Monday, January 26, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, January 26, 2015

Let Us Make The Right Choice For God

Allison Vesterfelt wrote an article on Fox News called, Find Yourself: 5 ways to let go and embrace life.”  He had some interesting suggestions but as for himself, “… I would quit my job and spend the next year traveling across the country to do what I had always wanted to do—write a book.” 

Mankind has always sought to find meaning in life.  We have tried meditation, religion, philosophy, commercial activities, the arts, music and other avenues to attain a higher level of understanding.  Unfortunately, many have also used promiscuity, crime, alcohol or drugs to give their lives significance. But the Bible makes it clear that although many will try various paths to make sense of their lives, few will find the correct path to life with God. Most will choose ways that will lead to death without Him (Matthew 7:13-14, Proverbs 16:25).

We can have peace in knowing that the Bible gives a simple formula when we are struggling to find meaning in their lives. Our purpose is simple, to fear or respect God and to do what He tells us to do (Ecclesiastes 12:13).

You many be questioning your purpose or around people making bad choices about their lifestyle. I challenge you to bask in the awesomeness of God and commit to faithful adherence of His instructions.

Matthew 7:13-14
New International Version (NIV)
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

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.

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.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, January 19, 2015

Let Us Seek Peace

Atheism Rises, Religiosity Declines In America.  A recent poll “found that the number of Americans who say they are ‘religious’ dropped from 73 percent in 2005 to 60 percent” in 2012 while atheism rose from one to five percent in the same period. Although the world is trending away from religion, recently protesters have slaughtered people because the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo published a controversial picture of the leader of the Muslims.  What can account for these seemingly contradictory trends? 

The evil one is behind both trends. He has a purpose to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10).  He will use anyone with any excuse that he can find to bring about trouble (Proverbs 6:14).  It does not matter whether it is a Pentecostal preacher, a Muslim Imam, a political leader, a well-respected atheist, a business mogul, or an everyday citizen. Today the dispute may be about an offensive cartoon. Another day it may be about someone’s temerity to purchase a house, or walk down a street with the wrong color shirt.  If the devil finds an opportunity for trouble, he will use it to, once again, kill, steal, or destroy.

In the Bible, God states that He hates this behavior such as killing and conspiring to do evil things (Proverbs 6:16-18).  On the contrary, Jesus says that those who maintain peace will be His children and calls them blessed (Matthew 5:9).  He wants us to live a full life in Him (John 10:10).

When people are hurting others in the name of any cause, let us remember that those who are working for peace will be the children of God.

John 10:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Proverbs 6:14
Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 Willful and contrary in his heart, he devises trouble, vexation, and evil continually; he lets loose discord and sows it.

Proverbs 6:16-18
New International Version (NIV)
16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him:
17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil,

Matthew 5:9
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Blessed (enjoying enviable happiness, spiritually prosperous with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, January 12, 2015

Law and Order in the Heavens

“From their first day on Earth they will be able to look up and know that there is law and order in the heavens,” says Hugo Dax a menacing villain in the 1979 James Bond film, Moonraker. Dax was trying to recreate and repopulate the world in his dastardly image and he inspired his followers with his speech. Although this character spoke these words with evil intent, we know that there is order in the heavens and the true and Living God is in control (Psalm 138:8).  He has laid our life out before Him and sees our end all of the way back before our beginning (Psalm 139:16).

It is wonderful to know that God is not shocked or horrified when He sees what a mess we make of things, repeatedly. He is not trying to figure out a contingency plan to put us back on track because He knows for those who love Him, everything is working for our good (Romans 8:28). 

He is not surprised when things happen in our lives that we least
expect and seem completely opposite of what we wanted for our lives. He knows when we are feeling overwhelmed, confused and are close to giving up.  It may not always seem like it, but He has a purpose and plan for each of us and it is good (Jeremiah 29:11)!

We thank God that He, and not some villain, is in charge of the earth, the heavens, and everything in between and we can rest in and have confidence in Him that loves us (1 Corinthians 10:26).

Let us rejoice in our God that has everything under His control.

Psalm 138:8
New Living Translation (NLT)
The Lord will work out his plans for my life— for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

Psalm 139:16
New Living Translation (NLT)
16 You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

Romans 8:28
New Living Translation (NLT)
28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

Jeremiah 29:11
New Living Translation (NLT)
11  For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

1 Corinthians 10:26
New Living Translation (NLT)
26 For "the earth is the LORD's, and everything in it."

Monday, January 5, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, January 5, 2015

We Are Resolute in 2015

In Nigeria, a thirteen-year-old girl says “her father gave her to Boko Haram extremists and that she was arrested after refusing to explode a suicide bomb in Kano, Nigeria's second largest city in the north.” This girl decided that because of seeing people buried alive and in spite of the promises of paradise if she killed herself, she was determined and refused while two of her companions complied and died. 

In the Bible there was another young lady who made a decision with life-threatening implications.  Esther defended the Jews from extermination by going to the king.  She declared, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).  She pushed past her fear and God gave her favor with the King.

It is easy to give up on our vision and our goals when there are major obstacles in our path.  Friends may fail in our moments of need, relatives may turn their backs upon us, employers may downsize us, and our health conditions may cause us to forget our vision.

But I believe that in 2015, we must be resolute or determined to complete the tasks that we have been given.  Perhaps you started a degree program, are struggling in business, working on difficult family relations or any goal or objective this year.  This is not the time to throw in the towel or to say that you cannot do it.  This is the time to say that you can do everything through Christ who gives you the strength (Philippians 4:13).

This year let us be resolute!

Esther 4:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 “Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my attendants will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish.”

Philippians 4:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.