Monday, April 27, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, April 27, 2015

When Terror Comes

CNN reported that a major earthquake in Nepal, a country in Southeast Asia, killed over 4000 people on Saturday, April 25, 2015.  With no warning, thousands lost their lives.  The anguish, the terror, and the suffering are unimaginable and many across the world are rushing to help the survivors and restore the land.

When we hear of terrible tragedies like this, we are reminded that the bible states that tragic events will happen (Luke 21:11).  We can sigh and quietly thank God that we avoided this catastrophe but what happens if something like that happens in our neighborhood?  Would we be casual and dismiss it as simply, “An Act of God” or would we fall to our knees with a sudden epiphany that, “Yes, it can happen here”?

We cannot know when the next tragedy will strike, but we do know who can control those events.  God wants us to approach Him unpretentiously, stop being disobedient to His commands, and begin to pray to Him.  We can ask Him what we should do so that we can live our lives in safety.  He promised that if we would do that, He would heal our lands and fix whatever needs fixing (2 Chronicles 7:14).

Let those who love the Lord turn to Him before the next tragedy strikes and not have to wait until we are in its midst.

Luke 21:11
New International Version (NIV)
11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

2 Chronicles 7:14
New International Version (NIV)
14 if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, April 20, 2015

God Is Our Healer

According to the LA Times, some former opponents of the Affordable Care Act are changing their minds about the law since millions of Americans now depend upon it.  Whether the law is good or bad, whether the Supreme Court will soon rule and millions will lose coverage, it is important to note that God is very concerned about our health (Jeremiah 8:21-22).  Apparently He approves of good healthcare and Colossians 4:14 refers to Apostle Luke as the beloved physician.

We must know, however, that God is the great physician. He is the only one that can send His word for healing (Psalm 107:19-20).  Medical workers are vessels to be used by God and they are a great blessing, but He is our ultimate healer.

We also have a responsibility for our health and we are admonished to treat our bodies as a "temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19).  While health leaders generally accept that health is comprised of behavioral, genetic, social, and environmental factors, we know that the greatest determinant of health is our Father in Heaven. 

The good news is that God wants us healthy. When people are passionately debating whether or not people deserve healthcare, Christians should remember who is our source of healing.  We do not have to get upset and angry during the current healthcare struggle since a cheerful heart is our good medicine (Proverbs 17:22).  Thank God that He has never changed His mind about our health.

Jeremiah 8:21-22
New International Version (NIV)
21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

Psalm 107:19-20
New International Version (NIV)
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them: he rescued them from the grave.

Proverbs 4:21-22
New International Version (NIV)
21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.

Proverbs 17:22
New International Version (NIV)
22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, April 13, 2015

Politicians May Announce But God Anoints

From now until the election in November 2016, we are in for a tumultuous time of billion dollar spending, persuasive arguments, hurtful insults, political demonstrations, and endless commercials attempting to persuade voters that this or that candidate is all that is standing between major catastrophe and us.  This political season reminds us of Rudyard Kipling’s poem, “If” where he admonishes us to keep our heads when all around us are losing theirs. The back and forth can be good fun for some, deadly serious business for others, but we must consider what God is telling us. 

In the book of Timothy, many political voices may be aptly described as controversial, quarrelsome, malicious and even using religious teachings to make their points (1 Timothy 6:3-5).  This book goes on to say godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).  We must focus on the things that are important such as God, His word, and His will and not simply on a relentless pursuit of power and finances (1 Timothy 6:9, 10). 

During this political season when God has seemingly been relegated to the back seat, let us remember that He is the only one that promotes and He is the only one that directs our leaders (Psalm 75:6-7).  Let us pray for all of those in the political arena that they agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching (1 Timothy 6:3).

1 Timothy 6:3-6, 9, 10
New International Version (NIV)
If anyone teaches otherwise and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching,
they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions
and constant friction between people of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
But godliness with contentment is great gain.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Psalm 75:6-7
New International Version (NIV)
No one from the east or the west or from the desert can exalt themselves.
It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pastor's Ponderings, April 6, 2015

God Is At Work

During the last week of March 2015, the world witnessed two startlingly contrasting images.  Iran was negotiating with the world powers over reducing the possibility of war while terrorists in Kenya were killing students whose only crime was to want to learn.  Those of us who remember the horrifying images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, as people were incinerated instantly when the atoms bombs were dropped, hope the world never sees a repeat.  However, there are people desperately working to provoke more wars with whoever is helpless and available.

We know that there have always been wars and as the end of the world approaches there will more and more wars and rumors of war (Matthew 24:6).  But how should those who love the Lord respond when they hear of heinous acts of terror?  Should we cower and hope bad things go away? 

This is the time for those who love the Lord to stand firm in their belief in God (Matthew 24:12, 13).  Many will give up and say whatever is popular and most convenient.  They will take the path of least resistance.  They will go along with the majority because it causes fewer problems.

But now is not the time to compromise and to affirm that anything is all right.  Now is the time to proclaim your obedience to God and your love for Him.  Now is the time to lift up Jesus.  Now is the time to say, ‘Come hell or high water, I will stand up for what is right and what is holy.  I will treat my brother right even though he hurts me, I will love the unlovable, I will help my enemies because God is still in charge, and He is still working on the behalf of those who obey Him (Philippians 2:13) and when He is through we will come through as gold (Job 23:10).’  God is working in us.

Matthew 24:6, 12, 13
New International Version (NIV)
You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Philippians 2:13
Amplified Bible (AMP)
13 [Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight.

Job 23:10
New International Version (NIV)
10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.