Sunday, April 23, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, April 24, 2017

What’s The Good News?

When I greet my daughters, I often ask, "What's the good word?" According to, this is a colloquial greeting meaning "Hello, how are you? What good news do you have to share?”  While we may be only interested in the latest tidbit of conversation, novel points of view, or tantalizing discoveries, there is a great word in the Bible for all those who want a fresh perspective on life.

An article in Ligonier Ministries defined the word “gospel.” This word is the English translation of the Greek word euangelion, and it means “good news.” In fact in the Bible, Jesus, in spite of His audiences desire for Him to stay with them, referred to His message as the good news that He had to go forth and preach (Luke 4:42-43).  One of the most important scriptures in the Bible is John 3:16. This scripture announced that knowing the needs of the world and because of His divine love, God gave His only Son to save the world.  It is easy for all of us to receive our freedom and forgiveness from all of our sins, especially since all of us have at one time or another disobeyed or sinned against God (Romans 3:23). 

There is an elegant simplicity to the Good News of Jesus Christ.  All we really have to do is to believe that God raised Jesus from the dead and say it from our heart and we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).  Once we have made that great confession, as an added bonus, God promises to abundantly bless us or give us His divine favor (2 Corinthians 9:8).

All of the revivals, Bible study, sermons, theological treatises, great cathedrals of worship and door-to-door soul winning comes down to the simple Good News.  Now we can happily answer the question should it ever be asked of us, “What is the good word?”  God loved the whole world and gave His Son, Jesus, and we can believe this for our salvation.  This is good news indeed!

Luke 4:42-43
New International Version (NIV)
42 At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place. The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.
43 But he said, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 3:23
New International Version (NIV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 10:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
9 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

2 Corinthians 9:8
New International Version (NIV)
8 And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, April 17, 2017

Our Comfort Is In God

In the June 30, 2012 issue of EndTime Ministries, Irvin Baxter, in the article entitled, 2 Billion to Die in World War 3 --When? wrote,  “In 1914, World War I broke out resulting in the death of 8.2 million human beings! Twenty short years later, the world was plunged into World War II…This time-52 million!” However, according to the article, there is a coming event that the Bible says will dwarf these numbers.  One third of mankind will be killed (Revelation 9:15) which would be over 2.5 billion people. According to Worldometers, the current population of the world in 2017 is 7.5 billion.

Obviously this can be terrifying and many are concerned. Google searches for “World War 3” and “Trump War” have hit an all time high.  However, those who love God can thank Him because the Bible says He always gives us the victory (2 Corinthians 2:14). We do not have to worry about what most people are worried about because we have the right to declare that the Lord is our guide and He will comfort us even when we are challenged (Psalm 23:4).  This is not to say that loving God will always protect you from suffering, poverty, or other dire circumstances, but He promises to never leave our side in spite of what is going on around us (Hebrews 13:5).

We can find a lot of comfort in the Bible from the verses in the 91st Psalm that declares we can find safety in Him and will not have to fear what is going on in the world (Psalm 91:4-6).  Whenever anyone shares their fear of the future, remind them to read the 91st Psalm. Moreover, they can let His peace rule their hearts (Philippians 4:7). Also, let them know that God is faithful to His word and He has blessings and comfort for all those who love and obey Him.

Revelation 9:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 And the four angels who had been kept ready for this very hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.

2 Corinthians 2:14
King James Version (KJV)
14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.

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.

Hebrews 13:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”

Psalm 91:4-6
New International Version (NIV)
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

Philippians 4:7
New International Version (NIV)
7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, April 10, 2017

Remember Those Suffering For Christ

In the April 9, 2017 issue of Reuters, Arwa Gaballa and Ahmed Tolba, in the article entitled, “Bomb Attacks On Two Coptic Churches In Egypt Kill At Least 44, Injure More Than 100,” wrote that the Islamic State announced they were responsible for killing at least 44 people with bomb attacks on the symbolic cathedral seat of the Coptic Pope and Tanta, Egypt on Palm Sunday. On this Sunday in churches across the United States, we were blithely unaware that attending church without fear in some parts of the world is unknown.  Standing up for the Lord may get you ridiculed in America, but may get you killed in some parts of the world.

We currently have the right to worship or not worship God according to our own choosing. However, for those who love God, we have a responsibility to those who are not as fortunate.  In the Bible, the devil is described as a devouring and roaring lion. Evidence of that today is the believers who are suffering all over the world (1 Peter 5:8, 9). We cannot be so focused on our creature comforts when others in the body of Christ are concerned about just making it to the next day. My dear friend, a pastor in India, wrote me in August 2016 asking, “Please pray there may be no blood shed in our area. We need your prayers.” 

Thank God that the prayers of the righteous are effective (James 5:16).  The scriptures go further saying that after the saints have suffered, He promised that He would restore them strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10). 

During this Easter season, along with your celebration of the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior, please pray for besieged Christians and send support to your favorite mission organizations that are supporting them. Remember, as you serve them you are serving Jesus (Matthew 25:40).

1 Peter 5:8-10
New International Version (NIV)
8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
9 Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.

James 5:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 25:40
New International Version (NIV)
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’