Pastor's Meditations

“Kiss of Death”

            Europeans are different from Americans in many respects. They eat differently, dress differently and greet differently. While many Americans wave or shake hands, Europeans (England not included) are more into hugs and kisses.

            The Italians, for example, are very effusive and passionate when they greet. Even the members of the Mafia (a very small percentage of Italians) are notorious for their affection; at least from what I have watched in the movies.

            One of their kisses, however, is neither affectionate nor friendly. I am referring to the infamous “Kiss of Death” given to those that have been marked for execution by the Mafia.

            This should be called the “Judas Kiss,” for it was Judas the one that betrayed Jesus with a kiss. His evil display of “affection” led to Jesus’ capture and eventual death (Luke 22:47, 48).

            Judas’ kiss will forever remain an example of hypocrisy, wickedness and betrayal. There are far too many Judas-like relationships in the world, and we find them at work, at school, at home and even at church.

            There is yet another kiss of death that is even deadlier and more destructive, than the Mafia and Judas’ kiss combined. It is the infernal and diabolical kiss of temptation.

            Temptation is an evil mistress that comes to visit us so much and so often, that she seems to be part of our family. This mistress is beautiful in appearance and often comes disguised “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

            There is no woman more attractive than Temptation. She looks, gorgeous and inviting and before we know it, we fall under her spell. Behind her winsome smile there is an ugly and unclean spirit. Do not kiss her pretty lips, unless you want to be ripped apart by her fangs. Keep also in mind that she never travels alone. Temptation is always accompanied by a ruthless lion (1 Peter 5:8) and by death (James 1:14, 15).

            Do not open the door to this deadly woman (Revelation 17). Don’t even look in her direction (Matthew 5:27-29). Remember that Temptation (beautiful as she might be), never has good intentions for us and there have never been good results when we follow her. If you hold her hand, she will drag you to her father’s house and there you will find only sin and death.

             Alexander Gonzalez

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Sufficient Grace

              After celebrating this “Thanksgiving Time” we observe yearly in the U.S. I was pondering on another reason why we should be thankful: Sufficient Grace (generous benefit and or favor bestowed to someone who could never earn it).

               I don’t deserve you Lord Jesus. I don’t deserve your forgiveness, mercy and or grace. I still fall short; I sometimes think that I can live this life on my own strength. I say to myself: “God doesn’t know what I’m going through, He couldn’t possibly understand”.

               Oh, but your Word Lord reminds me of the grace you have bestowed on all those who have gone already; who did not deserve what you gave to them. You blessed those who were and even those that were not part of the people of Israel (Eve, Ruth, Rahab and Me).

               We pride ourselves by saying that we do much for the glory of God, but how much is enough? You gave your life on the cross, while none of your followers were there. Yet, your grace shed through your blood brought them back and those imperfect, scared, betraying disciples became the first vessels that carried, preached and lived the message of hope, grace and forgiveness through faith in Christ. That message has reached us and is still saving.

              We do NOT deserve anything good; we are only debtors. Oh Lord, may we look to you and see the grace that sets us free. This grace has freed us from our own sins. I pray that our testimony may show the world that “God’s grace is sufficient.”

              May we, your children boast like the apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “…in weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities…” Make us like Jesus. May we be vessels that carry the marks of Christ, suffering through this life with joy and show Your grace to those who still don’t know you.

             Alexander and Mayra Gonzalez

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Destroying the Bible

            The Bible is the best loved and the most hated book in the world. It is loved by those who follow Christ and it is despised by those that live in sin.

            Many have tried to destroy the Bible throughout history. The list of kingdoms and nations that have either banned or burned Bibles is very long and there is simply no space in this article to name them all. Suffice it to say that the Word of God is a taboo in most Muslim, communist and liberal countries today.

            Why is there so much hatred against the Scriptures? Why have so many countries and leaders endeavored to destroy it? They have attacked the Bible, because the Word of God is the Truth that convicts sinners and the Light that overcomes the darkness.

            John the apostle captured this sentiment in his gospel, when he referred to the unbelieving and Bible-hating people of this world. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil” (John 3:19)

            As I said before, many have attempted to destroy the Bible, but there is only one problem: The Bible is indestructible. Yes, they may ban it or burn it, but it always comes back. Jesus said, Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will by no means pass away.”(Matthew 24:35)

            Now, having said all that let me ask you: How many Bibles have you destroyed? I see many Christians without their Bibles at church. If you would search their homes you would find one or more brand new (and dusty) copies of the Scriptures. This is very concerning to say the least.

            I have “destroyed” several Bibles in English and Spanish. Some of those Bibles are in really bad shape because of so much use. I still keep those Bibles at home. I will never throw them away, even if they are falling apart.

            I don’t want shinny Bibles. They look good in museums and displayed in some churches, but give me Bibles that have been used, written on the margins, underlined and wept over in prayer.  

            I hope that I can “destroy” a few more Bibles in this manner before I die. I pray that I can fall in love with God’s Word all over again.

            I know that the dirtier my Bible looks, the cleaner my life will be. Moreover, the more I “destroy” my Bible by daily use, the more the Lord will build me up. This is my plan. What about you?

            Alexander Gonzalez

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A Thanksgiving Song

The moment to give thanks is not a single day

Hour by hour we sing your praises, Lord

And we shall never stop to thank you and to pray

Now and tomorrow and forevermore

Kneeling we come today before your throne

Satisfied with your love and your salvation

Giving thanks to you with our songs

 In all worship, praise and adoration

Victory is ours and yours is all the glory

 Infinite is our debt of gratitude

New every morning is your grace and mercy

God, to thank you, is all we want to do


Alexander Gonzalez

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Useless or Useful

              I own a couple of used cars. One of them is really "used" as it has been driven close to 300,000 miles. My plan is to keep using it until it breaks the Odometer, breaks a mileage record or it breaks apart. I like to use things until they can't be used anymore. This applies to soap, toothpaste, shoes, clothes, cars, food, wife, etc.

              Here in the United States, we throw many good things away simply because they are used. Many nations could be well  fed with the food that is discarded every day from restaurants, hotels and super markets. The same could be said about clothing, shoes and a host of other products.

              The urge of buying new cars, cell phones and many other material things is overwhelming for many Americans. The problem with those "new" products is that they become used as soon as we acquire them. A few months (I mean weeks) later a newer version appears in the market and we feel disappointed with our now used (and seemingly useless) possession.

              The average Christian is similar to a brand new automobile in a showroom. They both look great, shiny and with lots of potential. What good does it do for a new car to remain in a dealer, or for a Christian to hide in the church? There are far too many "brand new" believers around, and I am not referring  to their recent conversion. They are new in the sense that they are rarely used by God. 

               Let me ask you a question: Do you think that God wants to use every Christian? The answer is yes, of course. Every believer is an important member of the body of Christ and has a function and a purpose. I want for God to use me in any and many ways. I pray that He uses these writings to bless you.

               Used things are anathema to the world, but Christians that are used by God are a sweet smelling offering that is pleasing to the Lord. The more that we are used by Him, the more glory He receives and the more blessings we and those around us enjoy. Even people like Mark, who refused to serve God and be used by Him at one point, can be used again as Paul testifies: "Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry." (2 Timothy 4:11).

                Believer, be useful to God and not useless. This is the right thing to do. This is our life's purpose

               "Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work." (2 Timothy 2:21)

                 Alexander Gonzalez

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