Pastor's Meditations

“Full Life”

                Recently we learned about the passing of NBA player Kobe Bryant. He was an accomplished basketball player, having won numerous individual awards, along with six NBA championships with Los Angeles Lakers.

                In addition to this, he traveled the world and was fluent in several languages. After his retirement, he became an international ambassador for the game of basketball and even won an Oscar for being an accomplished filmmaker.

                I guess we can say that he had a full life.

                I don’t know how many times I have heard that same expression. When a famous person dies or when the deceased is very old, they are considered to have lived a very full life.

                What makes a life full?

                Is it living life to the fullest in the pleasures of sin?

                Is it living to a very old age?

                Is it becoming wealthy, or famous?

                According to the Scriptures none of the above choices indicate that a person has lived a full or even a good life. A life filled with sin is no life at all; it is a mere dark and hopeless existence and all the riches and pleasures of this world can’t bring joy, peace, purpose or salvation to anyone. Mark 8:36 puts it well:

               “For what will it profit a man if he gainthe whole world, and loses his own soul?”

               A full life is one that begins and ends with Jesus. He came into this dark world to die for the sins of his chosen people and to offer us eternal and abundant life (John 6:47; 10:10). A full life is not achieved by a multitude of activities and accomplishments. A full life is realized as we abide like branches in Jesus, who is the Vine (John 15).

              Do you want to live a full life?

              The only way to live a full life is to die. As we die to sin and the flesh, the life of Christ is fully manifested in and through us. The apostle Paul shares the secret of a full life in Galatians 2:20,

              “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I, who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

              A. G.

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The Power of Faith        

There is power in our blessed faith

A power that can move the mountains

It opens our eyes to see our sin and God’s grace

It opens our mouth to drink from the Fountain 

                                               

There is power in our faith in Jesus

 A power that can save our souls

 It is Freedom from the sin that enslaves us,

 It is Healing that has made us whole  

     

There is power in this faith, so glorious

A power that turns misery into song

It has made us joyful and victorious

It has made the weak powerful and strong

 

There is power in the faith that believes

 A power that will change our life

 It is a power that we can receive

 It is a knowledge that will make us wise

 

 What about you, my friend or brother?

Do you really trust Jesus, the Lord?

Do you follow Him through every door?

Do you walk with Him day after day?     

Walk by faith and not by sight

Until the day that we’ll see Him face to face

 

  A. G.                                      2/14/20          

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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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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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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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