Monday, March 31, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, March 31, 2014


The dictionary defines integrity as, "adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty." Moral is defined as, "of, pertaining to, or concerned with the principles or rules of right conduct or the distinction between right and wrong."  We are used to seeing instances where people choose to do the wrong thing to benefit themselves. When we see examples of people exhibiting integrity it is overwhelmingly refreshing.

We are entering into tax season where all taxpayers are expected to pay a set allotment of their income.  There are several opportunities within a single tax file to behave dishonestly and potentially save paying additional taxes or ensure a larger return. In your life, when you get a chance to do the right thing, do you choose integrity or do you choose to do whatever you can get away with?

In the Bible in the book of Acts, a man and wife voluntarily decided to sell some land and give it to the early church. Unfortunately they held back a part of the sale price and lied to the church leaders indicating they had given all of it. In those days, there was an awful consequence for lying in church and they both fell dead (Acts 5:1-11).

Thank God there are usually no immediate consequences for not acting with integrity today but let us resolve that no matter who is not acting rightly we will strive to do what is right and not what is simply convenient.

Please comment below and share how you decided to act with integrity in spite of the temptation to do wrong for short-term gain.  It may help someone who is contemplating wrongdoing.

Acts 5:1-5

New International Version (NIV)
1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property.

2 With his wife's full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles' feet.
3 Then Peter said, "Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4 Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God."
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, March 24, 2014


Our world is on the brink of war.  The ominous signs of gathering battle clouds are hovering above us and those of us who have seen this before are preparing for all too familiar events.  Whether it is a rebirth of a cold war between super powers or the use of destructive weapons, this is nothing new. Our history is full of small and great provocations leading to catastrophic destructions of mankind. 

As Christians, we have the responsibility of being a light in a dark world (Matthew 5:13, 14).  We have to bring clarity to a confusing cacophony of conflicting commentary. We must share the mind of Christ when dealing with our angry and frightened friends and neighbors.  Why us?  It is because we are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13, 14). 

What does that mean? We can be calm in the midst of provocations, angry denunciations, and fearful proclamations because we are not afraid of missiles, or other weapons of mass destruction.  A thousand can fall by our side and ten thousands at our right hand but it will not come near to us (Psalm 91:3-7)

As events unfold in the coming weeks, let us represent Christ and speak God’s words in these situations.

Please comment below and share how you allowed God to use you to share His calming word with others. Your comments may bless others to follow your example.

Matthew 5:13, 14
New International Version (NIV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.

Psalm 91:3-7
New International Version (NIV)
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, March 17, 2014

What makes you angry?

I am not talking about mildly annoyed, a bit irritated, or somewhat disturbed.  I am talking about screaming, jumping up and down, throwing fragile objects about and terrifying your neighbors.

What really makes you angry? Is it the massive killings by those who justify themselves as good religious people? Is it the “clean upstanding citizens” by day that financially support human sex trafficking by night? Is it the repeated event of a young person killed because they appeared threatening but were unarmed? Or is it someone close to you who lied, cheated or abused you?

Throughout history anger has led to some horrible events and monumental successes. In the Bible, Cain got angry and ended up murdering his brother Abel (Genesis 4:5, 8). In the US, a generation was angry and started the Civil Rights Movement. What mattered was not that they were angry, but the actions they took once they became angry. Scripture says to be angry but not to sin and to not let the sun go down on your wrath (Ephesians 4:26).

As Christians, we should be angry about sin, not compromise with it, and not go along with it. It is time to get angry about injustice, racism, bullying, and anything that is contrary to God’s word. God says that He is angry with the wicked every day (Psalm 7:11). Jesus was not indifferent to injustice; He called the religious leaders whitewashed tombs (Matthew 23:27) and beat the temple money changers out of His Father's House (Matthew 21:12, 13).

As often as you experience these feelings of anger, we must realize that there is a constant spiritual battle going on that we cannot see (Ephesians 6:12). Let us focus our anger on the devil whose main job is to steal, kill and destroy (John 10:10). Let us put on our spiritual fighting gear, God’s armor, so that we can stand firm against the strategies of the devil (Ephesians 6:11). Let us pray for those who use and abuse us (Luke 6:28). When we are faced with egregious sin, let us not act on our own, but seek God who will lead us and direct us in how we should proceed (Proverbs 3:6).

Please comment below and share how you have been angry against that which God is angry. Your comments may bless others to follow your example.

Genesis 4:5, 8
New International Version (NIV)
5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.

8 Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” While they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.

Ephesians 4:26
New International Version (NIV)
“In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry

Psalm 7:11
King James Version (KJV)
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

Matthew 23:27
New International Version (NIV)
27“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean.

Matthew 21:12, 13
New International Version (NIV)
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.
 “It is written,” he said to them,“‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’

Ephesians 6:11-12
New International Version (NIV)
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

John 10:10
New Living Translation (NLT)
10 The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, March 10, 2014

Passionately in Love
On February 25, 2004, Ash Wednesday, Mel Gibson released the box office hit, “The Passion of the Christ” which recounts the last twelve hours of Jesus Christ before He died on the Cross.  The dictionary defines passion as “any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling, as love or hate.”  As I think back on this movie, I think about the compelling emotion that Jesus Christ felt when He went to the cross.  In most of the movie versions I have seen, the actor portraying Jesus did not seem particularly happy to go to the cross. Because of what awaited him when he fulfilled his purpose, the Bible says Jesus was filled with joy on the way to the cross (Hebrews 12:2 NLT).
In Psalm 27, King David was passionate about God.  In spite of all of his many accomplishments and of all that he could have asked from God, he only wanted one thing. He wanted the privilege of staying in the house of the Lord, looking at the beauty of God and seeking Him (Psalm 27:4)
What are you passionately in love with today?  Is it your job, your family, your future, your resources or are you passionate in love with God?  Are you delighting in the Lord (Psalm 37:4)? When the scribes asked Jesus about the most important commandment, Jesus said there is no greater commandment than loving God and loving people (Mark 12:29-31).
Please comment below and share how you have been passionately in love with God. Your comments may bless others to follow your example.

Hebrews 12:2
New Living Translation (NLT)
2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne
Psalm 27:4
New International Version (NIV)
4 One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Mark 12:29-31
New International Version (NIV)
29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 
30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’
31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Monday, March 3, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, March 3, 2014

I began this blog last August thanking God for my victory over prostate cancer.  It has been over two years since I was anesthetized and the cancer successfully removed.  Well, once again, I am undergoing another surgery and this time it is for kidney stones.  It is easy to say outpatient surgery.  It makes one feel a lot better but the truth is that I will again have a general anesthetic and be totally unconscious.
I will have to trust the doctor, this nice stranger, whom I just met a few months ago.  I will have to believe that he will do everything in his power to eliminate my problem.  But thank God, I do not have to put my trust in him alone; I have the privilege to totally trust God who is in charge of my doctor.  I do not have to rely on my own understanding of the operation (Proverbs 3:5).
In Psalm 56, David was fleeing from King Saul and sought refuge among the Philistines (Psalm 56:10, 11). He must have been desperate because you may recall that David had killed the champion of the Philistines, Goliath.  Needless to say, David was not welcomed with open arms but he trusted in God (1 Samuel 21:10-12). 
Today you may be involved with problems and you do not know whom to trust.  Let me recommend my friend, my Saviour, and the One in whom I have trusted for most of my life, Jesus Christ.  If you have trust issues, He can solve them.  If you have been betrayed, be assured that He is for you (Psalm 56:9). If you feel you are alone, He will never leave you nor will He forsake you (Hebrews 13:5). 
Please comment below and share how you trusted God in your life.  Your comments may bless others to follow your example.
Proverbs 3:5
New International Version (NIV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

Psalm 56:10, 11
New International Version (NIV)
10 In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?

Psalm 56:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.

Hebrews 13:5
5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.