Thursday, September 28, 2006



It was a very dark and cold night.  She had a dim candle to light her way to her bed.  In her days, the floors were bare ground covered with hay, which meant her feet were dirty before she went to bed.    By the side of her bed there was a little bowl with water.  She sat by the bed, placed her feet on the cold water, and proceeded to wash them.  Immediately, she dried them with a small towel she had by a table - where she had placed the candle.  As soon as she dried her feet she put them in the bed, she blew off the candle, and then she put the heavy blankets over her whole body.  After a few minutes, she felt comfortable and warm.  Her body started to feel rested, and she started to feel the heaviness in her eyes.  As soon as her eyes were closed with sleep, she heard the knock at the door.  Her Beloved Lover wanted to see her.  He wanted to spend time with her.  He longed to be intimate with her.  She was annoyed that he woke her up.  She decided to stay quiet, perhaps he would go away.  He insistently kept knocking, and then spoke to her in a very loving way, "Please open the door, my love, and I wish to see you."  He continued to beg for entry into her room, so she finally, said angrily, "Not now! The night is dark, and I already blew off the candle.  It is cold, and I am already warm under my blankets.  And, my feet are clean; I do not want to dirty them by going to the door."  Her lover was quiet for a few moments, and then said to her, "It has been a long day, I have not seen you, I long to spend time with you, and you will not regret it."  She replied to him with s stern tone, "Come back tomorrow."  There was silence for a minute.  She felt very bad that she rejected him, moved with remorse, she got up, walked in the dark to the door.  After a few moments feeling her way, she found the knob.  She opened the door, only to find her lover had left.  She sobbed.  It would probably be days before she saw her lover again.  He may have left to see his fields far away, and would not return anytime soon.  

Does this scenario sound familiar?  If you have read Song of Solomon's you may realize that it is a paraphrase of Songs 5: 2-6.  He left because she was temporizing.  What is temporizing?  It is to act evasively in order to gain time, avoid argument, or postpone a decision.  It is what we do when we do not want to be bothered, inconvenienced, or are caught unprepared.  In the latter case, we may be trying to buy some time to find a way out.  The woman selfishly and immaturely, found more comfort in the warmth and cleanliness of her bed, then in the company and presence of her Beloved Lover.  She perceived she was better off in her condition, "in need of nothing" (Revelation 3: 17), by doing so she rejected the love, warmth, comfort and cleanliness that only Her Beloved Lover can offer.  

You may recall the Song of Solomon is a metaphor for the relationship between Christ the Bridegroom - the Beloved Lover - and His Bride the Church.  Christ has not come back for us, because we - His Bride the Church - have and continue to reject Him.  We do not love His return as much as we love the things of this earth.  It is only when His Bride becomes mature in Him that He will come for her.  

Let's look at it from Peter's perspective.  Let us read 2 Peter 3:9,

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Peter tells us that if the Lord is slow, or if there is any delay, it is for our benefit.  Not wanting us to perish, He is waiting for all of us - His Bride - to repent, and turn to Him.  When His Bride grows up and matures from her selfish and self centered ways, by answering His loving call - I stand at the door and knock (Revelation 3: 20) - and accepting His Robe of Righteousness, we will want Him as much as He wants us, and we will not temporize any longer.  He will come for us, and we will be ready to leave with Him.  Amen.

Raúl Díaz

Thursday, September 21, 2006

IJP: Investigative Judgment Phobia

IJP: Investigative Judgment Phobia


Alex walked into the room.  He heard a faint noise.  Immediately, his heart started pounding faster.  His face turned pale, and his forehead became shiny with perspiration.  Very soon after this Alex started breathing hard and short breaths; he also started shaking.  Suddenly, Alex stormed out of the room running as fast as he could.  Every one in the room looked at each other all confused.  You could see in their faces they were concerned.  Fernando walked out of the room to see if Alex was OK, but Alex was no where to be found.  What could set Alex off this way?  Many things could, but in this case it was a phobia.  The noise he heard reminded of him of something he feared.  He reacted in the way many phobia persons react. 


Phobias are defined as an intense, abnormal, or illogical fear of a specified thing.  Every one of us can say we have a phobia of some kind or another.  It may be some type of critter, closed or open spaces, crowds, heights, depths, strangers, etc.  Some define fear as an acrostic: False Evidence Appearing Real.  Their rational is that many causes of fear are truly unfounded.  We are frightened of things and situations we have never encountered.  We imagine the worst outcome, and of course, we end up the biggest losers.  Phobias are in this category. 


Why do we fear things?  Some say that one major cause is that we have no control over that which we fear.  In other words, if we believed that we could overpower or had a way of escaping that which we fear we would not fear it.  Could this be the reason why many fear the Investigative Judgment?  The mention of an Investigative Judgment causes many to either fly away or fight (the normal reactions to fear.)  Why?  Why has the term Investigative been exchanged for Pre-Advent?  Pre-advent sounds nice, and Investigative sounds invasive.  God is going into our hearts and discovering what is there.  However, God not only knows what is there, He also reveals it to us.  And, this is perhaps what we fear: that we and others will know all the evil that abides in our hearts.  But, this is good news!  The uncovering of unknown Sin can only help us.  I can hear you laugh sarcastically, while yelling out, “Yeah, right!” 


You see, God reveals Sin to us so that we can yield it to the Holy Spirit.  As we yield it to the Holy Spirit, He will blot the Sin out of us.  This is what King David did.  David was not afraid of the Investigate Judgment.  In fact, he not only welcomed it, he asked God to search His heart.  In Psalm 139: 23, 24 David pleads with God,


Psalm 139: 23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

Psalm 139: 24And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting


David understood that Sin separated him from God.  HE wanted oneness with God.  So he asked God – Who knows the secret of our hearts (Psalm 44:21) – to search his heart, cleanse it, and lead Him in the right way.  If we pray as David prayed, then God can do this with us.  God does this because He wants oneness with us and loves us with perfect love.  When we accept the Lord He gives us His perfect Love.  When we have this perfect love John tells us 1 John 4:17, 18 that


1 John 4:17  Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.


To many, the Investigative Judgment may give false evidence that God is against us, but as we see this is far from the truth.  We have no control over the Judgment, but we do have control over its outcome.  If we yield to the Holy Spirit, He will lead us to eternal life.  

Friday, September 08, 2006

Trust in the Lord

Trust in the Lord


Whom or what does the Bible say we should trust?  To Whom or what should you be loyal?  The Wise man says in Proverbs 3:5,Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.”  Perhaps, he learned with his father the psalmist.  David said in Psalms 118:8, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.”  In fact, Luke praises the brethren in Berea for trusting the Word of God, and not taking Paul’s word for granted, let’s read in Acts 17: 10-12,


Acts 17: 10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Acts 17: 11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Acts 17: 12 Therefore many of them believed...


In the Bible the word trust means to confide or hope in.  When you trust someone (or something) you will seek their refuge or flee to them (or there) for protection.  When we trust someone we will feel secure, safe, even bold or careless in his or her presence.  When you trust someone you can rely or depend on him or her.  Who do we seek for refuge or go to for protection when we are in trouble?  In whose presence do we feel secure and safe?  In whom do we rely or depend on?  I knew of a Pastor that when warned that his church was going to persecute him, he said, "I will not worry about it.  The Conference will protect me, they always look after their Pastors."  Six months later that same Conference laid him off. 


I have yet to see one verse in the Bible that says that we should trust institutions, organizations or those that represent them.  As David and Solomon said our trust should be on God and His word.  As the brethren in Berea, when anyone comes to us we should test his or her words and actions against the Word of God.  Isaiah 8:20 specifically instructs us how, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”  Unfortunately, many believe that when a person has a title or position this person knows what is best.  So when they see inconsistencies, they do not give it to the Lord in prayer or test them against the Word of God.  They follow along the path of destruction.  They put their confidence on men.  Others simply rebel and harden their hearts against those who seem inconsistent in their faith.  They find fault and argue using traditions and historical legacies as their authority and source of understanding.  Both extremes are examples of leaning "unto thine own understanding.” 


Should we be suspicious of all people that walk into our life?  When we walk in the Spirit this should not be a problem.  Simeon and Anna had no problem recognizing Jesus (Luke 2: 26-38.)  John the Baptist, likewise, recognized Jesus from a distance (John 1:33).  The Holy Spirit dwelling in us will tell us or give us discernment as to who is trustworthy and who is not, and how should we proceed as we relate to others in our lives.  It may be that you are called to rebuke them in love (Matthew 18: 15 – 20).  For most of us, praying for those who are following a wrong path, regardless of who they are - children, siblings, friends, pastors, church leaders, etc., is far better than doing nothing.  Those who truly trust God will pray that God will do for others as He did unto them. 


Raul Diaz

Friday, September 01, 2006

Fw: Diversionary attacks and tactics

Diversionary attacks and tactics

A distraction is something which diverts the attention from an original focus or interest, in other words it draws someone's attention away from something.   So, anything that keeps you away from what should be a priority may be a distraction.  For example, many phone calls, many crises, TV watching, shopping, etc. may be distractions.  Distractions are also used in wars as a maneuver that draws the attention of an opponent away from a planned point of action, especially as part of military strategy, or an attack calculated to draw enemy defense away from the point of the principal attack.  Distractions in war are called diversionary tactics or attacks.  Some examples are: octopi, when threatened they spray ink to distract a possible attacker; Fake targets; the use of the Trojan horse; Pickpockets and other thieves. Distraction - diversionary attacks or tactics - is one of the Devil's best tools against us.

When Paul uses the armor metaphor for our spiritual life, it was not an accident (Ephesians 6: 10 - 18).  We are in the midst of Spiritual war (2 Corinthians 10: 3), waging for our minds and soul.  Furthermore, the fight is not only for us, we are the battlefield, and also the soldiers.  While God has strict rules of engagement, and stands by them, our enemy does not.  The Devil uses anything at his disposition to destroy us, whether fair or not.  (Thank God for His restraints on the Devil!)  His goal is to keep us from distracted from Jesus, because, it is in Jesus that we find victory.  It does not matter if we go to church every day of the week.  If we are not connected to the Vine, we the branches are dead (John 15: 1-7).  

How does the Devil keep us distracted?  One way is to keep us busy.  If we do not have time for prayer and study, we are spiritually dead.  Another way is comparisons.  To compare we have to look at each other, as long as we look at each other, we lose our sight of Jesus.  Other way is lifestyle issues: such as music, dress, food, etc.  Yet another way is debating over theological issues that do not contribute anything to our preparation for eternal life is also prevalent.  Of, course than we also have heresies.  

This interpretation of the little horn as Antiochus Epiphanes, is perhaps one of the biggest heresies ever to distract us from Jesus.  For reasons explained in our lesson, Antiochus cannot fit the little horn of the prophecy.  This heresy invalidates Jesus as the Messiah, and without Jesus we have no salvation.  We have wasted our time preaching cunningly devised fables (2 Peter 1:16).  A Gospel that believes that the little horn is Antiochus does not have the power to save from Sin and unto eternal life.  We can see that this heresy is nothing more than a diversionary tactic from Devil.  

As we who profess to be Christians argue over these issues, we not only send a message of disunity to those around us, but also give a false testimony of God.  We send a message that God is a God of debate, disunity, unrestrained anger, and unforgiving.  So, this diversionary attack not only affects us but also those who surround us.  

What is the answer?  Avoid them?  Or should we perhaps establish an ecumenical movement?  These solutions are also other diversionary tactics from our enemy.  So, how can we protect ourselves from these diversionary attacks from Satan?  The answer is that we cannot, if we are not connected to Jesus, the Vine (John 15: 1-7).  Jesus was, is and always will be the answer.  We indeed need the armor of God (Ephesians 6: 10 - 18) to fight this war, "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds," (2 Corinthians 10:4).  These weapons - the armor of God - the Holy Spirit provides for us when we let Him indwell us, and we yield to Him.  "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts" (Zechariah 4:6).  Only as we yield to the indwelling Spirit of God can we be protected from the diversionary tactics of the Devil.  

Raúl Díaz