Monday, November 25, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 25, 2013


For many, 2013 has been a challenging year. Massive violence, terrorism and natural disasters seem to be at an all time high with the most recent death of thousands from Typhoon Haiyan. You may have felt like you survived your own personal typhoon or are living through one right now. Despite these challenges, this holiday helps us to pause and reflect on how good God has been to us. Things could have been much worse or we could have given up in the process but God has carried us and continues to carry us through. The late gospel artist, Walter Hawkins, wrote “…but as for me, all I can say is thank you Lord, for all you've done for me.”
Sadly, many are not thankful for their life.  They feel they should have had better breaks, more opportunities, and fewer challenges.  It is true that in comparison to others, one may feel shortchanged, but celebrated author, Wally Lamb, wrote, “I cried because I had no shoes. Then I met a man who had no feet.”

In the Bible, David knew a lot about thanksgiving.  He went from a being boy who was isolated with the sheep to an adored King of God’s people (1 Chronicles 11:3).  He experienced tragedy and triumph, sadness and satisfaction, defeat and daring feats, but he thanked God for all He had done for him.  He lived a life of thanksgiving.

This week let us think about all God has done for us. Reflect on the challenges that made us stronger, the unexpected blessings, the close calls that were nothing short of a miracle, and the promise of his everlasting presence.

Please comment below (Click "Comments"), and share what you are thankful for so that others can thank God with you.

Chronicles 16:34
O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endureth forever.

Psalm 100:4 
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

Colossians 3:15
And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

Ephesians 5:20 New International Version (NIV)
always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 18, 2013


Last week I received good news from my physicians.  I am still cancer free after almost two years! Other than a few minor aches and pains, I am in very good health for a senior citizen. I subsequently contacted the Red Cross and I am happy to know I am once again free to donate blood. As a regular donor, it saddened me that I was no longer eligible to do something so important to me.

Freedom means different things to different people.  For Dr. Martin Luther King and the Freedom Riders of the sixties, it meant freedom to fully participate in American life.  For some, freedom means being free from poverty, abusive relationships, fear, lack or low self-esteem.  For others, freedom means being free to explore, speak and write what they choose or worship as they desire.

In the book of Acts, a mob of people attacked Paul and Silas and they ended up in prison (Acts 16:22-35).  In spite of their imprisonment, Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises unto God (Acts 16:25).

Although they were in dire straits after being beaten and then imprisoned, they seemed to behave as if they were free men. They did not allow their external circumstances to determine their relationship in Christ. In the midst of their praise, the chains fell off of them and their fellow prisoners.

What does freedom mean to you? How has focusing on God led to your freedom?  How might your praise help others to get free?

Please comment below about your freedom from or freedom to do something.  Others can receive their freedom from hearing from you!

Revelation 12:11 New International Version (NIV)
11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of
their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink
from death

Acts 16:25, 26

25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God:
and the prisoners heard them.

26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations
of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened,
and every one's bands were loosed.

John 8:36

36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Pastor's Ponderings: November 11, 2013

Time flies!

I was startled to read that John Lennon, the leader of the Beatles, had died over thirty years ago.  We have many documentaries of President Kennedy who was assassinated fifty years ago.  Twelve years ago, planes crashed into the Twin Towers.  Death has a way of marking the passing of time.  It makes you think about all of the things that you intended to do, but just never got around to doing.  It helps us redirect our efforts on important instead of frivolous tasks.

In the Bible, David, the king of Israel, wanted the Lord to keep him aware of how transient his stay on earth is so that he would not waste his time with meaningless exercises. While he fought many wars (1 Chronicles 28:3) and was considered a highly effective leader of his time, he too was guilty of the distractions of present day and his short term desires (2 Samuel 11). Eventually, he recognized that our brief earthly existence requires us to focus on what is most important, which is our relationship with God.  Although the emergency of the day may take our time and attention, David reminded us to seek, spend time, and focus on the beauty and wonder of God.

While our time flies by, let us remember to keep our focus on the Lord!

Psalm 39:4 New International Version (NIV)
Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.

Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. 

Psalm 27:4 Amplified Bible (AMP)
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek, inquire for, and [insistently] require: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord [in His presence] all the days of my life, to behold and gaze upon the beauty [the sweet attractiveness and the delightful loveliness] of the Lord and to meditate, consider, and inquire in His temple.

Ecclesiastes 12:1 New International Version (NIV)
Remember your Creator in the days of your youth…

Monday, November 4, 2013

Pastor's Pondering's: November 4, 2013

Don’t despair!

Many years ago, my family and I were going through a perfect storm of financial, relationship and emotional challenges. We ran into locked doors, missed opportunities and unmet goals. Things that had worked in the past, were not working for us now and we felt like giving up.

In the midst of our troubles, my youngest brother came over to our house and began to pray for us. I don’t remember all of his prayer but what has remained was, “Don’t despair, Mr. Fair.” Soon after his prayer, God began to work miraculously in our situations. Blessings came one after another. Since then, whenever I run into problems, I first remember not to despair.

The Bible tells the story of King Saul, the leader of the Israelites, who fought many successful battles against his enemies because God was on his side. However, when Saul began to disobey God, the Israelites began to lose. Saul became frustrated and cried in despair (1 Samuel 28:3-22) because he felt God had abandoned him in these critical battles. Instead of seeking the Lord, he turned to forbidden help and brought disaster upon his nation, his family and himself. In contrast, the Bible also tells of King David who had the unfortunate situation of being attacked by his enemies and having his soldier’s wives and children taken into captivity. However, David spoke triumphantly and encouraged himself even though everything was going wrong around him. Without him lifting a finger, God delivered the captives.

We have a choice today. We can throw in the towel and give up or we can encourage ourselves in the Lord. We can despair or we can turn to prayer. Let us not despair, worry or fret but let us declare the triumphant word of the Lord over any challenges the day may bring!

1 Samuel 30:6 Amplified Bible (AMP)
David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because the souls of them all were bitterly grieved, each man for his sons and daughters. But David encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God.

Psalm 27:13 New International Version (NIV)
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: