“Holy Death”

A family, friends of ours, lives in a typical neighborhood in our city that is surrounded by temples to the “holy death” (one of them is pictured above).  On the outside walls of the temples they paint images of a skeleton and build shrines around it so that passers by can stop and worship and pray to it, as seen in the above photo.  People pray to the “holy death” for protection from death, and for the “holy death” to avenge the death of family and loved ones at the hands of others.  This practice was started by narco-traffickers, and sex-traffickers, who are warring against each other, and against police.

People also call upon the “holy death” to commit acts of evil against family members who have wronged them, or who have chosen not to remain under Roman Catholic rule.  Our friends are Evangelical Christians and their families have turned against them.  Some of their family members have called upon witches and witch-doctors to cast evil spells on them in order to force them back into Roman Catholicism.  Every night, one of their daughters sees shadows roaming around her bedroom.  She prays out loud asking God to remove the evil spirits, which He does, and she can finally sleep.  One afternoon, her mother was putting clothes on the line to dry.  Before she got finished, she went in the house for something and both she and her daughter saw some of the clothes being pulled off the line, but there was nobody there doing it.  They prayed together and the evil spirit left.  This is very common.

Some of you may be wondering how the Roman Catholic Church, in Mexico, feels about worshiping and praying to the holy death.  The fact is, even though they would never admit it, the Roman Catholic Church sanctions and encourages it, as you can see in the picture below.

santa-muerte-1

Through all of this, though, our friends have remained faithful to the Lord and have never wavered in their faith, even though they are surrounded by evil and are being persecuted by their own families and friends.

God tells us:

“In fact, all those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12 HCSB).”

Friends, this is why God has us in Mexico.  He has sent us here to share the Good News of Christ with this very spiritually dark country.  Please pray for us and this precious family as we continue to do battle against evil, every day.  In Christ’s love, thank you.

Please visit our website: covoneministries.com

The Inconvenient Truth

 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 HCSB)

Friends, here’s the only inconvenient truth that matters: our sinful nature has condemned and sentenced us to eternal death in hell, but God sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to rescue and offer eternal life to everyone who believes in Him.  This is a free gift from God! God, through the Apostle Paul, said:

“For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift—  not from works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).”

Here’s what this passage says:

  1. “For you are saved…” – Saved from God’s wrath (Romans 5:9).  God is 100% love and 100% just. 
  2. “by grace through faith…” –  Faith is the vehicle by which we reach God’s unmerited favor (grace) towards us. 
  3. “and this is not from yourselves;” – Our sinful nature impedes us from being able to do anything to buy, or earn, our salvation from God’s wrath.
  4. “it is God’s gift…” – Salvation is God’s gift given to us, freely, out of a heart of love.
  5. “not from works,” – Salvation cannot be bought, or earned by our “good works” because there is nothing good about us. (Romans 3:23).
  6. “so that no one can boast.” – God took away the responsibility of our salvation from us and put it on Jesus’ shoulders.  This was meant to keep us powerless and humble, totally dependent on upon Him and His love for us.  Also, boastfulness and pride are sin, which God does not accept.

These facts are inconvenient to those whose desire is to enslave prospective believers by adding “works” to their faith for their salvation.  But here’s something for us to think about; if there was a way for us to save our own selves from God’s wrath, how cruel and unloving would God have to be for Him to punish His own Son, so severely, in order to forgive people who hate Him so intensely?

Here are the facts about salvation as simple as it can be said:

  1. Jesus reigned in heaven with God the Father
  2. Jesus left His kingdom to come to earth and become a servant
  3. Jesus served us by dying on a cross in order to suffer the full measure of God’s wrath, so we wouldn’t have to
  4. Jesus was buried, and after three days in the tomb,
  5. Jesus rose again from the dead in order to give us eternal life in heaven
  6. All we have to do is believe in what Jesus has done for us through His death and resurrection to receive eternal life.

Jesus Himself said:

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.  Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God (John 3:16-18).”

What Jesus has done for us is sufficient. there’s nothing else to be done.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Project: WHEELS

There are people in places in our state that are hard to reach with with the Gospel with regular street vehicles.

  • We take the Gospel to people who live in ranches and rural areas, far away from the city, in the rocky dessert of our state, San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
  • The terrain to get to these places is extremely rough and our small SUV is not adequate enough to travel on this kind of terrain.
  • We have found a 2016, Ford F-250, 4×4, crew cab that has only 9,990 kilometers on it.  It is in great condition and the owner is asking $36,000 dollars (US), a very good price here in Mexico. (Bringing an American truck across the border is not an option because of the extremely high taxes and legalization fees.)
  • A newer, dependable vehicle is essential to our getting where we need to go, and our personal safety.

The primary use of this vehicle is ministry – so that we can go further take the Gospel to rural places that are hard to reach by regular vehicles; to take food to the hungry, take water to the thirsty, take clothes to the naked, and to care for the widows and orphans of these far away places. In this process, we train these people to reach their own people with the Gospel.

Please pray and see if the Lord would have you donate to reach our $36,000 dollar goal.  If so, please visit our website covoneministries.com for more information on what we do and how we do it.  Or, click here to donate on our website.  Thank you for your consideration.  God bless you.

Everyone

“Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Acts‬ ‭2:21‬ ‭HCSB‬‬)

Contrary to what some believe, God means for everyone to be saved. According to today’s verse, salvation is for everyone. The every, “everyone,” excludes no one. NO ONE is excluded from God’s amazing love and the salvation He has provided us through His Son, Jesus. In His sovereignty, God allows us to chose whether we will call upon Jesus for our salvation, or not. He does not force salvation, or damnation on anyone. He leaves it up to us to decide.

Jesus said,

“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him (John‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭HCSB‬‬).”

Calling upon Jesus to save us requires that we humble ourselves and admit three things:

  1. That we are insufficient, and thus incapable of saving ourselves because of our sinful nature about which we can do nothing.
  2. That Jesus is the Lord and Master of all things, including life and death. He is the Lord of our lives whether we like it or not.
  3. That without Jesus death on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, and His resurrection from the dead to give us eternal life, we would have no hope.

Jesus said this:

“Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me (John‬ ‭14:6‬ ‭HCSB‬‬).”

If we don’t call out to the Lord Jesus to forgive our sin, and confess Him as Lord of our lives, we cannot be saved. Here’s what God, through the Apostle Paul, says:

“If you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation (Romans‬ ‭10:9-10‬ ‭HCSB‬‬).”

Knowing these truths, what will you chose to do?

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

No Place Better

“Better a day in Your courts than a thousand anywhere else. I would rather be at the door of the house of my God than to live in the tents of wicked people.” (Psalms‬ ‭84:10‬ ‭HCSB‬‬)

Unfortunately, there are too many Christians trying desperately to live in both places expecting God’s blessings. Though going to church is not what makes us Christians, nor is it what we do in order to receive God’s blessings, it is what we do as evidence of the fact that we are Christians. It is a symbol of stepping out of Satan’s world, and stepping into God’s world, leaving the secular worldview and entering God’s worldview. Too many, however, try to live in both worlds which cannot be done. We either belong to God, or belong to the world, but we cannot belong to both.

Today’s verse paints a mental picture of a person who wholly and completely belongs to God – someone who made the conscious and willful decision to turn his back on the world and live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to God’s commands, plans, and purpose. This is the person who would rather stand at the door of God’s house than to be anywhere else in the world because He understands there is no greater blessing that God can give us than to be adopted by Him through faith in what His Son, Jesus, did on the cross for us. There is nothing greater that to be sons and daughters of our Almighty God, and as such, co-heirs of God’s kingdom with Jesus.

There is no place on earth better than God’s place. Will you join me there?

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

¿Es Correcto Orar a Ángeles?

¿Es Correcto Orar a Ángeles?

(Credito, en parte, a gotquestions.org)

Aunque no hay un pasaje o versículo en la Biblia que dice: “No oraran a ángeles,” es abundantemente claro que NO debemos orar a ángeles. La oración es un acto de adoración a Dios.  Por lo tanto, así como los ángeles rechazan nuestra adoración (Apocalipsis 22:8-9), también rechazarán nuestras oraciones.  Ofrecer nuestra adoración y oraciones a cualquiera que no sea Dios, es idolatría.

También hay razones prácticas y teológicas que nos enseñan que orar a ángeles es incorrecto.  Por ejemplo, cuando los discípulos le pidieron a Jesús que les enseñara a orar, Él les respondió, “Vosotros, pues, oraréis así: Padre nuestro que estas en los cielos…” (Mateo 6:9).  Si deberíamos de orar a ángeles, este hubiera sido el momento en que nos enseñara a hacerlo, pero no lo hizo.  Es claro que solo debemos orar a Dios.

Jesús le dice a todos los Cristianos, Sus seguidores, que todo lo que le pidamos a Dios en Su nombre, Él lo cumplirá porque Él es quien intercede directamente ante Dios por nosotros (Juan 14:13).  La Biblia también nos enseña que nuestras oraciones deben ser hechas en el nombre de Jesús, solamente (Juan 16:26).  Este verso nos enseña que, después de la ascensión de Jesús al cielo, Él actúa como el intercesor a nuestro Padre celestial por todos Sus seguidores.  Ni ángeles, ni ningún otros ser creado se le dio el poder o autoridad de ser intercesor por nosotros ante Dios.  Solo Jesucristo y el Espíritu Santo tienen el poder y autoridad de interceder por Sus seguidores (Romanos 8:26).

Para concluir, la Palabra de Dios nos dice que debemos “orara sin cesar’ (1 Tesalonicenses 5:17).  Esto solo es posible si los seguidores de Jesús tienen acceso directo a un Dios que siempre está presente y accesible para escuchar las plegarias de todos Sus seguidores a la misma vez.  Los ángeles no tienen esta habilidad porque no son omniscientes, omnipotentes, u omnipresentes – esto los descalifica para recibir nuestras oraciones, y mucho menos pasárselas a Dios.

Oración a nuestro Padre celestial por medio de Jesucristo es la manera más efectiva para comunicarnos con Dios.  Así que, orar a ángeles NO es un concepto bíblico.

Eternal Destiny

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 HCSB)

Wow! What a great lesson God has in store for us, today.  Jesus spoke a truth that we all need to hear and understand.  So lets look at the context in which He said what he said in today’s verse.

A wealthy young man, whose name is not mentioned, came up to Jesus and asked Him what He had to do to get to heaven.  Jesus told the young man to keep all the commandments.  The young man asked, “Which ones”, to which Jesus replied, “Do not murder; do not commit adultery; do not steal; do not bear false witness; honor your father and mother; and love your neighbor as yourself (all the moral law).”  Arrogantly, the young man told Jesus that he kept all those commandments and asked what else he had to do to get into heaven.  Then Jesus told the young man,

“If you want to be perfect,” Jesus said to him, “go, sell your belongings and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow Me (Matthew 19:21 HCSB).”

When the rich young man heard Jesus’ command he turned and walked away sad because he was very rich and did not want to give his riches up to follow Jesus.  To him, money was his god.  His faith and confidence was in his martial wealth, not in Jesus.

Then Jesus turns and says to His disciples:

“Then Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you: It will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24 HCSB).”

Let me explain what this means.  It’s not because someone is rich that they cannot enter into heaven.  It is because they believe that money is the answer to all their problems and they hoard it.  Money has become their God, it’s what they live for every day.  When the disciples heard what Jesus said, they were astonished and confused, so they asked Jesus who, then, could be saved.  Jesus responded with today’s verse,

“But Jesus looked at them and said, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26 HCSB).””

There are many thing that are out of our control, but there is nothing that’s out of God’s control.  The salvation of our souls is one of those things.  Money may be able to solve all kinds of problems, but our eternal destiny is one only God can solve, and He already did.

Our eternal destiny cannot be bought by any amount of money.   Our lives, our souls, are much more valuable to God than mere money.  There is no amount of money that can be printed by all the countries tries of the world that can equal the value of one life, one soul.

The salvation of our souls and destiny in heaven has already been bought and paid for in full.  God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son, Jesus, to die on a cross as full payment for our sins, thus forgiving our sins.  Jesus was then buried and three days later, He rose again from the dead in order to assure us eternal life in heaven.

Do you want to secure your place in heaven?  Here’s how God says it can be done:

1. Recognize that you’re a sinner and thank Him for sending Jesus, His only Son, to die on the cross in order to pay the ultimate price for your sin (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8) and raising Him from the dead in order to give you eternal life (John 3:16-18; John 11:25).
2. Tell Him that, at this moment, you willfully and intentionally choose to stop living your life in rebellion against Him and choose to start living your life as His disciple; that you commit to seeking Him, every day; following Him, every day; and that you will strive live in immediate, radical, costly obedience to Him and only Him, no matter the cost – even if it costs you your life (2 Corinthians 5:15; Romans 10:9-10). Then, do it.
This is the only way you can become God’s child (John 1:12) and experience the fullness of His love, goodness, joy, peace and perfect care. Do this right now!

If you didi this, please let me know in a comment below so that I can pray for you.

In Christ’s love,

Phil Covone

Insights from God's Word