Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, June 19, 2024

Celebrating Fathers

On Sunday, June 16, 2024, we celebrated Father’s Day.  This is a great day for those of us who are biological fathers or for those who are fathers for others.  A father expresses his love sacrificially, completely and without concern for their own protection or safety.


But we are blessed to have the true Father in heaven who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son for us (John 3:16).  Despite our disregarding Him, denigrating Him and disobeying Him, He still loves us and wants the best for us.  He even wants us to sit with Him in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).


Jesus taught us how to pray to our Father saying, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.” (Matthew 6:9). This Father is our Shepherd, (Psalm 23:1), our Healer (Psalm 30:2), help in trouble (Psalm 46:1), and our hope in a weary land.  Unlike our earthly fathers, God the Father supplies all our needs (Philippians 4:19).


As fathers, we should value our role, our responsibility, and our ongoing relationship with those who have been placed in our life.  For those fathers have passed, let us treasure their memories and share the value and importance of fathers with others. God is our perfect example.  Let us emulate God who is the greatest Father.

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.


Ephesians 2:6

New International Version

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


Matthew 6:9

New International Version

“This, then, is how you should pray:

“‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,


Psalm 23:1

New International Version

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing


Psalm 30:2

New International Version

Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me.


Psalm 46:1

New International Version

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


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




Monday, June 10, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, June 10, 2024

Hope Springs Eternal

Hope Springs Eternal is a phrase from the Alexander Pope poem An Essay on Man. It means that some people will keep on hoping no matter the odds.  What are you hoping for in 2024?  Something fanciful with no chance of success or something that God wants to do in your life? 


The Bible declares that our faith is the substance of things that are hoped for (Hebrews 11:1).  When someone loses hope, they decide that there is no more reason to go on.  Their future is bleak, their outlook is dark, and their possibilities are non-existent.  Moreover, when hope is gone, we can tell each other that God hears us, will help us and that knowing that God will never leave nor forsake us, we can continue to go forth hopefully.  We are to put our hope in Jesus.  We are to set our concerns, focus and affections on things above us in the heavenlies (Colossians 3:2) where the Bible tells us that we are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6). 


We don’t have to put all our hope in the things of the world which will soon pass away.  Our hope is in the Lord who will renew our strength in a hopeless world (Isaiah 40:31). We will be able to accomplish great things according to God’s strength.   In the Bible, Micah gives us a reason to hope. He says that I can wait upon God because He will hear us (Micah 7:7).  


Let us encourage one and another who may be down and cannot see out a way out of their situation.  We can tell each other that God hears us, will help us and that knowing that God will never leave nor forsake us, we can continue to go forth hopefully 


Hebrews 11:1

New King James Version

11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. 


Colossians 3:2

New International Version

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


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,


Isaiah 40:31

New International Version

31 but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.


Micah 7:7

New International Version

7 But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.




Monday, June 3, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, June 3, 2024

A New Beginning


On Tuesday, May 27, 2014, I heard from my doctor’s office that once again that there was no evidence of prostate cancer in my body.  God has truly blessed!  He has given me more time to work His works and to allow His purpose, plans, and priorities to direct my life. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).


Now it is truly time for reflection, repositioning, and restarting the first days of the rest of my life (Ecclesiastes 12:13). This is important because if we never make that decision to reevaluate our walk, we may continue in worthless and useless endeavors that may give us a sense of a false sense of fulfillment (Proverbs 16:25, Psalms 146:4). 


King David knew what was important.  After he sinned with Bathsheba, he really wanted to get close to God.  He understood that although man might approve of his actions, God was not pleased, and he wanted more than anything to restore a right relationship with God (Psalm 51:9-11).


This week, let us reevaluate our relationship with God and ask Him to blot out anything, great or small, which separates us from Him.  Let us allow Him to be most important in our life.

(On Father’s Day, June 16, 2024, my family and I plan to celebrate prostate cancer survivorship in the annual Run For the Ribbon 5k at the Detroit Zoo. Please click on the attached link and consider joining us or donating to this worthy cause.



Ecclesiastes 12:13

New International Version (NIV)

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.


Proverbs 16:25

New International Version (NIV)

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


Psalm 146:4

New International Version (NIV)

4 When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing.


Psalm 51:9-11

New International Version (NIV)

Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

11 Do not cast me from your presenceor take your Holy Spirit from me.




Sunday, May 19, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, May 19, 2024

Let Us Give Our Neighbors A Hand

In the book of Genesis, Cain replied to God’s question about his brother Abel’s whereabouts.  The Bible says, “Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9). This unfortunate exchange reverberates down through the centuries.  “Am I responsible for my brother’s troubles?  Should I concern myself with his problems when I am doing well?”  


We live in a world that is transactional in nature.  

“Only if you help me will I help you.  What have you done for me lately?  If you have done nothing for me, why should I be concerned about you?” Clearly, we should help others.  It may be at home or abroad, but we have an obligation to be helpful to others.  If one sees his brother in need and shuts up his compassion, how can God’s love be in him (1 John 3:16-18)?  


The Bible tells us to do to others like we want them to do to us (Matthew 7:12).  The Bible tells us that those who love the Lord are known because of how well they treat each other (John 13:35).  We must ask ourselves, “What would Jesus do,” when he saw the sick, the outcast, and the helpless.  Would he focus on his own personal concerns, or would he be like the good Samaritan who helped a person attacked by robbers after two others had walked on by.  When Jesus asked a follower who was the victim’s neighbor, “The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise”(Luke 10:36, 37).


Let us go and do likewise.  Let us pray, write letters, petition the government, march, demonstrate or do whatever the Lord leads you to do.  Perhaps we will find ourselves in dire straits and need a helping hand, but regret not helping others when we could have. We want to be able to say that I did what I could, when I could, where I could, and how I could.  Let us give our neighbor a hand.


Genesis 4:9

New International Version

Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?” “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?


1 John 3:16-18

New International Version

16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. 
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.


Matthew 7:12

New International Version

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.


John 13:35

New International Version

35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”


Luke 10:36, 37
New International Version

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”



Thursday, May 9, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, May 9, 2024

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”

Last weekend, our grandson, Ethan Clay, graduated from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The family was there to wish him and his fellow graduates well while they contemplated their future. At the graduation ceremony, Dr. Pamela Whitten, the first female president of the university announced that the oldest graduate was 77 and the youngest was 18.  This was a wonderful occasion that demonstrated that the students had not let gender, age, or anything stop them from beginning to reach their goals.


That great occasion reminds me of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” One of the lines are, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...” 


As believers, we want walk in confidence towards our goals as the Bible tells us that God will steer us in the right direction. His Word will tell us which way to go (Isaiah 30:21). He said that He was pleased to give us the proper motivation (Philippians 2:13). When we are confused, discouraged, or disheartened, He promises that He will light our feet and our pathway in life (Psalm 119:105). It is good to know that although we have brains in our head, we can be excited about what God has planned because no one has seen the good things that God will give to those who love Him (1 Corinthians 2:9).


This world is full of possibilities, crammed with opportunities, with multiple open doors leading to many shining paths (Proverbs 4:18). Those shining paths are God’s direction for happiness, fulfillment, and His purpose for us.  We are not on our own, but we have a conductor that will lead us evermore. Oh, the places you will go!


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.”


Philippians 2:13

New International Version

13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.


Psalm 119:105
New International Version

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


1 Corinthians 2:9

New International Version

9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—


Proverbs 4:18

New International Version

18 The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.

Friday, May 3, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, May 3, 2024

God Makes Great Choices


Have you ever felt that you missed your great opportunity in life?  When the doors to your future opened wide, you may have felt that you were taking a nap and you only woke up to see them closing permanently.  What was even worse for you was that you could see someone else skipping merrily along their shining path to their glorious future. 


Well, today is the today that you can feel happy, content, and joyful.  The Bible says that it is God’s pleasure and will to adopt those who love Him to be His children (Ephesians 1:5). Since we have become His children, we are then joint heirs with Jesus and we get good things from Him (Romans 8:17). It does not matter what we seemed to have missed out on in life, God has gotten something better for us and that is to have His purpose work in our lives (Isaiah 46:10).  God wants us to know that our life is blessed even though it may not seem like it. It does not matter about lost opportunities or closed doors. God has promised that His kingdom belongs to us (Matthew 16:19, Luke 12:32)! 


Today, we don’t have to place our hope in our relationships, careers, savings, or even personalities to guarantee that good things will happen for us.  Although it may seem that we have taken the wrong fork in the road, chosen the wrong career, or made the wrong decision, we have to remember that God is in control. We can make good decisions because He is still directing our path (Psalm 37:23). Because we love Him, everything is working together for our good (Romans 8:28).  So, relax, be happy, contented, and joyful.  God makes great choices!


Ephesians 1:5

New International Version 

he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—


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.


Isaiah 46:10

New International Version 

10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’


Matthew 16:19

New International Version 

19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”


Luke 12:32

New International Version 

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


Psalm 37:23

New Living Translation 

23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.


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.

Saturday, April 27, 2024

Pastor's Ponderings, April 27, 2024

Hallelujah Anyhow!


Today could be a day to look on the dark side of life and see all the challenges that life is bringing us.  Or we can say what the Bible says, which is, “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24).  Since we are what we focus on, talk about, and think about, it behooves us to think the thoughts that God wants for us (Philippians 4:8).  We should focus on letting His mind be in us (Philippians 2:5) and we should speak those things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). 


In the book of Genesis, when the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep, He noticed that the earth was “formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep  (Genesis 1:1, 2).  He could have looked at it and decided that there was no hope.  He could have decided that it all was a waste of time, the devil was running around wreaking havoc, and people were going to do terrible things anyway. 


But the first thing that He did was to say, “Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3).  As He is so, we in this world (1 John 4:17).  When we see that our challenges are great, there seems to be no way out and problems seem insurmountable, we can shine the light of God on every situation.  We can declare that this is God’s Day and despite what comes or goes, who comes or goes, we are going to rejoice.  There is a classic song, “Hallelujah Anyhow” which has the lyrics, “Hallelujah anyhow, never let your troubles get you down. When trials come your way, hold your head high and say, Hallelujah anyhow.”


We will not let the evil one get the victory by trying to get us to focus on that which is, but we will look to God to tell us what can be.  If we are not going to praise God during trials and tribulations, those watching us will not either.  Today, let us think, declare, and say, “Hallelujah anyhow!”


Psalm 118:24

New King James Version

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


Philippians 4:8

New International Version

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things


Philippians 2:5

New King James Version

5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,


Romans 4:17

New International Version

17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.


Genesis 1:1, 2

New International Version
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.


Genesis 1:3

New International Version 
And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light


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.