Kevin Menezes

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


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Fasting & Prayer: The Benefits of Lent

I usually back off from a lot of things during Lent, including social media, to make time for prayer and reflection, and to declutter my life…and it is always such a rewarding experience.

We tend to think of Lent as a period of abstinence, fasting and giving up, but actually the opposite is true. If you do Lent right, you can actually gain a lot more…

Lent and everything that goes with (prayer, fasting, etc.) is basically for people who want to move forward. If you have anything pending, like a court case, a health concern, an illness in the family, a loved one who is struggling with an addiction, a strained marriage, or an increment that is overdue, then Lent is the perfect season for you.

There is so much to be said about this subject, but let me keep it simple. The way I see it fasting is for people who want things FAST. And there are some things in life I want more badly than food. But if we only abstain from food and don’t mix that sacrifice with prayer then we are not really fasting — we are dieting. And the only thing you can expect from a diet is to lose weight.

But fasting is not just about losing weight…it’s so much more. Through fasting, I’ve gained wisdom, revelation, insight, I’ve had all of my prayers answered, my kids are thriving, my wife is happier, my health is better than it has ever been (and that includes my mental, emotional and spiritual health).

Yes – I did lose some weight too and in all the right places. The little tuck I’ve gained around the middle makes me look younger and I actually feel very youthful. Through fasting, I’ve also gained more tolerance, patience, perseverance, discernment. I am more relaxed, more calm, I am smiling more…you get the picture, right?

I admit: fasting is not easy. The hardest part about fasting is getting started. Sometimes, the hunger really gets to you. And people usually try to offset it by eating something heavy just before starting the fast. In my opinion, that’s self-deception. The whole purpose of fasting is that you must feel hungry. It’s a sacrifice, right? It must make you uncomfortable and want to eat badly. And in that state, when you get down on your knees and pray, you begin to move mountains.

The irony is that once I got past the initial discomfort and started reaping the benefits of fasting, I wanted to fast more. And the thing with fasting is that the more you fast, the easier it gets.

The Bible presents fasting as something that is beneficial for everyone. If you asked me, as a friend, I would strongly recommend it too. And you don’t have to wait until Lent to get started, although that’s the best period. Why Lent? Look at this way. If you want the bank to sanction a loan, you’ll go during business hours, right? You won’t go at midnight when the bank is closed. Similarly, it makes sense to approach the Throne of Mercy in the hour of mercy. It’s as simple as that.

People often misunderstand what abstinence is all about. We can always have a feast and we rarely miss an opportunity to eat. In fact, most of us eat way too much most of the time and that’s not very good either. But that’s not what fasting is about. God does not derive any sadistic pleasure from our hunger. Fasting is less about what we’re giving up and more about what we’re making room for. When we fast, we exchange what we need to SURVIVE with what we need to LIVE. Fasting frees the body and mind from the things holding us down and helps us hear God more clearly.

If you are past the age of 30, you already know by now that life has this propensity to throw all kinds of curve balls. You’ll be challenged in your job, your marriage, your health, your finances, etc. And every once in a while you will want something so badly that you would be willing to give up anything for it. Even food. That’s what Lent is really about. It’s for us and our benefit. When we fast and pray we are essentially telling God, “I need You. I can’t see where my life is headed from down here. I don’t know what’s coming down the road, but You have a better view from up there. You can see the big picture. Please take care of this for me. I trust You.

I don’t know about you, but I try to take my life one day at a time. I look at what’s happening in my life. I look at my marriage, my kids, my home. I look at what’s happening around me and in the world and then I decide what I need to do. Some days I am FEASTING and some days, especially around this time, I am FASTING.

What about you?

You have 325 days in the year to eat what you want, when you want and how much you want. But you only have 40 days of Lent to fast and pray. And this is the final week. If you are not maximizing what this period is all about, you are really missing out.


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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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Family Fights: You Lose Even When You Win

​The only battle you’ll never win is the one you fight against your own family. Any man who verbally, emotionally, physically or psychologically beats his own wife, kids or parents down and expects to win is a fool because when they lose, YOU LOSE.   

Jesus said, “a house divided against itself shall not stand” because fights within the family are like cancer. The real reason cancer is so deadly is because it’s not caused by an external virus or bacteria. It’s an internal fight. Cancer is basically your body fighting you. It’s like a civil war breaking out inside you. You can only survive when the fighting stops. 

So, what you really need is for everyone connected to you to be winning everything — all the time. That’s why you’ve got to take the high road and walk away from some fights. They are really not worth your time and energy because even if you win, you still lose. The Bible says “anger rests in the bosom of fools” and “avoiding a fight is a mark of honor; only fools insist on quarrelling.”

Basically, God is asking you to be wise and stop fighting against everybody and yourself.


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The War Within

peaceTry this in your mind. Think about one person you could happily do without. This person could be someone from your own family, your neighborhood, your workplace, your school…it doesn’t matter. This person is a real pain in the a** and bothers you so much that you are certain your world would be better if this person wasn’t in it.

Have you identified your antagonist? Great! Now answer the next question: Does this person share your faith and practice the same religion as you?

If you answered yes, you are in the right place. Please continue reading.

I tried this exercise with my Sunday School Class during a discussion on religion and war. I was trying to show them that, contrary to what we think, people who practice other religions are NOT the problem. To their surprise, nearly all my students discovered that their biggest “enemy” was someone from their own faith.

Regardless of your religion, I can almost guarantee that nearly 70% of you would have discovered the same thing.

The reason there are so many conflicts over religion today is because devil has hoodwinked the world into thinking that all our problems are caused by people of one faith or the other. Depending on your age and the part of the world you live in, you’ve probably nursed the idea that your world would be better off without Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, etc. But the fact – like some of you just discovered – is that most of your problems are neither caused by people from other communities, nor by folk with divergent political views.

According to the Bible, war and strife are caused by the conflict WITHIN the human soul. The primary triggers are PRIDE, GREED and ENVY. The Book of James is explicit about this. It asks: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?  You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight.” (James 4:1,2)

That’s why even in supposedly Christian countries like the United Kingdom, the Protestants and Catholics have been at each other for centuries. In the predominantly Muslim Middle East, Sunnis and Shias are happily blowing each other up. In India, Hindus were fighting caste wars long before the Mughals and Europeans showed up. In predominantly Jewish Israel, the Reform and Orthodox movements continue to confront each other over religious, social, political and ethnic issues.

So, if you think all of the world’s problems would magically disappear if you got rid of all the Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Jews, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, Hitler had a similar idea about the Jews not so long ago and we all know how that turned out. If you are thinking along those lines too, what does that say about you?

All of us want PEACE. And we want it so badly that we are willing to fight great wars for it. We FIGHT so that we can have PEACE. You see the paradox?

If you really want world peace, first stop the war within.

Great wars begin from little wars, often kindled at home. Great peace also begins at home, often with a smile.


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War & The Butterfly Effect

Five years of civil war has torn Syria apart. Countless lives have been lost, families ripped apart, childhoods snatched, the economy destroyed. Syrians are finding out the hard way that in war there are no victors — everybody loses.

Funny thing is what’s happening in Syria and Iraq could happen anywhere in the world, even in our neighborhood. That’s why we must always strive for peace. But how do we do that? Can a handful of people thousands of miles away from the epicenter of conflict bring world peace? The answer is YES.

Have you heard of the Butterfly Effect?

The Butterfly Effect is the notion that the tiny flutter of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tornado on the other side of the world. In other words, if you change even the smallest of life’s details, you completely change its outcome. That means everything we say and do can affect our surroundings and the world at large for either good or bad.

Consider Jesus, for example. Jesus was just one man. He spent his whole life in and around Israel, moving within a 200 km radius. Yet, what he said and did 2000 years ago has affected billions of lives across the centuries and continues to do so to this very day. 

By that logic, all of us – even you – can do your bit to bring increase peace. Yes you — as small and insignificant as you may think you are — you can bring world peace.

How?!

Start with your OWN home.

Try your best to keep your spouse, your kids and parents happy. Love your wife and remain true to her. Respect your parents. Be nice to your kids.

Your spouse and kids will carry the ripple effect of what you achieved at home to their workplace and school, positively impacting the people they hang out with. You can start something good at home that will circle the globe several times.

Be good, do good. If all of us did just one thing to make our home a happier place, we would not have any wars anywhere in the world.

War looks good in movies, but sucks in real life. That’s why the Bible exhorts us: “never pay back evil for evil. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. (And) if possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.” (Romans 12:17,18). It commands us to “make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; (for) without holiness no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

What goes around, come around. If you do not strive for peace, you WILL reap war and everything that war brings – death, desolation, poverty, misery. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7).

So, if you really love your family, your wife and kids, and you want them to be safe, strive for peace. Remember, great wars start from little wars — often kindled at home. Great peace also starts at home — often with a smile.


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Biblical Solutions for Property | Inheritance Disputes

The Bible offers sound advice on almost all issues pertaining to life. If people followed these percepts, the world would be a much better place. Consider, for instance, the number of families ripped apart by property disputes. Brothers not talking to brothers, children not talking to parents…it’s tragic. The courts are clogged with property cases and people have been waiting for judgement for years, which is crazy when you consider that the Judge of all Creation pronounced His verdict on these issues thousands of years ago. Here’s a sampling:

What is the proper order of succession to inheritance?

According to the Bible, God meant for inheritance to be patrilineal. In other words, the father bequeaths only to his male descendants, thereby ensuring the property stays in the family line. Numbers 36:8-9 affirms that God meant for people to inherit the property of their ancestors so that property would not pass from one tribe to another. Instead, each tribe would continue to possess its own property.

Illustration: My grandfather Martin Peres had five children (two sons and three daughters). The daughters married into other families and took their husband’s names (Menezes, D’Souza, Barretto). The elder son Victor Peres never married and therefore has no children. The younger son Jeffery Peres has two children, a son and a daughter. Now, when Victor makes his will, he should bequeath his share of the ancestral property to Jeffery. But what if for some reason Jeffery happens to pass away before Victor? Can Victor bequeath his share to his sisters? The answer is No. According to the Bible, Victor should then bequeath his share to Jeffery’s son, because he carries the family name Peres. Each tribe should continue to possess its own property. Peres property should stay with Peres, D’Souza property with D’Souza, Menezes property with Menezes, and Barretto property with the Barrettos.

But what if a man has no sons to whom he can bequeath his inheritance to?

Good question. Although daughters were to have no part in their father’s inheritance (because when they married they would become stakeholders in their husband’s estate), there are some exceptions. According to the Bible, whenever a man dies without leaving a son, his daughter is to inherit his property. If he has no daughter, his brothers are to inherit it. If he has no brothers, his father’s brothers are to inherit it. If he has no brothers or uncles, then his nearest relative is to inherit it and hold it as his own property. (Numbers 27.8-11)

What if a man has two sons? How should he divide his property among them?

When the man decides how he is going to divide his property among his children, he is not to show partiality. He is to give a double share of his possessions to his first son. A man must acknowledge his first son and give him the share he is legally entitled to. (Deuteronomy 21:16-17)

Illustration: I have two sons. When i get ready to divide my inheritance between my boys, I must ensure my elder son Moshe gets a double portion. How do I do that? I must first divide my inheritance into three equal portions. One portion goes to Moshe and the second goes to Aharon. Now, there is one portion still remaining. I must give that portion to Moshe so that he will have a double portion.

Does the logic seem a little unfair? To secular minds it might. Fact is I do love both my sons, but Moshe is the beginning of my strength and the first one to answer to my name. He will be the head of the family when I am gone and would be expected to watch out for his brother too. If Moshe had a sister and if her husband treated her badly, he would be expected to take her under his wing and provide for her as well. The Bible says to whomsoever much is given, of him will much be required (Luke 12:48). God did not bestow more to firstborns so that they could squander it all away. He did it so that they could use it to fulfill their duty as head of the family.

But what if the firstborn is irresponsible and refuses to fulfill his duty? Well, frankly speaking, what people do with the money entrusted to them is their concern. It is between them and their Creator. God entrusted firstborns with more and they are accountable to Him alone. God decides how much each one should get. Take what is yours and go your way. (Matthew 20:14).

Yes, there are people who consciously delight in doing wrong. But there are countless others who yearn to do the right thing. They only need someone to explain to them what the right thing is. This article is a very small effort to decipher and demystify certain Biblical codes that will help you to handle your property properly. In fact, how you react to what is written here can also tell you a lot about yourself. If you cannot find rest in the Word of God, it is very unlikely that you will find rest any where else. Why? Because like the rich young man who loved his riches too much to follow Jesus, you also love money and the things of this world more than you love God and His commands.

Some people think the Bible is outdated and does not make sense. Well, truthfully, there are a lot of things in this world that don’t make any sense. But when people try to put their own spin on things (mostly to benefit themselves), they start wars. It is up to each of us to decide what road we are going to take. We always have at least two choices. It’s either God’s way or the highway.

If you choose the highway, prepare to burn bridges, lose sleep and burn a ton of money chasing lawyers and dates in courthouses. If you choose God’s way, peace, happiness and prosperity will be your constant companions.

Personally, I’d much rather go with the Chief Architect. God did not make rules for us to understand them, He made rules so that we could obey them. And if that’s how God wants it, then that’s how it should be.


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Small Beginnings

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When I married Sharel in April 2009, I started below zero. I renounced the comforts of my parents’ home and the few possessions I had because when I read the scripture: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh”, I interpreted it literally.

The day before I got married, I left my home with just one suitcase. Sharel did the same. For the first few weeks as a married couple, we lived out of our suitcases, trusting everything else to divine providence. We did not have much of anything, except for each other and our faith in God.

Today, we live with our two wonderful children in our own 2 bedroom home. We have everything we need and everything we want.

I learnt through my own experience that God honours those who honour Him and blesses those who obey His commands. I believe God meant for all of us to take His word literally. I also learnt that we should never despise small beginnings. This is my testimony. This is what God did for me. And I am ever so grateful.