Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, May 30, 2017

Enough is Enough

One of my favorite short stories is about a dog lying on a nail. “A man walking down the street encountered folks sitting on their porch and a dog lying on the porch whining and groaning. He asked the folks why the dog was acting that way . . ."Because he's lying on a nail" they replied.
"Why doesn't he get up?" the man asked.
"Because it's not hurting bad enough" they replied.

It is time that we said, “Enough is enough.  I am getting off the nails in my life.” Many times we will tolerate irritations in our lives that we should simply get rid of. But because we have grown used to these negative influences, we allow them to sap our lives, destroy our dreams and deplete our energy so that we cannot achieve the purposes of God in our lives. Bad habits, disorganization, procrastination, or laziness can be the nails that we will complain to our friends about, but never do anything about.

Some of us will even keep people in our lives who discourage our vision, disparage our goals, and defame us even though the Bible tells His children to leave hindering people (2 Corinthians 6:17-18, 1 Corinthians 15:33). The Bible also says that the thief comes to kill, to steal and to destroy us (John 10:10). We have to realize that now is the time to wake up and do what God has told us to do and not simply whine and groan about our situation (Romans 13:11). We must refuse to let the devil or his influence have any place in our lives (Ephesians 4:27).

Today we must say enough is enough. We must say that we will live our lives to the fullest, taking advantage of every God-given opportunity knowing that our God is more than enough to meet every need in our life. God wants us to have a full and outstanding life (John 10:10). No longer will we tolerate negative people, obstacles, or hindrances in our lives.  It is time to say, enough is enough! 

2 Corinthians 6:17-18
New International Version (NIV)
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”
18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

1 Corinthians 15:33
New International Version (NIV)
33 Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

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.

Romans 13:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

Ephesians 4:27
New International Version (NIV)
27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, May 22, 2017

Christ is Our Rock

I have a great running song by Daryl Coley called, “My Soul Is Anchored In The Lord.”  Part of the lyrics are, “Though the storms keep on raging in my life and sometimes it's hard to tell the night from day. Still that hope that lies within is reassured as I keep my eyes upon the distant shore. I know He'll lead me safely to that blessed place He has prepared. But if the storms don't cease and if the winds keep on blowing in my life, my soul has been anchored in the Lord.”

We have to remember that our foundation is Jesus.  He is the rock of our existence, our stronghold against destruction, and a shelter from life’s storms (Psalm 18:2).  When heaven and earth have ceased to exist, God’s Word will endure (Matthew 24:35) because Jesus is the Word of God (John 1:1). It is so good to know that even if the storms do not cease, God knows those who are His own and we can always depend upon Him (2 Timothy 2:19a).  When He says that He will not leave use when we are in need, we can depend that He will do what He says (Hebrews 13:5).

Friends may come and go.  People may say one thing, but do another. It is so good to know that we can trust an unchanging God while living in a constantly changing world.  He gives us encouragement, keeps blessing us, and keeps comforting us. Everything that we see around us is temporary and passing, but we can know that we are standing on a solid foundation in Him. Jesus Christ is our rock that we can always trust and depend upon.

Psalm 18:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Matthew 24:35
New International Version (NIV)
35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

John 1:1
Amplified Bible (AMP)
1 In the beginning [before all time] was the Word (Christ), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God Himself.

2 Timothy 2:19a
New International Version (NIV)
19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his…

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.”

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, May 15, 2017

Hallelujah Anyhow!

I have had a cascading series of challenges that tried to hamper my praise.  Yesterday was Mother’s Day, May 14, 2017, and for many of us, it can be a bittersweet time. My mother passed in 2001, and although the day is celebratory there is always some sadness when I reflect on how much I still miss her.  To make matters worse, my wife, who has been an outstanding mother to our daughters and countless spiritual children, is in the hospital. While rushing from the hospital, to our home and then to church, I damaged my garage door. Even though I am the pastor, yesterday I felt out of sync trying to worship God in the service.   Have you ever had those moments when you simply did not feel like praising or worshipping God?

The Bible says we should praise God even though we do not feel like it because our hope is in Him (Psalm 42:5).  Even though my soul feels like everything is upside down, I truly know that God is for me (Psalm 56:9) and He is working on my behalf (Psalm 138:8).  I have the awesome privilege of continually offering Him a sacrifice of my praise (Hebrews 13:15). 

Reverend Clay Evans sings, “Hallelujah, anyhow. Don't let your troubles get you down. If Satan blocks your way, stand right up and say, Hallelujah, anyhow.”  I have decided that I am going to praise Him when I feel like it and when I don’t.  I am going to worship Him when it is convenient and when it is not.  The Bible says if we are breathing, we ought to praise Him (Psalm 150:6) and He inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Let us not make any excuses; let us praise the Lord. Hallelujah, anyhow!

Psalm 42:5

New International Version (NIV)
5 Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.

Psalm 56:9
New International Version (NIV)
9 Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.

Hebrews 13:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.

Psalm 138:8
King James Version (KJV)
8 The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Psalm 150:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

Psalm 22:3
King James Version (KJV)
3 But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel

Monday, May 8, 2017

Pastor's Ponderings, May 8, 2017

God Makes Great Choices

Have you ever felt that you missed your great opportunity in life?  When the doors to your future opened wide, you may have felt that you were taking a nap and you only woke up to see them closing permanently.  What was even worse for you was that you could see someone else skipping merrily along their shining path to their glorious future. 

Well, today is the today that you can feel happy, content, and joyful.  The Bible says that it is God’s pleasure and will to adopt those who love Him to be His children (Ephesians 1:5). Since we have become His children, we are then joint heirs with Jesus and we get good things from Him (Romans 8:17). It does not matter what we seemed to have missed out of in life, God has gotten something better for us and that is to have His purpose work in our lives (Isaiah 46:10).  God wants us to know that our life is blessed even though it may not seem like it. It does not matter about lost opportunities or closed doors. God has promised that His kingdom belongs to us (Matthew 16:19, Luke 12:32)! 

Today, we don’t have to place our hope in our relationships, careers, savings, or even personalities to guarantee that good things will happen for us.  Although it may seem that we have taken the wrong fork in the road, chosen the wrong career, or made the wrong decision, we have to remember that God is in control. We can make good decisions because He is still directing our path (Psalm 37:23). Because we love Him, everything is working together for our good (Romans 8:28).  So, relax, be happy, contented, and joyful.  God makes great choices!

Ephesians 1:5
New International Version (NIV)
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

Romans 8:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Isaiah 46:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’

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.”

Luke 12:32
New International Version (NIV)
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.

Psalm 37:23
New Living Translation (NLT)
23 The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.

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.