Monday, November 30, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 30, 2020

God Is Our Problem Solver

Because of the pressures of today, many would like to pull the covers over their heads and simply stay in bed.  We are hearing bad news and it keeps getting worse.  Simon Denyer and Akiko Kashiwagi wrote an article in the November 29, 2020 Washington Post entitled, Japan and South Korea see surge of suicides among young women, raising new questions about pandemic stress.  

The article indicated “Suicide rates among young women have increased notably in Japan and South Korea, raising possible links to the prolonged coronavirus pandemic as it amplifies stress levels, worsens economic woes and aggravates feelings of loneliness and isolation.” In addition, “Nielsen reports alcohol sales in stores were up 54% in late March 2020 compared to that time last year, while online sales were up nearly 500% in late April.” Truly we are living in trying times.

Yet, the Bible gives us hope.  We don’t have to entertain sad thoughts.  We can think about those things that is good and worth giving thanks for (Philippians 4:8). While the news may be troubling, God tells us to let His peace rule our hearts and minds through His Son Jesus Christ (Philippians 4:7). God wants us to know that He has great plans to give us a hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11).

Edward Mote’s song, “Solid Rock” has the lyrics, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.” We may still get bad or worse news on tomorrow, but we know that God is in control of our tomorrows and wants us to trust Him to take care of us. This week let us cast all of cares upon Him because He cares for us (1 Peter 5:7).  Let God be your problem solver.

Philippians 4:8

New Life Version

Christian brothers, keep your minds thinking about whatever is true, whatever is respected, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever can be loved, and whatever is well thought of. If there is anything good and worth giving thanks for, think about these things.


Philippians 4:7

New Life Version

7 The peace of God is much greater than the human mind can understand. This peace will keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.


Jeremiah 29:11

New Life Version

11 For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for well-being and not for trouble, to give you a future and a hope


1 Peter 5:7

New Life Version

Give all your worries to Him because He cares for you.






Monday, November 23, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 23, 2020

Not Our Way But God’s Way

“In the Reunion" is the tenth episode of the second season of Angel, a TV series, originally broadcast December 19, 2000. In a climactic scene, when vampires are about to kill many trapped humans, their supervisor turns to Angel for help. 
Holland: "Angel... please... people are going to die." 
Angel: "And yet, somehow, I just can't seem to care."

 Jessica Sutherland, in the November 14th Daily Kos, wrote an article entitled,  ‘I would do it again’: Missouri mom defends hosting superspreader homecoming dance for 200 students. The article then stated, “The school where those sweaty slow dancers attend—Rolla High School—announced Wednesday that at least 10 students and one staffer had tested positive for the virus though not all of those cases can be traced to the sickening shindig.”

In the November 14, 2020 USA TODAY, Joel Shannon wrote an article entitled, “The Dakotas are 'as bad as it gets anywhere in the world' for COVID-19”, he wrote that a nurse, Jodi Doering, a South Dakota nurse said she recalled numerous patients whose dying words echoed the same theme: "This can't be happening. It's not real."  She said that they do not accept they have the virus and will often lash out in anger and grasp at other explanations, suggesting they have the flu or even lung cancer.

I just can't seem to care, I would do it again, it can’t be happening, and it is not real.  This attitude that it is my way or nothing at all seems to prevail in the world.  It does not matter what experts say, it does not matter what good sense requires, it does not matter what tradition demands, the world wants to do it their way.  The Bible says there is a way that seems right to man, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12).  


When we are confused about what to believe or what to do, Jesus states that He is the way, the truth and the light (John 14:6).  He will give us knowledge about what we should do; we should simply ask Him (James 1:5). Jesus says that He comes to the world to give us an abundant life while the thief wants us to pursue our own will which leads to ultimate death (John 10:10).  


Jesus wants us to enjoy eternal life with Him rather than put our will and desires first.  He tells us to seek Him first and He will give all things to us (Matthew 6:33). Especially during this tumultuous period, let us seek God’s way and He will handle the things that concern us (Psalm 138:8).

Proverbs 14:12

New International Version

12 There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.


2 Corinthians 4:4

New International Version

4 The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.


2 Timothy 2:25-26

New International Version
25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 

26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.


John 14:6

New International Version

6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.


James 1:5

New International Version

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


John 10:10

New International Version

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.


Matthew 6:33

New International Version

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.


Psalm 37:1, 2

New International Version

1 Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;

2 for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.


Psalm 37:25

New International Version

25 I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.


Psalm 138:8

New King James Version

8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever; Do not forsake the works of Your hands.






Thursday, November 19, 2020

God Wants To Bless You Right Now

Dear Friends:

Dear Friends, Four years ago, we posted this blog.  Given the challenges of today and the necessity of obeying God right now, it is important that we remember this message.

God bless you real good 


God Wants To Bless You Right Now

In William Shakespeare’s play, “Julius Caesar”, the character Brutus declares, “There is a tide in the affairs of men which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218–224.  In other words now is the time for action. We must not wait until we feel better, the stars get aligned or until the cows come home.  

Our God is a right now God.   He says that right now is the time of His favor and His salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).  We cannot procrastinate obeying Him and hope things will work out in the future.  God wants us to hear His voice now and not ignore Him for a more convenient time when we decide to make room for Him (Hebrews 3:15). He wants us to have faith in Him right now and do what He wants us to do while we have the opportunity (John 9:4).  

Perhaps we had faith in the past and perhaps we will have it in the future, but the Bible says that now faith is so important to Him (Hebrews 11:1).  God is an on time God, but when we miss our opportunity to do His will it could be disastrous. The children of Israel found this out when they did not realize when He was visiting them to pardon them (Luke 1:68).  Sadly, Josephus, the historian, writes Jerusalem was laid to the ground by their enemy (Luke 19:44). 

What has God told you to do right now?  Not tomorrow or next week, but what does He want you to do now? He wants to bless us, but He will not operate in our behalf unless we cooperate.  We can ride God’s tide and receive our fortune or we can meander hopelessly having missed our current God-given opportunities.  Thank God for the sweet by and by, but now when He gives us direction, let us obey Him swiftly and we will be blessed. 

2 Corinthians 6:2
New International Version (NIV)
2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

Hebrews 3:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.”

John 9:4
New International Version (NIV)
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work

Hebrews 11:1
New International Version (NIV)
11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Luke 1:68
New International Version (NIV)
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.

Luke 19:44
New International Version (NIV)
44 They will dash you to the ground, you and the children within your walls. They will not leave one stone on another, because you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.”

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 10, 2020

Now Is Not The Time To Give Up

Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Karla Adam and Marisa Iati, in the November 6, 2020 Washington Post, wrote an article about new COVID-19 cases topping 128,000 for the last few days. One of the statements in the article was, “There’s been this sense of people giving up,” Michael Fraser, chief executive of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, told The Post. “You had state leaders looking at the election and deciding it was not worth taking bold, unpopular moves against the virus that might save lives but hurt your side politically. There’s been state health officials debating whether to continue telling people to do things, because they know many are not going to listen.”


Instead of giving up, throwing in the towel and just letting the COVID-19 destroy us, the Bible provides us an example of the ultimate decision to persevere. Jesus endured personal attacks, fatigue and unreliable followers but he still did not lose heart (Hebrews 12:2-3).The forces for evil will attempt to wear out the body of Christ (Daniel 7:25).  But this is not the time to quit but instead to do great things for God (Daniel 11:32).  Evil is behind the power of COVID-19 but the body of Christ must rise up, stand in unity against it (Matthew 18:19), walk in obedience to proper health standards and declare that this plague will be defeated (John 16:23-24).  God tells us that no weapon, and this is a terrible weapon, that is formed against us shall reach its objective (Isaiah 54:17). 


Over the next few months many will give up and give out, walk about in despair, engage in personal destructive behavior believing they have limited time, or even say that the disease does not exist.  But the body of Christ has to rise up and declare that God heals, delivers, and sets us free from this or any other plague.  Now is not the time to give up; now is the time to look at Jesus, our Savior, our healer, and our deliverer.


Hebrews 12:2-3

King James Version

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.


Daniel 7:25

King James Version

25 And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time.


Daniel 11:32

King James Version

32 And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries: but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.

Matthew 18:19

New International Version

19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven


John 16:23-24

New International Version

23 In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 
24 Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.


Isaiah 54:17

New International Version

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.






Monday, November 2, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, November 2, 2020

Let Us Pray For God’s Will In This Election

The election on November 3, 2020 promises to be a hard-fought battle until the last vote is counted.  Some will be saddened when there is general agreement on who the winning candidates are, and others will gloat over the outcome.  Sadly, choosing our leaders has degenerated into who has the winning team or who bet on the right horse.


However, God takes leadership of countries very seriously.  He controls the heart of the leaders (Proverbs 21:1).  Elevation to these offices does not really come from our collective passions about candidates but promotion comes from God  himself (Psalm 75:6-7).  We must be prayerful about whom we choose for leadership unlike the children of Israel who decided to reject God’s leadership in favor of having a king (1 Samuel 8:6-7).  He gave them what they wanted but when he proved unworthy, God chose David, a man who sought after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14).  


Perhaps we should spend less time thinking about a potential leader’s political party and spend more time in the presence of the Lord asking for His promised wisdom (James 1:5).  Perhaps we should listen for the word of God to come to us as we choose between this one on the left and the other on the right (Isaiah 30:21).  Perhaps we should ask God to be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105).  


God is available to hear our cry for His direction.  He knows that when righteous people are in authority, the nation thrives (Proverbs 29:2). Therefore, He tells us to seek Him early (Proverbs 8:17).  He will lead, guide, direct our path so that we will put into office not simply the one that looks the best, sounds the best, or plays to our emotions the best.  Let us decide that in this election, we will not let evil, emotions, or errors rule but, let us remember His faithfulness. He said that He would be with us even though we go through dark challenges in the valleys of our life (Psalm 23:4).  Let us pray for God’s candidates to be in charge.


Proverbs 21:1

New International Version

In the Lord’s hand the king’s heart is a stream of water that he channels toward all who please him.


Psalm 75:6-7

New International Version

No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.

It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another


1 Samuel 8:6-7
New International Version

6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 

7 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.


1 Samuel 13:14

New International Version

14 But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”


James 1:5

New International Version

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.


Isaiah 30:21

New International Version

21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”


Psalm 119:105

New International Version

105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.


Proverbs 29:2

King James Version

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.


Proverbs 8:17

New International Version

17 I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.


Psalm 23:4

New International Version

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.