Monday, November 23, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 23, 2020

Not Our Way But God’s Way

“In the Reunion" is the tenth episode of the second season of Angel, a TV series, originally broadcast December 19, 2000. In a climactic scene, when vampires are about to kill many trapped humans, their supervisor turns to Angel for help. 
Holland: "Angel... please... people are going to die." 
Angel: "And yet, somehow, I just can't seem to care."

 Jessica Sutherland, in the November 14th Daily Kos, wrote an article entitled,  ‘I would do it again’: Missouri mom defends hosting superspreader homecoming dance for 200 students. The article then stated, “The school where those sweaty slow dancers attend—Rolla High School—announced Wednesday that at least 10 students and one staffer had tested positive for the virus though not all of those cases can be traced to the sickening shindig.”

In the November 14, 2020 USA TODAY, Joel Shannon wrote an article entitled, “The Dakotas are 'as bad as it gets anywhere in the world' for COVID-19”, he wrote that a nurse, Jodi Doering, a South Dakota nurse said she recalled numerous patients whose dying words echoed the same theme: "This can't be happening. It's not real."  She said that they do not accept they have the virus and will often lash out in anger and grasp at other explanations, suggesting they have the flu or even lung cancer.

I just can't seem to care, I would do it again, it can’t be happening, and it is not real.  This attitude that it is my way or nothing at all seems to prevail in the world.  It does not matter what experts say, it does not matter what good sense requires, it does not matter what tradition demands, the world wants to do it their way.  The Bible says there is a way that seems right to man, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12).  

 

When we are confused about what to believe or what to do, Jesus states that He is the way, the truth and the light (John 14:6).  He will give us knowledge about what we should do; we should simply ask Him (James 1:5). Jesus says that He comes to the world to give us an abundant life while the thief wants us to pursue our own will which leads to ultimate death (John 10:10).  

 

Jesus wants us to enjoy eternal life with Him rather than put our will and desires first.  He tells us to seek Him first and He will give all things to us (Matthew 6:33). Especially during this tumultuous period, let us seek God’s way and He will handle the things that concern us (Psalm 138:8).

Proverbs 14:12

New International Version

12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.

 

2 Corinthians 4:4

New International Version

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

 

2 Timothy 2:25-26

New International Version
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 

26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

 

John 14:6

New International Version

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

 

James 1:5

New International Version

5 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.

 

John 10:10

New International Version

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.

 

Matthew 6:33

New International Version

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

 

Psalm 37:1, 2

New International Version

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

 

Psalm 37:25

New International Version

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.

 

Psalm 138:8

New King James Version

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

 


 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

God Wants To Bless You Right Now

Dear Friends:

Dear Friends, Four years ago, we posted this blog.  Given the challenges of today and the necessity of obeying God right now, it is important that we remember this message.

God bless you real good 

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God Wants To Bless You Right Now

In William Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar”, the character Brutus declares, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224.  In other words now is the time for action. We must not wait until we feel better, the stars get aligned or until the cows come home.  

Our God is a right now God.   He says that right now is the time of His favor and His salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).  We cannot procrastinate obeying Him and hope things will work out in the future.  God wants us to hear His voice now and not ignore Him for a more convenient time when we decide to make room for Him (Hebrews 3:15). He wants us to have faith in Him right now and do what He wants us to do while we have the opportunity (John 9:4).  

Perhaps we had faith in the past and perhaps we will have it in the future, but the Bible says that now faith is so important to Him (Hebrews 11:1).  God is an on time God, but when we miss our opportunity to do His will it could be disastrous. The children of Israel found this out when they did not realize when He was visiting them to pardon them (Luke 1:68).  Sadly, Josephus, the historian, writes Jerusalem was laid to the ground by their enemy (Luke 19:44). 

What has God told you to do right now?  Not tomorrow or next week, but what does He want you to do now? He wants to bless us, but He will not operate in our behalf unless we cooperate.  We can ride God’s tide and receive our fortune or we can meander hopelessly having missed our current God-given opportunities.  Thank God for the sweet by and by, but now when He gives us direction, let us obey Him swiftly and we will be blessed. 

2 Corinthians 6:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 3:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

John 9:4
New International Version (NIV)
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work

Hebrews 11:1
New International Version (NIV)
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Luke 1:68
New International Version (NIV)
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.

Luke 19:44
New International Version (NIV)
44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”


Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 10, 2020

Now Is Not The Time To Give Up

Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Karla Adam and Marisa Iati, in the November 6, 2020 Washington Post, wrote an article about new COVID-19 cases topping 128,000 for the last few days. One of the statements in the article was, “There’s been this sense of people giving up,” Michael Fraser, chief executive of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told The Post. “You had state leaders looking at the election and deciding it was not worth taking bold, unpopular moves against the virus that might save lives but hurt your side politically. There’s been state health officials debating whether to continue telling people to do things, because they know many are not going to listen.”

 

Instead of giving up, throwing in the towel and just letting the COVID-19 destroy us, the Bible provides us an example of the ultimate decision to persevere. Jesus endured personal attacks, fatigue and unreliable followers but he still did not lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-3).The forces for evil will attempt to wear out the body of Christ (Daniel 7:25).  But this is not the time to quit but instead to do great things for God (Daniel 11:32).  Evil is behind the power of COVID-19 but the body of Christ must rise up, stand in unity against it (Matthew 18:19), walk in obedience to proper health standards and declare that this plague will be defeated (John 16:23-24).  God tells us that no weapon, and this is a terrible weapon, that is formed against us shall reach its objective (Isaiah 54:17). 

 

Over the next few months many will give up and give out, walk about in despair, engage in personal destructive behavior believing they have limited time, or even say that the disease does not exist.  But the body of Christ has to rise up and declare that God heals, delivers, and sets us free from this or any other plague.  Now is not the time to give up; now is the time to look at Jesus, our Savior, our healer, and our deliverer.

 

Hebrews 12:2-3

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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

Daniel 7:25

King James Version

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.

 

Daniel 11:32

King James Version

32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.


Matthew 18:19

New International Version

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven

 

John 16:23-24

New International Version

23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 
24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, November 2, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 2, 2020

Let Us Pray For God’s Will In This Election

The election on November 3, 2020 promises to be a hard-fought battle until the last vote is counted.  Some will be saddened when there is general agreement on who the winning candidates are, and others will gloat over the outcome.  Sadly, choosing our leaders has degenerated into who has the winning team or who bet on the right horse.

 

However, God takes leadership of countries very seriously.  He controls the heart of the leaders (Proverbs 21:1).  Elevation to these offices does not really come from our collective passions about candidates but promotion comes from God  himself (Psalm 75:6-7).  We must be prayerful about whom we choose for leadership unlike the children of Israel who decided to reject God’s leadership in favor of having a king (1 Samuel 8:6-7).  He gave them what they wanted but when he proved unworthy, God chose David, a man who sought after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  

 

Perhaps we should spend less time thinking about a potential leader’s political party and spend more time in the presence of the Lord asking for His promised wisdom (James 1:5).  Perhaps we should listen for the word of God to come to us as we choose between this one on the left and the other on the right (Isaiah 30:21).  Perhaps we should ask God to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105).  

 

God is available to hear our cry for His direction.  He knows that when righteous people are in authority, the nation thrives (Proverbs 29:2). Therefore, He tells us to seek Him early (Proverbs 8:17).  He will lead, guide, direct our path so that we will put into office not simply the one that looks the best, sounds the best, or plays to our emotions the best.  Let us decide that in this election, we will not let evil, emotions, or errors rule but, let us remember His faithfulness. He said that He would be with us even though we go through dark challenges in the valleys of our life (Psalm 23:4).  Let us pray for God’s candidates to be in charge.

 

Proverbs 21:1

New International Version

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.

 

Psalm 75:6-7

New International Version

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.

It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another

 

1 Samuel 8:6-7
New International Version

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 

7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

 

1 Samuel 13:14

New International Version

14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

 

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.

 

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.

 

Proverbs 29:2

King James Version

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

 

Proverbs 8:17

New International Version

17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

 

Psalm 23:4

New International Version

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, October 27, 2020

God Still Loves Us

In the movie, “The Old Guard,” one of the actors, Andy, sums up her feelings about the whole world.  She replies to another actor, Booker, who asks her what was next in light of the latest indignity that has befallen them.

“Booker: And then what?

Andy: And then nothing. The world can burn for all I care. I’m done.” 

Her group had been exposed, betrayed, and attacked.  In spite of their powers for good, she decides to simply give up, throw in the towel, and watch as the world destroyed itself.

 

Man has had a long history of rebellion against God’s commands, yet God loves us anyway. We should be happy that God did not have the same attitude as Andy when He saw that mankind was headed for destruction. God so loved the world that He gave His only Son for our salvation (John 3:16).  Jesus loved us so much that He went to the cross for us (Hebrews 12:2).   He makes intercession for us in Heaven for our sins (Hebrews 7:25).  For His intercession, He asks us to repent and ask for forgiveness and He says that He will forgive us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

 

Despite terrifying things all around us, we must remember that God says that He is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31).  He does not want any of us to perish but wants all of us to repent and have a relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9). God wants to deliver us from death, hell and destruction. Let us continue to remember, God is not through with us, He loves us and wants to give us his kingdom (Luke 12:32).  Let us rejoice that God has not thrown in the towel and He still loves us.

John 3:16

New International Version

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

 

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.

 

Hebrews 7:25

New International Version

25 Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

 

1 John 1:9

New International Version

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

 

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?

 

2 Peter 3:9

New International Version

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.

 

Luke 12:32

New International Version

32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.


 

 

 

 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, October 20, 2020

God Is Our Leader

Nina Golgowski, in the October 18, 2020 Huffington Post, wrote an article entitled, “Infectious Disease Expert: The ‘Darkest Of The Entire Pandemic’ Has Yet To Come.”  She wrote that Michael Osterholm, an expert at the University of Minnesota, stressed that a lack of public confidence is largely to blame and that “the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the entire pandemic.” Most poignantly he “expressed concern that the U.S. lacks a leading voice to guide the public.”

 

Perhaps a good answer to this concern comes from Ruth C. Jones who wrote a hymn called "The Solid Rock.”  Some of the lyrics are 


In times like these you need a Savior 

In times like these you need an anchor 

Be very sure, be very sure 

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock 

 

This Rock is Jesus, Yes He's the One 

This Rock is Jesus, the only One 

Be very sure, be very sure 

Your anchor holds and grips the Solid Rock

 

Now is the time for those who love the Lord to speak with a clear voice and say that if you need a voice to guide the public, you should look no further.  Our God is a clear guide during these troubled times; He is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path (Psalm 119:105).  God said that if any person lacks wisdom (and we do lack wisdom right now), let him ask Him and He will answer us (James 1:5). God promised to be with us in our time of trouble (Psalm 50:15) so we don’t have to worry about the dearth of leaders.  He has seen many pandemics and promises that He will show us a way of escape (1 Corinthians 10:13).  God simply asks us to love Him and ask Him to guide us.  He said that He would answer us, be with, rescue, protect and deliver us (Psalm 91:14-15). God is our leader and our guide.

 

Psalm 119:105

New International Version

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

 

James 1:5

New International Version

5 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

 

Psalm 50:15

New International Version

15 and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

 

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.

Psalm 91:14-15

New International Version

14 “Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.

15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him

 


 

 

 

  

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, October 13, 2020

Our Setbacks Are Just A Set Up

Donnie Mcclurkin in 1996 wrote a powerful song that is very applicable to our times in 2020.  Some of the lyrics are, “What do you do when you've done all you can, and it seems like it's never enough? And what do you say when your friends turn away and you're all alone, alone? Tell me, what do you give when you've given your all and it seems like you can't make it through?”  He concludes that we should stand. “Well, you just stand when there's nothing left to do, you just stand, watch the Lord see you through. Yes, after you've done all you can you just stand.”

 

When the bills are due, the jobs are scarce and we see that there is no way out for us, we should just stand still and see God work (Exodus 14:13).  When true friends are few and enemies are many, we should just stand for what God says we should do.  We should still be kind, compassionate, and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).  It can be difficult facing the day when all that you see is lack, pain, and suffering.  But we know who holds our days and sees our end from our beginning (Psalm 139:16).

 

Nevertheless, we must have faith to believe that God will accomplish His will in us during our lives (Psalm 138:8).  We can look to Jesus who has begun and will bring our faith in Him to maturity (Hebrews 12:2).  He began His work in us and will bring us to His expected goal (Jeremiah 29:11).  We can be confident that we will see His goodness for us while we live (Psalm 27:13).

 

Exodus 14:13
New International Version

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.

 

Ephesians 4:32

New International Version

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

 

Psalm 139:16

New International Version

16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

 

Psalm 138:8

Amplified Bible

8 The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me; Your [unwavering] lovingkindness, O Lord, endures forever—Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.

 

Hebrews 12:2

Amplified Bible

2 [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], who for the joy [of accomplishing the goal] set before Him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God [revealing His deity, His authority, and the completion of His work].

 

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.

Psalm 27:13

New International Version

13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.