Pastor's Meditations

      You have the right to…speak

                  Every time a person gets arrested and taken into custody, he or she will hear the following words in one version or another:

                “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney…”

                This is known as the “Miranda Rights” that was established in Arizona in 1966. Ernesto Miranda was imprisoned for a crime that he didn’t commit and was forced to confess. Since that time, the Miranda Rights have become standard police procedure in the United States.

                The United States of America is a wonderful place to live. Everyone has rights under the law, including alleged criminals, terrorists, foreigners and the LGBT community to name a few. The Christian believers, however, are losing more and more rights every day.

                It is ok to be gay in this “tolerant” and politically correct society of ours, but if we speak the name of Jesus in any context other than the church, we will be branded as “right wing fanatics” and will be accused of forcing others to follow our “religion” or faith.

                The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution still grants freedom of speech and religion to all, but the Christian faith has been under attack for a long time. The Muslim can practice their faith freely in America (and detonate a few bombs here and there), but Christians cannot pray in our schools, in our sports competitions and we are not allowed to mention Jesus or preach the Word of God in many places.

                God does not have Miranda rights for his children. We are instructed, encouraged and commanded to proclaim the Gospel to all the world. Silence is golden in a movie theater and wise for people that get arrested, but it is never good for a Christian to be silent, except when we are listening from God.

                The early church was threatened with imprisonment and even death, if they would mention the name of Jesus, but Peter and John replied:

                “Whether is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen or heard” (Acts 4:19-20).

                  It is good to wait silently on the Lord and to remain silent when others attack us personally, but we must never stop talking about our Lord. The apostle Paul felt compelled to preach and even exclaimed:

                  “Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16)

                   I know that there are times when we don’t want to preach or speak about Jesus because we are discouraged. This happened to the great prophets Jonah (Jonah 1:3), Elijah (1 Kings 19) and Jeremiah, who said that there was a “burning fire” inside of him, compelling to preach (Jeremiah 20:9).

                   May God light some of that holy fire in our hearts, so we can speak about Him again!

  1. G.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

    Poverty of Heart

                 A man and his wife went to the cardiologist to get the results of all the tests that the doctor had ordered or prescribed for him. After almost two hours of waiting, the desperate couple saw the doctor opening the door and they held their hands as if they were hoping to receive a good prognosis…

                “I’m afraid I only have bad news to give you today” The doctor said, matter-of-factly

                The couple was stunned when they heard this, but before they could ask or reply anything, the doctor added,

                “Sir, your heart has a disease called “Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy” and there are also many indicators of a possible heart attack in the next few weeks and…”

                “Is there no hope at all?” The anxious wife interrupted the doctor.

                “None, unless you find a brand new heart for your husband in the next week or so, and let me assure you that the waiting list for a heart transplant is very long.”

                A brand new heart... This is what the millions of lost people in this world need. Some of them might really need a heart transplant, but the overwhelming majority needs a new spiritual heart to replace their heart of stone.

               The old Pharaoh needed a new heart, but he rejected every overture and wonder from the Lord and he hardened his heart many times (Exodus 7:13, 14, 22).

                The angry and greedy Nabal needed a new heart, but he died of a heart attack caused by great anger and unforgiveness (1 Samuel 25:37).

                Sihon, the king of Heshbon needed a new heart, but he did not allow Israel to pass and lost everything he had (Deuteronomy 2:29-31).

                Belshazzar needed a new heart, but he followed his pride and lost his kingdom (Daniel 5)

                Jesus’ own disciples needed a new heart to understand the ways of the Lord (Mark 8:17)

                You (if you are a Christian) and I needed a brand new spiritual heart, and our Lord fulfilled his promise to us:

                And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26)

                In Christ we are indeed a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). We have a new mind, a new heart and a new kind of life. The old, stony and deceitful heart (Jeremiah 17:9) has been discarded and replaced with a heart that beats for God.

                A. G.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

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.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

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.

 

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter

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.

Share this post

Submit to FacebookSubmit to Google PlusSubmit to Twitter