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I have written to you

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How have you been serving God?

Have you been hearing the calling of the Lord? Have you obeyed such calling? We know that all of God’s words produce something (Genesis 1:3). God’s voice also needs to create something in your life. What have you done about it? The first reaction we should have when we hear this calling is TO SERVE. Perhaps we may think that we are useless and have no function in the body of Christ. That is not true!

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Live the Truth

After all, what is Truth?

Since the beginning, humanity seeks to know what it means, however, the Bible gives us an answer: “Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” (John 17:17 RV).

This verse brings something objective: the Word of God is the THUTH. It is not written that the Word contains the Truth or may the Word of God be almost the Truth. John’s verse affirms: it is the Truth. If the Word of God is the Truth, and Jesus is the Word that became flesh (John 1:14 RV), then Jesus is the Truth.

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FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)

(This article was adapted from the video “FOMO: fear of missing out”, recorded by Gabriel Sá to I Have Written to you.)

There is something very important that might be happening in your life or in the life of those you know. It is a syndrome called FOMO, which is related to the use of social media. FOMO is an acronym for the following words: Fear of Missing Out. 

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Experiences with the truth

At the beginning of 2020, we did a young Christians meeting in Ribeirão Preto (where I live and meet with the church). We had an excellent moment of collective worship and praising to God. We started the year united, joyful, enjoying our Lord and the company of each other.

What a joyful meeting! We had just come back from a Youth Conference that happened in Estância Árvore da Vida, in Sumaré, São Paulo. We were all happy and hopeful about the Lord’s Will and our role in the year that had just started. We had a quick activity, in which each one said a word to represent what they expected for 2020.

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Giants, grapes and the little grasshoppers conquerers of the heavenly kingdom

Have you ever experienced having a task to be done right in front of you, but gave before trying to do it? Have you ever had the desire of serving or the feeling of wanting to share something, but then looked at yourself and thought: “I am just incapable”? I already had such experiences, and so had the people of Israel.

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Book of Joel | Be glad, children of Zion

Book of Joel

Dear reader, what makes you happy? Is it your job, your family and your possessions, or is it the Lord? Maybe you feel like there is nothing to be happy about and, therefore, no search is needed. Perhaps you’ve lost hope in life and are just getting by because, in the end, what’s the meaning?

If you are in this situation, I would like to show you a beautiful contrast found in the book of the prophet Joel.

The book of Joel and the situation of God’s people

At the beginning of the book, 1:1-2:11, the prophet brings light to the situation of Israel. As a consequence, he calls out the whole people to lament:

“The field is wasted,

The land mourns;

For the grain is ruined,

The new wine is dried up,

The oil fails.

Be ashamed, you farmers,

Wail, you vinedressers,

For the wheat and the barley;

Because the harvest of the field has perished.

The vine has dried up,

And the fig tree has withered;

The pomegranate tree,

The palm tree also,

And the apple tree—

All the trees of the field are withered;

Surely joy has withered away from the sons of men.

Gird yourselves and lament, you priests;

Wail, you who minister before the altar;

Come, lie all night in sackcloth,

You who minister to my God;

For the grain offering and the drink offering

Are withheld from the house of your God.” 

(Joel 1:10-13)

These are only a few examples, but pay attention to the time each unfortunate event relating the people of Israel is described. “Is ruined” or “has perished”; present and past. The prophet Joel says to the people to lament for the situation they are, to look around and realise their condition – far from ideal.

But why calling the people to lament? Verse 5 of chapter 1 gives a good hint:

“Awake, you drunkards, and weep;

And wail, all you drinkers of wine,

Because of the new wine,

For it has been cut off from your mouth.”

The calling of Joel was so that the people could awake and see their condition. For all we can see, Israel has accepted and kept silence concerning its condition.

Have you ever seen yourself in this situation? Have you found yourself in a state of spiritual death and simply accepted? You stopped going to the meetings, seeking the word and praying; and still, you kept quiet, motionless. How do you feel when you are like that? Full of joy or grieved? Perhaps you are like that today.

The book of joel and the calling to change

Thank the Lord because He invited his people again:

““Now, therefore,” says the Lord,

“Turn to Me with all your heart,

With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”

So rend your heart, and not your garments;

Return to the Lord your God,

For He is gracious and merciful,

Slow to anger, and of great kindness;

And He relents from doing harm.”

The word “turn” here means changing direction. Dear reader, turn to the Lord and convert your heart to Him. Even if you are feeling dead by sin or anxieties of life, even if the locust came and disgraced the soil. Still, the Lord calls you to rejoice in Him.

In verses 23-27 of chapter 2, we can see the parallel: 

“Be glad then, you children of Zion,

And rejoice in the Lord your God;

For He has given you the former rain faithfully,

And He will cause the rain to come down for you—

The former rain,

And the latter rain in the first month.

The threshing floors shall be full of wheat,

And the vats shall overflow with new wine and oil.

“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,

The crawling locust,

The consuming locust,

And the chewing locust,

My great army which I sent among you.

You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,

And praise the name of the Lord your God,

Who has dealt wondrously with you;

And My people shall never be put to shame.

Then you shall know that I am in the midst of Israel:

am the Lord your God

And there is no other.

My people shall never be put to shame.” 

(Joel 2:23-27)

The calling to gladness from de Lord is not conditioned to things that are or were, but to something that will be. The Lord calls his people to be glad, saying that He will still give them joy. He says that they should be happy by hope.

That is the secret. Usually we get sad because we don’t see any reason for happiness, or we look at the things from the past, and they take our peace. Then we get cold and move away from the Lord. But our happiness should not be based on the things we see, but in those we don’t (Hebrews 11:1).

Moving with hope

Many situations in our lives seem to have the only goal of hurting us, in a way that it is as if the Lord was absent. However, we should never forget that the Lord is among us (Joel 2:27) and that He is sovereign over everything (Psalms 103:19). Much of the pain we go through is so we can turn to Him and find joy in Him.

I don’t want to imply that the Lord is going to give you all you want and that is why you should be happy. That would actually make you very unhappy: “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Corinthians 15:19). It is quite the opposite; I invite you to rejoice in the Lord even if there is no apparent reason today or yesterday, because our joy is in the tomorrow: living with our Lord throughout eternity.

Do not look at today, nor you should worry about what happened yesterday, but look firmly to the Lord and turn to Him. We should be like Paul, as described in Philippians 3:13, 14:

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Push toward the goal and rejoice today in the hope we received from our Lord Jesus Christ!

A promise without rivals

Have you ever stopped to think that to God’s promise to fulfil, there are no rivals? Exactly that! No person or circumstances can hinder its fulfilment. Therefore, in this text, we will address the story of Abraham and Sarah, that even though their ages were their biggest rivals, God proved them that nothing could hinder the fulfilment of His will.

THE PROMISE TO ABRAHAM AND SARAH

According to the Hebraic tradition, names carry a potential promise, fate and a person’s characteristics. That’s why God changed Abram’s name, which means “the father is exalted”, to Abraham, which means “father of a multitude” (Gn 17:4b-5), to back up the promises God has prepared. The same happened to Sarai, which means “Jehovah is prince”, to Sarah: “God’s princess” (Gn 17:15).

In Genesis 17, God describes in details the promises to Abraham and Sarah. However, in verse 16, God begins to be more direct about how to fulfil that promise: “And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.”

Abraham, after hearing this, not only laughed (Gn 17:17a), but also said: O that Ishmael might live before thee!” (Gn 17:18). It was like if Abraham did not believe in God’s plan for him and Sarah and would want to spare from facing the age situation with Sarah. It was as if Abraham said: “Don’t need to worry so much, God… Bless the son I already have, that’s good enough”. How many times have we done the same thing? We doubt and confine God’s blessings to our unbelief, thinking that God can not give us anything beyond what we already have.

A LIFE WITHOUT RIVALS

“And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.” (Gn 17:19).

In Genesis 21:2-3, God’s promise to Abraham of giving him a son with Sarah is fulfilled.
Dear one, if you want to live the life God prepared to you, stop using your unbelief to avoid or doubt what He promised you.

Like Abraham, do you think there is anything too difficult for God (Jr 32:27) to accomplish in your life? What do you think that is too difficult for Him to do for you?
It doesn’t matter how you look like, what is your age or how you feel, you are and have everything the Word of God says about you. God’s fate for your life and His words about you are not limited to your current situation. God’s promise to you is unequalled. Don’t hide from it. Embrace it.

Believe and be blessed!

Author: Mariana Fogaça.

While he doesn’t come

“After another day of great miracles and comforting sermons, our Master orders us to take the boat and cross the sea. We didn’t hesitate and left in the evening. Our hearts were joyful for being called to be disciples of such an extraordinary man. For us, that crossing wasn’t a challenge. On the contrary, our good Shepperd had given us a task which we were used to do: sail on waters known by us fishermen. 

However, when we least expected, the sea started to agitate. At first, we didn’t get scared, after all, sailing was our thingBesides, we weren’t there by our own will, but obeying an order from our Master. 

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4 Items that transform common sinners in extremely useful people to God

If you wish to cooperate with God and be someone extraordinary in this age, this text is for you! Understand the four items that transform common sinners in extremely useful people to God and revolutionize your life and and the lives of those around you. Enjoy!

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