Pastor's Meditations

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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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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  Bad words---Good Word

                We live in a “modern” and highly civilized world today, yet our manners and our words have deteriorated almost to the point of no return. Everywhere we go, we hear all kinds of bad words and this epidemic has reached our women and our children.

                The Bible condemns the use of bad words or words used in a bad way. All of us have been guilty of “sins of the tongue” at one time or another in our lives. These are some of the bad words that we must avoid at all costs:

  1. Lying (Proverbs 6:16, 17)
  2. Flattering or adulation (Psalm 5:9)
  3. Slander and False Testimony (Exodus 20:16)
  4. Gossip (Leviticus 19:16)
  5. Profanities (Romans 3:13, 14)
  6. Mockery and Verbal Attacks (Psalm 1:1)
  7. Negative Criticism or Judging (Matthew 7:1)
  8. Fostering Divisions (Jude 1:19)
  9. Taking God’s name in vain (Exodus 20:7)
  10. Excessive and Idle Words (Ecclesiastes 5:2, 3; Matthew 12:36)
  11. Complaining (Numbers 14:27)
  12. Boasting or Pride (James 4:16)

             There might be a few more “bad words” that I missed (please let me know), but these give us a complete picture of all the sins that are committed every day through the use of words. It is a shame that we humans have perverted this precious gift from God and used it for evil purposes.

             We sin when we use these bad words, and we sin when we don’t use good words. We sin when we talk too much, and we sin when we remain silent in situations that demand a response in the name of the Lord. We even sin when we express our opinions, instead of speaking God’s Word.

             There is only One Good WORD in the entire universe: The Word of God. The Bible is the only inspired Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) and as such, it is the only Word that is both Inerrant and Infallible. When God speaks, He always tells the truth with love and for our good.

             This is the way we should speak:

             “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29)

             “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6)

              “…speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ”  (Ephesians 4:15)

              “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

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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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A Joyful Noise

A heart that’s filled with sadness

A soul that has a void

Can escape from the madness

And find blessings and great joy

     

This world is a very dark place

 And sorrow reigns supreme

 This world rejects God’s grace

 And has no time or love for the King

 

 There is joy for the heart that’s filled with sorrow

 There is dancing for the feet that cannot walk

 There is hope for today and for tomorrow

 There is light that will lead us in the dark

                                                               

  This Joy is a gift of the Almighty

  For those who have communion with his Son

  A gift that will endure for eternity

  A gift that fills our hearts with a new song

 

 Oh Jesus, you are my joy eternal

 You are the purpose of my life

 I renounce my struggles and my strife

 I submit to you, my loving Lord

 I am diving into the river of your joy

 That will lead me all the way to Heaven’s shore

       

     A. G.

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