Pastor's Meditations

Stop (Genesis 20)

                "It was I who kept you from sinning…"

                How boundless is the mercy and loving kindness of our God! His love reaches out to us in more ways than we are able to discern. Countless too are the many instances when God has stood in our way to stop us from sinning.

                Abraham was a great man of God; however, at times he was afraid and sometimes he failed. Twice he lied about Sarah’s true identity, and twice God averted a disgrace through direct intervention. Abraham could have lost his wife or life…or both.

                God stopped Pharaoh and Abimelech from touching Sarah. As Christians, we are “free” to sin if we persist in an Epicurean pursuit of happiness, but we can be assured that God will do at least three things: (1) Place many obstacles in our way (Balaam and the donkey); (2) Sound an alarm through the Holy Spirit; (3) Provide a way (or door) to escape (I Cor. 10:13).

                Let us not afflict our souls to death with feelings of guilt and remorse. Let us not grow apart from God because of our sins. Instead, we can choose to listen to God’s voice when we are surrounded by temptation. He says to us,

                “STOP!” “Do not sin.” “Return to me.”

                Are you a good “spiritual driver?” Do you stop at the intersection called “sin” and make a U-turn? Do you accelerate through “Gospel Avenue”? Do you always look at the Light?

               A. G.

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Salt Shakers or Statues? (Genesis 19)

                "Have you anyone else here?"

                Sodom was similar to Las Vegas; it was a city of sin. There was more sexual sin in Sodom than in any other city of the ancient world, and this was so because almost everyone practiced immorality.

                Sodom was also Lot’s abode. Lot chose to live in a sinful city, and it appears that his influence was never felt. On the other hand, the biblical evidence indicates that Lot’s family was severely affected by the immoral atmosphere of Sodom.

                We too live in sinful cities today. Are we influencing our cities with the gospel of Jesus? Lot lost a golden opportunity to save at least some Sodomites. If we are silent, if we compromise with the world, then our generation will decay and self-destruct.

                "…and he overthrew those cities…"

                This is the consequence of rejecting God. The world as we know it today shall be destroyed by fire, just as Sodom was burned to the ground. There is no life to be found in the pursuit of worldly pleasures. Those who love the world are as useless as a statue of salt.

                On the other side of the coin, we can affirm that Christians are called to be spiritual “salt shakers,” or as the Bible puts it, we are the "salt of the earth" (Matt. 5:13). We can spread our “salty” influence only as we move among those whose lives have no flavor.

                 A statue can’t do this.

                 A. G.

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Two Circumcisions (Genesis 17)

                "Every male among you shall be circumcised."

                What does it mean to be circumcised in the twenty-first century? To be circumcised is to reveal that which was hidden, to open that which was closed. Circumcision is still practiced today, and it has proven to be a healthy and sanitary practice.

                In Old Testament times, circumcision was the outward sign of the Abrahamic covenant, and it was applied to the foreskin of the male reproductive organ. This practice was continued all the way to the time of Jesus (Luke 2:21).

                But even in the Old Testament, God made sufficiently clear that circumcision was worthless if it was not accompanied by a sincere commitment of the heart. In other words, the Israelites were commanded to circumcise their foreskins and their hearts.

                This is what God demands from you, child of God! Our minds and hearts must be opened by God through the deep incision of the Word (Heb.4:12). This is what the apostle meant when he exhorted the Romans to "renew their minds" (Rom.12:2). This daily exercise requires a conscious effort on our part to come to God, asking him to remove any sin or worldly encumbrance and to make us holy in his sight.

                A circumcised heart (either from a man or woman) is a heart that is open before the Lord, with nothing to hide and no “closed doors.” God is free to roam around and to dictate his will. One may be circumcised physically and be on his way to hell; but the circumcised heart is already in heaven, for God lives there.

                 A. G.

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Time Alone With God (Genesis 18)

                "My Lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant."

                Every morning of our lives, we wake up to face the challenges and uncertainties of each day. We also awake to the certainty of God’s presence in our own rooms. This is a blessing, an opportunity that is ours; don’t let it pass you by.

                Time alone with God in the morning is without a doubt the best moment of the day. Abraham was conscious of the importance of spending time with the Lord. He prepared a banquet for the heavenly visitors. Oh, what a great time he had with God!

                Is our time with God like a banquet, where we offer our best to him? The “food and drink” God desires is the undivided attention and devotion of his children. Every morning, before eating breakfast, we must take hold of Christ. Its’ easy sometimes to forget about the Lord, but he never forgets us.

                "Sarah shall have a son."

                There is always an abundant overflowing of blessings when we spend time alone with God. Our hearts are warmed by his love, and our hope is refueled by his promises the touch of God also gives us the assurance that he is still and will always be in control.

                How sweet it is to be alone with the Lord! We enjoy his fellowship; we feel his approval; he answers our prayers, reveals his will, and tells us through the Holy Spirit that everything will be all right.

                A. G.

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Two Looks (Genesis 16)

                "…she looked on me with contempt."

                How do you look at those that surround you?

                “If looks could kill” is an old saying that depicts the way we sometimes look at another person with hatred in our eyes. Everyone is guilty on this regard, for we have shown our disgust or anger through our eyes in many occasions.

               “But people have hurt me!” you reply.

                 It’s true. Even Hagar displayed a look of disdain for her mistress Sarai.

                How do you look at those who surround you?

                We are surrounded by evil. We live in a post-Christian society. It is clear that we should expect hatred, criticism, and all kinds of unjust persecution. A Christian who expects love and appreciation from the world is hallucinating at best and compromising his or her daily walk with the Lord at worst.

                "You are the God who sees."

                Was Hagar wrong in looking with evil contempt? Of course, nevertheless, there was not a hint of anger in God’s eyes. God despises our sins, but his gaze is full of grace toward his children. In God’s eyes we are winners because he looks at us through his Son, and everything he sees is filtered by love and compassion.

                How do you look at those who surround you?

                There are only two ways, either with worldly hatred or divine love. The worldly look is easy and freely available to all. Even Christians can learn to stare in this manner. The divine look, however, is only possible for Christians who are full of God.

                A. G.

               

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