Pastor's Meditations

“The Strongest Man”

                This is a true story.

                Many years ago, when I was a young man I went with a friend of mine to a party. There were many of us in that place. I remember that there was music and dancing and a few pretty girls (I’ll get in trouble for this one). I also remember that there was a foul-mouth bully.

                The party was lively and happy, but when this drunken troublemaker appeared on the scene everything changed. He started harassing girls and intimidating all the guys. Everyone was afraid of this strong and belligerent individual.

                Well, almost everyone. Out of nowhere a new man came to the party. He was taller, stronger and very courageous. He took one good look at the bully, headed in his direction and after a few choice words, the “dangerous” man fled the scene and the party was even better than before.

                Satan was this bully. He terrorized our lives for many years (Isaiah 14:16-17). We were his prisoners until Jesus came to set us free (Psalm 146:7; Isaiah 61:1). Our life before Christ was a “party” without music; a banquet without food and an existence without real life.

                Jesus came and He changed everything. He conquered death; He defeated the kingdom of darkness and He destroyed the power of sin and the dominion of Satan. This victory is illustrated in the following biblical passage:

“...So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself,  that house cannot stand.  And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end.  No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house.(Mark 3:23-27)

              Satan is the strong man, but Jesus is the STRONGEST Man. He plundered the house of the enemy and has given us freedom, forgiveness and a future filled with love, joy, hope and life. Rejoice in the victory of our Eternal King and if you are ever afraid of the “strong man,” remember to call the Stronger, Perfect and Glorious Son of Man and He will come to your rescue and keep you safe.

               And life will be a glorious party once again.

               A. G.

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Contagious Christianity

                Our world is engulfed in a never-seen-before pandemic. It is called the “Corona Virus” and at this point (March, 2020) there are almost 7,000 deaths due to this killer virus. There is much fear and perhaps some overreaction over it, as air travel has been suspended, schools are closed, sports are cancelled and even churches are shut down…and it can get even worse.

                The problem with the virus is that it is very contagious and it spreads easily from person to person. The incubation period is around two weeks and a person at this stage is already carrying (and spreading) the virus, even when symptoms are not present yet.

                I hope that by the time you read this blog at church, the pandemic has already subsided. I also pray that it does not affect any of our members and that health of our brothers and sisters all around the world remains strong.

                On the other hand, I pray that we become very contagious and that we spread it all around. No, I am not referring to any virus or illness, but I am praying that we become contagious Christians. If an evil virus is capable of turning the world upside down, our victorious faith in Christ can do the same, and even more.

                A contagious Christian:

                Loves God with all his heart and mind (Matthew 22:37)

                Loves others with the love of Christ (John 13:35)

                Is filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)

                Studies and preaches the Word of God (1 Timothy 2:15)

                Is filled with peace and joy (Philippians 4:4)

                Lives by faith and walks in holiness (Romans 1:17)

                Is the light of the world and salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16)

                The fact is that all believers can be contagious Christians, but in order to be so we need to remove all the masks that cover our faith and message from the rest of the world. We don’t need to quarantine the Gospel as if it was a malicious and infectious disease.

                I see people everywhere with masks on their faces to avoid the spread of the Corona virus. This is wise and worthy to imitate. I also see many Christians that are afraid to spread the Gospel of love, life and liberty in Christ.

                Brother or sister, remove all your masks and become a contagious Christian today. Let your light shine brightly for Christ so others can see that the “cure” for their sin is not found in religion, morality or anything else, but only in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

                A. G.

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“Money Hungry”

            Most kids are always hungry. Some of them want to eat all the time, especially if the menu consists of ice cream, candies, cakes and other sweets.

            One of my grandchildren in particular, has a voracious appetite. She is hungry all the time. She is definitely not a picky eater. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between fall prey to her insatiable hunger.

            This week, however, she was literally money hungry: She “ate” (swallowed) a quarter and maybe more coins. Her parents had to rush her to the hospital. I am praying that the coin will flow out and that she will be “money free.” I also hope that God will curb her “money cravings.”

            In this humanistic and materialistic society, many people are power hungry, which is to say that they are hungry for money. Money for them is not only a tool that can bring them power, but it is also an idol that they worship.

            It is sad to see the power of money in action. Nations go to war over money. Marriages end over money. Lives are ruined over money and even Christians become unfaithful servants of Christ as they pursue riches and pleasures.       

            Jesus warned us about this when He said:

            “No one can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24).

            He was referring to the simple fact that we only have One MASTER and it is not money, but the Lord Jesus Christ.

            Working hard and earning good money is not a bad thing; in fact it can be a very good thing. A person that works hard and is responsible in his job has the traits necessary to also labor for the Lord. Earning good money can also be a great blessing in order to support our families, the church ministry and to help others in need.

            Loving money or being hungry for wealth is never a good thing. We must serve God and not gold; we must love the Messiah and not money and we must follow the Word and not seek after wealth.

            “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (I Tim. 6:10).

            Are you hungry for money, or for Jesus Christ, the Bread of Life?

            A. G.

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“Flashlights”

          Do you know what a flashlight is? I ask, because people now use the phone for everything (camera, music, movies, games and lights).

          Well, I like flashlights. They are very useful during a storm or on dark night in the country.

          Christians are like flashlights, in fact the Bible calls us the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:18). We are also called the “children of light” (Ephesians 5:8) and we must walk in the light in this dark world (Philippians 2:15).

          A flashlight needs:

         Power (Ephesians 5:8). Christ is our Source of life and power (like the battery) and we need to walk actively in the light of Jesus (in His power)

         To be Pressed (John 8:12). Turn to Jesus and follow Him (Turn on the light)

         Public (Matthew 5:14-16) --- Do not hide Christ. Be a Public testimony that attracts others to Christ

(Shine your light to God, not on their face)

          Pure (Philippians 2:15). Don’t let sin mess your shine

          We are now walking in the “daylight savings time.” Let us also walk in the saving light of Christ.

          Follow the Light; walk in the Light and be a light for Christ.

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“Full Life”

                Recently we learned about the passing of NBA player Kobe Bryant. He was an accomplished basketball player, having won numerous individual awards, along with six NBA championships with Los Angeles Lakers.

                In addition to this, he traveled the world and was fluent in several languages. After his retirement, he became an international ambassador for the game of basketball and even won an Oscar for being an accomplished filmmaker.

                I guess we can say that he had a full life.

                I don’t know how many times I have heard that same expression. When a famous person dies or when the deceased is very old, they are considered to have lived a very full life.

                What makes a life full?

                Is it living life to the fullest in the pleasures of sin?

                Is it living to a very old age?

                Is it becoming wealthy, or famous?

                According to the Scriptures none of the above choices indicate that a person has lived a full or even a good life. A life filled with sin is no life at all; it is a mere dark and hopeless existence and all the riches and pleasures of this world can’t bring joy, peace, purpose or salvation to anyone. Mark 8:36 puts it well:

               “For what will it profit a man if he gainthe whole world, and loses his own soul?”

               A full life is one that begins and ends with Jesus. He came into this dark world to die for the sins of his chosen people and to offer us eternal and abundant life (John 6:47; 10:10). A full life is not achieved by a multitude of activities and accomplishments. A full life is realized as we abide like branches in Jesus, who is the Vine (John 15).

              Do you want to live a full life?

              The only way to live a full life is to die. As we die to sin and the flesh, the life of Christ is fully manifested in and through us. The apostle Paul shares the secret of a full life in Galatians 2:20,

              “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I, who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

              A. G.

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