Pastor's Meditations

Moving Statues

                The world is filled with all kinds of statues. There are statues in honor of many political and military heroes in every nation. You can also see many statues around stadiums and other sport facilities, to remind us of the great exploits of yesterday’s athletes.

                The great majority of statues are of a religious nature. The world has erected many monuments and statues in honor of Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad, Mary and even Christ. These impressive and sometimes beautiful artistic expressions shouldn’t be called statues. They are simply idols and they must be rejected by every real follower of Christ.

                Man was a statue until the Creator breathed life into his nostrils (Genesis 2:7). This original version of life was cut short by his rebellion in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3). After the fall, man became a shadow of his former self. The image of God in our soul was marred by sin and our spirit became dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1).

                Mankind became a race of “moving statues.”

                As we go around the world today, we are surrounded by billions of moving statues. The statues made of wood and stone cannot walk, hear, talk, feel or do anything (Psalm 115), but the moving statues (unredeemed people) of this world can do many things.

                They can speak (lies, curses, deceit, etc.)

                They can walk (away from God, to shed blood)

                They can do (nothing good, destruction)

                They can see (darkness, not God)

                (Romans 3:10-18)

                Only God’s grace and love can give eternal life to mankind. In the first creation God breathed life into man, but in the new (second) creation in Christ, He has given us the Holy Spirit. A Christian is someone that has been born again and has abundant life (John 10:10) in Christ.

                We were once moving statues, moving away from God and moving towards hell, but now that we are in Christ, we are not statues anymore. We have been transformed by the power of God and we have been commanded to go (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

                Do not allow sin to turn you into a statue. This is what happened to Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32) and this is what happens when the church is compromised with the world and paralyzed with fear. Get up today and follow the Lord wherever He leads you.

                A. G.

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“It is not fair!”

                                                                            

                This is the cry of most (if not all) children every time they perceive that they are victims of some form of injustice. In some cases this might be the truth, because some families play the awful game of “favorites” with some of the children.

                Teenagers and adults also complain about injustice and unfairness on a daily basis. It is not fair to have to do so much homework; it is not fair to be passed by for a promotion; it is not fair to lose a job and it is not fair to lose a family member.

                Christians can also be tempted to use this expression, especially when they see how sinners and evildoers prosper and are not judged by God. As a follower of Christ it is hard for me to accept the fact that I must endure trials and persecutions, while pagans and perverts dance their way through life with seemingly no repercussion.

                “It is not fair.” This is more or less what the Psalmist Asaph said in Psalm 73

                “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled… For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked…For there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm.  They are not in trouble as other men…Therefore pride serves as their necklace… Their eyes bulge with abundance; they have more than heart could wish… They speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens… Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches.” (vv. 2-9, 12)

                Asaph was, and almost every believer in this situation would be discouraged.

                  “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, And washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, And chastened every morning.” (vv. 13, 14)

               In God’s presence all questions and complaints will cease. Instead of murmuring like the children of Israel in the wilderness with or without reason, let us come into the presence of the Almighty in sublime adoration.

               “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; Then I understood their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors.”

               The wicked will be punished for eternity. Their sin and ultimate rejection of Jesus Christ will lead them down to hell. This will be a righteous and FAIR punishment. This is what they deserve. Christians, on the other hand, have not been and will not be treated fairly and thank God for that!

               Fair is an eternity in the lake of fire and unfair is for everyone to make it to heaven, whether they repented and believed in Jesus or not. God has not been fair (or unfair) with us; He has dealt with us with grace.

               Next time you are tempted to complain and to say that God is not fair, don’t do it except to say that He saved you by grace, which is neither fair nor unfair…it is divine.

               A. G

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“Just Messengers”

                                                        

                You have probably heard this saying in more than one occasion. This expression is often spoken by those wishing to be absolved of any direct responsibility for the content of the words that flow out of their mouths:

                “Don’t shoot me! I’m just the messenger!”

                This expression could be taken in a few different ways. Perhaps the person is really the messenger and he or she has nothing at stake in the conversation. On the other hand, these words could very well be a “wall” behind which the “messenger” attempts to hide his true evil intentions. There also could be a few cases when the actual messenger takes pleasure in bringing sad news to someone.

                I have been on both sides of this equation recently. A messenger gave me really bad news a few days ago and I deliver weekly messages from God’s Word to our congregation. This is the highlight of my week and one of the greatest joys of my life.

                I must remind myself constantly that I am just the messenger. God’s Word is the message and the Holy Spirit is truly the divine Speaker. He imparts his message using weak and imperfect messengers like me to fill our hearts with hope, peace, love, power and joy.

                In a sense, all Christians are just messengers of the Almighty. We have been called to proclaim the Good News to all the world (Acts 1:8). In another part of Scripture we are even called “ambassadors” for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).

                We are not responsible for the content of the message or for the results of our endeavors. Our responsibility is to deliver that which God has told us to say. We cannot take credit when peoples’ hearts are touched by the Word, nor can we take responsibility when someone gets offended by the faithful rebuke of the truth.

                We are just messengers.

                It is important then, for us to be clean vessels where God can pour his Word. Our message is a divine treasure that must be handled with care and reverence. A holy and sincere messenger is used by God to change this world, but no one is saved by the words of hypocrites and false prophets.

                We are not just messengers for we serve the God of glory, but in another sense we are called to be just (righteous) messengers of God like Noah, Enoch and John the Baptist among many others. I pray that God will help us to be just messengers in an unjust world.

                A. G.

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“Makrothumia”

                  A little fuse can control enormous machineries and complicated circuits. A blown fuse can leave a house in the dark and in the case of high voltage fuses, an entire neighborhood or city without electricity. Fuses also regulate engines in all kinds of vehicles, including airplanes, rockets, cars and everything else that has electric or electronic circuits.

                A little (blown) fuse was responsible for “grounding” my lawnmower this past weekend. I charged the battery for two days straight and the mower showed no signs of life. I even bought a new battery and…you guessed it, nothing. Then, my brilliant son (don’t tell him I said that!) suggested that I check and replace the fuse and voila! The tractor came back from the dead.

                There are many different kinds, sizes and shapes of fuses, but none of them work on a human being except for one: The Makrothumia fuse. “Makrothumia” is Greek word that it is often translated in the Bible by the English word “longsuffering.”

                Regular fuses are described as “sacrificial devices” by the technological community, because they protect the engine or circuit from being damaged. In the same way the Makrothumia “fuse” allow believers to protect their Christian testimony as we endure many trials and attacks without “blowing up” in anger, especially in front of unbelievers.

                Our God is a “Makrothumia” God (1 Timothy 1:16; 2 Peter 3:15). Psalm 86:15 declares:  

                But You, O Lord, are a God full of compassion, and gracious, Longsuffering and abundant in mercy and truth.”    

                Numbers 14:18 also affirms that,                                                                                                                                        

                “The Lord is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression”

                We all need a little Makrothumia (or in my case, a lot of it). We all need to have a “long fuse” to be patient and forbearing with everyone, especially with those in the family of God. In James 1:19 we are exhorted to be patient:

                “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

                 A. G.

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“Guest Preacher”

                                                    

                A guest preacher was coming to preach at the church. Everyone was excited and couldn’t wait for the day to arrive. They had heard many great things about this preacher. They couldn’t believe that this renowned evangelist was going to preach in their small country church. Oh, what a glorious time it was!

                The day came and the preacher arrived and they soon realized that the tales were not entirely true: He was even better than they had dreamed! He preached the Word of God with such passion and enthusiasm that all the members of the congregation were enthralled and overjoyed. He was a true preacher of the Gospel and every word he said was biblically and theologically correct.

                There are many guest preachers in our churches on any given Sunday. Some come to preach during Crusades, Revivals and Homecoming meetings, others relieve the pastors when they go on vacation, while others (like me) become a more permanent “guest” preacher covering the pulpit while the church calls a new pastor.

                I was reminded of this fact as I examined a check I received for my services. On the Memo line it read: “Guest Preacher” (one time it had a totally different message!). This led me to think that I am only a guest in this church, which in turn also reminded me that I am a guest on this planet.

                As a Christian, I am no longer a citizen of this world, but of heaven (Philippians 3:20). In Hebrews 13:14 we read that,

                 For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come.”

                This world is not our home. Jesus said this repeatedly. In John 17:16 for example, He said, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.” We are just guests here for awhile---guests with a mission: To go into all the world and proclaim the Gospel (Matthew 28:18-20).

                As guests of Jesus in this planet, we must take good care and appreciate the created world (plants, mountains, rivers, etc.) and we must love the people of the world, but we must despise the world order with all its humanistic and satanic philosophies. John told us:

                 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)

                Brother and sister do not get too comfortable in this world. Remember that it is not your home and that you are only a guest here. Enjoy your time in this side of heaven, keeping in mind that your real home is waiting for you.

               A. G

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