All posts by Victor Cadena

About Victor Cadena

I’m the dad of eight kids, I know what you’re thinking, “The Hispanic Brady Bunch” right! I have three wonderful daughters from a previous marriage and my beautiful wife Valerie has four boys from a previous marriage. The newest addition to our family is our new baby boy. I’m currently a competitive power eater (LOL) but back in the day I actively competed as a power lifter. My greatest pride is that my family loves the Lord. My wife and I met serving in children’s church at Church Unlimited in Corpus Chirsti, Texas. Yep we have a blended marriage and there’s never a dull moment in our home. Our three girls live in other cities but the five boys live with us. I spend most of my time at football and basketball games and practices, and I love it. When we are not at games or practices or with our church family I like to hit the gym with my two older boys.

On Chris Cornell

A couple of nights ago a very popular singer committed suicide. This guy seemed to have it all. A great career, very influential and money but it wasn’t enough. Something was missing. Something that he felt was so painful that he thought there was no way out and lost all hope. I believe all of us have been there, at one point in our life I have. I attempted suicide and ended up in ICU for 4 days and then in a psych ward. I thought there was no way out. At that time in my life, I was far from God and really didn’t want much to do with God at the time. You see, the choices we make gets us to that point in our life and the choices shape our identity, who we are, is wrapped up in someone or something or who the world tells us who we are. Once all that comes crashing down, which it will, all we have left is a void, an emptiness inside that nothing or no one can fill but Jesus.

Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.
Ecclesiastes 3:11

We also lose the value of our life. We start feeling worthless. We walk around thinking this world is better off without me. The thing is suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem.

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
2 Corinthians 4:17 NLT

Suicide is an eternal choice we make because there is no coming back from it. Death is permanent and eternal. I want you to know that you are valuable, your life has meaning and a purpose. God says so, I say so!

For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11 NLT

God proved how valuable you are to Him by doing something for you that says I love you so much that I sent my Son to die for so you can spend eternity with Me.
Don’t give up! Seek God and get help!

Issue of Blood Part 1: Faith, Perseverance, Faith…

A woman was in the crowd who had been bleeding for twelve years, but no one was able to heal her. She came up behind Jesus and touched the edge of his coat, and instantly her bleeding stopped. Then Jesus said, “Who touched me?” When all the people said they had not touched him, Peter said, “Master, the people are all around you and are pushing against you.” But Jesus said, “Someone did touch me, because I felt power go out from me.” When the woman saw she could not hide, she came forward, shaking, and fell down before Jesus. While all the people listened, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed. Jesus said to her, “Dear woman, you are made well because you believed. Go in peace.”
~Luke 8:43‭-‬48 NCV

As I read these verses, God started to show me how this applies to my current situation so I decided to share this with you because maybe you’re struggling with something in your life too.

In this story, we have a woman who has been bleeding for 12 years and no one had been able to help her! But, she knew that Jesus was coming and if she could only touch the hem of His garment, she would be healed. She finally gets through and touches it and is healed. The verse says that Jesus felt the healing power leave His body. My question is why aren’t we told of anyone else being healed? Jesus says, “Who touched me?” Peter even says there were many people crowding and touching Him but, why was she the only one to receive healing? What was different with her need than others? Everyone needed healing yet, she was the only one healed.

Why was she healed? Her healing didn’t require Jesus touching her or even praying over her. She sought Jesus because she knew that all she needed to do was touch His garment and she would be healed. She went to Jesus expecting to be healed! Many times I have prayed half-hearted prayers. If you pray and don’t expect God to move He won’t move. We pray and expect God to move and things happen! So pray with an expectant heart!

The other thing we see is that Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd and she had to pry her way through. She didn’t let that stop her from receiving healing. She pushed through the crowd and I am sure she got knocked down and pushed back but, she got back up and kept moving forward. She preserved even when it seemed impossible. So many times I have stopped short of my breakthrough. I’ve felt tired and frustrated, it’s just not going happen. It is then we have to remember perseverance is pushing through and not giving up!

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
~James 1:12 NIV

The woman was focused on Jesus and didn’t waiver. She never lost sight of Him. Too many times we start to focus on our situation and not on the One who calmed the storm or who fed the five thousand with a child’s lunch. Remember how Jesus called Peter out of the boat…

Then Peter called to him, “Lord, if it’s really you, tell me to come to you, walking on the water.”
“Yes, come,” Jesus said.
So Peter went over the side of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw the strong wind and the waves, he was terrified and began to sink. “Save me, Lord!” he shouted.
Jesus immediately reached out and grabbed him. “You have so little faith,” Jesus said. “Why did you doubt me?”
~Matthew 14:28‭-‬31 NIV

Peter started to focus on the storm, not on the one that calms the storm with a word!
It’s time to start praying with expectancy and to keep pushing forward and not give up. Focus on the one who calms the storm, not the storm itself.

As far as my situation… I lost my job but God came through with a new job but it’s still not over. I just have to stay focused and preserve.

The Gardener

All of us have seen a beautifully landscaped yard.  Yards with beautiful flowers, trees trimmed perfect and long fruitful vines. Everything in place growing and blooming, it just makes you want to sit in the middle of all that beauty and relax without a care in the world. Sounds gorgeous, right? But it wasn’t always that way.

I remember when I was little and I used to go to my grandma’s house. In the front yard, there was a row of roses, they were beautiful with bright colors. My mom would pull up to my grandma’s house early in the morning and I would see my grandmother outside with a water hose in one hand and some really sharp pruning shears in the other, and man, they were sharp cause grandpa sharpened them up good. As I scrambled to get out of the car so I could go see what she was doing  and so I could play in the dirt, I would watch her cut and pull away parts of the bush. I asked, “ Grandma why are you cutting the bush up, aren’t you going to hurt it?” She would lean over and tell me that she was removing all the dead and broken stuff away from the flower because otherwise it wouldn’t grow and get big and beautiful. I’d hear her out and quickly get back to playing.

Back then I really didn’t understand what she was doing. Now I see how it all works. Without the gardener coming in with those sharp pruning shears to remove all the dead, ugly, broken branches, you wouldn’t have any growth.  Actually, all that dead and ugly stuff will eventually kill the plant. It takes a skillful gardener to come in and prune away all that junk. Some of it can be painful because it’s still attached and barely hanging on, the other junk is just there smothering the plant and it just needs to be pulled away.

In the book of John chapter 15, John talks about gardening but in this case, we are that rose bush or as John says, we are the vine and God the gardener. We are the rose bush (vine); God takes those shears and starts to trim away those things that are dead and broken in our life. The pruning can be things like bad relationships (1 Cor 15:33), addictions, or maybe it’s unforgiveness and hate we are holding on to. All these things prevent us from blooming and becoming who God wants us to be. Maybe people have put us down or called us names and we’re believing those things, but God says,  “No, you’re my masterpiece” (Eph 2:10). We should quit believing in what the world says and believe the Gardener, He sees our beauty. He sees who we are in Him! Let’s allow Him to help us rediscover that beautiful rose. That rose that people see and ask, “Where did you get that? I want one!” Then, let’s share the love of the Gardener with them.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.”

~John 15:5‭-‬6 NLT

Pacifiers

What is a pacifier? Websters says it’s a person that pacifies or a plastic shaped nipple that babies suck on or bite. Both definitions are simply temporary solutions for more permenant problems. Most of us have a hunger inside of us and we try to fill it with things. It could be things like money, sex, drugs, people, food or alcohol. I don’t know what it is for you, but all of us at one time have tried to satisfy (pacify) our souls with something or someone. When we do this, we begin to get restless and that hunger returns worse than before. It’s like we have a hole in our heart and we shove all these things in it to plug the hole and they work for a little while, but the hunger comes back.

“Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end.”

-Ecclesiastes 3:11 NLT

King Solomon talks about how God has placed eternity in our heart.  But It’s like we are taking what God put in our hearts and replacing it with something man-made. Why do we do that? Think about if we took something that we were born with and replaced it with something unnatural, something that is not supposed to be there. The book  of Ecclesiastes talks about this. In Ecclesiastes 1:14 King Solomon had everything he could ever dream of and more. He had tried everything under the sun and he says it’s all useless! I observed everything going on under the sun, and really, it is all meaningless—like chasing the wind. Without God, it’s all meaningless. That’s what it all boils down to, you can try everything that this world has to offer but it will not satisfy (pacify) you. Only God can fill the emptiness!

Christmas.

Christmas is upon us! Trees are up and decorated, lights are on houses and gifts are wrapped and placed under the tree. Well, except for ours; they are hidden. Boys like to peek. Homes smell like Christmas, the smell of a Christmas tree and cookies lingers in the air. Snow is here. Ok, maybe not here in South Texas; we have sand, dirt and dead grass. But Christmas is here, Santa just wears Hawaiian shorts and a short sleeve Santa Jacket.
Today I want to talk about the real reason for the season. Jesus and His birth, our gift from God. He was born to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 

Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! ” “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born, will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. Luke 1:27-28, 30-31, 34-35, 38 NLT

I know Mary had to have been freaking out in the beginning, but she went from fear to, “I am the Lord’s servant.” Mary knew who she was and who she belonged to. That gave her Godfidence that all this would be true and would take place. After that, she said, “May everything you have said come true.” Think about just that one verse. She knew she was gonna be talked about, persecuted and what was Joseph gonna say or do! But she remembered who she was and who she belonged to that gave her the Godfidence to say may all you have said come true. She knew God was gonna make a way plus she knew she knew she was handpicked by God to carry His gift, our Savior to the world. Wow! God has also handpicked you to do something great for His kingdom. Let’s get to it. Keep saying, “Let everything God has said about me come true!” Remember like Mary did, whose you are in Christ and who you belong to.

Joseph, Mary’s future husband, was handpicked by God to raise the Savior of the world. First off, Joseph had to have told Mary, “You’re what? Pregnant and still a virgin, yeah right! God got you pregnant! Mary, what you been smoking chick! You really expect me to believe that God’s Spirit did this?!” Scripture says he planned on divorcing her. So God had to intervene on this one. Us men can be stubborn. Especially after news like that! 

Joseph, her fiancé, was a good man. He did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly. As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:19-21 NLT

Joseph said OK, I believe now! Can you imagine God coming to you and saying, “Victor I am trusting you to raise my Son, He is going to be the Savior of the world?” God trusts us with His Son now! Scripture says He gave His one and only Son to us!   

Back to Joseph. It had to be pretty tough for him but he had that same Godfidence Mary had. I don’t think Mary quite trusted fully yet, but her choices were few, so she went with him. God really didn’t have to intervene much there. I believe their hearts were right with God so everything else fell into place. 

Now to my favorite part of the story. Joseph and Mary are headed to Bethlehem and when they get there, she goes into labor. Joseph frantically goes knocking on doors trying to get a room, but there are no rooms available. Jesus was coming, in a room or outside. Before we continue let me ask you a question. Is there room for Jesus in your heart? Or are you going to leave Him outside knocking? 

Joseph finally finds a place that is covered. It’s a barn! Our Savior, Jesus, is born in a stinky, animal-filled barn! Mary finally gives birth and the Savior of the world is born. Mary wraps Him in strips of cloth and places Jesus in a manger, a feeding trough for animals! This just tells me that no matter where or what you’re born into, God can still use you! Jesus, a king, wasn’t born in a palace or to a priest. He was born to a carpenter. Scripture describes Joseph as a good man. Mary, as a good woman and both had great hearts and were obedient to God. 

God knew exactly what He was doing. God put this plan in motion a very long time ago. He sent His one and only son to die for you and me. Jesus is the reason for the season! 

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NLT

Fishing.

Living here on the Gulf Coast, fishing can be a way of life or just a great way to relax and enjoy God’s beautiful work. The act of fishing requires the use of a rod and reel, some hooks, and bait or lures. Now, there are many different species of fish here on the Gulf Coast. There is fresh water and saltwater fishing which includes bay fishing or offshore fishing and thus, the type of fishing you choose determines your bait or lure selection.

You know the devil’s an expert angler. A temptation can be his rod and reel and his bait can be food, drugs, alcohol or maybe even porn. Whatever it is, he knows your weakness and he will continue to cast that bait until he gets you to bite. But, there is good news…

Men, if you get hooked you can spit the hook and keep swimming.

Satan is an expert angler and he has bait out everywhere. I keep thinking about when he went for the trophy catch in Jesus, but Jesus didn’t take the bait. He was on a 40 day fast and was tempted with food, kingdoms and wealth. The devil knowing scripture used the Word as bait. He took Jesus up to the highest point in Jerusalem and told Jesus to jump cause God’s word said He would send angels to protect Him. Jesus wasn’t having it. In every scenario, Jesus fought back with God’s Word. He used the same bait satan used against Him to win the battle. Like I said, satan is an expert angler, he has been doing this for millennia, but Jesus is an even better one! The one thing I want you guys to know is that you can win these battles too.  Just remember what scripture says about you.

“If you listen to these commands of the Lord your God that I am giving you today, and if you carefully obey them, the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will always be on top and never at the bottom.”
Deuteronomy 28:13 NLT

You are victorious over temptation.

“The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.”
Romans 8:11 NLT

Think about the power that is living in you. It’s the same power that rose Jesus from the grave. We can overcome temptation! We have the victory! You are overcomers! Don’t take the bait.

Distraction.

What are distractions? The dictionary defines it as the ability to prevent someone from giving full attention to something else. Wow! All of us get distracted from time to time. Some distractions are good some are bad. Here lately I’ve been struggling a lot with distractions to the point I feel like I might have ADHD to the 10th power! I start on something and something else gets in the way. Most of my distraction start in my head. I start to think about things I want to do and then things I need to do and then the things I had just started doing then I forget about the other things. Now let’s think about God scripture tells us to,

“Seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.
Matthew 6:33 NLT”

God wants our full attention and He doesn’t ask us to seek Him, He tells us to. He even says He will provide for us. Why do you think that is? One of the things that most of us are distracted by is the question on how are we going to take care of our families. “How can I provide for them, how can I pay the bills?” Now with CHRISTmas coming it’s, “How can I get my the kids presents they would like?” Other things worry me too. One thing for me is my 4-month-old son. I find myself getting up in the middle of the night just to check on him. Another thing is safety, last night I was driving home from church and I started thinking what if someone carjacked us and shot me and left with my son. Then I stopped and realized I was not pointing my eyes in the right direction, they weren’t pointed towards Jesus. All of those thoughts kept me from focusing on God. Look at Peter for instance. He was in a boat in the middle of a huge storm and saw Jesus walking on water. Peter called out to Jesus and Jesus told him to come out of the boat and Peter got out and started walking on water then all of a sudden he got distracted by the storms and waves and started to sink, he panicked, but then Jesus came over and reached out to him and pulled him to safety.

I don’t know what storms or what good things are distracting you from keeping your eyes on Jesus. Maybe it’s time to take inventory of things that pull you away from God. In the book of Hebrews, we are told,

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Hebrews 12:1 NLT

The writer of Hebrews tells us to get rid of the good and the bad because it will keep us from finishing the race. All distractions do is slow us down, send us in the wrong direction to keep us from the One that loves us and that’s Jesus. I am not saying divorce your wife or get rid of your kids or quit your job. What I am saying is put God first, make Him the center of your marriage, give God control and watch all those distractions fade away.

God has great plans for you and you can’t receive those great things by getting distracted from Him.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.”
Jeremiah 29:11, 13 NLT

Prostitution.

Prostitute: a man or a woman who sells themselves for money or material items or pleasure.

Reading in the book of Ezekiel and throughout most of the old testament God compares His people to prostitutes. He does this because over and over we see them selling themselves out to idols. They have become unfaithful to God who has always been faithful to them. They  turn their backs on Him and forget about all the things He did for them. God has given them freedom from Egypt only for them to be enslaved by something or someone else. In Romans 6 Paul talks about the freedom from sin. Think about this, are we not the bride of Christ, yet we cheat on Him every day when we sell ourselves out to lust or addictions or material things. You see, like it or not, anything placed before God becomes your God or your pimp. Things or people you put before God will inevitably control you and cause you to do whatever you have to do to get more. But remember, God is a good God and He will wait for you.

He says,  “I will not leave you or forsake because I love you so much that I came to earth in the form of man to rescue you from all this!” There is only one control factor involved with God, it’s love. It’s His constant love and the free will love we can choose to reciprocate to Him and to one another. God humbled Himself and came down to our level to rescue you and me, to prove His love! That’s how much He loves us, He became flesh to die for us!

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
John 1:14 NLT

 

Quicksand

Has any of you ever stepped in quicksand? Not much of that here in South Texas but we do have the beach and when you stand where water meets sand you kind of start to sink. That’s as close as I have gotten to quicksand. Every time I think of quicksand I think of the Indiana Jones movie where Indy falls into quicksand and as he is in there he is trying not to struggle but you can tell the weight of the sand is slowly crushing him and pulling him under. The more he struggled the faster he started sinking until finally he goes under, but it doesn’t stop there. You see, you start to get desperate, you can’t breathe, you can’t touch bottom, and the weight of the sand is squeezing the life right out of you. You start to lose hope and just when you’re ready to give up you realize, “I can reach out”. So you reach up through the sand hoping and praying that someone will grab your hand and someone does. Hope starts to come back into your spirit. You think I am going to make it and you break thru the sand and gasp for air as you spit sand out of your mouth. You’re saved! You get a second chance to live life.

Life can be like quicksand. Life can be overwhelming at times, financial debt or maybe drugs or alcohol? The more we try to get out of it the deeper we sink. I was that way and I struggled and I sank deeper into drugs alcohol and into debt. I was losing hope, but I realized I couldn’t do it on my own. So, I reached out to the only One that could save me. I put my hand up and cried out, “God I need you, I can’t do this on my own”. He reached back and pulled me out of my quicksand. We have to realize, we can’t do this life on our own. The Apostle Paul realized he couldn’t do it on his own either. In Roman 7:14-25 Paul describes his struggle with sin and how he kept falling back deeper into it and he realizes he can’t do it on his own. In verse 25 Paul gives us the answer. He says:

” Thank God! The answer is on Jesus Christ our Lord! Jesus is our rescuer, He reaches out His hand to pull us out of our quicksand (struggle) and sets us on solid ground.”

Jesus did this for me and can do it for you too. Paul recaps in the rest of verse and says:

” So you see how it is : In my mind I really want to obey God’s law but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin and in so now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” Romans 8:1-2 NLT

We are free from the quicksand of life. Thank God!