Monday, December 21, 2015

Why ME God?

Until you and I receive a clear understanding of the greatness of our Lord Jesus, we will never see what we have been chosen and called to. When God reveals His purpose to us, He does not give it all at once.  It will come according to the grace and sovereignty of God.  All through history we see this.  In the book of I Samuel 13:14 (NIV), after Samuel rebukes Saul for not keeping the Lord’s commandments, Samuel says in V. 14, “But now your kingdom will not endure;  the Lord has sought out a man after His own Heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lords command.”  Read II Chronicles 16:9 (NIV) when again the King of Judah is rebuked for trusting in man and not in God.  Hanani, the seer, says to him in V. 9, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him...”  Several words come to mind in these scriptures; devoted, faithful, committed and determined. This is what God sees in every chosen vessel. This is exactly what He received from His only begotten Son Jesus Christ and what He expects from us if He is going to use us to fulfill His purpose for His Son.

Let’s return to John 15:16 (NIV) where Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you...”    As we continue you will understand what I Samuel 13:14 and II Chronicles 16:9 have in common with John 15:16.  When I read ‘I Chose You’ two questions arise; when did you choose me and why did you choose me Lord?  I know that John 15:16 continues with “and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit.”  Some ministers use that portion as an evangelistic message.  They are not wrong. However reading it in context, Jesus is talking about Himself being the true vine and we are the branches and God is the husbandman.  I see a whole different picture. The Lord is saying, I chose you to be an extension of ME.  It is important to note that Jesus and His chosen ones have just left the room where they took the bread and wine and Jesus spoke to them in seclusion in a more intimate way.  This reveals that there are times when God will speak to us in a more intimate way in the privacy of our hearts.   As He takes them out, and they walk along there are two things that He is doing.  One, He is preparing His disciples for after His crucifixion, resurrection and ascension.  Second, He is fulfilling prophecy. Isaiah 43:4-8 (NIV) reads, “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, and nations in exchange for your life.  Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west.  I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back’. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth -  everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.  Lead out those who have eyes but are blind, who have ears but are deaf.”  Habakkuk 2:14 (NIV) reads, “For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.”  By these two prophecies and many more, we can see that being chosen by God involves more than attending church. 

I remember the dream I had over thirty years ago where I saw the glory of the Lord and these words came forth from that glory, “If you seek me, you will find me, and you will grow in me.”  These words are still working in me; they led me to the point where I not only receive but also understand what God’s Ultimate Intention is producing in us.  God spoke those words to me in that dream shortly after I had given my life to Him. Taken by those words and giving myself to study His word, I came to the Book of Jeremiah 29:13-14 (NIV), “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the Lord...”  Our God will never lead us astray and the Holy Spirit will not work in us outside of God’s Word. 

God is always testing our hearts because He chose us to be His companions.  This is where we enter into the why He chose us.  The word companion is full of meaning; getting the right meaning will result in absolute satisfaction both to you and to God who chose you. To begin our understanding of this word companion let us look at Hebrews 3:1 (KJV), “Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling...”  Hebrews 3:14 (KJV) reads, “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end.” The word partakers can also mean companions. Luke 5:7 (KJV) "So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them..."The word used in Luke is partner which has the same meaning as companion.  Companion can mean two persons or more who have taken up a cause, chosen for a specific purpose.  This is something we see throughout scripture.  Abraham, a great servant of God, was devoted and faithful; however the special name given to him was ‘friend of God.’ Isaiah 41:8 (KJV) reads, “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.  God’s description of Moses in Exodus 33:11 (KJV) “And the Lord spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend...” Samuel describes David as “a man after His own heart.”  John 15:14-15 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what His lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for ALL THINGS that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.”  It becomes clear in these scriptures that there is a unique intimate relationship between the one who chose and the one chosen.  When our Lord came into this world, He chose His disciples and apostles on the basis of companionship.  There was something dear in their relationship with the Lord; it was their companionship with Him.  Luke 22:28 (KJV) reads, “Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations.”  It is important to note that these words make it obvious that a companion continues with you through life’s sufferings. John 15:14 (KJV) reads, “Ye are my friends...” It is very important that we take note of that. God revealed to me several years ago that I was united to Him by the Spirit; that I was one with Christ in the Spirit.  I Corinthians 6:17 (KJV) reads, “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.”  Galatians 4:6(KJV) reads, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father.”  This is what John 15 is all about.  This is what the gospel is all about.  This is what the cross of Christ is all about.  This is what His death, burial, resurrection and ascension is all about.  He chose us to be His companions for all eternity.

There is one purpose revealed in the scriptures from Genesis to Revelations. This purpose lies behind every stage of life; it lies behind creation and divine foreknowledge. This purpose lies behind every person God chooses; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Joshua.  It’s behind the Judges, the priesthood, the kingships and the prophets. Throughout the bible and all of creation God has had one purpose in mind and every sovereign move of His is governed by that one purpose   that IN ALL THINGS God has the fullness of His Son in view.  John 1:3 (KJV) reads, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.”  Colossians 1:16 (KJV) says, “For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities or powers. ALL THINGS were created by Him, and for Him.”

I must stop here and ask the Holy Spirit to remove anything and everything that obstructs our spiritual vision and impedes our spiritual progress into the fullness of Christ.  There is no other conclusion but that truly this is no small thing He has called us to.  There is no doubt this is a great companionship which was planned before this world was ever created.    Let us look at a few examples in the Old Testament to see important characteristics of companions.  We will look at Gideon first, but to appreciate this chosen vessel, we need to look at the state of God’s people.  Judges 6:1 (NIV) records, “The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and for seven years He gave them into the hands of the Midianites.” (V6) “Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the Lord for help.” The first thing to notice is that before God sends deliverance, He exposes their sin.  God is always dealing with our hearts.  God sends a prophet to make clear why they were in misery; why did God do this? They had rebelled against the rule of God. He is teaching them in the land of blessing and privilege the difference between the rule of God and the rule of man.  We must take this to heart, especially here in America, here where we have had the privilege and freedom of gathering together to worship our God and Lord Jesus Christ. Remember that since the beginning of time God set in motion two paths; one of blessing and privilege through obedience and the other of curse and death through disobedience.  I heard someone say ‘God is not through with the United States.’ To this I say it depends on the spiritual state of the church. Israel was called to be a blessing to the nations, so is the church.  We may have forgotten, but God is not dealing with the Midianites yet; He is using them to judge His own people. Selah (Stop and think about it) In the midst of Israel’s misery, we find God’s man of deliverance, Gideon; God’s companion and witness.  God is bringing him into circumstances in which he is to act. This should immediately remind us of Philippians 2:5-9 (NIV), “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus, who being the very nature of God did not consider equality with God something to be used to his advantage; rather, He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled himself by becoming obedient to death – even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name.” Gideon is in the midst of Israel’s misery but notice what he is doing; he is threshing wheat and hiding it from the Midianites.  The angel of the Lord is watching him; what is he observing?  The angel is watching the attitude of Gideon’s heart. He is not angry nor is he murmuring. He took upon himself to alleviate some of the distress of the Israelites. He was concerned for others; the care of his people was on his heart.

When you come to see why God chose you, the Holy Spirit makes the Ultimate Intention of God clearer.  Even the small things that we do which are governed by God’s purpose are noticed by God.  Man may consider the deed insignificant, but God notices.  Let us return to Judges 6:12 (NIV) when the Angel of the Lord says, “The Lord is with you." The angel saw deliverance in the heart of Gideon. God’s love, interest and desire were at work in Gideon whether he knew it or not.  We should never make the mistake of coming into adversity and accuse God of abandoning us.  Two reasons for experiencing adversity: One is ignoring the conviction of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Two God is putting our trust in Him to the test.   Peter 1:6-7 (NIV) reads, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.  These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith, - of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire - may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”  Our Lord wants everyone whom He chooses to know that God opens doors, He closes doors, He sets up and pulls down.  Whatever He must do to make us compatible He will do.   Ecclesiastes 7:13-14 (NIV) reads, “Consider what God has done: Who can straighten what He has made crooked?  When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this:  God has made the one as well as the other.  Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future.”   It is so very important to know, understand and accept all that is in the process in making us compatible for our Lord. The following word spoken by Jesus to His disciples greatly anchored my soul, mind and emotions when I was experiencing a trying circumstance.  Luke 6:40 (NIV) reads, “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.”  When God spoke that in my spirit, the raging storm within me stopped and the peace of God took over.

We all should have a history of our walk with our Lord.  The moment you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior and accept Him to be Lord of your life, you enter into the school of Christ.  Hebrews 5:8-9 (NIV) reads, “Son though He was, He learned obedience from what He suffered and, once made perfect, He became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him.”  Hebrews 12:3 (NIV) reads, “Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” May the precious Holy Spirit encourage, strengthen and establish you in His fullness and for the glory of Jesus Christ.  We will continue this unfolding revelation in our next letter. Amen!

Your Companion in the Heavenly Calling,

John Casarez

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I Chose You (3)

 Genesis 1:11, “Then God said” “let the land produce vegetation; seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.”  Genesis 1:28, “. . . Be fruitful and increase in number.” Since the beginning of time this principle is being fulfilled. In this world there are millions of babies being born; some are born premature, some full term, some planned, some are surprises, some are welcomed and some are rejected.  Regardless of the circumstances, every baby was chosen by God for a purpose. You did not choose to be born; your birth was God’s purposeful choice.   Colossians 1:16 says, “. . . all things were created by Christ and for Christ.”

Because we are taking our statement from the book of John it is helpful to note that John’s book is the bridge from the old dispensation to the new dispensation; the great transition from the symbolic Christ throughout the Old Testament to the manifested Jesus Christ Himself. Christ is the completeness of all the historical parts. Everything in John’s Gospel is a transfer to Jesus Christ. Everything John wrote was to clarify that the new dispensation which had come was a spiritual dispensation.  Matthew reveals the lordship of Jesus Christ, Mark reveals the ministry under the authority of Christ and Luke reveals God’s new humanity.  John reveals to us the necessity of Jesus coming into this world to lay down His life only to take it back.  He takes us from the natural realm into the spiritual realm; from the earthly to the heavenly and from the temporal into the eternal.

One road block that has prevented the church from entering the fullness of Christ  is the attitude, ‘Oh, I know that scripture, I’ve read it many times; I don’t see anything new.’  We cannot come to God’s word with our natural minds and expect to receive anything.  There is much more in the statement, “I Chose You,” than meets the eye.  I will qualify that by referring to Matthew 13. Jesus is sitting by the lake teaching the crowds.  Verse 3 reads, “Then He told them many things in parables . . . . V10 The disciples came to him and asked “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” V11 He (Jesus) replied, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to You.”  Do you realize it is to the disciples whom Jesus had chosen that the secrets of the kingdom were made known?  I expect that you and I, as chosen vessels, will realize there is more to every word that our Lord Jesus spoke than we will ever know. 

I am aware that there are people born into the kingdom every day and they must be fed the pure spiritual milk, but that is just the beginning; God expects us to grow.  What do you spiritually hear when you read Hebrews 5:11-14, “We have much to say about this, but it is hard to explain because you are slow to learn.  In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s Word all over again.  You need milk, not solid food.  Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.  But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.”  When we become born again we begin the process of growing but for some unknown reason many stop growing and stop bearing fruit.  The Amplified translation of Hebrews 5:14 will help us see and hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, “But solid food is for full grown men, for those whose senses and mental faculties are trained by practice to discriminate and distinguish between what is morally good and noble and what is evil and contrary either to divine or human law.”  This tells us that if our relationship with Christ grows cold, our discernment will become dull and we won’t be able to discern what comes through our senses; we fall prey to the enemy.  This is how the first man, Adam and the entire human race were deceived and died spiritually.  However, the second man, Christ conquered all, even death, to live for evermore.  You see although Christ presented His fullness in the New Testament that is not enough to hold us secure we need to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit within us. John 7:38 reads, “Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” 

The church needs to have its spiritual eyes reawakened to the true nature of Christ. I cannot emphasize enough that we were chosen by Jesus Christ the eternal living Word, not by any man, movement or organization.  Until we have a clear understanding of Christ, we don’t have a solid foundation for our spiritual life.  Everything begins and flows from our understanding of Jesus Christ.   Jesus says in John 15:1, “I am the true vine . . ." V4 "Remain in me, and I will remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.”  I hear our Lord giving his disciples a word of assurance; a word that would hold them true to their calling.  Jesus knew what his disciples were about to see, hear and experience.  He is saying the same thing to us today because of what we see happening to Christians throughout the world; Christianity as we know it today is beginning to be shaken to its core.  Hebrews 12: 26-27 reads, “At that time His voice shook the earth, but now He has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens. The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken – that is created things – so that what cannot be shaken may remain.” Haggai 2:6 – 7 reads, “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘In a little while I will once more shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. I will shake all nations, and the desired of all nations will come and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.” 

What is it that the nations really desire?   All around us there is fear, unrest, insecurity and no peace.  Multitudes upon multitudes are fleeing their homes trying to save their lives only to be rejected, hungry, full of anguish, disappointment and death.  The only answer to all the unrest is Jesus Christ.  We can only find eternal peace, security, rest and eternal life in Him. John 16:33 reads, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace.  In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

You need to be aware of the power that is spoken in the words “I CHOSE YOU” to help you see through all the religious fog that has obscured the vision of so many children of God to the point that the true image and destiny has no transforming power.  Religious tradition is another reason we don’t see fruit in our lives.  Let me remind you of what Jesus said in John 8:32, “Then you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.”  Truth is not your opinion, tradition or what you think the scripture might say. Truth is Jesus Christ.  The more we know Him the more He is glorified in us and through us.  Hebrews 1:3 says, “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word.” Think about the stars and planets; billions and billions of them.  Not one of them is out of place, not one of them is doing its own thing.  Who is sustaining them?  What is holding them in place? The spoken Word is sustaining and holding them.  If God can hold these enormous majestic objects in their place, can’t He sustain and protect you through any crisis?  Stars and planets don’t have a will of their own but we do, therein lies our problem.  This is why our Lord came into the world to show us our destiny and how we can arrive at it. John 7:16-17 reads, “Jesus answered, “My teaching is not my own. It comes from Him who sent me.  If anyone chooses to do God’s will, He will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own.”  John 12:26 reads, “Whoever serves me must follow me and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”  John 12:44-46 reads, “Then Jesus cried out “When a man believes in me, he does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me. When he looks at me, he sees the one who sent me. I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

These scriptures confirm that the one who is sent, the one who is appointed, the one who is chosen walks by the will of the Father.  Christ is showing us what it is like to be one with the Father and what it is like to be one with the True Vine.  All the essence of the life of the True Vine is in the branches.  What a glorious revelation!  John 14:20 reads, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I AM IN YOU.” That day is referring to the day you receive Christ as your Savior and make Him Lord of your life. It is hard to doubt the Power in the Words Jesus spoke when he said, “I CHOSE YOU.”

The Holy Spirit wants me to emphasize to you in the Body of Christ, who feel your spiritual contribution is insignificant, consider your little toe it also appears insignificant, however without it your walk becomes more difficult. If God considers it important for us to walk correctly in the natural, how much more important would it be for us to walk spiritually straight. You are not insignificant, we need you.

If you forget everything you have just read never forget this, God is all-knowing and all-wise; He never makes a mistake. The fact that He chose you should reveal that He will accomplish what He desires for His Son. 1 Corinthians 1:26-30, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God CHOSE the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God CHOSE the weak things of the world to shame the strong.  He CHOSE the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before Him.  It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God- that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. Therefore, as it is written: 'Let him who boasts boast in the Lord.' " Selah!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Chose You (2)

Let us continue deeper into the transforming revelation of ‘I’ in the three word statement “I chose you,” as the Holy Spirit guides us. We should be extremely grateful that our Lord gave us the Holy Spirit to better understand His word.  Let us intently hear Jesus as He says, I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when He, the Sprit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on His own; He will speak only what He hears and He will tell you what is yet to come.”(John 16:12-13). “I will not leave you as orphans:  I will come to you.”  (John 14:18)

If we begin reading John 12 we will get the context of the words that Jesus spoke in John 15:16,   “..I chose you...”  He speaks these words to His disciples just after he predicts his death and before he goes to the cross. One can just imagine the hopelessness the disciples felt when they heard the Lord’s prediction; their discouragement, disappointment or maybe anger.  Peter tried to stop Him from completing His mission and our Lord had to put Peter in his place when in Mark 8:33 He said, “..Get behind me, satan...”  Jesus knew that once He ascended and sent the Holy Spirit into the hearts of His disciples, His words would transform them from men without backbones to pillars of the truth.  They would become aware of being in Christ and seeing things from God’s perspective; not from the natural realm. Jesus is speaking to the disciples and also to us when He says in John 14:20, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me and I am in You.”    He is presenting Himself to us, not a confusing new doctrine. Paul came into this powerful revelation when he wrote in Galatians 1:15-16, “But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man.”

In the book of John we read that the crowds followed Jesus, but many had their doubts concerning His claims. John 12:42-43 “Yet at the same time many even among the leaders believed in Him.  But because of the Pharisees they would not confess their faith for fear they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved praise from men more than praise from God.”  Our Lord will not allow hypocrisy to be near Him nor to be in us. Listen as He clears the atmosphere of the hypocrisy the religious system had created. He did it then and He is doing it today. John 12:44-46  reads, Then Jesus cried out, “When a man believes in me, He does not believe in me only, but in the one who sent me.  When He looks at me, He sees the one who sent me.  I have come into the world as a light so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” This confirms John 1:14, “The word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”

 Let us allow the Holy Spirit to saturate us with this one objective; to know God and discover the real source that makes living worthwhile. The Lord says in Jeremiah 9:23-24, “Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts, boast about this; that he understands and knows me . . . . It is obvious that God wants us to know Him; He gave us His spirit so we can overcome any situation we encounter.  We can experience God’s eternal love and glorious grace,  but before we can become pillars of truth in God’s temple we must know the God of this temple. Revelation 3:12 “Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God....”  God knows exactly what He is dealing with when he says to us, I chose you.” It is time we take God’s Word seriously, and not be satisfied with the status quo of today's Christianity.

Read how God dealt with men and women He chose in the past if you want proof that the eternal word never makes mistakes. What is the history of the ages, is it not the history of mankind. What is the history of mankind if not the history of God and the eternal word? Isaiah 45:18-19 reads, “. . . He who created the heavens, He is God; He who fashioned and made the earth, He founded it; He did not create it to be empty, but formed it to be inhabited-He says: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, from somewhere in the land of darkness; I have not said to Jacob’s descendents, ‘seek me in vain.’ I, the Lord, speak the truth; I declare what is right.” As you read these two verses count the many times God refers to Himself.  If we are honest we have to admit that God wants us to know Him.  At the end of the last statement we can add, and I chose You. We have to ask ourselves are we truly seeking God.  Listen to what he says in Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” He makes it very clear that we will find Him.  Is it possible we are not seeking God with our whole hearts?  Perhaps you say, I just do not have time to sit down and study the Word of God.  My life is filled with so many things there are not enough hours in the day to do everything.  There is your problem.  You are looking at time and life through the natural man.  Let me ask you, before Jesus began his public ministry, do you think he just sat around and read the scriptures?  Remember that He was the eldest and after Joseph died he took on the responsibility and the welfare of the family.  Remember the apostle Paul after he had his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  He went away to Arabia for several years to try and make sense of what had just happened to him and later returned to Damascus (Galatians 1:17).  I am sure that he had to use his skills to provide for himself and even after he was sent out, there were times he worked in order to not be a burden to anyone. I Thessalonians 2:8-9 reads, “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the Gospel of God, but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.  Surely you remember brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the Gospel of God to you.”  Are you thinking, but he was called and chosen to be an apostle.  I remind you the same Jesus who chose Paul is the one who said to you and me, I Chose You. The answer to all our questions is knowing Christ, the Son of the Living God.  Time and life were created by Him and for Him.  Colossians 1:16 reads, “For by Him all things were created; things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him.”  This is why God called and chose Paul, not only to be an apostle, but to be the expression and example of a life who has come to know by revelation ‘Christ in us’; to know the glorious work of the cross of Christ in us. Jesus and Paul’s lives were victorious because they were God conscious, something we have lost or never learned. Only a heart that is God conscious can declare and walk in the reality of Acts 17:28, For in Him we live and move and have our being.” Therefore, we will better understand the purpose of hardships, discouragements and painful situations. Everything is explained by the MAN Christ Jesus.  Everything is explained in the MAN Christ Jesus. He interprets history and the destiny of the universe. 

Regardless of what you are going through, it is all for Christ.  The reality of all this is that God gave us Paul, the example of Christ. If we take Paul as our example, as the one who leads us into the secrets of Christ in a fuller way, who not only embodies and represents that which he speaks; God leaves us without excuse when we stand before Him as to why we did not come into a greater measure of Christ.

Before we take the next word in our three word statement I CHOSE YOU, let me give you one last scripture explaining why He chose us.  Psalm 103:13-18 reads, “As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust.  As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts.”  Amen!!

John Casarez

Saturday, April 11, 2015

I Chose You

 Every word that our Lord spoke has the power to transform our lives.  Every word our Lord speaks is an eternal creative thought.  So we should pay close attention with extreme interest to the words our Lord spoke when He walked on the face of the earth. 

Let us go to John 15:16 where Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last.  Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.”  We will never understand the full meaning of what our Lord meant from the literal statement.  We must ask the Holy Spirit to help us go beyond the letter of the word into the Spirit of what He said.  The context in which this statement was made is very important.  In John 15:1, Jesus is telling his disciples that He is the true vine.  He is revealing to the disciples their new position and their new source of existence. The Lord led me to specifically focus on the words “I Chose You.” Let us give the Holy Spirit our undivided attention and allow Him to take us one word at a time into the magnitude of what is implied here. We must realize how much our heavenly Father wants us to know Him.

Who is the “I” spoken of in John 15:16? Most Christians today will answer, “That’s easy it’s Jesus”. True, however “I” is much more and we will soon discover a very fulfilling explanation as we continue.  You might ask why is it important to know who chose me?    Let me give you three reasons out of many.

First:  It is important to know the fullness of who chose us because knowing will enlarge our intellect and purify our soul of all that limits and slows down our progression into the fullness of Christ.

Second: If we disregard the study of who God is, we place ourselves in a state of meaningless confusion, stumbling around like a blind man not understanding what is happening around us and why it is happening.

Third:  It is God’s will as He says in John 17:3, “Now this is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

I am fully aware that my thirty three years of walking with my Lord does not make me a scholar on the subject of God, but a little knowledge of God is worth a lot more than having a great deal of knowledge about God. 

The Book of John and some of Paul’s letters have one thing in common; they take us to the time before Genesis. Read carefully how John opens his letter in verse (1), “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God. (2) He was with God in the beginning.” John was inspired of the Holy Spirit to precisely reveal to us the nature and meaning of Jesus’ sonship; a revelation you will not find in any other place in the New Testament.  At least not the way John so carefully made it clear to those who all their lives read the Old Testament, but also to us who would receive the Holy Spirit after making Christ Jesus our Savior and Lord.  John does not begin with the title Son; He starts with the title Word.  He makes sure there is no misunderstanding or mistake as to whom he was writing about.

In the Old Testament God’s word was His creative utterance.  You have probably read Genesis 1:1-3, “God said let there be light  and there was light.” Psalms 33:6, 9 reads, “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made . . . he spoke and it came to be.”  This is the word of God at work or God working.  Let’s take these facts from the book of John one at a time and experience the transforming power of God’s word.

(1) John 1:1, “In the beginning was the word. . .” The word is eternal; He (the Word) has no beginning. He - Is.  Pay close attention to Proverbs 8:27-31, “I was there when He set the heavens in place, when He marked out the horizon the face of the deep, when He established the clouds above and fixed securely the fountains of the deep, when He gave the sea its boundary so the waters would not overstep His command, and when He marked out the foundations of the earth.  Then, I was the craftsman at His side. I was filled with delight day after day rejoicing always in His presence, rejoicing in His whole world and delighting in mankind.”

(2)  John 1:1, “…And the word was with God.” Here we have a distinct personality in an eternal relation in God, an active fellowship which has no beginning and has no end. John 10:30 says, “I and my Father are one.” John 17:21 reads, “That all of them may be one Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.

(3) John 1:1, “…And the word was God.” Here the word is deity. Although we see two distinct personalities in the Word and the Father, He was never created. The Word is divine just as the Father is divine. John 6:46 reads, “No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God.” John 17:5 says, “And now Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.”

(4) John 1:3, “Through Him all things were made.” The Word is creating.  Colossians 1:16, “For by him all things were created things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities all things were created by Him and for Him.” 

(5) John 1:4, “In Him was life...” The word is giving life; energizing, giving motion, animating.   There is nothing that has been created that has life in itself.  All things created exist because of the life giving Word.  John 5:21 reads, “For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the son gives life to who he is pleased to give it.  5:26 reads, “For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have Life in Himself.”  Here is the answer to the origin and the continuance of life. These verses blow up the big bang theory or any other creation theory.

(6) John 1:4, “. . .  and that life was the light of men.” By receiving the life we also receive illumination of what ‘light’ means. We are brought into an intimate relationship through the life of the Word with God and His Kingdom.  John 8:12 reads, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  John 12:36 says, “Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light.”

(7) John 1:14, “The Word became flesh...” When did the word become flesh?  Go back to the Gospel of Luke chapter 1 when the angel sent by God spoke to a virgin named Mary.  Starting with verse 26 to verse 38, we have the glorious encounter of the Word of God with a chosen vessel.  What an honor and privilege to hear the words in Luke 1:28, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”  I pray right now that you are hearing the words in verse 38 where we find the answer of the Word becoming flesh. “And Mary said behold the handmaid of the Lord: Be it unto me according to thy word.”  In the name of our Lord Jesus take your time and meditate on what I am sharing with you.

Remember, the Holy Spirit is helping us to grasp the magnitude of the three words Jesus spoke in John 15:16, I CHOSE YOU.  We have scratched the surface by focusing on ‘I’. Only eternity will display the enormity of what God the Father receives by Jesus Christ’s actions.    John 6:63 reads, “The spirit gives life: the flesh counts for nothing.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”  To God be the glory forever and ever. Amen!!

John Casarez

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Lord, my Lord

Imagine that you and I are sitting at the kitchen table at the end of the day drinking an ice cold glass of water.  We are having a good discussion regarding our day’s accomplishments and feeling good about it.  Then I ask you, “What were the two most important days in your life?”  After a short pause, your answer might be; the day I met my spouse; the day I was married; the day our first child was born; or the day I received the promotion I was praying for.  I believe the two most important days of our lives are when we were born and the day we discovered our purpose in life; everything else in one way or another is impacted by purpose.

 Your true purpose can only be revealed after you discover your creator. God has created you and He has called you. It is God who gives you life and only He can give you meaning in life.  Knowing and understanding this, leaves no doubt that He will guide you into fulfilling your purpose.

I would like to share some things I have learned in thirty years regarding God’s guidance in our lives. God will supply your spiritual and natural needs as long as you are in the place and position where He wants you to be. His power and peace exist in this place. Examples of God’s guidance are written in the Old Testament. Consider Abraham, Joseph and the Israelite’s stories.  Remember Elijah who was led to a brook where God used the ravens to supply his food?

 It is important for us in Christ to note that the understanding of spiritual provision has been lacking in much of Christianity.  We’ve set our eyes on the physical, natural and material and have not understood the real purpose for which God called us.  Look at the spiritual help the apostles gave as they led the church through times of perplexity, problems, and circumstances. They emphasized the spiritual principles which would lead the church until the end of time.  God’s desire is to guide us and make sure that we fulfill His purpose.  Psalms 32:8 reads, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go.  I will counsel and watch over you.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 reads, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.”  Isaiah 58:11 reads, “The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land, and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, whose waters never fail.”  John 8:12 reads, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”  These scriptures are like street signs. They are points of reference or absolutes which never change. God’s grace has allowed these promises of guidance to be recorded in His Word. History shows us how important they are. 

Next, I want to note several factors in our lives that can distract, derail and hinder us. We must seriously judge our motives in our decision making.  What are our motives?  I often state at conferences, “It is not what we do for the Lord that counts, but WHY we do what we do.” Jesus says in Luke 11:34, “Your eye is the lamp of your body.  When your eyes are good, your whole body also is full of light.  But when they are bad, your body also is full of darkness.”  It would be impossible to discover God’s purpose if there is any thought of personal gain, compromise, or man’s praise. Our will must be totally surrendered to the will of God.  Jesus said in John 5:30 (KJV), “. . .  my judgment is just, for I seek not my own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” In other words my will is surrendered to the will of my Father.  It is recorded in John 6:38 (KJV), “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my will, but to do the will of Him who sent me.” Did you know you and I were also chosen, anointed and sent into this world to do the will of Him who sent us? Our Lord said in John 17:16-19 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.  For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” The Word is clear, there is no doubt God has sent us into this world the same way our Lord was sent.  The Holy Spirit reminds me of Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me Lord, Lord and you don’t do the things I command you?” How many times have we missed His guidance because we have not surrendered or submitted to His will? 

Another factor in our lives that can distract, derail and hinder us is lack of information; information for our minds, our thought processes.  God’s Word is filled with biography and history. It is filled with facts and reliable information.  The Holy Spirit will use God’s Word to renew our minds.  There is no crisis in the Word which is not in some way similar to what we go through.  We can glean from the scriptures and see God’s hand bringing clarity to our minds.   There is nothing new under the sun.  It is written in Ecclesiastes 1:9, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  We must make time to read the scriptures if we are going to find fulfillment and be satisfied.  I have discovered God teaches and guides us, even on our jobs.  He is determined to help us arrive at His desired end. 

 Our lack of prayer is another factor. We have to pray.  Prayer is not always on your knees. We can be in prayer while washing dishes, washing the car, at work, on the computer, mowing the lawn, welding, or cutting pipe.  Praying is not always petitioning God, it can also be expressing your worship, praise and delight in Him. Psalms is filled with supplications for clear directions.  Psalms 86:11 reads, “Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”  Psalms 25:4 reads, “Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”  Psalms 25:9-10 says, “He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.  All the ways of the Lord are loving and faithful for those who keep the demands of his covenant.”

Another factor is providence.  Providence is God’s care for you.  God’s word is impressed in your heart, so never step ahead without a peace in your heart.  The Holy Spirit comes and lives in us to guide and direct us into all truth.   If there is not peace in your heart for the next step, wait; wait upon the Lord. His word confirms the impression in your heart.  We must be very careful not to be moved by the suggestions or impulses of others.  An example is when I started traveling to Mexico, some brothers brought me food and clothing to take to the needy. I so vividly remember the day that I crossed the border with those provisions. The Holy Spirit convicted me by saying, “I have not anointed you and raised you up for this. I have anointed you and sent you to take my Word.  I have raised others to do this job.” After that experience I stopped taking food and clothing; not that it is wrong but for our ministry the time had not come. Don’t misunderstand me; God said He called others for that purpose.  Several years ago, God connected us with a very special brother. Pastor Jorge Luis Urra pastors a wonderful church in Miami and has a heart for orphans.  God has joined us with this ministry and we have been working with him to supply food and clothing to orphanages throughout Central America, South America, and Thailand. Philippians 2:4 says, “Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interest of others.” We must be careful to not step out of the measure where God has placed us.  John 8:29 reads, “The one who sent me is with me; He has not left me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”  Do you want to know why the Father said, Matthew 3:17, “… This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” There’s your answer, “I always do what pleases Him.”  Remember the Feast of Tabernacles in John 7:1-6, “After this, Jesus went around in Galilee, purposely staying away from Judea because the Jews were waiting to take his life.  But when the Jewish Feast of the Tabernacles was near Jesus’ brothers said to him, “You ought to leave here and go to Judea, so that your disciples may see the miracles you do. No one who wants to become a public figure acts in secret. Since you are doing these things, show yourself to the world.”  Human nature is acting here. Verse 5 reads, “For even His own brothers didn’t believe in him.” Jesus does not respond to human nature. He goes on to say in verse 6, “The right time for me has not yet come; for you any time is right.” We must never forget that God’s ways are of greater importance than his works.  The Old Testament records that Israel saw His works but Moses knew His ways. 

These are factors that have been a tremendous help to me after 30 years.  It took time for me to discover them, but they have kept me on course.

 If you have not experienced the forgiveness of sin by Jesus Christ, I invite you to consider what you have read. To see the kingdom, the dominion, the power, the peace and the righteousness of God, “You must be born again.”  

Now let me give you two scriptures that make it very clear why God created us; one in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament.  Isaiah 43:6-7 reads, “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!” and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back. Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth-everyone who is called by my name, who I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Ephesians 1:5-6 says, “He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”  Please read them very carefully and let the Holy Spirit bring you into the glory and joy of His Son.

God’s Servant,
John Casarez