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February 2008

 
 

pastor's page

February 2008

Februarie 3, 2008

Avraam este unul dintre cei mai proeminenţi bărbaţi din Biblie, influenţând viaţa multor oameni prin faptul că este prezent în cele trei mari religii monoteiste: Iudaismul, Creştinismul şi Islamismul. Iudaismul vede în Avraam omul care a încheiat legământul cu Dumnezeu; Creştinismul vede în Avraam prietenul lui Dumnezeu; Islamismul îl asociază pe Avraam cu Mahomed. Deşi Avraam s-a născut în jurul anului 2168 î. Hr. în Ur, sudul Mesopotamiei, istoria vieţii lui ne inspiră la încredere necondiţionată în Dumnezeu şi ne îndeamnă la ascultare de El, indiferent de împrejurări.

Dumnezeu S-a descoperit personal lui Avraam, spunându-i că are un plan special cu el şi cu soţia lui, Sara, cerându-i să-şi părăsească ţara şi rudeniile şi să plece în Canaan. Avraam însă a luat cu ei pe tatăl şi verişorul său. Tatăl său a murit în primul oraş, în Haran, iar de Lot s-a despărţit puţin mai târziu, obligat fiind de conflictele dintre angajaţii lor. Deşi Avraam avea 75 de ani şi Sara 65, ei nu aveau încă copii, or în cultura de-atunci naşterea unui copil însemna binecuvântare, în timp ce lipsa acestuia însemna blestem. Dumnezeu Se angajează prin legământ/contract faţă de Avraam şi Sara că le va da, în ciuda vârstei înaintate, Canaanul şi un copil prin care va popula ţara.

Deşi Avraam este un exemplu de credinţă şi ascultare faţă de Dumnezeu, fiind om ca oricare altul, a avut anumite slăbiciuni şi greşeli. Prima greşeală este iniţiată de Sara, care, pierzându-şi speranţa în promisiunea lui Dumnezeu că le va da un copil, promisiune de la care trecuseră deja 10 ani, îi sugerează soţului să intre, după obiceiul vremii, la roaba sa, Agar, şi să aibă cu ea un copil, care va deveni al lor. Încercarea ei de a-L ajuta pe Dumnezeu s-a dovedit a fi un dezastru, având consecinţe mari (conflictul permanent dintre arabi şi creştini). Următoarele două greşeli sunt iniţiate de Avraam, când, în călătoria lungă pe care a trebuit să o facă printre străini, a vrut să evite riscul de a fi omorât datorită soţiei lui, care era o femeie frumoasă. În loc să se încreadă în Domnul, ca de obicei, a ales să mintă de două ori spunând că Sara nu este soţia lui, ci sora, profitând de faptul că Sara îi era soră vitregă după tată. Este paradoxal să vedem că Avraam, deşi este prezentat în Biblie ca omul credinţei, tatăl tuturor credincioşilor, greşeşte faţă de Dumnezeu tocmai prin faptul că nu se încrede în El în aceste situaţii de criză.

Aceste trei greşeli ale patriarhului nu reuşesc să demonstreze necredinţa lui, datorită celor 175 de ani de viaţă trăiţi prin credinţă cu Dumnezeu. Credinţa lui Avraam este pusă în evidenţă atunci când Dumnezeu îi cere să-şi jertfească singurul fiu, fiind l

a un pas să finalizeze cererea divină. Avraam este un exemplu suficient de credinţă şi ascultare de Dumnezeu, exemplu de soţ şi tată, de cetăţean şi şef de companie, de emigrant, de spiritualitate şi dărnicie, milă şi bunătate.

February 10, 2008

Life is a series of events and contradictory states, which come one after another with little mercy. Laughter is awkwardly intertwined with weeping, joy with pain, friendship with loneliness, health with sickness, youth with old age and life with death. Each mortal hopelessly looks for a recipe to eliminate weeping, pain, loneliness, sickness, old age, but each has a place in our lives. Looking retrospectively at the lives of various people in history, with the purpose of learning what makes the difference between success and failure, we are forced to accept the fact that each one was confronted to a great extent with laughter as well as with weeping, with joy as well as with pain...

Looking at the example of Joseph, of whom the Bible writes 13 chapters in Genesis (37-50), we notice that what lifted him above his hard, complicated, risky, painful life was God. Rebuked by his father because of his God-given dreams, despised, hated, and sold as slave by his own brothers because of envy, bought with money as an object by the captain of Egypt`s king`s guards, slave in a foreign country, falsley accused of rape by his master`s wife, who took advantage of Joseph because he did not accept her invitation into a sinful adultery, unjustly condemned to jail, forgotten by the two fellow prisoners whom he treated well... isn`t this a hard, impossible life, one full of unfairness, pain, and loneliness? How many of us would give a chance to this unhappy man? And yet, overnight, he became the prime-minister of the country where he had been a slave and a prisoner for so many.

What is the recipe for Joseph`s success? HIS SPIRITUAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD. We can read the expression "God was with Joseph" many times. As a child in his father`s house, God was with him, giving him prophetic dreams, because of his pure heart (Genesis 37:9). In the house of Potiphar, "God was with him" because of his integrity (39:2). In prison "God was with him" because of his innocence (39:21). It is not important if the whole world is against you, if God is with you. People`s lives are not ruined by troubles, conflicts, unfairness, but by God`s absence. Who else but God would have taken poor Joseph out of his life`s crisis? How would God have lifted him if Joseph had not served him with repentance and holiness throughout his life? A life of holiness is reflected in that he was not upset with his parents for discouraging him, nor on his brothers for selling him as slave, nor on his master`s wicked wife for putting him in jail, or on the two prisoners for not keeping their word and forgetting about him. But God did not forget about Joseph and took him out of prison. People forget, but God never does. Serving Him with repentance and holiness, no matter what obstacles you have in life, will make you victorious and will take you to heaven.

February 17, 2008

Sin and temptation are the Devil`s methods of separating man from God forever. Human nature is prone to sin and vulnerable to temptation. For this reason, our Savior tells the people about the secret to defeating temptation and sin: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak" (Matthew 26:41). The spiritual experience in Gethsemane was one of the most difficult moments in the human life of the Savior. His disciples were invited to join Him, to watch and to pray with Him, but they fell asleep. “To watch” comes from the Latin “vigilare” and it means “to keep, to be alert, to guard, to care for not sleep in order to guard something, to be awake, to supervise an activity, to care for a sick person by staying at his bed side.

Every day, the Savior Jesus kept watch upon His life so as not sin and to successfully fulfill the mission for which He came on earth. He taught His disciples to do the same thing. The Lord Jesus prayed many times, mostly alone; He prayed by night, sometimes in the morning, or during the day. He prayed on the mountain, in the garden, in the field, in a boat… He prayed incessantly and everywhere. The reason for His ceaseless prayer and constant watch was to defeat temptation and sin, to be holy, to not be separated from God. Because human nature is weakened by sin, prone to sin, man must pray and watch upon every moment of his life so that he can live in the absence of sin, defeating temptation. This means, in fact, to be faithful to God, being ready for heaven. If Jesus needed to pray and watch, so that He could be holy in a sinful world, then we do too. It is not the world that makes us sin, but the absence of prayer and watching.

To pray means to ask for God`s help, to watch, to use the help He gives you. Most of the believers pray, ask for God`s help in their spiritual warfare, and He does give them His help, but many of them don`t know how to use it, nor that they must use it. They believe that prayer is enough. Prayer involves God, while watching involves us. At least seven times in the New Testament we find the phrase “pray and watch” – not just watch, not just pray. Watching has no power without prayer, while prayer without watching is an unused power. People pray and ask for power, but what do they do with it afterwards? NOTHING. To watch means to use the power you get in prayer, so that you can stay away from temptation and sin. To watch is man`s job, not God`s. To offer power and help is God`s part, not man`s. People sin by falling into temptation not because they do not pray, but because after they pray, they do no WATCH. The one who prays, does only half of what he is supposed to do. Paul said, “I can do everything in Christ who strengthens me” (He strengthens me).

February 24, 2008

Our Savior Jesus Christ said and did many things during His life on earth, but evangelism was always his priority since it is God’s method of preaching the Gospel that saves. People have many needs, but the greatest of them is the saving of their souls- evangelism fulfills this major need. A person’s way of life reflects his priorities, goals and interests, which usually are focused on the human life, not the spiritual one. That’s why, for most people, comfort is the more important than saving the soul and a place among the highest is more desired than a place in heaven.

The apostle Paul went beyond what is normal for a human being, by becoming through excellence the apostle of the evangelizing during the First Century. In this way, many churches were planted everywhere and the First Church conquered the world because it had the divine message and method. The message is the Gospel, the method is evangelism and these two function only together since evangelism presents the Gospel. It would be futile to preach if one would not be preaching the Gospel, and it makes no difference to anyone else if someone knows the Gospel but does not preach it. Even if evangelism is God’s command and the Church’s mandate, the Devil tries to stop evangelism, using any method that works. Taking for example Paul’s mission described in Acts 19, we see the obstacles in the Gospel’s way that are set by the Devil:

People’s ignorance: “they have not even heard” (v.2) “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a) Today’s church needs to answer these questions, as does every Christian.

The insufficiency of preaching: “Then what baptism did you receive?" ‘John's baptism,’ “ (v. 3). Those people did not do more because they were not taught sufficiently. Their leader had died before he had completed their discipleship. The indifference of the listener: “But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe” (v. 9). The indifference of some does not discourage evangelism since it is motivated and encouraged by other’s repentance and faith.

The imitation of those who were not warned: "Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?" (v. 15) The preaching of the gospel in the context of evangelism exposes us to spiritual attacks because of the medium through which it is done. The Devil’s resistance: “there arose a great disturbance about the Way” (v. 23) The preaching of the gospel in the context of evangelism exposes us to spiritual attacks because of the medium through which it is done.

The influence of the opposition: “Men... this fellow Paul has convinced and led astray large numbers of people here… when they heard this, they were furious… soon the whole city was in an uproar… the people… rushed as one man into the theater”(vv. 25b, 26a, 28a, 29).

Even though the Gospel is free because God brought it to us, evangelism does costs us and it isn’t cheap, because we have to carry it. God has done his part, now it is His Church’s turn and someone will do it in our stead if we are too late or if we refuse. Before he ascended into heaven, Jesus said, “Go forth and make disciples all over the earth” (Matthew 28:19) and later said, “… but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in…” (Acts 1:8). This is what the Lord Jesus Christ did, this is what Paul did. What are we doing?