Monday, July 25, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, July 25, 2016

We Can Trust God For His Protection

In March 2014, the world was transfixed on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 traveling from Malaysia to China, which had gone missing, and later pieces of the plane were found. Disturbingly, an article in the New York magazine, July 22, 2016 was entitled, “MH370 Pilot Flew a Suicide Route on His Home Simulator Closely Matching Final Flight inferring that the pilot himself had deliberately crashed the plane. Furthermore, an article in Aviation Service Magazine in December 2013 reported that since the mid-1970s, air-crash investigations discovered eight others in which intentional actions by a pilot or co-pilot to bring down an aircraft were either confirmed or suspected.

Although flying is the safest kind of transportation, Karen Clarke Sheard most accurately sings, “The safest place in the whole wide world is in the will of God.”  What is the will of God for your life?  Where does He want you to be and what does He want you to do? God wants us to stay in, settle ourselves in and live under His protection (Psalm 91:1, 3).  While terrorists of all stripes and all types of grievances are planning new and different type of terror inducing activities, we have to remember that God promises to cover us (Psalm 91:4).  He reminds us in the Bible that we are not to put trust in human beings (Psalm 118:8).

We must put our total trust in the One that can truly deliver, protect, and guide us during our lives. While, some may rely on their good luck charms, their own resources or other people to protect them in this increasingly uncertain world, those who love the Lord will make a far better choice.  They will totally rely on the One that is the source of everything (Psalm 20:7). Let us confidently trust God for our protection today.

Psalm 91:1, 3, 4
New International Version (NIV)
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
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.

Psalm 118:8
New International Version (NIV)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 20:7
New International Version (NIV)
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, July 18, 2016

It Is Time For Choosing God’s Wisdom

Our Congress has slipped to 11% approval ratings. The leading candidates for President have historically high unfavorable ratings, which would have cast them aside in the past. However, they are actually winning with the voting population. Alexander Mancel wrote, “Facts don’t matter when it comes to politics according to a new scientific study.” Is it possible that God is giving us the leaders that we wanted, but not what He wanted?  What happens when we have righteous leaders?  The Bible says the people rejoice (Proverbs 29:2). 

In the Bible, the children of Israel wanted to be like every other nation and have an earthly king that they could see.  But they had been chosen by God to bring forth Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15). It was not enough for them to recognize God and His laws.  They wanted a king to lead them like all of the other nations.  God told His prophet Samuel that they were not rejecting him but they were rejecting the source of everything, God Himself (1 Chronicles 29:14, 1 Samuel 8:5-7).

Thank God for our political process, but I believe that God wants those who love the Lord to really pray that God would give us leaders who are concerned about God’s commandments and would lead us with knowledge and understanding (Jeremiah 3:15). If there ever was a time to pray for those in authority and that God would influence the heart of our leaders and give them His wisdom, I believe that time is now.

We desperately need God’s wisdom about choosing our leaders.  He said He would give it to us generously and would not blame us or rebuke us for asking Him (James 1:5).  Let us not forget to pray for God’s wisdom for leaders during this crucial time.

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.

1 Timothy 6:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

1 Chronicles 29:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 … Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand.

1 Samuel 8:5-7
New International Version (NIV)
They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord.
And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.

Jeremiah 3:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

James 1:5
Amplified Bible (AMP)
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, July 11, 2016

Who Is On the Lord’s Side?

In the New York Times, July 9, 2016, Jack Healy and Nikole Hannah-Jones wrote, people in interviews across the country … felt mired in bloodshed and blame, and … it was fracturing along racial and ideological lines into angry camps of liberals against conservatives, Black Lives Matter against Blue Lives Matter, protesters against the police. Whose side were you on? Which victims did you mourn?”

African American men were killed while being videotaped and police officers were slain during a peaceful protest.  All sides are declaring they have the moral high ground and that any opposing views are wrong.  Major differences have come into sharp relief. Those who love the Lord may find themselves in an emotional upheaval.  Who is wrong, who is right and what should we do next?

In the Bible, the children of Israel had just left Egypt after 400 years of slavery and decided to ignore God who had delivered them and they built a Golden Calf to worship.  When Moses who had been receiving the word from God came down from the mountain (Exodus 32:15, 16), he found them naked and partying.  He asked the simple question, Who is on the Lord's side?” (Exodus 32:25, 26).

Our nation is wringing their hands and asking why and seeking a quick fix to our intractable problems.  People feel they are justified in doing what is right in their own eyes.  However, we must ask ourselves who is on God’s side?  Who is seeking the face of God in these trying times?  Our answer is not in endless panel discussions, self-serving negotiations, or new laws and regulations.

In the midst of this chaos, I believe God is reminding us that the solution is in Him.  If we would humble ourselves and pray and stop our evil ways and seek Him, He would hear from heaven, forgive our sins, and heal our troubled land (2 Chronicles 7:14).  Let us turn to God and receive His divine wisdom.  We tried the rest, now let us try the best.

Exodus 32:15, 16
New International Version (NIV)
15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back.
16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets

Exodus 32:25, 26
King James Version (KJV)
25 And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord's side? let him come unto me. And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him.

2 Chronicles 7:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Pastor's Ponderings, July 5, 2016

Let Us Look For God In The Right Places

Last weekend, we attended Pastor Rod Parsley’s Dominion Camp Meeting 2016 where he spoke in the pulpit for the first time in a year as a recent cancer survivor.  The worship was awesome, the speakers were anointed, and the setting was inspiring.  Exhausted after the first evening session, we went to the parking lot and could not find our vehicle.  We looked, we prayed, we talked to other attendees, but still did not find the car. The thought that I was down in Ohio, at night, without transportation, and that someone might have stolen my car briefly ran across my mind.

One of those who were also looking for their car suddenly mentioned that there are four doors to the church and they all looked alike.  I had spent all of my time at the wrong door.  When I got to the right door, I saw my car just where I had left it. 

How many of us can relate to the lyrics by Johnny Lee, “I was lookin' for love in all the wrong places?”  God made man with an inward desire to seek Him (Acts 17:26-28).  But many of us will seek what we need from God in the wrong places, in the wrong people, in the wrong things, or in the wrong way. 

God promises us that those who seek Him will find Him (Proverbs 8:17).  But there is a caveat.  We cannot hope to find Him when we are half heartedly looking for Him, looking for Him whenever we get the occasional urge, or whenever circumstances force us to look for Him as a last resort. He wants us to look for Him with our whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). 

What are you searching for today?  How badly do you want to find it? Let us decide that we are going to earnestly seek God for His direction, His wisdom, His blessings, and His benefits through prayer and thanks to Him (Philippians 4:6).  We will get Him and His assistance when we look for Him in the right places.

Acts 17:26-28
New International Version (NIV)
26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.
27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 
28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being….

Proverbs 8:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.

Jeremiah 29:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

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.