Pastor's Meditations

Poverty of Mind

                Anyone looking at the state of public education in the United States (and the world) today, would never guess that the public school system was founded by the frequently vilified Puritan believers in Massachusetts. In fact, many liberal colleges and universities like Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Oxford, Brown, and Cambridge, to name a few; were once bastions of biblical truth.

                The “Old Deluder Satan Act” of 1642, was the first law enacted with the purpose of establishing public education in the state of Massachusetts and was later adopted by the other states in one form or another.

                The purpose of this law was to teach “literacy and numeracy” to all the children in the colonies, but the main goal was to enable everyone to read the Bible. This is a far cry from the state of our public schools today, where God is rarely mentioned, prayer is banned and the Bible is a taboo.

                America is no longer a Christian country…perhaps it never was, but at least God and his Word were honored and respected more in the past. We have descended into a dangerous and dark time. The so-called “Enlightenment” has covered millions of minds with a cloud of darkness and confusion.

                The fact is that secular or liberal education, that is education that is not “tainted” with God or the Bible, is simply an endless and useless accumulation of facts. This world is filled with a plethora of highly educated criminals of every sort.

                What our schools need, is not more computers and edge cutting technology. We need all those things and more, but if we don’t return to God soon, there will be more school shootings, more drugs, more teenage pregnancies and more criminal behavior.

                Godless schools and jails attempt to reform our wayward generation, but a mind devoid of the knowledge of the Lord, is not educated at all and will not be reformed, unless it is transformed by the power of Jesus Christ.

                The apostle Paul admonishes us to “…be transformed by the renewing of your mind…” (Romans 12:2).  Our minds can only be renewed when we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord. A person that becomes a Christian has a brand new heart and mind. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:16 that, “…we have the mind of Christ.”

                I work in a public school and I enjoy my job (most days), but I am aware of the fact that the lessons that I teach are worthless for the most part. What good is it for my students to learn everything there is to know about this world and lose their souls because they don’t know the truth?

                “Set your mind on things that are above, not on things that are on the earth” (Colossians 3:2). This is the best advice for those who want to transform their minds by the truth and power of the Gospel.

                  A. G.

 

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Having all the Tools

                A man (it could have been me) was working in the yard…or perhaps he was attempting to fix his car…or completing some other project. “It is a good thing to fix things on your own.” He thought to himself. “Professionals charge too much for their services and I feel good every time I finish or fix something.”

                His feelings of satisfaction were short-lived as he met with the disapproving and stern look on his wife’s face. Tired from so much work, and annoyed by his unappreciative spouse, the man asked:

                “Why are so angry about? I did all of this for you!”

                The angry wife replied,

                “You called me every five minutes to get you a different tool! You are never prepared when you do a project and I have to stop what I’m doing to…”

                Are we prepared to face life’s hardships when we leave our homes in the morning?

                Do we have all the tools we need to be victorious in Christ?

                The Bible affirms that all Christians have been equipped with all the tools to be successful and triumphant believers in any situation. The problem with many of us is that we do not use the tools that we have In Christ, or in some cases, we don’t even know what (or who) those tools are.

                Allow me to show you some of those tools and I pray that we use them every day.

           The Bible  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

      Good and faithful leaders And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-13)

       Prayer “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6)

       The whole armor of God “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” (Ephesians 6:11)

       Other faithful believers As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17)

                As you can see, we have all the tools we need to live for God, to grow in the faith and to serve others. I could have included the Holy Spirit in this list, but then I remembered that the Holy Spirit is our God and not a tool that we can use. Rather, we are his tools and instruments for his glory. Therefore, let us use all the tools we have at our disposal, in order for us to become the best possible tool in the hands of the Master.

                A. G.

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Nice Doggy

                Back in the 1980s, when I was younger, I attended a youth meeting every Friday night. It was a ranch-like setting, with a large cabin or building for meetings. It also had a bathroom (more like an outhouse), a food stand, a volleyball “court” and many trees.

                Oh, I almost forgot; there was also a resident dog. This canine was always chained to a tree and was constantly barking. He was friendly enough, and allowed some of the braver youth to pet him occasionally. His owner used to say all the time: “He is a nice doggy. He has never bitten anyone.”

                One Friday night, one of the young people noticed that the nice, friendly and harmless dog was choking and decided to help. It was a big mistake, for as soon as she tried to dislodge the object from his mouth, the “nice” dog jumped on her and bit her in the face and head.

                Perhaps you are a dog loving person (me too) and don’t believe this story. Well, it’s true. What I don’t believe is when people tell me that their dogs don’t bite. They do bite, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to crunch, tear and rip their food. I don’t know about you, but I will keep my distance from those “nice, cute and cuddly” beasts…just in case.

                We must also keep as far away as we can from temptation. We have been “bitten” too many times by sin. Oh, how foolish we are by falling again and again for the same old lies, tricks and false promises of Satan!

                Eve was the first sinner. She played around with temptation and sin destroyed her. She didn’t realize that as she was biting into the forbidden fruit, hell was biting her with a fury. The tasty, pleasant and desirable fruit (in her eyes) left her empty, naked and afraid (Genesis 3:6, 7).

                There are no perfect dogs or harmless sins. Dogs bite and sin brings chaos and death. Don’t be fooled by the attractive and tasty bait, for there is a deadly hook behind it. Don’t play with or flirt with temptation, because behind every pleasure there is pain, and behind every sinful delight there is death.

                Samson pet Delilah and sin bit him. He thought that he would be able to escape, as he did the other times that he flirted with sin and danger, but he was captured (Judges 16:20).

                David pet Bathsheba and sin bit him. He thought that no one had seen his sin of adultery and murder, but God saw it all and there were grave consequences (2 Samuel 12:7-12)

                Solomon pet foreign women and sin bit him…and you know the rest of the story.

                Brothers and sisters, avoid petting dogs (or any other animal), or do so with extreme caution. On the other hand, never pet, play or flirt with temptation, because it will bite you back.

                A. G.

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Please, Cover your Mouth!

                A few months ago, in the height of the so-called flu season, my whole extended family got sick. The reason: Well, one of the little ones (I won’t mention his name) began coughing and sneezing all over the place and he didn’t have the courtesy of covering his mouth.

                There were germs and bacteria flying all around, thanks to the sneezing bandit. My wife tried to justify him by saying that he was too small, but I think that at 10 months, a baby should already know that he needs to cover his mouth when he coughs, don’t you agree?

                Something similar happened to me two weeks before this writing. I was working in the yard, digging some rocks out of the dirt and I did a very good job, except that I forgot to cover my mouth and nose with a mask. Afterward I was blowing and spitting dirt and blood out of all the holes in my head (except my eyes and ears).

                These two incidents have taught me a lesson: There are times in life when we need to cover (or shut) our mouths. Men talk too much and women talk even more. It is good to remember what the Bible says (pun intended) about this issue.

                In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is wise.”            (Proverbs 10:19)

                “For in the multitude of dreams and many words there is also vanity. But fear God.”                                  (Ecclesiastes 5:7)

               “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment.” (Matthew 12:36)

               “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3, 4)

               “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)

               “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.” (Psalm 19:14)

               “If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” (James 3:2)

                There is so much more that Bible teaches about the use, misuse and abuse of our mouths, such as being “slow to speak” (James 1:19), to be men (and women) of few words (Ecclesiastes 5:2), to work more and talk less (Proverbs 14:23), to avoid trouble by replying with a “soft answer” (Proverbs 15:1), to “avoid irreverent babble” (2 Timothy 2:16) and to use our words “to bring healing” (Proverbs 12:18).

                Let us then cover our mouths, and open them only to bring glory to God.

                A. G.

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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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