Monday, February 29, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, February 29, 2016

God Can Even Protect Us From Zika Mosquitoes

What makes you terrified?  What makes you want to go hide under the bed until the monsters go away?   As if we did not have enough problems with global warming, the spread of nuclear weapons, terrorists, a challenging economy, and general mayhem in the land, now we have the Zika virus spread by mosquitoes.  While there may be only a relatively few species of the hundreds of mosquitoes that attack humans, those tiny flying animals may be a harbinger of death, severe birth defects and mental illness.

The level of alarm is extremely high,” said the head of the World Health Organization on Thursday, describing the spread of Zika virus around the world. As well it should be: The disease, which seems likely to be causing birth defects, could affect millions of people in several dozen countries. And the virus may be on its way into the U.S. As of Friday morning, no fewer than five New York residents have been diagnosed as Zika positive.

Thank God He is in control of our destiny.  He knows what He thinks about us, which is to accomplish everything that concerns His children (Psalm 138:8).  He wants to do the work while letting us simply be willing and obedient to Him and we will get life’s benefits (Isaiah 1:19).  Therefore, God says that we have to choose not to let our hearts be troubled by anything (John 14:1).  We do not have to fear anything because it will not even come near us (Isaiah 54:14). Of course, this does not mean Christians can be careless and travel to the Caribbean without mosquito repellent, but they should not live in fear and instead should walk in God’s wisdom. But, even if we leave this earth, He has a special place for us with Him forever (John 14:2,3).

We can rejoice in His protection and safety. In spite of what the news media says, let us come out from under our beds without fear and know that our God is in control. 

Psalm 138:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 The Lord will accomplish that which concerns me; Your [unwavering] lovingkindness, O Lord, endures forever--Do not abandon the works of Your own hands.

Isaiah 1:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

John 14:1-3
New International Version (NIV)
1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.
2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

Isaiah 54:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, February 22, 2016

Pray For Those Who Have Hurt Us

The pain of losing a spouse is very great.  Chris Woolston wrote in HealthDay, “As noted by the National Mental Health Association, surviving husbands or wives lose more than a beloved partner -- they lose a way of life.”  On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams, died from a car crash that killed her and the woman that crashed into her.  Yet Monty Williams said that he held no ill will toward the lady.  “Let us not forget that there were two people in this situation, and that family needs prayers as well.”

Thank God that He has blessed Mr. Williams to accept the scripture concerning those who have hurt him.  We are to love our enemies, be good to those who hate us, pray for those who despitefully use and persecute us (Matthew 5:44).  He went on to say that he knew his wife was in heaven. We can follow his example because our God gives us the strength (Philippians 4:13) not to hate but to love, not to be hopeless but to be hopeful, not to give into despair but to know that if God is for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31).

Let us remember Mr. William’s attitude and know, in spite of the pain of any loss in our lives, that all things are working together for our good for those who love God (Romans 8:28).  He gives us the strength to carry on.

Matthew 5:44
King James Version (KJV)
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

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

Romans 8:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:28
New International Version (NIV)
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, February 15, 2016

Thank God, He Never Changes!

Heraclitus of Ephesus, born in 535 BC, was a Greek philosopher, who wrote, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”  If that were true, it would be a confusing time for everyone.  Sadly, that is true.  One cannot truly depend upon friends, family, or even oneself.  You may remind a person what they promised last year and they may reply, “Then is then, now is now.”

Religions, doctrines, people and philosophies change.  Recently scientists found that even space and time, from Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity…”are interwoven and dynamic, able to stretch, shrink and jiggle.” But God never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  His words, His laws, and His rules that He pronounced ages ago are still good today and will be good tomorrow (Psalm 119:89-91).

What does that mean for us?  It means that we can have total confidence that He will do for us whatever He has promised even though years may pass by (Numbers 23:19).  He is not wishy-washy or a procrastinator.  His reply to us concerning what He has promised to us is “Yes” and “Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:19-20).   Let us rejoice knowing that we have a sure, constant and consistent God that will always keep His promises (Isaiah 55:11).

Hebrews 13:8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever.

Psalm 119:89-91
New International Version (NIV)
89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens.
90 Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.
91 Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you.

Numbers 23:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

2 Corinthians 1:19-20
New International Version (NIV)
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us—by me and Silas and Timothy—was not “Yes” and “No,” but in him it has always been “Yes.”
20 For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

Isaiah 55:11
New International Version (NIV
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, February 8, 2016

Gratitude Is A Wonderful Thing!

Hilary Hinton "Zig" Ziglar, the great author, salesman, and motivational speaker said, “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.  Ungrateful and unthankful people can sometimes drain the joy from being around them. Grateful and thankful people are just more fun to be around.  They appreciate the good things in their lives, put the bad things in their lives in proper perspective, and praise and thank God in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

The Bible says that since we are His children, we can go to Him with thankfulness and praise (Psalm 100:3, 4).  It is good to go to God not just for things or for more blessings or to fix bad situations, but we can go to Him with gratitude for what He has already done, is doing, and will do in our lives. God does not want us to worry about anything.  He wants us to simply come to Him with all of our wants and needs and know that He will hear, help, and comfort us (Philippians 4:6).

This week, let us remember that God wants us to be grateful for all that He has done, and for all that others have done for you.  Let us be grateful!

1 Thessalonians 5:18
New International Version (NIV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 100:3, 4
New International Version (NIV)
3 Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.

Philippians 4:6
New International Version (NIV)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, February 1, 2016

God Has Made This Day For Us To Rejoice!

Every Sunday at our church, Sanctuary Gospel Center Church in Ypsilanti, someone will stand up and say, “This is the day that the Lord has made.  I will rejoice because He has made me glad (Psalm 118:24)!”  This shout of praise always gives us a feeling of victory, of success, and joy in Jesus. When we consider this glorious voice of triumph over everything that life has thrown at us, we can remember that God has created everything, including us, very good (Genesis 1:27, 31). 

It should thrill you to know that God deliberately designed everything that He made. We can also know that He has already given us every spiritual blessing that we can use in this life (Ephesians 1:3). He has given us access to His kingdom (Matthew 16:19). Moreover, since He gave His Son for us, isn’t it reasonable to think He would give us everything else (Romans 8:32)?

There are challenges in life, sickness, death, fear, man’s inhumanity to man, and anxiety over the future, but let us for this moment cast all of our concerns, worries, and cares upon God (1 Peter 5:7).  He can handle our little problems because He is a big God.  This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Psalm 118:24
New International Version (NIV)
24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

Genesis 1:27, 31
New International Version (NIV)
27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

Ephesians 1:3
New International Version (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

Matthew 16:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

Romans 8:32
New International Version (NIV)
32 “He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

1 Peter 5:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.