Monday, October 18, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, October 18, 2021

Our Eyes Are Fixed On The Lord

 

D├ínica Coto and Evens Sanon wrote an article in the 10/17/2021 World News section of Huffington Post entitled, “U.S. Religious Group Says 17 Missionaries Kidnapped In Haiti.”  The article went on to indicate that the gang which kidnapped the missionaries carries out kidnappings, car jackings, and extorts business owners. The organization which sent this group, Christian Aid Ministries, issued a statement. “Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers and the families, friends and churches of those affected. As an organization, we commit this situation to God and trust Him to see us through.” 

 

We live in a world where even doing good can be dangerous.  Going where God said to go and doing what God said to do may not always have endings that we would like. However, we must remember that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord (Romans 8:28). The Bible says that man is of a few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1).   Still God promised that He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).

 

We have to remember that however this challenging situation ends man is not in charge; God is still on the throne.  He sees all and nothing can happen without His permission.  The Bible says that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16).  The Bible declares if two or three are gathered in God’s Name, He is in the midst (Matthew 18:20). God is with these missionaries. For those who love the Lord, we must pray, intercede, lay before God, and ask for a quick and total deliverance for these children of God.  He can do anything but fail!

 

Romans 8:28 

New International Version

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

 

Job 14:1

New International Version

14 “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.

 

Philippians 2:13

New King James Version

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

 

James 5:16

New King James Version

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.

 

Matthew 18:20 

New International Version

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, October 13, 2021

God Is Our Protector


In the very popular 2020 film, The Old Guard, the heroes and heroines are centuries-old warriors with unexplained regenerative healing abilities who use their vast experience to work as mercenaries, taking on missions that help people.  These undying warriors have secretly protected humanity for centuries.  The idea that there are hidden protectors that help mankind and are with us when we are being harmed is reassuring.

 

In the Bible, God assures us that His angels do protect mankind for real.  "He gives His angels charge over us to keep us wherever we go” (Psalm 91:11-12). He promised that He would send His word to us as we make decisions on our life’s path (Isaiah 30:21).  He said that He would be a lamp for our feet and a light for our pathways (Psalm 119:105). He confirms that His eyes go through the earth to be strong for mankind (2 Chronicles 16:9).  He tells us that He will go before us and behind us to protect us (Isaiah 52:12).

 

This is not to imply that we are protected from every threat.  Time and chance happen to us all (Ecclesiastes 9:11). War, senseless acts of violence, sickness and disease, pain and suffering are common to mankind.  However, God promises that we will not be alone when we are in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) and that He will be with us.  We won’t need a fantasy Old Guard when we have the true Guard for our lives.

 

Psalm 91:11-12

New International Version

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.

 

Isaiah 30:21 

New International Version

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it."

 

Psalm 119:105

New International Version

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

 

2 Chronicles 16:9a 

New International Version

9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. …

 

Isaiah 52:12

New International Version

12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.

 

Ecclesiastes 9:11

New International Version

11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

 

Psalm 23:4

New International Version

4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Let Us Choose Christ Before Cash


According to an article by Tommy Beer in the 10/8/2020 Forbes magazine, the top 1% Of U.S. households hold 15 times more wealth than the bottom 50% combined.  The article goes on to give an example of this concentration of wealth in Elon Musk, who recently became the world’s fifth centibillionaire.  His wealth increased over 200% during the first eight months of 2020 while the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc worldwide.

 

Many admire the uber rich and spend their lives trying to become wealthy. However, Harrison Johnson wrote a song entitled, “I Have Decided To Make Jesus My Choice.”  A few of the lyrics are, “Some folks would rather have houses and land, some folks choose silver and gold, these things they treasure and forget about their souls; I’ve decided to make Jesus my choice.”  Where our treasures are, lies our heart (Matthew 6:21). 

 

The Bible tells us to put our treasures in heaven where thieves and deterioration have no access (Matthew 6:19-20).  The Bible further advises us to desire the eternal things in heaven rather than the temporary pleasures of this world system (Colossians 3:1, 2; 1 John 2:17).  The reason is that all that is in the world is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  Only what we do for Christ will last.  

 

The Bible does not say that people should not be rich but that they should not trust their riches and instead put their hope in God. They should do good deeds and share with others so that they can attain the life that is truly life (Timothy 6:17-19).  Let us all seek God first and foremost so that He can provide all the things that we need.  Let us prioritize Christ over material things.

 

Matthew 6:21

New International Version

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

Matthew 6:19-20

New International Version

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

 

Colossians 3:1, 2

New International Version

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

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

 

1 John 2:17

New International Version

17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

 

1 John 2:16

New International Version

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world

 

Timothy 6:17-19

New International Version

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 

18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 

19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.


 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

The News May Be Bad, But God Is Good 

Carlie Porterfield in the September 20, 2021 Forbes Magazine wrote an article entitled, “675,000 American Deaths: Coronavirus Now Deadlier Than The Spanish Flu.”  She wrote, “The U.S. reported 675,444 total confirmed coronavirus on Monday according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, surpassing the number of Americans believed to have died during the Flu of 1918 and making the coronavirus the most deadly pandemic in American history.”  While recent data indicate the number of hospitalizations and cases are on the downward trend, the number of deaths still greatly concerns us.

 

Despite this gloomy report, the Bible tells us not to let our heart be troubled (John 14:1).  Jesus was teaching His disciples and told them that despite the trouble they had in the world, they should have peace in Him because He had overcome the world (John 16:33).  Even the righteous will have troubles, afflictions, and challenges but we can look to the Lord who brings deliverance (Psalm 34:19).  This is not to say that we can all be healed, delivered, and set free in this world but we must know that God is with us even in our challenges.

 

Terrell Owens, the National Football League player said, “God may not be there when you want him but he is always on time.” We cannot look to our world leaders in any area for our victories, but we can look to Jesus, who began and matures our faith in Him (Hebrews 12:2).  The news may be discouraging but let us put our faith in Jesus who will bring us victory.  

 

John 14:1

New International Version

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

 

John 16:33

New International Version

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.”

 

Psalm 34:19

New International Version

19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

 

Hebrews 12:2

New International Version

fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, September 20, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, September 20, 2021

Nothing Is Impossible With God

 

Howard Fendrich with the Associated Press wrote a September 12, 2021 article entitled, “Britain’s Emma Raducanu, 18, Wins U.S. Open.”  She was ranked 150th and who until three months ago had never played in a professional tour-level event.  Having defeated Leylah Annie Fernanez of Canada for the title, the article went on to say, “And now? She will rise into the Women’s Tennis Association’s top 25. She earned $2.5 million. She is famous in Britain and the world over. She is now, and forever, a Grand Slam champion.”

 

Just like this teenager won this impressive title, God wants us to know that He can do anything, and nothing shall be impossible for us (Luke 1:37).  He wants us to turn to Him to meet our needs (Philippians 4:19). God is more than enough to calm our fears, solve our problems and provide for us in these challenging times. When the world says something is impossible, we can ask for God’s help (Philippians 4:13).  In the Bible, when demons constantly threw a young man into fire, his father asked Jesus to help him “if He could.”  Jesus replied that everything is possible for those who believe (Mark 9:21-23).

 

Is it possible that we have limited God’s authority, power, and miracles in our lives because we believe the world system which says something cannot be accomplished? Since the world has been challenged by climate change, constant wars, and calamities on every hand, now is the time for us to ask God for His divine intervention. Nothing is impossible with God.

 

Luke 1:37

New King James Version

37 For with God nothing will be impossible.”

 

Philippians 4:19

New International Version

19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 4:13

New International Version

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

 

Mark 9:21-23

New International Version

21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. 
22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”


 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, September 9, 2021

God Wants To Answer Our Questions


In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, ivermectin tablets are approved by the Federal Drug Administration to treat people afflicted with parasitic worms but not for the virus. Ryan Grenoble wrote an article in September 6, 2021,  U.S. News entitled, “Arkansas Inmates Say They Were Given Ivermectin For COVID-19 Without Their Consent.”  One of the inmates said, “I asked what are they, and they’d just tell me vitamins.”  To make things even more confusing, “a judge ruled Monday that an Ohio hospital cannot be forced to give a patient ivermectin for Covid-19, reversing an earlier decision that ordered it to administer this parasite medication which has not been approved to treat the disease.” 

 

In this time of confusing information, many are making life and death decisions based on how they see things, the opinions of random strangers rather than generally acceptable scientific standards.  For example, the scientific community suggests masks may help us during this pandemic when others tell us that forcing masks is an attack on freedom.  Perfectly reasonable people seem to be saying perfectly unreasonable things.  

 

This is a time of great anxiety when desperate times are leading to desperate measures.  What should those who love the Lord do when even the experts disagree? The Bible suggests that in all our getting, we should get understanding (Proverbs 4:7). God tells us that He is the final answer since He is the source of knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).  But many of us do not ask God, and therefore we do not have our answers (James 4:2b). Those who really want answers from God would do well to heed the scriptures.  Through prayer, we should continue to ask God and we will receive, continue to seek and we will find, and continue to knock and the door will be opened (Matthew 7:7).  Now is the time to seek our benevolent God’s final answer for our lives (James 1:5).  God is waiting to answer our questions for these important decisions.

 

Proverbs 4:7

New King James Version

Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.

 

Proverbs 2:6

New International Version

6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.

 

James 4:2b

New International Version

2 … You do not have because you do not ask God.

 

Matthew 7:7

Amplified Bible

7 “Ask and keep on asking and it will be given to you; seek and keep on seeking and you will find; knock and keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you.

 

James 1:5

Amplified Bible

5 If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, September 1, 2021

How To Stop Wars

 

President Biden recently announced that the United States has ended its long war in Afghanistan. Sanjana Karanth wrote an article in World News, entitled, “Last U.S. Planes Leave Kabul, Ending 20-Year War In Afghanistan.”  It is astounding that it took 20 years to end this war. Many lives were lost, millions were made homeless, and the pain inflicted from this war will live on.  

 

The war in Afghanistan may dominate the headlines today, but all over the world, there are constant stories of wars, fighting, refugees and atrocities.  What is the cause of the constant conflict? The Bible says that wars come from the conflict within us (James 4:1). The scriptures suggest that to avoid wars, we need to ask God to help supply our needs (James 4:2).  

 

The Bible says that before the end of the earth arrives, we will hear about wars and rumors of wars (Matthew 24:6).  It will not stop.  What should the child of God do about the depressing litany of conflicts? First, knowing that the devil comes to kill, steal, and destroy, we must submit ourselves to God’s will, word, and authority to defeat evil (James 4:7). Second, with God on our side (Romans 8:31), we must resist being involved with and escalating conflicts.  Third, we can pray against the evil forces that bring about disputes (Philippians 4:13).

 

It is true that we are not all world leaders who can forcefully put down wars and fighting, but in our small corner of the world, we can allow God to use us to be examples of peacefully living a life for God.  Since we are books that the world reads, let His peace keep our hearts and minds through Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7) and then we can then act like God would have us act.

 

James 4:1, 2

New International Version

1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 
2 You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God.

 

Matthew 24:6

New International Version

6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.

 

James 4:7

New International Version

7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you

 

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?

 

Philippians 4:13

New International Version

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

 

Philippians 4:7

New International Version

7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.