Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 18, 2022

God Is Looking For People To Help Others


Nina Golgowski wrote an article in the May 15, 2022, U.S. News entitled, “Security Guard 'Went Down Fighting' While Taking On Buffalo Mass Shooter.” The article went on to say that instead of taking cover, “He went towards the gunfire, he went towards the fight."  No doubt he saved lives.

 

The former police officer put his life on the line to save others.  The Bible says that there is no greater love for others than to lay down your life for your friends (John 15:13). But this officer did something greater.  He laid down his life for strangers. This is a hard task.  Are we willing to lay aside our creature comforts, our pleasure, or even our morning coffee so that others can benefit? 

 

The Bible says that God is looking for someone to change their lives and protect their country (Ezekiel 22:30). Hopefully we are not a nation of citizens solely focused on ourselves.  There are people among us who are more concerned about others' welfare rather than their own, others’ lives more than their own, or others' benefit more than their own. The Bible tells us to love our neighbors just like we love ourselves (Mark 12:31).  Let us be lovers indeed rather than simply lovers in words. Are there any more Aaron Salter Jrs in the house?

 

John 15:13

New International Version

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

 

Ezekiel 22:30

Easy-to-Read Version

30 “I asked the people to change their lives and protect their country. I asked people to fix the walls. I wanted them to stand by those holes in the wall and fight to protect their city. But no one came to help!

 

Mark 12:31 

New International Version

31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”


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Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 11, 2022

God is Everything

What gets you up in the morning and activates you to start your day?  Is it your resources, your employment, your friends and relatives, or your own experiences?  Those things will eventually pass away.  But there is something that can lead you to jump up and be ready for the new day.  It is that God is in charge! We can happily proclaim that this is the day that the Lord has made, and we will rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:24)!

 

The evil one wants our attitudes to be tied to people, places, and things.  When these go south, our attitudes should also go south.  But God wants us to know that despite everything else, He is the same, yesterday day, and forever (Hebrews 13:8).  He wants us to know that He is present and helping us when we are in trouble (Psalm 46:1).  

 

God wants us to focus on Him who began and perfects our faith (Hebrews 12:2).  He wants us to base our lives on things which are eternal and everlasting and not on most things that are temporary.

 

Edward Mote, 1797-1874 wrote a song entitled, 

 

My Hope is Built on Nothing Less

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.

         

Even the rich and powerful, the mighty institutions, the wealthy nations all have their beginnings and eventual endings.  Let us keep our focus on the One that helps us to do anything (Philippians 4:13) and who holds our past, present and future in His hands. He loves us, wants the best for us and desires that we come to a glorious place with Him (Jeremiah 29:11). Let us know that our God is our source for everything that we will ever need.

         

Psalm 118:24

New International Version

24 The Lord has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad

 

Hebrews 13:8

New International Version

8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

Psalm 46:1 
New International Version

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

 

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 4:13

New International Version

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

 

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


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 2, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, May 2, 2022

I Will Be Glad When….


Many times, we will say, “I will be glad when…” my ship comes in, when I win the lottery, when I am released from confinement, when I get married, when my spouse changes this or that, when I get divorced or when I graduate.” We base our joy, peace and happiness on circumstances that will always change. 

 

However, the Bible says we should be content in whatever state in which we find ourselves (Philippians 4:11).  Contentment has been defined as “independent of external circumstances.” Godliness, with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).  

 

No matter what comes or goes, we should decide every day that “This is the day the Lord has made” and in response, we will rejoice and be glad (Psalm 118:24).  This does not mean that we do not protest and struggle against trouble and challenges in the world, but we are content while we struggle.

 

We may never reach our milestones, but we can ask God for His strength to reach His.  If we seek His righteousness, all other THINGS will be added to us (Matthew 6:33).  We can be content when we know that God is pleased with our lives. 

 

Philippians 4:11

New International Version

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

 

1 Timothy 6:6
New International Version

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 

Psalm 118:24

New King James Version

24 This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.

 

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.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 25, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, April 25, 2022

We Are Our Brother and Our Sister’s Keeper

Jazmin Tolliver. in the April 24, 2022 U.S. News, wrote an article entitled, “Video Captures Florida Deputy Climbing Building To Save Baby From Fire.  The article went on to indicate, “We saw the building fully engulfed. It was chaos everywhere," according to Deputy William Puzynski.  On Saturday, April 23, 2022, this heroic deputy scaled the second-floor balcony, grabbed the baby from her mother and passed the child down to other deputies on the ground. Both the mother and her grandmother were rescued.

This story shows that there are still people who are willing to sacrifice themselves to help others and to demonstrate profiles of courage.  The Bible says that there is no greater love than the willingness to lay down one’s life for another (John 15:12-13).  The Golden Rule scripture says for us to do for others what you want them to do for you (Matthew 7:12).  We are also to be like Christ in this world (1 John 4:17).

 

We should show compassion for others like this man.  If we do not show it when we have the opportunity, how can we say that we have love for others (1 John 3:17)?  We are all together on the same planet that is moving, according to the Scientific American, about 1000 miles per hour.  Our fortunes are tied together.  Therefore, let us love, appreciate, and support each other.


John 15:12-13

New International Version

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 

13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

 

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.

 

1 John 4:17

New International Version

17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesu

 

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?

brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, April 20, 2022

Ctrl+Z/Command-Z (on Apple)


On our computers, there is a Control Z or Command-Z key combination that deletes what you have just done. You may have deleted the wrong sentence or overwritten something that was important.  Pressing Control/ Command-Z deletes your error and restores it to where it was before you took the wrong action.

 

Have you ever wished to have a Control/Command-Z in your life? You went to the wrong party, took the wrong job, entered the wrong relationship, or hung around with the wrong crowd? How many of us had to confess that we would’ve, could’ve, or should’ve done something different?

 

The Bible says God makes all things new (Isaiah 43:19). The scripture declares that old things are passed away. We are made new in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are no longer in darkness. God has made us a new creation in Christ, and we are now under the authority of Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13).  

 

While there is no magic eraser in life that can free us from all our bad choices, our God wants us walking in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). He still thinks good thoughts towards us, plans for us to prosper - we still have a hope and future; faithful to forgive us even if we make mistakes.

 

We can thank God that our sins are forgiven, and we are justified (Romans 3:24) or “just as if I had never done wrong.” We can be joyful knowing that God restores us.

 


Isaiah 43:19

New International Version

19 See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

 

2 Corinthians 5:17

New International Version

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

 

Colossians 1:13

New International Version

13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,

 

Romans 6:4 
New King James Version

4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

 

Romans 3:24

New International Version

24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, April 12, 2022

God’s Positioning System 

As a person who has been challenged with folding maps on long trips, I welcomed the arrival of the new Global Positioning Systems. Instead of having to worry about making wrong turns, I could simply type in my destination and allow it to direct my journey.  I was very happy to note that it would even tell me my time of arrival.  All I need to do is steer, brake, and keep my eyes on the road and not on difficult to read maps.

 

Just like the GPS, it is great to know that God is better than satellites and He will direct our paths to our expected destination (Jeremiah 29:11).  We don’t have to worry if He is tired or sleeping on the job (Psalm 121:4). He is always present even when we make wrong turns in life.  He promises to speak when we turn to the left or right (Isaiah 30:21).  He gives us the light we need on our path when we turn our lives over to Him (Psalm 119:105).

 

Just like I have no desire to turn off my GPS during my travels, we should have no desire to stop listening to God.  He promises to go with us even though we go through deadly times (Psalm 23:4).  Let us remember to tell all of those who are around us that they don’t have to struggle to find the best direction in life.  More than our GPS, God will be a protection for us as He guides us (Isaiah 58:8).  


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.

 

Psalm 121:4

New International Version

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

Isaiah 58:8

New International Version

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, April 4, 2022

Pastor's Ponderings, April. 4, 2022

Let Us Cry Loud Against Evil 

Cole Delbyck wrote an article in the Apr. 3, 2022, Huffington Post, entitled, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Beams Into Grammys With Call To Action.  The President said, "Tell the truth about the war on your social networks and TV. But not silence.”  Moreover, Andy Blatchford wrote in the 03/24/2022, Politico magazine, an article entitled, Band of others: Ukraine’s legions of foreign soldiers are on the frontline. The article went on to indicate that up to 20,000 volunteers from around the world have joined with the Ukrainian military to fight in the war.

 

Just as this president, during this war, is challenging the world to help, God is calling for those who love Him to awake from their slumber and cry out loud against sin (Isaiah 58:1).  A classic quote from an unnamed author was, “The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing.” Those of us who love the Lord must stand in agreement against atrocities in this war and other horrors around the globe. 

 

We have mighty weapons that we can wield under God’s direction (2 Corinthians 10:4).  Our weapons are the power of prayer, the Name of Jesus, and the sword of the Spirit. We must pray continually (Thessalonians 5:17). Speak truth to power.  We must make intercession and pray for world leaders for God’s wisdom (1 Timothy 2:1-2).  Also, we can remind ourselves that God’s joy is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10).

 

Now is not the time to say it is somebody else’s problem.  When we see our brother in need and do nothing about it, how does God’s love dwell in us? (John 3:17).  The scripture says that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39).  Now is the time to ask God what we can do as children of God and cry loud joyfully and victoriously. 

 

Isaiah 58:1

New International Version

58 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins.

 

2 Corinthians 10:4

New International Version

4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

 

Thessalonians 5:17

New International Version

17 pray continually,

 

1 Timothy 2:1-2

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.

 

Nehemiah 8:10

New International Version

10 Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

 

John 3:17

Amplified Bible

17 But whoever has the world’s goods (adequate resources), and sees his brother in need, but has no compassion for him, how does the love of God live in him?

 

Matthew 22:37-39

New International Version

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’

37 This is the first and greatest commandment

39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’