Tuesday, December 29, 2020

God’s Promises Are Unchanging

This is how the first Pastor’s Ponderings began on August 17, 2013, three hundred and eighty-three blogs ago.  


“Recently, I have had a major lifestyle change. Because of my youngest daughter’s encouragement, I have begun to run three- and six-mile races. Until I started racing, my past runs were limited to running to the refrigerator. Now I am eagerly preparing for a 13.1-mile half-marathon race this fall.” 


The major lifestyle changes in 2020 consists of wearing masks, social distancing, and washing our hands while dealing with a deadly pandemic.  Next year it may be some other lifechanging events. Heraclitus said, “The only constant in life is change.” Things that were so important seven years ago such as group activities, shopping at the mall, and exotic vacations have ground to a halt while we focus on ordering gifts online and Zooming for our education and employment. 


However, we serve God who never changes.  He is the same yesterday, today, and will be the same forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He is an unchanging God in a constantly changing world.  God wants us to know that His love for us never changes (Lamentations 3:22-23).  He is still helpful when we find ourselves in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  According to the Inspiration CafĂ© Blog, there are seven promises of God

I will be with you.

I will protect you.

I will be your strength.

I will answer you.

I will provide for you.

I will give you peace.

I will always love you.


While it is true that we seem to be surrounded by events that are out of control, God wants us to keep things in perspective by focusing on Him (Hebrews 12:1-2). His promises are unchanging.


Hebrews 13:8

New International Version

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.


Lamentations 3:22-23

New International Version

22 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.


Psalm 46:1

New International Version

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


Hebrews 12:1-2

New International Version

1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 

2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.






Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, December 23, 2020

Receive God’s Abundant Life

Dan Diamond, in the December 16, 2020 issue of Politico magazine, wrote an article entitled, ‘We want them infected’: Trump appointee demanded ‘herd immunity’ strategy, emails reveal. Apparently the HHS science adviser Paul Alexander had called for millions of Americans to be infected as means of fighting Covid-19. 


In addition, Lee Moran, in the December 17, 2020 Huffington Post, wrote that Alexander was advocating for the Trump administration to pursue a herd immunity strategy during the public health crisis. “Infants, kids, teens, young people, young adults, middle aged with no conditions etc. have zero to little risk….so we use them to develop herd…we want them infected…” Alexander wrote in his emails, per the news outlet. Sadly, as of the middle of December 2020, over 320K persons have perished in the United States and we are leading the world in deaths.  


If there was ever a time for the body of Christ to pray, this is it.  Given some misguided decisions that have been made, we must pray for the heart of our leadership so that they will make right decisions (Proverbs 21:1).  This is the time for us to pray powerful and effective prayers because we know God will hear us (James 5:16).


We should pray for leaders who will lead with compassion, wisdom, and in close harmony with God.  He is the one who will give wisdom and understanding so that they can make the tough decisions (James 1:5).  God declares that if they will acknowledge Him and not simply rely on their own viewpoints, He will help them make the right decisions (Proverbs 3:5-6).  We have firestorms raging, economic catastrophes, and the ongoing pandemic.  Furthermore, we have climate change that is forcing refugees from their homes, constant wars,  and criminal activity on the street and in the boardroom.  We have only a few years to live our lives and they are full of trouble (Job 14:1).


What should we do?  Let us pray, learn and apply the knowledge that He has made available for us.  We should be optimistic knowing that God has everything under His control and all of these terrible happenings lead to a good outcome eventually (Romans 8:28). While some leaders may make unfortunate and costly decisions, let us remember that Jesus came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10).   


Proverbs 21:1
New International Version

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


Timothy 2:1-3

New International Version

1 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 
2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 
This is good, and pleases God our Savior


James 5:16

New International Version

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.


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


Proverbs 3:5-6

New International Version

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;

6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.


Job 14:1

New International Version

1 “Mortals, born of woman, are of few days and full of trouble.


Romans 8:28

New International Version

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.


John 10:10

New King James Version

10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.






Monday, December 14, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, December 14, 2020

Fulfilling God’s Purpose For Our Life

The Matrix Reloaded is a 2003 American science fiction action film written and directed by the Wachowskis. One of the villains, Agent Smith confronted the good guy, Neo, with his thoughts about purpose, “There’s no escaping reason, no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist. It is purpose that created us. Purpose that connects us. Purpose that pulls us, that guides us, that drives us.  It is purpose that defines us, purpose that binds us.”  Although based in fiction, just like Neo, we must also fulfill our purpose in life.


Les Brown, the motivational speaker, said, “The graveyard is the richest place on earth, because it is here that you will find all the hopes and dreams that were never fulfilled, the books that were never written, the songs that were never sung, the inventions that were never shared, the cures that were never discovered, all because someone was too afraid to take that first step, keep with the problem, or determined to carry out their dream.”


What is your purpose upon the earth?  Why are you here and what must you accomplish during life’s journey?  God says that He has plans to give us a hope and future (Jeremiah 29:11). His plan is that everything that happens works together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  Furthermore, He explained the purpose of mankind which is to do be fair, love kindness and loyalty and to humbly obey God (Micah 6:8).


If we do not really know our purpose, God simply suggests that we ask Him, and He will give us His wisdom for what we must do in life (James 1:5).  He promised to guide our footsteps (Psalm 37:23). We do not want to come to the end of our life and find that we purposely drifted along with no goals in mind and accomplished nothing that God had in mind for us. Let us obey God and allow Him to work His purpose in our lives so that He can declare in our conclusion, “Well done.” (Matthew 25:21)


Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.


Romans 8:28

Easy-to-Read Version

28 We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. These are the people God chose, because that was his plan.


Micah 6:8

Easy-to-Read Version

8 Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what he wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God.


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

Psalm 37:23

New International Version

23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him;


Matthew 25:21

New International Version

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’






Monday, December 7, 2020

Pastor's Ponderings, December 7, 2020

God Is The True Source of Wisdom

Madagascar, a 2005 American computer-animated comedy film, produced this dialogue, “This is your captain speaking. I have good news and bad news. The good news is that we will be landing immediately.... the bad news is, we're crash landing.”  While this exchange is amusing, the truth is that a confusing, jumbled and mix of news, entertainment, saying, and quotes constantly bombard our senses.  Therefore, we have to know which are true and important and which are to be ignored.


The Bible tells us that we must distinguish between what the evil one is telling us and God’s commandments (Leviticus 10:10-11).  We must then endeavor to speak, and do only what God is commanding us and not what the evil one wants us to say and do.  Our words matter.  Death and life are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21).  Our actions matter. God does not want us listening and obeying the evil one. If we listen to what God says, we will get the good things from this land. (Isaiah 1:19-20).


We can choose to speak illness, sadness, or trouble or we can speak the truth that God helps us in our troubles in life (Psalm 46:1).  We can lament about our inability to accomplish anything or we can declare that we can do all things through Christ who loves us (Philippians 4:13).


Truly all sides are sending us mixed messages.  Our trusted leaders are saying one thing today and a different message simultaneously. Some of us have succumbed to the confusion and have decided not to believe anything.  But God tells us that all things are possible to those that believe (Mark 9:23).  If we want to know what is true, we have the right to go to our Creator and ask for His wisdom (James 1:5, Proverbs 2:6 ). God is the sole source of truth. Let us continue to ask Him for His wisdom and ignore the worldly mixed messages.


Leviticus 10:10-11

New International Version

10 so that you can distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, 11 and so you can teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses.”


Proverbs 18:21
New International Version

21 The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.


Isaiah 1:19-20

Easy-to-Read Version

19 “If you listen to what I say, you will get the good things from this land. 

20 But if you refuse to listen and rebel against me, your enemies will destroy you.” The Lord himself said this.


Psalm 46:1

New International Version

1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.


Philippians 4:13

New International Version

13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Mark 9:23

New International Version

23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”


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.


Proverbs 2:6

New International Version

6 For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding