Monday, September 29, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, September 29, 2014

What Shall We Do This Season?

On this past Tuesday, we began our autumn season.  This is always a very special time of the year when we can enjoy the beautiful autumn leaves, apple cider and doughnuts, football games, and cooler days.  For those of us who live in the Midwest, we can begin to think about the coming cold winter snows, heavy overcoats, blustery weather, and the occasional ungraceful fall upon the ice. 

This fall, we can make a choice.  We can enjoy the weather while it lasts and make the best of our autumn season or we can sadly anticipate colds, runny noses, and high winter heating bills.  Instead, I choose to say, “ I will rejoice in this day” (Psalm 118:24).  Concerning the seasons of life, we can choose to be sad about the season of our lives; childhood, adulthood, middle or old age or we can say, “I will rejoice in this day.”

In the book of Ecclesiastes, God says there is a time and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).  He has established it and we simply should enjoy and rejoice in it.  Those who love the Lord know that in spite of the challenges of our seasons, everything is working together for our good (Romans 8:28). 

This season when people are complaining about the times and the seasons, remember to enjoy your time and season, knowing that our Father is in charge and He is in control.  We can relax in Him in all things.

Please comment below and share with others how you learned to seek to relax in God in spite of whatever is going on. You can encourage others to do the same.

Psalm 118:24
King James Version (KJV)
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1
New International Version (NIV)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Romans 8:28
Amplified Bible (AMP)
28 We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, September 22, 2014

What will they say about you?

What will people say about you at your memorial service? How will you have impacted those who live on? We spend our lives trying to provide for our families, accumulate wealth, prepare for sudden disasters, participate in social causes, and attempt to make the world a better place. However, when we become so busy and obsessed with life’s responsibilities we sometimes forget about the difference we are having on people’s lives.  While we all want to be financially comfortable, the Bible says that it is more important to have a good name rather than riches (Proverbs 22:1).

For example, the Lord has blessed me to lose weight and recently a man told me that I had inspired him to lose seventy pounds! This will undoubtedly change the quality of his life and his overall life expectancy.   I had no idea that my behavior was being observed.

The book of Acts describes a story of a lady who was well respected for her good works and when she died, her acquaintances testified to the apostles about how she had greatly impacted their lives.  They did not discuss her riches but instead cried about what she had done for them.  Several people must have died in that city on that day but Peter was used by God to raise her from the dead (Acts 9:36-40).

To be clear, we are not just here to please other people, we are here to do God’s will (Ephesians 6:6, 7).  We should live like Jesus lived, pleasing his Father but also mankind (Luke 2:52). Let us make a decision today to live upstanding lives that please God and man (Matthew 5:16). 

Please comment below and share with others how you learned to seek to please God and mankind. You can encourage others to do the same.

Proverbs 22:1
New International Version (NIV)
22 A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Acts 9:36-40
New International Version (NIV)
36 In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (in Greek her name is Dorcas); she was always doing good and helping the poor. 37 About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room.
38 Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, “Please come at once!”
39 Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.
40 Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.

Ephesians 6:6, 7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Not in the way of eye-service [as if they were watching you] and only to please men, but as servants (slaves) of Christ, doing the will of God heartily and with your whole soul;
7 Rendering service readily with goodwill, as to the Lord and not to men,

Luke 2:52
New International Version (NIV)
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Matthew 5:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, September 15, 2014

What are you thinking about?

What are the thoughts that occupy your mind?  Are you thinking wonderful, positive, and upright thoughts or are you allowing others to dictate who you are and what you can do and the relationships that you can have.  Many times we will allow negative thinkers to enter our mind to limit our potential, destroy our heritage, and deceive us towards a downward spiral. 

We have a responsibility to filter our minds from stinking thinking (Isaiah 26:3). Not only must we not think the thoughts that distract our focus on the good things that God is doing for us and through us but also He tells us specifically the kinds of thoughts that we are to have.  We are to think pure, lovely, true, honest and just thoughts (Philippians 4:8).  We should do this because He is thinking wonderful thoughts about us (Jeremiah 29:11).

The next time that you get a negative thought about what you can or cannot do, decide to think about the great promises of God, His word, a new idea or a unique way of doing things. Remember that God’s wisdom gives us unique knowledge and brand new ideas so that our future is bright in Him (Proverbs 8:12).

Please comment below and share with others how you learned how to think in a Godly way. You can encourage others to do the same.

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

Philippians 4:8
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Proverbs 8:12
New International Version (NIV)
12 “I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; 
 I possess knowledge and discretion.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, September 8, 2014

Powerful and Effective Prayers

Sometimes it is hard to tear yourself away from the Internet, the television, or the newspapers when you hear the frightening sounds of war and the horrors of battle.  We have a direct pipeline to the litany of man’s inhumanity to man due to the brave men and women who put themselves in harms way to share man’s depravity with the world. If that was not enough, scientists are saying that they have not contained the Ebola virus. If there was ever a time to pray, it is now. 

Thank God that we know that powerful and effective prayers of those who love God truly work (James 5:16).  But there is something that God wants us to know and that is community.  The scriptures say, “among you”.  We are not in this alone.  If one of us is hurting, we can go to our brothers and sisters for prayer and anointed oil (James 5:14).  We even have the privilege of confessing our issues to those who we trust along with prayer for healing of anything (James 5:15).    

It is such a blessing being among those who love the Lord.  Let us remember that we are the body of Christ and we can pray for each other and when we are in agreement, God said that He would answer our prayer (Matthew 18:19). 

This week, remember to pray for those who are in the household of faith and, coming together in unity, we can pray for all of those who have not yet made Jesus their Lord.

Please comment below and share with others how you prayed with other saints and how the Lord answered prayer. You can encourage others to do the same.

James 5:13-17
New International Version (NIV)
13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 18:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, September 2, 2014

It Is Time To Defeat Our Giants

The story of how David defeated Goliath never gets old (1 Samuel 17).  David, who had defeated a bear and a lion while shepherding his father’s sheep, was unimpressed when a nearly ten-foot giant threatened the armies of the Israelites.  Goliath tried to intimidate him with his weapons, but David simply told him that he had the authority of the name of the Lord Almighty who would deliver Goliath into his hands (1 Samuel 17:45-47). 

David’s victory reminds us of the children of Israel confronting the giants in the Promised Land. Caleb confidently spoke that they were more than able to overcome anything in their path (Numbers 13:30).  Both Caleb and David knew that with God anything is possible (Matthew 19:26).  They knew through God that they could defeat every enemy (Luke 10:19).

Today, we must not be ashamed of our own resources, accomplishments, connections, or potential.  We can confidently speak that we can defeat any giant in our way and we can possess the things that God has given us.  Let us speak today that we are victorious in everything, every place, every situation and every relationship. We will defeat our giants.

Please comment below and share with others how you spoke the promise of God, which gave you victory into your life. You can encourage others to do the same.

1 Samuel 17:45-47
New International Version (NIV)
45 David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied.
 46 This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.
47 All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”

Numbers 13:30
New International Version (NIV)
30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.”

Matthew 19:26
New International Version (NIV)
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Luke 10:19
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 Behold! I have given you authority and power to trample upon serpents and scorpions, and [physical and mental strength and ability] over all the power that the enemy [possesses]; and nothing shall in any way harm you.