Pastor's Meditations

Quinqué (Exodus 27)  

            “So that a lamp...burn regularly…”

            I still remember my days in Cuba, when I was a bit younger.  I remember the poverty, the hunger and the “false” freedom brought by the Revolution.  I also remember the deceiving political discourses and all the pain and hard work that my mother had to endure.  Oh, I almost forgot, I also remember the numerous blackouts.

            The blackouts were common in my time (I hear that it’s worse now!).  Entire cities were left without electricity for hours or even days at a time.  It was a dangerous time to be on the street, because thieves and other criminals tend to operate better under the cover of darkness.

            In our house, however, there was always light.  No, we were not rich nor communists, but we did have a “quinqué.”  A quinqué was an oil lamp similar to a lantern.  With a good oil supply you can have light for a long time.

            The children of God are spiritual quinqués; at least we are supposed to be.  The oil we have is the best:  The Holy Spirit.  We can be lights in the darkness; we can illuminate the world so they can see Jesus.

            The Scriptures command us not to “quench the Spirit” (I Thess. 5:19).  If we turn off the influence of the Holy Spirit in our lives we might as well be like pagans, who continually live in a state of spiritual blackout.

            Lord, fill us with your Spirit and shine forever in our hearts! We want to shine for you in this dark and sinful age. Help us to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and to reflect your glory everywhere we go.

            A. G.

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Upright and Straight (Exodus 26)   

            “You shall make upright frames...”

            “Bring me another board!”  A carpenter told his helper, as he threw away the wooden plank.

            “Why did you throw that one on the floor?”  Asked the bewildered assistant.

            “It’s no good.  Don’t you see all the knots and curves that it has?” Replied the irate boss.  “From now on, only bring me straight boards!”

            Jesus was a carpenter too.  He knows when a piece of wood is good and when a board is useless.  Jesus also knows when a Christian is living an upright or “straight” life and when our path is crooked.

            God’s will is that his children are as useful as straight wooden boards.  Does this mean that we have to be perfect?  In no way!  If that were the case, none of us would ever be used by God. Yet He requires that we lead a holy life and that we walk in the straight and narrow way.

             We were once twisted and stained by sin, but Jesus straightened our life and now we can be useful agents of God’s kingdom on earth. If Jesus was able to feed over 5,000 people with a few loaves of bread, how much more can He do through us today!

            One day, when we reach heaven, we shall be perfect.  We will be free forever from the presence of sin and our bodies will be immortal and gloriously perfect.

            Until that day arrives, we must be upright in all our ways.  In other words our lives must be consecrated to the Lord; our minds must be saturated with his Word; and our will must be at His service forevermore! 

            A. G.

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Lord, I Promise That... (Exodus 24)    

                                                                                                   

            “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

            Once there was a child, a problem child, who had a knack for getting into trouble.  If it was not in the house, it was at church, or at school.  The fact is that the “kid” was a troublemaker. (Do you know somebody like that?)

            When his mother, neighbors or teachers scolded him, he always had the same answer:

            “I promise that I won’t do it again!”

            That “solemn” and heartfelt promise wouldn’t last for more than an hour, so the mother told her child that she was not going to believe him anymore, until he would start keeping his promises.

            The Israelites in the time of Moses and many Christians of today have one thing in common:  We promise more than we are able or willing to fulfill.  In that regard, we are not much better than the kid who lied to his mother.

             How many times have we broken our promises to our Savior?

            It is possible that many of our promises originate from our emotions.  We feel good after hearing a powerful song, poem or sermon, and we walk all the way down to the altar.  As we stand or kneel at the altar, we promise many and great things to God, without even considering all the implications and complications.

            Then again, there is a time to come to God, not to promise, but to offer him our lives.  He has promised to do great things in us, for us and through us; and he will do it because he always keeps all his promises.    

             A. G.

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My Offering (Exodus 25)  

            “...an offering from all whose hearts prompts them...”

            What should be our motivation when we bring tithes and offerings to the Lord?

            In the first place, let’s keep in mind that our offerings are for GOD.  The money you place on the plate is not for the pastor, for a Christian singer and not even for the church.  That money belongs solely to God, and when we give, we must give with gladness unto the Lord.

            But, what about those “pastors” or so-called Christian organizations who steal or squander God’s money?

            While it is true that there will always be those hirelings who “minister” for the sake of money, remember that they are now dealing with God and that God will deal with them. These mercenaries will have to answer for every penny they stole from gullible or good hearted believers, by promising healing or any other benefit.  Therefore, there is no excuse to withhold your offerings to the Lord.  You may choose to give your offerings in another church, but if you close your wallet altogether, you will become a thief too.

            Our offerings must come from the heart; a happy and grateful heart.  When we have offered our hearts to God, we will have no trouble offering to him everything else, including our money.

            Is your heart a property of God?  Is your will submitted to God’s will?

            Some people give money to God, while others bring offerings.  Only those who are grateful, and have a pure heart, will bring free will offerings with joy to the Lord, and only they shall be accepted. 

             A. G.

 

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Present in His Presence (Exodus 23)  

            “No one shall appear...”

            Every Christian has the moral obligation to present himself or herself before God each and every day.  In the morning, we must present our life as an offering to the Lord, just as we present our requests to God in prayer.

            “...before me...”

            Christ is the object of our faith, and the theme of our worship.  He is waiting for us to enjoy our sweet communion.  When we come to him with gratitude and humility, we are able to “enter” into his glorious presence and have fellowship with the Creator of the universe.

            Even though God is always present in, around, and over us, we are not always in his presence.  Allow me to explain:  Even though everyone is surrounded by God’s presence, only a few enter into the presence of the Almighty in true worship.  They “feel” or experience God’s presence, because they have chosen to come into his “inner sanctum” to praise him. In the Bible, we are exhorted to approach the throne of God with boldness and confidence (Hebrews 4:16).

            “...empty handed.”

            When we present ourselves to God, we must also come with our hands full of love, holiness and good works.  Our hands need to be clean from sin and filled with “fruits of righteousness.”

            When you hear Jesus calling you into his presence, just say;

            “Present!”

            A. G.

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