Monday, March 30, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, March 30, 2015

God Is Our Pilot

On March 24, 2015, the co-pilot of the Germanwings Flight 9525 crashed the plane in the Alps.  This terrible tragedy has prompted sympathetic but confused responses from all over the world.  No one knows why the co-pilot made this decision. Although flying is one of the safest forms of transportation, this tragedy gives one pause.

The Bible, however, gives us a clear perspective when thinking about the dangers in any human endeavor.  The book of Psalms says that we should depend upon the Lord rather than people (Psalm 118:8, Psalm 146:3).  The food that we eat, the medicines that we take, the cars we drive, the safety of our neighborhoods, and our places of employment are all dependent upon people who may decide to hurt us.

We must not be paranoid.  Let us recommit ourselves to trusting the true and living God.  He said we should not fear because He is taking us through terrible places (Proverbs 23:4).  We should not worry about things hurting us (Isaiah 54:17).

Let us decide that even if we or our loved ones pass into eternity through some evil act of man, we must have total confidence that all things are working together for our good (Romans 8:28).  Our God is still in charge of everything.

Psalm 118:8
New International Version (NIV)
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.

Psalm 146:3
New International Version (NIV)
Do not put your trust in princes, in human beings, who cannot save.

Psalm 23:4
New International Version (NIV)
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 54:17
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Romans 8:28
New International Version (NIV)
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.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, March 23, 2015

Everything We Need Is In Christ

On the third and fourth Saturday of the month, our church has been given the privilege of ministering to the elderly members of a local nursing home.  Yesterday I shared a word that greatly impacted me while I was speaking.  I got the revelation that we do not have to go outside of Jesus Christ to get anything that we need.  We haven’t got to make back room deals with the evil one, his followers, our friends, neighbors, relatives, or even our employers.  Everything that we need is in Him and we shouldn’t worry because God made the entire universe (Hebrews 11:3).

God continually supplies all of our needs. We may sometimes feel that we are lacking, but He has already given those who love Him everything that we will ever need to live a life for Him (2 Peter 1:3). He even chose us to be just like Him when He adopted us to be His offspring through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:3-5).

In spite of our challenges, issues, sins, omissions, commissions, thoughtlessness, carelessness, insensitivity and challenges, He made us acceptable to Him (Ephesians 1:6).  Today, when things are not working out as planned, when people are working against us, and when the whole world seems to be in a conspiracy to take our happiness and joy, let us remember that everything that we need is already in Him and we have the privilege of calling Him to help us to get whatever we need (Romans 8:15).  Let us continually rejoice about that!

Hebrews 11:3
New International Version (NIV)
By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

2 Peter 1:3
New International Version (NIV)
His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

Ephesians 1:3-5
New International Version (NIV)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5 he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—

Ephesians 1:6
King James Version (KJV)
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

Romans 8:15
Good News Translation (GNT)
15 For the Spirit that God has given you does not make you slaves and cause you to be afraid; instead, the Spirit makes you God's children, and by the Spirit's power we cry out to God, “Father! my Father!”

Monday, March 16, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, March 16, 2015

We Ought To Help Others

No good deed goes unpunished. Clare Boothe Luce, the first American woman appointed to a major ambassadorial post abroad is credited with this quote. This quote means actions that benefit others are often unappreciated or bring on hostility and even if they are appreciated, it may lead to demands for even more beneficial actions. Clearly those who wish to help others may be surprised to find the recipients ungrateful.

Nevertheless, the Bible expects us to continue to do good things for others (Galatians 6:9, 10). It does not matter if people are ungrateful or turn around and do mean and spiteful things to us even after we have blessed them.  We are responsible to act in love even if we are not treated with love (1 John 3:17-18). 

Today, when we feel led to bless or help others even those who have hurt us, despised us, or have come against us, know that we are not simply being hearers of God’s word but we are demonstrating to the world that God still loves the unlovable and the ungrateful (James 1:25).  He also promised to help us when we help others (Isaiah 58:10-11). Remember, He loved us and blessed us even when we did not love Him back.

Galatians 6:9, 10
New International Version (NIV)
9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

1 John 3:17-18
New International Version (NIV)
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?
18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

James 1:25
New International Version (NIV)
25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

Isaiah 58:10-11
New International Version (NIV)
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, March 9, 2015

In The World To Change The World

When Jesus was ready to go to the cross, He desired that His disciples would not fall in love with the world.  He noted that those who loved the world lacked love for the Father (1 John 2:15).  He went on to pray to the Father that just as He had sent Jesus into the world, He was sending His disciples into the world. He wanted them to remember that they were sanctified or set apart for a holy purpose (John 17:18-19).  They were to bring sinners to Christ in spite of the cost.  Leon H. Ellis wrote the lyrics, “Souls are crying, men are dying, won't you lead them to the cross. Go and find them, please help to win them, win the lost at any cost.”

He continued to pray that His disciples would remember that the world would hate them since they were not like the world (John 17:14).  We as Christians must remember this and to know that we are not here to make our neighbors comfortable, relaxed, or to lull them into a false sense of complacency.  The early Christians shook things up (Acts 17:6-8) because they asserted that they followed Jesus Christ.

Today, we should not be shocked and hurt when we assert that Jesus is Lord, He died for our sins, and that He wants the best for everyone and some do not accept that message.  It may be a strange concept, but if we want to obey Jesus and to fulfill the mission that He gave us to, we have to be prepared to challenge and provoke others to good works in Christ and to follow Him. We must remember that God always loves us and protects us as we obey His words (John 17:15). We must win the lost at any cost.

1 John 2:15
New International Version (NIV)
15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them.

John 17:14-19
New International Version (NIV)
14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Acts 17:6-8
Amplified Bible (AMP)
But when they failed to find them [Paul and Silas], they dragged Jason and some of the brethren before the city authorities, crying, These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also,
And Jason has received them to his house and privately protected them! And they are all ignoring and acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, [actually] asserting that there is another king, one Jesus!
And both the crowd and the city authorities, on hearing this, were irritated (stirred up and troubled).