Friday, June 2, 2023

Pastor's Pondering, June 2, 2023

Through Him We Win

Hezekiah Walker and The Love Fellowship Crusade Choir sang, “Ninety-Nine and a Half.”  Some of the lyrics are, “Lord I'm runnin', tryin' to make a hundred, ninety-nine and a half won't do. On my knees every day, Lord please hear me when I pray. Please forgive me when I stumble, Lord, I wanna be in that number.”  Thank God that we don’t have to worry, be upset, or be anxious. It is no longer us trying to make it to heaven through our own efforts, but our simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ and we are saved (Romans 10:9-10).


It is the trick of the evil one to get us to fret that we are not good enough to meet God’s standards. That is correct, we will never be good enough in our own strength.  But the Bible tells us that it is no longer ourselves, but that Christ lives inside of us (Galatians 2:20).  He is greater than any of our tendencies, habits, perversions, or sins.  He promises to forgive us and cleanse us from our disobedience when we tell Him about them and ask for His forgiveness.


Throughout the Bible we are told repeatedly to fear not. Our Father cares for us; we are worth so much to Him (Matthew 10:29, 31).  He does not want any to go into an eternity without Him; He is waiting for our invitation to Him into our life (2 Peter 3:9).  While many seem to have no regard for themselves, their fellow citizens, or God, we can take solace in knowing that God cares for us, loves us, and wants us to live with Him eternally (Ephesians 2:6).  He certainly wants us to win with Him.


Romans 10:9-10

New Life Version

If you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved from the punishment of sin.

10 When we believe in our hearts, we are made right with God. We tell with our mouth how we were saved from the punishment of sin


Galatians 2:20

New Life Version

20 I have been put up on the cross to die with Christ. I no longer live. Christ lives in me. The life I now live in this body, I live by putting my trust in the Son of God. He was the One Who loved me and gave Himself for me.


Matthew 10:29, 31

New Life Version

29 Are not two small birds sold for a very small piece of money? And yet not one of the birds falls to the earth without your Father knowing it.
31 So do not be afraid. You are more important than many small birds.


2 Peter 3:9

New Life Version

9 The Lord is not slow about keeping His promise as some people think. He is waiting for you. The Lord does not want any person to be punished forever. He wants all people to be sorry for their sins and turn from 



Ephesians 2:6

New Life Version

6 God raised us up from death when He raised up Christ Jesus. He has given us a place with Christ in the heavens.


Saturday, May 27, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, May 27, 2023

Our God Is Ready To Defend Us


Yuras Karmanau, in the May 25, 2023 Associated Press, wrote an article entitled, “Russia Signs Deal To Deploy Tactical Nuclear Weapons In Belarus.”  The article went on to say that it was, “a move widely seen as a warning to the West as it stepped up military support for Ukraine.”  A nuclear war would be horrible. Further, Aristos Georgiou also wrote an article in the September 14, 2022 Newsweek, entitled, “Nuclear War Simulator Shows What War With Russia Would Look Like.”  This article indicated, “A simulation shows how a nuclear war between Russia and NATO could potentially play out in a horrific scenario that would result in the deaths of millions of people around the world within hours.”


Satan is alive and wants mass destruction.  He comes to kill, steal, and to destroy (John 10:10a). Nevertheless, the Bible tells those who love the Lord that we are not to let our hearts be troubled (John 14:1). Despite the terror of nuclear war, the resultant number of deaths and rampant plagues, we are to set our minds on things above in the heavenly places rather than on things of the earth (Colossians 3:2).  We are not to be conformed to the world’s fear of the future (Romans 12:2) but to look only to Jesus who helps our faith (Hebrews 12:2a).  


Those who love the Lord don’t have to fear nuclear bombs.  This is not to say that we will never have any destruction in our lives but our protection, peace, and power are in Him (Isaiah 41:10).  We can rest in His love, presence, and comfort.  He is the great King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  While the world runs away at the first sign of trouble, God promised that He will deliver us from all our troubles since He is a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  


Let us not be afraid.  We don’t have to be afraid of the terror, the destruction, the plagues, or missiles (Psalm 91:5-7).  No weapon that is formed against those who love the Lord (Isaiah 54:17) shall be effective.  God stands ready to defeat our enemies and defend us.


John 10:10a

New International Version

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…


John 14:1

New International Version

14 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.


Colossians 3:2

New International Version

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.


Romans 12:2

New International Version

Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.


Hebrews 12:2a

Amplified Bible

[looking away from all that will distract us and] focusing our eyes on Jesus, who is the Author and Perfecter of faith [the first incentive for our belief and the One who brings our faith to maturity], …


Isaiah 41:10

New International Version

10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


Psalm 46:1 

New International Version

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


Psalm 91:5-7

New International Version

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand,

but it will not come near you.


Isaiah 54:17

New International Version

17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,”declares the Lord.


Friday, April 14, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, April 14, 2023

Confused? Choose God’s Direction


Grace Hauck wrote an article in USA TODAY on April 10, 2023 entitled, 100 days into 2023, Louisville attack marks nation's 146th mass shooting and 15th mass killing.   Ryan Nobles, Kyle Stewart, Scott Wong and Rose Horowitch wrote an article in a March 29, 2023, ABC News website. The news article reported that Tim Burchett, a Republican from Tennessee, pronounced of school shootings: ‘We’re not gonna fix it.’


In the United States of America, an intense political battle rages for those who believe the Second Amendment of the Constitution gives everyone rights to carry all kinds of guns. Proponents on all sides of the argument believe they have the moral high ground.  Their angry voices seem to be a warning sign of future physical battles. 


But the Bible says that if any lack wisdom, let him ask of God who will give that wisdom (James 1:5).  Who is asking the Lord about the availability of guns? The Bible tells those who love the Lord to seek His face, turn from their ways and He will hear from heaven and heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14).  


We have heard much from those who are knowledgeable, gifted, and wise in our land.  Now we must trust in the Lord with all our hearts and not lean to our own personal understanding (Proverbs 3:5). The Bible says that if we look to God in all our ways, He will direct our path (Proverbs 3:6). 


It seems easy when we are only listening to our own hearts about the way forward.  Let’s try God’s way.  When God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31).  God is waiting for us to trust Him alone.  Let us sincerely ask God for His wisdom and obey when we hear from Him. 


James 1:5

New International Version

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


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.


Proverbs 3:5-6

New International Version

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.


Romans 8:31

New International Version

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


Pastor's Ponderings, April 8, 2023

The Resurrection of Jesus Can Change Your Life


On April 7, 2023, we celebrated Good Friday when over 2000 years ago, Jesus went to the Cross for our sins.  He died and spent three days in the grave.  We look forward to Sunday, Resurrection Day when we celebrate His rising from the dead and declaring that all power is in His hands (Matthew 28:18).  Because of His pain and suffering on the Cross, we have the right to walk victoriously in life.


What does this mean for us?  Is His resurrection only useful for church sermons, feel good moments or does His life mean something for us in 2023?  For those who believe the Bible, He lived then but most importantly He lives now.  His death, burial and Resurrection was not simply a legend like the fables, mythology, and empty doctrines of the past, but He is a living God who lives in us (1 John 4:4). The leaders of other religions are still in their graves, but Jesus went into the grave, established His authority over the underworld and now lives through those who love Him (1 Corinthians 6:19).


Our mission today and every day is to tell everyone that the Resurrection weekend is real, is life-changing and Jesus wants to transform our lives for the better.  Since He is for us, He is more than the whole world against us (Romans 8:31).  Because of what He suffered we can face our todays and our tomorrows with hope, joy and peace knowing that the eternal God is real.  We can ask Him for anything in His will and He said that will do it for us (1 John 5:14-15).  Let us celebrate this time of blessings and tell others that He wants to do the same for everyone.


Matthew 28:18

New International Version

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 


1 John 4:4

New International Version

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.


1 Corinthians 6:19
New International Version

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;


Romans 8:31
New International Version

31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?


1 John 5:14-15

New International Version

14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 
15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.


Saturday, April 1, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, April 1, 2023

Happy Resurrection Day!

On April 1, 2018, Resurrection Sunday dawned heralding an international celebration of Jesus’ coming forth from a borrowed tomb to live forevermore and is now making intercession for a desperate, depressed, disappointed and distraught world.  For many, His promise of a better life may seem like a joke appropriate on April Fool’s Day. Why? On October 26, 2017, President Donald Trump declared the country's opioid crisis a "public health emergency". In 2016, there were 44,965 recorded suicides, up from 42,773 in 2014, according to the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics. Compared to 22 other high-income nations, the U.S. gun-related murder rate is 25 times higher.  The list of life challenges goes on and on.

Thank God for Jesus who has come that we can have the abundant life (John 10:10).  He desires that we prosper and be in health (3 John 2).  He asks us to simply cast all of our cares on Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  The world is so confusing, decisions are difficult and the implications for mistakes can be catastrophic.  But He says to ask Him for His wisdom, His guidance, and to simply acknowledge Him and He will direct our path through life (Proverbs 3:5-6).

It is true that we have many problems in this world, but in the midst of life’s problems, Jesus says to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33).  It is true that April 1, 2018 is April’s Fool’s Day, but God’s promises are no joke.  He is greater than your pain, anguish, loneliness, or despair.  Let Him be your Savior by asking Him to be your Lord.  When you obey Him, He will make your way prosperous and you will have good success in life (Joshua 1:8).  Happy Resurrection Day!

John 10:10 
New International Version (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

3 John 2 
King James Version (KJV)
2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.

1 Peter 5:7 
New International Version (NIV)
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.

Proverbs 3:5-6 
New International Version (NIV)
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

John 16:33 
New International Version (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Joshua 1:8 
New International Version (NIV)
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, March 23, 2023

We Live In Wonderful Times!


Dave Lawle recently wrote an article in the Axios website about the friendship that Chinese President Xi Jinping developing with Vladimir Putin. He went on to write that this “visit that also underscores Russia's reliance on China to keep its economy and war machine running.”  At the same time, we are preparing to indict a former US President for the first time in history and many predict extreme violence.  For those who are closely watching these and other momentous events, there are many indications that we are in the end times.


The Bible speaks of anguish, perplexity, and terror as the end of times approaches (Luke 21:25-26).  However, the worse things get in the world, those who love the Lord should be happy.   Why? because we are about to get our reward (Revelation 22:12).  We should lift our heads because we are about to get redeemed (Luke 21:28). The Bible tells us that despite the world’s worsening state, we have the privilege of sitting with Christ and being alive with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:5-6).


Let us be happy!  What should we do? We should strengthen our limbs (Hebrews 12:12). We should keep focused on spiritual things (Colossians 3:2). As the end gets closer, let us get closer to the things of God to get His peace (Isaiah 26:3), His joy, His comfort, and His wisdom. Let us share the joy that we have despite world challenges with the world.


Luke 21:25, 26, 28

New International Version

25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 

26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 

28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”


Revelation 22:12

New International Version

12 “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done.


Ephesians 2:5-6

New International Version

made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,


Hebrews 12:12

New International Version

12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.


Colossians 3:2

Amplified Bible

Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value].


Isaiah 26:3

Amplified Bible

3 “You will keep in perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both inclination and character], Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].


Thursday, March 16, 2023

Pastor's Ponderings, March 16, 2023

Let’s Claim Our Eternal Award


The 2023 Oscars have come and gone.  We have witnessed the “the joy of victory and the agony of defeat” popularized by Jim McKay in the 1974 ABC’s Wide World of Sport.  The whole world watched the beautifully coiffed and well-dressed inhabitants of the entertainment world.  Their every twitch, smile, frown, or words are grist for the mill of entertainment columns, discussions, and recriminations.  A fun time is had by a few.


While these happenings may seem life-changing, all the world is performing on a much more important stage for an audience of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  The writer, William Shakespeare, alluded to this stage in the famous speech in the play As You Like It which begins 'All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players' (Act 2, Scene 7).


While the world focuses on the performers, the Bible says that we must give an account in eternity for everything that we have done (Romans 14:11, 12).  We may not all be trying to win worldwide acclaim for our performances, but the whole duty of all mankind is to reverence our Creator and obey His commands (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  We may not even like each other but we should remember the Golden Rule and do to everyone like we would want them to do to us.  Why?  Because eventually we must answer for everything we have done (Ecclesiastes 12:14).


This is what is so marvelous about our coming before God.  We would never be good enough to meet His standards since everyone has already failed.  He gives us the answer; simply accept His Son as Savior and you have already won the eternal prize by the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. Let’s spend our time pleasing the One that put us on the Earth and less time worrying about pleasing mankind.  God wants us to sit with Him in heavenly realms (Ephesians 2:6) and to receive His crowns for us.  Let us obey Him and tell anyone about Someone who wants to love, bless, and save everyone.


Romans 14:11, 12

New International Version

11 It is written:

“‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’”

12 So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.


Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

New International Version

13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind.

14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.


Ephesians 2:6

New International Version

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,