Category Archives: English Devotions

The Land That I Spied Out For Them

“In that day I did lift up my hand to them, to bring them forth from the land of Egypt, unto a land that I spied out for them, flowing with milk and honey, a beauty it is to all the lands”

(Ezekiel 20:6 Young Version)

In the morning of a sunny day I was meditating in my beloved God who gifted me this delightful and beautiful day, I heard Him whispering in my ears with this verse and making evident to me with this phrase “I spied out the land for them.” In my ignorance I was like Joseph.  When Joseph wanted to correct the sitting of his father Jacob’s hands on his sons Ephraim and Manasseh’ heads he wanted to bless them. Joseph thought his father was mistaken (Gen 48: 13-20).

In a hurry, with my ignorance I quickly said, “It isn’t like this, my God.” Because of my limited knowledge I thought that Moses is the one who sent 12 men to spy on the land (Num 13:2). For a moment I thought I should know more than this.  As I read in book of Joshua I saw that Joshua sent two men to spy on Jericho before the nation Israel crossed the Jordan (Jas 2:1).

Then my beloved God in His inexpressible wisdom with the same comfort and quietness and peace answered me saying, “I know my son what you say.”  I used this in my dialogue with Him, always. Then He continued, “And this true because this exactly what I told you in my book. But what you don’t know is; before Moses and Joshua sent men to spy the land and come back with news of this land that my people will dwell in it. Even before I took Abraham out of his land and tribe” (Gen 12:1) I was the one who spied the whole land and searched everywhere to choose the best land to inhabit for my beloved people whom so precious to my heart.

He opened His arms and pressed me in His bosom with tender worm fatherly love and said, “You too my beloved son whom for you I didn’t spare My own Son but delivered Him for you (Rom 8:32).”   How I don’t spy every place to inhabit you the best land and how I don’t search everything to give you the best thing?”

I open my eyes, not from a sleep, but from the meeting with the Groom of my soul whom I was comforted in His bosom. He is the one who gives me the spiritual insight to know surely that my beloved God is the One who always and in everything.

“Spy the land for me”

Come down from the Cross

“He is the King of Israel; let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him”

(Matthew 27:42)

I found myself invading the crowd to get close to see the crucified Jesus. I have tried very hard, but everyone else wanted to be close to the same thing I wanted to see. I reached a spot, not very close, but from where I could see well. I tried to distinguish who among the three was Jesus. They all looked very exhausted’ the marks of the scourge on their bodies, and their bodies covered with the blood. Unless the Bible tells that He was crucified in the middle I would not know Him (Luke 23:33).

People were crying and shouting around me with a loud voice. Some of them curse and revile, and some look at Him with despitefully spitting on the ground saying this is disgusting (Isaiah 53: 2-3). Then I noticed a woman with her husband and kids standing next to me. This woman was cursing nonstop, assuring He was a criminal like the other two who were crucified with Him. I looked at the woman and said “Aren’t you the woman that Jesus cured her daughter last year?” She said “Yes it is me, but how did you know me?” I answered, “I was there at that time.” Then I continue saying “But I am seeing you cursing, reviling, and assuring that the one who cured your daughter is a criminal!!” She said “Are you a stranger? Do not you know that the high priests and the Sanhedrin judged Him that He is guilty and deserves death?” Then she added, “And above all of these, the high priest challenging Him now saying ‘…come down from the cross.” Then she said “But as you see, He is so humiliated and weak. He cannot proof to the high priest and to us that He is able to come down from the cross.”

I did not answer her with a word but I looked at Jesus and said “My Lord I am sure that what hurts you more isn’t the scourge, the cross, or the nails, but it is the crying of those people who you were walking among.  To them you did all that was good; healing their sick, casting out their demons, raising their dead, and preaching to them about the kingdom of God. And now they are claiming that you are a criminal and that you deserve what you were punished with. As the high priests, scribes, and Pharisees shouting out saying

“Come down from the cross”


“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will lift you up.”

(James 4:10)

When I was meditating on the phrase “Humble yourselves” and its meaning, I found the Holy Spirit leading me to one meaning.  This meaning is a person admitting a mistake. From there I found myself running into Saul the king and Samuel the prophet, which is mentioned in 1st Samuel chapter 13. In an intense showdown, Samuel said to the king: “What have you done?” I looked at the king waiting for him to admit his mistake, but instead he made up an excuse and justified his action. He did not say: “I made a mistake.” So Samuel responded harshly: “You have done foolishly.” I left them and went on my way, sad that Saul did not humble himself to admit his mistake.

But oh my soul, why are you looking at Saul as if you were not Saul one day? Not only once but many times in your life have you made the same mistake.  How many times you justify yourself in what you are doing calmly with reasons and logic just like Saul? You foolishly think that the other party believes what you say and you only respect your own pride. In fact, he leaves you and saying: “This one has done foolishly.”

The Bible’s promise is good to everyone who wants to humble him or herself, but the ego worries us from being inferior in the people’s eyes. This promise “Humble yourselves … And he will lift you up.” I experienced that during the trial of 2013. The Devil was jealous of me and my service.  God had blessed me with His grace in being able to serve. Satan made me fall in sin. Not only this, but Satan also enticed the congregation of my church to think that I was an evil person and that I deserved more than what I was punished for. Then after all these workings which Satan had done, he was shocked by seeing the entire congregation talking about the virtues and ministries God used me for. This happened because Satan did not know that I admitted, I made a mistake and that I deserved punishment; I believed in God’s promise:

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the lord, and he will lift you up.”

The Foot Washer

“He poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded”    

(John 5:13)

We went on a mission trip to Kenya in the summer of 2009. While we were there, we celebrated the feast of the Apostles on July 12th. During the Liturgy of the Apostle’s feast, we fulfill the rite of washing the feet. I prayed the liturgy there, and practiced the rite of washing the feet of the congregation.  Everyone attending was from the city there. They all came with bare feet or wearing slippers. The roads in Kenya are unpaved and dusty. I sat on the floor to wash their feet from the dust of the road. It was as if I was practicing this rite for the first time. Every time during my priesthood years in Egypt or America, I would just anoint the feet of the people, and their feet were always clean because they were wearing socks and shoes. When I finished the washing of the feet for the Kenyan congregation, the floor of the church where I washed their feet was all muddy (dust and sand mixed with water). I looked at this muddy floor and I rejoiced because the floor was dirty, but their feet were clean.


This realization took me to the scene where Jesus sat on the floor to wash the feet of His disciples. I contemplated in the Foot Washer, Our Lord Jesus, who washed the disciples from cowardness (Peter), doubt (Thomas), from failing in the test of faith (Philip in feeding the crowd), and from fear (all the disciples at the cross).


Our Lord Jesus Christ asked us to wash each others feet. I wonder how many of us are true foot washers or how many of us are truly willing to wash feet? How many of us are willing to sit in a muddy place, whereas all who come to are left clean?


It is not easy, but I pray for my weakness, for the church, for the servants and the shepherds all over the world so that we can all practice this great service. “the service of washing the feet.”  And there is no one to learn from except

“The true Foot Washer, Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Do Not Harden Your Heart

“If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from the poor brother.” (Deuteronomy 15:7)

I went to the book of Ruth, and there I found myself interested in a conversation by three women talking (Ruth 1:8).  I stood still because I wanted to see how the conversation was going to end. I heard Naomi saying to her two daughters-in-law: “Go back.” (Ruth1:11). I said to myself this makes sense; Naomi is an old woman and she does not have any more sons to offer as husbands.  She has nothing in this foreign country. And then Naomi confirmed what I was thinking about. This thought was reason and logic.

Surely there was no need or justification for the daughters to go with her since they are not Israelites.  They do not know the tradition of the Israelites and Naomi is not a wealthy woman by where the men of Israel would find attraction to take any of her daughters-in-law as wives. And as I followed the current talk between them I saw Orpah kissing her mother-in-law and returning back to her parent’s house. I said to myself she did the right thing using logic and reason.  What then came to my attention is Ruth did not do the same as Orpah, but insisted to stay with her mother-in-law.  I found myself in front of a scene in which I could not stay silent.  I felt Ruth was being unreasonable; how could she go with a poor old woman who was unable to take care for herself?

I whispered in Ruth’s ear and said: “Think a little bit about what you are intending to do, this old woman is poor and has to be dependent on anyone in which she can rely.  No one can afford this old woman’s expenses.”

Ruth turned to me and said: “Do you not believe in the God of Israel?” I said with confidence: “Of course I believe in the God of Israel.”

She said again: “Did he not tell you if you see your brother in need, you shall not harden your heart?”

I answered: “Yes, He said this, but this commandment is hard just like other commandments that are hard to accomplish.”

She said: “This commandment is not hard nor is any commandment hard, but your heart is hardened and tough. Then she said “Do not stop me from going with her.”  She left me to continue her conversation with her mother in-law with persistence.

I looked down and fled, while I felt sorry for myself and my harden heart. I sighed and prayed that God would give me a softened heart to have pity when I see the needs of my brother and do not to hinder myself.

“And I do not harden my heart later on”

It is impossible

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27)

I was confused by the phrase “with men it is impossible.” How could this be? With all of the technology, scientific progress, and the marvelous capabilities of the human mind, it seems that the phrase “with men it is impossible” does not apply to the current times. After all, man has been able to accomplish many things that had previously been considered impossible and continues to push the limit on what is considered to be impossible.

I started imagining myself on the beach where an expert swimmer jumped into the water and started swimming skillfully towards the deep until he disappeared from sight while enjoying the swim. But suddenly, there was a very powerful storm and the waves were high and the current rough as the storm was getting more and more powerful. The storm was so rough that I could not stand on the beach from the strength of the wind. I ran back to my residence for my own safety. The next day I asked about the swimmer and found out that he died because he could not face the storm. Then I remembered when the disciples said to Jesus, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” (Mark 4:38) So I bowed my head in shame and said: “with men it is impossible.”

Another time, I went to the hospital, one of America’s best hospitals, to visit a young man and his father who survived a horrible accident that the wife and the other son did not survive. Each one of them was in a separate room and the father was in much better condition than the son. When I visited the son, I found him in a complete coma with no solutions or medications attached to him, so I asked why this was the case. I was told that the doctors could not do anything before he awakes from his coma. So I bowed my head in shame and said: “with men it is impossible.”

But then You, my God, lift my head for me to see Your glory and tell me:

‘‘But not with God; for with God all things are possible.”


“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.” Luke 12:4

I tried to imagine how I could not fear death!! It is not easy. Not only do I fear death, but I also fear those in authority who are able to harm me. I am afraid of those who are powerful. I am afraid of those who unite against me. Fear comes at me from every direction.
This is not only the death of the body. There are many forms and shapes of death. The Spirit took me to Genesis 29 to show me how Jacob “killed” Leah when he made her feel unloved. How did Jacob speak to her? What harsh language did he use? Where were his sweet words of romance? He despised her in everything she did while appreciating and magnifying the Rachel’s smallest good deeds. Even in his sexual relationships, Leah received rejection while he displayed love and desire for Rachel.

All forms of death cause me fear. But the Lord whispered to me saying, “they have no more that they can do.” He opened my eyes to see. Those in authority are limited in their power. They have no power or authority of my soul. Only God can decide my ultimate fate.
Thank you O Lord that you encourage me saying, “Do not be afraid.” You assured me that “they have no more that they can do.” If my fear returns, I pray that you again strengthen me with your assurances saying:

“Do not be afraid”