Pastor's Meditations

Reunited

                This is the story of a pair of socks that were separated one day at the Laundromat. They had always been together at the store and in the drawer. They were able to tolerate their temporary separations, knowing that at the end of the day they would end up together again in the same basket.

                One day, however, one of the socks was left behind inside an old dryer. For some reason unknown to most of us, many socks suffer the same fate. They enter into the washer as a couple and come out of the dryer single. This is a great mystery that I haven’t been able to solve.

                Many days later, the lost sock was somehow found in a corner of the Laundromat. By now, it was dirty and disfigured, but after a good wash the sock came back to life better than ever before---it looked brand new! You can only imagine the excitement and happiness the pair felt as they were reunited once again.

                The moral of this story is that separation brings pain and reunification is a source of joy. In this world we live in, there is constant separation. Children leave their homes for college or marriage; husbands leave their wives for an army mission or because he found a new love (or vice versa) and our loved ones depart from us too soon.

                Oh, but what a joy it is to have a family reunion! I burst with gladness every time I have my whole family together. Those fleeting moments go by so fast, but the sweet memories abide with us for a long time. I am looking forward to a big family reunion this year, perhaps in Thanksgiving or Nativity.

                Nothing in this world compares with the glorious joy we will experience when we reunite with our Father and God in heaven. We were lost like the sock, and the sin of this world contaminated us and separated us from God.

                This is what happened to our first forefathers. Adam and Eve were expulsed from paradise (Genesis 3:23, 24) and from any fellowship from God. The whole human race was lost forever and all of us would have perished, were it not for God’s grace and the supreme sacrifice of his Son in our behalf.

                Great was the joy of the Prodigal Son when he returned home; but there was someone even more joyous: His father (Luke 15:20-24). In the same way, our heavenly Father will rejoice with everlasting gladness on the day when we reunite with Him forever (Zephaniah 3:17).

                 A. G.

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Questions from God

                There are many questions that humans ask to God (mostly asked by unbelievers) such as, why is there so much evil and suffering in the world, or what happens to those people that never hear about Jesus, or how can we trust the Bible, or how can a good God send people to Hell. These and many more questions are asked every day, but we rarely want to hear (or answer) the questions that God asks to all of us.

                Below are some of those divine questions. Please note that God knows everything, so his queries do not proceed from ignorance. He asks questions to teach us his will.

                “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)  In your walk with God and spiritual maturity and sanctification.

                “Who told you…?” (Genesis 3:11) Who are we listening to, God or the enemy?

                “What is this you have done?” (Genesis 3:13) There are rewards or consequences for our actions.

                “Why are you angry” (Genesis 4:6) There is no reason to remain angry if Jesus is with us.

                 “…where are you going?” (Genesis 16:8) Are you running to, or away from God?

                 “Is anything too hard for the Lord?” (Genesis 18:14) Nothing at all.

                “What is your name?” (Genesis 32:27)   My name is Christian. What is yours?

                 “Who has made man’s mouth?” (Exodus 4:11) Open your mouth to declare the glory of God

                “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9) We are here to glorify God

                “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isaiah 6:8)  Is either you or me…there is no one else.

                For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Matt. 16:26)

                Hell was the “profit” for the rich man.

                “…who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29) You are my God, my Lord, my Savior, my all.

                “…do you love me?” (John 21:16) I do; help me to love you more.

                “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5) Our purpose and our pleasure are found in the Lord of life, not in the sin that leads to death.

                “…what is your life?” (James 4:14) My life is short and meaningless without you Lord. Use my life for your glory.

                Any questions?

  1. G.

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Use His Strength

                                                      

                I started to watch the movie “Samson” a few days ago (I’ve got to finish it) and so far I like it. Now, before you say anything, I know that watching a movie is not the same as reading the Bible, but sometimes I enjoy watching films about the Bible and other Christian themes.

                Samson was known for his supernatural strength. He killed lions with his bare hands, defeated armies and brought the temple of Dagon down (Judges 16:29, 30). Samson was a real man and not a myth, like Hercules and all the other mighty men and women of Marvel or D.C. Comics.

                Our adversary, the devil, is a powerful and wicked being. He uses all of his power and strength to fight against the church (since he couldn’t defeat God), but he will never prevail (Matthew 16:18). His greatest weapons of mass destruction are his lies (John 8:44), feelings of doubts (Genesis 3:1-4) and an ample arsenal of temptations.

                What can we do against such a powerful enemy? He commands a vast army of dark and evil spirits (Ephesians 6:12) and millions (one could say billions) of lost souls are blindly following him in one way or another.

                Christians are a small flock of weak and defenseless sheep, surrounded by the hordes of ravenous wolves, hungry lions and wild dogs. The Bible declares that the church, although a great number in heaven, will always be the minority in this world.

                “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14)

                The Bible also instructs this weak and often divided minority to:

                “Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)

                We can resist the devil and overcome temptation in our lives not by using our strength, but by relying in the power and strength we have in Jesus. Yes, we are weak, but Christ is strong; so strong, that He is Omnipotent.

                Here are some verses that we can use when we feel powerless and defeated:

                 “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

                “Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

                “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world” (1 John 4:4).

                You and I can be more powerful than Samson ever was, but to accomplish this we must use all the strength and power that we have in Christ.

  1. G.

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Incomplete Houses

                I love my home and I give thanks to God every day for it. There are many people in this world that are homeless and millions that live in deplorable places, that cannot be called “houses” by any stretch of the imagination.

                My house is perfect for me: It is not too small or too big. It has everything that I need to live comfortably, but it is not complete. As all homeowners know, there is always something to do around the house. There is a never-ending and growing to-do list of chores and projects. I am talking about home repairs, paint jobs, mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, cleaning the house, cleaning the septic tank, cleaning the windows, etc. I am not even mentioning the “extra” projects needed to keep the house up to date.

                As I reflect on these things (and all the money that it’s going to cost me), I remember my time as a missionary in Guatemala. As we drove through the towns and villages, we noticed that most houses were incomplete. There were steel or iron bars sticking out from almost every roof. When we asked about this strange phenomenon, we were told that the houses were incomplete in order to avoid taxes.

                In a sense, all Christians are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10). We have been born again and saved by God’s grace (Ephesians 2:8). In addition to this, all of our sins have been forgiven (Ephesians 4:31, 32), we are now children of God (John 1:12), we are heirs of eternal life (John 6:47; Romans 8:17) and our salvation is complete and secure (John 10:20-30).

                There is so much more that I can add to this, including that the Holy Spirit dwells in us (John 14:17), that the Word of God is our guide for everything (2 Timothy 3:16, 17) and that nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8). Shouldn’t all of this (and so much more) be enough for us to lead victorious and fruitful lives?

                Christians are imperfect and incomplete saints. Some of us are further ahead on the road of holiness and sanctification, but all of us are still unfinished diamonds. One day, we shall possess unblemished and imperishable perfection in heaven, but for now we can rejoice because God is still working on us and He will make sure that none of his children will be lost.

                Two Bible verses come to mind to illustrate this point and conclude this writing:

                “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).

                “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).

  1. G.

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The Glutton, the Bland and the Upright (a church parable)

                Once upon a time, a man was transferred to a new city and being a Christian, he began the difficult, but rewarding process of looking for a new church for him and his family. He visited three churches before deciding to become a member in one of them.

                On the first Sunday, he arrived at a church on the outskirts of the city. The first thing he noticed was that everyone in that church was extremely obese and glued to their pews. No one came to greet the family; in fact quite a few of them looked at the newcomers with disdain.

                The worship service was rather dry and uninspiring (only a few people sang), and the sermon while orthodox and biblical, lacked energy and vitality. It reminded the family of a fundamentalist church they had visited before.

                At the end of the service, the youngest in the family asked his father why was everyone so obese. The dad replied, “It is because they are gluttons for the Word, but are too lazy to apply it to their lives”

                The next Sunday arrived, and the family visited another church. This congregation was very active and lively. The music and the preaching were dynamic, but the message was lacking biblical flavor. In addition, this mega-church had all kinds of “ministries” and activities for every possible age group or special needs.

                The family noticed that in this church everyone was extremely skinny, almost anorexic. The father explained to his family that this condition was the result of too much labor and very little feeding. In this sense, they were the complete opposite of the first church. They had the committees, the activities and the ministries, but they were undernourished with the Word.

                When the third Sunday came, the family had almost lost hope of finding a good Bible-believing, Bible-preaching and Bible-applying church. Notwithstanding, they made one last effort after much prayer and deliberation.

                As they entered the sanctuary, they were greeted sweetly and softly by several believers at the door. While they were being ushered to their seats, they were impressed by the welcoming faces and by the reverence that was evident in this holy place. Some were praying, others were reading the Bible and some were greeting each other quietly, while the musicians made last minute adjustments.

                Was the church perfect? By no means, but they knew that God was in this place. Their suspicions became reality as they experienced a vibrant worship service that was saturated with love, joy and the Word of God.

                The great majority of the church members were in great shape.

                The moral of this parable is clear. The Gluttons represent those who hear (and know) the Word and do almost nothing with it (James 1:23, 24). The Bland are like Martha (Luke 10:38-42), in that they forget the Word when they serve. The Upright are those that hear, do, live, love and apply the Word.     

                A. G.       

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