Pastor's Meditations

“A New Beginning”

                                                                     

             In two days, I am set to start a new chapter in my life. I have been a High School teacher for almost a decade, but now I must continue my career in…Middle School.

            Some people love changes and new beginnings. Not me. I was happy (most of the time) with my job and I have resisted and fought this new “opportunity” that God has blessed me with.

            Come to think of it, that was my initial reaction to the preaching of the Gospel. I was a proud atheist for twenty one years. I wasted most of my youth living in sin. I was comfortable (yet lost) in the darkness and I was annoyed and mortified by the light.

            One day, however the light of Jesus dissolved the darkness of my heart, and my hatred for God melted under the warmth of his unconditional and saving love for me.

            I experienced the new birth that the Bible talks about (John 3:3). I was a brand new creature in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). I was delivered into the kingdom of glorious light (Colossians 1:13).

            Beginning a new job, school, or career is always challenging and often very difficult, but a new beginning in Christ is the greatest gift that mankind has ever received. Imagine for a second being tormented in hell (which we deserved) forever. That was our destiny before we were rescued by God’s love and saved by His grace (Eph. 2:8-9).

            Thank God for that new beginning! It was on that day when we began to live, for we were dead in sin (Ephesians 2:1). It was on that day when we began to love, as we believed in Jesus, who is our First Love (Revelation 2:4).

            There is yet another New Beginning for the children of God. The eternal life that began at our conversion will continue forever in heaven. And yet, when we enter through the gates of glory, we shall experience a new beginning that will never end because time will disappear and be no more.

            Are you waiting for this new beginning?

            A. G.

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Blood Check

                                                                                  

                There are more than 415 million diabetics in the world, including more than 100 million in the United States. Among them is my father, who suffers from a host of ailments aside from Diabetes. This sickness is a serious problem in our country because it is a gateway to many other illnesses such as stroke, blindness, heart problems, high blood pressure, nerve damage and loss of consciousness.

                Diabetics must follow a strict diet and exercise and they must perform a daily glucose test. My father checks his blood sugar level every morning. He pricks one of his fingertips and presses on it until blood comes out. Next, he “deposits” some of his blood (usually a drop) into a plastic strip inserted into the reader (a small device) which instantly beeps giving him his actual blood sugar level.

                Sugar is like sin in many respects. Both are tasty and sweet for a few seconds, but their adverse effects are long lasting. A person that consumes too much sugar will become obese and obesity puts millions at risk of diabetes. A sinner is someone that lives in sin and is destined for an eternity in hell.

                Diabetics can check their blood sugar level, exercise, eat healthy and use the best medications available. By doing this, many diabetics can have a normal life. I have witnessed this in my father’s life. When he takes care of himself he does well, but when he deviates from the program, not so good.

                There are no electronic devices available to check the “blood sin” level in a person’s heart. There is no program for sinners to reduce their sinfulness and there is nothing that can be done to eliminate the presence and power of sin by the sinners themselves.

                There is, however, a sin-checking heavenly device. The Word of God reveals our sinful condition (Romans 3:23; 6:23). The Bible also lets us know that there is nothing we can do to get rid of sin and be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9).

                There is only one Way to be saved from sin (John 14:6). Our blood is tainted and corrupted with sin as we were all born in sin (Psalm 51:5), but the Blood of Jesus shed for his people on the cross has forgiven all our iniquities (1 Peter 1:19).

                There is no cure for diabetes (high blood sugar level), but there is a cure for sin:

                The Blood of Jesus.

                Have you received the life-giving transfusion of the Blood of Jesus yet?

                A. G.

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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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“Little Stones”

                                                            

                A little stone can create big problems. If you don’t believe me just ask people that have dealt with kidney stones. Have you ever been bothered by a little stone (particle) that has lodged itself inside your eyelids? It is one the worst feelings in the world. It makes you cry; it renders you partially blind and the pain and level of discomfort is unbelievable.

                A little stone flying in the air can break a windshield or badly damage it. Little stones in the bottom of a river or beach are a nuisance and can cut our feet or cause sprains or factures as we slip and fall awkwardly. I can even imagine a little stone causing a big boulder to fall down the mountain, by being the last stone to fall on top of it!

                There are many spiritual little “stones” in the spiritual realm.

                The little stone of laziness and apathy (Proverbs 6:10)

                The little stone of foolishness (Ecclesiastes 10:1)

                The little stone of false teachers and their teaching (Songs of Solomon 2:15)

                The little stone of unbelief (Matthew 6:30)

                The little stone of judgment (Matthew 7:1-3)

                Brethren, beware of all these little stones (physical and spiritual), but also be aware that not all things that are little are evil or can lead to evil.

                A few little fish were used by Jesus to feed a multitude (Matthew 15:34)

                A little (young) donkey carried Jesus in his triumphal entry to Jerusalem (John 12:13-15)

                A little stone defeated the most feared giant in the land (1 Samuel 17:49)

                A little child was born in Bethlehem to save the world from sin (Matthew 1 and 2)

                Having faith in Christ like a little child opens the doors of heaven (Matthew 18:3)

                You might consider yourself to be nothing but a pebble; a little stone and you are right, but we are as the apostle Peter says:

                “…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5)

                We are members of the body of Christ and are (little) living stones He uses to build his kingdom. By ourselves we are small and almost insignificant, but together and in the hands of Christ, the eternal Master Builder we will reach “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).

                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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