Pastor's Meditations

Light Ends the Storm

                  Yesterday we experienced a terrifying storm in our region and all across the southeastern United States. There was rain; there were high winds; there was lightning and thunder and there was deep, intense darkness.

                The storms of our lives are similar and yet more horrible. It is an awful experience as we go through these periods of trials and tribulations; when darkness surrounds us and we feel downcast, depressed and defeated.

                I have noticed that in both cases light puts an end to the storm. I have witnessed many times the appearance of a rainbow as the dark clouds dissipate. It is indeed glorious to see the sun shining again after a dark and dangerous storm.

                This is what has happened and what happens to the children of God. It happened on the day of our conversion when the light of the Son invaded and destroyed the darkness in our hearts. The light of the Gospel brought repentance and forgiveness; peace and joy and the love of God filled our life.

                This also happens frequently (it should be daily) as the Light of the world brings peace to our daily storms. Only a Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit can experience the renewing and restoring power of God’s Word. The Word of God is the light that dispels all darkness; it is the power that destroys all strongholds and it is hope that dwells forever in our hearts.

                The promise of the rainbow was given to Noah as a covenant, signifying no more worldwide destruction by flood. The promise of the new covenant is eternal salvation in Jesus Christ our Lord. Jesus is the Light of the World. He came to save us from our sins.

               “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.  And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it… the Light, that all through him might believe… That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.” (John 1:4-9)

                Jesus came to this world and became a man and died on a cross. He was surrounded by total darkness at Calvary. There was darkness inside and outside as sin was poured over his sinless being and it was dark for three hours (Mark 15:33). And yet, He defeated the darkness on that cross and again three days later as He arose from the death.

                He has left us a sure promise:

               “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

                Are you following Jesus and walking in his light?

                A. G.

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A Tale of Two Lions

                As a kid, I remember visiting the Zoo for the first time and the excitement and awe I felt on that day. I was mesmerized by the many exotic animals that I had never seen before. I was amazed by the stature of the elephants and giraffes; by the power of the gorillas and bears and by the beauty of the tigers and leopards.

                I was transported to a new and magical world that I didn’t know existed. My amazement and excitement grew as we visited every exhibit, but when we stopped to see the lion’s cave, I was totally paralyzed by the majesty of this creature. It is not called the “king of the jungle” in vain.

                Throughout my life I have seen many other lions, in person and in movies or TV. I have also come into close contact with two of them. The first one is a mean and hungry feline that has always pursued me in order to destroy and devour me. I am referring to the enemy of my soul, whose sole purpose in life is to end mine.

                The Bible warns us about him:

                Be sober; be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

                I have always tried to fight and overcome this lion, but I have always come up short when I attempted to do it on my own. He might be defeated and “toothless” but he is still a powerful and dangerous adversary.

                The solution to this dilemma is to seek the help of a bigger Lion. The unbelievers do not have access to this Lion and are therefore defenseless against all the attacks of the evil lion. All these lost souls are the slaves of this wicked creature and cannot overcome the rule that he exerts over them.

                I was a prisoner of this infernal lion for many years until the day that I was liberated by the King the lions. He roared with all his might and the evil lion fled from his presence. He removed all the shackles of my former master and told me to follow Him. At first, I didn’t know all about Him, but I knew for certain that this was a different Lion. He was good and kind and infinitely more powerful than the other lion.

                When I looked into His eyes, I saw not the fearful eyes of a lion, but the loving eyes of a Lamb. I was afraid for many years, but not anymore because now I am the servant of the Lion of Judah; Jesus Christ, who died to set me free forever. My heart is now full of peace and joy and my fear has been defeated. My confidence does not rest upon myself, but upon the heavenly message that tells us:

              “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” (Revelation 5:5)

               A. G.

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“Close your Mouth!”

                I have a bad habit, well I have many bad habits, but one of the worse ones (according to my wife) is that I allegedly chew food with my mouth open. I don’t know how many times she has brought this to my attention, but it has been more than a couple of times. Just the other day, I was eating my meal peacefully, when all of the sudden I heard a shrilling scream:


                In my defense, I don’t even realize when I am chewing with my mouth open. I notice this in other people eating around me, but I have no way of detecting this abominable behavior in my own life. I am not denying the fact that I do it; I just don’t notice it. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that when I do make a conscious effort to eat with my mouth closed, I feel very uncomfortable and the food doesn’t taste as good anymore.

                The reason that I and everyone else need to chew food with our mouths closed is mainly so that we don’t offend the people around us. You might feel comfortable and the food will taste better in your open mouth (it is a fact!), but those near you will be disgusted by the sights and sounds.

                And so, many of us refrain from chewing with our mouths open. We also do this when it comes to sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. We do not want to offend others or to be offended by their apathy, mockery or insults.

                Perhaps we need to close our mouths at the dinner table when we are eating, but we need to pray that God will open our mouths to proclaim the Gospel to everyone around us. I know that the sound of our preaching is more disgusting than our food chewing to unbelievers, but we must continue to preach the truth in love.

                Open your mouth brother or sister. Declare your love for God openly to the whole world. I know this is a very scary thing to do for anyone. Moses didn’t want to do it (Genesis 4); Jonah didn’t want to do it (Jonah 1); Jeremiah didn’t want to do it (Jeremiah 20) and many others.

                Chewing food with our mouths open might be annoying to others and embarrassing for us, but proclaiming that Jesus is our Lord and Savior is the best thing we can do with our mouths. There have been many believers throughout the ages that were ashamed of being saved by grace, but not Paul. He testified in Romans 1:16,

                 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

                I need to close my mouth more when I eat, but all of us must open our mouths to praise God, preach the Gospel and proclaim that Jesus is coming soon.

                A. G.

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The Last Five Minutes

                 The vast majority of the movies coming out of Hollywood today are worthless and ungodly. There is barely any redeeming value in most of them. These films have become a venue of all sorts of immoral behavior, unnecessary violence, extremely coarse and blasphemous language and many other unbiblical and improper teachings and conduct.

                The other day, I fast forwarded a particular film almost twenty times. This movie, mild in comparison to most other movies, had a quite a few questionable scenes. I believe that we only watched less than 10 minutes in total, including the last five minutes, when all of a sudden everything came together and there was a very positive message.

                Our lives before Christ resemble those awful Hollywood movies. We were totally lost and depraved. Our behavior was irrational, immoral and ungodly. We were sinners and we enjoyed our sinful lifestyle. There was nothing worthwhile “watching” in our pre-Christian life.

                Our salvation by the grace of Christ is much like the last five minutes of most movies. Jesus forgave all of our sins, redeemed our lost and depraved souls, gave us eternal life and adopted us into the family of God.

                Gone are the days of hopeless desperation and walking in darkness. Now we have an incorruptible and unbreakable hope in Christ and a purpose for our life. Our sinful past is gone, our present is free and our future is gloriously hopeful.

                We are waiting for the day when this earthly life is over. The “movie” of our life will not end on that day, for it will be the beginning of the glorious and never-ending “five minutes” of eternity with Christ. I am looking forward to that day; the day when the end will be the beginning and the beginning will have no end.

                Let me ask you a question: What about you my brother or sister? You and I must always be,

                “…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

                This earthly life of ours is short and it will end very soon, but we shall live forevermore with Christ. On the days where you find no pleasure in this life; when darkness and pain engulf your soul, fast forward to the end of our “movie”; to the day when we will see Jesus face to face.

               A. G.

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Preservation or Perseverance?

                A few weeks ago, I addressed the theme of the assurance of our salvation in one of the sermons in the book of Colossians. In chapter 1 verse 23 the apostle admonishes the church to persevere in the faith:

                “if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which was preached to every creature under heaven, of which I, Paul, became a minister.”

                As I mentioned in the message, this exhortation in no way teaches that we are responsible to earn, keep or maintain our saved status by our good works or holy behavior. We are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8-9) and this salvation and even the faith we have comes from God.

                It was the same apostle who taught us that our salvation and indeed, our very faith depend on God, because it comes from Him. Jesus is not only the Object of our faith, but He is also the originator and the cause of our salvation.

                “…looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

                     “…being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6)

                The Bible also declares that, “Salvation is of the Lord” (Jonah 2:9) or to put it in other words, salvation and faith comes from the Lord and there is nothing you or I can do to earn it or keep it. The Bible also declares that we are kept by God’s power (1 Peter 1:5) and that we are safe in his powerful hands (John 10:28-30).

                This is what is known as the Preservation of our faith and salvation in Christ.

                On the other hand, we are encouraged in the Bible to continue in the ways of the Lord. We are commanded to walk with Him, to preach the Bible, to live in holiness, to serve our Savior, to love God and each other and to read, study and obey all that we learn from God’s Word.

                We are also commanded to grow and mature as Christians. The faith that we have received in Christ must be nurtured, developed and activated. We must live what we believe. We must never work to attain or maintain our salvation, but we must submit to God and see his salvation working in and through us, or as the apostle says:

                “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12)

                This is what is known as Perseverance of the saints

                Let us then persevere, but not in fear but because we are preserved by the mighty hands of God until the day when we will see Christ face to face.

                A. G

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