Pastor's Meditations

True Freedom (A Train’s Tale)

                Once upon a time there was train that was different than all other trains. It had the same engine, valves, chimney, whistle, driving wheels, cylinders and all the other parts of the other locomotives around him, but it wanted freedom.

                All the other trains were happy and laborious, but our friend was very unhappy in any situation. It hated hauling anything behind its powerful engines. Every time that a wagon, coach or rail car was attached to it, it was furious!

                One day, it decided to escape the “tyranny” of the railways to seek freedom in other greener pastures. Everywhere it went, the same result always followed. It got stuck on the sand and on the mud; it moved very slowly in crowded streets and it drowned in the rivers.

                Soon it realized that this was not the life of freedom that it had envisioned. It was stuck and the more energy it used to get itself free, the deeper it went into the ground. Oh, how miserable it was in this deplorable condition. It was not free; it was not happy; it was not living.

                After years of oblivion and desolation, the little train felt itself lifted off the ground by a powerful crane and was delicately placed on a recently built train track nearby. As soon as the wheels touched the railways everything changed. The train realized that now it was free, really free to travel everywhere it wanted on the tracks.

                This is our story too. Like the train, we sought freedom in the mud of sin like the Prodigal son (Luke 15:16) and built our homes (lives) on the sinking sand (Matthew 7:26, 27). Soon we realized that a life of sin does not produce freedom, but only slavery (Romans 6:22)

                Our freedom began on the day we were brought to the cross of Calvary by the grace of God. Our freedom began on the day in which we became the slaves of Christ. This is illustrated in many sections of Scripture, but it can be clearly seen in Matthew 11:28:30,

                “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

                 In Christ we find rest and freedom (John 8:31, 32). Come to Christ today and you will find rest as you become his servant (slave) by taking his “yoke.” This yoke does not represent evil slavery or exploitation on the part of Christ, our Master. A yoke is made for two, so this clearly represents our sweet union with our Lord and Savior.

                The tracks represent freedom for a train and our yoke in (with) Christ is the greatest liberty that the universe will ever witness. Our sinful “freedom” of our previous life was total slavery and death, but our slavery in Christ is freedom, joy, peace, love and life.

                Are you truly free today?

                A. G.

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     The Cry of the Blessed Soul

 

                Have you been blessed by God? Of course you have! Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). We all have been bountifully blessed by our wonderful Lord and Savior and therefore our souls must cry out to him as David did many years ago:

1“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
(Psalm 103:1-5)

               The first thing we must do is to PRAISE our God. The psalmist wanted to “bless the Lord” or speak well of his God. This we must do every day. Praise Him at all times, praise Him for all his blessings and praise Him with all you’ve got.

                The second thing that we must do is to always REMEMBER our God. Remembrance is not something we do only during the Lord’s Supper or in other special occasions. We must never “forget all his benefits” and as we do, our hearts will cry out in praise once again.

                Thirdly, we must thank Him for his FORGIVENESS. He is the One that forgives all your iniquities.” What an eternal relief is to know for certain that in Christ we are truly and totally forgiven and free. Let your soul cry out in a song of praise for his deliverance.

                Another reason to cry out to God with endless delight is that He is our HEALER and our HELPER all the time and in all situations. He “heals all your diseases” and He “redeems your life from destruction.” We are never alone or abandoned. We can cry out to God for help and cry out with loud praises for his timely and effective help.

                Finally, let our souls cry out to God with thanksgiving to the God that is not only our Savior but also our SUSTAINER. Only He can satisfy our needs and wants and in Him we are RENEWED by his loving mercy and grace.

                Do you see now how blessed you really are? Open the eyes and ears of your soul for you to see and hear that our God is more than good…He is everything to us. Open also your mouth, not to complain, grumble and whine, but to elevate a cry to heaven filled with tears of joy and gratitude.

                A. G.

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The Keeper

                Psalm 121 is one of my favorite psalms in the entire Bible. In this psalm my soul finds hope and strength amid the troubles and tribulations of this life. I can face all my tomorrows knowing that God is not only my Lord and Savior, but He is also my Keeper.  

In this beloved Psalm, I find three things. First, I see many,

Problems:                                                                                                                                                          Desperation--- “From whence comes my help?”
Danger--- “He will not allow your foot to be moved (to slip)”
Destruction--- “The sun shall not strike you by day, Nor the moon by night”                                                      Devilish evil--- “The Lord shall preserve you from all evil”

In This Psalm we also encounter the,     

Presence:                                                                                                                                                            In the mountain of Zion--- “I will lift up my eyes to the hills”                                                                                  Of the God of the Universe--- Who made heaven and earth.”                                                                            Of the God that keeps us--- “The Lord is your keeper; The Lord is your shade at your right hand.”

Finally, we also find the,

Promise:                                                                                                                                                              God is our Helper---“My help comes from the Lord”                                                                                            His help is continuous--- “He who keeps you will not slumber…Shall neither slumber nor sleep"                      God keeps our soul safe--- “He shall preserve your soul.”                                                                                  God keeps our life--- “The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in
From this time forth, and even forevermore.”                                                                                                       
God keeps his peopleBehold, He who keeps Israel

                 A. G.


 

 

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“Blind” Faith?

 You have probably heard someone utter the expression: “I have blind faith.” This simply means that person “believes” in something or someone, or follows a cause blindly, without any evidence or real information.         

Our faith is not blind.  

It has an Object: Jesus Christ

It has a Source: The Bible

It has a Voice: The Holy Spirit

It has a Purpose: To change, guide and direct our Christian life

The title of this blog is “Blind Faith,” but this does not refer to the aforementioned blind faith that so many possess. I want to explore the faith of the man born blind in John 9. He was totally blind (physically and spiritually) but his faith in Christ was instrumental in receiving a double dose of sight.

Real Faith (the faith of the blind man), not blind faith is the one that knows that:

Jesus is here---“Now as Jesus passed by”

Jesus sees us--- “He saw a man…”

Jesus knows our condition--- “…who was blind from birth.”

Jesus has (IS) the answer--- “And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered…”

Jesus has a purpose in everything--- “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Jesus is working in our lives--- “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work”

Jesus is our Light in the darkness--- “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is our Healer and Savior--- “When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”

Blind faith will never save or even help anyone. What people need is to receive the gift of faith, real faith from God that saves, heals, restores, renews and transforms our lives forever. I pray that you have this real faith, because blind faith is…well, blind.

           A. G.

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Words to Live (and Die) By

                A few weeks ago, I had the honor (but not the pleasure) of conducting a short funeral service for a dear lady, related to one of our church members. The Scripture reading for that occasion was found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8, which reads as follows:

          "For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing."

            The first thing we noticed was the Reality of the Closeness of death. The apostle Paul realized that he was literally at the end of his life. Perhaps he was already sentenced to death by the Roman emperor and was waiting for his execution. We can face the reality of death with the calm assurance that this is not the end, but the beginning of a glorious eternity with Christ in heaven.

             The second point was our Responsibility to Complete the Course. Paul finished the race that he began many years before on the road to Damascus. He kept his faith in Christ throughout all these years as he fought as a brave soldier of the Lord against sin and the forces of darkness. We can fulfill our responsibility by submitting ourselves to the truth of God’s Word and the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit.

              Lastly, we considered our Reward with a Crown of Life. Paul lived his life with full hope in Christ and with the expectation of a heavenly reward. The crown of righteousness is another way of saying our future perfection in heaven. This crown is only given to those of us who love Jesus and serve Him as we wait for his glorious appearing. We can overcome all the obstacles and persevere amid all the trials, knowing that our hope and reward in Christ are sure and indestructible.

              We need to face Reality

              We must fulfill our Responsibility

              We will receive a glorious Reward if we are faithful

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