEEN"

When God leaves you: "SEEN"

 As culture evolves, so do the sayings, idioms and slang. When I was a teenager and someone ignored you, they would say they are "hitting you."  Now when someone is ignored, especially on Facebook or Whatsapp messages, they say they left you “seen”.  If you're reading this blog, I assume you have social networks and have experienced despair when someone has left you “seen” when you need an answer.

This made me think how much more desperate do we get when we pray to God and there is no answer and you feel that God has left you “seen.”

I think we often experience that silence in the heavens when we pray.  Most of us understand that God hears our prayers, but it is frustrating to not receive a response. In these cases, it is important to remember a few things...

-God loves you-

Much of our frustration is based on the fact that we are not convinced that God loves us. Christianity is about walking by faith and not by sight.

Peter says that "being a Christian is to love God without seeing him."

There will always be some element of faith that will be necessary for our spiritual walk. If God answered with an audible voice to our every request, it would eliminate the need to trust him. It removes faith.

-God has time for you-

Another thing that happens is that we feel that among the many needs that the world has “how can God have time to listen to my prayers?”  I like what CS Lewis says:

 "Because God is infinite, when you spend time with him it's like you're the only person whom has ever been created."

The psalmist says that God so thinks of us as the sand of the sea. This brings me unspeakable consolation. You and I, the Bible says, are like dust, but instead we trample God, so how could he treat us with love, dignity and respect that we could never deserve?

 

-You do not know what is best for you-

Why does God leave you "seen?"  You must understand that sometimes things we ask for are not for our good but for our destruction. Romans tells us that we don’t know how to pray as we should, or, in other words, what we think we need most of the time is not what we need, and what we don’t even know we need is what we need, is what tells us that God will provide. When you ask for something and God does not give it to you, rather than being frustrated, you should be grateful for it is God's way of protecting you from yourself.

 In short, God does not always answer, but God never stops loving us,

guiding us and providing for the needs that we really have. If we have God, we lack nothing because He is everything we need.

WE NEED HIM.


Jonathan Domingo

 

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A Letter from a Pastor to the parents of the Ayotzinapa

                                                                                      A LETTER from a PASTOR to the Parents of AYOTZINAPA

Dear Parents of normalists in Ayotzinapa:

The entire country is frustrated and angry about what happened in Ayotzinapa. I am also very young, I am 25 years old and I have no doubt that this is the worst tragedy our country has experienced in my lifetime. Sure, there have been thousands of tragic deaths in Mexico in the last decade, but the vast majority of mass killings have occurred between different drug cartels.  This is different. There is an inexpressible pain that we all feel at the thought of 43 students who were preparing to serve and assist schools in rural communities who are not with us today. We feel disgusted to hear the testimony of the killers who performed these very inhumane acts. We cannot imagine how you feel.

With all the coverage that this story has had, it is highly unlikely that this letter will reach you, but I wanted to write it for the sake of those who will come across it and read it, and if I'm honest, writing it will also help me process everything that is happening. So this is what I, as a Christian pastor, want you to know.

Our Heart Aches

Collectively, the heart of Mexico is broken; a country where young people cannot express themselves openly is not a free country.  It is terrible to think that the authorities who God has placed for our protection are those from whom we have to protect ourselves.  It is impossible to think that there will be 43 classrooms without teachers because of the deplorable whims of a few. Jesus’ heart also ached when He looked upon Jerusalem.  Likewise, it was a nation with corruption in every sense, a place where people betrayed his people to personally profit, and God replied with a heavy heart and said, "How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen protects her chicks under her wings, but you left me" (Luke 13:34 NLT). God is neither apathetic nor absent at this time, on the contrary, God wants to embrace Mexico in general, and those most affected by the tragedy of Ayotzinapa in particular, as a hen protects her chicks under her wings, and we need to let him hug us. 

No Man Has The Solution

This is not the time to put our eyes in the pines, nor the time to put our hope in the government, nor in some one.  This is the time to believe in Jesus. Believing that hope and the solution is not found in more reforms, nor in more laws. It is in Jesus.  Only he can heal a shattered nation as only he can change hearts that are hardened, and he alone can transform our nation into a place where justice and righteousness exist.

God Will Do Justice

We believe that God does not miss anything. All the guilty will pay but not in this lifetime because there is no punishment severe enough to rectify the damage they have caused, but what we believe is that all evil is punished by God. The Bible says that one day the books will be opened, and everyone will be judged according to their deeds and all sin will be punished.  The only escape is to trust in Jesus and let him take the punishment in our place. For though I would say that the only ones who deserve judgment are the murderers, the reality is that we all deserve God's judgment, so we all need God's forgiveness.

This Is Not God's Plan, But He Will Use It

One of the phrases that annoys me the most is when people tell someone who is suffering that "God has a plan," because although it is true, it seems to state that God planned the difficulty they are going through.  God didn’t plan the Murder Of Ayotzinapa. He allowed it, but that does not mean that it was part of his agenda before the foundation of the world. What's more, God's plan is to restore this planet full of justice and righteousness, not injustice and evil. The Bible says that God is light and in him is no darkness ... God allows evil but it is never God's desire for there to be evil. What I’m getting at is that God is just as angry with the situation that is happening in Mexico, but he, unlike us, sees the end result. We don’t know how this can turn into something that will ultimately bring God glory. We do not know how something so horrific could glorify God, but if I had to guess, I think something this tragic can produce two positive results; one, that Christians are lifted up with greater urgency to spread the message of hope that is in Jesus, and two, that Mexico will be awakened from the sleep that it is in to find the one who can provide light when there is so much darkness, Jesus.

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Pass the Salt

Pass the SALT

 A few weeks ago I was listening to a study by Tim Keller and he shared a concept of prayer that I had never heard but that really blessed me and I want to share with you.

What he said is that it is typical of Christians to put prayer as a priority.  In other words we begin the day with prayer then we read the word and then live life in a way that glorifies God. Prayer is one of the most important things we do, but that's not what the Bible says.  The Bible says to pray always and not only "before we began our day".  An example is SALT.

SALT is important but it’s not first.  If you consume a mouth full of SALT first, and then your food, it will not taste good. In the same way, prayer is not something that comes before everything else, but it goes in the middle of everything else. When reading the Bible we are reading in prayer, at work we are working with prayer and if we are preaching with prayer.

The SALT is distributed throughout all of the food so that everything tastes good.  In the same way, prayer is distributed in all we do to give purpose to everything we do

 I like what Spurgeon says:

"If you don’t have breath you know the body is dead.  In the same way we know that without prayer the soul is dead"

Prayer is not first on the list of priorities but saturates and fills every aspect and every element of our lives.

Spice up your life.

(This Wednesday November 5th is our monthly prayer meeting and you're invited, also be preparing for December 1-5, which will be the week of Prayer and Fasting)

 

Jonathan Domingo

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