Pastor's Meditations

“Fatal Attraction”

                Many years ago I had the profound displeasure of watching in the infamous movie “Fatal Attraction.” The plot of this movie is simple, sinful and sad; and yet it contains a powerful message to all married couples: The “greener” grass we seek is actually Poison Ivy.

                Beach balls---in a lesser degree---also hold a dangerous attraction over young children. I remember almost drowning when I was a young child, pursuing a capricious beach ball deep into the ocean. I was so captivated by this colorful ball, that I lost track of time and space. When I finally heard my mom yelling my name frantically, I turned around and suddenly realized that I didn’t know how to swim and descended rapidly to the bottom of the ocean before I was miraculously rescued by my uncle.

                Temptation is always a fatal attraction. We run after it like little children following a bouncing ball into a street bursting with dangerous traffic. How many kids have perished in this manner! How many believers fall into the same trap over and over!

                James recognized the fatal attraction of temptation when he said:

                But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”                    (James 1:14-15).

                There are many other attractions in this life that, although they may not prove to be fatal or destructive, they become a pesky distraction to our Christian walk with Jesus. These things may not be sinful in themselves, but if they turn into a constant distraction, they will eventually lead us astray into darker and more dangerous paths.

                We are the sheep and Christ is our only Shepherd. As you know, sheep are not very strong or smart and they have a tendency to deviate from the right path. We must be wary of every “attraction” that is a potential distraction which could lead to destruction.

                How can we avoid this danger? In the words of the apostle,

                 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.” (John 10:27-28)

                Brother and sister, get closer to Jesus, so close that you can hear the voice of the Good Shepherd calling us to follow Him today. There is joy, life, power and many blessings for those of us who walk close to Jesus. There is no better or sweeter sound than the sound of His tender and loving voice.

                Let us also fix our eyes on Him (Hebrew 12:2) and set our minds on those “things above” (Colossians 3:1). We need to be focused and alert to avoid any and all attractions, distractions and temptations.

                A. G.

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“You were…but now ”

                Have you ever considered the great work of salvation that our God has wrought in our lives? His great mercy and grace saved us from an eternity in hell and by his power we have been transformed into new creatures and we have been placed into the family of God.

                The following Bible verses clearly show what we were before Christ and what (or who) we are now in Him:

  1. From slaves of sin to freedom from sin

             But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered…having been set free from sin” (Rom. 6:17, 18)

  1. From condemned criminals to legally justified

“…nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:10-11)

  1. From dead in sins to quickened to a new life

“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1)

  1. From being far away from God to being in Christ

“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.(Ephesians 2:13)

  1. From darkness to light

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light”  (Ephesians 5:8)

  1. From enemies of God to full reconciliation in Christ

“And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled.” (Colossians 1:21)

  1. From lost sheep to being back in the fold with the Shepherd

“For you were as sheep going astray, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25)

       Brothers and sisters: This is what we were before and who we are now in Christ. Everything now is like the commercial ads: “New and Improved” but wait, there is more, so much more to come for us in the future. When we get to heaven we will be so much different than we are now, that our present Christian life will be what “we were” and glorious perfection is what we shall have in the eternal NOW.

       A. G.

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     The Cry of the Blessed Soul

 

                Have you been blessed by God? Of course you have! Every good and perfect gift comes from Him (James 1:17). We all have been bountifully blessed by our wonderful Lord and Savior and therefore our souls must cry out to him as David did many years ago:

1“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.”
(Psalm 103:1-5)

               The first thing we must do is to PRAISE our God. The psalmist wanted to “bless the Lord” or speak well of his God. This we must do every day. Praise Him at all times, praise Him for all his blessings and praise Him with all you’ve got.

                The second thing that we must do is to always REMEMBER our God. Remembrance is not something we do only during the Lord’s Supper or in other special occasions. We must never “forget all his benefits” and as we do, our hearts will cry out in praise once again.

                Thirdly, we must thank Him for his FORGIVENESS. He is the One that forgives all your iniquities.” What an eternal relief is to know for certain that in Christ we are truly and totally forgiven and free. Let your soul cry out in a song of praise for his deliverance.

                Another reason to cry out to God with endless delight is that He is our HEALER and our HELPER all the time and in all situations. He “heals all your diseases” and He “redeems your life from destruction.” We are never alone or abandoned. We can cry out to God for help and cry out with loud praises for his timely and effective help.

                Finally, let our souls cry out to God with thanksgiving to the God that is not only our Savior but also our SUSTAINER. Only He can satisfy our needs and wants and in Him we are RENEWED by his loving mercy and grace.

                Do you see now how blessed you really are? Open the eyes and ears of your soul for you to see and hear that our God is more than good…He is everything to us. Open also your mouth, not to complain, grumble and whine, but to elevate a cry to heaven filled with tears of joy and gratitude.

                A. G.

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True Freedom (A Train’s Tale)

                Once upon a time there was train that was different than all other trains. It had the same engine, valves, chimney, whistle, driving wheels, cylinders and all the other parts of the other locomotives around him, but it wanted freedom.

                All the other trains were happy and laborious, but our friend was very unhappy in any situation. It hated hauling anything behind its powerful engines. Every time that a wagon, coach or rail car was attached to it, it was furious!

                One day, it decided to escape the “tyranny” of the railways to seek freedom in other greener pastures. Everywhere it went, the same result always followed. It got stuck on the sand and on the mud; it moved very slowly in crowded streets and it drowned in the rivers.

                Soon it realized that this was not the life of freedom that it had envisioned. It was stuck and the more energy it used to get itself free, the deeper it went into the ground. Oh, how miserable it was in this deplorable condition. It was not free; it was not happy; it was not living.

                After years of oblivion and desolation, the little train felt itself lifted off the ground by a powerful crane and was delicately placed on a recently built train track nearby. As soon as the wheels touched the railways everything changed. The train realized that now it was free, really free to travel everywhere it wanted on the tracks.

                This is our story too. Like the train, we sought freedom in the mud of sin like the Prodigal son (Luke 15:16) and built our homes (lives) on the sinking sand (Matthew 7:26, 27). Soon we realized that a life of sin does not produce freedom, but only slavery (Romans 6:22)

                Our freedom began on the day we were brought to the cross of Calvary by the grace of God. Our freedom began on the day in which we became the slaves of Christ. This is illustrated in many sections of Scripture, but it can be clearly seen in Matthew 11:28:30,

                “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.”

                 In Christ we find rest and freedom (John 8:31, 32). Come to Christ today and you will find rest as you become his servant (slave) by taking his “yoke.” This yoke does not represent evil slavery or exploitation on the part of Christ, our Master. A yoke is made for two, so this clearly represents our sweet union with our Lord and Savior.

                The tracks represent freedom for a train and our yoke in (with) Christ is the greatest liberty that the universe will ever witness. Our sinful “freedom” of our previous life was total slavery and death, but our slavery in Christ is freedom, joy, peace, love and life.

                Are you truly free today?

                A. G.

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“Blind” Faith?

 You have probably heard someone utter the expression: “I have blind faith.” This simply means that person “believes” in something or someone, or follows a cause blindly, without any evidence or real information.         

Our faith is not blind.  

It has an Object: Jesus Christ

It has a Source: The Bible

It has a Voice: The Holy Spirit

It has a Purpose: To change, guide and direct our Christian life

The title of this blog is “Blind Faith,” but this does not refer to the aforementioned blind faith that so many possess. I want to explore the faith of the man born blind in John 9. He was totally blind (physically and spiritually) but his faith in Christ was instrumental in receiving a double dose of sight.

Real Faith (the faith of the blind man), not blind faith is the one that knows that:

Jesus is here---“Now as Jesus passed by”

Jesus sees us--- “He saw a man…”

Jesus knows our condition--- “…who was blind from birth.”

Jesus has (IS) the answer--- “And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’ Jesus answered…”

Jesus has a purpose in everything--- “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him.

Jesus is working in our lives--- “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work”

Jesus is our Light in the darkness--- “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is our Healer and Savior--- “When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.”

Blind faith will never save or even help anyone. What people need is to receive the gift of faith, real faith from God that saves, heals, restores, renews and transforms our lives forever. I pray that you have this real faith, because blind faith is…well, blind.

           A. G.

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