Monday, July 7, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, July 7, 2014


Reinhold Niebuhr, the American theologian, wrote the Serenity Prayer, which is, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference”.  Serenity is calmness, quietness or peace.  It is a great thing to be serene when one is surrounded by destruction, war, and tumult.  However, sometimes, one cannot allow oneself to be serene when action is required.

Many of us err on the side of serenity when it is time to get wisdom and the courage to do whatever God is calling us to do in our lives. In the book of Haggai, the children of Israel were resting contentedly in their houses while God’s house was falling apart (Haggai 1:1-12).  Today many decide to rest contentedly following the church rules and regulations and not really doing what the Lord is requiring us to do. 

In the Bible, God calls his followers out of their comfort zone and into specific tasks he has for his people. He asks us to free those who are wrongly imprisoned, share food with the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, and give clothes to those who need them (Isaiah 58:5-6 NLT).  He asks us to love Him and love our fellow man (Matthew 22:37-39) and to abandon the typical position of concerning ourselves with just our own families and friends.

We admire Martin Luther King, the abolitionists, or Mother Teresa but are we resting comfortably and assuming someone else will help those in need? Let us remember in prayer and in deeds our brothers and our sisters.  Let us remember those who are in bondage, at home and abroad, in poverty and sickness, and who are in prison or worse for Christ.  

Please comment below and share what you are doing to obey God’s commands so that you can encourage others to do the same.

Haggai 1:3-6, 9
New International Version (NIV)
Then the word of the Lord came through the prophet Haggai
“Is it a time for you yourselves to be living in your paneled houses, while this house remains a ruin?”
Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.
You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”
You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house.

Isaiah 58:5-6
New Living Translation (NLT)
You humble yourselves
by going through the motions of penance, 
bowing your heads
like reeds bending in the wind. 
You dress in burlap
and cover yourselves with ashes. 
Is this what you call fasting? 
Do you really think this will please the Lord?
“No, this is the kind of fasting I want: 
Free those who are wrongly imprisoned; 
lighten the burden of those who work for you. 
Let the oppressed go free, 
and remove the chains that bind people.

Matthew 22:37-39
New International Version (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’
38 This is the first and greatest commandment.
39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

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