Pastor's Meditations

Pig’s Food

                The story of the Prodigal Son is a tale of redemption and reunification. The main emphasis of this short story is not how lost, depraved and sinful the son was, but how much love and forgiveness there was in his father’s heart.

                I have found this to be the case with our heavenly Father. He has always been a loving and forgiving Father towards me. I have been a prodigal many times in my life; I have often been a wayward sheep and a disobedient child, but his forgiving love has reached out and rescued me over and over again.

                In our Father’s house there is safety and joy. His forgiveness is a fountain that washes away our guilt and erases our sins from His memory. We forgive…sometimes, but our Father forgives and forgets. It is us that have a hard time accepting his forgiveness (or “forgiving ourselves” like some people say). In the Father’s house there is abundant mercy, grace and his table is always filled with the most delectable and nutritious food for our souls.

                This is what the Prodigal Son left behind when he decided to leave his father’s house in search of great adventures and worldly pleasures. He exchanged his loving family for a harlot’s embrace, and he chose to eat pigs’ food instead of enjoying his father’s feasts.

                This is also what we do when we fall into sin. We leave our Father’s house and dabble with the world, hoping to see how close we can get to sin without actually falling into sin. We draw near to the world, hoping to find excitement and happiness, but as we draw nearer, we realize that we have made a big mistake. The promises and pleasures of this world are nothing but a dirty pig’s pen.

                Imagine for a second what the Prodigal Son must have felt when he found himself surrounded by pigs (immoral unbelievers), desiring to eat their “food.” As we all know, pigs eat mostly garbage and this is what sin is: Garbage, junk, poison and death.

                Oh, that we could remember all of this when we encounter temptations! Open our eyes Lord and let us see that this world and its pleasures is nothing but a gigantic pigs’ pen. Let us return to God before we find ourselves drowning in the mud.

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Safety Pin (Reunited pt. 2)

                Do you remember the story of the pair of socks that were separated for a long time? One of them went home, but the other one remained hidden in a dark corner of the Laundromat until it was found and it was reunited with its partner.

                Well, I’m happy to report that this pair of socks is still happy together. The owner of the socks has devised an ingenious and fail-safe plan. Every time he takes his socks off, he “connects” them with a safety pin before he places them in the laundry bin or basket.

                This tactic or strategy has made it possible for the owner to retain and not lose any of his socks. In fact, he claims that he now has 100% sock recovery success! This process has proven to be so successful that he will continue to use safety pins for all his socks.

                Jesus also has perfect success with all the “socks” (souls) that He has received from the Father. The Bible attests to this fact in several places:

                This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day.” (John 6:39)

                While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”           (John 17:12)

                “…that the saying might be fulfilled which He spoke, ‘Of those whom You gave Me I have lost none.’” (John 18:9) (Emphasis added)

                I was once a lost “sock” or soul in the world. I was dirty because of sin and was separated from God and his family. One day, however, Jesus came to my life and found me alone in a corner of the world. He lifted me up and cleansed my sin with the best detergent in the universe: His blood. He also put a “safety pin” or seal in my heart, to eliminate any possibility of getting lost ever again.

                “…you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,  who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.(Ephesians 1:13, 14)

                We also read in John 10:28 that we are totally safe and secure in Christ.

                “And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.(Emphasis added)

                In addition of being sealed by the Spirit and in the hands of God, there is still another layer of protection for believers. Colossians 3:3 tells us that our life is hidden with Christ in God.”

                The socks are held together by a safety pin, but we are sealed by the Spirit. The socks are never out of the reach of the owner, and we are always in God’s hand. The socks are resting tucked away in a comfy drawer, but we are hidden and secure in Christ forever.

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Die It

                There is nothing worse (or better) than a weight loss diet. A diet of this kind is a terrible way of losing weight. Why can’t we shed the pounds just by watching TV or sleeping? Why must we push away all the delicious foods that God has provided for us?

                On one hand, there are many people (like my mother) that are able to eat whatever they please and never get fatter. This is just not fair! Some say that it is the result of their active metabolism, but the only way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories than we need or to burn those calories through exercise.

                A good, well balanced and healthy diet and exercise is what we need to follow, if we want to have healthy bodies and a better shape. It takes a lot of discipline and self control to maintain this regimen. The key to change the way we eat, move and look is to change the way we think and live. Fad diets come and go, but a disciplined and healthy lifestyle will bring permanent results.

                The same is true for our spiritual life in Christ. Millions of believers are out of shape simply because they don’t eat right (feed on the Word of God) or exercise (walk with God). Some of them jump into the latest Christian fad or trend, in hopes of revitalizing their sagging spiritual life. They read the latest how-to books that promise:

                “7 steps to…”

                “40 days with…”

                Or they attend the latest conference, Christian concert, summer camp or revival meeting in order to get closer to Jesus. The problem is that the results don’t last very long and they soon return to a life of apathy and mediocrity.

                The only way to have a fruitful and victorious Christian life is to be on a “Die It” plan. The Bible teaches that the followers of Christ must die to sin, to the world and to their former (and sinful) way of life. If you follow this plan, along with a daily walk with God, you will be in the best spiritual shape of your life.

                “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

                “Therefore consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5)

                “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Romans 6:11-14)

                There you have it! To lose weight, we need a Diet and to get rid of worldliness, we need a Die It.

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New Version

                My wife “accidently” broke her smart phone the other day. Now we need to buy a new phone, but we don’t know which one. There are so many brands and each company comes up with a new version every year.

                The phones that we buy today may be obsolete by next month. Every new phone version or generation is better than the previous one.

                When God created mankind there was only one version, which was divided into male and female. This original version of humanity was not perfect, but it was innocent and good.

                This innocence and goodness was soon evaporated, as Adam and Eve fell into sin. The original version that God created after his image was lost. Now mankind was only a perversion of the first version of creation.     

                 This is what sin always does. God made the version, but Satan---using temptation and sin---turns it into a perversion. In other words, sin destroys our spiritual life and fellowship with God.

                 God created the version, which soon became a perversion through man’s rebellion. God could have dealt with this problem in two different ways: He could either destroy the earth (almost did it in Noah’s time) and create a new original version; or He could eliminate the perversion of sin by conversion to Christ.

                 And this is what He did. He sent us the last Adam (Jesus Christ) to be the propitiation for our sin and the only way of salvation. He was a new and improved Version of Adam and He did not fail. His death on the cross erased our perversion at the moment of our conversion by faith.

                Our conversion has made us a brand new version in Christ. The Bible declares, Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). This new version of humanity is not as good as the one of our Lord Jesus, for he is perfect, but it is infinitely better than Adam’s because he could fall and lose his standing with God, but we will never fall from God’s saving grace.

                One day, this new version of us will also come to an end. One day we will be perfect, spotless and glorious. One day, we will become a perfect and eternal version of redeemed humanity in heaven. One day, the words of the apostle Peter will be fulfilled:

                “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10)

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     Searching for what?

                A good friend of mine is an avid collector. Every weekend, he sails in his boat all around the Suwannee River in search of buried treasures. As of today, he has an extensive collection (or so he says) of shark teeth and Indian arrowheads.

                He is not the only treasure hunter that I know of. I have seen men and women searching for coins, rings, chains, etc. with fancy metal detectors at the beach. There are also professional divers that have discovered sunken ships and their plentiful (and valuable) bounty.

                In this world, people are always searching for almost anything, except God. They look for love, fame, riches and happiness and find very little of it. Romans 3:11 declares that, There is none who seek after God.”

                In Matthew 7:8, we are told that “he who seeks findsbut the question is, what should we seek or search for? I offer a few suggestions according to the Bible:

  1. Wisdom --- (Proverbs 2:4, 5) “If you seek her as silver, And search for her as forhidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God”

 

  1. The Scriptures --- (Acts 17:11) These…received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find outwhether these things were so.”

 

  1. God --- (Jeremiah 29:13) And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

 

  1. The Kingdom --- (Matthew 6:33) Butseek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness…”

 

  1. The Well Being of Others --- (Philippians 2:4) “Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

 

            These are the treasures we must search for every day. Fame lasts a few minutes, but Faith opens heaven’s doors; Wealth will evaporate, but the Word of God endures forever; happiness is just a mirage, but Heaven is our eternal Paradise and all the lust of this world shall perish, but the Love of God will be our faithful companion in eternity.

             What are you searching for today?

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