Monday, November 26, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, November 26, 2018

Let Us Thank God For Salvation

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? We just returned from our sixty-eighth annual Thanksgiving reunion of the Mitchell-Brown family in Chicago, Illinois.  It was a wonderful occasion where we were able to thank God for His blessings, for those who have passed on, for the accomplishments of our relatives, for our future generations, and for the awesome dinner. 

There are so many things that we can be thankful for.  We know that all good things come from God (James 1:17).  We do not have to be anxious for anything, but we can ask God for everything and thank Him for what we receive (Philippians 4:6). In every thing that we do, we can thank God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:17).  God is so gracious and loving; we should thank Him because He satisfies the thirsty and the hungry and does wonderful deeds for mankind (Psalm 107:8-9).

God has done great things for us that we can thank Him for, but one of the most important things that He has done is expressed in the lyrics of the song written by Malcolm Speed, entitled, “When I Think (Of the Goodness of Jesus).” Some of the lyrics are, “When I think of the goodness of Jesus and all He's done for me, my soul, my soul cries out ‘Hallelujah, hallelujah, I thank God for saving me.’”

During this holiday season, we have many things for which we can give thanks. However, the most important gift He has given us is when He died on the cross for our salvation. Let us thank God for saving us!

James 1:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

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.

Colossians 3:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Psalm 107:8-9 
New International Version (NIV)
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing loveand his wonderful deeds for mankind,9 for he satisfies the thirstyand fills the hungry with good things

Monday, November 19, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, November 19, 2018

Encourage Yourself In The Lord

Donald Lawrence wrote a song in 2008 entitled, “Encourage Yourself.”  Some of the lyrics are, “Sometimes you have to encourage yourself. Sometimes you have to speak victory during the test and no matter how you feel, speak the word and you will be healed. Speak over yourself, encourage yourself in the Lord.”  We live in a discouraging world where sarcasm, flippant remarks, and put downs are everywhere.  Many times when one hears someone give them an encouraging word, we immediately try to find their hidden agenda.

In the Bible, David, had been running from King Saul.  He had just suffered a crushing defeat and his followers were discussing killing him.  Yet David encouraged himself (1 Samuel 30:3, 6).  We should encourage ourselves in spite of our circumstances. When we come across challenging situations, we are not to pretend that the problems do not exist, but we are commanded to speak those things that are not as if they were.  We may have the symptoms of sickness and we have received a negative report, but we must say what God says and that is we are healed (Psalm 107:20).  We may be unemployed, but God says that we are rich in Him (2 Corinthians 8:9).

The Bible is full of encouraging words.  God says that we are overcomers (Revelation 12:11), whatever we do prospers (Psalm 1:1, 3), and He commands His angels to guard those who love Him (Psalm 91:11).  This week, let us explore God’s word and claim what we can do, what we can be, and who we are in Christ and not let our temporary setbacks define us.   Let us encourage ourselves in the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:3, 6
New International Version (NIV)
So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives.
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

Psalm 107:20
New International Version (NIV)
20 He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.

2 Corinthians 8:9
New International Version (NIV)
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

Revelation 12:11a 
New International Version (NIV)
11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony…

Psalm 1:1, 3
New International Version (NIV)
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 91:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, November 13, 2018

God Desires A Close Relationship With His Children

David Lohr, in the November 12, 2018, Huffington Post, wrote an article entitled, “Search For Missing Teen Hania Aguilar ‘More Urgent By The Minute’. Someone forced the 13-year-old into a vehicle outside her home.   Her mother’s agonized pleas for her safe return were heartbreaking. According to the 2017 NCIC Missing Person and Unidentified Person Statisticswhich is a compilation of statistics from the National Crime Information Center’s Missing Person and Unidentified Person Files for 2017, there were 441,165 juveniles under 18 missing.

All of these have a painful story. Perhaps they were found, perhaps they never returned. Just like this poor mother desperately wants her child returned, our Saviour Jesus Christ wants all of His children with Him. In the Bible, Jesus said that He was going away to prepare a place for those who love Him to be with Him always (John 14:2-3).  God gave His Son, Jesus Christ, and Jesus gave His life for all of us so that we might be escape Hell and live eternally with Him (John 3:16).  In the Bible, God calls us His children (1 John 4:4).  We are His heirs adopted unto Him (Romans 8:17a). Even though Jesus was about to go to the cross, He declared that He eagerly wanted to be with His apostles (Luke 22:14-15).  

Thousands of children are missing and God loves and cherishes every one of them. The Evil One comes to kill, steal, and destroy while Jesus wants us to have His abundant life (John 10:10).  When we think about missing children, let us remember all the lost souls that God is thinking about and not wanting any to perish, but to have that relationship with Him (2 Peter 3:9). Let us tell everybody about His desire for everyone to be with Him throughout eternity.

John 14:2-3
New International Version (NIV)
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? 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.

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.

1 John 4:4
New International Version (NIV)
You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world

Romans 8:17a
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.

Luke 22:14-15
New International Version (NIV)
14 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.

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.

2 Peter 3:9
New International Version (NIV)
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Pastor's Ponderings, November 5, 2018

Can We All Get Along?

During the riots in Los Angeles, CA on May 1, 1992, Rodney King made a television appearance in which he said, “…can we all get along?”  This poignant request was made during a riot where over sixty people died and over 2000 were injured.  Since the 18thcentury, the United States has had a sad history of racial conflicts, between Protestants and Irish Catholics, African Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, Chileans, Filipinos, Japanese and Armenians. Can we all get along? 

The Bible says that those who love the Lord should have no fellowship with darkness (2 Corinthians 6:16, 17). It further emphasizes that those who love God are in this world, but we are not of this world (John 15:19).  For those of who want to win the lost at any cost and win the world for Christ (Proverbs 11:30), how can we win them over to Christ? Can we love those who we cannot tolerate?

The answer is that those who love God are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13). According to Calvary Chapel South Bay, that means we are a life-sustaining element to the world. We are to tell a dying world that all have sinned and have fallen short of God’s standards (Romans 3:23). However, God wants all of us delivered from Satan’s power and to enjoy the fruits of righteousness in His eternal kingdom (Colossians 1:13).

Because of man’s continued inhumanity to man, we will not get along together on earth, but we are to allow God to use us to share His love so that one day we will all get along.  In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John saw a vision where no one could number the mass of people.  They all had white robes with one purpose which was praise and glorify God (Revelation 7:9, 10).  Let us win everyone to Christ so that one day in eternity, we will all get along together in Him.

2 Corinthians 6:16, 17 
New International Version (NIV)
16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord.
Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

John 15:19
New International Version (NIV)
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

Proverbs 11:30
King James Version (KJV)
30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.

Matthew 5:13
New International Version (NIV)
13“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

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

Colossians 1:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

Revelation 7:9, 10
New International Version (NIV)
After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. 
10 And they cried out in a loud voice: “Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.”