Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, November 27, 2019

Let’s Love God’s Children Like God Loves Them

The Neufville and Fair families are excited to announce that a new addition has joined us! Kyra AurĂ©lie Neufville was born at 4:47 pm on 11/22/19.  Our families are very happy about her birth.  She will have many who will surround her with love. She will have many praying for her to be blessed in her life. However, we cannot help but think about the many children who will be born without support and in poverty. According to the US Census Bureau, 17.5 percent of children were poor in 2017, which was defined as an annual income below $25,283 for a family of four. The article went on to state, “Overall, children remain the poorest age group in the nation.”

Hubert Humphrey who served as U.S. Vice President from 1965 to 1969 said: “the moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”  In the Bible at the time of judgment, nations will be judged on how they treated the least when Jesus will say, “…whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).  

In our family, we are truly ecstatic about our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren who are surrounded by people who are concerned about their education, their resources, and their well-being.  We have been careful to ground them in teachings about Christ and His love, direction, and wisdom for their lives. Nevertheless, we must also be concerned about those children who through no fault of their own are tossed into less fortunate circumstances with inadequate resources, little or no moral background, and subject to uncaring people.

When we see television programs showing children begging or going through garbage to seek food, are we turning the channel to more entertaining programs, simply going for our checkbooks, or are we researching local programs to help children who are on the streets and being trafficked or assaulted? Are we asking what can we personally do to help the children (1 John 3:17, 18)? Are we asking, “Am I my brother’s keeper?”  Let us decide to love, assist, help, comfort God’s children as we feel led to do and thereby do God’s work on earth (2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

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.’

1 John 3:17, 18
New International Version (NIV)
17 If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? 
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

2 Corinthians 9:6-7 
New International Version (NIV)
6 Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. 
7 Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, November 18, 2019

God’s Judgment Blesses His Children

Many of us in November 2019 are fascinated with the process of the potential fourth impeachment of a president in the history of the United States.  Witnesses have given riveting testimony of actions that may be considered as grounds for the removal of a sitting Commander in Chief.  This process makes me think of the judgement that we all must face one day.  Given the gravity of these proceedings, we may have to ask what kinds of actions are we doing that could be brought into judgement by the eternal God at the end of time?

Those of us who love the Lord understand that we will be judged after death at the Bema seat where Christ will give out rewards and crowns for how well we performed during our lives.  Some will receive rewards while others will simply be saved from Hell but will get no rewards (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).  

Since we must give an account of every word and thought during this earthly sojourn (Matthew 12:36, Ecclesiastes 12:14) let us live our lives with a reverential fear (1 Peter 1:17) knowing that it is a dreadful thing  to fall in the hands of an angry God (Hebrews 10:31).  Nevertheless, we have a loving God who, upon our request, will forgive us for our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  

We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God, but when He became our Savior, (Romans 10:9, 10), we don’t have to be terrified of His judgement because He paid the penalty for sin on the cross (Galatians 3:13).  His judgement is a blessing for us.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15
New International Version (NIV)
12 If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw,
their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 
If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward
15 If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames

Matthew 12:36
New International Version (NIV)
 But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.

Ecclesiastes 12:14
New International Version
14 For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil

1 Peter 1:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Hebrews 10:31
New International Version (NIV)
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

1 John 1:9
New International Version (NIV)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Romans 10:9-10
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Galatians 3:13
New International Version (NIV)
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, November 12, 2019

We Must Use Holy Ghost Power

We have great songs about the Holy Ghost. Keith Dobbins & The Resurrection Mass Choir in 1991 sang the classic hymn,  Power from God.  Some of the lyrics are, “Power after the Holy Ghost Is come upon you, you shall receive power from God.” The Chicago Mass Choir in October 2007 sang, Holy Ghost Power. Some of the lyrics were, “I got it, the Holy Ghost power. Do you want it? The Holy Ghost power, I need it.”

These hand clapping and foot stomping songs remind us that our relationship with Christ is not just mental exercises in existential existence.  It is not a philosophy or a thoughtful analysis of why we are here upon earth. It is not even a religion, but a relationship with the great God Almighty.  In the Bible, when the disciples were awaiting a sign from heaven in an upper room, they were all in one accord when the Holy Ghost fell upon them like fire and they all began speaking in unknown tongues (Acts 2:2-4).

God wants us to know that He wants to live in each of us by His Spirit (Colossians 1:27).  When He lives in us, He gives us the ability to do mighty works in His Name (Philippians 4:13).  Moreover, Jesus said that those who love Him will do greater works than He did after He returned to Heaven. They will do these works because they will have His power in His Name working through them (John 14:12-13). When the disciples healed a beggar, they later testified that faith in Jesus’ Name had healed the man (Acts 3:16).

Those who love God are not simply to be pushed around by the forces of evil.  As believers with the power of God working, we are commanded to cast out devils and to pray for the sick (Mark 16:17, James 5:15).  Moreover, He may also tell us to feed the hungry, petition political authorities, speak encouraging words or intervene boldly against injustice. As followers of Christ, we have been given power and authority over evil.  Let’s not run from evil but, in the Name of Jesus and with the power of the Holy Ghost, let us allow God to use us mightily as His instruments in these trying times. 

Acts 2:2-4
New International Version (NIV)
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Colossians 1:27
New International Version (NIV)
27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

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

John 14:12-13
New International Version (NIV)
12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

Acts 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.

Mark 16:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 

James 5:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven

Monday, November 4, 2019

Pastor's Ponderings, November 4, 2019

Great Expectations

The novel, Great Expectations, was written in 1861 by Charles Dickens.  In this book, the protagonist, Pip, received his expectation when he suddenly is given a large fortune.  Unfortunately, along with this wealth, there was also great pain in his life. Although that was fictional, in reality, many times our expectations in life are not as wonderful as we had anticipated.

In the Bible, God shares his expectations for His children.  He wants us to have peace, well-being, and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  He wants us to prosper and be in health (3 John 2).  His expectations are that even our children are blessed because they will have His Spirit and His commands (Isaiah 59:21).  He further promises that we have His protection and that our heritage is from Him (Isaiah 54:17).

We may have dreams and hopes for power, prestige and wealth, but  we should rather desire that God give us everything that we need for a godly life and to share with us His very great and precious promises (2 Peter 1:3-4).  The Bible demonstrates the fact that God has great expectations for those who love Him.  Let us rejoice and thank Him for all that He has done for us and all that He will do.

Jeremiah 29:11
Amplified Bible (AMP)
11 For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

3 John 2
New International Version (NIV)
2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Isaiah 59:21
New International Version (NIV)
21 “As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the Lord. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants—from this time on and forever,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 54:17
New International Version (NIV)
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

2 Peter 1:3-4
New International Version (NIV)
3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.