Pastor's Meditations

Walking (Genesis 29)                                                                     

            “Then Jacob went on his journey...”

            First, Jacob was a man on the run; he was running for his life when he met God at Bethel.  After his encounter with God, and seeing the angelic vision, Jacob became a new man.  Now he wasn’t running anymore; he was walking with the Lord.

            I believe this was the moment of conversion for Jacob.  He had heard many stories about God from his father Isaac and probably from Abraham too; but then at Bethel (which incidentally means “House of God”), he heard God telling him:

            “I am with you.”

            For this reason we can wake up each morning and continue with this daily struggle some people call “life.”  Knowing that Jesus is leading the way, is more than enough to instill the confidence necessary to keep on living and walking with God.

            My old pastor Eugenio Gonzalez used to say that the Christian life is not hard...it’s impossible.  The way is narrow, our strength is limited and trials and temptations abound.  Nevertheless the Holy Spirit empowers us and the Bible’s promises encourage us to never give up.

            We can walk with the Lord today, because the Lord walks with us every day. He walks ahead of us, trailblazing the path that we must follow and He walks in us, for he lives in us; in fact, one can say that we are his feet. The church is the body of Christ and wherever the Head (which is Christ) goes, the feet must follow in obedience to Jesus.

            Let us live, love and walk in Christ and Christ will live in us, love through us and walk with us in this world and forever.

            A. G.

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Incomplete Sayings (a new twist on famous sayings with biblical flavor)

  1. You can’t judge a book by its cover…unless it is the Bible.
  2. Absence makes the heart fonder…unless it is absence of holiness.
  3. Actions speak louder than words…but don’t stop speaking about God.
  4. A leopard can’t change its spots…but Jesus can change our life.
  5. All good things come to an end…except when you go to heaven.
  6. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…protect your eyes from darkness and sin.
  7. Best things in life are free…especially eternal life in Christ.
  8. The ends justify the means…unless you end up in jail or worse.
  9. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure…junk is always junk.
  10. Better late than never…unless you are outside the ark and it’s raining.
  11. Clothes do not make a man…but wear your best for your King.
  12. Every man is the architect of his destiny…unless they build upon the sand.
  13. Fortune favors the brave…No, God favors the humble.
  14. God helps those who help themselves…No, God helps those who cannot help themselves.
  15. If you can’t beat them, join them…instead ask God to beat them.
  16. Ignorance is bliss…they said before going to hell.
  17. It’s better to be safe than sorry…No, it’s better to be sorry so we can be saved.
  18. It takes two to make a quarrel…It takes three to end it.
  19. Practice makes perfect…so start coming to church every Sunday.
  20. There is no time like the present…but our future is so much better.

            A. G.

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A Delicious Dish (Genesis 27)

                “...savory food for your father, such as he likes…”

                I remember clearly the breakfast my three sons cooked for me one Father’s Day. It was delicious! There were scrambled eggs, fried Spam, Cuban bread, café con leche (Cuban coffee and milk), pancakes with maple syrup, and a few other savory items. It was truly a feast fit for a king!

                Jacob cooked Isaac’s favorite food (with Rebekah’s help) and brought it to him. They prepared the best dish, but they had an evil wish. This banquet was a small piece in a much larger conspiracy to obtain Isaac’s blessing illegally. It was similar to sin: a delicious (yet deadly) trap.

                What is God’s favorite food?

                God delights himself in his children. His favorite “food” is a pure heart filled with love, a renewed mind filled with Christ, and a consecrated spirit filled with the uttermost devotion.

                Is our life a sweet-smelling offering to the Lord? Are we presenting our bodies as a “living sacrifice” unto God (Rom. 12:1)? Our life must be like a delicious dish for God: a banquet where he can find faith, hope, gratitude, obedience, trust, and love.

                This is what our Father likes.

                A. G.

                

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More than a Mother (Genesis 28)

                “If God will be with me…”

                I have not met a child yet who says no to candy. They may refuse cookies or chocolates, but candies, no way! In the same manner, I haven’t seen a Christian who does not desire God’s blessings upon his or her life. Jacob, running for his life, needed God’s protection and provision. We need God as much or more than Jacob.

                “Know that I am with you…”

                This is the divine answer for all of our needs. Even before we ask God to help us, he is already with us like a tender shepherd. Jesus promised,

                “And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:20).

                Jesus is with us; in fact, he will never leave us. In our trials and tribulations, he is there; in the days of gladness and joy, he is there; and when the storms that bring sorrow and dark clouds cover our sunny skies, Jesus will be there. His presence will comfort us and his love will give us new strength to carry on.

                “I will not leave you…”

                Jesus is with us and in us forever. His presence is permanent; he is faithful to the end. His name is “Emmanuel,” which means God is always with us (Matt. 1:23). Everyone may forget about us, even our own mothers, but Jesus will never abandon us, not even for a second. If today you are felling that nobody (even God), cares about you, remember that this is just a feeling, not the reality. It is possible to be forgotten and rejected even by the people of God, but that God will leave us is...impossible.

                A. G.

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Say No to Egypt (Genesis 26)

   

“Do not go down to Egypt…”

                Egypt, in the Bible, represents the world and its pleasures, just as Babylon is a symbol of idolatry and fase religions. In “Egypt” you can find everything you want (except God, of course).

                No wonder God advised Isaac personally not to go down to Egypt. Why? Because going to Egypt means taking a step back in our Christian life; it means leaving the Mountain of the Lord to descend into the “valley of sin and death.”

                But doesn’t God send us into the valley to preach his saving gospel? He certainly does. The difference is found in the purpose or motivation to go back to “Egypt.” Its one thing to descend as God’s ambassadors to spread the good news, and quite another to go back to the world to satisfy our carnal appetites. It is not the same to “feed” the unbelievers with the “bread of heaven” as to be fed with the poisonous, yet tastier “food” of the world.

                “Isaac dug again the wells…”

                When there is need in our lives (and who is not needy?), God wants us to return, not to Egypt, but to God. He will give us power, wisdom, and strength.

                We can dig another well; we can begin anew. How can we dig wells of blessings? With prayer. God will hear our cries of desperation and will come to our rescue in his always-perfect time. God will open heaven’s windows and pour his manifold blessings over us so that we never again return to Egypt.

                 A.  G.

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