Pastor's Meditations

The Voice of the Heart (Genesis 50)  

             “But Joseph said to them...”

            There have been times in my life when revenge has taken roots in my heart. As a teacher, I have desired to pour out my entire wrath upon my offending pupils. I despise being disrespected in any way and revenge seems like the only way out of this situation.

            Jacob, the father of Joseph died.  This was Joseph’s opportunity to get rid once and for all, of his evil brothers.  The brothers, saddened by their father’s death and afraid of Joseph’s “revenge,” came asking for forgiveness.

            And what did Joseph do?  He didn’t avenge all the “lost years” of his youth. He didn’t make them pay for all the time he had been away from his beloved father, or for all the years he had to spend in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He spoke to their hearts; he wept with them; and he renewed his pledge to preserve their lives.

            The only way our words will reach someone else’s heart, is if we speak from our hearts.  This is the kind of communication that God practices.  In fact, we could say that the Bible, the Word of God, is a revelation of God’s heart.

            Heart to heart communication is what God expects from his children.  How is your heart today?  Is it pure, holy, and sensitive to God’s voice?  It is important that we communicate from our hearts, but it is also extremely vital to guard our hearts “for out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34).

            Let us begin to practice the art of transparent and sincere conversation.  We must speak from the heart to each other and in our daily prayers to God.  To speak in any other way is hypocrisy and we are not hypocrites.  Are we?

            A. G.

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The Lion of Judah (Genesis 49)    

            “The scepter shall not depart from Judah...”

            The story of Judah is very interesting to say the least.  He was one of the twelve sons of Jacob (or Israel) and he, along with his brothers, sold Joseph as a slave to the Midianites.

            Later on, Judah separated himself from his family, and was involved in a few incidents, including having a sexual affair with a “prostitute,” which turned out to be his daughter in-law Tamar.

            As you can appreciate, Judah was not a saint in his younger years.  Nevertheless he reappears later on the biblical account, as he and his brothers go down to Egypt searching for food.  This time Judah was a new man, a changed man.

            It was Judah, the one who offered himself to remain as a prisoner, until Benjamin was brought back to Egypt.  It was also Judah, the man who remembered (with sincere sadness and repentance) how they had betrayed Joseph and how much grief they had brought to their father.

            This was perhaps the main reason why the tribe of Judah became so prominent.  God rewarded Judah’s repentance, with the promise of a perpetual kingdom.

            Judah’s story reminds us about our own life.  We were sinners, but one day we repented and Jesus came into our hearts to reign as King.  Jesus was born from the tribe of Judah, and he was the fulfillment of this prophecy. He too was betrayed and sold out by his brothers. He died as king in Jerusalem, and he is our eternal King.                                      

            Glory to the Lion of Judah!

            A. G.

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Capable Men (Genesis 47) 

             “... and if you know that there are capable men among them...”

            Capable men:  This is what the church of the Lord Jesus Christ needs today.  Our churches are full of devout and faithful women.  These sisters have served the Lord for many years, sometimes in areas where God have called the men to minister.  Praise God for the women in the churches!

            The problem is, that there are not enough Christian men attending church regularly; and of those who attend, only a few, give time and effort (not to mention offerings) to the expansion of God’s kingdom on earth. Where are the men of God today? Who is going to be obedient to God’s call?

            God needs capable men, but capable of doing what?

            The men God is searching for must be capable of being incapable.  In other words, they must be men willing to submit to the supreme authority of the Lord.  These men do not trust in their strength, knowledge or riches, but they trust and depend solely upon the Rock, which is Jesus Christ.

            Are you willing to be incapable in order to be capable?

            Are you ready to humble yourself before your God?

            Tell it to the Lord.  Submit yourself and ask Him to use you for his glory.  He will turn your inability and incapability, into power, wisdom and fruitfulness.  He can make you a capable individual; capable of serving God; capable of loving your family; and capable of living a life that brings honor and glory to Christ.

            Are you a capable Christian?

           A. G.

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Chosen (Genesis 48)    

            “...shall be mine...”

            In this declaration, Jacob mirrors the decree and desire of God to choose a people for himself.  God planned since eternity to rescue us from sin and death and make us his own.

            Even before the creation of the universe, God elected those who would be saved.  He saw the wickedness of his creatures and in his heart he decreed the salvation of the elect.  Perhaps he said:

            “They shall be mine.”

            Are you a chosen one?  Do you have Christ in your heart, or better yet, is Christ the Lord of your life?

            Manasseh and Ephraim were born in Egypt, but Jacob adopted them as sons.  As such they enjoyed all the family benefits including the benedictions and the inheritance. In fact, they took the place of Levi and Reuben among the twelve tribes of Israel, even though they were not his sons.

            You and I were born in sin and thus separated from God.  Where would we be, were it not for the incomprehensible love of God?  We deserve the fire of hell, but God in his mercy, chose us to be with Him forever.

            If you are a Christian today, remember that you did not choose God; (John 15:16) he chose you, and he saved you.  One day when we reach the blessed shore of heaven, we shall hear the most beautiful words ever spoken.  Jesus will say to us:

            “Come with me, for you are mine!”  

            A. G. 

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Prepared for Death (Genesis 46)       

            “I can die now...”

            There was a barber in an old town that was known by everyone for his joviality, fast service, and great prices.  One day, this barber became a Christian and decided that he would share his newfound faith with everybody.  To that end, he prepared himself as best as he could in the art of evangelism, and for the most part, he had great results.

            One day however, while he was shaving a customer with a long barber knife, he asked that man the following question:  “Tell me my friend, are you prepared to die?”  Until this day no one knows where that customer is.  He escaped that day running for his life, because he did not understand the simple, and well intentioned evangelistic question.

            Are you prepared to die?

            Well, you may say, I have already received Christ as my Lord and Savior.  Isn’t that enough?  Of course it is!  When you are a Christian, you have eternal life; you have passed from death to life.  Now hell is powerless against you because you are a child of the King, and he promised that he will never “drive you away” (John 6:37).

            Many people live under the false assumption that death will never reach them and they “kill” themselves with exercise.  Others think they are prepared for death because they have prepaid funeral expenses, a lot in the local cemetery, and a huge life insurance policy. 

            The best exercise to prepare for death is the sinner’s prayer, and the best life insurance policy is Jesus Christ.  We can be like the barber today.  We can help other people to find salvation in Christ...just put the knife away when you are preaching!

            A. G.

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