Monday, April 28, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, April 28, 2014

Looks Can Be Deceiving

“It is better to look good than to feel good,” said Billy Crystal's Saturday Night Live character. Are we more concerned about how we appear to be rather than how we really are inside? 

Recently I was somewhat distracted in my car and almost hit a pedestrian.  He was visibly upset and slapped my car.  I apologized but when I drove away, I thought about another response I could have made.  I could have jumped out of my car and started a scene. But immediately the thought came to me that someone on that busy street might have called out to me and said, “Hello, Pastor Fair,” right in the middle of the confrontation.  The thought that made me repent later was, “Was I more concerned about how I looked than how I was?” 

The prophet Samuel was sent to anoint King David and focused on the external looks of the candidates but God spoke to him and said that He looks on people’s hearts (1 Samuel 16:7).  Jesus followed up in the New Testament and said some people are like beautiful gravestones but house dead men’s bones (Matthew 23:27).

We do not want to just look like people of God.  We want to be people of God on the inside and outside. Let us strive to make sure that we are representing Christ on the outside and allow Him to create something beautiful on the inside (Psalms 51:10). Since God lives within, He can help us deny ourselves and fight our flesh (Galatians 2:20, 1 John 4:4).

Please comment below and tell how you decided to let Christ live through you so that the Christ inside was evident in your actions outside. It may help someone who is struggling with his or her walk with Him.

1 Samuel 16:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

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.

Psalm 51:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Galatians 2:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

1 John 4:4
New International Version (NIV)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, April 21, 2014

Thank God For Our Heritage!

Recently I attended a sermon by Dr. Bill Winston who preached an inspiring message.  One of his points was about the heritage of those that love God.  I had been very familiar with the scripture that God owns the universe and everything in it (Psalm 24:1).  However, Dr. Winston reminded the listeners that God has already given the earth to mankind (Psalm 115:16).  It is ours; we do not have to make a deal to get what we deserve.

Stories you may hear about people successfully bargaining with the devil for a desired item or outcome are lies.  He does not have it to give.  He simply has a world system that he unsuccessfully tried to sell to Jesus (Luke 4:5-8). 

We have been given something unimaginably greater.  It is God’s pleasure to give the saints His kingdom (Luke 12:32).  Since we are heirs and joint heirs with Christ Jesus (Romans 8:17), we do not have to make side deals with the devil to get prosperity, fame, or fortune.

Today when you feel that you have been defeated in life, remember that God has given you the earth and His kingdom.  We have been everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  We do not have to worship the devil to get temporary goodies, we have blessings now and in the world to come because we simply cannot be defeated by the devil, his lies, or his activities (Isaiah 54:17).  We have a great heritage in Christ.

Please comment below and tell how you decided to appreciate your heritage with Christ. It may help someone who needs to know what they have in Christ.

Psalm 24:1
New International Version (NIV)
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;

Psalm 115:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind.

Luke 4:5-8
New International Version (NIV)
5 The devil led him up to a high place and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world.
6 And he said to him, “I will give you all their authority and splendor; it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to.
7 If you worship me, it will all be yours.”
8 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.’

Luke 12:32
King James Version (KJV)
32 Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom

Isaiah 54:17
New International Version (NIV)
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, April 14, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, April 14, 2014

Living Lives Before the Lord

A couple of years ago, I attended a lecture by Dr. Don Colbert, M.D., who spoke about God’s plans for living.  He said God had two plans; Plan A and Plan B.  Plan A is living your life for 120 years or longer; Moses and Abraham had Plan A (Deuteronomy 34:7), (Genesis 25:7).  There is also Plan B; this plan is for a lifespan of seventy or eighty years (Psalm 90:10).  Most people focus on the second plan.  But whatever the length of our lives, short or long, …yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow, 
for they quickly pass, and we fly away (Psalm 90:10).

How then should we live our lives?  Should we be totally consumed with our daily obstacles, our money, our relationships, and our possessions?  The Bible says the pagan or the ungodly folks are consumed with seeking after these things but God knows what we need and promised to supply all of our need (Philippians 4:19).

Nevertheless, He simply wants us to have the right priorities (Matthew 6:32-34) and to have the correct perspective about the things of the world (1 Corinthians 7:31). David was the king over Israel but he decided that he would rather be a simple doorkeeper for God than live a life among the wicked (Psalm 84:10).

This week when life seems overwhelming and when you feel you don’t have a moment to hear yourself think, pause and think about God.  Make Him your priority and everything else will fall into place.

Please comment below and tell how you decided to live your life before the Lord. It may help someone who needs to have the right priorities in their life.

Philippians 4:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:32-34
New International Version (NIV)
32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

1 Corinthians 7:31
Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 And those who deal with this world [overusing the enjoyments of this life] as though they were not absorbed by it and as if they had no dealings with it. For the outward form of this world (the present world order) is passing away.

Psalm 84:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 Better is one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, April 7, 2014

Let not your heart be troubled

Since the middle of the sixties, when my brothers and I were leaving our childhood home and going away to college, we always knew that in spite of everything going on in our lives, we could always return home if needed.  We were all devastated when my mother passed away the same year when the Twin Towers were attacked. But we could still go home anytime and see our father. There was food, warmth, security, and the comfort of reliving the memories of our youth. 

That security blanket vanished when our father passed.  Sadly, we can truly never go back home.  But thank God, He has prepared a home for us that we never have to leave.  We can stay surrounded in His love knowing that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5) because we can dwell in His shelter (Psalm 91:1) and are seated in heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6).

When Jesus was comforting his disciples because of His soon departure He told them that He was preparing a place for them (John 14:1-3).  No worries, no bills, no hatred, no problems; just a continued eternal relationship with Him.  Today let us remember that we do not have to worry about our temporary problems; we have an eternal home in heaven with Christ Jesus.

Please comment below and tell how you decided not to let your heart be troubled because of your place with Him.  It may help someone who is being troubled.

Hebrews 13:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Psalm 91:1
New International Version (NIV)
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Ephesians 2:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

John 14:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
1 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.