Category: thoughts by Rick Vega

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I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 11:19

The first time I heard his voice, it brought discomfort and fear. I stayed away as long as possible. He persisted and shined a bright light on the utter darkness of my heart. Then in my worst despair, he brought me up close to the cross where my sins were paid. My tears flowed. He brings me back to this place often to remind me of his love.

Scripture says I am the temple of the living God and that he, the Holy Spirit, would live with me, be my God and I would be his child (2 Corinthians 6:16). Looking back at my life as a Christian, he has always been on the inside, “the inner man” battling my fleshly desires and interceding for me when I didn’t know how to pray. I have never seen the Spirit with my eyes, but he bears witness with my spirit that I am hisSpirit with my eyes, but he bears witness with my spirit that I am his.

He’s more than a Helper. He lives in our hearts through faith that we might have the power to grasp the deep love that Christ has for us. It’s an immeasurable love that surpasses all knowledge (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Do you hear his voice? He knows you very well. Stop running away. He has the truth and you need to hear it today. No one cares more about your soul than God. Listen to his Spirit.

Lord, remind me always of your great promises given to me by your Spirit, who not only abides with me but lives in me. Thank you for walking with me on this pilgrimage. Enable me to faithfully serve you to the end. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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Thoughts by Men thoughts by Rick Vega

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“For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness.Ezekiel 34:11-12

Years ago, I was in a bad place.

It was dark and cloudy as I pursued my own sinful pleasures. Angels were not dispatched that day, but the Lord himself sought me out. I wasn’t looking for him when he found me.

Sheep are prone to wander and become vulnerable. They have no claws to defend themselves. Sheep can drown if their wool gets too wet as they wade in to get water to drink.

We are like sheep and have gone astray, as Isaiah 53:6 says. We need a shepherd. Thank goodness God is not far away from each of us (Acts 17:27).

The shepherds in Ezekiel’s day led the people with force and cruelty. Jesus is different. He strengthens the weak and binds up the broken. He seeks out what was lost. He called my name that day and led me out of a black dungeon.

Jesus said, I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. My sheep listen to my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they shall never perish” (John 10:11, 27-28).

What about your life? Are you in a bad place?

Quit following strangers who don’t care about you. They run as soon as the wolf appears.

Follow the Good Shepherd.

When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.” (John 10:4).

Thank you, Lord, for having an interest in me and searching for me when I was lost. I praise you for your goodness and for giving up your life for me so I can live with you forever. Be my shepherd and teach me to follow you. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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Are you at a place in your life where you want to know Jesus – walk and talk with Him?   You can start a life surrendered to Christ today. This is a sample, simple prayer, but the words are powerful and full of meaning.  If  you believe them Christ will make something beautiful out of your life:

Lord Jesus, I want to know You personally. Thank You for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to You and ask You to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank You for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person You want me to be.

It starts now!


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


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“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Life is good, but sometimes it can be hard.

Trials and temptations come to all of us, often arriving without warning. Some can be extremely difficult and different than anything we could have imagined.

The worst part is the battle that takes place in our mind. Weeks turn into months. It’s exhausting and we might want to give up.

Take courage my Christian friend. You may not only to believe in him, but also to suffer his sake (Philippians 1:29). Perhaps now, for a little while, the genuineness of your faith is being proven by how you face these trials, but remember that God is in full control.

I know you might feel alone and may not even speak to anyone about it. But understand there is someone else who has experienced the exact same thing. Be encouraged by that. Trust in Christ to strengthen you enough to endure. God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear and will provide a way of escape. He has a purpose and will not allow us to fail (Psalm 125:3).

Soon, it will all make sense. Perhaps there is someone else experiencing a very hard time. They know God is in control, but they can’t bear another moment. They’re thinking no one can understand what they’re going through. You are about to surprise them.

Father, though trials bring us grief, we are thankful that you allow them for a purpose. We know that our faith must be tested as gold refined through fire, so that we will be found to praise, honor and glory when Jesus Christ is revealed. Help us show others this as well. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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“Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
2 Corinthians 1:21-22

When I was 20 years old, I made a promise to a young, 19-year-old girl. I was in love and I intended to commit my life to her. As I stood before all those witnesses, I pledged my devotion to her until one of us died. That was my hope and yet I knew I could not guarantee the future.

God is different. He makes promises and he keeps them. Jesus tells us to believe he’s going to prepare a place for us, and he will come back again to take us to be with him (John 14:1-4).

When Jesus made this promise a long time ago, I think he knew we might have times of doubt. So, he also promised to send a Helper to live with us and be in us. The Holy Spirit is our teacher who testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. (Romans 8:1) and marks us as sealed in that promise.

Believer, you have a promise from God that he is coming back for you one day. Until then, his Spirit living in you is better than a written contract. He is the guarantee of your future.

By God’s grace, 39 years later I’m still married to that girl I fell in love with. We’re both still hanging on to our promise, and clinging to God’s promise.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your compassion and understanding our weak faith. We need the Spirit of Truth who assures us of all your promises. Amen.”

By Rich Vega
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When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ On hearing this Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’”  Mark 2:16-17

Yesterday, I buried my dad. I always knew if I lived long enough, this day would come.

Yet I could never prepare for the moment I watched him being lowered into the ground. My heart sank, knowing I would never see him again in this life.

His last year on earth was very hard to endure, but I saw him keep his faith to the end. I have great comfort in the middle of great sorrow. I love you, Dad.

My father was a good man who led and took care of his family. Yet, in the middle of his life, he realized his hope for heaven must be based on another man’s righteousness. Dad knew Jesus didn’t come for the righteous, because there are none. No one will be declared righteous by law-keeping. So, we must faithfully yield to Christ and receive the righteousness that comes from God (Philippians 3:8-11).

What about you? Are you trusting in your own ability to please God?

Is your hope for heaven based on your goodness outweighing your badness? Do you believe God will let you into heaven since you tried your best to do what’s right?

Remember that God requires perfection. That is why he made Jesus

who had no sin to become sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Soon someone we love will be saying goodbye to us. On that day, may we be found in another man’s righteousness.

Thank you, Lord, for having compassion for us by taking our sins upon the cross that day. Our hope for heaven is impossible without your substitutionary work. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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“When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened. But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.” Jonah 3:10-4:1

I like the story of Jonah. It’s an easy read. But let’s not miss the mercy and compassion of God toward the sinners in this book.

Looking closer, I noticed the anger of Jonah and tried to peer into his heart a little deeper. He was a prophet and feared God, but he wanted God to judge these men. They were cruel and violent, so when told to go, he knew God just might save this undeserving people. Jonah wanted no part of it.

I’m just like Jonah. I have hatred in my heart toward those who are cruel. I believe that some people just don’t deserve God’s goodness. I know he is merciful and compassionate. I just don’t want him to show these people any love or forgiveness. If he does, I don’t want any part of it. I know I should love my enemies and pray for those who spitefully use me, but truthfully, I would be angry if God was kind and forgiving to them.

Then I hear him say,

I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion (Romans 9:15).

I realize I am a great sinner and I’m glad that God showed me grace and not judgment.

What about you? Is there someone who has caused you great pain in your life? Do you find it impossible to pray for your enemy? Let me hold your hand and let us pray to our God together so that he would help us to do the impossible.

Lord Jesus, thank you for dying and paying for my sins. You have shown me great mercy and kindness. Help me by your Spirit to pray for those who have hurt me. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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“And Isaiah boldly says, ‘I was found by those who did not seek me, I revealed myself to those who did not ask for me.’” Romans 10:20

Sometimes God really surprises us with the people he decides to save. Saul of Tarsus comes to mind. He was a terrible person who dragged men and women who followed The Way to prison, even torturing some of them to death. He thought he was doing God a good service.

I’m fascinated every time I read this passage. Jesus came down again just to pay this man a personal visit. Later, he referred to Saul as a chosen vessel with specific purposes he would fulfill for God.

We also used to follow the ways of the world, gratifying our sinful cravings and desires. We were all like sheep going astray, deserving God’s wrath. Not one of us can be called righteous (Romans 3:10-11).

Yet God says we were also chosen, just like Paul, and it’s because of God’s mercy that we are in Christ so no one can boast before him. For all eternity we were in his Father’s possession. “All that the Father gives me will come to me and it is my Father’s will that I shall lose none.” (John 6:37)

Before he died, Jesus prayed that he might give eternal life to all those his Father had given him (John 17:2). I think heaven will be full of surprises when we see who’s made it there. As we approach the entrance, we will know we are not worthy to be there either.

*“Father, thank you for your great love for us, making us alive when we were dead in our sins. We praise you for the amazing grace and kindness you have shown us in Christ Jesus. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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And when he again brings the firstborn into the world he says, ‘And let all the angels of God worship him.’ And of the angels he says, ‘Who makes his angels winds and his ministers a flame of fire.’
Hebrews 1:6-7

They have been watching us since the beginning of time. A few people have had encounters with them.

We have always had a fascination with angels.

Consider these brilliant, powerful creatures who filled the night sky announcing Christ’s coming to the shepherds. At his darkest hour in the olive garden they appeared to strengthen their Lord, and on his glorious resurrection morning they moved the heavy stone, terrifying the soldiers guarding the tomb.

As we ponder their existence, remember their purpose. Many quietly minister to God’s people and serve their Lord who created them. It’s the fallen ones who make a great commotion. Be careful of these who disguise themselves to deceive men, supporting the atheist yet desiring our worship. That’s idolatry.

We’re warned not to listen to any angel bringing us a different message (Galatians 1:8) than the truth that Jesus, made lower than the angels for a little while, is now crowned with glory and honor because he suffered death so that, by the grace of God, he might bring eternal life.

What about you? What voices do you hear? On the earth, evil spirits fight to get your attention. In heaven, there are voices of millions of angels and believers around the throne saying, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, might, honor, glory and blessing” (Revelation 5:12) as they all fall down and worship. So should we.

Precious Lord, you have redeemed us to God by your blood and are worthy of our praise. You alone deserve our worship. Thank you for making us sons and daughters and bringing angels to minister to us. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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Thoughts by All Thoughts by Men thoughts by Rick Vega

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“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever — the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. John 14:16-17

Sometimes I wake up and wonder if God’s still there. It’s been a while since I talked with him. I get busy with so many things. How can I go so long without thinking of him and confessing my sins? I wonder if I’m just a hypocrite and fear that maybe he’s not with me anymore.

Then I hear God say to my soul, *“you’re still mine” (Romans 8:16), gently reminding me that he gave me a new heart and a new spirit.

Then I hear him say, And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). He takes me again to the foot of the cross, pointing to Jesus who paid for all my sins. He fills my mind with the truth.

What about you? Do you sometimes feel that God has left you? Be of good cheer. He’s still there filling your mind, soul, and heart with the truth.

It’s a mystery that Christ is in us, and his Spirit is living on the inside. But the truth is that he is our hope of glory and the guarantee of our inheritance. The Holy Spirit will never leave us or forsake us; even when we are faithless, he remains faithful.

Lord, thank you for sending your Holy Spirit to be with me and in me, and for being the author and finisher of my faith. Amen.

By Rich Vega
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Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight.
Isaiah 5:20-21

Man has had a curious fascination with evil from the beginning. In Genesis 3, Adam and Eve had a full knowledge of goodness because they had a very close relationship with the all-good God. Goodness was written on their hearts and they had never sinned.

Eve believed the lie from Satan that evil would not harm them and that God was keeping something good from them. And so, she took of the fruit and offered it to Adam, who also ate it. Immediately, they entered the realm of evil. They came face to face with God who alone is Goodness. Nothing would ever be the same for them.

Who are you, a human with a sinful nature, to think you can draw near to evil and not be affected by it? How can you feel safe being anywhere near it? Look closely at Adam and Eve in their perfection before they disobeyed God. Ponder the outcome for the devil as he fell in his pride as described in Isaiah 14:12-15.

Where will your end be if you seek after evil? You were taught differently when you came to Him and your understanding isn’t darkened anymore by the lie that He is keeping you from something good.

Father, we pray that you would deliver us from evil. Thank you for the Holy Spirit who helps us in our weakness. Give us help in the hour of testing to put all our trust in you alone. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 By Rich Vega
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Looking back at our lives, we can remember promises that were made to us and not kept.

The bigger the promise, the more painful the letdown.

God never lies. He promises that the pure in heart will see Him. Who are these holy, guiltless people that will one day behold their King? How is this possible since all our ways are in full view of the Lord and our offences are many in His sight. (Isaiah 59:12) And who can say, “I have kept my heart pure, I am clean and without sin” (Proverbs 20:9)

With mankind it is impossible, but with God all things are possible. Jesus came into this world a man. He had no greed or self-seeking in His heart. He was perfect and did not sin as other men. He also made the universe and by Himself purged our sins. God Himself was the only One who could do this for us.

When He gave us His Spirit to live in us, this was our guarantee that He would keep His promise.

One day very soon, many of you will be presented to Him without blemish arrayed in a robe of His righteousness. For you were created a new man and given a new heart. You were a brand plucked from the fire and your eyes shall surely see your King.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see GodMatthew 5:8

By Rich Vega

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Thoughts by All Thoughts by Men thoughts by Rick Vega