Pastor's Meditations

Out of the (Prayer) Closet

                We are living in a very "tolerant" and open era. Nowadays, many people are encouraged to "come out of the closet" and display their immorality for all to see. Oh, how proud they are! In fact, the LGBT (I think I'm missing a few letters) community celebrate their sinful lifestyle with parades and festivities known as "Pride Days."

                In addition to all this, the liberal media portrays these individuals as victims and heroes through movies, TV shows, the printed media and the news. They also compare their "liberation" to the struggles and victories of the Civil Rights Movement. So, if anyone speaks against homosexuals and the rest of that community, it is now considered a "hate crime."

                The homosexuals lived a secret life in their closets for many years. No one knew about their sin because it was considered taboo by society, but now we can see many coming out of their closets like a plague of rats and cockroaches escaping from an old house.  

                My question to you is:

                When are we Christians going to come out of our prayer closets?

                The Bible admonishes us to pray to our God in secret. We can pray in public during congregational prayer, but for the most part our prayer life must be conducted in private. This is our time with our God. We must go into our prayer closet or room and pour our hearts before the Lord. Jesus said in Matthew 6:6,

                "But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place"

                Yes brothers and sisters, we must go IN our closets to pray every day, but we also need to get OUT to proclaim the Good News to the world. Moses went into Mount Sinai and spent many days in sweet communion with the Lord, but then he came down to bring God's Word (the Law) to his people. You and I must pray to our God and preach to this world. Don't get so comfortable in your "closet" with Jesus that you don't want to share Him with others.

Alexander Gonzalez

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"Lord Help Me"- Three Things to Pray for Yourself from the Psalms

In the Scriptures we have several examples of how we can pray for each other (eg. Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-12,). But as I have read through the Psalms these last few months I have noticed some ways that the Psalmist prayed for himself. They are worthy of our consideration and imitation.

We should pray for the inclination of our hearts.

"Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain!" (Psalm 119:36) All of us would have to admit that there are times, when our hearts are just not in to doing what we know that we need to do.  We sometimes say, "my heart is just not in it" or "I just don't feel like it." Sometimes we just don't feel like reading the Bible or praying, or worshipping.  Our hearts are suceptable to being captured by the material things of this world, in such a way, that our appetite for spiritual things becomes weak. In those times, we may feel alieneated from God, but it is in those times that we need to cry out to Him, to do a work in our hearts! The Psalmist evidently knew that experience. So he prayed that God would incline his heart toward the Word of God, and away from selfish gain or covetousness.

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A Meditation on Temptation

"No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13 ESV)

None of us are exempt from temptation. Some are tempted to over eat. Some struggle with spending their money foolishly. Others must fight the temptation to be lazy.  The list of temptations that human beings face is seemingly endless.  I Cor. 10:13 is only one verse but it speaks volumes to us about temptation.

Temptation is Confrontational
We see this in the phrase “no temptation has overtaken you.” The idea that is being communicated here is that temptation will seek to get ahold of you, to seize you.  You will not have to looking for it, it will come looking for you. Realizing this should cause us to live a guarded life.  This is why Peter wrote, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:" (1 Pet 5:8 KJV)

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What Sins? God's Postmortem Assesment of David

The Holy Spirit in Scripture presents an unvarnished picture of the people of Scripture.  We see not only the positive things about their lives, but also their weaknesses, faults, and sin.

King David of the Old Testament is no exception. He comes on the scene of Israel as a young shepherd boy, who against all odds, and above all his brothers, is chosen by God to be the king of Israel.  We see him used by God to fell the great giant Goliath, with nothing more than a sling and five smooth stones. We hear his heart for God in the Psalms. We are told that he is a man after God's own heart. We hear the women of Israel sing, "Saul has slain  his thousands, but David his ten thousands." Yet we also see his adultery with Bathsheeba, and then his  plotting to have her husband murdered to cover it up.

Our assesment of the character of David would be a mixture of assets, and yet very serious liablities. We would not conclude that he always obeyed the Lord.

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"New Clothes" - Alex Gonzalez

There is nothing better than the smell of new clothes, except maybe for the smell of a brand new car. Most women (and many men) love smelling and wearing new clothes.

For many, buying new clothes approximates a religious experience. I know a dear lady that salivates with expectation about a trip to the mall. You should see her looking, touching, smelling and trying almost every garment at the store until she finds the perfect one that she absolutely “has to have.”

This reminds me of the first lady that ever went to a “mall.” She visited “Abercrombie and Fig” in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:7).

I am referring, of course, to Eve. The shame of her sin, led her to hide from the presence of God and to cover her body with fig leaves. Since then, human beings need clothes to cover their nakedness.

Eve’s clothes were HOLEY (full of holes) and she soon needed real new clothes provided by God himself. The Bible tell us in Genesis 3:21 that,

the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”

These new clothes were emblematic of sacrifice and salvation. An innocent animal was sacrificed to provide covering for the fallen humanity. This same concept is vividly illustrated in Zechariah 3:4

“…See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will  clothe you with rich robes.”

On the other hand, there are UNHOLY clothes (full of sin). These clothes symbolize a host of human preferences, pursuits and problems. 

Isaiah 64:6-- “…all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags;” (Immorality, hypocrisy)

Genesis 37:3, 4--“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children… he made him a tunic of many colors. But when his brothers saw that their father loved Joseph more than them, they hated him” (Favoritism, envy, jealousy)

Matthew 6:28, 29—“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field… even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these” (Worry, anxiety)

I Timothy 2:9—“women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing(Indecency, pride, ostentation)

Finally, there are the HOLY new clothes (full of grace and glory) we have in Christ. While there is nothing inherently wrong with wearing brand name clothes, Christians have a better store from which to fill their wardrobe.

In Colossians 3:12-15 we are admonished how to dress properly:

   “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering… forgiving one another…But above all these things put on love…And let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be thankful.

In Ephesians 6:13-18 we are exhorted to put on or get dressed in the,

“…the whole armor of God…”

One day, we will be in heaven and will be part of,

  “…a great multitude…of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes.” (Revelation 7:9)

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