Monday, April 12, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, April 12, 2021

Giving Ourselves To God

 

William McDowell wrote a song entitled, “Give Myself Away”.  Some of the lyrics are, “Here I am, here I stand. Lord, my life is in your hands, Lord. I'm longing to see Your desires revealed in me. I give myself away.”  The concept of giving something away without a thought for what you can gain in return is contrary to worldly thinking.  We live in a culture that is focused on gaining attention for oneself, making sure our needs are met first and looking out for number one.  Often the first question is, what is in it for me?

 

The Bible tells us that God wants us to give ourselves totally to Him so that He can use us (Romans 12:1).  We are blessed when we realize that we are not our own, but we are God’s property, and we are to use our lives for Him (Psalm 100:3).  The Bible further tells us that if we give ourselves to Him willingly and with obedience, we will be rewarded (Isaiah 1:19). 

 

Having given ourselves to God, He gives us His benefits of peace, joy, prosperity (Psalm 68:19). He promised that we are blessed in whatever we do on the earth (Psalm 1:1, 3) and that we have eternal life in Him (John 3:15).  In His word, God tells us He wants the best for us in our health and that all would go well with us (3 John 2). Therefore, let us joyfully give ourselves totally to God.

 

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.

 

Psalm 100:3

New International Version

3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

 

Isaiah 1:19

New International Version

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

 

Psalm 68:19

New King James Version

19 Blessed be the Lord, Who daily loads us with benefits, The God of our salvation! Selah

 

Psalm 1:1, 3

New International Version

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

 

John 3:15

New International Version

15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

 

3 John 2

New International Version

2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.


 

 

 

 

Monday, April 5, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, April 5, 2021

Winning With Christ

On Resurrection Sunday, all over the world many celebrated Jesus Christ’s emergence from the tomb and his victory over death and the grave.  Just like Christ rose from the dead, the whole world seems to be coming forth albeit, in fits and starts, from the COVID-19 virus. Mary Papenfuss in the April 4, 2021 Huffington Post wrote an article entitled, U.S. Gives A Record 4 Million Vaccinations In 24 Hours. “There’s no doubt the vaccine is going to win out,” vowed Dr. Anthony Fauci.  

 

While we may eventually win against COVID-19 and its variants, we are certainly winning with Christ.  The Bible says that we are His children (Romans 8:17).  He declares that He give us riches and adds no sorrow with them (Proverbs 10:22).  Just like the children of Israel are blessed, we who seek the Lord are also considered Abraham’s descendants and are blessed (Galatians 3:29).  While the vaccine may eventually win, God always causes us to triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14a).  Although this pandemic has taken many Christians, we know through that we have eternal life with Christ (1 John 5:13).  We can confidently declare that whatsoever the righteous do shall prosper (Psalm 1:1, 3).

 

This is a challenging time, and we are in a race to vaccinate as many as will agree to and can be vaccinated while trying to reach herd immunity. But God says to immunize ourselves against the powerful evil spirits of the world, we need His armor and His weapons and most of all Him inside of us.  Let us all make the decision to beat the evil of this world by walking close to the winner overall, Jesus Christ.

Romans 8:17

New International Version

17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

 

Proverbs 10:22
New King James Version

22 The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it.

 

Galatians 3:29

New International Version

29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

 

2 Corinthians 2:14a

New King James Version

14a Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ,….

 

1 John 5:13

New International Version

13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

 

Psalm 1:1, 3

New International Version

1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,

3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, March 30, 2021

Let Us Speak God’s Word 

On Palm Sunday worldwide, many celebrate Jesus Christ coming into Jerusalem as the Savior and King. Over two thousand years ago,  people shouted, “Blessed is He that comes in the Name of the Lord (John 12:12-13).” Jesus was not fooled because He knew men’s hearts (John 2:25). On the next weekend, they were shouting that He should be crucified.  If one relies on mankind you will be disappointed, but we can rely on God who will never change (Numbers 23:19).

 

As children of God, we no longer have to love one day and hate the next or be honest one day and dishonest the same day.  If we daily commit ourselves to follow Him it will show up as consistency in our lives. We don’t have to worry that this is too hard for us to do because the Bible says as He is so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).

 

The world is looking at the body of Christ.  Can we be examples of righteousness, consistency, holiness, and speaking the truth?  Can we be trusted to speak God’s word only? God wants us to speak words and live those words that demonstrate the fruit of the Holy Spirit such as love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23).

 

We can choose to be like those who praised Jesus one day and then wanted to kill him the next or, we can decide to follow Him completely and speak His truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).  Let us feast on His word and hide that word in our hearts (Psalm 119:11 because whatever is in our heart will come forth in our words (Luke 6:45).  Let us speak God’s word.

 

John 12:12-13

New International Version

12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. 
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,

“Hosanna!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Blessed is the king of Israel!”

 

John 2:25

New International Version

25 He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.

 

Numbers 23:19

New International Version

19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

 

1 John 4:17

New King James Version

17 Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world.

 

Galatians 5:22, 23

New International Version

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

 

Ephesians 4:15

New International Version

15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.

 

Psalm 119:11

New International Version

11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

 

Luke 6:45

New International Version

45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of


 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, March 23, 2021

Let Us Defeat Any Jericho In Our Lives.

The song, “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho,” according to Wikipedia is believed to have been composed by slaves in the first half of the 19th century.  Some of the lyrics are, “Joshua fit the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho. Joshua fit the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down.”  This song celebrates the story of a battle fought by Joshua and the Children of Israel on one side and the city of Jericho on the other side (Joshua 6:20, 21).  Today we are called to fight in the Lord’s Army. 

 

The New National Baptist Hymnal is the source for the hymn, “I’m in the Lord’s Army.”  Some of those lyrics are, “ I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery. I may never zoom o'er the enemy, but I'm in the Lord's army.” Many of us have discovered that we are in a pitched battle for our lives.  We are facing our Jericho because we are in God’s army and our enemy looks to be just as implacable as that ancient city.

 

Poverty, pandemics, violence, crime, mental anguish, personal enemies, sickness and disease may be your Jericho.  However, God explains that no weapon of the enemy will prosper against us (Isaiah 54:17).  We have mighty weapons to pull down all strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4). As a soldier for the Lord, we have been given the command to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10, 11).  It may not seem like we are going to win.  The Jericho challenges seem to be like whack-a-moles, but we have to remember that God said if He is for us, He is more than the whole world against us (Romans 8:31).

 

Joshua successfully fought the battle of Jericho. Because he obeyed God, Jericho’s protection collapsed, and they were quickly defeated.  We have to know that the devil goes about like a roaring lion trying to destroy us, but we have to remember that he is not a lion (1 Peter 5:8).  We may not seem to be victorious in everything that we do but God has the final say. We serve the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords and He always causes us to triumph (2 Corinthians 2:14).  Let us fight our Jericho challenges, confidently, continuously, and completely knowing that God is on our side and will never leave us (Joshua 1:5).

 

Joshua 6:20, 21

New International Version

20 When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. 

21 They devoted the city to the Lord and destroyed with the sword every living thing in it—men and women, young and old, cattle, sheep and donkeys.

 

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.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4

New International Version

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

 

Ephesians 6:10, 11

New International Version

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes

 

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 Peter 5:8

New International Version

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 

2 Corinthians 2:14

New King James Version

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

 

Joshua 1:5

New International Version

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, March 16, 2021

Let Us Believe God’s Word About Us

What does God’s word say about us and how we should think of ourselves?  While the world system says that we may not meet their constantly changing standards, the Bible says that God chose us and that we are accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:4-6).  God says that He made us in His own image (Genesis 1:26).  

 

We should not have to twist ourselves into someone to please others who want to manipulate our thoughts and feelings for their benefit.  The Bible says that we are the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13) and that we are blessed when we come in and when we go out (Deuteronomy 28:6).  While the world system may have little regard for us, God says that we are so valuable that He even knows the number of hairs on our head (Luke 12:7). 

 

God does not want us to feel hopeless but know that in Him we have a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11). He wants us to be in health and prosper (3 John 2). He wants everyone to live eternally with Him and does not want any to perish (2 Peter 3:9).

 

Since God declares that we have His mind (1 Corinthians 2:16), let us decide that we will think what God thinks about us. We are the very righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). Let us read, study, meditate and believe what God said about us in His word and to think and feel what God’s word says about us.

 

Ephesians 1:4-6

King James Version

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

 

Genesis 1:26

New International Version

26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

 

Deuteronomy 28:13

New International Version

13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

 

Deuteronomy 28:6

New International Version

6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.

 

Luke 12:7

New International Version

7 Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

 

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

 

3 John 2

New King James Version

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

 

2 Peter 3:9

New International Version

9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.


1 Corinthians 2:16

New King James Version

16 For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

 

2 Corinthians 5:21

New International Version

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

 


 

 

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, March 10, 2021

Have You Committed A Crime Today?

It is rare to watch the news, read headlines or even watch a new movie without mention of some act of violence or even murder. The media and entertainment venues often glorify violence, and our newspapers seem to choose their headlines with the idea that, “If it bleeds, it leads.” The TV Tropes website indicated, “A basic fact in the news media is that, if a story involves a brutal death or injury of some kind (or the likelihood of it), it is likely to get higher ratings.”

 

We live in a time where it is easy to have angry feelings against the government, an opposing political part, our family or friends.  We live in a culture that encourages us to put ourselves first and look out for number one.  But the Bible says we are to love our enemies and pray for those that hurt us (Matthew 5:44).  We do not have to yield to our fleshly desires because God will give us a way to escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).

 

Let us decide to think thoughts that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely and of a good report (Philippians 4:8).  Despite what people may have done to us, we ought to put our minds upon eternal heavenly things rather than on temporary earthly challenges (Colossians 3:1-2).  It may be difficult, but the Bible says that we can do this with God’s strength (Philippians 4:13). Let us endeavor to live peacefully with all.

 

Matthew 5:44

New International Version

44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

 

1 Corinthians 10:13

New International Version

13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.

 

Philippians 4:8

King James Version

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

 

Colossians 3:1-2

Amplified Bible

1 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 

2 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].

 

Philippians 4:13

New International Version

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

 


 

 

 

Friday, March 5, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, March 5, 2021

Let God’s Love Prevail

In this world system where lies are put forth as truth, cruelty is seen as a good option, and selfishness is seen as virtuous, we should let love dominate. In 1976, Richard Smallwood, the American gospel artist, wrote the classic, “I Love The Lord.”  Some of the lyrics are, I love the Lord, he heard my cry and pitied every groan. Long as I live and troubles rise, I hasten to his throne. For those who watched the movie, “The Preacher’s Wife,” Whitney Houston’s emotional rendition of this song can bring tears to our  eyes.  

 

His greatest command is to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37-38).  It is wonderful to know that God hears our cries, and we can run to Him in our need (Psalm 34:15).  He did not ask us to sacrifice an animal, climb a mountain to seek a holy man, harm our body or to become a beggar after giving away all of our possessions.  Just love Him.  The Bible says love covers a lot of sins (1 Peter 4:8).  In the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13, love is described as the greatest of faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13).

 

We can dwell on the terrible things that surround us, the horror that we read about and the personal torment that may permeate our individual lives.  But God wants us to take first things first and to love Him and seek Him and He promises to supply our every need (1 John 5:14-15).  It may not be every wish that pops into our minds, but He will take care of the important needs in our lives because He loves us, cares for us and watches over us.  Love comes from God (1 John 4:7).  Let us allow God’s love to prevail.

 

Matthew 22:37-38

New International Version

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.

 

Psalm 34:15

New International Version

15 The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are attentive to their cry;

 

1 Peter 4:8

Amplified Bible

8 Above all, have fervent and unfailing love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins [it overlooks unkindness and unselfishly seeks the best for others].

 

1 Corinthians 13:13

New International Version

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

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.

1 John 4:7

New International Version

7 Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.