Pastor's Meditations

Lord, I Promise That... (Exodus 24)    

                                                                                                   

            “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”

            Once there was a child, a problem child, who had a knack for getting into trouble.  If it was not in the house, it was at church, or at school.  The fact is that the “kid” was a troublemaker. (Do you know somebody like that?)

            When his mother, neighbors or teachers scolded him, he always had the same answer:

            “I promise that I won’t do it again!”

            That “solemn” and heartfelt promise wouldn’t last for more than an hour, so the mother told her child that she was not going to believe him anymore, until he would start keeping his promises.

            The Israelites in the time of Moses and many Christians of today have one thing in common:  We promise more than we are able or willing to fulfill.  In that regard, we are not much better than the kid who lied to his mother.

             How many times have we broken our promises to our Savior?

            It is possible that many of our promises originate from our emotions.  We feel good after hearing a powerful song, poem or sermon, and we walk all the way down to the altar.  As we stand or kneel at the altar, we promise many and great things to God, without even considering all the implications and complications.

            Then again, there is a time to come to God, not to promise, but to offer him our lives.  He has promised to do great things in us, for us and through us; and he will do it because he always keeps all his promises.    

             A. G.

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Present in His Presence (Exodus 23)  

            “No one shall appear...”

            Every Christian has the moral obligation to present himself or herself before God each and every day.  In the morning, we must present our life as an offering to the Lord, just as we present our requests to God in prayer.

            “...before me...”

            Christ is the object of our faith, and the theme of our worship.  He is waiting for us to enjoy our sweet communion.  When we come to him with gratitude and humility, we are able to “enter” into his glorious presence and have fellowship with the Creator of the universe.

            Even though God is always present in, around, and over us, we are not always in his presence.  Allow me to explain:  Even though everyone is surrounded by God’s presence, only a few enter into the presence of the Almighty in true worship.  They “feel” or experience God’s presence, because they have chosen to come into his “inner sanctum” to praise him. In the Bible, we are exhorted to approach the throne of God with boldness and confidence (Hebrews 4:16).

            “...empty handed.”

            When we present ourselves to God, we must also come with our hands full of love, holiness and good works.  Our hands need to be clean from sin and filled with “fruits of righteousness.”

            When you hear Jesus calling you into his presence, just say;

            “Present!”

            A. G.

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Douleou (Exodus 21)  

            “...and he shall serve him for life.”

            I am not a Greek scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but I learned somewhere that Douleou is a Greek word which means “to serve as a slave.”  In the New Testament, this word is applied to believers in Christ, and is translated as “servants.”

            In a sense all Christians are slaves of Jesus Christ because we belong to Him.  He rescued us from our previous slavery to sin and redeemed (or bought) us for himself.  We are not our own (I Corinthians 6:19, 20).

            If this is the case, then why are so many believers failing to serve the Lord of their souls?  On average, only five to ten percent of church members are active in some kind of ministry.  What about the rest?

            The real name for a Christian is “disciple,” from which we get the common word “discipline.” A disciple is someone who follows his Master and serves him.  Therefore if we are Christ’s disciples we ought to follow and serve him; and if we serve, then we are servants, servants of the Lord.

            Are you a douleou?

            God can use you as a minister (or servant) if you ask him to give you a servant’s heart.

            “I love Jesus, he is my Lord

            Only him I will obey

            I will pray and read his Word,

            And will serve him night and day”

           A. G.

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Remember  (Exodus 22) 

                 

            “...for you were aliens in the land of Egypt.”

            One day, as I was driving through an old Miami neighborhood, I noticed a group of teenagers of bad reputation which were smoking, drinking and cursing.  I couldn’t help but to despise this “gang” of juvenile delinquents.

            Then, the Holy Spirit told me:  “This was YOU a few years ago!”

            The Christian community is as forgetful as a grumpy old man that has forgotten that he was a child once.  We tend to forget that just a few years ago, we were involved in shameful and sinful activities and that we were enemies of God.

            While it is true that as Christians we have been justified, sanctified and regenerated; that in itself is not a reason for spiritual pride.  We need to drink a healthy dose of humility each morning to maintain a balanced perspective.

            Yes, we are a chosen race, a royal “tribe”, but we must conduct ourselves, not as proud kings or priests, but as servants of God.  Not so long ago we were walking with the wrong crowd, but Jesus saved us just in time.

            Let us always remember where we came from, and how God changed our lives. We will be more focused on the Lord and less judgmental of others.  If we are humble, God will exalt us, so there is no need to be proud.

            Let us also remember that we were saved by grace and must be grateful to our Lord and graceful unto others. Were it not for that irresistible and incomprehensible grace, all of us would be on the road to hell.

            The proper balance is God first, everyone else second and ourselves last. 

            A. G.

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The Malice of Avarice (Exodus 20) 

            “You shall not covet...”

            To covet is a terrible sin.  A covetous individual is like a small child, who always wants to play with his friend’s toys; he is also like the cow that looks for “greener pastures” on the other side of the fence.

            God tells us to be content with what we already have.  If you ever need more, you can always reach out God in prayers and supplications.  Otherwise, let us never covet anything that belongs to someone else; not their house, automobile, job, bank account, yacht or their wives.

            Avarice comes from envy and jealousy; and envy is nothing but a misguided and lustful “admiration.”  When people are blindly following the dictates of avarice they are prone to theft, over-spending and adultery.

            Do not covet anything or anyone.  Do not give in to envy, for it will lead you to destruction. Those who covet what God has given to others will never be happy with anything they have. There will always be a bigger house, a more beautiful woman or a better job than the one you have, if you don’t learn the secret of contentment.

            Learn to be happy with what God has bestowed upon you and remember that you are loved by Him. If you are a Christian, you are blessed beyond measure. God is your Father; heaven is your home and life is your inheritance. What more can you ask for?

            If there is something that we should “covet” or desire, it is to love, follow, and serve God more every day.  The more that we hunger and thirst for the Lord, the less we will desire anything else.

            A. G.

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