I don’t Care

“…Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”
–Ephesians 5:20-33

Yes I know.

This passage from the Bible can be a controversial one, especially in today’s society. The part about wives submitting to their husbands has been a sore spot for some in our society, as they see it as a way of subjugating women. It does nothing of the kind. I will address that first, and then I will move on to my main point.

When reading the Bible, one must try very hard not to take a single verse out of context. The Bible was never meant to be read one single verse at a time. There are two points to consider here. First of all is the first verse in the passage above, which specifies that we are to submit ourselves to each other. Right at the start, husbands and wives are to submit to one another, not simply wives to their husbands. The second point should be obvious if we read the entire passage, but especially the verse that explains that a man would leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife as one flesh. When we keep this verse in mind, we realize the necessity of the man to treat his wife with honor, love, and respect. Man is to treat his wife with the same love he has for his own body, because – after all – it is indeed his own flesh. We are to put our wives on a pedestal, presenting her without a single blemish, without a wrinkle. In that context, there should be no issue with the woman submitting to her husband, knowing that he will always treat her with the same love he affords God, the church, and his own body. In that respect, what can be more beautiful than the covenant man and woman enter into with God through the bonds of marriage?

But my main point here was not to address that particular controversy. My point was to address men. When reading this passage, what strikes me as most important is the huge responsibility God gives us with respect to our wives. The passage is very clear as to its command to men. It does not say that we are to love our wives as our own bodies, unless they get annoying, or unless we find someone else we like better. Yet we all know that the rate of divorce is very high in the United States. Would you be surprised to hear that the divorce rate is no lower among Christians? It is not. Christians have the same struggles with staying married that non-Christians do. What is my answer to Christian men?

Grow up.

How dare you enter into a covenant with God to love, honor and cherish your wife, and break that covenant? There are exceptions, but I am so tired of seeing single and divorced mothers raising children by themselves, and all I can think of when I see it is, how shameful of those fathers to not be standing next to those women, raising their family as God commands them. I don’t care if I am not being politically correct, and yes I know that sometimes, the women in these relationships bear some responsibility. But I am talking to men here right now, and we all know there is a huge number of men who have shirked their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. God gave us the responsibility to be the head of the family, the same way that Jesus was placed as the head of church. Please show me in the Bible where Jesus ever made an excuse as to why He could not provide for the church, or for His people?

Stop making excuses.

How many examples have we seen of men who use violence against their wives? How many examples have we seen of men who speak to their wives with disrespect? How many examples have we seen of men who refuse to pay child support, or who refuse to spend time with their children? Shame on you. Yes I am angry. I am so sick of seeing men behave like children.

Have you ever treated your wife or girlfriend with disrespect, or in a manner less than the example shown in the passage above? If so, it is time to make it right. Apologize to her. If you are already divorced and have children, make sure you pay the child support. Make sure you are a part of your child’s life.

Hey here is a wild idea.

How about you get right with God, apologize to Him, and mend that covenant you broke without His permission? If that is not possible, then maybe you ask for forgiveness, both from God, and your ex, and you work on making sure it never happens again.

When you stand in front of God the day you die, and you have to explain to Him why your child went without a father, or the resources you chose to spend else where, what will you say? When you have to explain why you laid a hand on the one you were supposed to love like you love God, what will you say? When you have to explain why you made a covenant with Him and broke it to pursue another woman, what will you say?

This won’t sit well with men who want to make excuses for their behavior.

I don’t care.

Are You Doubting, Thomas?

“Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
–John 20:24-25

Are you a doubting Thomas? It is amazing how many phrases and stories we use in society today that come from the Bible. I have heard this phrase many times, and for much of my life, I had no idea where it came from. It was just something you heard people say.

So what does it mean to be a doubting Thomas? Well, in society today it is used whenever you someone does not believe or join in with the group. In most cases it is used in a secular way. It may be a new idea at work, or a concept you are trying to explain to a friend. Most of the time, it does not have spiritual connotations. But that is what we will now discuss.

Have events in your life caused you to doubt your faith? Life can be difficult. It is quite understandable. I can tell you I have. I can remember some specific times in my life that my faith was questioned, and in those times, those thoughts crept into my head.

Maybe God isn’t listening.

Maybe He is not hearing my prayers.

Maybe I am really alone.

That is exactly what happened to Thomas. His Messiah was gone, or so he thought. They had just crucified Him, and the apostles were in hiding. Yes Jesus had told him he would return, but Thomas’ faith was weak. Mind you, we are not talking about a distant acquaintance. Thomas had followed Jesus, saw His miracles, heard His teachings. Yet still he doubted. If someone so close to Jesus could falter, isn’t it understandable when we do the same after encountering trials and tribulations?

“And after eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace to you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.” And Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
–John 20:26-29

What a beautiful passage, and how much it shows us. Jesus knew that we would appear to Thomas, and He also knew that He would not be on Earth for us. He would dwell inside us, but would not be here in flesh. He needed a way to explain what He expected of us. Thomas did not believe until He saw Jesus in the flesh, even when His fellow apostles told Him they saw Jesus. But our savior needs us to believe, even if we cannot see Him in flesh. Like the father who grabs your hand before crossing the street, He is grabbing our hearts, and telling us to trust him.

There are many doubting Thomas’ in today’s society, and what an influence they can be on us. We are to hold steady, and put our trust in Jesus. No we cannot see Him in the flesh, but we can feel Him in our hearts, we can read His teachings in the Bible, and we can see the results of following Him in our lives and the lives of other faithful followers.

Easier said than done I know. We are weak, and we are imperfect. As part of our fallen nature we are easily influenced by the ways of this world. It can be a minefield out there trying to make sense of what we read in the papers ( does anybody read papers anymore) , what we hear on TV, and most of all those troubles in our own lives, that sometimes make us doubt as to what God’s plan really is for us. But as Christians, we are taught to live by our faith. We won’t understand everything, but we are to put our trust in Jesus, because we know He has our best interests at heart.

“See, the enemy is puffed up; his desires are not upright – but the righteous person will live by his faithfulness”
–Habbakkuk 2:4

Don’t be a doubting Thomas.

Because They are Different

Some of you may be aware of the vicious beating of a trans gender in a McDonald’s restaurant last week. If you are not, the link to an article about it is below. Please be aware that the article below contains a link to the video shot by an employee, and it is disturbing.

http://www.wbaltv.com/r/27665011/detail.html

How sickening.

The first time I saw the video, I literally got sick to my stomach. I saw the original video, which shows the victim having a seizure at the end. The video stops with the victim seizing, not giving you any indication as to whether she lived or died, whether the police ever showed up, or whether the attackers were apprehended. My first reaction is that the media outlets who choose to air these videos should be held accountable for providing more information. Responsible journalism dictates that you do not air such a disturbing video without informing your viewers about the safety of the victim.

With that being said, the next day after the airing of the video, reports came out that the victim had been released from the hospital and was ok, and that the attackers were in jail facing assault charges. Bail was denied. I believe that is the right thing to do. Hopefully, the attackers will suffer the consequences of their actions and justice will prevail.

When we see these events occur in today’s society, we sometimes tend to think that our society is getting more and more violent. We see the videos, and the 24/7 coverage of various high profile crimes, and we ascribe them to an increase in moral decay, the destruction of the family unit, or other causes. While I do believe that there are valid reasons to believe in these causes, I would caution the reader to be wary of this type of thinking. For example, take this link:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murder_of_James_Byrd,_Jr.

The link above is the Wikipedia discussion of the murder of James Byrd, a black man who was killed by three white men, who dragged him with their pickup truck. It happened 13 years ago.

There are many more. For example, it is estimated that 100,000 homosexuals were killed during Nazi Germany. Of course, we all know of the approximately 6 million Jews that were murdered by the Germans during World War II. Hate crimes have unfortunately been a part of this fallen world since the beginning. Since the days of Cain and Abel, man has at times brutally murdered his fellow man.

The disciples of Jesus knew very well the consequences of following their savior.

  • Andrew was crucified on an Olive tree.
  • Bartholomew was crucified upside down.
  • James was stoned to death by the Jews.
  • James, son of Zebedee was beheaded by Herod
  • Paul was beheaded in Rome.
  • Peter was crucified upside down, by choice.

Ever since sin entered this world, there have been men willing to carry out unspeakable crimes. Let’s not look at the events we read about in the news and try to come to the conclusion that any of this is specific to our times. The only difference is that today, the news is instant, and in our face constantly.

“If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
–Ephesians 4:21-32

The Bible is just as much an answer to us today as it was to the men who wrote the original scriptures, and revealed to us by God. If there is one overriding theme to the verses above, as well as the entire New Testament, it is that of love. We are able to love because God first loved us. In the verses above is a clear example of how we are to behave with our neighbors. I think it is very clear when we are told not to let the sun go down upon our wrath. There is nothing in the verses above about loving everyone except trans genders, or everyone except blacks, or everyone except Muslims. Jesus even goes so far as to tell us elsewhere in the Bible to love our enemies. Imagine that!

It is impossible to let hate and anger cause you to assault someone when you are following the teachings of Jesus. My hope for those of us who witness or hear about these horrible acts is that we keep Jesus in our hearts, and ask Him to guide us in everything we do. When these attackers were children, I would bet they did not think they would grow up to hate someone so much that they would assault or murder them. Something changed in their hearts. Let’s pray that those who have malice in their hearts allow Jesus to soften those hearts. I believe the following verse sums up how we should behave towards our fellow man or woman:

“If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you.”
–John 13:14-15

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Friday evening, I attended Good Friday services at our church.  Our Pastor delivered a very moving service, calling it not a good Friday, but a great Friday.  He spoke not just about the forgiveness of sin granted by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, but also the ability and responsibility of His children to forgive each other.

On Sunday morning, our church was more full than I had ever seen it.  So many people were in attendance, that many were not able to see the service live, having to sit in overflow areas and watch the service on video.  The pastor once again delivered a beautiful message, about the evidence of Jesus.  He talked about Jesus appearing to more the 500 people after rising from his tomb, about the apostles dying for their beliefs, and about Mary, the mother of Jesus, watching her son die on the cross, knowing He had to do this to save us from sin.

But while we celebrated our Lord’s ascension to heaven…

120 protesters died in Syria.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110424/wl_mideast_afp/syriapoliticsunrest_20110424155030

How ironic that on a weekend that we celebrate a rebirth, brought to us by Jesus Christ, that so many around the world are losing their lives in their search for the basic freedoms we take for granted in the United States.  According to some reports, the Syrian government is using sniper gangs perched on rooftops to kill protesters.  It is reports like these that remind me that there is such thing as pure evil in the world.

If there is something that I was reminded of this weekend, it is the purpose of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.  In a word, it was rescue.  He came to rescue us, mostly from ourselves.  When we read about the chaos in the world, the evil in man’s heart, it becomes clear what Jesus meant when He said…

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
–John 14:6

Everything about the life of Jesus says – peace.  He taught us two commandments…

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
–Matthew 22:34-40

So when I was thinking about what I was going to write about, I knew I wanted to talk about the deaths in Syria in relation to Easter.  But what should my message be?  Well, the message is just – a hope for peace.  Jesus taught us to forgive, to be at peace with our neighbors.  But to do that, we must come to Him.  He is the way.  How much more obvious can it be than by pointing out the two polar opposites of a beautiful Easter weekend in contrast to the sheer violence in Syria.

How simple were His words, yet how hard it is for man to follow.  It truly speaks to our imperfection, to our fallen nature.  How far some stray from God and the example Jesus gave us is sometimes startling.  You simply cannot mow down protesters when you are focused on loving your God and loving your neighbors.  We need Jesus to rescue us from sin, to free us from our chains.

Today as we mourn the loss of innocent lives, let us pray that those who let the bullets fly will come to realize their error, and will free themselves from the sins they have committed, and may commit again.  Let us pray that no more lives need be lost, and that those who are currently in harms way learn where true liberty lies…

In the arms of Jesus.

A Love So Great…

If you are a mother or a father, you understand what being selfless means. You understand what it is to love someone so much, you would be willing to risk your life to protect theirs. Quite possibly, you love that child so much, you would be willing to die to ensure their survival. It is quite a beautiful thing.

Would you do it for me?

Would you do it for your boss?

Would you do it for Charles Manson?

Jesus did.

Couldn’t Jesus have saved Himself instead? Couldn’t He have said wait, I was just kidding? Couldn’t He have gone back to his job as a carpenter? Couldn’t He have gone on with the rest of his life and died as an old man? No He couldn’t. He had a mission to save us from our sins, and only His loving sacrifice could do that.

Can you even imagine a love so great?

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”
–Luke 23:33-34

When Jesus uttered these words, he had already been beaten beyond recognition. He was bleeding all over, had already carried the cross that would be used to crucify him through the city. He could have asked God to save Him from this horrible death.  He could have asked God to condemn the people involved in His murder. He didn’t. He asked for their salvation. He asked the father to have mercy, even for those who were about to put Him to death. Has there ever been a more selfless act?

“Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.”
–John 19:28-30

It is finished. With this act of unimaginable love, Jesus fulfilled his promise. With His Death, we have the culmination of God’s promise to save us from our sin. The ultimate atonement, the ultimate triumph of good over evil, brought to us not by anything man could ever do, but through Jesus Christ’s unconditional love and the grace of God.

Today as we sit in church for Good Friday services, we will be reminded about this ultimate sacrifice. Hopefully, we will be reminded of what it really means to be free from the bounds of sin. I will ask God to open my heart, to help me understand and live my life according to His will. Today I will remember what Jesus came to do, what He did, and what He seeks to do individually in the hearts of us all. Unconditional love begins with the love of God for His children, and without it, we are condemned to death. Only through the crucifixion of Jesus can we be saved.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.”
-John 3:16-21

Real Hope and Change – Loving Our Enemies

Yes I know.

It’s a trick.

I fully admit it. The title of this post is not about our current president, or about politics.

But it is about hope and change.

There are two items in the news this week that caught my attention. The first one was Charles Manson. According to the news, he has broken his 20 year silence and granted a new interview. My first thought was – who cares? Why give this monster any time at all? Let him rot in jail. Most of us know the horrific crimes committed by the Manson family, culminating in the murder of Sharon Tate and her unborn baby. Every time I think of that incident, and the other crimes committed by this mad man, all that crosses my mind is how evil he is. Yes the thought crosses my mind that surely this is a man worthy of an eternity in Hell. There I said it.

The second news item is one I just read this morning, and is about Cuba, where my family is from. Today came the announcement that the Castro brothers have named a successor, José Ramón Machado. I don’t believe Cubans are cheering the announcement, knowing that Machado is from the same mold as the Castro’s, having fought in the Revolution and a loyal party member. When we consider all of the people who died or languished in prison to speak out for freedom on the island, not to mention those like my family who were forced out by the Castro government, it is easy to understand why Cubans in America no longer name there babies Fidel.

So here is my dilemma. Jesus tells us to love our enemies.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
–Matthew 5:43-48

Wow.

That is a tough one.

Charles Manson? Fidel Castro? Surely Jesus could not have meant that I was to love these two, could he? I mean, when I think about the things these two people have done in their lives, the only thing that comes to mind is – well – pure evil. Yet there is no mistaking the words of Jesus. And the fact is that if we read about his ministry, he did just that. Jesus invited Roman soldiers, thieves, and prostitutes to follow Him. He broke bread with the outcasts of society. Jesus even washed the feet of his disciples, knowing that one of them was going to deny Him three times, and another was going to turn Him in to be crucified.

Let’s think about this for a moment. Jesus knew He was going to be crucified. He also knew Judas would betray Him. In an act of true agape (unconditional love), Jesus humbled Himself to wash the feet of all of His disciples. When I think of this part of the Bible, I get goose bumps. This is the Messiah. It is God in the form of man, yet He is showing us what true love really is. It is the equivalent of me washing the feet of Fidel Castro, knowing he would be responsible for my death. Is this really what He expects of us.

In a word, yes.

The verse that hits home for me is the part that says that God causes the sun to rise on the evil and the good. God created Charles Manson. He also created Mother Theresa. He created Fidel Castro. He also created Billy Graham. He loves all of those people just like He loves you and I. Being created in His image, we are taught by Jesus to love our enemies as well. There is nothing in that passage that says love your enemies except for the really bad people. There is nothing in that passage that says this was only a Jesus thing, and we are off the hook.

So how do we do this? Well, I can’t tell you I am there. As a sinner, I struggle to understand this concept, but I ask God to give me understanding, to make a change in my heart that allows me to truly love my enemies. You see, the passage above tells us something very important about Jesus, about God, and what He really wants for us.

He wants us to be different.

I think Jesus is very clear when He tells us that even tax collectors love those who love them. Keep in mind that tax collectors during this time were in many cases thieves. There is an overriding theme to this passage which I believe is the key to living your life surrendered to God’s will. Jesus wants to make a change in our life – real change. He wants us to be more like God, and to do that, we have to recognize the beauty in His creation, and yes, Charles Manson and Fidel Castro are a part of that. As Christians, we are called to be in this world, but not of this world. But we are not alone. We are not asked to do this ourselves. Jesus is standing there with us, right next to us, and more importantly, within us.

Change through Jesus comes in baby steps for most of us. We may not be at the point where we can truly love these mad men, but when Jesus resides within us, suddenly we start to see the world in a different light. All of a sudden, we can see that the homeless man on the street may not be an opportunist looking for a quick buck. Maybe he really is homeless, and the change I have in my car, or the couple of bucks in my pocket is not as important to me. We can see that the person sitting next to us at church with alcohol on his breath has as much right to be there as we do. We can see that people we would normally not include in our lives, or that we turned away from in the past, deserve our love and respect.

But when it comes to Manson and Castro, I am just not there yet. I am weak, and as such, I find it very difficult to feel agape love for them. I know God’s standard, and as a sinner, I fall short, just as we all do. But I will continue to seek out understanding, and will wait on the lord to make that change in my heart. I ask Jesus to make real change in me, and I hope to one day be at a point in my walk with Him to truly say that I have achieved it.

That, my friends, is REAL hope and change.

Resolver

Christianity.

It has been a part of my life – well – all of my life. When I was young, I was introduced to it through the Catholic church. I went to Catholic school, attended a Catholic church, and by the age of 10, I had been baptized as an infant, had my first communion, as well as my first confession. Interestingly enough, I still remember what I confessed. Sorry Richard, I did not mean to bully you at school. Hopefully you have forgiven me by now.

When I grew older, I was exposed to the Methodist church. Things were a little different there. Our communion still involved wafers, although they looked more like soda crackers, and we drank grape juice from tiny cups. The first time I saw them I thought they were giving out Cuban coffee. We were encouraged to read the Bible more, and we didn’t have confessions with a pastor or priest. Instead, we were told to confess our sins directly to God. There were also no rosaries, and Jesus was not hanging on the cross at the church. There were no saints, and no statues of Mary or anyone else. I would choose to remain a Protestant, and I attend a non-denominational church today.

I come from a Cuban family. Whether I was practicing my faith in a Catholic church, or a Protestant one, it was apparent to any outsider that my family considered faith an integral part of our lives. Living in America, we had the opportunity to practice whatever faith we wanted. And we did. Growing up, I never really thought about that freedom. It was what is was. It was normal. In many cases, I took it for granted. My childhood spanned 18 years, from the late 60’s to the mid 80’s, and during that time, while I was enjoying the freedom to practice my faith, 90 miles away, there was…

Silence.

From 1959 to the mid 90’s….

Silence.

Part of the unfortunate result of a Marxist revolution, the Cuban people were forbidden from fully practicing their Christian faith. Fidel Castro was to be their God. As a result, the church went into hiding. Meeting in public was severely limited, and they were not allowed to institute many of the social programs we take for granted in America. A people that were known for their fervent belief in Jesus Christ were told they must now worship another deity – Fidel Castro. Instead of surrendering to the will of God, they would surrender to the will of a Communist Revolution.

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post about Spring Spheres. It was a post centered around a school in Seattle that changed the name of Easter eggs, in an attempt to suppress the Christian meaning of the holiday. At the end of the article I stated that they would be unsuccessful, and that the light of Jesus would always shine through. Well, what better example of the light of Jesus shining through than what is happening in Cuba today.

In the mid 90’s, after the Soviet Union had collapsed and Castro was forced to make changes, the Cuban government lifted the ban on Christian churches. After 40 years of oppressing the church, they would be allowed to freely meet in public. What do you think happened? After 40 years of living under a Marxist, totalitarian system that required total submission to the state, one might think that Christianity was dead, or at least that it would take a long time to bring the people back to Christ. Not according to Pastor Eduardo Otero.

“After the fall of the Communist countries in Europe, we were pastors in the countryside and our churches were empty, ” Otero said. “But after the fall of the Communist countries, one week later, all of our churches were full of people.”

The full article is here:

http://www.wave3.com/story/2552698/christians-once-suppressed-in-cuba-growing-in-numbers?clienttype=printable

Jesus Christ was never suppressed in the hearts of the Cuban people. That was the point of my previous post. It is a futile attempt. Jesus will prevail. The Cuban people have always had a resiliency that has astounded the world. Throughout every trial and tribulation, they have always been like the cat you throw up in the air, always landing on their feet.

We have a word for this. It is called resolver. Loosely translated, it means to resolve, or make do. But in reality it has a much deeper meaning. It means to survive, to persevere. As a people, Cubans have a knack for finding a way to create something where nothing exists, at least that is how it seems sometimes. Throw a Cuban in a new country or a new situation, give him nothing but his family values, his wits, and his faith, and come back in a couple of years. He will create miracles.

Of course, in reality, it is not the Cuban people that create miracles. It is Jesus Christ working through them that does it, and He is continuing to do it every day in Cuba. There are plenty of examples of Jesus prevailing through the Cuban people. You may remember the Pedro Pan project that rescued many children from the clutches of Fidel Castro in the 60’s. Today Pastor Eduardo Otero and others are working tireless to save souls. Most of all, we can never forget the Cuban who struggles to feed his family all day, yet still finds the strength to thank God for his blessings as he goes to sleep.

With the help of Jesus Christ, Cuba will find a way to resolver.