Monday, June 30, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, June 30, 2014


Recently in Iran, a man named Balal was sentenced to hanging for killing Abdollah Hosseinzadeh.  The victim’s mother, Maryam Hosseinzadeh, forgave the murderer and took the noose off his neck freeing him from his death sentence.   This was an amazing example of forgiveness when she would have been justified if she had simply allowed justice to prevail.

Since the penalty for sin is death (Romans 6:23), when we are disobedient to God we are not really looking for justice, we are looking for forgiveness. We must know that Christ has forgiven us from our past, present, and future sins.  We simply have to ask Him for that forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

Jesus tells the parable about a man who was forgiven for a huge debt that he could not possibly pay.  Sadly, he forgot about the forgiveness that he just received and did not forgive another who owed him a relatively small amount and had him cast into prison.  Because of his ungrateful actions, his original debt was reinstated and his master had him tortured until he could pay that debt (Matthew 18:21-35).

Let us remember to forgive our brothers and our sisters like Christ has forgiven us.  Please commit below and share how you have forgiven others so that you can encourage others to do the same.

Romans 6:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

1 John 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Matthew 18:23, 24, 27-30, 32, 34, 35
New International Version (NIV)
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants.
24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him.
27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.
34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, June 23, 2014


During the 1960′s, many of us wore the peace sign on our clothing symbolizing love, service to humanity, and peace.  Perhaps not as apparent in today’s fashion, efforts to promote peace worldwide with the cessation of war are pervasive.  Although there is no harm in promoting peace in our world, the Bible says that as the world focuses on peace, there will be sudden destruction (1 Thessalonians 5:3).

When Jesus rose from the dead and met with His disciples, the first thing He said and repeated it was, “Peace be with you” (John 20:19, 21). Though at first they were terrified, (Luke 24:37) Jesus wanted them to not to be afraid but to receive His peace.

In a world full of paralyzing fear, constant worry, overwhelming anxiety, health scares, numbing uncertainty, devastating storms, and sudden calamity, Jesus gives us real peace.  The world’s peace is temporary and based on changing circumstances but God’s peace is unchanging.   Therefore we are not to allow ourselves to be agitated, disturbed, fearful, intimidated, cowardly, or unsettled (John 14:27). 

It is up to us to decide that we will not allow whatever is occurring in our world to rob us from the peace of God.  We are to let the peace of God rule us (Colossians 3:15) and we are to keep our minds upon Him who will keep us in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3)

Although the world is focusing on external signs of peace, let us first seek the Peace of God.

Please visit  below and share how you have looked for His peace and encouraged others to do the same.

1 Thessalonians 5:3
New International Version (NIV)
While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

John 20:19-21
New International Version (NIV)
19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 
20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Luke 24:37
King James Version (KJV)
37 But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.

John 14:27
Amplified Bible (AMP)
27 Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Colossians 3:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

Isaiah 26:3
New International Version (NIV)
You will keep in perfect peace
those whose minds are steadfast, 
because they trust in you

Monday, June 16, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, June 16, 2014

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

This was the title of a catchy song by musician Bobby McFerrin over twenty-five years ago. Although this song makes me picture a Caribbean vacation while tuning out the rest of the world, no matter how hard I try, the evil around me thrusts me back into reality. The songwriter may not have known that this catchy phrase was actually a biblical principle.

When we hear of the new fighting in Iraq, the new kidnappings in Africa, and the deliberate assassination of police officers in Las Vegas, we can get discouraged.  Political leaders seem more focused on winning the next election than supporting the people and policies that got them elected. Trusted financial institutions are being charged with illegal actions. The forces for evil and destruction seem to be winning.

King David wrote that we are really not to worry or fret about people who are doing wrong things because soon they will die away (Psalm 37:1, 2).  But what should we do in the meantime when they are wreaking havoc upon the earth?  What positive steps should righteous people take?

David says that we should seek our happiness in God.  He will give us what our heart desires (Psalm 37:4). Instead of allowing our hearts and minds to be consumed in despair with the evil around us, God wants us to look for happiness in Him. He will make our direction clear and positive.  Although we make mistakes, He will sustain us.  Even our children will be blessed and have good things in life (Psalm 37:23-26).

In spite of the evil going on in the world, let us delight, enjoy, focus on the Lord and He will answer our prayers.  Let us encourage ourselves and others not to worry and to seek happiness in God.

Please comment below and share how you have encouraged yourself and others to delight in the Lord.

Psalm 37:1, 2
New International Version (NIV)
Do not fret because of those who are evil
or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.

Psalm 37:4
Good News Translation (GNT)
4 Seek your happiness in the Lord, and he will give you your heart's desire.

Psalm 37:23-26
New International Version (NIV)
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken 
or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely; their children will be a blessing.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, June 9, 2014

What is God’s Role For You?

Over thirty years ago, a well known actor, Eddie Murphy, turned down an ensemble role in a movie that went on to gross almost three hundred million dollars worldwide.  The reason he turned down that ensemble role was that he got the lead role in a movie series that has grossed over seven hundred million dollars and Beverly Hills Cop IV is scheduled to come out in 2016. 

I believe God wants us to play the lead role in the purposes, plans, and procedures that he has established for us long before we were born.  We can choose pretty good and comfortable roles or we can decide that we would rather do what God is calling for us to do rather than what is easy, convenient, or effortless (Acts 5:29).

Moses, who God called to lead his people out of bondage into the Promised Land, had an exalted role as the son of the Pharaoh’s daughter.  He could have ignored his brethren and continued his comfortable existence but he chose to play his role as a leader with God’s chosen people (Exodus 2:11-12, Exodus 4:29-31). 

God was so pleased with Moses’s choice that He valued him more than the other Jews and said He would destroy them and make a new nation from Moses (Exodus 32:9, 10).  However, Moses prayed as an advocate for the people and “…the Lord relented and did not bring on his people the disaster he had threatened” (Exodus 32:14).

The Persian and Median rulers were threatening to kill all of the Jews but God put Esther in a role of queen for her people.  She was called to defend her people (Esther 4:14) and she did with much courage.

I believe that it is important for us to do what God has called for us to do even though it may seem dangerous, uncomfortable, uncertain and unpopular.  Who knows? Your actions and obedience may save others from destruction?

Please visit below and share the role you feel God has made just for you!

Acts 5:29
New International Version (NIV)
29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

Exodus 32:9, 10
New International Version (NIV)
“I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people.
10 Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.”

Esther 4:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, June 2, 2014

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.

For this week’s and prior entries, please comment below and share how you have reevaluated your life with Christ.

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 presence
 or take your Holy Spirit from me.