UC: Peter & John

Unexceptional Calling:
Peter & John

Acts 4:13
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

Peter and John had been fishermen, it was their occupation before Jesus called them to follow him.

It was evident to those present that they did not attend their schools, and were not holders of doctorates, nor certificates of commendation.

Those people were scribes, priests, pharisees, men of notoriety, and recognized as the leading minds of the law.

Who were Peter and John?

Peter and John were the next work of God to upset the religious balance and order of things. Jesus had already caused waves, and made the “religious” order show their true colors.

Peter and John were content to speak the things they have seen and heard, and they did recognize that they were to obey God rather than men, and is what they did (vss 19-20).

Matthew 4;19
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.

This was Matthew’s simple account of when Jesus called Peter and John, but there’s more to this story.

Luke 5:1-11 also records this event with both Peter and Andrew, as well as James, and John, and Jesus tells them that from then on they would catch men.

In this account, Peter and the others were done fishing for the night, and they had not caught any fish.

Please go back and read it, I’m going to rush through this because I see something big in this.

After a night of catching nothing, Jesus tells them to cast out once again, but this time it’s a great catch, so big that they were all needed to bring it in.

So, Jesus tells them to follow him, and they will catch men.

Often in scripture, the bible refers to mankind as those masses of humanity that resemble the sea.

Daniel had a vision of four great beasts that came up out of the sea. Those beasts represent kingdoms in the flood of all of humanity (Daniel 7).

In Ezekiel 32, God tells pharaoh that he is like a whale in the sea, and that he would pull him out and cast him on dry ground. The whale signifies the size and strength of his kingdom, but God will overthrow it.

I just wanted to give a small reference for this sea of humanity.

Jeremiah 16:16
Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.

If you don’t know Jeremiah, his was a ministry during the worst time in the history of the kingdom of Judah.

The kings were corrupt, the priests were idolaters, and the prophets were false. It would lead to a time of exile.

Also, some hundred years before, the northern kingdom of Israel had been taken captive by Assyria, so at the time of Jeremiah, he was prophesying both the exile and the restoration of the nation, but Jeremiah also saw the coming of gentiles to this same Kingdom.

God was saying…

“…Behold, I will send for many fishers…and after will I send for many hunters…”

On the surface, it does look like God will send people out to recover the nation, but God also says…

“…and they shall fish them…and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks…”

It’s an ongoing fulfillment of prophecy, and it began with Peter and John, as well as the rest of the disciples.

The restoration of Israel is one of the greatest prophecies to take place in the last generation, but it’s still ongoing as the the nation continues to grow from returning exiles from many parts of the world.

As I see it, Jeremiah’s prophecy is as much spiritual as it is literal.

John 21:3
Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

After the crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus, there was a time that he spent with them. I believe it was to solidify their experience that it really was him, and not a ghost or spirit.

While the disciples were restless, Peter decided to go fishing. I find it to be a great character in a man to not be idle. I believe Peter was antsy.

There’s quite a bit going on here, so I need to limit myself in what I see.

First of all, Peter was in “doing” mode, he knew there was something to be done, so he went back to what he knew how to do. It’s likely that he didn’t understand what was happening, nor do I think he remembered that Jesus told him that he would catch men.

He did know how to fish. The rest of the disciples also joined him. They were all ready to get to work.

Peter was patient. He knew that it takes a full night to do the fishing, and was prepared, if at least to have a small catch, but they caught nothing.

I like that Peter said…

“…I go a fishing…”

Could Peter have known that God said through Jeremiah that God would send for many fishers?

It could be that at that point Peter may not have known. As it turned out, Jesus found Peter doing what he said he would do.

The natural work of fishing is a parable for Peter and his occupation. The beauty of this, is that God may not send you farther than what you’ve always known, but he will give you a depth to work in.

What is your natural strength? God can magnify it for his glory.

I grew up in the church. My dad was a preacher, and a pastor, but he was also a full time employee at his job.

My dad did love to fish.

When my dad was ordained to pastor, he understood that he would need to supply the membership of the church.

He was charged with a church building in a Hispanic neighborhood, which for many years was an anglo church. The residing membership was getting old in years, and the young people were moving away, but they wanted the church to go on with new life.

So, my dad began knocking on doors, he ministered on door steps when he wasn’t working his other job. He did raise a membership, and inside of 7-8 years, the church building was turned over to the Hispanic mission, which became a Hispanic church.

My dad’s name was Pedro, a variation of Peter. I didn’t realize until now that my dad went “a fishing”, and he did make a great catch!

So proud of my dad!

Jesus loves you.

God bless.
Pedro Villarreal III

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword pt2

Matthew 26:52
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Same scripture, continued observation.

I had mentioned that the sword represents the Word of God. I also mentioned that it was one sword (of two), which represents the Old testament.

In my post, “Flaming Sword of Eden”, I expressed the death that the law brought upon men.

I believe that this verse also points to the death that would take a hold of anyone who desires to still live by the law.

Can anyone purposefully desire death? I don’t think so, but the purpose to live under the law instead of grace will produce death.

This is because you cannot have both the law, and grace. It’s either life or death.

Galatians 5:4
Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

At some point, take some time to read the letter to the Galatians.

We naturally seek justification. We have a need to be justified in the eyes of God. If we are honest with ourselves, most of us live with some sort of guilt. And we want to know that it will not be counted against us. So we try to figure out the best solution.

For some reason, we seem to be programmed to work out the hard things, to earn what we are working for; and we should work if we want to eat, but we have seen that righteousness cannot be earned.

It’s like an egg, which once cracked or broken cannot be unbroken, remember Humpty Dumpty?

Righteousness is that way, God desires to give you a new shell, which can only be given, never earned.

What many in the church don’t realize, is that the Spirit of God does begin to build the nature of the law into us, without binding us to the law.

If you look at Galatians 5:22-25, you will find the fruit of the Spirit. These are the characteristics and nature of God.

Another thing that many people don’t see, is that the law is a declaration of love (Mark 12:28-31). You must love God with all that you are, and to love your fellow man as you love yourself. Do this, and you cannot break the law!

But working out the law frustrates grace. That means, that the whole time you’re trying to get from New York to Los Angeles walking, you had a plane ride available the whole time without having to pay for it.

You can never walk to the kingdom of heaven, you’re either there or you’re not.

There were believers in Galatia which did believe in salvation. Their biggest hang up was circumcision. There were some there who were teaching the church that they needed to be circumcised to be saved, or to be complete.

Circumcision was first done in the book of Genesis when God told Abraham to circumcise himself and all the males in his household (Genesis 27:10-14).

But it was not in the ten commandments that came some 400-500 years later. God did instruct Joshua that there needed to be another circumcision, because the people had not been circumcised (Joshua 5:2-7).

God even told them that they would be cut off of their people for not being circumcised.

It was a part of the law as the laws were worked out over the books of Exodus through Leviticus.

It’s understandable how they would feel compelled to continue this practice of circumcision, but it was contrary to grace.

Galatians 3:3
Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

To get the idea of how salvation works, you have to see what is being saved.

Paul’s question involves the Spirit and the flesh.

When we talk about getting saved we are talking about your soul. Your spirit is another part of you, while your body makes up the third part. If you save the soul, you save the body. If you save the soul, you get a transformed spirit.

So if you save the soul, without the circumcision to the flesh, the flesh will then bypass the circumcision.

The Old testament speaks of the heart circumcision in Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; and Jeremiah 4:4.

Romans 2:29
But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

Here, Paul is explaining that even being circumcised in the flesh did not make them Jews. He wrote that circumcision is that of the heart, like being a Jew is on the inside. Basically the flesh is second to the spirit.

If you’re not Jewish in the flesh, it really doesn’t matter. The only one who’s view matters is ultimately God.

This is not to denigrate the Jewish people at all. Paul tells us that it was more of an advantage to be a Jew (Romans 3:1-2).

Besides, since Paul asked, “…having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?…”

Ephesians 1:13-14 talks about being sealed by the Holy Spirit of promise. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to call us to salvation; to baptize is into the body of Christ, and to teach us the ways of God.

All of this occurs in the realm of the spirit. We never see him with our eyes, nor hold him in our hands, nor do we ever see the body of Christ. We learn to walk by faith.

The observance of the law usually take place on the outside, not the inside.

The nature of anything involves a default. That is to say, a tree will grow the way it does without any guidance from man. For us to be able to default to the law, it has to become a part of our nature. Trying to keep the law is like trying to tell a tree to grow another way after it has already taken shape.

The nature of the law for the believer is built into us by the Spirit of God (Galatians 5:22-23).

Galatians 3:9-10
So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

The contrast between the blessing and the curse can be seen here. There is a blessing which is by faith, and a curse that exists because of the law.

It’s too long of a formula to sustain from day to day; check that: moment to moment in effort to maintain your righteousness, and that’s if you have never once sinned!

The curse is a lion waiting to pounce on you the moment that you break one of the laws.

The even bigger problem is the lifetime that you lived before you came to the knowledge of the law; how many times have you broken the laws, which laws have you already broken?

Ah, never mind that, you’re guilty, guilty, guilty!!! You’re so much eaten by that lion that you’re…I think or hope you get the picture.

Faith, on the other hand is the wind and you’re an eagle, wings outstretched, carried by the currents. All you have to do is accept it.

Abraham is the example here. He believed God, and just walked in confidence that God would provide. It doesn’t have to be difficult, we make it difficult.

Faith lays us in grace for a lifetime to get it right. And if we fail, God has set up a forgiveness for us.

1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Chapter 1 talks about being able to have a relationship with Jesus and the Father, and the opportunity to walk in the light with them.

And if we sin, we should instantly ask forgiveness. God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What does it mean that he is just?

Isaiah 43:25
I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.

The ‘just’ on Jesus, I believe, is the knowledge that, being baptized into Christ puts us in proximity to God. God cannot allow sin in his presence. So when it appears, we must confess it, so that he can forgive it. There can be no sin in Christ.

It is for his own sake that he blots out your transgressions; for the sustaining of his righteousness, and yours as well.

Being able to not remember our sins comes from the fact that he has cast them into the sea of forgetfulness (Micah 7:19). It’s not that God forgets, because he really cannot forget, as much as it is now dealt with, it’s been cast away further than the East is from the West (Psalm 103:12), which is more like East and West in eternal measurements.

I could go on about how God has put away our sin, but it’s up to you to accept that; believe that!

Or would you rather live by the sword?

Obey Jesus, “…Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword…”

Pedro Villarreal
God bless

UC: Saul/Paul

Unexceptional Calling:

1 Corinthians 15:10
But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

I wrote a post some weeks back called “Unexceptional Calling“, in which I made the point that God calls those who are not wise, mighty, or noble, at least by worldly standards.

The world chooses their champions from among champions, and they accolade success upon those who achieve notoriety and fame.

Of all notable characters of the bible to begin with, who better to begin this series with, than Paul?

You might say that I’ve chosen probably the most notable of notable heroes of the faith, but it wasn’t his original position.

You would need to read Philippians 3 to get a sense of his resume, as he lists his own accolades, and then tells us how he left those things behind.

They are things that we might hold up as a certification of being the best.


That’s not the only sight of Paul that we have. He tells of the worst of his former life; he said…

“…I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities…”

Acts 26:9-11

If you didn’t know him before Christ, he was a terror towards believers.

“…As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison…”
Acts 8:3

We might look at such a man as this, and say that there is no way he could ever come to Christ, much less be the greatest influence of the gospel of Jesus Christ that the world would ever know.

That’s where we’re wrong!

God loves to transform the very worst, somehow they give God great glory. I’ve heard that God doesn’t see what you are, that he looks at who you will become. I believe that God looks at who you are, and he sees the glory you will be to him.

Look at what Paul said…

“…For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called…”
1 Corinthians 1:26

This was the catapult for my series, Unexceptional Calling, because God isn’t looking for champions, he makes them out of ordinary people.

This is by no means a slight for any of us to take offense at, because like Paul said…

“…For ye see your calling…”

I can say of myself, and in all reality, I’m not as intelligent as you might suspect.

I graduated highschool practically last in my class, in fact I didn’t know that I had graduated until a few weeks later when I received my diploma in the mail.

I played football in middle school, I didn’t succeed because I didn’t get what the plays were, I was only there to not be anywhere in particular.

After highschool, I didn’t try to get into college, though my church thought I should be a minister, but I was not interested at all. So, I moseyed myself on without any real care in the world.

Then I met my wife, that was the best thing that ever happened to me. I suddenly wanted to do better, give her my best. I still didn’t care about education, or even spiritual things. I just wanted to do better for her.

I worked faithfully for a living, I still do, but the change in my life about serving God finally did awaken in me, then I knew that I should get knowledge.

I still never went to university, but my pursuit of the knowledge of God grew gradually. Off and on my interest grew until I knew my calling.

Believe me, I wouldn’t have chosen me. Now my heart desires more than I can hold.

What’s your calling? Would you have chosen you?

I think we look at our pastors and evangelists, and think, “wow! What a great minister”, when in fact they may feel the same way about themselves as we do of our own selves.

Even Paul can attest…

Ephesians 3:8
Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ…

In our society, those in authority may find it hard to say this, that they are the least of all.

Jesus did tell us that the world has those who will use their authority over others, but that in the Kingdom of God, those who lead are the ones who should serve (Matthew 20:25-28).

“…Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given…”

It’s reasonable that Paul felt like he was the least, because of the fire he bore down on the church with. His fire transferred over to rebuild what he once tried to tear down, and became the greatest evangelist this world has ever known, and also contributed near to over 1/3 of the New Testament in scripture.

We might even say that he was qualified educationally to do so, but Paul took stock of his upbringing…

Philippians 3:7-9
But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.
Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,
And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith…

These are some pretty hefty words that Paul said…

“what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ”

“and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord”

“and do count them but dung”

“not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law”

In reference to qualifications and his degrees, educated under the highest regarded teacher of his time, Paul was not ready to get past them, he had already cast them off.

As I write this, and even as you read this, please know that there is a new observance or observation of the law, but it’s the same law.

Where man’s observation of the law is rigged and unbending, the Holy Spirit shows us that the true purpose of the law is to love God completely, and to love man selflessly.

The law was meant to be light, but became darkness, it was meant to set us free, but instead was used as bondage in the sense that we could never do enough.

Paul has cast away those observations, and saw them as refuse. Dung! If you don’t know what dung is, to put it delicately, it’s #2 of your restroom business.

That’s how Paul saw it.

Qualifications, and education aside, we could say that Paul was over qualified, and underpaid, spiritually, Paul was a pioneer in this regard. This was new territory and his life experience up to this point was insufficient for the road he was now on, uncharted territory, new tools, and new perspective is needed.

Yes, I would pick Paul, but not Saul. My hindsight knows Paul, my observation of Paul helps me to put faith in his ministry, but I could not have seen how he would be such a glory for the Kingdom.

But not Saul. Saul was beyond the kind of person I would approach, much less put any stock in him.

Good for Saul/Paul that I didn’t call him, but Jesus did.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.
Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

Live By The Sword, Die By The Sword

Matthew 26:52
Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

On the night that Jesus was betrayed, the disciples had with them two swords (Luke 22:48).

We know that Peter used one to cut off the ear of one of the guards (John 18:10-11).

Matthew does not name Peter, only that one of them drew the sword. But the harmony of the gospels allows us to place Peter at the scene with a sword, and to say that it was him.

Some years ago, I caught onto this thought, that the sword in Peter’s hand represents more than only the Word of God, but the Word of God in Peter’s hand, as the principle head of the church with the responsibility to wield that sword.

Knowing that Luke 22:48 tells us that they had two swords, it points to the presence of two Words of God; actually, two testaments (old and new [just like there were two stone tablets, not just once, but twice {perhaps another time I’ll expound on that}]).

As of that time, there was only one testament: the old testament. With it, comes the law and it’s condemnation.

It was realistic that Peter, being mostly braun, would feel the urgency to attack them, and to defend Jesus. But Jesus told him that he had more than 12 legions of angels that would fight for him.

“…put up again thy sword into his place…”

Jesus does not need us to fight for him, he needs us to be his ministers of the Gospel.

That said, the Gospel is good news.

It has been one of my observations over my years of ministry, that there are those of us who minister the Gospel, that we have a tendency of judging those who do not walk the walk they talk; it’s only natural, but we should be spiritual.

Agreed, there are many people who do not truly desire to follow the Lord and his teachings. At the same time, we are to be reaching out to them.

Then there are those who are in the church, even in ministry, whom we feel could do a better job. The problem with that idea is that we use our own gauge of what righteousness is, and not the Word of God.

And when we use the Word of God, it tends to come down like a hammer; not constructively, but in judgment.

In one place, Jesus said, “…my Father’s house is a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves…” By that sentiment, the Gospel should be good news, but what have we made it?

Then there are the young in Christ. They have a desire to learn and grow, but our correction comes off as a scolding. We tend to be like the parents who are impatient with their little child who does not fully understand the path.

We mean well, but it’s reception feels harsh. They could abandon that desire to learn and grow.

This next verse might seem to come out of left field, but it will make sense in a bit.

Exodus 23:19
The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

Okay, so what does this verse have to do with my point?

I will focus only on the kid and his mother’s milk.

It should be obvious to see that this ‘kid’ is a baby goat.

The Lord says, “…Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk…”

This word ‘seethe’ is another word for boil. The Strong’s Concordance word is (H1310) BASHAL. This literally means to roast, bake, or cook.

I don’t think I could knowingly eat baby goat roasted or cooked in milk, much less it’s own mother’s milk.

For the culture and time it might have been a common practice to do so.

That, which was intended for the nurturing and maturing of that little kid, became the object of it’s finality.

Does it sound like I’m reaching?

Consider it: Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 that they (Corinthian church) were like babes in Christ, who needed to be fed with milk and not with strong meat (there’s obviously more to this verse, but let’s move on).

Then in Hebrews 5:13, the author does compare those who are unskillful with the word as those who still use milk.

I submit that the church is the mother of the believer, and her milk is the Word of God.

Maybe those who do use meat are those who tend to boil the kid.

Again, I don’t believe we are using the word maliciously, but even those who are skilled can still cut those who they are trying to help.

Then again, maybe they are using the word for their own purposes and gains.

But, if our aim is true, let us be mindful of their short experience; let’s learn to be loving.

Ephesians 4:15
But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.

Speaking the truth in love.

What would you like to hear if it was you receiving the instruction? Perhaps you have the benefit of being able to be skillful in the Word of God. Pool your resources together, seek to speak in wisdom and not only knowledge.

This verse comes after the fact that Paul spoke of teaching the church of the responsibility of the perfecting of the saints (perfection as maturity). Some will stumble, ours is to lift them up and help them to stand, even if we have to hold them up. Read Ephesians chapter 4.

Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.

We don’t like to think that we will fall, but what if we do?

I had a brother in Christ who may have considered leaving his wife for another woman. It got out in the church that he was at that crossroad, there was immediately that righteous indignation that rose up among the church.

I went to his home to speak with him. His first impulse was near aggressive. I let him know that I loved him, and told him there was a way out if he wanted it. He told me that he did not want to leave his wife, it was all a misunderstanding that started by his wife’s fear that he was going to leave her, and he didn’t know how to diffuse that.

We prayed that God would help him and to restore their marriage. God comes through like only God can.

What would have happened if everyone got on that same bandwagon to throw out accusations all together at this man, would that marriage have survived? Perhaps God had someone else who would stand in that gap.

But we, as the experienced in the word believers, have an obligation to them who cannot defend themselves to defend them, and to hold them up, not beat them down.

Paul says, “in the spirit of meekness”
The Greek word is (Strong’s Concordance G4236) ‘PRA-O-TES’ to be gentle, humility; meekness.

I heard it once said that meekness is power under control. When you have the power to hurt, but you choose to help.

We know that Jesus often raised a righteousness anger toward people, but they were not the common folk, nor were they people with a desire to honor God, but they were people who should have been the first to lead the people into righteousness by example.

Matthew 23:13
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

The Pharisees were the educated in the law people, who’s main interest was in discussing and adherence to the law.

It is my understanding that they intended to work out their own righteousness by the keeping of the law, though they knew it was imposible.

The majority of the Pharisees were the type that Jesus could bear down on, and they would reply with accusations of him. But there were those who actually believed in him and trusted in him.

This verse tells us that they were the keepers of the gates of the kingdom of heaven, though, only as the Word of God is concerned. They expected the people to be able to keep the law, and came down on them when they could not.

John 8, describes an event where a harlot was brought to Jesus for his judgment, and they brought stones, but they did not bring the man she was with.

They hounded Jesus to judge her so they could take him in his words; forget about the woman, she was dead as far as they cared. But Jesus gave them what for.

He said, “…He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her…” (John 8:7). Needless to say, they were all guilty, only Jesus was qualified to condemn her, but he chose mercy and compassion.

Today’s church is more compassionate than it has been in a long time. God still requires Holiness, and we are to confront sin where we find it, that has not changed. But how to confront that person without destroying them, that’s the situation.

As a Pentecostal minister myself, I have thrown the stones of judgment because that was what was taught to me. But I have learned that it is more gracious to forgive than it is righteous to condemn.

The Pentecostal church is pretty tough when it comes to handing out judgment. But I should say that it may not be the same in every Pentecostal church; I have not been to every Pentecostal church.

But there has to be something said about constructive criticism, that we must weigh the benefits for the individual.

No sir, it’s not different strokes for different folks, it’s the truth of the Word of God without compromise, but with the grace that does build the bridge to salvation.

It’s not for a watered down gospel, but it is for the water of the gospel. People are dying without the Lord, and that’s on us. Especially when we’re the ones killing them.

Matthew 7:1-2
Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

Be careful with this one. It does not mean not to judge, only not to condemn.

Judge them, but with the intention of restoring them.

Doctors judge their patients everyday, is that condemnation? If they tell you that your blood pressure is too high, will they not give you the advice and prescription to take care of that? Sure, he may scold you for your lack of attention, but his aim is to get you healthy. Will that advice offend you?

Jesus told Peter to put away the sword. Those who live by it, will also die by it.

We can know, that Jesus said that we will be judged the same way that we judge. It might not be a life threatening judgment from men, but if God does judge us like we judge others, we would be in a world of hurt, because his judgment is eternal.

Love without limit, live like you mean it, and hope like confidence. The measure that you use will be used for you as well.

Return the sword to it’s place, use it with wisdom and with purpose.

God bless
Pedro Villarreal

Colt Business — Shield of the Spirit

I would like to repost this, as I see how insightful it is. I would like to express what I see here, but I would like for you to read this post first. I was blessed by this, I know you will be also.

Mark 11:4 KJV “And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.” It is crazy sometimes the things the HOLY SPIRIT will bring to your attention. I must have read this verse many times, and never saw what was […]

Colt Business — Shield of the Spirit


When I read the opening text, I didn’t see the door, or the colt, so I don’t have anything to add to this. On its own, it doesn’t need any help from me, It is great insight, I would have liked to have seen this for myself, but the Spirit of God gives as He will to whom He will.

I saw the “two ways”, though I agree wholeheartedly to the perspective given here, I also see the application of the law and the understanding of grace. It’s as though the two ways lead to Christ, the Lamb of God.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” Deuteronomy 30:19

I also see the word, “without”, as the colt was tied up outside.

And, seeing that the colt was tied outside, I also see…

“But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matthew 23:13

Remember that Jesus had said the the scribes and pharisees loaded burdens on the people, but would not even lift a finger to help them?

There’s a connection here!

Anyway, I had a few cents to give here also, I hope it’s okay.

God bless you all!

Pedro Villarreal

Mud In Your Eyes, pt 3

Acts 9:18
And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

I’m sure you remember this! His name was Saul of Tarsus. He met Jesus while he was on the road to Damascus.

On his way to Damascus, there was suddenly a light shining around him and he fell down on the ground.

I don’t know if he was just walking, or if he was on a horse, apparently, that’s not important.

As I was considering my last two “Mud In Your Eyes” lessons, this also came up in my spirit; the thought that something fell from his eyes, “as it had been scales”.

My last two lessons were mostly focused in John chapter 9, when Jesus made mud from his own spittle and dust of the ground.

If you remember, I was showing you that most of what we know is mixed in with our own perception, we are the ones who complicate the Word of God, but we must allow the Holy Spirit to teach us deeper understanding.

Saul was an extremely dedicated student of the law of Moses, he was a pharisee. He was hunting believers to bring them back to Jerusalem for trial, and ultimately death.

On this particular journey, he was suddenly stopped in his tracks by Jesus.

My thought has sometimes been, “was it a blinding light”, or was Saul only effected this way because it was only meant for him?

I ask this because, those men with him didn’t see the light, the entire event was only for him.

Now, as I considered my last two lessons, I accept that it was more than a physical experience, and we can look further into this to see that his blindness was to be ended here.

See? Saul was always blind in the spiritual sense. Those “scales” were always in his way.

Also, look at this verse…

“…And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus…”
vs 8

After his encounter with Jesus, he got up from the ground. I’m going to resist saying what I see about this. I was really looking at the way it tells us…

“…and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man…”

We could take this at face value that Saul opened his eyes, and realized that he could not see.

I see that his eyes were opened, though he was blind physically, spiritually he understood, now he truly understood.

The seemingly overuse of words are meant (in my opinion) for us to ask why. If it seems redundant, don’t just pass on over it, ask why it’s there.

I could easily have moved on past that verse, but it called me back to look at it again. Obviously, I can’t go into each verse and phrase, that would take an extremely long time, but that which stands out needs to speak its weight.

We see Saul’s experience here with Jesus as a brief time, in the record of Acts 9, it only seems like moments. I see a brief exchange between Jesus and Saul. It was more than that.

Of course, Saul was now a different man, but there was more that Jesus said to Saul which we later find, but not here in Acts 9.

Acts 26:18 (14-18)
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

When you read Acts 26, you will see that Paul said that the light shined all around them, and they were all fallen to the earth. Acts 9 doesn’t give us this detail, but this is Paul’s account of the moment.

Jesus gave Paul (Saul) further instructions, words that Acts 9 doesn’t record. Also, Paul doesn’t speak of the blindness that followed.

His mission is clear. The physical blindness was a temporary thing, it was Saul’s experience, but not for Paul. Paul clearly saw his purpose.

I know that Saul is Paul, but notice the change of character. Saul is the natural character of the man, Paul is the new creature of the man, spiritual, and he has greater perception than the natural man.

Jesus told him he was sending him to the people and the gentiles, and said…

“…To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light…”

Of course there’s more that Jesus said, but I only want to look at this part.

I wrote a short series called “Speaking In Light”, in which I gave my understanding of what this light and darkness signify.

“Speaking In Light” is making the Word of God simple and clear, while speaking in darkness is being given revelation, understanding through the mysteries. God speaks to us in darkness, we translate the darkness to light: make it simple.

Jesus tells Paul that he sends him to the people and the gentiles to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light.

Primarily, the “people” are the Jews, his (Paul’s) people. His people are the guardians of the oracles of God (Romans 3:2).

Being that they are aware of God’s laws and expectations, they have their own views, although they hold strictly to the letter of the law.

Having access to the laws of Moses does not translate to comprehension. It’s the same concept as having our own Bible, being able to read it with a natural level of understanding, but not having the key to unlock the mysteries in it.

For example, I know about the prophecies, but I don’t have the keys to unlock them, someone does, and that’s a revelation to them, and for them to speak in light.

Paul’s ministry was mostly to the gentiles, people of non Jewish heritage, so basically it is all people outside of Israeli blood.

Paul said (to his people)…

“…It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles…”
Acts 13:46

I’m not going to expound on this part, except to acknowledge Paul’s own affirmation of his call and ministry.

Jesus told Paul…

“…To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light…”

Jesus could easily be saying this to us. Dial it in, he is saying this to us.

Paul is gone, his generation is gone, now it’s us, and our generation.

The Word of God doesn’t fade away, generations will come and go, but the Word of God remains.

And with each succeeding generation, someone must rise up to shine the light of Christ, to unfold the mysteries of the dark sayings to their generation.

“To open their eyes”, really is a job for the Holy Spirit, as well as to turn them from darkness to light. The Holy Spirit is the only one who can truly speak into the heart of a man.

What is our responsibility is to share, and to express what we hold, seeing that we are earthen vessels with this wonderful treasure (2 Corinthians 4:7).

We are those candles that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:14-16; a city on a hill, or cities on hills to shine the light of Christ: speaking in light, declaring the simplicity of the gospel.

But to do this, we each need to break free of those scales in our eyes, that the gospel may be pure and simple.

What I find amazing is how one man, Paul, was able to turn his world upside down with the gospel of Jesus, knowing full well that it’s really on the Holy Spirit, yet Paul was fully invested.

Are we fully invested?

How is it that we struggle to move our neighborhoods, given that we have Paul’s access to the mysteries unveiled for us?

If one man could impact a world without the benefit of what he left for us, we should have the world converted with the tools Paul left for us, because we, believers are all over the world

Guess what, it appears that we’re still working through scales in our eyes, like mud in our eyes.

Jesus loves you.

God bless.
Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

The Flaming Sword

first published 11/5/2019

Genesis 3:24
So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

The Garden of Eden; the paradise which God gave to man, was meant to give the man an immortal life. All he had to do was to obey God, and not eat from one tree: the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil may probably have been just a fruit tree. It was probably then activated by Adam’s disobedience.

The tree of life was granted to him to eat from, and he would still be alive and young today, some 7000 years later, if only he had never eaten from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Adam and Eve literally ate themselves out of house and home.

So, they were driven out of their home, and paradise was lost to them.

God then placed Cheribim (angels that normally surround his throne), and a flaming sword which turns every way (some translations say: turned back and forth, or, whirled every way) to keep the way of the tree of Life.

No one knows where the Garden of Eden is now. Surely men have tried to find it and have failed.

The church rarely talks about it, because the story is very short and offers very little information.

If you’ve been reading my posts, you will see that I’ve been focusing on the sword. You will also see how I have related it to the Word of God.

This case of the sword is one of death.

I believe that as it keeps the way of the tree of Life, that it is intended to kill, so that there is no access to the tree of Life.

That reference to the sword points to the effect of the law. The old testament focuses on the expression of the law.

2 Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the letter killeth. Paul is expressing that we are ministers of the New testament which is of the spirit that gives life, not of the letter or the law which brings death.

Romans 7:8-10
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

Knowledge of the law makes us accountable to the law. The law is the standard of God’s righteousness, but it’s also the nails of our coffin.

Paul writes that without the law, sin is dead. That is to say, that sin could not be accounted as sin with no definition of what sin is. The law gives clear definition of sin in all of its forms.

Being alive before the law means that without law, we cannot be accused. But because of the law we are convicted.

Romans 7:6
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

It is like the law had us all wrapped up tighty or clenched like in a vice. Dead people cannot move, they cannot react at all.

Paul wrote that we are delivered from the law. In other words, we have been released from the law. He wrote, “…that being dead wherein we were held…” Other translations sound like we have died to what we were held by.

Paul had compared it to a marriage where a woman lives under the dominion of her husband. And when he dies she is free to remarry. But the effect of the dominion of the law expresses her death.

The law has not died, it never will. It will always be in effect. The good news for us in that, is that it can never kill you again, so long as you live under the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus.

Romans 8:1-2
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

Just to be clear, you never will get past that sword, not without it killing you first. Effectively, that sword has already killed you.

Now, there is available to you, the breath of life in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His invitation to you is to come as you are, accept his free gift of life (free to you, costly to him), and submit your life to him.

The gift is free, but submitting your life will cost you everything. Without Christ there is condemnation, which still will cost you everything, but you will lose it all. Jesus’s gift gives you back so much more, even the tree of Life.

That sword and it’s effects are still in force. Many people would like to believe that the law has been done away with, but it has not.

Colossians 2:14
Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross.

Some will use this scripture to say that God had nailed it to the cross of Jesus, but in reality, that handwriting is actually the list of your sins; sin as defined by the law.

Do you remember that Jesus said, “… heaven and Earth will pass away, but my word shall not pass away…” (Luke 21:33).

The Word of God is eternal. There is an observation of the Word of God as the law, but there is an observation of that same Word of God as grace. There is no contradiction. Without the law, we cannot appreciate grace, and without grace we cannot know the power of the law; grace would be without value.

First is the flaming sword, as is the law of the Old testament. Second is the tree of Life, which is the word of salvation through grace, found in the New testament.

If and when you can get past the flaming sword, the tree of Life is yours.

Knowing that God cast out the man when he disobeyed, there must be a Holiness to that place.

It brings to my mind the tabernacle in the wilderness, and then the Temple in Jerusalem.

The garden may be compared to the design and layout of the Temple of God.

God placed the flaming sword at the East of the garden, as though it is the entrance. It is similar to the entrance to the temple in that it looks to the East (Ezekiel 47:1).

God also placed Cheribim there. The mercy seat, which is the cover to the ark of the covenant, was made with two cherubim on it, facing each other, with their wings stretched out over it.

In 1 Kings 6:25-28, Solomon’s temple had two cherubim, about 15 feet tall, with their wings stretched out, and covered in gold.

The Cheribim are special to the presence of God. If he set them at the garden, and the bible takes the time to mention it, we ought to take a look.

Not just anyone is granted access to that very Holy sight, except for the priests.

Revelation 1:6
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The garden itself is not a temple, but a type or figure of it. Both the garden and the temple are figures and shadows of the true purpose.

Even the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is a shadow of the law. Otherwise, what business does it have being in the garden with the tree of Life?

The Old testaments’ tabernacle and temple was supplied with a priesthood. The high priest was a shadow of the true high priest, which is Jesus (Hebrews ch.7).

There is an order to the priesthood, with a head, and rank. It would take much time to break it down. Basically with Jesus as the head, the next order of priests are those who are sons which have access to all but the most Holy place. Then there are those who serve in the external duties of the Temple but in proximity to it.

All priests have access to the temple area, but the common people can only come to the temple gate.

The common people represent those who have not fully come to salvation.

Those who are saved are the priests. The priests who are at the highest levels represent the leaders who are prophets, apostles, evangelists, pastors and teachers.

There is a government also to the church which must be Spirit led. They also operate as priests.

The rest of the church are priests as children of the king who still must learn how to serve.

Not just anyone could come into the temple, much less the most Holy place.

Remember, that was Old testament; the New testament makes provision to enter in (Hebrews 4:14-16).

Hebrews 19:19-20
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh.

The body of Jesus, crucified for us provides for us a way into the most Holy place, where God sits.

That flaming sword at Eden, can no longer keep us out. We have been granted access to the tree of Life.

The actual Eden, may no longer exist on Earth, as Revelation 2:7; 22:2,4, speak of access to the tree of Life in Paradise, and in New Jerusalem.

But Jesus said, “…to him that overcomes will I give to eat from the tree of Life…”

Dare anyone to approach that flaming sword, be prepared to die for that prize of the fruit of the Word of life, to gain entrance into that most Holy place.

God bless
Pedro Villarreal

Mud In Your Eyes, pt 2

John 9:39
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

I’m continuing on from my last post, I hope you had a chance to read it.

I wanted to keep it going, but I can get really long winded, especially when I’ve got a lead, I have to chase it to its full understanding. I just have to!

I didn’t get to the bottom of this opening text in my last post, but let’s finish it together.

I was talking, or rather John chapter 9 was talking about the time that Jesus made mud, or clay from his spit with dust, and he put it on the eyes of a blind man.

I got to the part where the formerly blind man had said that he received sight.

Let me continue on this.

John 9:11
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

First, let me highlight this part, and yes, it’s KJV.

“…and I received sight…”

He didn’t say, “…and I received MY sight…”, he said…

“…and I received sight…”

“MY” sight is not as significant as receiving sight.

I believe that we can take what we learn as gospel truth without truly giving it a full investigation. It’s been a lifetime for me.

I grew up in one major denomination, and married into a non-denomination, and each perspective is distinct. I can now say that I appreciate both doctrines while I can bypass each of their disagreements. I’m free.

That said, don’t just leave your doctrine, but fine tune what you believe so that you may get past your restrictions.

My point in receiving sight, as opposed to receiving “MY” sight is more like wanting what the Spirit of God says more than wanting to hold to MY understanding.

“…A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels…”
Proverbs 1:5

One of the things that drives me nuts about people who say, “I know, I know”, is that they usually have their minds made up, there’s no room to add into.

On the other hand, if they can give a compelling “argument” about why they believe what they believe, I’m good with that.

I used to be both of those guys.

Now I can say I have receive sight.

“MY” sight had a blemish to keep me blinded, but…

John 9:30
The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.

In the preceding verses beginning with v13, the formerly blind man has been taken to the pharisees for questioning.

The entire interrogation was meant to discredit Jesus and the healing.

But the consistent theme there was the issue of his receiving sight.

Briefly, that’s one of the products of new doctrines, we try to validate it with our own, or we will completely disagree.

On one hand, that’s a good thing, don’t just follow every wind of doctrine, it’s why Jesus gave us teachers of the Word (Ephesians 4:11-14).

On the other hand, we have the Holy Spirit to give us the confirmation of those things that are true (1 John 2:27).

So, not everything that glitters is gold.

“…he hath opened mine eyes…”

In itself, this statement was a literal miracle for a blind man. There’s no question that this is true. He was blind, but now he can see with his physical eyes.

The “why” it is written is for more than us to know that Jesus does miracles.

It’s a spiritual statement as well.

“My eyes have been opened“, is a practical saying for when we get understanding.

More than this, spiritual understanding goes beyond only a moment but for a lifetime.

Reading the Word of God is meant to draw us deeper, to fill our hunger, and to quench our thirst.

John 9:37
And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee.

So, once the pharisees were content to be discontented, they cast him out.

Jesus heard about it and came to find him. Jesus asked him if he believed in the Son of God, to which the man asked, “who is he?”.

Jesus said…

“…Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee…”

I think it is reasonable that Jesus could have just said, “it’s me!”

I can see the importance of why it is written the way it is; primarily, the man was blind but now he sees.

Spiritually, Jesus always speaks into the spiritual realm where those who are spiritual can hear him, but can you see him?

Physical eyes have no prospect of ever seeing Jesus, but spiritually we can’t take our eyes off of him.

The idea that he’s “talking” with us is be beyond the capacity of the ears to hear.

You need to know this for yourself.

Do you see him, can you hear him?

John 9:39
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

Judgment. It’s a word that scares a lot of people. Relax, this judgement is meant for you to understand.

Those who are blind, who can’t “see”, Jesus invites you to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

If you desire to hold to what you know, it may be all you will ever see, and that’s a sad thing, because God has so much to share with you.

The pharisees heard Jesus say this, and they questioned Jesus whether they were blind.

John 9:41
Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.

There is much scripture to express this verse; scriptures of sin not being applied where there is no law, verses where even the lack of the knowledge of the law is the difference between life and death.

I would love to get into that, but this is already a long message.

The bottom line is that those pharisees had the law of Moses, but they did not understand God’s purpose for it.

They modeled their lives by their understanding of it, and they held the people to strict burdens attempting to hold themselves higher (read Matthew 23 [especially vs 13)

They had the law, they understood what sin was, but could not see themselves by it.

This is why Jesus said…

“…If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth…”

They were blind, they could not see the depth of mercy or grace, they took the law at face value.

In their defense, they only held what they were given. They saw and heard Jesus, but could not see or hear Jesus, not spiritually.

I could go on, but if you catch nothing else, catch this.

Jesus wants to open your eyes, he wants to open your ears too. Without this vision and hearing you may remain blind.

As I have said, I’m sure that our doctrines are similar, but it’s not your doctrine, it’s your ability to see

Jesus loves you.

God bless.
Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26

The Sword of the Spirit

1st published 11/2/2019

Ephesians 6:17
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God. It can be a comfort or it can be a weapon, and it can be both.

As a comfort, you know that properly handled, you can defend yourself. As a weapon, you can bring your enemies down.

That said, people can never be your enemies, not even people who want to hurt you. People are not the real enemy, it’s the powers of the darkness of this world.

For the context of this verse, look at verses 10-18.

Paul writes to the Ephesian church like he is preparing them for battle. The sword of the Spirit is listed among the armour and prayer. It makes sense that you must not go into battle with only a sword, but completely covered.

The sword is forefront in battle. It is used in defense and attack. It has the strength and stability to bear any blow.

The enemy won’t just attack you, he means to destroy you. Jesus said in John 10:10 “…The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy…” Killing you is only part of his attack, but first he wants to steal your defense.

In the interest of time, I will only write of the sword. I’d like to get into all of the armour, but it would lead off into many different tangents. (*new note [2/17/23] I did a series on the Armor of God, I may post them again in the future, or you can go back and look for them in my list”)

Romans 13:4 (1-5)
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

When you read those verses you will see that Paul is actually speaking of the authorities. These days they would be the police. They have a duty to uphold the law, even at the cost of the life of the law breaker.

There is a sense of the law in the image of the police. They are the body of the law (the long arm of the law [ever hear that one?]). Being authorized to bring a man to justice goes beyond the officer’s physical strength, it is the mantle of the authority vested in him.

These days, the police officer does not usually carry a sword, but a gun. In the days of Paul, the soldier carried a sword. That sword was issued by the authority of the land, and expected to be drawn when necessary.

In the sense that it is the image of the law, we would likely see legalism in a doctrine, but this element of the sword is meant to protect you, or so that you can defend against false doctrine.

You, who have come to understand the purpose of the Word of God for your life, have been authorized to draw out that sword to defend yourself against those doctrines and ideas which would be able to draw you away otherwise. Plus, you would be able to defend anyone else from the deception.

Galatians 5:1
Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Reading the previous chapter (4), you will see Paul’s example of the sons of Abraham (Isaac and Ismael – though not named expressly). One son was born of the flesh, and the other was by promise.

Paul paralleled the example that the idea that the one born of the flesh is bound by the law, while the one born of the free woman is by the promise and is free.

It would take a lot of space to explain that the law and the promise are the same Word of God, but the adherence to the law binds the doer of the law, while those who receive it by faith live by grace.

So, Paul expresses to us that we should stand fast in this liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. He continues that we should not again be entangled with the yoke of bondage, which he continues to explain is the works of the law.

The sword of the Spirit is meant for you to know how to use, not just to have.

I have seen a sword hang on a wall for many years. It may have been used once, or it may have only been made as a trinket; a decoration. But the sword has a purpose, it’s not to be hung on a wall.

2 Timothy 2:15-16
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

Strong’s Concordance (G4704) SPOU-DA’-ZO to be diligent, or to give diligence.

“Give diligence to present yourself approved unto God…”

Being diligent is to run, or to hurry, and to endeavor. Studying, like for a test, is also applied, but life is the test.

All military and police force have to go through the initial training process, and have to learn what it takes to be the one to bear the sword.

Their life then becomes one of constant vigilance. They will keep training, they will continue to learn with observation; they will always be watchful.

In the same way, those who truly desire the Word of God in their life will take every measure to preserve it, and they will stand up for those who still cannot defend themselves.

Rightly dividing the Word of Truth is knowing how to use the scriptures and how they apply in context with the situation they are in.

Sadly, there are many false teachers out there. We are to be on the alert when ever the Word of God is taught. Being able to divide the Word of Truth allows you to see through the deception.

My pastor had once said, “…don’t be like a baby bird, eating everything they drop into your mouth…” That’s what this means, to be able to rightly divide the word of truth, especially for yourself.

Grow in knowledge, grow in wisdom.

Stephen Curtis Chapman sings a song, “Let us Pray” in which he says, “…let us pray without end, and when we finish start again, like breathing out and breathing in let us pray…”

This is what it should be like in studying the Word of God.

Ecclesiastes 12:12
And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

I know that the body gets tired, that’s ok, get the physical rest that your body needs, take care of those things that you need to get done, go to work, go to the store, feed your family, but always find time to find yourself in intense study of the Word of God. That is where you will find your defense.

It will be what separates you from those who say they love the Word of God, and those who pursue it desperately.

God bless
Pedro Villarreal

Mud In Your Eyes, pt 1

John 9:39
And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.

I went to visit a friend of mine; pastor of the church were I preach once a month, and had a great conversation that I told him I was going to borrow. It was enlightening and thought provoking.

He reminded me of the time that Jesus made mud from the dirt on which he spat, he put it on the eyes of a blind man and told him to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

I normally like to build up to my point, but I’m going to get to his (pastor’s) point and then show you what I see.

He said that the mud represents the muddy way that we look at the Word of God.

Being that the man was already blind, he represents those who are blinded by the law who will only be able to see when they go wash in the pool.

Thank you pastor Richard!

John chapter 9 is devoted to this event, not only the healing of the blind man, but why Jesus did it, and why he did it this way, as well as the fall out that left a religion in its blindness.

John 9:1
And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.

Is this significant?

Yes! It is written! Don’t worry, I’m not going to cover it verse by verse, this would be very long, and endless.

In fact this entire chapter would make a great book on its own.

The spiritual significance that I see is first that Jesus is passing by.

Could it be that there is a world of people in spiritual blindness, people that are born into a blindness, not only acclimated but as a normal existence?

How about people in the grip of religion?

Before I go on, don’t conclude anything before I finish, because this may offend you.

Don’t take this the wrong way, please, but it’s even in your protestant denomination, or non-denomination, or any evangelical setting where you are instructed or have been instructed as to the fundamentals of doctrines, where YOU personally have not fully invested your own investigation, and tested why you believe what you believe, if you truly believe.

Understand that I am in that protestant group of people that I just mentioned, so I’m speaking from home.

I’m not preaching to the choir, I’m in the choir.

I’m not trying to get you to leave your denomination, don’t leave it! I only seek to give you the tools to strengthen yourself in an unshakable foundation for your belief.

So, as Jesus is passing by, he sees a man who is born blind from birth.

So many of us were born in the church. I grew up in the church with parents who were worldly before they came to Christ.

Nevertheless, I can say I grew up in my own spiritual blindness.

And those who are born into families who also belong to the church will grow up in their own blindness.

They will be able to learn the doctrine, the language of the church, and expectations will be upon them to come to their own faith in Jesus.

I did.

I learned the language, I learned the doctrine, those expectations that were upon me were met, though I truly never did realize.

That is until Jesus saw this (me) blind man.

John 9:3
Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

The disciples also saw this blind man, and asked Jesus if he sinned, or his parents that he was born blind.

We will instantly assign blame for a man’s condition.

Personally, I would also think that a situation like this is an effect that was caused, but Jesus said, “…neither…”

We hold each other to our wrongs, and offenses, and we don’t really know how to put away the blame, that’s because we still have some degree of blindness.

Do you realize that before you came to Jesus, that your sin was already accounted for?

Do you know that God didn’t hold you to your sins anymore (2 Corinthians 5:19)?

So why do we?

Jesus was working out a parable for us to see, that even though we can see with our physical eyes, we are still spiritually blind, yes even those of us who have been in the church for a lifetime.

And guess what? That’s not your fault, nor is it the fault of your spiritual fathers and mothers; those who have brought you up in the knowledge of the doctrine, only Jesus can give you sight.

John 9:6-7
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay,
And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, (which is by interpretation, Sent.) He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing.

I was going to try to bypass this part because I have already said what happened here but there’s more.

Jesus spat on the ground. Get it, it’s not just that he spat, but the representation that I see resembles the moment that God breathed life into a mud made man.

We know that man is made of the dust of the ground, but that’s only 25-30% of what our physical body is, the rest is liquid.

We don’t know exactly what God used to hold the dust together, but what if, and I only say “if” he used his own spit?

You might say that God is a Spirit, but I say that he breathed into Adam’s nostrils that breath of life.

Just remember that I said, “if”. Don’t go building a doctrine for this without true scriptural founding.

But, that’s not my point.

The spit from Jesus is what I see as the truth of the Word of God which was mixed in with the dust of the ground which represents man and man’s input.

Muddy vision“, true blindness.

So Jesus tells the blind man to go wash in the pool of Siloam.

John tells us that this name, Siloam means “sent”.

The blind man could literally have gone to wash his eyes anywhere else, but he would still have come away blind because he was “sent” to this specific pool.

Where do you go to wash your eyes? Are you going to the same place that has you blind? Are you still going through the motions?

Again, I’m not attacking your doctrine or belief, it’s likely that we share similarities in our doctrines.

There are scholars who would have searched for the Greek or Hebrew word for “Siloam” to know its meaning, and even though John gave it to us, it was still elusive, at least to me.

This pool Siloam represents the Holy Spirit, because you’ll see in John 14:26 that the Father will “send” the Holy Spirit to teach us all things.

Again Jesus said in John 16:7

“…Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you…”

The value of the Holy Spirit in our lives is inestimable, it is limitless to gauge just how great his teaching is in us.

He is here to grant us access into the mysteries of the Word of God. I would have to write an entire series to express the depth of the insight he brings, and I would not find a stopping place.

Although throughout my posts I give much reference to the Holy Spirit to guide us.

That’s why you should go to Siloam, because anywhere else you go will still leave you blind.

John 9:11
He answered and said, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

Reiterating what I just said might double up the words I’ve already used.

Just look at the last thing he said…

“…I went and washed, and I received sight…”

How often have you read this part and just moved on? Honestly, I have just seen this!

Surely there are sages out there somewhere who have seen this.

He said that he did go to the pool of Siloam and washed, he said…

“…and I received sight…”

I saw a movie called, “Hacksaw Ridge“, based on a true story about a medic who served in WWII.

There is a scene in the movie where he is going through the battlefield looking for his fellow soldiers needing to be recovered after being wounded.

In one scene, he finds a wounded soldier still alive, but the soldier believes he’s blind because he can’t see. The medic pours water on his eyes and washed away the dirt, and the wounded soldier has an instant joy that he can see! It’s one of the best parts of the movie.

It is a war movie, so if you watch it be prepared for real violence and horrible scenes of devastating trauma.

The joy that I saw in that man’s face in the movie is what I imagine this blind man must have felt when he told the people that he received his sight!

Have you received sight, are you telling everyone you can how you received sight? Your joy won’t let you just stay quiet, you gotta tell somebody!

As you may infer from my title, there is more to say about this, so I’ll end here, hoping that I’ve piqued your interest.

Stay tuned for part 2.

For now…

Jesus loves you.

God bless.
Pedro Villarreal

The LORD bless thee, and keep thee:
The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:
The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Numbers 6:24-26