Sunday, January 24, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, January 25, 2016

Don’t Forget To Pray For Our Leaders

This fall, the United States of America will choose leaders who are currently struggling to convince the electorate that they are the person that must be designated political leader of the moment.  They imply that if they are not chosen, the country will suffer.  Candidates will spend billions of dollars using very skilled advertisers who will try to persuade us to make the right choice, which, of course, is their candidate.

This would all be rather confusing and depressing if we did not know that if God does not elevate the leader, he or she would be useless (Psalm 127:1).  We have heard various candidates pronounce they will definitely solve our problems, answer our questions, and increase our prosperity.  But the Bible says in spite of their boasts and idle promises, promotion to higher office only comes from God (Psalm 75:4-7).

As we feel God is leading, we should learn about the issues, make telephone calls, canvas door to door, write, or speak out in support of policies and politicians. But, most of all, in this political season, let those of us who love God resolve to pray for those in authority and that when they make decisions, they allow God’s direction to be more important than rich and powerful donors, pundits, voters, or influence-peddlers.  When we do this, we can live peaceful lives in Him (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Psalm 127:1
New International Version (NIV)
Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.

Psalm 75:4-7
New International Version (NIV)
To the arrogant I say, ‘Boast no more,’ and to the wicked, ‘Do not lift up your horns.
5 Do not lift your horns against heaven; do not speak so defiantly.’”
6 No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.
7 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

1 Timothy 2:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—
for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God our Savior,

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, January 19, 2016

Saying What God Says About Me

What are you speaking out loud about your life?  What is the story that you are writing about your life that is determining what is or what is not and what shall be and what shall not be in your life? God wants us to say what He says about us and not what other people say about us. He wants to use our tongues to speak His story into our lives (Psalm 45:1). The dictionary defines decrees as an official order issued by a legal authority. Elizabeth A. Nixon wrote in Charisma Magazine, “…decrees are a tool by which we cause the truths of the heavenly realm to be manifest into the natural realm so they become our daily reality.” 

We have to understand our tongues have the power of death and life in our lives (Proverbs 18:21).  Our tongue must be submitted to God because that power can be used for good or evil. No person has the total power to control it (James 3:5, 7, 8).

Let us be quick to hear, but slow to speak so that we will not speak rashly (James 1:19). Our tongues, sometimes used cleverly, casually, or carelessly can say some things that we wish we had never spoken.  But the right word at the right time can change everything in a situation (Proverbs 25:11).

Since we will have to eventually give an account of every word that we say (Matthew 12:36), let us read and study His word and then only speak what God would lead us to say so that we can encourage His blessings in our lives and in those around us.

Psalm 45:1
New International Version (NIV)
My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer

Proverbs 18:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

James 3:5, 7, 8
New International Version (NIV)
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

James 1:19
Amplified Bible (AMP)
19 Understand this, my beloved brothers and sisters. Let everyone be quick to hear [be a careful, thoughtful listener], slow to speak [a speaker of carefully chosen words and], slow to anger [patient, reflective, forgiving];

Proverbs 25:11
Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time

Matthew 12:36
Amplified Bible (AMP)
36 But I tell you, on the day of judgment people will have to give an accounting for every careless or useless word they speak.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, January 11, 2016

God’s Destiny For You is Blessed

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.   That quote from Mark Antony in the play, “Julius Caesar” written by William Shakespeare is a fascinating commentary on life.  It implies that the good things that people do are quickly forgotten but people will remember all of the bad things they did.  It is true that there are always consequences when people do evil and, sadly, one’s evil can run unabated in families, neighborhoods, and even countries.  But, thank God, this is not the case with the Godly.  Although those who oppose God will have terrible consequences, God will continually bless the generations of those who love Him (Exodus 20:6, Deuteronomy 7:9).   

In my own history, my great grandmother was a preacher, my grandmother played the piano in church and my two grandfathers and my father were preachers.  Further, my mother was a missionary and prayed for her children and their children.  My wife’s mother prayed on the back porch of their house in Georgia for her children and her unborn grandchildren and great grandchildren.  I get great satisfaction when I think about all of those prayers of our ancestors. They never saw our blessings in the natural but may have seen them in the spirit.  Naturally, we have prayed for our children and we see how our children and grandchildren are blessed but know that someone prayed for them.

We may not see all of the blessings that God has for our loved ones but our obedience to God will bless others.  So, don’t be upset when things don’t quite work out right now because God will work out everything in His time for those whose hope is in Him (Lamentations 3:25-26). We will get His goodness if we do not give up (Galatians 6:8, 9).

Exodus 20:6
New International Version (NIV)
but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments

Deuteronomy 7:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments.

Lamentations 3:25-26
New International Version (NIV)
25 The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him to the one who seeks him;
26 it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord

Galatians 6:8, 9
New International Version (NIV)
Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, January 4, 2016

Desperate Times Call For Jesus

The expression, “Desperate times calls for desperate measures,” was believed to come from Hippocrates, who wrote: “For extreme diseases, extreme methods of cure, as to restriction, are most suitable.”  It is sad that many times when we face hopeless situations, we think that we must do something that is equally hopeless in the belief that perhaps we may win.  This is a trick of the evil one to convince us that all hope is lost and we might as well abandon ship since our future may be totally bleak.

In the Bible, Job’s wife said something similar when faced with the loss of her children, her wealth, and her husband’s health.  She said that Job might as well curse God and then die (Job 2:9-10).  Her despairing words might be used in any of today’s catastrophes.  Yet, Job understood even before the scripture was written by King Solomon that death and life are in the power of the tongue and he refused to use his mouth in rebellion against God (Proverbs 18:21).

Desperate times call for us to cry out to the true and living God.  He is able to keep us from falling into any terrible thing and make us without any faults (Jude 24-25).  We don’t look to the challenges of our problems, we focus on the power of our God.

In 2016, let us resolve that our desperate times are an excellent opportunity to praise God, to magnify Him, to let faith work in our lives, and to know that whatever is going on, we are not desperate, we are accepted as the beloved of God (Ephesians 1:6).

Job 2:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!”
10 He replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.

Proverbs 18:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.

Jude 24-25
New International Version (NIV)
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 
25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Ephesians 1:6
King James Version (KJV)
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.