Monday, October 27, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, October 27, 2014

What Is The Christian’s Role in Politics?

On November 4th, many of us will go to the polls and vote for the candidates that we wish to represent us for the next two to four years. Groups are spending millions of dollars and many man-hours to support their candidates and causes. But what is the Christian’s role in this political process?

In the Bible, Jesus explains to His listeners that they have a responsibility to give to God the things He requires but they also must give to the civil leaders the things they required  (Matthew 22:19-21). This order is very important because God is actually the one who has allowed the leaders to be in power (Proverbs 21:1).  Although it may not always seem obvious to us, He has the right to control our elected officials and they are His servants (Romans 13:1, 2, 4-6). 

Our responsibility is to be good citizens of the world and do what is required of us such as obeying the laws, paying our taxes, voting, participating in the political process, and being knowledgeable about the issues.  But the most important thing that those who love the Lord must do is to pray for those in authority, our God-given natural leaders, so that we can live quiet and peaceful lives (1 Timothy 2:1, 2).  

In spite of political differences, let us continually stand together in prayer and pray that those in authority would receive God’s wisdom and direction.  We should intercede against corruption, deceit, and all ungodly temptation. While it is easy to complain about politicians, let’s make sure we are doing our part and pray that they become aware of their roles as servants of God (Proverbs 29:2).

Will you join me in prayer during this election season?

Matthew 22:19-21
New International Version (NIV)
19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius,
20 and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?”
21 “Caesar’s,” they replied.
Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.”

Proverbs 21:1
Amplified Bible (AMP)
21 The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as are the watercourses; He turns it whichever way He wills.

Romans 13:1, 2, 4-6
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God’s appointment.
Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them].
4 For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer.
Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience.
For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service.

1 Timothy 2:1-2
New International Version (NIV)
1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Proverbs 29:2
King James Version (KJV)
When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, October 20, 2014

Who Is Afraid Of the Big Bad Plague?

In 1918, the Spanish flu killed from fifty to 100 million people according to an article from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  In Healthline 2013, an article stated that about 600,000 people in the United States die from heart disease every year. 

Hearing scary health statistics has always provoked terror among many people. A recent article in the New York Times stated, “Across Europe, as in the United States, a virus that, outside Africa, has infected only a handful of people, ... (it) has stirred a wave of alarm that doctors and psychologists say reflects the insecurities of the modern mind far more than any significant danger to public health.” 

Fear of the unknown rather than the actual disease is provoking terror at home and abroad. While it is true that horrible deaths from the Ebola virus have occurred, it is also concerning to see the spread of fear across our country after a few have been infected.

Although we have no idea how this virus will progress both here and abroad we do know that God has prepared us for what lies ahead. The Bible states in various ways that we are not to fear dangerous situations for He will be with us regardless (Joshua 1:9). In the book of Psalms, it states that even though we walk through deadly situations, God will be with us and protect us (Psalm 23:4)

The Bible goes on to say that we are not to be afraid of anything. Even though devastation and destruction surrounds us, we have to keep our focus on the Lord (Psalm 91:3-7).  Even when Job was facing death he stated that his hope was still in God (Job 13:15). The Bible urges us not be afraid or panic because he promises that He is with us (Deuteronomy 31: 6, Isaiah 41:10)

Let's stand together and not fear plagues but place our hope in God.

Joshua 1:9
English Standard Version (ESV)
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Psalm 23:4
New International Version (NIV)
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

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

Job 13:15
New International Version
15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; …

Deuteronomy 31:6
English Standard Version (ESV)
16 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Isaiah 41:10
English Standard Version (ESV)
10 Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, October 13, 2014

What Kind of Foundation Are You Laying?

How would you like to wake up in the morning and find your house fallen away from its foundation? The SFGate newspaper reported in 2007 that a young San Francisco couple bought a house, but as they tried to put in a new foundation, the house buckled with a great crash!

Many structures are built with the idea that they are resting on a good foundation.  But if your foundation is not solid, it can crash.  Edward Mote wrote the lyrics “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”  

In the Bible, Luke explained that people who hear God’s word and obey it are like one who builds a house on solid rock.  He further explained that those who hear but do not obey are similar to one who builds their house on sand. Whatever they have invested will be destroyed (Luke 6:46-49).  We must decide that we are going to build our life on obedience to His commandments rather than deciding to pick and choose what we want to obey and ignoring the commands that we don’t like. Partial obedience is disobedience.

Moreover, in the book of Samuel, the prophet told King Saul that God would rather have someone obey Him than to give Him all of their possessions and still rebel against Him (1 Samuel 15:22, 23). Truly God wants great things for us and wants us to know today that if we are willing and obedient to Him we will get the best that He offers (Isaiah 1:19).  Let us decide that we want the best from God and we will build our life, our hopes, and our dreams on a solid foundation, obedience to Him.

Please comment below about what a solid foundation in God means to you.

Luke 6:46-49
New International Version (NIV)
46 “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? 
47 As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like.
48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
49 But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”

1 Samuel 15:22, 23
New International Version (NIV)
22 But Samuel replied: “Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry….

Isaiah 1:19
New International Version

If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, October 6, 2014

No Pain, No Gain

“No pain, no gain” is a motto that came into prominence in the 1980s from the actress Jane Fonda, a famous aerobics video instructor. It is a motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this conception one is required to endure pain and pressure to achieve excellence. However according to, it has even more ancient roots from the 1500s from John Ray, an English naturalist, who wrote, “Without pains, no gains.”

In the Bible, Paul described the athletes who disciplined themselves to get temporary crowns (1 Corinthians 9:24-25). People will put themselves through great agony and pain to gain the world’s admiration, respect, and rewards.  They have decided it is very important to painfully strive for the passing prizes of glory. But what good is it to finally attain the world’s good things and lose one’s eternal soul (Mark 8:36)?

Instead of painfully striving to reach the world’s goals, let us rather remember that we are simply to live for Christ and when we leave this earth, we get the true and lasting gain, eternal life (Philippians 1:21). Paul also said that anything that he formerly considered as gains in this world were losses so that he might live for Christ (Philippians 3:7).

We must decide that contentment with God is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6). When people are stressing out about their fight for position, power, status, and resources, remember that your decision to live for Christ will endure forever.  This does not mean that you won’t have to work hard to reach your goals, but that your primary objective is to serve God and keep His commandments (Ecclesiastes 12:13).  You can rest assured that we will live in Him throughout eternity when painfully gotten worldly gains have passed away.

Please comment below with your thoughts, suggestions, or concerns. Also, you can share with others how you learned to put living for Christ ahead of painfully striving to gain worldly goals. You can encourage others to do the same.

1 Corinthians 9:24-25
New International Version (NIV)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.

Mark 8:36
New International Version (NIV)
36 What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Philippians 1:21
Amplified (AMP)
21 For me to live is Christ [His life in me], and to die is gain [the gain of the glory of eternity].

Philippians 3:7
New International Version (NIV)
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.

1 Timothy 6:6
Amplified Bible (AMP)
6 [And it is, indeed, a source of immense profit, for] godliness accompanied with contentment (that contentment which is a sense of inward sufficiency) is great and abundant gain.

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.