Sunday, July 31, 2016

What I have learned from owning a cat and dog about God

Now, how could the Lord possibly show me and anyone anything through a cat and dog? I have learned a lot about how God sees us, about human nature and why He has given me these to wonderful creatures to make me more holy and into the likeness of Christ. I hope that this message makes you laugh, makes you examine yourself and also appreciate our furry friends a bit more. If there is one thing I have learned in the time I have been born again is that there are no coincidences when it comes to God.I want to start off by sharing a verse in Proverbs 12:10 that says that the righteous man "regardeth the life of his beasts". The regard your pets or farm animals (if you happen to have them) is to give attention to, to to have concern for them. That is all good but I see people taking that to an extreme. They basically worship their pets. Show them affection, take care of them and be kind to them. That is all you are required to do. I know people in my personal life who exalt their pet higher than God and they don't know that they are doing it. Do not exalt anything, including your pets or animals above the Lord. I was guilty of this and I have repented of it.

I will start with my cat. His name is Ollo. We got him for free from a friend of my wife in August 2011. He was only 10 weeks old when we got him. We were told that the cat was a girl. When we took the cat to get spayed the vet called and told me "Mr. Diaz I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first?" I said bad news first. The vet said "Your cat is not a she, its a he." Now, I've told people this and they laugh at me like I should have known. First of all, we were told that the cat was female. Second, I am not going to looking at the my cat's privates to know for sure. Anyways, the good news was that the neutering was going to cost me less. My cat was named Maggie but once we found out she was a he, we changed it. Me and my wife came up with Ollo after watching the kids movie "Mega Mind". In the movie the main character answers the phone and instead of saying "Hello" he says "Ollo". We thought it was a good fit and it stuck. Ollo loves to bite, plays very rough and is very moody. We got Ollo before I was born again and I wasn't exactly very kind to him. But after being born again I have learned so much from him. I have learned how to love someone and forgive them even when they don't love or forgive me back. Ollo has free will and he does what he wants and I have to respect that or else he will let me know I've over stepped my boundaries. I praise God for Ollo because God blessed my family with an amazing creature with so many colors and amazing abilities. I know also that all creation is waiting in earnest anticipation for the revealing of the sons of God and they groan and travail. So when Ollo gets mad or hisses at me, instead of disciplining him, I tell that I understand why he is doing what he is doing Yes, I talk to my cat. If God can make a donkey talk, he can make my cat understand my words. The last thing I want to share about Ollo was a time when he left for 4 days. On the 4th day my wife came home from work late that night and asked if Ollo had come back home. I said no. I suggested that she pray about it and I would pray with her. So she prayed and pleaded with the Lord with tears in her eyes. We went to bed and about 3:30am we heard scratching at the door. Ollo came back home! We praised God and loved on Ollo that morning. We gave him hugs, kisses, food and his treats. Reminds me of the prodigal son. He was a changed cat when he came back home. He was a lot nicer for some reason. The Lord heard our prayer and I believe got Ollo back home. The Bible says that God cares for the things that matter to us. This mattered to us, so it mattered to Him. Praise the Lord because His mercy is steadfast and endures forever more.

Our dog Angel has a slightly different story and I have learned something different from her. She is the complete opposite of the cat. She is usually happy, very friendly, extremely loving and very playful. We got her through another friend of my wife's from her job. He had bought Angel for his girlfriend but they broke up and she gave him back the puppy. He didn't want the dog. So we bought Angel for $60.00. She is a Chihuahua/Jack Russel terrier mix. I had been praying for a dog because my kids were terrified of dogs. It tore me up inside to see my kids so frightened because this happened all the time. Me and my wife came to the conclusion that the only way they would get over their fear of dogs is by having one as a pet. So we prayed for the perfect dog for our family. When we first saw Angel we all fell in love with her. Her little waggy tail and big ears. She was about 3 months old when we got her in June 2015. Angel is tiny but she has the biggest heart in our family. She is very loving and affectionate. But I learned that sometimes we don't always need to be loved overwhelmingly by others. Gods love is perfect and unwavering. Although Angel has all black fur, I still praise God for His handy work. She may not be a pure breed dog but that does  not take away from her beauty. The most beautiful part of Angel is her love and her big heart. She is also very good with my kids. She is tender and playful with them. God truly heard our prayers and gave us the desires of our heart. I didn't think it was possible but the Bible says that with God all things are possible. Through Angel, I have got a taste of what God's unconditional love is like. Not matter what, when I see Angel, she will greet me and give me all kinds of love.

God has used the cat to humble me and has used the dog to comfort me. Before I got born again, I was kind of like a cat. I had to come when I wanted and how I wanted. I wasn't going to be forced or else it would just push me away. God sent me one guy to draw me back to the Lord. Even then I felt reluctant. After that it was just the Lord calling me and showing that I needed Him. I came at free will. When my cat comes and snuggles up with me unexpectedly, I don't turn him away and he knows I wont. He knows that I will love him and pet him. Its feels so sweet when this happens. On the other hand, Angel, when I call her she comes running with her tail wagging and her ears up with such eagerness to see what I wanted. She obeys the call and she freely comes as well. She doesn't have to and when she does she does it eagerly. Oh if we were more like that. If we were more eager to obey our calling from God and do it with out complaining and full of joy. Jesus said that if we love Him that we should do what He commands. I know that I write a lot about it but it is worth being repeated because it is the truth. Some people don't like cats because they have a mind of their own but the like dogs because the dog does what  you tell it. Some people like cats because they are independent and don't need so much attention. But they don't like dogs because they are so needy. Think about it though, aren't we like that with God sometimes? We have a mind of own and free will. Yet we reject Gods love. We are needy but God doesn't turn us away. We think that we are independent but we need God to take care of us. God loves it when we obey Him.

                                 I want to share this link about 10 Biblical truths about animals


Monday, July 25, 2016

Romans 8 - Why it is my favorite chapter in the Bible

My favorite chapter in the Bible is Romans 8. Whenever I feel down and out, when the enemy has been kicking my behind, I am renewed and strengthened after I read this chapter. It is also a good reminder to walk  not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. I am going to point out some of the verses that always stand out to me in no particular order and I hope and pray that they help you out as well. This is hard to do because the entire chapter is a plethora of wisdom. By the way, I will be using the King James version of the Bible. 

Romans 8:16 - "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God" The basic thing that a brand new believer MUST believe and trust that they are a child of God when they are born again. The Spirit will bare witness of this. But to help anyone who may be struggling with this, let me help you out because I struggled through the same thing when I first got born again. One way you can tell that you were born again is that you hate the old sins you use to be okay with. Things that use to entertain you don't do that anymore. Not only are you concerned with your own salvation but also the salvation of others. Those are just a few examples I could think of right of the top of my head where the Spirit bears witness of this. In 1 John 2:12 John writes "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake" I recently heard a sermon 1 John 2 and John is writing to new believers, babes in the faith. Also, I want to mention that part of the armor of God is the helmet of salvation. Know in your mind that once you have believed in Jesus as your Lord Savior and you believe that He was raised from the dead, you are saved. 

Romans 8:3 - "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" In Galatians 3:24 Paul writes "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." So the law shows us that within our own power we can not live according to the way God has commanded. The law teaches us that we are sinners in need of a savior. In James 2:10, James writes "For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all." The heated discussions I have had with some folks want to go back to the law and they actually teach that to others. The flesh is weak and we can not be made perfect by the flesh. Folks still want to live according to the Levitical law! I am not saying to do away with the law. Jesus was able to live out the law perfectly and then was punished on our behalf in sinful flesh. Again, in Galatians 3:11 "But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith."

Romans 8:19 "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." Romans 8:22 - "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."  The next time somebody goes off on you, reviles you etc, to think of it this way, they are groaning and travailing in expectation of the revelation of the sons of God. All of creation is cursed including all the animals and plants. They are waiting along with us for Jesus to come back and break the curse. I want to share with you an example of this. My cat Ollo is a beautiful creation that the Lord blessed my family with. I praise God for such an amazing creature. Ollo is truly a demonstration of God's handy work. He can be very sweet but sometimes out of nowhere he will get mad and bite me, scratch me, growl at me, meow at me and hiss at me. Instead of returning evil for evil, I will love him back and I tell him that I know that he is groaning and travailing in expectation of the manifestation of the sons of God. I will try to remember this the next time I have an angry customer to deal with at work or somebody is angry at me for sharing the Gospel. It should move us to compassion not to ridicule someone or something because of what this verse is telling us. Also, another example of this that comes to mind is when my muscles are sore from my injuries I got from serving in the Army, I groan and travail in earnest expectation of the sons of God. Come Lord Jesus, Come! 

Romans 8:18 - "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Here is a bit of encouragement for you. No matter what you deal with as a believer in Christ, no matter the suffering and persecution you have to endure for the sake of His name, they are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. One million years from now and we have been in New Heaven and New Earth, when we look back we are not going to say "All that suffering I had to endure was worthy of this". On the contrary, we should be like "I endured a lot of things to get here but 'MAN, THIS IS ABOVE AND BEYOND WHAT I DREAMED OR EXPECTED!!!'" There was a time where I was using medical marijuana to ease my P.T.S.D. and the aches and pains of my body. But the Lord later showed me that I needed to deny myself that legitimate pleasure and endure the pain and suffering. It carries eternal weight in glory that will be revealed upon His return. I resisted though. Then one day the presence of the Lord came upon me heavy and said "Chose this day whom you will serve!" I chose to obey God and I have not regretted it since. I still ache and I have back spasms but I know that it will be worth it and then some. The Lord needs me sober for the mission He has planned for me. So if you are going through a hard time, suffering from illness, do not fret and don't complain. Remember this verse. 

Romans 8:28 - "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." This has got to be one of my top favorite verses in the Bible because I have experienced this very verse for myself many times in my life. Some of you know recently I was involved in a car accident. If I had not been born again, that would have been a catastrophe and I would have been so angry and depressed about it. Thank God He has had mercy on me and made me righteous and I walk blameless before Him. I already knew that all things work together for the good of this who love Him and are called according to His purpose. But how do we show Jesus that we love Him? Actions do speak louder than words. Jesus said in John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments." Even Mary, the mother of Jesus said in John 2:5 "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it." We have all heard  the saying "God has a wonderful plan for your life." even when things don't seem to be going your way or you don't understand what is going on, remember that God will work things out for your good because you love Him and you are called according to His purpose. Nothing will stop what God has planned. 

Romans 8:37-39 - "Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Sometimes we don't feel like we are more than conquerors. Isn't great to know that the truths of God's word isn't based on how we feel? Hallelujah! But in all things we are more than conquerors. If you are struggling with sin, that is a good thing. Because you are fighting it. You may stumble and you may fall, but you keep fighting and struggling. God will give you the victory over that sin. For example, I am on the brink of conquering fear of speaking to people in public about the Gospel. Its so close that I can almost taste victory. I tell you what I did and this what I suggest you should. Keep praying, keep praising, keep reading the word of God and keep your faith. God makes us wait to increase our faith and test us. Be like Jacob and keep contending for your blessing. I remember asking God what was wrong with me. Ends up nothing was wrong with me and I am not the only one who deals with this. The problem is that I haven't been discipled and shown how to do this. When was the last time someone took you out to teach you how to preach the gospel, heal the sick, and cast out demons? Probably never. But we all know about it though! Jesus said to go out and preach the Gospel, make disciples, show them how to do the things He commanded us to do. What we in the western church have done is memorized and memorized it in Greek but we have not gone out done what He told us to do. So now I am praying that the Lord would bring someone into my life who will disciple me. I have plenty of knowledge but my obedience does not match my knowledge. My obedience is lower than my knowledge and in that gap is filled with fear. Many of us suffer from this. The cure is acting on the word of God. Taking a leap of faith and trusting that God will do what He said he would do. We need to become an apprentice of someone who knows how to do these things. We must also remember that the only thing that separates us from God is sin. Nothing else will separate us from His love which is in Christ Jesus. Keep your garments clean but repenting of sins if and when you do slip up. Jesus is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. 

Please prayerfully read Romans chapter 8. Whenever I am down or need strength, this is where I find it. What is you favorite chapter in the Bible? Or your favorite verse? Place your response in the comments below. I am looking forward to reading them! 

Sunday, July 24, 2016


Cross, noun, an upright post with a transverse bar, as used in antiquity for crucifixion

Trek, noun, a long arduous journey, especially one made on foot:

Arduous, adjective, involving or requiring strenuous effort; difficult and tiring

The Lord just recently blessed my family with a new vehicle. Its a 2013 Subaru XV Crosstrek. The reason we had to buy a new vehicle was because me and my wife were involved in an auto accident on June 17, 2016. We walked away from the wreck with just some soreness and a bit shook up. The other driver seemed okay as well. But both of our cars were totaled. It wasn't easy this whole situation. We only have one vehicle, I missed a day from work, and we didn't know where we would get the money to buy another vehicle. But God had a plan. Because of this accident, many people got the word, my testimony shared with them or they received a Gospel of John tract. I'm not boasting. This was all the Lords work. I am just glad to be a part of it. 2 weeks roll by and we finally went out and got a vehicle. My younger brother came all the way from San Diego, Ca to let me borrow his spare pick up so that we could get around. If it had not been for that, my story would be different. 

So what does this have to do with anything? Well, it has to do with picking up your cross and following Jesus. Its about denying yourself. Its about obeying the Lord. Its about trusting the Lord even when things don't seem like they will ever get right. Being without a way to get around for 2 weeks was hard. Having to spend money to pay for the LYFT rides that was meant for groceries was hard. Talking to strangers about the #1 most controversial man who ever walked the face of the earth was hard. My brother driving all the way out to Phoenix, AZ with a pick up that has no AC in the middle of summer was hard. Let alone, going to go buy a car and buy it was hard. God had a plan though and He gave us all the grace and strength to endure and overcome. These are examples of picking up your cross and following Jesus. A crosstrek! I had asked the Lord a day or two prior to the accident to show me that He loved me and He delivered in a way that I wasn't expecting. 

Here is what the Bible says about our crosstrek. 

Matthew 16:24 -25 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 

So how could these two verses possibly compliment one another? Jesus said is any person who wants to come after Him, be His disciple, that person must deny themselves. What exactly would this person deny? Legitimate comforts, luxuries and fleshly desires for the sake of living a righteous life and serving the Lord. In my case, being without a car for a couple of weeks so that about 10 people could get the word of God. Or how my brother heard the call from the Lord to let my family borrow his pick up. I can only imagine and speculate what may  have occurred if myself or my brother would have not obeyed or began to complain and not obey the calling of the Lord. Picking up our cross, enduring this long, arduous journey on foot we call life, is the burden of being a follower of Christ. 

What an honor to share in abundance of the sufferings of our Lord but also we share in the abundance of comfort through Christ like it says in 2 Corinthians 1:5. We take comfort that the work of the cross was sufficient to defeat sin and death. When Jesus gave His last breathe and said "It is finished!", that meant all that needed to be done to save us sinners was complete. By grace through faith we are saved. But faith without works is dead and works without faith is dead. How could we call ourselves disciples of Jesus Christ if we don't preach the gospel, or heal the sick, or live a holy life? There has to be proof that there has been a transformation on the inside that is manifesting itself on the outside. 

Todd White gave a great analogy by saying that when you squeeze an orange you expect to get orange juice. But if you squeeze an orange and apple juice comes out, something isn't right. Then why should it be any different when a disciple of Jesus is "squeezed" through trial and tribulation, the Jesus in that disciple should come out? If anything else comes out like worry, complaining, anger, etc, something is very wrong. This is one the Lord blessed me with. If I were to say I am a dog, besides thinking I am a looney, wouldn't you begin to say, "Nick, you are not a dog. You don't bark, you don't walk on four legs, you don't have a waggy tail and you don't have fur covering your entire body." So, I cant say I am a dog because I dont have the tell-tale signs of a dog. So how could someone say they are a disciple of Jesus or Christian if there are no tell-tale signs? No preaching, no healings, no miracles, no faith, no prayer life, etc?

Me and my family got squeezed. It would have been really easy to give in to our flesh and whine and complain about our terrible situation. But instead, the Jesus in us came out. At the accident scene, we prayed with the other driver and I gave him a Gospel of John tract. I wasn't angry with him. I gave a tract to a police officer. I denied my legitimate right to get angry, hate the other driver and question God on why He let such a terrible thing happen to me. We live in an ABC world. Anything But Christ. BUt us believers know that its "All 'Bout Christ". Tell you what, the times in my life when things got hard or a big mountainous problem arises, I know that is a test of faith and I am closer to God than ever. Each time catastrophe strikes and we are squeezed, what should come out is the Jesus in us. Sanctification is a life long process. Its a strenuous trek with a cross on our back as we follow Jesus to eternal life. 
    "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live
    in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."(Galatians 2:20)