Pastor's Meditations

Basic Stuff (Genesis 24)

                “…ran again to the well…”

                A successful Christian is one who “sticks” to the basics of Christianity. What steps must we follow to become victorious believers? What I am about to tell you is so simple. It is basic. The first step is the faithful study of God’s Word. In the beginning, you will be content if you at least read the Bible; but as you grow and mature as a Christian, you must go deeper and deeper into the Word.

                If you study of the Bible is limited to casual reading and listening to Sunday morning’s sermon, then do not be alarmed if your spirit is weak and your faith is small. Drawing “living water” from the Bible requires at least two things: deep thirst—“She went down to the springs;” and perseverance---“she…ran again…”

                “Before she had finished speaking…”

                The second vital activity is prayer. God always answers our prayers, even though the “answer” may not be what we anticipated or prayed for in the first place. Nevertheless, there are occasions when God surprises us by answering while we are still praying. A successful Christian prays to God every day regardless of the nature of the answer.

                “I will not eat until I have told my errand.”

                The victorious believer takes time and effort to communicate God’s message to the lost world. This is the logical outgrowth of Bible study and prayer. We have tasted the living water; now let’s tell others about it. These are the basics of Christianity.

                A. G.

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Extraterrestrial (Genesis 23)

                “I am a stranger, an alien residing among you…”

                Every child of God has felt some type of rejection from the world. This is a natural reaction if we consider the fact that to them, we are strangers. One may even say that the world thinks Christians are extraterrestrial beings.

                Is this true?

                Well, the Bible says that we have been born again from “above” (John 3:3). Although we live in this world, we are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20), and we now belong to God’s family.

                Now wonder the unbelieving society calls us aliens! They don’t know what to do with such a “stubborn” and “intolerant” group of “religious fanatics.” The world does not understand our faith and rejects our values and traditions.

                This, in a nutshell, was Abraham’s situation. He was a pilgrim on this earth who didn’t own so much as a small lot to bury his beloved Sarah, even though he was rich.

                Why, then, do we trouble ourselves listening to those who reject our God? We are pilgrims’ and sojourners who are just “passing through.” Some of us will never be able to enjoy a home of our own, but we have a heavenly home, and we have God. Isn’t that enough?

                Let the world call us what they will; it will not matter. We are a different race for sure. We are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood a holy nation, God’s own people” (I Pet. 2:9).

                A. G.

 

 

 

 

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Fountain of Joy (Genesis 21)

                "God has brought laughter for me…"

                Does God want us to be happy or to love him? I believe it’s the latter. Happiness is one of those things we find when we pursue God with all of our hearts. God is the only source of true, unadulterated joy.

                The pursuit of happiness is considered a “right” among American people. The fact is, however, that happiness can’t be found in parties, drinking and drugs. For others, happiness is commensurate to their wealth or possessions, but in reality none of these things can bring lasting happiness.

                Let us pursue the Lord instead.

                Sarah’s laughter was not an evil mockery, not even a fleeting happiness. She laughed from a heart inundated with pure joy. She was thankful to God for her newborn son Isaac, a miracle child.

                Joy is planted in the heart of every Christian at the moment of conversion. Joy is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit; therefore joy is (or should be) an integral part of our lives. We do not need to go anywhere, buy anything, or fall into sin to be happy. Remember, we already have joy.

                Jesus is the overflowing fountain of joy. He can bring genuine laughter to those who suffer. He never promised the absence of tribulations, but he did promise his comforting and joyous presence even amid trials. Drink today from the fountain of joy.

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Passing Grade (Genesis 22)

                The Test…“God tested Abraham.”

                God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13), but he brings or allows numerous tests in our lives. If you have been a student in the past, you must agree that for the most part, tests are hard and undesirable. Nevertheless, the object of spiritual tests is to perfect our walk with the Lord.

                How is the report card of your faith? Do you have a passing grade on your spiritual tests? Tests reveal not only the degree of our faith in Christ, but also our maturity, integrity, and level of responsibility.

                The Tenacity… “Here I am.”

                On thing is to know for sure that God is present during the testing period and that he is tenderly caring for us; and another is to remain faithful and true as we are tested. Abraham said, “Here I am;” Job did not curse God even amid his calamity; and Jesus was obedient and faithful unto death (Phil.2:8).

                How do you react to the tests in your life?

                One option is to run, but that would make you a coward. You can also ask “why?” and curse, but that could bring you an ulcer. Instead, you can ask God what lesson or purpose he has in mind, and then you can tell him, “Here I am.” Let us remember that behind every test there is a blessing in disguise.

               A. G.

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Stop (Genesis 20)

                "It was I who kept you from sinning…"

                How boundless is the mercy and loving kindness of our God! His love reaches out to us in more ways than we are able to discern. Countless too are the many instances when God has stood in our way to stop us from sinning.

                Abraham was a great man of God; however, at times he was afraid and sometimes he failed. Twice he lied about Sarah’s true identity, and twice God averted a disgrace through direct intervention. Abraham could have lost his wife or life…or both.

                God stopped Pharaoh and Abimelech from touching Sarah. As Christians, we are “free” to sin if we persist in an Epicurean pursuit of happiness, but we can be assured that God will do at least three things: (1) Place many obstacles in our way (Balaam and the donkey); (2) Sound an alarm through the Holy Spirit; (3) Provide a way (or door) to escape (I Cor. 10:13).

                Let us not afflict our souls to death with feelings of guilt and remorse. Let us not grow apart from God because of our sins. Instead, we can choose to listen to God’s voice when we are surrounded by temptation. He says to us,

                “STOP!” “Do not sin.” “Return to me.”

                Are you a good “spiritual driver?” Do you stop at the intersection called “sin” and make a U-turn? Do you accelerate through “Gospel Avenue”? Do you always look at the Light?

               A. G.

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