Pastor's Meditations

No Substitute

           There are people in our schools that are extremely important. As a teacher, I value the contributions of substitute teachers, for without them many academic instittutions would be forced to close its doors. It is comforting to know that when I have to miss school for any reason, a substitute will take my place. Nowadays, substitutes are just a click away on my computer. Finding a good substitute is another story.

           This world is also filled with substitutes. There is a bunny in the spring, a turkey in the fall and red clad fat man in the winter. They, along with many others are very poor (and evil) substitutes of our Lord Jesus Christ. Since the creation of the world, mankind has looked for many substitutes to worship them instead of the blessed Creator. We have worshipped all the hosts of heaven and the beasts of the field. Even Israel, the redeemed people of God, worshiped a golden calf or bull, instead of praising their Deliverer.

           Christianity is no exception to the rule. The church of Jesus Christ started well and it expanded to all the known world, but soon heresies, idols and false teachers infiltrated our ranks. The Roman Catholic church is a clear example of this perversion. Their local "churches" look like old pagan temples filled with idols (they call them saints and virgins), candles, incense and chants. The worst and most blatant substitution of all is the Pope. He is the bishop of Rome, the Pontifex Maximus and the vicar of Christ on earth. This last title (vicar) means that he is Christ's substitute in this world. 

           There is no substitute for Christ! No one can take his place; not the pope, not church leaders, not famous preachers or Christian singers. There is only one Jesus, the only begotten Son of God and God in the flesh. He will never share his divine glory with anyone. Teachers and pastors need substitutes from time to time, but Jesus is irreplaceable, indivisible, and indispensable.

            The most beautiful part of all this is that Jesus is our eternal Substitute. He died on the cross in our place and He intercedes on our behalf every day before the Father. Furthermore His substitutionary work reaches every part of our lives, in fact, our lives are not our own for He bought us with His blood (1 Corinthians 6:20) and has substituted His life for ours (Galatians 2:20).

 Alexander Gonzalez

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The Valley Song

My soul is cast down / I am a prisoner of fear

I don't want to drown / Lord, are you even here?


I cry out your name / Amid my great distress

I long for your embrace / For I am alone and depressed


Who can save me from this situation? / Who can change my life and set me free?

I call unto you, Lord of my salvation / Please answer and deliver me


I cannot carry this burden alone / I don't even want to take another step

Bring to my heart a brand new song / And bury all my failures and regrets


I want to follow you and never stop / To be a light that shines in the dark

I don't want to quit or ever give up / But sometimes the pain is too much


I will sing your praises again / I will worship you in this valley of death

I will lift and exalt your Holy Name / I will love you until my last breath


I don't see the end of this tunnel 

I don't know when this storm will subside / All I know is that you are by my side

That your purpose is faithful and true

All I know is that I need you, Jesus

And that is why I crying to you.


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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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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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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Read more: What Sins? God's Postmortem Assesment of David