Kevin Menezes

Loved and Saved by God alone to Love and Serve God alone.


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Between The Devil And The Deep Sea

I read an inspiring quote once. I do not remember the exact words, but it went something like this:

When God is about to do something amazing, He starts with a predicament—at first, it appears difficult, then it looks impossible; then, it is done.

When I look back at what God did during the Biblical era and also in my own life, I find this to be very true.

Let us consider the case of Moses, for instance.

Pharaoh finally agrees to set the Israelites free. Moses is probably thinking it is best to get out of town as soon as possible, before Pharaoh changes his mind again. Moses probably has his own ideas about the route they should take out of Egypt. He knows that the road that goes up the coast to Philistia is the shortest route. But when God decides to take a different route and lead them out through a roundabout way, Moses does not question His judgment. He lets God handle everything. Follow the cloud, that’s what we are going to do, boys. Wherever the cloud goes, we go too.

Everything seems to be going according to plan at first. However, at some point during the Exodus, God changes the blueprint and tells Moses to turn back and head to the beach. Moses is probably perplexed and thinking: “Um, did I hear Him right? Did God really say what I just heard Him say? He wants us to turn back and head towards the sea??!! I mean that’s a dead-end! The people will think I am insane.”

Moses is aware that God is putting him in a very sticky situation. He is puzzled. Nevertheless, he obeys. A few days later, he finds himself staring at the open sea. Then, to add to his dilemma, someone brings news that the Egyptian army is in hot pursuit.

Great! I am boxed in! Now what?!

Moses and the people he is leading are caught between the devil and the deep sea—literally! There is no way out. Escape is difficult. No, it is impossible.

And then… it is Done!!!

The sea begins to part and every person in Moses’ camp makes it to the other side.

The Egyptians are not so lucky though. Their chariots get clogged, the sea closes over them, and they drown. The incident goes down as one of the greatest miracles in the annals of human history. (You can read all about it in the Bible; Exodus 13 has the details.)

Okay! Question time. What made this miracle possible?

At the root of it all lay faith. Moses had to trust God and walk in the direction he was being led. Even though Moses realized that the mighty Red Sea lay ahead, he did not let that tiny detail stop him.

Moses knew deep down that if God brought him to that situation, God would also pull him out of it. Moses simply had to do his part and show up on the beach.

But what if Moses doubted God? What if he thought: “You know what?! Maybe God has got it all wrong this time? Everybody knows there’s a sea in that direction. I mean come on, man! I am trying to escape here! And I am leading women and children. Give me a break! What are we going to do when we get to the beach? Build boats and have a barbecue?!!!”

Luckily, Moses’ faith in God was very strong. His conviction was not like our faith, which wavers the moment the first waves of trouble start lapping at our feet. Moses followed through with God’s plan—he did his best. And God did the rest.

Let us then be encouraged to trust God and follow Him wholeheartedly, confident in the knowledge that with His help we can overcome anything. And when our problems appear difficult or impossible to overcome, let us smile knowing that God is about to do something amazing.

We may not know what the future holds. But let us take heart in knowing that the One Who holds the future also holds our hand.


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God And The Baby

We live in world where everything revolves around money, which is supposedly the root of all evil. But think about it for a moment. Is money by itself bad? No, it isn’t. Money can also be used for good purposes. What really causes some people to do things they shouldn’t is not money per se, but the love of it. And the more money we have, the more we want. It’s a never-ending cycle that feeds off itself.

This is precisely why it does not make sense to put life on hold until we have “enough” money. People who do that are simply asking for trouble. Unfortunately, most people living in today’s money-minded world do not see it that way.

These days, most married couples prefer to have just one kid. Some others prefer not to have kids at all.

Several factors, such as the desire to live the “good” life, or the desire to cut “unnecessary” costs, influence this decision. After all, babies are expensive, right? Well, they could be, especially if the parents spoil them by playing to the whims of a materialistic society. Otherwise, having a baby is quite inexpensive.

In fact, one cannot put a price tag to the joy, happiness and contentment a child brings into the home. If we could, we would find that the benefits of having a baby far outweigh the costs.

But most people don’t know this. So they resort to just about everything – pills, external contraceptives, vasectomy, even murder – to not have a baby. (Um, did I say “murder”? Oh! My bad. I meant to say “abortion”.)

Needless to say, God is not pleased.

When we married, my wife Sharel and I were very clear about certain things. We would not conform to the ways of the world, especially if it meant having to snub God. We were (and still are) very determined to live by the Word.

The Bible says don’t worry about anything. Just do what God wants you to do and He will take care of all your needs (Philippians 4). If that is what God has promised, then it is good enough for me.

My pastor always said, “If God decides to bless you with a child, He will also provide you the means to take care of that child. God will incur the expenses. Just trust Him.”

And that is exactly what we did. We didn’t have our baby with one eye on our bank balance; we had him with both eyes fixed firmly on God.

Did it pay off?

More than we could imagine.

First, in an age where an increasing number of births are through the C-section, my wife had a normal delivery. Also, she was in labor for less than half the average time it takes first-time mothers.

Second, less than a month after the birth of our son, I received a 20 percent increment in my salary. I also received a bonus that covered all hospital and delivery-related expenses. The total increase in my annual earnings? Almost 30 percent!

In retrospect, I did not pay a dime to bring my child into the world, despite having him delivered by one of the best doctors in one of the finest hospitals in the country. Also, the increment more than covers the cost of everything he will need in future. God took care of everything just as He promised.

I smile to myself sometimes when I think about it because it is beautiful and also a little funny. Out in the world, people think having a lot of children does not make economic sense. And here God is paying us to have babies and raise them for Him. Like the Bible says: The wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. In retrospect, God is using what is unwise in the eyes of the world to show us how foolish the ways of the world are.

Yes, to be certain, not every couple who has children by the dozen is blessed financially. I see people who have many children, but not enough to get by—not enough food to put on the table.

Why is that so?

I guess it is because that kind of blessing comes with a precondition—a prerequisite: You must have and raise all your children for the Lord.

When I think back, that’s exactly what we did. We consecrated our baby, the first fruit of our union, to God even before he was conceived. And right away I knew in my heart that it would be a boy because God said all firstborn are mine, especially if they are male.

We are expecting our second baby soon. Since we strongly believe that every child is a blessing from above, it made a lot of sense to us to let God decide when we should have our second baby. Most people think a three-year gap between children is ideal. Most people will also find it hard to believe that despite never having resorted to any family planning method, our second baby is due just about when our first will turn three.

Talk about perfect timing. God knows all about it.

The problem is people don’t trust God enough to let Him decide what’s best for them. I am happy to testify that whenever my wife and I took a leap of faith, we found God right there waiting to catch us. He was backing us up all the time.

So this is my advice: Never base the major decisions of your life, especially the decision to have children, on how much money you have in the bank. If you do, chances are you may have neither children nor money in the end. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else you need will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33) When you figure out what this scripture really means, write it on your heart.

The Bible says children themselves are a blessing (Psalm 127:3). And since they actually belong to God, He faithfully provides for every child He brings into the world. We, the parents, are just the caretakers.

In retrospect, everything God asks us to do is for our own good. Unfortunately though, most people are not willing to let go of the semblance of control they think they have over what goes on in their life. They prefer to do as they please, but when they start facing the consequences of their actions, they start looking for someone to blame. And when their search brings them to the mirror, they quickly turn around and try to find a suitable scapegoat. Ultimately, they blame God. That’s human nature: We take credit for all the good and blame Him for all the bad.

Are you one of those people giving God a hard time about doing (or not doing) something for you? Well, back off a little. We don’t need to convince God to do the right thing. It is in His very nature to do what’s best for everybody. So, take a breather. Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich (Proverbs 23:4). You are not a money-machine. Money is a trap for those who are fascinated by it, a trap that every fool falls into (Sirach 31:7). Therefore, have the wisdom to show restraint.

Since we are not going to live forever, let’s focus on the things that really matter. If you are married and God blesses you with a child, thank Him and welcome the child joyfully. Remember, every child comes bearing rich gifts from heaven.

If you ever have the misfortune of having to consider an abortion, reflect on this: The child you plan to abort might just be your ticket to the happy, prosperous life you always desired. So be good to yourself and allow God to work a miracle in your life. Allow Him to bless you.

Do it for yourself!

Let me conclude with the story of my own child’s birth.

We welcomed our firstborn in March 2010.

I watched nervously as they wheeled Sharel into her room after the delivery. Then, a nurse arrived with our newborn baby.

She looked at me and asked, “Are you the father?”

“Yes.”

“Would you like to hold your baby?”

“No.”

Truth is I was afraid. How do you hold something so delicate and precious?

I think they call it “new dad anxiety”.

Then, the baby started crying. I watched as the nurse tried to pacify my son, but it was a lost cause.

I remember thinking to myself, “Man, you are the father. If you don’t hold your own baby, who will?”

“Okay. Give him to me,” I said.

The nurse gently laid him in my arms. The baby instantly stopped crying.

She smiled and said, “He knows who you are.”

“Yes,” I replied, smiling at the babe in my hands, “I am his father.”

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Got No Money? Good!

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It is better to have a purpose in life and no money than to have all the money in the world and no purpose in life.

The Bible talks about how when God freed the Israelites from the yoke of slavery, He also inclined the hearts of the Egyptians to give them clothing and articles of silver and gold.

Not very long thereafter, the “newly moneyed” Israelites camped at Sinai while Moses went up the Mount to meet God.

With nothing interesting to do except wait for Moses, who apparently was in no hurry to return, the Israelites grew restless. What’s more, they had so much gold and silver just lying around. So they did what most people with lots of money and no purpose would do. They used it to entertain themselves. First, they molded all the gold in the shape of a calf. Then, they worshipped it. And because we become what we worship, soon thereafter, the Israelites started acting like animals.

It’s the same today.

Look at most rich kids. Dad and Mom are too busy to spare any time for them. But, gee, Dad’s got some spare change. “Here, Kid, why don’t you put that to good use? Go and buy yourself something you like…anything. And remember never to forget that your Dad loves you. And this big wad of cash will show you just how much.”

In the beginning, these kids buy themselves some candy, toys, etc. But there’s only that much satisfaction you can gain from that. So they graduate to video games, alcohol, drugs, fast cars, etc. Obviously, after some time even that is not enough. So, it’s more alcohol, more drugs…

Most rich kids today are more than happy to spend money they haven’t earned on things they don’t need. Eventually, these kids either end up in the ditch, or in rehab, or in prison, or in the grave…or in all of the above.

God does not like it one bit.

The real reason why God does not answer some people when they pray for riches is not because He can’t give them what they want. He chooses not to because He knows they can’t handle it.

I face a similar problem with my two-year-old sometimes. He wants me to get him a bicycle that is obviously way too big for him. He wails for it every time we happen to walk by a bike store. Truthfully, it is no big deal for me to get him that bike. In fact, I want to. But right now that bike would do him more harm than good. He needs to wait until he grows a little more. Then, he’ll enjoy it to the fullest. My son does not realize that and wonders why his ever-loving father won’t give him what he desires.

It’s the same with God. He wants us to have all the good things in life—money even. But sometimes He holds himself back because He knows what we are asking for could actually do us more harm than good.

So, if you are giving God a hard time about doing something for you, back off a little. When it’s dinner time, a child does not need to convince his parent that he should be given something to eat. The parent lovingly reaches for the plate and serves up the good stuff…and a little more. We need to give God more credit than we do.

Got no money? Good!

You’ll get it eventually…if you deserve it.

But first get a purpose—and it better be good.


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Be Specific

Our God is a prayer-answering Father. And He knows what we need even before we ask Him. But since God is a gentleman and does not like messing with our free will, He patiently waits for us to voice our needs.

For instance, God may not grant healing for a leg injury unless you ask Him because, who knows, maybe you don’t really want to be healed. You probably are an attention-getter who wallows in self-pity and you actually think the limp makes you look like a cool hip-hop gangster dude. Yeah! I know that sounds weird, but trust me, there are all kinds of people out there.

So, it pays to be specific when you pray. And no one understood that better than Jesus.

There is this story in the Bible where Jesus is walking from one place to the other and He’s got this huge fat crowd following Him. And there is this blind bloke who starts calling out to Jesus. He yells “Son of David, have mercy on me” over and over until some people are so pissed they ask him to shut up. But the guy just won’t quit.

Then, Jesus calls him over and asks, “What do you want me to do for you?”

And he begins his “Son of David, have mercy on me” tirade once again.

And Jesus is all like, “Dude, I got that part. But what do you want?” (Yes, I am majorly paraphrasing here. If you want exact details, check out Luke 18.)

Now, the blind man is probably thinking, “Well, I am blind, if you haven’t noticed yet. I thought the whole world had that figured out. But since you are asking, I desperately want to see.”

Now, if it was someone like me instead of Jesus and if I had power, I would probably call that guy over and heal him instantly with a wave of my magic wand without even bothering to ask him what he was yelling so much about. But Jesus is wise. He won’t do anything until we say exactly what we want Him to do for us. I mean why risk it? What if He gave the guy his sight without asking and it turned out that the guy actually didn’t mind being blind as long as he was healthy and had a long life, or that he was actually calling out for something more important like Wisdom or Salvation.

What a person actually needs and what we assume s/he wants are often poles apart. So, it’s always better to confirm.

Anyways, coming back to our story, after all that yelling, the guy finally makes his need known. “I want to see.”

And Jesus is like, “Gee! Thanks! I thought you’d never ask. Receive your sight.”

And the blind guy starts seeing that very instant. (This is cool stuff, right?)

In many ways, Jesus personifies God here (which should not be surprising since He is, in fact, the Son).

You see, God understands our needs and is more than willing to grant our requests. However, some people never give Him a chance…ever! And more often than not, even the few that give Him a chance have their own agenda—they want God to do things on their terms, in their way and in their time.

It’s a crazy world out there. Every once in a while though even a lame hip-hop gangster finds it in him to pray. Imagine God’s delight when He sees the bloke finally going down on his knees. God’s thinking, “This is it! I am going to heal this guy today.” Imagine His disappointment when the dude raises his hands to the heavens and asks for a Ferrari.

“A tomato-red one, please.”

God is like “Man, you got one good leg on you, and I don’t want you to lose that one too. Nope! No Ferrari for you.

The bloke then runs around giving God a bad name telling everyone praying is a waste of time as God never answers anyways.

I’d say being God is tough when you are dealing with so many nutcases.

If you are one of those lost guys, or if you are one of the good guys yelling, “Son of God, have mercy on me,” maybe you should consider changing the words a little. Be more specific. Choose your words carefully. Say it once.

God. Will. Hear.

The safest prayer to pray is: “God, let Your perfect will be done in my life. I surrender everything into Your hands.”

By praying that, you are essentially telling God, “I can’t see where my life is headed from down here, but You have a better view from up there. You can see what’s coming down the road. Please take care of it for me.”

Trust me, that’s good enough.


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Itsy Bitsy

We’ve got just one itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, sometimes happy, sometimes shitty life to live. And only one book tells you how to make it worthwhile.

It’s called the Bible (Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth).

It was written for you. Do yourself a favour: Read it!

And then Do what it says.


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Get Your A** to Church

Does God really exist? After wrestling with this question almost all my adult life, I finally chose to believe He did not. In retrospect, my choice was also a product of my narrow-minded selfishness. With God out of the way, I would neither have to deal with the guilt of sin nor its consequences—or so I thought. It was all very convenient.

I thought I had it all figured out. I chose to believe we were just intelligent animals descended from the apes. In short, I believed in science and everything the books, magazines, and the “experts” said. These are the best ways to give your career a boost; this is the best way to satisfy your spouse; this is what you should do; this is how you should do it.

Well, guess what I figured out eventually? The magazines and newspapers tell you nothing but a load of crap. It is written: Human knowledge is foolishness to God. And it really is. We think we are smart, but we are not—in fact, without God, we are nothing. I learned this the hard way.

Today, after paying a heavy price for believing everything these “experts” said and allowing myself to be deceived, I finally stand corrected.

Maybe you are going through a crisis in your life. Maybe you are looking for answers, but don’t know whom to turn to. I have a suggestion: Give God a chance.

Don’t know where to find Him? Get yourself to church – and not a dead one. (There are plenty of those too.)

Find yourself one that is centered on the Word of God, on Jesus and His life-giving Spirit. You’ll know you’ve found the right one when you see miracles all around you. When you see people being healed, delivered and blessed, when you see the “lame” walking and the “blind” seeing, give yourself a pat on the back and say, “I am in the right place.”

Just one suggestion: Don’t go looking for the most glamorous church in town. God is usually absent where vanity is present. Instead, look for a simple one. I guarantee that if you really look, you will eventually find a God-centered church…maybe in your own neighborhood. And when you find the right church, you will find that God is very actively and visibly working in the lives of His people even to this day.

Go and see for yourself. You have nothing to lose anyways. If nothing comes out of this, you can always go back to your life. But for at least once in your life, give yourself the opportunity to see the bigger picture. Do it for yourself!  (It might just prove to be the best thing you’ve ever done.)


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Come As You Are

The world determines your worth based on what you have and what you can produce. If you’ve got a flashy car and bucket loads of cash, you are welcome everywhere.

But to God, you are already worth the whole world. He does not care if you have 10 pairs of shoes, or just one, or none at all. He says, “Come as you are and I’ll love you just as much. Just come.”