Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, September 15, 2020

To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine 

“To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.” This quote was written by the English poet Alexander Pope, in the poem An Essay on Criticism, Part II, 1711. “Pope explains that, while anyone can make a mistake, we should aspire to do as God does, that is, show mercy and forgive sinners.”  However, hearing about the unrelenting inhumanity expressed by some people and reading about recent examples of cruelty to others makes us want to despair for all of mankind.

 

We all have a tendency toward evil (Psalm 51:5).  That is why we need someone to rescue us from ourselves.  We need a Savior.  Although we may think we would never stoop to the level of people we read about we routinely justify committing other sins, Jesus went to the cross for all of our sins so that we could resist disobedience to God (1 Peter 2:24).  Miraculously, Jesus became the sacrifice so that we could be in right standing with Him (2 Corinthians 5:21). Because He forgave all of our past, present, and future sins we therefore ought to forgive others of their offenses against us (Ephesians 4:32).

 

When we forgive others, we demonstrate Jesus’ nature in us.  Because He forgave us from the penalty of disobedience, we can forgive others for what they have done to us.  We can do this because we can do everything through Christ who gives us the strength to do so (Philippians 4:13).  In our humanness, we will err, make mistakes, and commit sin but to forgive those who have offended us means that Jesus has taken up residence in us.  The divinity of Christ in us allows us to forgive others. Let us follow Christ and forgive like He has forgiven us.

 

Psalm 51:5

New International Version

5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.

 

1 Peter 2:24

New International Version
24 "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; "by his wounds you have been healed."

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

New International Version

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 

Ephesians 4:32

New International Version

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

Philippians 4:13

New International Version

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.



 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, September 9, 2020

Let Us Please God

Walter Hagen, a professional golfer said, “You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.”  This is one view of life.  Another take on our time on earth can be seen in the famous quote, “I intend to live a fast life, die young and be a beautiful corpse,” published in a 1920 newspaper of a letter from Mrs. Irene L. Luce concerning her divorce. Both of these views of life focus on the few years we have on earth and give suggestions for how to spend those days.

 

The Bible also gives us guidance on how to spend our time wisely.  The book of Ecclesiastes says man must fear and obey God (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  In another passage, it says that we should act like our everyday lives are a loan from Him (Romans 12:1). He wants us to get rid of bitterness, rage and anger and to be kind to one and another and forgiving (Ephesians 4:31, 32). Also, He wants us to turn away from the evil so that we can do His good work (2 Timothy 2:21).

 

A few years ago, there was a saying about how we should act. It said, “What Would Jesus Do?”  He would want us to be about God’s business while recognizing that our actions have eternal consequences.  If we do what the Bible tells us to do, we will do well in life (Isaiah 1:19). Let us decide that we will spend our lives seeking God’s approval, direction, and wisdom. 

 

Ecclesiastes 12:13
Amplified Bible

13 When all has been heard, the end of the matter is: fear God [worship Him with awe-filled reverence, knowing that He is almighty God] and keep His commandments, for this applies to every person.

 

Romans 12:1

New International Version

12 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

 

Ephesians 4:31, 32

New International Version

31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 

32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

 

2 Timothy 2:21

Amplified Bible

21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

 

Isaiah 1:19

New International Version

19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;


 

 

 

 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, August 31, 2020

Let God Fulfill Your Purpose

The world was shaken recently when it was announced that Chadwick Boseman died at 43 from colon cancer on August 28, 2020.  His influence transcended entertainment, political activism, art, and culture.  Many have testified how he had positively affected their lives. He was a real-life superhero.  

 

Just like Mr. Boseman, God wants His children to have a positive impact upon the world.  He wants us to be His representatives upon earth. We should lay hands on the sick for healing (Mark 16:18), give a word of wisdom for the confused, share God’s knowledge with the less informed, and support every good work (2 Corinthians 9:8).   The world may not know our names, but God has powerful missions for each of us.  God is calling for us to help those from the urban areas to those who are at ease in the suburban areas (Isaiah 58:12).  

 

Because of the many challenges that we face, we all need to know our purpose.  We also can be the children of God who are not content to rest on our accomplishments but who will strive to be all that God has called us to be.  He always caused us to triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14). Let God fulfill your purpose.

 

Mark 16:18 

New International Version

18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

 

2 Corinthians 9:8

New International Version

And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

 

Isaiah 58:12

New International Version

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

King James Version

14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.


 

 

 

 

Monday, August 24, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, August 24, 2020

 Lord, Please Heal Our Land

For this week’s Pastor’s Ponderings, please click on the Pastor's Ponderings link to our blog and remember that God wants His children to turn from sin and towards Him so that He can heal our land.

www.pastorsponderings.com

 

Lord, Please Heal Our Land

According to the Associated Press, August 23, 2020, the Gulf Coast is awaiting two hurricanes, Marco and another potential hurricane, Tropical Storm Laura.  Jessica Schulberg and Chris D’Angelo in Huffington Post, August 22, 2020, wrote, “More than 500 wildfireshave been ignited across California this week, the result of a record-shattering heat wave and about 12,000 lightning strikes.” Over 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 worldwide with the distinct possibility that the true coronavirus death toll in the United States is much higher than the official count of about 175,000 and that the virus may have had an outsized effect on communities of color.

 

It is clear to any honest observer that the world is in trouble.  Our land desperately needs healing. But knowing that there would be disasters and terrible things would come upon the earth, God has always proposed a solution.  Just like God destroyed the army which was attacking King Jehoshaphat when everyone fasted and prayed (2 Chronicles 20:1, 3, 4, 15, 23) and just like Nineveh was saved from destruction when everyone fasted and prayed (Jonah 3:4, 5, 7-10), God is calling His people into action.

 

God declared that if His people who were called by His Name would humble themselves, pray, seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He would hear from heaven and heal their land (2 Chronicles 7:14).  He did not ask this from those who did not love God, denied His existence or who were in open rebellion against Him. He was speaking to His children who had not humbled themselves, were not praying, were not seeking His face but were doing wicked things.  He promised in this scripture that He would hear us, forgive our sins and heal our land.  

 

When confronted with imminent destruction, the king of Nineveh poignantly asked, “God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.  He knew they were in danger but understood the necessity of fasting and prayer.  Perhaps it is time for the sophisticated and learned leaders of the twenty first century to heed a heathen king’s query.  Perhaps God’s children can come together in spite of our doctrinal differences, races, creeds, and colors and obey His commands, and pray so that He can divinely intervene. Let us not argue, fight, or fuss.  Let us humble ourselves, pray, seek His face and turn from our wickedness.  He said He would hear us, forgive our sin, and heal our land. Let us take Him at His word.

 

2 Chronicles 20:1, 3, 4, 15, 23

New International Version

1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.

3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 
The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 

23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

 

Jonah 3:4, 5, 7-10

New International Version

4 Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” 

5 The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth.

7 This is the proclamation he issued in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let people or animals, herds or flocks, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. 

8 But let people and animals be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. 

9 Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish.”

10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

 

2 Chronicles 7:14

New International Version
14 If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.


 

 

 

 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, August 17, 2020

Husbands, Love Your Wives

Mary Papenfuss wrote an article in the August 16, 2020 Huffington Post entitled, “Surfer Punches Shark Repeatedly To Save His Wife In Attack Off Australian Beach.” “I did what anyone would have done,” he said. “The shark was latched onto her leg. I just jumped into the water.” Clearly this husband demonstrated his love for his wife when he put himself in danger and attacked the 9-foot long shark.  

 

The Bible says that he that finds a wife finds what is good and obtains favor from the Lord (Proverbs 18:22).  However, we live in a world system where adultery is commonplace, fornication is acceptable, marriage is optional, and the marital vows are seen as unimportant.  Marriage is the first institution ordained by God and is under attack by the traditions of the world (Ephesians 5:31).  Even if they find themselves swimming upstream against the world’s opinions, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies (Ephesians 5:25, 28). 

 

The Bible says that we show our love when we are willing to lay down our lives for our friends (John 15:13).  A husband ought to be willing to give himself for her like Christ gave Himself for the Church especially since they are no longer two but one body in God’s eyes (Matthew 19:6).  

 

Men let us make the Godly decision that honoring our wives honors His choice for us.  Thank God for those men who appreciate the special gift they have received and who cherish them the rest of their lives. Let us endeavor to work to maintain a loving atmosphere in our homes and to be an example of a loving leader who protects those over whom he has been given charge.  Let us raise our children to honor this institution and by so doing honor the God that gave us our mates.

 

Proverbs 18:22

New International Version

22 He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord.

 

Ephesians 5:31

New International Version

31 "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.

 

Ephesians 5:25, 28

New International Version

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 
28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.

 

John 15:13

New International Version

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

 

Matthew 19:6

New International Version

6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”


 

 

 

 

Monday, August 10, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, August 10, 2020

God Supplies All Of Our Need

Sarah Turnnidge wrote an inspiring article in the August 9, 2020 Huffington Post entitledNew Zealand Records 100 Days Without Community Transmission Of COVID-19.  That is great news given that about the same time, the United Stated recorded 5 million confirmed cases of COVID-19; it is the country with the highest number of known infections.  

 

Sometimes we have to see examples of what God can do to actually believe Him.  After Jesus rose from the dead, one of His disciples said that he would have to actually see the wounds in His side to believe He rose (John 20:24-25).  Many of have to see it to believe but Jesus told Doubting Thomas that they are blessed who believe without seeing (John 20:29).  The Bible says that it is impossible to please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6).  The Bible declares that God will perform miracles, but we must have faith and no doubt.  We can conduct worldwide miracles with that faith (Mark 11:23-25).

 

We are happy when we see evidence of God solving problems, healing the sick, helping the poor, and deliverance from devils. However, God does not simply want us to wait for the evidence, He wants us to have faith that He can do anything but fail (Luke 1:37).  Even if we don’t see the end of the pandemic, economic inequality, racial injustice, domestic violence or the rest of the world’s ills, we must still hold onto our faith that despite how things seem to be, God will supply all of our need by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:19).

John 20:24-25

New International Version

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 

25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

 

John 20:29

New International Version

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

 

Hebrews 11:6

New International Version

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

 

Mark 11:23-25

New International Version

23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 

24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 

25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

 

Luke 1:37

New King James Version

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

 

Philippians 4:19

New King James Version

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.



 

 

 

 

Monday, August 3, 2020

Pastor's Pondering, August 3, 2020

On Christ We Stand
Morris Cerullo, a well-known American Pentecostal evangelist, writer, world traveler and television host, recently passed in July 2020. He traveled worldwide for his ministry.  He once shared that God told him, "Son, Tell my people that everything that can be shaken will be shaken..."  With the advent of the COVID-19 virus nothing seems invulnerable. Even venerable institutions such as universities, governmental entities, business empires, and entertainment corporations all seemed helpless and trembling before the merciless pandemic.  All of the overwhelming wonder of the modern day seems underwhelming as the days pass by in 2020.

Yet the Bible says that our focus should not be on the temporary things that we can see but on the eternal unseen things (2 Corinthians 4:18). Things are changing in ways that seem uncomfortable, but Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, day and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He never changes. But in the world, everything changes.  History changes because it was written by those who won the wars.  People change based on their circumstances. Trials and tribulations can shake us to our core.  

The Bible says that there are more shakings coming upon the earth (Luke 21:26). Those things that are not based on the true foundation in Him will not stand firmly.  We have to make the decision that we will look only to the unshakeable Jesus who is the author and the finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  The classic song by Robert Critchley, entitled “My Hope Is Built on Nothing Less” expresses this idea.  Some of the lyrics are, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.”

Christ wants to remind us that our job, our health, our family and friends are temporary, but He will never leave us nor forsake us. He will stay with us beyond the grave.  The housing market may crash, the banking industry may deteriorate while every other thing that is dear to us may vanish.  However,  Jesus shared that He is preparing a place for us so that we can always be with Him (John 14:2).  It is true that everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but we must know that we can always depend on Christ, our solid Rock (Psalm 18:2).

2 Corinthians 4:18 
New International Version
18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Hebrews 13:8
New International Version
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Luke 21:26
New International Version
26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.

Hebrews 12:2
New King James Version
looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

John 14:2
New International Version
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?

Psalm 18:2
New International Version
The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.