Jacob’s blessing

In my sleep last night, I thought about why Jacob/Israel crossed his hands and granted greater blessing to Joseph’s youngest son. Joseph was not in favor of his father’s ways. In Jewish culture, the eldest son gets twice the inheritance of the younger son. For some time, I thought that Jacob did this in remembrance of his own actions earlier in his life, when he deceived his father (disguising as his elder brother Esau) and stole Esau’s blessing. This morning, I saw a picture of the cross in the crossed-hands of Jacob, a sort of undoing of the rules and customs of men. Jacob undid the rules of the Jewish culture, by using cunning ways to take the eldest son’s blessing. Once more, at the evening of his life, he is still cunning by crossing his hands and blessing Joseph’s youngest son with the eldest son’s blessing. At the cross, Jesus gave us a blessing that we did not deserve, the salvation of our souls. The Jewish law called for the sacrifice of animals, to atone for sin. God stepped into His own law and fulfilled it in a glorious yet cunning way as well! The cross was foolishness to the religious leaders, no one expected salvation to come to the world by the mean of Jesus hanging on the tree. So you see, God Himself became cunning, in the image of Jacob, to give us this gift of salvation! Jesus disguised Himself as a simple man, nothing about Him pointed to a King. His disguise was needed, for the perfect plan of God to be fulfilled on the Cross. Since the gift of salvation is offered to us freely; we don’t have to deceive, lie, cheat or labor to receive it, it is available to whosoever will want it. If you hear his voice today, please to not harden your heart, Jesus is calling you.

Curses and Blessings

A friend had an epiphany the other day. She realized that she believed a lie from so many years. Her doctor said she could not exercise nor loose weight. She believed it and made peace with this lie, which is in fact a curse. As I was reading her account, I remembered a similar experience I myself had in my life. I was diagnosed with scoliosis at an early age, my doctor told me that I could not exercise or play sport ever. Physical activity could aggravate the disease and cause negative impact to my internal organs. It was only in college that I decided to reverse that curse. One day, 20 years ago, I decided that I would workout like everyone else, and I haven’t looked back since. I was meditating this morning, on the fact that we curse ourselves knowingly and unknowingly. We belittle ourselves, and we speak harsh words when we make a mistake. I realized that I spoke things over myself that were not true. Under a cover of humility, I often told myself, I was nothing, I was not important, nobody cares about me, I am a nobody, or I don’t know anything. I confessed these words to the Lord, and repented and replace them with blessings! I am a child of God, God cares for me, I matter to God, and I know that Jesus redeemed me. These are my blessings, that I will intentionally speak over my being every day.

Cute dress…but where is your belt?

Cute dress…but where is your belt? This was my mother’s response everything time I dressed up and willingly ignored wearing a belt. When I was a child, my mother ensured that my siblings and I were neatly dressed before leaving the house for church and other functions. The night before, she will pick out dresses, pants, shirts, socks, shoes and belts. Oh how I despised wearing a belt, that thing that holds your waist so tight and prevents you from breathing!

Now I am well in my thirties, I get to dress myself and I have done away with the belt. Recently, I found an old favorite pair of slacks that I have not worn in a while, and to my surprise, they did not fit anymore. These pants were falling down and I needed a belt, my least favorite accessory, to secure them around my waist. As I reflect on this moment, I thought of another belt that secures the waist in Ephesians 6:13-14 “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle, you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness.”

Contrary to a physical belt that we put on last when getting dressed; the Apostle Paul in this passage instructs us to put first the belt of truth around our waist, before the remaining pieces of the armor of God. The truth of Jesus-Christ our Lord and Savior is the most important part of our armor, when we are standing against the adversary, in the midst of the battle. Without the truth of who Jesus is, and what He has done for us, we may stand briefly but eventually, we fall because our waist is not secured in His truth.

In our lives, there are many truths, which weight us down: the truth of medical tests results, the truth of finances, and the list goes on. Even though we cannot ignore these truths, one truth stands above them all, He is Jesus-Christ, the Savior who redeemed us and made us more than conquerors through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. He, who stood against death and prevailed, will surely stand in us against sickness, finances and any circumstances.

The belt of truth is not optional in the armor of God; instead, it stands as the critical piece, the foundation upon which we lay the remaining pieces: body armor of God’s righteousness, shoes of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. Let us gird ourselves with the truth and find strength, knowing that Jesus already won our victory. Regardless of the challenges weighting us down, King Jesus our Victorious Warrior will stand with us in the battle, for He never fails. As we step outside today, we ought to answer this key question: “Do I have the belt of truth around my waist?”