Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, June 22, 2022

Let’s Choose God’s Way

 

John Lubbock was an English banker, Liberal politician, philanthropist, scientist, and polymath. He wrote“What we see depends mainly on what we look for.”  To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  It is difficult for a hammer to see anything from the perspective of a drill, or a hacksaw, or sandpaper.  When we think of the political upheavals worldwide between well-meaning people who think their viewpoint is correct and that their opponents need to be terminated, we need to turn to the Bible and see what God says.

No matter how one believes, there is a correct way. Many ways seem right but they end in death (Proverbs 14:12).  God wants our ways to please Him.  He says that He will be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our life’s path (Psalm 119:105).  But He promises that if we choose the correct way that He will make our enemies peaceful with us (Proverbs 16:7). If we choose His way, He says it will also bring life to us and our children (Deuteronomy 30:19).

People of good will are having a hard time accepting or even understanding their political opponents.  It is hard when the arguments on all sides seem to make sense.  There is one’s own way, the world’s way, and God’s way. Ask God for wisdom so that you may choose God’s way (James 1:5).  He promises that He has a good plan for our future (Jeremiah 29:11). All things will work together for the good of those who love the Lord and who are called according to His promise (Romans 8:28).  Let us choose God’s way today.

Proverbs 14:12
New International Version

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

 

Psalm 119:105

New International Version

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

 

Proverbs 16:7

New International Version

When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them.

 

Deuteronomy 30:19

New International Version

19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, June 17, 2022

Committed Or Merely Involved


There is a classic story of commitment involving farm animals. “A pig and a hen sharing the same barnyard heard about a church’s program to feed the hungry. The pig and the hen discussed how they could help. The hen said, “I’ve got it! We’ll provide bacon and eggs for the church to feed the hungry.” The pig thought about the suggestion and said, “There’s only thing wrong with your bacon and eggs idea. For you, it only requires a contribution, but from me, it will mean total commitment!”

How committed are we to the things of God? He loved us so much that He gave His only Son (John 3:16).  Are we only interested in involving ourselves with God when we are desperate and cornered with no way out or are we totally committed to Him?   Are we praising and worshipping God when things are going well with us or can we passionately praise Him when the judge rules against us, when the doctor just shakes his head, or when the banker tells us has been denied?

The Bible tells us that true worship means that we are to give our bodies totally to God (Romans 12:1).  We commit ourselves to allowing Him to set our priorities, plans, and purposes.  We cannot be people who love the Lord on Sundays but give the rest of the week to things that have no eternal importance.  If we have vacillating allegiances, we should expect nothing from God (James 1:6-8). Only what we do for Christ will last. When the last hymn has been sung, the last praise has been rung, and the last prayers have been prayed, we want to say that it was all for the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  

Yolanda Adams sings, “Is Your All On the Altar?”   Some of the lyrics are “Is your all on the altar of sacrifice? Is it laid? Your heart does the Spirit control? Now, you can only, you can only be blessed and have peace and sweet rest after you have yielded unto the Lord your body and your soul.”  Let us give ourselves totally to Him and receive His peace and sweet rest. 

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.

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.

 

James 1:6-8

New International Version

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 
That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 
Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.



 

 

 

 

 

Monday, June 6, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, June 6, 2022

Let’s Praise The Lord!

Russ Taff wrote the song, “Praise the Lord.”  Some of the lyrics are, “When you're up against a struggle, that shatters all your dreams and your hopes have been cruelly crushed by Satan's manifested schemes and you feel the urge within you to submit to earthly fear, don't let the faith you're standing in seem to disappear. Praise the Lord, He will work through those who praise Him.”

 

The 23rd Psalm comforts us during the trials and challenges of life.  The author writes, “The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing” (Psalm 23:1).  If we appreciate that powerful scripture, it establishes who God is, who we are, and what He does in our life.  We can therefore thank Him, praise Him, and adore Him for who He is.  

 

When we look at the Creator of the universe and when we remember what He has brought us through, protected us from, and directed us to, we can look to Him who began our faith and increased it (Hebrews 12:2).  If there is confusion in our minds, illness in our bodies, lack in our income, or challenges in our relationships, we can still look unto the One who can do anything but fail (Luke 18:27, Ephesians 3:20-21).  

 

Some may still declare that their situation is unique and bleak or they have done so many bad things that they have no hope.  But the Bible asks a powerful question. “Is there anything too hard for God?” (Jeremiah 32:27).  The sustainer of the universe, keeper of heaven and earth, and the One who holds the past, present, and future in His hands has got your back  He has you.  Let us just praise, appreciate, and love Him who loves us thoroughly, completely, and eternally.

 

Psalm 23:1

Common English Bible

1 The Lord is my shepherd. I lack nothing.

 

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.

 

Luke 18:27

New International Version

27 Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

 

Ephesians 3:20-21

New International Version

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 

21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

 

Jeremiah 32:27

New International Version

27 “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 23, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 23, 2022

What Does God Want For Me?


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”

 

That classic passage by Marianne Williamson in her book, Return to Love, is a powerful argument against preventing our dreams from turning into reality. God created us in His image (Genesis 1:27) and during creation he called everything that He had made good (Genesis 1:31). He declares that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).  He has given us everything that relates to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). He says that we are the head and not the tail, above and not beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).  Since God gave us His only Son, Jesus Christ, would he not freely give us all things (Romans 8:32)?

 

Some of us have convinced ourselves that we should not be prosperous although Christ impoverished Himself so that we could be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).  Others have convinced us that we should not expect to be healed because everybody does not get healed. This is not to glorify worldly success according to the world’s standards but for the children of God to turn to Him and turn from defeatism to victory, from poverty to prosperity, and from despair to hope in the true and living God.  We may be challenged or anxious in our current circumstances, but God wants us to know that we are to be successful in all that we do. 

 

Genesis 1:27

New International Version

27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

 

Genesis 1:31

New International Version

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

 

Psalm 139:14

New International Version

14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

 

2 Peter 1:3

New International Version

3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

 

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.

 

Romans 8:32 

New International Version

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things.

 

2 Corinthians 8:9

New International Version

9 For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 18, 2022

God Is Looking For People To Help Others


Nina Golgowski wrote an article in the May 15, 2022, U.S. News entitled, “Security Guard 'Went Down Fighting' While Taking On Buffalo Mass Shooter.” The article went on to say that instead of taking cover, “He went towards the gunfire, he went towards the fight."  No doubt he saved lives.

 

The former police officer put his life on the line to save others.  The Bible says that there is no greater love for others than to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:13). But this officer did something greater.  He laid down his life for strangers. This is a hard task.  Are we willing to lay aside our creature comforts, our pleasure, or even our morning coffee so that others can benefit? 

 

The Bible says that God is looking for someone to change their lives and protect their country (Ezekiel 22:30). Hopefully we are not a nation of citizens solely focused on ourselves.  There are people among us who are more concerned about others' welfare rather than their own, others’ lives more than their own, or others' benefit more than their own. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors just like we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).  Let us be lovers indeed rather than simply lovers in words. Are there any more Aaron Salter Jrs in the house?

 

John 15:13

New International Version

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

 

Ezekiel 22:30

Easy-to-Read Version

30 “I asked the people to change their lives and protect their country. I asked people to fix the walls. I wanted them to stand by those holes in the wall and fight to protect their city. But no one came to help!

 

Mark 12:31 

New International Version

31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”


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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 11, 2022

God is Everything

What gets you up in the morning and activates you to start your day?  Is it your resources, your employment, your friends and relatives, or your own experiences?  Those things will eventually pass away.  But there is something that can lead you to jump up and be ready for the new day.  It is that God is in charge! We can happily proclaim that this is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!

 

The evil one wants our attitudes to be tied to people, places, and things.  When these go south, our attitudes should also go south.  But God wants us to know that despite everything else, He is the same, yesterday day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He wants us to know that He is present and helping us when we are in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  

 

God wants us to focus on Him who began and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  He wants us to base our lives on things which are eternal and everlasting and not on most things that are temporary.

 

Edward Mote, 1797-1874 wrote a song entitled, 

 

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

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.

         

Even the rich and powerful, the mighty institutions, the wealthy nations all have their beginnings and eventual endings.  Let us keep our focus on the One that helps us to do anything (Philippians 4:13) and who holds our past, present and future in His hands. He loves us, wants the best for us and desires that we come to a glorious place with Him (Jeremiah 29:11). Let us know that our God is our source for everything that we will ever need.

         

Psalm 118:24

New International Version

24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad

 

Hebrews 13:8

New International Version

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

Psalm 46:1 
New International Version

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

 

Hebrews 12:2

New International Version

2 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.

 

Philippians 4:13

New International Version

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

 

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 2, 2022

I Will Be Glad When….


Many times, we will say, “I will be glad when…” my ship comes in, when I win the lottery, when I am released from confinement, when I get married, when my spouse changes this or that, when I get divorced or when I graduate.” We base our joy, peace and happiness on circumstances that will always change. 

 

However, the Bible says we should be content in whatever state in which we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11).  Contentment has been defined as “independent of external circumstances.” Godliness, with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).  

 

No matter what comes or goes, we should decide every day that “This is the day the Lord has made” and in response, we will rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24).  This does not mean that we do not protest and struggle against trouble and challenges in the world, but we are content while we struggle.

 

We may never reach our milestones, but we can ask God for His strength to reach His.  If we seek His righteousness, all other THINGS will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).  We can be content when we know that God is pleased with our lives. 

 

Philippians 4:11

New International Version

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

 

1 Timothy 6:6
New International Version

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 

Psalm 118:24

New King James Version

24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

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.