Pastor's Meditations

Holiness (Exodus 39)    

            “…Holy to the Lord.”

            The high priest wore a sign in his turban that reminded everyone who saw him, about holiness.  This is similar to the innumerable bumper stickers and posters that advertise Christianity in one way or another.

            How can we experience God’s holiness in our daily walk?

            In the past, some “holy” men built monasteries to live “separate” from the world. Holiness is indeed a separation from the sins of this world system, but it is also a consecration unto God while we live in the world. In recent times, some strive to be holy by dressing conservatively and grooming to perfection.  These futile attempts may be called Monasticism and Legalism, but they are not, nor do they lead to holiness.

            Where can we find holiness then?

            Holiness is experienced in our minds and hearts.  God is pleased when he looks into a clean and pure heart, and when our minds are intertwined with the mind of Christ.  If this is true, why do we place so much emphasis in proper grooming, suits and Christian signs?

            I am not implying here that holy people must not shower or shave.  As Christians we are commanded to take care of our bodies in every way, including a proper diet, exercise, rest and yes, the best grooming you can afford.

            All I’m saying is that holiness is planted inside of us by the Holy Spirit and then is manifested on the exterior.  How?  By making holy choices; having a holy attitude; speaking holy words and living a holy lifestyle IN the world.

            A. G.

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The Fountain of Youth (Exodus 38)

            “He made the basin of bronze...”

            The story is told of Ponce de Leon who came to Florida in the 1500s searching for the “Fountain of Youth.”  I do not know all the details, or if this story is even true; but one thing I know:  He did not find it.

            Christ is the one and only true Fountain of Youth.  In him we find forgiveness of sins; cleansing from wickedness and everlasting life.  When we believe on his name we are born again (John 3:3), and we are brand new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).

            The world of today wants peace at all costs, even if they have to go to war.  They also lust after youth and beauty, and spend billions of dollars in cosmetics, hair dyes and plastic surgeries.  Everyone, including many men, want to look young and sexy!

            Every day we hear of a new diet that will make us thin and young, while gyms and exercise equipment proliferate throughout the land. It is good to work out and stay in shape; especially if our goal in doing so is to take care of our bodies as the temple of God. It is better, however, to take care of our souls and purify ourselves in Christ.

            If you had to choose between being a “pretty pagan” or a physically unattractive and yet, spiritual Christian, what would be your choice? I rather be bold, ugly, overweight, and toothless, and have Jesus in my life, than to be young and handsome, but spiritually dead and on my way to hell.

            Therefore look at yourself, not on a glass mirror, but on the mirror of God’s Word.  There you will find Jesus; the fountain of peace and life, and you will be renewed in your spirit today.

            A. G.

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"No Mas" (Exodus 36)  

            “…so the people were restrained from bringing...”

            One of the most famous boxing matches of all time was the fight between “Sugar” Ray Leonard and  Roberto “Mano de Piedra” (Hands of Stone) Duran.  It was a fight between champions, for the world championship, but it ended in disgrace, when Duran screamed:

            “No mas!” (No more)

            He gave up, because he couldn’t take anymore punishment from Leonard, who went on to be a great boxing champ.

            The first time I read this Bible chapter, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  This is the only time (that I’m aware of), when the people of God have been denied the privilege of bringing more offerings to God.  Moses told the Israelites: 

            “No mas.” 

            They were commanded not to bring anymore gold, linen, purple, garments or anything else to the Tabernacle as an offering to the Lord.

            How wonderful would it be to hear the pastor telling the congregation to ease up a bit on the offerings, because there is too much money in the church bank account!

            How exciting it would be to have to hold multiple worship services, because the church is multiplying!

            What a marvel would be to have to use school buses, to be able to accommodate the hundreds of believers who are going out to do the work of evangelism!

            Perhaps all of this is just a wishful dream, but what about you?  You can decide today to be the best giver, servant and disciple your church has ever seen.  I don’t know if you’ll ever hear the words “no mas” from your pastor, but God will tell you;

            “Well done, good slave!” (Luke 19:17).

            A. G.

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 Pure Gold (Exodus 37)        

            “He overlaid it with pure gold...”

            Pure gold is a symbol of God’s perfection, glory and divinity.  This is perhaps, the reason why most of the furniture in the tabernacle was covered with pure gold.  The Ark of the Covenant for example, was made out of wood (a symbol of humanity), but was overlaid with gold inside and out.

            “…inside...”

            Christians are similar to the wooden ark, in that we were also overlaid with “gold” inside.  Christ in our hearts is the pure gold that shines eternally.  Even though we are weak and sometimes influenced by sin, our mortal bodies are the temple of God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20).  On the outside we may look like an old earthen vessel, but on the inside we are more precious than cups of pure gold.

            “...and outside...”

            One day in the future, this old body of ours will be “overlaid” with glory.  On that day we will enter through the gates of immortality and we will shine brighter than any golden cup. Our bodies will be glorified and we shall experience perfect health, perfect joy, perfect holiness and a perfect and eternal life in heaven.

            How great is our God!  He made us in his image and fashioned our bodies from the dust of the earth. He breathed on us and gave us life, but we destroyed our perfect communion with Him by rebelling and falling into sin. We were naked and ashamed, but God sent his Son to die on the cross for us and those who believed on Him are covered inside with the grace of God, which is finer than the finest gold.

             A. G.

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Too Much Heart (Exodus 35)  

            “…whose heart was stirred…”

            When my parents were teenagers in Cuba, they would dance to such popular tunes as “Mucho Corazon” (Too Much Heart).  The chorus of this song went more or less like this:

            “I will give for you my own life, and not die

            That is love, not what you feel now

            I don’t really need a reason to love you

            Because I have too much heart.”

            If this man had “too much heart” to love a woman, how much more should we love our God?   In Exodus 35 the word “heart” is mentioned at least four times.  Those who brought offerings to the Lord were men and women with generous hearts filled with gratitude.  A grateful heart gives freely and abundantly for the work of the Lord.

            Who are those that are able to serve God?

            The answer again is found in the heart.  The Israelites gave offerings and worked in the construction of the Tabernacle, because their hearts were “stirred” or inspired by God.

            Our heart is the engine that drives our will and emotions; and God wants to have complete control of it.  When God directs our hearts we will be able to give, serve, obey and follow, like never before.  We will also withstand temptation, for our hearts will be occupied by its rightful owner: Jesus Christ.

            Perhaps we require “too much heart” to love our spouses, but to love God we just need a single heart that is always open to Him.

            A. G.

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