Monday, August 25, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, August 25, 2014

The World Is a Lonely Place

We can take our pick of recent events and we must conclude that the world is indeed a lonely place.  Worldwide suffering, domestic violence, and personal depression are reminders that we cannot depend upon our friends, relatives, or neighbors in our time of crisis. While people whom we love, trust, and respect can surround us, we may be crying out on the inside because we feel so alone.

Nevertheless, we can thank God that He said He would never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).  He is a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). The Holy Spirit or the Comforter will come along side to help.  He will be a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Psalm 119:105). The Lord will protect, lead, guide, and comfort us (Psalm 23:1-4).

While it is true that we can be lonely in the world, we have the privilege of turning to God who wants to have an eternal relationship with us.  He loves us.  Whatever void people cannot fulfill in our lives, He will be a husband, a wife, a mother, a father, a friend or anyone else for you.  Just turn to Him when loneliness threatens to overtake you.  He has blessed me when I felt alone, and I know He will bless you, too.

Please comment below and share with others how God was able to fill a lonely part of your life. You can encourage others to do the same.

Hebrews 13:5
New International Version (NIV)
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you; 
never will I forsake you.”

Psalm 46:1
King James Version (KJV)
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Psalm 119:105
New International Version (NIV)
105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

Psalm 23:1-4
New International Version (NIV)
1 The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul. 
He guides me along the right paths
 for his name’s sake.
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, August 18, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, August 18, 2014

What is Man?

"What is man?” reads an excerpt from the book The Measure of a Man, written by Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King wrote, “There are some people, that believe ‘man is little more than an animal’ and there are those ‘who would lift man almost to the position of a God.”  Shakespeare also considered this question. In the play, Hamlet, the character says, What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
infinite in faculties…” This question about who man really is has occupied mankind for many years.

Yet the Bible describes man as someone God made a little lower than the angels and crowned man with glory and honor and made man the rulers over the works of His hands (Psalm 8:3-8).  The scripture also emphasized, “…you put everything under their feet (Psalm 8:6). That is great news for all of us who feel overwhelmed by the many challenges of our present age.  Nothing can defeat us.

According to the Bible, we know what God thinks of us (Jeremiah 29:11). We know that He made us for great things and we know that we are even made to sit in heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:6). Therefore we can praise the Lord for what He has done for us and that we have a great relationship with Him.  We don’t have to be depressed or downhearted or downcast today; we are made in His image and He loves us (John 3:16).

Please comment below and share with others how you learned a new perspective about who you were in God. You can encourage others to do the same.

Psalm 8:3-8
New International Version (NIV)
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?
You have made them a little lower than the angels
and crowned them with glory and honor.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds, and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky, and the fish in the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas.

Jeremiah 29:11
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Ephesians 2:6
New International Version (NIV)
6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,

John 3:16
New International Version (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Pastor's Pondering, August 11, 2014

Let George Do It

“Let George Do It,” was a 1940s fad expression, as reported by the website The Phrase Finder.  "I don't know if I can handle the mountain of dishes I'll find when I get home. Let George do it,” for example, was used without any particular George in mind. This amusing expression puts the responsibility on someone else, and never on oneself.  We live in a world where it is easier to shirk responsibility and not challenge yourself to reach your full potential.

One responsibility the Bible makes clear is to build ourselves in our most holy faith. How do we do that? The Bible states we are to pray being led by His Spirit, show mercy to those whose faith is wavering, and keep yourself in God’s love (Jude 1:20-21). Even the disciples needed to be reminded of this when they failed to build their faith. When they were afraid of drowning even though Jesus was on the ship, He asked them where was their faith (Luke 8:25).

This week let’s not wait for George, but let us practice building our faith in God by studying His word, by encouraging one and another, and by allowing the Holy Spirit, through prayer, to increase our faith in God. Let us take responsibility like the Centurion who Jesus admired and said he had great faith (Matthew 8:8-10).  We are to keep ourselves in His love.

Please comment below and share with others how you took responsibility for increasing your faith in God. You can encourage others to do the same.

Jude 1:20-21
Amplified Bible (AMP)
20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up [founded] on your most holy faith [make progress, rise like an edifice higher and higher], praying in the Holy Spirit;
21 Guard and keep yourselves in the love of God; expect and patiently wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah)—[which will bring you] unto life eternal.

Luke 8:25
New International Version (NIV)
25 “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Matthew 8:8-10
New International Version (NIV)
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Pastor's Ponderings, August 4, 2014

Lies, ‘darned’ lies, and statistics

Mark Twain, the great American author wrote, "Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: 'There are three kinds of lies: lies, ‘darned’ lies, and statistics.'"  This slightly modified quote stresses the importance of accuracy in our counting.  Although precision with numbers is well regarded in nearly every field, we can limit ourselves when we base our reality solely on what we can count.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus had just healed thousands of sick people and as the evening approached, His disciples suggested that He send the large crowd away to get food.  Much to their surprise, He told the disciples to feed the hungry masses instead of sending them away. Like many of us, the disciples counted on what they had, enough food for one person, and decided this was an impossible task (Matthew 14-17).

Jesus took the small amount of food, gave thanks to the Father and prepared the meal.  It miraculously became more than enough to feed the gathering (Matthew 18-21).  How many of us are counting on our salary, our educational level, the money in our bank account, the equity in our home, our family members, the number of our important friends, or other resources that we can see? 

We must know that the little we have is more than enough to meet our needs when we put it in the hands of God by faith and ask for His blessings.  In the song “Ordinary People”, Danniebelle Hall wrote, “little becomes much as you place it in the Master's hand.” We should never base our hope on the things we can see which may be small, but we should turn everything over to Him and let Him bless us to meet the needs of our lives.

Please comment below and share with others how He blessed what little you had and it turned out to be more than enough to meet your needs. You can encourage others to do the same.

Matthew 14:14-21
New International Version (NIV)
14 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.
15 As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”
16 Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”
17 “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.
18 “Bring them here to me,” he said.
19 And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.
20 They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
21 The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.