Pastor's Meditations

Is God done with us?

                The school year is over. I am done with teaching…at least for the next two months. I am looking forward to the day of my retirement, when I will be finally and completely done with teaching. On that day, I will smash all the alarm clocks around the house, but I will be so old that I will probably be up at 5:00 in the morning anyways.

                Retirement could be a wonderful thing, especially if you are still healthy and have some money saved up. A retired Christian can be used of God in many ways, but the problem is that our churches are filled with many retirees of every age, gender and nationality. They have retired from serving God.

                What a contrast with Caleb, who at 85 years of age continued to fight and to conquer in the name of the Lord (Joshua 14:6-12). Christians can retire from their jobs or ministries, but we must never retire from being followers and servants of God.

                But, what happens to those like me, that have served the Lord for many years (and still desire to serve Him), but now for whatever reason all ministry doors seem to be closed?

                Is God done with us?

                The Bible does talk about the possibility of being disqualified as a minister (1 Corinthians 9:27), but what will disqualify a servant of God?

                Is it immorality? God gave David a second chance (2 Samuel 12:13)

                Is it betrayal? God gave Peter a second chance (John 21)

                Is it worldliness? God gave Samson a second chance (Judges 16)

                Is it fear and cowardice? God gave John Mark a second chance (2 Timothy 4:11)

                Personally, I am guilty of all the above charges and more. I have failed my Lord Jesus many times and I haven’t been faithful or obedient. Nevertheless, I love the Lord and still desire to serve Him. I know I don’t deserve to be in the ministry; I don’t even deserve to be a Christian.

                I echo the words of the Prodigal Son:  

                “I will arise and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you, and I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired servants.” (Luke 15:18, 19).

                 Is God done with me?

                Philippians 1:6 is one of my favorite Bible verses, because it gives me hope when I entertain the idea that God has left me behind and that He will never use me again.

                “…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.”

                 I am holding onto this hope and to the throne of grace (Hebrews 4:16).

  1. G.

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Happy Family

                The church, as described in the Bible is one and yet many things at the same time. There is only one true universal church, but there are many local churches, which are the localized expression of church. There is only one church, but it is described in many different ways. In this short blog, I will attempt to compile all the names and characteristics of the church.

The church is a spiritual Building you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 peter 2:5)

The church is a Bride  “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 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 5:25-27)

The church is a Body  “…so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” (Romans 12:5)

The church is a FamilyFor this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named” (Ephesians 3:14, 15)

The church is a Flock And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.(John 10:16)

The church is a Tree I am the vine, you are the branches.” (John 15:5; see also Psalm 1:3 and Romans 11:13-23)

The Church is a Heavenly Race “…But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” (1 Peter 2:9)

                There are many more metaphors that describe the church, but the aforementioned paint a complete picture. The church is not a corporation or an organization (although we need both). The church is a living, growing and diverse organism and is not confined to a building, for it is the people of God that make up the church.

                The church is centered on Christ and without Jesus, there is no church. He is the Head of the body, the Shepherd of the flock, the Husband of the bride, the Cornerstone of the temple, the Root and Trunk of the tree and the Father of the whole family.

                To be part of the church, therefore, you must be so connected to the Lord that you have to be IN Christ. Attending church services, praying and reading the Bible may earn you a membership in some local congregations, but only those who believe, follow, obey and love Christ are part of his eternal church.

  1. G.

               

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    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.

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      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.

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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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