Pastor's Meditations

The Malice of Avarice (Exodus 20) 

            “You shall not covet...”

            To covet is a terrible sin.  A covetous individual is like a small child, who always wants to play with his friend’s toys; he is also like the cow that looks for “greener pastures” on the other side of the fence.

            God tells us to be content with what we already have.  If you ever need more, you can always reach out God in prayers and supplications.  Otherwise, let us never covet anything that belongs to someone else; not their house, automobile, job, bank account, yacht or their wives.

            Avarice comes from envy and jealousy; and envy is nothing but a misguided and lustful “admiration.”  When people are blindly following the dictates of avarice they are prone to theft, over-spending and adultery.

            Do not covet anything or anyone.  Do not give in to envy, for it will lead you to destruction. Those who covet what God has given to others will never be happy with anything they have. There will always be a bigger house, a more beautiful woman or a better job than the one you have, if you don’t learn the secret of contentment.

            Learn to be happy with what God has bestowed upon you and remember that you are loved by Him. If you are a Christian, you are blessed beyond measure. God is your Father; heaven is your home and life is your inheritance. What more can you ask for?

            If there is something that we should “covet” or desire, it is to love, follow, and serve God more every day.  The more that we hunger and thirst for the Lord, the less we will desire anything else.

            A. G.

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In the Mountain with God (Exodus 19)  

            “Then Moses went up to God...”

            In his song entitled, “New point of View,” Bill Gaither sings about a very interesting personal experience.

            One day he took a trip on a hot-air balloon over the city.  During his aerial journey, he noticed that the houses, boats and cars didn’t look as big as they did before.  Everything was small and rather insignificant when seen from above.

            When we spend time in the “mountain” of God; when we enjoy his majestic presence, then all those “big” problems become invisible.  There is no place there for worries, and our ambitions and selfish dreams evaporate like morning dew. When we are surrounded by God’s blazing glory, our eyes are amazingly blinded by his beauty and the darkness and futility of this world is put on display.

            In the mountain of the Lord we find a new point of view, a new perspective on life. In the mountain of the Lord we feel closer to heaven and distant from the cares of this life. In the mountain of the Lord we can hear his Voice, see his Glory, taste his Goodness, touch his Heart and experience his Presence.

            Eternity becomes visible, and suddenly we start longing again for the return of Jesus to take us home.

            Let us ascend to God’s mountain in fervent prayer.  As we spend time with the Lord, we shall be equipped to minister in the world.

            Listen to God’s voice calling you today:

            “Come up to my Mountain!”

            A. G.

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Hit and Run (Exodus 17)      

            “Strike the rock, and water will come out of it...”

            The power of God is immensurable.  He is able to create something out of nothing; he can make water to flow out of a dry rock.  God’s power and love have changed our lives forever.

            Water from a dry rock?  Have you ever heard or imagined such a thing?  This is what God did for Israel, but he has done a greater miracle on our behalf:  He made blood flow out the “Rock.”

            The rock at Horeb is a clear type or symbol of Jesus Christ.  He is the ROCK of our salvation. He was also “struck” when he went to the cross, but instead of giving life-preserving water, he poured out his own blood, his life-giving blood.

            How can this be?  How is it possible to receive life from someone else’s death?

            This is one of God’s greatest mysteries.  He sent his only Son to die vicariously on the shameful cross.  This simply means that Jesus died in our place; that he was our Substitute.

             His blood was sufficient to atone for our sins, because it was the blood of the perfect “Lamb of God.”

            That is why we can sing today;

            “There is power, power; wonder working power

             In the blood of the Lamb

            There is power, power; wonder working power

            In the precious blood of the Lamb.”

            A. G.

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On Fire for God (Exodus 18)      

           “Why do you sit alone?”

            Moses, the leader of the people of Israel was getting burned.  No, his “burn” was not the result of the hot Middle East sun, nor was it related to a secret sexual sin.  Moses was a victim of what is commonly known today as a workaholic lifestyle.  He was burned-out and fatigued with too much work.

            When Jethro came to visit his now famous son in-law, he was astounded to see Moses working so hard.  Perhaps Moses was under the delusion that he really was a religious “Superman.”  From sunrise to sunset he heard the complaints and disputes of his people, and he did this every day.

            His wise father in-law gave him the following advice:

  1. Train the people in God’s law.
  2. Delegate in able and responsible men.
  3. Handle only the major cases.

            This is good advice for Christian leaders of our time.  If you are a pastor or a leader in any ministry, you must learn to delegate.  God does not expect for you to do everything, but he requires that everything we do, it’s done well.

            He deserves our very best.

            On the other hand, do not ever attempt to delegate the work that God has called you to perform.  We have a solemn duty to fulfill the ministry that God has entrusted to us individually. We can delegate some of the work, but we must labor alongside with the other heirs of the grace of God. Do your part, do it well, and do it for God’s glory.

             A. G.

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All I Need (Exodus 16)

            “....nothing over...no shortage;”

            I still remember a story I heard in a Steve and Annie Chapman’s concert.  Their testimony was this:  One Monday morning they paid all the monthly bills and all that was left was enough for a loaf of bread for the rest of the week.  They prayed to the Lord concerning dinner, and the Lord answered in a most peculiar way; every day, for the rest of the week they received a phone call from a different brother or sister inviting them over for dinner.

            Israel (and us too) had a very bad habit: They enjoyed complaining for anything and everything.  This was already the third instance in which we see the recently liberated people, complaining to the Lord.  Instead of praising, praying or simply waiting in the Lord, they murmured and grumbled all the way into their deaths.

            What do you do when facing trouble?  How do you respond to life’s adversities?

            The story of Israel is found in the Bible, to provide an example for Christians today.  Let us follow their good example and avoid their many mistakes.

            How did God respond to their complaints?

            He provided a heavenly bread called “Manna.”  His provision was perfect; nothing was leftover, and there was enough for everyone to be filled and satisfied.

            God’s provision is always perfect in timing and amount.  He has promised to take care of your needs and He will do it.  There is no reason then, to doubt or complain because:

            “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” (Psalm 23:1)

            A. G.

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