Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, December 28, 2021

Our Father Will Protect Us


This will be the last blog of 2021.  So many things have happened in this year beginning with the January 6, 2021, siege of the U.S. Congress all the way to a brand new COVID-19 variant that is projected to reach one million new cases per day in the United States.  Most never expected these traumatic events to occur but we know that God is still in charge.


The Bible declares we cannot allow the challenges that we faced in 2021 or will face in 2022 to make us lose heart, be anxious, or act in fear.  We must walk by faith in God and not by our natural feelings (2 Corinthians 5:7).  There may be political turmoil, but the Bible declares that the heart of our ruler is in the hands of God (Proverbs 21:1).  They don’t become leaders by their own efforts, but God will raise one leader up and put down another (Psalm 75:6-7).  Plagues will come and go but God’s word stands assured, and He knows whom His children are (2 Timothy 2:19a).  


Climate changes, energy shortages, increasing worldwide inequality leading to displacement and death, and wars must not worry us because God owns the entire earth (Psalm 24:1); we are His and are privileged to sit in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:6). Storms may come and winds may blow but God said that He would be with us until the end of time (Matthew 28:20).  Let us comfort ourselves knowing that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is our protection and is always walking alongside of us no matter what happens.


2 Corinthians 5:7 

New International Version

7 For we live by faith, not by sight.


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.


2 Timothy 2:19a

New International Version

19 Nevertheless, God’s solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: “The Lord knows those who are his….”


Psalm 24:1

New International Version

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;


Ephesians 2:6

New International Version

6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,


Matthew 28:20

New International Version
20 …. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”







Thursday, December 23, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, December 23, 2021

Jesus Is Our Advocate When We Sin 

Nina Golgowski wrote an article in the December 20, 2021, Huffington Post about an official investigation into former president Donald Trump’s business practices. The article was entitled, Trump Sues New York Attorney General Over Business Investigation.  The article went on to say that “The former president's lawsuit accuses Letitia James (the New York Attorney General) of violating his constitutional rights.”  


Despite what we may feel about the former president’s tactics, this article reminds us that everyone will go before the eternal court of God the Father.  We have an advocate who can plead our case (1 John 2:1-2). The devil is the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10b).  No matter how we protest our innocence, all of us have sinned and come short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23).  


No one can say that they are more holy than someone else. The Bible says that all we have to do is to confess our sins and that God is faithful and just to forgive us for our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).  We can come boldly into God’s throne and mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).


While we may have different opinions about our former president’s using his constitutional rights in court, we can remember that all unrighteousness is sin including our own (1 John 5:17).  However, we can thank God that we don’t need to rely on legal maneuvering; all that we need is Jesus. He makes us righteous in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  When we are disobedient, let us remember that we have an Advocate who will speak for us before God the Father.


Hebrews 4:16

New International Version

16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


1 John 2:1-2

New International Version

1 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. 
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.


Revelation 12:10b

New International Version

10…For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down.


Romans 3:23

New International Version

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,


1 John 1:9

New International Version

9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.


1 John 5:17

New International Version

17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death.


2 Corinthians 5:21

New International Version

21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.







Thursday, December 16, 2021

Our Heavenly Father Wants To Protect His Children

Morgan Winsor and Bill Hutchinson wrote an article in the December 13, 2021, ABCNews entitled, “Deadly tornadoes in South and Midwest: Biden declares state of emergency in Kentucky, Illinois and Tennessee”. The article went on to report that the weekend destruction produced at least 88 dead. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear, who has two relatives among the dead, fought back tears as he revealed the age range of the known victims. He said 18 bodies have yet to be identified.  Truly this was a terrible and troubling time for this region of our nation.


The Bible says that we can turn to the Lord who is a very present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1).  He is a protector for those who depend upon Him (Psalm 23:4). Destruction may come to us, but it will not be successful (Isaiah 54:17).  We must not be afraid of the terror by night or the destruction that wastes at noonday (Psalm 91:5-6). This is not to say that one may avoid all suffering in life and that we will not have pain, death, or destruction but God promises that though we go through a place where death threatens, we don’t have to fear evil and that He would be with us even until the end of time (Psalm 23:4, Matthew 28:20).


God wants us to know that we can comfort ourselves in His protection.  As we go through life, it is crucial that we ask God where we should go, where we should stay, and what we should do since He is omniscient and wants to protect us (James 1:5).  He says that if we delight ourselves in Him that He would give us our heart’s desire such as protection, prosperity, promotion and perception (Psalm 37:4). Let us ask Him for what we need; He delights in protecting us.


Psalm 91:5-6

New International Version

5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.


Psalm 46:1

New International Version

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


Psalm 23:4

New International Version

4 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.


Matthew 28:20 

New International Version

20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.


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.


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 37:4

New International Version

4 Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.







Thursday, December 9, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, December 9, 2021

Will I hear “Well Done?”

During a time of great loss in our world, many of us are reflecting on when our time will come. If it is tomorrow, did I fulfill my purpose in life? Did I help those I was supposed to help? Did I learn what I was supposed to learn? What does God think about my life so far?


In the parable of the talents, Matthew records Jesus telling a story about three people who took different approaches to investing their talents while their master was away. For two of them he was pleased with their choices and said “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together” (Matthew 25:21 NLT).


I remember asking my late husband what his next career goals were and he responded with, “Maybe my purpose isn’t limited to my job. Maybe I am supposed to be a good husband, friend, neighbor and hopefully a father.” A few weeks later these words echoed through his memorial service in the comments of his family, friends, and neighbors.


This month is the 16th anniversary of my parent’s church, Sanctuary Gospel Center Church. On the surface we congratulate them for staying the course, their commitment and dedication to over 800 weekly services, hundreds of counseling sessions, and services at a local skilled nursing facility, and 428 weekly blog posts. But I think when my parents get to Heaven (hopefully a long time from now) those numbers won’t be mentioned-it will be the lives they touched, the people that met Christ through them and that had a deeper and fuller relationship with God because of their sacrifice, and the people that others didn’t have the time for, but they invested in them anyway. I’m blessed to know and appreciate their impact on my walk with God. 


It’s easy for this season to be focused on what we can buy, how we can impress others with the gifts we receive or how perfect our holiday photos are.  But let’s remember to think about what really matters and that is to be a good and faithful servant and if we are doing a job deserving of “Well Done.”







Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, December 1, 2021

Our Father Watches Over Us All

An article in the Apr 26, 2021 CISION PR Newswire was entitled, “Worldwide Smart Baby Monitor Industry to 2028 - Rising Population of Tech-Savvy Millennial Parents Presents Opportunities.”  The article indicates, “Increasing number of working parents worldwide is boosting the growth of the smart baby monitor market globally.”  The article went on to say, “The increasing concerns associated with child safety are also encouraging them to purchase smart baby monitoring devices.”   Clearly baby monitors are increasingly important because of child safety issues.


Just like parents desire to monitor their children, our God watches over us (Psalm 121:5-8).  He cares for us (Isaiah 41:13). During our turbulent world where many are afraid to sleep and afraid to go about their duties, there is a constant fear of bad things happening.  But God promises that He will never abandon us (Deuteronomy 31:6).  


Our baby monitors are good if their guardians stay awake, but our God is so much better than human guardians. It is good to know that we can sleep peacefully because our God never sleeps (Psalm 121:3-4).  He knows the thoughts that He thinks towards His children; thoughts of peace and safety (Jeremiah 29:11).  We can rejoice because like parents are concerned about their children, our God watches over us all.

Psalm 121:5-8

New International Version

The Lord watches over you—the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life;

8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.


Isaiah 41:13

New International Version

13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand

and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.


Deuteronomy 31:6

New International Version

6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”


Psalm 121:3-4

New International Version

3 He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.


Jeremiah 29:11

Amplified Bible

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.







Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, November 23, 2021

Am I My Brother’s Keeper?

Lateshia Beachum, Annabelle Timsit and Bryan Pietsch wrote an article in the November 22, 2021 Washington Post entitled, “Daily coronavirus cases up 18 percent, according to CDC director.  “When you’re in the middle of a deadly pandemic, it isn’t only about you in a vacuum, it’s about your societal responsibility,” he said. “You do have a societal responsibility to help contain this outbreak, and you do that by getting vaccinated.


What responsibility do we have for others?  In the Bible, after Cain had killed his brother Abel, God asked him where his brother was. Cain answered, “I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9).  The Bible tells us that we are to do unto others like you want them to do to you (Matthew 7:12).  Although the majority of the scientific community has concluded that the pandemic is much worse among the unvaccinated, some have concluded that they have no responsibility to be protected. Our public health officials explain that many who have underlying conditions or cannot be vaccinated can be kept safer as the country reaches community immunity.


The Bible says that there is a way that seems right to man but the end is death (Proverbs 14:12).  Many have decided that it is more important to take care of themselves with questionable cures and ignore the effect on others.  However, the Bible says that if one sees their brothers in need and are not compassionate towards them, the love of the Father is not in them (1 John 3:17).


Let us go to God and ask Him for His direction for getting vaccinated.  He has provided the wisdom, the resources, and the Warp Speed program under President Trump to generate the vaccine.  Let us allow God to speak to our hearts about becoming vaccinated since we are our brother’s keepers.


Genesis 4:9

New International Version

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”


Matthew 7:12 

New International Version

12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.


Proverbs 14:12

New International Version

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


1 John 3:17 

New International Version

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?








Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, November 17, 2021

Let Us Hear God’s Blessings 


Amy Grant wrote a powerful song in 1977 entitled, “Old Man’s Rubble.”   Some of the lyrics are, “Are you living in an old man's rubble, are you listenin' to the father of lies? If you are then you're headed for trouble. If you listen too long, you'll eventually die.”  Ms. Grant was referring to the devil whose purpose is to kill, steal and to destroy (John 10:10).  However, the song has other lyrics. “If you're living as a new creation, if you're listening to the Father of light, then you're living in a mighty fortress and you're gonna' be clothed in power and might.”


Who you allow to speak to you and whose words you accept will greatly affect the course of your life.  The evil one sends discouraging, disparaging, disappointing and despairing words, and those words can hinder one’s progress in life.  But Jesus says that His words are spirit and they are life (John 6:63).


In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had sinned and then covered themselves with leaves because they discovered they were naked.  God asked them, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:11).  We have to ask ourselves to whom are we listening in our lives. Are we listening to the still small voice of God or are we listening to the powerful voices that call us to disobey God?  


God says that the day you hear His voice, we should not harden our hearts against him (Hebrews 3:15).  The Bible further states that those who have ears should hear what the Spirit is saying (Revelation 3:22).  We cannot please God without faith (Hebrews 11:6) and that faith comes from hearing God’s words (Romans 10:17).  


We are hearing many conflicting voices in the world.  For example, some suggest we should all be vaccinated against COVID-19 while others say it has not been tested enough.  Let us spend time with God, not demanding this or that but simply rejoicing in his presence and worshipping Him for who He is.  God wants the best for us. Let us listen, obey, and receive all the benefits that He has for us.


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.


John 6:63

New International Version

63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.


Genesis 3:11

New International Version

11 And he said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”


Hebrews 3:15

New International Version

15 As has just been said: “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” 


Revelation 3:22 

New International Version

22 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”


Hebrews 11:6 

New International Version

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.


Romans 10:17

New International Version

17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.








Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, October 26, 2021

God's Got Us


When elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.”  This was an African proverb noted in the March 26, 1936, New York Times.  The meaning was that the weak get hurt in conflicts between the powerful. According to Kim Porter in the Sept. 17, 2021, Bankrate website, as of September 2021, total consumer debt is at $14.96 trillion while individual debt is over ninety thousand dollars.  The President and most Democrats are struggling to provide trillions of dollars of benefits with others who would like to provide considerably less. They negotiate while the country waits.


However, those who love the Lord do not have to wait to find out if they will prosper when the fighting stops.  Everything in the earth belongs to God, our Father (Psalm 24:1, Psalm 50:10). He promised that we will not want for anything (Psalm 23:1).  Because of His unmerited favor toward us, Jesus became poor so that we could be rich (2 Corinthians 8:9).  The God of the universe assured us that He would protect those who love Him (Psalm 145:20).  He wants us to prosper and be in health (3 John 2).


We can look to Jesus who began and matures our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  God wants us to be confident in Him knowing that if we trust in Him, we will triumphantly complete whatever purpose that we have (Philippians 1:6).  We can build our hopes on eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:18).  God's got us.


Psalm 24:1

New International Version

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;


Psalm 50:10 

New International Version

10 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills


2 Corinthians 8:9

New International Version

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.


Psalm 145:20 

New International Version

20 The LORD watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.


3 John 2

New King James Version

2 Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.


Hebrews 12:2 

New International Version

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.


Philippians 1:6

New International Version

being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.


2 Corinthians 4:18 

New International Version

18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.







Monday, October 18, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, October 18, 2021

Our Eyes Are Fixed On The Lord


D├ínica Coto and Evens Sanon wrote an article in the 10/17/2021 World News section of Huffington Post entitled, “U.S. Religious Group Says 17 Missionaries Kidnapped In Haiti.”  The article went on to indicate that the gang which kidnapped the missionaries carries out kidnappings, car jackings, and extorts business owners. The organization which sent this group, Christian Aid Ministries, issued a statement. “Join us in praying for those who are being held hostage, the kidnappers and the families, friends and churches of those affected. As an organization, we commit this situation to God and trust Him to see us through.” 


We live in a world where even doing good can be dangerous.  Going where God said to go and doing what God said to do may not always have endings that we would like. However, we must remember that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord (Romans 8:28). The Bible says that man is of a few days and full of trouble (Job 14:1).   Still God promised that He is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13).


We have to remember that however this challenging situation ends man is not in charge; God is still on the throne.  He sees all and nothing can happen without His permission.  The Bible says that the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous avails much (James 5:16).  The Bible declares if two or three are gathered in God’s Name, He is in the midst (Matthew 18:20). God is with these missionaries. For those who love the Lord, we must pray, intercede, lay before God, and ask for a quick and total deliverance for these children of God.  He can do anything but fail!


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.


Job 14:1

New International Version

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


Philippians 2:13

New King James Version

13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.


James 5:16

New King James Version

16 Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.


Matthew 18:20 

New International Version

20 For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”







Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Pastor's Ponderings, October 13, 2021

God Is Our Protector

In the very popular 2020 film, The Old Guard, the heroes and heroines are centuries-old warriors with unexplained regenerative healing abilities who use their vast experience to work as mercenaries, taking on missions that help people.  These undying warriors have secretly protected humanity for centuries.  The idea that there are hidden protectors that help mankind and are with us when we are being harmed is reassuring.


In the Bible, God assures us that His angels do protect mankind for real.  "He gives His angels charge over us to keep us wherever we go” (Psalm 91:11-12). He promised that He would send His word to us as we make decisions on our life’s path (Isaiah 30:21).  He said that He would be a lamp for our feet and a light for our pathways (Psalm 119:105). He confirms that His eyes go through the earth to be strong for mankind (2 Chronicles 16:9).  He tells us that He will go before us and behind us to protect us (Isaiah 52:12).


This is not to imply that we are protected from every threat.  Time and chance happen to us all (Ecclesiastes 9:11). War, senseless acts of violence, sickness and disease, pain and suffering are common to mankind.  However, God promises that we will not be alone when we are in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) and that He will be with us.  We won’t need a fantasy Old Guard when we have the true Guard for our lives.


Psalm 91:11-12

New International Version

11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;

12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.


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.


2 Chronicles 16:9a 

New International Version

9 For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. …


Isaiah 52:12

New International Version

12 But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.


Ecclesiastes 9:11

New International Version

11 I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.


Psalm 23:4

New International Version

4 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.







Monday, October 4, 2021

Let Us Choose Christ Before Cash

According to an article by Tommy Beer in the 10/8/2020 Forbes magazine, the top 1% Of U.S. households hold 15 times more wealth than the bottom 50% combined.  The article goes on to give an example of this concentration of wealth in Elon Musk, who recently became the world’s fifth centibillionaire.  His wealth increased over 200% during the first eight months of 2020 while the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc worldwide.


Many admire the uber rich and spend their lives trying to become wealthy. However, Harrison Johnson wrote a song entitled, “I Have Decided To Make Jesus My Choice.”  A few of the lyrics are, “Some folks would rather have houses and land, some folks choose silver and gold, these things they treasure and forget about their souls; I’ve decided to make Jesus my choice.”  Where our treasures are, lies our heart (Matthew 6:21). 


The Bible tells us to put our treasures in heaven where thieves and deterioration have no access (Matthew 6:19-20).  The Bible further advises us to desire the eternal things in heaven rather than the temporary pleasures of this world system (Colossians 3:1, 2; 1 John 2:17).  The reason is that all that is in the world is lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 John 2:16).  Only what we do for Christ will last.  


The Bible does not say that people should not be rich but that they should not trust their riches and instead put their hope in God. They should do good deeds and share with others so that they can attain the life that is truly life (Timothy 6:17-19).  Let us all seek God first and foremost so that He can provide all the things that we need.  Let us prioritize Christ over material things.


Matthew 6:21

New International Version

21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.


Matthew 6:19-20

New International Version

19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.


Colossians 3:1, 2

New International Version

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.


1 John 2:17

New International Version

17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.


1 John 2:16

New International Version

16 For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world


Timothy 6:17-19

New International Version

17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 

18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 

19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.