Kevin Menezes

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


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God & The Lottery

I don’t know about you, but I am really amazed at some of these Rolls Royce and Bentley driving social media preachers who make it seem like God is running a lottery business. Jesus warned that there would be plenty of them in the Last Days and here they are.

“Want to get blessed? Want to get rich? No problem. Just share my post on your social media feeds and type Amen. And next thing you know a bucket-load of cash is headed your way.”

Are you kidding me?!

If you think that gimmick holds any currency with God, you have absolutely no idea who He is and you’ve completely misunderstood what Jesus is all about.

How about this one? “Wanna get rich? Easy! Just follow Jesus.”

Dude! Are you serious?!

Let me clear this up for you: Jesus is not roaming around with a wad of cash looking for people He can hand it over to. Jesus is in the business of SAVING people, not making them RICH.

Who said “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.

Who said “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Do you get it? Jesus is interested in our ETERNITY, not our LUXURY. When you get Jesus you only get JESUS. And in Him we have everything — He is more than enough.

So, if you are waiting on God to stop by your house and dump a truckload of cash on you just because you forwarded something to 25 people within 4 minutes, you’re off your rocker. Nobody cares about your social media account, how many posts you shared and how many times you typed Amen.

But God does care about YOU and how you are using this Gift of Life He has given you. So if you want to get blessed, first HONOR GOD with the way you LIVE.

Have you actually bothered to HELP any poor people? Did you freely GIVE your stuff away to those in need (and I am not talking about your leftover change)? Did you go out of your way to help a destitute? Did you FEED the hungry? Do you have LOVE in your heart for anyone other than yourself? Do you HONOR your parents? Do you flee from evil? Do you strive for PEACE?

These are the things that really please God.

If you want get rich just so you could buy your cute self some more stuff, you’re going to be waiting a LONG TIME. Because quite frankly, my dear, God is not going to help you pamper yourself a little more. You have a better chance getting rich the old fashion way — by using your brains and Working HARD.

But having said all of that let me also say this: INDEED, GOD DOES BLESS PEOPLE. He does not mind us having money and stuff as long as the money and stuff do not have us.

Here’s the deal: God has already pronounced all the blessings we’ll ever need over this planet. Our task is to call them down. And we have the power to call down both blessings and curses upon ourselves.

Be Good, Do Good and you call down BLESSINGS.

Be Bad, Do Bad and you call down CURSES.

In other words, what we say and do determines how our life is going to turn out. When you turn your life over to God, the things you do to honor Him, the zeal with which you obey His commands — those are the things that get you BLESSED.

So, if you are watching porn one moment, typing Amen the next and thinking God is going to be pretty pleased because you balanced your crap out by sharing a “holy” post on your social media feed, you’ve got to stop deceiving yourself.

Your blessings and everything else pertaining to your life are tied to just one question: DO YOU LOVE GOD FOR WHO HE IS, or FOR WHAT YOU CAN GET FROM HIM?

And God already knows the answer to that one.


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Relationship Trumps Everything

It’s an important day and you are running really late. As you turn around the block, you see two men fighting. What would you do? Would you care to stop? Would you bother to intervene? Maybe you will. Maybe you won’t. What you do actually depends on several factors: How busy you are. Are they bigger than you? Are they drunk? Do you run the risk of getting beat up yourself?

If you are like most people, you may decide to just walk away.

But wait a minute. As you are walking away, you notice that one of the men looks strangely familiar. You move closer and realize the one getting beaten up is your dad, or your son, your husband, or your brother, or your closest friend — someone you love dearly.

Um, would you care to intervene now? Or would you still walk away?

If you are like most people, chances are you would jump right in to rescue your loved one.

But what if you find out that your dad/son/husband/brother is getting beaten up because of his mistake? He did something wrong.

Would you still stop them from beating him up?

If you are like most people, no matter what dad/son/husband/brother did, you would jump right in and first get them to stop beating him up. Heck! You might even throw in a few punches yourself. You wouldn’t care about what he did. You wouldn’t care how big the opponents are. You wouldn’t care about your busy schedule. You wouldn’t care about anything. All you would care about is rescuing the one you love.

You might even catch yourself say something like: “Yeah, I know he made a mistake and it’s his fault, but I’ll take care of it. Just stop hitting him.”

Um, so what’s the real reason behind the sudden change in your disposition? As long it was people you didn’t know, you were probably okay with them having a go at each other. But the minute it comes to someone you love, you want to play the ref and step in to rescue them — even if they are wrong.

Why?!

The answer is simple: RELATIONSHIP!

You would save your child, your dad, your spouse no matter what the cost. In the same way, when you have a relationship with your Creator, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done. He will always jump in to rescue you. Because He loves you and cares about you. That’s why the Bible says “If God is for you, who can be against you.”

So, does that mean God rescues people who do wrong? Well, here’s the catch: If you really have a strong relationship with God and you understand who He really is and how much He loves you, you will find it extremely hard to get on the wrong side of His law. It doesn’t mean you’ll never ever sin again — you may. But it won’t be your default setting, and He’ll always help you find your way back home into His arms.

Because He is your Dad. And you are His.


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Relationship Trumps Everything (Selfies With Jesus)

You walk into a mall and guess what?! Your favorite movie star Shah Rukh Khan is there to promote his latest film. He is taking selfies with his fans. You seize the opportunity and get a selfie with the man. It turns out be a very good picture. You publish it on all your social media feeds. You even hang the picture on your living room wall for everyone to see. People are amazed that you “know” Shah Rukh Khan and evidently you too are quite proud of yourself.

Then, one day, you are hanging with the gang in Bandra and someone says, “Hey look! Isn’t that Shah Rukh Khan’s house right there? Let’s drop in and say Hi.”

Flummoxed, you don’t know how to deny it all. Before you know it, you are at the main gate. The security guards ask you what you want. Your chums chip in: “He is a very close friend of Shah Rukh Khan.” They whip out your phone, show the guards your favorite picture, and sure enough there you are hanging out with the man himself.

The guards apologize: “Very sorry, sir. Please go right in. Shah Rukh Khan will be delighted to see you.”

You are now in Shah Rukh Khan’s living room. He’s been told a very close friend is here to see him. He will be down shortly. Now, here’s my question: When Shah Rukh Khan sees you, what do you think he’ll do? What will he say?

While you are wondering about that, let me take you to Matthew 7 where Jesus warns Christians they might face a similar dilemma. Because while we are busy taking selfies with Jesus (by being visible in the church, singing in the choir, sporting crucifixes and rosaries), the singular question on which our fate rests is: Do we know Him at a personal level? Yes, we know all about Jesus (like we know all about Shah Rukh Khan), but do we KNOW Him, like on a one-to-one basis?

And even more importantly: Does He Know Us?

Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7)

I don’t know you! Get out from my house!” – Isn’t that what Shah Rukh Khan is likely to say too when he sees you in his house, masquerading as a friend?

Shah Rukh Khan’s house is for him, his family and his friends. It is not for every freeloader who happens to be carrying a picture of him. Similarly, heaven is for God’s friends — those who actually took time to nurture a relationship with Him. It is not for everyone who just happens to be hanging on to a crucifix, a rosary or a supposed picture of Jesus, or St. Anthony or any of the other saints.

In short, the main criterion for entry is RELATIONSHIP, not Religion.

Jesus said: “Many are called, but few are chosen.” And, Yes, in Christ we all have free invite to the banquet in heaven. But we need to be watchful lest we be thrown out like the man in Matthew 22 who was invited to the wedding banquet but then cast out because he wasn’t wearing the right clothes. So, what is the right outfit for entry to heaven? It is Righteousness predicated on Relationship.

Think about this: How did you and your best friend become best friends? I imagine there would have been a lot of candid talking, and lots and lots of sharing (of both good stuff and bad). You would need to hang out together — a lot! To the point where you can trust each other and where you become the first responder in every crisis. That’s how we forge a strong bond with fellow humans, and guess what? That’s how you forge a bond with God too. By spending time together, talking, listening…

Then, one day, when you find yourself in His living room, you won’t have to worry about what He will say when He sees you. He’s going to rush down and simply embrace you just like you would hug a dear friend. There won’t be any need for words. And even if you try, He’ll say “Ssshhh!! You don’t need to say anything. We spent so much time talking with each other when you were on earth. I already know all about you. Just make yourself at home.”


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Love With(in) Boundaries

They say “love sets no boundaries. I used to believe that until I fell in love myself. And guess what I discovered: True Love Always Sets Boundaries.
You can eat the fruit of all the trees in the garden, but not this one.”

You can play in the front yard where I can see you, but not on the main street.”

You can watch cartoons for an hour, but not all day long.

You can drive this car to town, but you cannot speed.”

You can hang out with all your friends, but not this jerk.”

You get my point?

Sometimes though, the very people you love and are trying to protect will come back and say “But I thought you trust me. I thought you love me unconditionally.”

When they do, you should say: “Well, honey, actually I do love you unconditionally and with that comes the part where I keep you from RUINING YOUR FUTURE or KILLING YOURSELF. It means I’ll happily bear all your shortcomings if I have to, but I will not tolerate your crap.”

#myHousemyRules


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A Tale of Trinitarian Coexistence

One of the inane things Jesus probably endured on a daily basis was having the general public — even his own disciples — discuss who he really was while he was with them. Some said he was a prophet, some said he was the Son of God. Two millennia later, that discussion still rages on.

My personal take on this whole ‘Who is Jesus Debate’ is pretty simplistic: Wouldn’t it be a lot better if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do? That, I think, would make Jesus a lot happier than us trying to figure Him out. Because, quite frankly, no matter how much we discuss and debate this, there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity.

Having said that, I am always up for a meaningful discussion, even if that means answering some questions over and over again. So, here goes:

The biggest conundrum about Christian theology is the TRINITY. The ‘Three Persons One God’ concept is a stumbling block for a lot of people – Muslims, Jews and even some Christians – who subscribe to the monotheistic (one God) philosophy. But the irony is that Christians subscribe to the One God philosophy too. “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (Deuteronomy 6:4) and “There is no God besides me.” (Isaiah 45:5) If these are key tenets of the Christian faith, the natural question that arises is why do Christians then club Jesus and the Holy Spirit along with the One God Almighty?

That’s a very good question. Let’s use examples from the natural world to explain the Christian view of God because you can catch glimpses of the Creator in His creation, and everything God created reflects Him and who He really is.

We see the first example of Trinitarian coexistence in the Universe. The laws of Physics suggest that Time, Space, and Matter cannot exist independent of the other. If you had Matter but no Space, WHERE would you put it? If you had Space but no Time, WHEN would you put it? You have to have all THREE components bound together in a Trinitarian coexistence of sorts to have ONE functional Universe. The Bible sorts that out for us in the very first verse. Genesis 1:1 – “In the beginning (TIME) God created the heavens (SPACE) and the earth (MATTER).”

The second example of Trinitarian coexistence is the human race. Aren’t we who have been made in the image and likeness of God THREE dimensional beings too, comprising Body, Soul and Spirit? And what is your body without soul and spirit? That’s why even if scientists figure out some way to clone your body they will never be able to clone your soul. Your mannerisms, your thoughts, your ideas are unique to you and that is why there will never be another you – ever. Because the real you – just in case it hasn’t dawned on you yet – is not just your body. The real you is all THREE PARTS of you – body, soul and spirit – functioning together to be ONE COMPLETE YOU.

Jesus said “I am in the Father and the Father is in me.” (John 14:11). If you really want to understand Jesus and the Holy Spirit in relation to God take an ice-cube, drop it into a glass of water and then try figuring out which one is H2O. The minute the ice-cube hits the glass you can say the ice is in the water. But after a while you could also say the water is in the ice. And if that doesn’t convince you, pour it all into a kettle, put it on the stove, and watch it all turn into vapor. Water, the font of all life, can exist in THREE states: liquid, solid and vapor. But in all its states it is essentially still WATER.

Similarly, God is a three-dimensional being – Father, Son and Spirit. But they are intrinsically ONE. Jesus is the physical expression of a Trinitarian God, or the physical form God took to enter the physical world. He was God in heaven and God walking on earth all at the same time because God is not limited by time, space or matter. He is omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient. And He exists far above and beyond the scope of all that He has created. He can permeate through everything to be whoever He wants to be because He is Limitless, abounding in Power, and with Him nothing is Impossible.

In short, we don’t serve a committee of Gods. Our God is ONE!

Hope that explanation helped. But if it didn’t, don’t worry too much about it. Like I said there are some things we will never completely decipher this side of eternity, and it would be a lot better for all of us if we just leave Jesus to be who He is and focus on doing what He said we should do. “Love your enemies, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who persecute you.”  I think Jesus would be a lot happier if we did this, regardless of what our theology is. Just saying.


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The Case For A Good & Just Creator

Here’s one of the most pertinent questions in human history, one that’s been debated for thousands of years, and probably crossed your mind at least once too. If God Is Really So Good And Just Why Is There So Much Evil And Injustice In The World?

People who wrestle with this question eventually come to two logical conclusions: A) Maybe there is no God. B) Maybe God is powerless to do anything about it…because if He could, He certainly would, right? I am going to tackle both statements in this post, but in the interest of time, I am just going to scratch the surface.

Let’s start with the first statement: Maybe God Does Not Exist. I offer two theories for your consideration: Non-Scientific and Scientific.

THE NON-SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE

Here’s a hypothetical situation. You come to me and say your boss is crazy. Everything in your office is falling apart, people don’t do the right thing, they fib and back-stab each other and cut corners every chance they get. And your boss in just a silent spectator, he doesn’t say or do anything about it.

And then I conclude “Well, if your boss is not doing anything about it, maybe he doesn’t exist.” How’s that for sound logic? It sounds crazy, right?

The disorder in your office  is not an indicator that there is no boss. On the contrary, the fact that you have an office where you can run to whenever you want to hang out with your crazy colleagues itself indicates that there must be a founder somewhere.

Take another scenario. Your neighbor’s kids run up to you and say, “We are starving and our dad just doesn’t care about us. He doesn’t respond to our needs or our fears. He is never even there when we need him.”

And then you put on your thinking cap and say, “Well, if he is never there, maybe he doesn’t exist.” How is that for being absurd? The fact that you are talking to your neighbor’s kids itself indicates that they have a father. So, the real question is not whether he exists, but whether or not he is a good father.

By that same token, the reasoning that injustice in the world disproves the existence of God is a false alternative.

THE SCIENTIFIC CASE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE

The laws of physics prove that everything has a point of origin. In other words, all forms of matter – organic, inorganic, mud, metal, plants, animals, you and me, the stars, the planets (and everything on them), the entire universe ­– originate from something. But here’s the deal: something cannot come out of nothing. So if things cannot cause themselves to exist, there must have been some sort of creation event triggered by a dynamic, preexisting catalytic force…a Creator of sorts.

summaWhen you consider the scientific evidence for this Creator, the reasoning that this Someone – let’s call him God – does not exist just because there happens to be injustice in the world becomes a very mediocre argument.

So, if God exists and He is a good and just God, the real question is why isn’t He tackling evil and injustice in the world He created?

THE CASE FOR A GOOD & JUST GOD

Have you ever considered that you can have the sun without the shade, but you can never have shade without the sun. How do we know there is evil in this world? Because good existed first. If justice had not existed first, you would have never known that what you are experiencing is injustice. Just as the shade actually proves the presence of the sun, evil and injustice in the world actually proves the prior existence of goodness and justice.

But how does that prove God is good and just?

Good point. To be considered good and just, God must first condemn evil and then bring all the perpetrators to justice. But there can be no justice without judgment. And for justice to be served, the judgment must be fair and without bias. You with me so far? Cool.

So, let’s imagine this: Someone has done you wrong and you are crying out to God for justice. Then, God turns to your oppressors and says, “I am going to condemn you to hell for all the wrongs you have done.” And you are as happy as a lark. But before you can even chirp for joy, God turns to you and asks, “And what about you and the wrongs you have done? What must be done to you?”

And you are all like “Um, actually what happened, God, is that I didn’t really mean to do all that. It was an honest mistake. I didn’t mean any harm. I was just fooling around…”

You get my drift… We want God to surely condemn those who have wronged us, but when it comes to us, we want Him to be kind and considerate. How typical!

But for justice to be truly served, God must treat everyone by the same yardstick. No favoritism. So if God decides to judge the very bad folk right away, He would also have to condemn the mostly good. And He does not want to do that without giving us a chance to make amends and save ourselves.

The Bible says God is slow to judge because He wants everyone, especially His own children, the genuinely good, saved. So, He offers us a way out. He says if you forgive others, I’ll forgive you. God knows better than any of us that all of us are sinful and if you don’t forgive your wrongdoers God will have to condemn them…and you. But if you show mercy, then mercy can be shown to you. It’s a fair call. It’s justice to the highest degree. And it is acceptable to God because God is just to everyone.

The fact that God is willing to wait proves that He is all loving and good. The fact that God is willing to forgive if you extend forgiveness to those who wronged you proves that He cares about justice.

So, to conclude, God is good. He is just. And, yes, He does exist.